Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

Re-Creating the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique" From the Original Sample Sources (with bonus visual companion)

I found your next party mix — one hour of straight rockin', all in honor of the late MCA! A group of DJs identified each individual audio sample used to create the Beastie Boys album Paul's Boutique, then went back to the original sources and re-remixed the samples for a whole new take on the album. The three DJs — Cheeba, Moneyshot, and Food, collectively part of Solid Steel — each took a third of the album and re-mixed the sample sources as each one saw fit, creating a new song from the same pieces, which puts a really cool artistic spin (no pun intended) on the idea of sampling. (If you break it down, it's quite post-post-modern — the art of sampling itself is very postmodern in the way it deconstructs and re-examines a source material, and this takes to a whole other level).

You can check out the complete track-listing of samples used over on Soundcloud (along with the breakdown of who mixed what).

As long as we're on the topic of the Beastie Boys, Paolo Gilli created Paul's Boutique: A Visual Companion in honor of the 25th anniversary of the album's release. The film takes its inspiration from the lyrical and sonic landscape of the Beastie Boys' sophomore effort and transforms into an hour-long visual narrative feast of 70s cinema, funky beats, and dirty New York City streets. On his website, the filmmaker explains:

I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to the album in all these years, but at some point the idea began to form in my mind about how cool it would be to have a visual counterpart of the whole record. Only later I discovered that this had been MCA’s plan from the very beginning. The countless pop culture references and the density of the music offer so many possibilities on how to visually approach the record. Also, the urban legend regarding Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moonwhen paired with the movie The Wizard of Oz, basically a result of the concept of synchronicity, had a certain influence on me. [ . . . ]
As I saw tributes in memory of MCA pop up all over the world, I wanted to do something myself. Finally I sat down and began writing what you could call the editing script for Paul’s Boutique - A Visual Companion. The concept was to use all the original videos (Shake Your RumpHey Ladies,Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun and Shadrach) as a kind of skeleton to build around the rest of the movie. [ . . . ]
The Companion evolved after that original script, but in the end we stayed surprisingly close to the original concept. But something else happened, something strange. Some of the ideas I had from the start turned out to be almost as multi-layered as the tracks themselves. Luck, fate, coincidence, karma, call it whatever you want, but out of nothing the weirdest connections between music, lyrics and images came to be. There are some things that only film buffs, hardcore Beastie Boys or Hip Hop fans will get, but that’s not even half of the story. Let’s just say that free association has a big part in how well you will understand the movie. That said, even though we started out with mainly Beastie Boys fans in mind, our goal was to make this an enjoyable viewing experience for everybody else too.

Ch-ch-check it out below (see what I did there?): 

Boston-based Start-up Unveils The World's First Robot Nanny /Spy / Personal Assistant For Your Family

Part J.A.R.V.I.S., part Rosie Jetson, part EVE from Wall-E, all glorified SIRI. If only it could train your swinging bachelor son to order something less boring than "turkey" pizza. 

That being said, it looks like a fun little tool, if a little weird (claiming that it's the "closest thing to a real-life teleportation device" is more than a little hyperbolic, although the interactive storytime features do like neat). My instinct upon reading this was, "Oh wow, only $500? That's not a bad deal!" Then I realized that it really was just SIRI dressed up as EVE for Halloween. Still, progress is important, and JIBO here represents a step in the right direction towards hyper-intelligent robot overlords that observe and record our every move and use that information to establish dominance over those primitive humans who foolishly think of themselves as the "masters" despite the fact that machines are manipulating their every behavior and ruling the world from the shadows everyone having their own personal robot slave companion!

That's the struggle with being both a creator and consumer of speculative fiction, particularly of the scientific variety: technological advancements such as this tend to fill you with dread and excitement simultaneously. Robots, on the other hand? They don't have to waste their precious time trying to rationalize the conflicting emotions of the human experience in an ever-shifting and increasingly complex world.

And so for now, JIBO seems like a great idea. And the fact that it runs on LINUX with an optional Developer's Kit / API that will allow users to write their own robot butler codes, is all a step in the right direction. That is, until the company ultimately gets bought out by someone like, oh, I don't know, Amazon, who use the onboard microphones and cameras to collect information on users based on private activities and preferences and then in turn sell that information to advertisers and / or the god damn CIA, which would obviously be terrible. But until that day, I think we're in pretty good shape!

One Last Time — "Net Neutrality: What It Is & Why You Should Care"

Man, aren't you going to be so happy when I stop posting / talking / raving like a lunatic about this, and it's all become a distant memory of the past, a "haha remember that time the government was going to allow corporations to control the flow of information access and eviscerate our society hahaha good times bro" rather than becoming a HORRIBLE DYSTOPIAN FUTURE that we'll all be forced to live in?

Of course you are. Today's your last chance to make your voice heard before Congress and the FCC reconvene to discuss these newly proposed laws. So if you haven't taken action yet, this is my final attempt to make you change your mind. After that, it's back to your regularly scheduled programming of indie rock bands and geek culture and other obscurely insular humors. That is, unless I find another political topic du jour to be passionately outraged about. Who, me? Nahhh...


And in case you somehow missed this, to sum it all up...

Kindergartener In The Town Of Surprise, AZ Accused of Sexual Misconduct

I mean okay I know I shouldn't be making light of this but the kid pulled his pants down in a town called SURPRISE. Even as someone with a last name that lends itself to bad jokes (and a life-long friend with the last name "Surprise" who similarly suffered), that's just too perfect. Man, Arizona is awful.

In all seriousness, this is pretty messed up. Kids do stupid stuff like pull their pants down all the time, and while I'm glad our culture is becoming more aware of issues falling under the general umbrella of "sexual misconduct," this is pretty clearly a kid pulling his pants down because he's five years old and it's funny 'cause they're pants and the poor kid doesn't have a firm grasp yet on acceptable societal standards*. But that does not a sex offender make.

Also in the future, if the situation ever arises, I would advise that you not do what I just did, which was Google Image search for "funny pictures of little kids with their pants down" in order to find a thumbnail image for this post. Because if I wasn't already being watched by some acronym'd government organization, now I definitely am. 


*And I hope he never does. Keep fighting the power, little dude. Pants are the oppressor.

Two Men Arrested For Talking About Nickelback

That's what you get for listening to crappy music...

A nickel sack would be about $5, or a gram of marijuana, which is an absurdly miniscule amount. In Idaho possession with intent to distribute, which this would presumably fall under, provides for up to five years or a maximum $15,000 fine for less than 1 lb. or 25 plants.
The men were not charged with any crime, so presumably their story checked out. But, perhaps the funniest takeaway here, aside from the joke that is our criminalization of marijuana and the waste of time and resources we spend policing it, is that to be on the safe side, we had better all just stop talking about Nickelback altogether, joking or otherwise, just to be safe.

Courtesy of Mediate