Post-Apocalyptic Screen Grabs #3
I Am Legend
Cause: Engineered Virus/Vampires

I'm really not trying to brag but I've now read Richard Matheson's short story (novella?) I Am Legend, and watched every movie adaptation of it to date: The Last Man On Earth/Vincent Price/1964, The Omega Man/Charleston Heston/1971 and now I am Legend/Will Smith/2007. If I had to pick a favorite it would be the newest version but then again (not to be a dick) the book was much more intense than any of the movies. Having had periods in my life when I spent too much time alone and started to lose it, Matheson's depiction of how a person's mind would collapse from being utterly alone in the world seemed all too real. Being hunted by the living dead every night doesn't help the situation. That being said, here are too many screen grabs of I Am Legend. Enjoy:

Click the images for my full size versions or just go to the official website for more. Please look at the street view links, too. I just wasted way too much of my life making them...

I Love Living in the Future

Thanks to Jordan I've just found out about this fantastic new single for the band Delaware, fantastic not for the music but for how it's presented:

True, it would be a little annoying to have to open every song in your library separately but I'd like the option. Maybe Apple will purchase and incorporate it into iTunes the way they did with CoverFlow (wishful thinking?).

I thought that would be hands down the most amazing technology I'd encounter that week until I read this on
Pink Tentacle via BoingBoing:

"Scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs. Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity."

The scientists claimed that with advances in this technology we would be able to see a person's thoughts, dreams, or hallucinations but I find that difficult to believe, at least using this process. It's my understanding that the computer is only able to sort out what your mind is emitting because it has a clear example, a constant, to check it against. While I assume your mind emits the same signals for thought, without this constant it won't be able to identify the variable. And as far as dreams and hallucinations are concerned, do we really see them? And is this machine picking up the raw data entering our mind from the eyes or the data that our mind has finished processing and recognizing? And at what point do dreams and hallucinations occur? Is that monster in the corner added by the paranoid brain before or after the image is processed in your mind? I think we're safe for now.

It's not really surprising that both of these are coming out of Japan, the same people who are actively on their way towards building a space elevator...

My X-Mas Wishlist

I just absent-mindedly went through an entire super-lame new age yoga supply magazine (I may have been in the bathroom) and on the second to last page came across these badass things:

I really want a pair! They're even supposed to improve your vision although I don't know what they would do to my 20/20...fuck it, I still want some. Maybe I should wait for Kanye accreditation, or better yet...

Of course I'd settle for some Inuit walrus ivory shades circa 1200 AD:

New York

When I first moved to New York I would just wander around aimlessly, or as the Situationists would call it, "dérive" aka "drifting." I learned, for example, that if I got off at the 1st avenue L stop and walked in one direction I would reach a park. I also knew that if I got off at the Astor Place 6 stop and walked in another direction I would reach another park. Then suddenly, with a literal flash lighting up my mind, what had been two separate mental maps floating in the darkness fused as I realized that they were one in the same (what I later learned was called Tompkins Square Park). I would continue to try and replicate this exciting sense of discovery but as time went on I inevitably learned my way around and each discovery felt increasingly blunted, as if there was a little less magic in the world. It reminded me of an interview I read with a producer of Lost who defended the possibility that viewers may never learn what everything on the show means by citing what he called the Metachlorian effect, that the over-explanation of something (in his example the force) weakened it's power. Albert Einstein put it a little more graciously (although he probably didn't mean it to be used in this context) when he said:
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
New York's streets being forcibly reduced to a grid of numbers is the ultimate example of the death of magic. I only know this because of Speed Levitch's rant in The Cruise:

This is why I have made a point of not learning street names in Greenwich Village so that I can still get lost. While it has been pointed out to me that the grid plan was essential for generations of illiterate immigrants to navigate the city, I still wish it looked more like London's 2000 year old footpaths turned avenues: [Click for entire image]

Wouldn't you rather live in a city like that? I mean, when was the last time you ever saw an alley in the city? It's a travesty! As far as I'm concerned, the only good thing about the grid plan is Manhattanhenge (which just so happens to happen on my birthday).

PS: I was looking for a picture of one of those Family Circus cartoons showing the path of everywhere Billy had gone in a day to ironically illustrate my wandering around the city but instead I found a whole series of Family Circus cartoons mashed up with H.P. Lovecraft quotes!

Micro Machines

Tilt-shift photography (aka the Adult Swim effect) is great. Monster Truck rallies are exciting. Why hadn't anyone thought of putting them together before?

Check out the guy's other tilt-frame videos on his Vimeo page. [via BoingBoing] This also reignited my former obsession with Micro Machines. I was kind of a boy-failure for not being at all interested in matchbox cars but my passion for all things miniaturized could sometimes disguise my shortcomings.

PS. Also check out the Wired How-To Wiki to learn how to fake a tilt-shift photo in Photoshop without a billion dollar camera. I'm now off to eBay to try and buy micro machines in bulk...

Abysmal Depths Populated by Monsters

I like to think that this is what our first encounter with alien life will look like (although in reality it will probably end up being some single-celled boring-ass thing), the first video beamed back from a Europan ocean probe (as previously reported
here). It's actually an "elbowed" Magnapinna squid that presumably snags prey as they brush past its arms at pitch-black ocean depths (full story here).

Thanks Paddy for pointing this video out to me and for letting me rip-off
your blog.

10,000 Days Old

Two days ago (while internet-less) I turned 10,000 days old. So many memories, so many lost:
My theme is memory, that winged host that soared about me one grey morning of war-time. These memories, which are my life — for we possess nothing certainly except the past — were always with me. Like the pigeons of St. Mark's, they were everywhere, under my feet, singly, in pairs, in little honey-voiced congregations, nodding, strutting, winking, rolling the tender feathers of their necks, perching sometimes, if I stood still, on my shoulder or pecking a broken biscuit from between my lips; until suddenly, the noon gun boomed and in a moment, with a flutter and sweep of wings, the pavement was bare and the whole sky above dark with a tumult of fowl. Thus it was that morning.

These memories are the memorials and pledges of the vital hours of a lifetime. These hours of afflatus in the human spirit, the springs of art, are, in their mystery, akin to the epochs of history, when a race which for centuries has lived content, unknown, behind its own frontiers, digging, eating, sleeping, begetting, doing what was requisite for survival and nothing else, will, for a generation or two, stupefy the world; commit all manner of crimes, perhaps; follow the wildest chimeras, go down in the end in agony, but leave behind a record of new heights scaled and new rewards won for all mankind; the vision fades, the soul sickens, and the routine of survival starts again.

The human soul enjoys these rare, classic periods, but, apart from them, we are seldom single or unique; we keep company in this world with a hoard of abstractions and reflections and counterfeits of ourselves — the sensual man, the economic man, the man of reason, the beast, the machine and the sleep-walker, and heaven knows what besides, all in our own image, indistinguishable from ourselves to the outward eye. We get borne along, out of sight in the press, unresisting, till we get the chance to drop behind unnoticed, or to dodge down a side street, pause, breathe freely and take our bearings, or to push ahead, outdistance our shadows, lead them a dance, so that when at length they catch up with us, they look at one another askance, knowing we have a secret we shall never share.

— from Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisitied

"All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret."


Here's an idea, why not make a movie that's a cross of Freaks and Geeks (actually Undeclared but whatever) and the Apocalypse? Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel made their own trailer a year ago but apparently the rights to making it a feature length movie have been bought!

In a similar vein, here's a short New Zealand film from 1986 about 3 metal heads stuck in a car during the apocalypse (and strangely preminiscent of Shawn of the Dead):

My New Favorite Things of the Past 2 Weeks

Joe Cocker - Space Captain

Grant Phabao & Djouls - Are Molesting Laura Vol.9 mixtape of all brass band covers (especially the Hot 8 Brass Band's version of Sexual Healing)

Scientists discover the fossil remains of what could be the largest snake to ever exist. A relative of today’s boa constrictor, it was at least 12.8 meters long and weighed more than a ton. Another scientist has found what he believes to be the world's smallest snake.

Crazy pictures of the sun and the Smithsonian's top NASA photos of all time.

The awesomely unauthorized video of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.

My new pop-up book that I discovered through BoingBoing (and is only $14 on Amazon!):

The Wunderkammer exhibit that is up at MoMA right now (and is closing on November 10th).

John Hodgman describing his encounters with aliens:

The Chris Ware cartoon that the New Yorker wouldn't publish because it broke with their formatting:

And this, my new favorite song that I can't believe I've never heard before:

Ray Charles - Let's Go Get Stoned
[right-click to download]

Little Liam in Slumberland

Oh man, so last night I ate about a half pound of Gruyère and as a result had this crazy dream. I was on the set of Mr. Rogers but he was just kind of hanging out on a porch when this 10 year old breakdancer walks up with his cardboard and boombox and starts teaching him how to wave. Oh wait, it wasn't a dream:

Catalog of Monsters

In 2005 I went to the Little Boy exhibition at the Japan Society which featured images from the book An Anatomical Guide to Monsters (1967) that I desperately scoured the internet for but couldn't find. Thankfully someone finally posted some more images from either it or a book doing exactly the same thing and has allowed me to tag this post with all my favorite labels:

On a related note, these are also cool:

Aloha Mr. Hand

I just realized I missed my blog's 1 year anniversary by 6 days. On the other hand I haven't been contacted by any lawyers yet so I guess it's time to up the ante! To celebrate I'm going to start uploading whole movies and albums! Hooray!

Shipwrecks and Whales

I momentarily considered starting a parallel blog just of images I liked but figured I already posted on here too infrequently. Here is an image I found on Brian Wood's (creator of my favorite graphic novel DMZ) website. No information available other than that I love Japanese prints:

I have to add that the shadow of a rock in the lower left reminds me of these fantastic Right Whale photographs I just saw on National Geographic's website (via Zooillogix):

Future New York

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be Mr. Post Apocalyptic New York but I'll have an odd day where I get excited about the possible non-wasteland New York of the future. I had read about Herzog & de Meuron's new apartment building a few years back and got really excited about it. A lot of people have been talking about how without Yamasaki's twin towers, New York's downtown skyline is both unrecognizable and unremarkable (I guess the Woolworth building doesn't count). This would be a great step forward for the city–issues with it being an aerie for the mega-rich aside. I would place it in the company of 30 St. Mary Axe in London in terms of excitingness. Sure it will kind of stick out for a while, interrupting the kind of hill/valley/hill skyline between Wall Street and midtown but I always think about a 3 second shot of the Manhattan of the future in the movie the Fifth Element and how the city is destined to grow higher and higher and how ridiculous it is that our tallest building was completed in 1931. Really long and convoluted story short, I'm really excited about this:

PS. I can't wait to see what the first acid-etched graffiti piece is going to be on that sculpture...

PPS. Whomever just anonymously sent me this NYTimes article, thank you very much.

"What a ruin it will make!”
—H.G. Wells upon seeing the New York skyline for the first time

All I Want for X-Mas:

An MPC 4000:
[Just Blaze makes a song in 10 minutes]
(I'd settle for a 1000...)

[Update: Fixed broken video]

Skulls on the Street

I like this person's placement: