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...