Chambo’s Internet Activity Pages for August 28, 2009

Picture 110

• ACCIDENTAL GUNFIRE AND UNEXPECTED NUDITY: Doug Fine is a journalist who lives on a remote solar-powered ranch somewhere outside of Silver City, New Mexico. The founding of said ranch is chronicled in his sometimes corny but ultimately pretty fascinating book, Farewell, My Subaru. In the years since, Fine has remained almost entirely off-the-grid, save for the digital connectivity by which he maintains his career as a writer, as well as his blog: Dispatches from The Funky Butte Ranch. This has led him to consider how well he would do in a real grid-crash and the ensuing collapse of mainstream civilization that might soon follow in an essay called “In The Year 2049: Would I Survive A Worst-Case Scenario?” How would he mine the perimeter of his compound? Who would make his shoes? It’s especially entertaining to compare the responses of his city-dwelling pals who are all like “you’re nuts everything’s gonna be fine” and his fellow ranchers who are like “that’s a good idea about the mines.” [Dispatches from the Funky Butte Ranch]

• DO YOU EVER PLAN ON EATING OUT IN LOS ANGELES? Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold’s “99 Essential LA Restaurants” is a delightful read even if you don’t plan on dining out in Southern California anytime soon: It’s a journey from the obscure meats of Vietnamese strip mall joints to the finest haute cuisine, and as such it’s one of the best impressionistic portraits of what makes Los Angeles such a strange, delicious town. He’s known to compare tacos and noodles to different varieties of cocaine, he follows Spanish-language media in order to keep up with Mexican-American chefs and says things like this about a Korean spot out in Torrance:

We are as jingoistic about fried chicken as the next guy, and we’ve been to dives in Louisiana where the chicken was so good it made a roomful of testosterone-crazed roustabouts weep like your mother’s bridge club that time Steel Magnolias came on TV. But Korean fried chicken really is an evolutionary leap forward — steeped in a cabinet full of spices, saturated with garlic, double-fried to a shattering, thin-skinned snap dramatic enough to wake a sleeping baby in an adjoining room.

The new edition is available this week — this is gonna be the first time we pick up a hard copy of the LA Weekly since, well, Gold’s list from last year — and you can also read it online. [LA Weekly]

• ON BECOMING ONE MORE HORSE’S ASS: After 12 weird years of living in Los Angeles, California, I’m moving to Marfa, Texas early next week. Fitting that the sky above my house in Atwater Village is dominated by a massive plume of smoke rising from a forest fire in the San Gabriel Mountains; it always feels good to commence an exodus under a rain of ash. Chambo’s Internet Activity Pages shall resume upon activation of Arthur’s Marfa Station. [Bobby Bare – “One More Horse’s Ass”]

• SPEAKING OF MARFA: Yacht recorded their most recent album, See Mystery Lights, down there in West Texas. They’re giving away copies of the instrumental version over at the Free Music Archive and I am going to be playing it all weekend — along with lots and lots of Doug Sahm — while I load the moving truck. [Free Music Archive]

Chambo's Internet Activity Pages for August 27, 2009

“Dr. Pek van Andel was a natural choice to investigate how somebody had attached a dried bull’s penis to the Oxford ox.”

• DID YOU KNOW THAT VIDEO IS A PR0N?: This is a scientist-made porno movie called “Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Male and Female Genitals During Coitus and Female Sexual Arousal.” It’s maker, Dr. Pek van Andel, seems to be a deeply pervy researcher who is able to conjure funding so that he can pay people to copulate in an MRI chamber. The narrator suggests that this video is of interest to “specialists,” as well as “laypersons who have an interest in reproductive anatomy” which is, y’know, pretty much everybody with a working pair of ovaries or testes, right? If you really are curious about such things — and not just for onanistic ends — then click here to read the New Scientist article with all the dirty details. And if you’re just watching because this is the sort of thing gets you wet, just wait ’til you check out the totally NSFW X-ray blowjob pics that have been in the top five posts over at Ballardian for the last year solid. HUBBA HUBBA! [New Scientist via The eXiled]

• READING RAINBOWS: When Stephen Beachy was 19, he took some acid and wandered into a “room full of cadavers.” “Whoah,” he said. Beachy colors his micro-reviews of “12 hallucinogenic novels and 8 inebriated memory pieces” with plenty more such anecdotes, guiding the lysergically-minded reader through canonical works from P.K. Dick and Burroughs, along with underexposed masterpieces; my personal favorite being Denis Johnson’s oft-maligned psychedelic California noir, Already Dead. [SFBG]

• TOO HIGH ON A MOUTAINTOP: Look, just to get this out of the way right off: The guys and gals that sit in trees with, like, a bowl of oatmeal and a hacky sack and manage to stop burly fuckers in bulldozers with giant bags full of explosives from BLOWING THE BRAINS OUT OF MOUNTAINS across Appalachia are H-E-R-O-E-S. Of all time. True heroes. Build a statue and we should all lay flowers down in front of it until the end of days. Click here to go read about all of their laudable activities in Grist.

But when they put their video up and it’s them sitting in a tree in West Virgina with hyper-earnest folk music about “grandaddy workin’ in da mountains/unlike the ‘splosion miners of 2day” it sucks all the swagger out of the thing. I understand why these fighters can’t go up there with shotguns and just cap anybody who thinks it’s a good idea to “remove” a mountain, but at least they could score it with jams that sound a little more, I dunno, aggravated. Next time let’s make one of these videos with Lightning Bolt or something like Wolves in the Throne Room’s “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog” or maybe “Hate Crystal” if you still want to keep some of the crusty vibrations. Otherwise you’re unnecessarily wimping it up in front of the whole group. Like Jensen says, “this is war.” [Grist]

“I never knew baked beans could be such a triumph, such a prayer, such a song,” says Pioneer Woman in her introduction to this recipe for “Best Baked Beans Ever.” What is the secret of these tasty beans? “Start with eight slices of bacon …” and it just goes from there. [The Pioneer Woman via Serious Eats]

• FRESH HEADERS: Aren’t those new Arthur headers sweeet? [Into the Green]

Chambo's Internet Activity Pages for August 26, 2009


• AWESOME MAPS FROM AFRICA: The dirt scientists at are making maps of all the dirts of all the world, and Africa is just the beginning. The landscape architecture obsessives over at Pruned offer up some interesting analysis of a variety of soil maps of African countries, looking at the crossover between “these beautiful abstractions of geology” and the politics of agriculture that are inextricably linked to soil quality. E.g. in vintage maps of Zimbabwe nee Rhodesia, you can find the white population firmly ensconced on the finest dirt. We want to see a soil map of Tim Dundon’s Doo-Doo Manor next! [Pruned]

Picture 108

• TASTY FISH OR DEADLY FISH: Are you looking for new ways to police the eating habits of your pals in public? Who isn’t, is more like it! The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been producing a guide for responsible fish-eaters for awhile now — you’ll oft see them taped to refrigerators in “conscious” pseudo-vegetarian households — and they’ve now ported these guides into a mobile-phone friendly version. There’s also the requisite “iPhone app” if you’re into those exploding Macintosh pocket computers. [via The Vigorous North]

20 reggae disco hits

• ATTN CONQUERING LIONS: If you ever have a sudden urge to replenish your digital library with fresh reggae tunes, You & Me On A Jamboree is the website to hit up. These Brazilian bredren have posted literally hundreds of classic out-of-print JA jams, adding more rocksteady, dub and roots albums nearly every day. Our most recent favorite is this super sexy 20 Reggae Disco Hits thing, by which they don’t so much mean “disco” as “righteous pop sweatiness.” It’s a vinyl rip and we kinda love hearing the dusty crackle underneath the super chill covers of “Angel of the Morning” and original rockers from a couple people we’ve heard of (Ethiopians, Gregory Isaacs) and a bunch of dudes and ladies that are totally new to our ears. [Y&M]

• HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY SUCKS: Anthropogenic climate change is bad for everyone, but you’re especially fucked if you’re poor or old and you live in the city. So says a new report from the National Wildlife Federation and Physicians for Social Responsibility, via Scientific American:

The report says urban areas, with their asphalt and concrete, are as much as 10 degrees hotter than more rural regions.

More than 3,400 people died in the United States from exposure to excessive heat between 1999 and 2003, the study states, adding that heat accounts for more weather-related deaths than any other single source.

All the more reason to get yourself some of that country air if you can, forest air in particular seems to be the way to go. [Scientific American]

• SPEAKING OF OLD PEOPLE: They say wise and funny shit sometimes: “The dog don’t like you planting stuff there. It’s his backyard. If you’re the only one who shits in something, you own it. Remember that.” [Shit My Dad Says via Harper’s]

Chambo's Internet Activity Pages for August 25, 2009

• GREAT BALLS OF FIRE: Did you miss the Perseid meteor shower peak-hour blowout that happened back on August 12? We went camping up on Mount Pacifico here in the Southern CA San Gabriels the weekend after and caught a couple fleeting shooting stars, but the main event was completely obscured by the impenetrable orange-grey dome that covers the Los Angeles sky each night. Luckily this “Jeff Sullivan” guy on Flickr recorded a good portion of the night with his HD camera. [via Bad Astronomy/Discover]

We are slowly working our way through Simon Sellars most recent contribution to Ballardian, a website “exploring tropes and motifs found in the work of J.G. Ballard.” Sellars’ essay — “Extreme Possibilities: Mapping “the sea of time and space” in J.G. Ballard’s Pacific fictions” — is an in-depth look at themes of dystopia/utopia in works such as “My Dream of Flying to Wake Island” and Rushing to Paradise, tales set on uninhabited Pacific islands. Sellars brings anarchist philosopher-poet Hakim Bey (aka Peter Lamborn Wilson) and literary critic Fredric Jameson into the discussion, along with a variety of photographs and video documenting the nuclear testing that gives much of these works their apocalyptic tint. [Ballardian]

• TO DEET OR NOT TO DEET: Last week a bunch of people picked up the story that the noxious insect repelling chemical was maybe bad for you, as in neurotoxically bad. O RLY? That shit melts plastic and “stained” the frames of my spectacles — of course it’s bad for you. But you know what else I think is bad for me? Having mosquitos and no-see-ums eating my eyeballs alive when I’m up in Tahoe, exploring high altitude bogs in the Desolation Wilderness. And also BUG GIRL says that maybe these studies aren’t that useful anyway: “The results in this paper are preliminary, need to be confirmed, and even IF confirmed, remain irrelevant to the average person who might want to use DEET.” Whatever: DEET ’em if you got ’em, I guess. Or better yet let’s see what NANCE has to say about hexing them skeeters … [Bug Girl’s Blog]

The urban homesteaders at Homegrown Evolution are talking chicken at their newly launched L.A. Urban Chicken Enthusiasts online forum. And if you’ve got an extra 20 bucks burning a hole in your pocket, you can go hang out with them at Project Butterfly in downtown Los Angeles TODAY (that’s Tuesday, August 25, 2009) and they’ll teach you how to make sauerkraut and a “self-irrigating pot.” [Homegrown Evolution]

Boris does the Splits

Have you ever seen Boris live? Dudes cart around a huge effing gong with ’em, and as I recall from their Arthur Nights performance, they only bang on it like once or twice but when they do: Whoa boy! Just WHAM and it’s all shimmering through the air until it fades back into the wall of guitar buzzing. Anyway, they’ve got two new splits out right about now. The first, with one of Boyd Deveraux’s favorite bands, Miami-based sludge metallers Torche (click here to go read “Riffs on Ice,” our interview with the doom-metal-loving hockey great) is called Chapter Ahead Being Fake and it’s got one song from each band. They’re both minor works and a bit “meh” but far from stinkers. It’s out on Daymare Recordings.

The other split out now is a winning head-scratcher: It’s called Golden Dance Classics and it’s with a band we’d never heard of called 9dw. A quick-read of their MySpace reveals them to be a “hip Japanese combo” that does a kind of techno-jazz fusion thing that’s all manic high-hats and funky keyboards versus spaced-out keyboards. Makes us think of all those modern Japanese modal jazz guys that we could never really get into. But all that is beside the point: The two Boris songs here are totes amazing. The first is a long thing with a drum machine, keyboard squiggles and guitar lines keening around as the band kind of yelps and moans prettily. The second song is a wall-of-guitar fuzz builder with pleasantly melancholy vocals that build together into a total anthem. RAAAAH BORIS! You can find links to get this one with it’s trippy cover art and everything at the 9dw M’Space and the Boris M’Space.

Chambo's Internet Activity Pages for August 24, 2009

• AFRO SCI-FI: Sci-fi author Nnedi Okorafor is talking with all of her pals about whether or not “Africa is ready for science fiction” as a guest-blogger on the Nebula Awards website and it’s chock full of clever anecdotes about creating sci-fi that appeals to non-Western audiences. As Notre Dame professor Naunihal Singh puts it, “Bring the Terminator to West Africa, and he’d stop running in a day. He’d sit there and glitch. It’ll be hard to make people afraid of a future where computers take over the world when they can’t manage to keep the computers on their desk running.” There’s also lots of great jumping off points for exploring other African sci-fi writers and absolutely bonkers-looking Nollywood B-movies like Across The Bridge; that’s the trailer up top there, sample line: “Are you willing to suck the breast of ever-flowing milk?” [Nebula Awards via Harper’s]

• ATTN NEW WELFARE QUEENS: If you spend a lot of time reading Rushkoff’s commentary here in Arthur on the current death throes of American laissez faire capitalism, you probably know that when the unemployment numbers go down it’s often ’cause people STOP looking for work, rather than b/c they got jobs. But that doesn’t matter right now, ’cause “California’s jobless rate reached a fresh post-World War II high in July, climbing to 11.9%,” as the LA Times reported last week. WELCOME TO THE AMERICAN DOLE, you deadbeats. Here’s a great blog that’ll show all you n00b unemployees how to work it: UNEMPLOYMENTALITY has all the tips, tricks and hacks you’ll need to navigate California’s EDD. E.g. If you’d like to quickly bypass the robots and talk to one of the live drones, call the Vietnamese language line. BRILLIANT. [Unemploymentalitiy]

• MORE LIGHTNING BOLT NEWS: Did you know that lighting sometimes strikes up? See images of a “gigantic jet of upside down lightning” over at the Nature blog. [The Great Beyond]

• MINIMALIST CHRONICLES OF WESTERN DECADENCE: Do you guys read Texts From Last Night? It is a website where American exhibitionists offer up short form narratives about their bad trips, pregnancy scares and a super gross thing called “sharting.” On the one hand it’s as dumb a time-waster as LOLCats, but on the other it is like Ayman Al Zawahiri’s darkest fantasies of Western Decadence rendered in minimalist text-messaging prose, the area code from whence said texts were typed being the only identifying detail. [TFLN]

(813): I think dad’s getting high again. His last google search was “awesome ping pong shit.”

(323): The idiot babysitter thought my dildo was a teething toy and gave it to our child.
(1-323): Did you put it in the freezer again?

• AWESOME PING PONG SHIT: As it happens, that “high dad” had the right idea, Googling “awesome ping pong shit.” Case in point, the John McEnroe-caliber table tennis antics seen below:

Chambo's Top Five Friday Internet Activities

• MORE AWESOME TAPES (AND 7-INCHES) FROM AFRICA: Frank lived in West Africa from 2005 to 2008, and he tells us all about it at Voodoo Funk, a collection of stories, MP3s and awesome record store art. He’s also DJing a “Lagos Disco Inferno” party this weekend in Brooklyn, and you can get a preview of the heavy grooves from his crates with this kinda sloppy and totally delightful downloadable mix. [Voodoo Funk]

• MEXICAN JOURNALISM 101: Tucson-based writer Charles Bowden is by far the best guy when it comes to reading about drugs and Mexico, partly because in Mexico you are not allowed to write about drugs and Mexico. In last month’s Mother Jones he wrote this terrifying story of a reporter who wasn’t even trying to do that, but Mexican Army psychopaths decided to try and kill him anyway. He fled to the United States looking for asylum so we put him in jail and took his kid away. [Mother Jones]

CHILEAN ELECTRONICS: Arthur pal Raspberry Jones is adding a bunch of tunes to Newly Lost Edge, including some interesting electronic music from South America. Jones is a regular go-to guy when it comes to this stuff, helpfully directing our attention to mixes such as this one from Matias Aguayo, a Chilean dude “putting on his various friends from around the world – artists from Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Cape Verde, etc. – who aren’t just doing the local thing, so much as mixing that local thing with a (for lack of a better term) minimal techno vibe.” [Newly Lost Edge]

• ENDGAME TIME AGAIN: The Guardian UK joins the Financial Times in shoring up the British mainstream press’ reputation as a hub for radical anarcho-primitivist thought, following the Jared Diamond interview we wrote about last week with this pleasantly archaic exchange of letters between two dudes, one of whom is like “The writing is on the wall for industrial society, and no amount of ethical shopping or determined protesting is going to change that now” and another guy who’s like, “you’re just horny for the apocalypse.” [The Guardian]

NEW ANIMALS: Did you see the new animals yet? World Wide Fund for Nature has all kinds of information about the 350 different species of plants, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, mammals and invertebrates that humans have recently discovered hiding out in the Eastern Himalayas (so not exactly “new,” so much as “new to us”). Including this flying frog that glides around from tree-to-tree with its webbed feet. That guy is most likely on the anti-industrial society side of the debate. [WWF via Science Daily]

P.S. Happy Birthday Joe Strummer! You can read Kristine McKenna’s beautifully sprawling Q&A with the dearly departed Clash frontman and all around inspirational hero from Arthur 3 (March 2003) by clicking here. We’ve also got plenty of hard copies left in the Arthur Store. Click here to go see about that.

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tomorrow, August 12

Head to the hills and turn your eyes skyward! The heavens will soon be alight with blazing fireballs as debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet continues to disintegrate in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Perseid meteors have been burning out across the sky since mid-July, and according to StarDate online, the bombardment peaks “early afternoon on the 12th, so the morning of the 12th (midnight to dawn) and late evening are the best times to watch from the U.S.” There’s also gonna be a pretty big moon, so that’ll reduce visibility a bit. Though here in Los Angeles the light pollution’s so bad we’ll have to plan a damn road trip to have any chance at seeing these suckers. Or maybe we’ll just sit on the porch and watch the LAPD helicopters hunting through Frogtown with their searchlights, just like any other night.

More information on just what is going on can be found at Discover, StarDate and National Geographic.

Heavy "Primal Dead" from October 12, 1968


In keeping with the Grateful Dead thread that happily resurfaces every so often here on Arthur, I’m offering up one of the heaviest bootlegs in my collection: A soundboard recording of October 12, 1968 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. It’s a show that came up in our “Listen to the Dead” story from 2005, and it’s my favorite single-disc representation of how monstrously weird this band used to be. Legendary taper Dick “Picks” Latvala is quoted on Deadlists saying that this is among his favorite performances, calling it “primal Dead.”

It’s a short show by Dead standards — just about 80 minutes — comprised entirely of CRUSHING jams. No folky “Sugar Magnolia” sing-a-long first set, not much noodly Phish bullshit and almost no sign of the gentle rainbow twirly groovin’ bear nonsense. Instead it’s near ambient passages that slowly gather speed and intensity before exploding into massive psychedelic earthquakes of rhythm that leave aftershocks of cosmic guitar lines shimmering through the air. This is the fearsome and messy STEAL YOUR FACE sound that people who compare the Dead to Royal Trux or Comets on Fire are talking about. A Dead show where you can see why Greg Ginn and the Black Flag dudes were into these guys.

Check the annotated setlist below. FYI the “>” is taper shorthand for songs joined together by “a defined jam or contiguous transition” so you get the idea how loose things get:

Set One (1) [0:23] % (2) [0:37] ; Dark Star [14:53] > Saint Stephen [4:51] > The Eleven [9:58] > Death Don’t Have No Mercy [7:#52] ; (3) [0:31]

Set Two Cryptical Envelopment [#1:28] > Drums [0:10] > The Other One [7:08] > Cryptical Envelopment [8:30] > New Potato Caboose [3:28] > Jam [3:11] > Drums (4) [1:35] > Jam (5) [7:12] > Feedback [7:15#]

A couple notes: Some Deadheads like to talk about how maybe Jimi Hendrix was hanging out in the wings during the show. As rumor has it he snubbed the band’s invite to check ’em out the night before — there was this girl and she had some acid and yadda yadda — and so they failed to invite him on to jam or something. Who knows if it’s true, but like the shows these guys played with the Allman Bros later in the ’70s, it’s fun to imagine such a ridiculous gathering of guitar avatars in one place.

People also complain about somebody who is just cold goin’ bananas with some kinda wood-stick percussion thing on “Dark Star,” all “ritzy-rit-ritzy-rit” outta rhythm with the rest of the band from time to time. Whoever it is walks up to a mic at some point and it gets really annoying in the front of your speakers for about 25 seconds but then it fades out, so just chill about that. It’s also a show where beloved keyboard slob Pigpen is not on stage — probably off getting wasted with Janis or something. Good for him!

You can stream the show over at, or download it by clicking below.

The Grateful Dead – Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA – 1968-10-12 (320kbps)

More Dead on Arthur after the jump …

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