Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Danny as a clown in earlier years#35: Halloween Thoughts & Costume Suggestions.

Happy Halloween, everyone! It's safe to say that Nina and I are fairly pro-holiday to begin with, but Halloween is a holiday we especially enjoy, particularly since it involves eating lots of candy. Admittedly, we have years where our efforts range from the elaborate (like my appearance on the streets of Manhattan a few years ago as Flava Flav, pre-reality show but post-Homestar Runner) to the low effort (see my successive years as a last minute "garbage bag"). This year we get to trick or treat with my two nieces, so it will be fun seeing how many kids dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Here is a brief list of costumes I would like to see this year but probably won't:

. Solo costume: A bowl of cereal. I'm not able to articulate exactly why this would be awesome, except for the fact that I've never seen it and I'd be curious to see which cereal they represented.

2. Couple's costume: Trinidad and Tobago. Just the outlines of the countries with feet and arms sticking out. They always go together anyway, so it seems like a good rou
te for couples.

3. Group costume: Two (or more) people as rolls of toilet paper, with a third person in the middle as a house. It's Halloween-appropriate and unprecedented; if you could incorporate actual toilet-papering motions, it would be perfect.

Among the costumes I'd rather not see: clowns, "political" costumes, and, oh, let's say possums.

Wishing you lots of candy and not so much toilet paper,

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Possum Strikes Back#34:Revenge of the Possum, Two New Articles, and an '80s Loving Robot.

The possum came back ("...this time, it's personal") even though we moved Snuffy's food up to higher ground. He's got a keen nose, dat possum. Okay, he really does look pretty gross in these pictures, but that's because this particular possum looks like he's losing his hair and the tail is very rodential. I always thought possums would be a little fluffier.

On the voting front there seems to be a battle going on between Plano and Savannah. Ross Perot apparently lives in Plano--he bears a passing resemblance to a possum. We still have huge numbers
of illegal votes as well that we're invalidating every day. Blah. We've even found some sites with specific instructions of how to program our site to cast illegal votes. Pretty

Over the past few days a couple of new newspaper articles were published about our project. The first is from Loveland, Colorado's Reporter-Herald; the second is from Drake University's Times-Delphic. Give them a spin if you're curious.

And in light of the illegitimate bot voting taking place on our site, how could I not share this with you: a robot built to solve Rubik's cubes. The best part is that they made his voice to sound like "a robot"... because that's how robots sound.


Friday, October 27, 2006

who dat?  possum!#33: Playing Possum & Plano Redux.

Last night before Nina and I went to bed, I looked out the window to check on our cat Snuffleupagus. At first I thought I had spotted him, but upon closer inspection what I thought was my adorable kitty turned out to be some sort of grotesque abomination. "What the hell is that?" I wondered, before coming to the
conclusion that it was a possum. Nina was brought over for corroboration, and in an indication that we are perhaps more urban-minded than initially assumed, we realized that neither of us had ever actually seen a possum in real life before.

The most surprising thing about our intruder was how unperturbed it was by our presence. After being confronted, it merely ambled off slowly and unconvincingly, as though it was only waiting for us to turn our backs before waddling over again. We both agreed that it looked "creepy" and like "a big rodent," but while I thought it
was "gross" Nina deemed it "definitely cute." Agree to disagree, I suppose. Artist renderings follow--see if you can spot who the artist is:

Fig. 1 - Artist's rendering (Danny)Fig. 1 - Artist's rendering (Danny)

Fig. 2 - Artist's rendering (Nina)Fig. 2 - Artist's rendering (Nina)

They couldn't possibly have possums in Texas, right? Yesterday was the first day we had to throw away votes because they had been cast illegally (i.e. through the use of voting bots). If this is any indication, we'll unfortunately probably wind up doing the same again today.



Thursday, October 26, 2006

German internet TV#32: Ich bin ein Texan?

I believe the German word for awesome is "großartig."

We woke up this morning to find that the unassuming town of Plano, Texas had racked up over 75,000 votes. Surprisingly, they were legit.

Here's why.



Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pipas!#31: Virtual iPod, Disaster Preparedness, Nashville Sighting & New Pipas.

For those who work in an office setting and occasionally neglect to bring along an MP3 player, the Beta version of BlogMusik.net seems like a promising new tool. Billing itself as a "virtual iPod," the site allows you search for artists and listen to songs on demand free of charge. I'm not quite sure how legal this is, but they've got a nice range of artists: Blur, The Radio Dept., Van She, Soulwax, and even Bell Biv Devoe came up winners (although the latter required a search for BBD). "(That Girl Is) Poison" anyone?

The last blog post covered Enid Crow's "Disaster" photographs, and in that spirit I recommend checking out this site. It takes ambiguous graphics (in the style of airplane emergency landing cards) from the Department of Homeland Security's "Ready" website and offers alternative interpretations. Simple gimmick, but it's surprisingly funny.

Found this Nashville Craigslist post yesterday; we didn't put it up there, so it seems like an inspired bit of electioneering on the part of one Tennessee resident.

One of the most adorable bands ever, Spanish/British collaborators Pipas, are back with a new record. Sorry Love is love at first listen. Plus, they're playing one of their rare U.S. shows tomorrow in Brooklyn, so you should check them out if you're in the NYC area. More info is available on their MySpace page and here is the new video for "Riff Raff" (which is not about the cat in the hat from Heathcliff, sorry):


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Monday, October 23, 2006

Enid Crow's Disaster self-portraiture#30: Enjoyable Disasters, George Romero, Gothamist Love, and A New Sloan Record.

The other day, I came across Enid Crow's photography site and was immediately drawn to a section entitled "Disasters." The images are very reminiscent of Cindy Sherman's work in that they are actually all self-portraits with the artist assuming the characters of various people. The general feel is humorous in its overly dramatic presentation, like stills taken from Hitchcock's The Birds. The colors are fabulous and although the idea for the series has its roots in the terrible events of 2001, the costumes, locations, and kitschy overacting make the photos more amusing than shocking.

(Speaking of which, last night Danny and I watched Dawn of the Dead for the first time. We had to do it after listening to "George Romero" by Sprites about ten times a day for the past couple months. The movie was a lot of fun, it's easy to understand why it's a cult classic. Anyone know why the zombie children were so much faster than the adults?)

I'm also looking forward to more photos in Enid Crow's "Manhood" series, where she dons moustaches and beards to portray characters like a monocle-clad, Guy Fawkes-bearded aristocrat and a backwoods AC/DC tee-rockin' bumpkin.

On Friday, we received a nice mention courtesy of NYC blog Gothamist. The comments are a little rough, but Jen Carlson, the site's editor, reassured us by saying "It's amazing how angry blog commenters are. I could post a picture of a cute baby animal and they'd be pissed off." Amen. That's the power of the cloak of anonymity the internet provides.

Finally, one of our all-time favorite bands has a new record coming out tomorrow... in Canada. Sloan have worked their way through a slew of musical genres in their almost 15 year career, with their early My Bloody Valentine tributes through bouncy, piano driven Beatles pop through more recent fixations with classic rock. The appropriately titled Never Hear the End of It is a whopping 30 tracks long and is as fun as we'd hoped. You can listen to the first single, "Who Taught You to Live Like That," on their MySpace page. The boys from Halifax have also been busy posting lots of short clips up on YouTube, like this one, where they consider possible titles for their hypothetical bio-pics:



Friday, October 20, 2006

The Prime Minister and a sour looking fellow#29: Radio Interview #2, An Iraqi Timetable, Vote for Foley, and Jamie Carroll.

This morning, Nina and I had our second live radio interview, and again it just happens to be for a Colorado station. Why does Colorado seem to love us so much? This time, both of us will be on the line, which should be a fun first. The interview happened on Loveland-based KCOL 600 around 10:05 EST and it went a little something like this:

Our President doesn't believe in an exit timetable where the Iraq war is concerned, but the same is no longer true over in jolly old England. Prime Minister Tony Blair says his troops will fly their proverbial "Mission Accomplished" banner at some point in the next 16 months. Dude behind him in the photo doesn't seem too happy about it, though.

Florida has a spotless record where elections are concerned, everyone knows that. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that the upcoming midterm elections already have their fair share of controversy more than two weeks out. Former Representative Mark Foley's name will be on the ballots come November; if you want to vote for his Republican replacement Joe Negron, you have to vote for... Mark Foley.

Now, perhaps I'm just a wide-eyed idealist, but it seems to me that when I go to the polls and cast a ballot for someone's name, that vote should count for the person I voted for. That makes sense, right? Not in Florida, where the idea of writing in a candidate's name is such a difficult prospect that the only logical thing to do is funnel an entire party's vote plus write-ins to the same candidate. NPR is all over this, comedy style... But seriously, if you haven't registered to vote yet, there is still time.

Finally, we received a very nice e-mail yesterday from a young artist named Jamie Carroll. Like us, Mr. Carroll has turned his passion for art into an internet project; he spent a year living out of his car, driving around the country, and documenting his progress on his website. Definitely worth checking out, if only for his keen taste in music.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

#28: Art Brut Makes Us Want To Rock Out!

Nina and I love Art Brut. Seriously. We've seen them play a couple times, have cranked up the volume in the car stereo and crooned in our best (worst?) British accents, and have even managed to hang out with some of the boys pre-show in relatively un-groupie-ish fashion. That's why we are so excited about our first ever giveaway!

Two lucky folks will receive:

* An autographed copy of their debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll
* A copy of the Modern Art single
* A copy of the Good Weekend single

How does one enter this fabulous contest? Just sign-up for our newsletter over at dannyandnina.com. On October 31st we're going to pick two newsletter subscribers at random to receive the loot. Why do it on Halloween? Because all the hipsters are trick-or-treating as Eddie Argos this year. Aww yeah.

So what have Art Brut done for you lately? Well, they've finished recording a new record due out November 13th on Mute. If you're anything like us, you're chomping on the bit in anticipation, so here is a new track entitled "Nag Nag Nag Nag."

I'm assuming the title is a reference to Cabaret Voltaire's classic "Nag Nag Nag," but if it is, it's lost on me... unless of course they are alluding to the tenuous connection of "art brut" the art term for 'outsider art' and the fact that Cabaret Voltaire was also both a painting and a Dadaist club in Zurich. If you ever want to learn more about the band and their contemporaries, I recommend checking out Plexifilm's Made in Sheffield.

And once more, for old time's sake... "Modern Art"!


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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Married couples enter the minority#27: Living in Sin, The Nuances of Tipping, 7:11, & Kelley Stoltz.

It was surprising to see how much mainstream media attention was devoted to this New York Times article from yesterday's paper. It discusses findings by the U.S Census Bureau's 2005, which revealed that the percentage of households with married couples is at an historic low and, for the first time, married couples do not constitute the majority of households in the country.

Of course, that doesn't mean that marriage has been devalued in our culture, as some reactionaries might have you believe. Indeed, the article points to many factors contributing to the decline: increased longevity in the widowed population, folks getting married later in life, a rise in premarital cohabitation, and an increasing public acceptance of homosexual partnerships.

Before we started our project together, Nina and I were a little fearful about how our idea would be received in more conservative areas where our premarital cohabitation might be frowned upon. However, it seems we've got a lot of company. Also on the plus side, it seems that parents of all types are spending more time with their kids, and that can only be a good thing.

When we go out to bars together, Nina frequently mentions how tipping someone a dollar to open a bottle of beer raises her hackles. It doesn't bother me quite as much--I guess I'm one for the tradition--but here's a great little entry from the Freakonomics folks about a curiously undertipped occupation.

Slurpee purveyor 7-11 might be severing their ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, but they've got an ace up their sleeve. Personally, I think the 25,000 free Slurpees would have been much cooler (no pun intented).

Multi-instrumentalist Kelley Stoltz put out his first release in 1999, but I didn't have the pleasure of hearing his music until he released an EP on SubPop records last year. His subsequent LP, Below the Branches, has been one of the most under-appreciated records of the year. I'll accede to the critics that his sound is nothing new, but his revisionist pop pastiche is so difficult not to enjoy. On "Ever Thought of Coming Back," Stoltz infuses his lo-fi sensibilities with melodies out of the Beach Boys/Beatles canon:


PS - The only person who has been fired for the melee I wrote about yesterday is an announcer.


Monday, October 16, 2006

uh oh.#26: A Crazy Weekend.

So a couple crazy things happened this past weekend. First off, we experienced some insane voting. If you happened to read the comments from Nina's last post, you saw that there are the beginnings of a grassroots movement in Fort Collins, CO to bring us to that town. However, the folks in Jacksonville, FL are not easily deterred. The result? An insane voting binge this weekend. Around midnight on Thursday, there were 29, 609 votes. By the same time Saturday--48 hours later--the vote tally was up to 62,178. One day later--last night--the number of votes had nearly doubled yet again to 106,611. Wow.

Total votes by dayPerhaps this will illustrate the point a little more easily:

Needless to say, we've been pretty floored by the voting rate. You can also view the astronomic rise of the current Top Seven towns here.

If you've read the Who We Are section of our site, you know that I'm a big UM football fan. On Saturday, for the first time this season, I decided not to head out to the Orange Bowl to watch them play in person. Go figure, it's the night they choose to bury what has been a very underwhelming season by having a half-hour melee during the third quarter. At least they're playing wiht some passion, I guess. This is what I missed:

Maybe a bench clearing brawl is a nice segue for "Fist in the Pockets" by Comet Gain off last year's City Fallen Leaves. Comet Gain has been putting out music for (can this be true?) thirteen years now, and this was one of those surprisingly stellar records that nobody seemed to pay much attention to. Note that this song doesn't really kick in until about twenty seconds in, so don't crank the volume up prematurely.


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Saturday, October 14, 2006

La Casa Azul#25: 45,000 Votes and the Radness of La Casa Azul.

To say that yesterday was a huge voting day seems like an understatement--it was our biggest day ever by far, with over 10,000 ballots cast. The the big winner was Fort Collins, CO, who wound up with (drumroll please) over 15,000 votes. Wow! Did something happen there we missed? That was a new milestone for us, vote 40,000.

The even crazier news is what's happening today--before noon, we'd already received over 6,000 votes, most of which were for Jacksonville, FL, catapulting it back into a competitive second place spot.

A little while ago I mentioned my love for Milky Way chocolates, but there is another Milkyway my heart goes out to. His name is Guille Milkyway and he is essentially the Spanish indie-pop group La Casa Azul. The band's music is amazing, some of the happiest, most rump shaking songs you'll ever hear with shades of everything from bossa nova to soft rock to disco--Beach Boys via ELO and Camera Obscura, but that description doesn't do it justice.

Just as interesting is the fact that the co-ed "band" featured in their press photos, television appearances, and music videos is just a fictitious construction designed to reinforce the idea of the band's happy-go-lucky music.
The band in the video is actually fake (project mastermind Milkyway writes, performs, and records all the songs by himself) but they are completely cute anyway. I am drooling over that pink dress in the photo.

I don't speak Spanish like Danny, I find myself singing along to his songs anyway. I'm sure it mostly sounds like gibberish when I do it, but the songs are so catchy and fun I can't help myself. The tracks exude happiness and cuteness. It's impossible to still be in a bad mood after watching their videos, in which Milkyway makes brief appearances.

Our favorite song of his is "Superguay" (which translates roughly as "supercool"). Despite the bright and cheery colors of the video, the song is actually about an ex-girlfriend who leaves the narrator for a hotshot scenester guy, only to be rendered "insubstantial" by his relative supercoolness. She seems so inconsequential by his side that the former "queen of disco-parties" now "cannot be seen without a microscope."

La casa Azul is seriously the number one reason I want to learn Spanish. Warning: extreme cuteness below!

Do you ever pick up the phone to call somebody and it rings in your hand just as you're about to dial and it just so happens it's the person you were trying to call? This happens to me sometimes and I get super excited about the stars aligning. Something similar just happened. As I was writing this entry about my love of La Casa Azul, Danny emailed me with the following video link. And in case you're thinking, well you both probably saw that video not too long ago and hence it's not too surprising you'd be talking about it now, the answer is no. I haven't watched it for quite a long time. It was just a crazy coincidence and I'm loving it.

I'm curious to know what other people think of La Casa Azul. Do you love it? Is it too cheesy for you? Does it feel like a glorified Gap ad or do you wish you could be shimmying in balloons?


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Friday, October 13, 2006

http://ninabarry.com#24: 30,000 Votes, Message in a Bottle, & Robots in Disguise.

First off, Nina's too modest to toot her own horn, but a few days ago she finished the painting on the right, a commission for a painting of a client's cat. It's one of my favorite paintings of hers, so I thought I'd share it here. On the art tip, NPR had a great segment the other day about the fate of the over 600,000 pieces of privately owned art that were looted by the Nazis during WWII.

As I'm typing this, we're receiving vote 30,000 on our site, which means that we're 3% through this crazy project of ours. Some perspective: our current President only received 21,256 votes in Washington, D.C. when he ran for re-election in 2004. I'm tempted to make a joke about our approval ratings, but I'll refrain (oh wait, I just did). Anyhow, this increased voting rate has me wondering when the 1,000,000th vote will be tallied. Perhaps we should start a betting pool?

Speaking of actual governmental elections, yesterday I discovered this page on The Washington Post's site. The U.S. Congress Votes Database allows you to see how every member of Congress voted on every single issue throughout their career. It's wonderful to see all the ways in which the internet is empowering voters. And please, if you haven't already, register to vote--there's still time!

This story about a little girl who has twice successfully sent messages in a bottle (including one from Scotland to New Zealand) is a little cutesy, I know, but it's a nice reminder of the spirit of childhood.

We've been listening to a British/German duo called Robots in Disguise for a few years now--I sometimes find myself wanting to listen to them when we're out and about and it's getting a little too late in the evening. There's a rough edge to their songs which lends itself to that time of night. Unfortunately, I think their records are only available as imports in the U.S. Here's the video for "Argument":

There's a lot to be said for how they capture the basic ridiculousness and circularity of fights ("You always... You never...") in a manner that is both keen and playful. Great track.


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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Alain de Botton's new book, The Architecture of Happiness#23: The Architecture of Happiness, Conspiracy Theories, & True Confessions.

The other day I was lamenting the fact that Nina and I haven't really discussed any books on the blog even though we're both avid readers. Fortunately, one of our favorite authors, Alain de Botton, has a new book out called The Architecture of Happiness.

Reading de Botton is sort of like having an erudite lover on the side. His writing is pithy and witty, and he frequently causes you to admire the humor and zest in things which theretofore had none. In the past, he's taken on Proust, romance, status anxiety, philosophy, and, most pertinently for us, travel.

I'm looking forward to his take on the sense of place and the emotional underpinnings behind the spaces we inhabit. You can read a bit of the first chapter if you're so inclined. Apparently (unbeknownst to us) several of his previous works have been turned into programs aired on PBS; this one has seen a similar adaptation (clips here).

Yesterday we received a very entertaining message from someone on our MySpace page. Mike is a blogger in St. Louis and was kind enough to alert us to a post he'd written which insinuated that our site may be a viral marketing hoax along the lines of the LonelyGirl15 phenomenon. It is our first conspiracy theory, which flattered and tickled Nina and I to no end. I wrote him a message explaining that we were, in fact, real people, and he was kind enough to let his readers know by posting a portion of that clarification. Still, I hope it's not the last time it happens, especially since that "contingent book deal" part sounds so enticing! Are you listening, publishers?

Is it the relative anonymity of the internet that makes people want to confess their secrets and share their stories? I guess I'm not one to talk, huh?

Also, how on earth did it take me so long to get into Jeans Team? They're so quintessentially Berlin in all the right ways:

And tell me their singer isn't a dead ringer for former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Total Votes Cast: 10/3-10/10#22: Vote Graphs, People of the World & Pelle Carlberg.

I've got a secret crush on line graphs. It's true. I think my old co-workers were onto my addiction, but they never tried to intervene. When Nina wisely suggested the other night that I start keeping daily records of each day's vote tallies, my eyes glazed over. "Yes," I thought to myself, "then I can turn the data into graphs. Bwahaha!"

Top Seven Towns: 10/8-10/10The one up top shows how quickly our vote count has risen since last Tuesday, 10/3. If you look at the past two days, you can see that the total votes have risen by almost 10,000 in 48 hours. That's a nice exponential-ish looking curve.

This other one to the right (click to magnify) shows how the current top seven towns have performed over the past two days. A few of the interesting observations to be had: Jacksonville seems to be intensifying its gains (picking up about 2,500 votes) compared to towns like Birmingham, which are practically dormant. Denver has experienced a meteoric rise the past two days, as has Fort Collins, which
has added nearly 2,000 votes that span. Something in the water in Colorado, I guess.

Not so long ago, I wrote about the world's shrinking population and the United States' imminent 300,000,000 population milestone, so I thought it only fair that I pass along this cool site I discovered yesterday. Breathing Earth is a simulation that uses birth and death rate data along with CO2 emissions statistics to show you in 'real-time' where and how often people are being born and dying across the world. It uses a simple, attractive map of the planet to pinpoint where these events are happening and the result is truly mesmerizing. Breathing Earth also illustrates how much carbon dioxide pollution each country is releasing, again in 'real-time' so you can see who the biggest culprits are (gee, I wonder). Miniature Earth, on the other hand, takes the old "what if the world's population was only 100 people" premise and turns it into a flash presentation that is interesting, if also a bit of a bummer.

By now you know about my Swedish indie-pop fetish. Well, it turns out that one of my favorite imports of 2006 is going to be released domestically in the U.S. on Twentyseven Records: Pelle Carlberg's Everything. Now!

Mr. Carlberg was the former frontman for a lovely band called Edson and this is his debut solo record. You should visit his MySpace page (because he's sorely lacking friends), download an MP3 of "Riverbank", and watch the video for it:


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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

why does Nina get to look like Keira Knightley and I get Bow Wow?#21: Big Voting Day, Celebrity Lookalikes(?), New Radio Dept.

Yesterday was a huge voting day--our total number of votes broke the 20,000 ballot barrier (and the 21,000 one, too) and in one day the total tally increased by nearly 1/3! It was the largest single-day increase to date and our thanks go out to everyone who voted... we're 2.1% of the way there!

Interestingly enough, it was
the first day we experienced a 'push-back' in the votes. Portland, Maine went up a lot (over 1,200 votes) as expected due to the article there, but it didn't own the voting. Indeed, the big winners yesterday were two cities that began the day in the #1 and #2 spots respectively: Jacksonville, Florida picked up over 900 votes but Fort Collins, Colorado went to town with nearly 1,500 votes! Honorable mentions go to Denver for surging into the top 7 with nearly 500 votes and Fort Wayne, Indiana, which had a nice gain thanks to this mention in Fort Wayne Observed.

We hope that by now you have also stumbled across the free web-based Facial Recognition software over at My Heritage--if not, you're in for a time-wasting treat. You visit the site, upload a photo of yourself, and the software scans your face searching for recognizable attributes. When it's done, it provides you with a collage of the celebrities whom you most resemble. Nina and I have both done this and I'm not quite sure what to think of the results except that there usually is a faint glimmer of resemblance. Still, why does she get 80% Keira Knightley and I get 72% ('Lil) Bow Wow? I smell a conspiracy...and take offense at the Conor Oberst connection (low blow!):

nina's celebrity look-alikes danny's celebrity (mis)matches

Previously-mentioned Swedish faves The Radio Dept. have a new MP3-only single out called "We Made the Team." If you're interested, you can pick it up here or go to their MySpace page and give it a listen free of charge. While you're at it, why not download Devolve's unofficially officially sanctioned "Marble House Edit" of "I Wanted You To Feel the Same," off their latest record--my favorite of 2006--Pet Grief.



Monday, October 9, 2006

The Tigers seemed excited#20: Portland, Celebrations, and Of Montreal Ads Pt. II.

First off, our thanks to Justin Ellis who wrote a lovely article about us in today's Portland Press-Herald. The piece has already moved Portland, ME up to fourth place in the voting, although I suspect it may rise even higher in the competition before the end of the day. Please read it and enjoy!

Although it was painful to watch the Yankees take a drubbing to the Detroit Tigers over the past weekend, it was refreshing to see a team celebrate a post-season victory so heartily with their fans. Amazingly, I can't seem to find the revelry on YouTube yet, but the old-fashioned among us can read about it. In a nutshell, the post-victory elation saw players running into the locker room for rations of champagne, then running back out onto the field to give endless high-fives to exhilirated fans. Some players took to standing atop the dugouts and drenching fans in champagne, with one player even dousing an uncomfortable-looking police officer. Never thought I'd say it, but kudos to Fox for staying with the celebration coverage much longer than typically happens with these things.

On the sports theme, apparently all I need to do to stay abreast of the world of independent music is watch football. Just the other day I wrote about Of Montreal's Outback Steakhouse ad; well, exactly one week later, again while watching Thursday night college football on ESPN, I heard them providing the score for another advertisement, this one for NASDAQ. Yes, the stock exchange. Again, I'm surprised I can't find this on YouTube yet, but it's definitely them. Curiously, it's an excellent non-album track, taken from the bonus EP to last year's The Sunlandic Twins. The song is called "Everyday Feels Like Sunday" (no relation to Morrissey's classic "Everyday Is Like Sunday"), and you can download it here or listen to a stream below:

If that weren't enough, that same football viewing session included this new Geico commercial featuring a somewhat dated Royksopp (featuring Erlend Oye) track, namely "Remind Me" from their Melody A.M. record:

It seems that--like an abandoned puppy--when one leaves the 'indie' world behind, it merely comes following after.



Friday, October 6, 2006

Count von Count#19: Counting the Laughs, Regional Transport, & Our Celebrity Look-Alikes

As previously mentioned, our site server crashed the other day, so in case you were wondering where some of
the forum comments went the answer is up to server heaven. Apparently the entire hard drive completely failed and had to be replaced which we were told barely ever happens, but it did. If you can't see the images in recent blogs, that's also the reason--your ISP hasn't yet updated the DNS information for our new server. If you can understand that, kudos to you. All I can say is better now than later.

In other news, Danny recently made the astute observation on my ever
increasing usage of the Count von Count laugh. A few years ago we saw an episode of Sesame Street where the Count was doing what he does best--counting. "One bouncy ball, two bouncy balls, Ha! Ha! Ha!" Except that his laugh is inverted, so it's more like "Ah! Ah! Ah!"

This laugh of his was incredibly amusing to me, especially since I
didn't grow up with the show. So we starting imitating it as a joke once in a while. I think I overdid it though, because it's now found its way into my regular laugh, which is a bit bizarre. It is not exactly what one calls a natural laugh. However, with Halloween approaching, maybe it's a little more appropriate now.

It seems the place you live affects the type of car you drive, but not necessarily in relation to your needs in that place. In Miami, where Danny's parents live, there are a gazillion Hummers. Why someone in the completely flat terrain of southern Florida would need one is beyond me (I blame Arnold). In Boulder, however, the Toyota Prius is clearly the vehicle of choice. This is despite Colorado actually having mountains and rugged terrain. I've seen exactly one Hummer in Colorado, and exactly one Prius in Florida. I do have to admit, I mostly only started paying attention after I watched Who Killed the Electric Car. Who knew the first cars were electric?


Thursday, October 5, 2006

[ingenting]#18: Crash, Audio, Ingenting... Rebirth!

Apologies to anyone who had problems accessing our site and blog yesterday; we experienced a rare server hard drive failure that kept us out of the game for a while. The good news is that votes have been restored and we are fully functional yet again.

On Tuesday, we had our first radio interview ever. It was for a program called The Ride Home which originates out of station KOA in Denver, Colorado. According to their producer, the show is broadcast to 38 states and 3 countries. Yikes. Danny and Nina were both originally scheduled to call into the show together, but through some misunderstanding, only Danny ended up on air. Nina was actually phoned by the station at the appointed time, but when they got her on the line they just asked for Danny. When she gave them his number, they proceeded to hang up on her, leaving Danny to make the on-air realization that he was all by his lonesome.

That snafu aside, things went very well and it was actually a really fun interview. The show's hosts were great at keeping the interview moving, and what was originally scheduled to be a 5 minute piece ran well over 12 minutes before being interrupted by breaking news of a plane crash.

Here's how it went (MP3 download here, if you prefer):

Any feedback from our readers about the piece would definitely be appreciated since we're both very new to the interview game. Nina and I also spoke to a very nice reporter named Justin Ellis from Portland, Maine's Portland Press-Herald yesterday; if you live in the area, there should be an article in Monday's paper!

If you've ever wished you listened to more music sung in Swedish--it's not just for muppets, after all--then you should check out [ingenting], our favorite Swedish-language band. They've got a new record coming out this month called
Mycket väsen för ingenting (which you can pre-order here) and have been kind enough to share a track with us. Download "Punkdrömmar" here.

If images are more your thing, here's the video for
"Släpp in solen" from this year's Sommardagboken EP (psst, the photo up above is what the band actually looks like):

with love,

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006

mmmm... free popcorn#17: Radio Update, Free Deliciousness, Squaring Up for the Real Vote, Sorkin, Of Montreal Australia.

As was alluded to yesterday, Nina and I make our radio debut today around 8:10 EST. We're going to post an MP3 of the interview tomorrow, but if you want to listen live, by all means please do. We don't know what they're going to ask and it's our first live interview, so we're a little nervous. Hopefully they won't bring up the licorice incident.

Last year around this time, I found out about a company that celebrates "Free Popcorn Month." I'm not shilling for them or anything, but this stuff is pretty awesome. Basically, you pay three bucks worth of shipping and they send you one of their scrumptious flavors; I got two last year and am partial to the Peanut Butter & White Chocolate DrizzleCorn. You won't regret it.

Since we're getting pretty close to another big vote--you know, the one for control of our government--I want to take a moment to make sure all of our voting-age readers are registered to vote come November regardless of political affiliation. Rock the Vote makes it very easy, you just select your state on and they direct you to the appropriate site.

Last night I watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip for the third straight week--the Sorkin is back. I'm loving it, even if the moments of self-serving grandeur don't play quite as well with sketch comedy actors as they do with White House Spokespersons. Still, he sucks you in like few writers can. Plus the man who shares a nickname with our cat, W.G. "Snuffy" Walden" provides the musical score, as with The West Wing.

As I watched Studio 60, I was flipping back to Monday Night Football between the commercials when I saw this ad:

Whoa, I thought to myself, was that Of Montreal covering their own song for an Outback Steakhouse commercial. How very odd. Apparently, I wasn't the first to notice. Here is the excellent video for the song's original incarnation, "Wraith Pinned to the Mist," which is off The Sunlandic Twins:



Monday, October 2, 2006

sunset over downtown Miami#16: Radio Debut, The End of the World As We Know It, Miami Nice, Ride.

In very exciting news, Nina and I are tentatively doing our first radio interview tomorrow, Tuesday Oct. 3, around 6:00 pm mountain time. The program, which is called The Ride Home, is syndicated to 38 states and 3 countries, so we'll be sure to post more info tomorrow in case anyone wants to listen in!

Remember those prophetic pronouncements of the world's imminent demise due to overpopulation? According to this, it seems like those folks had it backwards. Indeed, nearly half the world lives in countries that are "not reproducing fast enough to replace themselves," including nations like China, Russia, and the United States (even though the U.S. just hit a demographic record, the 300 million population mark). Apparently, the average couple must produce 2.1 children to ensure that numbers don't shrink; the U.S. presently averages 2.03. Get to work, people!

Since Jacksonville has pitched a tent at the head of our voting but I've never really spent time there, I thought I'd share a few of the things that make living in South Florida nice: Cuban bread (made with lard and available everywhere for less than a buck) and pastelitos (procured from ubiquitous bakeries) and the weather (go ahead, I bet it's perfect) and the Hurricanes (not the hurricanes). Cons? The way people drive, the housing situation, and, um, sweating quite a bit.

Had to share this from the vaults, footage of British shoegazer-kings-cum-Britpop-failures Ride introducing their video for "Leave Them All Behind" back in 1992. Remember life before Suede and Oasis? Probably.



Sunday, October 1, 2006

Nicholas Roerich - Message to Tiron. 1940#15: Nicholas Roerich, Feral Children, & Biker Boys.

So it seems I post one out of every five posts, which makes a solid 20%. How Danny finds the time to write so much is still a mystery; perhaps he leads a secret double life.

The other day while sifting through the books I have in my old bedroom here at my parents place when I came across one about Nicholas Roerich. He is a Russian artist who spent much of his life traveling across Asia and painting colorful, expressive mountain scenes. He also wrote a bunch of books detailing his spiritual adventures. For those of you living out in NYC, there is an amazing small museum of his works uptown on West 107th Street. It's free (bonus!) and even has some music concerts and poetry readings on a weekly basis. I promise you won't be disappointed. The museum features quite a few of his works which were confiscated by the IRS when he failed to pay his taxes.

I think we've all heard stories of feral children, people who have been raised by animals in the wild without human contact who are suddenly discovered and then re-assimilated into human culture. Despite the tales, I was surprised to find that this seems to happen a lot more often than one might think. Case in point: this article from 2004 about a man in Fiji who was raised in a chicken coop or this bit about a Chilean boy found in a cave being cared for by dogs.

Most compelling of all, however, is this story about a Ukrainian girl who was brought up by a pack of dogs. The BBC produced a short documentary on her that includes footage of Oxsana after she was found and follows her through a few years of acculturation. In the beginning, she seems to have more in common with her canine friends than with the folks who found her. She jumps around on all fours, snarls, even drinks in the unmistakable fashion of her protectors. The video is incredibly riveting but a little jarring, so watch at your own discretion:

It's no L'Enfant Sauvage, but it is pretty amazing.

On a more fabulous note, here's something for the folks who sent us messages about the Le Sport video the other day. Swedish rainbow-club-ready indie-pop act Biker Boy recently released an EP called You Got Me Wrong that features four songs and four remixes of the title track, including one by kindred spirits Le Sport. You can download the song here or the remix here. And goodness, wouldn't you know there's a video, too?


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