Some fascinating documentaries on life as a trucker

I love documentaries that focus on other people’s interesting daily lives. I was curious as to what those sleeper trucks looked like on the inside, and since I’ve done many road trips, I did a bit of internet investigation and found these two documentaries to be interesting and worth sharing. To my European friends, these videos will answer a lot of your questions on highway culture.

“Building the Victorian City: Splendour and Squalour,” a lecture by Professor Simon Thurley [56:09]

I like architecture and urban planning, so you can see why I am intrigued by this lecture delivered from Gresham College (who has been all about talks open to the public since 1597 [!]) by Proffesor Thurley. This is totally one of those things you can put on and then walk away from, since there are only a few slides, and mostly a bunch of talking. It traces the history of worker housing in Victorian Britain that sprung from the industrial revolution, but you will notice there are quite a few U.S. parallels, especially their take on light wells in the slums–the deleterious absence of which (amongst a gigantic amount of other basic things) was so famously documented in New York City by Jacob Riis in How the … Read More

[Sa. May 4, 2013] Pumping Station One Hackerspace Birthday Party

Chicago’s coolest hackerspace, Pumping Station:One is having a 4-year birthday party / open house thingie on Saturday. In case you’re not familiar, hackerspaces are, well–pretty self explanatory. You sign up for a membership, like a gym, and then you get to play with all the neat toys–oscilloscopes, 3D printers, drill presses, sewing machines, and a scanning electron microscope (duh!). It’s $40-$70 per month for a membership, for all that access to awesome future-creation. Also, they really do have a Tardis on the roof, just like that photo up there shows–not shopped. 7PM – Demos and reception 10PM – Live music @ Pumping Station: One, 3519 N. Elston, Chicago IL (near Addison and Kedzie) They also have a THUNDER SLINKY (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds … Read More

“Wired Fridays” will feature Chicago DJs prominent in the industry every Friday beginning in January

The 2013 series of Wired Fridays in Chicago will be showcasing Chicago DJ-slash-promoters who have been passionately sharing their highly-specific tastes within their chosen branches of electronic music through their events, radio shows, workshops, and personal performances–albeit with the discerning eye of a curator who has been immersed in local musical culture long enough to be able to sift through the sand to find the gems. What’s really exciting about this particular debut lineup is that every performer has contributed to Chicago’s electronic music culture in a very significant yet personal way over the years they’ve been in the industry. Unlike certain major festivals that seem to rely on headlining those global-trekking-performers who appeal to the most people to generate the highest revenue (and, if they get it … Read More

Leaf Blowers: Are you kidding me?

I realize I’m going to become like that old man who screams “Get off my lawn!” but this subject is just one that has to be addressed. I love my neighborhood. I’m lucky to live a few short blocks away from a segment of the the brilliantly designed

Charlotte the Pitbull: Third Place for Best Costume at Wicker Park’s Boo-palooza

Aka “Pitbull in a Tutu,” Charlotte won third place at Wicker Park’s Boo-palooza, and we took home a sweet gift basket of dog delishiousness. She then had a vet appointment and then amused many people over in Retailland (Logan and Elston strip mall), even while in traffic in the car. Hooray. Check out these photos of all the cool stuff that came in her gift basket. I got her when she was a puppy from Chicago Bully Breed Rescue, or CBBR as they call themselves, a rescue and fostering nonprofit.

“Pump Up the Volume” Documentary on how Chicago House Changed the World

Yes, it’s by the BBC and they really go on about UK Garage at the end, but there are some real gems of insights and great interviews here. Set aside a few hours, even if you think you know the history of Chicago House. This one is really well done. If you prefer books, check out “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: A History of the Disc Jockey”. Buy four and give them away to your friends that love electronic music but need schooling on where it came from.

Giorgio Moroder, remixed “From Here to Eternity”

Remixing is a complex subject to approach, I’ll give it that. There’s intellectual property, collaboration, sampling, and legal licensing on the technical side. Then you’ve got to deal with what “covering” a song really means in the long term. Originally the purpose of remixing was to tweak a song to appeal to different markets. It’s basically the same song, but with more elements to appeal to certain sub-groups. Like, “let’s add a steel lap guitar” to appeal the country market, but it’s still a pop song, but this time with steel lap guitar. I can’t find the videos to prove my point right now, but it was two different Kelly Clarkson songs that were distributed to different markets. Anyway. Back to remixing…so there’s this internal need on the … Read More