Category Archives: TrendSpotting

Morning Dew

Condensing on Leaves:

my first 8tracks list.

Have a listen, won’t you?

8tracks.com plays in a random order, but here is what I intended:

  1. Untitled, She & Him
  2. Paris Sunrise #7, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
  3. Day Five, Explosions in the Sky
  4. When I Was a Baby, The New Pornographers
  5. Black River Killer, Blitzen Trapper
  6. Please Concrete, Wye Oak
  7. Red Dress, TV On The Radio
  8. We Own The Sky, m83

Morning Coffee at K1-430

Starbucks this is not.

Starbucks this is not.

In the basement of Northwestern University’s Kresge Hall, tucked away between foreign language classrooms and pottery workshops lies what seems like an afterthought of a space.  Too big to be a storage closet; too small a space in which to hold a class, this room sits, likely overlooked on any other day.

Wide windows dominate one wall, allowing the morning light, softened by the haze of winter’s overcast, to wash over the room.  Hung upon the remaining four walls are paintings, sketches, scribbled poems, leaves from around campus.  Chairs scattered around the perimeter of the room are occupied by students, working, talking, laughing.

Those who didn’t arrive in time to grab a seat spread out happily on the floor.  A table set off to the side hosts a man vigorously working at his computer.  And in the back corner of this room, this unusual room lit by the sun, heated by those in it, a folding table.  On the table:  a plug-in water heater, a French press, and a plastic tray of store-bought cookies.

I was told that I could acquire a cup of coffee at this establishment, cryptically named “K1-430.”  “It’ll be a couple of minutes before the next batch is ready, but you can pay now if you want,” the man, the de facto barista, said to me.  I handed him a bow:  one of those twisted deals that’s meant to sit atop a birthday gift.  Appropriately, it’s Northwestern purple.  “Go ahead and have a seat, the coffee will be up in a couple of minutes.”  “All right, great, thanks,” I reply excessively, on the way to an open seat, a yellow chair the seventies would love to have back, placed right next to the door.

When the coffee is ready, I return to the “counter,” to be greeted by a cup too big for an espresso shot, but too small for much else.  Then again, I’ve always thought a Starbucks “tall” was too much coffee.   The coffee is thick and rich, with a few flakes of ground beans floating around the rim.  For some reason, this cup of coffee was particularly satisfying; it needed no cream or sugar:  no bitter aftertaste from which to hide.

As I sat in that chair, enjoying my coffee, others came and went, paying for their cup with whatever they had to offer.  Some gave leaves, some brought poetry, others demonstrated yoga poses.  And everybody received a tiny, ground laden cup of nonetheless delicious coffee.

This strange café was brought to you by a group of students taking Installation Art class at Northwestern and ran from November 21st until today, December 2nd, excluding Thanksgiving break.  This is all too short, if you asked me.  After all, why would you go to Starbucks for a $3 or more cup of mediocre brew when you could go to the basement of Kresge and trade a yoga pose you so happen to know for a cup brewed with love?  Love.

And all it costs is whatever you have to offer.

Now THIS Should Exist

Mygazines.com offers scans of print magazines for free.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

Mygazines.com offers scans of print magazines for free. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Remember that Obama mash-up video that I posted a few days ago?  Things like that video (and this blog) are evidence that some people just have too much time on their hands; and do non-productive (if not hilarious) things with that time.

Introducing Mygazines.com – one of the most ingenious products to ever result from free time.  Mygazines is like an online lending library specifically designed for magazines.  Their quick and unique interface makes it easy to flip through the pages of major publications – Rolling Stone, Blender, and even (hell yes) the Ikea Catalog to name a few.

There aren’t too many small magazines, like JPG, one of my favorite photography magazines, but all of the major players are there.  That being said, the magazine industry is up in arms about the service.  I wouldn’t expect to last that long, but for now it’s a great service. But these magazines are scanned and uploaded by users, who, ideally, bought a copy of the magazines for themselves.  What’s the difference between this site and, say, a local library, which has copies of magazines (and books and movies and music) available for free?  Ethically?  Not much in my opinion.  Financially?  A hell of a lot:  Mygazines has web advertisements; libraries have government funding.

Enjoy it while it lasts!

Via Lifehacker and The Inquirer.

An Unlikely Duo and an Unexpected Result

The nerds of Google team up with basketball star Yao Ming to provide free music to the Chinese masses

Internet users in China will now be able to download music by commercial artists free of charge thanks to a partnership between Google, Inc. and a team of investors, including basketball player Yao Ming.

Yao Ming helped start the website, top100.cn, in 2006;  Google became interested as an investor in 2007 and now plans on sharing revenue generated by advertisments on the site with participating record labels.  This deal seems as though it well benefit all parties –

  • China’s internet users will get free music (although legally this time – it is estimated that 99% of all song files in China are illegal, and that 90% of Chinese internet users download music illegally every day through search engines),
  • The record labels will recover losses sustained to Chinese internet users through ad-revenue sharing with Google,
  • And Google could stand to gain major ground as a search engine in China, where it is the second-most used engine behind Baidu.com.

Unfortunately for us foreigners, only Chinese internet users will be able to take advantage of the service, as I discovered for myself the hard way.  I guess we’ll just have to wait for LeBron James to start a similar service.

Via Rolling Stone Rock Daily, with Agence France-Presse and CNET News

Michigan Rockers Chiodos On The Rise

Chiodos, the emo rock outfit from Michigan, are gaining much popularity and critical praise, having made the cover of Alternative Press and being selected as a “Critic’s Choice” new CD by The New York Times’ Kelefa Sanneh.  Their latest album, Bone Palace Ballet is due tomorrow, September fourth.

For Apple’s Next iPod, Rumors Abound

The air of mystery surrounding Apple’s next iPod generation is diminishing by the day now, as leaked pictures and cease-and-desist orders are bringing more and more light to what the next iteration of the ubiquitous MP3 player will be.

During the past week tech blogs Gizmodo and CrunchGear have both received letters from Apple demanding that they remove pictures, which Apple claims are “intellectual property,” of what is believed to be the next iPod Nano. The pictures showed an iPod Nano that appeared as an iPod Video, but wider and shorter.

This picture surfaced on CrunchGear yesterday:

While the image is very likely a product of Photoshop, it bears striking resemblance to the images Gizmodo and CrunchGear pulled.

CrunchGear also cites rumors of touch-screen iPods – basically an iPhone without phone functionality.

Apple is planning a press event for September fifth; many believe this is when Apple will introduce the next iPod generations.

Sources:

  1. More Fat Nano™ Rumors: It’s Getting Interesting,” CrunchGear.com, 24 Aug., 2007.

Paramore’s Popularity Explosion

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed an incredible trend on my little blog: you all love the Paramore! My review of their debut album, All We Know is Falling, is one of my most-viewed posts – 1235 views so far! I predict mass rioting for Paramore’s upcoming release, Riot, due June 12.

You loyal viewers out there have also been very kind to my article regarding the Save Darfur Foundation, a wonderful little organization aimed at ending the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Check out Absolute Punk’s review of Riot, and be sure to stay tuned for my own review. It should appear here next week (as soon as I can get my hands on a copy).