X Planes: Spend a Day in the Troposphere

Hey, Jean
This is Henry McClean
And I’ve finished my beautiful flying machine…

tumblr_kpd35xLzmO1qzsgg9o1 copy
Via xplanes: The Magnus Spherical Airship prototype, 1982.

Don’t let anybody steer you different; Andrew B’s x planes Tumblr is straight-up anachro-airship porn. Andrew has been posting scores of “weird and wonderful aircraft pictures and stories found both on the web, and in print” over there for the better part of a year now. You can get lost in the archives for days:

experimental aircraft. exotic aeromachines. oddities. sleek silver cigars. pedal-o-trons. soviet hive-mind bombers. aerial joy. the olden days. action shots. propaganda posters. etc.”

Where’s your fucking jet pack? You don’ need no steenkin’ jet pack when you’ve got a Gyrodyne Model GCA-55. While you’re dreaming, have some Convertawings. How about a Switchblade jet? Check out the wingless jet WASP, the Bat-Winged Cantaliver jet plane, the steam-powered Giffard. MmmnnggmpfffssSPLOOOOOGE.

1909 Aviation Show, France.

Some more choice excerpts from x planes after the jump, but seriously, if you have a few minutes (or a few hours) to spare, just get over there and explore. Motherload.

Drifting Away With Headphone Commute


My favorite web discovery of the past couple of weeks is Headphone Commute. First of all, I love the name. It instantly conjures images of foggy morning train rides and late-night buses – hands in pockets, head in space, bobbing along to the music. From the “About” page:

Headphone Commute is an independent resource of candid words on electronic and instrumental music. The range of covered genres includes electronica, glitch, idm, drum’n’bass, breakcore, dubstep, trip-hop, modern classical, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient, downtempo, experimental, abstract, minimal and everything in between. HC is not associated with any artist, band, record label, promoter, distributor or retailer covered by the reviews. There is no hidden agenda behind these words. What you see is what you get. All that means is that we share our love for music because we want to – not because we have to.

A word of caution – this blog is is easy to get lost in upon first visit! Between album reviews, in-depth interviews with labels like Somnia and bite-size interviews with artists like Max Richter, on top of my favorite Headphone Commute feature – mixes available for download, it’s kind of impossible not to spend hours reading, researching and hoarding new music. It’s thanks to Headphone Commute that I found out about The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and had my ears taken to their special place by this incredible Best of 2008 Modern Classical mix. I actually can’t recommended this one enough, especially if you’re somewhere that’s beginning to show signs of autumn. Stunningly beautiful, moody, inspiring. For more mixes see Intelligent Breakcore mix and Ten Favorite Mixes of 2008. Happy listening, comrades!


Hyungkoo Lee’s “Objectuals” and The Constant Siege

8-EP, by Hyungkoo Lee, from the series Objectuals.

If you’re not reading CONSTANT SIEGE, you should be. Photographer Clayton Cubitt’s tumbleblog diary is full of memorable quotes, photographs and footage, mixed in with Cubitt’s own work. The result is a voyeuristic glimpse at an artist’s audiovisual predilections, similar to Audrey Kawasaki’s ffffound page in the sense that you can draw interesting comparisons between what the author chooses to “clip” and what they produce. Most artists keep a secret stash of images they find interesting, and I appreciate those who share at least a small portion of that with the public.

Together, the past week’s eclectic collection of discoveries – which includes a sensual Gabriel von Max painting titled The Anatomist, a grisly early 20th-century Manhattan crime scene, a silicon sculpture of a human face that’s equally realistic and demonic, the Oriental rat flea, a fascination with with plague doctor masks spanning several posts, the first photo ever taken by Cubitt (at age 5), an SS recruiting poster from Norway that’s perfectly in keeping with Cubitt’s photographic color scheme, and the “Highlights from Wildwood, NJ” video – officially make this the Best Constant Siege Week Ever.

Enlarging My Right Hand with Gauntlet 1 by Hyungkoo Lee

Going a little further back, I was taken by these images from Hyungkoo Lee’s series Objectuals. Lee’s surreal augmentation of the face and body reminds me of Paddy’s Hartley’s experiments with face corsets, and faintly recalls my favorite shot from the movie Brazil. More images from the series after the jump, and yet more on Lee’s site.

Ross Rosenberg’s Advice for Aspiring Bloggers

Later this week on Coilhouse, we’ll be posting a Very Special Interview with one of our all-time favorite bloggers: Ross Rosenberg of ECTOPLASMOSIS! fame. If you’re unfamiliar with this man’s writing, proceed to ECTOMO immediately and read EVERYTHING that Ross – along with his wily co-editors – has posted there. We promise you, nothing will ever be the same. Ever. Again. For the abyss gazes also into you.

Here are some topics that Ross enjoys writing about:

Ross’s keen command of the English language, coupled with his mystifying ability to flush esoterica out of the grimiest and most cryptic corners of the web, has landed him in our RSS readers from day one. How does he do it? The full interview is still to come, but for now, the exalted 23rd level Chaotic Neutral Blogmaster is ready to divulge his secrets for success to future generations:

What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?

1)     Respect: When starting out it’s hard to get noticed. Just like in prison, it pays to find the biggest, baddest motherfucker in the room and go at them full steam. Nothing gets attention like pointing out Perez Hilton’s grammar mistakes or a long opinion piece on how you could take Xeni Jardin in a knife fight.

2)     Choose your words carefully: Polysyllabic words are for pussies and Fascists. Keep it short, sweet, and guttural. Also, using the British spelling of any word will ensure that you’ll never get anywhere and people will make fun of you behind your back.

3)     Lists, lists, lists: Everything you write should be in the form of a list, whether it be the top ten things you smelled on Thursday or the top five tips for aspiring bloggers.

4)    Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you: Blogging is a dog-eat-dog business (see #1), consequently everyone is a potential threat, so do your best to take care of them early whether it be character assassination or just giving really bad advice.

5)     Blockquote: This is a big one. Why write something when someone else has written it for you? Just blockquote a big old chunk of text and add a one line introduction followed by a one or two line opinion at the end.  Even better, ask your readers to comment and give you even more content! “Warren Ellis wrote an interesting article about ferret juicing today:” Blockquote everything but the last paragraph. “It all sounds good, but I’m not sure everyone has access to a cider press. What do you use to juice your ferrets?”

Bonus:  Boobs: Seriously, no matter what the subject matter is, stick some tits in there. Everybody loves tits.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Rosenberg Knows Things About Stuff, wherein the question of “boxers or briefs?” and other impenetrable mysteries of Rossness are finally answered.

We Love Typography: The Latest in Font Porn

Marian Bantjes: Hallowe’en.

If you’re a typophile like me, you squealed with joy last week when the I Love Typography blog announced a new project, We Love Typography: a clean, elegant new groupblog that they call “a FFFFound for all things type, typography, lettering, & signage.”

I wouldn’t call some of the best stuff on this site “eye candy” – it’s more like a china cup of exotic, medicinal herbal tea for the eyes. Looking at refined graphic design really does elevate the soul.

Renee French and Her Furry Friends

Note: I don’t know why our last post had commenting turned off. Whoops! Must’ve clicked something by accident. Fixed it, so that comments are possible.

Comics illustrator Renee French has a blog where she posts doodles on a daily basis. Some are as detailed as the image above, others are simple line drawings. The subjects of her drawings can be completely unexpected, but the themes that come up consistently include creatures, houses, animal traps and kids dressed in very warm winter clothing. The more pages you go through on her blog, the more you feel like you’re being sucked into the universe of these pictures, questioning what you see less and less.

Renee’s blog is updated every day, but she also has an old website where you can see the books and comics that she’s published, including Grit Bath on Fantagraphics and a book called The Soap Lady. My favorite comic on this site. My favorites short comic stories on the site are Duck and ZZZ.

25 Things About My Sexuality: The Blog

I SAW WHAT YOU DID THERE. A poignant “25 Things” worthy moment brought to you by the infamous 70s educational film, The ABCs of Sex Education For Trainables.)

Riffing off a recent explosion of “25 Things” Facebooky-type memes, 25 Things About My Sexuality is a juicy, mysterious new blog that compiles and posts the anonymous sexual confessions of its readers. Some of these entries are hilarious, many are heartfelt, some are absolutely heartbreaking. A few choice excerpts from various confessors:

I once came by licking toes in Greece.

Well into my twenties, every time I’d orgasm, I’d think, “THIS is the BEST orgasm I have EVER had! EVER! WOW!” Sometimes it still feels like that. I’ve grown to appreciate that there are many kinds of orgasms.

Because I am a virgin, every time I’m around a bunch of folks who start talking about sex, I start to panic. I’m a bad liar. I can’t fake my way through a conversation about sex, but I don’t want to come right out and tell folks that I’ve never been with anyone before. It’s just mortifying.

My first sexual crush ever was on Mr. Spock from Star Trek.

I love catching guys off guard with wildly inappropriate pick-up lines. “Your testicles. Hand them to me now.” “I had testicular cancer. See if you can guess which ball is fake. With your tongue.” “I saw you talking to (mutual friend) and I couldn’t help but wonder what your ass tastes like.” “You’re a creationist? Really? I want to debate evolution while inside you.” Those lines all worked.

Titillated? Intrigued? Feeling like ‘fessing? Send your list to [email protected] No identifying information will be posted.

Everyone Needs Some Thrift Shop Douche

Book cover found by Lelio (original post here). Pure horror!

I thought I’d ease you guys into this post with a picture of a fluffy kitten, because I’m about to post the wrongest shit ever. Think of this intro image as a reverse unicorn chaser, because I’m sadistic like that.

So the image above and the images below come from a cozy little LiveJournal community called thrifthorror. The concept behind this community is simple:

Some things you can’t even give away … except to the church’s thrift store. Saw an abomination unto taste at the Salvation Army? Encountered pure terror – or Junior’s faintly suggestive third grade clay pot marked at $7.99- at Goodwill? Send a picture, tell the story. Maybe through our combined efforts, that pot can find a home.

Most of the images posted speak for themselves, but they get ten times better with contributors’ colorful commentary. Some select favorites, with comments from the journal, below:

Top Row

1. Leave the Wright brothers alone!! [source]
2. This is what happens when you scramble duck eggs that were nearly ready to hatch. Imagine standing over the stove, compulsively poking at your eggs with a spatula, when a little yellow head pops up from the congealing mass of rapidly denaturing proteins. Then another little head. Then another. [source]
3. Santa wants you to bend over now. [source]

Middle Row

1. Choking the Chicken? (I know, it’s a goose) [source]
2. I think, think, it’s supposed to be a humorous cover for a tissue box. [source]
3. No trip to the thrift store is complete without a pig orgy. [source]

Bottom Row

1. Take a picture, it lasts longer. [source]
2. Actually, I know where all those scuffs are from. I mean, it’s pretty obvious. This kid got beaten up. A lot. [source]
3. Everyone needs some thrift shop douche! [source]

Laura Kicey: Lonelyhearths and Living Rooms

All photos in this post are © Laura Kicey. Please do not repost without permission and a credit.

“I take the things I see in these places out of their realm and ask the viewer to see what has been overlooked. I prefer to use what I encounter in raw form, creating visual order by giving new context to what I have singled out.”

–Photographer Laura Kicey

Laura Kicey and I both joined the now-thriving shutterbug site Flickr aeons ago when it was still in beta, and Laura hit the ground running. She’s been uploading all manner of strange beauty captured with her camera –from off-kilter self-portraits to innovative “Construct” collage work to ongoing documentation of an abandoned asbestos factory— for several years now. Laura’s also a terrific memoirist, so living vicariously through her stealthy, sometimes dangerous adventures is quite the visceral thrill.

She says “my goal for every image is to build an experience that invokes all the senses as intensely as I witnessed,” and with her astute attention to texture, gradations of color, and composition, she succeeds. Really, the only thing missing is Smell-O-Vision.  (Scratch n’ sniff truck-stop motel charnel, anyone?)

Her portraits of derelict, hollow houses remind me again and again of the creeping, wistful quality of certain passages from House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, or the long, lonely, thriving takes in a Tarkovsky film.

Living Rooms, a series of her photographs of abandoned home interiors, will be showing through the month of January at Café Estelle in Philadelphia. Locals who stop by Laura’s reception today (Friday) between 6 and 9pm will get a chance to meet the flame-haired swashbuckler in person. Pass on a fist-bump from her old chum Theremina, won’t you?

Click below for more haunting images.

Wedding Porn: The Blog of Offbeat Weddings

Mario, a magician, and his assistant, Katie, have a 1920s-themed wedding. Kate wears a headband bought on Etsy. Photos by Daria Bishop. More images here.

In Junior High, our Health class had a unit about “basic adult life skills”: how to pay your bills, how your car works & why you really do need health insurance, despite the fact that you think you’re indestructible. One of the final projects we had that quarter was to budget out $30,000 in one of two ways: it was to be either your funds for one year of single living, or your budget to plan a wedding. The teachers assigned this without irony, and kids took it very seriously: it was not a lesson to show us how excessive the average wedding seems when you consider how else the money could be spent, but a lesson in how a proper American wedding was to be done. I was horrified. Years later, the following passage from The Commitment, Dan Savage’s gay-marriage memoir, summed up my perception of The Great American Wedding perfectly. In the scene below, Savage and his boyfriend Terry find themselves at a wedding expo:

Each and every vendor, from the lowliest florist to the highest-end caterer, was selling the fairy-tale princess wedding, the wedding that almost all straight girls grow up fantasizing about. For the women in the room, this was their one and only chance to be the princess in the Disney movie and they were determined not to fuck it up – and “it” refers to the ceremony and the reception, not the choice of a mate, as divorce rates would seem to indicate. (The wedding industry rakes in billions annually at a time when one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Isn’t it about time some trial lawyers slapped Brides magazine, Vera Wang, and the rest of “big marriage” with a class action lawsuit modeled on the ones filed against big tobacco?)

Back to the boys: As we worked out way up and down the rows of vendors, I caught sight of the same guys again and again. Every time their fiancées or future mothers-in-law looked away, the boys would send out subtle distress signals, like a kidnap victim in a ransom video, blinking messages in Morse code. “Oh my god, what have I done?” As they were dragged from florist to caterer to limo, they looked like pawns. No, it was worse than that: They looked like hostages. No, worse still: they looked like afterthoughts. You don’t need men to have weddings! You need women and their mothers and sisters and their best friends and container ships full of machine-made lace from China and towering ice sculptures and enormous white canvas tents and karaoke machines and stretch Hummer limos and bouquets and chocolate fountains and cover bands and garter belts and veils and trains and engraved champagne glasses and sterling silver cake knives and on and on and on … you need a boy at a wedding like you need a stalk of celery in a Bloody Mary: It looks nice, and it makes things official, but it’s not crucial and probably wouldn’t be missed if you left it out. But a wedding – as currently understood, practiced, and marketed in America – without a bride? Unthinkable.

Clockwise from left: pink-haired bride, casual Arkansas wedding, Lucifire & Dave Tusk’s bright red circus wedding, Han Solo & Leia cake topper

There are, of course, other ways to go, especially this year. More and more people are opting for crafty, creative weddings that either twist around the tired tiara-and-lace tropes, or toss them out altogether. And on the site Offbeat Bride, the Wedding Porn section chronicles the most unusual, inspiring weddings ever to be documented on the web.

These are the weddings of our generation: pixelated 8-bit wedding invites, space helmets, brides as officants, a special category on the blog just for black wedding dresses, a San Francisco bike wedding, and, of course “Wedding! The Musical.” There’s enough love and joy on this site to make you queasy if you’re in a “only stupid people have good relationships” kind of mood, but even then, something on the site will make you smile.  Like these Lego cake toppers, for instance.