Two Surreal Takes on Augmented Reality Glasses

In his fascinating article “The World Is Not Enough: Google and the Future of Augmented Reality,” Alexis Madrigal points out that the information displayed in the Google Glass demo that came out earlier this year is all rather banal: the weather, the time, an appointment, a text message, directions, interior directions (“within a bookstore? right.”), a location check on a friend, and a check-in.

Care for a darker, more dystopian view of what augmented reality glasses could bring? In addition to the numerous Google glass parodies (ADmented Reality being the best of these), and Episode Three of Black Mirror, titled “The Entire History of You,” here are two chilling examples.

The video above, Sight (via @sfslim), focuses on the creepiest aspects of dating with AR. The video below, made in 2010, shows AR as being eerily mundane. If you have a pair of 3D glasses lying around, there’s also this version!

Lynchian Hee Haw Nightmare Sauce

Comrades, decease do not watch this unless you are prepared to endure recurring nightmares about glassy-eyed Appalachian beatboxers (aka “eefers“) chasing you through dark, store claustrophobic pine forests for the rest of your life. You have been warned.

Via Sport Murphy.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Sure. But Don't Forget About Sandy.

“Big Bird” casting his vote yesterday in Austin, Texas. (via)


Defiant Son of the Lord of the Solid Gold Cock Rings has trouble accepting this reality graciously, as do other assorted racist old fartknockers and Twitterdouchecanoes, and all of the irrationally fearful and phobic folk they represent. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the country is happily celebrating huge victories for our femaleLGBTQ, and midnight toking citizens.

Heads up, though; I just received an alarming message from Sxip Shirey, conveying word from his friend Greg Squared who’s volunteering in some of the most devastated burroughs of New York. Sxip says, “Our city is NOT back to normal. People need help. Please help. READ.” Here is Greg’s from-the-trenches assessment of what’s going on right now:

“Okay. Now that the election is over, can we get back to what’s actually important: the state of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy? The Rockaways, the Jersey Shore, Coney Island, Red Hook, Staten Island all need your help. They’re having trouble getting food, FEMA and the Red Cross seem to be completely absent, and there’s a big storm bearing down, scheduled to hit Wed., and bring snow on Thurs. I urge everyone that’s celebrating Obama’s victory tonight not only to call on their Congress people to get some shit done vis-a-vis the pitiful federal response, but to take an active part by donating urgently needed material and financial support. One place you can do that is at the link below. Furthermore, a couple of Occupy Sandy kitchens that have been supplying something like 20,000 hot meals for people without electricity are very close to being completely out of food. If you live in the New York area and want to donate food, please bring it to one of the distribution centers listed at”

Stay warm, stay kind, stay mindful, comrades. We’ve still got a long, dubious winter ahead of us.

UPDATE, NOV 7:  “On Friday, we’ll be airing a very special episode of Sesame Street.

“A hurricane has swept through Sesame Street and everyone is working together to clean up the neighborhood. When Big Bird checks on his home, he is heartbroken to find that the storm has destroyed his nest. Big Bird’s friends and neighbors gather to show their support and let him know they can fix his home, but it will take time. While everyone on Sesame Street spends the next few days cleaning up and making repairs, Big Bird still has moments where he is sad, angry, and confused…”

“Please check your local listings to see what time the episode will air on PBS.”

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Resources

A few hours ago, Finitor posted this raw video he shot on Staten Island yesterday with an iPhone 5. No audio mixing, no post-processing. Its soundtrack is eerily beautiful, and, in the context of current events, more than a little sad.

Finitor writes: “There’s this unfinished building on Staten Island’s east shore, intended to eventually house an indoor track. When the wind blows strong, the metal strutwork and roof skin resonate to create this haunting music, like something one of those austere [Finnic] composers like Arvo Pärt would produce with a full chamber orchestra. …The building looks over the worst storm-hit parts of SI, and the keening is kind of a soundtrack to the ruin.”


Needless to say, it’s been an incalculably stressful and difficult week for millions of people directly affected by Hurricane Sandy. This is just a series of “How You Can Help” links cobbled together from various trusted sources around the web. Please, by all means, add more in comments if you like.

East Coast and Caribbean comrades, we’re all sending lots of love and warm, dry vibes your way. Please let us know how we can help. Hang in there.


  • Feeding America says that it is working to distribute some thousands of pounds of emergency food to hurricane victims. To donate, you can call 1-800-910-5524 or visit them online here.
  • Medicine is also needed, and AmeriCares is working to provide what is needed by those impacted by the storms. Donate here.
  • World Vision is distributing flood cleanup kits and personal hygiene items. Donate to them here.
  • Save the Children is also out there trying to help relieve families affected by the hurricane. Donate here.
  •  Samaritan’s Purse needs volunteers. For information how to volunteer, click here.
  • Hope for New York needs both volunteers and donations. 

If you’re in New Jersey and want to volunteer to help clean up, there is more information available here.

Here is another article on How to Help in the Aftermath, as well as another list of helpful organizations that need support.

NonsenseNYC has also collected together a fine list of people and projects that require aid, many that need actual labour, “not your donations or clicks”. Their latest newsletter began with, “The most important thing to understanding what’s going on is to actually go to the areas that need attention. People who need help will not always ask for it, or be able to ask for it. This is a do-it-yourself guide: call or internet if you can, but ultimately just go.”

Here are some of their suggestions…

Dancing with O'death

It is All Soul’s Day, when the veil between the living and the dead is said to be at its most diaphanous. And so we present a feature on the eligaically named, NYC-based band O’death, written Katelan Foisy. A multimedia artist, writer, model, and tarologist, Katelan is known as “La Gitana” and the “Mistress of Magic”. She can be found on the internet almost everywhere. ~Mer

Portrait by Katelan Foisy.

O’death is one of those bands you remember falling in love with.  I first heard them back in 2007 in the former apartment of William S. Burroughs. I was making cowboy coffee and my boyfriend at the time was queuing up music for our Darwin’s Nightmare Party, a party to “celebrate” the naturalist’s birthday.  “You’ve got to listen to this band,” he said as I poured loose coffee grounds into boiling water. He hit play and I stopped, mid-pour, to turn around. “Who is this?” I demanded. He told me it was O’death, a Brooklyn-based band he had seen a few weeks back. I left the coffee as we danced on cigarette strewn, whiskey stained wooden floors. The song was “Down to Rest” and I was entranced. It had the feeling of a small town forgotten and decayed, remembered only by the myth passed down by word of mouth by elders at camp fires.

Spring, 2008.  I walked into a coffee shop to deliver a human skull to an artist when a poster caught my eye. It was for an O’death show. I remembered that night again like it was the first time. I immediately went home and tried to befriend the band. They were about to come out with a new album Broken Hymns Limbs and Skin and commissioned me to do a portrait as part of the press packet. I listened to the album.  It was more refined than the first but still pulled the listener into a world between waking and dreaming. I remember thinking there was something incredibly special about this band; it wasn’t just that they had taken parts of old time Appalachia and made it contemporary, it was that they could make you feel you were part of the story. This could be explained in the way they’ve recorded each album.  Head Home and  Broken Hymns, Limbs, and Skins were recorded live.  As you listen, you see them on stage. What you hear on the album is as passionate as a live performance.

Photo by Glukkake.

Outside, their most recent album, was recorded in fragments. David Rogers-Berry, the band’s drummer, had recently battled Osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer), undergoing chemotherapy and a shoulder replacement. Where many would have given up, O’death embraced this as an opportunity to experiment with sound. The album’s lineup of Gabe Darling- banjo/ukulele, Jesse Newman- bass, Greg Jamie-singer/lyricist, and violinist Bob Pycior lead the music towards a slower, more melodic turn.

Each O’death album has a distinct feel while retaining the band’s singular magic. They transport listeners to new places. Hearing an O’death song is like falling into a small book of short stories told in a cave by a fire, on a ship during a storm, in a pub on the streets of England, or while hidden away in a swampland cabin. Their music transcends time. Upon first listen, a characteristic track might be mistaken for a classic folk song. However, their words are striking in the contemporary dialogue with time and humanity they invoke.

Despite an old time feel to their music, the only song actually based upon a historical event is “Fire on Peshtigo” from Broken Hymns, Limbs, and Skin.  It was inspired by the 1871 Peshtigo, Wisconsin firestorm that killed 1,500 and which occurred the same day as the Chicago, Holland and Manistee, Michigan fires.