RELAXATION TAPE NO. 2: the opposite of ASMR

RELAXATION TAPE NO. 2

(Content warning: the video content in this article contains violent and flashing images not suitable for people with photosensitive epilepsy or related conditions)

As much as I love ASMR, I like off-kilter zany stuff on the Internet. I spent most of my late teens getting into YouTube Poops and YTMND memes. The reason I use ASMR in this context is that it serves as a good analogue for what I’m about to show you. It’s truly the opposite of ASMR: it’s chaotic, nonsensical, loud, brash, and everything ASMR isn’t.

RELAXATION TAPE NO. 2 (R-rated cut)

A new video mixtape from the CDTcrew; naughty bits removed. Uncut DVD will be available at some point. Meanwhile--enjoy and remember to relax! And YouTube--this is for adults only and is for entertainment purposes only…relax.

RELAXATION TAPE NO. 2 is a collection of videos made by CDTcrew and I have no idea what to call them. But I find them funny for their chaos and randomness. Clips appear to have been recorded on VHS, old or new, with echoey vocals and all kinds of video effects. It’s also violent and garish but in a cinematic sense. There’s punching, blood, explosions, shouting, screaming, and Warner Bros cartoons. And this is with the “naughty bits removed”.

One YouTube commenter had it right:

this is like the video version of grind-core.

I’ve never listened to grindcore but, given the sound of the name, it fits whatever style of videography RELAXATION TAPE NO. 2 is. This won’t be to everyone’s tastes and that’s totally acceptable—I don’t even know why it’s close to any of my tastes—but it appears to have a fan base if the comment section is anything to go by.

Enjoy! Or not. Probably not.

Manga Entertainment brings us Akira in 4K

akira

Akira is an iconic piece of Japanese film and now we can see it in 4K. Manga Entertainment has announced the anime classic will be returning to around 300 UK and Irish cinemas in remastered 4K for the first time.

Darcy Giles, PR & Social Media Manager at Manga Entertainment had the following to say:

“Akira is the film that made Manga Entertainment – and so we’re honoured to be able to bring it back to UK screens in this gorgeous new version remastered in stunning 4K. Quite simply, it’s going to blow your mind.”

Now, we understand that given the current situation with COVID-19, people may not want to visit cinemas at this time (I’ll be honest and say I’m one of those people, as well as a few film publications in the US, even though their situation is much more serious). We also recommend you consider your health and safety and those close to you before going.

After that, if it’s something you can feasibly do, we hope you enjoy the experience of one of the greatest anime movies of all time, and head to the official Akira 4K site for more info and ticket alerts.

An 'Honest Trailer' for Batman Returns

An 'Honest Trailer' for Batman Returns

While CinemaSins seemed to take Batman films and their errors a little too seriously (along with most films he covered), Screen Junkies used some of those comical tropes to good effect in their ‘honest trailer’ of Batman Returns.

The most interesting part of the trailer is the revelation that Batman was only in the film for 31 minutes. I’ve watched Returns a million times and never noticed how little screen time he got. That served as inspiration for making the trailer about a film starring Catwoman and politics. Now I’m wondering if this was the Catwoman film we wanted all along (the Halle Berry version got a mention, don’t worry).

Anyway, stream the trailer below.

Honest Trailers | Batman Returns

Chadwick Boseman (1976–2020)

Chadwick Boseman

I feel almost bereft of words and I’m in no position to write any kind of obituary for Chadwick Boseman. But I do have something to say and something to share.

2018 was a pretty crappy year in a long line of crappy years (and it’s still ongoing). But when I went to see Black Panther in February 2018, it changed my life. Black superheroes don’t get the kind of recognition and environment to flourish and be like White superheroes, at least not in cinema (seeing as not everyone reads comics). So when I saw not just a Black superhero but a Black environment in all its majesty and glory, I wept. I needed that. And Chadwick Boseman, along with the rest of the cast, gave me that joy and empowerment. For that, I am ever grateful.

For the second part of this post, I wanted to share something shared by Josh Gad on Twitter:

It reads:

CATCH THE RAIN

If you are in Los Angeles, you woke up this morning to the rare and peaceful sound of a steady precipitation. If you’re like me, maybe you looked at the week’s forecast and found that it’s supposed to ran for three straight days; not without breaks of sunlight and reprieves of moist gloom, but yeah it’s gonna be coming down like cats and dogs. Great. We’re stuck inside these damn quarantines beacuse of the Covid, and now we can’t even get no sun in Cali. Come on now!

But now that the rain has stopped and today’s storm has cleared, I urge you to go outside and take a DEEP breath. Notice how fresh the air is right now, after our skies have had a 3 week break from the usual relentless barage of fumes from bumper to bumper LA commuters, and now today’s rain has given the City of Angels a long overdo and much-needed shower. Inhale and exhale this moment, and thank God for the unique beauties and wonders of this day. We should take advantage of every moment we can to enjoy the simplicity of God’s creation, whether it be clear skies and sun or clouded with gloom. And hey, if the air is this clear right now, and it does rain tomorrow, I might even put jars and bins out and catch the rain. Throw that in the water filter and I have a water more alkaline than any bottle brand out there.

I hope he’s catching the rain right now.

Paul R. Williams's archive finds a home

paul r. williams

In June, Karen Elyse Hudson, author, granddaughter of Paul R. Williams and family historian, announced that his archive had been acquired by the USC School of Architecture and the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in a joint partnership.

“To others he is often referred to as ‘the architect to the stars,’ to his grandchildren, he was simply the best grandfather ever. My journey has been one of awe and encouragement. Never once did I believe my work was my gift to him, for it has been, and will always be, his gift to us.”

Both USC and GRI will converse and digitise of the Williams archive with each institution using the archive for different reasons:

GRI will make the archive a significant part of its African American Art History Initiative (AAAHI), while USC will add it to their new USC Center for Architecture + City Design.

(via Hyperallergic)

Why we keep seeing Cooper Black everywhere

The wonderful Estelle Caswell did a video for Vox about the Cooper Black font and its prevalence in pop culture:

There’s a typeface that has made a resurgence in the last couple of years. It’s appeared on hip hop album covers, food packaging, and advertising. Perhaps you know it from the Garfield comics, Tootsie Roll logo, or the Pet Sounds album cover by the Beach Boys. It’s called Cooper Black, and its popularity and ubiquity has never waned in the hundred years since it was first designed.

I know I’ve seen it everywhere but I never realised just how much and I’d never connected the name (which I knew) to the typeface. I was also unaware of how versatile it was. Cooper Black is suddenly my new favourite font.

Stream the video below.

Why this font is everywhere

Milton Glaser interview with designboom

milton glaser

The late Milton Glaser met up with designboom in New York back in May 2000 and gave some really insightful answers in his interview.

Some of my favourites:

DB: what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?

MG: I listen to everything, my musical taste is extremely eclectic – traditional jazz, folk music, baroque, classical music (mozart, bach, even beethoven, brahms). my inclination is that I favorite baroque and 18th century music over 19th century music. well, I admire the 19th century for both, in terms of its musical and of its artistic accomplishment, but it does not touch my heart in quite the same way.

DB: when you were a child, did you want to become a graphic designer?

MG: I always wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t know what a graphic designer was. I suppose that among the earliest things I ever did as a child was to copy comic strips.

DB: where do you work on your designs and concepts?

MG: I work all over, I do different things in different places. I have a very nice studio in woodstock, where I go on thursdays, fridays and saturdays. there I do things that have to be done alone, drawings and complex things I have to think about. at the NY studio it is mostly organizing, working with others and producing things. I would say that I’m never not working in my mind. taking taxicabs or during breakfast…

DB: which project has given you the most satisfaction?

MG: it is very hard to say, because they are all very different. I’m working now on a buddhist museum, a himalayan museum in new york and it has been a very interesting, a very pleasurable project. but all these projects are very interesting in their own way. actually, it is not the project in itself. what makes them more interesting than anything else is the character of the people you’re working with. I enjoy working together for a common purpose.

Read the rest at designboom.

That time BBC2 appeared in a Pizza Hut advert

BBC2 in a Pizza Hut advert

When I want to feel warm and cosy, I watch YouTube videos of old 90s TV adverts. They give me a kick of nostalgia and remind me of simpler times when you could hug people without fear of dying. Last night, I watched a video with adverts from 1994 and I spotted something strange. The adverts were from ITV but the intro was one of BBC2’s old idents (the one with the green paint). I thought the video had changed. You never saw BBC on ITV unless it was on the news.

And then it turned into a Pizza Hut advert.

Pizza Hut - BBC Two - Advert (1994)

So how did this all come about? Peter York picked up on the story for The Independent back in 1994:

Advertising is in the ‘borrowed interest’ business: famous or beautiful people and spectacular locations are regularly borrowed to add interest to somewhat basic product offers.

Now Pizza Hut has gone one better: it’s borrowed a television channel. More precisely, it has ‘appropriated’ – as a certain type of intellectual likes to say – the BBC2 logo, in its large, plain, anodised-aluminium form. If you’ve had the feeling that you’re in the wrong place recently when watching ITV or C4, it’s because the BBC2 logo has appeared. It sits in its wind tunnel and is swept with green paint, as usual – but then a yob appears and splashes the camera lens with paint, too. It’s a very disconcerting, memorable media-age joke.

But it turns out “spoof” idents have been around for decades and there’s even a website archiving them. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt a little off by the giant metallic 2 on the “wrong” channel.

Grab a pair of Venom socks

venom socks

Does your sock drawer lack panache? Cachet? Any other superfluous French word to describe taste? Then you need a pair that stands outs amongst your black and white socks and, ironically, a pair of Venom socks has both with hints of blue, red, and pink.

Okay, cheesy sales pitch over. These Venom socks are cool AF and, according to the Amazon listing, doesn’t require batteries which is what you want in a pair of cotton socks. They’re also safer than wearing a symbiote suit and becoming a homicidal anti-heroish alien-human hybrid monster. But if you were one already, wouldn’t a cosy pair of socks be the best thing ever?

And if you don’t believe me, check out some of the reviews:

Great print, great quality. These socks are soft, warm, have cushion, and a great classic tv version of Venom from the 90’! They are a bit tight at the first and the second times, but become more comfortable over the time. After 3-4 uses, they are now perfect and so comfortable! Love the print, love the quality. Worth the price!

Super qualité!

I bought these for my 8 year old son and he loves them… I’m sure these where ment for a man but my son used them for crazy sock day and they fit comfortable

Buy a pair on Amazon today.

(h/t Steph)

The origins of the "black sheep"

A black sheep amongst white sheep

Ever wondered where the term “black sheep”, to denote a bad character, came from? Well, language blog Grammarphobia answered that very question but not before taking a counterquestion first:

Q: You say the phrase “black sheep” has been used to mean a bad character since the 17th century. That might be true, but it’s only the result of an even earlier meaning. “Black sheep” is actually a very old weaving term. Black sheep were considered unlucky because you couldn’t dye the wool any other colors.

Grammarphobia couldn’t find any instance of that terminology before or after the bad character definition but suggested a possible link with the “disreputable usage”:

The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest example of “black sheep” meaning a bad character is from a 17th-century religious treatise about the conversion process in Congregational churches of New England:

“Cast out all the Prophane people among us, as drunkards, swearers, whores, lyers, which the Scripture brands for blacke sheepe, and condemnes them in a 100. places.”

They then go further back to the 16th century biblical texts and a passage from the 2013 edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms which suggested that the use of “black sheep” for a person of bad reputation was “based on the idea that black sheep were less valuable than white ones because it was more difficult to dye their wool different colors.”

But a direct link between them? Nothing concrete but not totally implausible. Finally, Grammarphobia discussed the general etymology of “black” as a negative descriptor which would tie the two concepts together, albeit with loose string.

I can still remember the faux debate between White people over the alleged banning of singing “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. You can’t say anything these days. Or in 1997.

How to make a Taiwanese Castella

Taiwanese Castella Cake Recipe | Emojoie

Emojoie Cuisine uploaded a video of its Taiwanese Castella recipe and my mouth is watering as I write this. I love sponge cakes but this looks especially decadent.

The cake was introduced by Portuguese travellers as “a bread from Castile” which the Japanese later turned into Castella. Nagasaki is now regarded as the birthplace of Castella and the cake was introduced to Taiwan when Japan ruled it. Bakeries refined the recipe and in 1975, Castella varieties included local foods including Taiwanese Longan honey and Japanese cheese.

Stream the video below and turn on subtitles for the recipe (available in Swedish, Russian, European Portuguese, Bangla, Korean, Persian, German, Turkish, Italian, Greek, and Arabic).

The influential art of Aaron Douglas

aaron douglas

Aaron Douglas was an African-American artist who became a significant part of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s. His work included illustrations and paintings depicting the racism and segregation suffered in the US.

In 1922, he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and worked as an instructor at Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri before his talent came to the attention of important people in Harlem, New York. Two years after gaining his fine arts degree, he left his teaching job for New York at the behest of Charles S. Johnson, the first Black president of Fisk University.

He went onto become one of the most influential artists of the era and returned to teaching in 1944, when founded the Art Department at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He taught visual art there until his retirement in 1966.

Recommended reading and viewing

Below is a video about one of Aaron Douglas’s most beautiful pieces, “Aspiration”.

A beacon of hope, Aaron Douglas's Aspiration

Black Adam and the Justice Society revealed at DC FanDome

black adam film poster

The upcoming Black Adam film isn’t set for release until December 2021 but who knows if that’ll delayed further. Until then, Dwayne Johnson revealed a new promo with awesome artwork to whet the appetites of fans.

What we also got was a look at some characters from the Justice Society of America including Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone (Atom Smasher was already confirmed). Yep, the JSA will be in this one. And there was a warning to Shazam and the Justice League:

“Things will never be the same. The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change.”

The Rock knows how to cut a promo and despite his reputation as a babyface, he can play a mean heel. BUT I’m not sure how to feel about this. I was excited when he announced he’d be playing Black Adam as I’m a huge fan of the JSA and Black Adam as a villain but I worry it’ll become Another Dwayne Johnson Film™ with a comic theme rather than a fantastic entry point for the JSA and one of their toughest enemies.

Watch the teaser below.

Black Adam - Official Teaser (2021) Dwayne Johnson | DC FanDome

D&D moral alignments of One Tree Hill characters

I was a huge One Tree Hill fan until Lucas and Peyton (played by Hilarie Burton) left (although the Brooke and Julian story arc was good). A few days ago, Screen Rant published a list of D&D moral alignments for 10 of its main characters and I’m not 100% they’re accurate.

In case you don’t know what a D&D moral alignment is, it’s a way to categorise a character based on their morals and ethics based on Dungeons & Dragons. There are 2 axes split into 3 to make a matrix 9 different alignments:

LawfulNeutralChaotic
GoodLawful GoodNeutral GoodChaotic Good
NeutralLawful NeutralTrue NeutralChaotic Neutral
EvilLawful EvilNeutral EvilChaotic Evil
The D&D alignment matrix

From the original list, the obvious ones are right — Haley and Dan on either side of the good/evil spectrum (respectively of course) but it starts to fall off with Peyton’s alignment: chaotic neutral. Chaotic, yes (very) but neutral? She’s much closer to good than evil and given the crap she had to go through in her life (mum dying, almost bleeding to death, dealing with her undying love for Lucas who messed her around a million times, her fake brother-turned-maniacal stalker), she did pretty well to keep it all together and live happily ever after.

And as for Nathan being chaotic good, he only turned good at the end. He was very much Dan’s son for the first few seasons and he was pretty shitty to Haley for that time and after his accident in Season 5. Oh, and the rivalry with Lucas. For me, that characteristic selfishness brings it to at least neutral.

(UDPATE: Upon further consideration, I think chaotic good is right. A lot of his shitty behaviour was down to his manipulative father and Haley really brought out the goodness in him.)

A couple of characters are unaligned including Brooke and Mouth. Brooke was very much the bitchy cheerleader but she was very loyal and caring and she got through the story arc with her mother with her head held high and coped with Julian and his issues in the last couple of seasons. She deserves at least a Neutral Good in my opinion. And Mouth should be up with Haley in Lawful Good as far as I’m concerned. He was a good guy (but not a Nice Guy™️).

And finally Lucas Scott as Lawful Good. Now, I’m biased because I feel he mistreated Peyton (and Brooke) throughout the show and that brings it down to neutral for me. I know the show was primarily about him being the archetypal protagonist who could write and play basketball really well (arguably better than Nathan) and also have feelings but his treatment of his two main love interests on the show can’t be ignored for the sake of the narrative.

There were other characters mentioned like Quinn and Clay but I barely remember them and to be honest, their story arc was boring.

The Collapse of Bon Appétit

Rick, Priya, and Sohla, formerly of Bon Appetit

Last year, I got into Bon Appétit and fell in love with the format of cooking but with a more personable touch. I was used to shows like Kitchen Nightmares, Masterchef (back when Lloyd Grossman presented it), and Saturday Kitchen. But Bon Appétit was fun and entertaining. Until we all found out about the racism.

Jack Saint made a brilliant video called The Collapse of Bon Appétit which deconstructed the ideology behind the channel’s demise and why it was more a symptom of a racist system than an error of judgement. My favourite line was this:

“This was a burgeoning giant of online video, and it just completely shit the bed because it couldn’t stop being racist.”

For me, it was a terrible shame but also a wake up call that this is an issue for all media conglomerates trying to curry favour from the masses. We’ve seen first hand how White these corporations are and how they ill-treat their employees of colour (if they even have any). And for Condé Nast, they weren’t paying their BIPOC workers what they deserved.

But one of the most poignant points that Jack made was about how the chummy relationship between Bon Appétit cast members and their fans was very one-sided. I found myself slipping into that kind of behaviour but nowhere near the apparent fanfics people had made. Yikes. It reminded me of something my friend Keidra once said about fans:

Please y’all, don’t make these idols like your friends. They are doing a job. They have friends that are not you.

I’m not going to police how other people navigate their fandoms, especially when I’ve never been that ingratiated in one myself. From my experience, it’s probably for the best that this kind of ideology was dismantled but I wish it wasn’t off the back of racial exploitation. Again.

The Collapse of Bon Appetit | Jack Saint