Archive for the pop culture Category

Solitude & Participation, the muses of creativity

Posted in art, film, literature, music, news, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science, tech, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2011 by Trip Jennings

This is a good refresher on creativity and how to stoke it. I found myself agreeing that the seemingly contradictory combo of solitude and participation are key to stirring up creativity. I do the participation thing. Reporting. Interacting online. Reading books, magazines, newspapers, blogs. The challenge in my world is finding time for solitude. Thanks to Kelly Brewer for posting it on Facebook.

Amplify’d from

Creativity is a nebulous, murky topic that fascinates me endlessly — how does it work? What habits to creative people do that makes them so successful at creativity?

I’ve reflected on my own creative habits, but decided I’d look at the habits that others consider important to their creativity. I picked a handful of creatives, almost at random — there are so many that picking the best would be impossible, so I just picked some that I admire, who came to mind when I thought of the word “creative”.

This was going to be a list of their creative habits … but in reviewing their lists, and my own habits, I found one that stood out. And it stands out if you review the habits and quotes from great creative people in history.



Computers: Detecting heart disease and recognizing faces, they also gauge how you like a movie

Posted in film, philosophy, pop culture, science, tech, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2011 by Trip Jennings

The New York Times gives us an update on computerized video-cameras and what they’re doing across a wide swath of society.

Amplify’d from

Daniel J. McDuff, a graduate student, stood in front of a mirror at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. After 20 seconds or so, a figure — 65, the number of times his heart was beating per minute — appeared at the mirror’s bottom. Behind the two-way mirror was a Web camera, which fed images of Mr. McDuff to a computer whose software could track the blood flow in his face.

The software separates the video images into three channels — for the basic colors red, green and blue. Changes to the colors and to movements made by tiny contractions and expansions in blood vessels in the face are, of course, not apparent to the human eye, but the computer can see them.

“Your heart-rate signal is in your face,” said Ming-zher Poh, an M.I.T. graduate student. Other vital signs, including breathing rate, blood-oxygen level and blood pressure, should leave similar color and movement clues.


Some of my favorite music from 2010

Posted in music, pop culture, Uncategorized on January 1, 2011 by Trip Jennings

I thought I’d share some of the music I discovered in 2010 with my friends on Amplify, Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler. By no means is this list exhaustive or especially insightful. I’m neither a musician nor a critic, just a music lover.

My list is pretty eclectic. It meanders from Hip Hop and R&B to indie and retro-60s-sounding garage bands to way-out-there experimental stuff. Some of the songs aren’t even new in the universal sense but they are new to me.

The links are to YouTube videos. Some of the content is explicit, so be careful of young ears.

(Disclaimer: This is the first time I’ve tried to put so many links in a blog post. I tested most of them, but if some don’t work or go to the wrong song, sorry.

Here goes:

Dum Dum GirlsJail La La and Longhair.

Janelle Monae caught me flat-footed with her mightily ambitious 2010 release ArchAndroid. Here’s a sampling that shows how many styles she tackles. WondalandMushroom and RosesCold War, Come AliveFaster and Sir Greendown.

Joanna Newsom (Her 2010 release wasn’t as strange, perhaps weird or mind-bending is a better word, as Ys <2006>, but it was very good): Good Intentions Paving Company.

Four Tet: Circling

Yes, it’s from 1972 or thereabouts, but I just discovered Let It Loose and I Just Want to See His Face by the Rolling Stones, off of Exile on Main Street. I know. I know. I’m 38 years late. But these songs are new to me.

Ghostface Killah (Oh yeah, this Wu-Tang Clan is so freaking cool it’s almost criminal.): Ghetto and In Tha Park.

Deerhunter: Desire Lines, Revival and Primitive 3D

Big Boi: Tangerine, Fo Yo Sorrows featuring funk legend George Clinton.

Gil Scott Heron (his new stuff is amazing): Me and the Devil, I’m New Here, New York is Killing Me.

Owen Pallett: The Great Elsewhere AND Lewis Takes off his Shirt (Talk about dedication to his music and fans. He played through a storm on this video.)

Aloe Blacc: I Need a Dollar and Green Lights

Forest Swords (this is pretty experimental stuff): If Your GirlHoylake Misst and Glory Gongs

How to Dress Well: Decisions

Lower Dens: I Get Nervous, Rosie, Two Cocks

Black Keys: Next GirlEverlasting Light, Black Mud

LCD SoundsystemDance Yrself CleanI Can Change

Mavis Staples: Last Train, Only the Lord Knows, Wrote a Song for Everyone

Aloha: Moonless March

Black Hollies: Number Ten Girl, Gloomy Monday Morning

The National: Terrible Love

Flying Lotus: Do the Astral Plane

Janelle Monae: an impressive talent

Posted in art, music, pop culture, Uncategorized on December 28, 2010 by Trip Jennings

O.K., I don’t usually do the music critic thing. But Janelle Monae, an artist I’d never heard of from Atlanta, blew me away this week. Her 2010 release, ArchAndroid, is pretty ambitious. Monae mixes styles, layers sounds upon sounds and alternately croons and screams, rock style, to keep a listener guessing as how to rightly categorize her. On one song she’s doing the 80s dance thing. On the next she’s all into psychedelic rock. On still another she’s doing an imitation of the Fleet Foxes. There’s even a science fiction/cinema angle sorta involved. Fritz Lang’s classic movie Metropolis inspired ArchAndroid. Like an NPR reviewer wrote, she’s part musical genius, part mad scientist. Here are a few of her songs: COLD WAR 57821 ALIVE MUSHROOMS AND ROSES WONDALAND

R.I.P. Captain Beefheart

Posted in art, music, pop culture, Uncategorized with tags , on December 19, 2010 by Trip Jennings

RIP Donald Glen Vliet (Captain Beefheart). I know I’m a day late, but better later than never, right?! The dude charted his own course. He made some nifty music. Thanks to Jen Grover for posting this video. Enjoy.

Student protests open window into broader discussion

Posted in art, literature, music, news, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science, tech with tags , , on December 12, 2010 by Trip Jennings

I’ve not paid close attention to the recent protests in Britain beyond reading the headlines and marveling at the shocked faces of Prince Charles and Camilla as angry students attacked their car last week. But a couple of blog posts I read today, admittedly old posts, opened a window into the situation, at least for me. It’s a small window, from a distinct angle. Historical allusions to May 1968, of course, are on display, as is the contention that students are putting to use what they are learning in class. I’m always suspicious of such grand comparisons and pronouncements that students are making the move from theory to praxis. But I found the posts worth reading, not only for the on-the-ground observations but for suggesting ways to think about the protests. this one:

UPDATE: The first URL doesn’t lead you to the essay I read, so I’m posting the address again.


Fastest Rising Google Searches in 2010

Posted in music, news, pop culture, tech with tags , , , , on December 11, 2010 by Trip Jennings

wow … 2010 is almost over.