a directory of the bizarre, disturbing, and wonderful

MGMT – Electric Feel

Here’s the video for “Electric Feel” by MGMT:

I was curious about the bear, so I did some research.

Drumming Bear from MGMT - "Electric Feel" (via

Drumming Bear from MGMT - "Electric Feel"

The drumming bear came from an eccentric, fast-talking engineer who claims to have invented e-mail before there was e-mail. That’s Aaron Fechter, founder of Creative Inc. His company manufactured The Rock-afire Explosion, an animatronic robot band that played in Showbiz Pizza Place restaurants during the 80s.

” The characters in The Rock-afire Explosion were various animals ranging from a dog to a gorilla. They would perform medleys of classic rock, pop, and country music, as well as original compositions.” (1)

According to band member Andrew VanWyngarden, the video is “about a woman who comes from the amazon rainforest, who has the power to shock people with electricity that runs through her veins”. His concept for the video was a “hillbilly jambourie that mixes Snoop Dogg with some psychadelic cartoons and … some animatronic Chucky Cheese shit.” (2)

I don’t buy it. The song is clearly about hobbits. It’s about hobbits who take ecstasy and have a wild party in the forest, and two motorcycle gods who come and crash their party by exploding the moon.

Complete with animatronic bears, hobits, and Hell’s Angels-style dieties, you would think this video is pretty much unbeatable. So why do I still prefer the fan version?



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Japan’s Kitty Obsession

The Japanese seem to have a long-running love affair with cats. The myth of the Maneki Neko (the “Beckoning Cat”) has been around for at least a few hundred years.

Maneki Neko -- Beckoning Cat

“The Maneki Neko (招き猫, literally “Beckoning Cat“; also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Money cat or Fortune Cat) is a common Japanese sculpture, often made of porcelain or ceramic, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner. The sculpture depicts a cat (traditionally a Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning. In the design of the sculptures, a raised right paw supposedly attracts money, while a raised left paw attracts customers.”

Then there’s the bakaneko, a fire-breathing ghost-cat that can reanimate corpses by jumping over them. Sounds pretty scary. Where do they come from, and how do I avoid them!? Well, a normal cat may become a bakaneko if its tail grows to a certain size — one possible explanation for why short-tailed cats are so common in Japan.

In a previous post, I talked about a Japanese photo contest for cats that sit like humans. The contest has concluded, and here is the winner:

Suko Zuwari photo contest winner

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Supersystem – White Light / White Light

Supersystem was a band from Washington, D.C. described as a mix of rock, punk, pop and dance music. Here’s a sample:

This video shows what happens when you play too many video games. First, you being to see neon afterimages. Then, they fly around and attack you, and your drum set turns into Space Invaders.

Here is another song by Supersystem: Born Into The World. Δ

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Transformer – Cinema Car

Here’s an awesome music video from Brighton’s disco quartet Transformer:

“We are geeks!” – Johny Giles, lead vocalist

These self-described geeks say their sound is “full on dance music, but live, trying to fit in stuff from the 70s and late 60s, disco stuff, early 80s new wave, post-punk, all squished together to make a big banging sound with grooves.” Further evidence that geek is the new cool. Δ

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Adlicious: Hula, Yoga, Sumo

Great advertisements — but can you guess what they’re for?

That’s right: these ads are promoting the new version of Scrabble that comes with LSD-coated letters. The game gets increasingly surreal as you play. About halfway through, the words you’ve spelled start coming out of the board and dancing around you. People usually leave the game at this point to go outside and look at trees.

If you want an easy advantage, wear gloves while handling the pieces 😉

See the rest of the ads here. Δ

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SEGA Fireworks

Last night I went down to Crab Park to watch the Canada Day fireworks. There were so many colors and loud booms and all the people were being drunk at each other… it was great. After the finale, I suddenly thought why not have fireworks every day of the year? So I rushed home, put on my inventing hat, and rolled up an inspiration stick. Two hours later I had a working prototype. Only problem is, the godamn Japanese beat me to the punch. Just look at this!

Sega Toys makes indoor fireworks

Sega Toys Japan has heard your prayers and answered ’em in the form of the Uchiage Hanabi. This is essentially a projector that displays “fireworks” on the walls and ceilings, with realistic movement and sound. And if that weren’t enough, you can create your own fireworks and program your own shows. Now you can have Bastille Day, every day, in the privacy of your apartment! Out August 1, with a list price of $168.

Needless to say, I’m pissed off that SEGA jumped on this goldmine before I had the chance.  But I have a plan to steal market share: I’ll make a version with real fireworks that shoot out of a tiny canon, and while it’s shooting flaming objects around your house, The Final Countdown will blare from two little speakers on the side of it. The device will come with safety goggles (for the children) and pet armor (in case you own a cat):

Armor For Cats

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Hot Chip and littleBits

littleBits are Lego-like circuit components that fit together magnetically. The Japanese used them to build Optimus Prime. Here is a video demonstrating an intriguing use of the littleBits technology:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Note that the beverage produced by this ultra-futuristic coffee maker was invisible. Why is that? In the future, we will live so much inside our minds that it won’t matter whether the things we eat and drink actually exist. The guys at littleBits understand this. They recognize that existent food items are overrated: hot coffee can scald people, burnt toast causes cancer, eggs have salmonella. But if we eliminated the physical incarnation of these troublesome edibles, leaving only the idea of them — well, all our problems would be solved.

This video really does justice to the de-physicalization concept, and as a bonus it was set to the snazzy Hot Chip song “Ready For The Floor”.

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Wiley – Wearin’ My Rolex

Danceable eye-candy from Wiley — here’s Wearin’ My Rolex (What Would We Do):

On a side note, Wiley took his name from the animated series ThunderCats — a series about cat-like humanoid aliens from the planet Thundera. I wonder if Wiley is secretly a furry

Wiley goes to a furry convention

Furries at convention

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Peter, Bjorn, and John – Lay It Down

Check out this awesome video from Peter, Bjorn, and John:

I have to organize a mask party in Vancouver. Δ

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German Animation: Don’t Build Here!

This animated short was made last year to rally opposition against the development plans of German investment giant Mediaspree:

Development plans for Berlin’s Spreeufer (a 400km river that runs past East Berlin) were put on hold during the 90s because of Germany’s ailing economy. The plans were dug up during the recent boom, much to the chagrin of these guys, who made this video to influence people’s decision on the upcoming Bürgerentscheid (referendum) in Berlin.

From the German Viral Video Awards 2008:

Wenn sich eine engagierte Gruppe eines wichtigen Themas wie der mindestens zwiespältigen Stadtplanung annimmt und mit geringen finanziellen Mitteln das Netz in jeder erdenklichen Form zur Verbreitung ihres Anliegens nutzt – und wenn diese Gruppe damit bis zu einem Volksentscheid in ihrem Sinne kommt, dann ist das nichts geringeres als Bürgerinitiative 2.0 und verdient unsere lobende Erwähnung.

When a committed group undertakes an important topic, like disputed city plans, and with slim financing uses the net in every conceivable way to advance their agenda — and when this leads to an important public decision — that is nothing less than People’s Initiative 2.0, and earns our praise and mention. (my translation)

Enjoy this cool, quirky video. Δ

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