Hoppala: The Blogger of Augmented Reality?

When content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Blogger hit the Web several years ago, the Internet entered a new age where it became quick and easy for anyone with a computer to contribute content. This week, augmented reality (AR) took a significant step toward becoming more like the read/write Web with the launch of an online mobile AR CMS for creating content on the Layar platform.

“Augmentation” – a Web-based tool for generating mobile AR content – was created by Layar Partner Network member Hoppala. With a Layar developer account, users of Augmentation can easily and instantaneously place their content in Layar with zero code and a few clicks on a map. Custom icons, images, audio, video and 3D content can all be added by way of a full screen map interface, and Hoppala will even host all of the data.

ReadWriteWeb: Augmented Reality Becoming More Like the Read/Write Web

Previously: Create your own augmented reality maps – Layar tutorial – but this looks even easier.

Red State Soundsystem’s Joshua Ellis – Technoccult interview

red states oundsystem

Multi-instrumentalist Joshua Ellis, who records under the name Red State Soundsystem, has just self-released his debut album Ghosts a Burning City. Ellis – whose music sounds like a cross between Paul Simon and Nine Inch Nails – recorded, mixed, and mastered the album himself. I caught up with him via instant messenger to talk about his music and DIY music production.

Klint Finley: Can you explain the name “Red State Soundsystem”?

Joshua Ellis: It started from a lame joke. When the band Cansei de Ser Sexy came out, I noticed everybody abbreviated their name to CSS. Being a Web nerd, I giggled.

I used to release stuff under my own name, but I dug the idea of having a sort of secret identity. Plus I wanted to maybe collaborate with various other people. So I wanted a band name. I started thinking about Web acronyms — HTML, PHP…RSS. What would be a cool name that could be abbreviated as RSS?

And it came to me. It just sounded cool and vaguely political and funny. Then I came up with my logo — the old red pickup truck in a field with bigass soundsystem speakers in the bed. And it just seemed perfect.

How has the response been to the name? Your music sounds a lot more global and cosmopolitan than I would expect from the name. Not that I don’t love the name, it’s just a little surprising I guess.

People seem to think it’s funny, I guess. Part of the joke of the name was that I wanted to invoke Middle America — which is where I basically exist — and also that exotic notion of Jamaican/African soundsystems, a weird juxtaposition. It’s like the idea of bringing the bigger outside world to Middle America. But yeah, the music is very specifically and intentionally globalist.

joshua ellis

(Above: Joshua Ellis, photo by Danny Mollohan)

One reviewer, I can’t find the review right now, said that GIABC is an extremely Vegas album, that Vegas sun sort of permeates the entire album – something along those lines. As a total Vegas outsider – I’ve only ever driven through – I don’t hear that at all. Would you agree with that?

I don’t think of GIABC as a Vegas album at all. I wrote and recorded it while living here, but bits were also recorded while I was on various adventures elsewhere, and a lot of the lyrics are sort of my romantic ideas about living in a big, globally-connected world and traveling and nomadism and such.

And I really think of it as a night record, not a day record. For most of the year here in Vegas, we don’t go out in the day, because it’s one of the hottest places in the Northern Hemisphere. I’m very much a late-night person, and I think the album sounds like that.

Yeah, I didn’t get the “sun drenched” part at all. It sounded very “late night” to me.

I hate to ask any artist what any song is about, but “Berlin Floor Show” has me so curious I can’t help but ask – can you give us some hint as to what inspired it?


You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.

No, I’m happy to.

That started out as me trying to write a PJ Harvey song — like “To Bring You My Love” vintage PJ.

The lyric was inspired by a story I heard or read once, and I have no idea if it’s true or not. The story was this: back in the Weimar era, Marlene Dietrich used to do cabaret shows in drag. For one show, the stage was set with a double staircase, each side curving around the stage, and in the middle of the stage was a bed.

Marlene would appear at the top of the stairs in a coat and tails and a top hat, and a man would appear in drag. They’d be lip-syncing to a duet, but Marlene would do the male voice and the man would do the woman’s voice. They’d slowly descend the stairs, singing.

When they got to the bottom, they’d take off their clothes and get on the bed. Marlene would be wearing a strap-on…and she’d fuck the guy in the ass, still singing the song.

I have no idea if that’s true, and I don’t remember where I heard it.

But it made me think of the whole myth of Berlin — y’know, Bowie and Iggy running around with drag queens, the cabaret, all that — and the lyrics really just sort of flowed out by themselves.

At that point, I’d never been to Berlin. When I finally got there, I was totally delighted to discover that the ambience of the song was actually kind of accurate and fit the vibe of the city well.

I love that city, by the way. I could live there easily.

When I went to Berlin, I had no idea how to get to the hostel I was staying at. So I just got off the train at a random stop and wandered around. At first it seemed like a normal European city and I was all like “So this is Berlin?” I was looking for an Internet cafe to lookup directions, and I found one that was next to a fetish shop that was right next door to a kids toy store. I felt like I was really in Berlin then.

Exactly. Such a remarkable city, and very much a city of opposites. Wenders totally nailed that in Wings of Desire.

Any chance of Red State Sound System going on tour?

I don’t know. Even playing live is a logistical nightmare, because to do these songs as they appear on record would require an eight piece band. I’m currently trying to build stripped-down arrangements for myself and a couple of other people to perform live — my collaborator Aaron Archer on guitar, my backup singer Rosalie Miletich running loops in Ableton and singing, maybe a couple of other people. But it’s difficult, because I’m afraid that the songs lose something when you remove all the little textures and stuff.

Having said that, I’d love to tour. But it’s also a question of finance. I have a day job, and touring is expensive if you don’t have a label.

ghosts in a burning city

Have you learned anything new since you wrote your post “Things I have discovered in three days of selling my album online” that you’d like to share?

Since then, I’ve done some interviews and had a really nice feature in the Las Vegas CityLife. I think press gives me legitimacy — for a lot of people, it means that if I’m worth writing about, I’m worth listening to.

Other than that, jury’s still out. Sales are slow but steady. It’s nice when people blog about the album (like you!) and review it on iTunes and Amazon.

Warren Ellis gave me a plug on his blog and I probably sold a half-dozen records that night. So that’s lovely.

It’s hard to know how to promote the album — the whole world of MP3 blogs and online music ‘zines is such new territory. I’m kind of making it up as I go along.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered while recording, and what has been the biggest challenge on the business side of releasing the album?

Oh, God, recording is all challenges. I had a very hard time learning how to record and mix my vocals. I’m a baritone, so my voice doesn’t cut through the other instruments the way, say, Robert Plant’s voice does. So I had to mix everything in a really weird, house-of-cards kind of way so you could hear what I was singing. Another challenge was simply finding time and space to actually do the live recording. Some of this was recorded in my parents’ living room when everybody was asleep. Most of it was just in my spare bedroom, recording vocals at night after the planes stopped flying overhead. (The airport in Vegas is in the middle of town, about two miles from my house.)

Business-wise…simply getting the word out. I think there’s a market for this music, if people find out about it. But again, without a label, I can’t put ads in Rolling Stone or even Pitchfork, I’m not doing the talk show circuit, I’m having trouble affording to make physical copies to sell/distribute to reviewers.

Do you get complaints from your neighbors?

No, thankfully! I don’t sing very loud, and of course when you’re recording you’re wearing headphones to keep the tracks from bleeding. I mix mostly in the afternoon, early evening. But I’m lucky enough that my condo has good insulation, plus my studio’s in the front of the place, so it’s not next to anybody else.

Also, 85% of the album is all done in-computer. The only live instruments are guitar, bass and vocals, period.

Did you rely mostly on headphones for monitoring or speakers?

Speakers. I have a little pair of M-Audio nearfield monitors. But when I did the final mixes, I tested it on those, on headphones, on my home stereo with giant old 70s speakers, and on my iPhone. Just to make sure.

What key things do you think a beginning home recorder should invest in first?

The most important things, I think, are these: a good audio interface with minimal noise and high-bitrate capabilities, and the best microphone preamp you can afford. With those things, you can afford to be a little lax on other stuff.

Also, the most important investment is time. Learn everything you can. Listen to your favorite albums, figure out what you like about the sound, try to figure out how they did it. Read reviews of gear. Read magazines like Sound on Sound and Future Music. It took me a lot longer to learn how to record than it actually did to record the album.

You don’t really need high-end gear to make high-end music. Hell, I recorded the vocals for most of this album using a Shure SM-58 running into a $50 Behringer mixer. (Though the vocals are the one thing I’d really change about the album, so maybe that’s not a good example.)

red state soundsystem studio

(Above: Ellis’s home studio)

What are some good resources for learning to record?

Craig Anderton’s book Home Recording for Musicians is a classic. I was also extremely enamored of Daniel Lanois’s documentary Here Is What Is, which you can buy from his website. It’s basically a two hour movie about his recording process, with Brian Eno and U2 and Levon Helm. You could do worse than Lanois as a guru for recording. (I really love his production work, and also his own stuff, which is some of my favorite music in the world.)

I think that a lot of the stuff that seems more difficult to do in a home environment — like soundproofing and building a vocal booth — isn’t really necessary.

The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to do more with less, I think.

Trent Reznor wrote that all new artists should give away their music for free, but you’re obviously not following that advice and you don’t seem to be suffering from it. On the other hand, you weren’t a complete unknown since you’re known for other things.

Well, Trent can afford to say that kind of thing, frankly, because he’s in a position to be generous. I’d like people to buy my music, but I’m not fascist about it, and I don’t think $10 from my website (or less from Amazon, sigh) is unreasonable.

I think if I gave it away, more people would obtain it…but I also don’t think they’d give it their full attention. When you buy a record — when you commit your money to it — you’re more apt to really listen to it, because it cost you something to get it. You can download an artist’s entire discography off Bittorrent, but are you really then going to sit down and just listen to it, start to finish? You’re not appreciating, you’re archiving. I do it too — I’ll download somebody’s free album, listen to the beginning of like four tracks, and think “I’ll listen to this later”. And I never do. But if I pay for it, I want to hear it.

And I’m slightly known for my writing and for Mperia.com, but musically I’m definitely pretty obscure. A few people have heard and dug the stuff I’ve put out before, but I don’t think anybody thinks of me as a “musician”, though I hope GIABC will change that.

What would be your own advice to new artists releasing their first work?

I think the most important thing is to be absolutely assured of the value of your work. If you think your album sucks or nobody’s going to care, well…you’ll be right. But no matter if you’re a great artist or just an okay one, you’ve done the hardest thing: you’ve made something to put out into the world. That’s a remarkable thing.

Beyond that…if you think the hard part’s done, you’re in trouble. It’s going to take just as much work or more to get your music in front of people than it did to make it. You are no longer a musician — you’re a marketing person.

I’ve actually written a guide to establishing an online presence for indie musicians.

Back when you were running Mperia I recall that you said that you were surprised to find a lot more electronic musicians embracing Mperia than “indie rock” musicians. I forget why you thought that was at the time, but I’ve been thinking about it lately and wondering if it’s because most rock musicians have more opportunities to make money as performers than most electronic musicians. I mean, even those electronic musicians who have a means for actually performing their work seem to have more limits in terms of venues and audiences than rock bands.

Absolutely. But I also think it’s because electronic musicians, by their very nature, are more comfortable with technology. I think things have changed since then, though. More indie artists are becoming comfortable with the Net as a tool.

You’re definitely right about the performance thing, though I think there’s one exception: DJs. A club DJ can make a hell of a lot more money than a band, because a) he can work the same venue every week, b) he’s the only one taking the cut, c) his time/money expenses are far smaller.

I’m thinking about getting back into DJing for this reason. Hell, when I was the Friday night DJ at a bar here in Vegas, spinning Peaches and Bowie for the hipster kids, I was sometimes pulling in $250-300 each week, taking a percentage of the bar. And that was a small place! DJs at the big clubs on the Strip here in Vegas make fuck-you money.

Well, I think there’s a big difference between DJs and electronic musicians, but DJing is one way for electronic musicians to make money.

Right, of course.

It’s expensive to build up a good vinyl collection, though. If you’re still doing things that way.

How very droll of you. I have an iPod and DJ software.

I actually want to start using Ableton to do on-the-fly remixing in clubs. But that might take more time/focus than I can spare right now.

I actually wonder how purely electronic DJing will effect the ability of DJs to make a living, though. It really lowers the barrier of entry.

Especially if you just pirate all the music you “spin.”

Yeah, it does, and I know a lot of vinyl DJs who were/are resentful of it. But how much of a DJ’s ability/popularity is due to his or her skill with records, and how much of it is based on taste and ability to drop a kickass mix? I think people like me as a DJ because I’m not too weird, but I have an extremely eclectic sensibility — I’ll go from the Velvets to the KLF and I think it makes sense.

One of the various things you’re famous for is your essay/lectureGrim Meat Hook Future,” and one reviewer of your album wrote “As the West’s happy facade falls, Ghosts is the proper soundtrack.” So do you think we’re doomed, or do you think there’s some way out of the hole we’ve collectively dug ourselves into?

I think that the world we’ve built for ourselves — the post-WWII globalist civilization — cannot sustain itself. This world is slowly ending. You see it every day and so do I. But I no longer believe that necessarily leads to horror and anarchy. People seem to be waking up, to be realizing that it’s possible to have less and still be okay. It’s slow, but I think it’s happening.

But there are going to be upheavals. They’re unavoidable. Las Vegas is a great example: this city is completely unsustainable. It’s a geographically-isolated place that relies entirely on long-distance trucking for its goods and long-distance travel to bring the tourists that supply it. When fuel prices go up, the price of living in Vegas goes up…and the city’s income falters, because it’s more expensive to come here. Not to mention that we have more foreclosures and abandoned property than any city in America except Detroit, and we run neck-and-neck with them consistently.

Now that may sound like a local problem…but if Vegas begins to turn into a ghost city, all the nearly 2 million people who live here have to go somewhere. And they are, statistically speaking, two million of the least-educated people in America. (Sorry, but it’s true.) So where do they go and what do they do? Talk about scatterlings and refugees.

And it’s not just Vegas; it’s the whole American Southwest that can’t sustain. You’re talking about fifty million people who, in the next twenty years, are going to be displaced. And that’s just one group of people who are relatively financially able to weather the storm. God only knows what’s going to happen in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, the developing world.

But here’s the secret: this is always happening. My point about the Grim Meathook Future was that it looked a lot like the Grim Meathook Present and the Grim Meathook Past. Human civilization is always in upheaval; one society stabilizes, another one elects a crazy strongman as leader and goes absolutely apeshit. This has been happening for ten thousand years.

For me personally, I don’t think I’ll be living in a tent in the desert eating rats and bartering my ass for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups anytime soon. But I may be naive in my thinking.

And yeah, the album definitely reflects a lot of my thinking in this direction.

Interview with @dangerousmeme

Dangerousmeme is a subversive art project with a coterie of followers on the fringe.”

We are naturally drawn to hyperbole. I take furtive pleasure assuming the role of Cassandra or a ‘ Henny Penny‘. I ask people to question the source of their beliefs. We live in a soundbite-sized world where complex ideas are distilled as reductio ad absurdum. While my overarching themes tend to be dramatic, I also see humor in the outrageous, ominous ideas in our midst. I hope my followers they can muster a smile in the face of this dire information, have a better understanding of when it matters, and formulate their own informed opinions about the true nature of things.

I find irony in the number of people who follow me because they quickly read my tweets and accept them as truth, at face value. This is the tiny conceit in my concept. The net is wide, much greater than it would naturally be if I simply tweeted my own personal beliefs. However, by catching these ideological sleepers and gradually exposing them to a breadth of ideas, I hope I am ultimately not only preaching to the converted.

Globatron: Interview with @dangerousmeme

This sounds a lot like my philosophical approach to Technoccult for a long period of its existence. For various reasons, this has become more and more untenable and I’ve started to editorialized more and more.

Alan Moore collaborating with the Gorillaz, and more

Mustard interviews Alan Moore about his new magazine Dodgem Logic and he reveals that he is doing the libretto for their next opera and they will hopefully be contributing a few pages to the magazine:

Then the issue after that we’ve hopefully got Gorillaz onboard. They came down to Northampton last week because we’re planning for me to do the libretto on their next opera project. Being an opportunist, I of course asked them if they’d be prepared to contribute some pages to Dodgem Logic. Rather than just doing an interview with them, I thought it would be interesting to hand over a few pages for them to curate.

Mustard: Alan Moore talks Dodgem Logic

(via 24 Bit via Joe Matheny)

Update: Moore now says this has been overblown.

David Simon: Dead-Wrong Dinosaur

I caught some of David Simon’s testimony to the Senate on the radio the other day. It was like nails on a chalk board for me – listening to the same dead wrong arguments over and over again.

Ryan Tate says some of the things I wanted to shout through the radio:

I found this argument odd, because as a newspaper reporter who spent a few years covering a town much like Baltimore — Oakland, California — I often found that bloggers were the only other writers in the room at certain city council committee meetings and at certain community events. They tended to be the sort of persistently-involved residents newspapermen often refer to as “gadflies” — deeply, obsessively concerned about issues large and infinitesimal in the communities where they lived.

Gawker: David Simon: Dead-Wrong Dinosaur

Memo to newspaper journalists: “online news” doesn’t begin and end with Matt Drudge, and newspaper subscription never paid your salary.

Laid-Off Arizona Journalists Start Online-Only Publications

The Arizona Guardian and Heat City are two examples of web-only news sites started by recently unemployed journalists.

The Arizona Guardian is run by four Phoenix-based journalists who were recently laid off from the East Valley Tribune. The Guardian covers legislative issues and other aspects of the state capitol.

Heat City is run by Nick Martin, another journalist laid off by the Tribune. The website covers criminal justice and media issues, but the centerpiece of its coverage is the trial of accused serial killer Dale Hausner.

Full Story: Media Shift

(via Ethan Z)

Print your own books from Wikipedia

wikipedia books

Wikipedia is offering a new service allowing users to select articles from Wikipedia and have them printed as a book:

Step 1 – Creating the book from a collection of articles

The book collection menu, entitled “Create a book”, can be seen on the left hand side of the browser screen towards the bottom. It contains two links by default: “Add wiki page” and “Books help”. (See Fig 1).

By clicking on the “Add wiki page” link, the page currently being viewed is added to the collection. To add more pages you must navigate to the next desired page and click the “Add wiki page” link again. You can also add all pages in a category with one click. The number of pages in the book is shown in the menu on the left and is updated automatically.

If required, specific revisions (versions) of pages from their histories, can be specified in your book. See the experts page for details.

Step 2 – The book title

Once all the desired pages have been added, click the “Show book” button to review your book. Furthermore it is possible to add a book title and change the ordering of the wiki pages of the book (see details of how to do this in the Advanced functionality section).

Step 3 – Download or order a printed copy of your book

The finished book can be downloaded or ordered as a bound book. You can download the book, in PDF and OpenDocument format (viewable using OpenOffice.org software), by clicking the “Download” button (see Fig 3). To order the book as a bound book click the “Order book from PediaPress” button. Further information about printed books can be found in the FAQ.

More Info: Wikipedia

Wikipedia Books FAQ

(via Robot Wisdom)

This is one of the business models I suggested for newspapers.

Intermittens: a Journal of Discordian Bullshit

intermittens journal of discordian bullshit

Presenting Intermittens. Intermittens is a periodical journal of Discordian diarrhea – an incontinent splattering of juicy ideas and corny jokes. Originally produced by the irreverant spags of the Peedy cabal, Intermittens is an expanding attempt to document some of the antics going on today in the Discordian Society. Every issue has a different editor. All content (unless otherwise marked) is from / for the public domain.

This project is an attempt to create an open-source Discordian magazine. We encourage anyone, even you, to haphazardly throw together an issue of what you think is cool. The project itself is a Golden Apple Seed Mission, or GASM, meaning we want your help! We need people who have writing, graphic, and layout skillz. We also need people with the balls to edit their own issue of Intermittens and join the elite Editor Cabal. Do you have what it takes? No, you don’t; none of us do. That’s why we’re making DIY magazines and not professional ones. And that’s why we need more cooks to foul the broth.

Intermittens is being published on a (roughly) monthly schedule. If you’re interested in helping out, check in at principiadiscordia.com/forum and martyr yourself for the cause. In any case, we hope you dig it. And by all means, share. Send the PDFs on to people you know, people you love, people you hate, hamsters, and other creatures.

My friend Telarus, KSC designed the first issue. Seems like a fun project.

Intermittens: a Journal of Discordian Bullshit

New “reality hacking” magazine seeking submissions

‘Project Bluebird: Fucking with Reality’, is a quarterly-release periodical commencing production in 2009. Project Bluebird concentrates primarily on the topics of Reality Hacking, Bio-Psionics, Neo-tantra and Modern Mysticism. Each issue of Project Bluebird features a full-color cover, with internal black and white artwork and text.

Submissions of Writing and Art are now being accepted for the first issue of Project Bluebird. Please submit all content using the Submissions Form. For more information about Project Bluebird, please contact us. Writing should be articles, narrative, poetic, or blends thereof. Other content may be accepted depending on the quality and type of submission.

Editorial Staff: Kara Rae Garland, Lillian Grace, Samm Hain, and Edward E. Wilson.

Availability: Coming 2009.
Pricing: TBA.

Project Bluebird

Interview with Author Sue Lange

“At one time or another Sue Lange has been one of the following (pretty much in this order): child, student, potato picker, first chair flautist, librarian, last chair flautist, babysitter, newspaper deliverer, apple picker, form cutter, drama club treasurer, track and field timer, Ponderosa Steak House salad server (before the salad bar days, of course), disco dance instructor, waitress, wire harness assembler, usher, Baskin-Robbins ice cream dipper, volleyball team captain, biology club treasurer, circuit board checker, form reader, day camp counselor, tutor, stock room attendant, nurse aide, chemistry technician, senior chemistry technician, right fielder, Plant Laboratory Supervisor–non-radiological, house sitter, first base, receptionist, stage manager, data input technician, actor, bookkeeper, vocalist, typesetter, songwriter, recording artist, home builder, viticulturist, Digital Production Manager, orchardist, and Applescripter. Lately she’s been writing.”

TiamatsVision– For those unfamiliar with your work, tell us a bit about yourself.

Sue Lange– Well I started out as a child, and then I grew up. After that terrifying experience I moved to New York City and discovered who I really was. Turns out I was musician so I started a band. Crabby Lady was the last incarnation. I stripped the music from my lyrics and published my story as science fiction (“Tritcheon Hash”). That went over like a lead balloon so I tried again (“We, Robots”). Blowing my modicum of success with the second book all of out of proportion gave me the nerve to try it once more, hence my third book, “The Textile Planet”.

TiamatsVision– How did the idea for Book View Café come about and what was involved in putting the site together?

Sue Lange– A number of people on the SF-FFW Yahoo group (women writers of speculative fiction) started yakking about offering fiction for free online to create some buzz for our work. We read stuff like Cory Doctorow’s manifesto on the subject and got inspired. Never one for talk without action, Sarah Zettel grew tired of our ranting and said, “Let’s do it.” A bunch of us got eager and jumped on the band wagon, and voila, BVC is born.

TiamatsVision– What do you see happening with Book View Café in the future?

Sue Lange– I think we’re going to become a publisher. We’re going to have a model in place for publishing Internet fiction and making money at it. We’ll know how to make it, serve it, promote it, and sell it. We’ll have a handful of formidable partners that will be able to distribute our product in the myriad formats out there. We’ll have content in Internet formats, ebooks, print books, and podcasts. Wherever there is content, we will be there.

TiamatsVision– Tell us about your current project titled “The Textile Planet”, which is available on Book View Cafe.

Sue Lange“The Textile Planet” is a rather long-winded tale of speculative fiction. Because it was so overwritten, I decided it would be perfect for adding even more content to in the form of links to back story and little playlets and stuff like that. It could go on forever with bits added here and there as I see, and perhaps the audience sees, fit. Underneath it all though, there is a story. It follows corporate stooge, Marla Gershe, as she foments revolution in her day job. The consequences of her foolish action follow her eventually to the ends of the universe.

TiamatsVision– What inspired you to write it?

Sue Lange– Three day gigs: my job at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, my job at IEEE Communications Society, and a weird little part-time thing I did on the NYC textile exchange. The first two jobs were and are hectic at times and very inspiring when considering revolution. I’m sure there are many people out there who have also at some point in their life fantasized about tipping the in basket over the side of the desk and pulling the emergency switch. They can relate to those moments that inspired this story.
The third job was just plain bizarre and inspirational for anyone writing spec fic. It pretty much provided the setting and circumstances of the story.

TiamatsVision– The main story centers on the textile industry and fashion. Is this something you’ve always been interested in?

Sue Lange– No, but that textile exchange job gave me a slit of a window into how it works from soup to nuts. The textile exchange itself consists of little offices in the Chelsea section of NYC. The Seventh Ave./30th Street area. Around Penn Station actually. There’s no fancy building or big sculpture to let you know something big is going on. The only evidence of its existence is that you’ll see racks of raw mink rolling around the dirty streets at odd hours. Surrealistic. You look at one of these racks and wonder what the value is. Thousands of dollars? Hundreds only maybe, until they’re stitched into a coat? That and the fact that 7th Avenue was renamed Fashion Ave. are the only indicators of the industry. There are a lot of wholesalers in the area selling fabric and notions by the ton to the trade only. So there’s that.

My gigmaster sold shop towels from Russia where they were cheap to make. All day long he moved Russian shop towels from one buyer to the next. He was quite successful at it. He had a bunch of other businesses here and there as well. I had been working for him for about three days when he asked me if I wanted to be a plant manager for a textile concern of his down in Georgia. I ask you, would you take a position that someone is so desperate to fill they’re asking strangers? I’ve spent long hours imagining the horror that place down there must be and “The Textile Planet” resulted from that. I did some research for it, but fabrication based on my imaginations is so much more fun. In the end there’s not much basis in reality in the book. Especially when we get to the ends of the Universe, but I guess that’s obvious.

TiamatsVision– What made you decide to make this a multimedia project?

Sue Lange– I wanted to cut out some stuff that was making the action drag. Instead of just cutting it out, though, I used it for clickable content. The radio play is just more of the same dialogue illustrating that Marla is having a bad day. It just never ends, so I had some friends in for dinner and we recorded the various conversations that had been cut out, added some sound effects and background patter and there you are. Multimedia content.

TiamatsVision– Do you plan to do more multimedia projects in the future?

Sue Lange– Depends on how this one works out. If people are interested in it. I love doing it, but I don’t know if it enhances a person’s enjoyment of the material. The story really stands on it’s own, but I like adding sound effects. Instead of describing what someone is hearing, maybe it’s better to give them an example. But does anyone really care what a home-made version of a Santana song without percussion would sound like? I mean, just thinking about it is pretty funny, considering Santana’s lineup was about 75% drums et al. But if someone is not familiar with Santana’s music, they might not get just how bad it would be. If you’ve listened to the recording you know how bad it is. And having been part of lots of DIY music projects, I know how funny it can get. It’s worth a cheap joke.

TiamatsVision– What are some of your interests other than writing?

Sue Lange– Music, obviously. I love movies. I’m writing a piece on Lina Wertmuller’s “Love and Anarchy” for the Aqueduct Press, 2008 wrapup. I just learned to ride horses a couple of years ago. I do organic farming, have a peach orchard and do vegetables and my signature garlic every year. And I love to perform. Sing, dance, pass gas. It’s all good.

TiamatsVision- What else have you written and are there other projects you’re currently working on?

Sue Lange– My first published book was “Tritcheon Hash”, about a hapless space age pilot that has to visit Earth and see if a partnership with the inhabitants there will be a win-win situation. “We, Robots” is about a hapless domestic robot that learns what it means to be human. “The Textile Planet” is about a hapless worker in the textile industry. And my next project is called “The Perpetual Motion Club” which is about a hapless teenager that gets hung up on a basketball star and perpetual motion phenomena.

TiamatsVision– If people want to read more of your work or purchase your books where do they go?

Sue LangeAmazon of course. “We, Robots” is cheaper at the publisher’s website (http://www.aqueductpress.com/orders.html). My blog on the subject (usually) of The Singularity Theory is at http://scusteister.livejournal.com. My website is kinda fun: http://www.suelangetheauthor.com and I have a couple of stories up at bookviewcafe.com for free. Some of my other stories have been published on the Internet. Can’t remember exactly where right now. A lot of the sites have vanished. The current issue of Premonitions, a UK magazine, has my story Jump”. A dark story, not like me at all.

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