Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All Things Must Come To An End

So, Mungo Estate is going away.  But all is not lost and I will be continuing my explorations of graffiti and the underground culture at the new blog 12 Oz Writer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hiptronic - The Blog For All Things Alternatively Electronic

Hey everyone,

So it's about time that we all leave the nest and spread our wings on our own blogs. I decided to focus all my attention on an up-and-coming music genre: hiptronic. If you want to know more about this genre, check out my blog here!

And So Our Blog Nears It's End... But I'm Not Leaving You

January is ending and it's time for me to move on. Check out my new blog, it's probably fine for more of my commentary and works of art!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thanks To All That Came Out Last Night!

Mungo Estate would like to thank all of you who came last night to support our blog! Hope that everyone enjoyed Sin City and will continue to explore their new found love of film noir.

A Rare Occurrence: SouthWest Pilot holds flight for a grandpa!

An Arizona businessman’s flight from LA to Denver was filled with all types of emotions. Mark Dickinson’s grandson was being taken off life support in a Denver hospital, when he got a phone call to get there immediately. Mark was trying to weave the airport security, where nobody would buy into the story. But, luckily for him, the pilot held the plane for 12 minutes to Mark to get there. The airline, SouthWest, has responded that they are “proud” of their pilot. This is a rare occurrence in amidst of airlines fees and on time performance campaigns, kudos to SouthWest and the unnamed pilot!

Gokul Mani is an avid Medicine-related writer, at times wires about the some of the heart warming stories he comes across. He is a Pre-Medical student of Austin College, Sherman, Texas.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Think That All Child Pornographers Should Be Flayed

So yeah.  This is basically the same format as my last video although it's a lot more thought out and organized.  Anyways I pretty much cover three news stories today about a new study into child pornography, a sex tape, and a cat called into public service.  So enjoy.  Or don't.  It's entirely up to you really.

Evan Harper is a writer for Mungo Estate and a freshman at Austin College.  His current interests involve riding around in his friend's trunks and going out to the pawn shops around Sherman.

" The Dharma Bums" Review!

This is my review of The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. The Dharma Bums is one of my favorite books of all time, so I hope you enjoy!

Lion Meat Tacos. Expensive For You And Biodiversity.

Boca Tacos y Tequila in Arizona has recently announced that it will start serving African lion meat as a taco option for their "Exotic Taco Wednesdays." Tacos will cost about $8.75 each, as a single pound costs the restaurant $100. Though people have already started paying in advance for the rare meal option.

The restaurant has received many comments in protest even over the internet, many claiming that they will boycott the restaurant. Lions are listed as being a vulnerable species. It is legal to sell although the population has dwindled to less than half of what it was in 1950.

Now, I'm all for trying new things. But I try to be aware of the price of what I eat beyond what I charge to my debit card. It seems to me that if people are introducing a new form of exotic food, I would rather it be something that worked against the problem of food sustainability, rather than against it. More livestock that are already being produced for our consumption will go to waste. Besides this, even the restaurant owner believes that he will lose money on the lions, meaning that he will be unable to sell all of these slaughtered big cats, but is doing it purely for publicity.

Laura Massey is an art major with heterochromia iridum, which is not a disease, with a passion for finding uses for trash, thrift stores and eighties movies. She believes unflinchingly that it's probably fine.

In Prison Are Smuggled Drugs Or Cell Phones Worse?

This past week Colombian police in Bucaramanga made a startling discovery.  A carrier pigeon was found a block away from the city's prison trying to make it over the wall but failing because of a 45g package of marijuana and cocaine paste strapped to its back.  According to the BBC, this is one of the first times that a pigeon has been found carrying drugs.  But what's more important to me is the fact that this wasn't the first time they have been used to smuggle things into prisons throughout the world.  No, the item most commonly smuggled into prisons is a symbol of the modern age: the cellphone. 

Although this may seem harmless at first glance, in reality this should scare the shit out of you. Through the use of cell phones gang leaders who have been caught are able to continue to run their gangs with almost the same amount of ease that they had on the outside.  Stories of prisoners ordering hits, intimidation's, kidnappings, and even bank robberies are rampant.  What's more, as cell phones become increasingly advanced and we become more and more connected online, it becomes even easier for prisoners to find you as one death row inmate was able to find personal details about Senator John Whitmire.  What this means is that prison (which was already an ineffective system) has become almost meaningless.  As long as cell phones are easily found inside their walls, what really separates a free or imprisoned gang leader beyond a jumpsuit?  

Ban K2 Now

Sherman city council is considering banning K2, a legal substitute for cannabis that mimics the high effect of marijuana. Discussion of the substance reached a national level last year when "David Rozga, an 18-year old Iowa teen who was smoking with friends, told them he was 'in Hell', walked home and committed suicide."

The reason it has become so popular is that cannabis is illegal, and K2 has similar effects to smoking marijuana - it is also cheaper. However, the side effects of smoking K2 are shocking. Some side effects include: "hallucinations, vomiting, agitation, panic attacks, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, pallor, numbness and tingling, disorientation, loss of time awareness and, in some cases, tremors and seizures." Scientists also don't know whether some of these effects are long-term. 

I have witnessed friends exhibit some of these side effects after smoking K2, and it was an incredibly scary experience for me to see such reactions, such as friends freaking out over strong hallucinations. This begs the question, why is something legal, that has worse effects on kids than giving them a hit of acid? It should have been banned in Texas a long time ago. 

This information should matter to parents because it’s their kids who are smoking these chemicals that are synonymous with the kind of compounds you’d find in an air freshener or a chemical warfare factory. The government should also care because there’s a substance out there which mimics the effects of marijuana, is not detectable via drug test, and if it’s causing kids to kill themselves, they should be as harsh on it as they are on other drugs.  

This all brings to the forefront the question of whether to legalize cannabis. If legal substitutes like K2 continue to be made made, which have worse effects than cannabis, then the laws pertaining to cannabis should be reconsidered. I am neither for or against marijuana legalization, however, in light of K2, I would take a serious look at my thoughts on cannabis, and possibly see it as a lesser of two evils. 

Film Noir Tonight!

Do you like Noir films? Do you have anything to do tonight between 8PM and 10PM? If not, come to WCC 231! Mungo Estate will be showing Sin City, a fantastic modern Noir movie.

See ya'll there!

Caity Kennedy Of Meow Wolf Productions
Following up from my introduction the other day, this is my interview with Caity Kennedy of Meow Wolf.

How did you first hear about and become involved with Meow Wolf?

I'd heard of Meow Wolf through show flyers but was too shy to go.  Then I ran into a friend from high school (from another state, it was a real movie moment) who had been involved since the beginning.  He invited me to work with them on the installation "Horror", a haunted house style show that opened on Halloween in 2008. I was amazed by the ambition, creativity, flexibility, and the general capability of everyone at the first meeting I attended.  I dove right in and never left!

How much time do you personally invest in each of the installations?

I think I can speak for the majority of us here; by the end of an installation we are all usually poor and exhausted!  In the month or three before an opening (depending on the size of the project) I invest most of my time in our installations.  So much that when we aren't working on one, I'm sometimes not sure what to do with myself!  Its really a full time job when we're in full swing.

I've seen and read that most materials used in Meow Wolf works are repurposed. Is this mainly for budgetary reasons or is there a greater philosophy behind it?

For the most part we re-use materials for budgetary reasons, yes, but that is both because we have to AND because we want to.  If it can be found or donated, reused repeatedly till used up, there's no real reason to buy it new.  If we can re-use someone else's stuff, we can use our money for other things (something cool like a PA system or, you know, food) AND reduce waste in the community.  Also, sometimes there is just no competition, aesthetically, between new and used objects.  The layers of history on a reused object can be an abstractly beautiful thing.

Are the installations that you've completed planned out well in advance, or inspired by materials as you find them?

That depends on the installation.  We have definitely done a couple installations with zero planning.  But right now we are in our sixth(?) month of planning for a massive project we will be opening in May 2011.  We are just beginning fabrication now and most things are blue-printed and concept-drawn already.  This time we have elected a hierarchy of directors and project leaders (though some of those elections were "who wants to do this" "me" "good").  Its very unusual for us and its been a challenge, but this project is too big to do any other way.  Conversely, previous projects have been too small or organic for this kind of structure to work, so this has happened very naturally with little or no messy politics.

What is the dynamic of completing installations with others like without having someone in an official leadership position to monitor how work is being done?

When the common goal is clear enough, and the process doesn't involve too much engineered construction, its really just getting together with your friends all day every day and working.  Any visual or conceptual cohesion we've stumbled upon in our more unplanned installations has come from just working near each-other and constantly bouncing ideas around.  The vital thing is the excitement, the commitment, and the we-can-do-anything attitude of the whole group.  Also, though, we do very little editing.  If someone wants to do something, usually the answer is "go for it" or "ok, how".  This artistic acceptance makes for fewer hurt feelings and a lot more individual confidence.  It also means that our combined aesthetic is usually over the top to say the least, but we like it that way.

What are upcoming projects that fans of Meow Wolf should anticipate?

"The Due Return"
We are building a 75x25x15 foot boat in CCA's 6000 square foot Munoz-Waxman gallery.  The boat will be fully interactive with a bridge full of buttons, a laboratory full of mysteries, a lounge on the deck, a massive search-able archive, an indoor garden, engine rooms, bunks, and captain's quarters.  The boat will be sitting in a glowing forest of alien trees, amid cliffs and caves, with odd creatures everywhere.
The planning stages alone have involved 35-40 dedicated artists, both veterans of Meow Wolf and brand new people.  We expect that number to jump dramatically once we start construction.  Anyone who wants to help is encouraged to start by coming to a meeting; Thursdays at 9pm, currently at 3134 Rufina, or email for more information.
This being our biggest project ever, it also needs the biggest fundraising.  Anyone can donate online by visiting - any amount makes a big difference!

Check out Caity and the rest of Meow Wolf's artwork here. It's absolutely great.

Time With James And Taylor



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Late Night MungoEstate News Roundup Headlines!

Did you check your email on your 3G-enabled iPad? You can find your other personal details on other websites!

Ever wondered how safe your 3G-enabled iPad powered by AT&T? I guess they are now safe after two hackers compromised and stole e-mail addresses and other personal data from around 120,000 iPad 3G users! Right! The Nation’s fastest mobile network broadband network’s server security weakness was targeted last June by two men by taking advantage of a loophole in AT&T’s servers that would return e-mail addresses associated with ID numbers that link the iPad’s 3G SIM cards to individual subscribers. AT&T was not charged rather the hacker were, because they pointed out the weakness of the network! So, kids, when you point out stuff to the government, they put you behind bars! Know that! Good job, Big Brother Government!

I F*cked Up

So yeah.  It turns out that what I was saying about there being no graffiti life in Sherman was completely wrong.  I also address the topic of the world's fattest man suing the British government for letting him get that fat (in summary, he's stupid).

Baltimore PD Hates "The Wire"

Yesterday Baltimore's current Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III made the claim that the city of Baltimore is struggling to eliminate the "smear that will take decades to overcome" that was brought on by HBO's The Wire.  Huh.  So you don't think that the fact that your city has had (and continues to have) an exceptionally high rate of crime may have something to do with that?  To be fair though, Baltimore has gone down in terms of overall crime making it no longer one of the 10 most violent cities in the country.  Instead it's just a city which is very violent at the prestigious ranking of 11th most violent.  Great job!  But here's just a tip: so long as your officers continue to hit men on bikes and a training program likens your city to Fallujah, how about you stop criticizing someone for not portraying it as being Miami?

K2 Not Okay

Last week, Sherman council officials met to "consider" a ban on K2. Yes, to just consider it. There is ample evidence given by the National Drug Intelligence Center of the United States Department of Justice which shows the incredibly negative side effects of K2. Some of these effects include: "hallucinations, vomiting, agitation, panic attacks, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, pallor, numbness and tingling, disorientation, loss of time awareness and, in some cases, tremors and seizures."  Christ, that sounds like one of those TV commercials for osteoporosis medications that cause thirty more symptoms a hundred times more severe than the illness you're trying to treat. 

Of course they should ban this stuff. I've never heard of anyone having a seizure after smoking marijuana. This is not to say that smoking marijuana doesn't cause any of those symptoms, but they are far and few between. Nonetheless, the effects of K2 are such that the substance should have been banned before shops began selling it. Texas is the only state that sells this shit. I don't want to see some kid smoke this poison and then start wigging out and doing something regrettable.

a) Style of Writing

In this piece, I am going to use 'kind of ' dark/sarcastic humor, with strong opinions.

b) Method of Criticism

I will be looking at this from a health/social perspective.

c) Why You're Writing About This

I think this is an important issue because the chemicals in K2 have a far worse affect then just smoking marijuana. It should be banned because there have been cases of serious induced psychosis from smoking K2 in some people, and it's dangerous for this reason.


Visit These Other Blogs!

Hey everyone! We are Mungo Estate, and we're here to tell you about some other blogs in our community that you should check out.

1. Our Modern Gush

Our Modern Gush authors cover a number of different subjects, including the evolution of TV and its affect on society, the unexplored world of K-Pop, educating the masses on black culture, and how to keep your food choices healthy and tasting good.

2. Three Girls, a Guy, and a Blog

The contributors to Three Girls, a Guy, and a Blog give us cynical inform us on how to survive through 2011,  on alternative music, old school video games that everyone should know about,  and how crime is portrayed in popular culture.

3. Text Appeal

In Text Appeal, the authors examine how women are portrayed in movies, inform us about news from around the world, and the wonderful world of gay music.

4. While You Exist

While You Exist write about a diverse array of subject. One of the authors writes about his quest to become a a dog, while another author talks about how to educate other on safe driving. Another subject one of the authors of While You Exist talks about is film, and the many aspects of cinema that have produced some of the greatest movies of our time. The final subject talked about involves informing us about hip-hop dancing and b-boys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MeduComp: Interview from an Indian Hospital Managing Director!

Ever since I started the MeduComp podcast, I have always wondered how the medicine situation works in India, my home country. To quench the knowledge thirst, I wanted to interview a Managing Director of a hospital in India. Well, I got to interview Dr. Chandra Kumar MBBS, Anesthesiologist and Managing Director of KMC Specialty Hospitals in Trichy, Southern India. I posed the same questions I would be asking physicians and their assistants in US to evaluate the situation in both countries. Here, we dive into my Q & A session:

GM: How do you use Computers in your hospital?

CK: Computers have become an integral part of our hospital. We have something called Tele-radiology, which means we conduct CT-Scans from our hospital and the patient is located in another hospital. We have X-Ray reports going to the doctor straight from the lab to the doctor’s lab via the computer network, which helps us save paper and time.

GM: Do the doctors directly access the computer or do have employees access them?

CK: Doctors usually report on paper, which is then summarized by the staff later fed into the database. There is also an Information Technology Department, which takes care of digitalizing the records.

GM: Computer records or Human Created records preferred?

CK: At this point, here in India, we still use human created written records which is then summarized and fed into the computer, as answered in the previous question.

GM: Which is economical? Computer records or Written records?

CK: Given the cost of both hardware and software combined with maintenance and paper and filing cabinets, I would say that at this point written records are economical, but again in the long run, I would say that Computer records might be economical.

GM: When is the earliest record your hospital can pull up?

CK: About 10 years, but, we definitely have digitalized the past 5 years records.

It was surely interview which helped me understand that medicine in India is catching up with the level at which medicine is practiced in the U.S. Although, it will takes couple of years for it to be at par, I think India has come a long way in terms of implementing expensive technology into its medicine. Kudos to small hospitals which are going green in India!

Jamie Fletcher; Differences Across Western Cultures

There seems to be a distinct difference between the amount of need for material items in the United States than in the rest of the world. Even in other Western cultures. Jamie Fletcher, a graduated law student and TA at Surrey in London, spoke with me about these cultural differences.

Q: Why were you originally interested in coming to the United States?

A: I wanted to understand why it was so unpopular with the rest of the world and to see for myself if people had redeeming qualities post Iraq and Iran invasions of America. There
seemed to be a different side of America historically founded in more egalitarian ideas that could transcend the George W Bush foreign policy which was so popular around the rest of the world. America seemed so diverse. And it is. But everyone’s supposedly backwards. I wanted to see first hand if I could justify this on the basis of my political viewpoint.

Q:  Did your visit here disprove at all that people were so "backwards" in the US?

A: It resulted in contrary developments in this theory.It disproved that all were unaware of the backwards and ignorant of image around the world. Many do care for world and its development and the future. It reaffirmed the consequences of the unrelentless capitalism. Capitalism of live or die trying. The most shocking image of this that I saw was when I ordered a taxi to get from central to the outskirts of Philidelphia, As we drove away out the back window you saw big sky scrapers looking rich and asthetically pleasing, representing the strong city. Out the front we drove towards the edge of abject poverty, where houses had bars on windows, thievery, and people walked up and down streets with baseball bats. It seemed this truly represented a very niche belief in the ability to beacon the rich.
Michael Harrington said,  “America has the best dressed poor the world has ever known.”
You can get rich but you can also get very poor very quickly. Just because food and clothes are cheap the poor are still just as poor as in the rest of the world, though asthetically they have changed.

Q: Is this what has kept you coming back or have you found new reasons? So do you feel that our handling of capitalism is the main dividing difference between what makes america more backwards seeming elsewhere?

A: I think it is. I think one of biggest issues clouding minds is pursuit for a dream but when you really see it on an abstract level see you absurdity of it, that the majority is owned by such a small percent of the population. Look to Joe plumber in the past election. Opposing the idea of people being taxed who are making over $250,000, while the vast population will never see this much money. Yet they still reject idea of taxing wealthy. There’s no logic in this. Healthcare is a shocking example of this. How is it that 50 million people could achieve more affordable healthcare and find it as an attack on liberty. This is beyond his understanding of common sense.

Q: So do you feel that our handling of capitalism is the main dividing difference between what makes America more backwards seeming elsewhere?

A: It continued in my pursuit for better understanding. I found that everyone has different view point. And the rest of the world is going this same way towards this “independent freedom,” though the freedom’s not being achieved eventually in the end. The American idea has exported around the world. I hope to in end find positives of this idea, though right now the negatives surely outweigh the positives. It’s just awful can’t understand it complete rejection of everything.

Asking if I had seen the new American version of Skin’s that has recently started showing on Mtv, he said that it “Lacks any grit and seems so forced and fake. But maybe I don’t understand the American references and terms.”  Philosopher Wittgenstein said that if a lion could speak English we still wouldn’t understand because points of reference and phrases would be so different that they’d be rendered meaningless to us when referred to American culture.  Seems so different that it doesn’t carry same meaning.

It seems that there exists a divide in many aspects of culture spanning across many different levels between America’s consumerism and materialistic values that separate it from the rest of the world.

Interview With Meow Wolf Artist Coming Soon

All I've ever really wanted out of life is to make something from nothing in a way that makes people reevaluate themselves, if only briefly.

I've received a confirmation at Meow Wolf  contributor Caity Kennedy will be giving us some insight into the world of working in an artist's collective where most materials are found or donated and shows are completed by a group of artists working together in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I've been fascinated in the idea of their projects and methods of creation since I first saw pictures a couple of years ago from work that my friend Matt King has contributed.
I feel like whether or not it means to, the idea of taking material items once with great value and purpose and turning them into something with greater value and less function shows the highest form of respect for  materials. This is exactly what I strive for in my own art. They even "cannibalize" their installations at the end of their shows to build into their next sculpted works.

We will soon have her responses and be able to look more in depth into what it means to be part of an art collective, and how using found materials integrates into the creative process at Meow Wolf.

Last year's installation Habitats has been a great inspiration to my continued love and inclination towards the things that might be trash, if someone didn't decide better. It's also an interesting spin on my concept of building structures from trash, which often look cozier to me, anyway.

I can't wait for the day that I am able to visit one of these shows in person. Until I have the money and time I hope to be able to glimpse into the life of Meow Wolf.

Mungo Estate Late Hour Extended Reports Are Here!

Mungo estate extended report1 by lauramassey
interview with maryland psychiatrist, dubstep jams, and commentary on the arizona shooting

Mungoestatextendedreport2 by lauramassey

interview with plano doctor's office, more dubstep from james, and some local musicians right on the AC campus!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Keep That Flu Away!

College is a petri dish for disease. Combine this that with a college student's infamous unhealthy living habits, and you have a large number of sick people on your hands. In a recent brush with the flu, I decided to find ways to avoid getting sick during the semester. But, instead of searching for these methods through talking to a medical doctor, I decided to take a natural approach and find a nutritionist willing to inform us college kids about how to maintain a healthy immune system, and how to avoid getting sick during one of the most important stages of our lives. Kenneth Bell, a nutritionist working in Brighton, England, has ample experience with helping university students to get over those annoying colds and the flu that we experience throughout the year. I recently interviewed him about ways of defending against these ailments. (Don't worry, I've put in parentheses the Anglo-American translation for certain words.)

1) What advice would you give to students at college/university to help them defend against getting the flu/cold?

As university (college) students  are usually living away from home for the first time in their lives, which means that they will not eat or sleep the same as they are used to and will be eating university food, I would recommend that they try to eat at least 2 pieces of fresh fruit daily, minimise high fructose corn sweetened food and drinks such as soft drinks (soda), power drinks, and chocolate bars (candy bars). I would also advise they take a good quality multi vitamin along with an Omega 3 supplement that will help off set the high cholesterol found in fast food and school food.

2) How important is exercise in maintaining a healthy immune system?

Exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy immune system. It helps to improve concentration and mental focus necessary to a successful university (college) career. It also improves digestion and absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat.

3) Do you think that the food schools provide for their students is detrimental to keeping students healthy?

Most university (college) food is now administrated and produced by outside companies that the university contracts to provide student meals. While not as nutritionally poor as other institutional food programs, such as one would find in prisons and hospitals, university food can be pretty wanting. With exceptions, a great deal of university food is made with inexpensive ingredients and is often over cooked, destroying many of the essential nutrients necessary for a healthy diet. 

4) What are the top 3 natural supplements that students can buy to keep their immune system healthy?

Vitamin C, a vitamin B complex, and an Omega 3 capsule, which has been molecularly distilled to remove all dioxins. There is ample scientific evidence that these along with vitamin D, probably the most researched vitamin in the past ten years, will go a long way to improving and maintaining a healthy immune system.

5) During final exam time, our school offers parents the chance to buy a "care package" for their children in college. But the "care packages" are filled with chocolate, coffee drinks and chips. Should parents buy these for their kids?

The “care package” you showed me which is recommended to parents in order to help students during exam times is really very inappropriate. Any nutritionist or biochemist knows that a “care package” full of chocolate bars containing lots of saturated fats and sugar means that students will have high spikes in their blood sugar levels lasting perhaps a half hour followed by long dips leading to poor concentration, fatigue and irritability. And needless to say, the high content of fat will add to clogged arteries and weight gain.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm sure going to be taking a lot of this advice and eating those vegetables!

How Do You Run A Sober High School?

An Interview With Sasha McLean

High school's tough.  For many people it's similar to an endurance test that they must survive to enter adulthood. Now try and imagine what it's like for someone who's trying to get through school and stay sober.  Luckily, not everyone has to because of sober high school's like Archway Academy and it's dedicated director Sasha McLean.

McLean has served as the executive director of Archway for the past year when its previous director, Jim Williams, left to become the Adolescent Program Director at Memorial Herman's Prevention and Recovery Center (PaRC).  Prior to her position at Archway, McLean ran an Alternative Peer Group (APG) called The High Road for The Council on Alcohol and Drugs in Houston.  She says that she would frequently "refer kids to Archway" and she jumped at the opportunity to work for the school as "running a high school allows better hours for my family than working at an APG where there are weekend activities and late night hours."

However, running Archway is not an easy task by any measure.  As executive director she is responsible for any number of things from admissions to discipline to serving as a liaison between the school's collaborative partners (such as Houston's other APGs).

Despite the many different masks that she must wear, McLean still manages to find time to meet one-on-one with all of Archway's 60 or so students.  McLean believes that this is one of the major reasons 90% of Archway graduates end up going on to college.  According to her "(in larger schools) nobody cares enough to help kids with the college admissions process and so they have nobody to help guide them."  And college is obviously very important to her.  This past year marks the third that Archway has held its open college fair in which every director of the 17 U.S. collegiate recovery programs (including both U.T. and Texas Tech) is invited to come.  She believes that it is important for students to see that they can be in recovery and still have the college experience which is a common fear amongst many young people in recovery.  With this kind of support and dedication is it really so surprising that Archway had a 92% sobriety rate last year?

What is surprising though is the lack of issues the school has had with crime and misbehavior in general.  Someone would likely suspect that in a place where 60+ addicts and alcoholics come together every day crime would be rampant.  Archway has proven to be quite the opposite.  On the few occasions that there have been cases of theft or violence the truth has inevitably come out during one of the school wide community meetings.  Instead, McLean said that the "biggest issue with students is dealing with their issues with authority."

Regardless of those issues, it is undeniable that the school has been wildly successful in its mission.  It is currently planning to begin development upon a new campus to serve as an interim for those kids with very little time sober and do not yet meet Archway's 60 days sober admissions requirement.  As George Youngblood (the director of Teen and Family Services which I am a graduate of) puts it "a lot of kids have just one day sober and need to be in school."  This is the issue that the new program, called Passageways, seeks to tackle.  As McLean describes it, Passageways will have "less school, more recovery" than Archway to help kids reach the point at which they can be admitted into Archway.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Dubfiles Podcast

Hello dubstep fans, here are two podcasts to help you get through this dreary day in Sherman Texas. I've selected some downtempo pieces to help not make those hangover headaches any worse.

Mungo Estate dubstep podcast 1 by Digital Self

Mungo Estate dubstep podcast 2 by Digital Self

(DISCLAIMER: during some of the song in the first podcast, there is a DJ talking over the song because it was ripped from a radio station. The person talking during the song is not me, and I had no way of editing out the voice. But I thought it sounded cool.Yay plagiarism!)

5 Must Have Dubstep Albums

Off of the grime streets of London, here are 5 albums you must add to your dubstep collection. Even if you're only just starting out, these 5 albums will give you a solid foundation for exploring the world of dubstep.

1. Skream - Skream!

Oliver Jones, also known as Skream, is one of the most prolific music producers in dubstep. He's one of the main artists involved in spreading the genre's popularity to crowds beyond just those native to London. In 2006, he released Skream! one of the most important dubstep releases to date. The album maintains very strong roots in the drum'n'bass movement of the 90s, while gently introducing listeners to catchy 2step beats and manipulated strings sounds and awesome sampled vocals. One song in particular, "Midnight Request Line," quickly became a dubstep anthem, and served as a means of giving an identity to dubstep through exemplifying those traits most consistent with the genre.

2. Mimosa - Silver Lining

In this album, dubstep artist Mimosa maintained some of the drum patterns consistent with the genre, while breaking away from heavy down-tempo bass-lines, to create a more dreamy sound through using incredibly seductive synth lines. This album conveys the more vibrant side of dubstep, and shows and American attempt to make the genre into something more than just a moody album about London - and Mimosa succeeds without question.

3. Benga - Diary of an Afro Warrior

Another dubstep producer from London, Benga, has made a huge contribution to the genres progression through the release of his second album, Diary of an Afro Warrior. One of Benga's notable characteristics is his ability to work outside of the rigid framework which has been set in place by previous producers who made their drum loops using computer software that made set everything in perfect time. Instead, Benga prefers to keep his drum sounds dynamic and enticing. He employs a diverse array of different sounds throughout the album from lasers, to incredible delay effects on drums. One notable song,  "Night," contains very catchy drum rhythms and synth sounds that will keep you dancing for hours.

4. Burial - Burial

In 2006, an album appeared by Burial, entitled Burial. It skyrocketed into the charts, and reached critical acclaim very soon after its release. Although not many people know anything about the artist, the fact that he is shrouded in mystery does nothing but add to the general emotive effects of the album. It is dark, moody, full of sub-bass, and conjures images of London at night . Burial makes use of 2step rhythms, synonymous with late underground drum'n'bass, and he uses these beats to his greatest advantage to convey feels of loneliness and introspective thought. Some notable songs include "Broken Home," "Forgive," and "Southern Comfort."

5. Rusko - O.M.G.!

Rusko's album, O.M.G.! introduced dubstep to the world of pop. Every single tune on the album utilizes incredibly heavy wobble bass, (predominant in the song "Woo Boost,") and drum loops which are very much consistent with the genre. However, his beats are incredibly energetic, and sound more like tunes you'd hear at a rave or at a club, as opposed to in grimy London. Rusko was a fresh taste of what's to come in dubstep, and a promise that the genre has no desire to stagnate and become boring. Instead, Rusko's album is proof that dubstep will continue to diversify its sound bank beyond just mere 2step anthems, and reverberating wobble bass.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Five Movies To Inspire Your Thrift Store Purchases

Sometimes walking into your local thrift store can be a bit overwhelming... it's easy to get caught up in the mountains of bright wind suits and high waisted grandma skirts. Luckily we have these films to give  us some guidance in our repurposed clothing adventures.

Clementine's quirky style borders on homeless sometimes, and that's just what I love about it. Her outfits range from frumpy and practical to charmingly vintage, and all appear to have been purchased second hand... 
Take away from her wardrobe the fact that if none of your clothes match, it makes it clear that you don't give no fucks and are therefor a badass. Or that you're just insane.

2. Clueless: A collection of the explosion of wonderfully horrible 90's fashions. These bright preppy fashions and crop tops are never in short supply... and I've always wished that Cher would come give me a fabulous makeover like Tai's.

Though these looks would have maxed out daddy's credit  card back in the day, there are still some classic pieces you can get for cheap at a resale shop. And for those of you brave enough to rock some heels with knee socks and furry scrunchies, this movie shows you just how to do it.

3. Pretty in Pink: Doesn't get better than this in terms of repurposing and upcycling clothes; Andie's dress reconfiguration is a huge part of what makes this movie a classic.
Both her and Duckie's layers of lace and gaudy eighties jewelry inspire me every time. Andie's outfits beg you to clean out your grandparents closets and slice them up into something your own.

4. Valley Girl: Contrasts all the best 80's looks from the Hollywood punks to the Valley High prepsters. Blend acid washed denim with starched brightly colored photos and big hair. Then throw in some strangely styled red shirts and black pointed boots. Combine all to complete your throwback look in honor of Randy and Julie's uniting despite their fashion differences, and utilize everything at your local Goodwill.

5. Ghost World: The bitch in this movie knows how to pull the tackiest of the tacky out of the thrift stores, and wears them all well. Proof that with enough confidence you can design your own look without dropping too much money. And if you're looking for more of a middle aged pedophile look, Steve Buscemi is always your man.

The 5 Most Successful Heists In The Last 100 Years

We always hear about the criminals who do things like hold a bank up over the phone but what about the ones who are actually good at what they do?  These are the Ocean's Eleven of the real world who have planned some of the most skilled and organized thefts to have occurred in the past 100 years.

Banco Central

On the weekend of August 6, 2005 in Fortaleza, Brazil a gang of at least 6 men tunneled 255ft up into the vault of Banco Central.  Once there they stole 5 containers filled with uninsured cash worth an estimated value of $69.8 million and weighing a combined total of roughly 3.5 tons.  The government had been trying to decide whether they should reintroduce the money back into the economy or if they should simply destroy it.  This meant that the money was not sequentially numbered which made it nearly impossible to track once it was stolen.

Eventually, 5 men were later found in the possession of $5.4 million and would eventually admit to being involved in the digging of the tunnel.  The mastermind was also found dead on the side of a road.  Despite these arrests and investigations, only $7 million of the original sum has ever been found with the assumption that the rest is with the remaining members of the gang.  

Mexico City National Museum of Anthropology

On the Christmas of 1985, an unknown number of thieves broke into the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and stole 140 artifacts from the Mayan, Aztec, Zapotec, and Miztec cultures.  Just one of these pieces is estimated to be worth $20 million if a buyer could be found.  What's more, none of the guards realized the fact that they had been wiped out until three days later when the museum was set to reopen.  

This particular heist was the result of great planning for several reasons.  For one, the location of the artifacts was so perfect that pulling off the heist would entail almost no risk.  See the museum's entire security system was broken which meant that there were no electronic sensors and no working cameras.  Oh, and it had apparently been broken for 3 years.  Okay, I get that maybe it's a different culture in Mexico, but how the fuck do you let one of the most important pieces of your security system fail for that long?  Is it that you have that great of a security team that you don't need it?  Apparently not because the guards that night were so filled with Christmas joy that apparently they figured they didn't really need to make those rounds they were hired for.      

The other reason that this heist was perfect was the size of the actual loot.  In most robberies, size and weight is something of a problem as you can only carry so much.  This was not a problem here though because of the fact that each of the pieces was no more than a inch tall.  As a result this means that the thieves would have been able to carry all of the 140 pieces in two briefcases or just one pair of Ron Jeremy's pants.

Criminal mastermind?

Brinks Mat Warehouse

On November 26, 1983 six men broke into the Brinks Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport expecting to find roughly $4.5 million in cash.  Instead, they found 10 tons of gold bullion worth $45 million.  Naturally they simply took that instead without any real complaint and were able to get out with relative ease thanks to the help of a security guard named Anthony Black who was the brother-in-law of the plan's architect, Brian Robinson.  This would ultimately become the heist's undoing.

It did not take long for Scotland Yard to discover the family connections and Black would eventually confess to his involvement.  As a result both Robinson and Michael McAvoy, the gang's leader, are now doing 25 years.  However, this is not the end of the story. 

Prior to his arrest, McAvoy had handed his share of the gold off to John Perry who then gave it to Kenneth Noye to fence.  Basically the gold would be melted down and then recast into new pieces which could then be sold off.  Unfortunately the Treasury noticed the sudden influx of gold and alerted police who would eventually arrest Noye and sentence him to 14 years for conspiracy.  Despite the arrest 3 tons of the gold has never been found and it is rumored that anyone wearing gold purchased within the UK after 1983 is wearing the Brinks Mat gold.

The Great Train Robbery

On August 8, 1963 in Buckhamshire, England Bruce Reynold's led a gang of 15 men to rob the Royal Mail's Glasgow to London Traveling Post Office (TPO) by forcing it to stop with tampered track signals.  In the end they made off with 120 mail bags filled with used currency that added up to $74 million (in today's money). 

Bruce Reynold and his gang.
Oh and did I mention that they did this all without any guns at all?  Yes at a time in which most criminals were holding people up with guns these men just said "Fuck it."  Of course people were still hurt and train driver suffered a severe injury, presumably from being hit over the head by their massive balls.  

Unfortunately for them the CSI's of the sixties were able to match the prints of 13 members from the gang's hideout to those at the train.  But just 15 months into their sentence, Charlie Wilson and Ronnie Biggs would famously escape from prison.  Wilson would eventually be apprehended in Canada four years later but Biggs would only be sent back when he turned himself into the Brazilian police in 2001.

The Antwerp Diamond Heist

Quite possibly the most famous diamond heist in history, the Antwerp heist was the work of Leonardo Notarbartolo and his team of master criminals called the School of Turin.  This is one of the most meticulously well planned and complex heists ever.  It was the result of 3 years of planning and work in which Notarbartolo posed as an Italian diamond merchant to gain trust and credibility amongst the other diamond dealers.  

In the end, the plan went off without a hitch and the only problem was that they were unable to carry all of the diamonds and ended up stealing only 123 of the 189 deposit boxes in the vault.  Despite this Notarbartolo was eventually apprehended and is now serving 10 years in prison.  However, none of the diamonds have ever been recovered and were estimated to be worth $100 million.  The events of the heist were so complex that Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell would write a book titled Flawless which detailed the entire heist. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


MeduComp by Digital Self

Average Joe vs. State of Texas

Average Joe vs. State of Texas by Digital Self

The Continuing Story Of The Green Dragon

Laura mungo estate by Digital Self

Lauramungoestate2 by Digital Self

American Vandals

American Vandals - Episode 1

This episode deals with my feelings about Dwayne Carter and what he is doing to America.

American Vandals 1 - Mungo Estate - Evan Harper by Digital Self

American Vandals - Episode 2

In this episode I address the seemingly dead graffiti scene in the town of Sherman and wonder why it is this way.

American Vandals 2 - Mungo Estate - Evan Harper by Digital Self

A Laugh A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Found this little treasure while on the internet, somewhere.

Take Daddy's Poll

Lamprophony, your power-packed quote of the week!

"Ambition is a Dream with a V8 Engine"
- Elvis Presley


great pics, scraped from the depths of the internet

Environmentalism Threatens "The Planet God Had Entrusted To Us"?

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. If you agree with this mentality, I hope that I offend you and make you think seriously about what you are saying.  I see shit like this and just wonder how people can truly be so ignorant and selfish. There is no logic or statistics or anything rational tied to this video.
I cannot understand the logic of the people making these videos. I really do try to be open minded, but is it truly so terrible that it draws people towards "humanism?" Is humanism really so much a threat to Jesus that we need to put out videos saying that we should just stop giving a fuck because "God" knows best?
This video makes me so angry, because I know that a new generation of ignorant people living around the edgesof logic through Jesus is being trained. This video uses all of those basic advertising ideas that I learned in psych 101 that should be evident to most people with common sense. Common sense is overshadowed by trust in God and "rejecting the false world view... rejecting the church" and continue to not worry about evident implications of environmental ignorance.
The Cornwall Alliance fosters  "stewardship" for the environment, yet approves of these videos.
I just really have to wonder if these fundamentalists realize what much of the world thinks of when they hear "green dragon." And I hope that logic will continue to be what rules us in terms of how we approach environmentalism, and that this loosely faith based propaganda is a passing trend.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Do we have the drugs to combat an epidemic, as the Antibiotic resistivity is on the rise?

Antibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have been used for the last 70 years to treat patients who have infectious diseases. Since the 1940s, these drugs have greatly reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. Antibiotic use has been beneficial and, when prescribed and taken correctly, their value in patient care is enormous. However, these drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective. Antibiotic resistance is a type of drug resistance where a microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic. Many antibiotic resistance genes exist in on plasmids, facilitating their transfer. If a bacterium carries several resistance genes, it is called multi-resistant or, informally, a superbug or super bacterium.

The primary cause of antibiotic resistance is genetic mutation in bacteria. The prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a result of antibiotic use both within medicine and veterinary medicine. The greater the duration of exposure the greater the risk of the development of resistance irrespective of the severity of the need for antibiotics. As resistance becomes more common there becomes a greater need for alternative treatments. People infected with antimicrobial-resistant organisms are more likely to have longer, more expensive hospital stays, and may be more likely to die as a result of the infection.

Factors contributing towards resistance include incorrect diagnosis, unnecessary prescriptions, improper use of antibiotics by patients, and the use of antibiotics as livestock food additives for growth promotion. It was in 1947, the first bacterium in which penicillin resistance was found, just four years after the drug started being mass-produced. Methicillin was then the antibiotic of choice, but has since been replaced by oxacillin due to significant kidney toxicity.

The bacterial infections which contribute most to human disease are also those in which emerging and microbial resistance is most evident: diarrhoeal diseases, respira­tory tract infections, meningitis, sexually transmitted infec­tions, and hospital-acquired infections. Some important ex­amples include penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin-resistant Sta­phylococcus aureus, multi-resistant salmonellae, and multi-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The development of resistance to drugs commonly used to treat malaria is of particular con­cern, as is the emerging resistance to anti-HIV drugs.

When infections become resistant to first-line antimicrobials, treatment has to be switched to second- or third-line drugs, which are nearly always much more expensive and sometimes more toxic as well, for example, the drugs needed to treat multidrug-resistant forms of tuberculosis are over 100 times more expensive than the first-line drugs used to treat non-re­sistant forms. In many countries, the high cost of such replace­ment drugs is too expensive, with the result that some diseases can no longer be treated in areas where resistance to first-line drugs is widespread. Most alarming of all are diseases where resistance is developing for virtually all currently available drugs, thus raising the possibility of a post-antibiotic era. Even if the pharmaceutical industry were to step up efforts to develop new replacement drugs immediately, current trends suggest that some diseases will have no effective therapies within the next ten years. So, do you think we are prepared to handle such a epidemic?


MeduComp by Digital Self

Want To Exchange Some Dubstep For Dopamine?

In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience, scientists discovered that it may be possible to induce a feeling of euphoria through listening to certain pieces of music.  While experiencing music, such as Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings," the brain releases dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel awesome, and makes you want repeat an action again and again in hopes of releasing more of this wonderful brain chemical! Although it's possible to generate such a responses through listening to songs such as "Adagio For Strings," my question is whether it's possible to replicate a similar effect using songs by dubstep artists, in particular ambient dubstep.

Dubstep artist Burial, who I've covered in previous blog posts, revealed in a secret interview with The Wire, that he had a very specific concept in mind while producing his two albums, which sounded similar to wanting to create the effects mentioned above:

"I wanted to make a half euphoric record. That was an older thing that UK underground music used to have. I think that type of euphoria is a British thing, like UK tunes, old rave tunes used to be the masters of that, for a reason, to do with the rave, a half smile, half human endorphins and half something hypnotized by drugs...It's about being on a night bus, or with your mates, walking home across your city on your own late at night...or coming back from a club, or putting tunes on an falling asleep."

So, I need you to do something for me. Listen to "Adagio For Strings Here," and note down how it makes you feel.

 Now, listen to these songs by Burial, and see if you experience a similar feeling to "Adagio."

And then listen to this:

After you're done listening to all three, compare how you felt during each experience. Were you happy? Did you feel like listening to one of them again? Did you get a fuzzy feeling in your arms and legs? After listening to all three pieces, I certainly experienced such effects, which makes me think that these scientists are onto something great - getting high, the legal way!