Saturday, May 23, 2009

What's new at the Explosion 5000?

Alfonso Soriano breaks a bat
It's been almost two months since I updated Blog Mule readers. Sorry folks! Fortunately, plenty has been happening over at The Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000. If you haven't dropped by in awhile, check out my new "about" page. I've added links to various non-Explosion places where my photos have been published/exhibited.

So, what else is new? Well, immediately upon arriving back in Seattle, I embarked on a bar crawl through the University of Washington's "U-District." Several days later, I attended an extremely hip party to kickoff Product Runway. WTF is Product Runway? It's fashion, models, designers, fancy drinks and wild creativity.

Product Runway 2008 garment designed by Bassetti Architects teamed with BiNW
Shortly after blogging about fabulous fashion, I jumped on a plane to St. Louis and spent time at the world class Boeing Leadership Center. When my week of wining-and-dining Boeing style wrapped up, I hopped another flight to Chicago. I caught Starfucker (for the second time in a week) at the Empty Bottle and hit up a Cubs game with the boys. Kyle Koster of the Chicago Sun-Times saw some of shots and posted them on his blog.

Shawn Glassford
After my swing through the Midwest, I returned to Seattle and checked out our new soccer team, The Seattle Sounders. I went with the Bungalow, so of course some shenanigans ensued.

Brandon gets a brew
Drinking in Seattle is serious business. As a blogger, I felt it was my civic duty to attend Hop Scotch, a benefit for the Seattle International Film Festival. Like any good citizen, I drank my fair share of microbrews while managing not to break/lose my camera.

Sure, I've been partying and having fun. Don't worry though, I'm still trying to do some serious stuff. I kicked off a new series called "Scene from 99." Every couple of weeks I'm going to post a new image of Seattle's iconic Highway 99. The first installment is up, and I hope to shoot more soon!

Aurora of Seattle
Don't be a stranger... stop by and check out what's new at If you like or hate something, please drop me a line or leave a comment. I love comments.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why do you want to go to New York?

(If I can cover beauty queens, I can cover this.)

Help me faithful Blog Mule readers.

PepsiCo is sponsoring a handful of journalists to head to NYC at the beginning of June to cover Internet Week.

I'm working on my application now, and since social media tools (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, cell phone cameras) let everyone become part of developing stories, I want to invite all of you to become part of my application.

Please please please answer this question in a comment to this post:

Why do you want to cover Internet Week NY for PepsiCo?

I'll use your responses in my application and be very grateful to all of you. If I get the gig, I might also end up staying with some of you in NYC.

More on the opportunity below. Thanks yall!

Join an elite team reporting on all the events and companies during Internet Week NY. PepsiCo will sponsor nine social media journalists to cover Internet Week across all digital platforms. Internet Week NY runs June 1-8. These communicators will file stories based on interviews, reporting, tweets and video/photo features, which will be redistributed as Internet Week content on a special section of and other digital platforms. Possible assignments include the CM Summit by Federated Media, the NY Tech Meetup, Digg Meetup and the Webby Awards. Communicators will receive an honorarium, an Internet Week press pass and a Flip Camera.

Submissions will be accepted May 15 until midnight on May 22. Applicants must be based in New York City or be willing to fund their own travel expenses there, and have professional journalism experience, currently be a journalism student or work as a social media professional. Each applicant must have demonstrated skill with digital media.

Submissions must include the following: 1 paragraph (250 words or less) stating why you want to do this; 1 tweet stating why you want to do this; link to your LinkedIn profile or your resume; 1 sample of work either 1 video, 1 podcast link, a set of photographs or a blog post (brevity is important here); confirmation that you have at least three of the following (or relevant equivalents): profiles on MySpace or Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube or a personal blog. Submissions should be sent to Selected participants will be notified by May 28.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Really sweet Mario video and cool photos too

My buddy over at 10,000 words :: where journalism and technology meet threw up this post on composite photography the other day. Some cool mash-ups.

Of course, the many ways to create a composite photograph are not lost on the folks at Blog Mule. We've stitched together photographs in Photoshop--like Dave's recount of a recent lunar eclipse, sent with the caption "Froze my butt off, but it was worth it;"

Or my happy mistake/multiple exposure experiment in the Holga.

But I really put this post together to share this video. It is a mash-up of 134 tries to beat a level in Mario. Just for the record, I probably would never beat this level. Then again, I gave up playing at Mario 3. The flying was too much for me. But this video is way cool.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

100 posts...finally

Happy 100th post to us!

This post was a long time coming. The Blog Mule faithful have noticed that we've sat on 99 for weeks, swinging at every pitch coming our way and striking out.

But we did it. And while we don't think we hit a home run, we're on base.

So without further banter, we present our 100th post (via a gmail thread)

(For those who can't read the tiny type, check out a larger version here)


Thanks for sticking with us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

tinynotebook: The big write off that wasn't

More barroom adventures at tinynotebook.

"I was guilty of nearly everything I detested about the man who defaced my dollar, except his jacket—leather, shiny silver spikes sprouting here and there. Go home little punk. But I had come to the bar penless that night, completely unprepared for the writer battle about to go down all over George Washington's face.

I rubbed the tips of my thumb, index and middle finger together, warming them up for the quick snatch and write I would have to execute as soon as I looked down at the dollar. I contemplated throwing out an American sentence, an Allen Ginsberg poetic form I had spent the day studying. Take that you uneducated barroom writer fighter. I've got the Gins.

He pulled his hand away. I leaned in, looked down."

Read the rest at tinynotebook.

Saturday, March 28, 2009 Kay Kay, The Croc 2.0 and MSU

Thomas Hunter

Check out The Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000 for coverage of last night's excellent Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground set at The Crocodile.

Also, bonus coverage of Seattle celebrating Michigan State's big win over Kansas in the NCAA tournament.

We did it, man

Friday, March 27, 2009

Show me your backhand, Anna K.

Anna Kournikova was on Jimmy Fallon last night to play a few rounds of beer pong.

Despite her exquisite form, she sucked. Fallon wasn't much better. Kind of sad.

And the best part, when the crowd starts chanting "Chug. Chug. Chug." College!

Previous Blog Mule Beer Pong Coverage: Explosion 5000: Beer Pong, photos from the WSBP IV

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I welded a bunch of stuff together

I can weld!

And you're thinking, welding, really, Aaron? Is this the same Aaron who always forgets which way to turn screws to make them tighter and looser?

Yup, and now this mechanically declined nincompoop knows how to operate a Mig (like the jet) welder.

And all after only one class at SmartShop Metal Arts Center. Tuesday was my first "Tools and Techniques" class. I am the marketing coordinator at SmartShop and about a month ago, Holly Fisher, the woman who runs the place and all, offered me a scholarship for a class.

"Yeah," I said, sort of hesitantly, because, well, let's be honest, I am not that great with tools (how I didn't manage to make a complete idiot out of myself while working for a late model race team, I don't know) and I'm not an artist like that.

I can write, take photos, fool around with PhotoShop and InDesign to make cool things, but to actually create things with my hands. No way. I can't paint, draw or make things out of clay. I gave up being that kind of artist in second grade when I showed a friend a drawing I made of VW bug, and he said it looked like I had traced it. Busted. I had. Destroyed.

Ok, but I showed up Tuesday night, a little nervous. Artists and tools that shoot sparks, they both make me nervous.

Holly made it easy. Within the first hour, we all had those cool welding masks on and were doing tack welds on scrap pieces of steel. If you've never welded, those welding masks are strange. When you put them on, everything is kind of dark, you can still see, but it is like wearing five or six pairs of sunglasses on top of each other. When you pull the trigger on the welder, and it starts shooting out super hot wire and fusing pieces of metal together, everything goes black. All you can see are the sparks and a little green dot from your weld. Sparks are flying everywhere, nailing you in the face, which is covered by the welding mask, and landing on your head, which is not covered by the welding masks. I'll wear a bandana next time.

So when the sparks started flying, I closed my eyes. Real smart. In my hand I have superheated metal, and I close my eyes. It made welding sort of difficult, but once I figured out that the sparks weren't going to destroy my face, I kept my eyes open. And that's when I realized.

Welding is pretty easy when you open your eyes.

So I continued, tack welding, welding thick metal to thin metal, turning corners, running beads. I mean, NASCAR is not going to be calling anytime soon, but it was all pretty good.

Just don't ask me to write my name…or the word jello with a welder. Maybe next class.

Btdubs, I made that scuplture at the top. I call it "process 1." During the class, I just started welding all my practice welds together.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grand Rapids Press reports on Facebook update

This is not news.

From the Grand Rapids Press portion of the mystery of
GVSU student Derek Copp posts to Facebook page 'live in peace,' first message since shooting
Tuesday March 17, 2009, 3:23 PM

GRAND RAPIDS -- Derek Copp, the Grand Valley State University student shot during a drug raid at his apartment, recently posted an upbeat Facebook page message that calls for everyone to "live in peace."

Copp is recovering at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital from a bullet wound to the chest after a West Michigan Enforcement Team officer fired one shot at him during an evening raid last week.

"All we can do is hope, wait and live in peace" he wrote on his Facebook page Monday evening. "Soon things will change. Let's keep on supporting each other. Love always, for everyone."

But for the Grand Rapids Press, it was news on Tuesday. Part of me doesn't want to blast the Press for reporting on the Facebook update. I'm a journalist. I know what it is like, grinding it out, looking for stories, meeting quotas, satisfying a "news-now" culture. The article is not long and probably didn't take much time to put together. It updates the reader on a big news story and probably got the Press some much needed page views. After finding the story buried in my neglected Google Reader, I clicked on it twice today.

Still, it worries me that an update to a Facebook page was newsie enough to warrant a separate story, especially because on between March 17 and March 18, the Press posted 5 different stories about Copp. Couldn't the Facebook update been weaved into one of those stories.

And watch out when believing what you read on Facebook. If Calvin College has taught us anything, it is that sometimes, people login onto other people's Facebooks and write stuff.

All that aside, a reporter at the Press stumbled on this gem and blasted it over the Internet. I think the comments left below the story sum up people's reaction--and mine.

    Posted by sys700 on 03/17/09 at 3:43PM
    Who cares?

    Posted by buffaloBill7 on 03/17/09 at 3:49PM
    freedom loving Americans. that's who cares
    get well soon Derek!

    Posted by Nevrforgive on 03/17/09 at 3:57PM
    It is becoming very difficult to take this serious at all.

    The articles written by the GR Press are a joke.

    Tomorrow we will take a look at the facebook pages from the 20-year old former student and the 27-year old current student from yesterday's article. Please.

    You clowns must live in a very warm protected bubble. The general public is not interested in or supportive of this mind-numbing dribble.

    Posted by ferrisphil on 03/17/09 at 4:01PM
    You know it's getting ridiculous when the Press is writing articles about this kid posting facebook messages. I'm just as outraged about the shooting as anyone, but the Press is just getting annoying. I guess it's to be expected though...

    Posted by lookingout20 on 03/17/09 at 4:04PM
    OOOO I want to know if Derek went to the bathroom today.

Copp's page, according to the press, is open to members of his networks, including GVSU and Grand Rapids. Or you could just friend him.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, LIVE in London

Ladies & Gentlemen in London

Who wants to hop a BA flight to London with me?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 New Deals and Little Bitches

Sunset Walk
Head over to the Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000 to see pictures of the FDR Memorial and a little bitch... well, I'm just assuming the dog is female.

Barbie turns 50...gets new tatt!

I wasn't going to blog about Barbie (the doll) turning 50, but then I overheard this conversation between the cook and the waiter at a small restaurant in Kalamazoo:
    Waiter: "Did you see the new version of the Barbie doll?"
    Cook: "No."
    Waiter: "They gave her a tramp stamp."
    Cook: "Really?"
    [Lengthy conversation ensues about whether it is funny/hilarious or awful/gross. Finally they waiter settles it.]
    Waiter: "It's funny, but it's awful. If I had a daughter...the last thing I need is my daughter to want to get a tramp stamp."
    Cook: "Dude, she's gonna want to get one anyway."

Yes. Barbie, the plastic doll whose hair you either combed affectionately or whose head you ripped off in an act of prepubescent (let's hope) rage, turned 50. To celebrate-in addition to "tricking out" Barbie's real-life Malibu Dream home, according to, Mattel released "Tattoo Barbie" just a few days ago. The doll features a tatt on her lower back.

So I guess when you reach your mid-life crisis and already have your man (Ken), an awesome best friend (Skipper), tons of pink convertibles and dream homes on every beach and in nearly every living room in the world, you get a tramp stamp.

It's a big year for bombshells turning 50, some even made of just as much plastic as Barbie. From AARP Magazine, the following hotties will hit the big 5-0 this year:
    Ellen DeGeneres
    Sharon Stone
    Michelle Pfeiffer

Wonder what they will get for their 50 birthdays?

[explicit language below, may not be suitable for teens/tweens]

The German slang for the tramp stamp is Arschgeweih, which translates into ass antlers. Love zee Germans.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Alt-Country-Indie on your iPod


Inspired by Aaron's earlier post about his Art Hop mix, I decided to share a playlist that currently lives on my iPod devices. I originally developed this mix for my dad; it's an attempt to sample a range of current artists that he might like (based on his affinity for pedal steel guitars and Commander Cody). That's right. I'm 27 years old and the best I can do for my dad is hand him a burned CD with 'cool' music on it. And oh yeah, speaking of PhotoAup, did you know that you can follow him on Twitter at @FKA_viD? Yeah, really.

Anyway, this playlist has been a go to solution in many situations.

  • Driving from Philadelphia to Washington DC and bored with all your music? Alt-Country-Indie.
  • Morning coffee at a cabin in the Cascade Mountains with mixed company? Alt-Country-Indie.
  • 5 hour cross country flight? Alt-Country-Indie. Well, you'll need that, a cocktail, a bag of pretzels and hopefully a seat-mate that is reading something interesting for you to nonchalantly glance at.
Here's the list (with fun links):
  1. Page France - Chariot
  2. Okkervil River - Lost Coastlines
  3. These United States - First Sight
  4. The Avett Brothers - Paranoia In B Major
  5. Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains
  6. Lightspeed Champion - Number One
  7. Lightspeed Champion - Galaxy of the Lost
  8. Shugo Tokumaru - La La Radio
  9. Eels - Railroad Man
  10. The Flaming Lips - Mr. Ambulance Driver
  11. Fleet Foxes - He Doesn't Know Why
  12. The Dodo's - Walking
  13. The Dodo's - Red and Purple
  14. Cotton Jones - I Don't Suppose
  15. The Avett Brothers - Shame
  16. Grand Archives - A Setting Sun
  17. Lightspeed Champion - Everyone I Know Is Listening to Crunk
  18. Fleet Foxes - English House
  19. Sea Wolf - Leaves In the River

I consciously repeated a few bands to add a little consistency to the mix. On a recent drive from Mt. Baker to Seattle, Sharat (the well established music taste maker) actually asked "who's this band playing?" each time The Avett Brothers came on. Don't tell anybody, but I think he secretly likes them.... shh.

What do you think? This mix awesome/lame? What is everyone out in the BlogMule-sphere listening to these days? Drop us a line and let us know!

Dan Deacon in Whitefish

Dan Deacon put the finishing touches on his new masterpiece, Bromst, at Snow Ghost in Whitefish, Montana. Snow Ghost is a house that is setup to function as a kick-ass recording studio... kind of like my parents' living room circa 1996. The juxtaposition of profound nature and the dizzying technology present at Snow Ghost seem appropriate considering the electro-acoustic wonder that the setting produced. Having spent some time in Whitefish myself, I am more than slightly jealous of his setup out there... if I only had XLR mic inputs in my closet!

Watch all four installments at

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Art Hop 3.2k9 mix CD


Last Thursday, I needed help and you all were there. When I asked for suggestions on what songs should be on my mix CD for March's Art Hop at the gallery, yall responded [via twitter/facebook/SMS].

Sometimes I feel out of place at the gallery or pressure to be artsy. I didn't know what genre of music artists listen to or what type of music -- alt country, indie 80s dance pop, the local college radio station -- to play at the gallery. So nervous.

The suggestions were great.

But I didn't use any of them. I know, JERK, right?

Two things, 1) I'm not good a stealing music via the Internet, and 2) I don't have the Internet at my house.

I had to rely on the old lappy and the music I listened to during my senior year in college (2006). I worked hard, thought hard, listened to the first couple seconds of a lot of songs and made a playlist.

IT WAS A HIT! People were dancing, and they played my CD twice!!!

If you're interested, here is the playlist:
The Word - Joyful Sounds
A Tribe Called Quest - Can I kick It?
Bloc Party - Hunting for Wtiches
Tom Jobim & Elis Regina - Aguas De Março
The Beatles - The Night Before
Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
Supergrass - Pumping On Your Stereo
Smashing Pumpkins - Today
The Strokes - 12:51
The Postal Service - Brand New Colony
Phoenix - Too Young
Paul Oakenfold - Starry Eyed Surprise
The Mountain Goats - Dance Music
Of Montreal - The Party's Crashing Us
Weezer - Buddy Holly
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
Slighty Stoopid - Waiting
Lifesavers - Me
David Bowie - Starman
Bright Eyes - June on the West Coast
Her Space Holiday - The Young Machines

We have another Art Hop on April 3, and I'll be asking for suggestions for another mix then. Maybe this time I'll be able to buy/steal/burn/download/stream/podcast/XM satellite radio some of the songs.