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Monday, 25 April 2005
Clean Your Filthy Records!
Topic: Music
Today the takotron staff will teach you how to clean your records a.k.a. LPs in an easy and effective manner. Our motives remain confidential.

Here's what you will need:
70% Isopropyl Alcohol Solution
Distilled Water
Some string
A soft towel
A Bathtub
At least 1 Dirty Record
At least 1 hand

And here's what you do:
1. Take your string, and hang the record by it's filthy hole in you bathtub area. How you do this is your business. We have suction cups from the dollar store, but you can use your boy scout knots or whatever. Just do it.

2. Mix a 1:1 solution of your alcohol and distilled water in a bottle or something. Pour some onto your record while holding it horizontally (while still strung), if possible. If it's really old and crusty try to avoid getting it on the label, which isn't too hard because of the grooves. Take your soft towel and pass it along the grooves. Do it on the other side.

3. Rinse it with distilled water, wipe with towel, and let it hang there to dry.

That's it. So this gets rid of almost all the dust on there, and supposedly eliminates a lot of the static, as in static electricity. You might also want to clean the turntable mat with the alc/H20 solution, as well as the inside of the dust cover if you have one of those. The pictured Carnivore record still skips during the line "spread your legs, I'll seed your eggs," but otherwise it sounds like new. There are plenty of suitable products available for you to buy, if consumption makes you feel better about yourself. Our instructions above are a simplified version of a number of more serious sources, some of which are listed below:

Record Cleaning Maintenance

How-to: record cleaning devices and fluids

How to Clean a Vinyl Record: Tips from eHow Users

Posted by thenovakids at 12:22 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:32 AM CDT
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Friday, 22 April 2005
Topic: Site Features
NEW CONTENT!!! The whole staff here at TAKOTRON HQ has been busy all week completing our SOUNDS page, for your pleasure. We have been experimenting with various audible textures over the last several years, and after rejecting numerous offers from several high profile record labels, have decided to submit these projects to the public, for immediate consumption, no monetary exchanges or middlemen involved. All files are in mp3 format. Right click and save to download, or click to play (if your browser is into that kind of thing). Please don't reproduce or play publicly or steal any of this content without are consent. you can email us:

Posted by thenovakids at 12:21 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:31 AM CDT
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Monday, 18 April 2005
Topic: Miscellaneous
Next time you're on the phone trying to read your account number or spell your name to some tired customer service representative, and you get to one of those ambiguous tonalities like "V" or "M," you should refer to the follwing rather than emabarrass yourself by exposing your repugnant subconscious or just saying 'uhh...' for a while as only vulgar anatomical terms come to mind. Plus, you'll need this if you end up in that post-apocalytic concrete bunker with nothing but your short-wave and some canned beans.


The "Lima" and "Papa" are pretty lame, and "Uniform" is a bit clumsy. I guess it's pretty cool otherwise.

Posted by thenovakids at 12:15 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:29 AM CDT
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Saturday, 16 April 2005
Topic: Site Features


visit our friends!

email us and you can join the linkage party:

Posted by thenovakids at 11:53 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:03 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 13 April 2005
Hot German Model
Topic: Architecture / Chicago
Here is a photo of that model of Mies' original steel design for the Promontory Point Apartments. It looks like this is looking from the west, towards the lake. Lets listen to the song (source:The Free Information Society):


Sie ist ein Modell und sie sieht gut aus
Ich nehme sie heut' gerne mit zu mir nach Haus
Sie wirkt so kuhl, and sie kommt niemand 'ran
Doch vor der Kamera da zeigt sie was sie kannSie trinkt im Nachtklub immer Sekt (korr-ekt!)
Und hat hier alle Manner abgecheckt
Im Scheinwerferlicht ihr junges Lacheln strahlt
Sie sieht gut aus und Schonheit wird bezahlt
Sie stellt sich zu Schau fur das Konsumprodukt
Und wird von millionen Augen angeguckt
Ihr neues Titelbild ist einfach Fabelhaft
Ich muss sie wiedersehen, ich weiss sie hat's geschaft

Posted by thenovakids at 11:20 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:03 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 12 April 2005
Topic: Site Features
New release:

*SU700 and EA1 operated by TAKOTRON Motherboard of Directors

*voices by thenovakids

This was produced as a replacement of the original jarring intro song at We are softening ourselves with your comfort in mind...NUDESEXFATBUTT

Posted by thenovakids at 11:56 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:00 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 6 April 2005
Mies Returns
Topic: Architecture / Chicago
Several weeks ago we made some comparisons between Mies van der Rohe and his contemporary, Le Corbusier. We also described a connection between his Promontory Apartments and unambitious imitations with different aims, specifically Cabrini Greens. I recently visited the Promontory Apartments, and discovered some impressive qualities not immediately discernable. We are so accustomed to Mies' imitators that it sometimes takes some effort or closer observation to understand his true innovation (I would say 'genius,' but I hate seeing its overuse in describing artists and architects. You would think 20-something years of contemporary art theory that questions ideas of 'mastery' and 'genius' would have made us more cautious about throwing around those terms. But go to the arts section of any book$$$$$tore...oh).

Back to our subject, The Promontory Apartments were completed in 1949, as work was underway at 860-880 N. Lake Shore Dr. Both were to have steel and glass curtain walls, but Mies' original plans for the Hyde Park high-rise were ultimately modified. So I walked around the corner and started taking a couple pictures of these apartments. As you can see, the vertical supports taper as they rise, which adds a touch of formal drama and structural efficiency (they need to support a decreasing load as they go up). From the back we can see through the open lobby to the lake, which the building overlooks, right by pretty little Promontory Point. Then I was politley asked to leave the private property by a building attendant. Bonus pics: The first beautiful day of the season spent at the Point--note the melting ice.

Posted by thenovakids at 5:16 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 5 April 2005
Topic: Science Fiction
Greetings! We are currently transmitting from our executive bunker suite just above the earth's mantle, about 29 km beneath Chicago. Our executives were forced to take evasive action after one of our core reactor's wet storage units collapsed. Like Chicago energy company ComEd (under Mothership Exelon), we have been filling vast, exposed water pools located above our plant to max-capacity for several years, even though they were created to hold a fraction of that waste only temporarily (see: "Exelon: No plans to change its storage of nuclear waste: Science group cites risk of terror attack" Robert Manor ; Chicago Tribune; Apr 1, 2005; pg. 1)

Our new base of operations happens to have a large film library, which we naturally have been accessing frequently given these circumstances. Last week we consumed two science fiction films from the 1970s. They are both ambitious productions with substantial budgets, but the similarities stop there.

Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker (1979) is a masterpiece of subtlety, emotion, and thoughtfullness. The premise is simple and classically science-fictional:

"'What was it? A meteorite? A visit of inhabitants of the cosmic abyss? One way or another, our small country has seen the birth of a miracle--the Zone. We immediately sent troops there. They haven't come back. Then we surrounded the Zone with police cordons...Perhaps that was the right thing to do. Though, I don't know...' -from an interview with Nobel Prize winner Professor Wallace"

In the center of this treacherous Zone (within which conventions of emotion and laws of science are warped) there is rumoured to exist a room, which grants the deepest wish of whoever enters it. "Stalker" is one of the only mean able to traverse the Zone and return safely. His latest assignment is to escort "Professor" and "Writer" to the room. This SF plot allows Tarkovsky to explore the essential meanings of humanity through philosophical dialogues of faith, doubt, reality, being, etc. This is visually empowered through experimental filmmaking techniques--parts are in a deep sepia tone, while other scenes portray the water-logged abandoned industrial zone in drab color. It was made painstakingly. In fact, a whole year was spent filming it with an experimental Kodak film only to be spoiled (perhaps purposely) by inept developers. The whole project was wasted. Though this had a profound impact on the director, the movie was ambitiously redone entirely, this time in two parts (2hrs45min total) with half the necessary budget.

At the other side of the spectrum is Logan's Run. Why did I even rent this--or rather, request its retrieval from our bunker's film library? It is supposed to be good or interesting at least, and perhaps a successful film could be made from its premise, or the book it was based on (Stalker, too, is an adaption, from Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky). This, however was not that movie. Its flashy effects today look cheap, though I don't imagine chrome-painted plastic and explosions that appear to be the result of tampered-with road flares were impressive even in the 70s. Look to THX1138 or Rollerball for more successful sets and effects that portray 70s visions of the future. I understand and even love that future-visions historically depict more about the era in which they were created than that which they attempt to create. But please. Farah Fawcett and poorly-crafted, unconvincing plastic scale models for pan-over shots are not transporting me to any place of the imagination, nor are the awkward, wooden dialogues helping these trite characters.

If you even want to know, in three millenia all of society exists enclosed in a vast bubble (apparently, 2.5 feet in diameter and made of cheap plastic). Everything's pretty groovy, with silk robes, orgies, and shopping malls. However, when you turn 30 you are sacrificed in a big cult-ish spectacle called "carousel," and promised reincarnation by the giant computer that runs society (like in Rollerball, kinda, without commentary on beaurocratic censorship/incompetence or corporate power). If you run away you (in the future they cleverly call these people "runners") you will be tracked and killed by "sandmen," a.k.a. bladerunners that suck. Our hero is a sandman who betrays the system and runs himself, with the chick, and they escape outside the bubble, find an old guy (remember, people can't age within society), bring him back to bubbleworld, blow up computer, display old man to masses, revolution and freedom ensue. FIN. THE END. OWARI. Now you needn't see it. Please rent something worthwhile, something that brings dignity to SF. Rent Bladerunner, THX1138, Rollerball (with James Caan, not that lousy remake), Brazil, Solaris (also Tarkovsky, not that lousy remake), Alphaville: Une Etrange Aventure de Lemmy Caution (for Godard's 60s future vision) etc. Make a movie out of ideas and talent, not lame-ass effects. Be like George Lucas in 1971, not in 2$$5.

Posted by thenovakids at 8:32 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:59 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 30 March 2005
Topic: Architecture / Chicago
Today our small elite research team searched for an odd Chicago secret: a monument to Fascism still standing in our fair democratic city! That's right. Here's our official press release. Just east of Soldier Field, along a bike/jogging path stands a Roman pillar presented to Chicago on behalf of Benito Mussolini at the 1933/34 World Exposition. It still stands there, evidence of an awkward alliance. A translation of its inscriptions reads:


Perhaps you recognize the name Balbo--there's a Chicago street named after him (7th St). Naughty naughty, Chicago, in with the wrong crowd, apparently.

Posted by thenovakids at 9:29 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:05 AM CDT
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Sunday, 27 March 2005
The Parakeets of Hyde Park
Topic: Chicago
From time to time the personnel here at Takotron ruminate on their location in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. It's a quick ride to downtown, but with a lot of friends and action going on up North, on might begin to question the merits of living down here. There are many attributes to this neighborhood, but here's one you might not have known: Hyde Park (and no other part of Chicago) is occupied by a large population of WILD PARAKEETS. They are of courese indigenous to South America, but somehow 2 Adam and Eve parakeets escaped captivity and started a whole population that has lived here for more than 20 years. They are totally feral now, and like to stir things up, blocking ComEd's power transformers, and making tons of noise. Former mayor Harold Washington (who represented Hyde Park) was fond of them and protected them from the US Dept of Agriculture's attempts to remove them. A few weeks ago I saw them in a tree--I hadn't heard about them and was puzzled and suprised. I suppressed the memory, thinking I was either mistaken or going nuts. But the other day I spoke with a woman from work who told me all about them. Encouraged, I went out searching for them today. A bunch of them live in a tree on the east side of Woodlawn, just north of 55th street. The Parakeets will rule Hyde Park forever, bringing a taste of the tropical to our fair city.

Here are some links to people with more info on our beloved birds:
Hyde Park Parakeets
U of Chicago Magazine
Harold Washinton Park

Parakeets and Takotron - Represent Hyde Park

Posted by thenovakids at 6:34 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:06 AM CDT
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Topic: Site Features




Posted by thenovakids at 2:11 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:05 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 23 March 2005
Topic: Site Features

Posted by thenovakids at 8:38 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:02 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 22 March 2005
Thom Mayne
Topic: Architecture / Chicago
While making a recycling run at work I skimmed the cover of the NY Times from a couple days ago. It turns out Thom Mayne, principal of the architectural firm Morphosis, just received the 2005 Pritzker Prize, the most prestigious award in the field. Here is the press release: 2005 Pritzker Prize Media Kit

Kei's dad, who is always on top of things going on in the artistic world, lent me an article on Mayne from the NYT Magazine last month. Then it turned out that the Chicago Architecture Foundation's current (excellent) show on New Federal Architecture features 2 or 3 Morphosis projects. i had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Mayne give an inspiring, informative lecture several weeks ago. He seemed, like his work, to be both innovative and practical, showing rationality and passion. If I were the Times, I would describe his style and shoes ("salt-and-pepper beard," I believe the article said). i'll say he had a brown scarf, and then we can move one. A major section of a federal building Morphosis designed in SF is A/C-free, employing a "breathing skin' exterior. i guess 2 weeks in a year it's uncomfortably hot (over 75 F), but the rest of the time it works quite well, naturally and efficiently. He said, people retort that it's in the bay area, where you don't have extreme temperature variances. But he responds by explaining that that is precisely what makes it an ideal project to experiment with such an innovative design--if it can be made to work in SF, we can move on from there. I know that's not a perfect example, but hopefully you can see the way rationality and innovation dovetail with his work/philosophy. If you're in the area you should check out the exhibit. It's free. Then in May the official presentation of the prize will take place in Chicago's Millenium Park at the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion. DO IT.

Posted by thenovakids at 1:37 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:02 AM CDT
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Monday, 14 March 2005
Do you like Mies? / Kenchikuka ni narou!
Topic: Architecture / Chicago
Although it is not unusual for Takotron to pithily describe its impressive accomplishments, it is rare that we disclose information about our personal plans, intentions, and undertakings. However, we feel it is necessary to release the following statement:

Our CEO and founder, thenovakids entity 00001, alias Mordecai, has been granted acceptance to the Illinois Institute of Technology's College of Architecture to pursue a Masters degree in the field of Architecture. There is a reasonable chance that he will attend this institution, and ultimately one day become an architect with grandiose plans for shaping our world's (and others') cities. IIT is built from the master plan of Mies van der Rohe, who emigrated from Nazi Germany where he headed the late Bauhaus. He subsequently was invited to chair the architecture department (when it was called the Armour Institute of Technology) and has since had an enormous and indelible impact on the school. The keystone building for the architecture dept. is his famous Crown Hall (1956), where the architecture studios take place. His famous 860-880 N Lake Shore Dr. apartments (comp. 1951) are another example of his most successful and influential work.

Unfortunately, his "international" high-rise style was so influential that today it is sometimes difficult to understand the true significance of Mies. The Promontory Apartments (1949), his first completed high-rise, is around the corner from my apartment. Speaking for my generation, which has experienced the imitation before the original, it looks more like a housing project than the origin of revolutionary Modern architecture. (left: Promontory Apts. ; right: Cabrini Greens)

Rem Koolhaas is responsible for the new student center at IIT, which features a steel tube to muffle the rattle of the 'L,' as well as a number of orange honeycomb polymer walls (Panelite) extending to the bathrooms, allowing me to urinate in a surreal orange glow. It also features icon mosaics that depict the faces of Mies and several other founders of the school. "I do not respect Mies, I love Mies. I have studied Mies, excavated Mies, reassembled Mies. I have cleaned Mies. Because I do not revere Mies I'm at odds with his admirers" (Content 182). Koolhaas' McCormick Center is an embodiment of that sentiment:

Koolhaas, in a gossipy moment, also states, "Mies's model shop had a (frequently exploited) view of the photo studios of Playboy Magazine [in Chicago]--all during the Fifties and Sixties Mies's architecture and the first generation of playmates had been produced in voyeuristic proximity. It is exactly that kind of proximity we proposed for the Campus Center and the Commons, and which the Miesians wanted to undo" (ibid. 189). I kind of see what he means, but I'm not sure its significance is as profound as he implies. I often have this type of reaction to Koolhaas' writings. I enjoy them immensely.

Is this post less entertaining than those in the past? Is TAKOTRON boring you? Are you unable to sit there for more than 2 minutes without clicking your mouse? We refuse to acknowledge any shortcomings on our part, nor will we grovel before you, buffoons for your amusement. We like entertainment and the frantic ADD pace of todays cyberworld. That is why we at Takotron provide you with our Cyan and Magenta world, luring you. But now you feel the catch. Yes. Go with it. You are becoming one of thenovakids. Death and rebirth, the origin and apocalypse.

Moving on, it is our opinion that Charles Edouard Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier, offers a more lasting and revolutionary Modern architecture. Architect Thom Mayne (principal of Morphosis) expressed his disgust with much of the architecture being chosen by clients today, including a revival of an 18th century pseudo-Classical manor style, as we approach the 100-year anniversary of Corbusier's early work. He's absolutely right--and it's America where these bad ideas have taken root. It is evident that Mies' modernism caught on, but it's interesting to daydream about what our cities would look like if they followed the ideas of Corbusier instead. The latter was certainly more radical, or in a more anti-establishment way. Both men were strong-willed and firm in their opinions, but Mies was certainly better at courting clients (he suggests treating them like children unsure of what they want). Corbusier's utopia was a technocracy, a city lead by radical entrepreneurs occupying huge cross-shaped towers in the cities' centers (intersected by airplane runways). But he also thought extensively about communal space and working class housing in a way that still seems very progressive (and unfortunately far from reality). My hero.

Posted by thenovakids at 9:08 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, 13 March 2005
Topic: Video Games
Greetings from Takotron HQ. First off, you may be wondering about the fascinating neologism you may periodically encounter in the various realms dominated by Takotron. The word, NUDESEXFATBUTT, is not in fact one of our many great products, but rather a spontaneous AI entity traversing our shared beloved lysozomatic cyberworld. While searching for studio apartments, I 'Googled,' as they say, the name of an apartment complex I was interested in, and one of the first search results contained a number of references to the afformentioned neologism (completely unrelated to the apartment I was searching for). You may see see the component terms of the word used in various contexts that are crass, vulgar, inappropriate, and unrelated to the slick professional image we maintain here at Takotron. The word NUDESEXFATBUTT, or rather, the entity denoted by that term, should conjure images of strength and nobility, as well as plumpness and allure.

Moving on to the evenings next subject, we have been experimenting with a number of classic arcade video games through PC emulation. The results range from simply amusing to world-view altering. But probably not. What is most prevelant, and always interesting, is the familiar cultural exchange in Japanese and American video game creation.

Today Japan is the obvious empire of video game technology. In fact, they have game centers aka arcades all over. Why is America's arcade culture dead? Please allow a digression: Nathans Hot Dogs of Commack, the Coney Island chain, had a great arcade but it gradually declined through the 90s and is now completely gone. Actually, before becoming Nathan's, it was Chuck E. Cheeses or however you're supposed to spell that shit, and then it was simply "The Emporium", with broken vestigal remnants of animatronic Chucky Cheeze characters. I had my birthday party there in 4th grade, ca 1990. Perhaps the game Pit-Fighter rocked your 9 year old world, as well. This was the shit, pre-Mortal Kombat blood and photo-based graphics: BRUTALITY BONUS

Malls rarely have arcades anymore, and movie theatres maybe just a few games. But go to Japan and you will find arcades all over with 4 floors of games. You can place real bets on videogame horseraces. But then again, I think I like earlier games more than ones coming out. I like having a temporary but thorough distraction, but I'd rather not have to be involved in an enveloping plot, or, honestly, have to think. To me the side-scrolling fighter represents the pinnacle of video game entertainment. I'm talking Ninja Turtles, Alien v. Predator, Double Dragon, Shinobi, Streets of Rage, etc. Commack Multiplex was where we all saw movies growing up, before the age of nice theatres with good sound and stadium seating. Did you know that there was a stabbing or maybe a shooting after a showing of Boyz n the Hood? Or that someone found a fetus in a toilet in the ladies room? These are the legends of Commack Multiplex. They had a bunch of games, and I remember pumping quarters into Combatribes, which was sort of a lousy cartoony Streets of Rage predecessor:

Now it is time to address the topic of this entry, Nichibei Video-Cultural Exchange, aka the Japan-American Game-Culture Exchange, or the Nichibei Arcade Simulation Transfer and Exchange (N.A.S.T.E., pron. "nasty"). During the early years of the videogame boom, in the 70s and early 80s, there were a lot of rip-off versions of arcade games circulating. This is an amusing Japanese version of Pac-Man, "Hangly Man" (Hungry Man). The game is pretty much the same, though the maze-levels are badly mapped out. The ghosts' names, however, are perhaps an improvement.

Another interesting example is Renegade, a version of Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun (Kunio of Hot-blooded High). In the original you are a High School student fighting bullies and eventually Bosouzoku and Yakuza who beat up your little brother. I think in Renegade you are rescuing some chick that got kidnapped or something. You can see how they took a character (the bald kid with a club) and changed nothing but his skin color:

It seems that we have exhausted ourselves with screen-shots and nostalgic digressions about Commack's arcades in 1990 and neglected to elaborate on the N.A.S.T.E., the primary purpose of this post. Takotron refuses to take responsibility for your disappointment, but please accept our luke-warm apologies.

Posted by thenovakids at 1:12 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:02 AM CDT
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