If only we could make ads like these

If we had Nike’s budget and celebrity connections, we’d be releasing better videos. But for now, let’s all follow the Kobe System. These ads are actually part of a campaign for the Kobe VII shoes that allow you to put in two types of insoles to customize your ability to “attack strong” and “attack fast”. Anyway, enjoy!

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They Dropped the SOPA

I don’t know how much you’ve all been keeping track of this, but for the last little while, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been causing a lot of buzz around more tech-savvy areas of the internet. The premise of the bill is pretty simple in that the government will be more proactive in shutting down copyright infringement on the internet. This obviously caused a huge public backlash because practically 50% of online material infringes upon copyright (not an actual statistic).

For people who actually cared about real issues and not just downloading all 10 seasons of Friends, the biggest concern was over freedom of speech. It’s hard to say exactly what is private and what isn’t sometimes. This could lead to a lot of unnecessary censorship, with a lot of comparisons being drawn to the kind of firewalls used in China and other countries with oppressive internet laws. To be honest, I don’t really know the much about the situation, and I’m not very tech-savvy, so when I read on Reddit about how they’ll have to shut down DNS servers or something, I assume it’s a bad thing.

If you’re against this, then you don’t have to worry anymore because SOPA was indefinitely shelved just yesterday, so it looks like we’ll be able to torrent movies for the rest of our lives, and all your “hub” and “tube” related websites will stay online. Invasive censorship (or so I’ve been told at least) aside though, there was really nothing wrong with the concept of the bill. I’m not going to get on some moral high horse about how downloading copyrighted material is wrong, because I do it all the time, except… well, it really is wrong.

The biggest reason to not feel guilty for illegally downloading music is because for every 50 people that download an album, it just means Kanye has one less pair of angel wings to feel smug about himself with.

Pictured: Starving Artist in Need

The problem about this is that someone, somewhere, is paying for his angel wings. As much as you’re stealing from a millionaire, you’re also stealing from the people who actually paid good money to listen to music and watch a grown man dance around on stage with feathery wings. Like when your friend swipes his/her Metropass and you quickly sneak in through the revolving doors, you’re piggy-backing off someone else’s money, except in this case the person doesn’t even know you. And I hope that money is just being taken away from Lady Gaga’s Kermit the Frog dresses, because some bands actually need that money.

This is why the other countries hate us

Of course the argument extends to other forms of media, like how when you download Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (although I don’t know why you ever would), you’re stealing both from George Lucas and the guy who owns every director’s cut of the six movies and all the action figures.

As someone who recently lost their iPod and relies on YouTube to listen to music at home, I am extremely frustrated by people who complain about Vevo and commercials on Youtube, and post stupid things like “Fuck you Vevo! I want to watch my videos without ads!” Do these people honestly not get how stuff works, and by “stuff” I mean the basis of trade and ownership? Why are you so busy that you cannot watch one 30-second advertisement every couple videos, if it is those ads that support the whole foundation that lets you watch those videos. This is a better deal than what you get with TV or the radio in terms of the advertisement to programming ratio. Better yet, especially with music, you can repeat the video as many times as you want.

That little YouTube rant may have seemed like a bit of a tangent, but it has to do with how music is still very easily accessible for free, both professional and user-generated content.  For the most part, the bill wasn’t going to affect the kind of people who did covers of famous songs (song covers are just one example).

Here’s an article citing Justin Bieber’s opposition of SOPA. In it he states that people need to have freedom and be able to sing songs, and that he actually enjoys YouTube-ing himself and watching people’s covers. In the same article though, a spokesperson for Lamar Smith (a supporter of the bill) stated “This bill does not make it a felony for a person to post a video on YouTube of their children singing to a copyrighted song.  The bill specifically targets websites dedicated to illegal or infringing activity.  Sites that host user content–like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter–have nothing to be concerned about under this legislation.” The people who drafted this bill are not stupid, they are trying to create a reasonable line between creative re-imaginings and plain plagiarism, so SUCK IT JUSTIN BIEBER.

This honestly has nothing to do with anything, but under what context would they have so many babies?

The way YouTube is run right now is a good example of what SOPA probably intended.

If you want to watch something that’s copyrighted, you have to watch an advertisement beforehand. MAKES SENSE.

If your friend wants to post a video of him fighting a racoon, he can do that. MAKES SENSE.

If your friend wants to post his jazz-polka rendition of Let It Be by the Beatles, he can do that. MAKES SENSE.

If your friend wants to post his jazz-polka rendition of Let It Be by the Beatles and get paid by YouTube for it, he probably can’t. MAKES SENSE.

Already YouTube has a fairly good grip on the legality of its videos, and I’d say it’s run in a perfectly sound way. If you want to be paid for your contributions to YouTube, it has to be 100% original content, which is like anything else in the world where you try to make money. Sometimes it sucks that a leaked song from an album is taken down, but honestly, you’ll get to hear it in a few weeks. If YouTube disables audio in your video because a copyrighted song was used, you can actually petition to have it put back in, as long as the video isn’t being used for monetary purposes. What I’m saying is that everyone is pretty cool with YouTube, and this is how things should work.

This post may have seemed a little all over the place, but the message is simple: Copyright laws should have more respect, they’re there for a reason. Pay for what you’re supposed to pay for. If you don’t think you should pay for it, it’s probably because you don’t have to.

It’s really easy to not feel guilty for illegally downloading. You don’t ever have to meet the people who created the material, and you’re not actually taking a copy, you’re duplicating it. But as in any exchange that doesn’t actually take materials away from the seller, it’s still illegal to not pay. Like sneaking into the TTC or a club, you would be reprimanded for each illegal download if it weren’t so difficult to track. More than anything though, you’re taking away from the people who did pay. To bring it back to school yard days, imagine you just bought Pokemon Red in Grade 1, and the day after that they started giving it away for free at Wal-Mart. You didn’t LOSE money, and you still got a good deal on Pokemon Red, but it’s crappy to see everyone else get for free something that you had to work for. In many ways, you funded their gifts from your own pockets.

DOESN'T MAKE IT OK

I don’t know anything about the specific details of SOPA, so please don’t think of this as Pro-SOPA. I just think a lot of people have an undeserved sense of entitlement to free media, and this whole SOPA thing really got me thinking about it. I think a lot of things are over-priced, and in one way that supports piracy, but overall that doesn’t make it right, or that it’s even really helping with its “stick-it-to-them” attitude. Maybe if twice as many people bought DVDs, each DVD would cost half as much? That’s probably some overly idealist thinking, but it’s pretty rare that two wrongs make a right.

– Nick Hassan

THIS WILL MAKE YOU RETHINK THE 90s

TYA isn’t exactly known for their hard hitting investigative journalism but the other day I was watching the music video for Dilemma (because a friend of mine had never seen it and its awesome) and I spotted this guy:

"Sup Ladies"

Ok fine, so he’s rockin a phantom of the opera mask, its not like he coordinates all his outfits around mask-clothing combinations…

"Does this shade of baby blue make me look more gangsta?"

WTF. Who is this guy? A little hard hitting research led me to find out that his name is Slo Down and he was in Nelly’s St Lunatics Crew until they had a dispute and he went his separate mask wearing way. But while in the limelight Slo Down redefined hiphop fashion:

#SilenceOfTheLambsSwag

Just wearing a creepy mask and pretending to be a bird, nothing strange here

Probably wouldn't be so hot in here if you weren't wearing a mask...

He even started switching it up:

He's either suprised by his own appearance or that all the rhinestones stayed on his mask

I can imagine how that first conversation must have gone

Nelly: Yo man why you wearin that mask?

Slo Down: Oh…ya… I just thought I’d switch it up ya know. Nobody else in the game is doing this I thought I’d be unique

Nelly: Dude you look like Hannibal Lecter

Slo Down: Ya man that guy gets all that ladies

Nelly: No he eats all the ladies

Slo Down: That’s whats up!

Nelly: No I don’t think you…Nevermind ok wear the mask. I bet Chingy doesn’t have to put up with this shit…

And a hero is born.

I think the best part is that even after being scorned by his former crew and moving into a new century he still keeps true to style

This mask is the reason Obama won the election.

The laughing stock of the hip hop community or a brave pioneer in the world of fashion? You be the judge.

Good luck with finals if you still got them and if you’re in Toronto over winter break lets chill

– Mark

No Better Time Than Meow

Now that Mo-vember is over and my line of sight to my keyboard is no longer hindered by my gigantic facial hair I can finally resume blogging (Hannukah is saved!). What has a month brought us then? Well there were tears, there was laughter, love, heartbreak, amends, post World War Two Japanese expressionist author Mishima, a ridiculously explosive toilet, concerts, birthdays, gigs – and that was just Kevin and I. In all seriousness though we did do some cool stuff which will be presented in a style borrowed from Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (which you should probably have seen by now):

Mr. Yellow (Kevin)

Sign of a good month: New Profile Picture

TYA’s renaissance man continues to reap the fruits of what was probably a little too much time alone in his basement as a child. He performed for a packed crowd as well as the youtube boys Wong Fu Productions. There guys have over a million subscribers and unlike other youtube celebs actually deserve them.

K.Lee also performed along with the Effusion a cappella crew and as an a cappella expert (shout out to Fresh Fellas A Cappellas) I can say without a doubt that the show was top notch, their rendition of Alica Keys’ Fallin’ brought me to quasi-religious ecstasy.

Mr. White (Mark)

A couple days later I had the chance to see another show: Watch the Throne’s Montreal stop. I don’t think words can truly describe that experience but if I had to pick one it would be hands down CRAY. They played N****s in Paris 5 times and a row and each time got better. There were sharks, there was fire: it was awesome.

I also had the opportunity to DJ outside of my bedroom in Montreal for the first time. Big thanks goes to to everyone who came out to support DJ Thousand Years and have some fun. You can stream and download part of my set below:

As for our Toronto and London fams I wouldn’t do justice trying to capture the romance, intrigue and adventure of their past couple weeks. But if I had to try it would look like this:

With finals looming their ugly heads I hope your keeping some semblance of sanity for the next three weeks. In the mean time

Good luck!

❤ Mark & Kevin

 

Slutty Costumes + Surinder + Mustaches

To all of our slutty devils/pirates/cats/race car drivers/puck bunnies/ normal bunnies/ bugs bunnies/waldos/cowgirls/ dragons/ drag queens/ Nicki Minaj/and Selena Gomez lookalikes happy halloweekend. Hopefully your days have been candy coated and your nights questionable.

While other esteemed writers may deplore the provocative nature of the youth of today’s Halloween costumes remember that for every fishnet used in a costume, 10,000 Atlantic Salmon are saved daily. So candy coat your moral apples with that bad boy.

Regardless this time of year is more than just a celebration of bare legs and torsos, its a time of reflection. Coinciding with the passing of October into November comes a rare moment in time when, within the span of two seconds, it is both Halloween, TYA’s own Sur- “Caboose” -inder and the first second of Movember (the annually prostate cancer awareness month). What does it mean for you? It means that during the next month you can look forward to watching the hair follicles on Surinder’s upper lip blossom into a symphony of the finest and thickest mustache hairs this side of Brampton. The best part is that you and Surinder will be finding this out at the same time because he doesn’t know we signed him up yet. Oops!

But there’s still two nights of Halloweekend.to enjoy. Have a good one!

Trickin and treatin 4 lyfe,

TYAMTL

Sweet mother of Japan

First of all, on behalf of two of us here at TYA, we’d like to wish Taiwan a happy 100th birthday!

Following this Asian themed post, here’s a video further demonstrating Japan’s superiority over all things cool:

Anyway, we’re enjoying our last moments of reprieve before midterms hit us in our faces with the force equivalent to 40% of our final mark.

Cheers.

 

The Singapore Paradox

I recently got back from travelling in Asia a bit, and I have to tell you, Singapore is BEAUTIFUL. It is one of, if not the cleanest, most well-designed, vibrant cities in the world. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a hater or a blind guy. Toronto is already an amazing, world-class city, but for almost every aspect of Toronto I can think of (in terms of community fixtures, not the culture), Singapore has a cleaner and more efficient version. Heck, they do PROSTITUTION better than we do, with ladies-of-the-night having to undergo regular health checks and carry cards as proof.

(I was going to have a picture here of an oasis representing Singapore brothels and Blue Waffle as Toronto ones, but I just could not bring myself to even google that.)

However, nothing in the world is PERFECT. It’s not like Singapore is just a hands-down better place than every other city in the world; there are reasons it’s so clean despite having a greater population density than Toronto.

The most infamous of these is probably the ban on selling and importing chewing gum and the $1000 fine associated with being caught consuming it. They treat gum like we treat marijuana, and don’t get me started on marijuana. Technically, you can even go to jail for littering or spitting on the ground. So on one hand this is pretty ridiculous. This is giving the government four iPhones every time you want to bite a piece of rubber that tastes nice, or being sent to prison because you had a gross taste in your mouth. But on the other hand, do you know what I see when I walk around in Singapore?

Clean streets.

I see an unspoiled, virgin slab of concrete that looks like I could eat off it. Do you know what downtown in most North American cities look like?

This is the herpes of sidewalks, really.

I don’t want to say that it’s worth sending people to prison to have clean sidewalks, but Singapore has REALLY CLEAN sidewalks. To get an idea of the high standards of Singaporeans, lets look at their attitudes on vandalism.

On May 17, 2010, a train was vandalised in the middle of the night at Changi Train Depot. This might sound like a fairly harmless offence, but it was actually big news in Singapore. Can you imagine anyone in Toronto even batting an eye towards a vandalised train? I almost feel like a clean train or bus would be more surprising. Granted, the vandalism was quite substantial, more than just a simple tag, but overall it was kind of cool.

The man responsible, Oliver Fricker, was legitimately tracked down and sentenced to 5 months in jail and 3 strokes of the cane. This might not sound so bad until you consider how little vandalism means in Toronto, and how it actually serves to brighten up some areas of the city. Would police have put as much effort into apprehending the criminal if this were any other country? A similar act like this in Toronto might actually garner praise from the public instead of outrage. When I first heard about this, I assumed that the punishment would be a small fine, or some community service, but vandalism in Singapore can get you up to 3 years in jail. The thing I just want to emphasize though, is that this was such a big deal because this kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Singapore, vandalism is that rare.

Which is why you’ll know see this in Singapore. A blessing and a curse, I suppose.

The final thing I want to look at is Singapore’s views on drugs and capital punishment. Drugs in Asia are no joke, and Singapore is no exception. For possession of just about any illegal drug, having a certain amount leads to mandatory execution. Most surprising perhaps is that 500 grammes is the threshold for cannabis. When you think about how lenient the law is on marijuana possession in Canada, and how the media portrays it as a whacky, fun-guy thing to do, it’s hard to imagine that Harold and Kumar could be arrested and hung if they lived halfway across the world. There are plenty of stories of foreigners who weren’t used to the culture and ended up on death row. I couldn’t find the exact article (which leads me to believe it might just be an urban legend), but I heard about an 18-year-old girl who faced execution for crossing the border with heroin. I stress 18-year-old because I’m that old. I KNOW people who have tried illegal drugs, and it’s not like they’re dangerous threats. I also somehow doubt that this girl was some king-pin of a drug smuggling mafia, but just a TEENAGER exploring the world and living on the edge a bit. The idea that there are people being killed for this is kind of scary to me. However, I have to admit that, though these laws are seemingly draconian, you won’t find a country with less drug problems and drug related violence than Singapore.

Seriously, look at this picture of Geylang, Singapore’s red light district.

Don't be fooled, some of these Grandpas are the most hardened criminals you'll ever meet

If you can find a red-light district anywhere else that’s safer and more lively, then… well, I don’t know why you’re looking so hard for red-light districts, but I’ll be very impressed none-the-less.

So I hope the term “Singapore Paradox” makes a bit more sense now. It’s the idea that Singapore is at the same time one of the most welcoming places, yet the most strict. In North America, we seem to have a real “trial and error” way of living our lives. You might make a mistake, but you learn from it! And you might keep making mistakes, but you always try to end up a better person. Singapore seems to say “DON’T MAKE A MISTAKE.” If you litter you go to jail, if you do drugs you die. Certainly it has yielded very impressive results, and I am very tempted to say that any problems this strictness has caused have been paid off by the outcomes. But every now and then, maybe one of those mistakes was really just a mistake, not indicative of malicious intent, and you lose a good person. If you went to North America, rounded up every litterbug and drug addict and had them executed, would it really be a better place?

hhmmmm.....