WAIT WAIT WAIT IT'S PRONOUNCED WAH-KEEN???
Man. I have been getting all of my news via text on screen, I guess.
I liked the underwater bit on the 5th and the swing ride on the 26th...
bad ux is a misdemeanor against humanity & google inbox "speed dial" is a joke.
October 2, 2015Music I added last month... 4-stars in red, the first four videos are worth a watch.
- Downtown (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) -- fun song, bringing in a few different genres, beautifully. The video is cool too, especially the chariot of motorcycles.
- Like a Boss (Amy Kucharik) I saw this artist busking at Davis Square before a School of Honk event... actually I played along on tuba with her ukelele. This video has lots of fun business-speak innuendo.
- Epic Rap Battles of History - Everything's a Product (Honest Movie Trailers) - funny mini-parody of "Everything is Awesome"
- This Land is Your Land (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) Crazy good R+B cover of a fantastic song.
- The Noncommittal Love Song (Amy Kucharik) -- shades of Weird Al's "You're the woman that I've always dreamed of -- Well not really, but you're good enough for now"... but with more ukelele.
- Inertia Creeps (Massive Attack) A dark electronic-ish piece with some middle eastern overtones.
- I Am Mine (Pearl Jam) This song had big signifigance in this tragic story of a 38 year old with Alzheimers.
- Hand Clapping Song (The Meters) Some nice R+B
- Suplex (feat. Northern Voice) (A Tribe Called Red) I dig the blend of first people's music with some modern stuff
- Worth It (feat. Kid Ink) (Fifth Harmony) Cool klezmer-y bits
- Wanna B Ur Lovr ("Weird Al" Yankovic) Weird Al takes on Prince. Leaving a nation asking... "she has yugoslavian hands"? What?
- Goin' Up the Country (Canned Heat) Weird surfer-ish 60s bit.
- Tetris (Seinfeld Remix)(SynaMax) burbly cover of the old russian folksong, known to a million gameboys.
"It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any."
--Hugh Laurie (just to have it in text)
--Have_One on https://www.reddit.com/r/showerthoughts/
--drimble on http://b3ta.com/ TV by Samsung
I fell asleep to the Seahawks/Lions game last night, and for some reason hearing about a completely wrong call REALLY hits my "THIS INJUSTICE SHOULD NOT BE" buttons...
A tumor stole every memory I had. This is what happened when it all came back. The relationship between our mind and our physical brain and our sense of self and our relationship with the universe is amazing and at times unnerving.
Lovely Short Story about letters from beyond the grave. Resonates a bit for me with the letters I write plotting my super-niece's development, to be handed over when she's 16 or so. this compilation of Mulder + Scully pics (fbi engagement photos, fbi prom, fbi pregnancy announcement, or fbi YA novel, etc)
Man, I know Slate isn't THE most prestigious journalism, but have we really gotten to where we can do the katakana shruggie instead of saying "shrug"?
Man- the Wayback Machine's first entry for my first domain alienbill.com goes back to 1996. Round up to 20 years... 20 years before that is, like,the disco era. orderly transition of Speaker of the House. In my naive understanding, it seems a bit like a parliamentary system where there are multiple parties and the need for coalition governments: Republicans have 247 seats (vs Democrats' 188) but since 42 of them are "Freedom Caucus" they have veto power over some things that need a majority of Congress (218) to run. (It would be even more ironic if Republicans minus FC was less than Democrats, but since the 2015 election that's not the case.)
Lets hope the "Freedom Caucus" doesn't get much more power. They're willing to trash the economy with their debt ceiling terrorism.
from my FB post: The PVC scaffolding for the JP Honk hoop banner underwent a major upgrade, thanks to Tuba Honker Kirk and his buddy "'EB". Instead of just being 2 loooong poles and 2 short ones making a rectangle to hang the hoops on (see last years picture below) the new design comes apart, with two fold out bits (kind of like the stand for a tv tray) and two shorter connecting pipes. It should be a lot easier to travel with, a bit sturdier, it can be carried by two people or maybe even one, and should do a better job of standing on its own when the band isn't on the march.
http://honkfest.org/2015-festival/schedule-2015/ for details if you're in the area and stop by- there should be a TON of awesome music all over the place.
(that yellow strip is a cheat sheet to "Seven Nation Army" I put on a long time ago....) The Placebo Effect and Videogames Interesting. I've been thinking about the imperfect information you get in videogames. Especially for FPS-style games for casual players: it's hard to tell if you're killed because of a smart computer opponent vs your inexperience or just because of a weapon imbalance in the game or what not- I think that tends to put a damper on the need for good AI in games. (I remember reading a book behind the scenes in "Wing Commander", that mentioned when the enemy spacecraft were visible they swoop and loop and try and look cool, but when you couldn't see them they'd just try to head straight for your tail.)
Lately I've been thinking about scanning some old high school and college docs and getting rid of them. The cringe-worthiness of my writing at the time made this Slate article on youthful writing haunting us online resonate for me. And I wonder if I'm a better writer, a better judge, or what.
october blender of love
"[Christopher Columbus] discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs."
--The Oatmeal, http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day suggesting we celebrate Bartolomé Day instead.
My tax dollars at work!
"But if you're like me and find yourself making really slow progress, with your Toss and Donate piles growing slowly, if at all, you might have a bigger problem. Obviously you don't want to self-diagnose a psychological condition like hoarding just because you read a column on a comedy website. You'd need some kind of quiz for that. "
--Chris Bucholz, in Cracked's 8 Insane Tips For Cleaning Your Home
Keeping up with PVC frame craftiness, I designed a stand for a foam-board pinned poster to place on my table as I launch the physical version of my comic at Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo 2015. All the joints and enough pipe for me to make a mistake or three was less than $10.
opposite of face blind!
I'm there - or at least, my tuba bell - bobbing around in the back row on the right side:
--George Orwell, via http://blog.longreads.com/2015/10/14/i-would-rather-be-herods-pig-the-history-of-a-taboo/
October 17, 2015The Pitch @ MICE: "Cures crippling existential dread or your money back!" And I mean it.
(PS, many thanks to Liz for hauling me over and helping me set up stuff, and then even running back to the house to grab by business cards, which by chance had a sample of art from a prior draft of the book)
The other day I found this link with a lot of peer-reviewed studies (which I still with a great big grain of salt) about the neurological differences between the brains of people who lean liberal and those who lean conservative. Some of feels like "just so" stories and I don't think any single study proves a whole lot, but taken as a group it's kind of interesting.
"Tinder is a turn-based strategy game, and nightclubs are real-time strategy games"
--aedot, https://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/ amusingly weird and absolutely terrible play last night against the Pats.
Is this how the Zombie Apocalypse starts?
As the weather takes a turn for the chilly, I would encourage everyone to turn their minds back to when Spring emerged after that super snowy winter... on the one hand it can feel like "summer went by so fast" but on the other hand, we've been enjoying warm temperatures for what felt like a long time... if you bring a little mindfulness to things you can better savor the abundance of time almost all of us are given.
David Byrne on Internet Music and how it hurts artists. I really don't "get" the appeal of streaming music. If you had told me fifteen years ago: "here in the future people can buy any song they want - as a single even! - for around a buck, and have their whole music collection on a lil' walkman-like gadget!" I would have been even more surprised by the follow-up: "But the trend is to use those same gadgets as a fancy, heavily-customized-station radio that you have to pay for on a monthly basis" The latter sounds even more nuts than the former. (Good thing I don't try to explain to my 2000-era self about Shazam and SoundHound; that stuff just feels like black magic.)
October 20, 2015Martin Amis is an English novelist. One of the very strangest bits of his career, the most out of character for him as an author, was a guide to video games (with a weird, jaded "streetwise" view of culture around the arcades, then in its prime) called Invasion of the Space Invaders. The author generally won't talk about the book, and as The Million's 2012 review of it quotes Sam Leith:
Anything a writer disowns is of interest, particularly if it’s a frivolous thing and particularly if, like Amis, you take seriousness seriously.On a whim I bought a copy of this hard to find book (I think I paid a bit over $100 for it a few years ago; currently the one copy listed on Amazon is going for north of $500) Recently I undid the binding of my copy and scanned it in and sent it to Anna Anthropy for Annarchive, her repository of old shareware and other video game historical artifacts- you can download the full copy there, and it's kind of an amazing piece, though as Anna points out full of casual homophobia, racism, and a surprising amount of references to child prostitution.
But there's also overwrought gameplay advice prose like this for Pac-Man:
Do I take risks in order to gobble up the fruit symbol in the middle of the screen? I do not, and neither should you. Like the fat and harmless saucer in Missile Command (q.v.), the fruit symbol is there simply to tempt you into hubristic sorties. Bag itand
PacMan player, be not proud, nor too macho, and you will prosper on the dotted screen.There was another great quote:
"That seems to be the psychology behind Atari. You can never win, and you always can get better."Besides the prose (and referring to Steve Jobs as "Atari's Steve Jobs") what I find most striking about the book are the obviously reconstructed screenshots. I guess in an era where video games were tough to photograph (presumably in smoky arcades with cranky owners) it made sense to hire graphic artists to recreate the shots... sometimes that can be done for artistic effect (like all those Activision boxart screenshots) but my feeling is these were made to look relatively authentic (and I left out a few actual screenshots they included, like for Frogger and Turbo.)
--Major Robinson on Battlezone et al in Martin Amis' "Invasion of the Space Invaders"
Centipede probably first made me think about how odd the "screenshots" were, because Centipede seems to have been travelling back up, something that can never happen in the game:
Other shots had distinctive tells, like the wall-eyed enemies in its take on Pac-Man:
Actually, Pac-Man is especially jolting because he (semi-charmingly) calls the enemies "The PacMen" and the player's character "The Lemon", or more specifically "the dot-munching Lemon that goes whackawhackawhackawhacka". (To be fair, there has long been some confusion if the enemies are "monsters", "ghosts" or "ghost monsters".)
Their Donkey Kong interpretation has the Jumpman bald and sans cap.
The book has a lot of other incidental art as well...
That's kind of an early example of a long tradition of "Donkey Kong not looking quite like he does on the arcade game itself".
The remaining examples are all space shooters or similar:
Other random art... I sort of like how this one implies the spaceship pilot might be longing for a home planet, or maybe just bringing forth the idea the space station IS home:
And to end with the beginning, we'd be amiss not mention the Amis cover:
The amount of snark in that guy's stance is impressive (PS: Introduction by Steven Spielberg! Strange times.)
I do wonder what technique, presumably analog, was used to get the pixel effect in all of the screenshots.
(It's the panel that inspired this comic of mine.)
Another way of looking at it is: the universe is in the process of running a crazily chaotic algorithm, and while we can make some crude predictions and extrapolations, in practice there's no way of seeing the result of those calculations besides letting the universe go ahead and run 'em.
I will never not post something smart that mocks Searle's "Chinese Room". Though I wonder if this is a different model of the Chinese Room than I was thinking; this one implies that every possible conversational twist and turn is laid out, while the version I've been told involves hand-wavey "symbol manipulation"
Wow-- screw Uber, screw Chase, screw Register.com
So a month or two ago I started getting bogus Uber charges.
Fine. I contact Chase, dispute the charges, they cancel the card, etc.
2 1/2 months later I get snail mail from Chase telling me they've disputed the Uber charges. Plus Amazon, Foodler, and Register.com.
WHAT THE $(@#&$(#@&$.
Amazon suspended account activity, but hopefully I settled up with them in pretty short order.
Register though... they just lock the account and release the domains to the wild. Specifically so vulture domain squatters like "New Venture" can swoop and demand a ransom if it were a domain I cared about... which here, mercifully, is not the case. But it's serious 1 strike you're out time, even for an account that has been quietly paying them for over a decade.
What a bogus policy, and what a screw up by Chase.
----Major Robinson on Battlezone et al in Martin Amis' "Invasion of the Space Invaders"
Even though I haven't had a sleepless night since assembling the philosophies that form the skeleton of "So, You're Going to Die", bedtime still seems a fertile time for that "oh man, death is weird!" passing thought. The other day, I had a weird sleepy thought of -- maybe I can view death as some kind of reward? Like, it's a definite and important part of the human experience, and something I'll definitely have the honor of experiencing for my myself. Yes, like everyone I wish I had more choice about when it happens (and the aging that will likely happen before it) but you know, it's something I get to find out about. Luke, Sith Lord
I think one of the weirdest things about the prequels, from the point of view of an 80s kid, was the transition from it being "Luke's Story" to "the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker".
http://www.bostontubachristmas.com/ Somehow I have managed to not go to Tuba Christmas since my Cleveland Days- I'm gonna this year tho! 2PM Nov. 28 Faneuil Hall . It's an amazing sound!
--PETSCII (like the C64 used) graphics via textmode tumblr I wish I understood face/caricature/art better in general.
http://pc.textmod.es/pack/galza-23/ - even more of that great PETSCII
London has a clever help for what to do with chewing gum. Personally I am filled with righteous fury when I see someone spit that where someone can step on it.
I feel like I may have back slid on patience a bit not getting unduly frustrated by relatively small time delays... not that its ever been a strong point of mine.
It's like I'm a crazy miser sometime; I have a wealth of time in my life and my day, but I begrudge every little nickel and dime, especially when I can easily see how the delay could be otherwise. (4 people in front of me at dunkies? Time to sigh dramatically and roll my eyes! What's up with that?)
http://www.lamebook.com/dear-teenage-skater/ Worth reading
Ah sweet Arlington. No time like twenty of midnight to bust out the old pneumatic drill.
"How can you be bored? Our baby's like a work of art... it's like being at the Guggenheim all day."
"Do NOT bring up the Guggenheim... remember they kicked me out for tripping and falling all the way down the spiral?"
--The Mindy Project. I admit, this made me LLOLL (literally laugh out loud loudly). I think the juxtaposition of high art (literally) and low...(err, also literally, I guess.)