28 April 2005

Everything old is New (Order)


They don't look like much, but then they never did. New Order were never the band that the cool kids liked when I was growing up, so my love for them was predicated on "import" vinyl and what little bits I could hear on the college radio stations that reached Carrollton, GA, which was exactly two. (One local, one from Atlanta.) I loved their combination electronic/guitar sound right from the start, and while some of my other favorite bands of that era (I won't name any names, but one has the initials Depeche Mode) went chasing the mainstream American radio market through the 90s, New Order just clammed up. 1989's Technique was up to the old standards, but the one they did in 1993 sucked, and then they vanished, except for reissues and compilations.

Now I've been listening to their new one, Waiting For The Sirens' Call, and it is absolutely wonderful. It's a little less electronic than their 1980s masterpieces Low-Life (my first New Order album) and Brotherhood, but it still sounds like vintage New Order, just a tad more guitar-y.

2001's Get Ready kinda sucked... but after a break of 11 years, I was willing to allow them a hiccup, especially since New Order was never about consistency even in the best circumstances. Siren isn't going to win over anybody who didn't like 'em in the first place (Monty), but I'm sure as hell enjoying it. :)

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Western Project

I love this. Check this out. This guy takes those old paintings you find at garage sales and gussies them up with really strange, imaginative typographical themes. All in 3D! I want one. Bad. Seriously. My birthday is coming up in December, guys. :D

PS... Guys, WHY is my image eating this blog??? I posted my image just like Lee did with his fridge art. I can't figure it out. If anyone can edit this post so it doesn't eat this blog, I'd appreciate it. And tell me what you did to fix it, because I can't figure it out.


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Coral can cache you...

You've seen it-- some doofus gets his "I caught a snake in my toilet" link Slashdotted and by the time YOU see the link, the damned thing's 404. But what if there was a way for everyone to help out and prevent this?

Enter Coral... From Wikipedia: Coral is an open source, peer-to-peer content distribution network designed to mirror web content. Coral is designed to use the bandwidth of volunteers to reduce the load on websites and other providers of web content.

One of Coral's key goals is to avoid ever creating hot spots that might dissuade volunteers from running the software for fear of load spikes. It achieves this through a novel indexing abstraction called a distributed sloppy hash table (DSHT), and it creates self-organizing clusters of nodes that fetch information from each other to avoid communicating with more distant or heavily-loaded servers.

Case in point: I sent my "cats lying around my office" timelapse to my "cool" list I'm on (where most of my "cool" comes from these days, unfortunately) and a guy I never met wrote me this:

Monty, those are great! And the flash slideshow is slick, too. Did you put that together yourself? I'd like to post this for further distribution, but I don't want to hammer your site and bandwidth. I'm attempting to pull it through the Coral open cache. If that completes successfully, then I will post Coralized links, which look like:

http://www.architectureal.com.nyud.net:8090/tl/050422_tl_cats_sunspot/engine.html

No word on if it works. In fact, don't bother, I just checked and it doesn't. Apparently, a few people have to hammer it before it gets Coralized? Still, the IDEA is a good one.

Brian (the guy who wrote me) also tells me he posted my cat thing to DE.LICIO.US, a "cool" bookmark aggregator. From the site:

del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager. It allows you to easily add web pages you like to your personal collection of links, to categorize those sites with keywords, and to share your collection not only among your own browsers and machines, but also with others.

Once you've registered for the service, you add a simple bookmarklet to your browser. When you find a web page you'd like to add to your list, you simply select the del.icio.us bookmarklet, and you'll be asked for information about the page. You can add descriptive terms to group similar links together and add notes for yourself or for others.


Check that site out! Amazing? This leads me to ask... are we headed towards intelligent, self-aware and self-organizing information???

Which leads me to a small tangent: The other day someone asked me to contribute something to a time capsule they were going to bury in their front yard. My suggestion: "Are we there yet???" Apart from this comment being sublime (when taken in the context of the time capsule), it is also exactly the way I feel about technology. Are we there yet??????

Really, a hundred years ago nobody had any idea that the Airbus A380 would take off weighing 464 tons and that you could fly from London to New York paying what back then was the equivalent of about $10 or something. But to us, even though the next hundred years will bring some pretty amazing advancements, I think this entry will feel shorter, in many ways, because basically, we've already visualized everything, but we're really just working out the bugs. Like this Coral thing... and yes, phone calls will be free, we will be able to interact with holograms, our cars will drive themselves, space will feel "next door," entertainment will become visceral and more interactive than we can imagine, medical advances will give us new heads or brains if we want them, infinite lifespans, and yes, yes, yes, we know it's all coming... but are we there yet?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the future is closer than I think.

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The Trouble With Music

Here's an interesting book review I found which might interest our bloggers... the book is here on Amazon. I thought this review made some interesting points and would like to see the book sometime.

- - -

Author Mat Callahan swings a big stick at the inflated piñata that is the corporate music industry in his new book The Trouble With Music (AK Press). He puts forth a theory that the music business has created a culture of anti-music (in the same way that McDonald’s would be anti-food), and as a result has removed it from music-making’s crucial community-based functions. Drawing on a wide variety of informational sources, Callahan’s argument is a cogent one that needs to be heard. Sadly, his presentation and too-strict adherence to hundred-year-old leftist critical theory makes the book far too academic. Too bad that his language is so inaccessible, because the case he’s building is one that deserves to reach a wider audience than the insular circle versed enough to slash through the dense thicket of critical theory.

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While my MIDI gently weeps

This could either be pretty cool, or else horrific: there's an album of Beatles covers coming out in June, all done by electronic music artists:

01 SkyLab2000: "Two of Us"
02 EROS: "Blackbird"
03 Mystiquintet: "Eleanor Rigby"
04 Jay Atwood and Susan MacCorkle: "Tomorrow Never Knows"
05 John Selway: "Something"
06 Joey Jaime: "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds"
07 Chokocheeky: "Hey Jude"
08 The Natural: "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
09 Signs: "Strawberry Fields Forever"
10 EROS: "Let It Be"
11 Mystiquintet: "Because"
12 Jette-Ives: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
13 Azade Abi and Holmes Ives: "Come Together"
14 Morpho Eugenia and John Selway: "Across the Universe"


No, I've never heard of any of these people either, but I have to admit I'm curious.

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26 April 2005

Heh heh... *sigh*

An annoying story given a funny twist by a very creative layout editor.

The paper is the Dallas Morning News, according to the site that posted this, The Agitator.

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24 April 2005

Labor1

Likes games, does she?

Elu, one of my best friends, is a Flash games developer. He lives in Hamburg, and I've visited him, which was really fun. He and I met a few years ago when he helped me finish a Flash game project for Nintendo, a project with a really creative idea (my only contribution to the game, unfortunately) but which required so much math that I couldn't complete it. If you want a comparison of our Flash skills, well, there's me, and then there's a professional sports player. Elu would be in the NHL, doing interviews between periods on Hockey Night in Canada. And I'd be at home with a beer.

OK, sorry-- PERFECT analogy, but considering our audience, it's meaningless.

Anyway. Check out some of his games. He just did this one, and I think it rocks. 3D tetris! You can rotate the scene. Click on groups of boxes to kill them.

Although it's in German, his soccer game is fun and easy to figure out. Great for those soccer-mad Euros.

I do have some definite favourites. For instance, his racing game is AWESOME. Play this! The theme of the game? Well, remember those race tracks you had as a kid? Same thing. From the main menu, select the second selection "Einzenspieler-Rennen" (single race) and you're good to go.

He also has some other VERY strange toys. Some are hard to understand, but are sort of fun. Like... uh... musical ones?

A complete list of his games is here on this page.

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23 April 2005

New fridge "art"

Okay, so some of you who've been to our house may remember this side of the fridge used to be a "magnetic poetry" spot. The dirt and dust that accumulated between the little words got to be too much, though, so we spent about an HOUR with a paint scraper and a bucket taking all those little words off the side of the fridge. No kidding... we only had two sets ("Zen" and "Romance" I believe) but there were THOUSANDS of words and word fragments.

Maybe I exaggerate, but when you're holding a bucketful of magnetic words and your cat is running around with "Desire" stuck in her butt hair, you start thinking you're never going to see the end of it.




Behold the new fridge side. We got the little playschool letters from Target, and I imagine they'll be a LOT easier to clean around than the little magnetic words, since they will slide around when you push them. For an extra bit of trivia, check the first comment below.

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22 April 2005

Timelapses...

One of the things I absolutely LOVE about my camera is that it has an "intervalometer," this little setting which allows me to take pictures, unattended, every one minute, three minutes, whatever I want.

Often, the human brain's perception of time limits our appreciation of just how dynamic a scene is. Stars, dinosaurs, geologic time, these things mean nothing to our limited lifespan, but with the right perspective... you can appreciate something as a process.

My camera's intervalometer has helped me appreciate a sunset or two. And a winter's day. It even helps me understand my cats better, and why they do what they do.

NOTE: I put up some “alternate” crop pictures of the cat timelapse. I like it better. I hope you check it out… although, the novelty might have worn off by now. Just letting you know.

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Oh, HAIL!


We just got beat down by a BIG ol' hailstorm.. Yow! Thank goodness the Cadillac was parked under the oak tree as usual, and we had the cover on it. I'm sure the station wagon and pickup took some hail damage from that pounding. (The truck already has dings all over it from a hailstorm I ran into about 5 years ago, so it'll just add to the "character"...)

Here are the other pics I took... notice they are all just outside the back door, since it sounded like BRICKS were raining down on the house, and I wasn't about to venture out past the awning that hangs over the back door. :D

Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4

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We live in Random Times

Mr T's condition remains critical after he perfectly denied any involvement in the Napster frog-proofing scandal. “Lies, lies, lies. It's all wintry. The Chinese government must take some of the blame for this impeachment,” commented Mr T at a jolly press conference on Sunday. Mr T appeared happily uncomfortable throughout the press conference, constantly perplexing his camel.
Today's randomly-generated news, brought to you by The Random Times. Usually funny, occasionally brilliant.

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21 April 2005

iStopMotion

Hey, any budding animators around here? Do it at home with iStopMotion. This guy saw it first, so read HIS post on it. There are even sample movies there, and at the official site, which aren't bad actually. At least, the "Goethe" one wasn't too bad. Hang on for the (now SUPER-original "bloopers"-style ending).

Oops. I admit it. I can't type. Those are typos. I was not using my voice recognition software, there (which ROCKS).

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The best bandages ever

I can't even imagine the thought process someone had to go through to come up with these. Heh!!

(Emailed by Tim V.)

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20 April 2005

Dead-eye Dick

Here's a cop with a sharp eye... for photography.

Graphicjunkies.com is the online gallery of a local policeman who carries a camera with him while he's on duty in SW Atlanta. He has an AWESOME sense of composition, and the subject matter is (mostly) my favorite visual subject: urban decay, and forgotten corners of the city. Some personal faves:

1
2
3

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19 April 2005

The writing...


..is on the wall. Er, the sign. Heh heh!!

I know this is old, but I ran across it again today, and he's added this second design for your sign-making fun. Church Sign Generator.com

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LEGO Star Wars video game



OK, y'all know I'm not a Star Wars fan, but I have to admit this sounds like a hoot... a Star Wars video game where everything is built out of animated LEGO blocks!

"Things blow up with fiery explosions, sure, but only a litter of LEGO blocks remain. The illusion is never fiddled with: This is Star Wars (from the original saber and blaster sounds to every character imaginable from the new trilogy), and this is LEGO (from the hairpieces, cup-holder hands, and stumpy block legs that are just as unflattering for Mace Windu as for Princess Amidala). The game's ridiculousness is never lost, either: this is LEGO and this is Star Wars, simultaneously."


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18 April 2005

HG2tG

Don't miss this Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy review, boys and girls. Can't wait to see it.

While I'm at it, can't wait to see the Willy Wonka movie (official website). Word is they're putting the finishing touches on the, too. My only worry is that I hear it's way over budget, but it sounds like he's having some success getting even the most difficult scenes right.

(Tip of the chocolate feathered cap to Lee for bringing this movie to my attention in the first place).

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"Sweet."



McFarlane Toys and Fox Licensing & Merchandising proudly announce a new licensing agreement bringing a "sweet" line of action figures based on characters from the hit cult-flick Napoleon Dynamite.

The line will feature an assortment of figures including the film's quirky anti-hero Napoleon Dynamite, his mustachioed sidekick Pedro Sanchez and chatroom-junkie brother Kip.



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Uncool addresses

How'd you like to live on Dork Street?

In the county where I grew up there was a road called Hog Liver Road, and there was even a "Hog Liver Road Baptist Church" on it. There was some talk of changing the road's name when I was a teenager, but I see the road's name hasn't been changed.

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17 April 2005

Casino dream (sorry)

I apologize, you guys!. I don't intend to make this into my personal dream log. But I have another amazing dream and I thought it might be funny to share.

For some reason, I am at an Indian reservation casino nestled somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. The casino is surrounded by snow and trees (and little else), and it's obvious that the casino is the only good thing going (and likely the only source of employment) on the reservation. Inside the casino grounds, no matter what the season, the grass is always kept green and free of snow. The grounds are meticulously kept, like some arctic golf course. No expense has been spared to make the casino look like it does not belong on the Indian Reservation and that winter is fully under control.

In fact, it has become tradition that every year that the reservation announces some sort of opulent new addition to the casino grounds designed to beat the harsh Canadian winters and ensure that the guests feel like they are "Somewhere Else" (that's the the motto the casino uses at the end of its TV commercials). In past years, sensible, logical things were added like, say, one year when tall, magnificent palm trees were installed in the lobby to give it that tropical feel. Lately, however, the casino has been running out of things to add. Their grand announcement of "heated carpets" was, although appreciated, hardly the kind of impressive announcement the casino was looking for.

Although the casino is running out of ideas, they are most definitely not running out of money. Case in point: I am standing with a crowd of people in the lobby with a panoramic view of the mountains listening to a large man in a navy blue suit making an official announcement about this year's addition to the grounds. It's odd-- though his suit is obviously custom-tailored, the man is covered in tattoos and piercings and looks like a former motorcycle gang member. This year's announcement: the new duck pond is now "all-season." It's been specially designed to be heated by underground pipes so that the pond will not ice over. Therefore, he says, the ducks will not leave and migrate south every year. Every eventuality has been planned for, however, he says. Since the ducks are not expecting heated ponds, he says, our "little celebrities" may still migrate south anyway, in which case, whatever the costs, "imported" ducks will be added in the winter months. The guests "oooh" and "ahhh" at this.

Despite the announcement, I find everything rather unimpressive. I look outside the window and down onto the huge heated duck pond. It is -30°C and the ducks are not swimming around happily as planned. There are about 30 ducks all huddled underneath a small, heated plexiglass shelter at the far end of the pond. Several guests have ventured to the shelter and are throwing dinner rolls to the ducks, but they just roll off the top of the shelter and into the water, where they eventually sink, uneaten.

Clearly, the guest is king at the casino. Although the guests always have fun and the casino has always received rave reviews, the pressure to keep adding new luxuries and attractions has been taking its toll on the staff. Not only are they having trouble finding ways to make additional, meaningful improvements to the grounds, but due to certain issues last year, they've been forced to dramatically change this year's entertainment. In years past, the casino put on a large motorcycle show where stuntmen would jump motorcycles over anything the guests suggested, that is, until one year, the guests all agreed that the casino itself should be jumped. It was a disaster.

Motorcycle guy explains that this year there will be no motorcycle show. Instead, we'll be doing a "Country & Western Extravaganza", and we are all going to have to learn some new dance steps and choreographies if we are going to keep our jobs. The staff is less than enthusiastic about this year's floor show, however, and a few longtime staffers complain. It's less than manly, they say, nowhere near as impressive as the motorcycle shows. But no, it's the floor show this year, motorcycle guy says. With a grim, determined to look on his face, he shows us video of the last ever motorcycle jump there at the casino, "for those new staff members who might not be with the program." It begins with an outside shot of the casino itself. Then a motorcycle appears in the sky from behind it and the camera follows him down to a waiting landing ramp. The motorcyclist has miscalculated, however, and he hits the lip of the ramp exactly in the middle of his bike, cutting it in half. He slides down the ramp with the front half of his bike, while the rear wheel spins away and into the crowd.

"What would they have us jump next year, anyway?" Motorcycle guy says. "The fucking moon?? Learn the dance steps, people, or it's back to the bikes!"

The rest of the dream is spent practicing the dance moves for the floor show. There must be at least 100 of us. Maybe it's because I was late to the production, but I am completely inept, unable to follow anything. While people pirouette, form long trains and walk complicated patterns together, I am caught in a sea of movement I do not understand. I spend the entire practice time ducking arms and bumping into the dancers. The music stops and I am removed from the production.

For some reason, the remainder of the dream is spent trying to find a restroom at the casino, which proves to be nearly impossible. The guys from last year's motorcycle team have quit the production and have begun tearing up the grounds on their bikes. I end up frustrated, unable to find a restroom, and pee in a snow bank beside the duck pond. Afterwards, I stand there in the quiet, freezing Canadian night. I can see one of the pipes pumping warm water into the pond. The stream is textured with heat. A tiny fish swims up, examines the stream, and zips away.

C5

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15 April 2005

Shiny Happy Reznor




I haven't heard the new NIN album With Teeth yet (I'm not even sure it's out in the States yet), but this interview makes it sound like it could be very different from Trent's previous output, if only because he's in such a different frame of mind these days. Can the world handle a happy Trent Reznor? Hmmm...

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Linspire

I found this on MSNBC, strangely enough-- a great, positive review of "Linspire", a Linux-based operating system. Not that I care, but... I must confess that I am sort of curious about Linux and what I'll do. I basically just use my computer these days for work, so I must confess that the idea of getting rid of Microsoft completely is enticing to me.

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14 April 2005

Krispy Kreme Cat

Anti-Hero Art columnist Dirty Howie took these photos of his cat, Bukey, eating a Krispy Kreme donut after he put the box of donuts down on his bed and watched as Bukey walked over to it and sniffed and smelled them before digging in and enjoying one.

I love Anti Hero Art... It's a reminder that I was this close to being one of these guys...

Cheers!
CW

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13 April 2005

Gives new meaning to the saying "Butt out!"



I love the Japanese. Their national smoking-etiquette (?!) campaign features seasonal ads, like the one seen above, with a strange (no shock there) sense of humor. I love how EACH of the three mounds is helpfully labeled, "Snow."

There's a whole buttload (ha! I kill me!) of these ads here. The site is in Japanese, but with enough English to navigate.

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Dialects Quiz

I want y'all to know that I am still 61% dixie. What are you?

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11 April 2005

Sin City

I'd just like to go on record and say that I saw Sin City last night and it ROCKED. A firm 7/10 for me. What it lacked in complex plotting or believable character development (it had virutally none), it made up stylistically, with hot chicks and great action. If you LET it, it'll suck you in. It's easily my favourite comic-book adaptation ever, and not being the comic-book type ("Worst episode ever"), I never even heard of these comic books.

And it had Tarantino all over it, too.

It's doing well on the tomato-meter.

Monty

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Google maps-- now with satellite!

Hey, I've been here before. And >here, where I used to live. I once lived here for four months, too. But I live here now instead. WHAT is to the left of my house??

Be sure to click on "satellite," up at the top right.

M


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10 April 2005

Angels of Light



Michael Gira used to be half of one of my favorite bands ever, The Swans. Their album White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity ranks among my most favorite albums ever.

Now he has a project called the Angels of Light, and their last album, The Angels of Light sing 'Other People,' is absolutely brilliant. Highly recommended.

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The secret that spooked Einstein

It's called Quantum Entanglement, and it's one of the few scientific facts that truly spooked Einstein. What is it?

In 1935 Einstein and his colleagues identified a strange, magical quantum property buried deep in the calculations they were working on for their famous EPR paper. Apparently, portions of the theory of relativity apply at the subatomic level, causing some rather strange behaviors. What are some of these specifically strange and disturbing and potentially revolutionary aspects? How about one theory which states that, thanks to quantum entanglement, we are "forced to accept non-locality"? Or that, under this theory, even information itself cannot exceed the speed of light? And therefore, if distance (or the illusion of space) is to be maintained, then events can occur where the effect precedes the cause.

Although amazing and fascinating to read about, quantum physics is usually nothing more than a trifling curiosity, a fascinating theoretical exercise that bears just a tiny impact on our lives (is the gravity constant responsible for a 0.0004% change in the speed of a distant stellar probe?????). In my mind, however, Quantum Entanglement is one of the few facets of quantum physics which could truly revolutionize our lives. How, you ask? How about revolutionizing the way power reaches our homes?

Perhaps the most amazing potential use of Quantum Entanglement is the proposed "Teleportation Drive," which would herald a new and amazingly efficient way to send rocket ships to space. CHECK THIS LINK OUT! This is mind blowing. Check out this excerpt:

Applying quantum teleportation to a photon drive (to produce what I am dubbing the telephotonic drive) would remove the one great engineering obstacle (i.e., power generation) to producing a viable photon drive system. Recall from earlier in this article that laser beams (i.e., concentrated streams of photons) have been successfully teleported. Without knowing it, the researchers who accomplished this feat created a basic telephotonic drive in the course of their experiments. In the case of a telephotonic drive powerful enough to propel a spacecraft, earthbound electric plants (nuclear or otherwise) would generate the power for a laser beam which would then be teleported to a spacecraft.

The most amazing thing quantum physics is telling us, though, is that we have only begun to scratch the surface. This branch of science promises not just to improve or change the world around us, but it may be what a steppingstone to further understanding or even completely changing the universe we live in. For instance, a string of recent discoveries in astronomy has left scientists with an unsettling realization: The stuff we know and understand makes up less than 5 percent of the universe. The rest has to be yet-unknown forms of "dark matter" and "dark energy."

If you haven't already explored Quantum Entanglement, you should look into it!

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Top Evolutionary Inventions

This is an awesome article. An excerpt:

[Eyes] appeared in an evolutionary blink and changed the rules of life forever. Before eyes, life was gentler and tamer, dominated by sluggish soft-bodied worms lolling around in the sea. The invention of the eye ushered in a more brutal and competitive world. Vision made it possible for animals to become active hunters, and sparked an evolutionary arms race that transformed the planet.

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09 April 2005

Hootie in Hell

I have wrestled a bit about posting this. It's a TV commercial for Burger King, who have been working for a while in "viral marketing," i.e., people passing their ads around because they are "cool" or "interesting." I despise viral marketing, because it inserts commerce where it doesn't belong, like personal conversations... I hate it.

At the same time- GAH! I love this commercial, which I doubt has aired on TV anywhere. This guy has the ad embedded on his website, and while I disagree with some of his analyses of the clip (I'm sorry, the cowboys with the fries sprouting in the background are a homoerotic image if I ever saw one), I appreciate his enthusiasm. Whoever thought of getting Hootie and the Blowfish to sing a bastardized version of the hobo song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" while escapees from Pee-Wee Herman's universe frolic with large bits of food is just brilliant.

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F-WWOW

Literally-- that's the official registration number of the new Airbus A380, the monster that's supposed to be able to fly with between 555 and 850 or so people. Airbus has posted recent pictures of this monster on its website. Amazing!

Some joker has even created what the 850+ version might eventually look like.

Sarah Connor: How are you supposed to know? Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you're so creative. You don't know what it's like to really create something; to create a life; to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death...
John Connor: Mom.
Sarah Connor: ...and destruction...
John Connor: Mom! We need to be a little more constructive here, okay?

Heheheh... Bigger! Faster! Longer! More girth!

Monty

PS - I have some special design/graphics recommendations for the Japanese buyers (read below)

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08 April 2005

A strange dream I had last night...

Occasionally, whenever I had a strange dream, I would sort of jot it down and e-mail it to Lee. Sometimes he would do the same, and there even used to be a site devoted to people who would record their dreams, and sometimes he and I would post our dreams there. Since we're on the blog now, maybe I'll post it here, instead. Let me know it is not the sort of content you'd like to have on the blog.

I haven't been feeling well lately, so I've been sleeping a lot, taking little hour-long catnaps immediately after work. It's been my experience that when you sleep and dream during hours you would normally be awake, you tend to have more vivid, bizarre dreams. So here's one...

I dreamed that I was with my mother and father in Japan. We were shopping at a mall which, because space in Tokyo is so limited and crowded, occupied the entire inside of a skyscraper. On the outside were offices, and on the inside, the mall, all the way up. Customers moved between the stores along incredibly steep, amazingly wide escalators that could hold maybe 10 or 20 people per step.

I could see no visible means of support for the escalators. They were just diagonal lengths from one side of the building to the other side. "Aren't the Japanese amazing?" My dad said.

I think it was that one of the stores on the 40th floor where I bought something strange -- I don't know what it was -- this tiny little spiky ball made of leather. It looked like a microscopic picture of a virus, made large. It was sort of like a wallet. You could unzip it down the middle and store things in it.

I was peering over the edge, when my dad said, "You better not do what I think you're thinking." I dropped the leather ball thing and watched it fall. It came unzipped in midair and fluttered to the floor behind the cosmetics counter. Within moments, I was in custody of the mall security detail. My entire family was asked to leave. "No worries, I didn't come here to shop, anyway," my mom said happily. "It's time to fly home."

Next thing I see was the outside view of a large airplane flying at cruising altitude above a white blanket of clouds. It was a large plane, but with an incredibly realistic picture of an attractive naked woman painted on the outside of the plane. It was an advertisement, nothing explicitly sexual, and although she was naked, it was designed more as an advertisement promoting some sort of product. From my perspective outside, from the top of the plane, however, it looked like she was lying using the nose of the plane as her pillow, and her hips were exactly where the plane's wings joined at the body of the plane, and her legs were painted spread open and onto the wings. Where normally you would see her *****, the circular red sun off the Japanese flag had been superimposed, for modesty.

Suddenly, it wasn't me or my family flying home at all, it was a commercial for Japanese airline. I was watching the scene on TV in a Japanese hotel room. The airline's slogan flashed across the screen:

Fly with your pants on
an excellent experience
the best "take-away."

I woke up, smiling, laughing. I remember once, years ago, doing this same thing. I counted the syllables. I was writing fucking haiku, in my sleep. And bad ones, too.

I went back to sleep.

C5


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Aryan Justice

Too cruel. Someone named their baby "Aryan Justice."

Fortunately, she won't get beat up for her name until after she's graduated high school.


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"Look out behind you!!"


A friend at work emailed me this news photo, noting, "This has Monty Python written all over it." Heh heh!!

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Cell Phone Do Not Call List

In a few weeks, all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and people will start to receive sales calls on cell phones.

The national Do Not Call list registry number is (1-888-382-1222). It blocks your number from unwanted solicitation calls for 5 years. To be included on the cell phone list, you must call the above number from your cell phone.

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07 April 2005

Bad Loop

Bad Loop is a Finnish guy (I assume he's a guy, though maybe not) who does very mellow, laid-back electronic music. There's a lot of Aphex Twin influence (of course), but some of it is highly original.

You can download songs for free... I especially like Favorite Things and Post Techno Superstar Malfunction.

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Amazing Rain

Sam Brown, the twisted genius behind the cartoon website explodingdog, recently published a book called Amazing Rain, and it sounds really intriguing. From the review at PopMatters:

The story begins in "the city" that "I" live in. This city is monolithic, more like the Platonic idea of a city than any real place. Those who live within are a simple, homogenous bunch of stick figures, dwarfed by the massive gray blocks of buildings and skyscrapers. The narrator decides to do what it seems no other city-dweller has done -- take a roadtrip. Taking "you" with him/her, the narrator drives and drives, until the road ends and the car breaks down, but continues to go forward on foot. Narrator and companion eventually meet up with a portly man living in the woods, who tells them stories, including the story of the king.

This is where things start to get confusing.


Amazing Rain

You can see some art from the book on Amazon.

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The Last Pinball Wizard

BusinessWeek online has an interesting article on Gary Stern and Stern Pinball Inc.

"As president and owner of Stern Pinball, he presides over the planet's sole surviving pinball-machine manufacturer."

The article lead me to the website of Stern Pinball Inc where I found this.

And if you want buy a pinball machine (in Georgia) try Great Southern Distributing because Stern doesn't sell direct.

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06 April 2005

Album art challenge

This is pretty cool... Stylus Magazine (.com) is having a weekly contest where you have to identify 10 album covers that have the artwork intact, but the text and logos stripped off. This is their third week's contest- in both of the first weeks I knew only one of the covers, but this week I actually recognize TWO of 'em. Can y'all do any better?

I'll post the two I know as a comment, in case you don't want any spoilers.

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05 April 2005

Marble Madness clone

I haven't tried this yet, but I plan to install it when I get home... Trackballs, an open-source, 3D version of the 80s arcade classic Marble Madness. (For Windows and Linux)

I lost a lotta quarters on that game...

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Good news, bad news

The Good News: the Olivia Tremor Control haven't broken up after all! They're playing at a festival in England later in April, and are playing at their "home base," the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA, on April 15th!

The Bad News: I called as SOON as I saw this article, and the show was already sold out. Bah.

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Happy birthday, Mr. Corman!

B-movie king Roger Corman turns 79 today.

a much younger Corman

Producer and/or director of over 350 movies(!) since the 1960s, Corman's influence on pop culture has been just like his movies: trashy, loud, over-the-top, and lotsa fun. Consider:

  • He was the first person to give work to a young Jack Nicholson, first in the original Little Shop Of Horrors, and later in 1963's horror/comedy The Raven (which also featured Vincent Price, Petter Lorre, and Boris Karloff spoofing on the horror-movie cliches they'd helped create).
  • Produced the original The Fast And The Furious in 1954, helping to create the "drag race movie" subgenre that would have only a brief popularity in the drive-in era, but would later influence directors like Monte Helleman and David Cronenberg.
  • Produced the only good movie Sylvester Stallone was ever in, Deathrace 2000, in which a future society culls its old, sick, and weak (and therefore, slow) members by staging a road race during which drivers score points for running over pedestrians... a brutal and hilarious satire. (Corman is supposedly working on Deathrace 3000 now; I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing.)
  • Produced the 1977 movie Grand Theft Auto, which starred a very young Ron Howard (not Opie Taylor-young; more Richie Cunningham-young) and later lent its name to one of the best video-game series ever.
Here's an interview with Corman from 1999, and another one from 1974. Happy 79th, Roger!

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04 April 2005

How to Wet Shave

How to wet shave

You know about the only thing my father took the time to teach me (outside of how to change the oil, brakes, sparkplugs and tires on a car) was the right way to shave. This story has a lot of good links to a high end shaving site called Classic Shaving

Found on Metafilter

Cheers!
CW

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03 April 2005

Rubber Johnny

Alright, this looks disturbing as all get-out... Rubber Johnny, a six-minute film short coming out on DVD next month, directed by Chris Cunningham.

From Drowned In Sound-dot-com:

'Rubber Johnny' is an abstract and emotionally charged short film, that manages to be simultaneously humourous and dark as it catalogues the limited world of the socially abandoned son of a redneck, TV addicted couple. The 16 year-old spends every day of his pathetic existence locked in the pitch black basement, beneath the family home. To relay the verity of a life lived in darkness, the film was shot entirely in infrared DV.


The music in the film is by Aphex Twin, and Cunningham is the director of two of the best music videos ever, Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" and "Come To Daddy". I can't wait.

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02 April 2005

Mitch Hedberg dead...

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking-- you know this already. It's not like anyone important has died lately, anyway. I know some people didn't really dig him, but I thought some of his jokes were really hilarious. It was observational humour, but it came from the exact type of mind I'd like to think I have.

"Rice is great when you're hungry and you want 2,000 of something."

"I like swiss cheese. It's the only cheese you can draw with a pencil and identify."

"Your curveball won't curve. Because you're twelve."

"I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it."

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01 April 2005

Just one word for this:


Stylin'!

(e-mailed to me by Tim V.)

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Happy April Fool's Day...

Your friendly neighbourhood astronomers wish you a happy April Fool's day. Is there water on Mars? PROOF that there is.

Ha ha ha, now back to listening to your radio telescopes, boys.

C5

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Great New Product!

Google Gulp tm

At Google our mission is to organize the world's information and make it useful and accessible to our users. But any piece of information's usefulness derives, to a depressing degree, from the cognitive ability of the user who's using it. That's why we're pleased to announce Google Gulp (BETA)™ with Auto-Drink™ (LIMITED RELEASE), a line of "smart drinks" designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.

BTW Google has removed the limits on Gmail... It's now at 2GB and will grow as they add more space to the server farm...

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Satan's fingers

I've always been a little fascinated by Anton LaVey, founder of California's Church Of Satan in the 1960s. (The CoS was like the martini-swilling, well-connected Hollywood version of The Church of the SubGenius, which was formed in Dallas, TX in the 1970s, by a few guys smart enough to get the joke, but too poor to get out of Texas.)

Anton

Part performance art, part rebellion-for-the-hell-of-it, and (large) part an excuse to party like it was 1969, LaVey's "church" was Goth before Goth was suburban. And unlike a lot of "Goth culture" from the 1980s onward, LaVey wasn't afraid to laugh at his campy creation. If you doubt it, check out the music he would inflict on vistors to his home in San Francisco: bad organ music, played by the good Dr. himself.

Some people like to remember LaVey on Halloween, but I think it's more appropriate to remember him today... on April Fool's Day. :)

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