Sunday, September 30, 2007

World of NFLcraft

VikingD: LFG offense needed any spec will do
Viking0: Hey, can someone in the guild tell me how to set up my macros again? I was over in Barren's chat.

Kanye on SNL

In keeping with Source Dork's goal to be your one-stop shop for all things Kanye West, here are clips of the man on Saturday Night Live. The first is a sketch poking fun of the rapper's award show meltdowns. God help me, I actually found a SNL bit funny. The next two are a medley of "Stronger" and "The Good Life."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Playing the Real Game

I've been trying to figure out which part of Halo 3 to review. The single-player story, which I blew through in a day, is the traditional answer. But I've never really been all that enamored with the campaigns. Never even finished the second one. But then NeoGAF user Crush posted the above picture in a screen shot thread. An elaboration of a virtual self portrait that I generated in the Halo 3 theater. You can see the original on my Bungie file share. My pose somehow reminded me of Hard Gay when he says, "foooooo!" Crush took the idea and ran. I'm thinking my review of Halo 3 is going to be about the real game -- the one that we can keep playing in endless online matches, face-to-face at Halo parties and now, apparently, even after the 360 has been powered down.

Oops, Wrong Picture

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I fear robots

that is all

Halo 3 = Woodstock

Carl Gunther, an ex-Marine and 15th in line, gets an arm massage before he gets his hands on the new game. Gunther said he's flying out of town Tuesday morning for work as a game tester, but is hoping to play Halo 3 on the televisions in the airport bar. "My father waited in line for Star Wars and Woodstock," Gunther said. "(Halo 3) is like our Woodstock."

Apart from the unwashed masses, I don't understand the comparison. Anyway, is it any good?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mr. Wonderful Part Two

Here's the second chapter of Dan Clowes' "Mr. Wonderful" story in the New York Times.

Link to the part two .pdf

In related news a teacher resigned from his job in Connecticut after the furor that erupted after he gave Eightball #22 to one of his students. Read more at The Comics Reporter.

Al for president

Greenspan that is.

When I skip church I head straight to Meet The Press. I love that show. The Man was on today. Capital T. Capital M.

First, he is a stud. That's his 'main squeeze'. (~you should see his alt~) He wooed her with an essay on Monopolies and a paper he wrote for Ayn Rand.

Second, he is my favorite kind of power player. Being a little more behind the scenes than the figureheads and electeds. More influence than straight power.

Third, the guy is brilliant.

Fourth, he is a straight talker. So refreshing in politics. The fun part of the interview was at the end with some one liners from Tim Russert. The transcript isn't up yet but will be here soon. Al said without hesitation that the president he got the most pressure from was W. Well duh but I am glad he said it. He said the most intellectual President he worked with was a toss up between Nixon and Clinton. Nixon being the most profane. Gerald Ford was the "most real" or something like that.

He has a new book out entitled, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World. So far the selling quote goes something like this: Bill Clinton was the best Republican president we have had in a long time.

Eddie Izzard + Star Wars + Legos

Friday, September 21, 2007

Miyazaki on the Big Screen

On September 26th several Minneapolis theaters will be screening Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro -- a film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. If this rolicking caper flick doesn't fit comfortably with the rest of the director's work that's because Lupin III belongs more to it's creator the manga-ka Monkey Punch. The long running series follows a crack jewel thief (Lupin III) and his sidekicks -- a samurai, a gangster and a hot chick. It's like James Bond, if the lead character was David Niven from the Pink Panther. So while it's no Spirited Away, it's great fun and a damn sight better than half this summer's flicks if you're looking for family-friendly entertainment.

I'm not sure how Fathom Events organizes these things, but don't be surprised if they project the movie digitally rather than using an honest-to-God print.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Sneakers, Let Me Show You Them

Alexis thinks I'm trying to embarrass her with my new shoes, but I'm honestly head-over-heels in love with these things. Vans high tops were my sneaker of choice in high school. I just couldn't resist these custom versions I saw online a couple of weeks ago. I fully realize that by buying and wearing these I'm confirming my status as a nostalgia-infected oldster. If my wife thinks I'm a dork for buying stuff like this what are our kids gonna think?

Now all I need are some cool Tron kicks (not those tacky Adidas, sorry) and my wardrobe will be complete. Anybody know a good sneaker pimp?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Here's Junot Díaz's short story "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" as published The New Yorker in 2000. The story has evolved quite a bit since. I'm only a couple chapters into the book right now, but I'm getting a gut feeling that it's gonna shape out to be a great geek novel. Here's a quote to when your nerd appetite.

Throughout high school he did the usual ghettonerd things: he collected comic books, he played role-playing games, he worked at a hardware store to save money for an outdated Apple IIe. He was an introvert who trembled with fear every time gym class rolled around. He watched nerd shows like “Doctor Who” and “Blake’s 7,” could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi battle pod, and he used a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like “indefatigable” and “ubiquitous” when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school. He read Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman novels (his favorite character was, of course, Raistlin) and became an early devotee of the End of the World. He devoured every book he could find that dealt with the End Times, from John Christopher’s “Empty World” to Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth.” He didn’t date no one. Didn’t even come close.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fruit Cup Internet Bender.

Don't ask where we started, where we ended up or how we got there. Dave C. and I just double teamed the tubes via IM and found this:

Grinding the web with a partner is very efficient.

Leave a Penny, Take a Penny

So I've been trying to digest what exactly makes Daft Punk so awesome and I think I'm starting to hone in one one of the reasons -- they make music that isn't definitive. When Daft Punk releases a record its only the first part of the conversation. Then its up to the rest of the world, other musicians and us to continue, expand and re-imagine. One could argue that this means that their music is unfinished, but I'd like to think that they're just letting the rest of us in on the process of making and loving music.

This is 30 Seconds to Mars covering Kanye West's "Stronger," itself built around a sample of Daft Punk's "Harder, Faster, Better Stronger."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Clowes in the New York Times

Dan Clowes the artist behind Eightball and Ghost World has a new weekly strip that debuted in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday. Follow this link to the funny pages.

Direct link to the .pdf

Junot Diaz in Minneapolis

I just returned from a reading at Barnes and Noble near the Southdale mall. I think the place is called the Galleria. Junot Diaz read from his first novel, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao and answered questions from the audience. My interest in his stories began a couple years ago when a short story bearing the same title of his novel appeared in The New Yorker. The piece dealt fairly intimately with geekdom -- mostly comics in this case. In a more recent story, "Wildwood," one that treads more in the realm of punk music as an escape, the protagonist's little brother dabbles in pencil and paper role playing games. The themes of sci-fi flavored genre material and alternative music operate against the backdrop of Dominican/American culture. Diaz' characters are frequently youths chafing against their parents, their situations.

Here's a sample of Diaz's writing from The New Yorker, a travel piece from 2004 called "Homecoming, With Turtle." Sadly, "Wildwood" which he read a portion of tonight, is only available as an abstract. I've got the June 11 & 18 2007 issue of the New Yorker that it is in if anybody wants to borrow it and read the story.

Here's a link to the Amazon page for his novel.

Robert Jordan is dead

Author Robert Jordan, whose Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels sold millions of copies, has died of a rare blood disease, his aide said Monday. He was 58.

I have given up on this guy, I never read his last two books. Truth be told, I should have given up on him after about book 4.

What scares me is how his work parallels GRRM. Now, the first 3 ASOIAF books beat the literary pants off of RJ and then some, however, GRRM's latest book left me feeling disapointed, and it has been oh so long in coming for the 2nd half. This makes me worried.

Truth be told though, had GRRM died in a carcrash days after finishing book 3, I would have been glad I had read it even if everything was left up in the air, to me it was that damned good.

I almost wish GRRM would say 'That's it folks, I realize this is my swan song, my life's masterwork. I am going off to some hidey hole and writing this thing, this whole thing, until I am done or I die. May take five years or fifteen years, but I am going to get the whole thing done, and not publish a single thing until the whole flipping thing is done. If I die before I am done, publish what I have done, make my storyline notes avaible, then leave it be, don't have some hack come finish up my works.

I like to think this would allow him to improve the quality of the work, rather than worry about how some guy is going to split it up into managable booksized pieces, and it would be an all-or-nothing wait. Some day tento fifteen years from now we would all hear about books 5-17 all coming out in 3 month intervals and we could luxuriate in the complete story rather than getting one book every 2 years and then going back into waiting.

The End of The Wire

I'm not sure how many of you are HBO subscribers, but if you are there's still time to get up to speed with the best show on television. Read the Washington Post's coverage of the series' final shooting day for a decent picture of what the show is about. Seriously, if you like quality television you absolutely need to watch this show. Not convinced? Listen to the critics. Says Jason Weisberg, "No other program has ever done anything remotely like what this one does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature." I tend to agree.

Season five is scheduled to premier January 6, 2008.
The season four DVD comes out just in the nick of time on December 4th.

Human After All

Last night Daft Punk's film Electroma screened at the Uptown theater. Their midnight movie slot is usually reserved for well-known flicks like The Big Leboswki and A Clockwork Orange -- essentially repertory cinema for dummies. But I think I'm starting to get why they're not screening Takashi Miike or even Russ Meyer movies. Their audience just isn't ready.

The mostly college-aged crowd were rowdy, which I can forgive in a late night screening. But they were also stupid. Granted, the movie was glacially paced and didn't contain a single note of Daft Punk's music. But that hardly accounts for the bonehead behavior of the audience. They couldn't even heckle the movie properly. I'm thinking this is because many of them were drunk rather than tripping their hairless little balls off. Silly younglings. If you're in your early 20s and you're not watching these movies on acid or at least stoned you're doing it wrong.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

More Rock Band Hype

Not because it is needed. There is a new article over at Game Informer. Does a little side by side with GHIII.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pokemon Dow Jones style

Real time ticker tracking of Global Trade Station trades. With a graphical interface.

Very well done.

You Are Likely to Be Eaten By a Grue

Go here to see MC Frontalot's video for "It is Pitchdark." The track is a tribute to old school text adventures crammed full of super-obscure game references. My favorite trainspot is the lyric that recalls that crazy puzzle in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where you're trying to launch the Babelfish into your ear. Steven Meretzky, the guy who collaborated with Douglas Adams on the game makes a cameo in the clip.

First Taste

Just got the idea for a new recurring feature, quick hits of music that I'm currently exploring. If you're feeling adventurous you can click (I'll provide as many links as possible) or search them out and listen along. I'll also try to credit the places I'm hearing this stuff. Remember: mileage may vary, I'm just taking my first listen too. Here goes.

Brace Yourself, Tim

Move over The 5,6,7,8's. Tokyo Brass Style are an all-girl, all-brass band that rocks in a way that only Salsa-flavored trombones can. Here they play "Makafushigi Adventure!" the theme song to the anime Dragonball Z. I wonder if Yoko Kanno's horn-heavy theme song for Cowboy Bebop was any kind of inspiration.

via TV in Japan (an everyday must).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The wheel turns and today many a Shadowrun fan can enjoy some kind of retribution. FASA Studios has shut it's doors. I was going to eulogize the company -- since FASA got its start as an RPG company way back in 1980 -- and take the opportunity to wag my finger at folks who stray to far from their core competency. But it turns out that the real FASA, the pencil-and-paper, hex grid, Freedonian Aeronautics and Space Administration went belly up back in 2001. The FASA that made Shadowrun into a shooter was bought and operated by Microsoft -- a pitiful shadow of its former self kinda like Atari.

I'll be the first to admit that I frequently came down in defense of pseudo-FASA's bonehead moves. I figured that since only 18 people really knew or cared about Shadowrun any more that they it was smart to be conservative and try to use an accessible genre to re-introduce Shadowrun to a new audience. I was wrong about that. Turns out less than 18 people care about Shadowrun the crappy shooter.

God, I Love This Man

Both guys in this video are Bob Odenkirk, one of the best comedy talents working today. If you haven't yet seen Mr. Show, the fabulous HBO series he did with David Cross, we probably shouldn't be friends any more. It's easily the best sketch comedy show since The Kids in the Hall. Anyway, Odenkirk has become a bit of a Lorne Michaels -- he's mentored some many young writers and actors. And, like Michaels, he's also responsible for a handful of not-so-good to kinda-bad movies. Believe me. The guy has many, many more great things in him. A new HBO show just might be one of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Less Dancing, More Writing

The guys at NeoGaf are a bunch of cards, I tells ya. Here's the source for the .gif, the avatar of one of our more notorious users, Drinky Crow.

Monday, September 10, 2007

10 Years Ago I Would Have Loved This

It's a mash up of The Simpsons' opening crammed with Star Wars references.

Finish the ... Start the Fight

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII opening movie. There is a great nostalgic bit at the end like it was made just for Gus. Excuse the French. Literally.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Looking for group - Rock Band

After a circus with the shipping company, the setup is finally complete:


Richfield Best Buy to have Halo 3 at midnight.

via Kotaku

More Important than Dylan at Norfolk

Weird Al's first television appearance.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

An Epic Timewaster

Go here to play the new game from Tim Schafer. There's only five minutes worth of game there, but as expected there's a good belly laugh in there. His real new game is an as yet unannounced title that is rumored to star Jack Black.


So, I went over to my local reloader today to use his 'library' and per his suggestion grabbed
Tenney L Davis's Chemistry of Powders and Explosives

Turns out like many things, it isn't so simple, for the following reasons. Legal code and Science don't mix. Our laws have rules about explosives, and this of course influences how likely a new substance is to be considered at the very low end of the scale as an explosive, and high deflagerates not explosives by some scientific defintions get classified as explosives so they fall under the correct existing laws. This happens a lot in biology where there is pressure to describe something as species vs subspecies due to our endangered species act only recongizes species.

Also, there is a scale of burn rate, and the division of low explosive to high explosive is of course quite arbitrary with the highest end low explosive being nearly identical to the lowest end high explosive.

Grain Dust is not an explosive
Grain Dust plus a saturation of oxygen in a confined space is an explosive.

Many of the items considered explosive require oxygen saturation and confinement to produce burn speeds of a level that reach the threshold for a low explosive. Hence gas in the tank of your car normally isn't going to be an explosive, but under the right conditions it can be. (and contrary to the movies of the 80's rolling it down a cliff isn't one of those) I mentioned 'blackpowder' (old school gunpowder) being an explosive and 'gunpowder' (new school smokeless powders)being not. That wasn't quite right. Both black and smokeless have oxygen present already right in the mixture. Black powder has a burn rate high enough to classify it as an explosive regardless of confinement, whereas smokelss powder only has a burn rate to classify it as an explosive when under confinement.

Of course, most confinements aren't designed to handle explosives, so frequently the confinement will break and only a small part of the potential explosive will actually explode, the rest just forms a nice bright fast burning fire.

The plane hitting the world trade center did have it's fuel explode, but only some, and that wasn't visible, and required the confined space of the tank, plane, and building. Once confinement had ended we saw the fireball but that was just fuel burning, and it burns hot and bright, but it is no different than throwing a bunch of dry wood the thickness of your fingers on a campfire. It burns really bright and the flames leap to the sky, but it is just adding fuel to the fire. "Rapidity of reaction distinguishes the explosive reaction from an ordinary combustion reaction by the great speed with which it takes place. Unless the reaction occurs rapidly, the thermally expanded gases will be dissipated in the medium, and there will be no explosion" (although in this case gas does not equal jetfuel, however it is those expanding gases that pushes the jetfuel out and into the air so we can see the nice fireball)

Often it is the absence of oxygen in sufficeint quantities that prevents something from being an explosive. Most explosives are a mix of fuel and oxidizer, as relying on atmospheric oxygen isn't very producive. Coal yields 5 times the the heat energy output per unit of weight as nitroglycerine, yet coal burning on an open fire is not explosive by any means. Burning it in a furnace and pumping bellows to add more oxygen, gets better results, and from wikipeida "When the wood or coal is immersed in liquid oxygen or suspended in air in the form of dust, the burning takes place with explosive violence. In each case, the same action occurs: a burning combustible forms a gas."

Somewhat of a sidenote, Tim, did you ever get to throw real grenades in your army days? I was told that they have very little or no 'fireball'. Most 'explosions' on TV, if the hero can avoid being touched by the fireball he is just fine, whereas real explosions, it is the fragments that get you and there may not be much of a fireball at all. (Absense of fireball makes sense, the fuel is extremely fast burning in an explosion, so there should be none to see, or it will be a flash)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Lost Garden

You should be reading Lost Garden, if you aren't already. It's a great blog about game design. It's somewhat more focused on video games, but I think his thoughts are applicable to all games. He doesn't post frequently, but when he does, it's great stuff. Put it in your feed reader, and be pleasantly surprised when something new shows up.

I Just Knew This was Going to Happen

Much like my prescient awareness of the moment of my own death, I have been carrying with me the following events stemming from this day for nearly 20 years:

1. Pavarotti dies.

2. I have fricking "La Donna e Mobile" stuck in my head for at least four days.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Come for the Inspector Gadget

and stay for the Axel F.

Tay Zonday vs MegaMan

Here's an 8-bit remix of "Chocolate Rain."

More Boardgame/Videogame Convergence

Reiner officially joins the juggernaut. I've really enjoyed playing Carc and Catan on XBox, but this seems to be a turn for the worst.
First, I haven't enjoyed a Reiner design since 2000 (Taj Mahal, Traumfabrik) . He's been spitting out 20 mediocre games since then. Second, having a captive designer means Microsoft doesn't need to go out and sign contracts to get the best new games. Third, I'd much rather support the Splotter Model (Antiquity, Indonesia, Roads & Boats), where you develop a game for 20 years and charge $100 for something that cost $5 to make. Sadly, I think the market wants churned out cookie cutter mechanic, themeless Euros. Finally, Reiner is a stiff.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

G4's Top 10 Video Games Ever

Or since they've been on air anyway...

For argument's sake, note the heavy Sony flavor.

10 » Rachet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal

9 » Guitar Hero

8 » Halo 2

7 » World of Warcraft

6 » Burnout 3

5 » Half-Life 2

4 » Twilight Princess

3 » God of War

2 » Star Wars KOTOR

1 » Resident Evil 4

What's This On My Desk?

"Once you get on the Bang Bus you can't get off."

That's a quote from Southland Tales, the new near-future sci-fi flick from Richard Kelly, the writer/director of Donnie Darko. The context: On one of thousands of TV channels porn stars discuss the hot-button issues of the day on a beach, sipping champagne. Twitchfilm has posted links to a couple clips from the movie.

I'll be honest, the movie bears some of the earmarks that fouled Domino (a script by Kelly). I'm still interested. Kelly is really stretching here. He's written three graphic novels as prequels to the movie. He's really going for a sprawling, quirky, pre-cyberpunk vibe that I can totally get down with.

Official site.
Youtube clips: 1, 2, 3

BTW: Just in case you're wondering the movie has been delayed from the "2006" on the bottom of the poster. Not always a good sign. But then Idiocracy was delayed just as long. Don't quote me on that comparison.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Kowloon Update

Turns out my friend Mitch is in Hong Kong on a prolonged business trip. He spent a bit of time in Kowloon and confirmed that a lot has changed since City of Darkness. In his words "they're reclaiming the bay." We only talked briefly, but Mitch expressed a preference for Shanghai over Hong Kong. If I know my friend it's the city's openness, both culturally and economically, that excites him -- that potential that bubbles under an untapped market. For example, he said that there's a Ministry of Sound show happening there. He seems to think that the people of Shanghai are starving for great music.

Tomorrow he's going to see the Disney park. Hopefully he'll get some kind of behind-the-scenes look, being an employee of the same parent company. I'll link to Mitch's photo galleries when he gets back. He also promises to grab some good bootlegs.

Also: he said that pigeon tastes like duck.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Help Me Obi Wan Kenobi...

Awesome "holographic"-style tech from the USC Institute For Creative Technologies. I love living in a society where such an institute can exist. They should just come right out with it and rename their research group the USC Institute for Kick Ass Stuff From the Future.

What and Where?

Who are these little guys and where can I get them? They were on sale at PAX. I am pretty sure they are a need and not a want. They weren't on the PA online store.

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