Thursday, February 28, 2008

Half-Life 2: Full Life Consequences Part 2

Fact: If you can't appreciate machinma based on a (maybe fake?) six-year-old's fan fiction you're broken on the inside.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I really should Flikr

Here is a picture from 2004! Better late than never.

It is Wolf!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Boris - "Statement"

I'm koo-koo crazy about Boris. They're a Japanese trio who straddle doom metal, garage, post-rock and psychedelic. They're habitually collaborative and, most importantly, rock super hard. This video for "Statement" doesn't exactly set the world on fire, but it's a nice preview of their new record Smile, which is out now in Japan and due in April from Southern Lord.

TEDTalks: Dan Dennet on Religion

From the endlessly stimulating Technology, Entertainment, Design lectures.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Dublab Stream

Dublab is an excellent web radio station that I've been involved with for quite some time. They've just added a convenient web-streaming button to their Dubstream page for folks who can't be botherer with loading the stream into iTunes or Winamp. Right now I'm listening to an excellent set from the prettier half of the artist duo Kozyndan.

Listen up. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Boyz II Men on Don't Forget the Lyrics?

We are getting old. Acts from when we were kids are announcing come back/reunion tours on reality type TV shows.
Karri and I watched it and for the first time, as far as I know, the show didn't suck. Wayne Brady is extrememly talented, IMHO, but when the premise of a show is to get obnoxious people to sing badly you can't go anywhere but suckville.
However, when you put guys that can sing and harmonize on you are in a whole new zip code.

New Meme?

Small eyes. Small mouth. Even stranger spelling.

More here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Too Late to Overnight

A parody of something recent. I had never heard the original, but to anyone who has ever had supply chain woes, it's still funny.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

MP5 or MP3?

This is an MP5

This is an MP3 player

See the difference?

Apparently some people in the UK cannot

Now, this isn't about british silly gun laws. It is about OTHER innalienable rights they like to trample as well.

quick summary if you want to skip the article. Man listens to MP3 player, it is black. Lady sees it, thinks it is a gun and calls police. Police come in droves with guns drawn, see it is an MP3 player, take the man to jail anyway, mugshot him, fingerprint him, and DNA sample him, and put them all on file for later use. Half a day later he is free to go.

Now, I don't have a problem with the lady freaking out by what she miss-saw. Maybe she needs new glasses. She doesn't need to identify what is going on, nor is she authorized to detain and question, nor is she equipped to deal with it if she turns out to be right. Calling the cops is reasonable.

The cops, going on this phonecall, are also reasonable to show up in force, weapons drawn.

However, there is where it ends. They had the guy on camera the whole time, if he had a gun, real or fake, and ditched it claiming he only had an MP3 player, it would be found out. He didn't. The Police should have said "We got an innacurate report, please go about your day as normal sir, sorry for the inconvenience, sorry if we startled you, but we got to check these things out"

Hauling him away is draconian. Processing him in is draconian, keeping his fingerprints and DNA on file to compare to later criminal cases, or to do anything with (sell/allow access to researchers?)

Now, whenever he is filling out a job app, he must answer the question "have you ever been arrested, and for what" with "Yes, suspicion of illegal firearms activity"

I've yet to see an application with a second question of "Were you exhonorated?"

They have applogized. So what. They should remove his fingerprints from file, destroy the DNA sample, and purge the arrest record.

This is why we tossed those bastards out in 1778

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Brooklyn Vegan points out that the fabulous Neutral Milk Hotel record is ten years old this week.

I Didn't Realize Obama Songs Were a Thing

I found one by the guy from the Black Eyed Peas that features a lot of people, including John Legend, Scarlett Johannson (who sings!), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who doesn't), the guy from Live (the band- I want to say, off the top of my head, that his name is Ed Kowalczyk), and I think it's the girl from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The crazy thing is that it's pretty good. Have a listen:

I can't quite figure out, though, if the song is really all that good or if that speech (if I'm not mistaken, that's the New Hampshire primary speech) flies under my bullshit detector and makes me, just for a second, almost hope for the political future of the nation. I understand that there isn't enough information to determine whether or not Barak Obama might be an agent of change or what change he might actually foment, but I want to hope. I don't, but I want to so badly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pineapple Express

Here's another video that won't last long -- the red band trailer for Pineapple Express. It's the first foray out of sex comedy territory for Judd Apatow and company. It is directed by David Gordon Green, who made a name for himself directing small, personal films. Expect this quote from his IMDB profile to get thrown back in his face come August: "I don't necessarily think 26-year-old white guys are that interesting. So why would I want to make another movie about their coffee shops and romantic pratfalls?" Apparently their outlandish, drug-fueled escapades are a little more interesting. Or maybe it's just the Apatow paycheck.

Everything "New" is really old returning again


We've all seen them on the news. They are a private secuity firm that the US has hired to do a lot of military-like action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military doesn't have the manpower to pull infantry from doing infantry work and instead have them be armed escorst for diplomats, state deparment officials, etc etc. Enter Blackwater. Of course, there are also areas where we probably should be having our own military do the work. I hear that Blackwater is contracted to provide security for the Army engineers, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers (which is to my understanding a wield of civilian and military) Of course you have a big middle ground too, if we contract out someone to do the laundry and haul the supplies, then having actual military or contract a mercinary military type force is a bit of a grey area. On top of that all, Blackwater is also hired by individual contractors from builders to news meida to provide protection. They were hired in the wake of Katrina to provide security for the richest of the rich in New Orleans.

Either way, people are concerned (and rightly so) that Blackwater and other groups are too "shoot first, and ask shoot twice!" which hurts our cause, and as a single entity, Blackwater is too big, and that is dangerous. I haven't found any figures on the number of contractors who carry guns under the Blackwater logo, but it is big. And they have many helocopters, fully automatic weapons, rocket launchers, and the like in private ownership. No tanks or cannons, yet...

Everything "New" is really the old returning again. In this case, I see a lot of parallels to the

Pinkerton National Detective Agency
I have been reading up on them. I have heard the name time to time, and they did get a lot of mention and some screen time in the HBO "Deadwood" series, but never really new a lot. What they are probably most know for is anti-union activities, and the industry-vs-union fight has faded away to nothing, so have the Pinkertons. My understanding is that the eventually merged with a global security company, the one whose logo is a black rectangle with three red circles in a line "..." But they weren't just getting money from Andrew Carnege, they had big government contracts too.
In 1871, Congress appropriated $50,000 to the new Department of Justice to form a suborganization devoted to "the detection and prosecution of those guilty of violating federal law." The amount was insufficient for the DOJ to fashion an integral investigating unit, so the DOJ contracted out the services to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency
Sounds familiar right? But instead of hiring Blackwater to be the army, the DOJ hired Pinkertons to be the FBI. And just like Blackwater, they were big, real big.
During its height, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency employed more agents than the standing army, causing Ohio to outlaw the agency due to fears it could be hired out as a private army or militia.
This was enough of a concern that there was eventually a law passed, called the Anti-Pinkerton Act which stated...
Sec. 3108. Employment of detective agencies; restrictions
-STATUTE- An individual employed by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, or similar organization, may not be employed by the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia.
Now, it does go a bit further, allowing contracts of under 1 year in certain situations, but has also been updated to specifically dissallow such people from being hired as the head of the FBI or DEA.
What I find really intersting is how Pinterkon moved from being just a small firm like everything starts at, to such a huge entity. Apparently, they were contracted to protect Abraham Lincoln from assasination, and foiled a few attempts, gaining much fame. Eventually the US army took over the protection detail, and we all know what happened then. And this is where Blackwater got it's start too, protecting dignitaries, diplomats, and state department officials.
And that also makes me wonder exactly why Blackwater isn't considered "Pinkerton Detective Agency, or similar organization..."

Spongebob Voice Actors Do Classic Film

This aired during the Annie Awards (which Ratatouille swept BTW). It's scenes from Casablanca, Singing in The Rain and The Godfather overdubbed with the voices of Spongebob and company. The dialog sticks to the script and the jokes are minimal. It's all about seeing super-familiar scenes play out with super-familiar (and wildly inappropriate) voices. Just watch it. By this time tomorrow your mom, pastor and the homeless guy down by the 35W will have seen it.

UPDATE: New source for video after the (voluntary, but way too late) YouTube take down.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Prognostication 'Neath the Waxing Crescent

Since both the New Moon and Super Tuesday have recently passed, I feel the time is ripe to cast my personal augury for the 2008 presidential election.

Do I eviscerate a chicken? Read tea leaves? Draw up astrological charts?

None of the above. I name my Nethack characters after the candidates. A difference in score of more than one order of magnitude portends a sure victory, where a narrower margin demands further scrutiny - comparisons of maximum level reached, number of artifacts collected, pet survival, and so on.

Unfortunately, I haven't kept track of the Nethack augury's accuracy over the years, but I have found it useful. Sometimes, when there doesn't seem to be any clear choice, I tell myself that I must vote for the winner of the Nethack augury. Then, when I consider the results, I am forced to have a really honest deliberation with myself about just how reprehensible I find that particular candidate.

Stay tuned for results.

Robots Rock The Grammys

Award shows are boring as sin. Luckily Kanye and a certain pair of French robots aren't.

Video here.

Siege Weapons Are The New Hotness

I'm sure most of you already read xkcd, the geekiest comic strip on the web. But you may not be familiar with the delightful Cul De Sac by Richard Thompson. The strip is the closest thing to Calvin & Hobbes we've seen on the funny pages in ages. Heck, it's even endorsed by Bill Watterson. Both strips have hopped onto the D.I.Y. trebuchet bandwagon. Here's the xkcd strip. And here's Cul de Sac.

I've signed up via Go Comics to get Cul de Sac mailed to my inbox. It's really that good.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Nice Hat

From the official site for the series, here's a behind-the-scenes video exploring Indiana Jones' iconic look. I like that there are "rules" regarding how and when his fedora can come off.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Urban Dead Survey: Who, What and Where are We?

I am Uptown Snake. I am currently a dead body lying in the south Pescodside streets. As soon as the zed activity dies down a bit I intend to stand up and revivify myself provided no one has looted the NecroTech syringe from my corpse. I'm going to heal up and meet up with Simon (aka w1ndst0rm) in Pegton/Dentonside. Then, I hope to get back up to Pescodside and Rolt Heights and join up with the Burchell Arms Regulars in spirit if not in fact.

If Gus (and/or anyone else) is serious about playing a zombie, then I'm going to start a zombie character (keeping in mind what the FAQ says about multiplaying). I think there's a safe area for zombies southwest of the center of town.

I'm really glad that there's some enthusiasm about this. Sound Off! Who, what and where are you?

Half-Life 2: Full Life Consequences

This awesome Machinima re-enacts a bit of fan fiction written, purportedly, by a 9-year-old. It reminds me, a bit, of an awesome episode of Dexter's Laboratory that was created around an audio recording of a kid telling his mom an idea for an episode of the show.

Cool Kids Like Obama

You've probably heard about poster artist Shepard Fairey's Obama screenprint (above). Here's a link to an Obama-inspired mini-single by my friend Daedelus and his new project Fire Magic Blood.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"Top Drawer" -- Man Man

Pitchfork has a stream and an mp3 download of the new Man Man song "Top Drawer." Their album Six Demon Bag had a permanent spot in our car's CD player for a good six months. I'm kinda hoping The Current sleeps on these guys so we can see them in the 7th Street Entry again. After last night's DJ Shadow show I'm not sure I want to see any bands at First Avenue Again. The days of Prince and The Revolution and The Replacements are long, long gone. Who am I kidding? I'm probably just getting old.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Can't stop laughing over this

eTrade Talking Baby Super Bowl Commercial: Baby Buys Stock

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Just in Case You Aren't Getting Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Zombie

I've recently revived my Urban Dead character. I played on and off for a while until I died and came back as a zombie. I recently logged back on, managed to find a revivification point, and now Uptown Snake bases out of a factory one space north of Kitchingman Street Railway Station, patrolling the streets of west Pescodside.

If you can squeeze about 15 minutes out of your day, I suggest you check it out. You get 50 action points, which you recoup at a rate of one per half-hour. It's a good RP fix if that's the sort of thing you're into, and the learning curve isn't so steep since the Wiki went up.

Click Here for Rickroll-worthy soundtrack for this post

Sunday, February 3, 2008

DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and Kid Koala in Minneapolis

Tomorrow night three of the planet's best DJs will play at First Avenue.

DJ Shadow:

Cut Chemist:

Kid Koala:

If you're into cut & paste culture it's a don't-miss show.

I <3 Superbowl Sunday Counter-Programming

Between No More Heroes, Puppy Bowl and the debut of the year's greatest mix-tape (NSFW lyrics), I'm so damn entertained I could just burst.

Mixtape download options here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The War on Fornication

Cartoonist Pete Bagge has a new comic strip up at Reason's website. It's an examination of sexual politics and the controversial Plan B pill.

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