Thursday, August 28, 2008

America Needs a President for Barney Smith not Smith Barney!

I'm voting for Barney Smith.

Are you all watching the run-up to Obama's speech? (I'm supposed to be packing.) If you aren't you missed a suprising speech from Mr. average American, Barney Smith. When he took the podium I actually flinched. Yes, I judged a book by it's cover. There were so many assumptions to be made based on life experience that one of them had to be correct. But not at all. I was wrong; forgive me Barney Smith. It wasn't the best oration ever by any means but he did it and he meant it. It was a great explaination point to the delegate part of the evenings speeches. It is to soon to be on the net anywhere but this guy could be meme gold. The sound byte of the orchestration is as follows:

"America needs a President for Barney Smith! Not Smith Barney!"

Barney! Barney! Barney! Barney! ...

Gus, This is Your Chance...

... to influence my musical taste.

To any and all (not just Gus):

I have 30 free downloads left on eMusic before I cancel the trial subscription. I've already pulled several albums to my taste and am willing to give some new stuff a try.

My commitment: find something in their catalog that you like, post the track here (link if you can), and I'll put the first 30 into rotation. Try to keep individual artists to a track or three so I can mix it up. I can't promise to like it, but I will give them all an honest listen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Klingon threat....averted!

A spokesman for police in Gloucester, where it was surrendered, said: "It is a particularly nasty weapon that can, literally, take someone's head off. We are very glad it is off the streets and we want more weapons handed in."

The blade is believed to be a stainless-steel copy of a Klingon weapon used in the science fiction series Star Trek. "It's an extremely dangerous weapon," said a martial arts expert last night.

I can tell some fanboy will be VERY mad at his mom when he returns from Uni.

p.s. could they have gotten a guy FURTHER from the Klingon standard to pose with this weapon?

Light Sabers are next because "People might not be able to tell if it is a real lightsaber or replica"

Not a Photoshop

Yep, that's Will Farrell and a Sleestak from the upcoming Land of the Lost movie. Fun trivia: Sid and Marty Kroft recruited USC basketball players to play the Sleestak in the original show.

To Take Up Arms Against a Sea of Something Unpleasant

This is not a new game, but one of many excellent flash games that appeared earlier in the year (this past spring was a great time for casual browser gaming) and persists in my mind as a true calssic. I had intended to do a big round-up of all of them, but as the weeks slipped away it felt less and less timely.

All for the best, though, as now I can trickle them out a few at a time. Aside to Waters: I'm not an enabler, I'm an encourager.

The Winter Is Coming

The song "The Albatross" by Elf Power just popped up in iTunes from their album "The Winter is Coming." I never made the George R.R. Martin connection until today. I listened to this record a bunch when it came out. They're band is part of the Elephant 6 collective, and as such, are close cousins to Neutral Milk Hotel.

There are no overt references to the Starks in the title track. But there are parallels. Crows. Lots of crows. And maybe someone spying from the skies?

"The Winter is Coming"

trailing out through the golden dawn
veering into the angry swarm carried by the birds into the dark
swooping down through the blurry clouds
peeling back the enormous shroud to release the beast that lurks behind

mother nature calls your name
leads you to an open space
the winter is coming and you have no time to waste

later on at the lair, see the birds melt into the air
no one could protect them from the sun
blazing on for another world, setting off through the silent swirl
think of all the faces they may know

mother nature calls your name
leads you to an open space
the winter is coming and you have no time to waste

free at last now, the bird has flown
looking down from his floating throne
just a lonely stranger in the sky
down below, people walk the road they never pause as they scurry home
they never see the birds are floating by

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


MCTC just opened a new science building. So today, before class, I'm doing some math and a pretty, young woman approaches me with a look of concern and rising urgency on her face. She addresses me politely.

"Excuse me. Can you tell me where the Science Building is?" As usual, my internal editor is asleep at the controls.

"Is it that obvious?" The subtlest adjustment of her expression tells me that she hasn't got time for anything but directions.

Seattle rocks, or why I'm also going to PAX next year

Seattle is my new favorite city - wired, friendly, walkable, clean, and fun. We just got back from a 4-day weekend there and I've convinced the wife we need to go back next year for PAX.

Here's my blog/trip plan

Monday, August 25, 2008


Love it.

I like this song

...but I really like seeing a double bass in the back. I think that is a very interesting instrument. I also like to see those bass players really working their fingers. The fact that these guys are 'thumping' the string just below the actual note's string to give a fuller sound. Check out this but I really like seeing a double bass in the back. I think that is a very interesting instrument. I also like to see those bass players really working their fingers. The fact that these guys are 'thumping' the string just below the actual note's string to give a fuller sound. Check out this but I really like seeing a double bass in the back. I think that is a very interesting instrument. I also like to see those bass players really working their fingers. The fact that these guys are 'thumping' the string just below the actual note's string to give a fuller sound. Check out this video at the 2-3 minute to see a bit of this explained and some nice finger dancing.

The double bass is found in wide varieties of music, from classical, to bluegrass, to jazz, swing, polka, 1950's rock, rockabilly (okay, some folks will say 1950's rock is rockabilly, but no one was calling it that, but I reserve the use of rockabilly for the modern resurgence of 50's style rock)(did people use the term rockabilly in the 40's and 50's?) and rockabilly leads to psychobilly.

Further, the bass players of all the non-bow genre are very much an interconnected group, spending time learning and teaching each other. I don't think many up and coming rock guitar players seek out country music guitar players to learn from, or vice versa.

Anyways, I find it interesting the wide variety of play options you have with this instrument. Bowing of course, and the the basic pluck. Banging on the body proper like a drum to keep time was very common in jazz, and then they also moved to slap-string where the string was pulled then banged against the fingerboard. Now, people are even playing the strings with drumsticks, some going further to have sticks in a variety of woods and lengths to produce different 'taps' to compliment the string's sounds.

Granted, this bass player isn't doing a lot, but with an instrument that big, just being there adds to the visual composition.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sampled Music: "What It's All About"

Here's a diagram of the samples used in the song "What It's All About" by Girl Talk aka Greg Gillis. Click the image to full size or go to Wired to see the diagram in full size while you listen.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Looks Like Magic to Me

Wireless power may soon be a marketable reality.

The background.

See Clarke's 3rd Law.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SF occupied by The Empire

Death Star Over San Francisco

Someone's Willing to Call it Early

In an article you may have missed, Tribble Ad Agency went on the record Monday with the news of Obama's running mate.
We have a credible lead that Barack Obama will be announcing Kathleen Sebelius for Vice President / VP. [sic]
Of course, the article politely requests that the reader "file it as rumor" until verification, but that's a bit of a backpedal after titling the article "Barack Obama chooses Kathleen Sebelius for Vice President."

If you're like me, you're fired up about the disagreement I just described between headline and article. If you're like everyone else, you're wondering who the heck Kathleen Sebelius is. I guess I can choke back my frustration and refrain from beating myself in the crotch with a copy of Strunk and White long enough to tell you everything I know about the woman:

She's the Governor of Kansas, and

She delivered the Democratic response to the 2008 State of the Union Address (Transcript):

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Archive

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

What Did We Ever Do To Him?

From Sen. McCain's site, via Boing Boing:

It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman's memory of war from the comfort of mom's basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.

What Does Leonard Cohen Listen to When He's Sad?

Without a doubt, he dims the lights, pours himself a glass of scotch, and puts on the Jacques Brel.

It kills me that the video cuts off before the music finishes, but that's the video with the best translation. I love that song for the reveal- in the middle you sort of wonder what he's getting all worked up about, and it isn't until the last couplet that you discover that his rising disgust is not directed at the stereotypical sailor in the narrator's imagination but at the narrator himself. "Amsterdam" debuted to a three-minute standing ovation.

If you've known me long enough, you may have noticed me in a state similar to the narrator in "Mathilde". I forgive you if you didn't notice because I'm sure I never articulated it so coherently.

Both of these songs were popularized in English by Scott Walker who used the loose translations written by Brill Building fixture Mort Schuman and Eric Blau for the musical review "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris", which enjoyed an off-broadway revival recently.

A Brel song that still tightens my gut every time I listen to it (like Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat") is "Ces Gen La." The impact of the performance is enhanced, in my opinion, by the sparsity of the arrangement. Unfortunately, the volume is a little low on the video but, again, it has the best available translation.

I hate ending on a downer, so I'll include something a little more upbeat. Heat it up, Marcel!

GenCon Photos

Here's a link to my GenCon set at Flickr.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Predict a Decline in Productivity for the Banking Industry

Because there's a good flash game, and then there's a flash game good enough that Tim will burn the whole work week playing it:

Protector: "Reclaiming the Throne"

This one has a lot to offer, even for someone who's spent a lot of time with Tower Defense-style games. Chief among these features is the "Time Wasted" counter which brings a much-needed level of quantitative analysis to this aspect of the genre.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

that's cheating

Someone needs to tell the russians that the top bit is supposed to be spinning.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sneak Attack!

Police are now working with civilians to simulate an attack by zombies on bicycles.

As you all know, the fatal weakness of zombies tends to be their slow plodding nature, hence we'd be in a world of hurt if zombies learned how to bike.

Never fear, if faced with bicycling zombies, these police will promptly knock the zombie off the bike. Who knows how long it will take a real zombie to re-orient and again climb atop the bike, but I am betting it is plenty long enough for you to run away.

Or bash the zombie with your trusty golf club

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Following Me...

So my mom bought this printer, and asked me to hook it up for her. What the HP website doesn't mention is that while the Officejet J5700 series features a fast USB 2.0 jack, it does not come with a USB cable through which your computer can transmit information to be printed. So, I'm off to the store for a 6-foot USB-A to USB-B cable. Once there, I beeline across the front of the store to the electronics section, blissfully unaware of the sight that awaits me when I arrive.

Now, it's one thing when I do it to myself as I've done from time to time over the last decade. I'm going into the situation eyes-open. I know what I'm getting into, and am prepared for the various varieties of disappointment and, yes, pain that I'll experience depending on the current information available (or, at times over the years, lack thereof). Even had I planed it, there was no way I could have prepared myself for what I saw on the bank of TVs along the back wall of the electronics section...

I knew what I was looking at immediately. I'd seen it before. Dozens of times. I've been tracking this beast for about a decade, only to have it taunt me as it stays just out of my grasp. Oh well. I'm sure I'll find something to fill the void.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Kanye West "Champion Video" Official Directed by NEON from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.
I just realized. It's been forever since I posted a Kanye West video!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Get MS Points Cheaper

The 1600 point cards are on sale at Target starting tomorrow for $14.99. That's five bucks off. Buy a couple. You know you'll spend 'em.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Meme-watch 2009

The last exchange with the line "I can break these cuffs" is getting tons of traction at YTMND.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Images From The Road

USA Today has a slideshow featuring six new images from the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's the road. They make a big deal about how Pittsburgh passed for post apocalyptic America, negating the need for CG. What? Was Detroit too over-the-top?

Pictures may contain spoilers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Dock Knight

Have we all seen it yet?! Karri took me to see it again. I hardly see movies once so to see one twice is amazing. Tuesday evening a month later and the place was 2/3's full. What a movie.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Game

There's hype, and then there is Agricola. 9 months after payment, it arrived on my doorstep.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Actually not a bass groove.

Wow cool.
*Although it sounds like a bass guitar (an instrument the group had famously never previously used), the sound is actually created by running Jack White's semi-acoustic guitar (a 1950s style Kay Hollowbody) through a whammy pedal set down an octave. from wiki

Blog Archive