prog: (Default)
Why was I not informed of this before? "Literal" version of the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" music video:

I like how the humor starts out at an eye-rolling, i-see-what-you-did-there level, but starts getting more comfortable and clever a little way in.

The whole series of these videos is pretty good, with several el-oh-el moments, if you're me.
prog: (Default)
Last night I met [ profile] dougo, the only quintuple penultamour I know, at TT's to see The Octopus Project. I liked about half of what they played, and suspect I would have liked them more in a more sound-friendly venue.

I really liked their presentation, vaguely captured in this crappy iPhone shot, involving ambient video that included some simple, delightful hand-drawn animation. I assume it was by someone in the band, because those masked critter-props on stage had the same visual style. I now wish I'd asked one of the band about the animation while Doug was buying their CD. Oh well.

Was tickled that the video also included clips from the classic macabre bicycle safety film One Got Fat, a.k.a. that really weird thing with the kids in monkey masks.

Before them was Jeans Team, which is a couple of crazy German doodz with some really fun small-scale Euro-industrial that made Doug wonder if they're retro, or if Germany is just still doing that. I enjoyed them.

Because I'd played Rock Band at [ profile] mrmorse's place for six hours the day before that, the sight of a hyperkentic blonde pretty-boy with silver-lamé pants playing next to a more staid fellow dressed like your high school biology teacher made me think "someone's been having fun with the character editor".

They were out of earplugs at the bar! I stood up close to the crazy Germans because the sound was mostly bassy and didn't rise above chest-level, but had to fade back into the hall to escape head-on Octopus noise. I'll get some plugs at CVS or something before the next time I go to something like this. (And, yes, my ears went back to normal a day after that last show, just like you all said it would. Thanx!)
prog: (Default)
I enjoyed the concert, though it was very loud and the acoustics were terrible.

Twelve hours and a solid sleep later, my ears are still ringing, and I have a physical sensation of cotton lodged into both of them. Is this... should I be worried? I don't know.

A friend who goes to many concerts tells me that, doy, they sell earplugs at the bar, you know, and everyone who isn't dumb wears them. I didn't know this. I don't know anything!! I am a nerd who doesn't get out much.

Seriously though, I'm starting to get a little concerned about this.
prog: (Default)
So when I learn that there's a show goin on after 9pm at the Middle East, but its website sez its box office closes at 7pm, does that mean I'm out of luck (unless I leave RIGHT NOW and then kill two+ hours), or will they sell me tickets at the door anyway?
prog: (doggie)
Can you feel my heart in the palm of your hand
And do you understand
Why I can't --

That is about how long it takes for me to go back to the home screen, tap the 'iPod' button, tap 'Playlists', tap '!Recent Podcasts', and then tap the title of the show I was listening to, after I squeeze the iPhone's mic-clicker to resume play, and it decides to start playing the alphabetically first song it knows instead.
prog: (Default)
[ profile] mrmorse pointed to the Pandora FAQ in a comment on my previous post. If you do a text search for "vamp" you'll be at the top of an interesting little glossary of (mainly popular-)music-theory terminology that Pandora uses in its song-taxonomy.

The term "headnodic beats" reminds me of the crowd from this 1970 TV-concert video of a very young Kraftwerk, even though its tempo may be too fast to qualify as such. (I have probably embedded this same video before, but why not do it again. It's fun.)


Jul. 18th, 2008 11:17 am
prog: (Default)
I finally got into Pandora Radio because of its free iPhone version. The application isn't flawless - unexpected events make it have a temporary seizure that makes even the phone's hardware controls unresponsive until it times out - but its normal mode is very impressive. You can start listening to music via WiFi, and then wander off into 3G territory, and it doesn't skip a beat. (Literally.) This is the first implementation of portable internet radio I've seen, something I've wanted since using my first iPod for the first time.

(That said, pulling in continuous data via 3G drains the battery like nothing else. But that's just the price of admission, right now.)

And, yes, Pandora itself is rather excellent. I love the idea of musical-classification "genes". Who knew that I was into extensive vamping? I'm using my email address there, if people wish to connect. (Why, of course it has social-network features.)


Jul. 14th, 2008 12:38 pm
prog: (doggie)
Got an iPhone on Saturday. Wait was an hour, at the Cambridgeside Apple Store. Actual purchase took another 30 minutes, including a very fast number-port. (So, yes, I have the same phone number.) Buyer's remorse is forever. No, not really; I definitely needed a new phone anyway coz my two oldies are both in fritzy condition after many years of bang-around use. And ever since using a Smartphone for the first time ever - [ profile] classicaljunkie's Blackberry, during our Maine vacation last year - I have been making a mental note each time I've been on the sidewalk and thought gee it'd be useful if I could hit the Web right now.

Got the $300 16GB model. I like it. The actual-phone improvements seem to be just what they promised. While the quality of incoming voice sounds slightly fuzzier than what my old phones delivered, the reception is otherwise loud and clear, and I'll soon forget the difference. The visual voicemail interface is excellent. And I've just started to explore everything else it can do. I definitely like everything I'm seeing.

But now I am set up to pay $20 / month more for phone usage than I used to, and that's a bummer. I'm trying to alleviate it through proactivity: I just now canceled my subscription to WiFi at the Diesel Cafe, for which I was paying $14 / month. I do sometimes use it, but there are enough free options around now (hello True Grounds), to say nothing of the new cellular-based internet device in my pocket, that it just doesn't make good sense anymore. I still felt bad when the salesguy said "looks like you're a longtime user of ours"; I have been, for many years. I told him I was moving, even though he didn't ask why I was canceling (which was pretty awesome of him). (And, yes, I'm actually moving closer to the Diesel, if anything.)

I'm considering putting a temporary kibosh on the $5 that I donate to every month as well, as the combined savings between that and Diesel would near-enough match the increased cost of my new AT&T plan over my old T-Mobile one. Oh, I probably can't bring myself to do it. I crank up one or another of its streaming stations whenever I need some pleasant sound-filler while I work, which is often.
prog: (Default)
As an illustration of an artist dramatically improving his craft over time, I present a couple of works of Joel Veitch, an animator of memetically muscular nonsense pieces. (Both are SFW, but you'll probably want headphones if you're actually at work, slacker.)

Exhibit A: We Like the Moon, 2002.

Exhibit B: Princess Twinkly, 2008.
prog: (rotwang)
Here is a nice animation by [ profile] mrmorse of a Mandelbrot set zoom-in synchronized to a Freezepop song.

prog: (rotwang)
Is there a contemporary song lyric that, if shouted from a minivan's drivers-side window at a passerby, sounds something like "I'M GONNA WITCHITA!"?

I choose to assume that she was somehow complimenting my new haircut, though at the time I wondered if there was something stuck to my pants or whatnot.
prog: (Default)
Portishead has a new album, 12 years after their last. [ profile] toddalcott has the goods. I suddenly realize there's buncha albums I gots to get. There's this, and there's new R.E.M., new Underworld, and a new Ladytron disc comin out shortly. All my entertainment dollas been going to video games lately... enough a that, sez I. (Have been saying since I got the 360, actually. Been doing a good job since then.)

INTERESTING PERSONAL TRIVIA: Portishead's signature song "Sour Times" is tightly bound in my mind with the puzzle book Maze, because I happened to hear it for the first time (via MTV!) just as I discovered the Maze website for the first time, and it instantly struck how the song's sound and the book's graphics fit together very well. Yes, this would be back in my dorm room.


Jan. 7th, 2008 05:42 pm
prog: (Default)
[ profile] woodlander pointed me at this video for the song "Lollipop" by Mika, whom I hadn't heard of before. I can take or leave the music by itself, but mixed with this Peter Max-meets-Tex Avery animation from the French studio Bonzom, the result is three minutes of overwhelmingly positive energy (and just a little bit of naughtiness).

If you're like me, you'll watch it through, and then watch it through again, and the whole time feel a desperate need to see it through some channel other than YouTube's teeny tiny blur-o-vision. Here's one link to a less cruddy version. I ended up buying the video from iTunes for $1.50. I've vaguely wondered for a long time what would move me to spend ten bits on a music video, and now I know.

(Postscript: Have also taken to dropping two-dollah bills on Cartoon Brew Films' offerings, lately.)
prog: ("The Sixth Finger" guy)
My infinite-repeat working song OTD is "We Share Our Mother's Health" by Swedish bizarro-electronic duo The Knife. It got some internet play some months ago with the release of its video, a disturbing and dreamlike animation involving kamikaze midgets, slow pans over medical instruments, and a giant in a gimp suit. I bought it from iTunes at the time, and now I find myself totally driven by it. The lyrics are nonsense, but the sound is grumbly and bouncy in an extremely resonant way for me, today.

I should get more music from these guys.
prog: (Default)
I kind of wanted to see Gone Baby Gone until I was told that it is, in fact, about a Baby who is Gone. That's... ih.
prog: (Default)
DDR Supernova is nice. I was originally resistant to the notion of completing special obstacle courses in order to unlock songs, but they are clever and encourage you to explore the various song-tweaking options that have been in the games since the beginning but which I've never bothered messing with. These mostly involve ways to change how the arrows move and appear, such as reversing the flow of arrows, or making them appear only halfway up the screen, or having them move at unpredictable speeds. It's sort of a DDR scavenger hunt, and I like it.

I can do 7-footers comfortably and some 8-footers with exertion and luck. This may be my plateau.

Also, today I bought a song on iTunes because I heard it in a DDR game, which is a first for me. It is "Jerk It Out" by Caesars. Which makes me think of someone trying with violent motions to get the last bit of caesar salad dressing from the bottle, but in fact if you listen to the iTMS sample you will hear the chunkly filtered organ riff that I found highly catchy and happy and worth a dollar. Very fun to stomp arrows in time to, as well.

Have gotten into an exercise routine lately where I spend about an hour playing DDR and then doing some push-ups and other floor exercises. Though the results have been fast - I'm definitely building up strength, able to do a few more reps every day - I'm sure my form is terrible. I looked at WP's page on push-ups, which have a totally boss animated GIF of a guy doing push-ups forever, but its caption (doubtless provided by a later contributor) criticizes his bad form. Uh, and now I look at the page and the picture's gone.

This video is the number-one googley hit for "how to do push-ups". It is not how I have been doing them. I like the suggestions for making it easier, and easier again, for newbs. I remember doing the easiest kind, with bent knees, when I went to "special gym" in grade school. But today, my shoulders hurt at the bone level after doing whatever horrible thing I was doing that was apparently not push-ups, so maybe I'll try this chest-to-the-floor way tomorrow.
prog: (galaxians)
Wrote a monologue for Jmac's Arcade yesterday, and hope to record it today. I've had the idea for this one since March, but then I did some Gameshelf work and then the webclient attacked and I haven't done any video work since.

However, last weekend I put together an aggressive but sane schedule of webclient milestones covering the next couple of months, and so long as I stay ahead of it I finally feel like I have time for my most neglected pillar. This is very good; I hadn't been been working by any schedule other than my two drop-dead deadlines (Sep 30 for live Tic Tac Toe demo, Dec 31 for full client), and that only gets me into work-or-feel-guilty mode. More fine-grained deadlines gives me a much more palpable sense of progress, and room to stretch in other directions.

Come Monday it'll be back to the Volity mines for another few days, though...

Dropped the Gameshelf crew a note last week about all this, too. I hope that producing another Arcade will whet my appetite to pick the show back up. Been considering sticking an audio news segment onto its RSS feed, just to keep it warm. We'll see.

Urgh, also in a stickyish situation coz the song I wanna use for this Arcade's BGM is by a local band (Rat Club) who hasn't updated their website since January and whose email bounces. They have a MySpace page and I'm tempted to get a MySpace account just to ask them if I can use the song. I'm further tempted to just try using the song anyway if I can't reach them, covering it with all appropriate attribution and hoping for goodwiil. It's pretty perfect for this piece.

Picked up Mario Strikers Charged a couple days ago, arguably the first "real" game (versus a discful of minigames and unlocks) for my Wii. It's a soccer game, and the followup to the original Mario Strikers for Game Cube that nobody heard of because it was for Game Cube. Haven't played enough to really get an impression of it yet; it's not quite as pick-up-and-go as Mario Kart but it isn't far off the mark either. The A button passes, B shoots, C fires off whatever power-up you just picked up, and everything else is an advanced technique that you can ignore at first. But it's not yet clear to me where the power-ups come from (it's nothing as obvious as running over "?"-boxes), and the action can get confusing pretty quickly.

The game encourages cooperative play, supporting two players to a side, and I look forward to doing some of that. Very interested in its internet play as well, so please let me know if you get a copy too.

I've been making coffee again, and generally eating breakfast produced in my own kitchen. Still hitting the Starbucks across the street for my afternoon jolt, though.
prog: (Default)
Not online for a compressedly extended period while I help [ profile] classicaljunkie move in to her new place and go to shows and restock my own pantry and stuff.

Went to a Negativland show with [ profile] cthulhia and another friend of hers last night. It was a lot of fun, if a bit long. I hadn't heard these fellows before, and I like em. As Cth predicted, they appeal to my appreciation of AV editing, since their whole act (at least in this show) involves putting together a meaningful sound collage on the fly, using a mix of analog decks and digital devices (and lots and lots of cassettes, LPs and CDs) arrayed all around them. Thematically it was a rich and lengthy pro-atheism rant, so not the most daring thing in the world to me, but it was definitely fun to watch them throw it all toegther.

I found that I couldn't stay standing more than a couple of hours and had to fade to the back of the room to sit through the last couple segments. Had a great time, modulo exhaustion and a little psychic pollution from drunk crazy people both inside and outside the club. (And did Central smell mostly of piss and barf back when I lived there? Probably. Yuck.)

Anyway, I hadn't been to the Middle East before, so I think that completes my checklist of Boston venues that have shown up (lightly disguised) in Harmonix games. (I did briefly visit the Rat while it existed, more than a decade ago, though I didn't go into the club per se. It's funny how the place has stayed legendary so long after its demise!) (I also met the late Mr. Butch while I was in there!)
prog: (PKD)
I discover that DEFCON - Everybody Dies has been ported to Mac; you can download a free demo at that link. For me personally, it is without a doubt the most powerfully and purely negative computer game I've played lately. I get very emotionally involved playing this, to the level where I feel real discomfort, almost to the point of literal nausea. I am not sure I'd want to play this game with another person... or maybe that would take the edge off. Who knows.

Objectively, this is all very interesting to me.

The game's worth experiencing for the way it mixes very clean, minimalist, even cold graphics with subtle sound effects and slow, dark ambient music that offers a continual dirge for the events that are unfolding (and which you are helping to cause). The overall effect is intensely disturbing even though it features no single element that would peg an MPAA-style content advisory.
prog: (khan)
Reasons that $not_first_time is not a good variable name:
  • Not the first time for what, exactly? (This isn't helped by the fact that this programmer doesn't believe in using inline comments. Ever.)

  • It's awfully rude to use an inverse boolean like that, where it's false if the thing it tracks is true, and vice versa. not($first_time) reads much better than not($not_first_time), no?

  • I can't get that song from Foreigner out of my head now.

Bonus annoyance: I'm thinking of that one ATHF episode where Karl gets the magic Foreigner belt. Sadly, I think that's hilarious.

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