Tuesday, 30 September 2008


cool toys and thoughts

I read about this some months ago, and it seems it is finally close to being released in Europe (though I can find no dates). It's the Korg DS-10, which turns the lovely Nintendo DS into a clone of Korg's 1978 classic MS-10 synth (with extra functions).

Apparently the sound production is good, and it comes with a sequencer too... very exciting. (if making analogue techno is exciting :)
There are also rumours Nintendo is planning to release a third generation of DS, with an added camera and music player. Hmmm, yes, well. I doubt it will have the chunky charm of the first one, but perhaps I'm just bitter!

Elsewhere, I read a nice little article about f**4ng censorship by Philip Pullman, whose "Dark Materials" trilogy I have not read because I Am An Adult. The first of those books was one of the most complained about to the "American Library Association" last year.
Having heard Republicans worrying that letting government save their crumbling economy is "the slippery slope to socialism", I am surprised they have libraries in the USA, much more so than I am that some idiots might have complained about a book.
Anyway, back to the point, Pullman says a couple of nice things that I shall reproduce below.

"My basic objection to religion is not that it isn't true; I like plenty of things that aren't true. It's that religion grants its adherents malign, intoxicating and morally corrosive sensations. Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good."

"...this kind of thing only invites the rest of the world to consider the American public demented."

Friday, 26 September 2008

awkward interview...

This is what an exposing interview should look like...

I don't know many people with THAT little knowledge of politics, and it's apparently her job. Still, I love it when a campaign starts falling to pieces...

Also, in international Birmingham news, is this lovely Partridge-like clip from the BBC.


Monday, 22 September 2008

I'm PC

I saw this ad at the hater... And I agree with Amelie's sentiment. "This makes you want to buy a computer how?"

Now, I'm all for statements like "I'm a PC and I sell fish", because they're silly and meaningless, but I'm not sure how it helps Microsoft.
Bill Gates: "I'm a PC, and I wear glasses"
...SO? And to the people after him who also wear glasses.. well done! What does that mean!?
But here's where the Microsoft marketing train really derails, and it's probably because they are unaware we are not all Americans: Deepak "philosophy for morons" Chopra.
Rule of thumb - whatever he likes, you hate. The man is a plankton, and those who drink up his vapid life philosophies need to check their heads (or read some real philosophy).
So Deepak is a PC? Bye-bye Microsoft!

(ok, I have a mac, but my feelings would be the same were that not the case)

Sunday, 21 September 2008


No one fashionable is going to care about this (though they might have an opinion about the clothes in the video), but Q-Tip, once of A Tribe Called Quest, has a new single out and it's NICE. To these ears it sounds fresh, but I suspect it lacks all the bells, whistles and general wackness that the kids require of "hiphop" these days. Damn kids!

Don't know why it's taken eight years for him to recover from not having his second solo album released...

I'm trying not to go on about economic woes and the increasing nonsense that is the US electoral campaign, and diving back into hiphop is always the best way for me to switch off. That's due to me being from the streets (of a small town in the midlands). Chea!

My favourite internets discovery lately, and it's hiphop related, is "the internets celebrities". This duo plus camera person make little humourous video "essays about social justice, food, and free shit." Real life in NYC; very comparable to life in a small town in the midlands. Don't watch if you don't like swearing, but if you do, there's some surprisingly poignant shit right there.

One of the two sites related to this, ohword.com, has a fantastic deconstruction of the beats behind Nas' Illmatic. If you don't know what that is, it's widely considered to be the greatest hiphop album of all time, and that's not an opinion too wide of the mark. It's better than the Beatles, the Stones and Elvis put together times INFINITY. For people who think hiphop is "not music" or "not art", spend half an hour listening to and reading this blog post, and have your eyes and ears opened, and your opinions changed. The part about the song "represent", produced by DJ Premier (who's never put a beat wrong in his life, as long as you forget that song he did for Christina Aguilera), is particularly surprising... but read it all!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

arty games

Naomi Alderman, in the Guardian,has been discussing whether video games should or might be considered "art"... She makes some interesting points (although I refuse to consider Myst as art; it was just dull).
But, she seems to think games should have "easy" settings so they can be accessible to all, and that this would allow games to truly be considered art. Now that is a terribly 90s way of thinking: art should be accessible.
Much of "high culture" is certainly not accessible, you need to spend time in a medium to learn to appreciate much of it. In some cases, it's almost necessary to be educated about a work of art before you can appreciate it. Of course, this isn't true of all art, but accessibility is not everything.

Ergo, if games are too hard for you to appreciate properly... PRACTICE! One of my favourite games, Yoshi's Island, I think could easily be defined as a work of art, and it is certainly one of the best examples of a certain type of game. To fully enjoy and appreciate that, do you know how many times I "died"? How many times my fingers failed leaving my lizard friend plummeting to his doom? That's part of the experience.
It may be that other art forms do not rely on giving you some kind of direct challenge to see them fully, but that's part and parcel of what a game is. What's the point if you can't lose?

There are games which seem to be looking for an "art" tag, REZ springs to mind, but they are often laboured and not great experiences as games. I really wanted to like REZ, but like many a beautifully designed bar, it's looks are accompanied by average techno, which kind of spoils the experience. Had the sonics been as cool(and techno CAN be cool) as the aesthetics, I'd be claiming that as "art" too.

In music news, music definitely can not consider itself art until we can distinguish music like the new Fujiya and Miyagi album (probably art) from things like the upcoming Britney comeback album (definitely not art, probably shit). They can't BOTH be music... Oh, and so the news was there's a new Fujiya and Miyagi album and it's pretty good if you like knowing krautrocky stuff...

oh dear

"The collapse of Lehman Brothers cost him his first job before he even saw his desk, but Edouard d'Archimbaud, the 24-year-old Parisian who travelled to London from France before learning his fate, has not lost faith in the financial system." (link)

Apparently, 'Edouard d'Archimbaud says his Lehman colleagues laughed when he arrived'... I'm trying to put my finger on what it is that makes me entirely unsympathetic...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


I don't usually aggree with the formula camcorder+pets+youtube=FUN!, but occasionally there are exceptions...

It reminds me of the far too scary angels from Doctor Who..

...I couldn't find a great video of that, my apologies, but it brings us nicely to the other issue of blinking...

As they say, posts full of videos SUCK!

Friday, 12 September 2008


altered beast by vessels
Fandalism Free MP3 Hosting

I once lived in a town where there was a shop called "Chic".
Needless to say, the contents of said shop were about as far from Chic as you could imagine. So it is with a degree of trepidation that I have agreed to let Apple have my iTunes library history, to allow iTunes 8.0 to make use of the new "Genius" feature.

"Genius is a fantastic new way to discover music with iTunes. Genius makes playlists from songs in your library that go great together with just one click", so say Apple.

I like making playlists; I "DJ" to myself all the time - but I'm no genius! I wonder if iTunes Genius can compete?

...The information gathering process is taking a while, and my macbook is all-fans-blaring. I don't think that setting my knees on fire is the sort of thing a Genius should do, so things had better improve fast...
The mac goes quiet, the silence only increasing my nervous apprehension... and I'm in! Information gathered and spewed out, all I have to do is select a track, click the Genius button, and I'll be in playlist heaven.

I chose "Black Butter, Past" by The Strawberry Alarm Clock, a sixties record I've been enjoying recently. Oh dear. Genius doesn't know about that song. Does Genius only know songs in the iTunes store?
So I proceed with a Barry White song, and we're off. Firstly, I discover that I have a song called "in those jeans" by Ginuwine in my library, which would be embarrassing if anyone else saw. Genius, eh? Think it's cool to embarrass me in public, punk?
Otherwise, it's fairly unimaginative. It's as if I told it "I want 25 songs excusively by black soul singers please".
Which I didn't.
Same happens with a hiphop track - "What up man" by The Cool Kids - I'm given a "genius" tracklist of 25 hiphop tracks. Not even the best hiphop I have either - it just looks like a random collection to me.
Cool electro chimps "Crystal Castles"? What do you know, I get a playlist of electronic tracks.
Of Montreal? A playlist ripped from the heart of an anal Pitchforkmedia reviewer (who is right to point out I'm the one who has this music in the first place).

How is this "Genius"?

More fun is to be had by challenging it. Now, no reason for anyone to ask what I'm doing with any Kate Bush music at all, but for reasons you'll never know, and I'll never tell, I have some. OK? Ok, this, bizarrely, is much better. I get a list including Hot Chip, Joy Division, a bit of Michael Jackson, Queens of the Stone Age, Fugazi and the Pet Shop Boys. That's a challenging set right there.

I assume, were I to own much more MOR 80s glossy rubbish, Ms Bush would have elicited a ton of that - but in the absence of natural soul mates, the Genius system seems to have gone crazy (which is quite charming). I am not making this up, but following the Kate Bush track, Genius, in some unfathomably genuis-like way, making a decision that is beyond mere mortal understanding, chose "Jesus Built My Hotrod" by industrial metal act Ministry.

I can conceive of a playlist that included both songs, but I think you need a few more tracks in between to make it work... However, like I said I'm not a genius. iTunes 8.0, so it says on the box, is.


Charles Arthur in the Guardian
thinks "Genius" could be worth 8.4 BILLION dollars, but I wouldn't pay that much, as the iTunes store library is not comprehensive, and the tool itself is too simplistic. Still, I am not most people: I'm sure most people will love having iTunes mix up playlists of their Coldplay, U2 and Keene (s)hits, as most people are probably too rubbish to do it themselves.

Also ...ask her about Dinosaurs!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


on a meta note, "blogging" has apparently become quite influential in UK politics (I'm sure in other countries too), and frankly I think it's a bad thing...

...because the most "influential" blogs are right wing.

Now, me not being right wing, you'd expect me not to be totally happy with that, but I think I have real cause for concern:

The daddy of political bloggers is some mook calling itself "Giudo Fawkes"(no link, you'll see why). It makes no bones about being anti Labour, and is full of some extremely unfunny right wing jokes (is there any other kind?), and snide comment. So far so "why is this shit so popular?", but hey, interestingly, from that blog you're only TWO CLICKS from hardcore English racist nationalists (through its blogroll and beyond).

How many clicks am I away from these plankton? Loads. Because I'm a long fucking way from being a nationalist, xenophobic, little ingerlander pissbag. These "influential" right wing blogs keep company with the scum of civilisation; someone in the media should start ignoring their mindless bullshit.

public git repositories, an appeal

This is real (www.github.com), though cursory glances around the site reveal it not to be about gits at all, which is disappointing.
Has the word "git" become so unfashionable, noone remembers what it means anymore? Look at the bottom of my page, you'll see the phrase "gitsurfing". Does noone realise what that means today?

Still, "public git repositories" is one of the best phrases I've heard for ages. Here's a preliminary list of such repositories:

Big Brother,
The Daily Mail offices,
Manchester United (actually an overpaid git repository),
The London Stock Exchange,
The British Homeopathic Association,

I'll leave it there for now, but I welcome contributions. My aim, one day, is to have the most comprehensive directory of public git repositories on the web.

Monday, 8 September 2008

New Knees!! Wooooo!!

Ok, Sarah Palin has exploded on to the American political scene, and I saw her speech last week. It was entirely lacking in substance, but full of cuddly soundbites.
She seems popular - but wait! Just because she's a woman and a mother doesn't mean she's not dangerously insane!

As far as I'm aware, even Dubya Bush isn't that mental. It's frightening.
I don't want to even go near people who believe "this world is not for me, I will follow you," as they sing. They want to take us to the apocalypse, and people who believe in that should not be put in a church, but in an institution.
The stuff about blessed cell phones is hard to think about. "There seems to be a special cell phone annointing"... "there's been a dead person raised, there's been a woman with new knees".
New Knees!! AAAAAAARRRRRGH! Praise the lord, though the dead person having been raised is probably more interesting.

I want to go to Alaska, and I want to know exactly how it is people like this exist in the 21st century. Their beliefs are so far removed from mine, it's incomprehensible.
She seems to believe that god wants gas pipes built across Alaska, her son is going to Iraq on a mission from God, and I see that of course she'll believe in the creation story. From what I see, the attraction of this church is that you say "I love Jesus" a lot, and then whatever you want to do is "part of God's plan".
The pastor there says "this is awesome", but he's wrong, this is NOT awesome, this is fucked up.
In this extended video, the pastor explains how he believes Alaska is a "refuge state" for people of the other 48 when "the end of days" comes.
What has to happen to the wonderful piece of evolved technology that is the human mind for it to come to conclusions like that?

The pastor should in any case be wary of what God does, as sometime He does stuff just to fuck with our heads - as He did when he hid fossils everwhere to test our faith (Bill Hicks). Perhaps Alaska being a refuge is just another one of God's jokes. Hopefully these extreme Christians are also one of His Divine Amusements, and not really dangerous people at all.

Anyway, back to this dead person being raised....

Wednesday, 3 September 2008