Tuesday, January 30, 2007

C:\>format c:

In answer to the Windows Vista release today, I banished Microsoft from my computer. Thanks, Herr Benedict, for the OS recommendation!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

This man...

...should have been at least nominated for the "Best Male Actor in a Drama Series" SAG award this year, but wasn't because the show he happens to be on has both spaceships and robots in it. If you've never seen the contemporary remake of the terminally tacky 70s Sci-Fi series Battlestar Galactica, you're missing out. Every episode isn't fantastic, but a solid 2/3s of them are. As with all narrative media, I recommend knowing as little as possible about the series before starting to watch it. Begin with this and go forward to season 1. If you're short of Earth Money(s) or live in a province, region, or principality where said media is physically unavailable to you, there may be other ways to make its acquaintance...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Washington DC, where hope goes to die...

"When you pressed them on any issue- poverty- healthcare- war- education- they would obfuscate, re-contextualize, and natter on and on in a bizarre washington dialect that has high on syllables, but empty of substance.

I finally realized that to them, this was just a job- like the marketing desk jockeys in their power ties that made life on the train nearly unbearable, these folks were in the business of selling war, greed, and lie after grotesque, murderous lie to the american public. They were there, not because they particularly cared about the issues that are so vital to the american people- they just saw politics as a big advertising agency from which they could retire at 40, and spend their remaining years serving as "policy expert" talking heads on CNN or Fox."

Brave New World . . . The Musical

Last night I went to the first ever stage production of Aldeous Huxley's distopian novel of 1932 "Brave New World." This may sound like a joke, but it was a musical.

A very simple stage design and props that were used to great effect, while incorporating projections to emphasize an updated "virtual" element to the story. The best part were the costumes: Alphas wore grey long coats and neck scarves reminiscent of 19th century London dandies with goofy hair sculptures, Betas were dressed up in garish pink corsets and heels that a Berlin working girl would consider tasteless, while Gammas and Epsilons were dressed in giant pants that if you looked close enough were made from the material they upholster the subway train seats with.

I have seen and worked on some wacky stuff in the theatre before, but this production surprised me to no end. First off it worked as a musical, more than anything because of the ever present irony, which is a lot coming from me as I generally loathe the format; at the climax John the Savage appears above and behind the audience hanging from the lighting trusses and catwalks; and I even shed a few tears when the World Controller flatly explained why his Brave New World works so well, ending with the statement (rough translation), "Freedom, Art, Shakespeare, and Bach . . . Who cares for such things besides you and I John?" Additionally, the house was packed on a Tuesday night and the vast majority of the audience was made up of 16-22 year olds that I gathered were school groups.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say such a thing could only happen in Berlin. I like this city.
"Das Leben ist Laa Laa Laa . . . "

Saturday, January 20, 2007

1 in 6.68 billion

Stills from Godfrey Reggio's "Koyaanisqatsi : Life Out of Balance"(1983). A film of tremedous scope setting ariel and time-lapse images to the music of Phillip Glass.
"Gosper's Glider Gun", a perpetual-motion example of "Conway's Game of Life".
Voronoi Diagram (definition) of world population density. (source)
Link to a Voronoi driven Java Applet.
Link to Swiss academics making a "programmed architectural object" using the Voronoi Diagram.
Link to a page about proxemics, the study of space between people.
An archiectural fantasy by Paolo Soleri from his book "Arcology: The City in the Image of Man". Soleri took the idea of urbanism to its limits in the middle of the last century by proposing one-building cities. 'Arcology' is his conflation of the words 'architecture' and 'ecology'.
This rendering of the logical conclusion of a technocratic civilization is undeniably imaginative. Its more nightmarish aspect reminds me of the 1909 science fiction story "The Machine Stops" (link
to the full text).
There is a community in the Arizona desert who are carrying out Soleri's ideas.
Link to the Arcosanti Project website.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Black Hole

This is a comic book series/graphic novel which I really enjoyed and which I highly recommend. I'm not going to tell you anything about it, and I don't suggest reading any sort of plot-synopsis before you start. Just pick it up...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mine with Extra Crippleware, Please!

If you chant "Steve Jobs loves you!" over and over again The Apple Cult(tm) sure seems like a great technology solution to all your shiny bauble needs. Great interface, sleek hardware design, and undeniable envy by your peers. What could go wrong with that?
The last few years have proven that every single new Apple product release comes with more invasive DRM controls than the last. Just because they have a smaller market share does not make their corporate practices any less abusive than those of Bill Gates' Intergalactic Redmond Headquarters (tm). This is a race for who can write the most aggressive software controls for digital media. Take this into consideration before you rush out after Vista or start integrating iTunes as an integral part of your music collection.
No wonder the Pirate Bay is looking into buying a rusty gun platform.

Just in case you were distracted by this from other news in our Brave New World . . .
Carnage in wave of Baghdad bombs

I am going to go paint now as I am drowning in frustrated cynicism.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The First Distributed Republic?

Brought to you by The Pirate Bay? Remember, Donation Guarantees Citizenship! We should all give five bucks and then form an Astromen! political party...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Picasso is Punk?

"Modernism in the arts meant exactly this victory of form over content."
Some slathering praise about the 100 year anniversary of the first Modernist painting.
I am just glad to read an ariticle today by a gushing journalist that does not involve Steve Jobs or a "new" military strategy.

via ArtsJournal.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Billmon is Dead! Long Live Billmon!

I know that I am way behind on the news of this, and that anyone that actually ever reads Billmon is already aware of this, but he appears to have given up the whole web log thing. As far as political commentary goes, of which there is quite a lot of blogs dedicated to, I found his writing to be the most clear and succinct of anyone out there. Not to mention that his perception was so regularly spot on when trying to decipher what was spewing down to us through political press releases and stories in the news media.
Here are some links to other web logs that amount to farewell tributes.
DailyKos is relevant since Billmon started his cyberspace writing there.
This guy has put together a well written goodbye post that is thoughtful of the impact, if there is such a thing, that one of the better political web logs is closed.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Psychonauts is a fantastic game which I really can't say enough good things about. Here's a review. I picked it up via Valve's Steam download service for $20, but the PS2 or XBOX versions of the game could probably be found used for much less. Go play it!