Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silver Spires Meltdown


As mentioned before, I have been playing on a persistent Neverwinter Nights server off and on since my friends here at Astromen! have never managed to revive our little role-playing game in cyberspace.

It so happens that the Silver Spire server in England completely melted and they lost everything on the 23rd of December. The community is not enormous but rather fervent in their participation and they are currently debating on the message board whether to simply revive the game with a six month old database or take this opportunity to completely revamp the world when a new server solution is found. (The third option of letting the project and virtual community disband and move on has been heartily opposed.)

I would like to take some of the successful tweaks that were implemented in the Shield Lands and try to get them scripted into the new incarnation of this other, more consistently used game community.

As much as I love the MPOP system, I think it would be too complicated to incorporate into a game world not built specifically for its use and the monster population system should be cherished and used for something interesting and obtuse in art or gaming by Pete and other interested Astromen. I was thinking specifically of using the things that were collected from around the NWVault and programmed together to enhance the general game experience. Specifically: Looting monsters, the improved sneaky ambushing monster AI, removing tiresome and slow magic casting animations, some portion of the much improved Shield Lands economic system . . . etc.

If "Astromen presents, Shield Lands 2: I Win at Nintendo D&D" is not realistically going to happen, I would also suggest joining in this Silver Spires game to get a Dungeons & Dragons fix as it has the benefit of a more robust community where building, programming, administrating, play-testing tasks are shared among many people making everything not so daunting like taking on another part-time job. While total creative control would be unnavailable, at least there is actually a fun game to play whenever you fancy. Player requests and in character role-playing events change this game-world on a regular basis as well.

Either way, at your earliest convenience please send me links or pared down hak packs that I can use, so that I can geek out to epic proportions.

Friday, December 26, 2008

After watching "Planet of the Apes" I was thinking a lot about...



Time Travel
Something specific about time travel though. but, First from Wikipedia...
An ontological paradox is a paradox of time travel that questions the existence and creation of information and objects that travel in time. It is very closely related to the predestination paradox and usually occurs at the same time. Because of the possibility of influencing the past while time traveling, one way of explaining why history does not change is by saying that whatever has happened was meant to happen. A time traveler attempting to alter the past in this model, intentionally or not, would only be fulfilling his role in creating history, not changing it. The Novikov self-consistency principle proposes that contradictory causal loops cannot form, but that consistent ones can.

The following is what I was really interested in though.
However, a scenario can occur where items or information are passed from the future to the past, which then become the same items or information that are subsequently passed back. This not only creates a loop, but a situation where these items have no discernible origin. Physical items are even more problematic than pieces of information, since they should ordinarily age and increase in entropy according to the Second law of thermodynamics. But if they age by any nonzero amount at each cycle, they cannot be the same item to be sent back in time, creating a contradiction unless it is a reproduced item such as a seed, spore, etc. The paradox raises the ontological questions of where, when and by whom the items were created or the information derived. Time loop logic operates on similar principles, sending the solutions to computation problems back in time to be checked for correctness without ever being computed "originally."

I heard a good example that went something like this:
On your 13th birthday, a familiar looking man of middle age gives you a beautifully crafted pocketwatch; what appears to be a priceless antique in pristine condition. He tells you that he is a friend of your father's and he'd want you to have it. So you accept the watch, thank the man and he goes on his way. You never see him again, but you keep the watch in a cigar box and it goes untouched until 35 years later when you finally complete work on your time machine. With the watch you go back in time to meet your former teenage self and give yourself the watch.

So I kind of botched the storytelling, but anyway, where did the watch come from originally? Nowhere?

"Back to the Future" is a good example too. Marty goes back in time and proves to Doc that he's from the future by telling him how he originally got the idea for the flux capacitor when he hit his head. Therefore, Doc must have at that point realized that time travel IS possible and that his plans for the FC would eventually work. What would have been weirder is if Marty went back in time before Doc had even started thinking of making a time machine and gave him the idea and plans to build one. So the plans came from the Doc of the future, who "originally" got the plans when he was visited by Marty in the past. so....







I didn't really have a point to this discussion. I was just thinking about all that stuff and how it could be possible to have objects or ideas (or a person maybe?) without any discernible origin.

Been waiting for this....









For months now I have been anticipating the film adaptation of the "The Watchmen." a graphic novel by writer Alan Moore & artist Dave Gibbons. All those familiar know that the characters relate to no other comic storylines, but have everything to do with the purpose and consequences of idolizing superhero mythology. I don't normally go ga-ga over a superhero film anymore. Superhero flicks are a dime for 2 dozen. Even so, This trailer offers up the source material in such a way that it not only transcends the original framework of comic book narrative, but a refining of the superhero filmmaking tradition as well.

...and personally I'm glad that it gets an R rating. pg-13 movies have been getting on my fucking nerves lately.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Art Fair as Outlet Mall

'MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The most trenchant comment on the dazzling and enervating spectacle that is Art Basel Miami Beach is written in bold black and white letters on the floor of the Mary Boone Gallery booth. A wall-to-wall text piece by Barbara Kruger, it spells out two quotations. One, from Goethe, observes, “We are the slaves of objects around us.” The other, from a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, reads, “He entered shop after shop, priced nothing, spoke no word, and looked at all objects with a wild and distracted stare.” . . .

The sense of art as merchandise is overpowering. A majority of what you see is portable and palatable. Most galleries offer variety-store-like mixes of works by different artists with the ambience of a sample sale.

Still, events like this do occasion collective soul-searching, especially now, as the art world grapples with recession. What is art for, after all, assuming that it is not just something for sale?'

+++

This article mostly reads like a greatest hits catalog, but I find the introduction intriguing. This tone is becoming more common for critics amidst all the gloomy commercial outlook. Are we here at Astromen! doing our share of penitent soul-searching?

I tend to agree that there is a silver lining if the slate is cleaned of focus on High Concept Investment Speculation as Art(tm) that was increasingly dominating the dialogue, particularly in London and New York - most embodied in the venture capital brands that are Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. If this means that a new focus on financially struggling underground movements actually is emerging, remains to be seen. I clearly have a vested interest in the latter.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A brief talk...

on artists and the educational system. This is a clip found on Shark Forums. This fellow, Peter Schjeldahl, is a senior art critic at The New Yorker and what he has to say about beauty at the end makes a lot of god damn sense.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster










The central belief is that there is an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster, who created the entire universe "after drinking heavily." The Monster's intoxication was supposedly the cause for a flawed earth. All 'evidence' for evolution was planted by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in an effort to test Pastafarians' faith — a form of the Omphalos hypothesis. When scientific measurements, such as radiocarbon dating, are made, the Flying Spaghetti Monster "is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage." The Pastafarian belief of heaven stresses that it contains beer volcanoes and a stripper factory. Hell is similar, except that the beer is stale, and the strippers have VD.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Brain Floss

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a description of an experiment often practiced in parapsychology called the Ganzfeld Experiment. A major feature of this experiment is sensory deprivation, which is accomplished by putting halved ping-pong balls over the eyes and playing white or pink noise through headphones. I haven't really practiced meditation since I was a teenager. I lost the habit in my undergraduate years when I was chain smoking and subsisting on patty melts; Something about my poor health would make me itch violently whenever I tried to meditate. In any event, the Ganzfeld description made me remember an odd bit of open source sound software I had run across call Gnaural, which is a binaural and pink noise generator. I've been using it to meditate after my work-day before I start my creative work. It's makes deeper states of meditation easier to reach, and the hypnogogic imagery is a bonus. I've been using a particular file, and have been staying under for a half-hour to an hour.

Link to Gnaural on Sourceforge, I recommend Gnaural 2.
This is the file that I've been using. Save it as "NewMeditation.gnaural", if you wish to use it.
Link to Ganzfeld post on Mind Hacks.


Friday, November 07, 2008

The View from Far Away

With the new technology and ease of the Inter-tubes I was able to watch the Barack Obama acceptance speech. For the first time in my life the politicians and initiatives that I voted for are taking office and being made into law, and it is a strange sensation indeed; especially considering from where I sit in a foreign land, in no small part due to a persistent disgust about social conventions and political dialogue in the United States.

I cried for the first time during a political speech, three times. My cynical view parted for a moment and I felt like there might be something called hope in those constructs of government and politics, instead of just a lumbering and blind stumble towards a Soviet-style collapse born of arrogance and hubris.

Maybe I am being particularly sentimental because my own life is changing so much, but I can imagine proudly showing my soon-to-arrive daughter where I came from; without the shame and meek embarrassment of being an ex-patriot from a place so politically despised around the world as a hypocritical bully.

In spite of our differences and a history riddled with discrimination and struggle, we just elected the last black president, in part a son of immigrants whose family transcends any racial barriers handed down from past generations. I say the last, because maybe those distinctions of race and creed no longer have to have any real meaning in the United States of America. That makes my heart fill with pride and tears come to my eyes as I realize just how important that has always been to me. An oft forgotten hope that helped define how I see myself, finally reflected and represented in government.

+++

This does not mean that everything is healed and suddenly perfect. As the country steps forward towards progress California, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas take two steps backwards.

From Digby:

". . . these hateful propositions winning makes the victory bittersweet. How people can vote for the first African American president in American history, with all that implies, while simultaneously voting to
discriminate against gays is testament to the incoherence of American politics and the lack of clear cut philosophy guiding people's choices. Everyone says there's too much ideology in our politics but I'd say there isn't enough. There isn't enough common sense either. Discrimination against others just because you don't like how they live their lives is against the very essence of the two pillars of America --- liberty and equality. To fail to see that even as you vote for an historic, important first African American is incoherent.

. . . It's terrific that we are seeing a decline in racism to the extent that we are able to elect a black president. We've come a long way and there's no taking anything away from those who waged the struggle over all these centuries. But our society is not truly changed if it's
still writing discrimination into law.

It's as if we just can't be America unless we are taking active steps to marginalize somebody."
+++

There is at least a sense that the political torch has finally passed and the fear, anger, and re-hashing of the politics of the 1960's over and over has finally come to an end. Maybe we can start engaging the world as it is right now and not always through the lense of ominous Soviet satellites and Viet Cong jungles.

I grew up in the contradictory USA of my parents "baby boomer" generation:

"We were raised under Ronald Reagan, smiling emptily under a shellacked cap of shiny brown hair like a demon clown, warning us (With a knowing nod! With a wink!) about those evil Russians stockpiling nuclear arms thousands of miles away. We were raised by "The Love Boat" and "Eight Is Enough" and "Charlie's Angels," a steady flow of saccharine tales with clunky morals. There were smiling families, hugging and learning important lessons on every channel, while at home, our parents threw dishes at each other's heads. We went to church and learned about God's divine plan every Sunday, but all it took was one Dr. Seuss cartoon about an entire world that existed on a speck of dust, and our belief in God was deconstructed in an instant. Our childhoods were one long existential crisis. We ate Happy Meals while watching the Space Shuttle blow into tiny bits."

and an open apology to boomers everywhere I find very fitting as we move on.

". . . So we apologize to you, for making fun of your earnestness. We never want to go back to our old way of thinking. Sure, we'll still be our irreverent, self-deprecating, exasperating selves, but we also want to believe. We want to follow this man, and trust him, and give him our full support. The world may not be transformed overnight, the economy may still struggle, Obama will surely make his share of mistakes. But we want to stand behind him, stand behind this country, and show our fellow Americans the same respect that this new leader of ours has shown all of us, in his words, in his manner, and in his promises.

On Tuesday night, we could all sense, with open hearts, that this man meant what he said. There's no shame in seeing that clearly, together. There's no shame in trusting someone's words, and allowing those words to move and inspire you. There's no shame in throwing ourselves into this new future with full hearts, with tears in our eyes, unself-consciously."

+++

I am amazed at how moving a single moment in politics and a good rhetorical speech could be for me. I am intrigued to see where the chips fall and what kind of realignment we have just taken part. However brief it may be, I relish looking forward to the future without cynicism, embarrassment, and a sense of creeping dread.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

3 Senate Seats Still in Play

Al Franken (D) (yes, that Al Franken) in Minnesota trails 571 votes behind snake oil salesman and (alleged) womanizer Norm Colman (R) out of 2.9 million votes cast. A recount is Franken's right under MN state law, which he's already indicated he will pursue. Colman wasted no time in announcing that there should be no recount, you know, for the good of the Country.

Votes are still being counted in the race between fancy-boy Gordon Smith (R) and Jeff Merkley (D) right here in Oregon. Smith was leading in early counts, but the remaining ballots left to be tabulated are all from OR's deep blue city-states. Update: Merkley wins.

Convicted felon Ted Stevens (R) is narrowly leading his competitor Mark Begich (D) by 3,500 votes with 40,000 absentee ballots yet to be tallied. Even if he wins, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will not be able to serve.

Finally, bad person Saxby Chambliss (R) of Georgia looks as if he will barely miss the 50% + 1 margin of victory necessary to avoid a runoff election mandated by GA state law in December against his opponent Jim Martin (D).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jerry Saltz as Grand Moff Tarkin

"If the art economy is as bad as it looks—if worse comes to worst—40 to 50 New York galleries will close. Around the same number of European galleries will, too. An art magazine will cease publishing. A major fair will call it quits—possibly the Armory Show, because so many dealers hate the conditions on the piers, or maybe Art Basel Miami Beach, because although it’s fun, it’s also ridiculous. Museums will cancel shows because they can’t raise funds. Art advisers will be out of work. Alternative spaces will become more important for shaping the discourse, although they’ll have a hard time making ends meet."

via ArtsJournal

this is cool

Monday, October 27, 2008

In my hand


*Update - GAME OF THE YEAR!!!

*Update - Wow, this game is big.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lebbeus Woods

Lebbeus Woods is a visionary architect.
Link to a 2008 article in the New York Times about him.
Link to his website.
See also, The Manifesto of Futurist Architecture.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Bradley Effect


the Bradley effect refers to an alleged tendency on the part of some voters to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his/her white opponent.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Everything is Peachy!

One can expect, given current events, that the electorate will vote not to give more power to the hawks, fat cats and yes-men (pictured above).
I am mentally preparing for the opposite to happen. Join me down the merry path of before-the-fact rationalization.

This link supports the rationalization that the moral fervor that the hawks whip up in the red states plays on a "first-draft" moral sensibility everyone is born with.

This link supports the rationalization that xenophobia and intolerance are part of a biological herding instinct.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Letting the paint fly

Cornelius: Sensurround: Sensuous

Sensurround is the visual component to 2007's Sensuous(Everloving). Collaborators include Tsujikawa Kochiro, Japanese art/design collective Groovisions & Takagi Masakatsu, who together produce vivid and captivating complements to the album.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Brick Testament

This is an obsessive and somewhat baffling retelling of the Bible in Lego vignette form. It's kind of awesome. (Link.)Pictured above: Deuteronomy 28:53 'You will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters.'

Monday, September 22, 2008

Spore Micro Review

What Spore is Not (disappointingly):

Spore is
not the ultra deep "EVO-on-Meth" evolution simulator I thought it would be after seeing this video back in 2005.

What Spore is (surprisingly):

Spore is Escape Velocity on acid.

Alex's Rating: 8 out of 10
Edit: Revised down to 6.5 out of 10 due to Escape Velocity being a much better game & the painful frustration of not really ever being able to interact in interesting ways with all that you create. What were they thinking?

Friday, September 19, 2008

"FREEBASE!!!"

"The federal government, in what will be its most far-reaching attempt yet to contain the financial crisis, is poised to establish a program to let banks get rid of mortgage-related assets that have been hard to value and harder to trade.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced the framework of the plan on Friday morning. "The federal government must implement a program to remove these illiquid assets that are weighing down our financial institutions and threatening our economy," said Paulson."


Wall Street: "Man, I have this horrible problem with cocaine ."

Uncle Sam: "Well, just have more cocaine! Problem solved!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Spring Engine

I'm not a big proponent of real-time strategy games, but I think I could play Spring until my eyeballs shrivel up like raisins. Spring started as a port of the late-90s game Total Annihilation (didn't play it) and has moved on in exciting new directions. It is free and open source.
There is a Tron-style mod I haven't tried, yet, as well as upcoming Star Wars and WW2 mods.
Link to the Spring Project.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bradbury on Life

Ray Bradbury turned eighty-eight last Sunday. The Internet Archive has a great mid-century television biography on him. Though the production seems somewhat schlocky, Bradbury comes across as earnest and inventive. (Link.)

Strange Attractors

Making shapes like this is fun and easy with Chaoscope! (Link.)
Pictured above, a sculpture by Zaha Hadid at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, via Design Boom.
Note: Chaoscope is a Windows program, but is rated as Platinum by the Wine AppDB. The view-window gets garbled on my laptop, but I think it is my graphics card's relationship to XGL/AIGLX.

Superior Floor System


I blog from Portland airport. I should have posted this last week when Austin (of Tyler Paint/ Exclamation Gallery) got the flash-site of his art-pot-luck-show up. I was pleased when I saw everyone's work together, as I am a fan of controlled chaos. I saw the project as a metaphor for urbanism. The site is slightly buggy (it won't let you re-select a previously zoomed item on the picture-wall) and is missing the photo and time-lapse video section on my Ubuntu laptop.

Link to a write-up on the August 8th opening on the Fallon-Rosof Artblog.
Link to the flash site.
Link to Austin's Flickr set of the show.

Also, the Chicago art-world podcast, Bad at Sports, took a tour of Philadelphia's artist collectives this summer. I found the tour fascinating, but I am peripherally familiar with the people and locales. Their conclusion was that "Philadelphia is a magical land but don’t leave anything valuable in your car." (Link.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Selections From H.P Lovecraft’s Brief Tenure As A Whitman’s Sampler Copywriter…

Caramel Chew

There is a dimension ruled by a blind caramel God-King who sits on a vast, cyclopean milk-chocolate throne while his mindless, gooey followers dance to the piping of crazed flutes. It is said that there are gateways in our world that lead to this caramel hell-planet. The delectable Caramel Chew may be one such portal.

More here...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Built with MPOP™ Technology®

Have no fear: Raven’s Hold, the Neverwinter Nights module I started working on at the end of last month, is still in development. I’ve just been sidetracked a bit of late with wedding preparations, etc. Expect a project update/play-testing schedule some time in early September.

Magic Pudding

"The US has spent between $120bn and $150bn on the programme since Ronald Reagan relaunched it in 1983. Under George Bush, the costs have accelerated. The Pentagon has requested $62bn for the next five-year tranche, which means that the total cost between 2003 and 2013 will be $110bn. Yet there are no clear criteria for success. As a recent paper in the journal Defense and Security Analysis shows, the Pentagon invented a new funding system in order to allow the missile defence programme to evade the government's usual accounting standards. It's called spiral development, which is quite appropriate, because it ensures that the costs spiral out of control.

Spiral development means, in the words of a Pentagon directive, that "the end-state requirements are not known at programme initiation". Instead, the system is allowed to develop in whatever way officials think fit. The result is that no one has the faintest idea what the programme is supposed to achieve, or whether it has achieved it. There are no fixed dates, no fixed costs for any component of the programme, no penalties for slippage or failure, no standards of any kind against which the system can be judged. And this monstrous scheme is still incapable of achieving what a few hundred dollars' worth of diplomacy could do in an afternoon."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Interview with former Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich

"I am expressing in the book, in a sense, what many of us sense, even if many of us don't really want to confront the implications. The Congress, especially with regard to matters related to national security policy, has thrust power and authority to the executive branch. We have created an imperial presidency. The congress no longer is able to articulate a vision of what is the common good. The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress.

As the imperial presidency has accrued power, surrounding the imperial presidency has come to be this group of institutions called the National Security State. The CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the other intelligence agencies. Now, these have grown since the end of World War Two into this mammoth enterprise.

But the National Security State doesn't work. The National Security State was not able to identify the 9/11 conspiracy. Was not able to deflect the attackers on 9/11. The National Security State was not able to plan intelligently for the Iraq War. Even if you think that the Iraq War was necessary. They were not able to put together an intelligent workable plan for that war.

The National Security State has not been able to provide the resources necessary to fight this so called global war on terror. So, as the Congress has moved to the margins, as the President has moved to the center of our politics, the presidency itself has come to be, I think, less effective. The system is broken."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Marketing

I re-post a Bill Hicks rant that Bob pointed out in the past to round out the discussion regarding all future references to marketing on the Astromen! weblog.

Stuff White People Like

#82 Hating Corporations

"If you plan to engage in lengthy conversations or get high with white people it is recommended that you read No Logo or one issue of AdBusters. Failing that, it is acceptable to buy a copy to leave on your coffee table. When white people see it, they will recognize you as someone who can see through the advertising and has a proper perspective on life."

This apparently started as some sort of West Coast banal and ironic office humor and has now become the full time job of the creator.

PS - This post is also an addendum to my comments in the "Sterilized Counterculture" conversation below. I get the impression "hipster" is becoming something of a loaded word that is related indirectly to the stuff that white people like.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sterilized Counterculture

"We’ve reached a point in our civilization where counterculture has mutated into a self-obsessed aesthetic vacuum. So while hipsterdom is the end product of all prior countercultures, it’s been stripped of its subversion and originality."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dale Chihuly, meet Marcel Duchamp . . .

"A few readers denigrated Chihuly as "the Thomas Kinkade of sculpture," which even I consider too severe, though I also wish I'd thought of it first."

I did not read the original review, but I think the ideas and comments presented here are relevant in how they address the process of dialogue about art on a local level (except a threatened and out of place comment about the dirty bloggers.) Of particular interest to me is the "blockbuster" museum show that appeals as entertainment to a much wider audience in a city, thus selling a lot more tickets, and the academic response of mild horror to such fluffing and mass-appeal.

We witnessed firsthand the birth of this trend as we waded through the lines of Greater-Chicagoland-Area-Surbabanites trying to crowd into the mega-Monet exhibition to get to our first year studio classes. It is marketing genius that is great for maintaining a financially healthy institution but it undermines the mission statement of said institution in a number of fundamental ways by so strongly focusing on market competition and advertising to sell tickets and merchandise. This would be akin to having a "Dead Sea Scrolls" reading at the Spanish National Library in Madrid, which would cause me to want to go all of a sudden, pay an inflated admission price, and buy an umbrella and coffee table book; much to the dismay of the historians and law students who are trying to digest the dense manuals inside.

As a side note, Chihuly is based in Western Washington State and for better or worse it is impossible in Seattle to avoid him and his workshop spawn anywhere that shows art. I was aware of his influence long before I knew who Duchamp was and it has always perked my interest to see his work displayed elsewhere, increasingly in high end museums.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Miscellany

My Bloody Valentine is to rock & roll as J.W.M. Turner is to painting. The reunited band played their first show in thirteen years in June. Link to a bootleg of the set.A video was recently posted on a Internet Archive of the public's reaction to a 1969 Edward Keinholz show at LACMOA. It's really engrossing. (Link.) See also, Duchamp's Art Coefficient (via Ubuweb.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

They like him in Berlin...


The crowd spilled away from the Column for blocks. Police spokesman Bernhard Schodrowski said there were more than 200,000 people, nearly three times the 75,000 Obama drew in Oregon this spring in his largest previous audience.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trickle-down... the drain.


I can't wait for the economic stimulus effect of the Bush tax cuts to start.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Tower of the Elephant



With the exception of some distasteful antisemitism in the second paragraph, this is a highly imaginative and delightful story by Robert E. Howard. It was first published in Weird Tales in March 1933 (shown).
Link via Project Gutenberg Australia.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flooding and levees breaking because of muskrats...













Muskrat Menace article ....


Over 20 levees have broken along the Mississippi so far this season.
Its wet in the midwest. Here's a map that shows just how wet.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Let me show you my Angry Face™..."

The first season of the WB's Buffy spin-off show Angel (vintage 1999) is now available for viewing over teh Internet(s).

Much darker than its pompom laden little sister, this "Batman with Fangs" melodrama presents plots which vier precariously close to Dungeons & Dragons-land and delivers endless streams of snappy dialog designed to crush the comfortable lies our heroes would like to believe about themselves. It also contains an ample amount of gore, social commentary, vigilante justice, and "have at thee!", with scripts which delight in setting up super-hero action cliches, bringing them to satisfying conclusions, or maniacally burning them to the ground.

Sadly, in its later seasons (and especially its last), Angel gets cluttered with too many players with too much back story. That said, the first few seasons are well worth your time...

Art Fairs soaking up the Scene here in Chicago

Chicago lost five galleries in June: NavtaSchulz, gescheidle and giftshop project space in the West Loop; Lisa Boyle in West Town; and Dubhe CarreƱo in Pilsen. Are they victims of the recession, or are other forces at work?





















I’ve spent so much time researching for art fairs, going to art fairs and applying to art fairs that I feel like a traveling salesman,” Boyle complains, calling the art world “oversaturated” with fairs. “You take your artists’ work, hang it in some shitty, half-assed booth with 400 [other] booths. It’s not conducive to showing the work.”


-Lisa Boyle, founder of the now permanently closed Lisa Boyle Gallery