One Neat Thing a Day

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    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

    Shanoah Alkire is our Discordian at large. "Born in Santa Cruz, I grew up in Grass Valley and the Bay Area, and now lurk in Las Vegas. My literary influences include Ray Bradbury, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams. I also program as a hobby, and currently maintain the Gtk port of Angband. You can find a rather old bio of me here."

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Archive for May, 2008

The Future

Posted by shanoah on May 31, 2008

And we continue on in the time machine, to various alternate futures:

The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades) – Timbuk3

You might recall this song from an old sitcom, Head of the Class. Contrary to what you might think on first glance, this is not a happy, optimistic song about the future. Remember, he’s studying nuclear science, and he’s in the middle of the desert. Why do you think he has to wear shades?

Nothing But Flowers – Talking Heads

And here we are after the apocalypse, with most technology gone. A song about nature encroaching on our endangered civic areas. Always enjoyed how cynical the Talking Heads were. I was torn between this song and “Life After Wartime” for this post, actually.

"And as things fell apart;
Nobody paid much attention..."

The Future Soon – Jonathan Coulton

And here we have one man’s personal version of the future… 🙂

The song at the end is “Furry Old Lobster”, btw. And this particular musician has most of his music available as streaming mp3’s on his website. And spots to buy them if you feel so inclined. I’m certainly planning on browsing through his mp3 library…

Posted in Blogs, From Shanoah, I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

5-31-08 Steam Trek: The Moving Picture

Posted by Sean on May 31, 2008

Oh yeah, Shanoah? Well I’m going to take my time machine into the future, too… into the fantastic, the mind-boggling future world of nineteen hundred and eighty! eighty! eighty! eighty!

Depicting Events in the Barbaric Reaches of the Galactic Firmament of an Astonishing and Morally Uplifting Nature.

Courtesy of DSisterson.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly steampunk. It’s more what Star Trek would’ve looked like if Gene Roddenberry had made his pitch to Thomas Edison instead of Desilu. You keep expecting the doughty Enterprise (which is designated NCC-1, by the way) to smush into the face of the Man in the Moon.

And no, I don’t know what the hell is up with the sock puppet.

But I like it, and you gotta love how they combined the original series episode The Devil in the Dark with the worst cliches of the damsel-in-distress genre.

Accoring to Dennis Sisterson’s site at http://www.sisterson.co.uk/, this was actually shot in 1994 and re-edited last year (production notes at http://steamtrek.blogspot.com/). Apparently, he used to belong to an amateur film group; one of the members, Ashley Levy, had the idea of “remaking Star Trek as it might have been done by Georges Méliès“, who was the guy who made A Trip to the MoonIt was shot in one bank holiday weekend.

Sisterson’s site has a slightly longer version of the movie, where we’re introduced to the crew, including Mr. Spex, “The Mysterious Martian Science Officer”, the hapless Lt. Penelope, the barbaric Klingons Thorax and Kolon and, of course, Ensign Expendable (this is Star Trek, after all).

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2095

Posted by shanoah on May 30, 2008

Now that you have your time machine in hand, here we are in 2095:

Yours Truly, 2095 – Electric Light Orchestra (visuals from Metropolis)

This is actually a brilliant AMV I found of Twilight & Yours Truly, 2095, by Electric Light Orchestra. The visuals are all from the anime, Metropolis, and fit almost perfectly. And the music grabs you, anyways.

And of course, it’s nicely tuned for someone like me, with lyrics like:

"I met someone who looks a lot like you;
She does the things you do, but she is an IBM."

Incidentally, those of you that follow Narbonic and have been reading the directors cut and have seen the list[1] she’s been compiling in the commentary of songs involving mad science and/or evil may recognize some of the songs that I’ll be posting in the future.

Mainly because I copied the list down, and plan to surf youtube to find videos for some of the songs. And cool songs I find videos for tend to end up in posts. 🙂

[1] Which is up to 74 songs!

Posted in AMV, Blogs, bulldada, From Shanoah, I Tunes Not U Tunes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How To Build A Time Machine

Posted by shanoah on May 30, 2008

Irish Hip Hop, hmmm? I could follow that up with some more modern Irish music, but I’d already written my posts for the day, and wasn’t able to change directions back to irish music that quickly…

Now, given that my next post is set in 2095, to get there you’ll obviously need a time machine. So, in keeping with our recent “how do I” posts, here is a video showing how to build one:

How To Build A Time Machine

This could easily have gone in our WTF section. The video is from 111jayhough. Oh, and the music playing is:

Muskrat Rumble – Louis Armstrong
Maple Leaf Rag – Scott Joplin
Livin’ in the Sunlight – Tiny Tim

And, yes, this certainly registers high on my bizarre-o-meter…

Posted in Blogs, FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Shanoah, Funny | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

5-30-08 Irish hip hop

Posted by Sean on May 30, 2008

Well now, how to follow up on a post about Irish folk songs than with my own post about Irish folk songs.

But not Ren Faire fare, oh no; you know how I am. So here’s what may just become the Irish folk music of the 21st century: Irish hip hop.

You didn’t know there was hip hop in Ireland, didja? Neither did I, until Billy Jam‘s Put the Needle on the Record at WFMU edumicated me. This post is only a small, and not even representative, sample. If I’ve left you out, just e-mail me and we can get your video or music up on the site. If you’re serious about exploring this, you might want to check out the forums at IrishHipHop.com.

Oh and, by the way, the videos in this post aren’t work-safe.

Okay, first up is RíRá (MySpace here), a member of Irish hip hop pioneers Scary Eire (their MySpace here), with a song I absolutely love, 25 O’Clock in the Morning. (Sorry I don’t have any videos for Scary Eire, but most of them were pretty low-quality footage of live performances)

Video by One Up. Courtesy of RíRá at maddaxxe.

Second up is B-Wonder with a tight little one-minute freestyle rap. I had trouble finding anything about this guy, other than he’s out of Cork. Courtesy of urbanize.

Also from urbanize is another tight quickie from GMC (Myspace here).

And from there we go into a traditional Irish jig from GMC and Boney called, what else?, The Jig. Courtesy of verfield.

Lastly… I couldn’t help it, but I came across this and had to include it. Hip hop has to have songs trashing the police, and Irish hip hop is no exception. Wiggaz wit Attitude (Wiggaz is “white niggers”, by the way) trash talks the Irish police known as the Gardai with Fuck the Gardai. There are some that would call this a novelty song instead of true hip hop, but I don’t care. WWA’s MySpace page is here.

Did I mention that this isn’t work safe?

Courtesy of cianomc1.

Posted in From Sean, I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List, Not Work Safe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Planxty, Adultery, and Murder

Posted by shanoah on May 30, 2008

Oh, certainly it’s more fun to build the ray gun, Sean. But even if you but it, you still have the most significant part left. Modifying it to actually work. And you’d still have to do that with the ones from that company.

Unfortunately, any transition I can think of here would be very contrived, so I won’t bother. If you can think of a good transition to either the Irish band Planxty, or murder ballads from ray guns, let me know. Unfortunately, there seems to be a serious lack of Irish murder ballads involving ray guns. I should rectify that.

Anyways, my featured band in this post is Planxty. The bands core was Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny, and Liam O’Flynn, though it has gone through several member changes, and broken up more then once.

Andy Irvine also plays with a band named Patrick Street, and I’ve heard some really good music of theirs, too.

The Blacksmith – Andy Irvine ( with Mick Hanly in 1979)

All right, this isn’t all of Planxty, but where would Planxty be without Andy Irvine? This song is about a lady courted by a blacksmith 9 months ago. And he went off and married someone else. A women scorned is a fairly common theme in Irish music. I like her cynicism at the end:

“…Oh witness, I have none, save God Almighty; and may he reward you well for the slighting of me…”

Though I do prefer the protagonist of the song “Willie Taylor“. (which has a million versions) When she finds out her betrothed married another woman, she pulls out a pair of pistols, and guns them both down on the spot. Now that’s my type of lady…

The instrument Andy is playing here is a bouzouki, btw, in case anyone was curious.

Jolly Beggarman – Planxty (1980)

Here’s another traditional song who sleeps for a night in a farmers house… with his daughter. This song doesn’t seem to have the same weight and drama as the other songs in this post, and is just lighthearted. Otherwise the beggar likely wouldn’t have survived the night. 🙂

Little Musgrave – Planxy (reunion tour – 2004)

Here is another traditional ballad of murder and adultery. (And as you probably noticed, I rather like those). I’ll admit I originally picked out Arthur McBride to put here, before the video got yanked, but this probably works better with the theme I’ve got going anyways.

One interesting thing with this – the music may be new, but the song itself is clearly a variation on the song Mattie Groves, though a lot of the lyrics have changed. Most traditional folk song mutate, and this is a clear example of it.

And you can tell this was from an era where you could literally get away with murder if you owned a castle. Note that nothing happens to the lord at the end.

To contrast, though, here’s a different band playing Mattie Groves:

Matty Groves – Fairport Convention Cropredy (2007)

Admittedly, I could have found a more traditional version of Mattie Groves, which is a tragedy, but I couldn’t resist this one. Because it is Mattie Groves with a video with Lego figures acting the song out in the background. It suddenly turned into a comedy. Which is for the best -a lot of these traditional songs need the air let out of them.

Of course I personally, and I’m sure Sean as well, always think of the Joni Minstrel version with this song. This song has it’s moments, though. “I’d rather a kiss from dead Mattie’s lips then you in all your finery“. You have to wonder how their marriage came to that. An arranged marriage, I’m almost sure…

I’d better stop before I post more, though. I just discovered that a another song I love is sung by Fairpoint Convention, and found a youtube video, but I’ll save that for another post.

Posted in Blogs, bulldada, From Shanoah, I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List, Murder Ballads, Wenches For Your Toolbox | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

5-29-08 How To Build A Prop Gun

Posted by Sean on May 29, 2008

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “Gee, I really want a Cyber/Steampunk Futuresque Sci-Fi Hand Gun prop, but I don’t know how to build one?” If you have, then you may want to up the dosage on your medication.

If, after doing so, you still want to get your sticky little hands on a fairly bitchen gun, like this…

… then gmjhowe is can hook you up.

He/she/it/they have step-by-step instructions at http://www.instructables.com/id/Steampunk-Futuresque-Sci-Fi-Hand-Gun/ to build your own break-open prop gun, which is reminiscent of Decker’s gun from Blade Runner and comes complete with light effects. I also like the grip – less a modern pistol grip and more the curved handle of a flintlock pistol. Probably makes it harder to aim, but it’s a nice combo of old and new.

As he/she/it/they write on Instructables.com, which may just become my new favoritest site of all time:

This is a project I’ve been working on for a few weeks now. I basically wanted a cool hand gun. I didn’t fancy any replica movie props, and the law makes it hard to buy normal replica guns. so i made my own.

“So I made my own.” Gotta love it. English majors with zero mechanical sense and aptitude (like me) are always fascinated by people who can hack reality in their own image like this – people who can take a seemingly-random pile of parts and a plan and just build something. I’m sorry to say this, Shanoah but… you can buy a ray gun, sure. But going all mad scientist and actually making your own is just so much more impressive. (And it probably won’t cost you $690 like those Dr. Grordbort’s ray guns, either, grumble grumble).

This post is YET ANOTHER fine product of Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.

Posted in From Sean, Gooey Gummi Goodness, Happy Media, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Donovan

Posted by shanoah on May 29, 2008

Oh well, worth a try. Today, let’s head back to the ’60s again with some music from Donavan.

Sunshine Superman – Donovan

All the pictures on this one are of Sue Lyon, who Donovan was dating in 1965. Apparently, the end of their relationship occurred when he *accidentally* slipped some LSD in one of her drinks. How does one accidentally slip LSD in your drink, anyways?

But, yes, this is a clear LSD-influenced track, as are a lot of his songs.

There is a Mountain – Donovan

The music video created to illustrate this song is rather fun…

Epistle To Dippy – Donovan

This is probably one of my favorite Donovan songs. This film is actually titled “What the Hell is this?”, and is by Robert Steinbrecher, who is also the lurking character in glasses. This film would warrent a WTF all by itself.

And of course, the lyrics are infinitely trippy. “Elevator in the brain hotel”? There are so many chaotic references that I just have to love it, though…

Posted in Blogs, bulldada, FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Shanoah, I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

5-28-08 – Super Mario Pinball Rhythm Track Happy Fun Time Battle Arena GO!

Posted by Sean on May 28, 2008

Wish I could, Shanoah, but I loaned my copy of Fear and Loathing to my sister. I was spending too much time – much much too much time – reading it.

Instead, I’d like to submit for your approval the consequences of letting an anime fan with a Mario custom level editor get bored. What you get is poor Mario, the once mighty plumber, koopa slayer and mild Italian ethnic slur, reduced to the role of rhythm track for an anime soundtrack mashup.

For 11 solid minutes.

Courtesy of IsoTkhs, with the soundtrack Suite NicoNico here.

As far as I can tell, Mario does little more than walk/run right, jump and bounce off stuff like a crack-addled squirrel through ingeniously – and anally – engineered levels. From such simple behavior comes wonderful things: Mario bounces off of objects and activates events in precise accompaniment to the music. Even the in-game sound effects complement the music, indicating cataloging and cross-referencing bordering on the obsessive.

But the planning for this must have been hideous. I shudder to think of the sleepless nights that went into this and the bleary-eyed, homocidal look on the editor’s face when events didn’t just sync up.

His (or her) Mario world editing skeelz are mad, crazy mad, and I bow down before them.

Thanks yet again to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing for pointing this out.

Posted in FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Sean, Happy Media | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bibliomancy

Posted by shanoah on May 28, 2008

As regards to the bible code, if you’re persistant enough you could prove anything from it. If you look at the method for it, there are enough variables that you could pick out anything you wanted, really. Especially since we’re talking the Hebrew alphabet, which doesn’t have vowels.

I’d say it’s about as useful as other forms of divination; better for being cryptic, or telling you things you subconsciously already believe then anything else. It’s useful, but more as a method of tapping into your subconscious then anything else.

I personally think bibliomancy is more fun. Pull a book off the shelf, concentrate on a problem or question, open it to a random page, pick out a random spot, read for a paragraph or two, and try to apply it to your problem. Of course, a lot depends on your choice of books.

Just for fun, let’s see what comes up. The election was on my mind, but this tends to be more of what you need to hear:

“Thus when a new leader is chosen,
don’t offer to help him
with your wealth or experience.
Offer instead
to teach him about the Tao.”

Tao Te Ching, #62; translation by Stephen Mitchell

(Honestly, that’s the first thing I flipped to. No fudging involved.)

I went out to the hazel wood,
"Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread.
And when white moths were on the wing
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout."
"The Song of Wandering Angus", Yeats; From "Anam Cara"

“Wealth is not to be measured in terms of assets, but rather in terms of control over people and material, and thus ultimately your own experiences. Money is an abstract concept used to quantify economic activity, thus wealth is a measure of how well you control your experiences with money…”

Liber Kaos, Peter Carroll

“The soul of the dear made it’s plea in a dream because, without my loving permission, it either would not or could not go. As soon as I agreed, it departed.”

Autobiography of a Yogi, Parmahansa Yogananda

“They walked all four abreast, for this part of the Southern Road, passing through flat and rolling farmland, was wide. Michael walked to the right, Asmodai next to him, then Lucifer and Lillith. These latter touched hands from time to time. The braver among those they passed would step out for a better view of her walking away.”

To Reign In Hell, Steven Brust

As you can see, it varies from likely irrelevant, to dead on, and what book you use makes a big difference. You probably can see how strange my library is, too, though I deliberately used books I thought would be likely to have interesting quotes. Feel like doing it with a Hunter Thompson book or two, Sean?

Another thing that’s evident; these were in the order I picked them, and it’s pretty clear that the most relevant hits were near the beginning. I don’t usually do 5 in a row. 🙂 The first one was perfect, though. My mind started wandering afterwards…

Oh, and for anyone that feels like some sort of mystical mood is necessary, here’s the Goddess Chant, from EKB TV:

Posted in A Thought from a Sticky Mood, Blogs, bulldada, From Shanoah, Mailing List | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »