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Sunday, November 30, 2003

New Song

Victor Lams: "Holy Queen" (.mp3 format, 128kbps, approx. 4.5MB)

Netscape and Mac users, right-click to save as. Or click here to stream. Windows Media version available at System193.net.

Put together in FLStudio, intended initially to be a workout for my new toy, the Astrobelt VSTi. But there's some FLSlayer and iBlit (a very nice free VSTi) in there as well. I'll continue to refine this piece, but I thought you'd enjoy hearing this updated take on the old hymn.






Slimey Rider -- not a Dennis Hopper movie.






Detroit Free Press: Judge: Excluding anti-gay view at school forum troubling

Hinting at how he might rule in a lawsuit filed by former Pioneer High School student Elizabeth Hansen, U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen said during a two-hour hearing that he is troubled that school officials at the Ann Arbor high school allowed only pro-gay clergy to participate in the discussion during the school's Diversity Week program in March 2002. He said the panelists expressed only the view that school officials and the school's Gay/Straight Alliance wanted to project.

Of course the story here is that this sort of thing has been going on in most Ann Arbor Public Schools -- excluding certain viewpoints, projecting only the POV the PC school officials want to project -- for at least a dozen years, since I was a High Schooler (though I had the fortune to go to one of the few Ann Arbor public schools for High School where dissenting points of view were, if not tolerated, at least permitted -- I recall bringing the Detroit Free Press to our school, myself, for such a controversy on at least one occasion). Back then we didn't have the Thomas More Law Center. Now, we do.








Saturday, November 29, 2003

I've been enjoying listening to the .mp3 demos of the Garritan Personal Orchestra. Don't know why I get a bigger kick out listening to these sampled and sequenced reproductions than I would if I had a real orchestral performance of them... actually, I do. Check out the Joplin and the Beethoven pieces. Ooh! And try the Bach!






It's always great to meet another Jimmy Neutron fan (Hi, Chris!). Another cartoon we're getting into lately is Fairly Oddparents, which, like Spongebob, I avoided like the plague because I thought it was just another extreme-to-be-extreme postmodern cash cow. It's actually quite funny (not as funny as Jimmy Neutron in my opinion) but Cosmo has some good lines. So we watched that last night (they showed a 90-minute Fairly Oddparent movie which was cool).

For some reason, though, I want some Bratz dolls now....






Today, a dream 13 years in the making is realized: I finally own "Flood" on CD.

She's not your satellite, she doesn't miss you, so turn off your smoke machine and Marshall stack....






I'm not always proud to be Flemish. Sometimes I'm proud to be Polish, too!

Michael S. Rose: "Mission Aborted: The Failed Dutch Invasion of Poland"








Thursday, November 27, 2003

Here's a picture of 'Xander. He never stands still, so it's hard to get a clear shot of him.

Xander 1


"Leave me alone! I'll take my meds when I'm damned good and ready!" Uncle Vittorio is always good for a laugh on the holidays.

Uncle Vittorio 1


And, last but not least, check out my pictoral meditation on "Hypertension, The Colorblind Killer". Remember: every twelve minutes, one in twelve Americans is killed by hypertension and other sodium-related disorders.






This is so awesome. Can you imagine any other president in recent memory flying, secretly, into a warzone to spend the Holiday with his troops? NPR made a big deal earlier today how Bush was chowing down on turkey and yams on his ranch in Texas while MEANWHILE future-President Clinton was kibitzing with the troops in Afghanistan. Guess NPR is a bunch of idiots. And lousy reporters.

I'd love to 'blog more about this but Jimmy Neutron is on (it's on about six hours a day on NickToons) and it's my favorite cartoon ever. Also we got our Christmas present early (today) so expect a cute 'Xander picture in just a moment or two.






I fell asleep yesterday for 100 hours and couldn't update my 'blog, sorry there was no Belgian of the Day yesterday. It'll return tomorrow, I promise!

Anyway...

HAPPY TURKEY!

(and Hello, Dalai!. Also, this is something I never expected to see in my lifetime). Now, off to work!








Wednesday, November 26, 2003

FinancialTimes.com: Japan threatens to retaliate against US tariffs

Ooh, scared! Like, what are they going to do? It's not like we even rely on battleships that much anymore.








Tuesday, November 25, 2003

It may not be "Hot Fudge", but it appears to have far fewer low-budget demented puppets -- and in this case, that's a good thing: Confessions of a Hot Carmel Sundae: Thoughts about Catholicism, parenting, marriage, life, education, and take and bake pizza.

About the pizza: nothing beats a home-made crust.






"GIGANTIC" IS OUT ON DVD! "GIGANTIC" IS OUT ON DVD!!!!

"Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) -- A Movie about They Might Be Giants". Buy me this for Christmas, somebody, before it's too late! Now I just await the release of "Bubba Ho-Tep" on DVD and my collection will be complete.






Michael Moore, Man of the People

Nice. Nice comments on the constitution, as well. By Liberal Larry of Blame Bush 'Blog (say that 10x fast): "Because Bush is to blame for everything."






Wah-Wah McCrybaby, generic Slate columnist, asks: What's really undermining the sanctity of marriage?

Here's my modest request: If you're going to be a crusader for the sanctity of marriage—if you really believe gay marriage will have some vast corrosive, viral impact on marriage as a whole—here's a brief list of other laws and policies far more dangerous to the institution. Go after these first, then pass your constitutional amendment.

The joke, of course, (though Blather O'Blivious, the author, is unaware of the irony... which I guess is what makes it ironic -- don't you think?) is that the scant list of laws and policies harmful to marriage she provides includes all of the things, in fact, the Catholic Church has gone after first: divorce (by not permitting it), ill-considered marriages (through pre-marital counciling), birth control (by proscribing it), and various other cultural aspects (by promoting a culture of life). The latest trend towards rewarding (with benefits, respect, validation, whatever gay "marriage" is supposed to entail) folks for shoving their willies up another guy's butt is but one thread in the pernicious tapestry of things harmful to marriage. And so it must be opposed.

(And, for what it's worth, the Church is also vehemently opposed to "heterosexual" sodomy -- though it didn't make Useful Idiot's list -- as something which is harmful to both the sanctity of the marital sacrament and rectums, to boot).






Belgian of the Day!

Pieter de Coninck

Pieter de Coninck was a weaver who led the merchants, tradesmen, and townfolk of Flanders in an uprising against their French oppressors of the late 13th century. This culminated in the battle of the Golden Spurs on July 11th, 1302.

This is a pretty good account of the battle:

Both armies counted around 10.000 soldiers. The French army consisted mainly of heavily armoured cavalry, whereas the Flemish one consisted mainly of infantery tradesman. On the 9th and the 10th of July the French tried, in vain, to take the city of Kortrijk. A man-to-man battle in the open had become unavoidable.

This account makes some errors in its telling of the golden spurs themselves: the Flemish were well aware of the practice of ransoming captured knights, but these were the French we were dealing with. Anyway, during the battle the Flemish tradesmen completely beat the pants (and spurs) off of over 500 French knights.

This account of the battle is much better (I like this part the best):

The French rearguard with the two remaining battles hangs the shield on their back and runs. The French footsoldiers try to evacuate, but a lot of them are caught by the Flemings and are killed without mercy. Some Brabançons who fought with the French try to change sides and now shout "Vlaenderen die Leeu", but Guy of Namur orders to kill all those that wear spurs. The fugitives are chased for more than 10 kilometres from the battlefield. The Flemish victory is complete!

And here's the bit about the spurs:

That next day the booty is collected. From the battlefield, apart of the expensive knightly armours, some five hundred pairs of golden spurs are found. This gives the battle its modern name. Only knights were allowed to wear gold-plated spurs, squires only wore normal or at the best silver- plated spurs. The French baggage train falls almost completely in Flemish hands.

Just seven days later pope Boniface VII is woken up in Rome from his sleep to bring him the news of the Flemish victory. For the first time in recorded history an army of footsoldiers defeated an army of knights. Thanks to this fact and because of its extraordinary origins this battle is one of the most remarkable in history.

Because this battle was won, Flanders was able to keep its independence and was reinstated as a county. The French influence was halted and this made it possible centuries later that the states of Belgium and the Netherlands were formed. The men in Courtrai fought for their "Patria Flandrensis" and thereby prevented that not only Flanders but also the entire Low Countries were saved from disgraceful defeat.








Monday, November 24, 2003

Belgian of the Day!

Blessed Valentin Paquay

Valentin Paquay was born on 17 November 1828 in Tongres, Belgium, the fifth of 11 children to Henry and Anna Neven. His parents were profoundly religious and honest, and raised their children according to these standards. Following elementary school Valentin entered the school of Tongres directed by the Canons Regular of St Augustine in order to continue his literary studies, and in 1845 he was accepted into the seminary of St-Trond where he studied rhetoric and philosophy.

...

Valentin was ordained a priest on 10 June 1854 in Liegi. He was then sent by his superiors to Hasselt, where he remained for the rest of his life, serving as a guardian and vicar of his Order. In 1890 and in 1899 he was also appointed provincial.

Hasselt today is the capital of Limburg, Flanders. If you were there now you'd be able to check out, among the many fine regional beers, the Alcohol in the Comics ehibit at the National Genever Museum.

I would not look out of place there. In Hasselt, I mean. Not in the "Alcohol in the Comics" exhibit.






I don't know about that Sacred Heart Seminary here in Detroit. I'm listening to WDEO on the radio just now and this thing comes on: "At Sacred Heart Seminary, lay women and men...."

I was so weirded out, I turned off the radio right there.








Sunday, November 23, 2003

Can't... Stop... Laughing...!

Julia Child Speaks Her Mind
Political Leanings of Selected Cartoon Characters

All from Kim Scarborough's website. Check out his weblog.

Where else on the web are you going to find actual Mercury Theatre shows to stream and download?






This month's entries (36 songs, total!) for the kvr-vst.com members' song-crafting contest are in -- just in case you want to hear all the different ways people make music on their computers: it's not all techno and electronica. Actually, over the past few months, the entries have become increasingly guitar and vocal-oriented.

Check them out!








Saturday, November 22, 2003

New Song!

Simple Synthpop instrumental because it's Saturday and it's time for a nice song with cool synthesizer sounds. That's why!

"Mr. Do" - 128kbps .mp3 format, approx. 3MB

Enjoy!

Technical notes: made in FLStudio with all-free VSTi: JX220, polyIblit, CM-303, CM-505, 4Front EPiano.






Voicechasers

One way to add instant credibility to your cartoon, at least to my mind, is to get Bruce Campbell to do one of the voices for it. We were watching NickToons last night and "My Life as a Teenage Robot" came on. I'd never watched the show before, mainly because "Robot Jones" totally ruined adolescent robots for me (the show actually got more disturbing when they changed it from a synthesized voice to a human-boy voice for Robot Jones). But the show was surprisingly original. Derivative of the Powerpuff Girls, perhaps, but with better animation and more heart (though what's up with the human characters always doing the "weirded-out" expression? It gets repetitive). And then Bruce Campbell does a turn as guest-villian "Him-cules" (the animators even got his profile right and the writers took him beyond Ash, which is more than any other voiceover project for him has managed to do).

And those with ears will immediately pick out that They Might Be Giants are doing the song for PlayDoh's Doh Doh Island.








Friday, November 21, 2003

ToySymphony

I haven't even checked out any of their software, like HyperScore, the music painting program, and I'm already jazzed (so to speak). I'm almost afraid to download it... sort of reminds me of BlissPaint, a program I had back in my Mac days (still no Windows version available... pity), only instead of having graphics interact with music, it's music which interacts with graphics.

After playing with HyperScore for a few minutes, it appears to be a sort of algorhythmthic composition tool, only you paint the algorhytms yourself and then sketch out a score which incorporates these algorhythms and plays it in real time using your soundcard's MIDI instruments. I don't think you can export the MIDI files, though, once you're done. Maybe you can. I haven't RTFM yet.






Apparently this has been going on for a while now, hardcore game fans writing and programming their own sequels to (once) popular games. TechTv.com points me to "Zak McKracken 2". The original, LucasArts, "Zak McKracken" was THE GAME when it came out on the C64. It spanned three disks and took us around the globe (and even to Mars) following Zak's efforts to stop the Alien Mindbenders (who all wore cowboy hats with eye-holes cut out because their heads were tall and martian-shaped and their eyes were near the top of their heads and then Groucho Marx glasses under the hats so people would think their eyes were positioned down where they should be). It was a fun game. Maybe, if I get sucked into a black hole with my computer someday with no chance of escape, I'll download the fanfic sequel.






"Life on the Slide", Episode 4

LOTS 11/21/2003






To quote the kids, this is so gay. Oh, and so is this.






There are few things in this world I enjoy more than reading reviews of movies that really, truly suck. Particularly when those movies are so obviously motivated by greed. So it was with great anticipation that I dove into this collection of reviews for "The Crap in the Hat" on RottenTomatoes.com (already down to a pathetic 11%... it began the morning at 13%, which already made it one of the worst-reviewed movies of all time... though it has a way to go before it reaches Cuba Gooding Jr.'s "Gay Cruise" at 6%).

I won't spoil any of the reviews for you by quoting them here, but there's more than enough to keep you laughing for hours. My favorites are the ones (and there are at least five) which refer to this movie as a "rape of our childhood memories". I also like the ones which evoke Giesel with a sad, Lorax-like expression on his face. I also like the review which said that, even considering her "amateur" film projects, this would be the one movie Paris Hilton will leave off her resume. Ooh! And I like the ones which point out that it only takes 15 minutes of screen-time for Mike Myers to resort to his Scottish accent this time around. This review is one of my favorites (and not just for the clever use of Photoshop).

Steve Greydanus gets in on the action, too, with another review in verse (though, unlike his previous two reviews-in-verse, he's more-or-less nailed the meter this time around):

Then there’s the photo of Mom on the table
Which the randy Cat’s paws somehow appear able
To unfold like a centerfold, cat hat erect.
Then, told it’s their mom, he quits out of respect.

Yes, the Cat now has mojo — yeah, baby, groovy!
Except he goes “OH yeah!” instead in this movie.
What’s next? Will the Sneetches get wild and crazy?
Will the Lorax get jiggy with Daisy-Head Mayzie?






Barbara Nicolosi on "Life With Bonnie", a show we started watching over the summer and now never miss on Friday nights. There's something about that half-hour of television (curiously programmed at 9:30 on Friday nights) which just makes you feel better after watching it. I appreciate all the improv'ed humor (whenever Martin Mull is on, you know it's going to be downright hilarious), too. They did a "Wizard of Oz" episode for Halloween and somehow managed to be both respectful (even reverent) to the movie and yet avoided being corny. Anyway, we really like the show, even though there are no vampires in it.








Thursday, November 20, 2003

"Life on the Slide", Episode 3

LOTS 11/20/2003






Fr. Bryce may be on vacation (should I be envious or grateful that a Parish priest gets more vacation time than I -- someone who's sold his soul to worldliness -- do?) but his review of "Elf" has just been posted at CruxNews.com.

Now I REALLY want to see the movie. Wonder why Steve Greydanus hasn't reviewed it yet? Seems like it'd be right up his alley.






I just received this anonymous email... I guess I'd better keep posting those cartoons.

Ransom note








Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Well, it looks like after tonight, the weekly Angel post will have to go on hiatus for a bit: there was new "Next week on an all-new Angel" after the show tonight, so it may be several weeks before we figure out what happens next.

SPOILER ALERT: I had heard that they were going to bring back Lindsay, and frankly, even before I read that today on aintitcool, I kind of hoped that they would bring him back this season (his departure in the "evil hand" episode of Season 2 was, as they say, priceless), since they seemed to be (thankfully!) revisiting long-abandoned plot points and characters. If Linsday turned out to be the big bad of the season, or at least an intermediate big bad, I could live with that.

Another nice thing about this season: so far there have been no five-minute "Previously, on Angel" intros which basically tell you what the episode is going to be about by showing all the relevant clips from the past two seasons before you even watch the episode.






"Life on the Slide"

LOTS 11/19/2003








Tuesday, November 18, 2003

"Life on the Slide" Returns!!!!

Back after a seven year hiatus.... For those of you keeping score at home, this would be the upgraded "Life on the Slide 3.0". Enjoy!

LOTS 11/18/2003



And if you think THAT's weird, you're sure to love this. Or this. I wonder if that's the actual desk they used on the show?








Monday, November 17, 2003

Exquisite Dead Guy.






There's already a wealth of lame web comix which don't make any sense so...

Comix #1


(Actually, this is just my first attempt at using Moho as a static comic composition tool. More to follow, maybe).






For what it's worth, you can now get the four-game Zelda bonus disc with a paid-scubscription to Nintendo Power ($19.95), just in case you didn't want to buy a whole 'nother GameCube (or 2 GameCube games). Click here for details.








Sunday, November 16, 2003

More Corporate Mascots We'll Never See

Next up in our line of CMWNS, which previously featured The Real Shade Slimmy is "Lou Swiffer". I can't take credit for coming up with the name, as it was Britain or one of his brothers which first though it up, and I don't think Proctor and Gamble would ever actually consider him as a spokes'toon, but here he is (and you can click on his picture for a surprise, if you have RealPlayer installed):

Lou Swiffer

"Lou Swiffer"








Saturday, November 15, 2003

Well, I've never embedded a cheesy MIDI file on my 'blog before. Until now.



UPDATE: I've relented. Autostart now = false.






Streaming radio stations of old videogame music at 'Zone Radio Network. Cool, and you may have better luck getting these to play by right-click saving-as on the play button graphics and then opening the .pls files with Real player or whatever, depending on what is your default .pls player (it gave MusicMatch conniptions).

Link found via Keoz.com - Arts Vertical Portal.

Anyway, the only reason I scored only 46.5 on the '80s Music Quiz (aside from the fact that R&B was WOEFULLY underrepresented on that quiz and that I rushed through it in just five minutes right after waking up) is that I spent the '80s not listening to the radio or watching MTV (we didn't even have a TV), but rather listening to videogame music -- mostly on the C64 and Sega. My friend and I put an additional SID chip in the C64 so we could listen to the stereo six-voice version of "Orinco Flow". The fact was, with only three or four voices to carry the music and game sound effects, the songs had to be very strong, melody-wise, and catchy in order to be memorable (and certain tunes, like the theme to the 1982 version of "Spy Vs. Spy" will be with me forever). Anyway, very cool. And it's influenced my music to this day.








Friday, November 14, 2003

I could be mistaken, but I think Steven Greydanus has just rated "Master and Commander" higher than any other movie to date (87% fresh!). Definitely put that on the must-rent list when it comes out on DVD.

And I love how he refers to Brother Bear as "a throwback to what was worst in Disney nouveau".








Thursday, November 13, 2003

Workers of Iraq, unite!!!

Operation "Iron Hammer?" What's next? Operation Hooked Cross?






I get a lot of those spam emails that say "we like your webpage, link to our site" but this is the first one that's been truly 'blogworthy:

China-Inflatable.com is pretty much what you'd expect: truly frightening inflatable Chinese rip-offs of beloved Western icons.

"Mommy! Why is Santa rampaging through our city?" "No, Santa, nooooooooooooo!"








Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Another excellent episode of Angel tonight ("Lineage") written by first-time Angel-writer Drew Goddard, who contributed a few episodes to Buffy last season (seems to be largely the ones which didn't suck) and who is only six months older than I am.

Anyway, it'd been a while since we'd had a good Wesley episode and this episode certainly did his character justice (I liked the telephone call scene which was nearly word for word -- but not quite -- the same call from season two). Plus it was really cool to see Wesley's dad and have all the references to the Watchers' Council. I can't be the only person, though, who wants Wesley to go call John Woo on Knox (I never liked Knox, though). Anyway, Spike had some good moments (including the sex with robots line). Did Eve ever get out of that elevator, though? I wonder. And this is the first real cyborg ninja episode we've seen (and they did it pretty well). So tonight's episode gets an A.






Word on the street (well, Fr. Bryce says anyway), that Elf is the funniest Christmas movie ever. This is supported, too, by it's 83% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com (presently the only movie in the top-five to be rated fresh by the critics there... the other four movies in the top-five being -- I guess, based on their reviews -- "Crappy-O", "Brother Bomb", "Sucky Movie 3", and "The Lametrix: Revopukin's").

I 'blogged about this at the beginning of October, I believe, how I hoped it would be good based on the trailers I'd seen and the fact that Jon Favreau directed it ("Made" is one of the funniest movies of the last five years, I think). We'll have to try and sneak out to see it -- remember, we haven't seen a movie in the theaters since Episode II in June or July of 2002 (and "Unbreakable" before that).

Fr. Bryce also passes along the link to the Church Sign Generator. Since it's too early in the morning for me to come up with a good one of my own, here's one I actually saw around town here, during the whole buildup to the Iraqi conflict:

Church Sign


The funniest Church Sign I've seen lately, though, was when a bunch of local teenagers rearranged the letters in "YOU HAVE A PURPOSE IN LIFE" to read "YOU HAVE A PENIS". If I didn't commute in so early, I never would have gotten a chance to see that.








Tuesday, November 11, 2003

One of the more amusing Internet quizzes (at least for me), in a while:


:: how nintendo are you? ::






More proof that the Green Meanies are not so much pro-environment as they are anti-people.






I was listening to BBC World News on the way into work (it's usually one of the best programs on that early in the morning/that late at night) and they had this piece about this guy in Uganda who has a minivan and inside the minivan is a computer, some marine batteries, a printer, a paper cutter, and a binder and what they've done is downloaded all of the books that are avilable online and in the public domain and then they go around to the villages around Kampala which don't have libraries and print up books for the school children there. I imagine the van looks something like this.

Anyway, the BBC reporter went along on the ride-along for the bookmobile's maiden voyage and it was really interesting to hear them talk with the schoolchildren. One, named Alice, was 14 and wanted to read about Ugandan history -- partly in an effort to understand why her parents, like many Ugandan parents at that time, were both murdered when she was 4 -- and also to learn more about railroads, as she wants to be a railroad engineer someday. They probably interviewed other children, too, but I had to go in to work at that point and missed the rest of the program.

Anyway, just that brief spot gave me hope in something or other....






My Russian police-sketch face. Or a rough approximation, thereof. "Book 'em, Danofski!"

Link via Misadventured Sarah Hempel. Click here to get the program's interface in English.








Monday, November 10, 2003

Help! (Again)

My webhosting lease (or contract, or whatever) is up at the beginning of next month and I'm looking for some good, cheap webhosts who don't really care too much about bandwidth or filespace restrictions and are fairly reliable. I'm not unhappy with my present webhosting service (far from it!), just unsure if I'll be able to afford it this time around. If you know of any, just leave a comment below or mail me. Thanks in advance!






A lot of people think by peppering up your 'blog with lots of spicy words and phrases, you can attract additional traffic to your site. I would never go for such a cheap, underhanded trick, of course -- because I know what REALLY will bring in the googlers: Biblical Commentary! So without further ado, here is my commentary on the heroes of the Old Testament:

In the books of the Old Testament, heroes could be members of either sex. Toys were something they never had, though, as Israel was continually in a state of bondage. And domination of the land was something the Israelites strived for, particularly in the barnyard -- hoes and rakes being but two of the tools they used, even as teens. Like it? Hard was their lifestyle and if you were there you'd never know where your pen is. Lengthening patches of their misery were all the times they mispelled Jehova, "HGH".

There we go. I bet now the hits just come rolling in and I didn't even have to sell out my principles in order to do it!






Sarah Hempel, probably one of the best sculptors I know (and one of the nicest persons I know, and one of the most closeted Libertarians I know... ;) has a 'blog: check it out!.








Sunday, November 09, 2003

It's the Hillsdale College 'Blogging Community webpage!

I had no idea this existed.






Shoot.

I did something stupid, awesome PC tech that I am, and lost about four months of email. So if you emailed me something in the last four months and it was really important you might want to email it to me again. I hate myself and I hate Windows XP Home, too.






Yahoo! News Photos: World Beard and Moustache Championships

Also...

Yahoo! News: Swiss bra supports smokers who quit

While I'm no expert on the subject, but I'd have to say those are some of the ugliest-looking bras I've ever seen.






Help!

We're thinking (me and the band) about doing some traditional Catholic hyms or traditional songs for an upcoming EP/Demo CD. Given my musical inclinations, do any of you wonderful readers have any suggestions as to which ones we should do? Preferably, these should only be songs which are in the public domain and not under copyright (so no Marty Haugen ditties, alas!) as those, realistically, are the only song I could do at this point. Let me know if there are any you'd like to hear me do!








Saturday, November 08, 2003

Atari Closes Former MicroProse Studio

Obviously, it hadn't really ever been MicroProse since Sid Meier left for Firaxis, and I don't recall seeing Atari/UbiSoft ever releasing a title under the MicroProse name, but this is still a sad day for all of those of us who came of age playing "Silent Service", "Pirates!", and (my favorite) "Airborne Ranger" on the Commodore 64. Relive those MicroProse memories here






I've been lax in putting something like this together, so I'm very grateful to Don McLane for his brief introduction to making music with a computer. It's very good and fairly comprehensive (if a little Mac-centric ;). I'll be doing a companion piece on some of the inexpensive loop-based composition tools available, as well as the weatlth of inexpensive or free tools which you can only get on the Windoze platform. But for anyone seeking an introduction to computer music in general, definitely check out Don's site.






Gimme a Shot of the Catholic Funk

Yes, please do.






By the way, Finding Nemo is the best movie in five years (since 1998's "Run, Lola, Run"). If it had had Franka Potente in it, then it would've been the best movie of all time. Pity.






If I were Lucienne.com and my readers were the sort of illiterate, judgmental shitheads they've proven themselves to be in their reponses to that post there I'd seriously reconsider my direction in life. If I were attracting that sort of readership through my writing, I'd seriously consider never touching another keyboard as long as I lived. Put another way: with fans like that, who needs a big "I am a shill" branded across one's forehead? Secondly, if I were a regular reader of Lucienne.com, which I'm not, andthen read some of those reponses and realized that the majority of the other readers of the site were as blind and devoid of any sort of sense or moral reason as Lucienne's other readers I would first vomit and then go to confession. An artist (or hackneyed hack in this case), and her fans, are known by the company they keep.

Seriously, if your response to Jessica Lynch's REAL act of heroism (that is, refusing to turning your victimization at the hands of both your Iraqi captors and your American COs into a PR win for the rah-rah hawk crowd, and instead portraying it for what it was -- a seriously warped, unfortunate, and tragic sequence of events which you could have never forseen when all you ever wanted was a college education and a chance to get an education so you can get a job in a country which has seen 18% of its manufacturing jobs flushed down the crapper in the last three years) is "What an ungrateful person she is. Maybe they should have just left her in the hospital with her Iraqi boyfriends" then there is not a level of Hell deep enough for you. May your flesh be burned for an eternity and may your torment be one of having your loins incessently gnawed upon by devils, NYCvoter, whoever the funk you are.

Don't even get me started.








Friday, November 07, 2003

Good news for those of us who LOVED the "Jet Set Radio" soundtrack.








Thursday, November 06, 2003

Corporate Mascots We'll Never See

Here's a Corporate Mascot We'll Never See, though possibly could be used for a window-covering manufacturing firm.

The Real Shade Slimmy
The Real Shade Slimmy


"Will the Real Shade Slimmy please roll up, please roll up, please roll up..."






MSNBC.com: NPR receives record donation, McDonald’s heir leaves $200 million to stunned radio network

Ugh. I can think of quite a few businesses and organizations, compared to NPR, to whom I'd have preferred such a large donation to have gone:
  • Fetal Seal Flayers Local Chapter #347
  • The International House of Welts
  • Divine Wind Flight School, Sacramento Branch
  • The University of Michigan Young Cannibals Club
  • The Uncle Joe Stalin Memorial Baby Impalers
  • Ted Nugent's Hog Rendering Zoo
  • The Masonic Confraternity of Spontaneous Castration
  • Maple Leaf Moose Goosers: Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Chapter
There are probably many other more worthy organizations, when compared with NPR, but that's all I could come up with off the top of my head.






Fr. Bryce is right: I do love this Bizarre Records site.

Pssst.... Don't tell him I said so, but I think that man over there talking to himself is crazzzzzzzzyyyyyy.






There are tons of reasons not to practice voodoo (or "vodou" or "vousdeux", however you want to spell it) but it seems that this reason right here might be near the top of the list. Any religion which allows the phrases "hot pepper-spiced homemade alcohol", "genital area", and "key ritual" to be placed in such close proximity in the same sentence is definitely not the religion for me.

Though I suppose if I had to choose between pouring Frank's down my trousers and whacking myself in the head with a machete, like those folks in Iraq... I'd choose whichever one I could fix with a shower, as opposed to stiches and a course or two of antibiotics.






Another fine episode of Angel last night ("The Cautionary Tale Of Numero Cinco"). I wasn't thrilled by the story at first, just because it took a little while to get going, but by the end it turned out to be a sweet story in a realy bizarre way. Definitely one of the funnier episodes, featuring a legendary band of evil-fighting Mexican wrestlers ("Come, my brothers, the Devil has built a robot!"). And when was the last time you saw a network TV drama tie into All Souls Day? Now, six episodes into the fifth season, I can defnitely say this season has been filled with more solid episodes than the fourth season.








Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Pretty Good Speakers Cheap

I'm a pretty big fan of SlickDeals.net ("get a 160GB harddrive for $25!!!") but here's one I found on my own: head over to buy.com and check out these Yamaha PC Speakers, for just $18 (no tax, and shipping is included) after rebate. I ordered this Monday night and they showed up Wednesday morning -- and that was with the free shipping option. The speakers are halfway decent -- unless you got a pair of Altec Lansing 621s with your PC, they're definitely better sounding than the OEM speakers you probably have. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of RCA phono-in jacks (all you get is a hardwired 1/8" mini-stereo cable, but that's fine for most applications), but for $18, you really can't do much better, speakerwise: I think they have just the right amount of bottom end -- not too much, but you'll definitely recognize that there's a woofer there.

These are also probably the ideal speakers on which to listen to the song that Fr. Rob indirectly calls "art" (though he says some other really nice things about it too).






Detroit News: Abortion tactic divides Oakland, GOP moderates blast postcard mailed by conservative politician

"This is an issue that will oust Democrats, but not if the Republicans are going to be a bunch of squishes about it," said McMillin, who estimates he spent about $1,000 of his own money to print and post the mailers.

Other "Republicans" in the County are not well pleased:

"He's effectively destroying the Republican Party with these crusades," Patterson said. "We will have a very tough time delivering Oakland County for George Bush. If Bush loses Oakland County, it will be because of McMillin. He's said before that he'd rather stand on principles and lose an election, and he's dangerously close to proving that true."

Savor that quote a while... shock at a politician who'd rather stand on principals than do whatever it takes to win an election... What a bunch of "squishes".








Tuesday, November 04, 2003

No.

56.25 %

My weblog owns 56.25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?


It can't be. Let me go back and answer some of those questions again for real this time.






CBC News.com: 'I shot the sheriff' song sparks police complaint

When a reporter pointed out that audio tapes were still rolling, the lawyer explained the song illustrates his client's claim of self-defence.

Time to seek other representation, methinks. Actually, now that I think about it, there doesn't seem to be anything more frightening to me at the moment than someone from Canada mangling a Bob Marley song ("I shoot da sheriff, eh?" Actually, this was in Quebec, wasn't it? "Well! You know! I shoot ze sheriff! But ze deputy, I did not shoot him, you know! Pass ze poutine!"). Still, I gotta give props to anyone who goes out of their way to be rude in Canada, home of the "terribly nice people" (as Peter Kreeft puts it).






I've done some tweaking and polishing of "Not A Great Man", below, including the addition of a screaming "guitar" solo. Check it out!








Monday, November 03, 2003

They Might Be Pumpkins

Meet John Flansberg and John Linnell. They have more free .mp3s. And near the bottom of this page are some pictures of the Deeply Felt Puppet Theater, in case you're curious.






Not A Great Man

I finally got some words written last night, and was fortunate enough to record them. I'm still tweaking the mix here, so if it's a little too loud or not loud enough, that will be corrected as soon as I get to listen to it on a decent pair of speakers. In the meantime:

Victor Lams - "Not A Great Man" (160kbps .mp3 format, approx 5.5MB)

Netscape users, right-click to save-as. The subject of the song should be pretty self-explanitory if you've been following the news over the past few weeks. If you're struggling to make out what I'm saying, here's an approximate transcription of the lyric.

UPDATE: Now with guitar solo!!! Also check out System193.net for RealMedia and Windows Media versions.








Sunday, November 02, 2003

Finally got some semblance of a lyric written. Hope to be able to do rough vocal tracking and a rough mix tonight, and post it. Stay tuned!






D'oh!

I had been wondering for the past few days why 'Blogger wasn't letting me log in, and then I realized I'd been playing with the security settings on my browser and finally put the two and two together. So it'll probably be tomorrow when I post my thoughts on "28 Days L8r" which I watched yesterday (Halloween). I did get the storm windows up and the gutters cleaned out today, so I guess I came out ahead even if I didn't do too much else today. I had been having a Dig Dug jones for the past few days so I picked up "Namco Museum" for GameCube which was on clearance at Target. Blowing up Pookas and Fygars is one of my fondest childhood memories.

Actually, maybe I'll do the "28 Days Later" bit now: if you're looking for a really good survival-horror zombie flick, "28 Days Later" isn't it. I'm still not sure what kind of movie (or movies -- the whole deal changes scope -- scope creep! -- radically about midway through and suddenly the hero goes from zombie food to Rambo, the first Rambo movie Rambo, I mean, almost instantly) isn't it. Also the philosophical/metaphysical aspects of the whole rage virus aren't really fleshed out (so to speak) in any sort of convincing way, so it fails as science-fiction. There are a few "Boo!" moments that are set up nicely, so that's pretty cool I guess. But those were mostly all in the first 20 minutes and then the rest of the movie, like I said, really isn't about the survival horror... I think as a story and commentary on modern civilization, the Vincent Price version of "Last Man on Earth" has a far more bleak portrayal of a similar situation. And the "Resident Evil" games (at least "Resident Evil", "Resident Evil 2", and "Resident Evil: Code Veronica") are far more spooky and evocative than "28 Days Later". So if you're looking for your lone survivor against an army of the undead fix, this may not do you right, though the first 40 minutes or so were pretty creepy and cool... after that the movie kind of goes schitzo and turns into "Full Metal Jacket" or something. I give the first 40 minutes a B+ for being creepy (better ride that volume control if you live with people who aren't interested in hearing screams and glass breaking every few minutes) and the last hour or however long it was like a C or something because it got a little lame (though I liked how they actually made "Hello" at the end out to mean something other than "Any zombies around here wanna jump out and bite me?". If you like creepy zombie movies you've probably already seen it and if you don't, this probably won't change your mind the way "Army of Darkness" will change your life.

Anyway, this movie reinforced one thing for me: for the love of Pete, if the human race is to have any hope of future survival, we must exterminate all chimanzees now. From 12 Monkeys to SARS to AIDS, chimpanzees spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for humankind. Though I will miss all the times they dress up in diapers and people clothes and stick out their tongues and blow raspberries... those were some funny times. So maybe we don't have to kill them all: just stop eating them and getting bitten by them.





Currently,

©2004 Victor Lams