Other Ten Percent 6/13/12

Jun 13 2012

I feel like today was kinda weird but I couldn’t tell you why. I mostly just hung out with Katherine and then did the usual dinner with Jane into TV Club jam. Still it felt like it was off message somehow as a day. I guess just because Katherine was in town and that is a New York thing and so I’m like “why am I on my New York shit in San Francisco?” …I dunno that’s the best theory I’ve got. Thankfully it isn’t the best content I’ve got because the internet actually kinda brought it today.

Songs that use the Be My Baby drum beat
So this is actually a weirdly transfixing article if you organize it with Spotify. I’m tempted to just go ahead and throw all of these onto one playlist in Spotify and see if it can drive a person mad or something because it sort of seems like the evil Phil Spector twin of the four chord song bit. The fact that there’s a whole wikipedia entry listing all of these off is one of those bizarre simultaneously inevitable and totally bizarre parts of internet life. How did something so oddly specific get started? Yet, knowing that it did how could there not be a small group of people that obsessed over keeping that wikipedia page up to date?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
It’s been a while since I felt really compelled to link a This American Life episode (even the Mike Daisy retraction episode I posted mainly because everybody on the internet couldn’t shut up about it) this one however is worth it for the story of the obsessed software designer alone. I mean it’s, apparantly, super old but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s great.

Chuck Norris Supercut of the Day
So Chuck Norris jokes kinda stopped being cool before I ever even moved out to SF and yet this one kinda works for me because it’s sort of a bizarre twist on it. Weirdly this seems like the formula for an 80’s action parody I would totally be on board for. Rather than just collecting all the 80’s action stars and putting them in the most generic action movie possible Expendibles style why wouldn’t you create the ultimate action movie where Chuck Norris (or any 80’s action star really) had to face every generic but ultimately incompatible 80’s action movie threat simultaneously. Bring on the Russian nuclear terrorist sells raised by satan to lead a ninja army of unstoppable genetically engineered gangsters please.

ABC asks court to recognize that its new reality show is basically the same as every other reality show
So I have to confess that earlier Wikipedia link comes, strangely enough, from the AV Club Classic review of Police Squad from this week. Yet that was not at all my favorite AV Club post of the day. Instead that’s ABC arguing in court that its new reality show is actually so interchangeably generic that it’s obvious similarities to Big Brother shouldn’t count since, really, all reality shows are basically the same three or four bullshit ideas kicked around endlessly. This court case should be shown as a double feature with Marvel’s case earlier this year that the X-Men, who have fought for recognition as humans for their entire career, are actually mutant freaks since it’s cheaper to import non-human action figures than human action figures. Basically I love it whenever a company has to make a legal argument that is totally antithetical to their public argument because it’ll save them a few bucks.

Showtime: Kevin Kelly, “One Minute Vacation”
This is not just a “possible new genre” it’s basically what video galleries are going to look like when everybody is trading huge amounts of ambiently captured footage of their lives back and forth. “Oh hey, here are 2 seconds clips that sum up two hour transcendent experiences in my life. Feel free to expand any of them that seem interesting.”

Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society
Sooooo I’m not sure I’m ready to buckle down and buy this book but the Cacophony Society is sort of the best explanation for why San Francisco is awesome. The fact that they’re a secret society and you can really only get involved with their shit after the fact meanwhile is the perfect explanation for why San Francisco kinda sucks a lot of the time.

How to make a star
I’m not sure this will interest anybody else as much as it interests me because it’s kind of a specific bit. Basically there are a ton of videos online of people putting together an image in photoshop that, while fascinating, I don’t really understand because I suck at photoshop. This on the other hand is somebody assembling a 3D object using a bunch of new filter layers on a sphere to create an increasingly amazing looking star that apes that same sort of screen recording feel of a photoshop tutorial. The fact that this is one of 14 different demos the guy whipped up for one talk is just the icing on the cake.

Hack the Cover
You know, weirdly, I was just talking about this with Katherine today though not in the specific context of book covers. It seems to me that the basic tension between traditional media formats and digital formats is the central artistic problem of our generation because there are so many economic and structural reasons why our culture is resistent to wholly embracing what makes digital media different but by failing to address those differences digital distribution just feels like a cheap b-movie version of the real thing. So instead of Creating a genuinely new thing we just slap a half-assed digitized cover on a kindle e-book and call it a job well done. We were talking about it in terms of comics (also why does Marvel not have all its digital comics tie into a timeline/map of Marvel New York that places each event in a specific time and place in continuity. Just have it be a vague timeline of important events pieced together as best as they can manage by the Daily Bugle. Seriously this would not even be that hard. GIVE ME MONEY MARVEL!) but the general problem is repeating all over the damn place.

The Secrets of Brutality: God of War’s Combat Design
I have never really been a huge God of War fan but this article linked to me by my friend Patrick (who works at Gamasutra’s sister publication Game Developer) paints a really interesting picture of the kind of considerations designers have to make about what is communicated by a simple attack animation in a game and how those considerations change in a multi-player versus a single player context. Basically something as simple as the duration and (for lack of a better term) flashiness of a character’s basic attack has very real gameplay consequences that have to be thought through and iterated on to make a good game.

Passion Pit “I’ll Be Alright”
I described this to Jane as “Passion Pit having a constant seizure, or maybe the closest thing Passion Pit can do to dubstep” and that’s maybe what I actually wanted from them all along?

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