Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080310


Ah the joys of a long weekend. Kicked back on the chaise lounge (all right it’s actually the couch) and rummaging through the Inbox. God I get some crap… but before we get to the usual silly stuff lets start with a farewell. Last week Gary Gygax passed away. Who? Gary Gygax co-created the game “Dungeons & Dragons”, and in the process changed the world, as the New York Times op-ed piece by Adam Rogers noted

“We live in Gary Gygax’s world. The most popular books on earth are fantasy novels about wizards and magic swords. The most popular movies are about characters from superhero comic books. The most popular TV shows look like elaborate role-playing games: intricate, hidden-clue-laden science fiction stories connected to impossibly mathematical games that live both online and in the real world. And you, the viewer, can play only if you’ve sufficiently mastered your home-entertainment command center so that it can download a snippet of audio to your iPhone, process it backward with beluga whale harmonic sequences and then podcast the results to the members of your Yahoo group.”

It works for me.

The promised recording of “Mad Violet and a Zoom H4” will be up later this week at later this week and the concert review over at duggup.
I love a public holiday.

And with the unrepentant soundtrack of ice clinking in a glass of single malt it’s time to “Allez Sillies”

Lets begin this week with something totally useless. Cool, but useless. So what does it do. Burning text. Fiery words on your desktop That’s it. That’s all it does. (Oh it does one other thing, if you install this at work it will drive your network support nuts… I should know). There are a bunch of things you can do to customise it just how you want.

Curious about the whole viral marketing thing? Here is how it works, you go to say play with the kittens, think it’s totally hilarious and send it off to everyone you know. There by becoming
A: a spammer and
B: indirectly responsible for me receiving 27000 copies of this in my inbox over the next month. Isn’t the internet fun?

From BoingBoing – StarShipSofa is a weekly podcast that has started to put out Hugo Winning audio stories for free. Last week we put up David Brin’s 1985 Hugo winning story “The Crystal Spheres.” This week we put up Bruce Sterling’s 1989 story “We See Things Differently.” Other narrated stories include 2007 Hugo nominee Peter Watts and Michael Moorcock. A host of SF writers have offered to let the StarShipSofa narrate their works. Writers who have already donated their work include Ian Watson, Pat Cadigan, Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman, Joan D Vinge, Norman Spinrad, Ian MacDonald, J D Nordley, Gweneth Jones, Alastair Reynolds, Jerry Pournelle, Landon Jones, John Varley, Pat Murphy, John Kessel, Laurel Winter, Jeff Vandermeer, Kevin J Anderson, Bradley Denton and Matthew Hughes. I personally loved the Bruce Sterling piece.

Let’s try for some irony this week. I am not a big fan of J.J. Abrams work. He’s the dude behind Alias, Lost, Mission Impossible III, and Cloverfield. BUT he gave a talk at TED last year that I found fascinating and the ideas he espoused keep banging away in my brain.
Abrams starts his talk by showing a wrapped box he’s owned for decades. It’s a “mystery package” he bought from a magic shop in New York. The kicker is he’s never opened the box and says he never will because then the “magic” will escape.

“It represents infinite possibility; it represents hope; it represents potential… mystery is the catalyst for imagination… maybe there are times where mystery is more important than knowledge.”

I still don’t like his shows but I have a whole new slant on how to watch them

Video here: and just the audio here

The recent Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego featured an exhibition of work by forty mathematician/artists. Science News (which is a regular on my reading list) looks at several of the artworks that draw from dynamical systems, topology, and fractals.
Some of this stuff is just wonderful, have a look at Sarah-Marie Belcastro’s knitted topologies or Douglas McKenna’s “Modern Art” Totally captivating and wow does it mess with your head.

Speaking of messing with your head, Jools covered Devandra Banhart last year in duggup. The Eternal Children is a documentary by David Kleijwegt about the contemporary freak folk scene, starring such musicians as Devendra Banhart, CocoRosie, Antony & The Johnsons, and Vashti Bunyan. Head over to YouTube and have a look. There are six episodes of about 9 minutes or so each. Worth a look and I will bet it stretches your definition of music and performance.

Speaking of duggup (nice segue there what?) continues it’s an eclectic romp through music. So what’s there this week? Jools found Bob Fox and my favourite this week is Jose Gonzalez, don’t let the name put you off. he’s from Sweden and you have heard him before think Sony ad with lots and lots of bouncing balls. Stroll over and check it out.

Flash Game Time: Jools strikes again…
“And then there is this – if this is not an Impedimentia I don’t know what is. A tad slow to load and the cartoon violence is pretty umm gruesome.
Love, Jools ”
This is really fun in a “Road Runner and Coyote” kind of way.

Bonus Flash Game (Public Hols and all that). Grid16 is a weird little combination of mini games for people with short attention spans. oh that would be me. A grid of 16 squares, and each has its own game. All you need are arrow keys and good reflexes as the game’s “camera” moves from mini game to mini game.

So you may start out playing a Brickout-type mini game for a few seconds, then switch to a game where you must move a small square to avoid walls. The game steadily increases the speed at which it moves you between mini games, which gets tricky since you pick up the games where you left off when you start the mini game again. You are so gonna hate me for this one.

Well that’s enough for this week. If you are in Melbourne, I hope you enjoy your day off and if your not. what the hell chuck a sickie.


{Currently listening to Feist and Lunasa}
{Currently reading: Even drearier SBS2003 manuals}
{Quick Status Check: As noted many many times before, Micro$cum manuals are hell}
{Crop Circle Status: It’s not long to May now (about 52 sleeps) and the games will begin again. }

Categorized as Mondays

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