28 August 2007


Now I'm glad I dropped out and subsequently studied elsewhere. [link]

When I was at Cornell, I discovered Throbbing Gristle, but only some of their material appealed to me. The rest was annoying. After they broke up, I tried to figure out who did which bits. Coil had some good songs, and some bad ones. I never figured out what Chris & Cosey/CTI did, because I only heard their songs in the middle of long sets on the radio, and didn't match the name to the sound. I saw a bit about Genesis P. Orridge today, and can't for the life of me recall what I thought about Psychic TV, except that I kind of avoided their recordings.

19 August 2007


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OK, here's the second attempt. A link loading in another tab took down the entire browser (some web pages do that, though I can't figure out why because when I try to look at the pages in question for clues, the fucking browser crashes).

The image above is a photograph of a design carved on someone's leg. Tattoos were too easily removed with lasers, and piercings would heal closed if the jewelry was removed, and maybe cosmetic surgery could eradicate branding or "scarification" so this chick let someone whittle a cartoon character on her thigh. I like how the design incorporates a knife and slab of raw meat, both dripping blood, as well as a girl wearing only fishnets and an apron. Raw meat carved to look like raw meat.

Don't get me wrong; I have been obsessed with more than one anime series. But I never, ever for a millisecond considered gouging Lain's likeness into my abs. I will admit, however, that I watched FLCL again last night, and I would purchase an orange Vespa without hesitation if the price was in my range.

18 August 2007

The Grim Stripper

A death-worshiping cult in Mexico City has replaced the icon (or is it an idol?) at the front of their church with a statuette of a woman in a long golden robe.
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For the record, none of the following is mocking the beliefs of the people who attend said church. So long as they don't harm others, what they believe is fine by me (and I'm sure they're relieved as all hell to know that a semi-anonymous blogger conditionally approves of their creed). But a few questions linger in my mind:
  • Did they leave the Vampirella costume on under that robe? The value of memorabilia like that goes WAY down if you lose the original accessories.
  • Did they change the bibles and hymnals to reflect that Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is now their one true savior?
  • Fuck, you don't think that's maybe supposed to be Cher, do you? That would be over the line.
Now that I think of it, there used to be a comic book store in the same mini-mall where I bought all the Amiga software and peripherals I used to own. In the back, next to the indie and import section, they had assorted knick-knacks (or "collectibles" if you let them dictate the terminology) to separate the comic books from the RPG stuff. One of the objects they sold was a model of Elvira. The parts that were supposed to represent flesh were glow-in-the-dark plastic. I wanted to buy it, but it was (as I recall) out of my discretionary budget range.

Now that I mentioned glow-in-the-dark plastic, I will mention another recent discovery: The Virtual Absinthe Museum. One of the things they display is Uranium Glass. Now I have two vague nostalgic feelings (you think Dearest is letting Absinthe into the house?). I notice a lot less stuff made from glow-in-the-dark plastic these days. Is that just fashions changing, or is there a practical reason?

14 August 2007

The Golden Age of Leather

I was possessed the other day to search for information, video, and MP3s of Blue Oyster Cult the other day, and found a torrent with pretty much every recording the band ever made. Some of them I had never heard of, and after listening to them, I understand why. Some of the early releases have out-takes and demos included, which are interesting to hardcore fans, but not so good that anyone will curse the limits of the LP for consigning the tracks to obscurity. There are also demo versions of a few songs, which sound more like something you'd find if you picked up an old reel-to-reel machine at a thrift store and checked out the included tapes in cryptically marked boxes.

In the midst of an article about William Gibson's new book, I ran across links to sites that purport to be an online magazine he writes about in the book, so something along those lines. While perusing the one that could be seen from this side of the great firewall, the first link I hit was a blog entry from someone whose life closely resembled the plot of the book. So we're left with an author writing about readers writing about an author writing about his readers writing about an author writing about his readers, and now me writing about all of that. Did your brain explode yet?

All Thumbs is a display of thumbnail images of TV stations Jeff Kadet received in Macomb*, Illinois. Back in a previous century, I used to scan dead channels when there was nothing interesting on, and fiddle with the antenna until I thought I saw something. In the summers, we could get CJOH-6 fairly reliably. They showed reruns of "Hogan's Heroes" every afternoon for as much of my childhood as I can recall. There was a channel 2 station out of Buffalo, but the one time we could actually watch it was an event that we talked about after purchasing a Betamax ("just think, if we had this thing the night we saw channel 2..."). The UHF channels from Rochester and Syracuse were iffy at best. Of course, I also had shortwave radios, and made antennas by stringing wire as far as it would spool between two trees.

*How long can you look at the name before you start fitting it to the tune of "My Humps"?

Because I was thinking about death recently, I wound up finding Death by Caffeine. The joke I've been telling for years is that I passed away in 1982, but the twitching that results from so much coffee gives the illusion of life. Of course, now that I saw all those wonderful stay-awake-forever drinks, I'm bummed that I can't practically get them sent to me here. Perhaps I'll have to go see what Metro has, and settle for that.

13 August 2007

Placing the blame where it belongs

Back on August 11th, I mentioned that I had been wasting what I considered too much time on Amiga emulators and related software. It's under control now, though I've been waiting on a torrent of old software nine days running (stuck at 97.9% and seeders only appear at random moments, drive the ETA down to under an hour, then disappear after I get 8k or so of new stuff).

This has been a dual-edged sword. On one hand, I'm really angry at myself for frittering away a lot of precious vacation time on nostalgia over stuff that I never used effectively. I had DCTV at one point, and connected it to my camcorder, and apart from making a handful of self-portraits with my eyes completely whited/blacked out (with shadows or highlights applied to make it really creepy) I had no use for such a thing. I only bought it because I had lusted after it in magazine ads years before, and employment combined with the advent of eBay to make the acquisition possible. I also downloaded a lot of software from usenet groups that had eluded me in the pre-internet days. I never used any of it. So I find myself thinking, "This is cool that I finally have this, but why the fuck did I want it now?"

This was part of the reason. Ars Technica ran an article on the history of the Amiga. I forgot about that until they ran the second segment today.

I'm hoping now to put the obsession and ambivalent feelings surrounding said obsession to some use in another project I started. Frequently, I have run across the advice to "write what you know." I suppose it's time to put that into practice, at least until next week when part three of the series lands in my RSS reader.

12 August 2007

Metal Fever

I forget who I was talking with recently, but the concept of combined AI, RealDolls, and robotics came up. I was trying desperately to recall the name of Hajime Sorayama, but couldn't get my memory to comply with the request. The conversation was about influences and obsessions, and I was trying to fit together the story of Sorayama's artworks, William Gibson's writing, and the effect of spending hours upon hours hip-deep in technical manuals and computer hardware.

My father worked as a technician in the R & D labs at Xerox. Before that, he was a repairman for electro-mechanical calculators, and still prior, I heard, worked for G.E. in some capacity (prior to joining the Navy to work on flight simulators). Hence, the environment I found myself in from birth was full of electronics. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the floor behind the record player we had. There was a brass grill to allow ventilation of the vacuum tubes. The holes in the grill had a magnifying effect, so looking in there was an immersive experience for me. The tubes stood like office towers in a twenty-second century metropolis. The dry, hot air that convection forced out of the cabinet smelled of phenolic and solder, mixed with the resins of the wood the cabinet was made of. And the Ventures provided the soundtrack to that still, yet compelling tableau.

When I was older, I amused myself with the seemingly endless boxes of spare parts that came into the house when projects ended. Assorted indicator lamps, control servos, switches, and random circuit boards filled half of the house. So, I went through the various changes from childhood to adolescence to adulthood buried in technological debris, emerging at almost the same moment that Mr. Gibson coined the term "cyberspace", Max Headroom first stuttered to life, and Laurie Anderson released "Big Science".

I was thinking, just before sitting down to write this, about Sorayama's paintings, and what makes or made them so compelling. In the present, when Poser gives just about anyone the ability to create realistic pictures of chrome-plated nudes, would such an artist ever be noticed?

11 August 2007

I'm getting really sick of myself.

Three days have been lost now to WinUAE fiddling and related chasing after links to forgotten development tools. I started by telling myself I needed to refresh my memory a bit. I'm working on a story that involves a character who clings to antiquated systems and software, partly for technical reasons, but also for aesthetic motives. Before a lot of you were born, I sat and pored over technical manuals for systems that were, at that time, fairly advanced (going from 64k of memory to 512k was a major step, and when OS-9 provided multitasking, it was the stuff of dreams. Mind you, my job at the time involved programming a mainframe with a capacity that your Palm Pilot would sneer at.)

But, I realize, after losing a few days that I resent losing, that I'm not up for learning chunky-to-planar plasma simulator coding, even if I clearly understood what that meant. I never got too far with programming these systems when they were physically extant. The idea was to get the feel of such things again, to more accurately describe them in the context of some imaginary developer spending three sleepless days debugging and optimizing a bit of code that may or may not have metaphysical properties. Now that I spent so long in that dark alley, I feel like I ought to spend three days without sleep myself and try to write my self-esteem back to where I could stand to be in the same room with myself again. I know that made damn little sense, but don't look back, and definitely don't turn around to edit it. We have to keep going forward, or it will catch up to us, and then all hope would be beyond our reach.

Did I mention before that word processing software has failed to progress in twenty years, and might have become less useful in that time? I thought that again when I tried out a program I used in 1989, and it looked for the world like Open Office on a low-res monitor. It went at about the same speed, which is pitiful. Fuck it.

06 August 2007

Day of obsessions

I've never tried to explain this to anyone before, but my compulsion to try and write is derived from a few very specific, yet difficult-to-explain obsessions and aesthetics. As it happens, a lot of things that turned up in the RSS reader today fed into those. I originally thought to try and explain some of this, using these links as illuminating examples, but I think I'll just give you the pointers, and let you connect the dots for yourself.

Rivetgirl's Flikr page has now expanded my collection of wallpapers by a third. She has a great eye for close-ups of everyday sights, rendering interest that's normally passed by unseen.

For anyone who has read The Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, there's an interesting video on SexTV wherein the two speak about the work. They raise a lot of interesting points regarding pornography and literature.

Have I discussed emulation here before? Every so often, I search out emulators for every computer or operating system I ever had. I ran across DOSBox today, via a Slashdot article. I've almost, but not quite reached the point where I can think about such things without downloading and losing days to them. I really like the idea more than the actual entity.

A link about Richard Kadrey's Metrophage led me to "Fiction, Cyberpunk, and all That" this morning. I thought the link came from Metafilter, but I just looked and it isn't there now, and my net connection is going sour, so I can't easily search out who put me on that trail. Perhaps I should just put my OPML file on some free host, and link to it in the sidebar?

It feels like I ought to have a proper ending for these things, but I've had this tab in the background for two hours, searched for Poser accessories on Demonoid, and now I need to go do something productive, so draw your own conclusions. At least you know I'm not Fake Steve Jobs. I had that blog in my RSS feeds for a while, but after a couple of weeks, it got kind of same-y. He would call someone "freetard" or "frigtard", then rant about software products and phones. After a while, it started to sound like a drunken frat boy, and that's entertaining for about two seconds if you're sober.

05 August 2007

Neanderthal Sex

OK, so someone else thinks that Neanderthals were bred into the general population. The difference is that they used polite, discrete language, instead of, as I often do, declare that humans will fuck anything they can catch up to.

Here's a link to a history of Antarctic exploration.

Here's a video of a woman with big tits and a fondness for whipped cream, just to see if I can put such a thing in a blog entry.

http://view.break.com/338566 - Watch more free videos

04 August 2007

learning stuff

This has been tutorial day for me.

has a page of GIMP video tutorials. Many of them are simple, or maybe it's just tasks I'm used to doing and forgot how I ever learned. There's a page of tutorials on the GIMP page, albeit not with videos (the merit of video or static pages is left as a debate for the voices in the reader's head). I almost dread clicking through to read the rest of an article about the GIMP though, because inevitably, someone whines about the fact that the interface doesn't look like photoshop, or OS X, or Vista, or the dashboard of their VW. Personally, I like that. I wish software could have more variation in the GUI department. I keep trying to find a way to use Poser or Blender more, just because they have interfaces that depart from the bland uniformity (or uniform blandness).

While I'm on that subject, I have to wonder why we have title bars on windows. There are buttons for minimize, maximize, and close, then another button on the other corner with a drop-down menu to minimize, maximize, close, restore, move, or size. Then there's the icons on the toolbar, with all those same options. So don't bother trying to point out that GIMP has three windows with duplicated menus. This interface is already in dire need of an enema.

Back to the aforementioned learning, I saw an article in the RSS feeds with a tutorial on bittorrent. Mostly I skim such things, because there's more articles than time to read them, but I noticed a link in there to Demonoid. A colleague asked me to go there a while ago and download some files. If you aren't a member of their site, you get limited to how many torrents you can download from them. My friend wanted a total of 21 torrents, and if all of us in the department coordinated our efforts, we could get them in just 3 days. Then we forgot all about it an hour later due to unseasonably warm temperatures. After seeing the article, I went to see if I could even reach demonoid from here, and lo and behold, registrations were open. So I signed up. In case you don't have such luck right away, you can search The Pirate Bay, ISO Hunt, Mini-nova, Nova Torrents, Torrent Spy, or btjunkie. Also worth looking into is this tutorial for speeding up your downloads.

And lastly, Make your Own Notebooks. I use a different method for slapping together my own, but that's based on readily-available supplies. I've seen a lot of sites with similar ideas, and the methodologies don't vary much.

See? You can learn something on the web, even things that aren't related to porn.

02 August 2007


In a previous century, someone asked permission to store some belongings in the basement of a house I shared with a friend. One of the items was a box of LP records and a turntable (by that time, I ditched my turntable after making cassette tapes of all my records and buying a recently-made-available CD player). The records were standard stuff for that time-- Gary Numan, Devo, etc. I found the songs I liked from them, and made a couple of tapes I kept for a few years.

Then I came to "Third Reich & Roll" by The Residents. Simultaneously, I was intrigued that someone got a record deal to do that, and kind of uncomfortable with the effect it had when I heard it. I forgot about The Residents for a while, until the internet managed to present the idea to me again, and I listened to more of their material, much of which sounds more appealing to me. When I bought a new computer, I didn't transfer any of their songs, because a last-minute crash/restore before I came to China left me copying DVD-RWs until the small hours, and I opted to limit my music library and rest.

Today, I found out about this page, which is a selected discography. There's a pantload of MP3s on there, so you can hear what the excitement (or lack thereof) is about.