Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Book Review: The Colorado Kid, by Stephen King


Casual fans of Stephen King might have missed this book. It came out in 2005 as a little paperback published by Hard Case Crime - a small publisher of pulp mystery novels. I didn't know it existed until recently.

This is a tiny little story. The entire tale unfolds as a single conversation taking place between three people. When it finally gets there, the main plot is about an unidentified body - The Colorado Kid - found on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. That's it. There is nothing else to it.

King seems to have designed this book to piss people off. Right from the start, the characters make it clear that this is not a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Rather, it's about stories themselves, and the nature of mystery. There is no ending, no resolution, no story, no nothing. Still, I enjoyed every page. As a scientist-type dabbling in mystery myself, I totally get what King is doing here. He's written a novel-length essay on how it may be mystery itself, and not its resolution, that keeps us going. And he's done so with charming characters and a story that keeps you reading even though you are assured it will not go anywhere.

Perhaps he's also responding a bit to criticisms of his other novels; as we saw with The Dark Tower series, endings aren't really his thing.

Being pissed off isn't always a bad thing, and I think this is proof of that. I recommend reading this infuriating book at your earliest convenience.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Test: If You Can Understand This, You Are a Nerd


If I have all my specials up, I can drop a mob faster than any other class, and I have all toons at 15 now. If you get a big mace in your mainhand, your aim crit will be 200+, doesn't take long to mow thru stuff at that rate. Burglar DPS is very very connected to the specials, and using them at the right time.

Now, put 2 burglars together that both have exploit up, and let's talk about back to back red conjunctions and DPS :P. I can drop mobs in a burglar duo that no other 2 class combo can even come close too.

I love this class because you have a couple ways to go. Great evasion when you need it, great DPS when you need, and decent crowd control. For me, burglar is the best class I've ever played in an MMO.

I love my damn burglar lol.


Note: I am a nerd.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Optimism + Pessimism

I have two very clever things to say about the weather:
  • The cool thing about having two winters this year, is that we also get to have two springs. Spring is nice.
  • As the end of the school year nears, and the undergrad students all leave to go home, the campus is finally as beautiful as the brochures promise it is.

Everyone is out enjoying the weather. I got this email today:

This is to inform you that London Police Tactical Unit will be utilizing the roof of the Social Science building on Tuesday, April 24th for rappelling practise. Some media may also be in the area. Our Communications and Public Affairs Dept. is aware.


Awesome.

Too bad I'm stuck inside for the next week, marking papers and studying and writing computer code and such. At least my office has a big window. I also found out that I have absolutely no government funding for next year. At least...uh...no, there's no bright side to that. I'm fucking broke.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Eiffel 65 - Hyperlink


a hyperlink into you.

a sexual browser from here to the end
a newsgroup one on one



don't need a modem to connect to your mind
no search engine to find you



i want a click, a click to your heart
a hyperlink to go inside you.



deep down, deep down,
dari dara dada du dara.
deep down, deep down,
dari da da.



deep down, deep down,
dari dara dada du dara.
deep down, deep down,
dari da da.






Here is a special message from Spike:


Hi! My name is Spike. I am a boy. I am one of the authors of this site. I have dirty blond hair and brown eyes. I am in 4th grade during the year 2000. I am short for my age. My favorite band is Eiffel 65. Also, my favorite color is blue.













We hope you have enjoyed this special presentation from Eiffel 65. This concludes Phronk.com's trilogy of music-related posts. We will now return to our regular programming.

Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero

I wrote recently about the creative stuff Nine Inch Nails is/are doing to promote his/their new album. It was finally released yesterday, and the disc itself holds even more fun features. I didn't notice this myself until I read it online, but the disc's colour is sensitive to heat. It's black when you buy it, but after spinning in a CD player and heating up for a while, it becomes white. Cooooool. It also reveals binary code that leads to a web site involved in this whole viral marketing campaign.

That's stuff you can't get by downloading a CD (illegally or otherwise). And I'm pretty sure this album will sell quite well, despite the fact that it's been available to listen to for free from NIN's official web site for a while now. This is how to combat piracy - use media and technology to the artist's advantage rather than trying to suppress it.

The colour change stuff also works with hands:


Before I touched it



After my hot sweaty paws fondled it


As for the most important part, the music, it's all good too. It's a much "noisier" sound than The Fragile or With Teeth, but noisy in an electronic sort of way (vs. the guitar sort of noisy in Broken or Downward Spiral). And it sounds fresh and unique, despite the fact that NIN's influence has leaked into nearly every genre of music since the 90's.

I give it one thumb up, on a scale of zero to one thumbs.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Of Montreal - Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games

Yesterday, my friend Jard told me to find this video, because, he said, it would blow my mind, so I found it, and it did, and so I thought I'd share it and tell you to watch this video because it will blow your mind.



Awesome song and awesome video. I think these guys will be huge and mainstream soon.

Edit: Too late! They've already sold out:



Mind you, Outback is delicious, so it could have been worse.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

So It Goes



Aw shit, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died.

Celebrity deaths don't affect me often, but there is something different about authors. My heart skipped a few beats when I heard this. I think many people have a very real and very intimate connection with authors. Stephen King once wrote that writing is like telepathy, and in a way that's true. An author transmits their thoughts onto paper, then that paper reaches readers who are distant in time and space, who mentally recieve the author's thoughts through the filter of their own thoughts. It's necessarily one-way telepathy - author to reader - but it's still very personal, especially if the author is putting themselves in their work, as Vonnegut did (both literally and figuratively).

I read a few of his books in high school, and they most certainly influenced my thoughts from that point forward. I remember doing my big "ISP" (independent study project) in English class on him. Instead of a boring essay, I wrote a short story in his style. I'll post it below. It's not all that well-written (but hey, I was a teenager when I wrote it), and obviously nothing compared to Vonnegut himself, but I still think it captured a bit of his style. And although it makes no sense, I think it has a certain internal logic running through it. Think of it as a tribute.

digital-actors-or-now-were-having-fun.pdf

-

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Will Punch You in the Ovaries

Here are some items of interest:
  • Cadbury Cream Eggs are getting smaller. Not only that, but Cadbury lies about it. "They're not smaller, you're just bigger", they say on their web site. If they wanna make them smaller, that's fine, but lying about it moves them into "evil corporation" territory.


Here is proof, from that guy from The Office, on Conan O'Brien:



See also:


Pimp That Snack

  • I am resisting going to the mall and buying many pounds of cheap Easter candy. Usually I say to myself "listen Mike, it saves money in the long run, because you can buy a shitload of chocolate, then never have to pay full price for desert for the rest of the year. Do it. Do it now." But then, 3 days later, there is no chocolate left, because my future self says to itself "listen Mike, there is too much chocolate in the house; you need to eat it NOW so that you can start a healthy diet tomorrow morning. Do it. Do it now." So, see, whenever I talk to myself, it ends up in the buying or eating of chocolate. Fucking self.
  • We saw last Easter that chocolate does not do good things for my state of mind. Exhibit 1, and especially, Exhibit 2.
  • I'm eating a Cadbury Cream Egg as I type this.
  • Nappy headed hoes.
  • Curry chicken wings make your fingers yellow no matter how many times you wash them. Out out, damn'd spot.
  • This post is very clever because it makes subtle references to pop culture, current events, and Shakespeare.






  • For serious. I will punch you right in the babymaker.



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dugg

Digg.com is a site where ordinary people submit links to news stories and other interesting stuff on the internet. Other people then "digg" links that they like, and the links that get a lot of diggs go onto the front page for everyone to see. I get a lot of my news from this place, and a lot of interesting random stuff that would otherwise be hard to find.

In a comment a few days ago, Sachz suggested putting a list of article that I've "dugg" in the sidebar here on Phronk.com. Good idea, dude. It's there now, below the list of other blogs. If you like the same stuff I like, you might find some links to good stuff there. A fuller list of what I've dugg is also available here.

The recent music I've listened to is also more up to date now. It used to only update when I got home and synced my iPod. Now you can see what I'm listening to at work, in real-time. Not that you care, but I can feel all important by posting this crap for the world to see.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Girlfriend + Dog

This is pretty cute.



Also: I need a new camera.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bye Bye DRM

I wrote recently (Fuck the RIAA) about how much the recording industry sucks, particularly because they put pointless restrictions (DRM) on music bought online.

Well if you haven't heard already, one record label - EMI - and one (big) online music vendor - the iTunes Music Store - are going to start offering DRM-free music next month. Here is a transcript of Steve Jobs announcing it. This is good news for everyone. People who buy music will have the option of buying it without restrictions (and at higher quality, to boot), so they'll be less likely to pirate it. The music industry will benefit from less pirating, and more sales. A lot of people won't even care about this, but those who do will eat it up. It can't fail, and hopefully that means that all music will be DRM-free soon.

The only catch is that these new DRM-free, higher-quality singles will cost about 30 cents more than the old 99 cent singles. If it was only removing DRM, this would be dumb; sorta like a company selling defective computers for a year, then coming out with a new, defect-free computer for only 30% more. But I guess the increased quality justifies the price increase. Plus, full albums will be the same price, which is all I really buy anyway.

So good news for everyone. Maybe we're finally getting to the point where CDs - and indeed all physical ways of buying music - are obsolete.