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The latest in the line of "Stuff (group) Like" blogs is Stuff Geeks Love, which mentions things like "zombies", "Libertarianism", "cancelled TV shows" and "sex", and shines a revealing yet harsh light on stereotypical "geek" obsessions:
Comic book geeks are especially prone to faux boycotts. Every week hundreds of comic book fans declare that, because of some perceived outrage, they will never buy anything from DC or Marvel again. And the following week they proceed to do so because otherwise their runs on titles will be incomplete and because what else are they supposed to do? They’ve been reading X-Men since they were nine and aren’t going to stop now! Within weeks of the “true fan” declaring that he’ll never buy another Marvel comic again he’ll proudly declare victory for Marvel when an issue of their current “event” comic sells a few dozen more issues than an issue of DC’s current “event” comic.
It’s not surprising geeks have affection for zombies; these creatures are arrested in their existence, unable to change or grow. Geeks feel a oneness with them. And although zombies are frightening to look at, they don’t seem on the surface to be a serious threat, but their numbers and sheer tenacity make them possibly the most sinister killers of all. This is another thing geeks like to think they feel a oneness with; the underestimated lethal threat. Also, zombies desire, above all else, brains.
Geeks enjoy being Libertarians for two reasons. First, it allows them to be Conservative without having to belong to one of the two mainstream parties that the regular sheep are part of. Second, it gives them a political party that is just as self-absorbed as they are. Conservatives don’t care if you think they’re selfish pricks. Libertarians wonder why you don’t admire them for it.
Having a show canceled also has another upside for the geek. If it’s no longer in production, all those meddling writers, producers, actors, and studios can’t “mess it up” for him by having things happen on the show that blatantly contradict the obvious “right way” things would happen, were the geek in charge. It saves him the later trouble of having to declare he’s going to boycott the show (he won’t) because someone on the show did something that was “totally out of character”. It puts the show into a little snowglobe the geek can cradle and protect from the cruel outside world. The geek and his friends now own and control it and it is finally where it belongs, in the hands of the “true fans”.
Guess who has a blog? Tom Ellard, of legendary Australian electronic/industrial project Severed Heads. And his blog is one of those which tears down a number of targets, with no small measure of curmudgeonly wit; targets such as experimental laptop/noise music:
“PHONOPEDAGOGICA PRESENTS: From Japan - Famous Jazz Noise Hybrid Musics legend YamaWhama Obama will perform his entire 10 CD set of flinging forks across the room at a guitar while mumbling some shit about Buddhism. Completely unknown in his own land, he now lives on a couch in New York and knows somebody who knows Lou Reed’s chauffeur. Legendary transsexual poet, film-maker, interior designer and MAXmsp flouncer Hans Knees Whoopsidasi presents her new video made up of random selections from YouTube along with the coastline of Holland translated into a granular patch. Australian producer Ya Fuck of Fuckya Records will repeatedly bang his head against a pole until it bleeds. His Pole Dance album is due out next month on Neverheardofit Records in Berlin.”
“We also proudly present our new exhibit at Tragic Hipster Gallery - The Only Good Music From The Last Decade. Artists such as Opiate Stumblebum, Exotic But Bad DJ, Professor Phil Somebody, Shocking Rude Name!!, the French Chick I wish I was banging, Generic Japanese Noise Artist 34, West Coast Guy With Grey Beard and lots of Analogue Gear, The Wanker Improvisation Experience, Krautrock reflux etc. etc. may be heard in the proper gallery context where silence & respectful listening distance is enforced and visual arts traditions are appropriated (because we really wish we were painters).”And the riddle of perceived musical "authenticity", in the context of supermarket promotional jingles:
Recently they switched to ‘cute girl with a guitar’. I am really very impressed by this, because the musicians have done an excellent job of recreating that warm, heartfelt, impassioned feeling that a girl gets when she picks up a guitar and sings a little song she herself wrote about fresh food. Damn. I wanted to punch the singer in the eye in about 5 seconds flat. That good.
Then it hit me. She has a speech impediment. PERFECT. She sings like this: We yah We yah Da Fwesh Food Pweepwel. Which is exactly the way REAL manufactured pop girls with guitars sing. They all have the vocal equivalent of cross eyes.
While you could just say - it’s supposed to be cute - and you’d be right, I need to elaborate on this because I am a tedious Media Academic. I have a theory. Have you seen what happens when people talk to cats? Their voices go up an octave and they start babbling shit like Aw Wook At Da Widdle Pussy Kitty. This is authenticity. This is people revealing what they would be like if toilet training, school and a long stretch in prison hadn’t sorted out their kinks. Here is the basis of a whole renaissance in the media industry - write your music and films as if you are singing to a cat and your success will be the stuff of legends.Not to mention politics:
The people are invoked by every rat bag philosophy. Marx had a lot to say about the people, but so did Thoreau, Hitler and just about every applicant to rule a country anywhere. The people are always described as possessing some wisdom that come from walking barefoot on dirt - they are noble savages, you can only fool some of them some of the time. (The worst case is when white people talk about the native population of the place that they almost wiped out. Aboriginal Australians are for example psychic, can live off sand, stand on one leg for days at a time etc.) Having ridden public transport for some time I know from first hand experience that the people are one step up from the potato.(he identifies as "libertarian", and blasts the Left, Clarkson/O'Rourke fashion, whilst hammering the US religious right (not exactly difficult; as O'Rourke himself said, making fun of religious fundamentalists is like hunting dairy cows with a high-powered rifle), and the other culture war, the one between Apple and Microsoft. Quite interesting, whether or not you agree with everything he writes.
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The New York Times' online division has created a blog about the craft of songwriting. Named Measure For Measure, it will feature contributions from a number of songwriters. Currently, it has a piece by Andrew Bird on how he writes songs:
I’m not the most forthcoming person — I only speak when I have something to say. What is becoming more challenging of late is dealing with so many fully formed melodies that are unwilling to change their shape for any word. So writing lyrics becomes like running multiple code-breaking programs in your head until just the right word with just the right number of syllables, tone of vowel and finally some semblance of meaning all snap into place.Bird then proceeds to dissect an unfinished song he is working on, from initial inspiration to (somewhat impressionistic) lyrics:
In the instance of this song I was on a flight from New York back to Chicago and a young mother and her 3-year-old son sat in front of me and it was looking to be the classic scenario of the child screaming bloody murder. However, I was struck by the mournfulness of this kid’s wail. He just kept crying “oh no” in a way that only someone who is certain of their demise could. Pure terror. Completely inconsolable. It was more moving than annoying. So when I got home I picked up my guitar and tried to capture the slowly descending arc of that kid’s cry. It fit nicely over a violin loop that I had been toying with which moves from C-major to A-major.
Words get under my skin the same way melodies do. Something catches my attention and I file it subconsciously. It often begins with an archaic or obscure word I have not defined. I just like the sound of it and its elusive meaning gives it a mysterious shine. On the menu of a local cafe is an item called “salsify.” Before I reach for the dictionary I let my imagination run wild and decide that salsify is a burrowing bronchial root like a rickety old mine that burrows deep into something. It turns out that’s mostly correct which encourages me further. All I know is “salsify mains” sounds good to me.
According to Technorati, one blog is created every second. The report doesn't say how many of those are search-engine spammers' link farms.
After six and a half years, Graham of Virulent Memes calls it a day, closes down his blog. Though for all we know, he may resume blogging in some form or other soon enough; then again, perhaps he'll devote his online publishing energies to minting LiveJournal user icons and posting photos of agricultural shows and indie-rock gigs to Flickr or somesuch. Or maybe his girlfriend made him give it up or something; who knows?
Anyway, VM was a very entertaining blog, especially when it ran special features like the Chockablock Players or Hernan "the Boa Constrictor" Mendez or went into full-on rant mode, not to mention quite astute without owing allegiance to any one dogma (which, I imagine, comes from straddling the twin worlds of rural Australia and the rootless cosmopolitans). Though I must admit I did tune out whenever he started discussing the football in depth.
Yesterday, blogging ambulanceman Tom Reynolds has had a break from rushing off to treat patients, and has instead taken to imitating God-King Emperor of All That Is Fucked-Up, Warren Ellis. He's got the hastily-written post-apocalyptic scifi story fragments (and not bad, either), pimping of new bands and music streaming, photos of Japanese English signage and links to body-modification sites. Probably needs more scary goth web-porn stars, though.
Who said it: Little Green Footballs or Late German Fascist? See if you can tell your warbloggers from your Nazis. (via Ben Butler)
(Re Godwin's Law: Is it still mentioning Nazis in vain when it's about someone calling for mass sterilisation of "subhuman vermin", as opposed to advocating their text editor preferences or whatever?)
Discordia is a new collaborative blog "working at the intersection of art, activism and emerging networked technologies", which sounds a bit like an Indymedia only without quite so much Rage Against The Machine on the office stereo, or perhaps a Plastic run by 21C alumni rather than ex-WIRED people. (via the Viridian list)
I just found out that Beth, the bass player from Bidston Moss, has a blog. And it looks quite nifty too (visually polished and well-written). Love the cat graphics, btw.
If you were a neo-Trotskyist libertarian, you would probably have to be a Scottish science-fiction author. And now you'd have a blog here. And his commentary is as sharp as his novels.
America: a country where ridiculous proportions of the population believe they were created by god, abducted by aliens, and attacked by Iraq. Also where some people believe that someone who burns a paper drawing of a US flag is as good as asking to be crushed under a bulldozer. It's not just the Right. Every political persuasion in the US contains many more stupid people than it or its equivalent does in Europe. On the Left Bank of the Seine you see poststructuralists smoking, flirting, and eating veal. Poststructuralism in America gave us La-La Land liberal toytown totalitarianism. French Maoism gave us Sartre and Althusser. American Maoism gave us Klonsky and Avakian. (I could go on.)
Add to the list of famous people's blogs: laptop electronica artist Cex. It's rather sporadic (and not really a blog, more like a personal journal), and suffers from the particularly annoying defect of requiring you to either resize your browser to the width of the screen (don't try it on anything less than 1024x768, kids), or else keep scrolling back and forth.
Meet one of the people we're soon going to be bombing into dust in the name of God, Liberty and the right to cheap gasoline: Where is Raed?, a blog run by a young Iraqi. A combination of the usual blog trivia and joking, dispatches from Baghdad, astute and somewhat cynical observations, and an underlying anxiety about the small everyday details likely to be annihilated in the upcoming carpet-bombing. The author of the blog comes across as urbane, cultured and very much like us. In fact, you could imagine much of it having been written in East Berlin in 1988 (though, obviously, not as a blog). Interestingly enough, there is an open disrespect for the official lines of the Ba'athist dictatorship; perhaps a sign that Saddam's police state isn't what it used to be? Mind you, the Americans' intentions don't get off lightly. And then there are his most astute observations of anti-war activists:
Those foreigners are all over the place, I think I know what it should be called: War Tourism. betcha they will be out of here faster than you can say 'Iraqi-peace-team' when things get a bit too hot. It must have been a slow day for news people because the Mutanabi Street was full of them, or Iraqis selling second hand books have become important news items. At least three news teams were filming in that crowded street with their Iraqi minders shooing people away from the cameras. Later on I walked thru Al-Rasheed and Al-Sadoon and they were all over. Not news teams this time but the War Tourists, some of them even carrying backpacks which have [Iraq peace team] written on them in gold marker. And I guess we will be getting more tourists soon. Come on, have a couple of days on us. They will be accommodating you in Al-Rasheed Hotel for free and you get the official sight seeing tour, a couple of lunches with people you can tell your kids you met, when they are shown on CNN and you get to be on TV singing "give peace a chance" in front of the UN building in Abu Nawas (don't miss the excellent grilled fish - masgoof - while you are there, the restaurants have a good view of one of the oldest presidential palaces). I know they all mean well, but I really don't think coming here and getting photographed with Iraqi officials is helping their "cause". Do thy really want to stand up and risk their lives for this regime. If you are so in love with the situation here, be my guest let's trade places because if it is a "cause" for you, for me it's my life and the way I have to go thru it.
(Best of luck, Salam. Do try and stay out of danger, and keep blogging.) (via 1.0)
Via Peter's as always astute blog, Butterflies and Wheels, an online article site dedicated to fighting "fashionable nonsense", such as postmodernism, ideological denunciations of entire areas of research, ideologically-sound pseudoscience and the woolly-headed Freudian-Marxist claptrap that haunts institutions of higher education. Have a look at their glossary, for example.
William Gibson (best known for writing Neuromancer on a 1927 typewriter after watching kids in a video arcade) now has a blog. Which looks much the same sort of deal as Neil Gaiman's blog used to be before he started linking to stuff. (via bOING bOING)
ziboy.com, a photographic blog from Beijing, showing (often technically excellent and sometimes dramatic) snapshots of contemporary life in the Chinese capital, from red flags to mobile phone ads, smiling couples to mass trials to rock concerts, uniformed police to leather-clad mohician punks. (via Robot Wisdom)
Yes! Warren Ellis (the Transmetropolitan one, not the Dirty Three one) has a blog. It seems to be mostly a scrapbook of fringe news and scientific tidbits. (via bOING bOING)
This is pretty cool; the London Bloggers Tube Map, mapping bloggers in London to their nearest Tube stops. (Oddly enough, it looks more complex than the Tube maps I've seen. Either they've carried out a massive Underground expansion programme since the London Underground mousepad I have was printed, or those white lines are some other (non-underground) railway system.)
Anyway, someone should do a Melbourne blogger tram map. Here's a start:
to grudnuk.com via Hume Hwy ^ : |(B)| Legend: | | | | A = The Null Device | | 112 + | B = Leviathan (on hiatus) 19| 1| /(A) | C = The Monkey Puzzle | | / |86 | | | +-----+ : ++ : | -+-+---+--+ -+-+---+ ======== YARRA RIVER ====== | | \------- \------ +-----------------67 C
Ph3ar my l33t ASCII-art kung fu!
The latest new arrival to This Blogging Lark is mag/tif, the inimitably spunky West Coast zinester, indiegrrl and cultural identity. Welcome aboard, tif.
Charlie Stross' blog is very insightful and well worth reading, with philosophy, science, culture and miscellaneous geekery aplenty. (via Peter)
An interesting music-review site/webzine: Gravitygirl, written by Melbourne street-press journo Anthony Carew (who also hosts the International Pop Underground show on 3RRR). (Warning: the colour scheme can be a bit hard to read.)
Following on the success of Working Title romcom Bridget Jones' Diary, Disney's Miramax unit has bought the rights to Kate Reddy, an investment banker and mother created for a Daily Telegraph column. Can Not So Soft: the movie be that far away?
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