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Friday, March 30, 2001
Hard Drinkin' Lincoln
I attended a lecture at Villanova University last night which was quite interesting. The speaker was Mike Reiss, one of the writer/producers of the Simpsons (among various other stints at The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the ever-popular Alf). He doesn't work at the Simpsons as much as he used to, but still hangs around the offices occasionally. Some interesting tidbits* from the lecture:
  • On Maude Flanders death: "The character just sucked. She sucked and the woman who voiced her wanted a raise... so we killed her."
  • On the rumored Simpsons Movie: "Its in the contract that a Simpson's movie must be written by Matt Groening himself." Apparently, Matt Groening doesl literally nothing with the show anymore, and he never has done much, so Mike said we shouldn't expect movies anytime soon.
  • Since the Simpsons, he has had a few pet projects, one of which was two series of cartoons for the now defunct Icebox.com. The animated shorts were called "Hard Drinkin' Lincoln" and "Queer Duck". They were quite entertaining. (sorry, but I couldn't find any of them online)
  • In the Q & A, someone from the audience asked if the Simpson's writers (and the way they used to shock people in earlier episodes) were influenced by the Dada movement of the early 20th century. Mike laughed and said "We're just dirty".
  • Mike was one of the creators of Troy McLure; You might remember him from such movies as "The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel" and "'P' is for Psycho".
  • Mr. Smithers was originally black (observe the first few episodes closely, and you can see the "black" Smithers), but they thought having him be the servant of an old, rich, white guy could be offensive. So they made him white, gay, and in love with Mr. Burns.
  • Mr. Burns' character wasn't always supposed to be evil. The evil parts are based on Fox president Barry Diller.
  • How could they get away with [insert offensive antics here]? "Hey, we work for Fox."
  • Conan O'Brien is funny (even after a 16 hour workday).
Theres lots more that I can't remember at the moment, but it was a good time and I enjoyed myself immensely. If you ever get a chance to see this guy speak, check him out.

* - I'm going from memory here, so some of the quotes might be a little off, but you get the gist of it.
posted by tallman 1:40:16 PM .: link


 

Monday, March 26, 2001
Disjointed, Freakish Reflections™ on The Oscars™
The Oscars happened last night. Ho hum. Gladiator won best picture. Ho hum, big suprise. Rather than ramble on about how Gladiator was good, but not best picture good, I'll speak about Steven Soderberg's win for best director, which, I felt was well deserved. Now, I'm going to admit, I haven't seen most of the movies nominated this year, but I did see Traffic and I felt that it was superbly directed. I was extremely impressed. I feel for Ang Lee, however, since he was probably also deserving of the award. From what I've heard about Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky (director of Pi) was also deserving, and he wasn't even nominated (thats what you get for making a brilliant but relentlessly brutal film).

Since I probably won't get around to doing a year 2000 movie roundup until August (like I did last year), I'm going to link to Widgett's, which is entertaining and honest and a good read. He makes the point that the year 2000 wasn't as bad as everyone made it out to be, and overall, I think he might be correct. But 2000 had 2 things going against it: a slow start (first impressions count) and even with the strong ending, the year still wasn't nearly as strong as 1999...
posted by tallman 9:03:31 AM .: link


 

Tuesday, March 20, 2001
UAIOE for you and me
This Evolution of Alphabets page brings a little known subject to life with sensible, concise animations. You can see the evolution of eight character sets, including our very own Latin character set. Its always nice to see people using web animation for something useful. [via blog.org]
posted by tallman 1:09:50 PM .: link


 

Monday, March 19, 2001
Where the Hell is the DVD?
Chapter One in the touching story of the rumored Nine Inch Nails DVD, by Meathead. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Meathead's work, I highly recommend you check it out, even if you aren't a big fan of NIN (for instance, chapter one contains a menacing Sting as well as the horrors of the evil Verizon empire). Rarely have I ever seen someone who is able to consistantly rant about a single topic with such quality for so damn long. Bravo, Meathead. Bravo.

Now that I'll actually have some computing power, I'm beginning to look forward to things like this.
posted by tallman 8:31:25 AM .: link


 

Sunday, March 18, 2001
Proceed with your cat story
Say what you want about Art Bell, but you have to admit, sometimes his show is very funny (Warning: This link is in .ram format, meaning it must be played with realplayer, one of the worst, sloppiest, unsecure programs in existance. I appologize in advance for ruining this otherwise fine weblog with realplayer's poison.) It is amazing how dumb people are (I think he was most likely stoned out of his mind). [thankee sai Widgett]

March Madness? Forget about the NCAA tourney, and head on over to the Sauced 16, a grueling taste test of 16 beers. Who will be the victor? Only 4 remain (including Labatt Blue!?). This line is classic: "Between tasting rounds, the judges' palettes are cleansed with raspberry sherbet." Good work Dack.

Metafilter Turns Two and gets some upgrade action. Happy Birthday. Interesting history...
posted by tallman 10:29:01 PM .: link


 

Saturday, March 17, 2001
GO
In the movie Pi, there are several scenes where the movie's protagonist takes a break from his work to visit his teacher and mentor. During these visits, they play an ancient asian game called Go. Basically, the Go board has a grid and some black and white stones. The rules of Go are incredibly simple, yet mastering the game is a lifelong, and sometimes life-consuming, effort. Indeed, the game is much more than just a game to its devoted players. Some people kill themselves when they lose. Some do it for a living. Some people even believe that it could save our public education system. For others, it represents the Holy Grail of computing (as it is incredibly difficult to program). Pi was originally supposed to pit student and mentor against each other in a game of chess, but they changed it to Go, and the movie benefits greatly. For Go reflects the common themes of the movie; Go represents a certain synthesis between spiritual and rational life...[thanks alt-log]
posted by tallman 9:47:14 AM .: link


 

Thursday, March 15, 2001
The Dream Machine
I recently purchased a veritable plethora of computer hardware in an attempt to build my dream machine. Ars Technica was an invaluable resource for my efforts, especially their system recommendations and how-to guides. Not to mention their weblog, which is a great source for current tech news and information. Tom's Hardware Guide also provided some in-depth wisdom and reviews. For price comparisons, I used pricewatch.com, streetprices.com, and pricecombat.com. Another good find was jcshopper, a decent store with very good prices ($57 PC133 256MB SDRAM!). Thanks also to grenville, Four Degreez, and DyRE for all their help! Soon I'll be able to break the chains of my 200Mhz oppression! For those who are interested, I posted my purchases on the infamous Kaedrin Forum.
posted by tallman 9:34:03 AM .: link


 
The Honor System Takes Hold
Amazon.com's Honor System, a way for Web sites to receive payments from readers, is slowly taking hold. In all honesty, while I see the motivation for having such a thing and am enthusiastic about using it, I don't see how that sort of system could really support a website. First, when given the choice, most people won't pay. Second, even when people do pay, they aren't likely to keep paying. That's why you see Metafilter making $600 in a day, then practically nothing for the next month. If you wish to prove me wrong, feel free to donate to the Kaedrin Honor System Page (or go here to find other options for supporting Kaedrin:)! It will be much appreciated!

5:30 PM: More thoughts - It would be great if Amazon was able to incorperate some of its other functionality into the Honor System. For instance, allow visitors to review the website, or the ability to create lists of themed websites. Amazon could potentially parlay the Honor System into becoming a major portal site (even recommending sites for you based on what sites you've rated and visited), and given Amazon's rediculous commission system, its in their best interest to have people donating as much money as possible! Granted, the system could be abused, but I think Amazon has a lot to gain from integrating the Honor System with reviews and recommendations. Just my 2 cents.
posted by tallman 9:08:50 AM .: link


 

Wednesday, March 14, 2001
p
Today is National Pi Day and also the birthday of one Albert Einstein. I plan to celebrate by popping in Pi, one of my favourite movies of recent years. A kinetic, grainy, paranoid masterpiece, Pi strikes a certain cord with me and for some reason, appeals to my personal philosophy (3.14 stars; sorry, couldn't help myself). 8:54, Press Return {insert cool Clint Mansell Music here}.
posted by tallman 8:54:35 AM .: link


 

Monday, March 12, 2001
American Gods
Neil Gaiman is using blogger to keep a journal about his upcoming book, American Gods. Its an interesting look into the life of a writer (and a cool guy too:). He talks about stuff like the mechanics of copy editing, coin magic, permissions, and the best things about finishing a book. [via Follow Me Here]

The book sounds interesting too. His description:
It's a thriller, I suppose, although as many of the thrills occur in headspace as in real life, and it's a murder mystery; it's a travel guide, and it's the story of a war. It's a history. It's funny, although the humour is pretty dark.
I'm not too familiar with Gaiman's work, but I'm probably going to check this book out because Neverwhere rocked my world and he seems like a great writer.
posted by tallman 1:46:23 PM .: link


 

Friday, March 09, 2001
MST3K vs. D&D
A homemade MST3K episode (complete with familiar silhouettes) lambasting Dungeons and Dragons among other role playing games. Don't let it pass, its a riot (even if you don't like D&D)! I miss MST3K a lot. Its just so much fun seeing them tear a bad movie apart. I've got a couple of episodes on tape (including the infamous Manos:The Hands of Fate) and, of course, the Movie, but there are over 200 episodes out there. I think I might even be tempted to watch TV if someone started airing them again...[via boing boing]

In some completely unrelated news, I'm beginning to worry about the mutant fungus from space (well, ok, maybe its not completely unrelated). Biologists are worried about virulent new strains of fungus which the russian space station Mir will bring back to Earth.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist.
posted by tallman 1:13:21 PM .: link


 

Thursday, March 08, 2001
Who's Doctor Who?
Just who is Doctor Who? Whoever he is, he still amazes me. I watched State of Decay the other day and was again enthralled (in fact, the whole E-Space Trilogy is pretty damned good; its science fiction the way it should be). And this is interesting, a Dalek is for sale!
posted by tallman 2:42:18 PM .: link


 

Wednesday, March 07, 2001
Faster than a Speeding Bullet
Supercavitation essentially creates a gas bubble around all but the very nose of a projectile in order to virtually eliminate water drag and achieve high speeds (possibly breaking the sound barrier). The technology is real and the applications range from peaceful ocean farming and exploration of Jupiter's moon Europa to supercavitating weaponry like torpedoes and bullets. However, there appears to be plenty of obstacles (like steering, constantly changing pressures etc..) preventing such an occurrance. "Mastery of supercavitation could turn the quiet chess game of submarine warfare we know today into a mirror image of the hyper-kinetic world of aerial combat." The cinematic possibilites alone make this phenomenon intriguing. Imagine Top Gun under water. Take note, Hollywood. This could make the basis for a great movie. [thanks to F2 and metascene]
posted by tallman 9:05:46 AM .: link


 

Tuesday, March 06, 2001
What Lies Beneath Piles of Files
Filepile.org is the latest creation of Andre; quite a good idea from a man who seems to have a lot of them... Does anyone remember the old filepile? It was a Blogger-like content management system that you could use to organize files alphabetically. It showed potential, but I don't think anyone used it for anything exciting (including myself; I believe I considered using it for the imaginary archive)

Another nifty creation I recently encountered is this. Type in a domain and you get all the <!-- comments --> present on the page. Fascinating, indeed. (try megnut; it seems she has something to say after all)
posted by tallman 1:00:15 PM .: link


 

Monday, March 05, 2001
Behind Blown Eyes
John Shirley, known to me through his script adaptaion of The Crow (a comic book by James O'Barr), argues the finer points of the film Fight Club with underground film maker Ethan Wilson. The article contains Shirley's original comments, Wilson's response, and Shirley's response to Wilson. A quote:
"Itís fucking with you right from the startóitís daring you to notice itís a movie all along. It doesnít care; it wants you to question the media continuum; question your cultural assumptions."
Personally, I agree more with Shirley, not just because pointing out the "rage" is a significant contribution in itself, but because the lack of a constructive alternative makes its own statement. Does it even lack a constructive alternative? In losing everything, didn't Ed Norton's character gain something? All this discussion proves is that Fight Club is most certainly an artistically and philosophically significant film. Why else would it elicit such an (emotional) response? Ahh, the joys of a film that doesn't spell everything out...
posted by tallman 10:43:51 AM .: link


 
Disjointed, Freakish Reflections™ on Webloggers
James, before I even got used to him, seems to have grown weary of the "weblog" form. Thankfully, he still sends out emails with the same concise, intelligent and witty commentary. Though I never really cared much for megnut, she feels she just doesn't have anything good to say anymore (so she's not saying anything at all). But Neal is back. And its also fun to look at really old blog entries from popular sites like kottke, camworld, metascene, evhead, dack, metafilter, wisdom, the list marches on... (Note how often some people used to update, and how often they currently update. Funny.)
posted by tallman 8:45:13 AM .: link


 

Friday, March 02, 2001
Lab Work
Its nice to see that someone writes lab reports the way I used to. I especially liked his conclusions: "Going into physics was the biggest mistake of my life. I should've declared CS. I still wouldn't have any women, but at least I'd be rolling in cash."
posted by tallman 11:10:23 AM .: link


 

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