Thursday, October 27, 2005

You Bums

Dear Minutemaid,

I have noticed that the bottles of Orange juice in the vending
machine down the hall from my office have gone from 16oz to
12 oz. with No explanation and no decline in price. The price
for the 16oz (or was it some sneeky size like 14.5oz?) was already
inflated at $1.00 per bottle.

When will larger companies learn that a delicate balance exists
between the company and the consumers which fuel it by buying its

You can't just stiff us because you dont know our names and think
that we wont come after you when you sneekily rip us off.

If it was a Minutemaid employee that you were affecting would you
be so sneeky and underhanded in the same way towards them? You
probably would.

I am fully aware that the reason that companies continually downgrade
the quality of their products is to cut costs in order to make the
board of their stock holders happy. This is well and just, but pay
heed that the companies that are consistently successful (and history
will bare this out, I think) are the ones that are able to find a balance
between quality and thrift. Blatantly ripping off customers is not
sound business policy.

Furthermore, put back the 16oz bottles in the vending machine in
Seashore Hall, Iowa City immediately or else I will slander your company
by name at every opportunity that arises for as long as I can remember to.

You bums,

Greg Naughton

Monday, October 24, 2005

South American Folk Song

We do not come to earth to live. We only come to earth to sleep.
We come to sleep and dream. All things are lent to us. As we pass
by on this earth. Tommorrow or the next day. Whatever is your wish,
O giver of life. We shall go home to you.
        -- South American folk song from the movie "El Norte"

Monday, October 17, 2005

the learning process

Hey, I'm learning. Its taking forever, but I am starting to figure it out.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

college football

It is football season in the podunk college town that I live in, and I appear to be the only one that despises the entire genre. I hate college football, and I especially hate its fans.
    College football games are like Grateful Dead shows for people afraid of smoking marijuana
There is carnage everywhere. All night drink-a-thons. Everyone seems to be a real dick, and all of the assholes come out of the woodwork, go downtown, and hassle you if they see you. A total tool fest. arrgh, I just wanted to squelch that outta my system. that is all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

no more starwars please..

.'_____`. /\
|~xxxxx~| ||
|_ # _| || TO: GEORGE LUCAS
(___|\_________/|_.`. FROM: THE WORLD
/ | _________ | | |
/ /X| __|__ |/ `.|
( --< \\/ _\//|_ |`.
`. ~----.-~=====,:=======
~-._____/___:__(``/| |
| | XX|~ | |
\__/======| /| `.|
|_\|\ /|/_| )
|_ \__/ _| .-'
| \ .'||`. / |(_|
LS | ||.'`.|| | )
| `'| |`' | /
| | | |\/

The end of music

I know some guys that have a record company called "Rock is Dead". I'm not going to even bother linking it. its there, trust me. and the point isn't anything to do with Rock as much as that it is dead. The Bob Dylan film bio really ff'd me up. Two weeks ago Festival Express and a Hendrix movie ff'd me up the same way. See, ever since I was 16, I knew that I was a musician. When I was a real little kid I knew that my destiny was either to be a musician or to be a scientist. I started playing guitar when I was 12. By the time I was 16 I could actually play a song. The first 4 years were really slow. I think I played "Bad to the bone" with one finger for most of them. So from 16 on through all my 20's I was a musician. By every strict sense. I wrote 500 songs. I formed and played in probably 15 bands. I could play 6 or 7 instruments exceedingly well. Ok, lets see:
  • Electric Guitar
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Fretless & fretted Electric Bass
  • Alto & Tenor Saxophone
  • Piano
  • Flute
  • Mandolin
I could learn just about anything by ear. I could sight read for bass, guitar, and saxophone. And on top of all the theory I knew I think I also knew some secret mojo shit about the creative process and where a good song comes from. The thing I didn't know at the time was that music was dying. In the end, it was me that lost out.

So, think of it. Think of the Beatles landing in New York, or of Bob Dylan at that 63' Newport folk fest, or of Jimi Hendrix 1966 in Monterey winning a coin toss with Pete Townsend, painting his guitar like a young indian brave before a symbolistic hunt that will prove his manhood and then burning that fucker in front of 10,000 of the hippest people in the world who were all on Owsley's. Music was fucking Huge! It was the primary method aside from literature that people shared new ideas. These ideas permeated the 20th century and used the different forms of music as a carrier wave to convey them. Literature was and still is great. but it doesn't make you dance in the street, love your neighbor and have indiscriminate sex with whoever. you just learn factual data from it.

Music hasn't been the same since. Once music started producing legions of followers and gobs of cash, a million hangers on and parasites also showed up to benefit from its wave of popularity. Frank Zappa documented this well in one of his books. He talked especially about how Sgt. Peppers changed the music studio forever. Because the Beatles carefully crafted early studio masterpiece sold so many copies, what should you do if you are a record company, bu t buy a bunch of studio equipment and attempt to duplicate the phenomina with other bands.

My big error and many other peoples as well, was that when I was growing up in the 80's, I didn't realize that it was over. I spose that I didn't want to see the truth, especially because it turned out that I was a pretty decent musician and I enjoyed it an awful lot. Here I am now, its later on. I've sworn off and disavowed music if only because it is a charlatans business, and that there are a bunch of hippies involved. But I'm also relatively skill-less. I've got 15 years of experience doing something that isn't worth a whole lot right now. oh well...

filmmakers are the new historians

I'm prolly the umpteenth person who blogged about it, but fuckem... I watched, ahem, I had to .. watch the Bob Dylan documentary filmed by Marty Scorcesi tonight on PBS. Lately, looking back at the past has hurt me. Knowing that I .. missed my chance. That I .. am like them. I mean, I'm no talent like Bob Dylan, but who is. and goddammit, I'm close. I've written scores of songs that are wonderful. Problems: can't sing. I never could. Nor could I even write an acceptable lyric half of the time. 2nd problem, I was born when I was born. Dylan was born at a time when the world was still raw like a baby's bottom. Ready to be molded by young, brilliant minds. and he did, and they embraced him for it. The shitty thing is .. I'm not entirely sure how to react. I know that when Ken Burns had the gall to do a 12 part documentary on Jazz that he single handedly killed the entire genre, so after today, I heretofor expect Bob Dylan to be relegated to the history books. We, as a culture have finally figured him out. To his credit, it took us 40 fucking years. but we did it just the same.

funny pictures that I found today:

Saturday, September 10, 2005

torrent is my tv

The theme for today is creativity. Many good ideas are intersections of a multitude of happenings. For me there were several, each of which cut its own slice orthogonal to my plane of perception and left me with a lasting impression of creativity.

Last night I was bored. I started playing a unix port of a old AppleII game, "Taipan". Taipan was originally written by Art Canfill. Its such a sweet game for 2000 lines of C code. Kind of like lemonade stand or dopewars but classier. and I began to realize that the key to Taipan's charm is that it is written from the point of view of the person playing the game, not from the programmers point of view. It allows you enough personal decision making, but all the time tied up in a world where you are always taking chances...

I also checked out Which I liked very much. It is an MMO in html where the player can be many different classes of citizens, but is trying to survive in a zombified landscape. what I especially like is the story elements. The fact that they limit you to 50 actions per 25 hours is week though. You wander around for a couple minutes, then it over. You've used up all your points and have to wait til the next day while zombies are raping your corpse somewhere.

Some videotaped interviews of Jiddu Krishnamurti with Dr. Allen Anderson have been showing up on torrents. This is exactly why I only watch what I find on the internet anymore. The chance of ever running into Jiddu Krishnamurti in years of 500 channels is nil. Not gonna happen, but on filesharing, commonplace.
    The thing that we call "I" is the observer. The observer is put together by thought of the past. Thought is the past. Thought is never free. Thought is never new. Because thought is the reponse of the past... as knowledge, as experience, as memory. The observer, when he is observing is observing with all the memories of the past. With all that background he looks at the observed. So that the observer then becomes separate from the observed. The observer is the tradition of the conditioned mind that looks at things. So that the observer is always dividing. The observer is the past and therefor cannot observe wholly.
read this a few times. Its not readily aparent to anyone because it is a conditioned state that we all take for granted.

This however is the key to understanding creativity. True creativity. He goes into that. Because true creativity is the flipside to this observer state of mind. If you figure out what it is, then creativity is everything that it is NOT.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I love you, Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is a great great man. He's about the only informed person fighting a war that all of us should be concerned about.
    Our leaders have lost this sense of balance. They have been seduced by a vision of culture that measures beauty in ticket sales. They are apparently untroubled by a world where cultivating the past requires the permission of the past. They can’t imagine that freedom could produce anything worthwhile at all.

the quote if from here. Yet another slashdot link that I take for granted in my daily bread.
    The danger remains invisible to most, hidden by the zeal of a war on piracy. And that is how the public domain may die a quiet death, extinguished by self-righteous extremism, long before many even recognize it is gone.

The real fight is understanding. The problem is that people love their content providers. Givem itunes. Click a couple mouse buttons and listen to, or view whatever. The flow capital is too much to even bother the average person with I guess.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I like fighting

I like fighting, I dont know why. I know that its divisive and bad, but I feel a need to do it anyway. Here's a quote that I saw on some unamed door at an unamed university:

    I've often maintained that Chomsky's writings are merely records of performance, not competence. -- Mark L. Pine

while there is some truth to that quote (they are records as in recordings of performance, but there is nothin incompetant about that man), I question the persons motive for sticking it to their door. perhaps they are in linguistics and its the linguistics part of Chomsky that they dont like.

anyway, here's the combatitive response that I'm going to tape to their door tommorrow,

    I sometimes maintain that Chomsky is a great master.

    Like most things that are intellectual, Noam Chomsky infuriates those who do not understand him. The good news for Mark is that Noam is an intellectual, and because of that, no one ever has to take him seriously. The purpose of an intellectual like Noam is to generate thought, discussion and debate in the reader, nothing more.

    It is the commoners job to be a critic, the artisans job to create and never look back. Masters are often criticized by nobodies.

    A quick google search for Noam Chomsky returns 1,610,000 hits! whereas a google search for Mark Pine or Mark L. Pine both return 0 :-(

    Clearly we see that he who is without merit often throws the first stone. In fact, about the only interesting thing about that quote is the word Chomsky.

    -- Anonymous

god, I'm stupid

Friday, August 26, 2005

Moog Breakbeat album

a Moog Breakbeat album! Get it 'for they take it down. Recorded off of out of print vinyl. Good fo yo ears.

Always Rememberin Bob Moog

I've always loved Moogs, always will. Here's a good article in Phono Magazine. Circa 1996 I had the greatest t-shirt in the world. There was an iron-on inside of Grand Royal Magazine of a Micro Moog spaceship. Needless to say, I wore that shirt out. At that time I had the greatest girlfriend. I owned a micromoog too. She loved the moog. Spose it helped that she was into Stereolab and Tortoise.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

General Movie Criticism

I watched the movie The Island a couple of nights ago. I scribbled down a few observations as they occurred to me. Some were directed at The Island itself but others were intended to be more general. (The Island was an ok movie for the most part)

- actors now are only script actors. meaning, even if the script
reveals more and more to the audience as the film progresses, the actors
already know what is going to happen ahead of time. Consequently,
they cant act. They cant RE-act. They cant show outrage or surprise
properly. Its not their fault, its the director's. The director either
shouldn't have told them where the movie was going ahead of time, or he
should have been extra sensitive to the actors (mis)-portrayal of the
circumstances surrounding their characters.

- Directors dont know what they have. They dont respect it. They
aren't in awe of it. Even a passable movie project should be treated
as the best thing that has ever happened to mankind. Some truly
great movies are pieces of shit at their core, but someone believed
in the project and/or the actors gave it 110% making them special anyway.
"Rebel Without a Cause", "Bullitt".

- Entertainers now adays, in all fields aren't doing enough drugs.
Early Saturday Night Live, drugs. Great 60's & 70's rock'n'roll = Drugs.
Beatnick Literature = Drugs! There are about as many cases of this
on record as there are cases of "great" art. Everything interesting
that has ever happened usually involves someone taking drugs. All
major religions for example, from Budda, to Jesus, to Muhammed,
ahem ... Drugs.

- pandering to a stupid audience. Stupid entertainment presumes
stupid people. Always take the highroad. Write intelligent, witty
dialog. Write challenging plots. Never dumb it down on purpose.

- Never Plug a product. If you've even considered it, you're fucked
in the head. Product placement is for robots and people who've
completely mis-understood reality and need to be offed immediately.
Don't do it! There were some microsoft plugs in "the island", most
notably was the MSN search where the main character searched for
another character and didn't find any results. Yeah, exactly what
would happen in real life. Use MSN to find something but it wouldn't
find it. THe microsuck strategy isn't to make their search work at
all, but to spend so many goddamn dollars on ad campaigns that they
eventually massage public opinion into believe that their products
work. after that, what's the difference anyway? IT people suffer.
but who cares about them... no one. What's even sadder is how readily
people accept that their own reality has been mis-construed by others
so that others may benefit off of them. And that they lose doubly,
both in money and in mind-share, but are conditioned to ignore this.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

First Time in History

I just realized that in the past two weeks, I've found out about two different free internet TV shows. Essentially, that is what they are. They are amateur made, digest style TV shows. One is a comedy and one is a drama. They are both free downloads in .avi format from their websites. Not one but two. This must mean that there are more out there that I have yet to discover. Here is what they are:

Both of them are pretty good too. Fresh ideas. Different than anything in the mainstream television fare. Both these shows are daring. They are tackling ideas and formats never really tried before.

Pure Pwnage is video gamer humor out of Canada, which is pulled off masterfully. The main character Jeremy actually says stuff like lol and roflmao (pronounced roffel-mao) in his regular day to day speech. The other main character Doug is obsessed with FPS games and getting headshots. Brilliant characters and very funny.

Welcome to the scene is of a different breed. Apparently what Welcome to the scene is trying to do is dramatize the underworld of Movie Piracy as takes place in IRC. The show's format is even more startling. There is suprisingly little dialog in spoken form at all. Most of the show's dialog between characters takes place on a variety of instant messengers on the characters desktop, coupled with a room cam shot of the main characters face in the upper left so that you can read their expressions as they respond to dialog in the messenger. Welcome to the Scene is one big screen shot basically. Pirates and crackers are sort of frowned upon by the actual hacker community, so I essentially don't empathize with the characters at all and see them as sort of slimy weesles. If they go to jail, fuckem. But at the same time, there are enough interesting plot twists and sheer believability in Welcome to the Scene that I still want to know what happens next.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My growing understanding of AJAX

Well, my growing understanding of AJAX isn't much. I was just reading this new article. I think that I grokked the coming direction without actually knowing barely anything about the current technology or hinderances that web developers are experiencing. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned Firefox SVG, Scalable Vector Graphics, which is indicative of movement towards expanding the Web, which is really the killer AP of all of them, and the one that we spend the most time on, from just being server-side understood only text, to being full-featured deliverable applications that fit within one browser, and dont require a reload everytime the user manipulates a piece of data. This is huge. Picture OpenGL 2.0 running in Firefox. Or picture a real movie player, ala VideoLAN, Mplayer, or XINE or gdivx that runs in firefox, not Realplayer or WMV, who cares about these proprietary companies. They always squelch the pace of growth, as evidenced by more of the new news coming out of Vista.

-- Vista & OpenGL --

Microsoft are going to deliberately freeze and reduce the performance of OpenGL in their new graphics API. Basically, OpenGL will be backwards supported, but only up to OpenGL 1.4. It will basically be emulated from within D3D as I understand it. They are only even bothering to support it because of the vast array of games which use Unreal &/or Quake 2-3 technology, that they would be estranging too large of a demographic if they didn't. What is intended then, with the crippled OpenGL not posing as an attractive alternative to their shiny and feature rich DirectX 10 which ships with Vista, that many more developers will switch to it. Either way, what it all boils down to is another case of them trying to squash a perfectly valuable open standard, just because they can and with John Carmack, the graphics heavyweight of them all (who uses OpenGL) busying himself making rocket engines for Armadillo Aerospace instead of fixing all the shit wrong with Doom 3, there really isn't much hope.

Mood: dorky and angry

Wingnuts in Power

OMFG, I'm rolling on the floor. My brother called me this morning to tell me that there was some great guy on NPR (Richard Dawkins) talking about evolution. It turned out to be a show called On Point Radio that is out of WBUR in Boston, which this morning hosted a sort of pseudo radio debate between the leading Intelligent Design proponent, George Gilder and the leading proponent of evolution, Biologist Richard Dawkins.

Its basically far to easy to be flailingly Left, especially on the web, on a blog, so I wont bother, except to hint at that I'm probably one of those people who fall into the category of believing that this debate, if any, is beyond debating and just pure stupid. I'm not trying to push one theory over another. I just believe, rightly, that educational institutions have been established as venues for Science, the Liberal Arts, etc... There exists a fairly stringently specified category that states what is education and what is not.

The Liberal Arts were divided into the Trivium ("the three roads") and the Quadrivium ("the four roads").

The Trivium consisted of:

* Grammar
* Rhetoric
* Logic

The Quadrivium consisted of:

* Arithmetic -- Number in itself
* Geometry -- Number in space
* Music, Harmonics, or Tuning Theory -- Number in time
* Astronomy or Cosmology -- Number in space and time

(hmm, I don't seem to see religious faith listed in there???)

Evolution is Science. It may be correct, it might not. That sort of seems besides the point. Usually, there exists something that is called "the prevailing model". The prevailing model is generally what is agreed on as currently the "best bet". For instance, I still haven't entirely bought into the Big Bang theory, and believe that it will continually flesh itself out with new and interesting data long past my death. Eventually, the prevailing model known as Big Bang, which aids us in a quest to define space may not even resemble what we now think of it as. That's just the way science is and always has been.

Ok, so now to the good part. I had to pause the Real Player and let out a loud guffaw when Richard Dawkins said this quote (he's British),

"Well, its not true that we dont have wingnuts in this country that believe in these things, we do. The difference is that in this country, they dont get into political power."

what's the remedy?

"Education Education Education"

alright, back to work.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Truth, in print, via John Clease

Declaration of Revocation

by John Cleese

To the citizens of the United States of America: in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.
Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP, for the 97% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

6. You should stop playing American “football.” There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 3% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies).

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling “beer” is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer,” and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager.” The substances formerly known as “American Beer” will henceforth be referred to as “Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine,” with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as “Weak Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine.” This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.


I love John Cleese.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Firefox SVG

I just discovered Scalable Vector Graphics. One code idea that I have had previously was derived from working with html. Html in several ways seems so arcane and baroque. particularly when using an Apple II+ seems to provide a superior experience and design philosophy. I mean, whatever happened to the simple methodology of GR & HGR. where you write one command to start session, some numbers to specify your graphics area size, and then sets of coordinates to draw, single pixels, lines and other shapes. you can make whole projects that look cool and serve a real purpose in 50-80 lines of code, Plus, you can teach a little kid to do it because it makes so damn much sense. well anyway, I started speculating about perhaps writing a firefox plugin that embeds SDL and create an interpreter, (which I may still do if svg sucks). so that a client can dl a very small amount of graphics instruction from a server, that create client side graphics, but the real fun is that instead of letting a web-browser push you around and place your text and table borders in the wrong places, that you get to specify everything explicitly by just telling the interpreter the exact X,Y coordinates. ahh what a dream.

  • slashdot svg - aug 2
  • the mozilla svg page

  • Friday, July 01, 2005

    List of Seminal Thinkers

    I've always wanted to do this. I've spent years hunting down ideas that I thought were important to me. Most great artistic ideas, I believe can be tracked to a very finite list of people. So here's the list. I'll try to update it so that each person can have some detail &/or links associated with them. Not to mention that there are certainly people that are missing..

    * Buckminster Fuller
    * Terence Mckenna
    * Ludwig Van Beethoven
    * Amadeus Mozart
    * Frank Zappa
    * Aldous Huxley
    * Richard Wagner
    * William Blake
    * William Shakespeare
    * James Lovelock
    * James Joyce
    * Jimi Hendrix
    * Aleister Crowley
    * John Lennon
    * Bob Dylan
    * Philip K. Dick
    * Johann Sebastian Bach
    * Django Reinhardt
    * Charlie Parker
    * Art Tatum
    * Thelonius Monk
    * Miles Davis
    * John Coltrane
    * Jiddu Krishnamurti
    * George Friedric Handel
    * Stanley Kubrick
    * Frank Lloyd Wright
    * John Von Neumann
    * Albert Einstein
    * Richard Feynman
    * Sir Isaac Newton
    * Marshall Mcluhan
    * Noam Chomsky
    * Alfred North Whitehead
    * Leibnitz
    * Godel
    * Escher
    * Euler
    * Igor Stravinski
    * Lenny Bruce
    * Fermat
    * Jimi Hendrix
    * Aristotle
    * Homer
    * Pythagoras
    * Plato
    * Heraclitus
    * Edwin Armstrong