2015-03-05 21_48_32-Reggie Watts_ Tiny Desk Concert _ NPR

Music Friday: Reggie Watts’s Tiny Desk Concert

It’s Music Friday (which I just made up just now) and, aw heck, I just realized that you can download all the audio from Tiny Desk Concerts for free.

What these are, are small recording studio performances done on an NPR affiliate and broadcast (live?) over radio. The venue is deliberately small, the size of the corner of a local coffee shop, or the cluttered DJ booth of a radio station. If that sounds precious and twee to you, you’re in good company, because there are fewer things that turn me off faster than a vocalist singing with their eyes closed while a nearby hat-n-beard combo leans over an acoustic guitar. Thankfully, there’s some serious variety going on over at the Tiny Desk, and it’s moderately likely you’ll find something that appeals to you. If not, live a little. (T-Pain showed up at one point, that’s got to count for something, right? NPR!)

This Friday’s selection was my introduction to a mister Reggie Watts in 2012. It’s 17 minutes of partial or total improvisational music performance, and it’s amazing. The video is worth the watch, but the audio stands on its own. My favorite: Coffee Sips. My complaint: he doesn’t try to rhyme “local coffee” with “Ina Jaffe.

My advice is to download, listen, and let Friday bleed away. It’s gonna do it one way or the other.


Old Man Blog: Barthes on Toys

I’m a dad now, and when I think of things, it’s usually with the tinge of what sort of horrible legacy my actions or thoughts will have on my daughter. I just dropped a small amount of cash onto some nice modern tactile BPA and gluten-free toys for her, with nary a grumble on my end. Of course I want the best for her. And I tremble at the threat of maybe providing slightly less.

I have the grumblings of my elders to fall back on instead. Here’s Roland Barthes, on the meaning of modern toys in his time.

First of all, French toys in Barthes’ time were apparently miniaturized replicas of objects in the adult world, the effect being:

…reduced copies of human objects, as if in the eyes of the public the child was, all told, nothing but a smaller man, a homunculus to whom must be supplied objects of his own size.


Link Blog: Rufus Makes Bootable Drives

We can do this the easy way or the hard way.
We can do this the easy way or the hard way.

With my current Windows 7 install starting to get a little crusty, it’s getting close to the time I’ll be turning to this tool again.

Rufus takes an OS installation (Windows or Linux) and slaps it into a USB drive of your choice.

This is one of many tools, of course, and in the case of Windows 7/8, Microsoft provides its own tools for this. Problem is, their tool failed me the last couple times I used it, and I don’t really care why. Because Rufus worked great.

I’d like to say the standard “then you move on with your life,” but let’s face it, the next several hours will be spent updating and customizing that new OS of yours. All the same, it’s good to have in the old toolkit.

Rufus is freeware, it’s safe, and reliable. I’ll be using it myself again soon. Get it here.

Notes on a Tinned Fish – Mackerel Fillets in Tom Yam Sauce

Mackerel Fillets in Tom Yam Sauce comes in an attractive, full color cardboard box.

This tin of mackerel fillets was discovered in 99 Ranch, one of a chain of Asian markets in California. It was about $2. I consumed it atop a bed of instant tapioca noodles, which came with a dehydrated vegetable seasoning packet and a sachet of XO sauce. (more…)


Zombie in My Pocket – Let’s Play

Are zombies passe yet? Yes, they are. Some time ago, this game captured my imagination, and apparently I kept a short log of one play-through. I found it, sitting in my drafts, dating waaaaay back to 2008. I chopped up some old photos I took and put a wrap on it. This is me, playing the free-to-print solo game Zombie In My Pocket.

With a few small decks of cards and a notepad, you role-play an intrepid adventurer trying to stop a zombie uprising by locating and burying an idol in a randomly-generated, besieged house. You must do this by midnight. It’s a roguelike in pocket format.

You do this by laying down square tiles, each representing a room in the house. Each turn, 10 minutes in game-time passes, and an event happens by drawing a card. You might find a weapon, you might fight some zombies, or you can take a moment to rest and gain some health back. In all, you have 18 turns to finish the game.

In my experience, it was a pretty well-balanced game, giving you maybe 40%-60% odds of winning each time, with room for tactical choices. A really nicely-designed gem, and free, to boot. Read, and enjoy the purple prose.

Three Hours to Midnight


9:00pm – At the center of the terror lies a house. (more…)