I haz youtubez. rss

Been field testing new equipment around Austin lately, so check me out. Latest update: Amy Sage and Mike Boyd of Fiesta Explosion, covering “Game of Love” by Santana. Taken with a Flip Ultra 30-minute model, uploaded with my MSI Wind U123.

Friday Night with Dr. Horrible rss

Reasons why Austin is awesome and I love living here and please don’t move here unless you are at least benign if not awesome yourself, No. eleventy quantum quintillion:

I just saw a middle school stage production of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and the whole cast was girls.

It was awesome in a bottle.

Continue reading Friday Night with Dr. Horrible…

Watch Sita Sings the Blues rss

Here. I’ve got my Limited Edition Festival Screener DVD at home, which proves that everyone who hasn’t donated both can get a DVD and were totally justified. Watch it anyway.

Also, yes, I have a job. Stuff happens. I don’t know. Metal Gear.

Setting “Sita” free rss

I’ve been a fan of Sita Sings the Blues, the animated serial that gradually became a feature work by Nina Paley for quite a while now. I missed out last fall when it came to the Austin Film Festival, and have yet to see the finished, completed work, only the five segments that were released early during its production, not counting the trailer.

Given that it was made without any advance concern about legal propriety, full distribution is apparently a problem. “Sita” makes use of songs by Annette Hanshaw, a 1930s blues singer whose work is largely obscured now, but no one wants to rely on “fair use” if you start burning DVDs.

So, in true artist to-hell-with-the-system fashion, Paley’s decided to copyleft the whole business and raise the $50,000 necessary to get “Sita” out of “copyright jail.” After which, presumably, the DVDs can be “given away” to anyone who wants one.

Good enough for me. $50 from me to bail out Sita. And you should give, too. Roger Ebert likes Sita. James Kochalka likes Sita. BoingBoing likes Sita. Heidi McDonald likes Sita.

You really should, too.

I’m glad I’m not Chuck Klosterman rss

Seriously, way to make anyone who ever liked Guns ‘n’ Roses cringe with the review of Chinese Democracy, dude. Christ. I could barely get through the first paragraph.

Heavy Metal in Baghdad rss

Surely there is no better inspiration for aggressive, angry art than war, destruction, desperation and death.

There was one heavy metal band in Iraq, making them possibly the most brutal metal band in the world. Now they’re running for their lives. This is the start of their story. I saw it tonight. God willing, their story is not yet over.

Continue reading Heavy Metal in Baghdad…

Rock Band rss

A few things about what is likely to be the next big sleeper-hit game phenomenon when it comes out later this fall (and if you need pointers, check out the fan-made songlist preview and for excitement, the official non-gameplay high-gloss trailer.) High hopes all around, folks, but there’s still a few obvious bumps on the highway to glory.
Continue reading Rock Band…

Doctor Rock rss

Friday night proved that Tre Zieman is a way bigger Ween fan than I am, and so were about 300 or so other hon-yonks crammed into the backlot at Stubb’s for a sold-out show.

I had a good enough time for the price of a ticket, though I left early. Somewhere between standing outside in the August heat an hour before the show, then realizing I didn’t really need to because I didn’t want to stand in the deepest crush of fans nearest the stage, getting hit up by hobos (Stubb’s is a block away from both the Salvation Army mission and the other big downtown homeless shelter in Austin) and about four or five guys with signs asking for extra tickets, which they quite obviously wanted to just turn around and scalp to someone else, sucked out a lot of the fun for me.

No big deal. I saw Stardust, The Bourne Ultimatum and Talk to Me, and got the IGDA Writers SIG newsletter almost ready for the printers. Weekend seized. Save the soul from a bottomless pit, and see what you can make of it.

Happy 4th. rss

Hope someone out there got to blow something up. I had to work a split shift, so I got a mid-day nap and not much else.

Turns out the Captains of the Chess Team have a blog, now. And the IGDA-Austin site has their own report about the party at Richard Garriott’s house and moving pictures. If you recognize anyone in the “chanbara montage,” don’t tell them about it.

Year Zero rss

Voices from the future are all over the Internet, and they’re warning us that the world’s about 15 years away from going entirely to shit. No bees this time, but the branding’s way better. At least this time it’s obvious what you’re supposed to buy.

Year Zero is the new nine inch nails album. I can’t recall ever being excited about anything nin ever did, even though I was in the target age group when the first albums came out. Couldn’t manage to give a crap about the downward spiral. Might have listened to broken once or twice, but that was a long time ago.

But here I am buying the new album. I already knew what it would sound like, because the entire thing’s listenable on the above Web site — just input an e-mail address, any one, and you can listen. So far it’s fairly entertaining noise.

What tipped the balance for me was the accompanying alternate reality game to go along with it as a promotional effort. 42 Entertainment is involved in this one like they were for ilovebees, and their marks were all over YZ long before they got credits on the album booklet. Not that suspension of disbelief is especially important, but word is, it’s going to continue for maybe another year and a half.

In a literary sense, YZ is miles wide and about an inch deep. Story is, in the year 2022, America becomes an oppressive hyper-religious police state at war with half the world, and resorts to seeding all potable water with drugs that suppress fight-or-flight hormones so their population stays extremely subservient — until they go for any length of time away from municipal water. Global warming is such that Alaska has become temperate and anywhere within 1,000 miles of the Equator is Hell on Earth. Pockets of nonspecific resistance spring up, but those not careful enough get honey-potted and exiled. Meanwhile, people all over the world keep seeing staticky, shadowy hands reaching out of the sky and touching earth. (Be sure to turn your audio down if you watch this.)

Somewhere in all this, some scientists managed to send data back through time before they all met an uncertain but certainly horrible end. Thus far, that’s been the only suggested explanation for why there’s all these Web sites describing the future (seeded with bits of banned media writ backwards and strange strings of numbers), but not why last Friday there were a bunch of guys handing out ammunition boxes full of promotional materials (though not surprisingly, at least one joker’s trying to sell one on eBay) or who was dropping Flash drives in the bathrooms at nin concert dates in Europe, with, among other things, leaked tracks from the album and the video for the first single.

What’s the connection with the future? Is the world of Year Zero our destiny, or merely one among many possible destinations? Can it be prevented, and just how seriously ought we take the implied political stance of the story?

Plenty of room for explanation, no guarantee we’ll get one.

The album? About the catchiest lot of noise you’ll ever hear. Keep tabs with me at NinWiki, if you want to follow along.

Edit: Right after I wrote this, there’s a new video of a “resistance meeting.” One in the present day, even. Everyone gets a treat for watching, just stick with it.

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