Putting the “Crazy” in “Crazy Balloon”

I know I’m not the first person to suggest that many classic video games employ extremely annoying and aggravating music to break players’ concentration and make the games more difficult. Other games use music that encourages you to play faster or better.

Crazy Balloon deserves special recognition. The CB designers chose a soundtrack that was sparse, but unusually effective. As far as I can tell, there is only one sound in CB It is triggered when you pop your balloon and it is the closest audio approximation of having a long pin pressed into one’s temple that I’ve ever had the discomfort of witnessing.

I find that having heard this sound several times, I actually play better to avoid hearing it again. Playing a game well makes the experience more enjoyable and repeat playing more likely. This fatal flaw in this logic lies in the fact that the best way not to hear the sound is to not play at all. I suspect this is what most people do.

Crazy Balloon is supported by MAME.

Maximum Recursion Depth Exceeded

I think it’s cliche and unnecessary to mention the ridiculousness of the new film, Alien Versus Predator: a movie based on a video game which is turn based on two movies. I do so only to remind people of a less high profile instance of movie/video recursion released nearly a decade ago:

Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game

SFTMTG was, of course, based on the Jean-Claude film Street Fighter based, of course, on the Street Fighter video game series by Capcom. Luckily, the game designers of SFTMTG were careful to block any further recursion by designing SFTMTG to be so unbelievably bad that no-one, no-where, would ever consider basing a movie on it.

See for yourself. The ROM is supported by MAME.

atdot.cc

I went ahead and registered both slash.cc and atdot.cc.

The email addresses have been going like hotcakes. I gave my friend Alan Toner at@atdoct.cc. My friend J has jj@atdot.cc. As for me, I’m a little less fortunately named; I’m just mako@atdot.cc.

On the more palindromic side of things:

I’m happy to give these email addresses out so please feel free to suggest the domain to folks; if you think they would enjoy an email address, be sure to keep me in the loop — just CC dotdot@atdot.cc.

Eating Out in London

Eating out in London is expensive. It’s a lot like being very hungry and then getting mugged in a way that leave you no longer hungry.

Scandinavian Blue

At University, I was involved in a volunteer project to redecorate one of the student areas on campus. We wanted to use vibrant colors and wanted to paint one wall purple. The school put its foot down: No Purple.

We managed to find a color called Scandinavian Blue that was, unambiguously, purple. We presented them with purple colored sample chip with Scandinavian blue written on it and they happily.

I like the idea of a paint company that sells many colors under the names of many other colors. A red could be deep sunset violet. A yellow could be sunshine red, a green could be forest orange.

Why the *%?#! did you do that?

I do a lot of things that other people have a hard time understanding the motivation behind. For the record, I think there are three major reasons that motivate me to do things that are otherwise confusing or not apparent to people:

  • I had never done the action in question before.
  • I wanted to be able to be able to (honestly) say that I’d done the action in question.
  • I thought it might get me into a local newspapers’ "I Saw You" classified ads sections.

Vowel Poetry

I like my friend’s Louai’s name a lot. It dawned on me that perhaps this had something to do with the high concentration of vowels in his name. To test the theory, I set out to write poetry with lots of vowels.

Processing an English word list is relatively easy although picking the most appropriate processing strategy proved more challenging.

At first I set out to get words with a high concentration ratio of vowels to consonants. Unfortunately, this tends to privilege shorter words with less letters overall where it is easier to score a high ratio—words like “a” or “are.”. Out of curiosity, I also experimented with words with a high “number of consonants subtracted from number of values” number which gave me a other nice vowel-heavy words—how about a poem set in Ouagadougou?

I don’t claim the words I received were the best words possible but I thought the poetry was quite nice sounding with the high emphasis on vowels (for the sake of simplicity, I included ‘y’ as a vowel).

My first poem was a political poem:

courageously initiate equality: audacious idea
evacuate Europeanization
uneasy euphoria

nay

reinitialize, reevaluate
    obituary
zealously enjoy your opiate
obey

Because too much seriously is just unhealthy, I wrote a rather raunchy sex poem to balance things out:

eyeful: your beauteous aureole, buoyancy
initiate
cautiously auto in your avenue
aerosolize joyous mayonnaise
oily opaque ooze
epilogue: goates inadequate

You can download the perl scripts I used to get the words here:

Use the code as you wish but please send me patches or improvements.

First Post!

Under pressure from a number of people and this crazy “planet” craze that seem so important to my Canonical Non-Nomical employeer and co-workers, I’ve decided to break down and create a web log.

I’ll keep this under wraps for some time to see if it’s something I can stick to. I’ll write about my interests. I suspect that this will center mostly around issues of Free Software, books, art, internationalization, and issues of intellectual property and copyright.

Terrorize Your Friends Drinking Game

Here’s my idea for a drinking game:

Everyone takes a (highly alcoholic) drink of their choice or lines up shots and finds a TV with cable news. Pick a US News Channel (FOX News is particularly good). Now every time one of the talking heads mentions “terror,” “terrorist,” “terrorize” or “terrorism,” everyone takes a drink. Adding a qualifier like “potential” or “suspected” as in “suspected terrorist activity” is a 2x magnifier. Inventing new types of terrorism like “information terrorism” or “commercial terrorism” to terror-ize concepts that have previously never been thought of us “terrorism” is a 3x magnifier.

I’m confident it’s not a unique idea. Suggestions and modifications are welcome.


Originally posted as a diary entry on Kuro5hin. Although Kuro5hin is now defunct, an archived copy of the post includes a series of comments from the Kuro5hin community.

C-x C-s C-x C-c

Perhaps it’s just the novelty of the situation but it’s becoming undeniable.

When my girlfriend asks me questions about Microsoft Word (even Openoffice.org to a lesser extent), I get slightly annoyed.

When my girlfriend asks me questions about GNU Emacs, I get slightly turned on.


Originally posted as a diary entry on Kuro5hin. Although Kuro5hin is now defunct, an archived copy of the post includes a series of comments from the Kuro5hin community.

What Could Be Better?

I was hungry for Chinese and I told my girlfriend that I couldn’t think of anything better than going to get humbow with my her.

She couldn’t think of anything either, except maybe going to get humbow with someone else’s more charming, more attractive girlfriend. True enough.


Originally posted as a diary entry on Kuro5hin. Although Kuro5hin is now defunct, an archived copy of the post includes a series of comments from the Kuro5hin community.

Blueberry Salmon

I once had salmon that tasted exactly like blueberries. It wasn’t served in a blueberry sauce, or any sauce at all for that matter, and the two other orders of the same dish at the table tasted normal. It was as if this particular salmon had eaten huge numbers of blueberries and the meat itself had soaked up the blueberry taste. Everyone at the table verified the phenomena.

Now I like blueberries, and blueberry salmon isn’t bad tasting per se, but it’s so unusual that it detracts from and devalues the normal salmon eating experience.

We told the waitress at the restaurant restaurant but she didn’t believe us.


Originally posted as a diary entry on Kuro5hin. Although Kuro5hin is now defunct, an archived copy of the post includes a series of comments from the Kuro5hin community.

Soaking Beans

Today I left dehydrated black beans in my mouth for an entire evening in an attempt to find out if it were possible for the saliva my mouth to reconstitute dried beans.

It seems that it’s possible.

It’s certainly not the most effective way to rehydrate beans but it’s a process that, in one evening, taught me more about the been reconstitution process, and about bean structure in general, than I thought I would ever know.


Originally posted as a diary entry on Kuro5hin. Although Kuro5hin is now defunct, an archived copy of the post includes a series of comments from the Kuro5hin community.

Diamonds Aren’t My Girl’s Best Friend

I’m not a big fan of diamond jewelry. The stories of artificial scarcity, the stories of horrible working conditions in the mines, the stories of massive rich manipulative organizations at the helm of the industry: all checks against the stones.

Additionally, I’m really not a fan of engagement rings. They seem to be both a sign of conspicuous consumption and a sign of ownership co-dependencey and control: a more expensive sophisticated hickey or high school letter jacket.

And sure, I understand that for most people, the ring is about a sign of love: “He loves me enough to spend lots of money on this ring.” However, I find this lack of critical perspective to be an extremely unattractive, even incompatible trait in a girl.

If I proposed to a woman and she asked for a ring, not only would not go out and buy her a ring, I think I would retract the engagement on the spot. I just can’t imagine happily spending the rest of my life with someone who could want a diamond engagement ring.

Talk about a request backfiring.


Originally posted as a diary entry on Kuro5hin. Although Kuro5hin is now defunct, an archived copy of the post includes a series of comments from the Kuro5hin community.

Extending the Baseball Metaphor

In America, people use a baseball metaphor to describe sexual experiences. If you have sex, it’s a home run and prerequisite sexual steps are merely base hits, doubles or triples.

However, the metaphor is limiting because there are only four bases. We should extend the metaphor by describing other important steps in the sexual process as visits to other parts of the baseball stadium like the bleachers, bullpen, pitchers mound, locker-room, dugout, other team’s dugout, and hot-dog stand.


Originally posted as a diary entry on Kuro5hin. Although Kuro5hin is now defunct, an archived copy of the post includes a series of comments from the Kuro5hin community.