Angry Robot

Florida recount

News organizations delay reporting of Florida recount: as bartcop notes, the interesting thing about this is not so much that they are being sensitive about reporting the results of the recount given the current national mood, which is understandable, but that by hesitating to report it they are admitting that it points to a Gore victory – why else would they need to be sensitive?

The preceding politically insensitive run-on sentence was brought to you by the writer’s ballooning caffeine problem.


Well, it seems that irony isn’t dead after all, and I for one am greatly relieved about it. I don’t even know how I’d think without irony, let alone crack a joke. In fact, I’ve tried previously to get my mind around what a post-ironic movement might look like, and came up short. Does that mean no more jokes, or just no more good jokes? Would we have to believe everything? Would being a keener become cool again? A few years ago, Suck suggested Party of Five and PETA as examples of non-ironic behaviour… shiver.

If that Onion issue is any indication, irony ain’t dead, just different. rebeccablood described it as “satire with a broken heart”, which isn’t necessarily new, just a different breed than has been dominant lately. For example, Swift’s modest proposal is compassionate satire. In my own humble experience with parody, you have to engage deeply with something in order to acheive the highest level of ironic results. People assume you’re making light, which is far from the truth. Part of the problem with those who proclaim irony dead and wish to move on to full-time earnestness is that they see the two as mutually exclusive, which is a mistake.

The other mistake is that we’ve already got earnestness down. Take a look around cockeyed to see the state of the art in post-earnest irony. Especially good are the pranks, such as this one, and the “what’s inside” tests, such as this this one.


An apology to all you non-Canucks, who won’t know what I’m talking about, but what the hell is Ken Finkleman doing, and why doesn’t the CBC stop him? I thought The Newsroom was funny, but his watered-down Fellini bit has got to go. People normally point out that what he’s doing is so different from what normally goes on on TV. True. So why don’t they give me a show in which I interview my own ass for 22 minutes? That would be different, wouldn’t it, and not nearly as pathetically self-absorbed as Finkleman’s latest effort. We could do without the sycophantic interviews in between, too. I’d rather have ads.

Current Situation roundup

“Current Situation” roundup: a great background article. Did you know the CIA was recruiting for the mujahadeen (which they call ‘mooj’, for short) from New Jersey, and that they helped some of the veterans into the US? And there’s this excellent analysis of the options available to the US in terms of fighting Afghanistan. I guess carpet-bombing isn’t as easy as it looks.

we re-continue

It re-begins.

I did a provisional redesign. As I’m a complete hack, I have no idea how this will look in the most popular browsers, so let me know. Basically I want to see if I’ll stick with this universal-sign motif before I make more drastic changes to the interface (making functional navigation icons for all site sections, etc). So as it stands, all the icons above are absolutely non-functional and meaningless (sorta), although I’m starting to think I like that.

Iraq and 911

An excellent post by Joe Maller provides a roundup of articles that hint at some sort of Iraqi involvement with the WTC attacks.


Say hello to Robo Roach. They should really get in touch with the toy robots initiative, which asks the important questions like “can we turn plants into plant-silicon cyborgs?” They provide instructions on making a Palm Pilot Robot. They make prototypes of some sort of amped-up pogo stick, capable of 9-foot jumps. Wouldn’t you love to ride that thing to work? You should also view the insect telepresence videos.

In other robot news, the Aibo has come down in price, and is making me insanely covetous. It appears that the Aibo keeps a “photo journal” that you can access via PC. So the possibility of a robot dog’s photographic weblog has reared its majestic head. Aibos can also be networked via WiFi, and can be used as an interface for PC applications – meaning you can get your dog to bark whenever you have email. Finally, the dog can be remote-controlled via computer: you get a camera feed and you can transmit audio via the aibo speaker. Thus I tilt my head back and fantasize about robot dog telepresence hunting parties – humans around the globe gather at a location in robot dog form, exchange wisecracks and then set out to freak out some cats. Good times.

Good god, I sound like a Sony marketing shill. Apologies to my readers, and hey, Sony, just send me the fucking dog already.

MIT, pantslessness

Yet more evidence that MIT is the most bitchin’-est school: re:constructions.

An unrelated observation: It’s okay to wear pants and no shirt, but it’s not okay to wear a shirt and no pants. I can say no more about the matter.

jumpsuit hunt

As part of a half-assed quest for a jumpsuit (or should I say tracksuit?), I have uncovered some intriguing sites. Jumpsuit Guy’s Web Site holds the following testimony:

I am a twenty-nine year-old man living in California. I have been fascinated by jumpsuits since I was very young. I think that women wearing jumpsuits are very sexy. Sometimes I like to wear them myself.
I made this web site because jumpsuits deserve more appreciation!

He provides all-important links to “overlapping clothing fetish” websites and those devoted to “adult footed pyjamas.” I was particularily drawn to Fardo’s Overalls, makers of “colorful novelty jumpsuits for men,” who claim that “the overall is a powerful statement, a magical garment” and whose photos feature a man who I can only assume is the world’s premier novelty jumpsuit model. See him travel internationally with glum expression and colorful patches! Drunken night sorties in camo overalls! Relaxing at home in shiny purple jumpsuit! Deployed as part of the Swiss Emergency Clowning Team! I would have to agree with Jumpsuit Guy that “one of the most exciting applications of the internet is world-wide dissemination of information about jumpsuits.” Unfortunately, I haven’t found the type I’m looking for, which was less of a Euro shiny patch-oriented concept piece and more of an Adidas retro affair. The struggle continues.

Afghan campaign

Seems like there will be Hell up in Afghanistan soon. The CBC made a neat little Flash thing for learning about the region. This map is sort of handy as well. What both representations leave out is an identifying tag for one of Afghanistan’s neighbours: China. Do we all realizing we are planning a war in China’s back yard? It doesn’t seem that China would oppose military action in Afghanistan, but they will definitely be cautious and do not want to see an increased US military presence in the region.

Here’s another good article from before the tragedy. It’s written by Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, so it’s not from the typical Western point of view.


Another good opinion piece about the Middle East vs. the West. Author blames Richard the First for the current fiasco.

ex-spook interview

Fascinating interview with a former CIA man about bin Laden. More evidence that there is a culture clash between the US intelligence community and a decentralized terrorist network such as al Qaeda. Also, he takes issue with the idea that the attack was carried out by a sophisticated group, while at the same time hinting that bin Laden’s network may connect Iran, Afganistan, Lebanon, Algeria, and Egypt. He also calls bin Laden the “here’s Waldo” of terrorism.



I hesitate to post again. What hasn’t already been said? I guess I can at least pass on some of the findings that resulted from a day of media binge, which seems the only way that many of us can deal: Michael Moore’s thoughts on the tragedy. Article on Bin Laden’s CIA training. Atlantic article about the CIA having trouble gathering intelligence in Afganistan. The problem with retaliation. Donate to the Red Cross via amazon or paypal.


You were not responsive, lying on a bed of sheets covered with blood.

An accident journal. Amy Miller was an avid journal writer. She crashed her car while drunk and was airlifted to the hospital, where for weeks she lay unconscious in critical condition. Her family and friends felt they should continue her journal for her; they wrote in it and years later it was put on the web. An almost overpowering story, more intense than any fiction I’ve encountered recently.

the world needs more meat flavour.

Meat-flavoured chips. (via anil dash)


Some months back, I learnt of a great word, f-bomb. No sooner did I learn of it than I began misusing it:

Proper form, of course, dictates that the word be preceded by a form of “to drop”:

Wait. Could this be one of our first hypno-words?

game OS 1.0 at J101

I have another thing up at joystick101, which isn’t getting the warmest reception, but what’s a fanboy like me gonna do? Also on the gaming tip, XYZZY news has transcripts and mp3s of a panel with Scott Adams on storytelling in games.

mentalfloss & poutine

Back. Long weekend, long week – and I hear it’s still going. While I think of it, a shoutout to mentalfloss, whom I bumped into at Mel’s late friday night. Poutine was eaten. I explained that smoked meat poutine looks a lot like a plateful of puke. I did this right before everyone’s smoked meat poutines arrived, and later noticed that I was the only one who finished his/her smoked meat poutine. Oh well, their loss. But have a listen to the mentalfloss triphop mp3 stream, that’s the good stuff.

mmmm… poutine… (runs off to kitchen)

(returns with stale carrots)


to better months

I had a near-Newton moment just now. There is a crab apple tree out front of my house. I was sitting under it on my stoop, and a little apple fell and missed my head by about an inch.

Does this augur a massive flash of insight? Fuck, I hope so. I have been desperately searching for meaning in everyday things these days. I was locked out of my apartment yesterday; when I stopped at a convenience store a woman was having backup keys made. Yes, I thought, I should have done that. Thank you, Gods of Irony.

The I Ching had this to say:

Mountains standing close together:
The image of Keeping Still.
Thus the superior man
Does not permit his thoughts
To go beyond his situation.

There have been better months. Here’s to the next.