Angry Robot

Salam Pax for President of Iraq

He’s got a photoblog now. Dude’s a one-man media empire.

Assorted Links 2

Canada threatens to ban in-car gadgetry, underreported Rummy-related funstuff, US in Cambodia Syria, bright is the new gay, new Powermac G5, iChat AV, iSight, cats are crepuscular, who’s hidin’ them WMDs?, cartoons, homstarrunner interview, Josh Allen’s new beverage-related weblog.

Gaptivism *snore*

Funny how cyborg post-humanist rhetoric of the Kroker variety winds up sounding exactly like marketing speak by virtue of the sheer number of freshly coined, Capitalized NewWords™: Culture Spam, Sousveillance, New Deconomy, Software Swatshops, TerrorVision, Peacefare. Mr. Mann, you rock, but ditch the buzzwords. And while you’re at it, go back to the 80s-style wearable computer – now that’s cool beans.

WiFi Pt. 2

There’s something fight-clubby about this wireless thing. There’s a whole hidden world out there, a world full of nakedness and hobo signals. Wardriving, warchalking, it sure sounds dramatic.

It’s geek novelty drama, the drama of surfin’ the nerdnet in exotic places – wow. Later, I’m sure it will be: I’m surfin’ the nerdnet in exotic places – big fuckin’ deal. But until then.

Just realized that this is a GeoURL listing of wireless access points in Toronto, assembled by the mysterious wireless bandit (don’t bother clicking, DNS problem means site unavailable). Will have to try some of them – glad to see Second Cup and Lettieri are on the ball.

Tried at my favourite Queen St cafe today, Tequila Bookworm. They have a WAP, but it’s encrypted and just for employee use (what do they do in that back room of theirs?). At my parents’ house, I’m on the fringes of another encrypted net. Now I’m feeling bad that I WEP-secured my own WAP (WEPWAPpin’ WiFi! WiWiWi!), since what’s wrong with a little wireless bump n’ grind with strangers? Do unto others, and such? Some get it, some don’t. There are concerns, of course, that munchkins and freemasons could get loose in your network, steal your data, and make it look like you’re running a child porn ring. One idea I’ve had is to keep it encrypted and passworded but to add contact info to the network ID, so if anyone discovers it they can ask permission and I can figure out who they are first. Might work.

The Ancient Art of the Siesta

Nap as good as a night’s sleep? My preference is for something even shorter than the power nap or the Napoleonic nap, something my father taught me: let’s call it the supernap. The trick is to just barely fall asleep, and then rise and go do one’s thang. (via antipixel)

FX Porn

Via Greencine via Metaphilm comes a great ’98 article from David Foster Wallace: “what’s the difference between a Hollywood special-effects blockbuster like “Terminator 2” and a hard-core porn film? Very little.” So true, so true. Perhaps we will have to wait for the cost of CG to plummet before we can expect to see action sequences re-integrated into films’ stories. North By Northwest is one long chase scene, after all. There are exceptions, but the habit now is to have the story take a break as lavish SFX setpieces explode with all the plot relevance of a ten-way gangbang.

Beyond that, there’s another trend – one I’m not sure is entirely evil – towards 6-hour films. X-Men, Matrix, Star Wars and Rings movies don’t really function as three-act films of the sort that has been bludgeoned into everyone’s heads by guru after guru and the sheer weight of repetition: deep into the second act, new characters are being introduced, and typically their grand battles come somewhere in the midpoint rather than at the end. At the same time it’s now commonplace for viewers to rent or purchase entire seasons of television, some of which are more cinematic than the typical Hollywood sludge. At the apex of MTV ADD we seem to be rediscovering entertainment of Shakesperean or even Homeric breadth.

So at the very least the form is changing rather than simply getting worse. Let that be a little light at the end of DFW’s tunnel of Inverse Cost and Quality which, in fact, has enough exceptions now to be seen seriously flawed: Titanic, for one, and all of the Rings so far, for two and three (anyone care to supply more)? Seems to me that as long as the studios get their bullet-time cyborg killer and breathtaking catastrophe scenes, they may now care so little about plot and character that they might let a few good stories slip through now and then. But those must be shepherded by directors with an entirely different skillset than that geared toward lower budgets, which is really the root cause of the “ICQL”. Possibly we should be teaching CGI in film school.

Assorted Links

Jared’s a pussy, Ill Mitch is fun when rap, CG or real?, WWDC rumour roundup: G5s, camera, more, Harrison Ford likes to point, Americans Believe Nonsense, how to sell war, use your PC as an ATM, killproofing.


Finally I am free to receive spam in any corner of the house. Having recently moved to a larger pad, and having felt the need to operate my machinery from various locations, I finally picked up a hub and card. I got a Netgear wireless router, it being half the price of Apple’s equivalent, and my concerns about difficult setup turned out to be utterly unfounded. Plugged my homie in and he got me online straightaway.

Expect more posts about how bitchin’ hot my patio is.

Iraq Now

20 questions and answers from the Globe.


It sounds like fun. P-Ron, I’m looking at you here: garage rock, ‘freakbeat’, soul, all-night drive-in, all-night snacks and pub, vintage marketplace, and hot & cold running beers, all nestled into the majesty of nature. Aug 15-17.
Update: true, maybe they won’t have hot beers. But you can leave them out in the sun.

Apple, Love It Or Leave It

Rants of Mac defectors like this get a lot of attention. For the sake of argument, let me point out that this one is basically gibberish.

So we begin by citing Apple PR as an example of propaganda:

“Megahertz alone is a poor indicator of real-world system performance, particularly when comparing different overall system architectures,” Apple says in its latest product literature for the dual-processor G4 Powermac.

Which we go on to refute on the basis of, I guess, first hand experience. Fair enough.

the Mac is still slower … Apple has, for some time, managed to pull the hood over the eyes of its users, but it can no longer afford to lob the megahertz myth at the public when you can buy a 3 Ghz Pentium 4-based Dell PC for the same price as a 1 Ghz iMac. Sorry Apple, but the megahertz myth is a myth.

Well, the key part of Apple’s above ‘propaganda’ is particularly when comparing different overall system architectures. That means that a 1 GHz G4 is faster than a 1.5 GHz Pentium despite what the numbers appear to say. They’re different chips, pal. But yes, Macs lose actual benchmark tests in most pro graphics application use now (Photoshop, After Effects). Is that your everyday user? Hell no. So the question of slow is really “slow for what”? I hope I am not stating the obvious by pointing out that most of those 3 gigahertzes Mr. Tournemille is salivating over are put to little use when emailing, surfing the web, and, er, writing. In fact, my 667 mHz G4 opens apps faster than the 1.7 GHz P4 shitbox I use at work. That’s my real-world experience against that of Mr. Tournemille, so the question is: what kind of Mac is he using? I read a little further: he’s using an iMac DV+. Dude. That’s a 450 mHz G3, released in July 2000. He’s running OS X on it? It’s pre-OS X Public Beta – damn straight it’s slow. So he needs a new computer, that’s for sure. Why not a new Mac?

Problem is, Apple has utterly failed to make significant headway into corporate America and as a result users are opting to buy a computer that runs the same operating system as their computer at work. Worst still, many websites, including the popular finance site, career site, electronics maker, or the Canadian news site, seem to cater only to Windows users.

Okay, reason number one is basically “people are used to Windows.” That’s fine, but obviously it doesn’t speak to the quality of either system, nor does it seem to apply to Mr. Tournemille, who’s already identified himself as a ten-year Mac user. So the next point: websites don’t work on Macs. Read: websites don’t work on his browser. And sweet baby Jesus, I don’t even know where to begin with this. I checked those sites, they work fine on IE5.. Which itself is about three years old… Is he using Netscape 4? Well the solution to this is get a better browser. I go to the globe site all the time in Camino or Safari, and it even works in IE, and obviously it would work in a remotely recent version of Netscape. But don’t throw your fridge out because your milk’s expired. Replace the milk.

Anything else? “Microsoft has ended development of IE”, good riddance and don’t anyone lose sleep over this. We’re all set with about four or five usable, standards-compliant browsers in OS X. But others are shutting Macs out: “Many online services are following suit, such as the recently announced Music Now service by Full Audio. Mac users simply aren’t invited to the party.” Well, I’d mention I’ve never even heard of that and a quick Googling pulled up nothing, but the real point is: has he not heard of the iTunes Music Store? The thing that has everyone in a tizzy, has users and musicians and record execs alike all holding hands and singing its praises? The thing that’s only available for Macs right now?

And that’s it for his reasons. Aw, man. I rest my case.

The Keychainsaw™

would be exactly as it sounds: a keychain with a pocket-sized chainsaw attached. Perfect for cutting holes in thin doors, slicing stale baguettes, vagrant robbery, rodent butchery or mob-style finger removal.

Dream Review #5

Setup: I am wrenched from the edge of sleep by the harrowing sounds of urban animal combat. Who knows what creatures were involved, exactly, but the conflict was so explosive that many neighbours came out of their homes to investigate. Not me. I was bound for Dreamland.

Dream: A creature unlike any other glides through the neighbourhood, startling the local fauna on their nightly jaunts. It’s part animal, part machine; it’s very very low to the ground, but its tentacles and proboscises, its long wheeled supports, stretch out a fair distance. It’s painted bright colours like a hippie’s van, or a poisonous frog. Its stomach is a metal cage, and you can see a dog inside it, whimpering, unhurt but terrified. The creature rolls about silently, dreadfully.

Review: I seem to be good at generating monsters. This dream’s creature is of high caliber, yet nothing happens. We see evidence of one kill, and the feeling of others, but all the action seems to be offscreen. And where’s the conflict? Will the local animals rise up to destroy it? Will one heroic human hunt it down? Or will a ragtag bunch of local cats enlist the help of the surly yet good-hearted North American Night Scavengers and together outwit the menacing newcomer?

I give this dream two and a half stars.

Ring Porn

BBC article on whether porn will be the ‘killer app’ of 3G (video)phones sez “mobile firms currently make more money from selling ringtones than the entire net porn industry.” I fit right into this stat: I’ve bought ringtones of Paid In Full, The Final Countdown, Party All the Time and Push It over the past few months, yet I’ve bought no porn. However, if someone pioneered a way to make ringtones pornographic, maybe I’d buy that. (via Gizmodo)

Space Race 2

The Chinese are due to send a man into space this fall. The Brits have sent a robot to Mars; its landing will be closely followed by a Japanese one this winter. India plans a manned moon mission by 2015. Even though the US and Russia have toned things down, the rest of the world is picking up the slack, even if it is only for symbolic reasons, like the urge to build ever-taller skyscrapers, or the drive to create a perfect pair of robot monkey pants.

Email me!

I’m having problems with my main account, so if you need to get in touch, try d at skitfaced dot com. Also, I’ll have something about NXNE up later today, as I’m sure many of you wish to discuss the majesty of White Cowbell.
UPDATE: Problem is now fixed so email away! Also, resend anything you tried to send this week – I didn’t get it.

Dorky Auctions

Rob’s curious eBay auctions: the Death Tape from The Ring went for $18 and the fake clock for $9, but the briefcase of diamonds* fetched only $24. There’s still time to bid on Rex the Awesome fun plush pal.

NXNE 2003 Roundup

Ah yes, the North By Northeast, the rockin’ and the poppin’ and the just not-stoppin’, all last weekend long.

Thursday was unimpressive because Now’s critics are easily impressed. We followed some critic’s picks to the Velvet Underground for a) The Candidates, who were dull, then b) The Illuminati, who made prog-metal seem boring, and then c) Moneen, and if they’re The Next Big Thing I’m a soiled chesterfield. Contrast with critic Tim Perlich’s opinions: a) “very impressive,” b) “even the emo types who could be seen mock headbanging at the beginning of the Illuminati’s set were soon doing it in earnest right alongside their hairier counterparts from the burbs,” c) “All the excitement had people whispering, ‘Next Sum41.’” Were we even at the same show? We bailed after two Moneen songs, bore witness to absurd lines at the outside of the club, and even worse lines at the Horseshoe. Music, meet lineups. Lineups will squeeze the joy out of you, music, look out! Even a last ditch attempt at music listening in the belly of the Cameron was thwarted by the lineup monster.

Friday started at the El Mocambo with Wabi‘s electronic music showcase. I think we caught the tail end of Dick Richards. It was clanging minimalist house, which I quite liked, and then polmo polpo brought it on with some mournful disco, and my like-on grew. We fled almost unwillingly at this point, target: Rivoli by 11 so as to get in for Tangiers‘ 12am set – but we were eaten by a lineup! One hour early is no longer good enough for NXNE, apparently. Fleeing near-defeat, we sought solace in the Reverb. We were repulsed by Rubberman, then engaged by [a band whose name escapes me, help me out here y] in Holy Joe’s. Then back to the main stage for Alexis on Fire, a hardcore band with a boatload of stage presence, but not as much talent as the Much crew seemed to think. Yes, you’re right, hardcore’s not really my thing.

Saturday. Let’s start it easy with top-class fiddlin’. Let’s take a chance on some unknown Aussies. Let’s chug n’ run. Let’s not fuck around with the lineup monster, so we head to the Elmo. Not busy yet, go upstairs for sweet breaks from phat conductor, D-Monic and Robb G. Love to stay but we need to be downstairs for the big show. Finally, a tactical defeat of the lineup beast! The Salteens go on first and are a welcome powerpop surprise, then genero-punk disappointments Maximum Rn’R bring shit down a notch. But fear not, closing band is the best band yet: yes, White motherfucking Cowbell Oklahoma. We could call it Allman Bros. on crack, if that weren’t shatteringly unoriginal; let’s settle on mock-southern rock-carnies on fire, as it better reflects my dash-based adjective-accumulative style (ah the secret art of the one-line summary). I had caught only the tail end last year, so this year was well-deserved payback for my rock receptors. If you thought any band had rocked before, well you think again: witness the crowd give itself over; witness the coaxing, the charm, then the music, which is better than it needed to be – these dudes can write a lick; check out the lungs on Miss Bunny Blagina; note to self: how do they pull off cowboy outfits without seeming gay?; thrill to the live on-stage shaving of “the motherfucking hippie”; fear and respect the chainsaw. Here’s an inside scoop: the cowbells wanted to destroy the Elmo. They had coleslaw distribution and meat bombs in mind. However, they made the mistake of a mass emailing and the club got wind, informed NXNE officials, and the Cowbell were banned. Only after promises of a tame show were they cleared to play. (Last year they were banging gongs with flaming guitars, for example.) Also, heads up as they have a gig at the end of the month – 27th at the Horseshoe. Git ready with a few tracks.

In summary: lines suck, get some bigger venues next year, NXNE! There are some great and underappreciated electronic acts in the T-dot. All hail our new Cowbell overlords.


Interesting that King‘s thing about the tastelessness of Avalanche deodorant ads in light of actual, deadly avalanches has attracted the attention of the friends of those killed.

Promax Gold

A spot I directed/produced/wrote/edited won gold at Promax, kinda the Oscars for the TV promo world. It was a cheapo li’l thing promoting the Blair Witch Project airing on Space, which I shot with my pals, which went head-to-head against big budget US cable channels and cracked they skullz. Not to get all acceptance-speech here, but I’m thrilled, so cheers guys who worked on it & those who work for Space & make it a great place to work. Plus I’d like to thank Jesus… I’ll try and get a clip of it online for all to peruse.

The Slave Trader vs. the Bunny

God I love Vincent Gallo. Brown Bunny Cannes screening flops in a flareout of booing. Gallo apologizes: calls his film “a disaster and a waste of time.” Ebert calls it “the worst movie in the history of the Cannes Film Festival.” Gallo calls Ebert a “fat pig” with “the physique of a slave-trader.” Ebert: “It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of ‘The Brown Bunny.’” Nonetheless, like y, I won’t miss this film for the world.