June 23rd, 2007

Upside-down bunneh with pawpads

(no subject)

Well, I think I'm sorta ready to start accosting people for conversation here again. =:D Be warned! If we're listed as mutual friends, I do want to keep in touch with you. Probably even if not. =:) Anyway - it's probably not going to be feasible to catch up with everything everyone's been up to in the past few weeks, so please, if there's anything I should hear about, do let me know, either here or in email.

As for what I've been doing? Roughly along the lines of what I said, actually, though it wound up leaning heavily on the musical side. I've been starting to get into basic musical theory, as well as dabbling with Reason 3, Logic Express 7, Reaktor 5, Dimension Pro, and Acoustic Legends HD, as well as getting properly into LSL, in part thanks to fleetfur, who happened to have a local copy of the LSL Wiki kicking around; a copy of which now resides on my PSP, for easy reference in the park, or just lying on my back. ^_^

mycroftb recently happened upon a few rabbits near his own warren - here's the best clip. It is YouTube, so the resolution's nothing special, but still.. there they are. ^_^ It's a different peacefulness I find in watching that, compared to red panda footage, but tranquility nonetheless.

He also noticed a particularly neat bit of guerilla theater: The Moebius, wherein Improv Everywhere members repeated a five minute sequence of events in a Starbucks almost flawlessly, over the course of one hour, with no indication of what was going on. The account given is deliciously entertaining. ^_^

One minute DJ, finger sized. =:D And from 2006's Siggraph presentations, two brief spots (coincidentally, both German) that appealed to me - the first out of extreme silliness, the second for the superbly realistic character animation. Voilà! Kuhfo and Gez the Black Sheep.

If anyone's feeling mad enough to turn porsupah into a permanent account, I'd be a happy bunny. ^_^

"Concerns that this month's GayPride festival might lose out because it clashes with the season finale of Doctor Who have led organisers to show the sci-fi favourite on giant screens in Trafalgar Square." And attending earlier in the day will be John Barrowman and Freema Agyeman. ^_^ It kicks off at 3pm on June 30.

The power of an editor is.. nowhere to be found in this pizza recipe. The comments are priceless. ^_^ "I followed the instructions to the T and the result was inedible. It was like biting into my own refrigerator even though I used a supermarket's one. Will not make again."

Here's a few fun tracks: Brav, Growler, Voices of India Revisited, and Something Good. Just try listening to Brav without bouncing to it. =:D

The nifty part? Here are their source files, for Reason 3, courtesy of their composers: Brav, Growler, Voices of India Revisited, and Something Good. ^_^ So there you can see exactly how all the sounds were accomplished, or render them to 24-bit 96kHz AIFF. (Which, indeed, you'll probably need to do with Growler anyway - it's a particularly complex rack)


St Petersburg witnesses one of the largest pieces of furry artwork I've ever seen. ^_^

Music video for the day: Beck - "Girl". Good track, and quite a creatively amusing video.

Memorable idiocy with a BMW. (Shame about their reputation - the cars are superb; it's just the idiots at the wheel who sometimes exhibit an arrogance and disregard only later developed into a way of life by some suburban SUV drivers)

otter3 pointed out these spiffy furry action figures, including this lapine example.

With only days to go until Ratatouille's US release, the first trailer for Pixar's next work has come out: Wall-E. "The year is 2700. WALL•E, a robot, spends every day doing what he was made for. But soon, he will discover what he was meant for. From Academy Award®-winning director, Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo), WALL•E is the story of one robot’s comic adventures as he chases his dream across the galaxy."

Fascinating project - seems like a cross between the best points of Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia. 'The world's scientists plan to compile everything recorded about the Earth's 1.8 million known species and put it all on one Web site, open to everyone. The effort, called the Encyclopedia of Life, will include species descriptions, pictures, maps, videos, sound, sightings by amateurs, and links to entire genomes and scientific journal papers. The project will take about 10 years to complete. "It's an interactive zoo", said James Edwards, who will be the encyclopedia's executive director. The new encyclopedia should fill about 300 million pages. Funding of $12.5 million to cover the first 2-3 years of work is already in place.' The Encyclopedia of Life.

For really obscure 70s/80s music, Mutant Sounds looks like being an excellent weblog resource. An example of what you'll find: Philippe Doray - Asociaux Associes, a highly odd LP from 1978.

Chemical Brothers "We Are the Night" - buy. Is good. Much more diverse than their previous work, including several guests.

Short for the day comes from Croatia: Plasticat, a furry tale of a somewhat overactive conscience.

I've mentioned the QuickTime wonder-plugin Perian before, but you might not realise there's a new version out, not mentioned on the front page yet - download a beta of v1.0 here [edit: or not..]. Amongst other new niftiness, it now offers Matroska support, as well as for SRT and SSA subtitles.

Here's Danny Byrd guiding us through Under the Sea, a d&b track he arranged in Logic Pro. It's pretty neat hearing each of the (too many, as he himself apologises early on =:) tracks individually, then in their group, giving a feel for how essential layering is in drum & bass.

Furry music video alert: werewuf in Fatboy Slim - Wonderful Night. And the XRS d&b remix, which I'd say is better than the original.

Daft Punk fans might enjoy this Palms Out Sounds entry on the origin of some of their core samples and melodies.. wonderfully diverse.

If you've ever been to a good Chinese restaurant, and wondered just what's on the Chinese menu, rather than the English version, here's a site of interest that guides you through the Chinese ideograms you'll find in a restaurant setting, explaining how their meanings are derived, all very informally. And I echo his sentiments about the neon rabbit.

Nifty space project for the week: Darwin. It'll consist of four craft stationed at the L2 point - three 3-meter telescopes, and one acting as a communications hub. Its mission: to seek out new life and new civilisations. Well, extraterrestrial life, at any rate. ESA hopes to launch the craft around 2015.

patch_bunny found Steam Trek: The Motion Picture - a spot of silent era sci-fi. =:) And, he also noticed Kimono's House, a remarkably enjoyable My Little Pony strip with implausibly detailed sets. Yay!

We Are Dad: "The Lofton-Croteaus are an amazing family: Headed by Roger and Steven, their contagious charm and humor has been key in coping with the rigors of raising Frank, Tracy, Bert, Wayne & Ernie. The dads also cope with the pressure of America’s most overtly anti-gay climates in its history; 4 of the kids have HIV/AIDS, 3 are of mixed race, 2 are from a backwoods Oregon Cult, and 1 of the kids, Bert, is at the center of one of the most hotly contested legal battles of this decade - gay adoption.

Bert was born HIV positive, but at age 3 he sero-reverted, meaning he now tests HIV negative. The result is that Florida, who deemed the parents good enough to foster a sick, unwanted child, considers the dads inadequate to adopt that same, now healthy, child. Why? Because of Florida's discriminatory complete ban on gay adoption."

I do like the design of the A-bike - just check out that folded size, and its weight. You can see a corporate video for it here, including seeing (a) just how portable it is, (b) yes, you can actually ride it, too.

A feature on John Williams, director with lapine inclinations.

Well, there's a new sound to me.. Brazilian drum & bass. Still characteristic of the genre, but at least going by this collection, with strong Latin influences, often positively laid back at the same time as holding the frenetic rhythm. Very cool.

Despite the general domanance of Google, the search engine field's still seeing a lot of growth and diversity. Seeqpod specialises in finding music. For each match, you can listen to it using the site's Flash player, download it, and find associated weblogs, MySpace, Wikipedia, lyrics, tour dates, and places to buy it.

That's handy to know - Logic Express can read and convert Akai format sample CDs. Its EXS24 sample unit can read the discs, and import any or all of the samples contained, winding up as individual AIFFs in ~/Library/Application Support/Logic/AKAI Samples.

An intriguing synthesiser of sorts: the Reactable. "The Reactable is a collaborative musical instrument, with a table-shaped tangible interface. Several musicians control the instrument simultaneously by placing and moving specially designed transparent objects on a translucent tabletop. The users can create complex, dynamic sonic topologies by moving the objects together and interconnecting them in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language. Each object has a different audio function, including sound generators, pitch filters, audio modulators, etc."

Here's a good review of Cakewalk's Dimension Pro synth. It's sample based at its core, but those soundbanks (and they're fairly extensive, occupying around 8GB on disk) really only form the basis for many more possibilities, as you'll read there. Very cool stuff.

Want to write your own AU and VST plugins? SonicBirth (OS X only) lets you do just that, for free. Cross-platform, there's also CPS, offering the ability to act as a VST or Flash plugin, or a C++ or Java toolkit. Be warned, on the Windows front, you'll need at least a P-166 with MMX and 32MB. (For the OS X download, you'll probably want to explicitly save the file somewhere - as it's being served as text/plain, just clicking on the link will bring the archive up in the browser as a "text" file)

I've found my perfect iTunes visualiser: magnetosphere. High framerate, highly responsive to the music, and absolutely packed with shiny things. =:D Free (though they're coy about whether it'll remain that way), available for OS X and Windows.

Of course, maybe you're bored with softsynths and all that dull portability - how about a nice Serge Modular?

As the interview says, you probably haven't heard of Tom Zé; but it's a fascinating look at reassembling music and found sounds in a wholly Brazilian way. "Because all my roots are in my country's folkloric music, which I still listen to, and I still have friends who play it. I adopt the same ethics. But at the same time I studied in a modern university where I learned the post-Schoenberg technology of serialism, dodecaphonics, and I learned these things without having the least necessity of using them. And I can't use them. That's how I live, completely nourished by the past. I never have the pretension of making music of the future, only the eternal necessity of entertaining, of bringing joy, of combatting boredom, of not repeating what has already been done, and with the contradiction of saying that I plagiarize everything."

w00t! There's now a Mac version of DEFCON. ^_^

A new version of Shiira's out, and whilst it doesn't quite match OmniWeb 5, it's well worth checking out if you're stuck with Safari.

You really should enjoy all the sights of Australia.

What do you want networking to be able to do for you in the future? Cisco wants to hear about your vision of "connected life", in the form of an essay of up to 1,000 words - with a grand prize of $10,000, and ten of $1,000. ^_^ Closes on Sep 14 2007, and it's open to residents of the US, Canadia, the UK, Australia, and Japan.

Sexy Alien Cartoon Band "makes fun of the blatant sexuality in music videos. SonicBoing is really a one man band because I did all of the animation and the music."

I'm not much of one for breakfast, preferring a more Mediterranean style of making the main meal a late dinner, but these Annie's cereals seem like a good choice for the more AM-inclined. How can you refuse Honey Bunnies or CinnaBunnies? =:D

A sort of bunny music video, "Lapinous" - definitely recommended, as it's actually well edited. Cool soundtrack, ne?

Favorite J-Pop band name spotted to date: "Bump of Chicken".

They've done it! Parallels 3.0 now features 3D acceleration. All the benefits of virtualisation, with native performance, as they demonstrate there with Quake 4 under XP, while the rest of the system purrs along under Tiger. (Previously, if you wanted to play a Windows game on an Intel Mac, that required booting into Windows using Boot Camp) And IIRC, VMWare also intend similar 3D support.

Fascinating article on the terrifying sex organs of male turtles. It's genuinely educational, as well as amusing; don't miss the Brisbane river turtle one reader submits in the comments. Actually, read all the comments, and don't snicker too loudly if you're at work. And I'm not quite sure if this link is strictly safe, given a rather memorable, boggleworthy picture of an Argentine Lake Duck.


"Rickay's Night Out", as spotted by mycroftb. (NSFW)

So, Doctor Who reached an astonishing peak with Paul Cornell's two-parter, Human Nature and Family of Blood - not simply a very good story, but an occasion for the actors to show what they're genuinely capable of. Congratulations are in order for all concerned, for a superlative moment of television, casting forth into prominence what makes life worthwhile. One for the show's annals, and most likely, to receive recognition beyond its fen.

Yoshimune - take a samurai comedy, put it in the present time, and make the character designs reminiscent of the Powerpuff Girls style. It's fun. ^_^ Only three episodes subbed at the moment, though.

Darker than Black - notable. Vaguely sci-fi/fantasy/detective/renegade.

Lovely Complex - good stuff. Reminiscent of Kare/Kano, but more satisfying. The animation stylings will offend those who dislike anime, but the animators obviously have a good understanding of comic timing and expression. It's a simple enough premise - girl's very tall, boy's very short, and they both have something of a developed complex about their respective conditions. And true enough, they wind up getting along very well, despite that being about the last thing either of them want.

Bokurano [view opening titles] - very good. We join a group of seventh-graders on an island beach, playing and exploring, when one of them suggests seeing what's inside a nearby cave. They go further and further in, when they see some light, which turns out to be from a series of large LCDs. It's from a "game", and the designer invites them to test it out. That evening, they all wake up on the beach, wondering what just happened, when the giant robot in the game appears for real, and blinks them aboard. The designer comes clean, and admits the combat they were simulating will now be for real. It's got several Ghibli staff on board, making this Gonzo production an unusual combination, with more of an emphasis on character interplay than might otherwise be anticipated; the manga's from the same person behind Narutaru, and there are certainly some familiar influences. Worth following, after two eps.

Gigantic Formula - apparently derived from a spam subject line, it's quite reminiscent of Evangelion, with the mecha here each representing a different nation in one-on-one battles. I'm not much of one for mecha shows, but this has a good feel to it, with character designs by the person responsible for the somewhat different Kamichu, and the mecha apparently representing a Who's Who of mecha designers. Two episodes in, it's rather derivative, but still a lot of fun - the talent involved shines through. Five in, and I'm sold. The basic elements may not be novel, but the writing's quite good.

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge - four bishies living in a mansion are landed with the owner's daughter, on the understanding they turn her into a "proper lady". Catch is, she's the übergoth. All very over the top, and enjoyable enough.. but I'm not sure I'll continue with it.

Kami-chama Kirin - magical girl. Think Card Captor Sakura meets Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar - it's extremely cute stuff.

Rocket Girls [view opening titles] - silly and it knows it, but doesn't mind. A nascent spaceflight program's in trouble, and they have to regress to an earlier version of rocket - but that means having to trim a lot of weight, including the pilot's. On hearing they want him to go down to 40kg, he decides it'd be a good move to flee in a light armored vehicle across the jungle, only to come across a girl who's come to the island in search of her father, last seen there several years ago, on his honeymoon, when he abruptly vanished. The director thinks they might as well use her as an astronaut instead. After two eps, another I'll probably keep watching, but not as a priority.

Moonlight Mile was off to another promising start, too, but five eps in, I'm not impressed with the quality of the writing, which is little better than many fanfics. I may fetch another few eps at some point, to see if it improves, but I suspect I'll be leaving it there.

Five centimeters per second - enchanting and wistful, the first part's the simple tale of a boy travelling to meet a friend he's not seen in a year; though I couldn't help but feel a cellphone would've made things a lot simpler for both of them. ^_^;


.. also available in fully animated form!

Back into the world of live action cinema, Daft Punk's Electroma was rather disappointing. A reasonable enough concept, but ploddingly produced. Slow pacing can be fine - gods know, Stalker's a superlative example, but there, the film was given life by Tarkovsky's exceptional talent for composition and observation. Here, the footage reminded me more of a home movie with neat props. Still, points for the robofetishism. =:)

Prize for the month, though, is unquestionably The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, with the feel of a classic Ghibli. Whilst there is time travel, it's ultimately about the people involved, their feelings, and their lives. Very well animated, with a great eye for the subtleties of body language, so often lacking in anything but top-notch animation, and seldom from the Western studios. I shan't say more - watch it instead. (You'll need a player that understands Matroska containers, like VLC or MPlayer; I'd recommend the latter, as its support for subtitles is superior - VLC adds the text to the decoded image, then scales, making the font and the shadow highly pixellated, and doesn't line-wrap long sentences. They're both good choices, though, as they'll handle just about anything you throw at them, with no need to mess around with working out what codecs are needed) Strongly recommended.

And by way of a real contrast to some of these rather derivative series, there's Dennou Coil [view opening titles]. Set a little into the future, with pervasive VR via normal-seeming glasses or goggles, it's another world, or maybe not far from ours. Not VR in the sense of being in some closed room and reality's created for you, but instead, seamlessly overlaid onto the real world. Imaginative and well-written, it's much more Ghibli than Lain, resulting in something of both. Give this a try, even if you're not usually much of one for anime. (And it wins an award of some kind for relevant use of IPv6 in one scene =:)

I miss my sake bento. I think I'll have to pay it a visit this summer.

[Eep! I don't seem to be receiving any LJ email notifications today]