Archive for May, 2011


Please, take no offence, but sports are stupid.  They really are – I mean, I understand that they are war-proxies, they’re excellent team building, camaraderie forming, strategy teaching forms of exercise – however, they are, fundamentally, daft.  Throwing egg shaped balls at each other?  Attempting to bounce little yellow spheres inside lines with a bouncy net on a stick?  What kind of sense does that make?

Well, I’ll tell you – just as much sense as my previous favorite sport (Kabaddi) and my new joint fave (Bo-Taoshi).

While Bo-Taoshi (or Boutaoshi) is doing the rounds on the internet, with people calling it the new Japanese sport, it seems it’s been around since before 1973, so not quite as new as purported.

How is it played?  Well, grab two massive teams of people, designate an attackers team and a defenders team, then give the defenders a tall telegraph pole with a stick on the end, and tell them that their only mission is to keep that pole upright.  The attackers?  Well, they just leap, scramble, wrestle and fight their way into the scrum, with the goal of bringing the pole down to 30 degrees to the horizontal.  There – that makes as much sense as the offside rule, really.

Terraria videogame screen shot - showing player made tree village, merchant, helper and nurse.

Player-Made Forest Village with NPC Housing in Terraria

[Updated post with a video tutorial and more decorating tips, here!]

Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Terraria – a lovely little 2d side scrolling game where you fight monsters, build homes for NPCs, mine for ores and treasure, and explore from the top of the skies to the depths of hell.  It’s just one of the batch in a relatively recent revival of interest in games with mining and building – from the insanely brilliant (and insanely inaccessible) Dwarf Fortress, to the breakout hit, Minecraft (with Infiniminer before it), and now Terraria.  Each one takes a different graphical approach, but each one has you stepping into an uncaring, unknown, wilderness with just a few meager tools with which to bootstrap yourself to self-sufficiency.

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School of Athens, by Rafael/Raphael

The School of Athens painting, by Raphael

I’ll get straight to the point – the following article about a philosopher successfully teaching 8-9 year old children how to count in binary using the Socratic Method, over the course of a single Friday afternoon (think back to your own Friday afternoon level of concentration in school) seems nothing short of magic.

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More Animations: Second Wind

Rooting through the old archives of Ufunk.net, I found another lovely student animation called Second Wind.  This one almost brought tears to my eyes.

Watch, for a lovely old man and his rather large cat, fishing and playing together, until an unexpected encounter upsets their relationship.  Made by Ian Worrel, in his last year of CalArts.  Lovely.

Don’t try to make sense of this animated short from French Goeblins school in 2008 – because I’m not sure it makes any.  Still – if you’ve wanted to see a boy, fishing for monsters in the puddles of a multicolored, multi-leveled shanty, then this is the animated short for you.

Seen at Ufunk.net.

Mauro Colagreco, Bob Noto photography

Not pureed asteroid parasite - sea urchin with saffron, coriander and parsley foam.

Sometimes I hanker for sci-fi food – which, I admit, doesn’t make any kind of sense.  I want something so strange, peculiar and out there, that it just couldn’t come from our planet or time!  However, searching for sci-fi food will get you half a million results for gagh, scores of cocktail recipes for pan galactic gargle blasters, and a handful of very well thought out methods for making problematic ice planet desserts.  All well and good – but not alien enough for me – I don’t want the food of an existing franchise, but something odd in and of itself.

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Indian Fortune Telling Robot

Indian fortune-telling robot at Magh Mela fair

I love this – I love that there are fortune telling robots scattered across fairs and markets in India.  These plastic mystics, these fiberglass fortune-tellers, are studded with garish LEDs, sport a clock embedded in their crotch, and frequently a pair of voltmeters or ammeters, one in each pectoral.  Lastly, and most importantly, there are multiple headphone sockets, usually in the hips or waist.

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Light Muses EL-bodysuit by Visual Drugstore

Light Muses EL-bodysuit by Visual Drugstore

EL wire is a gift to anyone who’s ogled Tron – indeed, EL wire is far more high tech and real than the original Tron effects could dream of!  The slinky outfit above is from Visual Drugstore, and while I love the effect, two things about it worry me –

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I admit; I’m terrible at chess, so I find it somewhat peculiar that I have a love of, and some small amount of skill in, top-down, turn-based, strategy games like XCOM and Valkyria Chronicles.  While the royal game has me getting lost in permutations, games like Frozen Synapse have me bluffing and double-bluffing my opponents like Sun Tzu himself.

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Slingers is a heist movie in space – the swinging 60’s on a space ship – with suits so sharp they’re holographic.  If Firefly was the sci-fi version of the 1880’s American old West, then this is 80 years later when the martinis are dirty and the the chips are down.  Maybe it’ll get made, maybe it won’t – but I could definitely do with some sexy-smooth sci-fi on my TV again.

(And I love  the yellow space suit at 54 seconds in.)