g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
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Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Friday, March 9, 2007
20:51 - Calling all techno music types
http://www.grotto11.com/blog/MysterySong.mp3

(top)
What the hell is this song?

It's been stuck in my head for weeks now, but I can't for the life of me think where I heard it or what it's called. Finally I broke down and mocked it up in GarageBand for your listening displeasure. Don't worry, it's only a four-measure loop. But if anyone has a clue what it is, you'll be helping me sleep again.

UPDATE: Changed it to an MP3. GarageBand doesn't give you any export options.


12:31 - With a baang, not with a whimper
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/print/3/2

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So this is our glorious future, is it?

Most urban South Koreans live in apartments the size of a walk-in closet, and some may eat nothing but 200 kinds of kimch'i, but they are truly, deeply wired. They don't use the term "broadband" because there is nothing else. They can get a 100-megabit DSL line for $20 a month. The internet streams glass-smooth HDTV and better-than-MP3 music on demand. Korea's Daum.net, a hydra-headed Yahoo!/eBay/Amazon/PayPal/Blogger/ Skype monster, is one of the world's most popular sites, despite accessibility limited only to those who understand the Korean language. The online community Cyworld.com (sort of a Friendster/MySpace/Blogger/ IRC/Flickr) has pulled in a fifth of all South Koreans, including 90 percent of all Internet users aged 20-29.

. . .

How has the landscape of Korean gaming developed so differently from our own? The Korean government has gotten involved. Not like in America, where grandstanding Senators bluster about restricting videogame sales. No, the Republic of Korea promotes gaming.

Would it by cynical and curmudgeonly of me to mutter something about "bread and circuses" here?

Via Penny Arcade.

UPDATE: Also via PA, hizzoly crizzap. So this is what all that "next-generation" talk is about. Games like this, with realistic physics models informing every part of the world, are as big a step up from the now-traditional 3D stuff as 3D was from 2D.


09:23 - Um.... unh? Humm.
http://www.jaber.net/AAFS%2DReunion%2D2006/ReunionTour/default.htm

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You can't go up to the old Air Force radar station at the summit of Mount Umunhum on the southern skyline of San Jose... but old Air Force veterans who used to be stationed there apparently can, on special occasions.


So that's what that big concrete box thing looks like up close.

Gorgeous clear day for photography, too. Don't miss the panorama.

Thursday, March 8, 2007
09:14 - Only 34-inch wheels? Get outta here, kid, ya bother me
http://www.autoblog.com/photos/bentley-brooklands/

(top)
Look, even the Bentley Brooklands suffered a reduction in wheel size and side glass narrowness on its way to market:


Doesn't anybody feel confident enough to draw a concept car they way it might actually, y'know, be sold?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007
16:10 - Intramural
http://zoomquilt2.madmindworx.com/zoomquilt2.swf

(top)
This (via Chris) is pretty bloody cool. It's the second such effort, too, apparently.

What I find interesting about this is that my high school in Ukiah, CA had something quite similar on the high western wall of the cafeteria/auditorium building. The wall had huge stucco panels about 10 x 20 feet (or bigger; I can't estimate lengths for crap), and one year one enterprising graduating senior did a marvelous fantastical mural covering one of the panels and abruptly stopping at the boundaries. The following year, another senior came along and did his own mural adjoining it, picking up on the surrealistic, Dali-esque floating cement blocks and forest highways and hovering eyeballs and expanding it into the next panel over. For the next several years, it became something of a tradition for a graduating senior to add a panel to the mural, even to the point of painting over the original one once they ran out of wall.

The advantage to doing this digitally, it seems, is that you never run out of wall.

(I'm guessing, by the way, that these are created by taking the previous person's kernel picture, shrinking it down, and then creating your own larger picture around it. Then you get this awesome zooming effect by starting with the newest, outermost image and trucking inward.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007
13:29 - Not bloody likely

(top)
I just got the following random e-mail:

From: Leonid Gudovich <lenny@galaxyvisions.com>
Subject: Hosting Solution Update
Date: March 6, 2007 11:11:10 AM PST
To: Leonid Gudovich <lenny@galaxyvisions.com>

Hi,

I would like to follow up on your Current Hosting Solution. Please let me know if you are in the market to upgrade your solution.

Please visit http://www.galaxyvisions.com/monthly.asp for great dedicated servers and http://www.galaxyvisions.com/vps_windows.asp for VPS

Thank you

Leonid Gudovich. Leonid Gudovich... where have I heard that name before?

Oh yeah. He's the guy who ran WebHostPlus into the ground.

And now is the focus of a lawsuit spanning all the companies that WHP bought and morphed into.

So now "Lenny" is back. With yet another hosting company to jiggle at people. Guys, if anyone out there is in the market for managed hosting: don't fall for it. My friend Chris and I have both forwarded Lenny's latest venture to the WHPlawsuit guys, so just in case anyone who's looking for service doesn't Google the guy's name, they'll have another line of defense against getting suckered in.

Still, this is even funnier, in a way. They deserve each other, huh?


09:15 - Feed the machine
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewRoom?fcId=217643402&id=1

(top)
They just added all the remaining seasons of South Park to iTunes, except for Season 11 (which is showing up on March 13).

They also say it's the brainchild of "Trey Stone and Matt Parker".

Monday, March 5, 2007
18:55 - Nuke & Pave
http://www.cartoonbrew.com/disney/lasseter-article-in-ny-times

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Hey, this could be good. Looks like Lasseter plans to start all over from scratch with Disney Feature Animation, right down to the building:

Another piece of info is that WDFA is planning to move out of their semi-iconic (and architecturally dysfunctional) hat building and into brand-new headquarters in Glendale. At first, I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a huge and unnecessary expenditure to build another studio, even if the current studio does leave a lot to be desired.” But after giving it more thought, I realized what Lasseter and Ed Catmull were doing. What’s notable is not that they’re building a better animation studio, but that they’re moving the whole animation operation off the Burbank lot, far away from the studio’s acrid corporate culture, and creating a separate campus that will hopefully be dominated by passionate artists and storytellers. Looking at it from that perspective, it’s a daring and excellent business decision.

I've been in there. It's a dang cool building, to be sure, though it's when the occupant's fortunes turn sour that you stop talking about it as being "whimsical" and start using words like "architecturally dysfunctional". Inside, it's all light-beige-painted exposed metal handrailings over the cavernous atrium that occupies that big weird curving part that faces the freeway, and once you go into the actual studio floors it's just cubicle-land like anywhere else (well, except for all the storyboard sheets taped to the hallway walls).

The entryway was really the best part: you walk in from the spreading parking lot under the giant Sorcerer's Apprentice hat, and down a hallway with glass display cases showing off ancient animation treasures (when I visited, there were pencilled sheets from Snow White featuring some of the original, less-PC Dwarfs, such as Deafy). You get to the front desk and you feel like you're awaiting admittance into the presence of Oz the Great and Powerful, and you expect at any moment to be grabbed roughly by the shoulders and marched back down the hallway and propelled back out into the hazy Southern California sunshine.

But that was back in the late 90s. Since 2001, the parking lot of the Animation building has been occupied by this giant Stalinist-wedding-cake-looking building, the ABC/Capital Cities headquarters, whose cold black shadow falls across the blue Mickey hat in those long afternoons.


Over the years it's looked more and more like the Animation building is just some disused warehouse out behind the dark and hulking skyscraper, something someone ought to clear out of there and free up some parking spots for the real movers and shakers. It's only once you get a little further east on the 134 that you see the huge letters on that curving atrium: ANIMATION. And you wonder what happened to make it look so insignificant.

So now Lasseter's going to up anchor and move to a new building, huh? Good for him. It pains me to see the Animation building be abandoned, but I can't say it's surprising—and if he's going to resurrect the studio, it's just as well that he do it somewhere where there aren't any looming corporate megaliths peering in the windows, or ghosts of disgruntled artists prowling the halls.

I'm actually kinda surprised—pleasantly—that he kept it within the limits of the Burbank/Glendale/Hollywood nexus, hellaciously expensive though it must be. I was half expecting them to move to Korea or something. Or Wisconsin...


15:13 - I thought he was working on a book
http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/07/0307/030507.html

(top)
Long ago I stopped doing regular "hey, look at this one" types of links to Lileks—I figured everyone who knew about him read him on a daily basis anyway, and those people disinclined to agree with his take on things would have wandered off of their own accord. Besides, now that I have comments I can probably expect some browbeating for baa'ing and pointing the underlined zombie-finger.

But I just want to link this one myself, if for no other reason than so I can find it later.

At age 31, the possibilities loom over me of whether I ought to explore a few other options for living. The California suburbs seem to suit me well, but everyone's always saying how much better things are at the other ends of the spectrum—why, I could live in the hustle and the bustle of New York and be bowled head over heels by the throngs that cluster the sidewalks at 4AM, or I could cash out of the Internet economy and build a mansion in Oklahoma or rural Alaska or somewhere. But really, what kind of life would that be, and what kind of life would I realize too late that I'd given up?

If only we got several lifetimes to experiment, eh?

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© Brian Tiemann