Valor's Minion

“The old, slow, creaking descriptions are a thing of the past; today the rule is brevity - but every word must be supercharged, high-voltage.”
--Yevgeny Zamyatin

—Let It Go (8 bit)

Let It Go (8 bit)

"Let It Go" 8-Bit version. It was really only a matter of time.

(Source: tyforce-of-courage)

Find of the day: Redbull Coffee

Around here, we experiment with food. A lot. (Phil’s cantaloupe-bacon, this morning….)

But today, we stumbled (via Google-suggestion, for “making coffee with”—I was looking for “making coffee with wine”) on the idea of making coffee with REDBULL.

That is correct, folks. Making coffee. With an energy-drink.

Thoughts?

Questions?

Palpitations?

REDEPLOYMENT

I am almost done reading Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT (which I have been waiting for since October), and will have much more to say later, but simply:

This is one of the most important books that will be published in 2014. No question. And setting the war aside: Klay is one of the best writers I have come across in a helluva long time.

Everyone should read this book.

xchellabella:

You guys have no idea how much money I’d save because I just wanna see the cat all the time.

I know this is just a tchotchke, and that I’d probably use it a ton for a week or two and then lose it in the mess of things (kipple accumulates when you’re not looking)…..
But I’m kinda REALLY tempted to buy this now….

xchellabella:

You guys have no idea how much money I’d save because I just wanna see the cat all the time.

I know this is just a tchotchke, and that I’d probably use it a ton for a week or two and then lose it in the mess of things (kipple accumulates when you’re not looking)…..

But I’m kinda REALLY tempted to buy this now….

(Source: cineraria, via nopeosaurus)

Howl Wind

Yesterday early afternoon, over lunch, I started to read Brian Turner’s Phantom Noise. The poem “Howl Wind” stuck in my mind like shrapnel, and I simply can’t get it out of my mind.

A discussion we had last night in the house served to further ingrain this into my consciousness, and I simply can’t stop thinking about it, rereading it now. It won’t go away.

I present it here for the world, in the hopes that….I don’t know. Just that I need to get it OUT of myself.

HOWL WIND

     I see people riding on shrieking horses,

     steering clouds of sparkbelching fires

     on their way to flame life out of you

—MAHD AL-AADIYYA (4000 BCE)

Launched from its tube, the mortar round

accelerates to what the gunners call

the high angle of hell, the round

suspended over the city lights below,

where any one of us might find ourselves

deep within the very last day of our life,

but wholly unaware of the fact—unaware

that the steel-hard visitations of death

hang from the heavens above,

and if there’s someone we would kiss

good-bye, or a few words we’d rather share

than leave unspoken, then now is the time,

because just as missiles were hurled in fire

from catapults of old, a mortar round

howls a night wind over the city,

and just where it lands

we will see.

— Brian Turner (Phantom Noise, 2010)

I wanted to quote something from it, but that feels wrong. It IS a whole-bodied creature, and it would be a discredit to the full imagery to present just a fragment of it.

I have put two particular sections in bold, but even though these loom large in my eyes, they cannot be separated from the whole.

The new Godzilla movie looks amazing. I’m really impressed by the tone that they’re taking—not just as a monster-movie, but REALLY taking the original film (which was inspired by the terrors of the atomic bomb), and updating it to today’s fears about climate change, global warming, and natural disaster.

As the director, Gareth Edwards, puts it:

Godzilla is definitely a representation of the wrath of nature. We’ve taken it very seriously and the theme is man versus nature and Godzilla is certainly the nature side of it. You can’t win that fight. Nature’s always going to win and that’s what the subtext of our movie is about. He’s the punishment we deserve.

This is gritty and dark—not in the way that the whole trend of superhero movies has gotten, where it’s arbitrarily dark-for-the-sake-of-gritty, where they’re losing sight of what the story means, but….

This interpretation of Godzilla is terrifying in its whole conception. And I hope that they follow through, making the full movie as intense and complexly horrific as that concept implies. That Godzilla is the manifestation of Nature’s wrath, and that he is the judgment we deserve.

That’s a bold statement to make, for a movie nowadays. So much of Hollywood-fare is comforting junkfood for the mind, but this promises to (potentially) be the kind of horror that will haunt you after you leave the theatre. The kind of thing I live for.

This is hilarious, and super-meta. Morgan Freeman, reading dialogue about how awesome it is to have this character voiced BY Morgan Freeman.

I am having a crazy-stressful-exciting morning (head is in five places at once: two new games I’m working on, applying for internships abroad, promoting our startup on a few websites leading up to our St. Patrick’s Day event, working on a game that’ll be presented at the MassDigi Game Challenge, applying for Birthright), and this is a wonderful slice of stressfree-humor.

I’ve been following the Sochi Olympics sporadically this weekend (It’s been a fun and busy weekend for me), and just ran across this wonderful article, about the Red Army Choir’s cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” at the opening ceremony. They’re all very clearly jamming to this, and it’s hilarious.

There are also videos for their covers of "Skyfall", Men At Work’s "Down Under", Queen’s "The Show Must Go On" (which they also made a music video for!), Merle Travis’s "Sixteen Tons", and Lynrd Skynrd’s "Sweet Home Alabama".

Say what you will about Vladimir Putin, the way they’re handling the Sochi Olympics, or Russia in general—but hat’s off to whoever organized this, and to the fellows in the Choir.

Last night, I went to an M.I.T. ‘Sochi Olympics Party’. Whoever set this up put a good deal of effort into the various things there were on the three floors—Canada on top, USA in the middle, and then Mexico in the basement. (You could go to Mexico the normal way, or get smuggled in through the back-stairway…)
There were piñatas in Mexico, and a luchador mask that rotated around the party. America had flags all over, and a few of the guys whose house it was were wearing flag-capes and American-flag pants.
But my personal favorite was the setup for Canada. There were two options for shots: the ice-luge shots (pictured above), where you would put your mouth at the bottom of this block of ice with two tracks carved into it, and someone would pour in some maple syrup, followed quickly by whiskey.
And then Canada-Shots. Where you take a shot, then someone slaps you in the face, and you have to apologize to them. Cuz you’re Canadian.

Last night, I went to an M.I.T. ‘Sochi Olympics Party’. Whoever set this up put a good deal of effort into the various things there were on the three floors—Canada on top, USA in the middle, and then Mexico in the basement. (You could go to Mexico the normal way, or get smuggled in through the back-stairway…)

There were piñatas in Mexico, and a luchador mask that rotated around the party. America had flags all over, and a few of the guys whose house it was were wearing flag-capes and American-flag pants.

But my personal favorite was the setup for Canada. There were two options for shots: the ice-luge shots (pictured above), where you would put your mouth at the bottom of this block of ice with two tracks carved into it, and someone would pour in some maple syrup, followed quickly by whiskey.

And then Canada-Shots. Where you take a shot, then someone slaps you in the face, and you have to apologize to them. Cuz you’re Canadian.

Founding Boys. A remarkable webcomic made by an enthusiastic high school student, which is—as J.L. Bell perfectly sums it up—a “mashup of Revolutionary American history, Japanese manga, British boarding-school stories, and the musical 1776”. 
I am just gonna plunk myself down and read all 51 of these through….

Founding Boys. A remarkable webcomic made by an enthusiastic high school student, which is—as J.L. Bell perfectly sums it up—a “mashup of Revolutionary American history, Japanese manga, British boarding-school stories, and the musical 1776”. 

I am just gonna plunk myself down and read all 51 of these through….

This “Stay in School” ad is the most unabashedly fucked up/hilarious thing I may have EVER seen. It blows all other PSAs out of the water (or possibly off the sand).

And if we weren’t watching The Good, The Bad, The Weird tonight, I would say that it is by far the most insane thing I will see all day.

…..I mean, it still WILL be, but only by a slim margin.

Neil Gaiman, reading Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs & Ham. This is alternately (and occasionally simultaneously) adorable and terrifying.

Just watch.

There are so many things to say about the Old Folkie, but I’ll let him speak for himself (as he always did):

I usually quote Plato, who said: It is very dangerous to allow the wrong kind of music in the republic.

He was never afraid to speak up for what he saw as the worthwhile causes—even after they stopped being the Thing of the Moment. A man of remarkable energy, passion, and courage—RIP Pete Seeger.

Haribo Sugarless = Hell on Earth

Apparently, Haribo has just released a new sugarless Gummy Bear. Which, if you will glance down at the reviews, you can see are being universally reviled for the effect they have on your digestive tract.

I try to keep my language on Tumblr within the realm of good taste, so I won’t quote from any of these directly (although the titles: “Just don’t. Unless it’s a gift for someone you hate.”, “Ideal Gift For Your Congressional Representatives”, etc…). But they are gut-bustingly hilarious.

And this one, "My Dinner with Andrea", is actually a masterpiece of horrifying experience, about the writer’s disastrous date with a German girl which he sets up carefully—and then binges on these sugarless monsters just before she arrives.

"Sind Sie Kaffee machen?" she asked.
Am I making coffee?
I thought I must have mistranslated her at first, then finally I realized that yes, the loud, ominous gurgling coming from my gut could easily be mistaken for the percolating of some bachelor’s crappy coffeemaker.

This just made my day. All of it.

After a long and stressful week, I needed a reminder that there are worse things going on.

I was reminded of this amazing visionary video by someone posting this article on Facebook, with snippets of an interview Asimov gave in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair.

Asimov just speaks so wonderfully, so fluently and accessibly, about the possibilities of technology and what society could become if we harness it and use it to improve ourselves and our world.

It’s uplifting, to listen to him and hear in his voice, just how firmly he believes in what he is saying.

In contrast, however, I want to offer up this passage from “Yes, But Why?”, one of Asimov’s Black Widowers stories, written in 1990. This is a different kind of prophecy—it is true for 1990, but (perhaps accidentally) foreshadows our current culture of social media and publicly-shared personal information.

The following concerns a woman who is being blackmailed, and the possibility that her anonymous tormentor has been finding out sensitive information about her through the Internet:

"…These days no one has any privacy. Everything’s on computers. If someone tapped into the computers, which hackers seem to be doing all the time, they could find out anything they want."

"No, they can’t, Mario," said Avalon, censoriously. "You’re just being paranoid about computers. I don’t deny that computers are full of details about the financial and medical histories of various people, and I admit this raises the possibility of enormous invasions of privacy, but the computers don’t hold everything. You don’t suppose any time a person takes a stamp from the postage drawer, a relay is tripped and the fact is recorded in a computer under the person’s name, address, and Social Security number, do you? Or that every time a teenager explores the boundaries of parental permission, those computers are activated…”

Remarkable, huh? Back in 1990, when finding out about someone’s financial or medical information was what constituted an ‘enormous invasion of privacy’ via the Internet.

If Asimov had only known about Facebook, and our current culture of sharing personal information….