November 26, 2009

A Thousand Roads To Nowhere

Filed under: analog,doom,future,interfaces,life,lunacy,travel — mhoye @ 1:15 am

One Stem

This has been making the rounds recently, an article on how America is all infrastructure, and no people. It’s trite, but the old line about the difference between European and North American cities is that European cities were built for people; the cars got there later. In North America it’s the other way around.

So, cities are built for cars and the people get there later, but what if the people never get there? Turns out, we have an answer for that now. Take a look at this.

Google’s street view of this is fantastic, particularly if you slide back up from it to an overhead view of what’s around you. There’s nothing there, nothing but sand and old road.

The same thing has happened here; a city laid out for cars where the people never showed up. It’s incredibly bleak, and of all the things you can read into this I think what strikes me most is the utter disdain for organic growth and the incredible confidence in the planned-out city being the inevitable future. Why else would you put down that much asphalt? But then nothing happened. And ultimately, it wouldn’t really matter if it had – the organic, human aspect always wins eventually. You wouldn’t think so – it’s a big, planned coherent thing, it looks like it should work! – but it never does.

It occurs to me that this is a judgement on the citizenry, carved into the landscape; these are cities that fundamentally don’t trust their own residents with the reins of the future. I really hope we can add that to the pile of the last century’s bad ideas and walk away from it.

September 23, 2009

Yay, Bathtime!

Filed under: analog,beauty,life,parenting — mhoye @ 4:01 pm

The Pre-Bath Happy

That is all. Feel free to go about your day.

February 13, 2009

Inaccuracies In The Common Understanding

Filed under: analog,awesome,future,lunacy,parenting,weird — mhoye @ 2:40 pm


We’re on the home stretch for futurekid reno-prep, I think. Who knows, though?

My wife is tired and hungry a lot lately, which I believe I have accurately diagnosed to be the fault of the five-pound parasite that’s comandeered her abdomen. It’s really wierd having this thing in my wife’s belly that’s kicking and thrashing around, and how that’s just fine and totally expected. I mean, normally what I’d expect is for something like that to burst out of her chest, skitter across the floor and try to kill me.

I suspect that it will turn out that’s pretty much what happens in real life, except for a brief step between the skittering and the killing that involves changing a lot of diapers, raising it to young adulthood and teaching it to drive.

January 14, 2009

The Seven Things Meme

Filed under: analog,life — mhoye @ 9:09 pm

Thin Ice

Tagged twice, ugh. Thankfully, I only need to reply once. Robcee, I don’t hate you, and Shaver: indeed.

So, apparently the rules of this game are:

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged.

I was tempted to fabricate a variety of lunatic claims here, but I am seized with a fit of frank honestly for some reason. And I save most of my short-burst lunacy for Twitter these days, which is a true statement but because I am feeling charitable will not count against my total.

So my seven facts (microanecdotes?) are:

  1. I used to have a terrible, crushing fear of public speaking. Late in high school, though, I realized all of a sudden (though I wouldn’t have the words to describe what I’d realized until much later) that being embarassed in public is exactly like being bullied in public, and the only way out from under that is to push back. Since then I’ve been told more than once that perhaps I have pushed a bit (and often a lot) too far but, hey, it beats putting random strangers in charge of how you feel and living in fear.
  2. Like beltzner I have a movie credit, though doesn’t appear in IMDB. It was a small indie horror film by Mark Zanin, in which I am credited as “Zombie #1”.
  3. I shaved my goatee for my wedding, which I didn’t particularly like, even though my wife and parents did. I had an earring then as well, which I took out the night before the wedding and haven’t put back.
  4. I am about three-quarters of the way to three different degrees (English Literature, Math and Computer Science) from three different universities, and am working ever so slowly on finishing one of them up at a fourth. I hope to graduate from some University somewhere before futurekid gets out of kindergarten.
  5. At the apartment we lived in just before buying our house, we had a mouse problem, including mice running around in the drop ceiling over our bed. We deployed some effective but pretty shockingly cruel sticky-traps to try to deal with the problem, but my wife was so upset by the thrashing of the mice in the traps that she insisted I set them free. Which you can only do, it turns out, by using oil as a solvent. So I have spent several nights of my life standing in a dark alley in my pajamas, in the snow, pouring cooking oil on stuck, terrified and doubtless also very confused, mice. Most of them on being finally freed would run about two meters, turn around and look back at me with what I assumed to be the mousy equivalent of a frightened what-the-hell-just-happened-here expression before taking off, and I can’t say that I felt all that different.
  6. If I go to bed before 1:00 AM or so, I inevitably I wake up between three and four in the morning for no reason I can discern. I can usually get to bed again after half an hour or so, but not always; I haven’t slept through the night without substantial chemical assistance in something like fifteen years.
  7. I once owned a pristine copy of Secret Wars #8, in which Spider-man gets his iconic black-and-white outfit. I sold it for quarters, which promptly went towards a few games of Tiger Road at the local corner store. I used to regret that decision, but it turns out you can get the whole set now in hardcover, but I doubt I’ll ever play Tiger Road again, so who knows?

Red rover, red rover, I call Ben, Libid, Luke, Rob, Nikita, Julie and Johnath over.

(Confidential, from Pierre to Gaston: If you’re going to hide the fact that you’ve got a blogue, make the URL less guessable, mon ami!)

December 25, 2008


Filed under: analog,life — mhoye @ 10:24 pm

A Rainy Streetlight
I’ll be in Ottawa from the 26th to sometime on the 29th, but I will not neglect you, internets. You should not believe for a moment that we have fallen out of love. Understand, though, that when a man is far from home pimpin’ is doubly not-easy, even though it is likewise doubly necessary. In the meantime, internets, take care this holiday season. Safe travel to you and yours, and I hope this finds you well.

See you on the other side.

December 6, 2008


Filed under: analog,digital,interfaces,toys,want — mhoye @ 7:09 pm

I’ve finally killed my preferred earbuds (a pair of higher-end Sony earbuds, which were quite happy-making) and when I plugged in the backup earbuds I got with the iPod I couldn’t put up with them for more than a few seconds before putting them back in the box.

It’s not hard for me to believe in the widespread problems with hearing that the death of dynamic range is apparently causing, because the very nearly all of the headphones I’ve tried suck; they’re only marginally better than listening a novelty greeting card hidden in a burning paper bag.

That’s not an exaggeration, by the way – having a good pair of headphones is a profound and somewhat embarrassing revelation; it is finding out that you’ve only been listening to half your music all this time. You can immediately see what turns hardcore audiophiles into the gullible lunatics they are, and you might never listen to the radio again. I’m not going down all the way down that road, because I’m not a millionaire sucker, but I’m going to take a few tentative steps in that direction. So, people: what do I want here? I think the answer is this widget plus a certain set of in-ear earbuds, but I’m not sure where the sweet spot is between dollars and quality.

Any suggestions?

September 29, 2008

Improv Armageddon

Filed under: analog,awesome,doom,lunacy,weird — mhoye @ 4:32 pm

To Street

Here’s an idea I just had put to me, and it’s a great one. You know those Improv Everywhere people, who brought you Frozen Grand Central and the army of blue-shirt-clad Best Buy non-employees?.

They need to get together somewhere in downtown Manhattan and stage a bank run.

That’s all.

American Psychodrama

Filed under: analog,lunacy,want — mhoye @ 12:23 am

Ground Level

A while ago, this fellow put together the shower scenes from the classic and remade versions of Psycho with one transparently overlaid on the other, so you could see the ostensible differences between the two.

If one of you could take it upon yourselves to do the same thing for Sarah Palin’s appearance on Katie Couric’s show and Tina Fey’s rendition of the same on Saturday Night Live, it would be very much appreciated.

On a related note: I’ve mentioned my love of Google’s autocomplete suggestions before, but: “John”-space suggests “Lewis” and “Edwards” ahead of “McCain”, who narrowly edges out “Mayer” and “Deere”. Palin loses out to Brightman and Silverman respectively, with Michelle Gellar and McLachlan rounding out the top five.

Unsurprisingly, Barack Obama is at the top of his list, but I thought it was a bit surprising that Joe-space goes straight for Biden beating out, among others, Satriani, Cocker and Montana.

July 23, 2008

A Second Attempt At Retrocinema

Filed under: analog,toys — mhoye @ 10:30 am

So, the weather didn’t cooperate last week, and it doesn’t look great for this week. Apparently Toronto is where Vancouver people spend summer, or something. And in completely unrelated news, everything with the environment is fine.

But we’re going to make a second attempt anyway. Screw you, climate.

This Saturday night, weather permitting (and in all likelihood, we’ll just move the whole show inside again if that bit fails) we’ll be doing some more drive-in theater. But not a scifi theme this time, barring some outcry from a prospective audience. I’ve got more of an Early Hitchcock feeling about this one, but we’ll see what happens. The only guarantees are that it will be black and white and starting around eight thirty, and that popcorn will be provided.

As usual, or at least as usual as things get for something that’s happened once in a row, let me know if you’re coming!

July 20, 2008

Moving Pictures, Reviewed

Filed under: analog,awesome,life,toys — mhoye @ 12:40 pm

Those of you who didn’t RSVP, or who lost faith because of the weather, you plain old missed out. We moved the 10×8 screen inside (where it just-just fit, taking up the entire end of my first floor) and watched Them! and The Queen Of Outer Space on the biggest screen I’m ever likely to have in my house.

And it was great.

“Them!” has stood up surprisingly well for a fifties movie. You know what’s going on coming in, of course, but the acting and writing are surprisingly tight; they’re a little heavy-handed at times, but all the little chances to insult your intelligence that the movie passes up are such a breath of fresh air, surprising in a movie more than half a century old. One that jumped out at me was when the cops come across a recent giant-ant attack and try to piece together what’s just happened, the water on the stove is still steaming; one officer points at it, and the other nods, and that’s it. It occurred to me that if this were CSI, one officer would be forced to say “The kettle is still boiling”, and the other mechanically reply “whatever happened here, it happened recently, maybe in the last few minutes”.

Your giant-ants they’re not perfect. But considering the movie is fifty years old, the fact that you don’t see any strings pulling them around is convincing enough, and there’s a lot of unabashed 50’s-era social flavor in there, too. A solid classic-sf-viewing experience, for sure.

The Queen Of Outer Space, however, is different. As one of my guests said, Zsa Zsa Gabor has been in one good movie in her life, and this wasn’t it. It is, on the other hand, a beautiful train wreck of low-budget sets, lower-budget effects, cartoonishly-fifties-era gender relations and a generous quantity of early-Star-Trek-looking Space Cheesecake. The militant women of Venus, it turns out, wear some surprisingly impractical outfits and some astonishingly poor choices of performance footwear. Is it worth watching? Possibly not. Is it worth MST3King? Oh, definitely; this is, by any reasonable measure, a bad movie. But it’s wonderfully bad.

Stay tuned, citizens! I hope next week to do the same thing, possibly with a different theme. I’m of a Hitchcockian inclination at the moment, but who knows?

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