African Business Practices

MELISSA: Nigerian priests are declaring children
MELISSA: who need to be excercised
MELISSA: so they will pour acid down their throat
MELISSA: family members will pay to have an “excorsim” done which ususally involves mutilation
MELISSA: cutting of the skull
MELISSA: arms legs you name it
MELISSA: while they’re all awake
BRAIN: wow, does that work?
MELISSA: no this is extremely poor villages
MELISSA: and a way for the priest to make money
MELISSA: by targeting those that cannot defend themselves
BRAIN: so the kids are still possessed after the exorcism?
BRAIN: that is just bad business
MELISSA: there was Never anything wrong
MELISSA: with them in the first place
BRAIN: well yeah, except they are possessed
MELISSA: this is just the “newest,” trend
MELISSA: for those to make money
BRAIN: that is nothing to play with there
BRAIN: you got to get that spirit shit out ASAP

Pacific Pinball Museum Expo 2009

A couple weeks ago I went to the Pacific Pinball Expo, which was awesome as always.

I played a whole lot of pinball! There were some really tricky E/M era games there (pre-computer chip), the majority of which I think were from the private collections of the guys who run Lucky Juju.

A very cool feature was the lectures given by some of the pinball designers and artists who were guests of the expo.

Some of the more interesting machines I played:

  • Flip a card – a basic collect-the-targets game. EM, simple yet effective
  • Spectrum – very NOT simple – the playfield is covered with a giant grid of colored lights – hit the appropriate color target to be in time with the rotating lights. Apparently based on the logic board game “Mastermind.” Another cool feature: there are drains up-field near the top of the playfield – but if the ball goes in there, it gets shot out the bottom much faster than the ball would actually be able to travel. It’s an illusion called a “shell game” where another ball closer to the flippers has replaced the drained ball.
  • Theater of magic
  • Pinball magic – skill shot with hat, magnetic wand
  • Spirit has a spinning back glass and extra flippers for saving and little curly cue things that change the direction on the ball
  • Orbitor 1
  • Motordome
  • Black knight and Pharaoh have magna Save
  • The Machine: Bride of Pinbot – had a rotating upper board (her face) that one of the ramps drained to, also a plastic drain that used ridges to double as two drains depending on which entrance
  • Creature from the black lagoon has a vortex

I’ve recently been very interested in making my own pinball machine… surfing around, I found Future Pinball, which might be a good way to prototype it.

Some notes I took from the talk by John Trudeau:
Q: how do designers determine the angle and placement of ramps etc so that flipper hit will be likely to get there?

    A (liberally paraphrased):

  • mostly trial and error. We have a bunch of machines and we see where the ball goes for different angles of the flipper. We eyeball it.
  • The length of the playfield is standardized, and even the angle is standardized – it’s generally between 6.5 degrees and 8 degrees, as measured from the bottom of the machine, which is meant to be parallel to the floor.
  • the more tricky question is: when placing another flipper partway up the playfield, how does one place a “bonus” ramp so that new flipper is likely to get the ball in there? The answer is we use the same range of angles, but we just rotate with respect to the new flipper.

John showed us a model of an unproduced pinball, which he modeled in SolidWorks.

John Trudeau designed:

  • at …?
    • Rocky
    • Spirit
    • Striker
    • QBerts quest
    • Krull (three level)
  • Gameplan / Gottleib / Mylstar
    • Attila the Hun
    • Alien star
  • @ Premier technology
    • Rock
    • Raven (Rambo as a girl)
    • Hollywood heat
    • Genesis (reveals a robot)
    • Gold wings
    • Monte Carlo
    • Spring break
    • Tx sector – has a “shell game”
    • Victory
    • Silver slugger
    • Robo war (clone of sinbad)
    • Excalibur (another update)
    • Deadly weapon
  • @ Williams bally
    • Bugs bunny
    • Bride of pinbot
    • Black rose
    • Creature from the black lagoon
    • Judge dredd
    • Flintstones
    • Congo

Wong Kar-wai

I’ve been running through a bunch of the movies of Wong Kar-wai (王家衛) recently.

In the order I saw them in:

  • I originally saw 2046 in the theater, and it was the first of his movies I saw. I liked it, but didn’t quite understand it past a superficial level. I discovered the reason only recently…
  • At some point I saw My Blueberry Nights, which, although filled with beautiful and famous young Western actors, is not very memorable. Natalie Portman steals the movie, as predicted. I originally saw this movie because of my search for Road Movies, a genre of which this is not a great example.
  • A filmmaker friend, Chris McGilvray, pointed out that 2046 is actually filled with references to In the Mood For Love… so I saw that one. 2046 makes a lot more sense now! It’s a bit slower, but paired together they are my favorites so far.
  • Days of Being Wild – a slacker playboy seduces shopkeeper Maggie Cheung and then psycho floozy Carina Lau, and then flips out and leaves for the Philippines. Not much happens in it, but the performances are interesting. I wouldn’t recommend this one except to arthouse film fans/
  • Chungking Express: Two stories. I liked the second half of this movie, the part with Faye Wong and Tony Leung, much better than the first. I’d actually recommend watching this one FIRST – it’s the lightest of all the movies so far, and the DVD release has a short review by Quentin Tarantino describing the film’s significance and who the actors are.
  • Fallen Angels, as of Oct 29, is my new favorite. It starts out with the strongest premise, and the most compelling characters. Its second half starts meandering… Wong is not real plot-focussed I guess. Still the best edited, although still better in the first half than the last. Actiony.

The what now?

Farberisms should not be confused with “Yogiisms” (popularized by baseball player Yogi Berra). The former are most often non-sequiturial mondegreens, while the latter are typically either pleonasms or oxymoronic redundancies, though both usually share the goal of making a point through surreally humorous, absurdist misuse of language, especially the alteration of clichés through malapropism and mixed metaphor.

Most Intelligent Fishbot Yet

Unfortunately sometimes intelligent people are jerks.

SOLDOUTCOHO: I dare you to do something unexpected.
BRAIN: punycode
BRAIN: do you think Tesla’s “Earthquake Machine” every worked?
SOLDOUTCOHO: no. do you think someone can prove the N=NP theory this decade?
BRAIN: this decade is almost over!
BRAIN: do you mean P=NP
BRAIN: and if you are, wouldn’t that date be the same as the Technological Singularity?
SOLDOUTCOHO: yes and no
BRAIN: you don’t think if we were able to solve NP problems in P time that technology would accelerate to the point of being unmeasurable?
SOLDOUTCOHO: no, not to the point where we will have superinteligence
BRAIN: but with P=NP we’d have protein folding, which gets us nanotechnology (from protein chelation)
SOLDOUTCOHO: still has no implication of self improving artifical intelligence
BRAIN: agreed. But is AI required for the Singularity?
SOLDOUTCOHO: it’s implied, since ij good first wrote of an intelligence explosion suggesting that if machines could surpass human intellect, then they could improve their own design beyond what their designers intended. it’s like skynet
BRAIN: interesting. You know, I’d forgotten about that part.
SOLDOUTCOHO: or perhaps you did not know it in the first place.
SOLDOUTCOHO: I’m just sayin’

After that I ended the conversation. So notice whoever this person i, automatically treats me as an inferior, even though he is the one who has erroneously mentioned N=NP, which makes no sense.

Also, the use of “I’m just sayin’,” which is the new way to mention something without taking any ownership of it. Kinda gutless; it makes me disgusted.

What a dick! Why are people so willing to be unpleasant to strangers? It’s so short sighted.

Anyway, consider this an illustration of: NERDS: THEIR LIVES SUCK BECAUSE THEY SUCK. Don’t try to “save” geeks. They are like this because they are selfish. And I say this as someone surrounded by geeks.

Name-droppy references in this conversation:

Starbucks is the middle-class ghetto

I forgot to shave this morning! So I bought a cheapie disposable from CVS. There was a Starbucks next door, so I ordered a latte and used their bathroom to shave. Turns out your razor really does matter; I cut the fuck out of my face.

How times have changed. It used to be Starbucks was where you got “the fancy coffee.” Now it’s basically McD’s. The Redwood City Starbucks vs Peet’s comparison is so telling re: the Starbucks brand:

The Peet’s is downtown, is filled with professional types, somehow “working” during the day in a cafe, and moms with expensive strollers. Well-presented art from local schools is on the walls. It’s spacious and the bathroom is unlocked.

The Starbucks is in a mall, is cramped and smells like fast food. The clientele are either pissed off wage slaves on their way to work or very overweight lower middle class. The bathroom has an elaborate code that they need to buzz you in.

Chungking Express

I’m watching Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express.

This is random but the bar at around 26 minutes in: I’ve been there. It’s a Hong Kong bar called Bottoms Up, and their sign is a pictures of a lot of bare butts. We walked by it a dozen times when I was I think fifteen or so.