Management Day

BRAIN: full of crazy amount of goodwill this morning. And caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.
NICOLE: Who are you and what have you done with Brian! I kid. I woke up happy too. It’s odd.
JANE: Goodwill!?! I don’t trust this Brian.
RAYTRACE: Be afraid… very very afraid.

Yesterday was a Management day.

The moment when someone understands you already know the assignment is ridiculous is a beautiful one.

ENGINEER: You’re asking me to do something dumb.
BRAIN: I agree! But I’m sure you’re going to make it something wonderful.
ENGINEER: This project is horribly mismanaged!
BRAIN: yes.
ENGINEER: we’re screwed!
BRAIN: no we’re not! We have you!
BRAIN: see you at the code review tomorrow!

So I guess that “Goodwill” is kind of like “maniacal and ill-founded optimism.” Perversely satisfying!

Blocked Hitler parodies

There are all these Hitler parodies on youtube. They are a segment from the movie Downfall (Die Untergang), which is a movie about Hitler’s last days, living in a bunker as the Allies close in.

The parodies all use the same clip, where Hitler is having a tantrum because it’s become clear to him that his generals have been lying to him and they are actually losing. He blames this on traitors. But the parodies use subtitles to insert new dialog.

An example from my favorite: Hitler discovers that Michael Jackson has died, so he will not be appearing at Hitler’s birthday party. Hitler rails against the unfairness of this – how can he die!? After I paid for those operations to make him white! Even after he molested my nephew, I stood by him! Etc. Very funny. Many other parodies have appeared, each with their own subtitles, with themes like Hitler Gets Banned from XBOX Live,” “Hitler is informed he may have won the Nobel Peace Prize,” and “Hitler learns Tiger Woods may have had an affair with his wife.”

Because of these videos, I actually rented Downfall and watched it. It was a very good movie! I had heard of it, but I honestly don’t think I would have seen it if not for these parodies. If you think about it, it’s the holy grail of internet marketing: free, viral advertising for your film.

So recently, Constantin Film AG blocked the parodies – no one can watch any of them any more. Since it was a clip of their movie, they had the right to do that.


Games Are Not Art

BRAIN: Lots of cranks in press
BRAIN: Roger Ebert had a long ranty screed on why video games can never be “art”
BRAIN: which is a discussion so pedantic I can’t even process it
BRAIN: then there was some long article on whether Lady Gaga is stupid or not
BRAIN: like she as an artist
SAMIR: oh dear
SAMIR: I read Ebert’s article
SAMIR: not that great
SAMIR: he’s just stuck in his POV
BRAIN: what a dick
SAMIR: well I like his writing on movies
SAMIR: but yes
BRAIN: it’s like “photography will never be art!!”
SAMIR: My guess is he once made a rip on some dumb game and got stuck in it
SAMIR: it’s sorta pointless
BRAIN: both those are
SAMIR: lady gaga?
BRAIN: the outcomes of either debate are entirely moot
SAMIR: yeah. debating WHAT IS ART is amongst the dumbest convos you can have
BRAIN: oop, wait, this isn’t art, I guess we have to stop looking at it now

So we’re saying that an enormous hand-painted watercolor, that you can run around in, that represents a world where the viewer can make time go backwards, and even be in two places at once, is not thought-provoking in any way and has no aesthetic value.

Good call there Ebert. Why not just stick to reviewing things you’ve actually viewed? I mean how is this legitimate?

Hooters in China

BRAIN: it’s like a cultural bulldozer
BRAIN: I almost feel sorry for China
BRAIN: then I think of Tibet

Lin Lixia of the Women’s Law Studies and Legal Services at Peking University called Hooters an example of “hot-girl economics,” a strategy of profiting from female sex appeal. Though quite the norm in the U.S., the concept is relatively new in China, where economic reforms are only three decades old.”

SAMIR: China is pretty good at just subsuming stuff into itself
SAMIR: I’m more worried about India
SAMIR: they lack the… remarkable philosophy that lets them survive everything
BRAIN: yes but:
BRAIN: will china be able to digest raw american plastic?
BRAIN: it destroyed russia!
BRAIN: it turned japan into something… different

Jiang has worked at Hooters since it opened in Beijing in 2008. At the time, she was studying law at a university in the city. She has since dropped out of school to work full time. Being a lawyer reflected her parents’ wishes, not hers, she said.

SAMIR: that is just a wonderful story
SAMIR: making whores out of your women!
BRAIN: wooo!
BRAIN: America!
BRAIN: fuck yeah!
SAMIR: my only beef is this:
SAMIR: I hate the middle ground
SAMIR: I hate girls gone wild
SAMIR: and hooters
BRAIN: hey we can’t all be japan
SAMIR: I want like…
SAMIR: larry flynt
BRAIN: max hardcore?
SAMIR: and chinese boys getting pegged in the ass by their women
BRAIN: yeah
SAMIR: like, otherwise it’s just misogyny. it’s more fun when the entire value system implodes!
BRAIN: but baby, just let me write “SLUT” on your forehead while I poop in your mouth
BRAIN: it’s ok we’re going steady
SAMIR: yeah!
SAMIR: honey, it doesn’t do it for me if I can’t pretend you’re actually my grandfather and I’m sodomizing you
BRAIN: did I tell you about that thing on the BBS
BRAIN: where someone said
SAMIR: no?
BRAIN: ‘is it weird that my gf always says something about her daddy when we’re doign it? like “Do me daddy?” ‘
BRAIN: and the undergrads go


I dreamed there was an arcade game made by Ninendo (© 2010) called SpazzmaRazz, or Razz the Spazz –

It was a multiplayer with a big console but a thin, wide screen. In the center was a 3D or holographic projection of the Spazz, which was a cute white ball with googly eyes – looking a bit like the sprite from Howl’s Moving Castle (or maybe from Oglaf).

The controls were a trackball and a giant oversized musical keyboard, a single octave.

The point of the game was to stress out the Spazz by making noise with the keyboard and jostling him around with the trackball. I think you could also make noise with a mic and jump up and down to activate motion sensors. In early levels the Spazz is pretty neurotic and easily perturbed, but later ones have him positively sleepy and apathetic, and it takes a great deal of exertion to get a rise out of him.

Birthday 2010

Yesterday for my birthday I took the day off and spent the day in SF with Diane.

We had breakfast with halogen-siphon coffee at Blue Bottle, went the the Academy of Sciences and saw a stuffed Tasmanian wolf and mammoth hair, lunch at Luna Park, then to Spy Shop, and a couple hours at Musee Mechanique.

Then we went to City Lights to learn about Beatniks and got a snack at Victoria Bakery, and then we went to a SFFS forum talk at Mezzanine to see Peaches Christ and The Butcher Brothers. Peaches signed some posters for us, and effects guy Terry Sandlin showed me how the Blood Cannon worked. The funny thing is Mezzanine is literally something like 50 feet away from Blue Bottle, so we made a big loop.

It was a good day!