Sometimes I forget about AC/DC.
Sometimes I remember.
They…they set the bar pretty high.
I have bands I turn to when I want to focus on some particular facet of pop excellence. The Beach Boys for vocal harmony. ABBA for pop hooks and production. The Police for part-writing. The Beatles for, well, sheer genius, which is a little harder to pin down.
But for power, for intensity, for cohesion as a unit, for drive, for professionalism, and above all for unrivaled, astounding showmanship — I’m telling you. This band. Geez.
Happy holidays! I hope you’ve all gotten to spend some time with people you love.
This has been an especially affecting holiday for me, and I felt moved to capture the warmth and love at the heart of this season in a new song. Here it is: “I Want An iPhone”. I hope it means as much to you as it did to me.
It’s been exactly a year since “No-Sleep Blues”, the first post on “Oh, Something Arty…”, went live. What a year!
This time last November, I was struggling with my second attempt at National Novel Writing Month. At two weeks in, I was losing focus: I found myself sketching the characters instead of writing about them, and the writing itself was devolving into an extended rap battle. So I took a step back and said, “Being this productive is wonderful: but I don’t think this is the medium I need.” In that spirit, I launched this site as a place to share all the work I did in whatever “arty” medium pleased me: music, sketches, writing, whatever!
That worked well for a few months. There’s a nice smattering of drawings and recordings from that stretch – most notably “Shady Made Us”, my tribute to Eminem, the most-viewed post by mid-January.
But then – well, Sherlock happened. Continue reading
Well, the Gregory Brothers inevitably beat me to the first musical response to the election results, but I’m not far behind. Speed-written in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, here’s a coy rebuke of the policies that lost the Republicans this election. The world’s most advanced political analysis, distilled down to two minutes. Enjoy!
Well, this seems to be the fall of hexagons. First Super Hexagon, and now…hexaflexagons!
I’m linking you to the most delightful thing I’ve seen all month: this series of absolutely charming videos about, well, hexaflexagons, these remarkable geometric shapes that pop up when you fold strips of paper in interesting ways. Huge kudos to Vi Hart, the hexaflexobsessive creator of these vids. Make sure you also watch Part 2 and the hilarious “Safety Guide”.
This is a great example of the possibilities YouTube has opened up for education. Characters, personalities, shapes, and properties all come across wonderfully, in beautiful color and at breakneck speed. It’s an extremely compelling introduction to a subject that could have been totally forbidding, and it’s especially well-suited to students with internet sensibilities. Teachers, take note. THIS is what visual aids can do — MUCH more effective than e.g. Powerpoint.
It doesn’t surprise me to learn Vi works for Khan Academy. This is my first personal experience with KA; I’m very curious now to look deeper at their offerings. What with this, Crash Course, and god knows what else — this whole web education thing has been moving FAST. This is exciting
This is the second installment in a series comparing BBC’s Sherlock to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. The previous article is about about S1:E1 “A Study in Pink”.
Hi again, Sherlock fans! I had a lot of fun with the close-analysis of A Study in Pink, and I hope you did too. This time around, I’m going to do things a little bit differently. You see, that first episode, which had to introduce the characters, drew closely on the scenes in Conan Doyle’s stories that first brought us Watson and Holmes. Moffat and Co. lifted a lot of dialogue pretty much straight from those few scenes, and I had fun running that dialogue side-by-side.
This second episode, however, plunges us into the world of Sherlock-in-action: introductions are in the past, and it’s time for a story! Story elements are what Steve Thompson, this episode’s author, lifted from the originals, and so story elements are what I’ll focus on. First I’ll look at the sources of the plot writ large, and then the roots of that graffiti-code at the heart of the episode. Continue reading
I’m interrupting my anticipated schedule of posts to rant a moment about this beautiful, amazing game. Super Hexagon is by indie developer Terry Cavanagh. It’s…well, the conceit is very simple but makes very little sense on paper. In Edge Magazine‘s words:
You control a tiny arrow, sliding it along a fixed circular arc while varying arrays of lines glide – or, in the harder stages, careen – toward the hexagonal vortex at the centre of the screen. The aim is to slip through any available gaps to avoid collision. Your arrow rotates clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on which side of the touch-screen you press.
It looks like this, or this. That’s you in the middle, orbiting the central hexagon, dodging the light-coloured bars as they rush you.
I love this game because it is first and foremost a game, and it succeeds utterly as a game. Continue reading