Godspeed You Black Emperor!, in addition to be one of the most marvellous bands in activity, can’t help but astonish me by the way people react to their music and philosophy. Most recent exemple : how they were trapped by a Dutch interviewer and the thoughts of a member of the band on this affair. [via Adam Kempa, who's back, and this is good news]
Collègue n°1 : P’tain, chier ! J’ai supprimé tous les « a » de mon fichier !
Moi : Du vrai Perec…
Collègue n°2 : Ah non ! Faut arrêter. C’est encore un coup des journalistes qui l’ont attaqué et deux mois après on s’est rendu compte que c’était n’importe quoi…
Moi (dubitatif) : Euh, c’est vrai ? Il y a eu un problème récemment ? Je ne suis pas au courant.
Collègue n°2 : Oui, tu sais bien, quand elle a eu des problèmes il y a quelques mois…
Moi (perplexe) : Mais, hum… Qui, « elle » ?
Collègue n°2 : Ben, Marie-Jo Perec !
Moralité : Ne jamais surestimer les trentenaires (géniteurs de surcroît).
[Georges Perec (1936-1982), écrivain français incontournable (Les Choses, La Vie, mode d'emploi...) a publié en 1969 le roman La Disparition, qui ne contient aucun « e ».]
Reminds me of someone…
« Margret doesn’t like to watch films on the TV. She says she does, but years of bitter experience have proven that what she actually wants is to sit by me while I narrate the entire bleeding film to her. « Who’s she? », « Why did he get shot? », « I thought that one was on their side? », « Is that a bomb » – « JUST WATCH IT! IN THE NAME OF GOD, JUST WATCH IT »! » [Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About (be warned, they argue a lot), via bitsage]
A ce propos, Overwhelmed by the world est un article d’Utne Reader, où beaucoup d’entre nous se reconnaîtrons aussi [*] :
« …highly aroused by new or prolonged stimulation; strongly reactive to external stimuli such as noise and light; intolerant of pain, hunger, thirst, caffeine, and medication; susceptible to stress-related and psychosomatic illnesses; and deeply affected by other people’s moods and emotions … »
[*] j’exclus bien entendu mes collègues de travail ici, et la plupart des spécialistes en marketing.
Quand on est con, on est con. (itw w/ Michael Moore, WTO Head)
« If you ever get the chance to follow a dream, or take a big stupid risk on something that can help out a lot people, by all means do it. »
[Haughey's Blogger : Behind the Website essay].
Les Big Brother Awards français : les trophées des entreprises et organismes « qui nous fichent et nous espionnent ».
Un des rares bloggeurs français, Bug Brother (respect!), publie le Off, les nominés non retenus. Dont cette magnifique institution, dont j’ai pu admirer de l’intérieur les méthodes vichystes et dont les pièces à charges présentées ici forment un délicieux euphémisme.
Much much respect to At The Drive In :
« We guess you know the shit : no crowd-surfing, ’cause this is bullshit !
There are small people in the front, who are gonna be hurt. This is about the music, not about the fist !
Don’t do what the TV tells you. This is not MTV. Repeat after me :
THIS IS NOT M.T.V. »
Apart from that, the show was mind blowing, as expected, but way too short (even for the cheap entrance fee).
And the Trabendo’s sound is poor, with all the frequencies mixed up.
Good surprise : (Beastie Boy) Mike D. did the mix before ATDI came on stage. This man IS cool.
I mean, we KNEW we were fucked in high school, and perhaps even college, but the web came along, and gave us a bit of pause. That pause is, painfully, over.
Blogger is a great tool. It deserves to live, because it epitomizes what the web should be (should’ve been). Personnal expression, community, democracy, exchange.
So far, the dot-coms downfall has mainly affected useless companies, and poorly managed ones. It was a relief.
But now the great ideas, the responsible companies are on the brink of collapse, too.
I strongly support the idea of a mostly free Internet. But sometimes, when it’s worth the price, when I feel I’m considered like a responsible citizen of the world, I’m okay to pay. I wouldn’t mind giving away, say, $1 (or 1 euro) per month for Blogger. Micro-payments are a possible solution. For a web where every hyperlink doesn’t lead to BigCorporateTrust.com.
And, who knows ? we, the tenths of thousand webloggers, could make Blogger the first profitable company on the web.
And if any of you find the weight too heavy, if you feel yourself slipping, if you see no relief in sight, you know my e-mail address and should always feel free to articulate your concerns and remit them to me. Just make sure not to do so between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday, because the server will be down for maintenance.
My neighborhood is THE place in Paris to buy cheap computer hardware. Dozens of Asiatics have been establishing their store in my street for half a decade (it turns out they are asiatics at 98%, go wonder…). We have the highest reseller/square-meter rate in this whole country, for sure.
I’m an old fart, right, but this is particularly annoying on saturdays, when the sidewalk is soooo crowded and the traffic unbearable (lots of horn noise etc…). It sometimes ruins my saturday afternoon.
Anyway, some young folks have made a website in order to compare the prices and exchange tips. Now my adress is an internet website. Hurrah.
Whaddaya mean, you can’t find programmers ?
Lately, I’ve been heavily interested in Interactive Fiction.
Remember the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ? It’s a full text game, based upon the (in)famous Scott Adams SF novel, that I advised you to play at the office (no graphics, no sound, a small DOS window) a couple of days ago. It goes like this (what I typed is in red) :
You wake up. The room is spinning very gently round your head. Or at least it
would be if you could see it which you can’t.
It is pitch black.
>turn light on
Good start to the day. Pity it’s going to be the worst one of your life. The
light is now on.
Bedroom, in the bed
The bedroom is a mess.
It is a small bedroom with a faded carpet and old wallpaper. There is a
washbasin, a chair with a tatty dressing gown slung over it, and a window with
the curtains drawn. Near the exit leading south is a phone.
There is a flathead screwdriver here. (outside the bed)
There is a toothbrush here. (outside the bed)
You can’t reach it from the bed. The effort almost kills you.
Very difficult, but you manage it. The room is still spinning. It dips and
sways a little.
Well, it’s what adventure games have been through the 80s with a lot of success, when computers couldn’t easily handle graphics and not everybody had a mouse.
I’m fascinated by these games. The power of imagination is enough to make you live wonderful adventures, solve tricky puzzles, travel very far geographically or chronogically. No restriction due to the cost of designing a 3D animation, for example. And the limitation of the text interface actually is an asset an author can play with (see all of Raymond Queneau’s works).
Moreover, by searching around on the web, I found that this type of games, called Interactive Fiction are still being played and created by a lot of passionate people around the world ! There’s even an annual competition where authors present their games (of an unbelievable quality), which are scored by players.
Actually, the main resource is this FTP site : ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive (with this mirror for North-American folks : The IF Archive).
This german server archives exhaustively everything that has been done since the beginning of Interactive Fiction, and every serious author upload his game(s) here when it’s released (for free, obviously !)
Add some online newsletters with reviews and author interviews, and two active and civilized newsgroups : rec.games.int-fiction for players and rec.arts.int-fiction for writers, and you’ll get the current dynamism of the genre.
And the most seducing part of it, as far as I’m concerned, is that anybody can write his own IF games, and that the systems to do so are freely available on the net : TADS, Inform and a lot of others, along with free tutorials, extensions etc…
[I'm a bit technical here :] The wonderful thing with these systems is that they provide the parser, the part of the program that analyse and understand your sentence (« take screwdiver », « look under bed »), which would be a hell of a task to develop. These systems generally feature a compiler, to transform your scenario into a cross-platform playable game, and an interpreter, to play this generated game. The beauty underneath is that the game you design (what I call the « scenario ») is written in a dedicated object-oriented language, extremely easy to learn when you’ve already coded in Pascal or C/C++. Look at this TADS example, pretty self-eplanatory :
sdesc = « Cave »
ldesc = « You’re inside a dark and musty cave. Sunlight pours in from a passage to the south. »
south = startroom
sdesc = « gold skull »
noun = ‘skull’ ‘head’
adjective = ‘gold’
location = cave
With these few lines of code, we have created a cave where the player can go, that he can leave (« go south »), look at (the ldesc part), and refer to (« leave cave »), plus an object in this room the player can look, take, drop, and refer to in many ways (« take skull », « pick up gold head », etc…).
Now you just begin to see the offered possibilities.
[End of technical part ; Dad, you can read again from now]
What these people do is wonderful. Plenty of terrific games are released each year, I’ll keep you in touch.