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zebra2  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 7, 2017

It's kinda hard to say anything that's gonna top the Comey hearing happening this morning. This past half of the week I was at a conference in Indianapolis, and I just got back last morning (when pubski was fresh). The conference was great. My boss got a big award, I got to meet up and hang out with my old lab mates. The whole environment felt very comfortable and I felt valuable and optimistic. I'm still in recovery/recollection mode, so #scificlub will be a bit delayed. I still have to figure out what our next material should be.

zebra2  ·  25 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 31, 2017

Work is going well. I'm finally getting results of the quality I want from the instrument setup I've been working on for the past few months, and I'm feeling confident I can get this project to where it needs to go.

I've also been having fun with recording stuff. I acquired a pair of studio monitors from a friend that needed some quick cash, and I've been having lots of "make a 1 min composition and record it this evening. GO!" sessions.

zebra2  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 24, 2017

You just don't get along with VW do you?

kleinbl00  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I thought the magical $60/bottle coolant that turns to jello when you mix it with Prestone was bad enough then I met this fucker.

but yeah. Fuck those piece of shit nazimobiles.

zebra2  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Middle Aged Men and Friends

I can relate to the built-in activity connection. Being in a band means there's a group of guys I see multiple times a week, the extended connections of those people I see with less frequency, and the built-in comraderie that comes with it. Thanks to that I think I am a lot more connected than I would expect for my personality and lifestyle. I also don't have kids which I suppose helps a lot. That said there's only a few relationships outside the ones affiliated with an activity that get much attention.

zebra2  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 24, 2017

Last week I had another car issue that I was able to resolve quickly. I had previously changed put the ignition coils and all was running well, but one afternoon coming home from work I got barely half a mile away and the car started shaking violently and the check engine light went on. It was a major "oh shit" moment.

After some quick googling and driving back to the work parking lot, I deduced that another coil had gone bad/something was wrong there. I cursed the cheap Chinese coils my friend had hooked me up with and got a ride back home (where all my tools and the old coils were stashed).

The next day I got a Lyft to work with my tools in tow. In the work lot I swapped out the old coils (which were worn but usable) and confirmed that it was an issue with the new coils.

While doing this swap I found one coil had a bit of plastic sheared off on the inside, and I was able to confirm that was the one that had gone bad. I swapped it out with the least-worn of the old coil set and all is good again.

You really do feel super manly when you can pop the hood in a parking lot and fix a barely-functional car without a mechanic or tow.

I'm also still thinking about music names still. I realized I should sift through some literary muses for ideas. Repent, Harlequin! has a nice ring to it.

kleinbl00  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    You really do feel super manly when you can pop the hood in a parking lot and fix a barely-functional car without a mechanic or tow.

Just beware of the opposite - when you fix your friend's dead battery and end up cooking off her voltage regulator because red is positive and black is negative UNLESS YOU'RE VOLKSWAGEN. Or when fuses exist to keep surges from damaging electronics UNLESS YOU'RE VOLKSWAGEN.

On the plus side, it's a diesel which means they're buying it back for more than she paid for it and this little peccadillo meant they accelerated the schedule three months and since they're going to crush it anyway they don't give a shit that the voltage regulator is cooked since it starts and runs. So in the end, she paid $180 for a new battery to get out of HER FUCKING VOLKSWAGEN. Which doesn't quite make up for the $800 they charged her to replace the urea sensor on their fraudulent emissions system BECAUSE THEY'RE FUCKING VOLKSWAGEN.

So yeah. I know that feeling. But this week, THANKS TO FUCKING VOLKSWAGEN, I discovered what it is to cripple a car by changing out the goddamn battery. THANKS VOLKSWAGEN.

bfv  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    red is positive and black is negative UNLESS YOU'RE VOLKSWAGEN.

wat. I believe you, but I didn't find the expected horror stories googling "volkswagen red is negative" or "volkwagen black is positive"

kleinbl00  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Pictured below zebra2's comment is a "brown" negative earth cable.

you get the black positive cable.

zebra2  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You just don't get along with VW do you?

kleinbl00  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I thought the magical $60/bottle coolant that turns to jello when you mix it with Prestone was bad enough then I met this fucker.

but yeah. Fuck those piece of shit nazimobiles.

zebra2  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Listening To Blade Runner

I love these videos that break down the artistic details in films. Now I'm hankering to watch Blade Runner again.

I've also been on a big synthesizer kick lately so rewatching it just to hear the score seems like a great idea.

zebra2  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Listening To Blade Runner

Well now I'm quite motivated to have a #scificlub on this. What say people?

rd95  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have it on Blu-Ray. I've seen it three times now I think. I'd be willing to watch it again, drag Dala into it, but I don't know how much perspective I'd be able to offer on it.

zebra2  ·  38 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-Fi club no. 23: The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World

It really was pretty obscure.

rd95  ·  38 days ago  ·  link  ·  

One of the things I was thinking about, after reading it all, was that it seemed to be heavily reliant on symbolism, which is part of the reason it went over my head. That said, he used some really strong imagery, and it made me wonder how the story would have seemed if instead of being written, it was drawn out.

Edit: That said, it'd probably be pretty startling in the depicted violence.

zebra2  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 17, 2017

Yeah, I don't know why I like that name but it sticks out.

zebra2  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 17, 2017

Alright, so I've been thinking of what moniker I would use if I start a solo music channel on YouTube/SoundCloud etc. I made a matrix of things/words/band names I like, hoping an idea would jump out at me, but no dice. In fact, the only names I'm still considering have nothing in common with that list. What's you're gut reaction to:

Catelope

Suckaduck

Slutty Dingo

?

I'm not sure what I think of these ones, but they stuck with me so far.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  38 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There was a "What would you call your band?" thread a while back on Hubski. Might wanna check it out.

goobster  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Slutty Dingo - or SlutDingo for short - just makes me giggle.

Maybe I'm 9 years old, but... that's just funny.

OftenBen  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I would totally go see Slutty Dingo perform.

zebra2  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah, I don't know why I like that name but it sticks out.

zebra2  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-fi club special issue: Ghost in the Shell edition

So I've actually seen the new movie. Overall, I think it was better than expected. The visuals and atmosphere were true to the original with lots of little details that pay service to the franchise. Various iconic scenes were remade nearly shot-for-shot, which I had no problem with. The part where it really suffered was the Hollywood retooling of the plot to hit all the groan-worthy tropes. The villain was overly villainous and lacked any credibility or realism. Some of the character relationships also suffered due to unknown reasons. The Major is untrusting of Batou at points?

Also some dialogue was traded out for crappier dialogue. And The Major's character was... uncharacteristic of what it should be. Uncertain and overly emotional rather than detached but confident. There's plenty for a purist to rag on.

Also acting was kind lousy. WTF scarjo, you can't act well and be famous at the same time? On top of that there was an almost amazing amount of word slurring going on for a feature film.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  45 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    The visuals and atmosphere were true to the original with lots of little details that pay service to the franchise. Various iconic scenes were remade nearly shot-for-shot

Hollywood tends to produce gorgeous motion pictures as of recently: Avatar, the Mad Max remake/sequel, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman... Wanna know what else they have in common? Superficial story. Plot, characters, mental details (as opposed to perceptual) - all of it gone for the sake of a nice picture.

It's not as if you can't make it look good and tell a good story. Just look at what Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul have done so far. Beautiful cinematography. Great stories. Granted, it's not fair to compare TV shows with cinema films. My point is - it's not impossible, but Hollywood doesn't want that. People want bread and circus. Such pictures give you both, and you don't even have to give them any thought. Quite a deal.

kleinbl00, hoping to hear your thoughts on the matter.

kleinbl00  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Hollywood tends to produce gorgeous motion pictures as of recently: Avatar, the Mad Max remake/sequel, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman...

For certain definitions of "gorgeous."

    Plot, characters, mental details (as opposed to perceptual) - all of it gone for the sake of a nice picture.

I agree with the statement but not with the reason given.

Breaking Bad was made for a basic cable channel that was going to make its money back (1) on initial ad sales and subscriptions (2) on secondary sales (foreign markets, Netflix, etc) (3) on merchandising (DVD sales... I doubt they knew they'd make this much money on t-shirts and branded merchandise, but once they had, they certainly pushed it). HBO pioneered that model: make content, show it forever. You can do this with TV shows; they fill airtime, they get cued up, they get binge watched. The economy for television is "fit it to your market, make your money over and over again, and if anybody else wants to watch, you get that money too."

Movies, on the other hand, have experienced a dire sea change. In, say, 1985, you had four weeks, five weeks, eight weeks to make your money back in theaters. Then you'd get another run in second-run theaters. Then you'd get money for licensing it to airlines and hotels. Then you'd get money licensing it to foreign markets. Then you'd get money licensing it to domestic broadcast. Then you'd get money licensing it to foreign broadcast. And by the way, that movie wasn't particularly risky. Star Wars was the most expensive movie of 1976 at 10 million. That's a $43m film these days.

Amy Schumer's Snatched is estimated to have cost $42m. Batman vs. Superman? $250m.

The studio lost their shit over George Lucas squandering $10m on a space opera back in the '70s. Adjusting for inflation, he could have made it six times for the cost of Batman vs. Superman.

ET? $10m. Blade Runner? $28m. Goonies? $19m. Heaven's Gate, the gold standard for extravagant bombs? $44m. But run down that list of things you can make money on and compare and contrast:

- the window for a movie in 1985 could be eight weeks or longer. E.T. was in theaters for a goddamn year. Sixth Sense ('99) was on over a thousand screens for 18 weeks. Now? Guardians of the Galaxy got 11 weeks. Granted - it got 4,000 screens. For two weeks. But more on that in a minute.

- airlines and hotels. Sure, the airlines and hotels will still pay you for your shitty movie but they won't pay a lot, which is one reason you see such shitty movies. When i flew to the UK I got to see Ghostbusters 2 on the plane. When I flew to Thailand 10 years later it was shit like "Little Nicky." Granted - you can sell six times as many things now but that means the airlines are paying 1/6th as much for each license... probably less because they know you're watching netflix rips on your iPad.

- foreign markets. ...put a pin in that.

- Domestic broadcast. Nobody cares anymore. By the time it's shown on TV it's been on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon for three years. That's a dead revenue stream. Ahhh, for the good old days:

(Note that at the time of this presentation, Alien was FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD)

- Foreign broadcast. Again, gimme a minute.

So the money's all gone. Except it's not. What's happened is that all this lost revenue from domestic stuff has shifted to foreign stuff - for about five years now, what was an ancillary market has become a primary market. Hollywood films now make more money in foreign markets than they do in domestic markets. Which means they're competing globally, with foreign market films. Which means things of cultural nuance - movies like Goonies, movies like Breakfast Club, movies like Dazed and Confused - aren't going to translate to China, to Russia, to Germany. What translates?

- bombastic villains

- simplistic plots

- nuance-free humor

- ridiculous special effects

- giant set pieces

So what gets made?

- Superhero movies

- big dumb action movies

- big dumb sci fi movies

Because let's be honest: you don't even need to understand the language to "enjoy" something big and stupid like Batman vs. Superman. And it's something that your domestic market probably can't do as well.

To be clear: if you're Chinese, you're going to watch the shit out of Mad Shiela. And if you're a Chinese production company, you're going to make the shit out of Mad Shiela because you can put it together for less than the catering budget of Fury Road. And if you're making Mad Shiela for the Chinese market you can fill it full of Chinese-specific in-jokes, Chinese cultural references, Chinese tropes, Chinese design, Chinese color palates...

And if you're an American production company, you have to compete against Mad Shiela.

That's really the bottom line: every country now has an indigenous market that shows native films that satisfy native audiences. And every country now has these big bombastic American things that you go to see for pure spectacle.

Every country but the US. The US no longer has an indigenous market. We've got an export market. And it's an export market designed for universality and maximum early profit. Because of windowing, a theatrical release effectively has to make its entire budget back its opening weekend. This is a bookkeeping tour-de-force equivalent of a multi-story office building being pure profit the minute it opens. A Hollywood feature is now in the same budget territory as an off-shore drilling rig except instead of amortizing its expense over 10-15-20 years, it has to make its money back now.

And it's really hard to do that.

Making things even harder, nobody goes to the movies except kids anymore. We used to talk about "four quadrant films" - these are pictures that appeal to children, teenagers, adult men and adult women (think pretty much any Pixar movie prior to Up). Not even Pixar cares anymore - there's no part of Cars that appeals to anyone over 15. And the kids mostly go to see movies in theaters to get away from their parents, which they can do at the mall, which is just gonna get harder:

So what we're left with is the death spiral mentioned above. Theaters, in order to make money, have to make big bombastic things that appeal to teenagers worldwide enough for them to spend $15 each to get away from their parents on a friday night and the place they're most likely to do that is the place that's getting murdered by the crunch of available spending money and it bums me out but it's been a long time coming.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

In other words, Hollywood production is aiming for generic image that's widely recognizable and easy to understand around the globe because it strives for a bigger, more intense market. I wonder why don't studios recognize that better work means better yield of cash as well as audience satisfaction.

The latter sounds like extremely pragmatic thinking. There's a saying in Russia, put forth by a pop singer of days gone by, Bogdan Titomir. When asked why would he produce the kind of music that he does, he replied: "Folk chomps it" (in Russian, "Пипл хавает"; good luck translating that). The music can be superficial, but as long as people are hanging by it, they will keep consuming it. Same, it seems, applies to the film industry nowadays.

    For certain definitions of "gorgeous."

"Eye candy" is what I should've said. I heard someone on Hubski say that phrase while describing what made Mad Max a good film.

Man of Steel is quite a sight, no matter the coloring.

kleinbl00  ·  43 days ago  ·  link  ·  

In other words, Hollywood has recognized that its place in the world is McDonald's. If you want something tasty and familiar and friendly and good, you'll buy something local. If you want something American, you'll buy McDonald's.

zebra2  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 10, 2017

Are you not happy with it or just in shock?

johan  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Just in shock, I haven't been this short-haired since I was in fourth grade. My hair dryer catching fire a couple of months ago might have influenced the decision to go short, washing it is certainly a lot quicker now!

zebra2  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Benjamin Fraser - You Drank Some Darkness (flac's first album - it's finally done!!)

It's amazing. Will you be releasing the other tracks that got cut in the future?

flac  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah, probably in a month or two. I think I'm going to have a pretty different sound when it comes time to do my second album, so I think I'll just put them out as is on an EP now and start fresh for the next big project.

zebra2  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: My latest track - a remix

I love the remix. I actually like it better than the original track and like that you changed it as much as you did rather than just make a slightly altered version of the original like so many remixes.

rezzeJ  ·  45 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You always hear so many rubbish attempts where people have just taken the stems and rearranged them slightly. I'm not sure what the point of that is. The organisers actually asked everyone not to do it, so I took that as a licence to run wild.

I'm glad you like it so much, thank you!

rezzeJ  ·  45 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
zebra2  ·  48 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: An interactive, clickable map of the upcoming Great American Eclipse August 21, 2017

Sweet. I really want to make a trip somewhere in the northeast to go see that.