My Thumped review of Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg tries – and fails – to reclaim his cinematic identity with this tired Hollywood satire (and a film that can’t be saved by Julianne Moore this time out). #   ·

My Thumped review of The Equalizer
Denzel Washington reunites with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua for the follow-up to the latter’s bombastic Olympus Has Fallen that falls short of those ridiculous heights. #   ·

People talking Borbetomagus
A rough edit of footage from part one of Jef Merten’s documentary on the legendary noise-jazz trio. The kind of band best seen live and unleashed rather than tamed on record, I reckon. Still, hopefully the finished film will have less talking, more playing. #   ·

Alasdair Bulmer on metal in Zambia and Zimbabwe
Bet you didn’t know Zambia had its own version of proto-metal called Zamrock. I know I didn’t. #   ·

My Thumped review of Magic in the Moonlight
Or, Woody Allen is a horrible person and this movie only bears that out. #   ·


First Read / Second Read
“I suppose the real point is: designing for depth is not about neglecting the surface.” In other words, remember to make things inviting for newbies, not just for the geeks who get what’s going on inside. Tom uses the example of game design because that’s his milieu but it’s equally applicable to software or website UX design, and probably lots of other things that escape me right now. #   ·

Introducing Check-Correct Memory Enhancement System
Featuring my old Watt List friend Rob Poynter, whose birthday happens to be today. Good job, Rob. #   ·

Phil Dyess-Nugent on 50 years since America’s Civil Rights Act. Worth reading again in light of Ferguson and the light that’s shined on the distance that still needs to be travelled. #   ·


My Thumped review of Dead Neanderthals’ Prime & DNMF
Covering two new releases from the insanely good Dutch jazz-grind-turned-jazz-noise attack unit. #   ·

My Thumped review of Wild Rocket’s Geomagnetic Hallucinations
My first music review for Thumped in a while. #   ·

Is This Thing On?: Why Audio Never Goes Viral
The web is a visual medium first and foremost. Audio on its own is great for long form — podcasts and the like — but when we listen we always listen with intent. It’s not like glancing and smiling at a cat macro. #   ·

It’s Elementary, Sherlock: How the CBS procedural surpassed the BBC drama
I’m so happy to see this is being recognised by others besides me and Bee. #   ·

Interview Cheat Sheets
A useful reference for when you don’t know where to start. #   ·


My Thumped review of Manuscripts Don’t Burn
Mohammad Rasolouf’s powerful excoriation of Iranian state oppression is worth your attention. #   ·


Bill Orcutt: ‘Harry Pussy were my perfect band’
I’ve tried with Harry Pussy (on paper I should love them, but I can’t get with it) but Bill Orcutt’s solo music is astounding. I shook his hand and thanked him for coming when he played here in Dublin last year; maybe that was weird for him, I don’t know, but I meant it. #   ·

Welcome to the Age of the Upgrade
I can understand the enthusiasm, but I fear this way of thinking gives license to the likes of Apple et al to drip-feed innovations, build in obsolescence, etc. More importantly, we’re really not all early adopters: we’re not bloody beta testers for your products if we’ve paid full whack for ‘em. #   ·


My Thumped review of Before I Go To Sleep
Another thumbs-down from me, I’m afraid. #   ·


Did Kim Jong Un Feed His Uncle To 120 Dogs? Be Skeptical
I was immediately suspicious when I heard this story back in January, because it sounded just like the kind of smear that isn’t necessary to illustrate the ‘badness’ of such a despot. #   ·

The 2013 Good Gift Games
Matthew Baldwin’s good for lists like these. I do have to add that some of them (I know for sure in Coup’s case) may not work well as two-player games, so caveat ludius. But the likes of Pathfinder (which also works as a solo game) are perfect. #   ·

How to Draw Adventure Time
“A sixteen-page manual detailing the intricacies of drawing Finn & Jake from Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time series.” Need I say more? #   ·


The Road to Geekdom
Yes, there are many inroads to geekery, and the border crossings shouldn’t require passports, but let’s recognise that it goes both ways: as much as elitism among geeks is a serious problem (just like with any clique), ‘geekdom’ is taken by some as no more than today’s badge of cool (what else is new?). Between those two poles lie the honestly curious, and they should always feel welcome. John Siracusa sums that up succinctly: “Geekdom is not a club; it’s a destination, open to anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to travel there.” #   ·

Shudder To Think made the most head-fucking non-hit of the ’90s
You might not think you’ve heard these guys, whether as a band or individually, but you have. #   ·

Melvins’ Buzz Osborne picks songs by “bands that were good, but blew it”
He’s no shrinking violet, that King Buzzo. #   ·


Beam me up: A beginner’s guide to the Star Trek franchise
Here’s a pretty good intro to Star Trek for newbies, though I wouldn’t preface it by saying ST is “particularly intimidating for the uninitiated” — that’s all in the mind. Watch a few shows and its charm will guide you in. My own recommendation would be to start with TNG (except perhaps season 1, it’s fairly ropey) and then move on to DS9, my personal favourite for the sub-sub-plot deep connections between its characters that underpin the whole experience but often only reveal themselves as so important on repeat viewing. Voyager is unfairly maligned (I’ve been rewatching and enjoying it lately) though the AV Club writer neglects to remark on the show’s biggest failing: concentrating on the Janeway-Seven-Doctor trio at the expense of everyone else in the cast. Enterprise is what it is: ill-conceived but not flat-out terrible. (I can’t watch TOS myself, I can’t get over the period cheesiness, but I’m not going to deny the good that it did.) #   ·

My Thumped review of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Or Sin City 2, which is the title on all the marketing over here, even though it’s not the one on screen. Whatever the name, it’s still not a good movie. #   ·


How Scrivener Helped Me Organize All My Writing
I may give this a go sometime, to see if it works for me; €30 is a lot to drop on an app unless I use it constantly (like 1Password). Presently I do all my writing and digital note-taking in nvALT but it has its limitations. See also: I’ve Been Using Evernote All Wrong. Here’s Why It’s Actually Amazing #   ·

The Wikipedia entry for Google’s Roboto font. Might see how it works for this site. #   ·

Seinfeld is 25; here are 5 ways it changed television
Seinfeld is one of those things I would much rather read about than actually watch (its situations are excruciating to me). See also: Seinfeld at 25: Carol Leifer Reveals the Origins of the Marble Rye and the Elaine Stories We Never Saw. #   ·


“Speaking up every. Fucking. Time”
Elizabeth Spiers’ fair profile (which became much more than that) of tech culture writer and activist Shanley Kane, which reinforces the impression generated by Kane’s own words and deeds of someone who demands absolute, uncompromising control — over their work, public image, whatever. So not a bad person, just someone who appears to have a character flaw that blinds them to the notion that media ethics exist as a concept independent of them. It happens. Bobbie Johnson provides more background to the story. #   ·

Maciej Cegłowski on Sana’a
The astonishingly well travelled proprietor of Idle Words (and Pinboard) on being a tourist in Yemen in the Age of Terror (registered trademark of the US Government). #   ·

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