Microlog//Latest

Rain is sizzling bacon, cars are lions roaring: the art of sound in movies
The Guardian profiles Oscar-winning sound designer Skip Lievsay: “His expertise, fittingly, is what can’t be seen – sound, yes, but also everything else that sound is to the human mind: the way we orient ourselves in relation to spaces, to time, to each other; the way we communicate when language fails; the way our ears know, precognitively, when the dark room has someone lurking in it or when a stranger will be kind. He orchestrates the levels of human perception that most people either fail to examine or lack the ability to notice at all. His job is to make you feel things without ever knowing he was there.” #sound   ·

The Agency
“From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.” This story is crazy, and it’s got ‘1970s-style conspiracy thriller’ written all over it. #aux   ·

Filtered for radioactive cats
“Question. If you bury radioactive waste and need to warn people to stay away from the land for 10,000 years, how do you do it — basically how do you construct a message that lasts longer than humans have been living in cities?” And more thought-food gems like that. #aux   ·

My Thumped review of Sinister 2
I can’t believe no one else came up with my ‘Electric Bughuul’ gag. (Well, one other person did, but they added an ‘-oo’ at the end.) #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Vacation
This remake/reboot/sequel to the ’80s National Lampoon comedy is better than you might expect, given the awful trailer. #screen   ·

The foodie traveller on … reinventing poutine in Toronto
If these count as poutine, then Abrakebabra taco fries should too. I’m serious! #food   ·

Cool Things Chrome Can Do Now, Thanks to Hardware MIDI
Pretty sweet that a few lines of code can turn a web browser into a software synth. #sound   ·

The vast, unplayable history of video games
There’s a very important point here about the ownership of cultural artefacts, and how the digital era has defined that ownership squarely in favour of the corporate producer (leading to legal absurdities like software licences becoming a template for every kind of non-physical media). It’s not just about games; if films are no longer being preserved on reels of celluloid, and only exist on the hard drives of some movie studio’s IT department, how can we trust they’ll still be around in decades to come? #media   ·

The World Needs Female Rock Critics
On women’s alienation from rock. Or rather, the rock musical/critical canon, because there’s plenty of room for women in more underground, niche genres. Still, there can always be more. (And the same could be said for every relative minority, ie anyone not a white male.) #sound   ·

Whose Line’s Colin Mochrie on dreaming of Jeannie and chicken revenge
Colin Mochrie is a mensch, and my favourite Hoedown singer. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.08.16

The Untold Story of ILM, a Titan That Forever Changed Film
So that’s where the name comes from. (Also, another in a line of great oral histories of the movie business, here.) #screen   ·

Falling In Love With A Hard Drive (or, How To Name Your Computer
 and Other Machines)
My computer used to be called ‘Chamlis Amalk-ney’. #aux   ·

Love That Louie: The Louie Louie Files
A compilation of nothing but covers of ‘Louie Louie’. (You could probably make a similar compilation just of Black Flag’s versions of same.) #sound   ·


Microlog//2015.08.15

NASA Space Universe on Bandcamp
Best SoCal hardcore band since the SST days, I don’t care what anyone else says. And most of their released stuff is here. #sound   ·

Oxbow on Bandcamp
At long last, the legendary Bay Area bruisers’ discography (or most of it, anyway) for streaming and download. #sound   ·

Urbach Wiethe – Tenterhooks
JG’s recent live set of harsh noise from the co-op venue. #sound   ·


Microlog//2015.08.14

‘Botchamania’ blooper reels pull back the curtain on pro wrestling
Maffew gets some love from Sports Illustrated. Also, he’s been full-time for a while now? No wonder we’ve been getting so many videos. #wrestling   ·

Remembering Bernard Stollman: 10 Essential ESP-Disk Albums
What a strong visual sense that label had, too. Not uniform as the classic jazz imprints that inspired it but with a common sensibility nonetheless. #sound   ·

I’m sorry, I’ll say that again – the rhetorical trick of metanoia
“[Once] a thing is said, even if it is taken back immediately, it can’t be unsaid: the impression it makes on an audience remains, undiminished.” So there. #words   ·

The eeriness of the English countryside
Is there an Irish equivalent? Certainly we have our own folklore and cultural history, but stories of mischievous faeries and the like don’t really compare to the dread inspired by the ghosts of England’s heritage. The closest local connection I can make is the music (and presentation) of From the Bogs of Aughiska but I’m probably missing the blindingly obvious. #words   ·


Microlog//2015.08.12

My Thumped review of Pixels
“Pixels isn’t for geeks; it’s really a movie for jocks re-skinned with a bunch of old-school game characters…” #screen   ·

How I Gave Up Alternating Current
Wherein the software engineer and Soylent creator displays breathtaking privilege and ignorance of the world at large from behind his shield of environmental concern, and all ultimately in the service of promoting his new product. Even putting aside that cynicism, his approach is that of a corporate downsizing consultant, only concerned with increasing the efficiencies of life, without regard for the invisible hands — exploited workers in China, farm-to-fork agrifood infrastructure, etc etc — that move the world he must believe he makes revolve through force of his own will. #comment   ·

Quttinirpaaq – Dead September
Heavy on the repetition, distortion, Suicide-esque drum-machine damage. That kind of noise. Good stuff here. #sound   ·

Recipe for creamy macaroni and cheese
I think this could do with some tweaking; I doubt it needs a pound of cheese. #food   ·

How to take a screenshot on your Mac
Filing this for future reference. #aux   ·

How to make Photoshop CS5 run in Mac OS X Yosemite
A necessary fix for the Java runtime error that arises upon upgrading to Yosemite, and it’s an easy one: just install Java for OS X 2015-001 before launching PS for the first time after the OS update. Worked for me, anyway. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.08.06

My Thumped review of A Doctor’s Sword
An incredible story to be sure, but this documentary doesn’t really do it justice. #screen   ·

Dead Neanderthals get some love on Pitchfork
Meant to blog this weeks ago, oops! Plus a reminder of my own interview with the band, which doesn’t feel like it was two years ago. #sound   ·

Low End Theories: Palehorse’s Favourite Bass Albums
The two-bass power sludge combo were smart enough to pick the Minutemen’s best album (no it’s not Double Nickels) so I’ll give ‘em the time of day. #sound   ·

Simple Rules for Healthy Eating
Exactly what it says on the link. #food   ·


Microlog//2015.06.07

My Thumped review of Insidious: Chapter 3
It looks the part, but it’s definitely the weakest of a series I’m quite fond of. #screen   ·

Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane!
These oral histories the AV Club’s been doing have been great stuff so far. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of The Connection
The French do crime, American style in this domestic take on the French Connection. #screen   ·

Aspect Ratio Calculator
This has been amazingly helpful to me as of late. #aux   ·

Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling
Max Landis (yes, he’s son of you-know-who) directs a defence of his wrestling fandom with this adaptation of the story of Triple H. It’s pretty amazing, and even makes me curious to give Chronicle a shot. [c/o MetaFilter] #wrestling   ·

My Thumped review of San Andreas
Everyone else might be shitting on it but I enjoyed the hell out of The Rock’s latest blockbuster. #screen   ·

The ongoing failure of the PG-13 rating
“While it started off soundly, the PG-13 rating now represents the insidious idea that filmmakers working above a certain budget level can no longer decide who their films are for.” As an aside, it was always insane to me, growing up in a climate with legally enforced ratings in specific categories (G, PG, 12, 15 and 18 when Batman came out, for reference), that kids in America could see movies wildly inappropriate for them as long as they were accompanied by an adult. Like, who the fuck would take their kids to see Aliens? But then I remember the US cinema industry is lorded over by a voluntary body of little Napoleons who’ve expressed unabashed sexism and homophobia in their rating ‘recommendations’. The MPAA needs to die the way of the Comics Code, for all of our sakes. #screen   ·

Nosferatu: The Jew as Vampire
I’d never considered it before, but it makes perfect sense. And there’s enough evidence here to indeed characterise it as pre-Nazi propaganda; it’s too easy to fall on the notion of ‘they were different times, people didn’t know any better’: there were plenty who did know, and those people were in positions of power and influence. So it was then as it is now. [c/o LinkMachineGo] #screen   ·

Max Headroom: the definitive history of the 1980s digital icon
I was born in 1980 so I was just that bit too young to get Max Headroom beyond being aware of it, and thinking it was cool as fuck. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Tomorrowland: A World Beyond
“Atlas Shrugged for kids” was my summation. That nobody’s talking about this movie barely a fortnight after its release is also telling. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.05.19

How to find time to read
Burkeman suggests scheduling regular times for reading, but in my experience, you either want to read or you don’t. And even then you want to read this or that; it’s not a coin toss. #words   ·

The rise of the short Irish Story
They might not sell the big numbers, but I’ve always been a fan of the short story, and Ireland’s long produced masters of the form. #words   ·

Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day for March 15: knackered
I always thought this was Irish slang that crossed over. They say it ‘entered English in the late 1800s’ but they don’t cite from where… #words   ·

HTML5 Drum Machine
This is amazing! But it doesn’t work in Chrome. Hmmm. #sound   ·

We got it all on UHF: An oral history of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s cult classic
The AV Club goes deep on this proper cult movie. I was one of the multitudes who discovered it on cable TV, and I’ll still sing its praises (even if it sags in the third act; that Rambo parody goes on far too long). #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.05.13

My Burning Ambulance review of Bosse-de-Nage’s All Fours
My favourite heavy record of 2015 so far. #sound   ·

In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas
This idea that the even the thought of bad things is near if not equivalent to the things themselves is at best ridiculously precious, at worst actually dangerous, and borderline fascist. It’s completely separate from the notion of safe spaces in a society where institutional/cultural discrimination is a real problem, though I don’t quite see the point of getting het up about ‘microaggressions’ (aside from the category error of using specific academic terms in a generic cultural context, who defines such, anywho?) when the credo ‘don’t be a dick’ seems to suffice. (And yes, I recognise my level of privilege as a white male, yet I also recognise that privilege is a network of intersections and mutual confirmations and negations, not a straight-forward pyramid of social strata like class.) #aux   ·

Stewart Lee interview in Mustard comedy mag
A lengthy chat with the rib-tickling funnyman (ha, he’d hate that, wouldn’t he?). Provides a different take on the TMWRNG reissue situation, too. #aux   ·

Unicode Text Converter
Filing this for future reference. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.05.06

My Thumped live review of the Paul G Smyth/Chris Corsano Duo at the NCH
My thoughts on an evening of non-Euclidean music by two fine improvisers. #sound   ·

This page is a reverse chronology of recent Microlog entries by MacDara Conroy. To catch future entries, you can follow on Twitter or subscribe to the reader feed. You will find many more past entries going back to 2003 in the Archives →