Microlog//Latest

Allez Cuisine! A MetaFilter user has compiled nearly every episode of the original Iron Chef
And it’s a glorious, glorious thing. #   ·

Raymond Pettibon: punk with a pencil
Every now and then Raymond Pettibon gets rediscovered, and I can’t complain. See also: Pettibon interviewed by Kim Gordon #   ·

Every Irish Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Bet you didn’t know about most of these. #   ·

UK’s concerned clowns call for end to copycat crime wave
Argh! Attack of the Clown Trolls! #   ·

Handleband: a universal smartphone bar mount for bicycles
I want one of these. #   ·


Microlog//2014.04.15

The Death of the Blog, Again, Again
At some point in the coming years, blogging will become cool again thanks to the hipsters, and then it really will be dead! #   ·

mental_floss on the restored original cut of The Dark Crystal
No longer on YouTube at the request of The Jim Henson Company. Which is a shame, unless they make it a DVD/Blu-ray extra or something down the line. #   ·


Microlog//2014.03.28

On Smarm
First there was snark, the “hostile, knowing, bitter tone of contempt”; bullshit criticism of anything that doesn’t fit one’s own flimsily constructed worldview. But as Gawker’s Tom Scocca posits, it’s a reaction to smarm, an equally odious posture of self-satisfaction; the notion of being above criticism of any kind, which is built on similarly shoddy foundations. Both are as smug, selfish and ignorant as each other. #   ·

No girls allowed
Or, how the mainstreaming of the video game industry reinforced gender stereotyping. First there was this: “Knowing that you have limited funding, you can’t just market shotgun. You can’t just go after anybody,” says [marketing firm president] Rodger Roeser. “You need to have a very clearly differentiated and specific brand because that’s going to play into where you’re running your ads and what kind of ads you run. That niche-ing, that targeting makes it easier for marketers to have a very succinct conversation with their target without overspending and trying to reach everybody.” That led to this: “The industry did the math. Companies like Nintendo aggressively sought out people who played their games … Publishers traveled to cities, held tournaments and got to see firsthand who was playing their games … The numbers were in: More boys were playing video games than girls. Video games were about to be reinvented.” And somehow that got written in stone, and society at large has simply accepted it without question. Which says a lot about us, quite frankly. #   ·

Nick Southall on criticism
A different take on the matter than Simon Price’s piece but similarly thought-provoking. Myself, I try to approach things as a fan first and foremost, and go with my head where my gut leads me; it helps me avoid the kind of ‘decision fatigue’ Rumaan Alam writes about in The Firehose of Certainty. #   ·

Jonathan Lethem on the subversive power of comics and science fiction
I like Lethem, but I hope Dissident Gardens is better than his last novel Chronic City, which was fucking terrible. #   ·


Microlog//2014.03.23

Computers are for people
Tim Carmody touches on so many ideas here that it’s impossible to categorise. I like it. #   ·

A Shit Writing Day
Paul Ford analyses his work like no other. Maybe he could do with reading my previous post on the Ass-In-the-Chair Canard. #   ·

Economic Hardcore: Remembering the Minutemen Nearly 30 Years Later
A great essay on my favourite band. Read it. #   ·

The Secret History of Dominion
Dominion is probably my favourite tabletop game, and I haven’t been playing it enough. #   ·

The Awesome DSLR Features You (Probably) Never Knew Existed
Filing this here for future reference. #   ·


Microlog//2014.03.21

Insanely detailed maps of fictional Koana Islands
Had I access to the same tools, I probably would’ve done something like this when I was younger. [c/o Kottke.org] #   ·

What is it about the internet that turns people into massive dicks?
Perceived impunity, maybe? The divorcing of actions from their consequences? But you can say the same about school bullies, gaslighters, whatever: the notion’s not unique to the internet. But it is amplified by it — hyperbole to a ridiculous degree — which makes its effects so much more damaging. At the same time, I disagree with Skepchick’s summation that wanting power and wanting attention are mutually exclusive; giving the latter gives trolls the former, so never underestimate the power of turning the other cheek. There are other, more effective ways to undo them (though I know that’s easy to say when I’m not at the receiving end of a barrage of hate). #   ·

Bradley Manning and the Two Americas
The story of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning is an interesting one as it really seems to be the case of an individual coming to terms with their conscience and acting upon it, not that I agree with the way the leaked data was handled (too much information, especially unfiltered, can be a dangerous, volatile thing). Compare to Edward Snowden, who comes across to me not so much a whistleblower as a mole, someone with an agenda from the outset who sought out positions where he could achieve his goals. It saddens me that Snowden’s become the poster boy via his deliberately spun James Bond bullshit, while Manning stews in prison unjustly, and for all intents and purposes forgotten. #   ·

Why do we make mistakes? Blame your brain, the original autocorrector
It’s the reason why writing and editing requires stepping away from the page now and then. #   ·

The Speakers: how two people became the voice of 110 airports and the NYC subway
The Verge is great for quirky features like this. #   ·


Microlog//2014.03.16

“Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control
This is what happens when you mix politics and policing: it becomes all about image, about looking tough on crime, without the necessary training to support it. And the result is that innocent people suffer on a widespread basis, and justice is completely undermined. Nice job, America. #   ·

How to Pick the Right Electronics Board for Your DIY Project
Filing this here for future reference. #   ·

A Beginner’s Guide To Kevin Drumm
Music like this is still inscrutable to me; it’s really a mystery how these sounds are manipulated so. Is it live? Looped? Analogue or digital? Improvised or composed? What equipment? What software? How could I, if I wanted to, even begin to make something like it myself? #   ·

The Basics of Music Production: The Complete Guide
Filing this here for future reference. #   ·

Why This Vintage He-Man Action Figure Still Smells Bad 30 Years Later
I never had Stinkor, so I can’t vouch for the smell. But I do love the notion that he was such a D-list character (repurposed from other’s body and accessory moulds) that even the cartoon writers wouldn’t touch him! #   ·


Microlog//2014.01.15

Al Johnson is Decent: An Interview
A chat with the erstwhile US Maple frontman. #   ·

Semesters In The Abyss: Metal’s Town And Gown Lock Horns
Over-intellectualising anything can be problematic, but does that preclude metal from serious academic engagement? Of course not. Some good thoughts on the subject here. #   ·

From Rhys Ifans to Madonna: writers on their worst celebrity interviews
Thankfully, in the few interviews I’ve done with celebrities* I haven’t had any horrible experiences; in fact it’s been quite the opposite. #   ·

Wrestling Reporter Dave Meltzer Tries To Keep It Real
The New York Times profiles the legendary ‘dirt sheet’ writer and publisher. Other fandoms (as they call them now) have their zines, and a whole culture behind them that’s only latterly been celebrated more widely (oh, you hipsters), but wrestling has the dirt sheets, and Meltzer sets the standard. See also: Meltzer talks about his unique gig with Colt Cabana. #   ·

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 →