Microlog//Latest

My Thumped reviews of Suburra and Elvis & Nixon
You’ll probably want to see a movie this weekend after all that happened today, but you don’t need to see the new Independence Day if you can help it. #screen   ·

I’m on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones
This is Brazil come to reality, it really is. #comment   ·

Swallowing the Red Pill: a journey to the heart of modern misogyny
Don’t read this unless you’ve got a unicorn chaser at the ready, it’s depressing as all hell. #aux   ·

My Thumped review of Independence Day: Resurgence
Man, the critics round here really HATE this movie. I mean it’s not good, and it’s got serious issues, but it passes the time, and the 3D isn’t wasted for a change. #screen   ·

18 Quick Photoshop Tips for Beginners
All these years and I’m still a beginner at the aul’ PS. Filing this one under CPD. See also: Drawing Paths with the Pen tool in Photoshop (bit of a eureka moment, here). #aux   ·

My Thumped review of Gods of Egypt
Yep, it’s bad. But I’ve seen worse. #screen   ·

The dirty little secret that data journalists aren’t telling you
Like anything else in media, infoviz must be subject to scrutiny. And the more sophisticated, the more it needs a closer look, ‘cause everyone knows the trick about bar charts with a fudged x-axis, right? #media   ·

The dark side of Guardian comments
More infoviz here, this time graphing the prejudice against the Guardian’s female writers, besides the more controversial topics of ‘debate’, etc. #aux   ·

The Largest Ever Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender: 2,000 scripts, 25,000 actors, 4 million lines
It confirms what was already known — that while males dominate Hollywood cinema — but the infographic breakdown makes tangible what’s too easy an abstract notion to ignore. #screen   ·

BLDGBLOG: Books Received
Haven’t been in the headspace for ideas this intersectional and transcendent for a long time, but this is worth linking for when I am. #words   ·


Microlog//2016.06.15

Night After Night to @midnight: An oral history of Comedy Central (Part 1)
Another great oral history from the AV Club, pretty much the only good thing they’ve got going lately (besides the wrestling commentary, but that’s only like a Raw review now and then). Still waiting for part 2 of this one, but I’m sure whenever it shows up (the writer’s working on it!) it’ll be a doozy. #aux   ·

Mark Duplass Tips to Handle the “This Is No Good” Voice and Get Your “Vomit Draft” Out
Good advice, here, for this perennial procrastinator. #words   ·


Microlog//2016.06.12

Which is the correct past tense of “spin”: “span” or “spun”?
Here’s one of those weird quirks of English that still get me. ‘Span’ sounds more natural to me than ‘spun’, and it’s funny that it was apparently the original form. #words   ·


Microlog//2016.06.11

My Thumped review of When Marnie Was There
It’s a Studio Ghibli film do I really don’t have to convince you, do I? (Apologies in advance for the mixed metaphors and other things I’d line-edit if I could. Writers: never sub your own stuff.) #screen   ·


Microlog//2016.06.05

The Panoply Academy 1996-2005
A short YouTube documentary on the avant Bloomington ensemble. #sound   ·

My Thumped review of Race
This Jesse Owens biopic picks up the pace towards the end, but stumbles at nearly every hurdle. #screen   ·


Microlog//2016.05.24

My Thumped review of Green Room
How did I forget to blog this? Top contender for movie of the year for me. #screen   ·


Microlog//2016.05.19

My Thumped review of X-Men: Apocalypse
Third-movie syndrome strikes the ‘First Class’ generation in a bumper-sized movie that’s all much ado about nothing. #screen   ·


Microlog//2016.05.07

My Thumped review of Knight of Cups
On Terrence Malick’s latest experimental drama. Plus a few words on Hank Williams biopic I Saw The Light. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Friend Request
What an awful, awful film. It doesn’t even deserve the effort of an intro. #screen   ·


Microlog//2016.04.20

The Obama Doctrine
“For all of our warts, the United States has clearly been a force for good in the world. If you compare us to previous superpowers, we act less on the basis of naked self-interest, and have been interested in establishing norms that benefit everyone. If it is possible to do good at a bearable cost, to save lives, we will do it.” If only that were completely true, the ‘acting less on the basis of naked self-interest’ part: even a great power with great responsibility like the US never acts out of altruism; it always puts itself first. (Hence the alarmingly eager redirection towards drone-based interventionism.) But the quote demonstrates that Barack Obama is the most human president the US has had in years, and for all of his warts — and there are many — he is one of the most important. #comment   ·

Japan’s women wrestlers fight to win
High-brow re-acceptance of wrestling as an idiosyncratic art form takes its inevitable detour through the Japanese puroresu underground with this beautiful photo essay. #wrestling   ·

Don’t Teach Data Journalism Without Teaching Mobile-First Design
My old comrade Markham cuts to the chase: it’s not enough for infoviz/data journalism to be meaningful, it also has to be legible. #media   ·


Microlog//2016.04.17

The Reckoning: The Story of Claire Wilson
It’s desperately sad but revelatory, and refreshing to get this kind of deep-dive journalism from a casualty of tragedy, rather than the perpetrators often obsessed about. #aux   ·

Q Prime’s Burnstein And Mensch On Managing Metallica And Jimmy Page, Playing The Label Game, And Staying On Top For 33 Years
I’ll never get enough of these behind-the-music things. Also: so that’s who Louise Mench married. So why does she act such a blathering idiot on social media? #sound   ·

The art of being in the wrong place at the right time: behind the scenes of social media newsgathering
News orgs at all levels really need to consider the situation from their quarry’s perspective before they pick up the phone or dash off a tweet or email. #media   ·


Microlog//2016.04.11

‘A Front-Row Seat. To Misery.’
The NYT caught up with some of the Mets fans whose anguish its photographer captured during the play that cost their team — our team — the World Series last year #LetsGoMets #aux   ·

Percentage calculator
No excuses for not getting my relative percentages right. #aux   ·

Pandoc, a universal document converter
Never know when this might come in useful. #aux   ·

How drug laws aimed at pregnant women penalize their children
Lawmakers in the US have created a catch-22 whereby women are punished for doing the right thing. Probably done by the same moralising arseholes who think it ain’t no thing for a woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant to carry their child to term because adoption exists. #comment   ·

Why address your letter to a Sir? We have a female editor now
It simply demonstrates disrespect to the recipient: not only the sexist assumption, but also that one couldn’t be arsed to check. #media   ·


Microlog//2016.04.10

Empire State Fistfight: How New York legalized MMA, and why it’s such a big deal
Here’s a revealing story on the political machinations behind the gradual legitimisation of MMA in the US. It’s still a problem that UFC = MMA but now there’s more open ground to build competition, or at least more viable minor leagues. #aux   ·

Are you being ‘censored’? Updated terms for the modern world
Some of these I don’t mind (I mean, who gets nitpicky about histrionic terms when hyperbole’s always been a thing?) but overall this is sharp, cutting stuff. #words   ·


Microlog//2016.04.09

Recipe for lasagne bread (scaccia)
Holy moly that looks delicious. #food   ·

Dublin Rising 1916-2016
Easily the best thing to come out of the Rising commemorations is Google’s audio-visual time-travelling tour of the sites and events of that tumultuous time. #aux   ·

Revolution Pro Wrestling When Thunder Strikes results
Match results from the Rev Pro show I attended at York Hall in June 2013. Good times! #wrestling   ·

Everybody Is a Star: How the Rock Club First Avenue Made Minneapolis the Center of Music in the ’80s
Make me want an oral history of all the key clubs and venues of the music underground. And not just in the US. #sound   ·

Revisiting the book that immortalized the ’80s indie punk rock scene
I’m not a re-reader, but I didn’t realise so much time has passed (I got it when it came out, which does not feel like 15 years ago). I think this one needs another go. #sound   ·


Microlog//2016.04.08

My Thumped review of Dheepan
Plus a few words on schmaltzy period biopic The Man Who Knew Infinity. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Midnight Special
I don’t know, I liked this a lot more than some critics seemed to. It’s the good kind of nostalgia. #screen   ·

Bee’s Thumped review of Stardew Valley
Looking forward to this being ported to the Mac. (Yeah, I know I could do it this way but that’s too much friction for me.) #aux   ·


Microlog//2016.04.05

Lessons on finding flow
Might be a good exercise to fire up that dangerous writing app and see what I can do when the pressure’s on. #words   ·

The Deactivation of the American Worker
When even office cubical staff are essentially remote employees, and entries in a database, it’s even easier to treat them as numbers rather than people. It’s funny, while I’m thinking of it, why the concept of corporate social responsibility doesn’t seem to extend to human resources beyond recruitment and morale. #aux   ·

Twitter’s missing manual
Does exactly what it says on the tin. The search instructions are particularly useful for digging into my own tweets. #aux   ·

The problem with Rolling Stone’s El Chapo interview isn’t Sean Penn. It’s his editors.
Yes: whatever about the ‘celebrity journalism’ bullshit, where was the editorial guidance, whether before the assignment or during the writing of the piece? See also: How SB Nation Published Their Daniel Holtzclaw Story. And also: the Postlight Newsletter discusses possible workflow solutions to preventing flawed journalism getting out there (or at least managing things if that can’t be avoided). #media   ·

The State of the Speakularity
How far are we from “fast, free and decent” automatic voice transcription? Let me test IBM Watson’s Speech to Text service and I’ll get back to you. #aux   ·


Microlog//2016.04.04

A recap of WrestleMania by a guy who has never watched WrestleMania
This is a fun read on last night’s show, and helpful to see how contemporary wrestling looks from the outside in: the really bad stuff, it’s clear, is universally bad. #wrestling   ·

Notes from Japan
As a fellow anxious traveller, this kind of pre-prep guide is exactly my thing. So when we eventually get to Japan this decade or next, I’ll be keeping this in mind. The best advice here? Not to over-plan: you will be more tired than you expect, best to schedule maybe a couple of things each day and let happenstance fill in the rest. #aux   ·

The Night Gallery
Metal scribe and screenwriter Jeff Treppel’s Pinterest collection of classic movie posters. (Wish it wasn’t on Pinterest, though: I don’t want to log in or sign up, I just want to browse FFS.) #screen   ·

The Unsettling Mystery of the Creepiest Channel on YouTube
Only seems fitting that the visual web would get its own equivalent of a numbers station. #aux   ·

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 →