Microlog//Latest

Buy now, pay later
Explaining the Irish banking crisis, in typically Irish terms. It’s still pisses me off that we’ve never really learned the lessons of what went down, and we’re bound to repeat it again. No real sense of people pulling together, everyone out for themselves. The upcoming marriage referendum has brought it out again: such an absence of empathy in such a supposedly ‘Christian’ nation; personal ‘conscience’ as an excuse for denying others trumps all. As a people, we’re a sham, we really are. #   ·

The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape
The travel writer on the disappearing lexicon that’s specific to the landscape in Britain (and surely Ireland by extension). I did not know, for instance, that forest refers not only to the woods but an area reserved for hunting, regardless of its tree coverage. #   ·

Seeking feedback on the proposed Liffey Cycle Route options
The public consultation closes this Friday. I’ve gone for option two, which really has the best chance of being realised (option three is better, but a pipe dream in the current climate). #   ·

Millions spent but are our streets more cycling friendly?
I don’t know where they’re spending their millions because the answer is a resounding ‘no’. Here’s two simple things that would help immensely: educating motorists that cyclists are allowed to ‘take the lane’, especially when it’s unsafe to keep left; and making sure road surfaces are free of debris and uneven surfaces (poor tarmac laying around shores is just one depressingly regular example, grand for cars but potentially lethal for cyclists). #   ·

Star Trek movies (ships only)
Some genius has only gone and edited out everything from the Star Trek movie series bar the bits with starships moving, drifting, droning in space. #   ·

Frame of reference
In The New Yorker, John McPhee reminds writers to put the reader first when choosing their references or turns of phrase. Context, yes? [c/o @burn_amb]. #   ·

How to back up a country
This is kinda crazy near-future sci-fi stuff, but it’s happening, and I suppose it’s appropriate that it’s happening in Estonia, which to me has always represented a mix of technological emancipation and post-Soviet ennui. Or something like that. #   ·

Your Internet Friends Are Real: A Defense Of Online Intimacy
It’s 2015 and this is still a thing? #   ·

What Makes an Electric Guitar Sound Like an Electric Guitar
Or, a concise history of guitar amplification. #   ·

Fox Mulder and the Problem of the Romantic Conspiracy Theorist
Erstwhile ‘Nostalgia Chick’ Linsday Ellis on the dangers of irresponsible scepticism that a poorly handled X Files remake might engender. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.30

Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin City: First details and images of full route
Looking forward to this, because it’s basically my route into town. It’s a fairly cheap investment, too, considering the landscaping they’ll be doing towards the Docklands end. But five months to complete the project? Considering the Castleknock-to-Ashtown section was delayed by four months over some bullshit land access issue for the electricity supply to the cameras and lights (which are pretty dim. as it happens, and virtually worthless), I think that’s a bit of a pipe dream. (Also, while the towpath’s closed I’ll have to use the roads into town, won’t I? I wouldn’t mind only that Dublin drivers are pricks until proven otherwise.) #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.28

YoruFukurou/Night Owl
A native Twitter client for Mac OS X. Trying this out for a while. #   ·

Why “Eat Less, Move More” Is the Least Helpful Diet Advice Ever
“Success doesn’t come from willpower, but creating a maintainable, positive feedback loop—a motivation machine that says ‘the results that I get out are worth more than the effort that I’m putting in.’ When it comes to staying motivated and sticking to your fitness program, this is the only thing that really matters.” Bingo. #   ·

Planet TV: Seoul Surfing
On some of South Korean TV’s mental programming, along with baseball taking after the Japanese. So it’s always been weird to me that pro wrestling isn’t a thing there. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.26

My Thumped review of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Isao Takahata’s first film in 15 years, and maybe his last, is also one of Studio Ghibli’s finest. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.25

Why Are There Only 28 Days in February?
Huh. I did not know this before. Suppose I should it this under ‘TIL’ for ‘today I learned’. #   ·

How to Make Caramelized Onions in the Microwave
Although it takes about as long as it would to do them on the stovetop, I’m not sure why I’d bother. Still, they are delicious [c/o Lifehacker]. #   ·

What it’s like to compete in the Chopped kitchen
Decent interview with a past contestant giving a pretty detailed behind-the-scenes at the Food Network’s best show. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.22

Favicons, Touch Icons, Tile Icons, etc. Which Do You Need?
Turns out the answer is ‘all of the above’. I’m gonna need a new favicon file, aren’t I? #   ·

Where Was The Windows XP Default Wallpaper Photo Taken?
Weird that the Dutch version of Windows calls it ‘Ireland’; that shade of green is far too bright for this country. #   ·

InDesign Secrets: Assigning Default Text Formatting
I ran into an issue the other week where the text box default assumed one of my pullquote styles. I’d draw a frame, say for a headline or body text, paste in the text and voila: exactly the style I didn’t want. I still don’t know how that happened. But this tip helped me reset back to the basic un-styled text. Winner. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.20

My Thumped review of Insurgent
“Woodley, alas, is as ligneous as her name. I’m talking Keanu Reeves levels of blank-faced disengagement. Literally the only change she undergoes between the first movie and this one is a haircut. Two movies in now, if she can’t connect with Tris on any emotional level, why the hell should we?” #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.17

false starts, true beginnings
“The year is 2015; we don’t quite know what year it is. The notion that 2020 will show up five years from now seems absurd, that ‘10 years ago’ refers to ‘2005’ hardly less so.” Nick Sweeney (from whom I got my Gmail invite in 2004, IIRC) reflects on something that’s been on my own mind as of late. I was in Forbidden Planet yesterday and saw a magazine on the shelves celebrating 20 years since the premiere of Star Trek: Voyager and I was like ‘20 years? What?’ Because it only feels like a decade if even that. But maybe it’s just that as we get older, our sense of time is compressing. #   ·

Near-total solar eclipse to darken Irish skies
It’s on 20 March, this Friday morning! I missed the last one, in August 1999, ‘cause I was at work. Weather permitting, I don’t intend to make that mistake again. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.16

How To Pitch A Music Editor
Jesus, do people really send such terrible pitches? I need to get my arse in gear. #   ·

Cauli gosh: Yotam Ottolenghi’s cauliflower recipes
Yes, yes, it’s the cauliflower/Ottolenghi singularity. But just look at those recipes and tell me your mouth isn’t watering. #   ·

The man who made Monet: how impressionism was saved from obscurity
I don’t remember learning about Paul Durand-Ruel in my art history class, which is kind of a glaring omission considering how pivotal he was to the impressionists and their movement. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.15

All Dressed Up For Mars And Nowhere to Go
Elmo Keep’s lengthy feature on the Mars One project, which doubles as a definitive explanation for why privatisation is a Bad Thing. I mean, Chris Hadfield doesn’t like it, so that should tell you something. Bonus content: Wikipedia’s Timeline of the far future (something to read if you feel like giving yourself an existential panic attack). #   ·

Joe Chip’s problem was never his door
“It’s that Terms of Service that makes Joe Chip’s conapt suck. It doesn’t suck because it’s connected; it sucks because Joe Chip doesn’t own his own stuff. The TOS/EULA turns everything into hire purchase.” Tom Armitage on that PKD excerpt doing the social media rounds. #   ·

Here are the 10 best bits from Robot Chicken’s first 10 years
It’s been so long since I’ve watched Robot Chicken; I guess I’ve got some new DVDs to queue in my Amazon wish list. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.12

My Thumped review of Áine O’Dwyer’s Music for Church Cleaners
“It’s all beauty in song drifting on the river between joy and fear.” My first album review in ages, rejoice! #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.07

My Thumped review of Chappie
It’s getting slaughtered by the critics bar a few exceptions, which seems like overkill to me because while it’s not a great movie, it’s not that bad. #   ·


Microlog//2015.03.04

When did the comic-book universe become so banal?
Methinks Jonathan Jones’ appreciation of the medium is too rarefied for his own good (there’s more to a comic than the pictures on the page, and there’s more to comics in general than the graphic novel, or the counter-culture underground). But he makes a very fair point about Chris Ware’s work, which I have enjoyed in the past, being “basically a set of tics and mannerisms” — exactly the same way I feel about Wes Anderson’s films [c/o LinkMachineGo]. #   ·

Phil Freeman on the role of ritual in metal
There’s going through the motions (which can be fine, there are sets of expectations and marks to hit; being a wrestling fan I do that all the time when I suspend my disbelief) and there’s spirituality and transcendence (Swans, Boredoms, Sunn O))), etc) and then there’s ritual. And Freeman (my editor at Burning Ambulance) argues that actual, religiously inspired ritual is a rare thing in music, particularly in metal. #   ·


Microlog//2015.02.28

My Thumped review of Focus
Will Smith’s comeback from the disastrous After Earth has the promise of sex, danger and intrigue, but delivers very little. #   ·


Microlog//2015.02.26

Frankie Boyle on offence and free speech
“If you want to work to change the usage of a word that’s discriminatory then fine, I’m behind you. But that’s a conversation that needs to be had in the culture. You can’t just decide that commonly used parts of a language are evil and that the people who didn’t get the memo must be bad people. Awkwardly, the areas of culture which would be most useful in updating how people perceive language are the very ones that are most censored.” Indeed. I’d even go as far as to say the absence of this kind of subtlety is killing culture. #   ·

Shout! Factory TV
The retro reissue label’s free, Hulu-powered streaming service, with oodles of MST3K ready to go (but if you’re outside the US you’ll need a good VPN and a browser that won’t leak your IP). #   ·

Totally Mexico! How the Nathan Barley nightmare came true
I was one of the people who loved this show because I don’t go out on Friday nights. But I never really thought of it as prescient so much as sending up the hipsterdom that was already staining the fabric of East London life. That hasn’t so much got worse as it has been magnified by the mainstream and its endless fascination with what goes on on the fringes (though hipsters are about as fringe as Starbucks, really). #   ·


Microlog//2015.02.21

The Happiness of the Katakuris is coming soon on Blu-ray
My favourite Takashi Miike flick (of which I’ve seen; he’s made a lot) is getting the BR treatment from Arrow Films. Sweet! #   ·

The Problem with Horror Movies Today
Chris Stuckmann nails it with this scathing criticism not just of a cynical industry that churns out dud after dud, but lazy audiences who’ll clearly lap up any aul’ shite. See also: The Problem with Action Movies Today (which I don’t agree with as much, but it makes some good points all the same). #   ·

The Nostalgic Attic’s guide to… Godzilla
My good buddy JP Mulvanetti’s introduction to the somewhat daunting monster movie franchise. #   ·

Kimono: Turn websites into structured APIs from your browser in seconds
I’m not quite sure what I could do with this, but feels handy to know it’s there. #   ·


Microlog//2015.02.20

Theory: Homer Simpson has been in a coma for 20 years
This explains everything. #   ·

How to adjust the screen brightness on VLC for Android
So that’s how you do it! I’m always accidentally brightening the screen on the tablet and there’s no obvious visual cue for rectifying the situation. #   ·

Prevent Running Shoe Blisters With a “Lace Lock”
So that’s what that extra hole is for! I’ll be doing this with all my shoes from now on. #   ·


Microlog//2015.02.19

OS X Mavericks: Using Apple’s hidden Wi-Fi Diagnostics tool
Why this is hidden is beyond me; apartment living means finding an empty Wi-Fi channel is a must. #   ·

Matt Webb on ‘consensus cosmogony’
“So we have all kinds of consensus understandings of what the future looks like, how we’ll get there, and what the first steps are. When consensus is strong, it’s an almighty power for coordination. For pulling in the same direction.” #   ·

Hit The Road
Directions between any two points in Dublin via public transport. It’s a little off here and there (there are some better transit connections if you walk between stops a little further) but I can see using this if I need to get to unfamiliar parts of the city. #   ·


Microlog//2015.02.17

The Cobweb: What the Web Said Yesterday
On the Internet Archive’s (and others’) attempts to preserve some kind of fixed account of a web that’s constantly in flux – with new information replacing old, or merely hiding it, not to mention the scourge of link rot. #   ·

Website Style Guide Resources
Filing this for future reference. #   ·

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