Microlog//Latest

The New Wave of Dutch Heavy Jazz on Bandcamp
Bit of a sampler for Dead Neanderthals and their noisy associates. #sound   ·

NASA’s logo: the worm vs. the meatball
I love the ‘worm’ logo, it’s the one I grew up with. It’s retro-futuristic in the best sense. And it’s not just about the logo; the styles that went with it had a cohesiveness that’s alarmingly absent from the look they went back to in the ’90s, coinciding with the period in which things started going south for space exploration. #aux   ·

Dear Pedants: Your Fave Grammar Rule Is Probably Fake
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you have to know the rules (whether useful for clarity, or bullshit class-enforcing myths) before you can break them. #words   ·

Access Denied
How celebrities’ increasing direct access to their fans, via Instagram and the like, has undermined the entertainment press, prompting them to seek ever more desperate measures, like fanboy profiles. #media   ·

Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame
You want to say ‘just keep it as a hobby’ but the reality for most is, if you want any kind of following you can hope to monetise, you have to post something new almost daily, and doing that well is a full-time gig. Although, if the following you get are the kind of people who’ll call you a ‘sellout’ for trying to make a living, then why even bother in the first place? #media   ·

My Thumped review of Spotlight
The title might be uninspired, but having seen this understated tour-de-force twice now, anything flashier would not be appropriate. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of The 5th Wave
Films for teenagers shouldn’t get a pass on being crap. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of The Revenant
The kind of film where its best qualities are almost despite the director and his leading man. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Joy
A film with its fair share of failings, but Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role is not one of them. #screen   ·

Massive table of CMYK colour codes
This could come in very handy for work. This ain’t the kind of operation that has Pantone books on the shelves, after all. #aux   ·


Microlog//2016.01.10

announcing overshare: the links.net story
Now there’s a blast from the past. #aux   ·

A scientist weighs up the five main anti-abortion arguments
I want to live in an Ireland that finally gets this. Also, repeal the 8th already. #comment   ·

Letterboxd list of Asian female filmmakers
I’ve never been one for caring about the gender of a filmmaker, but let’s be honest, female directors don’t get their due. And in international terms, these Asian filmmakers are virtually invisible. #screen   ·

John Updike’s 6 Rules for Constructive Criticism
Worth bearing in mind for film criticism, too. #words   ·


Microlog//2016.01.06

Why Do Puns Make People Groan?
Because those people are wrong? I’ll content that, in fact, puns make people grown. See what I did there? #aux   ·

The Meat Puppets’ 1980 Home Studio Sessions
Derrick Bostrom continues his archeology of his erstwhile band’s musical evolution. #sound   ·

Kim Thayil on The Talkhouse Music Podcast
Looks like a decently deep discussion with the Soundgarden guitarist, who doesn’t get the due he deserves. #sound   ·


Microlog//2016.01.03

All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: Wrestle Kingdom 10 Rundown
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s equivalent of WrestleMania is on tomorrow morning! Here’s a nice primer for anyone new to the wonders of NJPW. Also, one of the denizens of the Squared Circle subreddit made a programme for the show with bios of all the major players. Puroresu fans are the best. #wrestling   ·

Anne Billson’s least favourite films of 2015
It’s good to see the thought process behind what makes a film Bad for a critic. #screen   ·

Jennifer Jason Leigh: ‘I’ve been at this precipice so many times’
Jennifer Jason Leigh is, like Holly Hunter and so many others, one of those actors who should be in more, higher calibre stuff. To hell with awards, I just want to see more of her, in good things. #screen   ·

Editing as Punctuation in Film
Twenty minutes of your time and attention is all that’s required for this video essay on editing as a tool of cinematic language, rather than a language unto itself. See also: Fandor’s Best Video Essays of 2015. [c/o Rex Sorgatz] #screen   ·

The long, incredibly tortuous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font
“The sheer scale of the work involved has made it difficult for the Chinese language to enjoy the typographic diversity of Western ones, where there are varieties for every mood, style, and feel. But the world’s hundreds of millions of Chinese-speaking internet users are getting sick of seeing the same fonts over and over.” Something most people never think about, I’m sure. And it’s fascinating to me that written Chinese had to wait for high resolution displays to come along before they could be used in the same way western languages have been since computers were invented. [c/o Rex Sorgatz] #aux   ·


Microlog//2016.01.02

The Story of the Most Daring Cliffhanger in ‘Next Generation’ History
The Hollywood Reporter goes deep on a single two-parter, the beloved ‘Best of Both Worlds’. [c/o AV Club] #screen   ·

Gary Younge: Farewell to America
“…in America ‘a black male who drops out of high school is 60 times more likely to find himself in prison than one with a bachelor’s degree’. Previously, I’d have found that interesting and troubling. Now it was personal. I had skin in the game. Black skin in a game where the odds are stacked against it.” #comment   ·

Fintan O’Toole: Why the Irish vote for corruption
This is not a surprise to me. The last seven years – no, several decades – should mean it’s no surprise to anyone. And yet here we are, vacillating between the blue team and the green team as if those should be our only options. #comment   ·


Microlog//2015.12.29

How Snoopy Killed Peanuts
Meant to post this with my Peanuts Movie review, ah well. But he really did, didn’t he? That bastard. #aux   ·

The Stains
Lexicon Devil’s Dave Lang remembers one of the lost SST classics. #sound   ·

How to fit a butane gas regulator
This came in handy last week when the gas for our stove ran out and we had to swap in a new cylinder. #aux   ·

Computer Show
Do you remember Look Around You? This lot certainly do. #screen   ·

Not prestige, not trash: The rise of “mid-reputable” TV
I nodded a lot in agreement with this. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.12.25

My Thumped review of Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
You may have missed this came out earlier in the week due to all the hubbub over a certain space movie. And I’m happy to say it’s better than you might have imagined. #screen   ·

Four Columbia House insiders explain the shady math behind “8 CDs for a penny”
Bad headline for what’s really an oral history of what it was like to work at the ubiquitous ‘record club’ in the ’90s. What a crazy story. #sound   ·

Serious Bill-Paying Skillage
“Ernest Cline’s Armada is everything wrong with gaming culture wrapped up in one soon-to-be–best-selling novel.” Ugh, it’s basically everything I hated about Cline’s previous. Safe to assume the new one is similarly unimaginative, propped up by the same try-hard yet lazy-ass references. Fuck off already! #words   ·

Mr Turner & Mrs Somerville
Some background on the most interesting character in Mike Leigh’s disappointing Turner biopic. I’d much rather see a film about her. #aux   ·

Pure Data
A visual programming language for interactive computer music. Filing this for future reference. See also: IanniX, a graphical open source sequencer. #sound   ·

Never mind the learning disability, here’s PKN
Nice feature on the best act at this year’s Eurovision. And no, I’m not making an ironic joke. #sound   ·


Microlog//2015.12.11

My Thumped review of Vastum’s Hole Below
It’s my favourite death metal record of the year, so it is. (Even if the solos are found wanting.) #sound   ·


Microlog//2015.12.10

My Thumped review of Grandma
Lily Tomlin and writer/director Paul Weitz bring out the best in each other in this surprisingly understated comedy-drama. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.12.07

My Thumped review of Kowloon Walled City’s Grievances
Had my best music writing day in ages yesterday, and this is one result. One of my picks for the year, this record, too. #sound   ·


Microlog//2015.12.03

My Thumped review of Victor Frankenstein
Plus a few words on Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.11.28

Go on, admit it. There’s nothing wrong with the word ‘said’
Hear, hear! #words   ·

OK, it’s in the Oxford English Dictionary – but do you know what ‘cis’ means?
“If I can’t say a word to my hairdresser and expect to be understood, it’s not, in my view, a good word. Cisgender smacks too much of esoteric gender theory to me; all very well if you get a kick out of discussing the minutiae of identity politics all day, but I’d rather talk about important stuff. Like lipstick.” Ha! But joking aside, there’s an important point here about using (misusing?) academic terminology outside of that context, however well-meaning. (The same goes for concepts like ‘microaggression’: misapprehended by a broader audience that doesn’t grok the discrete difference in meaning a term like ‘aggression’ can have.) #comment   ·

Hyperpolyglot
Side-by-side reference sheet for programming languages. Filing this for future reference. [c/o Lifehacker] #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.11.27

My Thumped review of Black Mass
Johnny Depp is a vampiric Whitey Bulger in this true-crime saga that doesn’t make as much sense as it thinks it does. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.11.26

My Thumped review of The Necks live at the Peacock
Forgot to post this earlier in the week; I reviewed the Aussie improv jazz trio on my first time seeing them (after three attempts!) as they closed the four-night ‘pop-up’ festival STRUT at the Peacock. #sound   ·

My Thumped review of Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg at his most provocative, but he can’t help it with the schmaltz, can he? #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.11.22

ISIS Women and Enforcers in Syria Recount Collaboration, Anguish and Escape
A timely reminder that it’s not about religion or culture or any of that obfuscating bullshit: it’s about power, power of over individuals and over populations. Like feudalism, like the church in the middle ages, like warlords in the Horn of Africa, like the Third Reich. It’s all the same when you reduce to the essence. #comment   ·


Microlog//2015.11.21

List of selfie-related injuries and deaths
A few of these, like falling down the steps at the Taj Mahal, are unfortunate incidents that could happen to anyone. But the rest? Some people will do the stupidest things for social media kudos. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.11.19

Decoding Daesh: Why Is the New Name for ISIS so Hard to Understand?
Arabic translator Alice Guthrie cuts through the western cultural biases to explain what’s really a straight-forward idea. #comment   ·


Microlog//2015.11.18

What is Code?
The longread to beat all longreads: Paul Ford’s recent takeover of Bloomberg Business Week to answer the question above. It’s ostensibly aimed at executives and management, given the vehicle of publication, but Ford is a man of the people and he clearly went about demystifying the world of tech and coding and whizz-bang computery things for you and me and everyone else. Also: here he is on the Shutterstock blog discussing how the article (all 38,000 words of it) came about. #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 →