Weblog | Archives for April 2004
Past posts.

Neave is simply a beautiful site to visit. Great design, good weblog, and some fascinating experiments with Flash. Make sure to try the Kutopia Flower.

Bunnyman to Clover

There are two more things that make me happy: making you laugh, and knowing that I'll never find a system for consistently making you do so.


soda_ripTomC has extended my Spring Set applet to load sodaplay model files, use muscles, and allow point-grabbing. Impressive work.


"The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules."

Coffee and Skittles: It's What's for Dinner.

But, I'm breaking personal records in productivity and teeth-grinding.

Dice Music

Musikalisches Würfelspiel — a generative music algorithm first published in 1792.


Synthetic Life
"...synthetic biology. They are designing and building living systems that behave in predictable ways, that use interchangeable parts, and in some cases that operate with an expanded genetic code, which allows them to do things that no natural organism can."

More Reading:
MIT's BioBrick inventory
Digital Cells

Mirth, and the Absence of Technology

Spring has shoved its flowery horns full-bore into the Midwest's collective gut. We had showers and storms all weekend, followed by sun and butterflies today. The most important technologies in my life — car, cellphone, laptop — all failed suddenly this weekend; but somehow I'm feeling great.

This weekend was excellent. On Saturday we went to the City Museum; it was buzzing with kids doing art and generally going nuts. Dinner and jazz at the Delmar Lounge, where the salmon is served under an intimidating layer of "old lady hair"/rice noodles/packing material. In the rain, she wore a green scarf — the kind that reminds one of eastern-European grandmas; but on her it was beautiful and hip. Watched Ghost World (finally noticed the plotline...) and was exposed to Wildboyz (when did MTV get these great shows?). Ended up at Stagger Inn, where two major community schisms had been closed moments earlier; everything was working out well for everyone.

Yesterday was slow and lazy. I spent almost all day at the coffeeshop. A year ago this was a daily thing; now its a monthly luxury. Made the Spring Set applet, chatted until my voice was tired, and played hackysack. Missed a busy someone I was hoping to run into by ten minutes when I left for open mic. At least I avenged myself in shuffleboard, reaching within myself to find my "chai tea."

Tonight's special: cover letters, returning phonecalls and emails, science.

Spring Set | Comments (1)

An implementation of spring-and-mass physics, like the system used in sodaplay. I'm looking for a good method for encoding a graph structure in a mutatable genotype; l-systems can only do trees. With a decent genotype mechanism, some evolution could be introduced: most stable tower, fastest walker, etc.


Jupiter Jazz! Get their "Astronaut Biscuit Breakfast" mp3 from stlscene.com. I'd better finish their website soon, so they can get big and stop bumming cigarettes.

Tuesday: had a date to see Norman Mailer speak. "The promise of technology is to make us more powerful and less happy." Both Mr. Mailer and my date speak with a direct, thrilling kind of eloquence. I wonder if this ability is a cause or effect of being a writer. I took a risk and cooked a small batch of okonomiyaki, which went pretty well with taco cheese. Great conversations; she left me thinking so much that I couldn't sleep until four. I feel lucky to be getting to know her.

Wednesday: tried to quit smoking. I lasted for twenty hours, until this morning. It's going to happen, and soon. Thought about what and why I want to create while I had myself in nicotine-free lockdown.

Thursday: raining. It's Earth Day! I'm going to make something tonight. It might be a program, some sounds, a site redesign, or even something physical.

Utopia or Bust

Fertilising the sea could combat global warming — "Dumping iron sulphate in the ocean to cause plankton blooms might not seem an eco-friendly way to tackle global warming. But, according to the most extended trial of the technique so far, it could prove an effective one."

As an old friend used to say, "perfect ecology through perfect technology."

Technology is a dangerous race; we increasingly need newer technologies to help us outrun the ill effects of older technology. The stakes rise with every new generation, but we passed the point where we could have stopped safely hundreds of years ago.

Cat Power

My new friend
Plays drums all the time
Her magic heart
Feels everything
She plays the difficult parts and I play

First Impression

The mutual friend somewhat thoughtlessly demanded the front seat, so she sat in the back and warned that she would be browsing my books. I saw her writing something. After the night, the next plans, and the goodbye, she pulled up next to my car and surprised me. I had the light on, and was scanning the back seat for the note. Our windows roll down.

"The curiosity was killing me," I smiled.

So, so classy.

The social experiment went on without me, but we ran into them at CBGBs, the stopoff for indie rock Terry. Their costumes were perfect, but they just looked like ironicly dressed hipsters there.

Punk Rock Orchestra

Punk Rock Orchestra — "Hailing from San Francisco, CA the Punk Rock Orchestra is a 40+ piece strong orchestra that plays punk rock tunes you know and love on classical instruments. Their set list is a journey through the great punk bands: Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Sex Pistols, Circle Jerks, Fear, Suicidal Tendencies and so on. All the members are classically trained, many of them by recognized masters of their respective instruments." (via YipYop)


SphereXP "is a 3-dimensional workspace for Windows. It replaces and extends the regular desktop. It offers a different way to organize elements of the operating system like programs, icons ... Although the app is experimental, the concept can serve as a theory for the future."

Cute Processing

A fantastic page of Processing applets. His interface is so expressive and silly; it's a lot more fun that the serious art and science applets most of us are locked into. (Click the bird-headed anemone's tenticles to see individual works.)

I got my laptop back on Monday. Gateway replaced the backlight, fubar mobo, and every part that was even scratched in two days, and on a four year old laptop at that. Sunday morning I'm going to bike ten miles into nowhere to the hidden power supply, turn the phone off, and nerd out with Nethack, Buzztracker, and Processing for the first time in five months. I need a break.

Flash Tron

Tron Lightcycle Game in 3D. Flash.

Sociological Transformers

Next weekend, three friends and I are going to adopt the dress and mannerisms of unfamiliar subcultures, and hit four bars that cater to each of our selected characters. Our indie rocker will become a black-T-shirted midwestern metal guy, and we'll go to Vanzo's — which always smells like urine and hairspray. Rivethead Terry will be transformed into an indie rock hipster, and we'll go to CBGB.

I'm going as a fratboy. Plaid shirt, khakis, serious tan, hair gel, puka necklace, loud and with little respect for women. My arena: the St. Louis Landing. It's difficult to explain the nature of the Landing; it generally attracts those whose most valued life experiences include keg stands, puking, beer bongs, and getting flashed. I have to get slapped at least once.

Call and Response

1. Download this song.
2. Have a nice day.

And We're Doing the Standing Still

I saw Stereolab at the Pageant last night. Margerine Eclipse is by far their best work yet; the tracks are warmer and more dynamic. Opener Clearlake was dull, droning crap.

All manner of madness and karma went down afterwards, so I'm running on a ¼ tank of sleep again. "Can't fight this feeling," comme ils disent.

Phase and Cloak

The Ecology and Physiology of Organismal Transparency

A broad review of transparent organisms: their distribution in the animal kingdom, common qualities of transparent tissue, habitats, evolutionary advantages... "Eyes and guts cannot be made transparent. Eyes must absorb light to function and guts are betrayed by their contents, since even transparent prey become visible during digestion."

Spring | Comments (2)

The weather has been perfect this week. I took some snapshots of my Lily in the magnolia petals:

I've been spending a lot of time outside lately, hiking the trails and walking around town with Amy. New experiences, all over the map. I biked a little over twenty miles today, from Edwardsville to Pontoon Beach and back again. I've finally found a balance between friends and isolation, business and exercise, scene politics and happy obliviousness.

Some new alife projects are in the works too, as the job and freelancing permit:

Learning to accept optimism, and I couldn't be happier.

Got the Part

As of yesterday morning, I'm the main character in a series of short films. I'll be putting my lack of charisma to good use, and learning how to ignore a camera. The first segment was pretty funny; hopefully I'll get to upload a few stills.

Sacred Geometry

San Graal School of Sacred Geometry — an interesting mixture of numerology, geometry, and mysticism. Most articles tend to connect the patterns within geometrical objects to quotations from ancient scripture. Psuedoscience is fun!



The Letters of Gary Benchley

"And then she said, a little drunk, maybe even drooling slightly, sure, but still beautiful, ‘You love the Postal Service? I have to kiss you.’ And I gave a secret prayer of thanks to Davidbowiemarkbolaniancurtisloureediggypop, the five-headed, ten-named God of Indie Rock."