November 28

Fun book with computer programming stories
Princeton University Press just published "You Are Not Expected to Understand This": 26 Lines of Code that Changed the World. And they brought in 29 different authors -- "technologists, historians, journalists, academics, and sometimes the coders themselves" to share stories about "how code works -- or how, sometimes, it doesn't work -- owing in no small way to the people behind it." (And in general, I really liked how they focused on the humanness of it all.) So here's my new rollicking interview with the book's editor, Slate's Future Tense editor Torie Bosch. I also wrote the book's ninth chapter, about how a 1975 comment in some Unix code became “an accidental icon” commemorating "a momentary glow of humanity," that ultimately provided the book with its cheeky title. (And I’m also responsible for the book’s index entry for "Linux, expletives in source code of...")


November 14

Daily MRRP!
It's a cat blog that I've just realized I've kept going for three years now. It started out as an attempt to document the mrrp! sounds made by our cat Dr. Wily, but gradually became a general cat documentation blog that includes our older cat, Bonus Cat. [more inside]


November 6

Shirley Jackson's daughter sings The Grattan Murders.
In the Netflix adaption of Shirley Jackson's classic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, the ghostly Poppy sings a gory old murder ballad to a member of the trapped family - a scene which I believe also appears in Jackson's source novel. That song has many names, but Jackson herself knew it as The Grattan Murders, and sometimes sang it to her delighted children as a lullaby. One of those children recently read my PlanetSlade piece about the real-life 1893 Indiana family massacre which inspired the song and got in touch, offering to sing it for me in her mother's trademark style. Here's the video.


November 5

Immune To Consequences
Over the last year and a half I wrote twelve songs about twelve Blaseball players on the Kansas City Breath Mints. I commissioned cover art and compiled them into an album, which is out today on Bandcamp. Each song's page has background information about the player, for those unfamiliar with Blaseball in general or the Mints in particular. [more inside]


November 3

Finishing my grandfather's work: stained glass menorah  
A few years ago my parents gave me my Grandpa Milt's old stained glass stuff, including a large unfinished menorah piece. I've spent the last two weeks finally tackling the logistically and emotionally complicated job of repairing and elaborating on his piece to create a finished work. This is a summary with photos of that process. I also created an exhaustive step-by-step process thread on the fly as I worked through the whole thing.


November 2

More “More Info” for Netflix (desktop web)
This Chrome extension adds a small missing feature to Netflix’s user interface that may help you discover and explore things you’d like to watch. You can now click a “More Info” button to view the information page for a title Netflix suggests in the “More Like This” section. [more inside]


October 31

21st Halloween Cartoon
Greetings succubi, incubi and mid-levelcubi!  The 21st Annual Jabo Halloween Cartoon is now alive and kicking and screaming and yelling. So carve out some time from your hectic havoc, toss those computer glasses and wreck your eyesight on some mildly amusing scrawlings. The full catalog of catastrophic cartoons can be unveiled here. Happy Halloween y Dias de los Muertos!


October 29

Twitter Sentiment Bot
I wrote a simple twitter sentiment bot (code). If you tweet it with a message like "@bibliest check @someone" it will analyze the sentiment of the recent tweets of @someone and reply to you in a few seconds. [more inside]


October 24

Get Blogging!  
I'm determined to get more people to blog on their own sites. This is my attempt at making it easy: a self-contained site that takes you through writing and reading, with an easy-to-remember domain that's designed to be shared. [more inside]


October 19

Mini-Project: Macho Man and George Michael
This has been running in my head for months if not longer. I finally managed to get the two to collaborate.


Thirteen Witchy Ways of Looking at the James Webb Space Telescope (Part One)
This is my second video essay for YouTube, an exploration of the James Webb Space Telescope from a nature-based spiritual perspective and, more broadly, how science and scientific discoveries inform such a perspective. I researched, wrote, performed and edited this video (so much video editing). Thanks for watching!


October 15

Bringing Humans into the water cycle  
The USGS just announced a new version of the venerable, 20 year old USGS water cycle diagram after an 18 month redesign process. Zoomable non-pdf version EOS described it as "Not Your Childhood Water Cycle" [more inside]


October 10

Part I of my graphic memoir "Growing In My Gray"  
I finished Part I of my graphic memoir. I would love any feedback, or just that you enjoy it! Thanks for taking a look.


October 9

You've Been Played: How Corporations, Governments, and Schools Use Games to Control Us All
My book about gamification is out! You've Been Played (Bookshop.org, Goodreads) examines how points, badges, and leaderboards are creeping into every aspect of modern life as tools for profit and coercion. It’s a critique of gamification, sure – but by an actual game designer, games journalist, and former neuroscientist. And it goes far beyond the usual suspects like Fitbit and Duolingo to look at the historical roots of gamification. Foucault, Lewis Mumford, Skinner, medieval indulgences, Taylorism, ARGs – this book has it all! Reviews, talks, and excerpts inside... [more inside]


This is a Recording
In the depopulated wasteland that is blogger.com, a blog bringing together some brief reflections on random records from my collection. [more inside]


October 8

Something's Wrong
I'm working on an album of songs inspired by Elif Batuman's novel The Idiot, to be released next year. After "Ivan" (single | lyric video) and "Linden Street" (single | live video), I released a new single called "Something's Wrong" yesterday. Stop-motion animated video by Anissa of Blueflower AG Studios.


October 7

Child Tax Credit Outreach Project
In brief, the expanded Child Tax Credit expired this year and will cast a lot of children in to poverty. It may get saved at the last minute at the end of the year, but it may not. In any event, the existing (reduced) CTC does not have anywhere near perfect redemption rates -- there are lots of unclaimed credits out there. Many of them are centralized in parts of the country where major media outlets are not the method by which most folks get their news. I want to assemble a resource of alternative outlets and community leaders in as many of the geographic areas as possible and then go about the job of advocacy. Phase 1 is assembling that resource, and I'm always looking for volunteer information wranglers.


a foreigners' guide to eremeka arcades - 外国人のためのエレメカアーケードゲームガイド
So much work has gone into documenting the videogame arcade games of Japan, but there was nowhere to learn about the fascinating エレメカ (eremeka; electromechanical) arcade machines. A year of research later and I have documented over 2200 machines. From Canada. (A blog from Japan)


October 6

Female Kill Machine 2
Female Kill Machine 2 is the lightning-paced absurdist quantum explosion of ever-escalating cyberpunk insanity and hyperviolence sequel to the lightning-paced absurdist quantum explosion of ever-escalating cyberpunk insanity and hyperviolence original (Female Kill Machine 1). Female Kill Machine 2 is available to buy and read for £0 (or more) at Ko-Fi, Amazon and Patreon right now, and features upwards of 27,000 words of Absurdo astonishments (Female Kill Machine 1 is also available from those same sources: Ko-Fi, Amazon, Patreon). [more inside]


October 5

Thirteen poems by ancient Chinese ghosts
I recently discovered that the 1707 collection Complete Tang Poems has, amid various miscellaneous subjects tucked in the back, two chapters of poems by ghosts and I’ve become obsessed. I just posted this sampler of thirteen translations, as an installment as I work my way through them. This stuff is awesome: there’s a poem thrown at general by a suit of armor, a poem written in blood in the front hall of a magistrate’s house, more than one riverbank lament over a lack of funeral rites, and a voice from the women’s quarters giving her reaction to hearing the story of Mulan. [more inside]


October 4

Kilogram  
The worst-quality photo sharing site on the internet - each image is compressed down to 1KB or less. It uses the browser's own JPEG encoder, so results can vary quite a lot (Firefox tends to end up a lot sharper than Chrome, with Safari somewhere in the middle).


October 2

CircleTime - schedule visualization
Do you feel like time is a mystery? Are you or your children constantly fighting against the flow of your day? Do you want a visualization of your schedule, with a voice to announce your events and reminders, possibly with whimsical expressions mixed in? Perhaps CircleTime can help you like it helped me and my kids. [more inside]


September 27

Trey Fontaine II
At the beginning of 2020 I collected some instrumentals I'd been working on under the name Trey Fontaine (an imaginary guitar player I pretend to be sometimes). I just released a sequel, imaginatively titled Trey Fontaine II. The link above goes to one of those aggregators that leads to all the streaming services. Alternatively, here is the first track, This Is a Map, on Youtube.


September 22

What's in a map?
An exploration of Ocarina of Time's mini-map, and of just how many layers of design it contains. For fans of Nintendo and/or information design!


September 21

Summer's Almost Gone: A Spontaneous Bicycle Tour
This is the online journal of my 2022 late summer / early fall bicycle tour, from Kentucky to an unknown destination. I'm figuring out the route as I go along to keep things interesting.


September 19

Mouse King Door
I finished the door for the Mouse King. I haven't seen him yet, tho.


September 17

Pun generator
If you're looking to put the "groan" IN "grown-ups" or the "pun" in "punishment" you've come to the right place. [more inside]


September 12

Great Lines: The Newsletter
I send out a newsletter twice a month with funny or insightful quotes, phrases and passages I've seen recently. It's not just stuff from the present; I also include material from the past. [more inside]


September 6

Surfwords
Surfwords is a very hard word building game. After I sold Semantle (previously), I decided to quit my job and make games. Surfwords is my first. I released it a few weeks ago, but I just decided to add a playable demo. You can try the demo on the web (works best with Chrome). The soundtrack is by Patrick Cornelius, and everything else is by me. [more inside]


September 3

Project Herzog
Way back at the beginning of COVID I was living in South Korea and freaking out like everybody else. I decided that with my extra time, and lack of social outlets, I'd sit down and watch every film ever made by Werner Herzog -- the documentaries, the features, the short pieces, and the ephemera. I'm planning on updating the project, hopefully for a long time. I made it up to his 2020 asteroid documentary Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds. [more inside]


September 2

Change one letter, improve a band?
So some guys in a moderately successful cover band decided to start a side project for their side project — selling canned wine inspired by music in their repertoire. [more inside]


September 1

Lud-in-the-Mist in Chinese
"Lud-in-the-Mist", a fantasy novel by British author Hope Mirrlees, came into public domain earlier this year in the US and I made a Chinese translation of it. It's a book I enjoyed very much, with caveats about its outdated gender & class politics. I've 3/4 done with the first round of revisions, and that's what has been posted on the Dreamwidth site. (And thank you Mefi, this is where I first learned of this delightful book.)


Crisp Sandwich Day  
An annual celebration of the magic that happens when crisps (potato chips) are placed between two slices of bread. When deciding on a date, it soon became clear that it had to be 25th October - also known as St Crispin's Day.


August 31

Day 2
I live-blogged the first days of the Biden administration.


August 30

Scorched (Short Story)
I recently discovered that I am autistic. One of the decisions I’ve had to make was whether or not to pursue official diagnosis. Writing this story helped me process some of the difficult emotions I’ve had to deal with.


August 29

How the Consumer Computer is Consuming Computing
"It is no coincidence today’s preeminent technology companies are really advertising companies and shopping malls." ~ Beyond the Frame takes a look at the increasingly adversarial nature of Human Computer Interaction.


August 26

rating every english-language bookstore in the entire world
I have decided that my next project is visiting, rating, and reviewing every english-language bookstore in the entire world. I threw together a website today to keep track of this, and backfilled it with around thirty bookstores that came to mind so far, largely in New York and San Francisco.


August 23

TreasuryDirect Wikipedia article
I find TreasuryDirect.gov fascinating and frustrating. It's an aging web application that dates back to 2002, and for many years it was used by relatively few people, mostly US citizens who wanted to buy or redeem savings bonds — which heavily declined in popularity over the past few decades, since they had relatively low interest rates. TreasuryDirect suddenly got millions of new users over the past year because of high interest rates on inflation-protected Series I bonds, and the system and its customer support team have been struggling. I wrote an in-depth Wikipedia article covering the history of this service since it started in 1986, including details about a replacement web application that the Treasury has been working on since 2014. [more inside]


August 21

ScotRail audio announcements as an interactive database
Scottish train operator ScotRail released a two-hour long MP3 file containing all of the components of its automated station announcements, as the result of a Freedom of Information request. I have been having SO much building things with this. [more inside]


August 19

PREY Isn't About What It's About: A Video Essay
A relatively short video essay on Prey (2022), the original Predator (1987), science fiction, and the value of central metaphors. [more inside]


August 13

Charcoal Suite brush set for Procreate
In my spare time as an illustrator, I like to make marks and brushes for fun. This is the first set of Procreate brushes I've made public for people, a responsive set of 24 brushes and 6 textures for personal/professional use that mimic all the fun soft things you can do with charcoal. I'm excited to see how they stoke creativity for others.


August 8

Bean Salad
Choose your own adventure, bean salad edition. [more inside]


August 5

Early Collaborative Games of Fantasy and Imagination
A few months ago, I posted a rough translation of the rules to a collaborative fairy tale storytelling game more than 200 years old. I've now put that onto a Neocities site with many additional translations: a total of 5 variants of the same game re-published many times between 1801 and 1867, several variants of a game the same age that involves role-playing, and several variants of even older poetry and nonsense games related to the Surrealist game "Exquisite Corpse." There are also pages and translations explaining the history of the games' penalty phase, offering advice on running demos of the storytelling game especially using motifs from the earliest "secondary world" fantasy novel, and possible round-robin storytelling from the 1600s-1700s, as well as links to many additional sources for parlor games from 1551 to 1899.


All the cartoon art I've commissioned for PlanetSlade on a single page
Contributors include Rick Geary, Roger Langridge, Hans Rickheit, Karl Stevens and Gerhard, all producing bespoke PlanetSlade work you won't have seen anywhere else. PLUS: convention sketches & such from Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Dave Sim, Ralph Steadman, Reinhard Kleist, the Hernandez Brothers, Hunt Emerson and Peter Brookes.


August 1

Illustrated Meditation for Comfort After a Traumatic Loss
The sample chapter linked here is from Visualizations for Heartbreak, which I self-published in 2020 (in print and electronic versions). The narrative of the book focuses on the traumatic ending of a romantic relationship, but the anguish, rage, shame, and catharsis depicted in its pages are also relevant to other experiences with difficult good-byes. The text is accompanied by photographs and collages (also by the author), and I've recently had recordings made of me reading the text. I believe there is a need for this book, but so far I haven't had much success marketing it. Any suggestions are welcome!


A witch and her demon girlfriend punch Mitch McConnell.
A couple months ago, I pulled out this old story proposal from 2016 and decided to work on it. In that time it expanded to about twice its original size, with a cliffhanger in the middle, and seemed to fit perfectly as a submission to Webtoons' "Call to Action" contest, so I ended up reworking it to make sense on a tiny phone screen, too. [more inside]


July 29

The Kubrick Times
When making 2001: A Space Odyssey the production team wrote fictional news headlines to appear on the iPad-like devices. I've used HAL 9000 (OK, GPT-3 and DALL·E 2) to turn them into full articles. [more inside]


July 28

Latent Space Netsuke
I know it's starting to get a little cliché with the AI generated image projects, but I'm pretty pleased with this one: A series of photo-realistic works of imagined "netsuke" sculptures, using DALL-E. I've created over a hundred, which I'm posting online (in addition to the Instagram account, there's a twitter account for those who prefer it), and collected 80 into a print book for people who are into that sort of thing. [more inside]


July 25

MetaFilter Steering Committee Self-Nominations Open
********Hello there!******** The Metafilter Transition Team (TT) is pleased to announce that self nominations are open for the inaugural Steering Committee! The purpose of the MetaFilter Steering Committee (SC) will be to develop and implement site policy, code updates, and ensure the financial health of the site. The SC works with the site staff and site owner to ensure that there is not a single failure point for site decisions or actions, and that there are an adequate number of people available to respond to community needs. Long story short this will be a committee of Metafilter members who help guide the site and act as the voice of the members at large. Interested? Come on over to MetaTalk and read all the details!


July 24

"La Chasse"
Part performance, part tech demo. Link goes to ~3 min. youtube video of me playing a keyboard piece, my arrangement of "La Chasse" from Bob James's album Rameau. I'm playing live with custom software helping me to approximate (I hope!) the amazing electronic orchestration of the original recording. [more inside]


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