Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Day

Today was my first day of grad school. The class was Understanding Media Studies, which our professor proceeded to tell us should really be called "Intro to Graduate Studies." Apparently it's going to be a series of readings and exercises, as well as lectures with various members of faculty, which are meant to prepare us for the challenges of graduate education.

The class was more boring than intriguing, which is often the case with the first class of a semester. I'm going to put in orders for books soon and look forward to future sessions with more exciting topics than the syllabus...which I could have read myself in the comfort of my own room.

Additionally, this blog may soon serve the secondary purpose (or in reality, the main purpose) of being my workblog for school. Expect to see much of the academic work I complete posted here for review by both you and my professors/TAs.

Friday, January 23, 2009

More pixels

So I wanted to practice a little more. Reimu from the Touhou games:

Shit is hard. I'm gonna try to do a whole series of these little people though.

Mother...tell your children not to draw my way...

Matt has been trying his hand at pixel art lately and it brought me back to a time when I honestly thought that I might be a pixel artist. Today I dusted off the old GraphicsGale software and whipped up a wee little Glenn Danzig sprite:

He'd probably kick my ass if he knew.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

4chan can still, on occasion, deliver the goods

Chances are everyone who reads my blog (cricket...cricket...) will fail to get this one, but I found a particularly delightful image macro on 4chan the other day.

It blends two of my favorite things. Ridiculous internet subculture and the X-Files. Most will recognize the poster as a riff on the one that hung behind Special Agent Fox Mulder's desk in the bowels of the J. Edgar Hoover building.

The giant floating girl head, however, is a riff on the Touhou series of shooting games. You can read more here, but the Touhou series is a set of DIY games for Windows with music, design, code, etc. all by one mysterious Japanese guy named ZUN. They are immensely popular, both in their homeland and abroad. The games and their cute lolita-esque characters have spawned numerous internet memes, one of the biggest being the "yukkuri" or "take it easy" phenomenon.

Yukkuris (again, details here) are giant heads filled with bean paste which engage in their life pursuit of trying to take it easy. The meme is built on a poorly drawn ASCII image gone awry, and its legend is completely fan-built but has been more or less accepted by ZUN as canon.

It's an extremely intriguing example of the impact of fans on the creative process, especially when fans are given near complete freedom by a creator to remix his work. In fact tons of (read, "the majority of all") Touhou material is built on fan labor and love. Fans make comics, music CDs, character goods and figures, other video games; nearly anything they desire they have to make themselves because the creator of the series has almost no urge to merchandise it beyond the games and the occasional book or comic. The creator is happy, the fans are happy...and no one is suing anyone.

Monday, January 19, 2009

On (The) Edge

So I'm about to head back into school. My first day is Tuesday. I am excited about this, but definitely not as excited as I used to be as an undergrad. Perhaps just arriving on the scene, picking up my ID card, registering for classes, buying books (sweet, delicious books)...perhaps all that will get me more in the mood. I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that it isn't fall...

Anywho. Settling back into NYC is also taking a little while. I've yet to really find my groove, but then again I don't have a "schedule" to speak of. I hope to get a couple things going soon. I'd love to start playing music ASAP. I also want to get a podcast thing going with my friend Matt and some of my other goofball Queens people.

So basically here's to tomorrow being the last of my "in-between" days. It can only go up from here.

EDIT for roomporn:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No Shit Sherlock

Or maybe I should have saved "It's been a long, long time coming" for the title of this post.

Apple has decided to strip DRM from all songs bought through iTunes. It's about time. They've introduced a new pricing plan as well. I'm sure there will be some BAWWWing over the fact that premium songs have had their prices increased to $1.29...but I am fully in support of this. It seems older songs and labels' back catalogs will be getting a nice $0.69 price tag. I know this will bring me and people like me flocking to iTunes to see what we can get on the cheap to flesh out or music collections.

The fact that it took labels and Apple so long to realize that DRM is broken and work out a simple pricing scheme like this shocks me. It just goes to show you that hubris isn't limited to the executive branch of our government. Every study and self-righteous blog post on the subject in the past five years has shown that people don't like having their music essentially loaned to them. When people pay for something they want to own it, but the labels had a hard time getting this concept through their head in the world of digital files and that constant specter known as file sharing.

Home taping didn't kill the music industry...in fact it barely changed it. Digital music on the other hand is threatening to completely upend the system and the dinosaurs are having to adapt or die. Capitalism is pretty sweet sometimes. Problem is people are falling into some old, time-tested traps. New bands are being shackled by the bullshit that is MySpace...having money made off of them at every turn while giving up control for convenience that isn't even that convenient. But that's the subject for another blog post.

For now...I'm off to iTunes to buy some DRM free music. w00t

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome To The Return Of The Return

Happy New Year internet people!

In a few short weeks I will be moving to NYC to attend grad school. This means re-launch for the tired old blog I was neglecting. Expect posts with more substance; intense focus on all the the highly important stuff I'll be learning. Less bile and more...style?


Welcome to the brave new blog that has such content in it.