|august microblog digest|
Posted 2009-09-02 00:14:24 by
Archived from http://twitter.com/mogwai_poet.
This is the one with the Italy travelogue in it. See August 10th through August 18th, but don't trust the dates.
- Looking into getting better running shoes. These guys are looking really tempting: http://bit.ly/MuoD
- Was needlessly blaming individual sites; turns out Skype silently installs a Firefox plugin to turn phone numbers into un-selectable images.
- Got the Vibram Fivefingers. I'll let you know how they are after building up the muscles and callouses required to run essentially barefoot.
- http://bit.ly/6nUAJ -- Nirvana weren't too happy about not being permitted to play their instruments live at Top of the Pops.
- http://bit.ly/jk36N -- Latest Wipeout HD patch increases level loading time so you can watch the entire homeowners insurance commercial.
- http://bit.ly/gFy6K -- Make time in your music to remind listeners that you recorded on expensive gear, so they can hear the difference too.
- "Chicken fries are chicken nuggets shaped like french fries." -- They ought to make hamburger and coca-cola fries too.
- http://bit.ly/12gkJh -- Is it sexist? It's not easy, is it? It might be sexist, but then again, maybe I'm sexist for asking.
- At this point I would be ecstatic if Penny Arcade quit doing Penny Arcade and started alternating Lookouts and Automata strips full-time.
- They can keep their existing audience by posting a "gaming joke of the day" on the front page. Everybody wins!
- http://bit.ly/RtYbz -- Two interesting things here: both the level design and the play are procedural. More info: http://bit.ly/8FRGp
- "[Starcraft 2] delayed until 2010" "This was part of the Clinton deal with N. Korea."
- http://bit.ly/12tYvD -- Where Chip Delany writes: a non-euclidean hell dimension, evidently.
- For the anniversary of Braid's release I attempted a celebratory speed run. 52'21". I keep forgetting you have to practice for speed runs.
- Internet access is sparse, so pretend everything I'm about to twit was dispersed relatively evenly over the past three days.
- Finished one book and ran down batteries on two game systems and an MP3 player getting from my home in El Cerrito to the hotel in Sarteano.
- As far as I can tell there are no drinking fountains in Europe.
- At Roma Termini I ate at Mr. Panino, an Italian fast food chain. They served me what was perhaps the driest chicken sandwich I've ever had.
- English language graffiti: "One Year of Love in Rome."
- Every single road in Sarteano is slanted. Drop something round, you'll never see it again. Probably makes garbage disposal trivial, though!
- Visited a castle filled with bowls of flowers and pictures of Tibetan kids. Tiny helical staircase made me feel like I was encased in rock.
- The cats here go about their business nonchalantly until they notice you're paying attention, then they take off running. None want hugs :(
- The best part of Italy might be the tiny doors.
- Visited a swimming pool filled with water cycled in from a nearby spring. No need to chlorinate because it's not standing water. Neat idea!
- Man, I think I might start having stewed prunes and croissants for breakfast back home, too.
- A lot of sloped staircases, including one at the pool. Like they couldn't decide between a slope and a staircase, so they made a compromise.
- You can't swing a hug-averse cat in Florence without knocking over some street vendor's tray of cheap plastic Davids.
- It just occurred to me that it's weird that they drive on the right side of the road here.
- "Coffee Shop" charged us 47 euros for a pretty goddamn light lunch. The 16oz Coca Cola was 6.50.
- They handed out disposable blue shawls at the entrance to Duomo, so women could cover their unseemly exposed shoulders in the house of God.
- In the gift shop in the basement of Duomo, I saw a tourist take a photograph of a Duomo-themed 2010 calendar they had in stock.
- 4:25pm in our hotel room. Every bell in the city has been ringing for the past two minutes.
- 6:15pm. I think they've finally stopped with the bells.
- Nothing but Italian food in Italy. Pizza, pasta, lasagna, panini, gelato. I like it too, guys, but not *every day*!
- Lots of boys with spiked-up cowlicks. There must be a football player with that hairdo.
- Italy namechecks Leonardo Da Vinci every chance it gets. I bet in 50 years we'll be naming our rail systems and cafes after Michael Jackson.
- More David-themed swag: boxers and aprons printed with a man-sized photograph of David, cropped to the anatomically appropriate regions.
- Well, I don't feel any drier now, but this paper-thin hotel towel is wet. The water must've come from somewhere.
- Still can't figure out how to properly open our hotel door from the inside. We've been depressing the tongue with a flat object every time.
- I watched confounded, hands already soaped, while others magically summoned water from restroom sinks. Found out later there's a foot pedal.
- Dudes, I am not going to sign a petition I can't read.
- I hope Sigg doesn't mind that I filled their water bottle with "Arancia Rossa" rather than water.
- Navigating a maze of ancient alleyways to find a laundromat, I wonder why maintaining legacy code doesn't make me think "Old World charm."
- It's not just street vendors trading on the image of David; there'a full-sized replica in front of Palazzo Vecchio.
- Had to wait outide the American Consulate for 45 minutes while my mother got a replacement passport. The armed guards kept giving me looks.
- One eventually spoke to me. He didn't speak English, but gestured animatedly for a while. After I shrugged enough, he thanked me and left.
- I can see six clocks from where I'm sitting in this Internet cafe. They're all stopped, and they're all showing different times.
- Woozy from heat; forgot to copy twit.txt to USB drive before going to net cafe. But, good to see I'm helping the world: http://bit.ly/19sDT
- In my stupor I thought this place was AC'd. No dice. But after drinking that gatorade-equivalent I'm sweating again, so I think I'll be OK.
- By my count, if you look through any given doorway in Florence, there's a 20% chance it leads into a church.
- Saw an ad that was part 1950s pinup, part Renaissance painting. 1500s influences must be current because the city is still immersed in them.
- So as it turns out, the doors in Sarteano are only tiny because Florence hogged all the door-making material.
- Today's beverage: "Fruit & Vit." Which doesn't look Italian at all. Theory: they didn't have a word meaning "fruit" and had to borrow one.
- The hotel said this room had a bathroom. Shower, sink, *bidet*, but *no toilet*. Pretty sure it's not April 1st; the weather would be nicer.
- Maybe "bathroom" is moon-man for "Nobody in this country has a colon. Enjoy the hidden cameras!"
- Must be two dozen nude men in this mural, but I've been playing Where's Waldo for five minutes and I don't think I'm going to find one dick.
- Oh god, the mural is of a torture scene. Well, I'm already surrounded by crucifices, so maybe torture is the new blank canvas.
- Hm. I'm going to have to find another aid to help me focus in places that don't permit photography.
- My beard has been a big hit. I don't know whether Italians are really into beards, or its length recently crossed a tipping point, or what.
- Every time I step out of the hotel room, Duomo smacks me in the face. What must it be like for an edifice like this to be business-as-usual?
- Europeans know how to live. In this weather, spending midday doing anything other than napping is madness.
- Make that spending the entire rest of the day doing anything other than napping. Maybe I'm coming down with something.
- The register displayed "Christ the Lord" for a transaction I saw; I figured "well, it's a Catholic country." But no, that's the book's name.
- Japanese tourists are adorable. Especially the one knocking repeatedly on the shared bathroom door, saying "toilet please."
- Is it me, or do I have to pump this button to get the toilet to flush? Like a Super Soaker? Just pressing it once, even hard, doesn't work.
- Today's beverage: gatorade gatorade gatorade.
- English language graffiti: "Fuck Sistem [anarchy symbol]"
- Florentine street vendor sold us dead batteries. I actually discovered the scam within meters, but didn't feel up to arguing in Italian.
- I wouldn't have thought someone would have had to invent linear perspective, but browsing Gallery degli Uffizi, someone totally did.
- Other things they had to invent: babies that don't look like malproportioned adults; pubic hair; smiles; subjects besides Madonna and child.
- Somebody remind me to write the essay about how paintings with 3D elements, e.g. indentations to catch the light, are like pinball tables.
- I hoped I would remember the name of the painting of the ape in a jester outfit doing a caricature of a lady with a parasol, but I don't.
- The train to Venice is banking like a fucking X-Wing.
- Took a boat to our hotel. Maybe you guys didn't notice, but building a city on a cluster of unconnected islands results in an awkward city.
- Getting off the boat, saw a sculpture of a pack of cigarettes embedded in a chair to the right, and a car printed with nude women ahead.
- The plaque for the roped-off car sculpture said it was under constant video surveillance, so I refrained from slashing its tires.
- As epiphanies go this is pretty banal, but walking the street drives home the idea that life really is the same damn thing wherever you go.
- One table over: "I'll have the roast chicken." "Where are you from?" "Paraguay." "You came all the way from Paraguay to have roast chicken?"
- I figured, when I'm settled in and comfortable, I'll start eating weird shit just for the experience. But I'm never going to be comfortable.
- (Sample menu item I decided against: "Typical Florentine tripe.")
- This room is a palatial estate by comparison. My takeaway from this experience: if you can pay twice as much per night for a room, do so.
- This toilet is engineered for as much splashback and volume as possible. But it's hard for me, now, to complain about a toilet that exists!
- Today's continental breakfast included a single-serving tub-and-foil packet of Nutella whose tub part was shaped like a Nutella jar.
- Something I wish I could bring back: the two euro coin. Two euros feels like just the right amount of money to toss around in coin form.
- Something I wish I could bring back: adjustable-height showerheads. Showers in America are optimized for dwarves and gnomes.
- Found an art installation with screens displaying webcams from all around the world. Art in Venice trumps art in Florence.
- The last person to use this Internet cafe computer in English mode set it to Dvorak. I'd like to shake somebody's hand.
- One of the Pollocks at the Peggy Guggenheim collection: "Oil (and enamel?)" -- you're asking me?
- To all the artists thinking they're edgy for splashing paint around at random: welcome to nineteen-fucking-twelve.
- Roll of toilet paper in the Guggenheim gift shop: "Cloaca."
- Saw a submarine docked in the Grand Canal. Hope they take it out on tours. They could build underwater attractions if none already exist.
- English language graffiti: "Heath I swear..." :'(
- I'm definitely developing a sense for Celsius, at least in terms of what ranges are comfortable to habitate in.
- 1233 photos taken so far this trip. Now I wish I'd been wearing a pedometer.
- In America, a bell tower ringing means "It's N O'Clock." In Italy, it means "Hey, it's bell ringin' time for the next five minutes!"
- Some beggars wear all white (including white facepaint) and make kissing noises at you; others just lie on the ground in awkward positions.
- Others stand too close while you're trying to operate a vending machine and say "grazie" over and over, then scowl if you don't give enough.
- I actually do want some of this street vendor junk, but it wouldn't remind me of Italy; it'd remind me of being harassed by street vendors.
- I bet now I'll be seeing Flying V ukuleles all over California, but I saw one here first.
- One thing I'm not developing a sense for: measuring my food intake in kilojoules. (Probably because labels provide the kcal equivalents.)
- Have yet to see any ruins! Maybe you have to get the timing just so and see the building right after it's ruined, before they can fix it.
- Something else that might be new to this place or new to now: Duff Beer. The beer from The Simpsons, right? It's using a Simpsons font.
- "Animal Passports." I can't decide which idea makes less sense: your pet might need a passport? Or your passport might come in animal form?
- I can imagine a variant of the urban legend in which a restaurant in Hong Kong mistakenly prepares someone's passport for dinner.
- You would have to get a doggie bag for your plate of stir-fry so you could slap it on the counter at customs.
- Our hotel in Rome has Internet. We stayed up later last night than at any previous hotel. Going to try to pretend it isn't there.
- I thought it was just our hotel in Florence, but no, every elevator in Italy is the size of a phone booth.
- I think what makes transactions so clean here is that the prices are even. No sales tax or "$9.99" trickery.
- Aside from the occasional megalith, parts of Rome could just be any city. I'm not compelled to photograph every intersection and building.
- Saw my first ruin! A disembodied statue foot on a worn pedestal in some random back alley. Not sure whether I should feel dirty.
- Twisted my ankle in front of S. Andrea Della Valle's Basilica. I wonder what it takes to get somebody disbarred from the sainthood.
- Saw some ruins for reals! Complete with cats lounging amongst them. I guess cats like Roman ruins. I bet nobody bothers them down there.
- Oh. It turns out the ruins are attached to a cat shelter. I wonder how they set that up! http://romancats.com/
- Spent a good deal of time visiting the cats. Also photographing them.
- Ended up buying a bunch of souvenirs from the cat shelter. That way when I look at the souvenirs I can think of Italy and cats.
- Despite what I said before about not being compelled to photograph everything, we filled up the memory card (about 400 photos) twice today.
- Passed a restaurant advertising "Italian Food." What a change that would be!
- @thealawson Thanks! I hope by the time I get back I'll still be able to think in long form.
- Sign in park: "Forbidden to play with ball." I bet they don't have Ultimate Frisbee around here.
- The fake plastic plants in this hotel have fake plastic brown spots and fake plastic damage. Somebody takes mimesis seriously around here!
- They won't let you into the Vatican museums with exposed shoulders or knees. I hope they like track pants.
- First stop: Cripta Dei Cappuccini, where the bones of 4000 Cappuchin monks are laid out in tasteful wallpaper patterns.
- Unlike the rest of Europe, Rome has drinking fountains: you drink from statues of spitting lions and pouring vases. No peeing cherubim yet.
- No cats in The Forum. Looks like platformer terrain. Mario would fit right in, bouncing from column to column, collecting coins.
- Alternatively, it's also just a few quarter pipes away from a skate competition.
- It turns out that the long queue in front of Museo Palatino is for the drinking fountain.
- All the tourists are really harshing my gorgeous shots of The Colosseum. And of pretty much everything else this trip, come to mention it.
- I've been in Roma Termini three or four times now and I swear I've never seen the same part twice. Do they reconfigure it daily?
- Say. This is the last day of the trip, and I haven't been robbed yet. Italian pickpockets must have respect for a quality beard.
- Never made it to the Vatican, and we fly back in the morning. No regrets; every single day has been stuffed to bursting with awesome.
- Found what might be the only place in Italy serving sushi. They played "Arthur's Theme" on the radio. (I had the brie and walnut pizza.)
- It was also the only establishment I ran across conscientious enough to put padding on the five-foot-high doorways.
- Presumably they named the Tritone Hotel after the interval they pipe into your room at all hours.
- Now that I'm leaving indefinitely, I think I finally have the hang of the Italian public transit system.
- They gave me powdered milk with lunch on the flight from Rome. Not sure what I was supposed to do with it; they didn't give me water.
- Plane banked startlingly seconds away from landing at Boston. Notable audience reaction. Unprompted applause after safe landing.
- Missed connecting flight, stuck in Boston for 3 hours. Charge on everything dead or nearly, all books read.
- Any recommendations for awesome Boston tourist attractions to visit in the next three hours? Already tried the Dunkin' Donuts in Terminal C.
- Airport vending machine has Guitar Hero: On Tour for the DS for sale right next to the Nintendo DSi. These products don't work together.
- (Yeah, I follow video game news like normal people follow the regular news.)
- Figured I'd find my account devastated by currency exchange fees, but I think they charged me exactly what the Euro is worth. Thanks, beard!
- @polpo Huh, neat trick! Looks like it requires a tripod, though. And probably more patience than I have.
- http://bit.ly/vT84Z -- "Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence."
- Hm. Netbook won't start up. Going to try to boot Ubuntu from a USB stick to recover the ~8 gigabytes of photos from Italy.
- Just got an IM from Lee for the first time in years. Out of the blue. It was a link to an article called "69 Ways You're a Douchebag."
- "6. You own a comb." Really? I mean, I don't. But, really?
- Photos safely recovered. Doing filter pass to remove those too dark and/or blurry to live.
- Here's one of a street sign reading "Piazza di S. Pancrazio." That's right: I personally set foot in the Plaza of Saint Pancreas.
- Trials HD is the best cartoony-physics-based motocross platformer yet. While that sounds specific enough to be a joke, it really is a genre.
- http://bit.ly/BztXV -- Are atheists qualified to raise children? New Jersey Superior Court weighs in.
- http://bit.ly/14XqXN -- "At least 500 different systems based around [AY-3-8500 Pong-On-A-Chip] were released by hundreds of manufacturers."
- http://bit.ly/2B9TBo -- They're still making Genesis games in Brazil. Here's "Mega Drive Guitar idol." I think this was a scene in Mad Max.
- http://bit.ly/3Qdei -- How bleeding on demand helps you win at rugby.
- http://bit.ly/3ichK -- Infographic: how you spend your day.
- Back from jog. Entire sky was rumbling around me. No rain, just thunder.
- Not many people are willing to admit in their OkCupid username that they're going to compulsively eat the contents of your cat's litter box.
- http://bit.ly/WoOw4 -- Huh. Grumman Aerospace also designed the ubiquitous mail truck. Not as romantic a project as the LEM, I have to say.
- The 360 dashboard update must've increased my available bandwidth as well; I'm getting four Netflix streaming quality bars instead of two.
- This time I got a Python traceback instead of a segfault! I hope this gives insight into the existing bug rather than being a separate bug.
- Every 15 minutes or so I notice that that car alarm is still going. It's been, what, four hours?
- Playing music with your heads: http://bit.ly/wilsL (Playing music with your slot cars: http://bit.ly/2o1FOw)
- http://bit.ly/11j6vW -- So much of my frustration with bad software would be alleviated by a button I could press to get an apology.
- http://bit.ly/fWUDm -- "People holding a heavy clipboard would value foreign currencies more highly than those using a lighter clipboard."
- According to Steam, both "Stanier 8F Locomotive RailWorks" and "Diaper Dash" fit under the "simulation" genre.
- @fistfulofsand For 3 years I've lived 2 blocks away from a Burger King. Just recently caved and ate there. Lord help me, it was really good.
- http://bit.ly/kaEmy -- More scenes from the post-nuclear waste land.
- @pnewnan There's room for a lot of improvement. i.e., checking a window rather than the whole history, to detect when the rate drops to 0.
- @prodigious It's important so you can hear all elements of the song clearly. Also so your batter doesn't have discrete ingredient lumps.
- http://bit.ly/3XKu8 -- Oh good, I was looking for some light bathroom reading.
- It's part of a series! E.g., http://bit.ly/5Nog5 and http://bit.ly/3xEQF -- 60 milligrams isn't a very big container.
- (5:35:09 PM) Craig: theme park idea: life size recreation of de_dust
- Protip: If you have a carton of that super-dry sand for drawing moisture out of the air, don't store it sideways in a drawer you never open.
- http://bit.ly/H4qP3 -- "Anytime you lean your head against a wall or the back of your chair, you will dent your 'fro."
- I guess the brick-shaped fro you sometimes see on homeless people is the hair growing into the shape of its container. I.e. the world.
- http://bit.ly/C9psa -- "This place is not a place of honor. This place is a message and part of a system of messages. Pay attention to it!"
- http://ski.ihoc.net/ -- SkiFree creator's SkiFree web page about SkiFree.
- Build your own super power: http://bit.ly/1Y2dkE
- MP3 of John Carmack's QuakeCon 2009 keynote: http://bit.ly/h8SsG
- Dead Space was my poster child for so-so-10-hour-game-that-should've-been-an-awesome-5-hour-game, but replaying it, maybe I sold it short.