The inspiration to write this software came to me in May. The prolific writer and occasional podcaster, Warren Ellis, lamented that his podcast was difficult to assemble because the program he was using had many limitations and wasn't working right.
Being quite a fan of his podcast, I quickly leapt to action, looking for better software that I could recommend to him. To my surprise, there wasn't any. Seriously, if you want to join a set of individual music files into one MP3, your options are nonexistent, short of learning a professional-grade multitrack editor.
Showing lots of enthusiasm and a substantial lack of foresight, I left a comment indicating that creating a better program would be a nice weekend project. A day or two later, I started coding... and then I looked up and it was December 1st!
A Simple Program To Do A Simple Thing
Playlist Producer fills a fairly specific niche: Combine multiple songs into one MP3. That's it. Really! But don't let the simplicity fool you — unlike so much other Windows shareware, it's well-designed, really easy to use, and Doesn't Suck™.
The vast majority of the aforementioned 6 months of programming was spent making sure the interface is intuitive and the software is stable. I think I've succeeded, and I'm really rather proud of this little application.
Make Some Playlists
If you're interested in podcasting, or just enjoy making mixtapes for your friends, I invite you to download Playlist Producer Lite, the free shareware edition of the software. It runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Currently knee-deep in web design for a soon-to-be-announced project, and I'm easing the HTML-induced pain with some happy hardcore.
Once upon a time I was an enthusiastic — if not frequent — raver. Hullabaloo was my home, the venue of several of the best nights of my youth.
Hullabaloo, circa 1998. I might actually be in this crowd somewhere...
For those not in the know, happy hardcore is “a genre of music typified by a very fast tempo (usually around 160-180 BPM), often coupled with solo vocals and sentimental lyrics” (wikipedia.org) and Hullabaloo was a series of Toronto raves that became the global centre of the happy hardcore scene.
Anabolic Frolic is the DJ/promoter behind the Hullabaloo parties. He also produced a few happy hardcore tracks, including Feels So Right.
Anabolic Frolic's story doesn't quite make sense until you factor in that he and his fellow frolickers are stricken with the love that dare not speak its name: happy hardcore. An aptly dubbed brand of electronic music that makes S Club 7 sound like Black Sabbath in comparison, happy hardcore's bubble-gum buoyancy makes it the black licorice of techno — those who don't like it really loathe it, but those who do like it just can't get enough.
If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted – they have these wonderful things in their head but you're not one of them, you're just a normal sort of person, you could never do anything like that – then you live a different kind of life. You could have another kind of life, where you say, well, I know that things come from nothing very much and start from unpromising beginnings. And I'm an unpromising beginning, and I could start something.
Technology is a transmission vector through time. Humanity is carried upon it, from fire-building past to atomic-powered present to unforeseeable future. A spreading infection in the chronology of the universe.
Formerly posted in May under the (accurate, though unimaginative) title “Ambiguous Plot,” this revision began purely as an exercise to get the story down to 100 words or less.
It surprised me to see the story becoming stronger the more I cut out of it, though I'm sure this would have been obvious to me if I ever did more than one creative writing exercise per year.
Anyhow, here it is, clocking in at exactly one hundred words.
(Don't be surprised if this is not the final version I subject you to. In fact, I'm mulling over the potential of transforming this piece into some sort of semi-interactive multimedia storybook/poem/film hybrid.)
The lamp turned green and I stopped.
Red now, start again.
I abandoned her to her complacency.
Thirteen months onward, four lifeless worlds apart, ninety-seven seconds and I'll be dead.
“It'll be your undoing,” she warned, unclear if she meant the mission or leaving her.
The search was, at first, promising.
But days became weeks and progress slowed.
Five months in we bottomed out.
The lamp turned green and I shifted uncomfortably.
“I had a dream about it,” she sighed.
She did this often. I feigned concern.
Bit Shifter explores high-energy, low-bit music composed and performed on a Nintendo Game Boy. The result is an unapologetically fun foray into an evocative and distinctive soundset, executed on a console generally misperceived as being technically limited.
I abandoned her to her complacency. Thirteen months onward, four lifeless worlds apart, ninety-seven seconds and I'll be dead.
“It will be your undoing,” she'd told me at every opportunity, though it was never clear if she meant the mission or my leaving her.
At first the search was promising. No useful solutions, of course, but strong indications that we were close. Days became weeks and our progress slowed. Five months in we bottomed out. Nothing else to try, no Plan B, no more chances.
The light turned green and I shifted uncomfortably.
“I had a dream about it.” She was always doing this. “It worked, but you came back... wrong.” She sighed. I feigned concern.
No guilt then, not much now. It'd be nice to get this over with.
Nobody slept that night. Mom started smoking again, Ethan watched all the late night comedy shows and yelled “I could do that!” over and over, and I wrote....
I just dumped everything I'd been thinking, everything I could never say to my family, right out of my brain. And I cut and pasted it all together, with postcard and magazine bits and crappy little drawings that make me laugh. And in the end I had a zine, starring me, our hero.
Six pages, stapled, that I could copy and give to my friends; that I could mail away to other zine writers all over the world.... Secrets, for strangers. And once I'd done that, I felt in control for the first time, maybe ever.
Cara Pifko stars as Kale, the “kinda thoughtful, kinda goofy” highschooler who “likes to think her stupid, loser life brings humour and comfort to others” (character synopsis).
What caught my attention with this one (aside from Pifko's adorable grin) was the unusually original premise (young female zine writer), backed up by strong writing and authentic characterisation. Hints of Veronica Mars in that respect, minus the detective-genre setup.
Editor's Note: Our Hero — The Imperfect Issue, wherein the alarming details of our hero's life are reported for the amusement of others... and the catharsis of me.
Back in '06 the production company was kind enough to run a video podcast, and segments three through nine contain the entire first episode of the show. They're also offering all 26 episodes of the series on DVD.
More at OurHero.tv.
This one's going on my wishlist.
Substance abuse, violence and suicide. Ontario's version of Davis Inlet. That's how the media usually portrays the isolated northern Ontario reserve of Pikangikum First Nation. But Naomi Rogers has spent the last three summers working with young people there and sees it very differently. In this rare portrait, Naomi challenges stereotypes and paints a picture of strength and hope.
The idea that anything Obama can do will damage the alleged “legitimacy” of corporate bonds after the epochal orgy of fraud we've witnessed over the last 30 years in corporate America is on the level of claiming that the parrot isn't dead, it's just sleeping. Please. Wake up, folks. Capitalism has discredited itself at a basic level.
I was drawn into an sheer state of awe at what I saw; A single person playing and singing nearly 20 musical parts, compiled into a single stunning video. It was a theme that I was very familiar with, and one that had always been one of my personal favorites. It was the main theme to The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, unplugged.
GIRLTRASH! is the story of three hapless chicks getting by any way they can. Tyler and Daisy are small-time criminals and best buds. Their friendship is put to the test when Tyler is seduced by the two-timing temptress, LouAnne. When LouAnne double-crosses Tyler and Daisy by stealing money from the local Kingpin, Tyler and Daisy are thrown into a world of shit. They need to find the money and LouAnne before they turn up dead... or worse.
Charming little web series by Angela Robinson (occasional writer/producer/director for The L Word). Unfortunately seems to be on indefinite hiatus — an all too common fate for these made-for-web shows.
While — on first viewing — I thought Ang Lee's Hulk could have been thirty or forty minutes shorter, it grew on me after multiple viewings and ultimately blows Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk out of the water.
Relatable characterisation, more engaging plot, solid cast and incredible editing all contribute to the superiority of Ang Lee's Hulk over its more recent successor.
In truth, I was bored while watching the newest addition to the franchise, and hope they can get their act together for the inevitable third attempt.
Bitch Slap follows three bad girls as they arrive at a remote desert hideaway to extort massive booty from a ruthless underworld kingpin. Things quickly spin out of control as allegiances change, truths are revealed and other criminals arrive for the score.
By the time they reach an age to think about what they'd like to do, most kids have been thoroughly misled about the idea of loving one's work. School has trained them to regard work as an unpleasant duty. Having a job is said to be even more onerous than schoolwork. And yet all the adults claim to like what they do.
You can't blame kids for thinking, “I am not like these people; I am not suited to this world.”
After word got out, every disaffected nut or neurotic within walking distance wanted to throw his or her self into the Reef, hoping to be transfigured, hoping to become something better than what they were. Some emergents reported visions of former times and places, of great insight and enlightenment. Others came out as drooling idiots, their brains wiped of knowledge and experience. Some came out fused together; others were splintered into clouds of tiny animals.
I miss rain, frankly. And noise. I miss black, glistening nights in breathy cities; I miss the undulations of power lines beyond an accelerating car. I miss tea that stays warm for more than a few gulps. I miss tea that doesn't crystallize.
Sure, I signed up for it. We all did. Brownlee brought in the contract one day and sat down with us, earnestly propping his elbows on his knees and underlining words like "compensation", and "retirement", and "phonesex".
There's a very specific anxiety in David Lynch's Lost Highway that turns some people off which isn't present in Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire. It's pensive male anxiety, and for some cultural reason it's easier for audiences to accept female hysteria than the insecurities of men.
Restaurants have always struck me as something of a reverse religious experience. You sit on your high chair, and grumble your almighty wishes, "sacrifice unto me your finest calf, drowned in honey and milk" you might say, and the waitstaff sashay around in supplication, asking if you are happy, are you pleased with their service, what can they do for you.
this time next year i would like to be thirty pounds lighter, four hundred packs of kools lovelier, and would like, just once, for someone to acknowledge me as a genius, even if it's so incredibly sarcastic as to be immediately invalid.