Friday, February 23, 2007

We're off to see the Widget

Hipster, please! readers are the best readers in the world.

I’m not being conceited when I say that. Shit, I’m still a little uncomfortable with the fact that I actually have readers, but the stats don’t lie and neither do the comments. I’m light-years away from the Penny Arcade level of mass devotion, but there are folks out there who read every post and download every podcast, and, though you are far from legion, I appreciate you one and all. (I even appreciate those of you who just wander through intermittently.)

The relatively small number (I hesitate to use the phrase “Faithful Seven,” as that one’s already been called) of you is actually a bit of a perk within itself. Most of you aren’t merely faceless IP addresses, but genuine, jovial personalities with whom I interact regularly. Whether it’s the very nerdcore artists that I blog about, my fellow nerdy writers, or new and refreshingly creative forces that share with me their time and their talent, I genuinely enjoy your company and I humbly thank you for your time.

The Internet is a big, lonely place, but I feel like I’ve got real allies here. Moreover, I often feel like you give so much and ask so little.

Anyone who’s read more than a single post here is familiar with the name churchhatestucker. Church makes delightfully nerdy videos using stock footage, geeky tunes, and a wealth of personal creativity. He also keeps me abreast of news on many fronts. Hell, he even goes out of his way to comment on my posts. Even the boring ones!

Church decided, completely without compulsion on my part, to craft the world’s first Hipster, please! Widget. It works as follows:

“It ... shows the last five headlines. Clicking them opens the article in your browser. It was created with the beta of Apple's upcoming Dashcode application. As I get used to Dashcode, I'll probably be adding functionality, most likely some way of tapping your new RFH feed.”

If any of you possess both a Widget-friendly OS and the mad urge to populate your desktop with live links to my musings, this is surely the best way to do so.

Enormous thanks go to Church for putting this together on my behalf. To misquote Wayne’s World, I am truly unworthy.

Y'all're too nice to me. I mean it.

Church is crazy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More Nerd News in Brief

Believe it or not, there have actually been events that have transpired this week that are totally unrelated to Britney Spears. I shit you not. Here are some of the nerdier examples.

  • I must move to Seattle!: Despite the efforts of a shitty soundman to the contrary, it looks as though Ultraklystron's Romance Language release event was a successful and enjoyable endeavor. J-nerd princess Rai was nice enough to provide a little photographic documentation of the event, and MC Tanuki chimed in with some supplementary audio.
  • A Rock Opera 2001 Years in the Making: Dead Circuit's Mr. Fingers just hipped the nerdcore community to a little musical he and his brother put together. ODYSSEY! is “a parody of the Arthur C. Clarke/Stanley Kubrick novel and screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey.” The soundtrack is available for purchase and sample tracks can be found at the project's MySpace .
  • Scriggle-it, just a little bit: Long-time Hipster, please! supporter Antisocial has just informed me of a new tool that many of you nerd musicians should be made aware of. Scriggle-it is, in short, a Web utility that handles mailing lists for bands. Sign-up is free, and it features the abilities to electronically collect fan contact info through your site or MySpace, easily manage email campaigns, track fan demographics, and create electronic press kits. Soc even talked them into adding “Nerd” as a musical genre, allowing for combinations such as Nerd + Rap, Nerd + Punk, Nerd + Emo, Nerd + Metal, Nerd + Pop, etcetera. If you think you may be interested, why not take a look?
  • Now you'll just have to get ‘em as Best Buy!: Super Dragon X recently mentioned this NY Times article concerning the further absurdities of the RIAA-ordered January 16th arrests of DJs Drama and Don Cannon for – and let's be honest about this – making mixtapes . Such compilations are an integral part not only of the hip hop underground, but also a secondary distribution system that major labels rely on to promote artists both old and new. At the end of the day, mixtapes are no more damaging to artists than mash-ups or independent podcasts. This is simply another clear example of industry avarice.
  • Housekeeping: You may or may not have noticed, but there have been some subtle changes made around Hipster, please! Chiefly, I have finally rectified my host URL; I am now officially located at, but fear not, for all the old links citing me as should auto-forward. Also, in addition to the new RSS feed for the blog, I have now cobbled together a functional (and iTunes-friendly) dedicated feed for Radio Free Hipster. Feel free to subscribe if you feel so led.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 17: Crush, Boom, Bang

In 1955, soul quartet The Four Aces told us that “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.” The Everly Brothers countered this claim a scant five years later by saying, simply, “Love Hurts.” Honestly, both assertions were pretty accurate, but any nerd among us has already figured that much out.

When I put together Radio Free Hipster Ep. 11 “Broken Glasses, Broken Heart,” most of y’all seemed to enjoy it, and, truthfully, I enjoyed it as well, but, looking back, I feel as though I might’ve painted too stark a picture of modern romance. It was fun and funny, but maybe a bit unfair.
So in this, my follow-up of sorts, I’ve elected to focus on love songs that are equally complicated, equally rich, but (hopefully) not such a damned downer.

Of course there are songs about romance gone wrong, infidelity, and rejection, but there are also tracks about good, old-fashioned lust, friendship, and the ever-important attributes and attitudes that our artists look for in the perfect mate.

Hopefully, you’ll find a track or two with which you can identify, or at least a couple that you dig.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 17: Crush, Boom, Bang [mirror provided by Antisocial ] Size: 43.7 MB Running Time: 47:47

Show Notes

Intro: Baddd Spellah (feat. Beefy ) – “Radio Free Hipster Theme”
I love this song. It treats me right and it never asks where I’ve been.
Track 1: Braces Tower - “I Can’t Explain, Okay?”
I’m a bit of a mod, ergo I’ve been trying to work a Who track into this podcast for a while. Mission accomplished.
Z’s 1st interlude: “Originally this ep. was gonna drop in time for Valentine’s Day.”
But that shit just didn’t happen.

Track 2: Buddy Holly - “I’m Gonna Love You Too”
There’s just something a little too insistent about this track. I love ya, Buddy, but just leave that poor girl alone.

Track 3: Jon Cryer and Andrew Dice Clay – dialogue / A+D - “Love Will Tear You Apart / She Wants Originality
Tear You Apart” by She Wants Revenge, “Love Will Tear us Apart” by Joy Division, and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus are structurally the same song. Who knew?

Track 4: Beefy -“wonderfulamazing
Beefy really puts it all out on the table in this track. There are times when I’m listening to it that I feel like I shouldn’t be; times when I feel that he’s telling me secrets and relating details I really shouldn’t know. I totally give it up to Beef for having the balls to make a song this personal.

Track 5: The Cars - “Since You’re Gone”
For my money, I think The Cars may’ve been even nerdier than Devo. With Devo you knew what you were getting, but The Cars were more subtle. You’d just be watching MTV one day and go Holy shit! Look at those dorks!

Track 6: Switchblade Kittens - “Ode to Harry Potter”
This one’s for my boy Church. He and I have been swapping Wizard Rock recommendations for a couple weeks now, and we both agreed that the Kittens do it up nice.

Track 7: MC Lars - “Rap Girl”
I’m a big fan of the fake disclaimer that kicks this track off.

Z’s 2nd interlude: “Complicated, but a tad more optimistic.”
Hopefully you’ll find the next set a little less gloomy.

Track 8: Incredibad - “The Heist
Chamomile, muthafuckah!”

Track 9: Turk and JD - “Guy Love
This one’s for Beefy and Jones.

Track 10: Glenn Case – “Crazy Love”
Glenn has 320 songs here for your listening pleasure. And that ain’t even his entire catalogue!

Track 11: M.I.A.vs. YTCracker vs. Van Morrison – “Crazy Nerd Action”
YT gave me the a cappella for “Nerd Love” ages ago, but I could never get the MC Router verse to complete the vocal track. So I started this mix, got halfway through, and then sat on it. Let this be a lesson to you: if you’re nice enough to let me have a track to mash-up, I’ll take forever half-assing it until I get a wild hair to present the substandard results to the masses.

Track 12: mc chris - “Arulpragasam”
I can’t help but think there’s a Sri Lankan out there writhing in agony at my backwoods pronunciation of Arulpragasam.

Z’s final interlude: “This very pedestrian journey through the protagonist’s life.”
I really hope some of you will dig this last track. Admittedly, you really need to listen to the whole album to get the full effect, but I’m hoping against hope that y’all aren’t as critical as I am!

Track 13: The Streets – “Fit But You Know It”
This is far from a nerdcore track, but I think it’s a got a real charm to it. There’s this “lovable loser” element inherent in the delivery that really appealed to my dorkish sensibilities.
You’ll probably be noticing a lot more rock-centered tracks in the next few podcasts. It’s been suggested that I do an all nerd rock show, and I think that this is an excellent idea. Don’t worry, I’m certainly not phasing nerdcore out or anything; it is, after all, the reason most of you listen, but I think that an entire episode devoid of hip-hop and mash-ups would be an interesting change of pace. In the meantime, I’ll try to ease the rock ‘n’ roll in. I don’t want anyone to go into shock!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

It's Monday again, and so I will favor you with another edition of Nerd News in Brief. This one's got some really interesting stuff in it, so I'll cut my intro short so you can read things of sufficiently more import.

  • Who the fuck is MC Harding?: Nerdcore gets some more press via the Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram. Aside from a few snafus, the article is a pretty fair (warts and all) representation of the scene and those in it. I'm just a little disappointed that Tonya Harding started rapping and I didn't know anything about it until now. ;)
  • Blood and cleavage: MC Router has decided to share some pics of her newest tattoo over at the Rhyme Torrents Board. It's a delightful combination of blood and boobs that is at once erotic and gory.
  • Speaking of boobs and blood: In what can only be called the coolest goddamn thing to happen anywhere ever , Emergency Pizza Party and Krondor Krew so impressed co-founder Lloyd Kaufman with their nerdy lyricism at last weekend's Orlando Megacon, that they landed a spot opening for Killer Robots at the annual Troma After Party! What's more, the event was filmed for use in an upcoming Troma documentary! Should this keep up, I will surely run out of exclamation points!!!
  • Nerdcore repository: Fellow Floridian and one of the few people actually brave enough to trade Wii friend codes with me, signed long int is currently using his coding acumen to craft an online repository for nerdcore hip-hop tracks. The system is still in the demo stage, but the project promises to be a real timesaver for me personally, and a boon to nerdcore fans everywhere.
  • The wind of change may or may not smell like feet: There may be no coercion in Islam, but that damned sure ain't true for Google! Last night I was led sheepishly from my old, comfortable version of Blogger to this new-fangled iteration. Thus far everything has gone fairly smoothly,but unfortunately my own predilection for fucking with things will soon kick in and I'll start meddling with the code and the overall setup. I've already added what appears to be a valid RSS feed (for those of you who hate the existing Atom feed), and hopefully I'll soon be able to work up a dedicated podcast feed using Feedburner. In addition to this, I plan to switch things over from the Blogspot url to my domain soon. The Blogger/Google monolith assures me that the transition will be painless and that all of my old linkages will still function, but if you come to check out the blog only to find its charred and smoking remains, you'll know what happened.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

When (Nerd) Worlds Collide

This weekend, the wife and I took Little X. to a train show. He’s 2, and (at least in his mind) the more wheels a machine has and the more noise it makes, the better. Trains are kind of his thing at present. I found the event interesting not so much for the displays – which were, to tell the truth, inspiringly intricate – but for the overall “train guy” dynamic.

These were a bunch of cats that had devoted the better part of their lives and the vast majority of their disposable income to purchasing, modifying, and assembling model trains and idyllic little (properly scaled!) hamlets through which they could run.

Now, I don’t know shit about trains, but I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I could kind of get the gist of their incredibly specialized language, their railspeak, as they bantered back and forth across the hall. After walking around for a half-hour or so, it finally dawned on me why: they were speaking nerd!

How did I not figure it out sooner?

It’s as if I’d arrived at Heathrow and then stumbled off my plane only to be surprised that the populace of the Boroughs of London spoke English.

Of course they were geeks; they were fuckin’ train guys!

I spend a lot of my time here talking about the multifaceted splendor of nerd culture, but sometimes, I reckon, I forget just how broad a scope there truly is. When you get down to it, the nerd is defined less by the nature of his interest and more by the careful and ceaseless attention that he devotes to it. In that regard, comic book guys and music nerds and Trekkies and gamer geeks and train enthusiasts are all the same; they all share that same fiery passion for their respective hobbies.

And so, train guys, though your love for the rails is not entirely akin to my love of the GBA, Chynna Clugston, and the d20 system, I salute you none-the-less. The dedication you show your craft may be laughable to some, but I have to say that I find it inspiring. Nerdly inspiring, at that.

Snake on a muthafuckin’ train!