Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nerd News in Brief

Given the recent unfortunate developments in the nerdcore scene, it makes sense that certain events from other communities may have stayed off your radar due to the, y'know, pressing drama. However, before I delve into another edition of Nerd News in Brief, I'd like to pause to mark a genuinely unfortunate passing from within the stylistically adjacent Wizard Rock/Nerdfighter community.

Earlier this week, 16-year-old scene staple Esther Earl passed away due to cancer-related complications. In lieu of flowers, the family has instead requested memorials donations, including those made to a charity organization that bears her name. A fall tour featuring friends The Whomping Willows and Lauren Fairweather will also be collecting donations specifically to help her grieving family with the various related medical bills.

Just a little something to think about.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Gitmo: On a (very slightly) happier Potter-related note, check out this list of primarily geek lit books popular among prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Reading truly is fundamental.
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: A UK university is currently offering a course focused on the world of Harry Potter, with special emphasis on the societal implications of the work. But how long before you can major in Muggle Studies?
  • Behold My Buying Power: Late last month my blogging brother Jason Tocci passed on a piece from Ad Week. It concerns consumers "embracing geekdom," and even goes so far as to innumerate geeky traits. Everybody wants a piece of that nerd dollar!
  • We're Doing it Wrong: Shael Riley and my boy Church both recently unearthed this 7-year-old internet gem - The Five Geek Social Fallacies. My only complaint is these apply to non-geeks as well. GSF4, for example, has become my mother-in-law's veritable calling card.
  • Bad Advice is Still Free: Shael also provided me with some helpful, if second-hand, advice from 4chan's Advice Dog. In song, no less.
  • Dance, Clone, Dance!: From my old pal Larry comes news of the newly released "special edition" of Danny Choo's Tokyo Stormtrooper dance. Like all special editions, it comes complete with ridiculous CGI.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Also from Larry comes this handy list of geek/tech-inspired products. Because who doesn't need a Twitter-themed throw pillow?
  • Tag and Release: The Nerdcore For Life documentary is finally available on DVD! Experience the highs and the lows of early Rhyme Torrents-era nerdcore hip-hop like never before. I mean, unless you were there to experience it the first time.
  • Itty Bitty: Reader Jim hipped me to this amazing chiptune symphony, which he originally found via NPR. The single microchip mounted in the CD case literally "performs" the minimalist, electronic composition for you!
  • KLLS PXLS DED: Other news on the chip music front concerns a fresh release from I KILL PXLS. His incredibly funky self-titled album is available via Bandcamp as a digital release for a mere $5, or with a limited edition t-shirt for $15. Give it a listen, and hit Marques with some money!
  • Under Cover of Darkness: While you're Bandcamping, don't forget to check out the new Retrocovered album from Inverse Phase as well. I all but guarantee that it'll contain your new favorite instrumental chiptune cover of The Cars classic "Just What I Needed."
  • Chip on His Shoulder: Antisoc was one of many readers to point me toward this homemade chiptune synthesizer. The "Chipophone" is truly a miracle of personal ingenuity. Not to mention a nice way to skirt the UK's new rules concerning homebrew game copiers. 
  • Never Too Early: Those in adjoining localities to my own humble burg will want to know that Dual Core will be joining hometown heroes ThoughtCriminals at Charlotte's Milestone on September the 24th. That's a Friday, so please come out and get drunk with us!
  • Back in Blue: Though not as innovative as some of their other video projects, Seattle's Kirby Krackle has released a minimalist sing-along video for their Mega Man-inspired track "On and On." Peep the hotness.
  • Now They Really Do: And speaking of retro video game goodness, have you checked out the interactive flash game at the official I Fight Dragons web site? It's further (nerdy) proof that success hasn't changed 'em.
  • Coder Girl: Another pointer from Church led me to this Tech Crunch article about Lady Java, an unholy blend of Lady GaGa and the Java programming language. It's… certainly something.
  • Geek Couture: I have long joked that my friend Jarvis and I should start a blog called FashioNerd. If we ever did, this shit right here would be our first post.
  • The Art Wants What it Wants: While the games as art debate still rages on, the Smithsonian has decided to throw its weight behind gamer culture. To that end a special "Art of Video Games" exhibit will run March 16 through September 30 of 2012.
  • What the Fuck: By now everyone has likely experienced contemporary YouTube classic "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury." What you probably haven't seen is this. It's okay to laugh. Really.
  • Join my Guild: Church also kicks in this Psychology Today piece on geek community. It actually contains some interesting observations concerning our tribe and its sacred rites (ie: Comic-Con.)
  • You Can't Resist the Force: The Guardian weighs in on the fact that we, apparently, run Hollywood. Not sure how the recent Scott Pilgrim flop plays into this theory, though.
  • Until it Sounded Like a Symphony: Oh, and we also run the orchestra pit. No, not really.
  • Dare to be Stupid: Church's nerd ink round-up features some fine selections from Comic-Con, not to mention tattooed LEGO minifigs! Oh, and also this.That is some serious dedication to Weird Al.
  • Tyler Durden: This last discovery from Church – a CNN post about potential nerd exploitation – could well go into our growing "geek chic" file. Although considering that it opens with references to D20s and The New Mutants, I'm sort of beginning to wonder if… maybe I wrote it?
  • Soft Rocked by Him: For those who may have missed it, Big Think recently conducted a great interview with nerd rock troubadour Jonathon Coulton. It's in video form. With full frontal beard.
  • See It, Believe It: Other videos of note include a live MC Frontalot/Wheatus collab, MC Sex's bawdy tribute to the classic NES and the age-old pastime of boning and a musical meditation on the girls of Comic-Con. (Yeah, I'm getting all those long-delayed post-Comic-Con news items out of the way here.)
  • The Year 4153: In other YouTubery, I have been enjoying Rappy McRapperson's channel a lot of late. Don't get me wrong, I totally don't fucking understand Rappy a good bit of the time, but it still makes for some entertaining watchin'.
  • Nerd Lust: Closing out this edition of NNIB is the oddly appealing "I Kissed a Nerd." It's the perfect companion piece to another recently discovered tribute to nerd love. Watch it in good health, and then lip-lock your dream dork.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Drunkening

Wizard needs booze badly.
As August winds to a close, I can't help but think… well, I honestly can't help but think when will this ridiculous fucking heat abate, but that's not the purpose of this missive.

As in years gone by, the promise of autumn brings with it the promise of binge drinking. And the best kind of binge drinking is the kind that you record and then share via the internet.

I am talking, of course, about my annual Drunken Podcast Month event.

Now entering its third year, this celebration of inebriation takes place each September and challenges podcasters the world over to drink to excess whilst making with the fake internet radio. Like so many things, it exists without any good reason or proper motivation. We're not doing this to benefit charity or to cure some disease; we're just doing it to do it. (Although if you can somehow leverage your drunken podcast to eradicate cancer or feed hungry children, that would only serve to make it all the more awesome!)

The core elements or Drunken Podcasting Month are simple enough to identify. All you need is you and booze and a manner in which to record and disseminate a podcast. Not to step on the toes of my more mathematically inclined blogging brethren or anything, but you could even express these components via a simple equation:

you + booze + internet = win

Optional materials include things like friends, snacks and a bucket in which to vomit, but those aren't strictly necessary. It's really just you and the sauce and the power of your own slurred words. These are the things that make Drunken Podcasting Month so grand.

So please, next month, be you a fellow member of the Fraternal Order of Established Podcastery or merely a newcomer looking to add his (or her) voice to community, come and get drunk with us. You'll be glad you did. After the headache and crippling nausea subside.