A Natural Disaster

Earthquakes, volcanos, tidal waves, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Is there no end to the nightmares we must suffer as residents of planet Earth? Here in America, the greatest country that was ever invented by rich white men for rich white men, we’re catching up on the BBC’s programme of animals having sex with each other and killing each other while having sex with each other, and they called it “Life,” even managing to keep a straight face doing it. And while the lucky residents of the British Isles were listening to the high-definition sounds of brutality narrated by David Attenborough, we’ve been subjected to the awkward phrasing and weird inflections of the most perfect woman on the face of the planet, Oprah.

To say that Oprah’s voice makes every scene sound like she’s amazed by the mere existence of creatures other than herself probably goes without saying. One imagines her poised before a microphone with the script sitting on a diamond-studded solid gold podium before her, her hair and make-up people constantly filling in acne scars and combing out her hair into a semblance of a wave crashing over the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea as she reads about how cuttlefish can change color to ward off other males during the mating ritual and making the recording technicians constantly stop tape as she proclaims, “Damn! I wish Stedman would change his stripes! Ho ho ho! Am I right, audience?”

It isn’t just that the woman is so out of touch with reality that the idea that she’s been chosen to explain these scenes to us seems a bit like asking Rush Limbaugh to explain the intricacies of Weight Watchers, it’s also that her voice is constantly rising and falling at regular intervals with complete indifference to what’s actually happening, creating a weird and unsettling sense that what you’re looking at isn’t at all what she’s describing.

Oprah Winfrey

It's a puppy, Oprah. Don't eat it.

Watching Life is equal parts amazing and horrible. Sure, it’s an honest reflection of the laws of nature, the whole kill or be killed thing, the survival of the fittest thing, the aren’t baby animals cute except when they are being devoured thing. But Mme. Oprah’s narration treats everything we’re watching with the same level of simmering cuteness that accompanies your aunt’s narration of her trip to Honolulu.

“And here’s a fish we saw in the coral. It was pretty. I think it’s a kind of angel fish or something. In this next picture… oh, wait, no, that’s me at the… the pool? I think? I think, yes, that’s the pool and that’s our hotel and you can almost see our room only it’s around the side of that part. And here’s where the hippo attacks the alligator and submerges below the water.”

The word “miraculous” needs to have an entirely different reading from the word “larva,” but Oprah’s tongue seems incapable of these distinctions. She knows only how to move her voice up and down about every three or four syllables, reSULting in an anNOYing repeTItion of the SAME falls and RISes reGARDless of WHAT is CURrently on disPLAY whether that’s the atTACK of a TIGer or the SUBtle SLEEP of a FAWN.

Watching the series with the sound turned off helps a little, though you then miss the nuances of the real world’s sounds while trying to deny Oprah’s annoying cadence. It makes one ache for the seemingly effortless narrative – and dramatic – skills of a Stephen Fry, or a John Hurt, or the accomplished actress that Ms. Winfrey replaced in the role of explaining the natural world to America, Sigourney Weaver.

But no. We are saddled, sadly, with a woman whose accomplishments in life have somehow left her unable to explain the accomplishments of Life.

This is Glassdog, where the wildlife is always hungry and the fight for survival takes the form of getting the lasy pair of size 11 Pradas at Zappos.

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Ebert’s Game

Hello friends and enemies. Some time in the past, film critic Roger Ebert stated that video games are not art – scratch that – can never be art, like film can be. As a film critic, there’s probably some built-in prejudice to his position. Additionally, it would appear that he has never played any video games at all, let alone some (or one) of the titles that are often cited as artistic – examples being Shadow of the Colossus, Psychonauts and Fallout.

Our immediate thought regarding the debate was, “why does it matter?” Why would Mr. Ebert be concerned with stating so emphatically that video games are not art, and can never be? Is it because, more and more often, video games are being compared to films and Mr. Ebert resents the comparison? Is it because art should be considered spiritual or meaningful or ‘deep’ but video games are for children and meant to be won and as competitions (like sports) they cannot, therefore, be artistic?

Defining what’s art and what isn’t is an impractical goal at best, and an impossible one at worst. Mr. Ebert cites Wikipedia’s definition as semi-definitive: Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture, and paintings.

Well, okay. That sounds good. Affecting the sense or emotions. Okay. Let’s run with that, then.

What we’d like to do, if you’ll allow, is to compare a few of the games we’ve made available for our employees in The Game Room with famous works of what is generally recognized to be “art,” just to see, you know, if they’re in the same ball park, so to speak.

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (1937) vs. Reality Pump’s Two Worlds (2007)

Guernica

War! Ungh! What is it good for?

What’s it about?

Two Worlds: The game takes place in a real-time three-dimensional fantasy landscape. As such it has drawn comparison with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Much like in Oblivion and Gothic 3, the gameplay is non-linear. The player is free to explore the game world, accepting side quests at will. There is however, a core quest, centering around rescuing the protagonist’s sister, who is being held for ransom by mysterious forces who are scheming to open the tomb of Aziraal, the god of war.1

Guernica: Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world’s attention.2

How does it make us feel?

Angry, annoyed, frustrated, anguished, regretful, then angry again.

And what about Guernica?

Man, that needs a pretty big wall!

Leonardo DaVinci’s La Gioconda (c1503-1506) vs. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)

GTA4

But is it art?

Why is it important?

La Gioconda (AKA The Mona Lisa): The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a woman whose facial expression is often described as enigmatic. The ambiguity of the sitter’s expression, the monumentality of the half-figure composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the painting’s continuing fascination.3

Grand Theft Auto IV: One of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time, receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from critics, with many giving the game a perfect score. Review aggregator GameRatio‎ ranks Grand Theft Auto IV as the best scoring game ever reviewed. After the release of the first trailer for the game, New York City officials were appalled with the choice of their city as the inspiration for the setting of Grand Theft Auto IV, and said that a game like GTA does not represent the city’s crime levels accurately. A spokesperson for Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “The mayor does not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers.”4

What senses or emotions does it affect?

It must be admitted that it causes one to fervently want to abduct hookers, drive them into alleyways, fuck them mercilessly before hitting them with baseball bats and abandoning them on the curb. Some have also wanted to drive recklessly while drunk, shoot cops, take drugs, sell illegal weapons from the trunk of a car and blow up docks with grenades and incendiary bombs.

And The Mona Lisa?

I was talking about The Mona Lisa. I hate that fucking overrated piece of shit.

Matthew Barney’s The Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002) vs. Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain (2010)

Still from The Cremaster Cycle

Here, kitty, kitty!

Why is it important?

The Cremaster Cycle: Barney’s epic Cremaster cycle (1994–2002) is a project consisting of five feature-length films that explore processes of creation. His concentration in sculpture is accentuated by his use of video. Barney uses video to perfect his sculpture by evaluating positioning, lighting, size and shape, using video as a means to his end product of sculpture. The project is rife with anatomical allusions to the position of the reproductive organs during the embryonic process of sexual differentiation. The cycle repeatedly returns to those moments during early sexual development in which the outcome of the process is still unknown. In Barney’s metaphoric universe, these moments represent a condition of pure potentiality.5

Heavy Rain: Heavy Rain’s story is a dramatic thriller modeled after film noir, centered around four protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events during fast-paced action sequences. The player’s decisions and actions during the game will affect the narrative; the main characters can be killed, and certain actions may lead to different scenes and endings.6

How do they compare as art?

The Cremaster Cycle involves blimps, satyrs, a chorus line, the Chrysler Building, Gary Gilmore, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, pierced scrotums, magicians, pigeons on ribbons and a hotel bar that may be played like bagpipes.

Heavy Rain demands that you control the protagonist to take a shower upstairs before he will go downstairs for breakfast, suggesting the futility of life and the lack of free will. At several points, you are required to twist the analog joystick in a specific manner to allow the protagonist to exit their automobile, displaying with vibrant clarity that we have no control of our own actions, and that even the smallest toil requires repeated attempts to achieve perfection.

Frankly, in the end, The Cremaster Cycle makes more sense when it turns out that there’s no way that the actual murderer in Heavy Rain could’ve committed the crime because he would need to be in two places at once in order to kill the typewriter repairman while simultaneously answering the phone in a different room. The only thing Matthew Barney asks us to accept is that one can have one’s impacted molars extracted through one’s butt hole.

John Cage’s 4′ 33″ (1952) vs. Atari’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

What’s Up With That?

Four minutes, thirty-three seconds or, as the composer himself referred to it, Four, thirty-three, is a three-movement composition composed in 1952 for any instrument (or combination of instruments). The score instructs the performer not to play the instrument during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements (the first being thirty seconds, the second being two minutes and twenty-three seconds, and the third being one minute and forty seconds). Although commonly perceived as “four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence”, this piece actually consists of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed.7

E.T. The video game

Elliot looks a little bit... 8 bit.

E.T. was almost single-handedly responsible for the fall of Atari in 1983, and the resulting crash of the entire console video game market. It is listed as the worst game of all time by PC World, Electronic Gaming Monthly, and Michael Dolan, editor of FHM magazine, and the second worst movie game on the “Top Ten Worst Movie Games” by GameTrailers. It was also ranked #2 Worst on GameTrailers’ “Top Ten Best and Worst Games of All Time.” Gameplay consisted of collecting three pieces of an interplanetary telephone found scattered randomly throughout various pits (also referred to as wells). The player must then guide the character to a “call-ship” area, which allows him to call his home planet.8

Where’s the Emotion?

John Cage’s silent symphony is a measure of time where nothing appears to occur, leaving many members of the audience feeling cheated, confused, tricked and treated like imbeciles. The movie-based video game nightmare is a measure of time where nearly all the players wished that nothing was happening, leaving them all feeling cheated, confused, tricked and treated like imbeciles.

Fountain by Marcel Duchamp (1917) vs. Braid by Jonathan Blow (2009)

Fountain by Marcel Duchamp

It's a toilet, but that's not all it is.

In 1917, Dadaist artist Duchamp brought a urinal to an art show put on by The Society of Independent Artists, submitting the work under an assumed name. The “readymade” art was unchanged except for an artist’s signature, R. Mutt, along with the year inscribed on the porcelain. Though the society had announced that all art would be accepted, the urinal was rejected and the original piece was lost. In the 1960s, Duchamp reproduced the work for several museums, and one reproduction sold for $1.7million in 1999.9

Blow has stated that he designed Braid as a personal critique of contemporary trends in game development. He funded the three-year project with his own money. The game’s story describes the protagonist Tim’s attempt to rescue a princess from a monster. Clues embedded in the plot have led to multiple metaphorical interpretations of the plot, such as a tale of a faltering relationship or the development of the atomic bomb. Throughout the game, the player may also manipulate time, such as by allowing actions to be “rewound”, even after death, or by creating a shadow doppleganger to repeat actions previously performed.10

What’s Your Point?

The Dadaists and the Fluxus school after them were determined to break down the rules of art and defy the critics, galleries and museums which were defining who was an artist and whether their creations could be called “art.” Duchamp’s Fountain was a defiant, angry jab even at those who proclaimed that they would accept any type of art from any artist, which in its way established his non-work as an important step in the development of modern art. Blow, likewise, is subverting the idea of what a video game is, and what it means to play one in a so-called “linear” fashion when that line can be redrawn again and again. By creating a video game that mocks its own conventions, he stripped away the expectations that players have when they enter a game and mocked the very rules of his own medium.

What Have We Learned?

Art is subjective, to say the least. To define what art is to one person is to deny what it is to someone else. To state definitively that something “can never be art” is a bit myopic and unnecessarily limits those boundaries.

This is Glassdog, where art is for art’s sake, and money is for God’s sake!

1. Wikipedia: Two Worlds
2. Wikipedia: Guernica (painting)
3. Wikipedia: Mona Lisa
4. Wikipedia: Grand Theft Auto IV
5. Wikipedia: The Cremaster Cycle
6. Wikipedia: Heavy Rain
7. Wikipedia: 4’33″
8. Wikipedia: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (video game)
9. Wikipedia: Fountain (Duchamp)
10. Wikipedia: Braid (video game)

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The Perfect Sandwich

Seems like everyone is harshing on the KFC for simply doing what it should absolutely be doing with the introduction of the Double Down, which is two slices of cheese and two pieces of bacon sandwiched between deep-fried, KFC-trademarked “herbs and spices” breaded, boneless chicken breast things with a quick slimy pass with something called Colonel’s Sauce. As if anything less would be expected from a fast food restaurant that has always specialized in delivering more or less exactly that.

We’re not sure what would make this thing any better? Do they want some sad, warm lettuce leaves slid in there, too? Would a pickle help? Maybe adding a bun to the top and/or bottom so that it more closely resembles a regular sandwich? What if it was made of corned beef and swiss cheese with cole slaw and a schmear of Thousand Island dressing, instead?

Here’s the thing – this is KFfuckingC, isn’t it? How many of the people harping against this thing would ever actually set foot inside its doors? How many times in the past year have they grabbed a bucket of The Colonel’s and pulled the family to the table to enjoy its salty, pressure-cooked goodness?

The other thing? This is fried chicken, wrapped around bacon, wrapped around cheese, dipped in mayo. What, in that sentence, sounds horrifying? This is not ass-fresh dog-doo, wrapped in a sweaty jockstrap, surrounded by asbestos, dipped in alleyway bar urinal.

KFC Double Down Sandwich

The ultimate expression of food perfection! (You know you want to bite the screen.)

Yet far and wide, voices are raised in horror and protest that this, finally, is the last straw. This is as purely decadent and unredeeming as anything Caligula ever dreamt of in his deviant, syphilitic brain. It’s the epitome of “everything that’s wrong” with America, and the picture postcard for a trip to hell in a handbasket.

Er, bucket.

Anyway, we’re here to staunchly defend – nay, to raise our voices in heraldic triumph for this masterpiece of deliciousness. We want to say here and now and for the record that we fully support and praise KFC for concocting what is surely the finest example of food perfection the world has ever known.

What’s next? Do we assail Baskin Robbins for putting too much ice cream in a hot fudge sundae? Do we complain the next time our cheeseburger comes with too much bacon? Should we point fingers accusingly at the fry cook when he dunks the sliced potatoes into the deep fat for the second time to crisp up our french fries, then gag and goggle when he has the audacity to put chili and cheese on top?

This is America, god damn it. This is fried chicken and bacon country. This is the land that invented the drive-thru and the ATM. So if you hate the Double Down, it’s clear that you hate America.

This is Glassdog, still waiting for McDonald’s to combine the McRib with the Shamrock Shake to truly create the One True Food.

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What Drug Does One Take to Recover From Prescription Drug Commercials?

Some of the crew here at Glassdog World Domination Headquarters suffers from insomnia (though to be fair the term is used to refer to anyone who spends the night locked in the building as we endeavor to come up with something worthwhile and/or original for you kind and jaded folks out there in Virtualrealityland) and when encountered looking all sorts of dead, respond to nearly question concerning their state of mind with small whimpers or outright screams.

The latter are tolerated because, hey hey, most of feel like screaming all the time for any number of reasons, anyway, so lack of sleep sounds positively normal. On the other hand, those pathetic little cat-like whimpers are really creepy, almost as bad as Jim Carrey’s web site. They’re a bit sad, you know, and we’d try to make them feel better with some chocolate or a can of mixed nuts, but we’re more inclined to deliver handfuls of Ambien or Lunesta, though we’re a bit leary of nasty side effects.

If you’re like us (and you know you are), the only reason to watch late night TV is because the audience is populated by the same people who watch 60 Minutes and Ghost Whisperer – AKA “the nearly dead.” And the only thing they like better than warm pudding or prune whip is commercials about what’s wrong with them and the drug that will help alleviate it.

Lunesta seems particularly fun! In addition to “sleep-eating” and “sleep-driving” (which, one must assume, involves retrieving the sleep-keys to your sleep-car), there’s a chance that in your quest for sleep you’ll accidentally develop breasts (which can be awkward for men, who tend to get them on Lunesta), painful periods (again, awkward for men), suicidal tendencies, diarrhea (leading, one supposes, to suicidal tendencies), depression, hallucinations and… Wait for it… “unexplained swelling.”

Think you’ll get to sleep, now?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but we must admit we look forward with unaccountable glee to the one starring Brooke Shields where she explains the heartache of thin, mealy eye lashes. Yes, friends, it isn’t enough to provide geriatrics with hard-ons or stick rubber rings inside weirdly happy female bathers’ hoohoos, now we must be concerned that chicks eye lashes are too whispy.

Further investigation online revealed that the drug was originally intended to fight glaucoma, given to patients in danger of losing something fairly precious, which means in their cases the drug was quite important. Then doctors noticed the odd lash-growing side effects. So the drug manufacturer, thinking either “Now we can help all those poor, unfortunate bald eyelid sufferers” or, more likely, “Now we can rake in more dough with a narrowly-defined drug by making women ashamed of yet another physical feature which has no actual bearing on their health or happiness!” (the latter, we’re guessing) then grabbed Brooke to bemoan publicly that her lashes simply cannot hold up to comparison with the caterpillariness of her Andy Rooney eyebrows, and a new market was born.

So you take this shit and wipe it across the edge of your lids and pray to Baby Jesus that you don’t sneeze and blind yourself for the sake of lush, beautiful lashes. You could be spending your money on something important like phantom leg shakes or that vague feeling of ennui after watching anything starring Andie MacDowell (including her ads for L’Oreal where she manages to eke out an emotion about her hair) but we hope you’ll consider giving yourself fat lashes instead.

Hey! This is Glassdog! The only side effects you need to fear from us are a stronger fashion sense and an innate fear of mundanity.

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24-Hour Party People

Hey there, general public! A new poll came out finding that members of the Tea Party (or, as we prefer to call them, the Teabaggers, which makes us snicker like little naughty boys playing Halo) are white, male, over-45 Republicans who don’t like the President because he’s doing more to help the poor than the middle class or the rich.

First question: Help the rich do what? What problems are the rich having that they need the President to pay more attention to them? He’ll pay 100% attention to them when it’s campaign time, so maybe they should lick their Wall Street wounds and take a Big Gulp of shut the fuck up. Getting all the poor, illiterate, backwards kissing cousins to come out with their misspelled signs and funny hats is one thing, but taking the time to complain because your money is causing too many problems for you to handle just makes us want to smack you with a tire iron.

Having problems because you’re rich? We’ll take all that filthy lucre off your hands and spend it wisely on things like shoes, fresh flowers, indoor hot tubs and wall-to-wall shag. Because frankly, old white dudes, we’re feeling about as sorry for you as we do for… someone we couldn’t give a rat’s ass about.

One thing we think you should definitely be out there buying are new 3-D TV sets. Seems that if you’re drunk, preggers, tired, epileptic, or strokey, you shouldn’t even be looking at them, special glasses or no. We’re planning to take a trip to Best Buy this weekend in the hopes of encountering a floor full of writhing, spitting, catatonic caterpillar-people watching golf on 50″ sets while losing control of their tongues and bowels, hopefully adjacent to each other. We never thought that 3-D was going to provide that much extra entertainment value, but boy were we wrong!

Speaking of wrong, if you’re one of the millions who bought Modern Warfare 2 last year, you may be interested to know that there may not be a Modern Warfare 3 – at least, not by “the people who brought you Modern Warfare 2!” Seems there’s strife at Activision and the team from Infinity Ward that created the Call of Duty franchise has lost eleven of its team in the field so far, and the battle’s only just beginning. The two top honchos were fired by the idiots at Activision (who’ve ruined more good things than Angelina Jolie, not including “Tomb Raider,” natch’) and now they’ve gone and formed a whole new company and have put out the “We’re Hiring!” invitation. When asked if they’re looking to poach from their team at Infinity, they demurred legally with terms like “not soliciting” before adding “we’re excited to get the team together.

You know. Like getting the band back together. Or the Rock Band.

Meanwhile, back here at World Domination HQ, things are progressing nicely. Not that we’ve made any progress or anything. Wait – is that what “progressing” means?

Well, shit.

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Wait, What?

Day Two of our reappearance and we’re still clearing out the afterbirth and digging the mucus from our ear canals. It’s amazing how much hair we have! And what, exactly, is this crusty thing on the soft part of the skull? It’s like someone baked a suede-covered marshmallow.

Still, It’s kind of freeing to be able to walk around full-on naked like this. Windows wide open, no one looking in. It’s liberating and a trifle… um… what’s the word? Oh, yeah. Sexy. Totally fucking sexy. The thing about true apathy is that not only don’t you care about what other people think, you don’t even care what you think yourself.

It occurred to us, though, that a Statement of Purpose might be in order. Unzip the fly and stick something out there, as it were, for everyone to mock, point at, and suck on. Hopefully in that order.

Then someone else said, “Yes, but, isn’t that precisely not the point?” and then someone else asked, “The point of what?” to which someone other else replied, “Exactly!” Then forks were flung and eggs were scrambled and everything, as usual, went Higgledy Piggledy.

So rather than make any pronouncements at this time (to which we might be held accountable at some future point because, after all, every little thing out here gets recorded for fucking posterity – I mean, if the Library of Congress is archiving every fucking Twitter fart that’s allowed to pollute the room, then Baby Jesus knows that we’re not about to make promises that you and we know that neither of us will keep) what we’re going to do is promise not to make any promises, and to create a whole shitload of crap (which, yes, is redundant, but so are we, also!) .

By the way, does your spellchecker think shitload should be hyphenated? Is this really the world we all wanted? Does ‘shitload’ need to be so closely examined? Fuck that.

Where were we? Something about promises and farts and the Library of Congress? Meh. We’ve already lost track.

Wanna know a secret, just between us girls? We are kinda into that Sarah Palin bitch. I mean, who else do you know who’s that stupid and that popular? Dumb and hot is hot and dumb! If “dumb” means “hot.” She stands up there on some podium in front of hundreds of retards who can’t even spell their own names and they all chant her name like she’s their personal Jesus, and all she has to do is mispronounce a few adjectives and make shit up about stuff she don’t know shit about – and she’s still raking in millions of dollars! No wonder she don’t wanna pay no taxes.

Hey ho, this is Glassdog World Domination! Still doling out the double-fat butter from our collective ass churn.

Word of Mouth

You know what we love? Poodles! Poodles are like dogs, only they’re gay. They’re gay dog things that allow the people who own them (And we’ll hear none of that folderol about “people don’t own pets” drivel – you bought the damned animal slaves, you own them! Shut up! No, you shut up!) to do unspeakable things to them and then parade them around in public for, we assume, humorous, if not horrific, effect.

Line of Sight

Earthquakes! They’re the new new thing! Everyone’s having them but us, and we’re feeling a bit left out. Oh, sure, there’s death, destruction, horror, dogs and cats sleeping together, but it behooves us to think about Sharon Stone, who managed a couple of years ago to put these disasters into perspective. It’s karma! Sure, she later apologized for her red carpet remark, but golly, suddenly everything that’s ever happened to us makes total sense!

Sound Advice

We all remember the 80′s, don’t we? Bad hair, loud clothes, bright colors, awful cars. If you ever lived there, you’d never want to go back (making The A-Team movie a bit of a nightmare for those of us old enough to… but never mind, Bradley Cooper’s naked upper torso will make it all worthwhile). But there were some good – nay, great things about that decade, and one of them passed away last week of something we hope was akin to choking on glitter, being that it sounds pretty and awful at the same time. Malcolm McLaren was a visionary who helped popularize punk and hip-hop with the masses, and DJ Premier’s 40-minute epic Tribute Mix might explain the man’s importance to the world of music.

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Counting from Fifteen

We didn’t mean to stop. We really didn’t. It just… sort of… happened.

If we wanted to – all of us here at Glassdog World Domination – we could pinpoint and delineate the reasons. Key word: “If.” We are not so inclined because, truth be told, there have been endeavors to do exactly that a number of times over the past few months (adding up to a couple of years) but they always end up sounding like the lonely, broken old man who chases the kids off the lawn with flamethrowers and rabid poodles. “The lawn” in this case being the entire web, and “the kids” being pretty much anyone who has ever left a comment at YouTube, and the “rabid poodles” being the odd assortment of nuclear-waste victims in the Labs.

So rather than that, we have decided to jettison everything that was here and start fresh as if nothing ever happened. Remember Design-O-Rama? We don’t. What about Overheard? Or The Vacation Project? The ill-defined attempt at gathering a bunch of equally ill-tempered writers and throw them into a psychedelic stew, hoping to somehow drum up interest with anger and annoyance? Gone.

All gone.

We examined it all and as we did so, a common wonderment concerning the reasons why anyone would want to see any of that now kept cropping up. Well, we were kind of nostalgic about it all, but nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia is like digging up Princess Di’s corpse just to fuck it. Let’s face it, her best years are behind her.

So what have we here? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. The proverbial clean slate. The new start. The fresh beginning. Yes, boys and girls, we’re going ahead as if the past never even happened. Because why? Because!

(Oh, yeah. If you’re looking around for that Lance guy, as always, he has his own home to take care of. He might be hanging around here like some sad, pathetic has-been hanger-on, but frankly we’re not going out of our way to prod his cold, pudgy carcass with a stick.)

Pee Chee!The best part of all this is that we don’t have to accede to any demands or expectations. Who the hell knows what was going on here before? We sure don’t! Think of this as being under new management, and you’ve come back expecting to sit in the same old ratty vinyl booths and get the same old crappy service and the same watered-down drinks and soggy French Fries. Instead you find the place boarded up with plywood and a poster for a liquor license pasted to the doors.

We don’t know what we’re going to do, yet. The plans aren’t dry, and the contractors aren’t hired. Hell, at this point we don’t even have a budget or a schedule. All we know is that we are once again marching forward into that bright, hot tomorrow with a fresh, clean Pee Chee folder, a fresh set of Dixon Ticonderogas (#2) and a pink eraser with the imprinted label still clear to read. There’s an unopened package of college-ruled paper on the desk and the school bell is about to ring.

Hi! Welcome back!

Okay… let’s go.

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Fourteen and Counting

On April 14, 2010, glassdog.com turns 14 years old. Huzzah! Thanks!

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Perfection

And… genius.

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Visualizations

iTunes 8 was released to the world today, and included in its myriad upgrades and changes — but not even mentioned by Sir Steve in his presentation, sadly — is a new visualizer that looks suspiciously familiar to yours truly.
At any rate, for those of you out there who enjoy staring at swirling globes of light, dancing ribbons and gaseous nebulae all waltzing together in loving harmony to your music of choice, I thought I’d let you know how to get the most out of iTunes Visualizer.
Plus, I’ll let you in on the Super Secret Undocumented option! Whee, you’re special!
When you start it up, it dances and flings and sparkles, but you can also control some of the aspects of it if you want to.
To open the options menu, click ? on your keyboard. In the upper left, a magical menu appears with a few options:
M – Change mode
P – Change palette
I – Display track info
C – Toggle auto-cycle (on by default)
F – Toggle freeze mode
N – Toggle nebula mode
L – Toggle camera lock
Here’s what they mean, though you can discover these yourself with a little experimentation.
The visualizer uses globes of gravity around which smaller sparkles and clouds of gas and ribbons swirl and dance. C is on by default, so the visualizer will Cycle through all the modes continuously as long as that’s on. If you find a specific mode you like (by hitting M) hitting C again turns off auto-cycling.
The different Modes (M) alter the appearance of these pieces. Keep hitting M to get them all.
The palette also follows the auto-cycle mode, but you can change the palette yourself if you don’t like the one you’re looking at by hitting P.
Track info (I) is self-explanatory, I assume.
Freeze mode (F) will stop the action immediately, but the camera (P.O.V.) will continue to circle the frozen tableau unless you also lock the camera in place with L.
Nebula mode is what adds the swirling clouds that emit from the gravity globes. On older computers that may, shall we say, lack modern graphic cards, turning this off may speed everything up and stop any jitters you may be experiencing.
But, if you want to see what your computer can do on its own, hit E. This is the secret Extreme mode that sends the nebulae into overdrive, and the particle effects at full screen on a slower computer will cause it to cough and hack and get a terrible, terrible headache.

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