Monday, December 28, 2015

PLEASE CONSIDER WATCHING CONTINUUM














Continuum is the best show you've never heard of with all of its episodes available on Netflix, so go watch it now.

Do you want a show that deals with time travel and stopping a bad future like the Terminator franchise, but in a way that actually makes sense?  Do you like the idea of Minority Report dealing with technology's possible misuse by government, but wish the show was actually well-done? Do you want a cutting-edge exploration of technology as both problem and solution like Mr. Robot, but from four years ago and starring Canadians? Well, here you go!

Not to mention, the cast is refreshingly diverse and non-stereotypical. No character is totally good or bad -- everyone has their reasons. In fact our heroine has been happily serving an evil corporate empire, while the "terrorists" she fights (who are pretty damn ruthless) are trying to prevent a dystopian hellscape future. And, thank Cthulhu, she is too busy with her goals to spend much time on juvenile romantic angst (looking at you, Flash and Arrow!).

The only issue I have with the show is that the actors are fine, but a little bland. It's not like watching Orphan Black and thinking, "OMG GIVE TATIANA MASLANY ALL THE AWARDS!" So, it may take a few episodes to grow on you, but give it a chance.

Monday, December 21, 2015

MY LATEST WEIRD ART PROJECT

Victorian & Edwardian Horror

I've been having fun with the Artstudio app for iPad and the Sensu stylus lately. It was coming up on October, and Guillermo del Toro was talking about his favorite horror stories on Twitter (Dude must have been a librarian in a previous life, because his Readers' Advisory game is ON POINT. Go follow him). That inspired me to read 31 of my old favorite Victorian & Edwardian horror stories and draw illustrations for each of them for Halloween. Of course, it took me longer than that, but they are finally finished. I was inspired, in my lazy and casual way, by great illustrators like Aubrey Beardsley, John R. Neill, and Alastair.

 Here is the list of stories:


  • “Caterpillars” -E.F. Benson
  • “Casting the Runes” -M..R. James
  • “The Horla” - Guy de Maupassant
  • “How Love Came to Professor Guildea” -Robert Hichens
  • “Afterward” -Edith Wharton
  • “The Great God Pan” - Arthur Machen
  • Yuki-Onna” - Lafcadio Hearn
  • “Green Tea” - J. Sheridan LeFanu
  • “The Monkey’s Paw” - W. W. Jacobs
  • “Luella Miller” - Mary Wilkins Freeman
  • “Rappacini’s Daughter” - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • “The Picture in the House” -H.P. Lovecraft
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” -Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • “The Open Window” -Saki
  • “The Phantom Rickshaw” - Rudyard Kipling
  • “Ancient Sorceries” -Algernon Blackwood
  • “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” - Ambrose Bierce
  • “The Yellow Sign” -Robert W. Chambers
  • “The Voice in the Night” - William Hope Hodgson
  • “The Beckoning Fair One” - Oliver Onions
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” -Edgar Allan Poe
  • “Adam and Eve and Pinch Me” - A. E. Coppard
  • “The Way It Came” - Henry James
  • “The Captain of the Pole-Star” - Arthur Conan Doyle
  • “The Body-Snatcher” - R.L. Stevenson
  • “What Was It?” -Fitz-James O’Brien
  • “Dracula’s Guest” - Bram Stoker
  • “Good Lady Ducayne” - Mary E. Braddon
  • “The Dream Woman” - Wilkie Collins
  • “The Ghost Ship” - Richard Middleton
  • “Man-Size in Marble” - E. Nesbit



I downloaded all of them from reliable public domain e-book sites like Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, and University of Adelaide E-books to read on my Nook. (remember, never pay for an e-book published before 1923, folks). You can download them to read here.





 

Friday, September 18, 2015

PLEASE CONSIDER WATCHING PERSON OF INTEREST






It's on streaming, finally!


If you had told me 5 years ago that my favorite network show (and right up there with more highly-praised cable shows) would be a show on CBS called Person of Interest, there would have been scoffing involved. I associate CBS with bland-but-comforting investigation shows that exploit some technology (usually inaccurately) to give the story a little twist, then tie up a mystery all nice-&-tidy, with occasional breaks for truly cringeworthy depictions of the investigators' personal lives. Except for a few bad apples, all authority figure have our best interests at heart.

Well, this is not that. Getting murdered or almost-murdered by corrupt authority figures is one of the top concerns for characters in this universe. When you're one of the few people who know about an all-seeing AI that watches us for the government, it's kind of an issue (and yes, social media was created to get us to give up our personal information so the authorities can spy on us).


All the main actors are great in this. Jim Caviezel is slightly "off" in an interesting way, like Lee Pace or early Nicholas Cage, and it really works for him here. Person of Interest has some similarities to Burn Notice, in that an ex-spy helps "regular" people using as much con artistry as martial arts and high tech, but it's a bit darker. For all the hints of Michael's dark past, I just couldn't buy that he was only a short distance from being a cold-blooded killing machine. I can totally see Caviezel killing people, though. I never got into Lost. so this was my first exposure to Michael Emerson, and he's amazing. It's really hard to play a super-genius, but he pulls it off. And I've been impressed with Taraji P. Henson's emotional range since I saw her play a lesbian hitwoman in Smokin' Aces. Do we even need to talk about Amy Acker, AKA Fred from Angel, who should be in all the things?

Speaking of ladies, even though most of the promotional stuff features the two dudes in front, there are a lot of great big and small roles for women, who have the same character options as men without making it a BIG DEAL. Women can be cynical political fixers, assassins with personality disorders, super-hackers, ruthless heads of intelligence operations, crack interrogators, amoral con artists, kindly children's book illustrators, and older partners who show the newbie the ropes. 

All this, and my favorite AI character in non-anime visual media. So, give it a try, already! 


 

Monday, June 29, 2015

JFRO AIRWAVES TAKEOVER 2015




For those of you who missed it, here is my reunion show on WMCN. Please forgive any glitches.


https://www.dropbox.com/s/6kjp24gbaw2hnfg/Soundtrack%20of%20our%20Lives%20-%20Andrea%20Herman.mp3?dl=0


Playlist:

"When Doves Cry" -Prince
"Bizarre Love Triangle" -New Order
"Are You Ready for the Sex Girls" -Gleaming Spires
"TV Party" - Black Flag
"Institutionalized" - Suicidal Tendencies
"A Million Miles Away" - The Plimsouls
"Puro Teatro" - La Lupe
"Mysteries of Love" - Julee Cruise
"In Dreams" - Roy Orbison
"If You Leave" -OMD
"Little Town Flirt" - Altered Images
"Party Party" - Elvis Costello
"Can You Rock It Like This" - Run-DMC
"Reckless Rivalry (Combat)" -Chris "The Glove" Taylor & David Storrs with Ice-T
"Wild Thing" - Sister Carol
"When Doves Cry" - Patti Smith
"Driving the Dynamite Truck" -Breaking Circus
"Burning Inside" -Ministry
"I Want You" -Cabaret Voltaire
"Whip It" -Devo
"Say Hello Wave Goodbye"- Soft Cell
"Kidney Bingos" -Wire
"What We All Want (Live)" -Gang of Four
"Betty's Worry or the Slab" - Hunters & Collectors
"Cavern" -Liquid Liquid"
"Shock The Monkey" -Peter Gabriel



The same week I got to DJ on Plug.dj with some people in the 80s Alt /New Wave group, playing my favorite thing, cover versions. I had a blast, even though it did not play well with my Firefox extensions. 

Plug.dj is the successor to the late lamented Turntable.fm. It's really easy to start playing music. You are limited to songs with YouTube videos, but that is most of them (make sure not to play the live version if that's not what you want.) Navigation takes a little getting used to. I'm a sucker for the gamification aspect where you get a cooler avatar the more you play.

I need some people to come join me on the wheels of steel, so unleash your inner DJ and come with me...





Monday, June 01, 2015

SOME STATISTICS




Remotes:

1. Blu-ray
2. TV
3. Receiver
4. Apple TV
5. VCR
6. HDMI switcher
7. Audio switcher
8. Universal
9. iPod Touch (controls iTunes on computer via Remote app, can cast to Apple TV, Chromecast, Blu-ray)
10. iPad  (ditto)

Items that can connect to the Internet:

1. Desktop computer
2. iPad
3. iPod Touch
4. Nook
5. Cell phone
6. Blu-ray
7. Apple TV
8. Chromecast
9. Wireless printer
10. Mobile hotspot

Items that can take a picture:

1. Camera
2. Cell phone
3. iPod Touch
4. iPad
5. Web cam

Items that can play music:

1. Blu-ray
2. Record player
3. Tape player
4. Desktop computer
5. iPod Touch
6. iPad
7. Portable CD player

Items that can play video:

1. TV
2. Blu-Ray
3. VCR
4. Desktop computer
5. iPad
6. iPod Touch

Items that need to be charged:

1. iPad
2. iPod Touch
3. Cell Phone
4. Mobile hotspot
5. Backup battery
6. Nook
7. Camera
8. Cell Phone
9. Dustbuster

Items that can be used for a phone call:

1. Landline phone
2. Cellphone
3. iPod Touch
4. iPad
5. Desktop computer



Friday, April 24, 2015

HOME ENTERTAINMENT UPDATE: THE EMBIGGENING


  1. Chromecast
  2. CD storage
  3. Antenna
  4. Blu-ray player
  5. Apple TV
  6. Receiver
  7. Record player
  8. VHS
  9. Tape player

So, I decided to spend my tax refund on home entertainment this year, as TV keeps getting better, whereas movies... not so much. My computer is old, but it still works, and replacing a computer seems less urgent when you have mobile devices. It feels like a long time ago when RAM and processor power seemed so important in order to use the latest bloated software, but now with so many webapps and sites designed for mobile, as long as your Internet is fast enough, you're OK.

Lifehacker says to spend money where you spend most of your time, and I now use my tablet more than my desktop. Also, with all the streams I have access to, there was one chink in my entertainment system -- my TV was not actually big enough to appreciate high definition. Well, it seemed like a good deal in 2007, at $200 more than my new one which is almost twice as big.

The main thing stopping me was having to get new shelving, as a bigger TV wouldn't fit the current shelves. I was going to go to IKEA, but then I remembered JSeux's love of Menard's, so I tried it first, and was lucky enough to find the exact same color and design as my old wire shelves, just in a larger size. Shout out to my parents for helping me with the measuring, as I have the spacial sense of a drunken hamster.

The great things about wire shelving:

  • Cheap.
  • Sturdy-I can break almost anything.
  • Flexible - can adjust shelves where you like, store items in different ways.
  • Modern-looking.
  • Doesn't need much dusting.
  • Open shelves give a sense of space- my place is small.

JSeux has also convinced me of the genius of tub-based storage, though I like mine to be pretty. These ones from IKEA were really cheap, but look nice. If I need more space for DVD's or whatever in the future, there is plenty of room on the shelves.

My CD shelving was falling apart, so I bought these because of an online comment from a librarian that they were sturdy, plus they kind of look like the old card catalogs.  They can also hold CDs in envelopes if I run out of room for cases.

Now, I just need an extra digital audio out, since TVs don't have the old red & white anymore apparently. Plus, a switcher, as my receiver's two digital audio ports are filled by the Apple TV and Blu-ray. Although, with my terrible reception, I will probably just watch live TV in emergencies and/or when the Internet is down.





Friday, March 13, 2015

GO HOME HOLDEN CAULFIELD, YOU'RE DRUNK: A RANT ABOUT HYPOCRISY



The older I get, the more I find myself unable to muster up any caring about the sin of hypocrisy. Everyone is a little hypocritical sometimes - no one can live up to their ideals 24/7/365. When you're a kid, it's shocking that your parents don't always practice what they preach, but when you're an adult, maybe it's more important to care about actual bad things that happen rather than the way people act towards those things. Like if someone is against gay marriage, I don't care if they are 100% faithful to their spouses or wild swingers, I just disagree that their personal views on marriage should prevent gay people marrying.

So, how about we all care less about hypocrisy, do our best to live up to our ideals, encourage good things and discourage bad things? Would that work? You know who's never hypocritical? Awful people, that's who. Anyone who says they're always honest and "tell it like it is" -- run far, far away from them. They will %100 for sure leave you when you get cancer and empty your bank account on the way out. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

JFRO'S 2014


http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/actually-its-about-ethics


Format once again ripped off shamelessly from the Librarian in Black

Books -- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Peripheral, The Summer Prince, Ride The Pink Horse, The Quick, The Golem & The Jinni, Nexus, Hild, The Lions of Al-Rassan

Comics -- Order of the Stick, XKCD

Movies -- Big Hero 6, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Obvious Child, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, Rigor Mortis, New World, Veronica Mars, The Grandmaster, Let The Fire Burn, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Wolf Children, Mama, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Bronies, American Juggalo, Citizenfour, The East, The To-Do List.

TV Shows --  The Killing (US), Red vs. Blue, Broad City, RuPaul's Drag Race, Burning Love, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Continuum, Adventure Time, The Americans, The Strain, Lost Girl, Nikita, Danger Five, The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, Arrow, The Flash, Agents of SHIELD, Person of Interest, Portlandia, Masters of Sex, Sons of Anarchy, Bitten, My Mad Fat Diary, Ripper Street, Orphan Black, Louie, Psycho-Pass, Orange Is the New Black, Eastbound & Down, Vikings, Tabletop, @MIdnight,True Facts, Diamanda Hagan

Albums -- Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats: Mind Control, Lo-Pan: Colossus, Truckfighters: Universe, Chatham Rise: Chatham Rise, Blonde Redhead: Barragan, Superchunk: I Hate Music, M.I.A.: Matangi, Guided By Voices: English Little League, Dark Earth: Dark Earth/Bibles & Hand Grenades Split EP, 

Songs -- Kitten: "I'll Be Your Girl", RuPaul: "Geronimo", Richard Butler: "She", MIchael Holborn & William Henries: "Tell Me", The Wolf Council: "Victims of the Sea"

From the Vault -- Girl Trouble: Hit It or Quit It, Cabaret Voltaire: #7885, Various Artists: Purple Snow

Apps -- Instapaper, Feedly, Can I Stream It, Slice, Amazon Music, IFTTT, Tunein Radio

Devices -- Apple TV, iPad mini, Nook Simple Touch, Freedompop

Adorable animal videos -- Tiny Hamster vs Kobayashi, Baby Bat Burritos

Events -- Anime Detour, Convergence, trip to Monterey, Toys of the 50s-70s at Minnesota History Center, Boris at The Triple Rock, Art-A-Whirl

Recipe -- "Instant" Pho

Items of clothing -- spiderweb corset, grey buckled boots, Fluevog Mary Janes, camera skirt, Peter Pan collar blouse.

Games --  Plants vs Zombies, Candy Crush Soda, Interface Zero, MAS-F, Cosmic Patrol

Web sites: Librarian Problems, Lifehacker, Dice Shaming,  Awful Library Books, Great Cosplay,
TV Tropes. 

Twitter Twerps --  @a_man_in_black, @skullmandible, @SnarkeysMachine, @robdelaney, @WernerTwertzog, @libraryyeti


Animal --  The Hedgehog

Boyfriend -- The one and only JSeux!