Sunday, October 31, 2004

Beats of excellence

Yesterday night was great fun when I went with a couple of friends to see Nobody Beats the Beats at Train here in Århus. We got there a bit late, meeting a huge queue outside. For some reason the place had chosen not to open more than one gate to let guests through. That kind of idiocy threatened to ruin our night, but we slipped through the back café using two parts charm and one part agitated criticism. We got inside 20 minutes before the show started - so I hate to think what happened for the other guests outside.

The show was awesome. NBTB is a whole band, I found out, consisting of 10-12 members including the two DJs and the two front rappers. The whole live setup was really well done and gave the hip hop vibe a much deeper level and quality than most other rap shows provide. Context, the main MC, was really on point and bustling with energy which had most of the crowd moving.
Other vocals included the soul singer Linn and at one point Clemens came to the party, adding some Danish anthems. Actually, Aarhus anthems, since he freestyled a lot about things in town - good fun. I usually don't really like him that much - pretentious moron - but yesterday his bad boy attitude actually worked well and was underlined expertly by the musicians. They provided a harder edge when he came on stage.
My only regret during the show was the presence of a couple of very young and very incapacitated fools near us. They saw maybe half of the show and kept messing around so people spilled their drinks and got generally annoyed. Think they saw murder in my eyes, because they moved away a bit after a while. :D

I hadn't been paying much attention to Train itself - but if I had I would have noticed the posters proclaiming the cancellation of Blackalicious. Bad luck. Apparently, a death in the family prevented them from showing. I'm not too buggered, though - since NBTB was in a class of its own last night.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

More on game design

Today I finalized the arrangements surrounding a guest lecture taking place at Katrinebjerg here in Aarhus. The speakers are Lars Kroll and Jan Roed from the small Aarhus-based game design company Runestone.
They'll be talking about their upcoming game "Seed", which so far looks as an innovative take on the MMORPG genre. I attended their recent reception at their office in Filmbyen, a brand new media housing complex located by the harbour here i Aarhus.

Although I didn't get a formal presentation of Seed, it seems to be a MMORPG that doesn't depend on the combat system as its main feature, but takes up the atmos of older adventure-like games. Its cartoonish cellshaded look and feel had me reminded of the good old SCUMM-games of LucasArts - even if the contents are obviuosly geared towards multiplayer communication and exploration.

Look forward to hearing about the concept - it seems genuinely creative, unlike other MMORPG spinoffs. It takes place in the Benjamin building of Katrinebjerg on Thursday, November 18th at 09.30.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Chattering on

I've just finished Terry Pratchett's latest Discworld novel "Monstrous Regiment". Well, actually it might not be his latest, since he's putting out titles aimed for kids now, too. Good call - I'd have been thrilled to read him as a youngster. Anyway, I came across a nice choice of wording, of which he is always in ample supply:

Stopping a battle is much harder than starting it. Starting it only requires you to shout 'Attack!' but when you want to stop it, everyone is busy.

Nice picture for the very Mad King George to think about, now that Iraq is trying to locate its own maimed corpse.

On a lighter note, the past weekend saw Arsenal lose to Manchester United in the Premier League. I didn't see the match but I'm a regular "customer" at Arseblog and the bitching and moaning was quite hilarious these past days! Of course, the referee is always centered as the culprit...although they've a convincing point on his suspicious statistical record as far at United penalties go.

The other night there was a nice October fog drifting in from the sea - so I decided to go outside and shoot some pictures with my new HP Photosmart R707 digital camera. It does some really nice long exposures that bring out the colours and actually make night shots fairly good, in spite of its casual appearance. Some of its settings are automatic, though. Probably better that way. Some of the shots below:

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Look out for the barries...

Sitting here on a miserable Sunday, weatherwise. Put on some tracks with a group called Little Barrie that I discovered by accident at Soulstrut. This shit is so cool, I can't understand we don't hear more of it. Don't youngsters of today appreciate the essential coolness of such vibes? Has the world gone mad?
I mean, everything from disco through 80's synth pop through garage has had a great revival during the nineties and up till now. Why is this soulish funk not more prominent? I think it has it all - dance quality, improvisation, edge, harmony, you name it.
I guess Tarantinos flicks actually did quite a lot to revive such just blew over too soon, me thinks...

Highly anticipating the Little Barrie album which should drop any time now. They sound very authentic (although the drums are more eclectic, I think) and I guess they have a love for this kind of music that could carry them through without becoming a parody on times lost.
Hard to find any material on them, though. They seem to come out of Manchester - but I haven't been able to find a website that writes more than a couple of lines about them.

My son fell asleep almost instantly whilst head-nodding to LB, so I guess that's a quality mark in itself. At least for that age group =)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Games, Schmames

On friday I attended a double lecture here at Katrinebjerg which had to do with computer games. The speakers were Jesper Juul, a respected Danish game researcher, and Gonzalo Frasca, who apparently is Uruguayan - but I think he majored in the States.

I am very interested in game design and I've also been involved in some courses at Uni on the subject. Though mostly game design with an educational twist. I'm not an avid gamer, although I try to keep informed. I once was, but lately my interest has dwindled a bit. Mostly because of the staggering stagnation (!) in original game material that has been evident during the past few years.

The lecture was fairly good. Jesper Juul was a bit messy in his presentation, but then again 45 minutes is not a hell of a lot when you've got several years worth of academic research to rap about. He had some good ideas about categorizing and defining computer games. I must admit, though, that this activity is getting tired, in my opinion. I don't really understand some game researchers' almost manical preoccupation towards defining computer games in philosophical/descriptive categories. As Juul himself said, you'll most likely spend a couple of years creating a great conceptual framework, only to see it all battered either by emerging technologies and/or freak surges of genuinely creative gameplay concepts. So essentially, you have to choose between defending your own definition (losing battle) or constantly redefining it (losing battle). I'd much rather do actual practical experiments and point out interesting observations to be remembered. At least you get to produce something entertaining that way.

This is actually what Frasca seemed to have in mind. I once read some of his articles - and I liked them because they never strayed too far from the practical design situation or the practice of the gamers. Now it seems, he has turned towards political games that make a stance and try to change something through their gameplay. As he pointed out, political games are definitly not new. They are however having a marked rennaissance, especially considering examples like America's Army. You can actually enroll right from the game! Bastards!

Frasca has made a good example himself through the game September 12th. As he mentioned, the spawning of terrorists due to a simpe formula, "Killing terrorists will only make terrorists of the mourning relatives", was actually directly implementable as a gameplay algorithm. Interestingly, he also said that when reading newspapers, he tried to visualize how to model different article headlines as actual games. Nice thought. Maybe I'll adopt it.

Oh, check out Frascas two blogs...the academic one and the one on ideological games.

As far as my own gaming goes, I'm waiting patiently for Tribes:Vengeance to reach Danish stores. I need to get a new graphics card for that plan to work - so I'm thinking of doing the long jump and claiming an ATI x800 as my weapon of choice. It's a jungle these days, though...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Peeking out

Went to a local gig featuring The Datsuns yesterday night. I felt like going out a bit, listening to music. I've only heard The Datsuns a little bit the past couple of weeks, but I actually like the simplicity of it. Two guitars, drums and a bass. Deal with it.

Sadly, the crowd wasn't very big. I had expected more than a couple of hundred - especially since they've had rave reviews of their live acts. It didn't seem to bother them too much though. I was actually quite surprised how professional and tight they did the show. They don't look all that old actually, but it shines through that they've come directly from millions of gigs and really enjoy the live situation in itself, regardless of the surroundings. The finish was superb - the lead singer lost control and started banging the drums. Great stuff.
Credit to Voxhall for near perfect sound. Somehow I always find voices a bit muddled (might be my low-key tinnitus kicking in) but the ambient sound and instrumental balancing were spot on yesterday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Nice cover

Courtesy of Frekvens, I heard Scissor Sisters' cover of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out".
Me likes, me likes. Very confident, considering that the original version is an awesome song in its own right. :)

Heard neither band at Roskilde this year, and I'm regretting it more each day. FF's debut is the most catchy rock album I've experienced in a long time.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Walking home from a visit to my friend's last night - stopped at a 7-11 for a slice of weary pizza. Noticed a poster for the club joint in Århus called Train.
Seems that DJ Typhoons project "Nobody Beats the Beats" is going on quite a tour around the country this fall. Can't say I've ever heard much of it, but I've seen it compared to Guru's Jazzmatazz a couple of places. Apparently, it's sort of a collective effort involving live instruments and DJs - and focusing heavily on soul and funk vibes. The recent third album looks promising. They've really collected some hip hop profiles this time, including Baldhead Slick himself. Doubt any of these will show up in Aarhus, though. Maybe at the grand openeing in Copenhagen?

Anyway, looks like Blackalicious, another of my favorite hip hop acts at the moment, are coming to add to the show. I couldn't understand their placing as sort of secondary to the main gig - since they absolutely ripped it at Roskilde. But I guess they've been invited as a supplement to the main promotion, which rocks. I urge people to go see them. Fantastic live hip hop. Some of the best I've seen in many years. And they certainly know their soulfunk legacy, that's evident.
Actually, I may add a Quannum Project page to my Whats - since that collective is also an interest of mine...

Big spending

A mate of mine has just bought a classic table soccer piece for himself. Look at this beauty. Bonzini is the "real deal" as far as such tables go, so naturally my friend is very happy at the moment. Should be since it cost him 8,500 Danish kroner. I wish I had the guts to go do something like that.

By the way, why the hell is there a pianist playing on that picture? What kind of photographer thinks "Hey, we need a piano player in this image to make it just right!". Guess he/she thought it would underline the homeliness of the setting. I just think it looks daft :D

Friday, October 15, 2004

Small world, for sure

Through a blog's reference to another blog's links section, I suddenly found myself looking at an old friend's weblog . Very odd sensation. I mean, I knew he has a webpage, but it's just weird to "step out" a few nodes, and then all of a sudden end up somewhere unexpected, but familiar. Also, his weblog pointed to another old friend' I've essentially rediscovered an entire section of my past through just a few mouse clicks. Heavy, man.

Anyway, great to "see" the chaps again - and I'm not the least surprised, that they're active in this field of play. I think the term "culture geeks" might describe both of them pretty well - although it's at least a few years since I saw either of them. Hopefully, they'll rip my head off in the comments section...

Tame the Turks..!

Denmark pulled narrowly through the other night, after having Groenkjaer thrown off the pitch. His offense was minor - due to heavy acting on the Turkish side. Denmark had a couple of nice stunts as well, so I didn't really cry too hard. It was damned exciting, though. Group 2 is actually quite interesting...I think everyone has a fair chance of messing everyone else's chances up....which is good fun in the long run.

I was fairly impressed with Albania on Saturday...that country is in shambles, and still they managed to display nice technique and fairly mature tactics. Must be due to the German coach. However, they did try to sabotage the Danish spirit, it seems (video).

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


A friend pointed to this site, and I went ahead and had a quick read. Of course, you've got the classic American conservative viewpoints plastered all over the place. And somehow they've added some newfound confidence and shamelessness to the mix and renamed the package "neo-conservatism". Whatever.

I really find it hilarious in a disconcerting kind of way. I mean, they are basically saying:

"We seek global dominance in order to secure democratic principles of freedom worldwide".

How can they say such nonsense with a straight face? It defies Darwin that these people are alive. Not because they're not physically fit...but because you don't expect them to survive traffic lights and other intelligence-craving situations. It is so moronic. Oxymoronic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Nostalgia hurts!

Whilst nitpicking at the small popups in my sidebar, I came across the official Orbital site, and although I already knew they've quit, it was pretty rough to see the current news posting which advertises a huge equipment sell out. Guess they really mean it...which is sad, because I only ever saw them once. Was always waiting for them to hit Copenhagen but it never really seemed to happen. Or if it did, I missed it :P


Seems the actual sale takes place through their sound and production company here.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Flip the technique

I've been able to customize one of the templates quite a bit. Took a fair amount of time figuring the CSS logic out, though. I've never used neither CSS, PHP, ASP or any of the other abbrevations that are readily available out there.
However, I finally think I've got CSS figured out more or less...and I guess 3-4 hours work to do so is not too bad. Good to know one can stay potentially sharp (if not more) as far as these things go...

I have added som personal stuff to the sidebar - or rather, I'm ready to do so. A bit of javascripting will provide some small popups, that will relate tidbits of my interests. So far this has all been almost therapeutic and quite enjoyable...especially because I'm motivated on my own behalf....think that matters a lot...

My random surfing brought me past these beauties - of course they're Swedish. I think they might be on to something here. I always thought that dust and muck showed up much more on plastic surfaces than on wood.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Bewildered already

Hm...seems I just wasted about 45 minutes doing things that had no effect. Wonder how these templates response yet, that's for sure.

Anyway, a small word about the title of this weblog. Seems every weblog has to have some sort of smart, boheme-like name which preferably has several connotations and hidden messages. And is very haiku, if possible. This observation really put me to the test, since I'm not really well at home with classical literature - and to me it seems that this is sometimes a prerequisite if you want to be really up there, quotewise.

I then took a look at what I would deem classical literature and realized, that I needed to quote either Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett or some obscure Monty Python sketch. Pterry is probably my all time favorite author (judging by sheer quantity of readings anyway), but I eventually settled for a catch phrase from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Well, actually the real quote was a bit different when I finally got around to checking the books. Nevertheless, the name of my blog is derived from this quote:

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.

I've always remembered this sentence - for some odd reason. The pun itself is surprising because of the negation at the end. Then there's the odd comparison of ships in the sky and bricks. Most of all, I just think it's great because it fucks up your mental reading mode. It's like a semantic hiccup when you come across it.

Also, I like the duality of the expression - flying high on life and at the same time chilling like a brick. :)

Into the unknown...

My very first posting..! Or, to be honest, my second posting. I had to experiment with this editing system before I actually dared write anything useless.

This page will contain...something. Probably some pages explaining who I am - and a bit of permanent stuff that I find interesting. And then of course daily or weekly postings whenever I feel like it.

There.....that was ok, I guess....piece of cake, this is. Now, how the Hell do I fuck up all the regular settings and create a unique page...
At least this activity is likely going to force me to think a bit in terms of HTML and other web-related technologies. Guess I could use that.