Showing posts from July, 2017

Monday Mystery: The strange death of Bobby Fuller

That song will now be wedged in your head for the next week and a half. You're welcome. You can try replacing it with the Clash cover, but good luck.

You might be wondering why nobody really heard anything else out of the Bobby Fuller Four after this smash hit. Primarily it was because Bobby Fuller was gone. Their cover of Buddy Holly's "I Fought The Law" hit the charts on March 12, 1966, and on July 18th, Bobby Fuller was found dead in his car, sitting in his own driveway.

It's one of those constants in the entertainment business that, whenever a musician dies while their star is still rising, someone will inevitably claim it was murder. Witness the cottage industry that's grown up around the death of Kurt Cobain. Courtney Love may have been -- and possibly still be -- a great many unsavory things, but checking her track marks record, I'm going to guess that 'with it enough to plan a murder that she was not immediately arrested for' is not among…

Weekly Album: Madonna - Like A Virgin


Weekly Watch: 8-Bit Music Theory

Music theory! For video games! If you're new to disassembling music, they do have a (ahem) tutorial level, which I recommend watching. This is the only thing I've ever seen where they bother to explain how you know what note you're counting "third", "fifth", and "seventh" notes from, without which the entire rest of music theory as we know it is complete and utter gibberish.

Monday Mystery: Asha Degree

On February 14th, 2000, Harold and Iquilla Degree woke expecting to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Instead, they spent the day searching for their missing daughter, Asha.

Nobody ever expected to wake up and find Asha gone. Some children are impulsive daredevils, punctuating their lives with minor injuries and baffling misbehavior; Asha was not one of them. The 9-year-old was said to be cautious and shy of unfamiliar situations. The Degrees were a quiet family, who took steps to shield their children (Asha, and a brother two years her junior, O'Bryant) from the dangers of the outside world. The family didn't even have a computer. Too many predators, said the parents.

Could she have been upset about something? Enough to run away? The Degrees wracked their brains for anything that might have distressed her that much, but all they could come up with was that Asha's basketball team had lost their first game of the season the previous Friday, after Asha fouled out. She cri…

Weekly Album: Shakira - Sale el Sol


Weekly Watch: Apollo 11 news coverage

As tomorrow is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, have this compilation of moon stuff from the event as it happened. Although the master tapes of the extravehicular romp are sadly missing, news stations all over the world were smart enough to keep archive copies of their own live coverage.

Game Review: Layton Bros. Mystery Room

Those of you who have been hanging around for a while know that I am badly addicted to the Professor Layton games. Every time I get a new one, I sit down in the evening to start the story and then whoops! It's dawn. The main series of games have all been for Nintendo handhelds, but the spinoffs all seem to be coming out for Android/iOS, and I have a Kindle Fire, so...

To be fair, Layton Brothers: Mystery Room is not really a Layton game. Also to be fair, the Layton name got me to buy it (well, "buy" it -- unlocking all the episodes costs about $5 total, which is the kind of credit I can rack up on Google Opinion Rewards). What it is, is a rebranded Atamania game, which is how all of the Layton games started.

Atamania is a portmanteau of atama (lit, "head"; atama ga ii, or "head is good", is the colloquial phrase for "intelligent" or "clever") and the English word "mania", and is the title of a series of puzzle games based …

Weekly Album: Amuro Namie - YouTube Mix

I found out a few weeks ago that ye ballroom dance instructor fusses when he's anxious. Just wanders the building, doing tiny, neglected, low-priority maintenance tasks. I have no idea if he does things because he can't sit down, or can't sit down because he feels like he should be doing things. Haven't asked, at least not yet.

I had friends like this in high school. I used to think it was my mission to "calm" them by getting them to sit down and stop twitching. I honestly couldn't tell you what gave me the idea that I was personally responsible for making other people stop wigging out, except that I was miserable as a teenager and assumed that pretty much everything was my fault, pretty much all the time. I don't think I quite grasped that the fussing and the nervousness were not the same thing, or that forcing someone to stifle all their anxious tics would make things worse, not better. In my defense, nobody had ever done anything but shout at me ov…

Weekly Watch: Extra Credits

While the Extra Credits channel on YouTube covers a lot of fascinating binge-watching type stuff, the part I find most notable is their series on game design. While material analyzing game design does exist out there, some of it free on the interwebs, few people sit down and pick it apart as methodically as this, and in a way accessible to people who don't already program things, or pour huge parts of their life into hardcore gaming. I'd particularly recommend this to people whose focus is lit analysis, in fact, as it makes for a nice bridge between methods for constructing novels and methods for constructing interactive media.

Weekly Album: Kerli - Love Is Dead


Weekly Watch: The Ben Heck Show

I first ran into Ben Heckendorn years and years ago in webpage form, when he made his infamous portable Atari 2600. I forgot to pay attention for a while, and somewhere in there he was snatched up by Revision 3, and then by Element 14, and now has a long-running show on YouTube where he gets paid to take things apart and then rebuild them in new and occasionally hilarious ways. This is the quintessential fairy-tale ending for a curious engineer nerd. Aside from the projects being interesting as hell, it's just generally great to watch him tinkering happily away in a well-funded lab full of crazy junk.

Weekly Album: Lou Reed - Transformer