Top-five, all-time, desert-island records

In no particular order:

  • Shpongle - Nothing Lasts, Nothing Is Lost
  • Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile
  • Tangerine Dream - Dream Mixes
  • Introspective - Gewesen
  • Aleksi Virta - ..Meets Tortsi At The Space Lounge
And because we all know five albums isn't enough to live on, here are the next ten runners-up.
  • Pat Metheny - The First Circle
  • Depeche Mode - Playing The Angel
  • Fahrenheit Project - Part Two
  • Fahrenheit Project - Part Five
  • Giles Reaves - Nothing Is Lost
  • The Orb - Orbus Terrarum
  • Beethoven - The Sixth Symphony
  • esem - enveloped
  • esem - serial human
  • Shpongle - Tales of the Inexpressible
To be honest, even with these fifteen, I would be wanting.  Toad The Wet Sproket. Some of esem's singles. Seal.  Red Hot Chili Peppers' BSSM.  Engima.  And a metric buttload of other electronic artists.

But these lists are about restrictions, right?

Anyway, I mention this because, despite loving all this music so much, I recognize that new music is important.  Of late, I have felt like my collection is lacking something, but couldn't put my finger on it.  I've realize what that is, though: something new.


The human condition, I suppose.

Prototype (et al) in Greasemonkey

So, using Prototype in Greasemonkey is... awkward, at best.

You see, everything you do in GM Javascript is actually stored in this weird space called "unsafeWindow". (Clearly, I don't fully understand why.)

It also seems to be impossible to intrude on the basic elements (like Element itself) that PType wishes to.

Thus, you have to be sneaky: you cause the page to load your scripts. ...And yet, for reasons incomprehensible, you still access them in unsafeWindow. Even when events fire. ...Which, by the way, seems to be the only way to do it: events firing. You can't just natively "do stuff".

Disappointing... but work-around-able.

I think we can use this to help us Monkify some of our websites. My first target is Learnerweb, which is Usable But Obnoxious as-is.

Here's a script that causes a new <p> to appear on the cspabq page when you click pretty much anywhere under the header:

// ==UserScript==
// @name Monkeys. Greasy, greasy monkeys.
// @namespace CSP
// @description Testing Prototype and ilk in GM
// @include*
// ==/UserScript==

var scripts = [
for (i in scripts) {
var script = document.createElement('script');
script.src = scripts[i];

window.addEventListener('load', function(event) {

$ = unsafeWindow['window'].$;
div = document.getElementById('content-main');
div.addEventListener('click', function(event) {
x = document.createElement('p');
x.innerHTML = "It is very greasy. You are likely to be eaten by a monkey.";
}, 'false');

}, 'false');


It is to my deepest chagrin that I admit WinAMP is too bloated for me, these days.

"If you can guess a landing spot on the moon, I suppose you can guess a cake!"

I've been using WinAmp since I was getting beat up in the high school locker room. I've been an avid follower, and was delighted when WinAMP was one of the first players to support OGG files (perhaps 85% of my collection is OGG these days).

In my anti-social nature (mentioned in the last post), I have taken to listening to music incessantly here at work. ...But my work machine is the most absolute of burger-sucking dogs, and when one works in such software as Visual dBase, Dreamweaver, Visual Studio, and--powers of the universe preserve us--Internet Explorer, one is bound to find bits leaking out of their little unprotected blocks and spilling onto the CPU, making a terrible mess and stinking of ozone.

WinAMP does not enjoy this anymore than I do. In fact, I believe it makes matters worse.

I don't like bloat. This is why I hate all Microsoft software. All of it: I haven't found a single counter-example. Everything is bloated. Hell, I would rather skip buying a CD than listen to sound examples in anything made by Real, that scum-bag sucking fat zombie mime fuckhole company. AOL is something to be approached with fallout gear and large, preferably long-range weapons.

Pardon me. Where was I?

I use XMMS at home. (On Linux.) I believe XMMS is perfect: it does what I want, it looks reasonably cool (winamp skins), it's free, and it's got a footprint on the scale of rodents. Small rodents. There is no "thinger", there is no internet-scouring script looking for album covers... even the built-in visualizations are limited to oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers. And I don't have to go through six screen to install it. (Hell, I just enable it with a package manager, dammit: I never see a single dialog box!)

"I think if I were a spaceman, I wouldn't care if people believed in me or not."

So, I merrily resolved to install XMMS here at work and be done with it. Alas, I quickly discovered that there are no win32 binaries for XMMS.


I begin scouring for another player, but am quickly assaulted by free-download sites that cause AdBlocker to groan under the pressure. I fear looking for bloat-free players in this manner will be fruitless.

As I said, 85% of my collection is in OGG format, so I choose instead to float on over to the Vorbis site and check our their recommended players. To my dismay, almost all of them are commercial bastardizations of freeware (much like WinAMP is, though I fear winamp is one of precious few companies that aren't really stepping on me when I download the free version of their software: almost no nagging, and no crippled features that I care about.)

Then I stumble upon Zinf. I've heard of it before, I think: I've probably passed over it in linux installs. (There's that "mindshare" thing, eh?) It's smaller than WinAMP, and just barely bigger than I think it should be (it's 1.7 Meg). I install.

Okay, so it's not sexy... but not hideous. It plays my OGGs. It's got a music manager that I don't particularly care for, but I start using it anyway: we'll kick the tires.

...And that's where I currently stand.

"Maybe I'm dreaming. My eyes are open, which means maybe I'm awake, dreaming I'm asleep. Or... or more likely, maybe I'm asleep, dreaming that I'm awake, wondering if I'm dreaming..."

So, if you haven't noticed, the quotes have been from Aleksi Virta's "...meets tortsi" album. ...One of the best albums ever, mind you. I'm listening to it now. Memory footprint? 14Megs. This is more than I expect, so I check WinAMP playing the same song, and I lose my breath when I see it's taking up a massive 44Meg! ...Eeep. Okay. So, for the next few weeks (?), I will be testing this Zinf thing, and seeing how it goes, because only time will tell.

Still, I lament the fact that I'm abandoning WinAMP. It used to be one of the only programs I really trusted. [sigh]

"An anti-American eagle? It's diabolical!"


I haven't posted lately, it's true. It's been an anti-social couple of months, and getting more so. I'm enjoying the introspection.

I had the idea of blogging about "becoming an artist", since that seems to be my aim, of late. And then I asked myself, "Why do you want to be an artist?"

Since then, I haven't come up with a good answer. Oh... I've had some ideas, but none of them are terribly motivating. Things boil down to a few salient points:

  • I like programming. Even if given the chance, I would not stop.
  • I don't like artists, on the whole... a few good souls, sure, but that's true everywhere. By and large, artists tend to be... broken people.
  • I am so not into self-marketing.
  • The money's worse than programming (with exceptions).
That said, none of these trains of thought have deterred me from doing what I'm doing. Namely, I'm drawing. A lot. I also spend a lot of time thinking about drawing, analyzing what I see. Last, and perhaps most copiously, I seek out art, judge it, and learn from the pieces I like most.

Tying that in to programming, I actually wrote a ruby script that scrapes Deviant Art and grabs "favourites" from all of the artists on one page of your own favourites page. (Think of them as meta-faves). It uses ActiveRecord to store some db information, Hpricot and open-uri for the scraping, and it's probably 120 lines. Fun to write.

I'm actually of the mind that my favourites on DA are remarkable works of art. The process has also taught me exactly where I want to focus my efforts. This is key. It breaks down into stages, as I see it:
  1. Draw, until I...
  2. Get some kind of tablet.
  3. Do "digital painting" until I...
  4. Get a strong foundation in form.
  5. Start rendering (3D).
  6. Move slowly into physical sculpture.
There are a few key points, here.

First, I love digital paintings. I love the colors, I love the textures: like paint, but less chaotic. It's what I want to do... for as long as it will sustain me. Brushes intimidate me. I don't like getting messy. Digital painting is my thing.


Sculpture is what I consider the height of "personal" art. (The subtext there is that I think there are cooler versions of collaborative art, but that's for another discussion.) If had to choose one thing, that's what I would focus on. But there are a few things keeping me from jumping right in. Most importantly, I don't think I have a strong enough concept of space and form. It's also a "slow" form of art, not as immediately gratifying as drawing or painting. It's also much harder to sell, takes up more space, and is otherwise less practical. ...But someday, I'll be able to work around all those things. Certainly computer modeling gets around most of those, and perhaps I'll dabble in it in the near future. But at the moment, I'm not confident enough: I haven't modeled in.. .oh my... has it really been over a decade?!? Pardon me while I go puke for a while.