You Ain’t Reeling

Three fantastic pieces of music. First, a remixed Barack Obama album in the style of Wendy Carlos.

Secondly, Mind over Mirror’s “You Ain’t Reeling” or as i’ll know it, “the interzone national anthem”

And finally, a ghostly western song, by Lasso

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Hemor and Bort

The Simpsons in vignette

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Cartoons! Cartoons! Cartoons!

Pluto chewing some gum

All I can think about lately is cartoons and animation, probably because of Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks. It’s a wonderful tumblr dedicated to all the single frame moments that make cartoons look cartoony.

From “Get a Job” (Brad Caslor, 1985) As seen on

Probably my favorite thing in the last few months is this redrawn Mutt & Jeff cartoon that I found on Tusks Family Blog. Stylistically it’s square and animated to look like a 1920s comic, long before the squash and stretch of Tex Avery & Co became a standard. It is however, a cartoon entirely about FREAKING THE FUCK OUT:

A word of caution about the next cartoon: It may not be so funny if you have trouble with noise pollution.

Pluto and a bee steal some gum:

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Fletcher Hanks

[[from Wikipedia]] “Fletcher Hanks, Sr  (1887-1976) was a cartoonist from the Golden Age of Comic Books, who wrote and drew stories detailing the adventures of all-powerful, supernatural heroes and their elaborate punishments of transgressors.”

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Having cut my programming teeth on Max/MSP, I’m often left wanting more from the basics in general-purpose programming languages. As evidenced by the awesome jQuery/underscore libraries, there’s a lot of gaps to fill when it comes to javascript utility functions. Although not as commonly useful as underscore’s each or map, I have a great need for non-repeating random values for the purposes of selecting from collections.

Autechre's max patch "you messy motherfucker"

Autechre's max patch aka "you messy motherfucker"

In Max, there are a large number of objects that let you scramble and remix lists of items in interesting ways. Because Max is music focused, a lot of your operations revolve around working with permanent sets. Defining a scale of possible notes doesn’t do you much good if your system is able to randomly select F# 300 times in a row. Max provides the Urn object for this purpose, a ‘grab bag’ for collections. Given a number range, urn returns a member every time it’s triggered. It’s unable to produce the same number again until all other members have been selected.

I’ve created a similar object in javascript. A single urn can contain multiple collections, each keyed by the array it’s self:

var urn = new Urn();
var items = ['mice','dogs','tigers','cats'];
urn.grab(items); //--> 'dogs'
urn.grab(items); //--> 'tigers'
urn.grab(items); //--> 'mice'
urn.grab(items); //--> 'cats'

//throw a different array into the same object
//one urn tracks all keys in parallel
var junk = ['maggie','lisa','bart'];
urn.grab(junk); //--> 'maggie'
urn.grab(junk); //--> 'bart'
urn.grab(junk); //--> 'lisa'
urn.grab(junk); //--> 'lisa'
urn.grab(junk); //--> 'maggie'
urn.grab(junk); //--> 'bart'

The only missing feature is preventing the end of one sequence being the same as the beginning of the next. Notice the two ‘lisa’s in a row in the above example. Each full round of urn grabs are managed independently.

Grab urnie.js over on the github:

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Easier Living

“A new style of party-giving is beginning to grow up, even while the etiquette books cling to the same number of forks on the table and put into the hostess’s mouth the insincere words with which she begs her guests not to lift a finger. We are making a new etiquette, with a new set of manners for both hosts and guests. They are better manners, more truly gracious, because they are sincere, not a counterfeit of a vanished aristocracy but an honest product of our times. What they demand, more than anything else, is a new and more relaxed attitude on the part of all concerned.”

Mary and Russel Wright’s Guide To Easier Living features some classy mid century modern houses and sensible new ways to get things done. Originally published in 1950, much of the advice about the future of home life has become standard for every American. Serving food ‘family style’ instead of with vestigial plates and dishes for each person; building storage into furniture or even walls, Japanese style. The book suggests clean and open spaces, instead of cluttering life with grandmother’s table, china hutch and lowboy. The back section features huge charts about the resiliency of various materials under stressful conditions. If you need to know what kind of scrubable wall paper is best used in the kitchen, this is the book for you.

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Squiggler – now on github

Wrote this quickie in Processing today.

Get the code:

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