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Messages - mgriffin

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Everything and Nothing / Re: This new SMF forum
« on: December 08, 2007, 01:51:43 PM »
The more I live with this "BacknBlack" theme, the more I consider making it (or some close variation) the default theme on this Forum.

How do people here feel, generally, about "light" themes versus "dark" ones?  Generally I like darker themes but the pre-designed ones tend to be cheesy and less functional than the default themes on forums like this, which always tend to be light and innocuous (light blue and white or gray).

This "BacknBlack" theme seems to have all the functionality and legibility of the default theme, but it's more attractive and fits better with the main Hypnos site.  Speaking of which, one of my longer-term goals is to integrate the Forum into the main Hypnos site, so the main web site's navigation table on the left side (links to the news page, list of CDs and artists, and the Hypnos store, etc.) will appear on the left side of the Forum.  We'll see how difficult that is to accomplish.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: December 08, 2007, 11:06:07 AM »
I have a real craving to read some Lovecraft and Poe again.  I've also been thinking of revisiting "The Castle of Otranto," this weird gothic novel I read in high school.

More than any return to a certain genre, I seem to be thinking a lot about revisiting some of the literature of a certain time period in my life, I guess age 14 to 24.  For example, I've actually been thinking about looking into Stephen King again, something I really loved for a few years in my mid-late teens, and then after Different Seasons or whatever it's called, I stopped reading him entirely.

I think I'm about to try reading Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner.

And I bought a copy of Perdido Street Station but haven't read it yet.

Everything and Nothing / Karlheinz Stockhausen has died
« on: December 08, 2007, 10:55:53 AM »
News reports say that Karlheinz Stockhausen died a couple of days ago.

Though I have a few Stockhausen CDs, I'll admit he was one of those difficult artists I always felt I should make a better effort to grasp, but never quite got around to loving or truly appreciating his work.  I remember him being name-dropped in some strange novel I read in college, and reading his name mentioned frequently in The Wire as an influence to various and sundry artists, and figuring this was somebody I needed to investigate.

Any thoughts on Stockhausen?  Did anybody get around to gaining some better appreciation of his work than I was able to do?

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 08, 2007, 10:50:37 AM »
This morning:

Momus - Ping Pong (a wacky and whimsical set of songs in an electronic-pop style, I'd say one part Nick Cave, one part Tom Waits, one part Pet Shop Boys)

Sample lyrics, from "His Majesty the Baby"

I hate his majesty the baby
His bowels and bladder uncontrolled
Sitting astride a throne of nappies
As though his shit were made of gold
As though a cherub on a fountain
He suckles breasts as big as mountains
Then pisses freely on the women
Who so lovingly surround him

Everything and Nothing / Re: Creating: inspiration, roadblocks, resources
« on: December 07, 2007, 04:15:12 PM »
Hey Bill, when I've had something relatively short to write, but I've had trouble getting started (say, a short essay for a college class -- I wrote twenty million of those), I made a deal with myself that I was just going to write a certain amount (say, 200 words) with the intention that I wouldn't use any of it.  It would be "throwaway" text, written on my subject but not to be included. 

Often I'd use these words to write preamble or background type stuff, which would end up getting me rolling right into what I was trying to write. 

Other times, I'd make this deal with myself and start writing, only to find that what I was writing actually was the essay itself, and I'd agree to break my agreement with myself, and just go ahead and use it.

Whatever the case, it seems like that agreement with myself that I'd start writing words not intended to be used for the project/essay/review/whatever, would break the blockage and get things flowing.

I love Ableton Live so much that I wish I could have its love child.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: December 07, 2007, 03:51:50 PM »
I'd add, furthering the subject of "college lit majors who are too cool to read sci-fi," that I recall it was "cool" for lit majors to read stuff like Philip K. Dick, Stanislav Lem, J.G. Ballard, and Anthony Burgess, while turning up our noses at Heinlein, Asimov and the like.

SF has gotten more acceptable for lit majors in some colleges, where it's taught alongside the "real" literature.  Interestingly enough, the older masters like Asimov still get passed over for more "respectable" names like PK Dick and Lem.  It's preposterous of course, but I guess it fits the typical college curriculum.  I enjoy Ballard and Lem and Delany and all the rest, but I'd never have become interested in SF if it were not for Asimov and Blish and many of the other old timers.  I find that most of those books are still compulsively readable ... not something I can say about many of the more experimental works by "acceptably hip" SF writers.

I should make sure it's clear that I'm sort of making fun of my college-age pretensions, not saying that only those "literary sci-fi" authors are worth reading.

Like you say, I'd be more likely to read Gregory Benford or Greg Bear than Phil Dick or Stanislav Lem these days.  I don't know if those first two are taken seriously at all in sci-fi circles... for all I know, they're the Danielle Steele and the Jackie Collins of the sci-fi world... but I find their work compelling in a "page-turner" way.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Creating: inspiration, roadblocks, resources
« on: December 07, 2007, 03:36:31 PM »
For me, it's very simple.  When I have some extra time, time enough to relax and let my mind drift, let ideas come to me and develop, then I'm creative.  I end up making things, whether it's music or art or whatever. 

When I'm short on time, I can't make myself be creative, even if I force it.

I've actually never been blocked creatively, except when I don't give myself time to relax and reflect and brainstorm. 

Everything and Nothing / Re: This new SMF forum
« on: December 07, 2007, 03:33:31 PM »

Is there any way I can make my avatar, which is actually an animated GIF, animate? I've seen people at other forums be able to do this. Not a big deal, but it'd be cool if I could. By the way, for those who don't know, that's Peter Stormare, who was in Fargo, among others. The picture is him "in character" as the pitchman for Volkswagen during one of his "oh snap" commercials. Hilarious stuff, IMO.

I recognized that guy, but I didn't know his name.  Those commercials are great... saw 'em on YouTube.

Umm, as for letting people use animated GIFs for avatars... I can see that your avatar file is PNG format, so I imagine if you upload the file to the Forum's database, it converts them to uniformly-sized PNG files.  It's possible that if you make your avatar a link to an off-site animated GIF file, it will leave the file format intact... not sure, but you can try it, if you have web hosting space to store the GIF on.

I'm not playing anything at the moment, but just finished Halo 3, which was very enjoyable, but fairly brief.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: December 07, 2007, 01:48:57 PM »
My understanding is that LeGuin wrote the original Earthsea trilogy right around the same time, then much later wrote another novel in the series, and then another.  At some point there was a collection of short stories set in the Earthsea world, with less of a direct connection to the story of the novels.

And yes, I read her complaints about the Sci-Fi Channel adaptation of the first book.  Sounds like the producers weren't exactly acting in good faith.

Wow, that's a lot of "highly" -- I'm looking forward to hearing these.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Old forum dead and gone ?
« on: December 07, 2007, 12:28:29 PM »
Hi Pete

The old Forum membership list is definitely dead.  There may be some way of retrieving the old posts or topics, but I doubt it more and more, and I have to admit to feeling a sort of relief, like a clean, fresh start.  I'll probably keep investigating ways of importing some of the old content, but it's probably a dead end.

Everyone should feel free to re-start their favorite topics, as I've done in a few cases.  I do have a list of topics from the old Forum, about 1,600 of them, and I'll probably cull out the obviously irrelevant or redundant ones, and post a list of some of the rest that people can go through and say "Oh yeah, let' talk about that again" or else "Hmmm, better to let that one be forgotten."

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: December 07, 2007, 12:14:16 PM »
I'd add, furthering the subject of "college lit majors who are too cool to read sci-fi," that I recall it was "cool" for lit majors to read stuff like Philip K. Dick, Stanislav Lem, J.G. Ballard, and Anthony Burgess, while turning up our noses at Heinlein, Asimov and the like.

Oh, and also... Ursula LeGuin lives right up on Thurman or Upshur in NW Portland, right by where Lena and I run & ride our bikes sometimes.

Everything and Nothing / Re: This new SMF forum
« on: December 07, 2007, 12:09:41 PM »
This Forum includes an optional feature called "Karma" which allows users (at least somewhat established users, who have registered and posted a few times) to give positive or negative karma points to users who contribute something positive or negative to the Forum.


Someone who creates an interesting topic, or who posts an insightful post, or a good CD review, might receive positive karma. 

Someone who breaks a Forum rule, or posts something inappropriate, or even who posts a "waste of space" comment, might receive negative karma.

I've turned on the karma option so we can experiment with it a bit.  If it's used frivolously or spitefully, I'll just disable it, but if it can be used for a sort of "peer review" to encourage people to contribute, and discourage people from acting like fools, then we'll keep it.

The karma points show up under your name & avatar, each time you post.

Everything and Nothing / Re: This new SMF forum
« on: December 07, 2007, 11:55:20 AM »
I have to say its nice to  have the delete option. I just did a double post and the delete option came in handy. Too bad most forums don't have this I see double posts just about everywhere.

Oh, and the default colors are fine for me, beats the red on black any day, plus I can actually read the threads now.  ;D

Red on black actually wasn't the default template on the old Forum... you actually ended up using an alternate template somehow!  The default for the old one was white and light blue, similar to the default on here.

I'm actually using the "BacknBlack" template here, which is black and gray with white text.  I'll probably take the best traits of some of the lighter and darker templates, and create a couple of new templates like "HypnosForumLight" and "HypnosForumDark" and get rid of all the other ones...eventually.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Sexy Ambient
« on: December 07, 2007, 11:24:54 AM »
Bill, it sounds like you need help figuring out the true, indisputable definition of what's sexy.  The rest of us are in agreement about this, so here you go:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Sexy Ambient
« on: December 07, 2007, 10:43:12 AM »
Hmmm.  Well, the Pink Floyd considered best for the bedroom (Meddle) is also the most ambient Pink Floyd album. 

As for me, I always say, Sexytime is Billy Idol time!

OK, more seriously now...

I remember at the first live performance by Viridian Sun, a girl in the audience came up to the stage afterward, when we  were  taking down our equipment, and said "I just wanted to tell you, your album is SOOO great to make love to."  Wow.

I guess I would say, without giving away too much of The Griffin Technique, that more dynamic albums with more variety and change, would be more suitable for this sort of thing, than the more minimal or drony stuff.  But everything can have its place!

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Now reading
« on: December 07, 2007, 10:39:14 AM »
In my teens and early twenties, I was a big sci-fi and fantasy reader.  I sort of got away from that stuff in college, and got into the "I'm a serious lit major and I don't read that stuff" mindset for a while... but now (triggered by the Lord of the Rings films, I think) I've been enjoying getting back into some of the books I loved when I was younger.

One set of books I bought in the late 70s but never got around to reading, is Ursula LeGuin's "Earthsea" series, starting with "A Wizard of Earthsea."  This last week I've been listening to an unabridged audiobook of "A Wizard of Earthsea" and aside from the annoying presence of Harlan Ellison as the "voice" of this audiobook, I really enjoyed the story and it made me want to explore the rest of the series.

These slim, simple books have more in common with the minimal and poetic fable-like quality of "The Little Prince" than with more epic fantasy series like "The Lord of the Rings." The story is basically about a young boy who discovers he has basic magical powers, and he is befriended by a sort of magical mentor who sees to it that he's enrolled in a school for magicians.  Apparently, J.K. Rowling had read this book... but there is no real similarity to the "Harry Potter" series.  This is more quiet and moody, somber and earthy.  In this book, words have great importance, in particular names.  Knowing the name of an object, its "true" name and not just the name that everyone calls it, has great significance.

This is the first time I've listened to an audiobook and been moved to immediately get out the printed book and actually read it.  Harlan Ellison so overdid it with the overdramatic and silly voices for various characters, that I found myself cringing at times.  Sometimes, an audiobook can be just as enjoyable as reading, but not this time.

Everything and Nothing / Re: This new SMF forum
« on: December 06, 2007, 08:00:46 PM »
Anyone having any access problems at all?  It's worked fine all day, and I just experienced a few glitches, and received an email from someone who said they tried to sign up, and couldn't connect.  Now it seems completely fine again.

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