April 1st, 2009

"Not an angel"

Painting stolen from The Museum of Bad Art.

The loss of two Museum Of Bad Art paintings to theft has drawn media attention, and enhanced the museum's stature. In 1996 the painting Eileen, by R. Angelo Le, vanished from MOBA. Eileen was acquired from the trash, and features a rip in the canvas where someone slashed it with a knife even before the museum acquired it. "Adding an additional element of drama to an already powerful work," according to MOBA.

The museum offered a reward of $6.50 for the return of Eileen, and although MOBA donors later increased that reward to $36.73, the work remained unrecovered for many years. The Boston Police listed the crime as "larceny, other," and Sacco was reported saying she was unable to establish a link between the disappearance of Eileen and a notorious heist at Boston's famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that occurred in 1990. In 2006 - 10 years after Eileen was stolen - MOBA was contacted by the purported thief demanding a $5,000 ransom for the painting; no ransom was paid, but it was returned anyway.

Prompted by the theft of Eileen, MOBA staff at the Dedham branch installed a fake video camera, and a sign reading: "Warning. This gallery is protected by fake video cameras." Despite this deterrent, in 2004 Rebecca Harris' Self Portrait as a Drainpipe was removed from the wall and replaced with a ransom note demanding $10, although the thief neglected to include any contact information. Soon after its disappearance the painting was returned, with a $10 donation. Curator Michael Frank speculates that the thief had difficulty fencing the portrait because "reputable institutions refuse to negotiate with criminals."


"Not an angel"

New NIN album: Strobelight!

To download NIN's new full-length album Strobe Light, PRODUCED BY TIMBALAND, enter a valid email address in the fields below. A download link will be sent to you immediately. Your credit card will be charged $18.98 plus a $10 digital delivery convenience fee. Your files will arrive as windows media files playable on quite a few players with your name embedded all over them just in case you lose them.

track list:

1. intro skit
2. everybody's doing it (featuring chris martin, jay-z AND bono)
3. black t-shirt
4. pussygrinder (featuring sheryl crow)
5. coffin on the dancefloor
6. this rhythm is infected
7. slide to the dark side
8. even closer (featuring justin timberlake and maynard james keenan)


I have become a bogon source.

You know the theory of Quantum Bogodynamics? It goes something like this:

1) Bogons are small sub-atomic particles that cause things to malfunction. A device saturated with bogons will fail under completely normal conditions, and refuse to begin working again no matter what, until the bogons are removed.

2) Some people are bogon sources. They spray bogons everywhere, causing failures that never normally occur.

3) Other people are bogon sinks. They suck the bogons out of malfunctioning devices, causing them to start working for no reason.

This theory explains, for instance, how you can make a perfectly working program... that suddenly and unexpectedly blows up in your face the second your boss looks at it - he's a bogon source. It also explains how you can type in your password ten times and it doesn't work, but when the IT guy comes over, suddenly the same password starts working fine - he is a bogon sink. Generally, I have been a bogon sink. I can often make your computer work just by walking over to it. I'm rather proud of this "ability". It is, after all, how I get my paycheck.

So anyway, yesterday my car wouldn't start. I called the mechanic, and he said that in cold, damp weather Civics sometimes dump too much fuel into the engine and flood. And this is a particularly severe kind of flooding, that won't resolve itself by normal means. The only way to clear the flood, he said, is to take out the sparkplugs, crimp the fuel line at the fuel rail, and crank the car over for 30 seconds or so.

So I abandon the car and ride my bicycle to work yesterday. This morning, I grab my socket wrench and spark-plug socket, and I pull the spark plugs. (All the plugs are dry and and tan, except #2 which is black. Hmm.) Wrap the fuel line in a rag, use pliers and a zip-tie to crimp it off. I crank the engine over until the battery is nearly dead and the starter motor is hot enough to fry an egg on. Then wait about ten minutes.

Reinsert plugs with torque wrench, 13 ft-lbs - careful not to overcrank these, it's an aluminium head. Uncrimp fuel line. Insert key, twist... rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR! Stop twisting. Deep breaths. Silently count to ten. Twist key again... rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRR-rRr-rRr-rrr-rrr-rr-rr-click... battery's completely gone. Smell of gasoline in the air. IT'S FUCKING FLOODED AGAIN!

Growl. Tromp back up three flights of stairs to apartment. Put tools away. Wash hands. Call tow truck. Drag bicycle down three flights of stairs. Cram bicycle into back of car (thank god it's a hatchback). Wait around for tow truck. Ride to mechanic. Pay tow-truck driver. Leave keys with mechanic. Pull bike from back of car. Ride to work again.


3pm call from mechanic. "Yeah, it was just flooded. We just waited about half an hour, pulled the plugs, crimped the fuel line, cranked it over, it started right up."


Am I paranoid to think that this is some kind of April Fool's day joke on me by Honda? Or have I suddenly become a bogon source??

More SFIV.

I'm able to win pretty consistently with Akuma now, at least on Medium. I still have trouble with Seth and Honda. Everyone else pretty much goes down easy. One thing I discovered that made my life a lot easier is that you can start a red fireball from down-forward. For whatever reason, this matches my instinctive button press timing much better. Putting the hurt down on Rose is way easier when you can snap off three-hit red fireballs that plow right through hers and keep on going. I also discovered (via SpikeTV's website, of all places!) that you can short-cut the Raging Demon by doing LP, LP and then hitting back + LK + HP all at the same time. This is also a big help.

Lastly, on Medium the AI is pretty stupid about LP air fireballs. In fact, they're the key to beating Seth. You have to position yourself correctly, about two body lengths away, and then jump straight up and throw a LP air fireball. Then land and crouch-block. The crouch block seems to trigger an instant response in Seth to do a Dhalsim-style low stretchy-arms punch. The fireball smacks him while he's doing it. If you can keep the spacing right, he'll keep falling for this for at least 1/3rd of his health. Occasionally he'll dive-jump you off the wall. The easy way to respond to this is just to low + HP. You have to time it right, but if you do it'll knock him right out of his dive attack every time. Be warned that he'll start diving in faster near the end of his second losing round.

Also been playing some with Fei. It's nice to have a character that reacts faster than I do. Akuma seems like such an elephant in comparison. I'm totally stuck at Rufus though. Again, he can corner you and spam tornados and chip you to death all day long, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. One weakness of Rufus's ai is that it loves to jump in with a Messiah Kick. Fei's flaming leg takes care of this nicely. If you time it just right, you can even get in three hits on him. Still not enough to kill him, though. Oh yeah - don't bother trying to focus cancel his Messiah Kick. The machine reflexively goes into a two-hit flip kick and pwnZ you every time. Really annoying.

I'm having real problems getting Fei's ultra off consistently. Probably because I have 3P on left bumper. I changed it to right bumper briefly before I turned the 360 off this evening, and now seem to be having an easier time of it. I'm still hating the @#$% controller. It's pretty much impossible for me to do Fei's chicken wing in the heat of battle for some reason. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. I'll check in practice mode later. Maybe I'm clicking the joystick (R3) and that's screwing things up? Whatever. Must get stick soon...