Friday, January 23, 2009

Shark Surfing

A killer video of a guy on a surfboard getting a pull from a great white shark.

Thanks to Digg for the linkage...

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Motivational Friday!



Doesn't this just make you want to get off your ass and DO SOMETHING?

...Almost?

BTW: Make sure you check out the Full Moon tonight, it's supposed to be (relatively) close to the Earth...

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     1 Comments      Permalink     

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

All ur status are belong to www.ping.fm!^Ping! Twit! Blog! Post! Update! Mwuhahahaha!
     0 Comments      Permalink     

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Review: A Case for Ghosts by J. Allan Danelek

With a title like: "A Case for Ghosts - An Objective Look at the Paranormal" I was expecting to read theories about how ghosts could be real and how they 'work'. I was expecting case studies, scientific analysis and interviews that generate data to support those theories. (Otherwise, the title would be "A Case *against* Ghosts") Unfortunately, that isn't what I got.

To be fair, you should understand that writers who release through a publisher don't always get much/any say in the cover graphics, jacket copy and title of their book. The publisher supposedly has a better handle on what kind of name/color/words to wrap the book in to give it a larger appeal, so it wouldn't surprise me if Mr Danalek shares in my disappointment. Whether the fault of Mr. Danelek or his publisher, "A Case for Ghosts" was Severely Mis-Titled, directly resulting in several unfavorable reviews online.

That said, the book is not necessarily bad. If you tear the cover off the book and cross out the title (physically or mentally) you could give the book a charitable review, and I'll try to do so here:

The Bad:
Almost every chapter starts with an interruption. "In this chapter, we will talk about X. But, before we can learn about X, first we should Y..." Eventually the chapter gets around to subject X, but the digressions were annoying, and calling attention to them only made them worse. Instead, Y should have been included as a sidebar, footnote, or simply worked into the text where necessary. The start of the chapter should hook the reader, not detour them into definition-hell or but-first-some-history-purgatory.

Mr Danalek mentions plenty of cases that warrant our "serious consideration", but fails to give any specifics. In fact, there aren't any facts about the cases he mentions AT ALL, and this is frustrating for those looking for objectivity (Remember, we crossed off the title...) The bibliography is severely anemic. Nothing here indicates Mr Danalek experienced these cases himself. The lack of facts in this text makes it difficult to lock in any of the argument. It can't have been difficult to get some real-world data or cases to ground his arguments upon. Without something to base his case on, his arguments have no more weight than the ghosts he is studying.

In one chapter, Mr Danalek denounces the idea of demons, proclaiming them to simply be angry ghosts; spirits of the formerly living who were mean people when they were alive, and the only difference is that they're dead now. In a later chapter, he quickly accepts the concept of Guardian Angels (or Spirt Guides) as though the truth were obvious. Overlooking the fact that these are merely opinions, these two beliefs are completely incompatible. You simply don't get one without the other, that would be like only believing in "Good" people and not "Evil" people, or in the "Beneficial" uses for Gravity or Electricity, without believing in the "Dangerous". I can tolerate Mr Danalek's lack of objectivity, but I won't tolerate inconsistency.

The book does go off-topic a bit. There's a whole lot of personal information in this book, and I'm always wary of books that have too much "I...Me...My" in them. There are also diversions (some of them pages in length) into Mr Danalek's analysis of Religion which needs either its own section, or should be marked as 'outside the scope of this book'. This issue should have been caught by an editor.

The Good:
Mr Danalek has done some research, and he is knowledgeable on the subject of the ghostly aspects of the paranormal. He provides all sides of the issues of hauntings, different types of ghosts, spirit communications, possession and other tasty topics, then he provides his opinion on what he believes throughout the writing and in the conclusion of each chapter. I'm pleased to see that he entertains views that he does not agree with.

For a philosophical overview of such an esoteric subject, the writing is easily accessible. Not much by way of jargon, and what little is used is clearly explained. The book is a good overview of the subject, covering a wide range of paranormal topics but staying in the Ghostly realm, and thankfully leaving out Bigfoot, Aliens and the Loch Ness Monster.

The Upshot:
"A Case for Ghosts" gives a good, broad overview of the Spiritual subsection of the Paranormal. Those interested in the field of Ghost Hunting should pair it up with "How to be a Ghost Hunter" by Richard Southall.

Ignore the title. Don't expect any objectivity in "A Case for Ghosts - An Objective Look at the Paranormal". Expect to see a rundown of all sides of a broad range of issues, followed by Mr Danalek's opinion on the matter. Those already familiar with the subject and seeking answers, proof or research - [jedi]this is not the book you're looking for[/jedi]

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels:

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Write Dead People!

My preference for the Final Voyage would be a Viking Longboat set aflame.

Getting your ashes shot into space via Celestis was a reasonable second choice...

...but getting your ashes made into pencil lead pretty much trumps that idea.

Just when you think you've heard it all. Thanks to Neil Gaiman for the link.

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels:

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Monday, November 10, 2008

Write or Die

This is a fantastic idea:

Dr Wicked's Website Write or Die lets you set up a word-count goal and a time limit. If you pause for too long, or get distracted, the screen turns red, then your words start getting erased! Talk about motivation!

At any point, you can hit Done and save what you've written to your clipboard. The website also offers the following HTML code as a badge of honor. Its a bit messy, I haven't edited it, just dropped it in so you can see what it looks like:

2
1
lab.drwicked.com


I'll let you guess what the two words were...

Thanks to Lifehacker for the link.

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sleevefacing

If you haven't head about Sleevefacing, you're in for a treat. The official definition from the official website: "one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion"



Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: , ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hail the new President

     1 Comments      Permalink     

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sound Unseen 2008

Sound Unseen 2008 begins tonight. Check the website for all the awesome to-do's, and watch this groovy trailer for the event:



Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sound Unseen - Rock and Bowl next Monday!

On Monday October 20, 2008, you can have your chance to bowl against some local Minneapolis bands:

10-20-2008
7pm -10pm at Memory Lanes
Sound Unseen Music Film and Art Festival Presents
ROCK AND BOWL - Come bowl with us at Memory Lanes!
2520 26th Ave S, Minneapolis, 55406
Cost: $5 - Includes Bowling

John Kass will be selling records and DJing this year's Rock N' Bowl.

Reserve your spot today! Sign up in teams of four. To do so, please email: info@soundunseen.com.

Participating Bands:

  • Bella Koshka

  • So It Goes

  • Military Special

  • The Guystorm

  • Weaver at the Loom

  • Zebulon Pike

  • Gospel Gossip

  • The God Damn Doo Wop Band

  • Building Better Bombs

  • The Soviet Machines




Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Demonslayer's Handbook - Escaped!

We're told that everyone has a story inside them.

Somehow, mine escaped.

I looked over at the printer, and there it was. Over four-hundred, tree-killing pages of adjective-laden, occult/action/adventure nonsense, sure to send even the most patient copy editor into conniptions. (Unless they charged by the mistake.)

As you read this, several copies of "The Demonslayer's Handbook - Book One" are circulating a tightly scrutinized list of pre-readers. In the meantime, I've drowned myself in books, websites and RSS feeds on writing/publishing from insiders and outsiders, those who've succeeded and failed, those who swear by the system, and those who swear at it. After what seems like ages of introspection and research, I've come to several conclusions.

First, any writer foolish enough to go through the traditional publishing route for a 'book deal' (esp. for fiction) is... a complete fool. Whatever can be said about the recording industry for music goes equally well for the publishing industry. You'd be money ahead using those printed manuscript pages to heat your home this winter.

Second, anyone foolish enough to try to self-publish their work of fiction is... an utter fool. Publishers will tell you that Print On Demand is the new 'vanity press' and Amazon is destroying the printed world by enticing authors to 'the Dark Side' of self-publishing their own works. Why would anyone buy your crap that's about as low-quality and apocryphal as the average blog post? You're better off taking all the money you would have put into the set-up fee for Print On Demand, and take it to the casino instead.

The upshot here is that anyone foolish enough to try to write a work of fiction now-a-days is...well, a complete and utter fool. Especially niche-y, urban fantasy that sounds like a knock-up of Dan Brown's "Demons and Angels" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

So the vote is in. Conventional Wisdom has Spoken. Don't do it. Don't be a complete and utter fool.

Ha! Good thing I'm a rebel who only listens to conventional wisdom long enough to decide what I can do to piss everyone off. The book's very existence is as unplanned as a broken condom; no reason it can't be leveraged into a Happy Accident.

I've no doubt that I'll be not only a complete and utter fool, but also a complete and utter failure. However, if I may be so bold as to quote the wise King Theoden:

"If this is to be our end, then I would have them make such an end, as to be worthy of remembrance."

In other words, if I can't be astounding, then perhaps I can be an astounding failure. I could very well end up the publishing industry's poster-boy for Why You Should Never Ever Self Publish!

I'm going to put together a list of goals, and a timeline. I'll track all the time and expenses spent on this Beautiful Disaster, and I'll be sure to post all the cold, hard numbers right here on www.conradzero.com.

Just you watch...

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blog Review: ZenHabits

It's sites like ZenHabits.net that make me want to be a better blogger. I've no delusions that conradzero.com is useful by any stretch of the imagination, but ZenHabits is chock-full of useful, practical, real-world information on how to make your life simpler and better.

It's positive and cheerful too, but don't let that get you down.

There's a marvelous post over there right now by Leo, titled Success Isn’t a Competition: Boosting Others Helps You in the Long Run. It's title pretty much sums the post up. There's some good examples of the idea applied to blogging, but the idea lends itself well to other areas of life. I'd argue that competition is healthy to a point, but there's a lot of truth to what Leo says.

Leo's also starting a "Helping Hand" program, and reaching out to offer support to other bloggers in any way he can. That's great, and I wish him the best. He's already helping me by blogging useful advice. I'm helping him in return by telling all three of my blog readers what a great site ZenHabits is. It's the least I can do.

Ya'all really ought to read it. Leo's got a lot of useful wisdom to share.

Don't pass up on zenhabits! It'd be like starting every sentence of your blog post with a contraction.

That'd be lame.

Art's Resistance
-Z'ro

Labels: , ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Book Review - "The Spiritualist" by Megan Chance

After reading one too many technical books, I had to shift back into a bit of fictional fun, and Megan Chance's latest work 'The Spiritualist' caught my attention. According to her website, 'The Spiritualist' is...

...a tale of murder and intrigue, class and the occult, as one woman’s desperate search for a killer reveals that truth may be the greatest illusion of all...

More specifically, 'The Spiritualist' is a murder-mystery set in the 1800's, involving the heroine, Evie, who married into high-society. When Evie's husband disappears after a visit to a 'spirit circle', Evie is sucked into an intricate web of deceit between the elite social circles, her own family and an occult group led by a charismatic medium. It's a story of high-society, table-rapping spirits, charlatans, and romance.

Alright, so it isn't something I'd typically read. There weren't any ninjas or explosions in it. All the more reason you should be shocked and amazed at my assessment: Megan Chance is a *fantastic* writer, and 'The Spiritualist' is a great book.

The Good
Megan Chance writes believable characters. Even for the elite class and different time period the characters come from; I really believed in them. Their actions, reactions and motivations were understandable, if not forgivable. I never felt like I was watching 'The English Patient' where suspension of disbelief was pushed beyond superhuman limits.

The storyline was tight and linear, with few wasted pages. The plot pulls you in, and doesn't disappoint, keeping and a sure-and-steady pace. And just the right amount of intrigue, to keep you reading past your bedtime.

Anoter great thing about the book was the cover, and the lack of half-naked people embracing thereon. Let's be honest, that doesn't even belong on the covers of trashy romance novels. DISCLAIMER: The story has romance in it, and Megan Chance did win the "Romance Writers of America’s RITA award for excellence in Romantic Fiction". But don't hold that against her, or this story. The romance was tastefully done.

But the best part of the book is the writing. The sentences simply flowed, and made me realize how much my own writing sounds like a hastily translated 'Dick and Jane' book. Megan paints smooth, silky pictures of the 1800s in your head with her words.

The Bad
There weren't any ninjas or explosions. Yeah, that's about it. Note to self, Megan: 'Next book - needs more ninjas'.

The Upshot
'The Spiritualist' is a treat for anyone wanting an escape to a well-constructed, well-written, 1800s romantic-occult-murder-mystery.

Megan Chance's website.

'The Spiritualist' on Amazon.com

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels:

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Friday, September 12, 2008

Secrets

Windows


A fatal exception OE has occurred at 0028:C0011E36 in VXD VMM(01) +
00010E36. The current application will be terminated.


* Press any key to terminate the current application
* Press CTR+ALT+DEL again to restart your computer. You will
lose any unsaved information in all applications

Press any key to continue

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels:

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Monday, September 01, 2008

Book Review: Demons - By John Shirley

The title, "Demons" obviously caught my eye, and I simply had to read it. Not so much 'research' for the Demonslayer's Handbook, since that manuscript is finished, but more like; "I better read this since it came out before mine, and I need to make sure there's nothing too similar to my own book, so's I don't get sued for copyright infringement..."

"Demons" by John Shirley is actually two half-stories under the same cover. There is a 9-year jump between the stories, but it's not a problem. They both sport the same feel, mythos, and primary characters.

The Setup - Slightly futuristic in nature. In the first story, several species of demons descend upon the earth and attack humans, killing them off in very unpleasant ways. In the second half, corporate research into 'psychonomics' coupled with the research of a new pesticide are about to open the door for the Demons to re-enter the world.

The Good - Really good writing; good turns of phrase and wonderful analogies. The first book is gritty, and well-paced. Mr Shirley uses an interesting hybrid of first-person/direct-objective that I really enjoyed, taking me into the subject's head when appropriate, but stepping out for the remainder. The Demons are truly monstrous; their actions truly horrific, and each clan of demon is distinct from the others.

The Bad - Word choices are sometimes ostentatious [Editor's Note: Heh, and *that* observation isn't?] keep a thesaurus nearby. Ideals are completely Californian. The first story merely hints at the 'industry==evil' theme, but the second book will make you fucking choke on it. In fact, the second book isn't so much about Demons as it is about how chemical research and third world countries are Evil, and self-awareness is Good. The demons play such a small part in the second book that all references to them could be removed without significantly changing the story.

The Short Version - A pair of sly, well-written stories about how industries, corporations, and third world countries are evil. And Demons.

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels:

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Demon Barbarian's Guide to Impressing a Girl

For all the Demon Barbarians who read my blog,

This link is for you.

The rest-a-ya, keepeth outeth.

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels:

     0 Comments      Permalink     

New W.O.W. trailer Wows - Wrath of the Lich King

The line between video games and movies blurrs even more with this amazing trailer for the new World of Warcraft game: Wrath of the Lich King

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Friday, August 01, 2008

Font Fight

Brilliant

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.


Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Free E-book - Music 2.0 by Gerd Leonhard

Without a doubt, the music industry is a-changing. For the first time ever, musicians are able to manage their own marketing, promotion and distribution to the entire broadband-connected planet. CDs haven't even completely died yet and the IPOD is already obsolete. It's anyone's guess where this is all going, and Gerd Leonhard is brave enough to make his guess public.

Gerd Leonhard just released a collection of his own blog postings and papers in a FREE e-book called Music2.0. In it, Mr Leonhard made predictions about how the music industry was going to mutate once mixed with the new technologies. You can get the book here.

I'm about a quarter of the way through Music 2.0, and it's a really interesting read. I'd say it is essential reading for people in the music business; especially for independent artists. Really Especially for Older Independent Artists who grew up with music being something you bought at Target on a cassette tape and listened to in a Sony Walkman. The paradigm shift is equal parts traumatic and exciting.

It's interesting to see what Mr Leonhard predicted correctly. One thing he points out is something I've ranted about for years; the changeover of music from a product to a service. The music subscription service I've bitched about for years is finally available thanks to the Verizon/Rhapsody merger, but he predicted this years before I did.

I'm excited to read his current predictions and imagine what things will be like if he is correct when Music 3.0 comes out...

Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: , ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Minneapolis Music Review: Mark Mallman

If you live in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area, there's a handful of names you-you-you outta know, even if you aren't involved with the local music scene. Mark Mallman is one of them.

Imagine you are at a great show, and the band reaches the crescendo at the end of the night; the penultimate build-up to the penultimate climax, and you swear the energy being conjured is so intense that even the walls of First Avenue couldn't possibly contain it...

...That's how Mark Mallman starts the show, and the energy goes up from there.

Make sure to check out his Wikipedia entry. to find out about the Marathon 26.2 Hour and 52.4 Hour SONGS he did. And if you ask me, he was robbed for not getting into the Guinness Book of World Records for the "Longest Pop Song". Trust me though, Mark is able to take that 52.4 hours of energy and squish it all into a half hour show.

The shows are part musical live performance and part...something else. Ever seen someone ride their keyboard like a horse, twirling a microphone cord over his head like a lasso? Ever seen an enactment of a keyboardist approaching his keyboard in the wild, using a chair to fend off it's attacks while he plugs it in? Ever see a keyboardist hold his keyboard out to the bass player so she can kick it to make some improv musical effects?

If you haven't, then you haven't seen Mark Mallman live. And you-you-you really outta.

Musically, Mark Mallman mixes Pop Rocks with Orange Fanta and shakes the hell out of it. In other words, a sweet, sticky colorful mess that will haunt you for days. But check it out yourself: you can hear his latest work "Between the Devil and Middle C" on his website http://www.mallman.com/, (check out his blog while you're there...) and you can buy it directly from the (Mall)man himself: http://www.tradebit.com/download.php/826791.

And finally, this message from the Man of Mall himself:





Art Is Resistance
-Zero

Labels: ,

     0 Comments      Permalink     
Conrad Zero - Minneapolis Musician Author and Demonologist