Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tastes just like the 80's

Quick! How many monster cereals were there? Two? Or Three? Or more???

Just watch this ridiculous video for a silly romp back to mornings of carefree hyperactive breakfasts haunted with artificially-flavored, artificially-colored, full-sugar madness.

Building a retro gaming engine is more affordable than ever before, thanks to the RetroPie Project

AKA ♪♫ Tonight we're gonna compute like it's 1999 ♬

What if you could buy a computer brand new in 2014 that was equally as powerful as the Pentium III you used in 1999? That would be pretty retro right? But what if that computer only cost $35 and had a motherboard slightly bigger than a credit card allowing it to conveniently fit just about anywhere?

If your first thought is "that would run MAME," LEVEL UP: you're a true Retrogeeker.™

But a wise geeker doesn't have the spare geek hours for yet another knock-down drag-out tech project that would waste time-better-spent playing Centipede. No, a wise retrogeeker would put that idea on the back burner until a preconfigured bootable SD image is released by someone with geek to burn.

  1. That time is now.
  2. That download is called "Retro Pie."
  3. That project makes it easy to emulate your favorite games from some of the most nostalgia-inducing systems including:
  • MAME
  • Intellivision
  • Amiga
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Atari 2600
  • NeoGeo
  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Megadrive
  • Super-NES
  • Turbo Grafx 16
  • Playstation 1 
  • and others

These videos like motherfucking Clarissa explain it all:

Basic overview

Install and configure

Add games


All the steps are detailed in this Lifehacker article. And updated Retropie info can be found at

More links

Adafruit's excellent overview of basically the same project

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

People We'll Miss: Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis 1944-2014
Comedian, actor, writer, director and producer Harold Ramis died yesterday, February 24, 2014. He has left an enormous legacy behind him having worked on countless films, television shows and even radio shows, where he got his start on National Lampoon's Radio Hour. You can read all about Harold's achievements on the web as he was an active force even up until his final days, but I won't go into any of that here. Suffice it to say that while he was alive he made many, many people laugh either directly or indirectly. So in tribute to this comedy legend, I present to you one of my favorite scenes from one of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies, Heavy Metal (1981), in which Harold starred along with some his fellow SCTV alums, including John Candy, Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Game Boy in the Palm of Your Hand

12 AA batteries not required
It's not an app, it's not platform dependent, it doesn't cost money so you should just go visit Ben Midi's GameBoy page right now cuz it's freakin' cool. Tap the link below on your touch-screen phone (tablets and PCs work too but don't scale well) and you'll be magically whisked away to a webpage that turns your incredibly expensive, state-of-the-art smartphone into a classic 8-bit monochrome Nintendo GameBoy! LTE data speeds and 8-core CPUs don't mean sh*t when you're playing Mario Bros on a 160x144 pixel black and white screen! The full list of playable games includes: Mario Land, Tetris, Dr. Mario, Bomberman, Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby XXL, Space Invaders, Motocross Maniacs, Bomb Jack, Boxxle 2, Castelian, Centipede and Stopwatch (haven't tried this one out yet, I think I know how it works, though). After recently watching Nintendo smash down anyone trying to steal from their holy vault of intellectual property, however, you can bet Ben's GameBoy page will be coming down fairly quickly so you may want to check it out sooner rather than later (Lawyers? Anyone else smell lawyers?)


Friday, February 21, 2014

Goodnight Dune

It is by will alone my teddy bear sets its mind in motion.
If you were an American kid at any point in the latter half of the 20th century, you probably have fond memories of reading the classic bedtime story, Goodnight Moon, before getting tucked in at night. Written in 1947 by the prolific children's book author, Margaret Wise Brown, this tale of sleepy bunnies, kittens and mittens has long been a staple of nighttime beddy-byes and has helped soothe countless little ones to sleep for years.

But there's always room for improvement,

Enter, Goodnight Dune, by Julia Yu. After stumbling upon a College Humor parody on Reddit about sci-fi children's books, Julia was inspired to create a mash-up of Brown's beloved bedtime story and David Lynch's eerily depicted world of Frank Herbert's Dune, as seen in the 1984 sci-fi epic. Got a geeky kid who loves sandworms and knows what a Gom Jabbar is? Then snuggle up with your little Quisach Haderach and a cup of hot cocoa (spiced, of course) and enjoy this excellent little tribute to two awesome American classics.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Super-Frosted Sugar-Bombs

I prefer Mr. & Mrs. T, myself.
People are always asking me why I love the 80s so much (lie) and here's one of my favorite reasons: because we all got to eat candy for breakfast. Yup, as a child, about half of my favorite brekfast cereals had the word "sugar" their name, and the other half were inspired by toys, games and Saturday morning cartoons. Granted, here in the 21st century you can go out and pick up a box of questionably nutritious Reeses Puffs or Hershey's Cookies and Creme, but it seems like you've got to wade through oceans of Fiber One, Muselix and Shredded Wheat (still? really?) to get to the score. But back when Mr.T and Pac-Man ruled the world, along with He-Man and Strawberry Shortcake, the cereal aisle at our local supermarket was pretty much a giant billboard for all of my favorite TV shows and movies, including Alf.
So let's take a look back at some of those classic, diabetes-inducing offerings from an age where money was God and good health and nutrition were just for hippies.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Voice…Not.

That's British for "you suck."
Something happened to pop music singers between the 1980s and the 2010s. There was a time not too long ago (or maybe it was) when you could flip on your car radio (car radio?) and get a blast of alterno-caterwauling from someone like Robert Smith of the Cure, Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction or David Burne of the Talking Heads, and you wouldn't feel one bit bad about trying to sing along with them. These folks may not technically have been the best vocalizers in the world of pop-rock, but they managed to stand way out and neatly fit in all at the same time. Their lack of technical perfection was in fact, part of the charm and appeal of their music. Can you imagine Just Like Heaven or Burning Down the House being sung by Robin Thicke or Rihanna? Yeah, that ProTools experiment might be interesting for about half a minute, but the final result would be A) nowhere near as good as the originals, you know it, and B) devoid of any human character, you know that too. Suffice to say, Smith's all-over-the-place vocals and Farrell's raspy whine were artistic statements as much as they were instruments that served the music. So put on all of the meat-suits and funny glasses you want, Gaga, your songs are still pablum.

So there we are in late '89, trucking away to the sound of Van Halen slowly turning into the worst band in the universe, and along comes the 90s. Then suddenly, for some unexplained reason, every male lead singer between the ages of 18 and 35 decided that it would be better if they sounded exactly like Eddie Vedder, even Scott Weiland. Sadly this trend contaminated the genetic lineage of pop music so thoroughly that even today, bands still crop up at random sporting a Vedder wannabe at the mic. Things only got worse when a little band called Green Day came out of nowhere and decided to screw up punk rock forever by putting a professionally-trained singer at the helm. (wtf?) Luckily, Billy-Ray Arrmstrong's over-the-top SoCal accent caused so much confusion amongst the masses that nobody even noticed. "Is he trying to sound British?"

But then, in 2002, the game changed forever. After a decade of everyone complaining about how pop music and its associated artists no longer had any heart and had just become part of a massive manufacturing process which removed anything remotely human from the source talent in order to form it into the perfect plastic product, along comes Simon Fuller with American Idol. Bastard. This Gong Show retread took the world by storm and slowly killed off the notion that anything less than utter perfection in a vocalist was desirable. The inevitable imitators followed en masse and now every kid that's grown up in the last decade thinks Daughtry is the pinnacle of rock and roll.

Digital perfection. That's all popular music is about now. No heart, no earth, no whimsy. Just Taylor Swift.

So since there's no longer anything worth listening to on the radio (was there ever, really?) I'm going to put on some Talking Heads. Enjoy and have a good weekend.

Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime by hushhush112