May 31, 2005

Sleater-Kinney and anger management

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:32 PM

After talking up the Sleater-Kinney album earlier, you may be wondering where my review is: I'm saving it for Sunday so I can review the concert simultaneously (but it's good). Meanwhile, The Onion AV Club has an interview with band member Carrie Brownstein. I enjoyed this comment:

CB: I think that's how we approached a lot of the songwriting on this record, whether it was with Corin's voice, really getting her to the point where she was just mad at us. "Why do you want me to sing this differently?" To the point where she would be so mad that then, when we went back into the part, she would be screaming, and it would be incredible. And we'd be like, "That's exactly what we wanted!" And she would just be like, "Arrrggh!"

Sounds about right—in fact, I'm just surprised they didn't use this technique on previous records.

I am Jack's music directory.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:47 PM

I applaud this move:

Microsoft Longhorn Loses 'My' Prefix

Ending a longstanding tradition, Microsoft Corp. plans to stop using the word "my" as the default prefix for such folders as "My Documents," "My Music," "My Pictures" and others along those lines. Starting in the next Windows version, due out next year, folders will be known simply as "Documents," "Music," and so on.


This is long overdue. I personally cannot stand the cutesy and childish "My" prefix and usually make an active attempt to eliminate it from my Windows installation. Unfortunately, after I rename the music folder to "Audio", various programs will decide they need to put something in "My Music" and create that folder again.

So thank you Microsoft for getting rid of that Fisher-Price shit. If I wanted my operating system to condescend to me, I'd have bought a Mac.

[Joking! Don't hurt me, Mac users!]

May 30, 2005

Calm, for the moment [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 10:44 AM

Check out the on-time open thread! Everything is so calm and orderly right now, but next week I start traveling...

The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday: Basically, this is Craig Finn ranting into a microphone while his band plays badass rock music in the background. It's actually pretty awesome. Based on the number of recurring characters throughout the album, there's an overall story being told here, but I haven't listened carefully enough to get a clear picture of it yet. "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night"

UPDATE: It helps if I link the music file properly. In my defense, the link on the sidebar worked.

May 27, 2005

Brin Blogging

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:25 AM

Sci-fi writer David Brin has a blog. It's focused on his political philosophy, which has always been interesting reading for me (as I've come across various essays of his over the years). He seems to make long (by blog standards) posts about once a week, with an obligatory remark about how he's been too swamped to blog.

May 26, 2005

Star Wars Morality

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:40 PM

In reading various Star Wars commentary I've come across a lot of the backstory to the movies, particularly about the Sith. Apparently it's standard practice for the Sith to betray each other: either the apprentice kills his master to become the new master, or the master offs the apprentice and finds a replacement. Given Sith ethics, this makes perfect sense.

But wait: at the end of Return of the Jedi Vader betrays and kills his master, and this is presented as a majorly redemptive act! This is only redemptive if we think that Vader has some loyalty to the emperor, but it turns out the Sith don't value loyalty at all, and the master/apprentice relationship only exists as long as it's mutually beneficial to both parties. In other words, by killing the Emperor at the end of Episode VI, Vader is only doing precisely what would be expected of a Sith.

In fact, we know that he was planning to kill Darth Sidious in favor of Luke the whole time—remember his proposal in Episode V, "together we will rule the galaxy as father and son". So basically this was his plan all along, except that he accidentally got killed in the process.

Now, one could argue that in the end he didn't kill Sidious to advance his own personal power, but instead did it just to save Luke (and without regard for his own safety). This is true, but again it's perfectly in line with Sith ethics. We are told over and over that the Dark Side is about giving in to one's passions, while the Jedi way is to remain detached and unemotional. Hence, when Vader betrays the Emperor out of his paternal attachment to Luke, he's still following the basic tenets of the Dark Side. (And still ignoring Yoda's advice from Episode III, to give up his personal attachments.)

So, why give Vader any credit for returning to the light at the end of the series?

[One interesting interpretation of the whole saga I've seen various commentators hinting at is that Luke represents a "third way" between the Jedi philosophy of extreme detachment and the Sith philosophy of being ruled by one's passion. Furthermore, this is the kind of balance in the Force that Qui-Gon Jinn (who had serious disagreements with the Jedi Council) was trying to engineer back in Episode I. It doesn't really seem to be what George Lucas had in mind (since he's not terribly subtle with the lessons he does intend) but it's an interesting way to look at the series.]

May 25, 2005

The Star Wars Review

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 9:21 PM

It's been my experience that when bloggers (myself included) promise to post something later, there's about a 90% chance that they don't actually do it. Despite this trend, I present my comments on Star Wars Episode III—the spoiler-free part first, and the spoilers below the fold.

As I said in the earlier post, it's only incrementally better than episodes I and II. The improvements mainly arise from the darker subject matter (which give Lucas fewer opportunities to indulge in Jar Jar style silliness) and the more battle-heavy plot (which gives the characters fewer opportunities to speak at any length). The writing is still terrible; Tom Stoppard was supposedly consulted on the script but his influence is nowhere in evidence. The acting is still wooden—Natalie Portman is the worst offender, and the fact that she is reportedly a good actress in other contexts (e.g. Garden State, which I still haven't seen) leads me to believe that Lucas has replaced her with a robot in the style of noted Star Wars geek Warren.

All these flaws were really pretty fatal; since I didn't find the characters believable, I didn't care much what happened to them, and so the numerous fight scenes didn't create much suspense. Sure, they looked good, but I might as well have been watching a well-crafted screensaver. Oh well. At least I've got my DVDs of the original trilogy. How long until Serenity comes out?

SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Continue reading "The Star Wars Review"

Summer is good [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 10:38 AM

The semester's over, and not coincidentally I am updating almost all of the media categories in the sidebar.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Executive summary: better than episodes I and II, but not by much. This deserves its own post (with its own spoiler warning), which I'll write when I get home tonight and can look at the notes I made while I was watching.

Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose: Just started this. The new visual style is very nice (especially Shion's new look). Unfortunately Yasunori Mitsuda is no longer composing the music— not only is he very good, but he was able to connect back to Xenogears with appropriate musical motifs, since he composed the music for that game as well. The combat system seems to have mutated a bit but feels similar. Question: Why introduce a character as bad-ass as Canaan and not make him playable? Even if he's evil, or dies, he can still be playable at the beginning (as Virgil was in the first episode). But I'm not very far in, maybe he'll join the party later anyway.

Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore: I'm only a chapter into this right now. Instead I will review the book I just read:

Peter Høeg: Smilla's Sense of Snow: It took me forever to finish this, but mainly because I was doing other things all semester; I really enjoyed it despite not reading it very fast. The plot is on the mystery/thriller model, following a Dane/Greenlander woman's investigation of a murder, but the narrative switches between this storyline and backstory developing some of the characters, especially Smilla, in the context of Greenland's experience as a colony of Denmark. I found Smilla to be an especially compelling character; she is someone who at an intellectual level wants to maintain an icy detachment and not get emotionally involved with anything, but in practice she isn't always able to do this.

Architecture in Helsinki: In Case We Die: This album has a very unusual sound—crazy indie pop from an octet with a ridiculous number of instruments (the liner notes include a matrix with the list of instruments on one axis and the tracklist on the other), it sounds something like the over-the-top anime version of the Fiery Furnaces. "Wishbone" is one of the best tracks, a song about the exhilaration of falling in love. (At least I think that's what it's about, the lyrics are somewhat opaque.) This CD was somewhat tough to find; I looked in vain at the Telegraph music stores, eventually finding it at the Amoeba Records on Haight when I went to see M.I.A.

In other music news, the new Sleater-Kinney album is out, and apparently it's awesome. I was going to buy it on Friday, so I could listen to it on the way to D&D, but after reading that review I may not be able to wait that long. (Did I mention I'm seeing them live next week?)

May 19, 2005

End-of-semester Musings

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 6:34 PM

My students took the final exam today, so (since I don't have to grade) I'm basically done teaching for the semester. I feel like I should celebrate this somehow...

This is not to imply that I regret taking the GSI position: it reminded me that I like teaching, and was good preparation for my qualifying exam. It's clear that there's a lot of room for improvement as far as my teaching skills, so in that regard the practice was valuable. On the other hand, I won't be doing this again as a graduate student (unless for some reason it becomes absolutely necessary): the added workload created too much stress at times, and I need to be able to concentrate on research in order to graduate with any efficiency.

The reduction in workload is coming at an opportune time, given my travels in June. I have a Call of Cthulhu game to prepare, and Italian adventures to plan...

E3 First Impressions [Guest Blogger: Lemming]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:09 AM

Lemming is at E3! He sends along this report:

Here's the quick version, in a word: OMFG!

I spent most of the day doing volunteer work, whoring myself out in order to earn my pass for the exhibition hall, followed by about an hour and a half in South Hall (one of the two main halls), and about 20 minutes in Kentia Hall (the stuff targeted at vendors and developers, not for mass consumption). I ramble on a bit about the volunteer work first, so skip down a bit if you just want to hear about the show.

The first thing I learned is that Gary Coleman is irritable. And very, very short. Though he didn't deign to speak with me, I had to give his little entourage directions to the right line to get their passes.

The real celeberties I swooned over was when a couple of Square-Enix employees who came to me to figure out what line they needed to be in. No, I have no idea who exactly they were or what they do, but they were employees and they *weren't* just the hired help to run the show. I kept my composure... barely. "It's just that, no *human* has powers like you do," Square-Enix.

I also learned today that when you have two lines, both of which are long enough to loop around the entire South Hall lobby (easily several hundred people in each line), and when sometimes the thing that determines which line you need to be in is whether your confirmation code starts with a number or a letter, people get confused. People get *really* confused. My job, for the first half of the day, was maintaining order in one of these said lines. I have my voice back now, mostly.

After that, I got to play a Johnny Mnemonic mini-game. They use Palm Pilots (actually, Visors) with an attachment to swipe attendee badges at various checkpoints--very convenient. The problem is that they have very little RAM, and after around 500 swipes they need to be taken to the central office, the card data needs to be offloaded, and then the memory cleared. They had enough visors to exactly cover the checkpoints, plus one extra. My job was to constantly run around the checkpoints, and when one of them got to around 3 or 400 swipes, swap in the spare, and take the full one back to the office to offload and wipe. Lather, rinse repeat.

Of course, since I got this "special" assignment, the volunteer manager couldn't find me when she came around to let all the volunteers off of their shifts so they could go see the show (I was on patrol, yay!). I ended up being on the job for a couple extra hours, and didn't make it to the show floor until just after 4pm.

Even at that, the day was totally worth it. Once inside the main hall, I just stumbled around in a daze. I've only ever seen extravagance that tops this in Las Vegas, and even at that, by less than you might think.

The Rockstar booth? More like small city block, and even still they didn't have any place for regular attendees--just a large area filled with parked busses and RVs (yes, on the showroom floor), all enclosed in a cyclone fence as if to say, "Fuck off, we know we're hot." Occasionally they'd throw t-shirts over the fence. I did see a rather tough looking man try to scale the fence around back. An even tougher looking bouncer yanked him down, roughed him up a bit, and sent him on his way.

As much of a sleazebag male as I am, when I go to a videogame convention, I'm there for the videogames, so booth babes (while nice to look at) aren't really my thing. But sometimes, well, it really is something special. All I have to say is this: "I win."

lemming and babes

I played a bit of Dragon Quest N, but couldn't find my way out of the damn town. What I did find was an impressive display of stuffed Jellies.

slimes

I want to take these home almost as badly as I want to take that last foursome home...

I didn't manage to pull down any swag today, except for a deck of cards. The company giving those out was called "IQ" and while I hardly remember the game they were showing off (not at all impressive), they used up most of their space to put up a large stage where they had a squad of girls singing and dancing every half hour or so... Classy.

Square-Enix didn't have any playable FFXII stuff going, but they did have an interesting FF XI setup--every hour, they pick two parties of either 4 or 5 people randomly from the audience. They get to choose between a couple of pre-fab level 50 or so characters, and then choose what boss they want to fight from a big poster. Depending on how hard the boss is, they get a prize if they win--a t-shirt for the super dink boss, and the last two on the list were top-of-the-line motherboards and graphics cards. I *just* missed a party winning the video card today, apparently the organizers were really surprised they pulled it off.

I'm getting super-tired, so now for the super fast summaries.

Kingdom Hearts II looks like the first, only a little better. And the statue of Mickey with a key sword was fairly cool.

The next Castlevania game for the DS looks sweet.

Soul Caliber III features a chick with a hula-hoop of death. Possibly from space.

The Konami booth has *the* best carpet for sitting and resting (the entire show floor was carpeted).

They had a vintage video game system collection on display--very cool.

Those of us who had a chance to make it to the floor today got together just a bit ago to share the skinny on where to get the coolest shows and the best swag--between that, and the fact that I'll be there the whole day, I expect tomorrow to be killer. In fact, when I stop to take a rest (I'm sure I'll need to at some point), I will try to take advantage of some of the free wireless access points and post in the comments from the show. Yarr!

May 16, 2005

Urban Iditarod

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 10:29 PM

Continuing on the subject of San Francisco athletic events, a correspondent alerts me to the Urban Iditarod. This is like the normal Iditarod, except replacing the sleds with shopping carts, the dogs with human runners, and using bars as rest stops. Brilliant. I should participate one of these days, possibly by recruiting/press-ganging people into a team.

This seems like the sort of thing bored Techers would come up with...

May 15, 2005

Bay to Breakers: Overheard

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 8:04 PM

Overheard on the course:

Some dude discoursing on number theory. It sounded like he was explaining the Euler phi function (although it may have been the Riemann zeta function; he was being somewhat imprecise).

Most races have people handing out cups of water; this one has in addition tables with cups of beer. One such table was at the foot of Hayes Street Hill, with a man enticing runners with, "The hill looks smaller when you're drunk!" (Somehow I suspect the opposite is true.)

Naked man to naked woman, around mile 7: "I shouldn't have smoked that bowl at the starting line."

Proselytizing! There are some fundamentalist Christians who apparently show up every year and stand by the side of the course with signs and megaphones. Come on, at least run the race for Jesus. Lazy bastards. Anyway, I guess they figure this is a major gathering of the hellbound, which would only be reinforced by the amount of jeering they drew.

Bay to Breakers: Photos

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 7:47 PM

I ended up with only a handful of photos, uploaded to Flickr here. I was hoping to get some photos of costumes, but the crowds were generally too thick for me to get close enough. Or I was running past them. What I do have are crowd shots, or structures visible above the crowd. This tiki hut, for example, which is mounted on wheels and rolls along the course while people inside dispense beverages.

bay to breakers: tiki hut

(These are more low-res cameraphone photos. I blame this for the truly abysmal quality of the Ocean Beach shot. That, and the fog.)

Bay to Breakers 2005

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 1:23 PM

Technical difficulties have prevented me from getting the pictures up (which are mostly crowd shots; didn't get close enough to the good costumes to get a picture, or was running when I passed them). However, I did finish—slightly faster than last year, which isn't saying much. This year I arrived too late to get a good starting position, and for most of the race my speed was limited by how fast I could get around people. (It took 40 minutes to cover the first two miles this way, but I picked up a little speed after that.)

I'll make another attempt at uploading photos after I take a shower.

May 14, 2005

m.i.a. in action

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 6:22 PM
m.i.a. in action

It's difficult to tell, but that blur in the center of the frame is M.I.A. herself. I noticed yesterday that she'd be playing Amoeba Music before her show at the Fillmore tonight, and since I was in the city anyway to pick up Bay To Breakers materials, I decided to drop by. (This post also constitutes a test of my phone-photoblogging procedure.)

May 13, 2005

Two New, One Missing [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:41 PM

Yeah, I didn't post an open thread this week. So I'm posting one now that will cover this weekend and next week. Also, I will make up for the lack of posts by photoblogging Bay to Breakers on Sunday.

My schedule for June is solidifying:
June 4: Sleater-Kinney concert
June 8-11: Travel to Pasadena
June 16-19: Travel to Chicago
June 26-July 8: Travel to il Ciocco, Italy

So, that will be a pretty awesome month. (But maybe I should start recruiting guest bloggers...)

Double music post today:

M. I. A.: Arular: Did I first hear about M. I. A. on Boing Boing? Or was it one of the political blogs? She's been getting a lot of attention for her distinctive international sound and her lyrics that touch on subjects like violent revolution. The music is a very interesting mixture of electronic and hip-hop with some exotic elements thrown in: try "Amazon" for example.

New Order: Waiting for the Sirens' Call: As a fan of some of their musical descendants (Franz Ferdinand in particular) I was intrigued to learn that New Order themselves had a new album out. And it's quite good! I'm not extremely familiar with their previous work (except for the most widely played stuff) so I can't say anything authoritative on how it compares to that, but it certainly holds its own against the other recent new wave bands. Also, as someone with way-too-many Castlevania remixes on his hard drive, I have a certain appreciation for a song called "Dracula's Castle".

Ok, one more music item: The New Pornographers have released the title track from their upcoming album Twin Cinema; it can be found here.

May 12, 2005

San Francisco Sightseeing

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 5:10 PM

I spent yesterday walking/driving around San Francisco with a friend who's visiting from New York. Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time; the day was very clear and it was by far the best view of the city I'd ever seen. (The side you can see from the East Bay is somewhat less interesting.) In an unfortunate oversight I didn't have my digital camera with me, but took the opportunity to break in the camera on my new phone. I've uploaded a couple of these low-res photos to Flickr; unfortunately they don't really capture how good the view was.

golden gate

May 10, 2005

Gazebo reader sighting

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 2:33 PM

Those of you who know Wren (who comments here occasionally) should check out her appearance in the NY Times today.

I figured out the article was up when I started getting hits from people Googling her name...

May 6, 2005

Friday Catblogging 5/6

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:34 PM

I missed a few weeks... but catblogging is back!

catblogging 5/6

That's Omen standing in front of the screen door, giving the "let me inside!" look.

May 5, 2005

The Faint (also, Bright Eyes)

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:06 PM

The concert was in an exhibition hall with the main dance floor in the center and bars set up on elevated levels to each side. I opted for the natural compromise of spending The Faint's set on the floor and then watching Bright Eyes from the bar. (Due to a timing misjudgement I arrived too late to see much of the first opening act, Her Space Holiday; the bit I did hear sounded like what you'd expect from the name of their band.)

The Faint were awesome, playing most of Dance Macabre and Wet From Birth (and choosing the right songs to leave out, although "Symptom Finger" would have worked well, and I have a special affection for "Phone Call"). I especially liked that they had a violinist and a cellist on stage for the appropriate songs on the latter album, and one of the regular band members played the trumpet to open "Southern Belles". It turned out that Bright Eyes would use all these instruments as well.

(I hadn't seen the music video for "Agenda Suicide" before; it was projected behind the stage when they played the song, and it's quite good. Turns out it can be downloaded here.)

Bright Eyes came on looking like an escaped mental patient, all twitchy and hunched over. Despite (because of?) this he gave a very good performance, his voice coming through as clear and intense as it is on the record. He played all but one song from Digital Ash, plus a couple I wasn't familiar with. Happily, the squalling baby on "Ship in a Bottle" was replaced by a wailing guitar.

Caught the last train to the East Bay by five minutes. (Maybe I should consider driving next time.) In my mailbox when I got home was my ticket to the next concert: Sleater-Kinney on June 4. This was the band that hooked me on indie rock in the first place, so I'm pretty excited to see them live.

May 4, 2005

The College Board thinks this post should be longer.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:27 PM

PZ Myers is stunned by the stupidity of the new SAT writing test. An MIT professor studied the sample essays provided by the College Board, and determined that the length of an essay was the best predictor of its score, and that students were not penalized for incorrect facts.

I am not at all surprised by this; I expected something like this as soon as I heard they were adding a writing section to the test. Standardized writing tests suck, it's almost a law of nature. I don't think it's possible to come up with a grading scheme for something as subjective as writing that could apply broadly enough to be used on the SAT. So the grade ends up being based on length. And unless the essay topic is totally generic, the grader won't necessarily be an expert in it, so there's no way to fact-check consistently. Hence, allowing students to make shit up. I had to take several standardized writing tests while in the public school system, and they all had these problems. The SAT should leave this for the college application essays. (This is also one of the reasons I object to the overemphasis on standardized testing in the No Child Left Behind Act.)

Brazil rejects Bush AIDS program

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 2:50 PM

Via Boing Boing,

Brazil spurns US terms for Aids help

Brazil yesterday became the first country to take a public stand against the Bush administration's massive Aids programme which is seen by many as seeking increasingly to press its anti-abortion, pro-abstinence sexual agenda on poorer countries.

Campaigners applauded Brazil's rejection of $40m for its Aids programmes because it refuses to agree to a declaration condemning prostitution.

The government and many Aids organisations believe such a declaration would be a serious barrier to helping sex workers protect themselves and their clients from infection.

I always enjoy seeing the middle finger raised at the Bush administration, but I hope they did the cost/benefit on this one. The argument would have to be that the damage to public health from adopting the puritanical riders to the Bush money is greater than $40 million of benefits. This is certainly plausible, but not obviously true. (There's also a certain benefit to refusing to allow American religious conservatives to dictate your nation's social policy. On the other hand, this is hard to quantify, and the typical Brazilian AIDS sufferer may not care too much.)

Brazil does have a history of this sort of thing. Remember when the US started fingerprinting foreign visitors, and in retaliation Brazil started fingerprinting Americans? That was great.

May 3, 2005

Snow Patrol

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:41 PM

This was a fun concert; Gary Lightbody was very enthusiastic and good at working the crowd. I think they played all the songs from Final Straw ("Chocolate" to start the set and "Run" to end it were pretty obvious choices), a few older songs, and some new material. I liked the new songs, and am now wondering when the next release will be... I caught a direct reference to my favorite Reindeer Section song in one of them. (Reindeer Section is Lightbody's side project, a 27-member Glasgow supergroup.) "Post Punk Progression" sounded really good despite my not liking the recorded version (on the Spitting Games single).

The opening band, Embrace, was a good match. I hadn't heard Embrace before—they're a UK band that hasn't been distributed in the US for some time, but apparently their new album will appear on this side of the pond in a few weeks. I'll probably check it out, since there were at least a couple songs I really liked.

Tomorrow: The Faint, oh yeah, and Bright Eyes. I neglected yesterday to link to Dropkick the Faint which is a Flash game that allows you to sample their music whilst kicking their asses. Now that they're touring with Conor Oberst they should add him in as a bonus round...

May 2, 2005

Quiet and Noise [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:02 AM

This was an actual quiet weekend during which I had no need to do work before Monday. I took the opportunity to wrap up some loose ends, return to an old project, and do laundry.

The coming week, on the other hand will not be quiet in a literal sense:

Today (Monday): Snow Patrol at the Warfield. I blogged about their latest album Final Straw here. (The mp3 link has since expired; there are some downloads on the band website.)

Wednesday: Bright Eyes backed by The Faint, who are also opening. This tour is focused on Bright Eyes' Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (blogged here), as opposed to the simultaneously-released (and also very good) I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. I do like Bright Eyes, but it's The Faint that sold me on this concert, as Danse Macabre and Wet From Birth are two of my favorite albums. Saddle Creek is pretty good about making tracks available for download, so if you're curious I encourage checking out the websites.

As for last week's media...

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room: Really well-done and coherent account of the Enron collapse. It's a bit slow getting started, but steadily cranks up the outrage. By the time it gets to the California energy crisis it's very gripping, and by the end you will want to personally kick Ken Lay in the nuts. The film is adapted from the book of the same title, and much of the content consists of interviews with the authors of said book and various ex-Enron employees (across the spectrum from righteous-whistleblower to haunted-by-guilt to completely-amoral), footage of the Congressional hearings, and those astonishing audiotapes of Enron traders being really evil. This is all edited together in a compelling fashion.

There are several reviews of Hitchhiker's Guide in comments to this post. Thanks guys!

Autechre: Untilted: Autechre's been doing their fractal experimental electronica thing for a while now, so I can assume that it sounds to me like video game music only because video game music actually sounds like Autechre. "Pro Radii" seems like it should be the soundtrack to a Contra-style run-and-gun shooter, probably in some rusty factory as creepy alien larvae burst out of walls. When the track ends one expects the boss music to start up. This is good music for driving, although one may find oneself reaching for the trigger to the hood-mounted rocket launcher, or scanning the road for powerups. Or is that just me?