Posted in Call it what you like! on January 29th, 2003 by admin

Got the new (and much improved) lyrics to ‘Birthday in Black’ from Damon in the email last night. Simply put, they’re great. They fit the melody better than mine did, and capture the dark and moody feel of the instrumental track much better as well. Whee! So, there will be a new version of that tune up at some time in the not-so-distan future.


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 26th, 2003 by admin

New developments in the ‘there’s only seven/nine/eleven/whatever real plots in the whole world concept. BioWare, makers of the Neverwinter Nights online D&D game, have produced a ‘Plot Wizard’ which apparently allows DMs to create adventures by filling in their own details on a pre-existing plot scaffold. The first release included three of the basic high fantasy plots:

Q: How many plot templates will be included with the 1.27 patch?

A: The 1.27 update will include 3 plot blueprints: Fetch and Retrieve, Deliver, and Assassination.

So, about half of Western fantasy lit is now covered. As the blueprints are hard-coded, maybe we can have some logic tests done to see which are truly different, and we can at last get to the bottom of this whole debate. Then maybe we can pass the resulting algorithms off to Hollywood. Oh, wait, maybe that’s already been done. Ah well, another bit of pointless speculation drained away.


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 24th, 2003 by admin

Wow. Turns out you can carry all your tunes around with all of your DNA on an iPOD. Now we can really test if Page and Rodgers are truly radioactive.


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 22nd, 2003 by admin

Apparently, the whole political lawn sign issue is not restricted to Buffalo. One mobile correspondent reports:

“I was visiting Mom & Dad in Louisville a couple weekends ago and was struck by
the huge number of yard signs calling for not invading Iraq – it seemed like
every political yard sign from the past few years and then some had been
recycled for this purpose. Maybe it was just their part of town, but I’ve
never seen anything like it before. Is this happening in other parts of the

Ouch. Getting struck by all those signs must really hurt. ZSBrian responds from the upstate NY area:

“I haven’t seen a huge number of protest signs, but the sign of choice seems to be “Drop Bush, not bombs.” You’d think with Syracuse U. being so close, they’d all be bandwagonning. (Yes, it’s a word. Anyone? Bueller?)”

Drop on, you crazy corn-fed mule.


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 17th, 2003 by admin

Whee! Bottled the beer tonight. Then, I went out and stuck a stick (nice ring to it) in the undisturbed snow on the back porch, which came up to the 5.5 inch mark. Yikes! I hope nobody around here figures out that the snow followed us from Buffalo to Tennessee; they might run us right out of town.


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 14th, 2003 by admin

My current websession is the online diary of Samuel Pepys. Pepys is thought to be one of the first true bureaucrats. His quasi-secret diary has long been a source of information about the Restoration years for historians, and some smart fellow realized that in these blog-crazed days, it made great sense to convert Mr. Pepys’ famous diaries, one day at a time, into a blog. Annotations by readers (which, by the way, are a large part of the fun so don’t miss them), discussion of what different kinds of 16th century meat products were, and everything. Neat!


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 13th, 2003 by admin

You know, every time I hear ‘Tainted Love’ come on the regular radio, I grit my teeth. Every time I hear it come on Perkigoth or college radio, I smile. Why? The ‘Where Did our Love Go?’ coverlet in the extended version is so sublime as to be worth the ordeal, of course. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Building Bridges

Posted in Call it what you like!, Indie?, Rants on January 12th, 2003 by admin

Song of the week, 12 January 2003:

Building Bridges
(vocal Marg)
mp3 here!<<<

Oops. Funny how these things work out. This tune was recorded a while ago, and has existed as one of my ‘safeties’ since then: not generally sent around, and held ready for one of those weeks in which I got so busy or sick that I couldn’t finish on time. Really, it isn’t meant to be part of a suite of ‘Verbing Nouns’ songs with last week’s offering. Honest.

In some ways, ‘Building Bridges’ got this site going. Marg and I put together a version without intro or proper mix for R.A. Rosenberg’s art-in-progress party, and the whole experience inspired me to try this nutty experiment of a song posted every week.

The song was, in turn, partly brought on by a funny story. When we lived in Buffalo, Marg and I observed a peculiar thing. When the locals there are pissed about a political issue, protesting or writing letters doesn’t seem to be their primary response. Instead, they put a sign in their yard. Sometimes this can get rather comical, as it turns into an arms race as different factions rush to get their voices, um, seen. Such was the case with the Peace Bridge debate, a stupid episode in Buffalo politics of truly representative proportions. I can’t really explain the whole thing here (not enough space); suffice it to say that more bridge capacity to Canada is needed, and there is some *ahem* polite disagreement on how to fix the problem.

Anyway, after seeing hundreds of signs for ‘Twin Span Now!’ or ‘Signature Span or Death!’ or whatever for months, it was refreshing to see, in a small Elmwood Avenue shop, an alternative crackpot viewpoint. There was a cheaply printed sign calling out for a ‘PONTOON BRIDGE NOW!’ About the same time, I started to notice the ‘Just Build the Damn Bridge’ bumper stickers, which it turns out, were being distributed by the father of a friend of ours. The sign and the stickers were enough to lodge the debate in my unconscious, where it burbled silently until helping to start this tune. Which then took off and did things on its own, of course.

Building bridges
(c) 2002 Mark Frey

building bridges isn’t as easy as it used to be
everybody wants to have their say
the more we learn
the tougher it gets to keep it all straight
until common sense starts to get in the way

do we do it for money?
maybe for love?
are we making our plans at the stern insistence
of a distant voice that calls from above?

or are we building bridges, just building bridges

shapes and colors
pretty postcards hang on workshop walls
funny bits of cheerfully aging reality
some will outlast
the original vision, lost to rubble
in the face of time, final force of equality

did we do it for ego?
maybe for power?
and will it matter
once wind and rain have laid low every tower?

that we were building bridges, building bridges

[Make these connections because we do-reaching out the way we can]
[going to have to see it through-without a goal or perfect plan]

Masterpiece or folly
who can say before the last bolt’s driven
the last stone down, the last line strung in the sky
real or metaphor
spanning space between tiny lives
a kind of answer to wondering why

Building bridges, building bridges.


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 12th, 2003 by admin

A bit of cheerful MLP:
Greg Costikyan has a blog about game design going on here. Might be interesting, as he’s (at least in part) responsible for both some of my favorite and some of the worst games I’ve seen: such classics as Paranoia, and Toon, but also DeathMaze. Of course, the latter gets points for being an ‘intersesting concept’ for the time it was made, so maybe that’s the running theme in his work. Did you know what a Ludography is? I didn’t.


Posted in Call it what you like! on January 6th, 2003 by admin

Whew. I’m back. Almost two weeks of vacation, backed up to a few days’ worth of the nastiest cold I’ve had in years, sure can slow you down. There is a new tune today, though.

This afternoon, I finally started making the beer for RileyCon. The first day of beermaking, for those of you who haven’t tried it, involves a couple of hours of puttering around in the kitchen. During that time, if you’re anything like me (which, oddly enough, I am), you find it difficult to step away from the precious boiling mass o’ stuff. So, you sit in the kitchen, do email on the wireless, and listen to music. We’ll see if a little of the Pogues seeped into the mix.