Cheap Peanut Butter

An interesting thing just happened. On my way home, I began craving a simple-but-elegant peanut-butter sandwich on toasted potato bread. I entered the kitchen minutes later and began the process of penetrating the toaster with two slices – fine slices. After rapidly confirming that the toaster was toasting properly and was set to my all-time favorite potato-bread toasting strength, which is 4.5 out of a maximum strength of 9 S.T.P.V. (Super Toasting Power Vortex, my proprietary measuring system), I graduated myself to the familiar position of Peanut-Butter Location and Retrieval Specialist.



T
he peanut-butter is a brand-name I do not regularly buy unless I’m virtually broke, but cannot delete peanut-butter from my personal life, for whatever reason. ‘Hamilton Farms’ – a company that hides behind a bastardized deviation of an otherwise honorable handle. And when I claim honorable, I mean it. Today, in a town of Hamilton there have been less than one-hundred murders since the year 2000! Try that here in Baltimore. Go to the baltimoresun.com and check the year-to-date murder tally. All you have to do is refresh the page every 20 milliseconds or so and it’ll increase by more than one-hundred people every time.

Let us not forget to remember the most lovely Hamiltonian entity ever to live: Alexander Hamilton. One of our Founding Fathers, a staunch defender of the Whiskey Tax, and thwarting-drive of the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion.

So, yes, back to the peanut butter. With spreading knife in hand, I stared at the toaster in anticipation of its spring-loaded tray, and the release of my toast. Indeed, this occurred, but was accompanied by a telepathic announcement:

Here is your damn toast. Take it out of me.

I stood still in the kitchen a moment, trying to grasp the new and depressing fact that my toaster is not only articulate, but snide, smarmy, and seems to have a sense of entitlement to a better life for itself- something I will make certain it never knows – and decided the best thing to grant priority was upholding my composure, appearing aloof, and completion of my sandwichian agenda.

With one liquid-smooth motion acquired during a recent incarceration, I extracted the fresh toast and shrugged off the sentience of the appliance as hallucination or hyperbole on my part.

I spread the peanut butter quickly, and took it back to my desk to consume while communicating with various other persons. Persons that were themselves great distances away from me in the flesh, but by way of “Electrical Connections”, could interact with me in a number of ways, and I with them. Not two minutes into my consumption of the devil sandwich did I start to notice a very slight warming of my chest and upper abdomen. At the same time, A brownish, peanut-buttery color appeared in the lower-most quadrants of my vision.

I peered down and beheld the cherry-on-top of the toasters’ evil cake of smuggery: nearly all of the peanut-butter had spilled onto my shirt, squirting so readily and without notice that it rivaled even the most over-active periods of my ancient teenage libido. I set the sandwitch on my desk and smiled. I had been bested by a toaster once again.

The toaster is the Cuisinart PG-13592.

[box type=”info”]major hat-tips to the great SJ Perelman – this is in part a variation on a theme of his, written in the New Yorker in 1949. [/box]

Flailing My Internet Flagella

I am busily coding and scripting apps and the UI for ramiabraham.com. What am I coding? What am I not coding? One page is going to be all about what haircuts rich and famous people currently have, with a brilliant cost/benefit sociological analysis between their current and past haircuts, and the global impact that each respective haircut, as well as any and all cumulative haircut changes / additions / alterations / coloration / shampoos will have on the world economy.

The borders on every page of the site will be a vast, un-navigable tapestry of Google ads, woven delicately with vague references to unicorns. Maybe some video of unicorns, if I can get it –  however – a bothersome issue with that is I’ve seen so much fake footage of unicorns over the years that it can be difficult, at times, to discern which videos contain REAL footage of unicorns, such as the 1985 documentary hosted by Tom Cruise, “Legend”.

ramiabraham.com will also have a vastly vast archive. This archive shall be the repository for all human knowledge. It will be a Google searchbox with a unicorn above it. This searchbox will be encircled by improperly-uploaded animated gifs of unicorns. Tastefully, though.

UPDATE (May 2010):

It was this way for a while; like 2 hours.

May the Way of the Hero Lead You to the Triforce

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, for Super Nintendo, or Super Famicom, and today, for snes9x and other emulators, the GBA and GB micro, and likely many other things.Simple, mono-directional story-line. amazing gameplay and soundtrack.

I recall the first time I got the pegasus boots, or had to navigate through Blind’s Hideout in the Dark World. I have played and beaten many Zelda games since, and none have the same effect as A Link to the Past.

I have written new guitar transcriptions of the entire score, and have made several modifications and embellishments over my 2005 transcription. Audio and video available for free download soon.

The Well-Tempered Sequencer

I just invested seven hours or so sequencing a portion of a track approximately 750 milliseconds in length. Looping such a short amount of audio over and over and over and over and over for a period of time this long always seems to induce…

Whether or not microscopic lifeforms are utilizing our own advances in nano-technology against us should be of no concern to you.

As is common with electronic-music composers, I just invested seven hours or so sequencing a portion of a track approximately 750 milliseconds in length. Looping such a short amount of audio over and over and over and over and over (and over) for a period of time this long always seems to induce an odd hue of sensory harmony for me, afterward. It is a harmony that filters my senses through the attributes of the audio in question.

In this case, I was writing patterns in hexadecimal columns, altering spatial algorithms of a reverb dll, and interpolating between values manually via column strings, which is the most precise method I’ve found thus far concerning textural manipulation. The latent effect this seems to have on my senses is interesting. I find my brain has momentary difficulty discerning certain commonplace, household sounds.

I’ll take a break to use the bathroom for a moment, and the resonant frequency of the water-tank filling itself up after flushing will be a few hertz away from a ‘G’ note, the leaky faucet simultaneously emitting a 440 Hertz tone in ‘A’, so I’ll scamper to the faucet and try turning the knob – ever so slightly and gingerly – to attempt a pitch correction to A#, thus helping the universe by converting the chord from a ‘second’ to a ‘third’, unaware for that brief moment that not every set of circumstances that produces an audible sound can be regulated, sequenced, or altered in any controlled manner.

There are endless examples, naturally:

You are in a movie theater. A whining, bastard of a child is whining like a bastard in the seat in front of you, ruining your overpriced movie-going experience. One may implement a series of filters by obstructing the airways of the child with a wondrous variety of materials, each containing their own wave-dampening and absorption properties, or one may opt for a dramatic deletion of the waves’ amplitude by inserting a cutlery device into the esophagus. With adequate real-time software, his waveform could be analyzed, and a series of speakers or transducers would then emit the inverse opposite waveform, canceling the original sound if the two are within appropriate spatial parameters of one another.


EDIT
: It is just over one year since this post, and the album is finished. What an amazing experience, as always. Thank you to so many developers that made it possible, especially Juan Antonio Argüelles Rius and Oskari Tammelin.

Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave

Come, watch a fine, feature-length film with me, your host, uh, whatever.

I just went to the super-market to buy some dinner to cook so I can eat it or whatever. Near the checkout, there was a rack of DVD’s. Seeing a Bruce Lee movie I’ve never heard of, I grabbed it, put the DVD in the basket, and paid the most well-spent $4.99 ever. When I got to my apartment, I took a closer look at the DVD, and coudn’t find any actual mention of Bruce Lee, aside from the title on the cover of the DVD’s box. I’m just going to put it in – this Bruce Lee movie, for some entertainment while I cook. You don’t get surprises like this with Netflix or iTunes.

This film is called “Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave”, which I think in English roughly translates to (assuming they’re being truthful about the obvious implication that Bruce Lee has something to do with this movie):

Click here to watch the full movie on YouTube.
(If it’s still up. EDIT: As of 11/2012, it is.)

“Holy hell we’re out of ideas for Bruce Lee merchandise, and we already did the DVD editions of every movie he made, but we have all this lame footage laying around, and I’d like a yacht, and plus Bruce Lee’s son is dead, so we’ll get all the money, so buy this piece of crap, because after you buy it you can call up your friend, and somewhere in the conversation pretend to randomly be wondering:

‘What Bruce Lee movies do you have, man?’

Then he’ll list all the movies that Bruce Lee ever made, and you know that he owns all of them, just like you do, but he answers you anyway because the two of you haven’t talked about Bruce Lee in like 3 months, which is a really long time not to mention Bruce Lee, and when he’s done you can be like

‘Yeah, I have those, of course.’

And then drop the bomb:

‘…and the new one, obviously.’

Then pretend it’s such old news that you don’t even care and change the topic to something that’ll just piss him off, like ‘Oh, dude, my date with your sister was great last night, we played Dungeons and Dragons…and had intercourse repeatedly.

Lol, just kidding Ted.


At five minutes in, this is worthy of MST3k. Nothing has really happened yet. Maybe Bruce Lee sort of comes back from the dead as a ghost that kicks everyone’s ass. Except it’s probably not really him, it’s a guy named Bruce Li or Leigh. The moral of the story is undoubtedly the same as any Bruce Lee movie, however: Bruce Lee will eventually kick everyone’s ass, even if he doesn’t want to. If you go after him, he’ll kill you and absorb residual affection from your girlfriend. A tower of bad guys, a room of mirrors, you can’t beat him with any fancy crap like that.

Happening now – ten minutes in or so, there are these two guys studying in a dojo, Ryu and Ken style, and one of them says (paraphrasing) “Screw the master’s teachings, I want money and power. I am leaving the dojo right now, going to America, and I’ll be back in three years with mad money and power, and I’m gonna ask you to join me, but you’ll see that I’ve become evil, so you’ll say no because you love our Sensei and the way of Buddha, and the last fight scene will be me and you fighting to the death, except by then I can kick your ass, so the ghost of Bruce Lee helps you and your guys kill me, but in between now and then you’ll have a love interest, and Bruce Lee will teach you some philosophical stuff, and you’ll have to beat up like ten thousand bad-guy pawns. But it’s cool, they’ll only attack one at a time, and none of them believe in using a firearm, even though they sell heroin and kill helpless girls, and trash Chinese-food restaurants for a living. ”

Ah – the guy that leaves the dojo for riches gets killed while in America, from a gambling debt or dysentery or something. This movie must have had a horribly low budget, something like ten billion dollars. But Hong Kong dollars, which is like three cents in World War II-era German Marks U.S. currency and a super-mega-ultra-stoned director with one eye and no ears and leprosy.

There’s this scene where the good guy is depressed, and he’s at a bar drinking shots of “rum”. To illustrate that he is taking shot after shot after shot, they show footage of him taking the shot, then footage of a slimy, greasy anorexic stripper on the stage twirling around on a pole (likely wondering if she’ll have the time to go apply to be a real stripper somewhere in downtown Hong Kong, after they have finished filming her for this scene), then they show the same footage of him taking the shot, then the stripper again, then the same footage again. Four times. Ah – Now he’s at home. A bald black man jumps out of his closet, as bald black men love to do in the apartments of easily excitable Chinese men. The intruder – I kid you not – is wearing big white underwear, leather boots, a huge black cape with the Dracula collar, and is carrying a tiny little tomahawk, I guess a Village People prop.

Nice, another flashback. Wow – this one is unbeatable: The sensei of these two guys, earlier in his life – (this is seriously in the movie; they did a flashback, and some lady, presumably the love interest,is telling the good guy about it) – he ran a different, highly successful dojo. One day, during a lesson, a student of his decided to try to break a brick with his forehead, but hurt his stupid head instead. The parents of the student sued the sensei and took “every penny he had, millions and millions of dollars, and he was ruined, so he moved away and started over.” Umm…o…kaaay…now there’s a cowboy on the screen for some reason. They did a slow-pan close-shot of him, starting at the feet, and going up to his beady black eyes, creamy and jello-like in appearance. Ok, Bruce Lee is actually not in this movie at all, nor did he have anything to do with it. Maybe it is a guy named Bruce Li. It is.

P.S. – On the back of the box, in the credits, the Art department reads exactly like this:
[Art Director: WONG KIM FATT DICK STEVENSON CARLO VENI]
On IMDB

Edit, 2011: I forgot this was published, amazingly, on a movie review site. Yep.

In The Beginning

In the beginning, there was, well, there was all the stuff we have today, everything was just much closer together.

In the beginning, there was…well, there was all the stuff we have today, everything was just much closer together. Then some stuff happened and God or ‘The Great Something’ exclaimed “Let stuff be awesome” and then the Central Office of Kabbalic Installation & Earthly Deployment Administration Divisionary Association Department of Organizations Dependent On Omnipotence (C.O.O.K.I.E. D.A.D.A. D.O.O.D.O.O.) got to work on planets and whatever creatures could be compiled at the time with very few or no errors and BAM!

Or ZIP! or POW!, I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But basically, you fast forward that timeline a few weeks and here we are, when at any given moment, there are hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of trillions of quadrillions of people toiling away furiously, groping integers and polishing recursive function into oblivion.

I try to imagine explaining that to people who lived in a time of very limited communication – smoke signals, beacons, lean and speedy messengers running through fields, that era. Which is, in fact, most of our history.

Horse-powered travel was the fastest way to travel until 1804 – the year trains were invented in England. There was a regression, due to various wars and other events, perpetuated largely by the Mongols, and the Roman empire.

This is something I found particularly notable: the technology in use during the age of the Roman empire actually surpasses that of the technology used one thousand years later.

A big reason for this is because when Rome fell, few people understood the Roman machinations, devices, and underlying operating principles.

If there was a great war today, and all technology were destroyed (and along with it, any instruction on its use or construction), how do you explain so much to new generations, without the benefit of context or example?

In order to make an apple pie from scratch…

Yes, the 1980’s was tough for us all, but we made it. What am I talking about here? Nothing. I’m making words as files upload to a server. I must confess; at times, I just like to feel my fingers on the keyboard. Usually this results in writing lots of code or music, but at times, words seems necessary.

Also, to my loyal readers: As the two of you may have noticed, I’ve switched to WordPress to power by blog. I like it.

Update, May 2013: Wow. Memories. Less than a month or so after this post, I began design and development exclusively for WordPress sites.