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Pilch

Pilch

The Xbox One Is Garbage And The Future Is Bullshit

I remember my original Xbox eating discs, and a 360 internally hemhorraging and killing its video output. Not entirely sure why I have been loyal to them for so long.

My Xbox One is a DVD player that can also stream Netflix. It is the size of two regular DVD players stacked on top of each other, when it is on it uses as much power as my refrigerator, and it cost as much as a weekend beach vacation, which would have been much nicer

The Xbox One Is Garbage And The Future Is Bullshit

Pilch

Year-Listicle In Review 2014

5 min read

Lots of pretty terrible things happened this year. It wasn't all bad though. Here were the bright spots. (And here is the review of last year.) Enjoy the verbose headers.

A reminder on how to make listicles:

MUSIC I ENJOYED THIS YEAR THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN RELEASED DURING THIS CALENDAR YEAR

PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME (OR SOMEONE ELSE) THIS YEAR WHICH WOULD CAUSE ME SADNESS IF THEY WERE DELETED OR OTHERWISE LOST

Or: In Case You Can't Tell, We Have A Dog

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="1667,1669,1666,1571,1548,1544,1526,1525,1673,1674,1672,1529"]

MOVIES I WATCHED THIS YEAR AND WILL LIKELY PURCHASE ON DIGITAL VIDEO DISC (OR OTHER FORMAT) BECAUSE I ENJOYED THEM

Interstellar

http://youtu.be/0vxOhd4qlnA

St. Vincent1

http://youtu.be/9dP5lJnJHXg

Birdman

http://youtu.be/-umj5cxtgBA

The Grand Budapest Hotel

http://youtu.be/1Fg5iWmQjwk

The Lego Movie2

http://youtu.be/fZ_JOBCLF-I

ARTICLES I READ THIS YEAR AND THEN BOOKMARKED AND PROBABLY SHARED SO OTHERS WOULD READ THEM AS WELL

The Future Of Culture Wars Is Here, And It's Gamergate - Deadspin

In many ways, Gamergate is an almost perfect closed-bottle ecosystem of bad internet tics and shoddy debating tactics. Bringing together the grievances of video game fans, self-appointed specialists in journalism ethics, and dedicated misogynists, it's captured an especially broad phylum of trolls and built the sort of structure you'd expect to see if, say, you'd asked the old Fires of Heaven message boards to swing a Senate seat. It's a fascinating glimpse of the future of grievance politics as they will be carried out by people who grew up online.

Playing With My Son - Medium

If you have a kid, why not run experiments on them? It’s like running experiments on a little clone of yourself! And almost always probably legal.

It’s disappointing how many people have children and miss this golden opportunity, usually waiting until they’re in their teens to start playing mindgames with them.

My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday's Endless Appetizers - Gawker

The day after "Endless Appetizers" was announced, I went to TGI Friday's in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay. I wanted to challenge the hubris of a company co-opting the infinite for a marketing gimmick. I wanted to demand accountability from copywriters.

I wanted to call their bluff and eat appetizers until they kicked me out, to seek the limit of this supposedly limitless publicity stunt.

I soon learned the limit does not exist.

Squirtle, I (Should) Choose You! Settling a Great Pokémon Debate with Science - Scientific American

But no matter what my relationship to Pokémon is now, I can’t deny that it was one of the driving forces in my nerdy life. And like any fanboy or girl who has ever played the original games, Pokémon was singular in that it provided me the first life-altering choice in my young life: Which of the starting Pokémon—Squirtle, Charmander, or Bulbasaur—should I pick? It felt like a digital “Sophie’s Choice,” with any decision rendering two Pokémon forever un-catchable, destined to be used against me by my rival.

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE MEDIOCRE PEOPLE - The Rumpus

...We can’t all be grand visionaries. We can’t all be Picassos. We want to make our business, make our art, sell it, make some money, raise a family, and try to be happy. My feeling, based on my own experience, is that aiming for grandiosity is the fastest route to failure. For every Mark Zuckerberg, there are 1000 Jack Zuckermans. Who is Jack Zuckerman? I have no idea. That’s my point. If you’re Jack Zuckerman and you’re reading this, I apologize. You aimed for the stars and missed. Your reentry into the atmosphere involved a broken heat shield, and you burned to a crisp by the time you hit the ocean. Now we have no idea who you are.

Programming Sucks - Peter Welch

You can't restart the internet. Trillions of dollars depend on a rickety cobweb of unofficial agreements and "good enough for now" code with comments like "TODO: FIX THIS IT'S A REALLY DANGEROUS HACK BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG" that were written ten years ago. I haven't even mentioned the legions of people attacking various parts of the internet for espionage and profit or because they're bored. Ever heard of 4chan? 4chan might destroy your life and business because they decided they didn't like you for an afternoon, and we don't even worry about 4chan because another nuke doesn't make that much difference in a nuclear winter.

BEST NEWS OF THE YEAR THAT CANNOT BE TOPPED, EVEN IF I WAS AWARDED THE POWERBALL JACKPOT BY A RECENTLY-RESURRECTED J. H. CHRIST

A healthy baby Pilch is on the way. It's a boy.


  1. Hey, there's a St. Vincent in the music and movie section! Not pictures or articles though. Maybe next year.
  2. I've already declared that we are a Lego Movie family. Not a Frozen family.

Pilch

The Internet as a Megaphone

3 min read

We live in exciting, sometimes terrifying times. It has become fashionable to carry a device on your person at all times with more computing power than NASA's Apollo command center. Products raise millions of dollars to essentially communicate with that smart device from several feet away. The most popular uses of of these mobile devices are to shoot round birds with a slingshot at makeshift towers built by pigs, and to broadcast any minute detail that pops up in the ol' brain bucket. Broad new horizons.

However, users of these devices (and the services they enable) bring with them horizons that are neither broad nor new. Certain , previously ignored and subsequently rendered powerless, now have the means to broadcast globally and connect like-minded individuals regardless of geographic location. This message amplification has the ability to force society to progress with great strides, as with the LGBT community. But for some reason, the net-positive effect does not happen with everyone. The most recent instance of this is Gamergate.

In years past, I might have identified myself as a gamer. In the sense that "I enjoy and often play video games in my free time", it is an accurate descriptor to this day. After the past few months, I would be reluctant to identify myself this way. If you have successfully avoided any Gamergate news up to this point, good on you. Keep it up. If you feel like being sad about life, read this summary from Newsweek with actual Twitter statistics, or this in-depth summary about the implications of this type of movement.

Upon further research, this seems like a deeper cultural issue, unrelated to . I would say it is an American issue, but it is likely present elsewhere too. Kathy Sierra, a prominent tech figure, has now had to essentially leave the internet for the second time in less than 10 years. Before that, several private personal pictures of celebrities were leaked, of which there was a single male (and he was collateral damage, as he was dating one of the targeted female celebrities). Even before that, dumb old white guys were talking (seemingly sincerely) about "legitimate rape" in congressional election coverage. The megaphone created by our newly-connected society seems to have pretty terrible opinions about on an alarmingly consistent basis.

TL;DR The only way I know how to help is to write about it. I will be a parent soon. It scares me to think that the difficulty of that kid's life will be so greatly affected by a single genetic coin-toss.

Pilch

The cheesy sci-fi Animorphs books heightened the strangeness of adolescence

1 min read

The cheesy sci-fi Animorphs books heightened the strangeness of adolescence

The Internet is choked with nostalgia for the youth-oriented entertainments of the not-too-distant past: Tumblr blogs regurgitating images of half-forgotten toys; YouTube compilations of long-lost TV-show intros; countless blogs playing “Remember when?” with movies and video games whose rose-col

from Pocket http://ift.tt/PZJGPy
via IFTTT

Pilch

In Beta #74

1 min read

http://5by5.tv/inbeta/74This is my 'feel like i'm being productive and learning things' podcast that I usually listen to on my Thursday morning commute. I was floored this week when they started talking about video games. But, like the hosts, I also never hear about really productive people who always sound like they have their life together playing lots of video games. It is something I will try to do more often. Of course, it helps that I am also currently addicted to Tiny Death Star.

Pilch

Day of the Doctor Trailer

1 min read

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpRkwN7QM2wdoctorwho:

IT’S FINALLY HERE.The official clip trailer for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, ‘The Day of the Doctor’.

(Psst. If you’re on the YouTubes, you can subscribe to BBCAmerica because they’ll be posting a second, special exclusive trailer tomorrow!)

Pilch

Day of the Doctor teaser trailer

1 min read

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0AX8rgJ8f0doctorwho:

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Tribute: “The Day of The Doctor” November 23, 2013

Celebrate 50 Years of Doctor Who with this specially-shot tribute in advance of the special 50th Anniversary episode, “The Day of The Doctor” premiering SAT NOVEMBER 23 on BBC AMERICA, BBC One, Space Channel and in 75 countries around the globe.

Pilch

Pilch

The Art of the Review, The Validation of Medium, and Why Bioshock Infinte is Awesome

3 min read

Video games are a staple of culture, regardless of what Roger Ebert thought (RIP). The joke is that parents let TV raise their kids, but my generation was raised by Nintendo (or Sega), and the current generation is raised by the spectre of Steve Jobs. These relationships are two way streets as well; video games are coming of age along with us, and it is extremely satisfying to experience a game done right in all its facets. I just finished the newest game in this category: Bioshock Infinite, and it knocked my figurative socks off.

Dictionary.com (because Merriam-Webster’s website buried this general definition) defines art as the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. In his piece, Ebert uses Plato’s definition of art, the imitation of nature, but he goes on to say that art “improves or alters nature through an passage through what we might call the artist’s soul, or vision,” and that it is a matter of taste. Clearly he never met Ken Levine. Ebert chose to see beauty expressed through the lens of cinema, and sadly did not take the time to find “more than ordinary significance” in the Bioshocks and the Mass Effects and the Fallouts of the world. The saddest part is that he probably would have enjoyed it.

Video game reviews like to deal in technical aspects like graphics and gameplay mechanics, but trying that with something as poignant as Bioshock is a bit like forming an opinion on a novel based on its grammar and spelling accuracy. “The margins were consistent throughout, but the font made the letter G look weird.” Things like that. But video game reviews tend that way because there has never been much substance above that. I think that is what makes it hard for gamers like myself to synthesize these ideas from a video game and put them into words. (Or it could be that I just don’t write a lot.)

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"]BioShock Infinite takes place on the steampunk... BioShock Infinite takes place on the steampunk air-city of Columbia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]

Experiencing the story of Booker DeWitt and the flying city of Columbia through any other medium would not evoke the same reaction. I am convinced of that much. Sure, on paper, you could still form your own ideas about his motivations and your own relationship with Elizabeth. One could picture an actor swinging on sky lines, catching ammo cartridges from an actress on the big screen (see footnote). But it would not match the immersion of Infinite.

That is what great games offer: total sensory immersion into a world, at an unprecedented level. You don’t just read about it, and you don’t just watch someone act it out in front of a green screen. You explore as you see fit, you make the decisions, and you suffer the consequences. And I am only referring to single-player games here, because adding other human-controlled elements makes this another conversation entirely. One can find a deeply personal, touching and gratifying experience with buttons and joysticks and keyboards in hand, and it makes me happy to live in this brave new world.

TL;DR Two thumbs way, way up.

(Footnote: I’m thinking maybe Jon Hamm playing Booker, Zooey Deschanel as Elizabeth, Anthony Hopkins as Comstock, Tilda Swinton as Lutece.)

via Tumblr http://craigpilcher.tumblr.com/post/49287809271

photo: Yumian Deng via Compfight

Pilch