color codes from last night

Screenshots of color code art that appeared on my IRC screen during the L0de Radio Hour on YouTube last night.
First, from "ji":



Then three by "funkpow" (I think an alternate screenname for "funkpower"). The first is slightly washed out because the Hexchat client I use for IRC turns blacks to greys:

A cornholio rendition by funkpow (captured from YouTube, so with darker blacks):


And a final funkpow, a c3po (minus some rude text interruptions):


These are some of the more dynamic examples I've seen of this ASCII-type drawing medium. It was fun watching them gradually appear on the screen, line by line.

ffog: what not to do on a website


For most people "the web" these days is a platform where they spend much of their time, such as Facebook/Instagram. However, many individuals and business have their own sites outside of platforms. In the 1990s it was possible to create your own page from scratch, put it up on a host service, and have search engines find it. Now most people use professional designers, or their page hosts offer templates created by professional designers. Gradually over the last ten years two factors have changed the look of web pages. First, those professional designers like to use "scripts" such as javascript to build browser-readable pages (even though a simple HTML page is all that's necessary to be public). Secondly, more and more people have employed smartphones rather than desktops to access the web, which has necessitated changes in page design.
What's emerged is a horrible style of web page that features empty space, big blocks of color and endless scrolling: infantilizing masquerading as tasteful. It's increasingly the standard look for media publications as well businesses and individual pages. One might hate this style but lack the vocabulary to critique it, because professionalized tricks and jargon have become more opaque and intimidating over the years. What are these design Morlocks doing exactly and how did we get here?
Fortunately ffog (with assistance from fanfare) has made a page called what not to do on a website which gets into the minutiae. Some bullet points are tech-related but mostly they're just common sense design critique.
Below is ffog's list (a work in process) of things not to do (which are in fact being done everywhere):

  • advertising business model
  • dark patterns
  • unrelated content
    • reddit "More posts ..."
    • youtube "Recommended for you"
    • news sites that load another article at the end
    • youtube autoplay. soundcloud neverending music
  • trend-copying design
  • peek-a-boo elements examples
  • large sections with bountiful negative space that look nice but have no real content
    • example: every startup website on the internet
  • endless scrolling
  • 5 min. read
  • change default scroll behavior whatsoever
  • intercepting native copy-paste
  • mindless humor bereft of biting truth used in an attempt to not seem stuffy
  • indulgent explanations of basic concepts instead of just enough detail
  • exclamation points
  • social icons
  • most modals [see wikipedia modal window --tm]
    • aggressive signup links
    • dimming window showing anything
  • sticky headers
  • almost all comments sections
  • conversational titles
    • "Yes, ..."
    • "... Here's Why."
  • unhelpful 404 pages
    • cute oopsie messages
    • anything alluding to the user having done something wrong
    • error pages that don't try to figure out what the user was looking for to help direct them
  • circle avatars
  • anything with mustaches, bacon, ftw, coffee, beer, chuck norris, etc
  • made with <3 in toledo
  • pop-ups for a tour of features you can't exit
  • gamification
  • transition animations everywhere as you scroll
  • intentionally buried or hidden settings
  • forced features
    • twitter moments
  • misplaced ai
    • twitter, facebook altered timeline with no options
  • mention blockchain


screencaptures: fanfare

annoying autobiographical post

Over the years I've bounced among art, music, and writing, the third of these being mainly parasitic to the first two. Meaning, I don't write so much to tell a story as to grapple with some art idea.
My college years were happily spent studying all the arts. This was back when you could have a "life of the mind" without going deeply into debt.
I took classes in music appreciation, electronic music (with a focus on composing), poetry- and fiction-writing, and history, in addition to my "majors" in studio art and English lit. I had a weekly FM radio show for my entire four years in school, and was music director and then program director of the station.
This was "free form radio" of the WFMU variety (which started as a college station) where I played jazz, prog rock, classical, and the beginnings of punk, postpunk and electronic pop. The mid-'70s were contentious times in music, with battle lines drawn, and people would call the station and berate the DJ for playing Cecil Taylor or Van Der Graaf Generator, depending on which set of sensibilities those artists offended. Fans of The Stooges despised fans of Kraftwerk, etc.
I wrote a couple of music reviews for the college newspaper and did some music "zine" writing. The newspaper reviews were well-regarded by the editors and I received calls fairly regularly asking if I could please submit more. By that point I was cramming a studio art major into my last year and a half of school and had no time or inclination to write.
My first newspaper review described a campus pub concert by Grits, a Washington DC-area band that played rock of Zappa-esque complexity. Grits never got a record contract, which seems to have devastated them personally, but are remembered on some later-released CDs, including a fairly representative live concert [YouTube]. I also reviewed Mike Oldfield's third LP in a piece titled "Ommadawn Suffers from Overdubbing." For Hal Dean's music zine Brilliant Corners I did an overview of Soft Machine's career.
For my literary studies I was lucky to have three classes with Daniel Albright, a consistently brilliant scholar and critic who later achieved fame as a musical theorist. My classes were The Experimental Novel (Lawrence, Woolf, Pynchon, Nabokov, Beckett, et al), The Aesthetic Movement (Tennyson, Arnold, Wilde, Hopkins) and 20th Century British Poetry (Eliot, Yeats, Pound). I asked Albright to be my faculty adviser and he gave his somewhat befuddled consent. (A condescending grad student supervising undergrad majors asked "Did you just wander into his office?") Albright and I had very little interaction; if anything he made me realize I didn't want to be an English prof because I could never delve into the minutiae of other artists' lives and works to the extent he did. I felt that to be original I would have to be that voracious and I was grossly overmatched. Nevertheless his A- grade and the "well written indeed" he jotted on a paper I wrote on Eliot kept me in high spirits for years.
My best grades and greatest enthusiasm came in Studio Art classes. I had some initial discouragement in the classes of Bob Barbee, a life drawing and painting instructor who taught classical technique deprived of anything resembling joy (another prof noted that all his students' paintings were anatomically correct "mud women" rendered in burnt umber and lead white). Then, I discovered I could paint photorealistically in oils, and quickly got a handle on printmaking methods, and was able to start building a body of my own characteristic work. We majors had weekly seminars where we took field trips to Washington DC art galleries and museums and did slide talks on the minimal and conceptual art trends we found there. I did a talk on Daniel Brush, who combined Color Field and minimalist ideas and subsequently had an under-the-radar career making objects in pure gold for a wealthy, discreet clientele. He is in most ways my opposite but I spoke passionately about his straight line paintings made with a fountain pen on canvas.

[to be continued]

artist bios on Discogs that are too long and/or contain hype

As previously noted, the record-collecting website Discogs uses volunteer labor for much of its thankless editing chores. These laborers attempt to make sure the database conforms to the site's Guidelines, which require, among other things, no hype in artist biographies. The list below appeared on a forum thread about hype-containing artist pages that still need to be edited down to a few neutral, informative sentences.
I am reproducing the links here purely for humor and bathos. In theory, all these bios will be made less fabulous, but it's hard to imagine any of the authors going down without a fight, no matter how experienced or adept the editing.

Update: I parked this ridiculously long list here so I could chuckle at these at my leisure. I've noticed a few that actually don't contain hype; I'll remove ones that seem normal to me.

Tom Reich
Tom Jones
Alan Bell (3)
Brian Keane
Eddie Giles
Anders Lundqvist
Fluid (28)
Joey Argiro
John Paul Musser
Maurizio Cerantola
Ray Wilson
The 49 Americans
Bob Stubbs
Michael Siegl (2)
Andrea Gabriele
Richard Blohm
Mick Karn
Kim Larsen
Bass Bastards
DJ Patife
The Ritchie Family
Noro Morales
Alceu Valença
The Accents (5)
José Melis
Brian West
Ali Chant
Gareth Jones
Social Club (3)
Bobby Emmons
The Balladurians
Steven Frederick Cook
Tommy Scott (7)
Kasey Taylor & Chris Meehan
Chris Hill
Peppe Voltarelli
Nathaniel Glover
The Malta Bums
The Gerogerigegege
Harris Chalkitis
Nox Arcana
5D Psychic Systems
Carla Magnan
The Persuasions
Miguel Valbuena
Buck Ram
Mhax Montes
Fashion 6
Stan Lokhin
Charly Lownoise
DJ Alex Cervera
Eddie Cochran
Wild Turkey
Antonio Conte (3)
French Fries
Desakato Dada
Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners
Lou Bonnevie
Sakai (8)
Benedetti & Svoboda
Tammy (17)
Hittar Cuesta
Lord Of The Lost
Atomic Simao
AGSO Quartet
Eyre Llew
La Vierge Du Chancelier Rolin
DJ Sarasa
Ronnie Dove
Morgan Visconti
Jørgen Teller & The Empty Stairs
Victor Castro (Pt)
Hornsman Coyote
Timo Manson
Aztec Sun
Damian Kozub
Rafael Kozub
Treat (2)
BK Duke
Cecil Washington
Serial Cut™
The Bo-Keys
The Cedars (2)
Christine Ott
Anfisa Letyago
Léon Destroismaisons
Ryan Carter
José Luis Feliciano Vega
Azam Ali
E.L. Me
Johnny Favourite
God's Grandparents
Peter Caelen
Freddy K
Mako Sugita
Andrea Celeste
Norma Ray
Danny Eaton
Zé Ramalho
Professor Trance
Ace Frehley
Artefactos de Dolor
Klaus Munzert
Phat Fred
Kunt And The Gang
Enrico Rava
Eric Cody
Edward Buadee
Taggy Tones
Véronique Labbé
Lil Knock (2)
Brian Harris (8)
William Oscar Smith