Tom Murphy VII As a public safety measure, I propose it be made illegal to put the sound of distant sirens in music. Plus that way it'll be even more rock 'n roll when producers continue to do it. almost 9 years ago · Comment
Tom Murphy VII For ten minutes I was singing the Ducktales theme song in a loop at the airport, and at the key change I'd keep getting higher, just to see what would happen. PIT → BDL. almost 9 years ago · Comment
The title comes from an "invention" I had during an unusually coherent dream yesterday. Last week (this part is real) we were playing soccer when a lady came over to ask if anyone could help her change her flat tire. I tried but could only get two of the four lug nuts off. Since I was disgustingly covered in soccer sweat and only making the tire iron less effective with that, and not to mention that in my absence Disney—that was the opposing team—scored on us, which I will have none of that (don't worry, we won in the end) I went back to the game and summoned more burly computer scientists to replace me. They did succeed just as the AAA professionals arrived. But anyway, yesterday I woke up having dreamt an idea of how you could use the car itself to undo even the toughest nuts. It's illustrated above. For all I know it's totally standard advice, or maybe even very dangerous or ill-advised (an alternative is to use the jack, but I don't think you'd get as much instantaneous torque). But that's okay because this is not a real patent, it's just the title of my album and the name of the title track, a techno dance party which happens to be my favorite. That track and others:
Method and apparatus for removing the lug nuts. Already backstoried. I think the best track on here. How could a chorus in 47/16 time be so catchy? It's a mystery to me, too.
Nothing makes cars flip out like seeing a bike. Based on a very embellished non-true story inspired by July 4 events. A theme of this album is the narrator insisting that other people "do their jobs" at inappropriate times.
Peace is rest. My entry for this week's songfight. I think this is another of the best tracks. It has percussion using a real percussive instrument, which is new. Also the thematic insisting.
TV chef breaks pizza record. Front-page headline, mainstream news.
Only ___ would rhyme ___ with ___. Uncharacteristically restrained MIDI ballad.
2 am pancakes. True story, but a pretty bad lexicographic pun.
Vulgar fraction 3/4. Straight-up 8-bit ditty.
Literally fall. Something weird is going on with this one, dynamics-wise, like there's a hidden compression plugin I couldn't find to disable. Oh, well. If you find the lyrics annoying, rest assured that they are much much better than the placeholder lyrics.
Label me purple. After achieving the singularity, mankind built a machine to judge them. It always reports "purple", the second-lowest rating.
When people tell me that I am a pretty good dancer they usually look surprised or like I should be surprised. This is true.
Life's a bleach. I'm sure this is an old pun, but I did enjoy it and writing lyrics for it, especially because I love rhyming science words.
Tom Murphy VII Today's iPhone 4 line is in the wide, unfortunate interval between convenient and epic. almost 9 years ago · Comment
Tom Murphy VII 28X bus broke down in Crafton because we couldn't stop the beeping caused by the antifreeze leak. Port Authority road ops fixed it by pouring a lot of new antifreeze from a huge Dennis The Menace-era tin can. He is trailing the bus now. Next we will try a "top kill" procedure. almost 9 years ago · Comment
Tom Murphy VII is in seat 9A for all four of his flights this weekend, which appears to be a self-inflicted practical joke from months ago. almost 9 years ago · Comment
Tom Murphy VII I took the day off and got up early so that I could program all day for the ICFP contest [question mark indicating dubious move?, or exclamation mark indicating awesome!] almost 9 years ago · Comment
p e r s o n a l
Sick Ridiculous at the Submarine poster
(12 Jun 2010 at 18:54)
I've already announced our upcoming show in DC in my previous two posts. I just want to share the concert poster I drew:
I think this is one of my best posters (at least on-screen), but you can make up your own mind. I made it in Flash in about five hours. What takes the longest is the thousands of partially-transparent brush strokes that give that hand-worked look. I really like this style (also used in e.g. head cat) because it allows me to be kind of sketchy-sloppy, yet gets better with age. But it takes a long time. When I make an illustration in Flash I usually use the animation timeline as a way of saving my history, in case I want to go back (I never do, but it comforts me right before making a big change). That means you can see an animation of the steps I went through to draw it, if you like.
Here is a Facebook Event, now properly adorned, which you can use to organize your busy social calendar, or to invite your DC-area friends to the show. (By the way, the other two bands sound really good to me.) I always RSVP "maybe" but rest assured I will be there to do the guitar and technos.
Sick Ridiculous - Microchronograph
(06 Jun 2010 at 13:45)
My band Sick Ridiculous and the Sick Ridiculous has been deliberately hunkerin' down, to the nitty gritty I mean, and writing songs for Phase II of operation Rock and Roll. We only played one show in Qs 1 and 2 of 2k10, at Alan and Mike's birthday barbecue. This is the song we wrote for the event, Microchronograph:
We were challenged to write a song about both of the co-birthday co-hosts; one is a researcher and the other a reporter with a name that we like to make creative jokes about. This song is about academic dishonesty, specifically a nanoresearcher who decides to drastically shrink all of the graphs in his paper so that the referees of the journal cannot actually read them. The "microchronograph" is the name joke on "Mike Cronin" (think: Cronin the Barbarian, Croninator, etc.), and also a very small watch used to measure very small nanotubules. Get MP3'd.
The hunkerin' down has produced four new songs, and there will probably be more soon as Nels returns from his world tour, for example we will need to make a song for our upcoming show in DC. (No actual more details on that; just see the previous post until there's a Facebook event or somethin.) So please prepare for an earsplosion.
Tom Murphy VII Fact: Tennis players appear to spontaneously die upon winning major titles. But they are not really dead, just celebrating horizontally. almost 9 years ago · Comment
p e r s o n a l
Some old stuff made slightly newer
(05 Jun 2010 at 15:20)
By the year 2010, I've found that I pretty much only use Tom 7 Radar to announce projects or for carefully-written content. It's become pretty low volume, averaging only one or two posts or per month. That's cool with me; I like to keep a high quality bar. The casual posting I used to do has now moved mostly to Facebook, where I post funny phrases that occur to me, or when I'm traveling to increase the chance of meeting up with someone, etc. You know, "microblogging." If you're reading Tom 7 Radar via its home at radar.spacebar.org, then you'll probably notice that my Facebook posts are now included in with the longer-style posts. (RSS feeds, like the one sent to Facebook itself, do not include this stuff in order to keep the noise level low and to avoid unstable feedback infinite dataexplosions.) It's not easy for me to integrate comments between the two sites, but for now anyone with a Facebook account can read and comment on my feed, which please do. I love comments.
I'm also now including interesting runs in feed. These are mostly part of my Pac Tom project to run the length of every street in Pittsburgh. That work is going along nicely, by the way. An update is due on it. Some runs are races and some are part of my "3D World Runner" project, whose scope remains undetermined, but certainly involves trying to record runs in as many geographically diverse places as possible. I'm leaving out the training runs since those are almost every day, and are extremely boring, even for me.
Every year or so there comes a reason for me to give someone a copy of a book I wrote, and then of course I remember all the typos that I've discovered, and that some parts aren't that good and need some reworking, and how the cover doesn't seem as colorful and bold as it should, so I spend the day preparing a new edition. Here is the fourth edition of His Sophomoric Effort. I reworked the font and background and I'm finally happy with the cover:
I still feel like it gets off to a slow start, but it seems impossible to fix without changing its nature. Overall it's a pretty fun read, in my opinion (real-style book copy is only ten bux if you don't like reading on a compuscreen).
Finally, more details on this soon (because I owe readers a post about band activities including a new recording), but my musicband Sick Ridiculous and the Sick Ridiculous will be playing a show in Washington D.C.! It's at 8pm in the Submarine (612 Lamont St NW) on Thursday, 24 June 2010. There's some kind of potluck right beforehand.
Tom Murphy VII Awkward: I am running to catch the bus to the airport, a little late so carrying my luggage on my shoulder (also wearing backpack). Another person is out for her 4:45am jog. Not only are we going the same (very slow) speed, but we're like, right next to each other on the road/sidewalk and there's nothing else awake in the whole town. Uh, hey. PIT → SFO. almost 9 years ago · Comment
Tom Murphy VII Spoiler alert: Lost finale is just a clipshow narrated by an Orangutan, all of which takes place on the Holodeck. almost 9 years ago · Comment
Tom Murphy VII 2nd row tickets to Devo in July! (And the obligatory: Fuck Ticketmaster). almost 9 years ago · Comment
Pittsburgh Marathon 2010: Project SHARKWEEK
(02 May 2010 at 17:57)
YES. You guys know I like to run races in costume, or carrying something, or otherwise making it conspicuously difficult. Well, when I signed up for this year's Pittsburgh Marathon they allowed us to pick a 9-character personalized vanity bib, and since the first thing that came to me was SHARKWEEK, I did today's marathon in a shark costume. At first, it was just a dream, with this as the prospectus:
Erika, a costume whiz, helped me get started planning it out and correcting my grievous anatomical mistakes, but then I slacked off for ages not working on it, until I bought a sewing machine and then put together the costume starting Friday night on my own. It's highly overengineered, with an adhesiveless design, inner wireframe made of coat hangers, and tailored felt with reinforced stitching. I discovered that pretty much every part of a shark's body is shaped like a coat hanger:
It was a good long day of remembering how to sew and which unfortunately lasted longer than I wanted it to. I decided to punt on the gills, which were unanatomically located anyway, but otherwise it pretty much came out as I had hoped. Here's shark-face:
I was worried about this race, though. Weather reports predicted temperatures up at 80°F at some point, plus thunderstorms. That'd be bad for just running regularly, but one of this costume's main difficulties is how it seals in the flavors and spices. I wanted it to be hard but not heat-stroke hard. And then I had unwisely stayed up until 12:30am finishing the costume, and also I couldn't fall asleep until 2 or 3am because of Pitt's graduation party noise, heat, allergies, and excess energy from tapering. Despite the 3 hours of sleep, and not being able to find my bicycle pump, I biked downtown with the costume on and with a flat tire (the biking is where I first discovered how obstructive wearing a tail can be, particularly when it gets caught in the wheels), tried to find my friends running (couldn't) and then started towards the back of the pack. Part of the idea of this costume was the mental image (hopefully communicated to some) of a shark (me) attacking a swimming (running) throng of people (people) at the beach (marathon course) trying to get to shore (finish line), eating all the ones who weren't fast enough.
It turned out that despite all the looming potential disasters, it really went quite well. Temperature was mercifully in the 60s. The costume was hot, for sure, towards the end of the race forcing me to walk off problems that I knew weren't just exhaustion (e.g., headache) but it was way better than it could have been and I managed to run the first 18ish miles only stopping for water, and only some modest walking in the last 8. The costume was heavy and soaked up water when it rained on us for most of the race, but honestly the water there wasn't as bad as it was in my shoes. Although the head would stay on pretty well if I was just walking or biking, when running it would bounce too much (bad design). I therefore had to spend the whole race holding it on, usually with an internal handle under my chin. The coathanger shoulder-"rests" dug into my shoulders the whole time and left some pretty grody bruises, but given all the other sharp pieces and metal burrs it's a miracle I didn't come away with some real serious abrasions or stabbed as the thing collapsed around me (it held up almost perfectly). The tail was an unexpected difficulty: As soon as I actually started running I realized that I was kicking it and probably would be for the whole race. So I used a shorter than usual stride, but still it was pretty tripoverable and I was hitting it or worse with every step. That's fine, think about what a shark with feet must feel like! My official time was a garbage 4h29m49s, which is about a 10 minute mile, more than an hour slower than my non-costume first marathon.
The costume itself went over extremely well. The Tribune-Review says,
Marathons usually bring out their share of off-the-wall running apparel, from tuxedos and wedding gowns to Elvis impersonators, but there were relatively few that engaged in the offbeat this year. One of the few was someone who donned a shark's head and dorsal fin for the occasion.
Still Pittsburgh runners have not picked up on the fun of costume-running. Other than all the trouble, it's the best: The whole race other runners are running up to say hi or you overhear them saying to a friend, "I just got passed by a shark!" The crowd who is sitting there in the rain waiting for their one family member or because they can't go anywhere because the roads are shut down, they completely love it, so you get people from all backgrounds laughing and clapping and shouting, GO SHARK MAN!!!, and the water station volunteers who are doing labor in the rain for nuthin' in return always perk up, and little kids trying to figure out what is going on with that dude but with that little kid smile where they know something's funny but don't totally get it. Two people recognized me as the guy from birthday cake running. At some point a woman comes up to me who had been running at a mutual pace for a while and says, "You have made so many people smile today."
(BTW Thanks to Gabe and Someone on Twitter for the pics. I can't photograph myself while running yet.)
One of my favorite groups to make smile is the live bands or musical cheering organizations like the dance music cheerleaders. In this race I slowed down in front of every such group (probably about 15 of them) and did an interpretive dance to their music. This was so fun. I got several of the singers to mess up their singing from laughing, and some bands made musical or lyrical reference to the shark (like the cover band that lamented having just played "Fins" right before I got there), and the cheerleaders were flipping out, chanting, "go shark! go shark!" and pumping their fists. The best was when a school band saw me coming and quickly arranged a full marching-band version of the Jaws theme—not kidding, this was completely amazing—and I did the hunched over swimming lurch by them.
Most people only see the shark for a few seconds, so it's interesting to get a catalogue of thousands of people's first reaction. I was surprised that Land Shark was the most common thing shouted, since that skit is pretty old now. It's not like every shark costume is depicting land shark just because it's on land. If I were dressed as the International Space Station, would they say "Land-ISS!"? No. Also popular: Sharky (don't know if this is some specific cartoon character but it was too common to not be), Shark Man, Shark Boy (at least one referring to the Rodriguez film), Sharkweek (reading the bib), and in single digits: dolphin (?), whale (?), alligator (??). I get the benefit of hearing the quips so many times over the four hours that I can develop and refine comebacks. Like at the water stations, if someone takes the last cup of water right ahead of me, "Save some for the fishes!" or when biking back home against the runners who hadn't finished yet, and someone goes "26.2 miles is not enough, now you're going biking?", I say, "Yeah, it's a triathlon. The swimming part is easy."