On Gawker

August 24th, 2016 by harold

I often thought of that website as being necessary. You know, shaking things up at least with words on a screen. In the real world we can’t do much anymore so that was always refreshing to see them write super loud what tons of people were trying to avoid to discuss or were muttering under breath.

I had two links from Gawker for a sugar/physical activity blog post here are the titles:

– Study: You Are Not Working Out

– Artificial Sweeteners May Actually Raise Your Blood Sugar, Ha

Those are frank articles on the fact that folks drink too much sugary shit and don’t move enough –a plain, good old truth-, when every single publication around is on its toes, massaging its audience.

At first I thought Gawker was necessary but then, because they were so thorough too, it became a favorite. I really appreciated reading wit on absolutely everything and it was one of the very last website where comments were true gold (despite a terrible comment system: if articles are good, people will go through hell and back to add their sarcasm). Now all I have is The Atlantic.

So Gawker is gone. As we all know the American justice system has “some” flaws. I still contemplate how three adults into open marriage and voyeur stuff can sue a company that wrote an article –which was pretty cool btw- and published a few seconds of said video to death. That’s fucking crazy.

But yeah writing freely online as powerful and freeing as it is, is “dangerous”. I have too made adjustments from time to time in fear of some backlash. This is why Gawker falling is not good news for anyone not a billionaire, not a sheep, which is probably some of you.

The importance of lateral thinking

August 23rd, 2016 by harold

I went through Stranger Things.

It was bad.

It got me thinking though. I think you need to have a “fucked up” upbringing to have things to say creatively more and more. You need a fresh, different perspective and you can’t really have that if you had a perfectly boring and great childhood.

Apparently the Duffer brothers didn’t do anything else in their lives besides watching movies, learning how to make movies and making some. That’s not a good thing. You would think it is but it’s not. Stranger Things feels like it’s been created by an algorithm. Procedurally generated generic horror story.

Akira, which has the best story revolving around kids with psychic powers escaping a secret government lab of all time, has this development because the author lived something, being born right after the war and wondering about nuclear bombs effects on people. Which is why the kids in Akira look like they’re old, making them immediately fascinating. Katsuhiro Otomo had lived some shit and was putting it in its art.

Take someone like Jenji Kohan, TV writer born in a family working in television. You’d think she would be bland but she isn’t because she was a woman competing with her brother and dudes in the late 90s and that ultimately had an impact on her output. She went for unheard themes and stories like single mothers selling weed and women in prison. She added something. She brought something.

You need purposes and reasons to make long and lasting things and Stranger Things falls really short for me because it’s been made with a weird fetish/me-too/nostalgia-induced creativity and nothing else.

Perception-to-progress ratio

August 21st, 2016 by harold

We have a thing in sound called signal-to-noise ratio.

Signal-to-noise ratio (abbreviated SNR or S/N) is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. It is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power, often expressed in decibels. A ratio higher than 1:1 (greater than 0 dB) indicates more signal than noise.

So let me introduce the progress-to-perception ratio (abbreviated PPR or P/P)

Perception-to-progress ratio is a measure that compares your perception of the world which is what you actually live everyday to our progress, which is defined by actual facts and numbers.

So for a white person maybe the ratio is about 5:1, indicating that white people see a decent amount of good things going on while the actual progress is 1. Maybe 1:1 for poor white folks.

For black and brown people though it’s going to be 0.8:1 if not 0.2:1. Just an example from a recent article in Baltimore:

of the nearly 1,000 people killed by police officers in 2015, 40 percent were unarmed black men. Now consider, black men make up just 6 percent of the national population.

Let that sink in. Ponder. Imagine the impact on people like me, realizing that we’re definitely the target. It’s not just a “we talk a lot about it in the news”. It’s real. We knew this before, now we have HD footage.

So even if progress happens, it happens at a slower rate for people of color: if all violence goes down but black and latinos are still targeted far, far more than we should –at a rate that never went down- then violence doesn’t really go down for us. And because violence *does* go down globally, it makes us wonder quite a lot what is going on because that’s not what we witness or how we feel.

That changes a lot of things in the way we go on with our lives and it’s hard to describe it, that was my attempt. I wish there was a “apply to all” button for progress so that we flatten those enormous disparities.

No Man’s Sky and space exploration design

August 18th, 2016 by harold

Have you listen to the UI sounds? Pretty great aren’t they.

That’s the screen that kind of killed the suspension of disbelief for me. Spaceports that are going to be empty as hell and way, way too clean. Forever. And stairs that people take once before they remember that they pack jetpacks. And of course the same four different crates you found everywhere.

I compared a lot NMS to Rebel Galaxy design-wise. How Rebel Galaxy did the spaceport thing? Interface only, no cumbersome walking or weird maneuvers to do in order to simply sell or buy things through a menu. RB still has 3D characters to talk to and ask stuff but the way they did it is smart. They keep your “flow”. They strip the game off everything that is kind of a boring task to do.

Both are space exploration games but in NMS you don’t really have a direct purpose to mining and stealing, destroying things from planets. In RB you have a purpose: you pilot a ship, you make money with it and you can choose to be a law-abiding citizen or a pirate or both.

It’s interesting to me that those small design decisions make RB fantastic and NMS feel hollow. NMS is immensely large but in today’s world it doesn’t really matter no one has the time to spend hundreds of hours on one game. It’s pretty rare. I didn’t finish RB and it’s probably a hundred times smaller.

Both are independent games made by small teams. But NMS is going to probably make a lot, a lot more thanks to a trailer that set all expectations all the way up and sold people on the game (RPS has a good article on that). I don’t think playing the hype game is worth it in the long term but Hello Games and Sony are printing money right now so, I don’t know.

Posting pictures on a blog

August 15th, 2016 by harold

It used to be that, for years and years:


Readable URL with a picture file at the end. Harmless.

Then it was bad, thanks Google for being so great at respecting the Web and making it even better:


You see, it still respected the syntax and some WWW readability: URL and picture file at the end.

Now it’s 2016 Picasa is dead and Google has Google Photos, which displays pictures like that:


Of course it absolutely breaks HTML and makes your brain vomit. It’s the URL for machines, it’s the web for “AI” and crawling robots. It’s the web where we can’t put our little hands in and make stuff the way we want them.

I guess I’ll have to find a solution to that mess. I like pictures in the middle of text.

Black Octopus

August 10th, 2016 by harold

About to

What is up yall?

Enjoying some pool time last week or whatever. My memory gets blurry, sometimes I’m not sure if I ever lived somewhere else. France probably changed so much in the past three or four years. It’s going to be weird next time and probably a bit painful. But also exciting because I *really* forgot about plenty of things that will pop up once I’ll land. Not anytime soon though. Those plane tickets are hurting, yo. But family is getting antsy.

Elections on and I’m getting ready to vote from Santa Monica Blvd next year for the French presidential. It’s going to be very similar to the US: a right wing nuts VS whoever made it to the final stage. Yay democracy.

Billions of things to make, do, send, wait for etc. Peace.


August 8th, 2016 by harold

July 2016, LA.


July 18th, 2016 by harold

First, I got screwed because it’s hard to stop the entire internet. So I knew.

The rest though. it hits close to home. It’s hard to see this in real life, it’s hard to see it again as entertainment like I immediately get mad and sad.

It’s not helping anything. I feel bamboozled. There’s no need for more light on black people’s unjustified suffering because the problem is not that people don’t know about it. It’s actually never been the issue. People always knew. It’s the acting, solving part where no one shows up.

I don’t really care about the show anymore. Still has the most captivating cast/character design I have ever seen, by far. Put them in a spaceship, a jungle, a cute neighborhood I’d watch the fuck outta that new show.


July 16th, 2016 by harold

(I wrote this months ago, just making adjustments to the new now)

Following my usual half hour on Skype with my parents on Sunday morning, I started to think about them when they got me. I mean, making the decision of adopting a child.

It’s wild.

Harold summer mountain
Everything is new and fancy at that time hence my face, dad looks like a young Popovich.

They couldn’t conceive a kid at that time. And I’m sure my dad wanted to do more than the basic thing of finding a white baby. He was like “fuck it if we can’t make our kid, let’s save one that really needs help.” That’s how I understand their decision to adopt a six year old black kid. I mean, that’s punk as fuck. Unless the reason was to secure a crib in paradise later, then it’s kind of lame but whatever.

Older foster kids do not having the best odds in life. Parentless and not a baby? Some would even say dude you’re so fucked. You’ll be sniffing glue by the age of 9.

So anyway. Very bold move from them that worked out pretty well for both of us, back then. In today’s France or US I would never think that this is a good idea. Between my parents and I it’s still a lot of pain and incomprehension and attempts to make it up for whatever etc. It is a very singular relationship and it was at a great time and place to make it happen. If I look back 80s Paris was one of the most open, richest culture ever seen on earth. Not kidding. There was a strong inclusiveness that disappeared now that everyone is back to heritage shit. Yes, it was fake like Benetton ads. But you fake it until you make it.

We didn’t make it and we’re not faking it anymore. Our recent failures to live in peace together, the fact that it only marginally gets better cut me really deep. My crumbling world got me like:

If I had one, I couldn’t imagine having to teach my kid about Sandra Bland, Alton and Philando, or Trump. Even less in the context of adopting a child different from myself. “so you see daddy is black and has to deal with some stuff you will never have to deal with unless you’re hanging out with me but then it will be very different and then it’s complicated”. Just thinking about the prospect of doing that makes my eyes turn like mini oceans. It’s so hard. The privilege of seeing extremely clearly how much we are not together at all, despite what the president says and what we say to ourselves. I have it.

I feel like my parents and I are humbly nurturing a mutual respect for our differences and that it’s pretty unique to us. They don’t do that with my sister they gave birth to. I don’t see that with other parents. It’s very fragile love and at the same time it’s graphene love.

Way Back When

I’m thankful. I try to do my best. I just want to love and make the shit the shit.

Pokémon GO

July 14th, 2016 by harold
Keirsey Temperament Bartle Type GNS Theory Problem-Solving Style Game example
Artisan Killer Experientialist Power GTA
Guardian Achiever Gamist Persistence Pokémon
Rational Explorer Simulationist Perception Half-life
Idealist Socializer Narrativist Persuasion WoW

Jesus the hype is on, init? Not even a week.

I summoned this old table from an old blog post because well, it’s still pretty good. I could make a better matrix adding Myers-Briggs indicators but you get the point.

So Pokémon is all about the guardian type which is according to Keirsey’s:

As Concrete Cooperators, Guardians speak mostly of their duties and responsibilities, of what they can keep an eye on and take good care of, and they’re careful to obey the laws, follow the rules, and respect the rights of others.

Wikipedia’s definition:

Guardians are concrete and organized (scheduled). Seeking security and belonging, they are concerned with responsibility and duty. Their greatest strength is logistics. They excel at organizing, facilitating, checking, and supporting.

Duties of training your little monsters, responsibilities of the gym, hatching eggs etc. It’s a type of gameplay that works for some people! A lot of people. Tons of kids. Of course! The problem solving style for guardians –persistence- is the one that requires the less skills making this barrier of entry a non-issue.

Personally the guardian type of play looks exactly like what we do for work so I’m not attracted to that. But it doesn’t matter if you’re 39 and you find that type of challenge fun and engaging. Don’t tell me that it’s great because people go out though: if you need a small screen to look around so that you walk around, from any angle this sounds sad to me because self-sufficiency and resilience are precious but hey, whatever.

Games are a matter of taste as much as any other entertainment. We live in the tyranny of the majority though so people feel like they have to play the game. You don’t have to, it’s not that deep even though virtual worlds have real life consequences. Let’s see how it goes in 6 months.

What do I like? I am into rational type of play, how surprising.

As Abstract Utilitarians, Rationals speak mostly of what new problems intrigue them and what new solutions they envision, and always pragmatic, they act as efficiently as possible to achieve their objectives, ignoring arbitrary rules and conventions if need be.


Rationals are abstract and objective. Seeking mastery and self-control, they are concerned with their own knowledge and competence. Their greatest strength is strategy. They excel in any kind of logical investigation such as engineering, conceptualizing, theorizing, and coordinating.

This so me. I always feel kind of guilty ignoring arbitrary rules but I really dislike them. I think I like to disregard them so that I can make up my own mind. Games based on that temperament are kind of rare to come by on mobile. It’s too demanding, in many ways. All good, only playing computer games at home isn’t a bad thing.

A lot of people get lost in this rational temperament (the “what do I do now?” feeling in first person exploration games for instance).

To Each His Own.