June 24th, 2019 by harold

House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Slavery Reparations (3+ hours)

Very eye opening. JULIANNE MALVEAUX IS IN THE HOUSE, LOVE YOU GIRL. She’s an economist and I just appreciate how she stirs the conversation away from emotional pitfalls and shenanigans. Facts. Period.

Keep in mind that those hearings are to decide to create a commission to see how reparations could be done. Checks are not being cut yet. Chill, you whiny taxpayer.

Reparations are due. The detail of what happened to freed slaves and black Americans bootstrapping over and over is there, in history books. The compounding effects are still shaping this country.

Many black Americans know and traced their ancestry down to slavery. It’s not that hard, it’s been going on until quite recently, sadly. There are receipts everywhere.

But what is interesting to me is that the discussion brings the wealth gap problem. Which brings the jobs and wages problem.

The gap is huge and widening while jobs and wages that could help to stop it, disappear and don’t grow.

That means Universal Income and there’s no other possibility. None.

In a few years, white people will have on *average* almost a hundred times more money than black people.

“but what can I do, I never had slaves leave me alone!” First of all, stop being coy about this, it’s not cute. Second, you and your friends could stop gentrifying black and brown neighborhoods, displacing people who, with one or two orders of magnitude less money, are in deep trouble. You are actively fucking them over. Don’t do that.

Third, create that Universal Income right now because the poorest white folks –maybe some are your friends- will need it sooner than later. Like, today actually.

There’s so much money in the hands of not enough people.

Dream Team

June 24th, 2019 by harold

I was watching a documentary on the Dream Team and it sent. Me. Back.

The most poignant thing is remembering a 1992 world without internet and social media.

The rumors were coming once a month. People used common sense. “well, those NBA players are probably going to play for the USA in Barcelona”. And what players. 11 Hall of Fame players.

So I was on my way to my cousin’s cousin’s grandmother house in Brittany. My cousin was blasting Nirvana in the car. I was intensely obsessed with arcade games, especially Capcom’s.

And then we would watch that team destroy everyone and we knew then that it was a one time thing, something special. I remember tearing up at the amount of awesomeness. Don’t forget that no one was black around me. No one.

Watching the ball movement and one of those stars soar to the rim was magnificent. Sad for other teams getting humiliated at the Olympics. Happy for blackness being the coolest shit, again, as usual.

It was a trip. It was a dream.

Local Legend

June 24th, 2019 by harold

So on weekends, I go shoot the ball at my local park. On Sundays next to the basketball courts, Mexicans play football (soccer). They’re pretty serious about it with referees, shirts, tamale stands and so forth.

Often, their ball goes way out and lands on the court. When close, I pick it up with my hands and throw it back, like a goal tender. It’s good exercise.

But yesterday morning I felt it and when the ball arrived I just kicked the ball back with my left foot, like I was Thierry Henry on a corner kick, propelling the ball between two trees, way high, landing on the field, ready to be played.

The ENTIRE bench crowd, all Mexicans, all dudes smoking drinking and laughing, that I see every Sunday, turned around looking at me shouting “YOOOO” and I was like, “yeah, I can do that too” and then I swished a fade away long 2.

Legendary? Legendary.

Sound be back

June 20th, 2019 by harold

Reading an article on content moderation on Facebook, made me realize one thing: there are so many photos and videos that we reached the point of not caring about them at all. We just scroll.

Pictures, photos and videos are untrustworthy too. We can fake everything, even in pretty high definition.

The internet was all text. It became all photos, animated pictures and videos.

We’ve reached a point where everyone has mastered the art of taking selfies. Everyone looks good. Every plant basking in the sun looks nice. All cameras are great. Therefore, none of that has value anymore. It’s basic.

If photos and videos are basic now, and no one’s reading anymore, is sound the next hot thing? Let’s go.

Day of the Tentacle

June 18th, 2019 by harold

The 1993 CD “talkie” version of Day of the Tentacle is a perfectly flawless adventure, the rarest of rare games, that which did nothing wrong. Nothing. There is no weakness in this game, no sieve. Stop waiting for the “but” because it won’t come. This is the perfect adventure game, the one adventure that brought every aspect of great adventures together and created such an enjoyable masterpiece, it almost seems to transcend the level of computer games. (give Jimmy Maher money, he more than deserves it)

This game was perfect. I was waiting on it. I have two boxes in my hands at the store in my Parisian suburbs: Day of the Tentacle and Wing Commander Academy. I love spaceships stuff but the Academy thing was a spin off and smelled like it wasn’t so great, looking at the screenshots and missions (I played it a few years later: it was a turd).

On the other hand, I had this irresistible green box with funny looking characters with a story happening at three different time periods. This sounded amazing.

And it was. I loved every single second of it. True, the puzzles were quite vague sometimes –design wise, how to make a puzzle work for a kid living in France with a quite different set of values and culture must not have been in the designers heads- but I would play and try things out until I was bored and then look up a magazine walkthrough pages to unlock the thing I couldn’t understand. I thought that “Fony” television was hilarious and inspiring. Subversion was king in the 90s.

Day of the Tentacle is one of those rare, everything-went-well cases. They had talent. The publisher hadn’t been through massive failures yet. Money was not a problem at all. There was no pressure like we have had for the past twenty years in game development. They worked their ass off, creative and accountable (polished and bug-free game!) through and through. It paid off.

Lucasfilm Games and LucasArts (same company, change of name) was probably the pinnacle of western game development. 25 years later and the game still holds well, like Batman the animated series or Animaniacs. Memories.

Flat roof or gtfo

June 18th, 2019 by harold

“How did the human species ever happen to think of building their homes so that the whole roof space was wasted.”

From a Neutra’s client’s letter to the famous architect.

Girl, I don’t know. I miss my old place because I could enjoy its flat roof at ease, chilling, and it was magnificent. I’ll never forget those views and the peace coming from receiving a nice breeze in the face with 360° of sky enveloping me.

Attics are quite stupid. Storing things for storage. Memorabilia is real but we ought to do better and keep what’s really important.

No attic means you have to make choices and align your past, present and future instead of deflecting.

That’s a positive. That’s work though. I don’t mind.

You can also build a small storage unit in the backyard somewhere, if you can’t help yourself.

Game Life Expectancy

June 14th, 2019 by harold

It’s a terrifying thing that’s happening in game development: people die. Early.

Game producer dies at 44. We lose a few every year and it’s starting to be a pattern.

It’s a young age but also, really?? He produced huge games for Sony, back to back to back. That’s got to leave some marks (he apparently died from heart failure).

How come we went from dying early because of body wear and diseases to dying early with virtually no body wear and quasi total absence of any disease and abundant nutrition? It defies nature’s laws.

How modern days healthy dudes who spent their lives in cubicles die earlier than medieval folks?

The out-of-this-world pressure, destroying our hearts and arteries at a velocity never encountered before? Possibly.

That’s scary as hell.

Write and Read

June 14th, 2019 by harold

Audiobooks outsell print. AI can turn text into speech. People scan, they don’t read.

Writing is organized thinking on behalf of persuasion.

Writing is your opportunity to stand out, to pitch in and to make a difference.

And you don’t need a permit or equipment. You don’t need an insider’s edge, or money either.

Writing may be the skill with the highest return on investment of all. Because writing is a symptom of thinking.

Seth Godin.

Writing for 15+ years now, I realize how much it helped me being organized. To keep calm with heavy, burning thoughts. Once you break them down and start writing them on a screen, it’s just easier to understand and deal with them.

Talking doesn’t do the same at all. We indulge in drama and get lost in what point we’re looking for. Writing gets you there and allows you to move on.

It’s dope.

North Champions

June 14th, 2019 by harold

It’s just TORN CITY. Understand:

Kawhi doesn’t play with the Spurs, is injured while the Spurs try to get him on court, when they’re known to rest their players more than anyone else.

He goes to the Raptors, who trade DeMar, who loses in the first round with the Spurs with bad defense.

The Raptors become champions on outstanding defense, beating a Warriors team FILLED with bad injuries.

Patrick McCaw threepeats three years in a row, with two different teams, beating the first one with the second in the finals. Without playing.

I’m torn and awkwardly happy and sad with all that shit. Everything loops in wild ways.

Lots of lessons for coaches out there.

Fiction rigidity

June 13th, 2019 by harold

There are no right or wrong in fiction, only ideas that work or don’t. Sometimes, you need freshness.

In 1975, Moebius draw the biggest cyberpunk influence ever, a short-comic called The Long Tomorrow. It’s a classic police story only it’s happening in the future. The fruit of Dan O’Bannon writing and Moebius’ imagination, this short story influenced absolutely everyone from Blade Runner to Akira to the 5th Element to Cyberpunk 2077.

The Long Tomorrow describes a giant, high density city in part because mid 70s, this looked like the future of cities for their authors, men born right after WWII, who grew up thinking about reconstruction so much and who saw huge public housing projects being built all around the world in the 50s and 60s.

Cyberpunk 2077 is said to be "true" to the tabletop RPG game made in 1988, with the influence of Blade Runner, 1982, which in turn was influenced by The Long Tomorrow, 1975.

I mean, let’s ponder on the fact that a computer game scheduled to ship in 2020 is “true” to 1975’s anticipation of the future, when we’ve been having so many things that are drastically changing the vision, especially with fiction happening on the west coast of the USA.

– High density housing with very diverse population didn’t/doesn’t work.

– We have wireless-everything, delivery-everything-same-day, drones. Robots that jump, exoskeletons.

– Poor people don’t live in expensive “luxury” condos in towers, they live in their cars, on the curb, with 2 phones, 1 tablet and a blanket. They charge their phones in stores, malls and public spaces like libraries. Poor people live in small houses with 10 other people.

I think it’s kind of a mistake to act as if there was one and only one definition of Cyberpunk and Authorized Aesthetic and that it was coming from 75-88. There’s so much to re-invent in terms of cyberpunk universe considering what we’ve seen grow as tech trends in the past twenty years or so.

Cyberpunk would draw a lot more people into its universe if it wasn’t targeted only to 35-55 year old people who bought Blade Runner in every conceivable format.