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Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 26, 2005
Okay, it's official. I'm changing my name. After looking over all these flyers for early-80s hip-hop shows in NYC (and there is absolutely no doubt that I was at a few of these) I've decided that Chris Randall is incredibly fucking boring.

So, from now on, you can refer to me as Wiz Mellow Bee.

UPDATE:

Due to the fact that some members of the newsgroup are likening the above, a perfectly viable moniker with, like, street cred and shit, to a stupid-ass video by a shitty band, I'm going to go ahead and bow to the inevitable, and revert to "Chris Randall."

UPDATE 2:

Anyone have a problem with Grand Master Chris Randall?

Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 25, 2005
Now, I like anime as much as the next guy. I just find my suspension of disbelief hindered by the consistent ability of insanely cute prepubescent children with penchants for odd squishy pets to save Tokyo/NeoTokyo/The Ocean/The Forest/Earth/The Universe. I mean, Akira and Princess Mononoke are intrinsically the same movie, if you substitute an elk for a motorcycle.

Now, I know that there's one thing we in America do better than anyone else on the planet, and that's entertain. It was only a matter of time before an excellent, dark, _American_ animated movie came out that was, quite simply, The Shit. After what seems like way too long since I first saw production stills, the animated version of the Phillip K. Dick novel "A Scanner Darkly" is actually slated to come out Real Soon Now. Don't believe me? Go have a look at the trailer. This movie is going to be the absolute bomb, and it features a fundamentally American style of animation, something totally new. And it isn't made by Dreamworks, Disney, _or_ Pixar. Can't beat that with a bat.

Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 24, 2005
Now, I don't know how much Dr. Thompson paid for his mail-order doctorate, but the fact that you could get such a thing got me thinking. I did an exhaustive search (mainly by typing "doctorate" in to the Google search thingie in Firefox) and found that one can get a doctorate in just about any field one would care to name. For example, Belford University gives you a doctorate based on Life Experience. You can even enter in the GPA you think you should get for your Life Experience, and the date you graduate[ed]. This will set you back $549, but you get Ten Actual Documents, and furthermore Free Shipping.

Now, in thinking about it, I was wondering what sort of doctorate my Life Experience might gain me. The obvious would be "music." A rather vague area of expertise, and seeing how I can't read music for shit, I probably shouldn't have a doctorate in the subject. In going through their list of available majors, nothing really jumped out at me, as something I had ten or more years of Life Experience in. There is a doctorate for Early Childhood Education, and I had ten years of that, so that makes a certain amount of sense. But following that line of reasoning, I could also get a doctorate in Theology & Biblical Counseling.

I skipped right over Real Estate. I'm not sure what "Doctor Of Real Estate" would get you in today's economy, but I don't have ten years of experience in it, unless you count paying rent. I like the sound of Doctor Of Project Management; that has a nice ring to it. There were a couple I recognized: Doctorate of Fine Arts, and Doctorate Of Liberal Arts. I think I've heard of people actually having at least the former. I wonder what the difference is? For the first, you need to listen to 10 years of Bach, and for the second, 10 years of The Beatles? I'm fairly certain that it's the difference between Rembrant and Warhol.

So, nothing really jumped out at me. I mean, I think Christopher Randall, PhD has a certain jíne se qua to it. (I don't know what?) But I just couldn't find anything that I wanted to be a doctor _of_, at least in there list. Then I saw the promised land: there is a box where you can put in your own major. Now, I think $549 is a little much for what I want, but to have a doctorate from an Accredited University so steeped in tradition as Belford U. (Go Belford!) would be worth the arm and/or leg. So, I've decided I'm going to be a Doctor Of Tiki. My disertation will be on the ultimate mai tai, which I will find using this handy reference. Dr. Chris Randall, Tiki Master.

Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 24, 2005
Kinda nifty stuff here. Some zany robotics students at Carnegie-Melon came up with a new kind of pogo stick. Scroll down for the fun MPG links. You won't believe how high this thing can jump. Must... have... now....
Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 23, 2005
So I was thinking more about HST's demise. (Not the uncanny resemblance to Hemmingway's. Hemmingway was bona-fide nuts by the time he killed himself; I can't help but think that HST did it to prove some point which we're all too stupid to see.)

Anyways, it occurred to me that there is very little that happens in the world to which a Shakespeare quote is not the absolutely perfect thing for the moment. I find it amazing (and astounding) that in over 500 years no one has had a better grasp on the English language than the Bard. I mean, really. But, in any case, the bit I'm thinking of that is appropriate at this time is from Henry IV Pt 2 Act 3 Scene 2. (And amazingly it's not from Falstaff. I'm not that prosaic.) One of the recruits, upon being questioned as to his desire to fight, responds:

By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe God a death: I'll ne'er bear a base mind: an 't be my destiny, so; an 't be not, so: no man's too good to serve 's prince; and let it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next.

Food for thought, anyways. Hemmingway quoted that very line in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." Serendipity, I'll grant.

Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 22, 2005
Okay, this won't be up for long, and is basically nothing but plot spoilers, but there are screen grabs from the entirety of Episode III here. Truth be told, I kind of regret looking, because I now know what's going to happen. If you want to be surprised, don't look.

Of course, that's like telling a kid not to shake his Christmas presents.

Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 21, 2005
Oh, this is rich. Since Brian McDaniel is starting to give me a complex viz. my age... kidding. In all seriousness, take a look at this site, at the short banner ad in the right-hand sidebar. The ad leads to USAnext.org, which is an ultra-right-wing lobbying group, and the wonderful people who brought us the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth ads.

Their next target is the AARP, who are getting in the way of the Bush Social Security plan, something they don't care for at all. (Since they got hoodwinked on the prescription drug benefits, they're not too hip on Our Fearless Leader these days.) But USAnext has apparently decided that the AARP is against the military, and for gay marriage, because they don't care for the SS plan. I'm intrigued to see what television ads this will spawn. These guys have gone beyond ludicrous, in to the completely surreal.

Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 20, 2005
Man, I hate it when shit like this happens. RIP, you crazy old fuck.
Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 20, 2005
Okay, long one today. The noise.to.signal.05 site has been updated with all the current info we have for the shows. There are ticket prices and times for a couple of the shows; more will be added soon. Except for the Phoenix show (which is still up in the air) everything else is final information. So whack that pretty blue button in the sidebar, and get your info.

Also, note that we will in all likelyhood do a Midwest and Southeast run after this. We're looking at routing options right now, and I'll inform you of the progress on that as it becomes relevent.

And now on to the Big News. Those of you that have visited the ARF site lately are certainly aware of the existence of posiNET, which is the global back-end that Mark has created for _all_ of the Positron Empire web sites. The first site to use this new engine was the Domination Tour site. It only used some basic features, and was kind of a beta test for the engine itself. When ARF got redesigned last year, it went to posiNET as well, and with the latest redesign that Lisa did a few weeks back, most all of the features of the posiNET engine were utilized.

Now that we know the engine itself works as Mark has envisioned, we're going to move the biggest site, this one, to it. There are plusses and minuses to this event, which I will attempt to address here:

GOOD:

1. You will now have a global log-in and member page that will work for _all_ of the Positron sites (except the store). That means that if you make a profile on sistermachinegun.com, that very same profile will be present when you post on amishrakefight.com.

2. The private messaging system will be global. If someone sends you a private message from amishrakefight.com, it will show up in your box on sistermachinegun.com the next time you visit.

3. There are now access levels, which determine the parts of the site you can participate in. Everyone starts with an access level of 1, which means you can post, PM, etc. Basically, everything that you can do now. This can be lowered to 0, which means you can't post or PM. It can also be raised, at an admin's determination, for access to more features. This will be addressed as it becomes pertinent.

4. Your username and password are carried from site to site. If you make a login for sistermachinegun.com, and then go to amishrakefight.com, once you login (with the same u/p) and set the auto-login function, travelling between the sites becomes seamless.

5. The SMG site will look and work to you basically the same as it does now. Most of the features of the new engine were tailored to the way this site operates, and has operated for several years. As such, a normal SMG.com user won't have to re-learn anything.

BAD:

1. When we change to the new engine, we lose the old back-end. What this means is that the current newsgroup and my blog will be reset. Those of you that are getting this blog via the RSS feed will probably have to come back here and get a new link. All my prior blog posts, and the entire newsgroup archives, will be blanked. (Mark may work something out so that you can look through the archives, but the old back-end is incompatible with posiNET, so the old archives will be static, in the event we're able to accomplish something there.)

2. When we switch the site, your current user information will be lost. We have almost 7000 members, but you all know that most of those people don't ever post on the newsgroup. To help us clean house, you will need to create a new login and password. As I mentioned above, this login and password will work on all posiNET sites. IMPORTANT: if you have already created a username and password, and have a profile on the Amish Rake Fight site, you are already in posiNET, and you can just use that u/p when the Sister Machine Gun site flips. Now, this doesn't mean you have to run over to the ARF site and create a profile right this instant. You can just do it when this site flips. But there is no need to do it more than once. You will have to log in and set your cookie for each site, but the same profile and u/p will work on all the posiNET sites.

3. Not all posiNET sites will use all features of the posiNET engine. It depends on what features that artist desires for his/her site. I prefer the Blog Thread paradigm, so there will be no comments directly on blog posts at SMG.com, just like it is now. However, one of the artists may want comments on his blog posts, so that will be allowed there. Some sites may allow user blogs, some may not. It depends on the artist and their desires. There are many features to the posiNET engine, and you'll see all of them eventually.

So, I've made a thread in the newsgroup called posiNET, where you can post questions and comments, and Mark and Lisa will attempt to clarify some of these points. That's the general idea, though. I'm sure I misunderstood some or all of what was explained to me, so expect a post from Lisa or Mark correcting me forthwith.

Subject: The Kompound, Chicago
Posted February 18, 2005
Okay, San Francisco just confirmed for Tuesday, April 19th. So, only one show left and it's a tour. The noise.to.signal.05 page will be updated with all pertinant info over the weekend.

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