Science FAIL

May 11th, 2009

If you’ve been listening to me on the Twitter this morning then you’ll be tired of this, but here’s the thing. I made a dumb joke referencing an aphorism I have heard: “all animals can swim.” Then I started wondering if that was true. A lot of people replied saying that great apes can’t swim, in particular chimpanzees. That didn’t sound right to me, or at least it sounded like one of those things that everybody says that nobody really knows if it’s true or not (kind of like “all animals can swim”).

So I asked again on the Twitter: for reals? Great apes can’t swim? A lot of people responded “yes they can” or “no they can’t” which wasn’t helpful. And a lot of links came in, a lot of conflicting information. This site says they have too little animal fat and so they sink. This person says they can outswim an olympic swimmer (human, presumably) and tantalizingly links to a video called “seemychimpswim” that no longer exists. According to The Big Zoo they can only swim “if extremely excited” (?). And here’s a story about a swimming orangutan. From what I can tell, it’s kind of “some chimps can swim but mostly they hate it and are not good at it.”

Or worse, it’s still an open question, which is a terrible thought. What the hell scientists? What are we doing here? Can we please start throwing some monkeys into pools and taking notes? IT IS 2009, SERIOUSLY!

Also, giraffes.

Invisible Post

May 1st, 2009

Which is what this will be for many of you today – traffic on the First of May is always a little heavy for some reason, but my poor server is doing its best to keep up. I wish you all a happy Spring, even if you don’t know it.

This song is free even when it is not this day of the year, but it is especially free today (if you know what I mean):

First of May (<–Not At All Safe For Work)

Friends, Fans and Followers

April 20th, 2009

Scott Kirsner is a writer who, inexplicably, interviewed me once. I was somewhere in the earlier parts of Thing a Week, and I was just seeing the hint of the glimmer of the possibility of some kind of semi-success. He was hoping to pitch me as a feature article to a certain important magazine about technology, but that feature never materialized, I think probably because Scott was ahead of the curve. He already knew what the world did not: that I was destined to become a big, fat, shining superstar.

So now he’s put me in his book, which is also very nice of him. I mention it not just because I’m in it, but because Scott is a very smart and well-spoken fellow who ran an excellent panel with me and some other folks at SXSWi, and this book looks kind of awesome. It’s about this new kwazy internet thing we’re all trying to figure out, where suddenly everyone has the tools to create and publish, and so reaching your audience is simultaneously very easy and very hard. He interviews a bunch of artists of various types about how they deal with this paradox, how they launched and built their creative enterprises. If you’re wondering how you might turn your creative thing into a money-pooping cow, it’s really helpful to read about how lots of other people did it. Like I always say: 1) find the good ideas and then 2) steal them.

It’s called Friends, Fans and Followers, and you can preview it here, and buy it here.

Three Mysteries, Solved

April 9th, 2009

Where the hell is Jonathan Coulton

1. Millionaire Matchmaker – you were not imagining it, the bachelor named Alex sang “Soft Rocked By Me” on the Bravo show Millionaire Matchmaker. They did get permission from me before doing this, and the last time I was in Vegas Alex even took me out to a delicious Thai lunch to thank me. It was my first lunch date with a millionaire. Hopefully not my last – AM I RIGHT?!

2. Ernie Wade – April Fools! You all know that by now, and most of you knew it pretty early on. I meant to juice up a little more doubt and controversy, but when it came down to it I couldn’t keep a straight face. Also there were enough people in on the joke tweeting and blogging about it that I enjoyed watching it all unfold. In case you missed it, the idea took shape in Vegas (erm, I guess there are a lot of things that do NOT stay in Vegas) when I was at the New Media Expo playing the Coverville 500 concert. At the table were me, Len, Patrick and Tom, and I hope nobody else that I’m forgetting because I’m an insensitive jerk. We thought it would be funny to manufacture a scandal in which it is discovered that all my songs are stolen. Because he is crazy, Tom actually followed through and created a site and recorded a couple of songs: Code Monkey and Warrior Robot Revenge. Say want you want about these kinds of April Fools Day pranks, but there are some really nice touches on the site, in the photos, the cassette labels, and especially in the songs. My favorite is the photo on this page captioned “Here is a picture I had of Ernie driving his truck…” And the songs have a perfect bizarro-world-JoCo quality to them – poor Ernie really loved Jan.

3. Where the hell is Jonathan Coulton? Last week we closed on the sale of my old home and the purchase of my new home, and on Monday we moved. I’ve been too preoccupied to blog or twitter – sorry if you’re waiting for me to get back to you, or even just let you know that I’m alive. I’m still in Brooklyn, not too far away from where I was, but kind of on the fringe of Stroller Town itself. The new place has some leaks and broken things, and of course my entire life is packed into lots of poorly labeled boxes. I can’t find anything, all is chaos. I had no internet until yesterday afternoon, which was painful. And my studio does not really exist at this point – it will only when I muster up the strength to find everything and plug it in again. The photo up top is my old studio room, now empty and sad.

Moving is weird. A lot happened in that old apartment – I entered as a childless writer of software, I leave as a twice bekidded musician, with Thing a Week and all the rest of it trailing out behind me. The new place has quite a bit to live up to. I’m hoping that soon it will actually feel more like home, and less like a showroom for a cardboard box company.

Sorry to have been so quiet. I will start making noise again soon.

I Totally Forgot

April 1st, 2009

To post anything about the NYC show. Isn’t that terrible? It was a great deal of fun, and if you missed it, you also missed this:

Yes, that is the Hungry March Band, and they are the nicest group of anarchist marching band hipster types you will ever meet.

And if you missed me at University of Arkansas last night, you missed a sound check (which the audience was lucky enough to see), and a set done WITHOUT A SET LIST. Very dangerous, but I think it worked out OK. Thank you Arkansonians.

In other news, some attorney friends of mine say it’s probably a good idea for me not to say anything about this.