sunday links 05: please don't let your memes be dreams. i can make your wish come true. as long as you like numbers, as long as you like blue
Welcome to sunday links, my weekly break from the regular blog to highlight some interesting stuff. Normally I write every day. One piece from this week you may enjoy is Always Bet On Dwayne, some goofy magical realist fiction starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. And you!
I'm sad to report that no one solved the junior jumble from #GarbageDigest
issue 07. The answers were: 1. DWAYNE 2. THE 3. ROCK 4. JOHNSON 5. SMACKDOWN, and the puzzle solution is: After a tragic pressure cooker explosion, the taffy maker spent weeks recovering from CANDY ASS. Better luck next time!
Now here come the links.
China Dreams of Electric Words by Jesse Young
Electronic dictionaries [were] singularly Chinese computing devices ostensibly meant for language acquisition. In reality, they became so much more: the repository for a whole generation’s private world of notes, virtual pets, sprawling RPGs and coding experiments. Somewhere between a Nintendo DS, Chromebook, Ti-83 Calculator, and a Tamagotchi, electronic dictionaries were wildly popular, extremely customizable, and gleefully modded to support dizzying possibilities.
The Lost Film About Internet Memes by Lady Emily (36m17s)
2012 when someone thought it would be a good idea to make an epic fantasy movie starring a bunch of people from internet meme videos? I sure as heck didn't, which made Lady Emily's dive into the trailer and the story behind it all the more fascinating. It's not really a "lost film", because it never actually got made, but it's still an interesting story.
Some background: in the
late 90s through the aughts there was a band called The Strokes (who are apparently still around, their most recent album was released in 2020. Good for them!) If you're like me, you saw the music video for the song Last Nite in
1999-ish, thought "eh, I guess that's okay", and promptly forgot them until
But first, backtrack to
2001.1 A novelty cover band called The Diff'rent Strokes released a single called This Isn't It (styled after the debut Strokes album, Is This It.) It was 4 tracks of cheesy instrumental casiocore covers of Strokes songs. When I learned about it, I didn't pay much attention to that either. I chuckled at the joke, but I didn't yet understand why anyone would ever actually listen to it. You can buy the CD used on Discogs for £0.50 plus shipping.
Around the same time, unbeknownst to me, a mashup artist going by the name Freelance Hellraiser gained a bit of popularity for A Stroke of Genius, mashing up a Strokes song I'm not familiar with, with Christina Aguilera's Genie In a Bottle.
Fast-forward back to
2007, when I learned about the mashup works of Ben Hayes, a/k/a Soundhog, a/k/a The Freelance Hairdresser. Well, A Diff'rent Stroke of Genie-us is where all the elements come together: It's a mashup of Genie In A Bottle with the cheesy casiocore version of the Strokes song.2
So you have three elements I don't really care about: the Christina Aguilera song, the Strokes, and cheesy casiocore music; and Soundhog turned them into something I like. Brilliant. It's a totally unique thing, and as far as I know, no longer available anywhere on the internet.
A Diff'rent Stroke of Genie-us by the Freelance Hairdresser (.mp3, 4.7MB)
This was before mashup/bastard pop artists were able to rip the stems of thousands of popular songs from Rock Band et al., so the isolation of the vocals is a little rough, and the timestretching technology wasn't quite as nice as we're used to these days, but to me just that adds to the lo-fi charm of it.
As long as we're in
2007, why not stick around and play some Desktop Tower Defense? It lives again, thanks to the magic of Ruffle. It wasn't the first tower defense game, and it certainly wasn't the last, but it might still be the best 🦝
Amazon gives a release date of
2007for the CD, which is when I remember hearing about it, but discogs.com swears it was
2001and they usually know their stuff. It does make more sense for the novelty album to come out a couple years after the thing it's referencing. Maybe there was a relatively underground release in
2001and it blew up when it got re-issued a few years later.↩
The metadata on the track says
2002, so I guess all of this was happening around the same time and I didn't learn about any of it until 5-6 years later. Internet time is weird.↩