a rickety bridge of impossible crossing

sunday links 11: getting it wrong about cake and romance

Good morning, it's time for sunday links, my break from the normal blog to link to some things I like. Typically I write every day. One post from this week you may enjoy is positive nihilism, a short personal essay in which I rethink my understanding of meaninglessness.

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Whoa, I'm seeing quadruple, here: sixteen links!


On men, romance and trick questions by Dr. Eleanor Janega

I used to teach an introductory course on medieval history at a university here in London where we had a week dedicated to introducing the concept of courtly love. If the students so chose, they could later write an essay on the topic. The question that they were asked to answer was: "What does courtly love literature tell us about women in medieval society?"


I've started listening to the backlog of The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong by Mark Chrisler, and it's fantastic. I don't typically like podcasts that are just a single person talking, but Mark's delivery, voice, demeanor and editing are fantastic. It's a very good companion to another podcast I've plugged here, You're Wrong About. The about page recommends starting with the 100th episode, but I've listened from the beginning and it's very good from the start. In particular I recommend Art is Dead, a story about an end-of-the-millennium art prank that would have fit perfectly into my essay about parafiction if I had ever heard of it before; yet another example of how the turn of the century was an inflection point for consensus reality.


Sleepy JRPG mix by Sleepy Shut-in

Sleepy Shut-in's channel features a number of lovely video game music mixes. I listen to them all the time while I'm reading or playing games where I don't like the music so much. Their channel was taken down recently, but they're back with a new one. I recommend using your video downloading tool of choice to archive them, since the thugs in squeenix's legal department can be unpredictable when it comes to copyright enforcement.


TOWLR by Farvardin

Towlr is a fascinating microgenre of web games I had never heard of before this week, when I saw someone on Cohost compare the little microgames people are making there to towlr games. The genre came about in the mid-late 2000s and followed a very rigid format. From the manifesto:

A Towlr puzzle should prominently feature the iconic + symbol somewhere. It usually has no purpose.

A Towlr puzzle must be a complete experience. Graphics and Sound.

A Towlr puzzle should keep an error count, and upon completion share with the player how many tries it took to complete. This is commonly associated with cake. Contrary to Portal, cake does not lie in Towlr. Cake is truth. Cake is success.

A good Towlr puzzle should have an obvious solution (obvious once you realize it), and shouldn't require twitch reflexes to complete.

TOWLR is a Pico-8 game inspired by towlr. It's not complete and doesn't follow all the rules (no cake), but it's the only extant example of a towlr I can find that's playable on the web. You can see "flash player no longer supported" errors on the wayback machine snapshot, but none of them seem to be playable even with Ruffle. If anyone figures out a way to play them, please let me know 🦝