Beatmania IIDX is one of those interesting arcade games because people can obsess over the content of the game without having to play it. You can listen to the music all day long and make judgements about good artists, the merit of various versions of the game based entirely on song list, etc. This also lends itself to a lot of excitement when a new version is announced – as there will be another 50 songs or so going in everyone’s collection. With the quasi-confirmation of Beatmania IIDX 11th Style RED today, the market has once again opened for fake location test songs. Popularized around 8th Style, the practice of making fakey location test songs is great for duping people who believe everything they read (or hear) on the internet. Making a fake song isn’t hard, but there are subtleties to it. Let’s walk through making a fake song. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: A microphone, preferably low quality. A IIDX controller. Non-ASC is fine. A source song, ranging between 1 and 2 minutes. It helps if it’s in a standard IIDX-ish genre (any sort of electronic music, fringes of hiphop, japanese vocals, eurobeat), but it helps even more if it’s obscure and not from an existing Bemani artist or game. Much easier to pick up on. Some tatsujin or gameplay movies – one is good, two is better. Try to get different Bemani games. Some program that will record audio off your microphone. TENETS OF LOCATION TEST FAKERY 1) The worse it sounds, the better it is. 2) By “worse”, I mean you can’t actually hear it. I’m not talking bullshit noise. 3) You are looking for three main components: Your alleged song, your background noise, and your key press sounds. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS DEMONSTRATION, I AM USING: Source song – “Him and Me” by Porn Theatre Ushers, off Mix Master Mike’s Spin Psycle. Background noise – dj RYRY’s Murmur Twins [a] Tatsujin video, as well as a Pop’n video from a friend of him playing 100 Sec. Cooking Battle. Me banging on my IIDX controller dj BTNS with the random ambient noise. STEPS: 1) First, balance your audio. You want the song to be slightly louder than your background noise, but you don’t want it to stick out over top of everything. Remember, at actual location tests, you have to sneak your recording equipment in because Konami is always watching. It’s supposed to sound muffled. 2) Move your microphone so it’s right between your computer speakers. I was using my iSight, and just dangled it off the top of my monitor. This had the added benefit of adding fan noise from my iMac and giving it a nice low-level hum. 3) Fire up your recording program. Make sure your audio capture settings are LOW – 11000 Hz is good, 22k is also acceptable. Stereo vs. mono is not really important. 4) Start recording. 5) Start your background noises (and have them on loop, just in case you run over). 6) Start your song, and immediately try your best to mash the keys along with the song. This works best if you’ve never heard the song enough to recognize it, which in our case here, is completely true. 7) When the song ends, stop recording and chop out the dead air. Don’t bother fading the audio in or out, this is supposed to be crappy. 8) Convert it to MP3 however you’d like – but encode at 128 so you lose a little more quality. 9) Nice stylistic touch – make the ID3 tags absolutely horrendous. Type in all capital letters. Misspell things. Leave fields blank. Change the file name to those annoyingly long ALL_CAPS_WITH_UNDERSCORES_INSTEAD_OF_SPACES style. 10) Upload to some free webspace, preferably with a .jp domain. Point a few friends to it, and let them start the chain of downloading. BEATMANIA_IIDX_RED_LOCATION_TEST_-SLAKE-_Gambol04.mp3 Look for more great fake 11th Style songs coming your way soon. Not from me though. Never from me.
To those who have been trying to reach me by AIMing my SideKick while I’m at work – I don’t get much signal in the basement of 1300 York, so I generally get IMs 20 minutes after you send them, and can only reply 20 minutes later when my signal comes back. As such, I am often unable to reply within any semblance of quickness. I apologize for this. If you desperately need me, email my gmail account – user name is the same as my primary AIM screen name, domain is gmail.com. I check it a few times a day.
Everyone’s been chomping at the bit for Pop’n ranking site info. Well…work has begun, and I figured I’d take a minute out for some preliminary screens and features. Click through for the fun.
So you’re in NYC. You’re hungry. And you have no idea which of the thousands of restaurants you should eat at. Never fear, I’m here, which my recommendations having been to not even close to 1% of them. I’ll do a new post occasionally if I find something that tickles my fancy or have some horrible service at one of these establishments. 1) Basta Pasta Try to wrap your head around this: Italian restaurant, run entirely by Japanese people. Open kitchen, right in the middle of the restaurant. It sounds crazy – but it took one visit and it’s already on the top of my list. Reasonable prices. Attentive staff. Good lighting and atmosphere. Right next to a parking lot if you’re driving. And the food? Oh jesus, the food. The food is Italian, but has Japanese influences (Katie had spaghetti with flying fish roe and japanese basil.) Everything I had was flawless. The bocconcini had the softest, melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella I’ve ever had. The linguine with peppers and shrimp was perfectly balanced, with the right amount of shrimp and no flavors overpowering. The creme brulée had bits of orange in it that burst in your mouth as you ate it. And as I was eating it, I said “Wow, to say something bursts in your mouth is such a cliché.” But it was undoubtedly the best dinner I’ve had in months and I can’t wait to go back. Pros: Fantastic food/service/prices/everything. Cons: If you don’t like every single member of staff saying THANK YOU as you leave, you may not want to eat here. 2) First Down in the East Village, there is the confusingly named restaurant on First Ave. named First. A strange sort of American Creative place, First appeals to the east village types with a clean interior, a great bar, interesting menu choices, and good service. There is a champagne brunch on Sundays (free champagne), and there are DJ sessions occasionally. It’s a solid choice, but good luck finding it in the phone book. (212-674-3823) Pros: Good food, good service, good atmosphere, open real late. Cons: The champagne breakfast can have its downfalls. Enjoy moderation. 3) Aureole When I moved to NYC, I picked up the Time Out Eating & Drinking guide, and this was listed as winning the 2003 “Best Place For Your Parents To Take You” award. I can’t say anything more true than that, speaking from personal experience. You will leave with a very happy stomach, but a very unhappy bank account. Go sparingly and savor it. Pros: The dinner may well be one of the defining moments in your life. Cons: The dinner may also violate the “costs more than the top of the line iPod” line. 4) Forno Italia The best kept secret in Queens – the best brick oven pizza you’ll ever have. This is of course dependent on Giovanni having a good day, and the service not getting dragged down, but when it’s good, it’s the best. When it’s not so good, it’s still pretty awesome. 5) F&B Now with two locations, F&B specializes in “European street food”. This mostly means bizarre hot dogs, and if you like hot dogs, get here immediately. But for us not-so-crazy-about-hotdogs people, there’s also Chicken Frites (fries made out of chicken, they are the greatest invention known to man) and other options, like the delectible Steak Frites. Get a Cool Dog for dessert! Pros: Chicken Frites. And the rest of the menu. Cons: Strange inconsistencies in credit card minimums. 6) Evergreen Up by the Medical School (1st Ave and 69th, next to McDonald’s), Evergreen is the best traditional Chinese food I’ve had. The lunch special is obscenely cheap and obscenely good. The orange beef and the wonton soup are both highly recommended. And hey, it’s right by my office! Pros: Fantastically cheap Chinese food, possibly the cheapest outside of Chinatown that isn’t one of those hole-in-the-wall places. Cons: Wait staff hovers over you way too much. 7) Chat n’ Chew Just off Union Square, Chat N’ Chew is comfort food with a vengence. I have yet to find anything off the menu here that has not left me obscenely full and my wallet largely unscathed. Seating can be cramped but is generally not too bad. Save room for dessert. Pros: Comfort food = win. Cons: That feeling like you’re going to explode. 8) Tonic I never thought it could happen – a decent restaurant in Times Square with reasonable prices. The nightly lobster special – 1.25 lbs lobster, corn, potato, butter – is $17 for the first one and $8.50 for the second. That just can’t be beat and will lodge them firmly in 8th. The rest of the menu is good too! Pros: Lobster special. Cons: If seated by the window, you have to listen to the waistaff out front constantly shouting “Lobster special, full bar, kids menu” as they try to solicit customers. 9) Taverna Kyclades The other Astoria restaurant on the list, Kyclades has a reputation for being some of the best seafood in Queens. It’s true, everything here is damn fresh and mighty tasty. Huge loafs of semolina bread come with dinner, and most of the time you get a little pudding-y thing as a free dessert. Crowds easily form, but the outdoor seating in the summer is quite nice. Pros: Fantastic seafood. Cons: Tiny space, service can be iffy. 10) Dallas BBQ Dallas BBQ is a local NYC chain, which about 6 locations around the city. The key here is good, cheap burgers and ribs. Everything here is ridiculously huge – as my usual anecdote goes, do not order the “Double Onion Cheesburger” thinking there’s a lot of onions on it – you’re getting a pound of beef on that sucker. The salads are decent, the service is lightning quick, and it’s a safe bet for lunch. Pros: Cheap. Good. Located around the city. Cons: Very easy to order too much food.
iPodlounge has pointed out that the 9/11 Commission, in what appears to be its entireity, is available from iTunes for free.
This morning’s headlines: Bin Laden said to be organizing new attack (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Bin Laden Aims to Attack US This Year – NY Times (Reuters) QAEDA SCHEMING ELECTION ATTACK (NY Post) Condi Rice’s 9/11 Commission Statement, April 8th 2004 (transcript):
I gained an unfortunate curse in college. During my time working with the Cornell Concert Commission, I had the “professionalism” thing drilled into my head so much – and had to work in role model positions enough where I had to practice it – that I find it hard to get excited over celebrities when I see them in person. They are, honestly, just people like you and me.
What this leads to is a slightly surreal situation when I see one – “Oh, there’s ______. Yup.” What I don’t normally have to deal with is seeing more than one at a time, but when this does happen, it leads to an exponential growth of the surreal feeling I get.
No time has that ever been more true than tonight – for the Anchorman seminar I talked about a few weeks back (note how the card says “Special screening”) was not in fact a seminar. It was the NYC Premiere.
I can only write about what happened as though I’m retelling it in one big gasp of breath. The story is too disjointed for regular sentences.
At around 6:30 James Lipton got out of a big humvee and then Al Sharpton came out from down the street with two girls on his arm (turned out to be his daughters!) and then George Whipple went by and we freaked him out by saying hi (the eyebrows went up!) and then we talked to other people in the crowd none of whom had tickets and then finally we were let in around 7.
And at the reception Al Sharpton was in the corner and James Lipton looked lonely and Amy Poehler looked really bitter (she’s a little hard to recognize with the makeup off) and then the crowd just gradually grew and we saw some journalists we didn’t recognize and the finger food was decent and there was a giant table where they were pouring scotch and more people I didn’t recognize came in and then Kenan came in and Katie said he was in Burgertime (instead of Good Burger) which made me giggle and then she started going for autographs and got Kenan’s and Zoe Saldana and then managed to get Tina Fey’s and I heard Tina say “Aww that’s so SWEET!” to her at least four times and then we saw Will Farrell progressing slowly down the interview line and Katie managed to step on James Lipton’s foot and said “I’m sorry Mr. Lipton!” and he apparently REALLY does talk like he does on tv, and then Paul Rudd came in and okay this crowd was too much so we went to get seated.
After considering the placement of the reserved seats and our leg room where we were sitting we moved up behind two reserved seats which happened to belong to Bill Kurtis who was the one that was going to be interviewing Will Farrell in character and then we saw the other reserved seats start to fill in and Jimmy Fallon was less dressed up than I was (shock, awe) and Gwenyth Paltrow was sitting in Christina Applegate’s section, right next to her in fact, and she looked pretty good for having just had a baby, and there were more SNL cast members like Molly Shannon and then okay time for the movie to start but wait there’s Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins and their kids wtf are they doing here?
Bill Kurtis gave the opening speech and took a shot at Michael Moore which caused an exchanged glance between Sarandon and Robbins, but afterwords Kurtis gave Robbins a reassuring pat on the shoulder, very strange and the movie started. During the movie Bill and Tim were laughing by far the loudest out of anyone in there and at one point Christina Applegate got up to go out of the room but when she came back she sat on the stairs about five feet from me for the rest of the showing which was rather amusing but then again I was directly behind Bill Kurtis so what the hell and I’ve never been at a movie with so much applauding and cheering and laughing, are all premieres like this?
deep breath, calm down
Okay, here’s the serious movie review: Go see it. It was quite funny. The plot isn’t deep, and it’s a pretty typical “wacky lead character” comedy, but there’s so much oddball stuff, so many fantastic cameos – at least three Mr. Show alums, as well as the best comedy fight scene in the history of film with essentially FOUR cameos, including someone I’ve mentioned in this writeup already – and Steve Carrell literally steals the most laughs I’ve ever seen. Like Dodgeball, you will find yourself laughing at goofy shit and not caring. See it with the kind of friends you see screwball comedies with, and you’ll have a good time. And stay all the way through the credits.
As for Will Farrell’s in character interview – apparently Ron Burgundy had some homosexual relationships. By “some”, I mean “eleven” – straight from the horse’s mouth. The Q&A was not quite as funny as the movie was, but it was fun watching Will Farrell improv.
And then, it was over, and we headed out (it was late and I was sort of dead tired of people watching), and I think at least one idiot paparazzi accidently took our picture.
So. Yeah. Kind of a crazy night.
For those of you who have been waiting patiently for the last month for VJ Army registration to reopen, today’s your lucky day. You still need a referral, but the process is now significantly quicker. Edit: I was a retard and forget to flip the enabled flag for creating new accounts, since previously they were disabled by default so I could run the process. It’s fixed now, and accounts made today have been enabled.
Drink, by They Might Be Giants I’ll take back my pinata it’s wasted on you Just spinning that pool cue all over the room And give back the blindfold that’s under your shoe Let’s drink, drink this town is so great Drink, drink ’cause it’s never too late To drink, drink to no big surprise But what words rhyme with buried alive What words rhyme with buried alive You could be a float for the 4th of July Based on your theme of “Wallflowers Grown Wild” Look thru your peephole, you’ve won every prize Let’s drink, drink this town is so great Drink, drink ’cause it’s never too late To drink, drink to no big surprise But what words rhyme with buried alive What words rhyme with buried alive In your monkey suit on a cigarette break The lunchtime crowd, they won’t even blink But you’d be sad if they did But you’ll be sad… Let’s drink, drink this town is so great Drink, drink ’cause it’s never too late To drink, drink to no big surprise But what words rhyme with buried alive What words rhyme with buried alive