Adam Avramescu

Get your lols with these rolls

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photo / Michelle Oshen Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 “And now, here’s a song by a gay guy.” 

I’m not sure when Rickrolling became the biggest thing on the internet, further cementing Generation Y’s complete immersion in a culture of absurdism, but it’s not surprising that our new collective pastime is sending each other disguised Rick Astley YouTube videos.

What’s better is the spinoffs that Rickrolling has generated. David at Ironic Sans gives us the WikRoll:

Give them both a hand

Finally got around to watching The Office and 30 Rock, both fresh back from the WGA Strike hiatus.

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photo / Chris Cohen Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-No Derivatives 2.0 Hey, brother 

The Office, continuing on the downward spiral it’s faced since season 2, paid a little homage to Arrested Development by giving Michael a Buster Bluth hand chair, while simultaneously forgetting what makes The Office good in its own right – when the characters actually occupy the titular office.

Meanwhile, 30 Rock paid the real tribute to the late, great Arrested by, well, being hilarious, sharp, meta – and including a hand-in-the-vending machine joke.

Arrested, we miss you, but at least there’s one show left to carry on your legacy.

Fiction, 2nd ed.

A few months back, I wrote about Fiction, a local group who falls somewhere between late-period Radiohead, TV on the Radio, and Broken Social Scene. Yes, that was lazy journalism. But I wrote a whole article about them if you want the details.

In that article, they were going on a months-long hiatus. Well, they recently broke that with four performances during Austin’s “Hello, Entire Population of L.A.” week and another at OxJam 2008, a yearly benefit/awareness event co-sponsored by Oxfam-UT and Oxfam-SEU, student groups that fight global poverty and hunger. This year, it was held at Ruta Maya.

I caught them at OxJam and boy, were they on their game. Lead singer Jeremy Roye was Thom Yorking all over the stage (in a very good way) and the rest of the band emitted energy, too, that the audience responded to. I think I saw Jason Reece sitting at the bar mouthing along to one of the songs.

When bad headlines go bad

Just read this in the Victoria Advocate: “Man sentenced to eight years in fatal DUI crash.” Now that’s a long-ass crash. Think they could have gone a little easier on the poor guy?

Turns out the Statesman picked this one up as “Abilene man gets eight years in fatal crash.” Doesn’t fare much better.

Jeez, world of print journalism. Way to be ambiguous.

An urban cross section

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photo / rpongsaj Creative Commons licensed: Attribution 2.0 
Just like a cross section, or a tree split open to show its rings, this is Austin – what has been, what is, and what soon will be.

Getting smashed with Flash

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screenshot / Adam Avramescu Giving a new meaning to the phrase, “vodka headache.” 

Flash games are one of my favorite ways to kill time, so I think it’s fair to say I know my way around the genre. The problem with Flash games, of course, is that some people are really crappy at designing them so you get a lot of boring, poorly written “click on a certain point on the screen” or “avoid stuff with your mouse” odysseys.

What makes a good Flash game? Graphics help. So does coherence (although there’s a joy to playing some indecipherable Japanese game where you’re, like, balancing a dog on a stick or something). But the real keys to a good game are innovation and in-game physics. The former is important when you realize how many games are essentially “click on things that are one color but avoid things that are another color.” Horribly uninteresting. The latter is why I never play Flash Mario games – they never feel quite right.

So here’s my new Flash addiction: Drunken Masters. It combines service-based games like Diner Dash with just about every physics element you could think of: You’re constantly serving customers drinks, which you have to mix precisely using the liquor, juice, ice, and garnish behind your bar – there’s even four types of glasses – and if you’re far enough off, the customer will reject your concoction and you’ll get points off. Plus customers’ satisfaction levels are constantly dropping unless you perform tricks to appease them.

They ain’t from around here

You may have noticed a strange, new breed of people walking around downtown. Like some rare species of cicada, they show up only once a year, with pinpoint precision. They have badges. They have attitudes. It can mean only one thing: The Austin Chronicle, Incorporated Film and Music Conference Festival is upon us once again. (Hey, with UT students down in Mexico for the week, somebody’s gotta be here to get our teenagers pregnant, right? And you can’t count on the townies.)

An Inferno for the 21st Century

We’re all familiar with Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy — at least insofar as we know he wrote it. Many of us at least know the first few lines: “When I had journeyed half of our life’s way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray.”

Most of us (including me, until recently) are not familiar with Sandow Birk, a Californian artist known for a series of paintings in which Los Angeles and San Francisco go to war against one another, and a collection of idyllic landscapes — of 33 state prisons.

Eclipsed!

If you missed last night’s total lunar eclipse, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Our sources report that clouds got the best view, whereas humans were forced to enter a lottery system for a closer look. In sum, only 400 were able to attend.

But you can catch the re-airing of the lunar eclipse tonight on CNN.

Hillary Clinton asked you to pull her finger

Having trouble deciding who to vote for in our upcoming Democratic primaries? The internet has just made your job easier.

Clinton Obama Kwassa Kwassa

Clinton Obama Kwassa Kwassa

The Internet has changed the face of promotion; it’s as dramatic as the change from radio to TV. Welcome to public image 2.0: If you don’t show up a year early, you’ve lost the race already.

Crappy Greek food and the people who eat it

I’d heard good things about El Greco Greek Taverna (3016 Guadalupe St), right beside Mangia’s new location, from several people. “Great desserts,” they told me. “Charming service from kindly old Mediterranean women.” Well, what’s not to love about that?

Overheard in Austin: Ten feet from the UT Tower

overheard in austin

Ten feet from the UT Tower

Guy “I thought it was American History Ten!”

Erik Wofford: The cause of cacophony

Listening Parties
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photo / Paige Maguire (all rights reserved) Erik Wofford and the Black Angels at Cacophony Recorders 

It’s the biggest spider I’ve ever seen. Its web takes up an entire window pane, and it just wrapped up a caterpillar for lunch. The spider is one of the newest residents at Cacophony Recorders, an East Austin studio run by Erik Wofford and Darwin Smith. Erik tells me that the spider showed up as he was recording the new Black Angels album. Most producers, I think, would’ve swatted it down long ago – but most producers wouldn’t have chosen a studio with gigantic windows looking out onto the Colorado River. And for that matter most producers wouldn’t put their mixing equipment in the middle of the same room the band plays in.

It was a very good year

It was a very good year

Adam Avramescu takes a look at 2007’s most interesting pop. Find out what you missed.

Happy New Year! We’re back!

Okay, so maybe it’s been 2008 for a few days now, but we’ve been off getting fake tans and Spring wardrobes with all the money that’s pouring in since we’ve got a monopoly on the Austin paper industry.

Will 2008 be the year that another paper rises up to challenge us? It’s getting awful lonely at the top…

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photo / Sally M Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0Not a legitimate play in Scrabble 

A fiction in the writing

A fiction in the writing

Fiction, a promising Austin up-and-comer still crafting its own narrative, has just released the five-song You Will Never EP. Adam Avramescu listened to the CD and checked out the band’s last show before a three-month hibernation.

54 Seconds’ ‘Postcards from California’

54 Seconds' 'Postcards from California'

Adam and Nicole go coconuts for California.

The Man Who Loved Graffiti

It had to happen sometime. B R Reynolds Drive, north of Town Lady Bird Lake, was just itching for defacement. Finally some brave soul stepped up to the challenge.

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photo / Adam Avramescu Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Ain’t that a cop and a half 

Who is the Burt Reynolds bandit? Well, we know he ain’t Smokey.

The man, the myth, the movie

The man, the myth, the movie

I’m Not There is a film that’s not afraid to confront Bob Dylan’s many myths. Adam Avramescu confronts the film.