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orawnzva

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I'm with her [Sep. 29th, 2016|08:23 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

I'm thinking of a lady — a very famous lady — whose story has been retold at this time of year since ancient times. You may have heard of her. According to the story, she ate a fruit she maybe wasn't supposed to, and in so doing entered irrevocably into an awareness of the cycle of life and death, and her place in it.

Was she tricked? Or did she eat of her own free will and with some idea of the consequences, both good and bad? Opinions differ on this point. I prefer to think of her as a heroine with her own sense of agency, and with a powerful lesson to teach us.

That is why, at this season, I am proud to trace my lineage back to her, and will gladly lift up a certain seasonal fruit in her name, and eat, and remember her, and her choice.
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A very narrow bridge [Sep. 26th, 2016|08:51 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |creativecreative]

Gandalf confronting the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm, with Hebrew caption

The Hebrew text is a saying attributed to Reb. Nachman of Breslov: "The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the essential thing is not to be afraid at all."

Click the image for a larger version.
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Songs index page updated [Sep. 26th, 2016|08:38 pm]
orawnzva
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The songs mentioned in the last song roundup post are now linked from my songs index page. Someday, that page will get a complete overhaul, but not today...

I've also posted new MP3s of Divine Monkey and Ashrei Adam Matza Chochmah, with improved scansion. The "Divine Monkey" recording, in particular, corrects a scansion error that could be considered disrespectful, so in light of the sacred nature of the subject, I recommend replacing any copy of the old MP3 you may have lying around with the new one.
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Summer 2016 Song Roundup [Jul. 31st, 2016|07:11 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |creativecreative]

SSH access to the server that hosts my website has been down for a bit, which means I can't update it, but I did upload a bunch of things before that happened, and HTTP access is up, so you can still read/listen to them — you just won't find them on my songs index page.

Let's start with some new recordings of old songs...


Red WingsCollapse )

The Code of the GoddessCollapse )

Dragon for SaleCollapse )

And now for some new songs...


Timelord of GallifreyCollapse )

TamariCollapse )

Professor JonesCollapse )

Operation MoonshineCollapse )

In the BeyondCollapse )

Flirting with TreesCollapse )

You Are Not AloneCollapse )
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Infinifactory on sale on the Humble Store [May. 11th, 2016|05:56 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |playful]

https://www.humblebundle.com/store/infinifactory

I can't recommend this game enough. It hits a sweet spot between open-ended creativity and goal-directed challenge. The basic idea is that you build factories out of blocks (as many as you need, although you can compete to use as few as possible), and the factories receive input materials (which are blocks) and produce products (which are made of blocks), in order to serve our alien overlords. There's more than one way to complete every challenge, and figuring out the physics of the game is delightful. If this sounds at all intriguing to you, it's definitely worth a look.
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I found a video game set in the Dave Carter-verse [May. 8th, 2016|09:09 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |curiouscurious]

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Shelter and Shelter 2 on sale [Mar. 28th, 2016|07:41 am]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |energeticenergetic]

Shelter and Shelter 2 are video games in which you play, respectively, a mother badger and a mother lynx, and must care for your litter of young in a hostile world. They are both deeply discounted on Steam until tomorrow, and I think both are good buys at the sale price.

In both games the gameplay is disappointingly simplistic, but it's very much made up for by the gorgeous visuals, reminiscent of Eric Carle illustrations in 3D. I encourage you to check out the trailers and get the games if you think you'd enjoy romping through that visual world. If you want both, you can get them in a bundle on the Shelter 2 page.
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A Jewish song for Pi Day [Mar. 13th, 2016|05:14 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |bouncybouncy]

This song is not new, but I don't think I've ever discussed it in depth in this journal, and with Pi Day upon us it seemed like a good time.

So why a Jewish song about π? The claim is out there that the Bible claims that π is equal to 3 — years ago, I saw it come up on two Internet communities, rec.music.filk and a Quaker pagan list, at about the same time. Mostly it's presented in the context of "look, the Bible is wrong about science!" (if you want to show that the Bible is wrong about science, there are of course better disproof-texts than this).

Years later, at the Havurah Institute, I had the opportunity to join a study session with Adam Levine on the topic of what the Jewish tradition really says about π, and — remembering those newsgroup conversations — I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. This article cites essentially the same sources as Adam's handout if you want to delve deeper.

Out of that study session came this song (mp3), which I finally had the opportunity to share with Adam at last summer's Havurah Institute, to his profound delight. I hope you will find it just as delightful.
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Another song roundup [Mar. 6th, 2016|05:52 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |creativecreative]

Time for another long-overdue roundup of songs!

Bytecode in the .JarCollapse )

The Footprints of the WindCollapse )

O(n log n)Collapse )

taH pagh taHbe’Collapse )

XKCDCollapse )

The Quangle Wangle’s HatCollapse )

Send in the ClonesCollapse )

A Wrinkle in HyperspaceCollapse )

The Tines They are a-Changin’Collapse )

Your [Your Topic’s Name Here]’s Name HereCollapse )

Mechanical AdvantageCollapse )
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Some game reviews [Jan. 27th, 2016|09:58 pm]
orawnzva
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[Current Mood |bouncybouncy]

Lately I have been buying a lot of video games from the Humble Bundle store — a website which started as a one-time deal (and co-created by a friend of a friend from Swarthmore) and has grown into an excellent retail outlet for Indie games. They often have sales (including right now), a portion of your purchase goes to charity, and a lot of the games are really good, so it's worth checking out.

There are a few games I've gotten recently that stand out enough to be worth a mention/recommendation.

Games that are on sale right now and for the next ~35 hours:


FEIST is an action game where you play a small furry creature in a quest to rescue another of your kind from troll-like beasts who have taken it captive. moreCollapse )

PixelJunk Shooter is an exploratory 2d shooter with a rich materials simulation — water and lava flow, water plus lava turns to steam plus stone, icicles drip, lava melts ice, etc. moreCollapse )

Last Horizon is a sweet little minimalist space adventure game where you maneuver a spaceship around and land on planets, lunar lander style. moreCollapse )

Games that are not on sale right now:


Mushroom 11 is not really like anything else. It's a platform game where you play as a sort of blob, and your only control is an eraser tool stolen from a painting program — moreCollapse )

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a (local) 2-player cooperative space shooter that reminds me a little of the board game Space AlertmoreCollapse )
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