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As a corollary of sorts to my last post, I offer this thought-provoking piece by Charlie Owen on what web development is like for the vast majority of developers:

The reality for most, well, web developers is very different from this. Most web developers are working on very ​‘boring’ teams. They’re producing workhorse products that serve the organisation needs. They aren’t trying to innovate. They aren’t trying to impress the next recruiter with their CV. They simply want to get paid, produce a solution that works, and go home.

[…]

Perhaps the client-side framework developed by a multi-billion dollar company isn’t the one that you should be pushing into the browser of your local grocery website? Perhaps the buildchains that require ancient dark magick to invocate are not appropriate on a team that simply compiles some Sass to CSS?

I love reading about the latest ​“bleeding edge” techniques for building websites. But most of the time, just give me plain ol’ HTML and vanilla CSS, with a smidge of JavaScript here and there. Via

If you want a perfect example of what’s wrong with modern web development, I recently visited a site that was just a landing page displaying a single image. No text, no links, no form, just one image. But behind the scenes, the page used 13 JS files, 11 CSS files, and nearly 130 KB of HTML (much of it WordPress page builder soup). The page’s total weight was 2.8 MB. And all just to display one single (unoptimized) image.

To be clear, I’m not necessarily blaming the person who built this. They may not be any sort of developer. But it’s frustrating when the most popular tools out there for making websites result in so much terrible code and resource usage.

Over the last two years, Sean Gilman has been writing about numerous Chinese filmmakers, from the legends (e.g., King Hu, Wong Kar-wai, John Woo) to lesser-known artists like Ching Siu-tung and Stephen Fung. He’s recently updated all of his archives, and if you’re at all a fan of Chinese cinema, this looks like an absolute treasure trove.

The Cure's 40 Live

Unfortunately, I missed the The Cure’s 40th Anniversary concert film when it appeared in theaters earlier this summer. But here’s the second best thing: a 6-disc box set that will include The Cure’s performance at the 2018 Meltdown festival as well as 40th anniversary concert in London’s Hyde Park. 40 Live: Curaetion-25 + Anniversary will be released on October 18. In other Cure news, the band is supposedly working on both a new album and a reissue of 1992’s Wish.

A South Korean movie about an MMA fighter who has abandoned the faith, but must join up with a Catholic priest to perform exorcisms and stop the devil-worshiping Black Bishop? Yes, please.

The Divine Fury recently played at the 2019 Fantasia festival; read BMDs review.

G.I. Joe - Chuckles

Hollywood is apparently working on a G.I. Joe movie focusing not on Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock, et al., but rather, on Chuckles. Which might raise some eyebrows if all you know are the cartoons. But Chuckles is the main character in one of the best G.I. Joe comic storylines, ​“The Last Laugh,” in which he goes deep undercover to infiltrate a radical new branch of Cobra. It’s gritty and hard-hitting, but in a good way, and it could make for very good spy thriller once you get past any nostalgia associated with the ​“G.I. Joe” label.

Hana Vu’s How Many Times Have You Driven By was one of my favorite releases from 2018 (though I didn’t discover it until January of this year), thanks to Vu’s hazy, Mazzy Star-esque dreampop. ​“At the Party” — the first single from Vu’s upcoming album, Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway — takes Vu’s cavernous atmospherics and shimmering guitars, and marries them with a heavier groove and dancefloor beats. So yeah, it sounds pretty great.

Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway will be released on October 25.

Curious what Norwegian country, Goa Psytrance, classic Finnish rock, and Appenzeller folk sound like? How does ​“classic” Schlager differ from ​“vintage” Schlager? What, pray tell, is Chinderlieder and Zim urban groove? Does Christian trap exist? If questions like these keep you up at night, then check out Every Noise at Once, an interactive map of all 3,200+ genres in Spotify’s library. It was created by Glenn McDonald, whose War Against Silence was one of my favorite music blogs. Via

I’m re-reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer — cyberpunk fiction’s most important work — and I’m constantly struck by the fact that, despite much of the novel’s technology feeling dated in this age of iPhones and social media, Neuromancer still feels sleek and futuristic. Reading it elicits a curious form of nostalgia for what we thought technology was going to be like back in the ​‘80s and even in to the early ​‘90s.

I finally finished Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun this past weekend, and I can honestly say it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I’m not sure I ​“liked” it in the usual sense — Wolfe’s prose can be extremely dense and obtuse, and the narrative often meanders down one apparent rabbit trail after another — but I was never not fascinated by the story’s otherworldliness and Wolfe’s fantastical world-building (including his use of language).

Thanks to Stranger Things and nerd culture’s increasing ubiquity, it’s never been easier to make money as a dungeon master. Given the antipathy that Christian culture has shown Dungeons & Dragons over the years, I found it very interesting that one of the article’s examples was a Lutheran pastor who uses the game to explore Christian teachings.

There’s something inspiring about this Outline story of a Japanese man who has spent the last decade uploading thousands of YouTube videos of him taking care of his neighborhood’s stray cats. As the author puts it:

The big appeal here with these kinds of videos is that they exist for themselves, outside of time, to be savored and pondered. They are often at odds with the fundamental logic of massive social media platforms and their ever-churning river of bile.

I’m often trying to find the balance between just writing about what I love and writing about stuff that I think will get attention. ​“Cat Man” is a good reminder that there’s nothing wrong with choosing the former, and finding value in doing something regardless of any attention it might receive.

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