Dispatch 5: Hold Please

This week I found myself making a few customer service calls and it made me think about hold music. And of course, the top result for "hold music" on the ol' Youtube and found what is, quite possibly the most famous hold music of the 21st century:

From the info on the Youtube post:

“The song is called Opus No. 1, by Tim Carleton and Darrick Deel. It’s never been on a Top 40 list or gotten radio play, and yet it’s heard around the world by the millions of people who are placed on hold each day.

Darrick and Tim’s story actually begins back in 1989, when as teenagers and friends they recorded a song in their garage. Unfortunately, they didn’t go on to rockstar fame and fortune, but years later Darrick would go on to take a job with Cisco. In his role building Cisco’s first version of IP phones, he was aware of Cisco’s need for a piece of music to use as the default hold music for the new system. Cut to several years later, and their high school composition has become the hold music for the world’s most popular phone systems with over 65 million IP phones sold. With that, Opus No. 1 has left the safety of Darrick and Tim’s childhood recording studio and entered ear worm status.” — Cisco Blog

You can read more about Opus No. 1 at:

Listen to the This American Life episode about it at:

These piece in itself has now become something that falls under the "aesthetic" umbrella of ephemera that holds an almost totemic importance to a subset of millenials. (yes, that is hyperbole, as is everything in aesthetics.)

Also, something about those chords makes me think of Toto's Africa... go fig.

Point, Contrapoint

Youtube has a problem with the alt-right. Or, at least it should be treated as a problem. It’s hard to look up any pressing social issue and not find ultra conservative talking heads dominating the search results. Fortunately, a few stalwart folks are putting some work into pushing back, and using even better style and aesthetics.
ContraPoints is a genderqueer genius doing the work of educating the masses, and delivered humorously.
They recently released a video that directly addresses the signalling and messages that the alt-right and fascists use to appeal to ‘moderates.’

Once you’ve finished enjoying that, i highly recommend Contra’s more personal video essay about coming out as genderqueer and what that means to them.

Happy Labor-Doom

Being that we’re looking at a long weekend, I plan to spend some of that time with an old friend: the venerable first person shooter, Doom. thanks to speedrunning and modders, many groundbreaking games have fandoms that continue to this day. However, I was surprised to learn of a mod that was created a few years ago named, appropriately, Brutal Doom.

Brutal Doom is basically everything we feared of the original Doom. The violence is cranked up, the enemies are harder, the sound is bigger. Where in the old game monsters would collapse in a gross meaty pile if exploded, now you have proper “gib” effects as well as massive blood splatter effects that cover walls and ceilings. It’s most recent updates came just a few months ago, so it’s still actively being developed and I can’t wait to give it a shot.

Doom is now almost 25 years old and, like a classic film, there are certain qualities about it that have stood the test of time, despite advances in the underlying technology. The first episode in the series deftly introduces the player to the mechanics of the game with very little (virtually no) overt hand holding. In this regard it is similar to the original Super Mario Bros.

That'll do it for this long weekend post. If any of these links have sparked a thought or response, share them below.


Dispatch 3: Pepsi-free

An Agent of Love

I've been mildly obsessed with Griffin McElroy's Polygon videos. The most notable of these is Car Boys, in which Nick Robinson and Griffin McElroy take the car physics simulator, and turn it into a magical journey of discovery and truth. It's the most compelling "Let's Play" style video that has ever been made. Like it actually makes me want to play a freaking physics simulator.

But not griffin has done other video series as well. Another notable one is the hilarious and wonderful "PeaceCraft." In PeaceCraft, Griffin plays World of WarCraft in a "pacifist" style. He eschews all combat, and resolves to not harm anyone while he tries to traverse the massive in-game realm, essentially on a "tour" of game. Of course killing things is a primary way you survive, complete quests, level up and earn money and other goods so his innovative ways of working against this core game mechanic are the crux of the show. Griffin's struggle to live a peaceful life is both hilarious and heartwarming. I highly recommend checking out the best of video, and if you find yourself cackling at your computer, watch the whole series of videos.

Why is "the web" awful? 🤔

This is the question asked by The Outline (a website that's not bad)... there's a pretty straightforward answer. The web is fine. Corporate websites are awful. They're hard to use, littered with pop ups, and user-antagonistic when it comes to insisting people white list their ad-riddled monstrosities.

Personal websites, by and large, are still fine. Blogging platforms like blogger (in the year of our lord 2017, freaking blogger) is more than enough for most consumers of the readable web. The big difference is how desperate you are to compromise everything to try and earn some money on it? It's all compromised vision and it is hard to feel much sympathy for gargantuan sites that struggle.

My point is, read more blogs.

Cassettes were the jam

I grew up at the height of cassette tapes as the primary means of listening to music. Yes, vinyl was king in the home but cassettes were truly portable listening and were far more compact.

It also turns out, that we all really didn't know what we were talking about when it came to cassettes and audio quality.

Techmoan on Youtube breaks down all the interesting features of classic format


As you probably noticed, I have a fairly  new public instagram account to showcase my photos on that site. While I still like how feature loaded Flickr is, Instagram is where people see your work. People are less inclined to click Flickr links, and you don't really feel like it's an active place compared to Instagram. And, surprisingly, I've had almost exclusively positive interactions there so far.

I got the name "30 Ghosts" from a reference I believe I read from Warren Ellis. I don't know exactly where, but it was probably in his newsletter. In it, he mentioned that each person currently alive on earth has about 30 ghosts out of the population of humans that has ever lived. Something about that is both ominous and somewhat inspiring.

This is from my first scans done from my own developing. Two guys walking in Millenium Park a few weeks ago.

This is from my first scans done from my own developing. Two guys walking in Millenium Park a few weeks ago.

While we're on the subject of photography, here's a great video by photographer John Fee. It's a bit long, but even just watching for the first few minutes is refreshing. He genuinely loves teaching and sharing, and he also has some very incisive thoughts on what makes a good photo.