Rebecca Black is OK! [Weekly Head Voices #56]

Probably the most brainless song on the whole of YouTube must be “Friday” (don’t click that link, please) by Rebecca Black. At one stage, she’s seriously singing about leaving home and going to the bus stop on Friday. As if that’s not mentally taxing enough for her, her friends arrive in a car, and, wait for it, SHE HAS TO DECIDE IN WHICH SEAT TO SIT. Heavens. Talk about broody teenager angst. DANGIT I MISS GRUNGE!

In any case, I was convinced that Rebecca Black was a portent of the end of the world as we know it, probably due to an unstoppable tsunami of vacuous stupidity crashing through the whole of civilization (you have to admit, there are signs. what signs? well mostly politicians and managers). However, due to a recent instance of such blinding brilliance that I had to don my mental steampunk goggles of total darkness (yes, the ones I’ll be wearing to Burning Man when I go there), I have to revise my opinion of Rebecca. You see, her musical atrocity has acted as a catalyst for the creation of the musical masterpiece that is Braaiday! Seat yourself comfortably, and experience it:

Yes? Yes. Hang on while I listen to it one more time. No I don’t need YouTube anymore, the whole thing is engraved in my brain. By the way, September 24 is National Braai day in South Africa. You know what to do…

As if Braaiday wasn’t enough to make my year, TNR, friend and business partner, underwent two significant life events:

  1. He turned a year older.
  2. The day after his birthday (doh), TNR was offered an assistant professorship in our section!

We’ll leave the consequences of life event #1 for a later, more philosophical, occasion. The consequence of #2, together with the fact that we’ve somehow managed to attract a handful of Truly Kickass people (you know who you are, kickass people!), is that there’s now an absolutely fabulous vibe in our research group. I’ve had the privilege of experiencing this specific vibe in other places before. You can’t engineer it, it simply has to happen. The best you can do, is to put the right people together and cross your fingers. When it does decide to appear, it’s epic!

On a different topic: The reason why I’ve been ignoring all of your email the past weeks, and why I generally haven’t even been able to pay attention to the beautiful wooshing sound all of my passing deadlines made as they flew by, is because I was first preparing for and then running, together with a whole team of ninjas, the TU Delft CS first year introductory project. I designed this brand-new module last year, and severely honed it this year. 130+ first years worked together in 26 small groups designing and implementing augmented reality music instruments with real-time video analysis, 3D graphics and sound loop mixing. CACOPHONY with a capital C!

I’ve uploaded to YouTube some video impressions of the top teams demonstrating their projects in the concluding session. Click here to view these and any other clips that other peeps have tagged with “ti100a” (the course code).

OK people. That was it for weeks 35 and 36 (this post was 100% produced within moving trains!), the week 37 blog post will hopefully appear this weekend sometime. I’m still Way Too Busy (do you hear that wooshing sound in the distance too?), but managing to keep myself quite happy by:

  1. ensuring that most of the time I spend, I spend creating value;
  2. ensuring that the people I interact with are primarily of the ass-kicking variety;
  3. making many bullet lists like this one.

See you on the other side!

P.S. Have you heard about batmanning? Apparently it’s the new planking: