Clues was a band who played rock songs that fused a lot of different styles–often within one song. They released one album which was fantastic and then basically went on hiatus (that was six years ago). This 7″ was a tour artifact that Constellation has made available.
It has two songs–a band-made remix of one song from the album and a demo of another album track..
“Ledmonton (Endless Forever Version)” is an unusual but fun song with lots of different sections. All of them sound unrelated to each other and yet each part is quite catchy and it works wonderfully as a whole. This remix doesn’t change the song all that much. It makes it a little softer and fuzzier. “You Have My Eyes Now (Demonstration Version)” feels like a demo compared to the final version, but it’s really full sounding–just not as full as the album.
This release is more for completists of the band or, since they put out one album and disbanded, any fan of their recorded output might just enjoy this.
[READ: October 1, 2016] Secret Coders
Beloved artist/author Gene Luen Yang came back in 2015 with a new series called Secret Coders.
There is a kind of introductory section that implies the whole story is a lot more meta than it might at first seem–but it is not resolved yet so it’s hard to be sure of that.
The story opens on middle-schooler Hopper. She is very unhappy to have moved to this new town and a new school. In addition to missing everyone back home, the sh cool is decidedly weirdo. There are birds with four eyes, the groundskeeper’s doors are locked and the custodian Mr Bee is really mean. Plus the whole place looks haunted and there are huge numbers painted all over the buildings (but not in any actual order).
Hopper is pretty abrasive. In fact I’d say she’s downright unlikable–I find her rather offputting, myself. Of course, she’s also unhappy and the first people that she meets make fun of her (and throw pudding at her), so she is quite snippy with people. But she’s also not afraid to stand up for herself, which is cool. When she learns who threw the pudding at her, she fights back–not realizing that the guy is a huge basketball player. But he doesn’t fight her. Rather, he chooses to walk away.
Her classes aren’t very interesting either. She’s bored in history, confused by pre-algebra and just hates Mandarin class (who takes Mandarin?)
During lunch, the pudding thrower (whose name is Eni), comes over and asks her about her earrings (she wears number 7s). And he notices that one of the birds standing in front of her has three eyes open. What? Eni believes it is because of her 7. He believes that these birds–robots obviously– work on a binary number system. And then the book shows us what that is (it’s a very educational book).
The birds’ eyes helps them decode a lock which reveals a secret area that Mr Bee is particularly upset about them finding. But before they get caught, they discover a robot turtle. We bought the board game Robot Turtles last year as a primer to programming and here is that phrase again. Turns out the Robot Turtle is the icon for Logo programming–a basic language used in the early 1980s
Well it turns out hat this particular robot turtle is programmed to clean the sidewalk with a leaf blower. And soon the kids figure out the program and are experimenting with it. Hopper uses it to get revenge on Eni’s friend Josh (the mean kid). Her “programming” plan works, but the end result backfires big time.
One thing that is cool, if a little pedantic, in the book, is the way the book pauses to encourage you the reader to figure out the programming steps that Hopper and Eni work on. And then it shows you in detail how the programming made things happen. It’s a great introducing to coding, although it does kind of slow things down some–a trade off well worth it.
The story ends on a massive cliffhanger with Mr Bee catching them in the act of trying experiment more with his robots. But when he sees Hopper’s last name, he suddenly changes his tune.
Amid all of this, Hopper fights with her mom a lot. Hopper’s dad walked out on them a few months earlier and has been unheard from since. So her mom is taking the brunt of Hopper’s abuse. So that’s an interesting backstory as well, especially since her dad has some kind of tie to Mr. Bee!
Looking forward to the upcoming volumes. Another great children’s book from #10yearsof01