Biden promises “the most train-friendly administration ever” in what is probably the greatest “On the town with/day in the life of…” ever.

Well, you will, but you won’t get the main page, and the results aren’t quite as satisfying as a nice google search. To be honest, I didn’t even know that Alta Vista still existed. So does Dogpile. I assumed everyone just used google, excepting the few people who use yahoo because they have a yahoo mail account and the few who use Microsoft under the whole “it’s so uncool it’s cool” paradigm. These are like the people who went to Starbucks five or six months ago. Now it seems that Starbucks is turning the corner and became genuinely cool again once it announced its financial troubles. Watch, it’ll happen with Newspapers too.

I got to thinking about this the other day when The Streets “Let’s Push Things Forward” came on in my itunes. I’ve always liked the song, but now I’ve decided it’s because of the “You Won’t Find Us on Alta Vista/Cult Classic not Best Seller” couplet. This is 100% revisionist. I used to like it for the “Around here we say birds, not bitches” line because I’m interested in vocabulary and cultural relativism. But now I like it for the way it defines the feel of the early 2000s. The key to the Alta Vista line is that it was already a year to two years uncool by the time the song came out, but it had once been supremely cool. Those were the wet and wild, rough and tumble pre-wikipedia years where searching for factual information online was like combing the desert in Spaceballs. Things were changing technology wise, but at a normal speed, one that you could live.

It’s weird to think of it, but these websites are like ghost towns, spaces we inhabited and now venture into no longer. There’s no practical–nor impractical–antiquarian value to using Alta Vista. It just reminds you how imprecise the internet once was. It wasn’t a more elegant time, like the age of letters, just a different sort of time. I can’t wait for a period piece that takes place in 2001-2002 (a nice comedy of manners), or even a movie like “The Wackness.” I’m sure there was a look to the early aughts, but I don’t know what it is until someone shows it to me, much like what happened with the nineties. I remember thinking at the time that I lived in a style free era, unlike the 1980s, with the exception of the grunge bubble. I was irrationally exuberant, yes.

So, farewell Alta Vista, you barely friendster you! Alta Vista? I hardly know her!

You play it!

September 10, 2008

Ivy, a noted comrade of Yesterday’s Salad, has a new game up for the TIGSource “demakes” competition.  A “demake” is a remake of intentionally lowered quality, and Ivy has chosen some meaty source material: American McGee’s Alice.  The charming result is Little Girl in Underland, the result of “improvements” made to keep the game in line with Soviet doctrine.  Voice-acted by a motley cast, and filled with more proliterian zeal than you can fill a kolkoz with, it’s well worth a download.

In other adventure game news, fans of Grundislav‘s Ben Jordan series should check out the new Ben Jordan motion picture.  Replete with intrigue and suspense, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably need to check your blood alcohol level by the end.

Caught for the weekend in the bemused city of Washington DC, I found myself lamenting the real lack of hipsters in this over the top, 9-5, working ethic community. This lack occasioned me to question the long standing lament among Columbia University types and other yuppie inhabitants or rather hipster loathing hipsters against this edgy population and may have inspired me to become an ethnographer, chasing down this rare population on the outskirts of civilization, those brave pioneers of gentrification.

Why would DC benefit from a formidable hipster population? The answers are obvious. Firstly, there is a dramatic ebb and flow in the street traffic that parallels those who have jobs. For example, at 1:00 on a Friday I was the only one out jogging (Although we know hipsters do not jog, it is often the case that hipster associates, or more correctly, prey, tend to jog, see Were it the case that hipsters inhabited this city, I would doubtless not be alone. Washington DC also has a formidable racial barrier, as neighborhoods swing quickly from one extreme to another. Hipsters in their search for authenticity would serve to bridge the gap between particular communities and would doubtless spur local business in areas that are not dominated by the neo-fascist array of Starbucks-Caribou Coffee-Starbucks. Finally, there is an implicit lack of bars in DC, and those that there are tend to be occupied by unironic consumers of sports culture or Goths or suits. While bars tailored to specific communities are an essential function of city life, condescension and secret authentic cool places that no one else really knows anything about are prerequisites for urban life as it was meant to be led (see Cicero Ad Fam 82.5 where he talks about a new Cretan cookshop that he discovered before Crassus). Our nation must have a capital which can meet this need.

Screen 5 – 7 – 5

September 2, 2008

With any luck, the Screen 7 Game of the Year (so far) awards should be announced soon. Providing complete reviews of each game in this space would likely exceed the scope of our column (we at Yesterday’s Salad are doing our part to ration ascii until the War on Terror is won), so here’s our most concise summary of the entrants.

Reality on the Norm: Au Naturel

A classic series

Exposed for all to see it

Ow – my virgin eyes

Barn Runner 5: The Forever Friday 1

Taken care of soon

There is no where to run to

Night chickens attack

Ben There, Dan That!

Two are a good pair

Cleverness is found to be


Dread MacFarlane

Lavishly drawn here

A pirate lost among boys

Stands out — en français

Lost in the Nightmare: ‘Save Our Souls’

Cutting to the quick

Darker than the typical

I think I’ll hide now



You are a dash clever one

Reviewed before here

Once Upon A Crime

Lil’ Red on the case

Good that this doesn’t happen

Around these here parts

Quest For Yrolg

Triumph of evil

Surely a fate worse than death

Reign of doom, Cuppit.

Play them all, and best of luck!