Lab Monkes Gone to Heaven
a lotta yall still dont get it
Yesterday was the first anniversary of the slurp juice tweet:
Unfortunately, the Lab Monke got killed by five hundred pounds of pasta from a park in New Jersey (🎶 Lab Monkes gone to heaven 🎵).
Me: So why did you get into journalism?
The Inquirer’s Emily Bloch: I guess… to ask the really important questions, you know?
Me: For example?
If you like to have a good time, the replies to the New Jersey pasta dump tweet are a pretty good time:
Does Tabs seem scattered today? It’s Gentleman’s Friday, and I told you I was planning on slacking. If you want something to read I guarantee there’s something you haven’t read yet from Monday’s horny jail post, or Tuesday’s combo Guild strike / Butlerian jihad (feat. the Rude Tales Innkeeper), or yesterday’s New York Review of “Traffic” Reviews. And if you have read them all thoroughly (including all the links) then you did as much work as me this week and you should also take a break.
Besides, it’s May the Fourth. That’s right: Pi Day! So here’s Intern Camille to tell us about:
Yes, my Substack avatar is a picrew. Here’s the lore behind it:
Picrew is a tool released by the Japanese company TetraChroma Inc in 2018 that allows individual artists to create dress up games, with a few twists. It's not based on Flash, so it hasn't gone obsolete, and the images are easy to download, leading to its common use for making profile pictures.
It's got some contentious history, with certain picrews being linked to troll accounts that often use them, to the extent that the original artist actively discussed how theirs was co-opted. If picrew profile pics have a weird vibe for you, it may an association with certain Main Characters (see: Ana Mardoll).
My avatar is a picrew that I drew myself, and making it taught me a lot about the constraints imposed by the interface. The canvas has limited space: picrews have to be 600px by 600px, meaning most are bust up images. And the interface was originally in Japanese, with early users relying primarily on others’ tutorials and translations.
Finally, expanding options on it is a file management nightmare. All options allow for color variants, so if you want five shirt designs in five colors, you have 25 different files to draw and upload. Adding items or colors increases the work exponentially, so many picrews have limited options. Artists are working with a little to make a lot.
Despite the caveats and constraints, picrews are still well loved and widely used. After making mine, a friend told me that it was the only one where they felt embodied. And embodiment online is vital to many! Personal aesthetics via account names and avatars are some of the first needs of digital self-presentation, and picrews allow them quick satisfaction.
The archaic word of the day is linkster: a multilingual translator.
—Intern Camille is working with a little to make a lot
That’s a wrap on Intern Camille’s first week. How did she do? And if your answer isn’t “great!” then I don’t want to hear it.
My own online embodiment for the last ten years has been this picture of a pink rose:
The story behind it is that a day or so before she went into labor with our youngest child, my wife brought home a bunch of pink roses from the grocery store, and this one caught my eye so I took a picture of it and set it as my Twitter avatar for no particular reason. Then it was baby time, we went to the hospital, she had a c-section, everything went fine, we all came back home, and the roses were still there. So every time I see that picture it reminds me that in the brief lifespan of a grocery store rose your whole life can change. And it also reminds me of my youngest kid.
I don’t talk about myself very much in here, but Delia said let’s get weird on social media, so there you go. Bluesky has kept on being weird:
And Elon Musk is getting extremely weird.
In an unprompted Tuesday email [to NPR reporter Bobby Allyn], Musk wrote: "So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?"
In an email sent at 2:19 a.m. EST after the story was originally published, Musk wrote a message without any text in the body but with this subject line: "You suck."
Should we be concerned that the world's wealthiest non-Frenchman is absolutely going off the deep end right now? Is that a thing we should all be worried about in some way? I don’t have the cholesterol to chronicle his nonsense every day, so blessings be upon Garbage Ryan as always, but it seems pretty clear that Commander Hairplugs is currently shambling around T itter HQ in the wee hours berating the lamps, like Richard Nixon locked in the White House in August 1974. But unlike Tricky Dick there’s no obvious end point to his ongoing unplanned emotional disassembly. Should we all be distressed by this? I don’t know.
That’s a lid on this week, I’m sure there are more tabs out there but I’m declaring tab bankruptcy till Monday. If you really need distraction, subscribe and come hang out in the Tabs Discord, where there is more content than you could possibly ever consume.
Today’s Song: Defiant Presents x Bandmanrill x MC Vertt (feat. D4m Sloan), “Dam Son”
Our Song of the Day DJ is Music Intern Sam. Thanks to Intern Camille for an outstanding first week. Something for subscribers tomorrow? Something for everyone Monday? Something for thee hotties right now?
Simulated interview, PURELY IMAGINARY, I would never actually talk to another human. No journalists were harmed in the making of this newsletter.