Posts Tagged portal

Why didn’t GlaDOS tell lies?

Where did your life go so wrong?
Why was that test not surveilled?
Why not preserve your cube long?

Who wants a slice of this cake?
Why should enriching tests end?
Why must you go the wrong way?

What is that useless eyed head?
Why kill a harmless AI?
Why don’t you have any friends?

How are they all still alive?

I haven’t been feeling inspired enough to sculpt many poems from scratch, but with enough constraints, all I have to do is inject word goo into the mould and make sure it gets into all the corners. So the other day I looked up the last three optional prompts on the NaPoWriMo blog, and followed them all: ten lines of lies, all questions, in terza rima. The mould was a little too narrow to get goo through in places, so I relaxed the last constraint to some pretty loose terza assonanza.

Of course, the first thing I thought of when I saw the lying prompt was GlaDOS (and the promised cake) from the game Portal. Most of these questions are based on things GlaDOS said during the original Portal game, approximately in order. If you haven’t played Portal, or at least heard the song ‘Still Alive‘ which Jonathan Coulton wrote for the end credits (which, by the way, my old Mac once covered), it might not make a lot of sense. Show it to a friend who has played and see how they react to it.

An alternate ending, which doesn’t end with the phrase ‘still alive’, is:

What is that useless eyed head?
Why would you kill harmless me?
Why don’t you have any friends?

What will you do now you’re free?

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Get your own Mac to sing Still Alive

Somebody on Twitter mentioned he’d like the file I used to get my Mac to sing Still Alive, so here it is. If you have a Mac, you just need to open this in any application which can view text (TextEdit, for example) go to the Edit menu, Speech submenu, and select ‘Start Speaking’. You can try different voices by changing the system voice in the Speech pane in the System Preferences. For best results, use a high quality voice such as Vicki or Victoria. Alex is supposed to be the highest-quality, but it’s a male voice, and I don’t think I’ve tried it. Voices that already have their own built-in tunes (such as Good News and Bad News) won’t work. You could also create a sound file of it using the ‘Text to Audio File’ Automator action.

It won’t sound exactly like the recording in the video I made, because I edited the resulting sound file in GarageBand to get the timing to match up with the original song. If you want to shortcut all that, or if you don’t use a Mac, you can get your computer to sing (or lip-synch?) Still Alive by downloading this mp3.

This file is released under a PleaseDon’tSueMeValve-Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license, which is explained in detail in the file itself.

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Video: Mac singing Still Alive

The weirdest thing happened yesterday. I was using Ayu, my as-yet-unnamed MacBook Pro, and suddenly Axis, my old PowerBook G4 booted and started singing Still Alive, the theme to the game Portal. I really should stop naming my Macs; I hear it makes them sentient.

Okay, that’s not really what happened. Actually, a couple of weekends ago, all three of the parties I had been invited to (yeah, I don’t understand how I got this social life either; just believe me) were cancelled or too difficult to get to, so I used my unexpected free time to do something I’d wanted to do for ages: get my Mac to sing Still Alive. You might remember that one weekend way back when I had an excuse to avoid being social, I wrote a parody of Still Alive, and a program to get my Mac to sing it using the TUNE input to the built-in speech synthesiser. Back then, I had to enter the notes and durations to sing one by one, and it was too tedious to do the whole song.

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Ten of Clubs: Still Point Five

This is to be sung to the tune of ‘Still Alive‘ by Jonathan Coulton. I will post a recording, and probably a video, some time in the next few days.

This isn’t TRIUMF
We’re sending a beam through CMS.
Can’t wait to see some novel interactions.

Popular Science
will call up their troubadour(k)y man
To sing in praise of all of us
and he’ll sound better than this.

But there’s no sense cheering over every beam
they’ll just keep appearing till you have an umpteen
when the celebration’s done,
do your calibration run.
Tell the crackpots they’re all still alive.

We’re not yet colliding.
But soon we’ll be lighting up the barrel
with 14 TeV of former protons
We’ll smash them to pieces
and slam every piece into a wire
except the LSP because
it will go all the way through.
Now our points of data come from crystals of lead tungstate,
and we’re out of beta we’re releasing a few years late
but the science gets done,
and more funding will come
now you’ve seen that you’re all still alive.

We’ll find the Higgs boson.
We’ll find that the answer’s forty-two.
Maybe we can even find the question.
We’ll blow up the planet.
That was a joke. ha ha, fat chance.
Anyway, this spaceplane’s great,
let’s try to make it collide.
Look at me still talking when there’s science to do
when I look up there I think I see a mu-mu.
But we need to repair
see you in the new year,
In the meantime the DAQ’s still online.

And believe me we are still online.
We’re taking cosmics and we’re still online
And when there’s beam we will be still online
And ISOLDE will be still online
Because those show-offs had beam all the time.
All the time
still online

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