Tag Archives: hunter s thompson

Video: Hunter S. Thompson: Hell’s Angels Outtakes

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PBS animated some old interviews from Hunter S. Thompson on his time with the Hell’s Angels.

Photo: Mitch Hell, Flickr

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What is Google’s artificial neural network

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As a fan of Hunter S. Thompson, I recently came across this article about someone putting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in Google’s artificial neural network to create trippy effects.

The results are quite trippy.

After I got over the insane images, I started to wonder what this neural network was:

In machine learning and cognitive science, artificial neural networks (ANNs) are a family of statistical learning models inspired by biological neural networks (the central nervous systems of animals, in particular the brain) and are used to estimate or approximate functions that can depend on a large number of inputs and are generally unknown. Artificial neural networks are generally presented as systems of interconnected “neurons” which send messages to each other. The connections have numeric weights that can be tuned based on experience, making neural nets adaptive to inputs and capable of learning.

Google’s specific spin on images:

We train an artificial neural network by showing it millions of training examples and gradually adjusting the network parameters until it gives the classifications we want. The network typically consists of 10-30 stacked layers of artificial neurons. Each image is fed into the input layer, which then talks to the next layer, until eventually the “output” layer is reached. The network’s “answer” comes from this final output layer.

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When Hunter S. Thompson Ran for Sheriff of Aspen

When Hunter S. Thompson Ran for Sheriff of Aspen

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Movie Review: The Rum Diary

( #HunterSThompson, #RumDiary )

If you read this blog (or look on the left panel for “Gonzo Stories”), you could tell pretty quickly that I am a Hunter S. Thompson fan. Outside of his epic drinking and drug abuses, he was a man that understood the fine line between a news article and a story and then he pissed all over it. I read the Rum Diary 5 or 6 years ago and enjoyed it. Hunter had yet to discover the Gonzo form of journalism he made famous, but this book (and Thompson’s alter-ego “Paul Kemp”) was clearly a proto-form of his later style.

All that being said, Johnny Depp does an excellent job of creating a coherent storyline out of a book that does not really have one. All the characters are there, but in the book version, Thompson zones in on the drinking, the hangovers, the parties, and the sweating. It was less about the story and more about feeling what was happening. In the movie version, Depp cleans up the story and makes the antagonists more clear.

The movie also does a great job of explaining Kemp’s dealings with the real estate holdings group and his involvement with Sanderson. In the book, Thompson seemed more focused on screwing Sanderson’s girlfriend, the movie makes the whole situation more layered (and makes Thompson seem a little more gentlemanly). Johnny Depp does not do a balls out Hunter Thompson impression like he did in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but as I said, Thompson was not Gonzo yet. Depp does a very good job at playing a twenty-something Thompson, not once did I think “hey this guy is almost 50.” The standout performance of the movie might have to go to Giovanni Ribisi’s portrayal of Moburg. Ribisi taps into the classic frantic Thompson energy and of anyone, he is the one paying homage to Dr. Gonzo.

I really liked this movie, but I give the warning that it is not for everyone. As the title might indicate, it is about a guy who gets drunk, not in a fun “Arthur” kind of way. It is essentially the story of how Hunter S. Thompson found his writing voice and got really messed up along the way. As Thompson once said, “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

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Hunter S. Thompson and Friends

( #TGIF, #HunterThompson, #JohnCusack )

Hunter Thompson, John Cusack, and Johnny Depp in a convertible with a blow up doll. I kinda wish I was a fly on the wall (or car).

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Hunter S. Thompson Job Reference

( #HunterSThompson, #Gonzo, #JobReferences )

This is a letter Thompson wrote to the editor of the Vancouver Sun…

By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

UPDATE: Boing Boing found the whole damn letter:

Vancouver Sun
TO JACK SCOTT, VANCOUVER SUN

October 1, 1958 57 Perry Street New York City

Sir,

I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.

By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers.
If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.

I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.

I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.

It’s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I’d enjoy the trip.

If you think you can use me, drop me a line.

If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely, Hunter S. Thompson

This letter and many more like it were published in The Proud Highway (links to Amazon in case you are interested in purchasing – I think I am going to buy it).

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