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Staff Recommender: Zacqary Adam Xeper, Who Makes This Website Pretty

The best things on the Internet this week, curated by Fast Company employees.

Zacqary Adam XeperPhoto: Celine Grouard for Fast Company

Name: Zacqary Adam Xeper
Role at Fast Company: I’m a web developer, specializing in front-end—that means the stuff that happens on your device, as opposed to the stuff that happens on our servers. I make things look pretty for you. Ever looked at one of our slideshows on your phone? Aren’t those spinning 3-D cards cool? You’re welcome.
Twitter: @XerxesQados
Titillating Fact: In my spare time, I am a purple fox named Xerxes. If you’re in downtown Pittsburgh on that one weekend in late June/early July when the streets are overrun by people wearing full-body mascot-style animal suits, I’ll probably be one of them. Yes, I’ll be overheating; that’s what happens when you go outside in the middle of summer wearing a couch. But I do it anyway.

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Things he’s loving:

1. “The Light Is Taking Me To Pieces” by This Good Robot

Imagine David Bowie and Freddie Mercury stage-diving at the Warped Tour, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of why I love This Good Robot so much. Their debut album is operatic, sci-fi-infused rock crammed under the pressure of a tiny underground punk club till it explodes spectacularly. Every track on this record is phenomenal, but the standout is the epic-length final track, the fantastically named “Incident 824 (A Catastrophic Case Of Continuum Chronosis).”

I never thought punk lyrics could evoke the same kind of mind-bending ambiguity as time travel thrillers like Looper or Primer, but TGR pulls it off. They also play some of the best live shows I’ve ever seen, so don’t miss them if they’re in town.

2. “Ultra Business Tycoon III” by Porpentine

On its surface, this is a text game about playing a video game. Billed as a “port and crack” of an obscure ’90s shareware game (complete with copy protection—you’ll need the serial number from this authentic NFO file to complete the game), UBT3 masterfully captures the weirdness of whatever they were putting onto CD-ROMs in the mid-’90s. But you don’t need to have any kind of nostalgia for the era to appreciate prose like, “Shareholders burble in their vats as the leeching fluid extracts Invisible Hand orgones from their rich creamy skin. Enormous bootstraps spin like great looms as they generate endless money with their magical leather friction.”

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Beyond just being hilariously bizarre, Porpentine’s crafted a deeply layered satire that will surprise and move you as you find your way through to the end. It’s a great introduction to why she’s one of the best interactive fiction writers working today. You can play the free version of UBT3 in the link, but I’d highly recommend you check out the updated version in her (also fantastically named) anthology Eczema Angel Orifice.

3. Landlord Bear

Landlord Bear is a bear who wears a crown and wants your rent. That’s basically it. And it’s pretty brilliant. This is one of the funniest Facebook pages I’ve come across in a long time; anyone who’s ever had to struggle with a frustrating landlord or pay exorbitant rent should get a laugh from it. It’s often absurd, consistently ridiculous, and sometimes subversive.

The authors occasionally work subtle Georgist satire into their posts, lending a very Stephen Col-bear feel to the whole thing. (Note that there’s a second, less-liked Facebook page called Landlord Bear which is just weird and kind of offensive—maybe an older version that got hacked. If you search for Landlord Bear on Facebook, you’re looking for the one with more likes that’s actually funny.)

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