Saturday, March 14, 2009

American cartoons in anime style


More dadaist poetry (from a spam)

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Can Marijuana Help Rescue California's Economy?

Can Marijuana Help Rescue California's Economy?, article.
If this actually happens, I think we should pack a ski parka before visiting hell.

In Doonesbury, Zonker asked BD why pot should be illegal, when any kid would tell you that pot is easier to get hold of than alcohol, meaning social restrictions work better than the very costly legal ones. BD thought hard and said: "Jobs!"

World Builder

By Bruce Branit.

Church happenings

Utoob is pre-filtered against this one, so I host it myself, it's totally hil. Small video, 3MB.

Cannibal Corpse (updated)

Just finishing up that heavy-metal documentary here. There's talk about some bands being banned in some countries, like Cannibal Corpse, not the least for their hyper-violent album art.
As one of the band members points out, there's art as least as violent, and more realistic, in the Vatican.
Also, imagine The Passion Of The Christ had not been a religious movie. It would have been banned everywhere. And imagine the protagonist had been a woman. Couldn't even have been produced!

Update: I don't want to seem like I'm attacking Christianity, I'm really not, many of my best friends are Christians. But in the West, Christianity is very dominant, and like they say, with great power comes great responsibility (I think Goethe said that. No wait, it was Spiderman). So like any group, they need some self-awareness. And some Christians, surely a minority, but a very vocal one, has this all-pervading belief that they are the Good Ones, and those they disagree with are the Bad Ones. (OK, we all suffer from that to some degree.) For example when they attack heavy metal for promoting violence... look at the numbers: through history, how many people have been killed in the name of heavy metal, and how many have been killed in the name of Christianity? (Witch hunts, inquisition, crusades...) I'm not saying Christians are bad, I'm just saying maybe they are just people like everybody else, and maybe it would behoove them to not judge (lest thou be judged) quite so much and not to Throw The First Stone so often (let him who is without sin throw the first stone).

Joe quotes:
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
-Stephen Weinberg

It seems to me that religion has also had a huge civilizing influence. But it's clear something is rotten, if for nothing else then for the number of people who hate their parents' religion with the heat of a thousand suns.
For example, while many heavy metallers use (inverted) religious imagery because it looks cool or sells records, a few of them are really sincere. Especially in Norway, it seems there's an age-old unresolved conflict between the vikings and the Christianity which was forced upon them by the state. Norway was were you had, in the nineties, those burnings of the old wooden churches (over fifty!). They interviewed some of those who did it and others too, and they had zero regrets. They really regard Christianity in their country as an evil blight on life. Interesting. (Of course it's really a small minority, a handful of people.)

... The wiki page on (Norwegian) Black Metal contains a lot of fact and events which are amazingly brutal and incredible. If I'd seen them in a movie, I'd consider them grossly unrealistic. Jeeeez.
Especially since I never heard much about Norway, and I had thought that like Denmark and Sweden it would be just be full of basically laid-back and mellow people. But maybe not?
... Or maybe so, still. See docu.

----
... Aaaaaanyway, oddly enough my search for Cannibal Corpse art also turned up this little tidbit, which I post here just to see Joe go "boing" again. (I know I did.)


(Aha. It's Maggie-Pie, not a bad photographer.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unclad - The Fine Art of the Figure

Unclad - The Fine Art of the Figure, Seattle art show. Their site.
I don't like all the art (that never happens), but I applaud the initiative. For all the popularity of figure art through history, it's really under-represented in galleries.

Keyboard and shortcuts on Mac

I got my new keyboard today. So far it seems very nice. (Though it's really large, takes a little getting used to.)

One thing I hadn't thought about is that I'm used to putting my Mac to sleep using the option-command-eject shortcut. But a PC keyboard does not have an Eject key...

So I remembered a reasonably new OS X feature, which I had never really used so far: you can make a keyboard shortcut from any menu item (System prefs-->keyboard and mouse). So I just pressed the + button, selected "all applications", and typed in "Sleep", and selected the nearest equivalent keyboard shortcut, option-command-pause (the pause (F15) key is upper right like the eject key is on the Mac), and lo and behold, it worked. The shortcut is even written now in the menu!)

Cool. Like I said, I have to use this a lot more, it's really useful.

Waves of ice

Again Michigan, but this time it's not frozen waves of water, it's moving waves of ice!

And to me it seems only marginally more realistic. What kind of wind can push a huge wave of ice at speed? (This one I do believe happened as decribed, but it just seems incredible. I wouldn't want to live in a place like that.)

I'm pretty sure though that she's mistaken when she says it comes from a glacier. I don't think there are any glaciers in Michigan, and surely none on lakes.

Update: Paul points to this amateur video, which shows a similar phenomenon happening. Although per the first video, that one happened a lot faster, the man said he turn and ran from the wave of ice coming.

The need for speed

Run!!


Michael Burton said...
A perfect illustration of one of our great societal problems. Faced with this situation, we can only think about "the need for speed," when what is really needed is a change of course.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Arch Enemy: Silent Wars live (updated)

Update: as the documentary talks about, heavy metal is very much about "rebelling" against the establishment, meaning your parents, the police, and the church. And the church in the West of course is Christianity. And so you have all the aggressive clothes, the satanistic symbols, etc. Even one of my favorite bands, Ministry, will be giving the audience the finger on stage and so on. I find it all very childish, but I guess there's an emotional need for it.
Another aspect of that is the established behavior of loose sex and copious ingestion of drugs and alcohol. This is lent an air of "cool" by being much frowned upon by the establishment, so you can't really not do it, can you?

It seems to me that true rebellion would be to set your mind free, not to do the opposite of what somebody wants, otherwise you're still simply reacting.

--
[Note, as TTL points out, Arch Enemy is not what many consider real heavy metal, but one of the many offsprings of it.]

----
I'm watching an interesting documentary about heavy metal music, and there is one of the most powerful lead singers I've seen in the genre, and it's a girl! Awesome.
Angela Gossow her name is, and right after you've seen this apocalyptic beast on stage they cut to an interview with this intelligent and pretty woman with a sweet woman's voice, and you can't believe it's the same person. (Interviews.)
Rock on.


-(Lyrics.)

Saturday Morning Watchmen

[Thanks to Eric.]
I think Alan Moore would either have a coronary or laugh his guts out if he sees this.

Kids and pets

I love the early bit with the boy pushed around by the German Shepherd. The kid looks totally shocked.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Herman Miller Embody chair


Just got my Herman Miller Embody chair today and photographed it for you. I think I'm one of the first in the UK to get one.We'll see how it fares me in the long run. So far so good. One point it has over the Aeron (background) is that the armrests are adjustable. Thanks to my very long spine I could never use those on the Aeron, too far down. And for the same reason I'm happy that the back is slightly higher than the Aeron's, since even with the large model I could feel the top of the back with the Aeron (it also has a hard edge, which is not a great design feature).
The Embody, surprisingly, is smaller and lighter than the Aeron, which is good because the Aeron is pretty much a monster.

Update July 28: I like the chair. I don't think much about it, which must be a good sign of a work chair.

The color is "tomato". The first picture is how it looks in daylight, the other two in indoors light (which as you know is warmer).
I would have preferred something deeper and darker, but they didn't have any colors I really liked.


The official site for the chair is bandwidth-heavy, but my furniture supplier has a decent page. (I love that I can honestly say that I have a "furniture supplier".)

Retouched image

Here's an NYT video about the extreme extent to which models are retouched in magazines.

I don't feel that strongly about the alleged causes of self-image problems, but I do feel strongly about fake things, and I'm proud to report that pictures on Domai.com are rarely retouched. When I do some retouching, it's only to remove particularly distracting zits or stuff like that.

I rarely even look in mainstream magazines, because all the models look like Barbie Girls, wrapped in plastic, made of plastic, brain of plastic.

Bobby Badfingers

Through The Lens recommends Bobby Badfingers.
You gotta say, the man has showmanship.

Truck camera

(We had one of these before.)
I'm not sure there's anything much in his work, apart from the novelty value.

New RED lenses and camera

These lenses sound very interesting. I hope they also come out with the promised "DSLR-killer" camera in a foreseeable future.

It's funny how the founder of the company will post important announcements on an independent blog instead of on their own site, or even his own blog (which I don't think he even has.) Very informal.


Update: Ohh, there's also a camera prototype. Ugly! But it can change yet.
7-inch LCD! Cool.
[Thanks to NeutralDay.]

Wicked Lake reviews

I saw that Al Jourgensen made the music to a movie called Wicked Lake, so I checked it out.
Wow, have you ever seen such reviews? :-)
When even horror movie fans thinks a film is that poor, it's gotta suck bad. I mean, horror film buffs already expect low-budget production, lame effects, and poor acting.

'Live Nude Girl': Earning A Living Unclothed

'Live Nude Girl': Earning A Living Unclothed, article.
"has been modeling for artists for six years. [...] It took Rooney many years to tell her mother about her job. She writes that her parents now find it "embarrassing, best left untalked about.""

Huh? They are embarrassed by their daughter sitting for artists??
I could understand the embarrassment if she was a porn star specializing in anal and golden showers, but this is beyond me.

Ice waves

This is interesting.
It's a good example of how fuzzy our thinking is. Immediately, to most, we believe it:
"The water froze the instant the wave broke through the ice. That's what it is like in Antarctica where it is the coldest weather in decades. Water freezes the instant it comes in contact with the air. The temperature of the water is already some degrees below freezing. Just look at how the wave froze in mid-air!"


But if you look at it straight, how the hell is that going to happen? Under what conditions will a big wave suddenly appear from nowhere? And presumerably suddenly break through a layer of ice already on the ocean? And then freeze in mid-air? It's ridiculous. What could lift all that water so high into the air?
And of course it is made even more silly by the version which has it happen in Michigan, USA.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Love knows no fear

Big growth expectations

A correspondent, Evan, saw my article about money, and, referring to this quote from it:
"One must realize that THE ECONOMY CAN'T GROW TEN PERCENT PER YEAR. If it does, there's some kind of bubble. Why? Because money is based on real products, and the overall system of factories, transport methods, workers, education, etc, just can't grow that fast."
... said:

You make a great point. I used to work as a development chemist years ago at a mid-sized U.S. Conglomerate. I enjoyed occasionally stopping by the office of the corporate Economist to abuse him a bit; after a while he got used to me. I would always ask him what was coming and he finally said, "Look, the U.S. economy grows at 2% annually, sometimes less, sometimes more. My biggest job here is dressing that up for the corporate wizards' satisfaction -- sometimes it is a bit less sometimes a bit more . . . just plan on 2% over time and that is what you see. If it is less or more for more than a few years OR if it is a LOT less or more, then LOOK OUT!

I find it fascinating that this world is so far out of touch with reality that hardly anybody realizes a simple truth like that (I'd been reading about money for years before it became clear to me). And so they think money can grow and grow and grow, and so we end up with the current hardship.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Peter Westerman art (updated)

What do you think, is this really amazing or really cheesy?

... Update: personally I've often had a problem with art which had several strong colors in one picture. Many people love that, of course.
Looking at Peter's art page, though, he also has some work which I think is really good, like this one.


And he does combine photos and digital art very well. One of the things I dreamed about before I got a computer was doing just that. In the imagination it seems very easy, but in practice it is just absurdly difficult, because the two things just don't want to integrate.

Lagkage (updated)

Here's a funny thing: last week I suddenly got a severe hankering for a traditional Danish birthday cake, lagkage ("layer cake"). It's thin, light cake layers with creme and fresh fruit and whip. Delicious. I hadn't had one in over thirty years.
So I ordered the ingredients online from Denmark. I make most of it today, it will be ready tomorrow.
And then as I'm making it, I suddenly realized: It's actually my birthday tomorrow!
Hah.
So I'm inviting a couple friends over. Not many, I don't like to share.

Update 9.3: Guests been and gone. The cake was a hit. I'd made one with vanilla creme and fresh banana fill, and raspberries on top. In the rush I forgot to photograph it.



New depressant drug (updated)

Top Cat found this excellent Onion video, describing a new drug to help annoyingly chipper people.

There's also this dis of Jennifer Love Hewitt. I just watched her in the early movie House Arrest. Gawd, was she pretty.

One thing I like about Onion stories is that they often make a good point while being entertaining. Take for instance this "probably raped" story.

Aniko said:
The video video with the depressant drug is sooo fun! :-)
Tell me, this Onion is a site with only fake news? They have pretty high technology, could you tell something about it? Do you know how it is sponsored?

It is only fake news, yes. With text they've been going for over ten years. The newsreports do indeed look at least as impressive as the big TV channels' news shows. I don't know how they do it or how much it costs, I was just wondering myself.

The Onion's site does not seem to have an About page, but there's a wiki page.

Mind-reading machines

I'm sorry if this sounds like bragging. (I'm not sorry about actually bragging, I'm just sorry about sounding like I am.)

I love when I manage to outsmart a computer, just by understanding how it thinks in general, not by actual education. (I haven't a clue about programming.)

The earliest and the latest examples come to mind. The latest one was just now: there was a large file I'd been downloading in Safari, which was interrupted by me putting the machine to sleep (as an experiment to see if it would be picked up again like my FTP app does). Then after it woke up again, I started the download, and it only downloaded as some tiny 4kb file. Trying again didn't change anything. So what did I do, I downloaded it in a different browser, and viola, it worked.

The earliest example was when I had my first computer in 1995, before I even got Internet. The wonderful and funny (but sadly no longer updated) book Mac Secrets by David Pogue had free apps, which came on floppy disk. I copied them (from my library copy) to my hard disk. But one of the zip files wouldn't unzip. I looked at it, and saw it had a dot in the file name before the usual dot designed to show where the suffix started (my.greatapp.hqx). So I figured this might be confusing the likkle machine mind, so I removed that dot. And viola, it unzipped. As a total newbie back then I felt especially pleased.

Chris said:
BTW, I know how you don't like typos and such in other blogs... [huh?] it's not "viola" (which is an instrument a bit bigger than a violin) but "voila", from French meaning "there it is". Or perhaps you were writing for your girlfriend named Viola? he he.

I just think "viola" is funnier. Besides it was my mother's middle name.

Where are the portrait lenses?

Where are the portrait lenses?, article.
The article has some very good points related to reduced-frame camera and the lack of portrait lenses made for them.
So does the first comment on the article, where Brett says: "Or just go full-frame and be happy ;) I love the Canon 100 f/2 on full frame; fast, sharp, great bokeh, and cheap too!"

It is true, both Canon and Nikon have excellent offerings in the 85mm to 100mm area, and I have the above-mentioned lens, and it is just what is said. And if you buy a Canon 5D mark One today, you'll get a really good full frame camera at a good price I imagine, since the mark Two is out.
Of course all of that does not negate the silly lack of purpose-designed portrait lenses for the more popular reduced-frame cameras, Nikon D90/D60, Canon 50D/450D, etc. It should not be hard to make a good portrait lens for maybe $200.