Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lady Marmalade (Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi)

One of the bright poins of pop in the seventies was Lady Marmalade, the song which tought us all how to say "do you want to (bleep) me tonight?" in French.

Originally by Labelle.
Many versions since, a good one by All Saints.
And a big one by four big stars.
And a bigger one by four even bigger stars.
(The last one is blocked for minors on YouTube. What, it's inappropriate for kids to see large people in skimpy outfits? Where are the kids in Houston gonna go?)

Sick, Oh!

I just noticed that while the USA's health care system has put it at 37th on the World Health Organization's list, my home country Denmark is barely higher at 34th. And this is a country with some of the highest tax rates in the world. Sales tax is at 25%, a worker pays around 50%, and a manager can pay 68% in tax. And their health care system ranks at 34th? (UK ranks at 18, and they have about 30% less tax pressure.) For shame! It seems that socialized health care is not all that's needed to do it well. Don't ask me what is needed, though, I honestly thought Denmark was at the top, and they have no reason not to be that I know of.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A plastic feel

A plastic feel


Paleo-future. How does the future look from the past?

Comic Book Love

Comic Book Love:

Galactic Celebration:

Art from Wednesday

Map of the dark side of Venus:

The view just before coming out:

Rhapsody in Green no. 4:

Scene from a science fiction movie:

My Way?

David Pogue explains how he did a song spoof based on My Way, about the iPhone. He pulled six singers from the crowd waiting for their iPhone and made them sing.

This is fun in itself, but I was greatly surprised by this statement:
"(None of the six, all of whom were under 45, knew the song "My Way.")"

No friggin' way!
(Especially since they were those from the crowd who could sing, and were at least educated enough to want an iPhone.)
I am under 45, I am not even American, not very interested in crooner music, and I can't imagine any adult not being familiar with My Way. I even know the Sid Vicious version. (Which I like better than the version by that mob guy.) Am I more educated than I realize? Or is this the twilight zone? Or does the cliche about the level of knowledge/education of Americans have a grain of truth? I hate to think so. I think I'll go on the street over here (UK) and ask people if they know this song.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday 13th

Blogger's maximum image size is 1600 pixels on the long side (quite reasonable). But the detail in the last image is so awesome that I could not resist uploading a super-sized version on my own server.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Aristocrats

Leviathud mentioned The Aristocrats (not Aristocats*), so I've now seen it. I liked it. If you like dirty jokes and don't mind dirty language, you'll like it, if not, not.

*It says something about changes in the Western world that the title of a Disney movie is now better known than a millennia-old term and what used to be a overwhelmingly important soci0-political phenomenon.


I was asked about my printer, so.
The small one is the Sony photo printer I wrote about a couple months ago.
The medium one is my faithful HP LaserJet 1200.
And the big one is the Epson Stylus Pro 4800. It's a monster, and built to professional specifications, so it takes a large man to even lift it.
It makes wonderful prints, and in pigment inks, archival quality.
The only problem I have with it is that sometimes I don't use it for a couple of months, and then it starts putting black smudges on the prints. Cleaning the heads is only partially helpful. I hear it's often a problem with Epson printers, they don't handle idle time well. I'm trying to find a solution for it.

Here are the prints from yesterday:

(I put the Nikon F2 in the pictures for scale.)


Sunday before last I visited Laurie Jeffery. My friend Ian Webster was there to deliver a set of HiFi speakers of his own design, so I met them both and "helped". (Mostly inane jokes and distracting comments.) Ian also designed the speakers I have. Afterwards Ian and I had a nice lunch. (Laurie was off to work, he seems to be working like a 100-hour week these days, he's in demand.)
Laurie talented and lovely wife Vicky has blogged this.

Nisus Writer Pro released

Nisus Writer Pro released. A deep and flexible word processor for Mac.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Computers, Art, and Paranoia

In the seventies, we were wonderfully paranoid about many things, like big business or computers. Back then I commented on a radio show: "why are so many people afraid of computers? Have you ever seen a computer make art?"

Similarly, I lost interest in chess when computers could beat me at it. Why waste your effort on something a machine can do better?

I honestly did not see this day coming, but as of now, my Mac makes better art than me. I'm hanging up my easel.

This is said (almost) without bitterness, only a bit of relief.


Example: One of the first paintings I ever sold was quite similar to the picture below. Abstract, flat areas of color... It was a good painting, I was proud of it, people really liked it, and sombody bought it.
And this one, made in seconds by automated software, is better. I'm sorry, it just is. It's more complex and more dynamic.

This evening I have printed several of these on watercolor paper in A2 size. (That's about 15x20 inches for you deprived Americans who don't use the very useful A system for paper sizes.) I am very happy with the result. Maybe I'll ask the local frame shop if he'll show a couple of them, see if anyone cares to buy them.
Here is another artist using the same software. His work is very nice, and very different from mine.


Space Cube

I think this one deserves a post of its own. Just awesome. (Again, the software made it, I'm not praising myself here. :)

And here is a slightly muted version, which one do you like best?

Tuesday art, and what I did not select

In continuation of my answer to Foye in the Monday Art post below, I wanted to show a couple of examples of results that I did not consider interesting art.
An interesting result of this was that I realized that it is actually hard to find results that I was sure that somebody would not consider Nice or Interesting. Which tells me that perhaps selecting is pretty important when judging the importance of the Artist's input, even when randomness or outside input is a big factor. In other words, somebody else would be extremely unlikely to select the same results to present.

In any case, here are a few results that I would not select as artistically interesting, to me at least. They may or may not be art, but they are not "Stobblehouse art".

Not selected:
Not selected:
Not selected:
Not selected:
Not selected:

Not selected: Not selected:
(In particular the last one. :)
(Though actually it would fit in the "monochrome" fine art genre. I'm not kidding, apparently some people pay art prices for a canvas painted one color.)

You and me, all we want to be, is lazy

Pascal and Final Identity said in the "sleeping" post that they both need 10 hours of sleep, as do I.
Pascal added:
"Social rigid standards have decreed that one who sleeps a lot (or needs to) is lazy, period. Modern science has proven otherwise, but who cares? The priority is finding scapegoats to criticize for everything that's wrong in the world."

Indeed. The thing to do is to stop blaming others.

Lots of world leaders have needed lots of sleep.

Until recently my major goal was to become way more productive. Now my goal is to become even more lazy. (And not just because of the ten-year anniversary of one of my favorite songs/videos.) The world is not real, all that matters is what happens in the mind, because that makes the world.

[It must be the best Suede song ever]
Here they come with their make up on
as lovely as the clouds come and see them
Boys and girls and their mums and their words
and their romances and jobs and their sons
Barking mad kids lonely dads
who drug it up to give it some meaning
From the raves to the council estates
they're reminding us there's things to be done.
But you and me all we want to be is lazy
you and me so lazy...
Here they come gone 7 am
getting satellite and Sky getting cable,
Bills and Bens and their mums and their friends
who just really, really want to be loved,
Uncle Teds and their legendary vests
helping out around the disabled,
From the flats and the maisonettes
they're reminding us there's things to be done.
But you and me, all we want to be is lazy,
you and me, so lazy...

Monday, July 09, 2007

New art Monday

Foye wrote:
"Besides greatly admiring your new art, I'm wondering, for example, whether it is possible to produce something boring and trite with the program you used, assuming some minimal creative input from even an art slug like me. In other words, how much leverage is in the program? (And did the creator of the paintbrush meet with a similar query?) Did you have any results you wanted to discard? Are we now partners of the machine, edging toward servanthood?"

All right, confession time: The software did all the hard work here. My role was in selecting what's Art. I may learn to control this complex and amazing software (ArtMatic), but for now all I have done is keep clicking the Randomize All Parameters button until something interesting came up, and render that. (Something like one in ten results or less.)

Perhaps a lot of creativity lies in selection, I am not sure how much.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Isn't it funny how a good user interface is such a rare thing?

For example: I am looking for a good app for Mac OS X to make patterns and textures. Back in OS 9 I used a wonderful Photoshop plugin called Terrazzo from Xaos Tools. It was reasonably priced and easy to use. (See below for a pattern I made easily with Terrazzo, based on a bit of the photograph in front.)

Terrazzo is still being sold, and I actually bought it today, but it does not work, and I'm actually in doubt whether it works in OS X, the file icon looks like a OS 9 icon, and the site looks like it has not been updated in years. So I'm looking at other options, for instance Symmetryshop. This one is clearly up to date, and looks to be professional. But it costs $250 for some reason, so I need to like it a lot to justify buying it.

And here is the rub: even though SymmetryShop seems to have more options and flexibility than Terrazzo (for instance it's not limited to square tiles), it has a lousy interface. I got used to two things from Terrazzo in the olden days: I could see the source image at the same time as a preview of the pattern I was about to make, and I could manipulate the selection directly by just dragging it, or its edges. In SymmetryShop I can't see both images at the same time, and I have to use numbers and sliders to manipulate the selection. (And I haven't even found a way to move it around the picture yet, though surely there has to be a way.)

Like I said, good interface it rare. It is a poor show that such obvious interface features are lacking on a professional app.

Quickrepeat seems to have those interface features, but it is $350! Where do people get their ideas of what to charge for software?

By the way, if anybody knows a good OS X app for making patterns/textures/tiles (Photoshop plugin or standalone), let me know. "Image Tricks" (see post below) can do some of it, but it's not really for serious use, mainly play.

new Artmatic art

Artmatic art. 
New art made with software called ArtMatic.

Update: I've had (a bigger version of) the top one on my 30-inch screen for a while now, and I'm surprisingly pleased with it. I would not normally have such psychedelic colors, but maybe the softness is compensating for it, I don't know. In any case, I like it.
A positive surprise, since I've been bored for a while now with anything I'd normally put on my screen desktop (yes, including nudes, and medication ain't helping :).