Saturday, August 11, 2007

The quest for sanity

The quest for sanity takes a lifetime. If you don't make it, you may have to take one more.
- Stobblehouse

Just for instance, I'm only now noticing that I'm a bit obsessive. Far from OCD territory, but enough that I know I would be well off with less. For instance, I will spend hours finding a bit of software that I well know I may never actually use. Just because I got it into my head that I want it. (As was the case with the texture making software a few weeks ago.)

Recently I am also noticing how all actors in the past decade have gotten their teeth whitened. It looks odd when they are playing people in historical times. (Example: Tom Cruise in "The Latest Samurai".*)

Also, the line "let's get out of here" in films. It's rumored to be the most used line ever, and I can believe it. I notice it now all the time. :)

* Or whatever it was called. Not too exciting a movie. It was about "honor". Apparently that concept means to kill those opposing your friends, until you discover that your friends are worse, then you kill them instead.
TTL injected:
Sanity is other people's idea of how you should act and behave. Why would you want to quest for that?

Good point. This is often how "sanity" is perceived. And funny enough, this is of course an insane idea of it.
I'm not talking about behavior. And definitely not "normal" behavior, whatever that is. I'm talking about clear thinking and clear perceptions, free from the robotic endoctrinations and emotions that we are under from society and from our very humanness.

Don't ask me what totally clear perceptions would reveal. Perhaps one would not even be really human if and when one has them.

Michael said:
Mark Vonnegut's book is about himself. I believe he suffered a form of schizophrenia. It got particularly bad at a time when the counter-cultural acceptance of individual difference was at its height. As a result, he thinks that slowed recognition that he had a serious problem.

As he tells his story, it becomes increasingly clear that he was not just expressing his unique world-view -- he was seriously, seriously ill.

In the end, he still embraces the "live and let live" counter-culture acceptance of individual differences, but he has shown that, yes, it really is possible to be insane. And it's terrifying.

It might not sound like it, but I thought it was a very uplifting book.

Yes, insanity is indeed frightening.

Slightly related, I recently read Carrie Fisher's book The Best Awful, partially about a nervous breakdown.

The film Vampire's Kiss with Nicolas Cage is one of the best films I've seen about a man going insane. Although it's very unusual, it can be seen as a comedy or a fantasy film or whatnot.

Icon wars

I'm sure some of you have seen this one before, but I think it's fun. Icon War.
I love how the neighboring icons are bothered by the fighting.
(Notice that the pictures seems to stretch, following your window.)
Update: Hannah pointed to this wonderful animation.

An oddity

Here's an odd thing: in the past few days I have noticed an odd smell around here, almost subliminally. Like rotting fruit or something.
I've also noticed a much stronger smell in my refrigerator. But I can't find anything having gone off.
And now I talked to Steve, who lives upstairs and on the other side of the stair well. And he tells me exactly the same thing! He's been trying like mad to track down this smell, up to cleaning his fridge.

I mean it's odd enough that this smell is there (I think I've felt it outside too), but why the heck should it be stronger in a refrigerator, and in two different apartments?


Am I the only one who is totally baffled about "web 2.0" sites like MySpace and their ilk? You know, where all the under-thirties hang out. Each page has hundreds of links and pictures and comments and connections. It is not explained what anything is about. It is not clear what the page itself is about. And everything about it is soooo superficial, nothing of meaningful interest...
Is it just me getting middle aged, or what?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hands over the blankets!

Up to three years in jail for masturbating in a porn cinema?
I love America and Americans, and most American culture, but I have to say, sometimes it's just a bizarre place.
Granted, some other countries, like Singapore have some of the same traits in common, like this fantastic fascination with victimless crimes, and the harsh punishments of them. But I still can't wrap my head around it. If you were caught masturbating in a porn cinema in Denmark, heck even in a normal cinema, it would be embarrassing, but nobody would even get the notion that you should be punished for it.

Steampunk by Datamancer

Richard "Datamancer" Nagy is designing retro-tech machines.

Isn't that laptop awesome?

I've long thought that an aesthetic has been (temporarily?) lost when machines took over building everything. To build machines like they built them in the eighteen hundreds would be impossible today, by and large, simply because wages are much higher, particularly for the skilled craftsmen who would be needed.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a great loss compared to the great enhancement in overall economy and quality of life the industrial revolution has engendered.

By the way, Richard is building me one of his keyboards, I ordered it last month. I'm much looking forward to getting it.

Richard likes inventing terms like "The Nagy Magical-Movable-Type Pixello-Dynamotronic Computational Engine".
Perhaps I should get him to write lyrics for my band Rust City Neo Dada Post Punk Sunrise Orchestra.
(Formerly the Fish Out of Water Musical Time Control Coalition.)

Wayne commented:
I think we have lost much with the plastic mass-produced 'machines' we have today. The artistry of the victorian era is long gone, and what little is left, is priced way beyond the ability of the common man to own.

eolake said...
To be fair, it also was so back then.
Today's average citizen in the west can own far more nice things than he could in the victorian era. You can debate the aesthetic of many of them, but that's rather esoteric for most people.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Stolen moments of Illicit love

"He looks to me like somebody who is up to his designer-stubble in stolen moments of illicit love." - Daisy, Keeping Up Appearances

That is just one of the best lines every written in a TV comedy.
(Of course it gets even better if you know that Daisy is saying this about her ill-dressed and overweight husband sitting glued to the TV like usual.)

I am re-watching the entire series now. A triumph for British comedy. I must write more about it.

Ellen Feiss lives forever

Many many years ago I told somebody that I thought it was a kool idea to make a fan club for a completely normal person. Well, what with the net and all, this idea is now practical, and is sort of happening.

One such is Ellen Feiss. Remember her from the Mac ad? I thought of her suddenly, and a natural thought would be: OK, so she got famous real fast... But it was more than five years ago, and it was on the basis of one ad for Apple, and the dubious assertion from some that she was on dope when they filmed it. (She was really tired.) So surely she is completely forgotten by now.
But still, there was just some... quality... to her that told me she and her fame would be alive and well still, and lo, they are.

She has recently had a part in a French movie. It seems their site is down, but at least here is a recent interview with her.
It's very funny how she states that the movie is silly and does not make sense. It's clear she is not aiming for a Hollywood career, you never hear a Hollywood actor say anything negative about a film or a colleague.

I think she must be a pretty bright person. Hear this:

Macenstein: You were actually offered guest spots on both Letterman and Leno following the success of those ads, yet you turned them both down. Why?

Ellen: Because it seemed like I would be the guy with the talking cat on the show.

... How many teenaged girls would say no to being on Letterman? To most people, being famous is the most awesome thing imaginable.

Dave Barry on Tony Robbins

Dave Barry on Tony Robbins.
I thought about this funny article back when I mentioned brainwashing, but for some reason I couldn't find it then. Well, here it is. Dave Barry is the bomb.

F.I. sez:
I took on the "Tony Robbins phenomenon" in my first web page. It is the epitome of the subjectless object (cf. Descartes). He makes you more powerful, in order that you might use that power to ... have more power. He is exciting and enthusiastic, in order that his excitement and enthusiam will provide ... excitement and enthusiasm. Your business success will be ... successfully businesslike. The phenomenon happens for its own propagation.

Mr. Robbins makes a lot of money off mopes who buy three-hundred-dollar pep talks. I don't disagree with some of the assertions which are contained in some of his more cogent ramblings. It's a quasi-religion now, in the USA at least (and probably anywhere else that's mildly secular, vaguely class-oriented, and constantly working harder than it wants to), this "empowerment guru" thing.

My latest guru is Tim Ferriss. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Do bears sha-la-la in the woods?

Do Bears...? Kate Bush and Rowan Atkinson? Surely not?

Thanks to Alex for mentioning this little gem. I went to YouTube, made a search, and voila, it was there! It seems YouTube is becoming a medium not only for "broadcasting yourself", but for sharing hidden cultural nuggets which one might otherwise never find or even become aware of.

Democracy and force

"Despite popular rhetoric, democracy is not synonymous with freedom. Taking something without permission is theft, but not when the majority goes along with it and calls it taxation. Matters that should be of no interest to any other person (e.g., what a person chooses to do with his or her body) become matters of public policy when the majority says so. The recipe is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is appoint someone else to initiate force on your behalf, get enough people to pick the same candidate, and then hide behind the waving banner of free and open elections. The syllogism goes something like: The initiation of force is wrong, so I cannot initiate force without punishment. Democratic elections are good. I help to elect someone to public office, then he or she initiates force on my behalf."

- Brian Drake

... This ties directly into what I talked about a couple months ago: why is it the worst thing you can do to murder a man in the street, but the best thing you can do to murder one on the battlefield? Only because the majority of a group says the latter is all right. There is no other reason.

Bjork - Human Behavior

I have a theory that Human Behavior is the single reason that Björk is a big star. If it had not been for that song, which is amazing and a classic, she would just be a major sub-culture star like, I don't know, Toyah Wilcox. Let's face it, though Björk clearly is a big talent, her work in general is very inaccessible. Except Human Behavior. (The song, not the video.) It is astounding what one big hit can do for somebody's bank account and career.

I dunno, maybe I am ignorant, she does seem to have a lot of emmy nominations and so on. But despite several attempts to get deeper "into" her, Human Behavior remains the one song of hers I really like. And I think it's not unlikely that others will award her the same good will that I have, based on the same song.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Update: there are very nice video tutorials on Apple's site. They will also give you an impression of working with the apps if you don't have them yet.
I have just gotten iWork today (I ordered it only yesterday!), and it looks very nice. It's a pleasantly compact little package the size of a couple of music CDs, and it includes a small Getting Started book.
Apple iWork, new version.
Now three powerful home/office apps. And it is still absolutely amazingly cheap. I have paid more for software that does not do one tenth of what these apps do. Apple is clearly being very, very aggressive about using cheap and free software to add value to their machines. I think everybody wins here. Heck, even if it you only need these apps to open Microsoft Office documents, you still save lots of money!

Even though I rarely use spreadsheets (which is the new app), I think I'll pay for iWork '08 just to get the update to Pages, which has a new word processor mode, more fit for writers than the earlier versions (which only had the more page-layout-like modes.)

iWork is clearly meant to replace the venerable AppleWorks (originally called ClarisWorks, going all the way back to the early nineties), which is/was a quite capable Works application, but which never really got its legs as a Mac OS X application. It sort of sucks in many ways, for instance imprecise text rendering and little things like that. I've been waiting for years for a serious update or a replacement for it. This is it.

Elton John

Elton John (am I breaking the law if I don't call him "Sir"?) wants to shut down the Internet, to save the quality of new music being made.

You gotta hand it to him, it takes balls to be such a luddite (his words) in 2007. Ten years ago every third newspaper reporter was saying that the Net was a fad or crap. But I think by now most people have realized that the Internet is quite simple global communication, instant and practically free. And that to call that a bad thing is just boneheaded.

TTL intones:
Elton John is right, but his suggested action to shut down the Internet is not enough.

I say all music should be live. And to ensure this we need to shutdown all international freight and logistics services. For these have for 60 years been used to ship music on dead formats such as vinyl records and CDs. These formats and distribution methods have provided a breeding ground for vulgar pop music such as that produced by Elton John. We need to rid our societies of this mechanically produced noise as soon as possible.

The only acceptable forms of music are opera, orchestral, choir and chamber music. And the only acceptable medium to enjoy them is live attendance.

I trust that we all want to take care of this matter in the earnest. For unless we do so the future of humankind is most certainly doomed.

Quite right. And it's almost too late, so we better start now. Does anybody volunteer to coordinate the efforts?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Amazon Vine

Hey, apparently I'm a power reviewer. This is from a mail I got today from Amazon:

As one of our most valued customer reviewers, we would like to offer you a special invitation to join an exciting new program called Amazon Vine. As a member of this exclusive community, you will have free access to pre-release and new products, as well as the opportunity to be among the very first to review them. [...]

Here's how it works--simply opt into the program, and each month we'll email you a newsletter of new products that our vendors have submitted for Amazon Vine reviews. Browse through the newsletter and visit the Amazon Vine website to order items that appeal to you. We'll ship those items directly to your doorstep free of charge, and they're yours to keep. Once you write your review, we'll post it on the product's page on Not only will Amazon Vine member reviews be noted as such so they stand out [...], but they will be the only reviews displayed on book and music pages before release date.

Pretty cool. :)

It can't be that exclusive, though, I'm guessing, for I am not a Top-1000 reviewer (I was for a while on the UK site).

Update: I see now that I have 125 reviews, though. And I've gotten 548 "helpful" votes for them. That's pretty good.

TTL asks for an address to all my Amazon reviews. All right, find them here. (Looking at them myself now, it is interesting to note which ones many people voted "helpful" and not. I can't see much rhyme or reason in it.)

Lost Girls again

A sexually frank and bold interview with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, authors of Lost Girls.

The interview will not play on the Mac. I ran crying to our super-techie TTL, and he helped me. If you use Mac, go to and get the newest version of Mplayer. Then open that app and press Command-U and type in this address:


(The address probably won't wrap. Try tripple-clicking on it to select the whole address.)

By the way, Alan Moore on religion, his an others'. (He worships a snake god.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Nippop girruls

Update: Making Of Sugar Water video.
(These girls are so talented and cute. I wonder where they are today.)
My favorite "nippop" (I still claim to have invented that word) girls seem to have disappeared.
I found some videos of old favorites of mine. I discovered Nippop when I live in Edinburgh in 2000.

Cibo Matto Sugar Water
Cibo Matto on Buffy

Takako Minekawa Plash
Takako Minekawa milk rock

Kahimi Karie Elastic Girl
Kahimi Karie Good Morning World
Kahimi Karie Lilitapop Dollhouse (I could only find a live version)

Early digital printing

An article about early digital art priting, by Graham Nash. Yes, he is the guy from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Or as I like to call them, "Crosby's Still Fresh and Young".