Saturday, August 02, 2008

Delia Smith Cookery Course

The Delia Smith Cookery Course. Recommended.

Delia is the David Pogue of cookbook authors. She has sound viewpoints, is very easy to read, warm, and sometimes funny. And above all: She explains the basics! This is so important and so rare. It is obviously important to fools like me, whose mother never taught him and whose school course on it was rudimentary at best. But it is also important to more advanced pupils, simply because nobody knows all the basics, and one is often surprised. As in "so that's why we do it that way". Knowing basics is so important for skill and for enjoyment of anything.

How basic does it start? Rock bottom. This book taught me the best way to boil an egg, and how to make porridge. And now it's teaching me the basics of grains/cereals and bread making. This is because reader DreamingWolf nudged me into finally getting a bread maker, which I'm eager to start using.

But it's also a big book, and I've no doubt that it's the rare cook who can't learn anything from it.

By the way, I knew that rye bread ("black" bread) was unusual in the UK (and it seems in the US), but I had no idea how much. It turns out that buying rye flour is virtually impossible here. Geez.

TTL salivates:
I don't know. I prefer Nigella Lawson. More shapely body, more luscious lips, and overall sultrier presence.
I don't cook, though. So I can not comment on that.

Heck, she could cook for me any day.

... Funny thing, she is so f***ing attractive that I find myself going in reverse gear, "she just has to be a bitch or something". Or thinking that parading her looks that way to sell her books is just commercial and fake. "English muffin" indeed! But is that a reasonable reaction?

Update: I just realized she'd be on Utoob. Sample:

Notice how she draws attention to her breasts by taking off her pullover. :-)
She hardly needed bother.

Fun comments on the Utoob page:

I just watched a show of hers on tv and she said "I love the way it bulges out.." (talking about pudding in a wine glass)
"I love a large portion" (while cooking steak on the bbq)
"It's a really juicy pair" (Can't remember what she was talking about because I may have been staring at her "juicy pair" :P


i feel sorry for the women who come to Nigella videos looking for actual cooking advice, then end up reading all our pervy comments.
That said, i'd love to [explicit sexual comment]

I'm reminded of a woman I once saw manning a booth at an exhibition. Nice looking, and she had a huge bosom barely held back by a tiny top. It was just impossible not to stare at it!
She gave me a friendly hello, and I gave one back, and for a split second my eyes slipped down. There was no doubt whatsoever that she had seen it, and I just couldn't talk to her.
Not that I had any reason for being ashamed, but I'm a shy person, so I couldn't.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Following up on the last post, there are so many ways now you can get yourself into the world without any budget and without any help.
It takes balls though. Witness this girl. An asshole who would not have the guts to heckle her at a concert can easily type in a nasty comment on her youtube channel. So bully for her for doing it.

TV and gin

Seth points to this article, an excellent look at a new resources and how we handle them.
"And this is the other thing about the size of the cognitive surplus we're talking about. It's so large that even a small change could have huge ramifications. Let's say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year... One per cent of that is 100 Wikipedia projects [the whole of Wikipedia] per year worth of participation.
I think that's going to be a big deal. Don't you?"

Revenge of Tarzan

1921... they repainted the facade when they got a new movie? It's not like these days when a movie plays for a fortnight or so.

Below, there's something about big machines, especially moving ones, that we men just like.

Breakthrough in solar energy storage

Breakthrough in solar energy storage, article.
"MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine."

Like I've said before, in my ole age I've become sceptical about what I read in science magazines, because after decades I've pretty much yet to see any of the amazing science fiction actually hit the street. Still, this sounds promising.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Art and fidelity

I just wrote this as a comment on the Bang and Olufsen post, which had gotten into sound fidelity.

I've been a little of a high fidelity freak, both in sound and in pictures. But I'm starting to ask: is enjoying a high image quality/sharpness or an excellent sound reproduction the same as enjoying pictures or music?

Sure, there are *some* things you just can't do with pictures or music without a very high quality (fidelity) being involved. But the question is how high is the percentage of those.

I think the enjoyment of high quality is very real and laudable, but in the end it may be entirely divorced from enjoyment of art.

Male nudes

Sometimes people wish for a male nude site, and I consider doing one, but then I look at something like, and it just seems subtly wrong...

I am not entirely sure why. But I think it's something about: sure, a man can be decorative, just ask any woman who've walked past fit workers with their shirts off. But a man can't be aware that he is decorative and still stay... manly. So how can he pose for pictures nude.

Also, maybe for the same reason, maybe for another, it seem much more difficult to me to do a male nude site and have it remain largely non-sexual. Heck, it's tricky enough to balance it with Domai, but for males I have the feeling one might have to back off even more, maybe into arty BW pictures. I'm not sure.

The question is, if Playgirl is doing it wrong, how do you do it right, and can it be done?

Update: there's "fit", and there's "parody of man".

Pascal sed:
PlayGirl is the "modern woman's" Playboy. It's deliberately sexual to the stretched limits of softcore, with the penis being as much as possible a phallus, and the man being as much as possible a heap of steroid-inflated muscles with a sex-object face. I mean, cripes, this site could just as well be called "PlayGay", and there would be nothing to change!

"It just seems subtly wrong", you say? Well, yeah, if your definition of subtle is like a molten iron pizza being "subtly hot".
I'm sorry, but that site is SO remote from a male Domai, that it really rubs my masculinity the wrong way! "Um, let me rephrase that..." - (George W. Bush, World Master & Baiter) ;-)

How to do it right? Peace of beefcake! Do the opposite of the PlayGirl method, just like Domai does the opposite of the Playboy method. The pointers from Alex sound sound (they feel right) for a working basis.

It's pretty simple, really: if it feels like it would perfectly illustrate a Roman sex slave catalogus, then it's done wrong. If it feels like the Garden of Eden, where nudity is supremely natural, people are people, and sex has its own place but you have to do some guessing work to locate it, then it's done right.

Laurie, it's not just that these men are glancing towards the camera, it's the WAY they're glancing. If your experience is lacking in that domai...n, I suggest you invest in a random Playboy issue as educational material. Compare the photos there with what you see on Domai. And then imagine the same kind of difference in male nude photos.

On the International Naturists Association's website, there's a daily photo which I never miss. Be warned, some of the men and women you'll see there are totally un-sexy! And then, some are impeccable. But they'll always be in a non-sexual context, which can give a very proper starting point. They have a TV network, and some of their newscasters do take great care of their body, but it's light-years from PlayGirl.

Today's America-influenced world culture, I feel, is saturated with convoluted ways to intensely focus on sexual while playing innocent. The epitome of this being the clearly satirical visual jokes in the Austin Powers series. They're practically porn that avoids showing genitals. And it IS supremely funny, precisely because the best humour is that which refers to ourselves and the world we live in. (This is why most jokes are about sex, money, politics, driving, and family.) If there wasn't such a huge quantity of torrid innuendo in Hollywood, the Austin Powers series would just be a boring bunch of crude jokes. But in today's rampant hypocrisy? It's a powerful caustic satire. A festival of sexual symbols strictly within the allowed boundaries of cinema. Therefore ridiculing them along the way.

It's mind-boggling, but true: many images from Domai would be far more likely to be labeled as "porn", for the sole reason that they don't titillate by craftily playing hide-and-reveal. They neither flaunt, nor wriggle around to avoid facing you. How DARE they!

Eolake, I think the link to that article on systematic bad taste in porn should be a permanent item on your blog's main page. We keep returning to the same conclusion: the truly taboo thing is nudity when it refuses to be vulgar and squarely pornographic. Because it doen't fit into the neat and simplistic world system of the effed-up sex-obsessed bigots.

Anonymous insisted...
"We only find them beautiful because of sexuality."
Then do you consider that a horse, a dolphin, a swan, a tiger, a sunset... are also sexual to us? Nature's full of things which are very beautiful to us. And even put us in a romantic mood, but not towards THEM.
Sure, a woman is intrinsically sexual to any hetero man... whether she's naked or not! But what makes Domai unique is precisely that it rejects the typical deliberate emphasis on the sexual component of women. Without trying to smother it either. "Simple Nudes" is just that.
One thing that makes those nude women more beautiful to us than the examples I've given, apart from the sexual component which is simply left to be, no-more-no-less, is that they are people, with faces, and souls showing through these faces. While the typical Pamela Anderson (there, I've said it: Miss Playboy par excellence) would be better off being a robot, for such vacuity of soul and total switchability of bodies is just horrible to consider in a human being. Object-women, and God forbids that they ever be more than that, more than the warm flesh equivalent of an inflatable doll.

Scoundrels and liberty

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."
-- H. L. Mencken

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vulva puppet on Tyra Banks

[Thanks to Karen]
Sex/anatomy education on American TV! Zippidy doo-dah.
I'm happy she mentions that the vagina is only the inside part, the tube. It's dumb that it's being confused with the vulva, which is all the external parts.

Anonymous commented:
This belongs on TV? No it doesn't. This is part of the degeneration of society (no, I'm not religious, it has nothing to do with that).

Eric said:
If anything is disgraceful, it's the fact that the subject has to be broached like this with grown adults.
You have vaginas. Clothes can only go so far in making you forget that. There's nothing shameful about them. There's nothing wrong with talking about your body.
With that said, this kind of thing is a step in the right direction. It's better we approach it in a childish manner than never talk about it at all.

Mary added:
I didn't find anything offensive there. Not one iota.
And following Eric's comment, it may seem "childish" but some women feel terribly guilty looking at themselves (imagine we felt like that about ears or noses?). I'm sure that bit of tv has helped many a lady.
For heaven's sake, we must know our anatomy, if only for hygienic purposes!

YouTube comment spam?

There's some weird comment spam happening recently on YouTube. Only it does not seem to sell anything or have any links, and it has these weird strings of characters above and below the text. I wonder what it is.


any boy out there want to give me a ride on his dong?


Great tits cope well with warming

No really, they do, it's official.

Getting through sucking

Thanks to NasonArt Review, which also has a post today on recovering hidden paintings.

Make sure they're dead

"Things wrong with pop fiction" part III.

Can we please get a warrior type hero who will friggin' MAKE SURE THE SUPER-VIOLENT ENEMY IS ACTUALLY DEAD BEFORE TURNING AWAY?
I mean, come on, how basic does it get.

Answering e-mails

If you talk to a person face to face, you always get an answer. Even if he doesn't know you, and you are not polite, you will get some kind of answer. Almost nobody will just ignore you.

So why do so many people often not answer their emails? Even often when they're from friends. Is it because they don't like typing? Is it because they can't see the other person at the moment? Why?

Beosound 6

Just like with Leica M8, it's sometimes sad to see the venerable kings of design and quality trying to keep up in the digital age. Witness the iPod rip-off from Bang and Olufsen. It looks worse than the iPod, has fewer features, and is more expensive.

I am guessing it is like I said before: in the analogue age you could make outstanding products with a very small company. With digital technology, this is just not possible.

Bert commented:

Not true. Analog design did require genuine talent in electronics, while a digital design doesn't have to be elegant to work well, but that's about where the difference ends.

What has changed are the behavior and expectations of the customers. It is becoming more and more difficult to sell a product just by slapping a fancy label (like B&O) on it. Yet the response of people to fads, like every iGizmo from Apple for example, is unbelievable. To a point that the situation is impossible to understand, so it's not surprising that many will resort to copycat strategies or other desperate measures.

TTL recently mentioned that every generation in audio technology got crappier (vinyl -> CD -> MP3). I disagree with that reasoning because, while CDs are not perfect, they can be far superior to vinyl in many, if not most respects. Fully digital recordings are far less forgiving than the old analog stuff, and thus it requires both knowledge and talent to master a great CD [blah, blah, blah...]

But the transition to MP3s was a consumer choice, and never ever was this lossy, crappy compression scheme promoted by the audio industry. Quite the contrary: it allowed companies like Apple, who know dick about audio technology, to enter the market with their toys, and that has hurt the old players in the field like nothing else. It is like, overnight, sound quality no longer meant anything and portability was the only important matter (the $ aspect did play a role too, as the average Joe is getting poorer by the minute, but that's a debate on its own).

So, in a world where nobody seems to care about sound quality, what do you expect from people who devoted their lives to high-end audio? That they suddenly become able to design battery-operated micro-miniature high-end gear? That simply cannot exist, period. What else is left for them but to try to adapt to this new world?

Btw, B&O has always have been in the business of design much more than audio. Distinctive looks are their main strength. In that respect, their iPod wannabe will probably do well with their old-time customer base who, after all, can't be satisfied with the commoner's toys. ;-P

Similarly, Leica made a name for themselves in times when it required real knowledge, craftsmanship and dedication to make perfect lenses. This is no longer the case, as high-end optics are now routinely mass-produced. What's left for Leica?

This is called evolution and, unlike in nature, evolutionary changes in technology don't always go for the better. I, for my part, hardly listen to music anymore. It all just sounds like noise mastered especially for earbuds, and I can't stand that.

Back to Eolake:
Thanks for these excellent points.
Personally, I'm getting far more enjoyment from MP3s than I ever did from vinyl or CDs. I can't hear any difference, and I can sort the music any which way, and I don't have to take care not to scratch anything. And I can find new music much easier. But that's surely a huge discussion without any final answers.

The Phantom

The Phantom newspaper strip has been running continually for nearly 70 years! Holy cow. I really respect that.

I was a big reader of the monthy Phantom comic as a kid. The Phantom was much bigger in Scandinavia than in the States, with tons of monthly comics stories being produced and published by Egmont in Copenhagen, which also produces tons of Donald Duck comics for many decades. It was odd for me to find out that a Danish company was doing this, when I thought that only the "big countries" had the muscle.

And apparently the monthly comic (bi-weekly?) continues even today in Sweden. I haven't seen a Danish version for many years, I think.

I was amused to remember that seemingly every story at some point had the Phantom ("Fantomet") being knocked unconscious, and usually had to be rescued by his dog.

At least the costume in Scandinavia is dark blue, not purple. I mean, purple? Really? In the Jungle?

His costume by the way is remarkable, it's apparently the first skin-tight superhero type costume created. Which makes it even more remarkable that it was made for a jungle hero. I mean, he really does not look like a jungle warrior. Just for one thing, he has no camouflage.

The Phantom is at least as silly as any other superhero, but it has some basic appeal, on almost a kitch level. The idea of the custome being passed on from father to son, so everybody thinks he is 400 years old (470 now), is great. And the cranium grotto, and so on. Wonderful stuff.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

This song tipped me off that she's into girls*. It may be stupid, but I find that hot, I'm sorry.
Joan: yes, your music is much more important, pardon my hormones.
But also: how many successful musicians are not hot? It works for ya.

I wonder why the song is called A.C.D.C? Maybe it's a symbol for "swinging both ways". (Hey, does this mean that the guys in AC/DC... nah, surely not.)

Here's an interesting interview. It answers a question I had: yes, she has to battle a ton of sexism. That is just so incredibly stupid. Who are those people? When I see a girl being successful in a man-dominated industry, I don't have a hint of "piss off", I think: fuck yeah, good for you, rock on".

My pal Steve On Wheels sent this snap of him with Joan and Dougie Needles (who I don't know) [Update: it's her guitarist, he is in the video above with Carmen Electra. And her manager/collaborator Kenny Laguna took the pic]. It's two years old, and she's fifty now, what a beauty.

Update: I actually had the impression from the olden days that Joan was from the more gentle side of hard rock, but the video below proves otherwise!

The lyrics are unbelievably explicit. You don't hear lyrics like that from many mainstream stars!
I'd want her bad, except she is clearly a top too, so it might not work. :-)
If this isn't "edge", I don't know what is. She has balls of brass, well done Joan.

* OK, so she refuses to talk about it. Fair enough. (Though how do you manage that nobody meets your bf/gf, anyway??) But with songs like this and a guitar-sticker saying "dykes rule", that's either a statement, or a clever but slightly disingenuous publicity stunt. And she does not seem disingenuous to me.

Steve On Wheels said:
Yes, interesting woman she is! This picture was taken during their stop in St. Louis on The Warped Tour '06. Dougie Needles is her long-time guitarist, whom you can see in the video above, "AC/DC"... featuring the ever so lovely Joan Jett & Carmen Electra. Yummy! Joan was quite nice and we chatted for about 20-30 minutes (along with “partaking of some smoke”) before the oppressive summer heat made her retreat to her air conditioned bus. As a bonus, her Tour Mgr (Kenny Laguna, bass player for Tommy James & The Shondells back in the ‘60’s “MONY MONY”) invited my son and I (who attended with me) to sit on the side of the stage while Joan performed. She put on a sweaty, foot stomping, Rock 'n Roll show!

Font humor

Adam Engst tids, sorry, tips us off to this video of font humor. Warning, if you have never worked with typography, it surely won't be funny.

Valerian and Star Wars

[Tip by Pascal and Alex.] Valerian and Star Wars. It seems to me to be at the very least, uh, direct inspiration. Not enough incidences here to make it plagiarism though.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A run in the park

Google Counts More Than 1 Trillion Unique Web URLs

Bert wrote to me:

Google Counts More Than 1 Trillion Unique Web URLs

The number is downright mind-boggling. If we were to print all these URLs, one per line, in pocket book format, it would require approximately 25 billion pages to do so. Which would translate into about 71.5 million 350-pages paperbacks, occupying a staggering 1,600 kilometers of shelves. Tightly packed, the books would occupy a volume of 30,000 cubic meters (i.e. a cube with 31m (102 ft.) edges).

It seems safe to say that this represents more pages than the entire body of significant literature ever published worldwide (for reference, the Books in Print database contains 7.8 million records, including duplicates/reprints, etc.), and this is only for the URLs...

Regards, Bert.

P.S. I used a typical paperback novel as a reference for the dimensions (108 x 177 x 22mm for 350 pages, including covers; 40 lines per page).

The Stop Sign

Here's where I see the advantage of being the only one working on my web sites. (And having an affinity for simplicity.)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

George Lucas and "personal work"

After THX 1138 crashed and burned commercially and almost killed off the newly-born American Zoetrope studio, George Lucas vowed to stay off "difficult subject matter" for a while.

I wonder if he will get back to it yet. And even more importantly, I wonder if it will be worthwhile, or if it turns out his big commercial films (American Graffiti and Star Wars) were what was worth watching all along.

As a young man it was an obvious given to me that an artist needed the greatest freedom he could have, and that he needed to be as deep as he could be. But these days I'm doubting it. For example, some of my favorite writers like Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller have, to my taste, made their most compelling work when working in a "studio" setting (DC Comics, The Dark Knight Returns, Sandman), and made barely readable work when they brought out their most personal visions (Signal To Noise, Mr. Punch, some of the Sin City stories).

I think the need for commercial success is sometimes what is needed for a creator to connect to the audience, to reach out to them. Instead of doing an extended navel-gazing exercise, working on what feels important to him because it is personal to him (a typical thing is childhood memories, who cares about them other than the one person).

Evil Twin blog

The Evil Twin blog, short form erotica.