Saturday, February 21, 2009

Joss Whedon and the studios

Joss Whedon had a big success with Dr. Horrible's Net-only release, and now he's in clinch with the studios about sharing Internet profits.
"“For [the studios] not to offer the creative community a percentage of what they make — they say, “oh, it’s too difficult” and “we’re not going to make any money” — is disingenuous to the point of criminality. What they’re making is pure profit. For them to shut out the people who actually created the content is something that should be looked into by a federal investigatory committee.”"

Personally I wish Joss Whedon would do more to keep the strong comedy aspect he had going in Buffy. I loved that.

Travel agent stories

Travel agent stories.
"A nice lady just called. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am. I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of llinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that."

Calls in UK for ban on ‘Final Exit’

Calls in UK for ban on the bestselling book ‘Final Exit’, blog post by the author of that book.

I think the usually religion-inspired pressure against the right to suicide or help with it is one of the great irrationalities of the human culture. Surely, if anything at all is ours to rule over, it's our own life?

Some say that it's only God's to rule over. But I notice that what we know about God's opinion on the matter is only what they say.

Forcing a terminally ill person to keep living is tantamount to torture. I think any person who is opposed to death-help should be made to sit for twenty-four hours listening to the agonized cries and moans of such a patient.

Pascal says:
I dare say that as a doctor, I know quite well when each attitude is adequate and ethically relevant. I couldn't stand myself if I became in any way a needless tormentor.

Denying a dying person the right for self-determination? To quote my brother when we knew about our cat's cancer: "Let's not drag this on, it's not humane, even an animal doesn't deserve this."

How shameful of us humans, that in so many instances, we treat our kin worse than we'd dare treat an animal! And under the justification of love?

Magenta Ain't A Colour

Magenta Ain't A Colour, article. Kewl.

Hangar said:
What a completely muddled load of nonsense. Of course the eye doesn't detect the wavelength of the light as such - it detects the responses of the three types of colour receptors (red, green and blue cones) and assigns a perceived colour based on those.

Magenta is a colour. It's just not a "pure" colour - one which can be represented by a single wavelength of light.

Ashes to diamond

Did you know it's possible to compress the ashes (the carbon parts of them) from a dead body into a diamond? Neither did I. Not only that, it's done commercially.

Personally I don't feel that any of what's worthwhile in a person resides in the body, so when it's dead, I say let it go and begone with it. Scattering the ashes seems perfect. But the diamond thing is at least less morbid and wasteful than keeping the whole body around in a preserved state.

Top Gear: 18-wheeler Alpine Challenge

Top Gear: 18-wheeler Alpine Challenge, video. This is a hoot and a holler. Glad I'm not a trucker.

Oarfish - Sea Serpent

Oarfish - Sea Serpent, video of a very unusual fish.

Continental art

Continental art. E.g., rat.

Canon SX100 review

Canon SX100 review. Looks like this is another amazing bargain: under $200, long zoom, and good image quality.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Vanessa Winship

Mike Johnston points to Vanessa Winship.
The documentary aspect of her work does not interest me much, but many of her pictures have an Art quality which I like. I get a bit nostalgic for the old look and feel of black/white film. The graininess, the unevenness due to the development of the film, etc.

How to Find Books on a Budget

How to Find Books on a Budget, article in Oprah magazine.

I get the feeling some don't like or respect Oprah*, but I guess that's probably the inevitable result of her huge popularity. I think she's done so much excellent work. Just the number of books she has helped sell! The publishing industry ought to make her their patron saint.

*Oprah Winfrey. You know, the TV talk show host? Black woman? Used to be a little overweight? Come on, you know! Oprah!

Water jet pack

This is clearly just for fun, but it does look like fun.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow, TED lecture, video.

Ghost in a shell

Ghost in a shell, interesting article about conscious decision and Self.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Business books and business myths

Business books and business myths, article.
Did you know that "nine out of 10 businesses fail in the first five years" is a complete myth? I didn't.

For photographers who are thinking of turning pro, this ties in with Mike's article about that.
"The other thing that "positioning" means is specialization. Many professionals fail because they refuse to pigeonhole themselves. They believe (usually with justification) that they are widely competent and can do all kinds of work — an interior this week, a portrait next week, catalog shots of industrial widgets the next. Unfortunately, that's not how buyers think. Buyers of industrial widget shots want the best industrial widget shooter, and they wouldn't dream of hiring a portraitist to do them. I once knew a guy who shot a lot of metal parts for one of his clients who was surprised when his client found another photographer for a particular job. When questioned, his buyer told him, "But you do foundry parts. That job was for automotive parts!" It's that bad."

"Professional photography is not a "nice life," however much you might think it would be fun to be the next Galen Rowell. It's not a way to escape the nine-to-five grind. For almost everyone who is successful, a simple nine-to-five job is a life of leisure by comparison."

"It's a tough, demanding business, with long hours, high pay but low yield, lots and lots of marketing to do, and not a lot of opportunity for indulging your artistic side."

That's the thing, innit? When I was a kid, I had this idea that being a professional photographer would be creative, how cool would that be? But not only do only hard-working pro's make any money on their photography, the number of people who do so creatively is virtually nill. The chances are better becoming the next Mick Jagger.

Telephone cable

Friggin' 'eck.

Polaroid PoGo instant camera

Polaroid PoGo instant camera, short review.
It's quite first-generation, but I'm sure we'll soon have something better than the original SX-70 cameras/films, which currently are quite lamented (since they stopped making the films recently).

Donna says:
Are you aware of The Impossible Project? A group of ex-Polaroid chemists and manufacturing specialists bought Polaroid’s old factory and equipment and will start production of new and improved integral film in early 2010!
In the meantime, if you’re looking for film, it IS still out there at affordable pricing. I’ve gotten my supply from, who is currently offering a “Buy two, get the third FREE” sale on Polaroid 600 film.

We want machines

My new comment on the Canon lens post below made me think, and I realized why I and many others are nostalgic for the way cameras looked before the eighties:
It's because they looked like what they are: machines.
Guys love machines.

So here's my tip to camera manufacturers in these recession times (Japan is hit hard): make at camera which looks like a machine.
Make it full metal. No plastic.
Make the screws show.
Lots of levers and dial and things that move.

It will sell, I promise. It does not even have to be a good camera! (Although if it is, you'll also sell to people who know their stuff.)

Stephen Gillette sez:
'Tis true!! We really want dials and doo-hickeys...menus are for kids. I was thinking of buying a Flip Mino a few months back and going the customize route. (Guys like to customize their machines, too.) I designed a fa├žade that had the essence of the old Yashica Electro 35 from the ‘60’s...back in the days when you could whack an assailant with a 35mm camera and he’d need stitches...if he survived!!

Quiet night

I've just been to the postbox, and then took a short walk, because it turns out it's something rare here: a totally wind-less night. Beautiful.
(Is there a word for no wind at all?)

Jill Sobule - I Kissed A Girl (1995)

I heard that some singer named Kate Perry now has a hit with a song of the same title, but I still prefer this one, the classic one.

It was also used in the movie Kissing Jessica Stein, which I really liked. That movie has, amongst other nice things, one of the single best moments in acting history. If you've seen it, you may know which one I'm talking about.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Canon Widest-Ever Tilt-Shift Lens

Canon Introduces Widest-Ever Tilt-Shift Lens, article.
God, what a monster lens, I love it.
Gear is to men what shoes are to women. We may not need new stuff, but who cares.

Canon also introduced a new underwater camera, kool.

... Talking about gear-porn, here's a picture of a camera from three decades ago, when cameras still looked like machines. (Picture from NikonWatch.)

Five Minutes With: Stephen Fry

Five Minutes With: Stephen Fry, video interview.

Coffee withdrawal

I quit coffee yesterday. Hello, my name is Eolake, I'm a coffeeholic. (Chorus of coffeeholics: "Hello Eolake!"
I've been one for nigh 40 years, and I'm 46 on March 9.

I'm trying to see if I'll sleep better without it, like they say you will.
If not, I'm going back, I love coffee. Good coffee.

In mid-evening today, despite having napped in the afternoon, I suddenly got an attack of crushing tiredness. I mean I could barely move around. It was grim. So I thought: maybe I should step it down over a few days. So I made a cappucino. But that's only one today, so that's progress.

The Evil Ooze

Always wanted to watch a movie named:

Battle with the Evil Ooze from Beyond the Future

Thanks to the Horror Movie Title Generator.

Don't miss The Twitter Status Generator.

Carlin commands

Aniko pointed to George Carlin on the ten commandments.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shivaree - "Goodnight Moon"

Bailout! Bailout!

Bailout! Bailout!, video, funny.
"So where's my bailout? ... Apparently I haven't done anything irresponsible, damaging, expensive, risky, or stupid enough to deserve a bailout."

On a similar topic, last night I had a surprising dream: it included a really gorgeous and glamorous woman (I think with some kind of aesthetic tattoo which moved around on her neck and face!), very modernly and stylishly dressed. She and her father was running a small and new bank (are there small and new banks?) in very top posh offices in Copenhagen (are there top posh offices in Copenhagen?).
And when I woke up and thought about it, I realized that this is one of the reasons financial institutions are not responsible and conservative: because people like these don't get their Lexuses and super-homes like that. Not within five years anyway, and that's when they want them.

How to Take Compelling Photographs

How to Take Compelling Photographs, article.
My good friend, the talented Norm Nason wrote the article, and I think it's really good advice. I'm sure he'd appreciate some feedback, so leave your comments here.

The Vermont Country Store is selling what?

The Vermont Country Store is selling what?, article.
It never ceases to amaze me, the intensity of the fear and guilt anything sexual provokes in the human animal.

DPI question

Maybe somebody can enlighten me: I've noticed that many people who sell pictures on the Net give size information in DPI, like the pictures are "300 DPI" or "72 DPI". But this is meaningless without any dimensions in inches. If I open a picture and change its info from 200 DPI to 300 DPI without rescaling, I have not changed anything meaningful about the picture at all, except how big my printer decides to print it.

So, are all those people confused, or am I missing something?

[A different issue is that when people use "DPI" (dots per inch) they usually mean "PPI" (pixels per inch), but I've given up on that one.]

Across the ocean in a pedal-powered submarine

Across the ocean in a pedal-powered submarine, article.
[Thanks to]

Britain from above

Britain from above, nice traffic visualization videos.

Another fun video: how to make water walk.

Canon prototype

How to make a Canon balsa wood prototype.

Baen Free Library

Baen Free Library, free ebooks.
The philosophy behind it is very much like I myself have written about more than once.
"1. Online piracy — while it is definitely illegal and immoral — is, as a practical problem, nothing more than (at most) a nuisance. We're talking brats stealing chewing gum, here, not the Barbary Pirates.
2. Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender."

Here is another interesting site for free ebooks.
[Thanks to my old pal Frank for both links.]

Extraordinary signs too

Extraordinary signs two.

Kinetic sculpture

Pretty cool kinetic wood sculptures.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lowhangers, anybody?

This has to be the most ridiculous ad I've seen. (Banner edited for mixed audience. It showed, well, low-hangers.) Somebody actually wants that? Do they also sell kits to make bosoms saggy?

Lora's eyes

Another redhead

Gotta love em.

The last redhead with a tongue was her.

The World's Fastest Indian

The World's Fastest Indian. Movie. Warmly recommended.

Bert said:
Just watched this wonderful movie, thanks for the tip!

Tethered to (updated)

TetheredTo photos.
Strange and unusual.
Seems they are two women, kewl.

Update: I've checked over these girls' blogs and so on, and they are wonderful and creative, but they do embody one thing which I often have a problem with about the most creative people: what they present us with is very cryptic. You never really know what you're looking at or why, or where it comes from, who made it or what it means. It's impossible to really get close to or understand, and I'm not one of the people who enjoy that. I get frustrated.

Flat screen

Pretty funny, but wouldn't it have been more timely several years ago? I haven't owned a CRT screen in about 7 years.

10 Ways Microsoft's Retail Stores Will Differ From Apple Stores

10 Ways Microsoft's Retail Stores Will Differ From Apple Stores, article.
"2) The store will have six different entrances: Starter, Basic, Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. While all six doors will lead into the same store, the Ultimate door requires a fee of $100 for no apparent reason."

And it's from the magazine PC World too. :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Erasmus quoted

This is funny: this page has many good quotes about nudity and such. One of them:

"Only busy saints and true villains forsake activities which give them pleasure. If you regard yourself as neither, enjoy the world as your own."
- Erasmus

... is from my novel Sugar Domino. I made it up, there is no Erasmus. I attributed it to "From "World of Erasmus" 1794"

... I see it is quoted various places on the web. One of them attributes it to Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam.

I always wanted to make a famous quote. Too bad it has to be from a fake author. :-)

Update: when I say there is no Erasmus, I didn't mean it's a made-up name. I am sure there have been many Erasmi.

I think the one that inspired me was Erasmus Montanus, which is a character in a humorous play by olden-times Danish playwright Ludvig Holberg. "Erasmus Montanus" is a latinification of "Rasmus Berg," the Danish name of a young man who has been to university and comes home full of high-flown ideas like the world is not flat, but round. He now uses that name instead. In the end he is soundly put in his place by the down-to-Earth villagers and family and takes his old name and renounces those ridiculous beliefs.

Adam & Paul

Adam & Paul is unfortunately, but predictably, not available from the US.

If described superficially, it's nothing appealing. Low budget, depressing film about two junkies.
But it's one of those films which for some reason or another, perhaps just raw talent, is brilliant. The timing, the acting, the dialogue, the photography, all outstanding. And not to mention, it is just damn funny.
If you like oddball, seminal movies, don't miss it.

Waiting the movie

Just watched Waiting. I probably rented it because Anna Faris is in it.

Waiting was inspired in part by Clerks, and funny enough I'll say much the same about it as I did about Clerks II... I'm not really sure what to think. It was pretty good, but not brilliant. It had some funny moments and good characters. A bit too much of a gross-out fest though, it gets tired.
While Clerks II had one stunning actress, this one has four or six. And I mean really dang pretty girls. That's worth something. I'm serious. If a beautiful painting is uplifting, why not a beautiful girl. Gotta love it.

New Panasonic camera

New Panasonic camera. It is astounding that we now can get quality like this at such a price and in such a small size. Just a handful of years ago you needed to pay more than ten times the price and carry ten times the weight to get similar performance.