Saturday, June 06, 2009


"9", upcoming Tim Burton animated movie. [Thanks to Alex.]

Looks like Terminator meets The Matrix, meets A Nightmare Before Christmas. An odd mix. Now, I've liked some of Burton's movies a lot (Batman and Beetlejuice for example), but just as I was never sure musicals with puppets was a really good idea, I'm not sure an action thriller with puppets (though CGI it seems) is a good idea. I'm not really sure I'll be emotionally invested in whether a little walking hand puppet can escape the robot spider.
It looks really good though. The design of the buildings and machines and so on, I like.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tiananmen Square anniversary

Tiananmen Square anniversary.

Now that's brass balls above and beyond the call of duty.


Looks like this car will only be build when force fields are perfected (or even invented).
In Iain M. Bank's space opera books, force fields is an indispensable technology. For example, his space ships are so huge that nothing else would hold them together!

I wonder if force fields are possible. Wouldn't they be neat though? If can trust them to not collapse in power failure, they would solve all kinds of building and engineering problems.

Another car. A real-life Transformer (OK, in a modest way), from compact to mini-truck.

Option key (updated)

I love Macintosh computers, but they have a few little brain-dead things that they seem to insist on. Like the short cable for the mouse. Or the option-key.
I'll bet most Mac users at one point runs into this one: some instructions say "press the option key and..." and they look all over the keyboard, finding no option key.

Well, the "option key" is the one helpfully labelled "alt". Like I said, brain-dead.
And it has an odd little symbol on it. I guess it's meant to symbolize a track diverging, thus giving "options" (?).

By the way, the "command" key is also usually not labeled well. It's the one with the apple. Verrrrry logical. The other strange symbol means "remarkable feature" when seen on road signs. Apple adopted it to mean "command" and forgot to tell the rest of the world.

Update: it seems Bron is right when he says his keyboard from a 24-inch iMac does it right:

Funny thing is that mine, here, is also from a 24-inch iMac:
I guess you just never knows what Apple does from day to day.
Or maybe it's a UK/Eu/US difference? Mine is a UK one.

Update: David Pogue tells me: "It is indeed a US/UK thing."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

More fashion...

A good ole gay time at the bikini fashion shoot, video.
Is he or isn't he?!
I wonder if acting gay is a career-enhancing move in some professions, because many women love them and feel safe around them?

The no-sex women

There are some women who will demand that a new relationship must go for months before any sex happens. While obviously the man can't in that time have any sex with anybody else either.

I think it's at best pointless and at worst psychological torture. What do you think?

(I would have made this gender-neutral, except I haven't heard about it happening the other way around. Probably not because men are kinder, more likely because men find it harder to go for a while without sex, for whatever reason.)

I apologize if I'm being harsh. There may be logical and purposeful reasons for it that I'm not aware of. And this is often why I post something, to learn more. Hopefully without being shredded in the process. :-)

Update: the headline is not meant as a label of any kind. That would indeed be a pretty hostile one if it had been.

Fashion post of the week

I know I've been neglecting my coverage of fashion lately, but I'll try to make up for it. For a start, this: it seems red shorts and blue tops will be all the rage this summer for joggers in pleasant climates.

The platonic escort

Interesting article about a growth industry: the platonic escort.

I find the ending thought-provoking: that despite that there are no sex acts involved, they are still "sex workers". Sorta makes sense, I might pay for company and arm candy of a pretty young woman, but would I pay the same for an older man, no matter how scintillating his conversation?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Book of Cool

The Book of Cool: What is It? Who Decides It? and Why Do We Care So Much?, book.
(Cool cover by the way. Very deliberately so, clearly.)

I think those are very good questions.
I haven't even found a definition which satisfies me, which fits the way I think the word is meant when we speak about people. It's used about somebody which we really approve of and maybe admire, but exactly how?

I've learned to live with the fact that to many people, especially young ones, I must surely be regarded as hopelessly un-cool. I don't dress fashionably, I don't hang out the right places, I don't have a great car (or even a car at all), I don't have a glamorous job or a glamorous girlfriend.
I can live with it because I respect myself, and the people I respect generally respect me, and maybe some of them even consider me cool, if that matters.

Is there even an innate quality called "cool"? Or is it only a matter of judgment from a group?

iGoogle showcase

TC found iGoogle showcase. It shows with which gadgets some celebrities have customized their Google homepage.
What a range, from Demi Moore over Donald Trump to Tim Ferris.

Me, I'm not using iGoogle as much as I thought I would. One reason is that I use Google as my home page in every new browser window, and I want it to load fast, so I can get to typing in an address when I want.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Purpose of life

It strikes me that when people have enduring disagreements, it often is based in very basic disagreements they are not aware of, sometimes going all the way down to "what is the purpose of life?"

For example, a conservative father may have a violent and continuing argument with his adult son, because the son is a hippie and a slacker, and won't work or even study.

The father takes it as a given that the purpose of life is to become an admired person, have a beautiful home and family, and be secure financially. But the son takes it as a given that the purpose of life is to "find oneself". Or it may simply be to "have a good time today, who cares about tomorrow".

It is essential for our understanding of others that we get an idea of what they want from life. And even more essential for our own life that we define what we want from life.

Tommy said:
WOW, this is a very fascinating conversation, one which I’ve thought a lot about. I haven’t come up with much in the way of answers, but I have thought about it.

I have a son that falls into the category talked about above. I remember driving with him one day and we passed someone driving a very expensive car. In our conversation, he actually said and honestly believed that society owed him something. That person with the fancy car should actually give him some money! The certainly started a conversation, but it also stopped the conversation because we both were talking from two opposite ends of a stick and neither of us would budge. His mother and I most likely gave him too much when he was younger, but even with that in mind, I simply can’t understand how he would feel that way.

I finally gave up and stopped helping him at all (unless it was really serious) and just let him go his own way and kind of hit rock bottom. Interestingly, as an adult he told me a few years ago that, that was the best thing that I had done for him and thanked me.

Another part of this question of what is our purpose resides around why are we here other than to procreate? As an example, I used to pass this house every day driving back and forth to work, for years. Next to the house was a very well tended garden. Obviously it was a work of love for someone that I never knew. One day I went by and noticed that there were weeds growing and that continued for several months. To me it looked like the person must have died. On the earth where that wonderful garden once was, is now a new house. There is no evidence of the love that went into that garden or the person that tended it. I understand that this is the way of life and death, but it still saddens me every time I drive down that road.

Huxley vs. Orwell

Huxley vs. Orwell, article/comic.

PENTAX K-7 Introduction

PENTAX K-7 Introduction, video.
For some reason that's one thing I had not really foreseen about the web: how much information (and entertainment) can be delivered much better in video format. Watching a video such as this one makes it much easier and more pleasant to grasp the camera than slogging through a long article.
In fact it's at the point now where I think that any company which has a product that could benefit from a video presentation, and they don't have one on their web site, they are just shooting themselves in the foot.

Making prints and furniture

Mike Johnston has a funny post about darkrooms and making furniture.

Oh, and I just noticed that I have my first-ever "featured comment" on a post on tOP. And to think they said I'd never amount to anything! Well, I showed them.

Lex Og Klatten: For Kendt

This is another of my favorite songs of Lex Og Klatten's. I saw it on Utoob, but without video, so I uploaded it myself.
The song is a satire about celebreties bitching about how tough it is to be overrun by fans everywhere. (The title means "too famous".)
"I dream I've died and am at Heaven's Gate. And St. Peter takes me aside to ask for an autograph. And then I wake up screaming."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blueberry Girl - New book from Neil Gaiman

Thanks to Magnetic Mary.

Can you read in dreams?

Pascal wrote to me:

Here's a little topic which I feel your blog would be ideal for promoting and asking around. (Mine doesn't quite have as wide a readership to gather testimonies.)

Once, in an episode of Batman: the animated series, Batsy figures out he's in a false reality thanks to the clue of all inscriptions being complete gibberish. Turns out he was mind-controlled, and imprisoned in a dream. I mean, he was REALLY sleeping and dreaming, and the foe was controlling it. Batman explained how he found out and escaped that trap : "One can't read in dreams."
I thought about it, medically, and it seemed to make a lot of sense, even though I never heard about that in my Neurology classes. We read with the language area, in our left hemisphere, which interprets the visual symbolism of letters, and we dream with our right brain hemisphere. The reason/emotions dichotomy. We analyze on the left, we dream on the right, literally. But I don't have many chances of meeting my Neurology professor to discuss the issue of reading in dreams.
The thing is, I myself often read in my dreams. And write, too. The letters are very clear. So, it seems a very likely theory, but it doesn't apply to me. I wonder if this is a rarity.
Therefore I'm asking around: do you people ever recall reading in a dream? I mean remembering the letters and all? For we can often "dream that we HAVE read", but the content will be expressed VERBALLY, as it a town sign sort of spoke it out to our dreaming mind, and we'll have the memory of spoken words. Does anybody specifically remember dreaming intelligible, readable letters, words and phrases?
Also, please do mention whether you're right-handed or left-handed. Lefties may have a different repartition of brain tasks. But myself, I'm an ordinary right-handed bloke. In theory.
- Pascal

Lex & Klatten - Rørvig

Lex Og Klatten was an outstanding Danish comedy group/music troupe in the nineties. They made one of the best ever TV series of Danish comedy, unfortunately only a small portion is out on DVD.
The cool thing is that their music was every bit as good as the comedy, which is so rare.

In the song below, they tell about the difficulties of being four friends when somebody can suddenly become attracted to somebody else than who they came with. Then in the end it was all solved by the two guys ditching the girls...

Can you believe the below is the same group?