Saturday, August 01, 2009

There, I fixed it

A friend forwarded these. With a little detective work (I'm so clever), I found out there's a source site. Or at least a "hub" site, since they don't take the pictures themselves.


For those in the UK and who like me don't like cooking, I can recommend Just-Eat.

I was really getting tired of pizza, and in time too, I don't want to end up like Marlon Brando in his late days (a smaller artist in status, but a much larger one physically). And that web site has helped me find healthier and more varied alternatives. For example the best-quality chinese take-out I've found yet. Lovely stuff. And an Italian which don't just deliver pizzas, but also salads and high quality pasta dishes. Yummy. At either of those places (unlike pizza) I can order food enough for three days too.

And I've been losing weight. A couple weeks ago I tried some old shorts that I absolutely couldn't close last year. They fit!

More chillun's speak

*** On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, 'The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents .'

*** A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone.. 'Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle.'

*** While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, 'Are you a cop? Yes,' I answered and continued writing the report My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?' 'Yes, that's right,' I told her. 'Well, then,' she said as she extended her foot toward me, 'would you please tie my shoe?'

*** It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' he asked.
'It sure is,' I replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, 'What'd he do?'

*** While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, 'The tooth fairy will never believe this!'

*** I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, 'Mom, that lady isn't wearing a seat belt!'

*** While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased.
The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: 'Glory be unto the Faaather, and unto the Sonnn, and into the hole he goooes.' (I want this line used at my funeral!)

*** A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages.
'Mama, look what I found,' the boy called out.
'What have you got there, dear?'
With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, 'I think it's Adam's underwear!'

*** A little girl had just finished her first week of school. 'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'

Friday, July 31, 2009

Kung Fu Panda

I just watched Kung Fu Panda. Admittedly I am feeling especially good today, but right now this seems like one of the very best computer-animated movies I have ever seen. Including all Pixar movies, and I never thought I'd say that!

Great story, very funny, and visually it blows away anything. Out-friggin'-standing.
You can get it on DVD, but if you have been waiting for the right moment to get Blu-ray, maybe this film provides it, the detail must be seen to be believed, so get it on Blu-ray.

By the way, small detail which illustrates why some people are stars: the Tigress character is female, but hardly at all feminine looking (a bit strange choice), and she never says anything sensual of any kind, and yet when she does speak her few lines, the beauty and femininity of her voice just cuts through you. And who do you find out did her voice? Angelina Jolie. Some people just have that extra, supernatural quality which can't be taught or bought.

Update: just watching the voice-actor interviews, and I have to admit I watched the Angelina part once extra in slo-mo. I swear she gets more beautiful every year, she just can't be from this planet.

... About the same can be said about Lucy Liu (and she is 40 now), who voices the snake, another counter-intuitive choice which works.
I've noticed that actors are often more beautiful when they are interviewed than in the films. Which you wouldn't think, because in films they spend hours in make-up, and the lighting guys and so on are paid to make them beautiful. But maybe it is because movie characters must have flaws or even be nasty to be interesting, whereas when they are just being interviewed, they can allow all of their natural (or learned?) charm to flow freely. (Isn't it a little scary to think that some people are so good and so natural actors that you can sit there and fall in love with them as they are being interviewed, but maybe what you're watching is just a persona they put on?)


Remember turntables? Some people still make them, and some make some very precise and very expensive ones.

I'm sure some people still use typewriters, too. Whether anybody still makes them, I'm less sure.

David Pogue on the Pen

A few weeks ago I asked my good friend David Pogue if he had a review of the Olympus Pen upcoming. He confirmed it, and here it is.

I can add that all the weaknesses he points out are not there in the Panasonic G1. Though it's a little bigger, it has a great screen, built-in flash, and fast autofocus.

How to Make a Woman Happy

One of those things circulating on the Internet. I hasten to say that it is mainly forwarded by women. :-)

Subject: How to Make a Woman Happy

It's not difficult to make a woman happy.
A man only needs to be:

1. a friend
2. a companion
3. a lover
4. a brother
5. a father
6. a master
7. a chef
8. an electrician
9. a carpenter
10. a plumber
11. a mechanic
12. a decorator
13. a stylist
14. a sexologist
15. a gynecologist
16. a psychologist
17. a pest exterminator
18. a psychiatrist
19. a healer
20. a good listener
21. an organizer
22. a good father
23. very clean
24. sympathetic
25. athletic
26. warm
27. attentive
28. gallant
29. intelligent
30. funny
31. creative
32. tender
33. strong
34. understanding
35. tolerant
36. prudent
37. ambitious
38. capable
39. courageous
40. determined
41. true
42. dependable
43. passionate
44. compassionate


45. give her compliments regularly
46. love shopping
47. be honest
48. be very rich
49. not stress her out
50. not look at other girls


51. give her lots of attention, but expect little yourself
52. give her lots of time, especially time for herself
53. give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes


54. Never to forget:
* birthdays
* anniversaries
* arrangements she makes


1. Show up naked
2. Bring beer

If you add a third one to the last part: "be generous with the BJs", then you're set for sure. - E

Soap Bubble Nebula

[Thanks to TC Girl.]
Soap Bubble Nebula and other photos.

Himmelskibet (The Sky Ship)

Alex told me:
I was just browsing through an old Science Fiction film encyclopedia, and I found reference to Himmelskibet. It sounds like an interesting film. The book even claimed it to be the first space opera.

Film marathon

Disk players that can contain and play up to four hundred DVDs or blu-ray discs in row? Can you say "overkill"?
I can't figure out what they are for, really.
I love movies and good TV shows, but with my attention span, I watch half an hour at most, then I have to go check my email, or make coffee, or do one of my ten-kilometer runs or 100 push-ups, or write the next chapter in the Great Danish Novel (I do think mine will be the first. I have a race with my old friend Glenn Kromann. Granted, he got published first, but given that I've been working on mine for fifteen years, it will clearly be much better). Or sometimes just wee or make a peanutbutter/banana sandwich.
But my point is, that if you are so lazy that getting up every two hours to change disc is a chore, then some deep introspection may be in order.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.
-- Thomas H. Huxley

Spoken like a true extrovert.
But I guess it's true if we accept the premise that there exists no such thing as a wrong impulse or decision, which could have been changed be a little hesitation.

Scientists create ultraviolet-transparent aluminum

Scientists create ultraviolet-transparent aluminum, article.
Listen to this:
"...but this is the first time pure aluminum has been rendered transparent. But you won't really be able to see through it — it's only invisible to extreme ultraviolet radiation." and: "There's a catch, though: The aluminum sample turned transparent was tiny — less than a 20th of the width of a human hair in diameter. And the amount of power required to create this minuscule window was equal to that of a power plant providing electricity to an entire city. Oh, and the see-through aluminum reverts quickly back to its natural state"

Ah. So I guess it'll be at least several months before we can buy shatter-free glass replacement aluminum commercially.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Catcerto and speed drawing

[Thanks to Tommy.]
Catcerto, video. Nora the cat backed up by full orchestra. Pretty good actually.
Art or cat workout?

Meanwhile TC Girl found another I'll enter in the "art or sport" category, speed drawing with both hands.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Panasonic Lumix G1 pictures and review (updated)

For the hundreds of fans (or at least one) who have been clamoring for pictures taken with the Panasonic Lumix G1, here they are.
All with the standard, very compact zoom (about 28mm-90mm). (I haven't tested the long zoom yet, I think I'll wait for a bit more light than today, it's a dull day.)
Everything on auto.
Minor play with Photoshop has been done.
The sharpness is certainly good.
The white balance was too blue, I just now found out I'd accidentally changed it from "AWB" (which they call it instead of just "auto") onto something else. Some of the pictures it fit, others I had to change.
I am still finding out how wonderful a hinged screen is, once you get used to the fact that the camera does not have to be at the level of your head, a whole new freedom appears. (The top picture (window) could not have been composed with a normal viewfinder, the camera was held high above my head.)

(I could pull more some detail from the enterior, but I like the dark frame-like effect it has.)

(Full file from camera, unedited, here.)

I really like the two lowest pictures, if you click and view in full size (preferably on a big screen). Lots of tones and details.
The chair I have given lots more contrast than it had, and I think it gained a lot from that. Almost makes me want to do more BW.

My early impression with this camera is that both in handling and image quality, it is in the same league as the typical DSLR. It is not an amateur camera, it is an enthusiast camera, and would surely be good enough for a backup camera for a pro.
High-ISO is good too. Look at this 1600-ISO sample, and 3200 here. That's better than my Canon 5D (Mark 1)! (The 5D, full-frame, was king in this area for a couple of years.) [Update: See this page (the "Melinda's" bottle 4/5 down the page) for how excellent an image quality you can get from 1600 ISO if you use RAW and careful post-processing. Outstanding. And this method can even make quite a difference at lower ISO settings as seen below that.]
One should not expect the viewfinder to be as clear and detailed as a DSLR viewfinder, but it is leaps and bounds beyond earlier generations of Electronic Viewfinders (you are looking at a little LCD screen instead of out through the lens). I find it good enough for almost all use, except the most demanding professional use.

A hinged screen is also great for candid pictures. These were taken a couple years ago in a cafe with my Nikon 2400 (outdated now, no stabilization and grain at 200 ISO) down near my table, like I was just reviewing images. See the man look directly at the camera! If he'd found out I was photographing the girl, I'd probably have had the police on me. (It's sickening that you have to be afraid of such things in a supposed civilized country, UK.)

Note: don't think you can buy one of the new DSLRs with hinged screens, like the Olympus 620 or the Nikon D5000, and get the same results, the autofocus is so slow it's basically unusable when those cameras are used in Live View. Why it is like that is complicated. But right now the G1 and GH1 are the only cameras with exchangeable lenses and hinged screens which have usable autofocus when using the screen.
(Stephen points out the Sonys, they use a special system: review, review.)

TV/man evolution

[thanks to Ian.]

Fits for me. I'm not exactly obese now, but twenty years ago I was thin as a rail. Then I got jobs sitting down and had more time for snacking, and then I started working from home...

Difference is I didn't have a TV then. Later I had one for some years, but it is just a Black Hole for time. Technically I have a TV, but I only use it for disk'ed material, which is ad-free, and which you have to choose deliberately instead of just plunking down and zapping the remote.

I used to eat pizza and fried chicken quite often. But recently both just feel too greasy for me suddenly. I don't know what caused this change, but I welcome it. I'd look so great if I was fit.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gibraltar's Airport

Gibraltar's Airport. You make do with the space you have!