Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Secret Of Kells (updated twice)

I like flat-perspective, simple, decorated line art like this. I experimented with similar things back in the nineties, and I'll return to it.
You could say it's the opposite to the trend with more and more 3-dimensional art going on in recent years.

Much of the art of The Secret Of Kells is strongly reminiscent of Samurai Jack, they must share designers.
This film is amazing, I don't think I have ever seen so many outstanding compositions in one film. It's an art feast.


Here's an oddity: the pics I take of the TV with the Panasonic GF1 have interference patterns:

But those I take with a tiny Canon Ixus 860, don't:

The GF1 has a bigger sensor and a better lens, so this surprises me, I have no clue what makes for the difference. Shutter speed does not seem to be it.

Update 2:
Andreas said:
... if you shot both pictures with very similar framing the most likely reason simply is the different pixel count of the cameras (about 22% linear). Try framing the shot 20% tighter with the Ixus and you might get moiré as well. The GF1 on the other hand definitely shouldn't show moiré from 20% further away. For moiré to occur the grids of subject and sensor have to match; due to the different pixel pitch of both cameras you'll see moiré for different subject grid frequencies.

You are right. Watch these down-scaled but un-cropped photos with the GF1 at two distances:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Endhiran (robot)

TTL pointed this far-out thing, thanks. Holey moley.

Bodies in the Reaping

I just tried to watch some of a sorta horror/thriller (I guess) called The Reaping. But the film is just chock-a-block with rotting, sick, and disfigured human bodies, dead and alive. I don't mean the zombie-movie kind, I mean the medical kind.  Severely disgusting.  I just wonder: what made anybody think that I might like to watch a movie like this? Who would, except for hardened paramedics when the video store was empty of anything else?

not Deus ex machina

Deus ex machina.
a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object.

Very interesting. In olden days they literally hoisted in a deity character to solve the story! And in those days it was considered good writing.

Anyhoo: does anybody know of a god in some culture who is God Of Machines? I can't seem to find any.
Like, who would you pray to when the PC keeps freezing or the car won't un-freeze?

There is a god somewhere for virtually anything (in Terry Pratchett books there is a goddess of Things Stuck In Drawers), and yet I don't know one for machines, seems like an odd oversight. Unless it's just cuz the concept of "machines" as a general terms is newer than the times when people tended to think up gods.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

LeaveMeAlone Box

Union “One Day” NSFW

This semi-nude video is really just another semi-edgy look-at-me fashion production. Only I noticed that the model looks like she has not slept for three days and three nights, if not weeks.  I wonder if they meant for her to look like that? You never know with these fashion freaks, after all they had the whole "heroin chic" thingy for a while, good grief.
"At the time during which heroin chic emerged, the popular image of heroin was changing for several reasons. The price of heroin had decreased, and its purity had increased dramatically."

Yipee, wow, cheap and pure heroin, yep, time for the higher classes to broaden their addiction horizons! I guess all the celebrities it killed only increased the cool-appeal.

Bowie has tried his share of drugs, lord knows, but I read him saying he never tried "horse" because he was just scared shitless of the stuff. And I can see that, I read stories from when several members of The Stooges were on H, and it seemed like it just is nigh-impossible to ever get out of again.
And the movie Gridlock'd paints a livid picture of what life is like for some addicts. It also has action and some (very dark) humor, but the naked starvation for more Stuff is striking.

By the way, talking about somewhat milder addictions, it seems to me it demands some of that to want to stand in line to pay four bucks or whatever for a cup of coffee in a take-away cup. For me, if I cough up the dough for a real cappuccino in a coffeehouse, I want to sit down for twenty minutes with some light reading and really get the most of it. If I just need to quiet down the jitters on my way to work, heck I might as well just waffle down a spoonful of instant coffee powder! (Ever try that? omg.) Much cheaper.       :-)

Ford Model T - 100 Years Later

For me, the T's profile was always the archetypical vintage car.

Damn, look at it go off-road!
I don't recall seeing one in real life, but I have actually once sand-blasted the sheets for a Model A, the outer covering. If you try that with the paper-thin plates of a modern car, you will buckle them severely. In fact, just a few stray sand grains will dent the sheets visibly, I've done that too. (Sand-blasting is a very forceful process, and tough to control precisely.)

By the way, interesting tidbit: assembly line production was clearly an economic and industrial revolution. But then again I did hear that the Swedish high-end camera manufacturer Hasselblad at one point went from an assembly line style production back to one person doing much more different work on a single camera. And they found that the number of mistakes being made dropped. I guess that was about lessening the feeling of pressure on the speed of production, and raising the feeling of individual responsibility and pride in the work.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inside Job documentary

An Ebert review of "Inside Job", a documentary about a leading and fraudulent cause of the big credit collapse.
The bad mortgages were sliced and diced into so many derivatives that the banks themselves had no idea what paper they were holding. In one of the more refreshing moments during the housing meltdown, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) advised her constituents: “If a bank forecloses on you, don't move and demand they produce a copy of your mortgage. In many cases, they can't.” She was prophetic; banks are now halting foreclosures all over the country.

Thanks to DeltaCubed who recommended Ebert's blog. Here's a good post about the N-word and political correctness.

Despicable Me

Just started watching Despicable Me. It seems like it might be a fun movie, but... well, let's say they are wearing their influences on their sleeves. In fact, only in the first five minutes, they managed to rip off Toy Story, Austin Powers, and Addams Family. Quite an accomplishment!       :-)

Of course anybody will tell you that there is a big grey area between "ripping off", "being inspired by", and "paying homage to", and perhaps we were meant to see the influences, not sure.

Anyway, there are many jokes, tons in fact, and many of them are very funny. Only it makes the story a bit hard to follow, because there is a new joke about every seven seconds, and they are all maximized, none of them are subtle, so the actual story takes a distant second place to them. This is unlike, say, one of the Toy Story movies, which are about the story, and the jokes are all in service of it.

... Having watched on a bit, though, I must say that it gets really entertaining, particularly as the setup gets done with and the main story gets underway, with the three likkle orphan girls juxtaposed hilariously against main character Gru's wilful villainy.

By the way, have you noticed? in the past few years, Hollywood people getting interviewed are taking more chances in their humor, and to my taste at least, often losing. In other words, they often air really nasty digs at others, and sound like they mean it. It's probably the fashion in Hollywood now, to out-nasty each other. I think they should have a think though, for the rest of the world is not used to it, and they really often come off as being not very pleasant and not funny.

Dreams of flying

I used to dream of flying  when I was young. I sort of miss it. Can you fly in your dreams?

What reminded me what this owl movie (an often-overlooked genre!). It visually amazing. The story and dialogue a bit clichéd, though. Well, it has two groups of sentient owls, the Pure Ones and The Guardians: both groups are warriors, one group has metal masks and metal claws fitted to them. The other has metal masks and metal claws too. But there is an essential difference: one group is The Good Guys, of course.

So how do you determine who the Good Guys are? So far as I've been able to see, it comes down to this: the Good Guys are the guys whose side you are on.

Art porn?

Mike Johnston and others have some interesting observations on what makes art photos "porn" or not, including some interesting data about the Detroit ruins phenomenon.
This guy thinks that by far most HDR photos are "porn".

Virginia O'Brien

Is the picture distorted, or can somebody really be that lithe?

Funny how it's full of verbal and body-language innuendo about nudity, but very subtle, this was the forties after all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tabletop dancing

[Thanks to Tommy]

Love the pokerfaces. Shoot the talcum to me Malcolm!

(The last bit is an inside joke: Virginia O'Brien - Lullaby (Rock-a-bye baby)

Strange Angels

"They say that Heaven 
is like TV 
a perfect little world 
that doesn't really need you 
and everything there 
is made of light." 
- Laurie Anderson, Strange Angels

To my taste, Strange Angels (the album) is the best collection Laurie Anderson has made. It has so many wonderful melodies.

I think her only hit was Oh Superman, though:

What a wonderful face she has.
Not to mention a genius mind.
(I admit that much of her work seems inaccessible to me.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sooner or later you'll dance with the Reaper

Apple's two faces

I am hearing this from various sides: Apple, as I am grateful for, is very good with user-friendliness in their machines. But sadly it appears that they are not with their partners, for example people who want a book for sale in iBooks bookstore. People say (and these are people who *don't* normally complain) that it's just a hassle to work with Apple on this.

It's a great pity, and I hope Apple will focus more on improving this, for whether they like it or not, it's part and parcel of their business.

Pixar in HD

Nothing high-lights a good screen and machine like a CGI movie, seems to me.
I am not re-buying very many movies in blu-ray, but I'm making exceptions for all of Pixar's movies. Hokey Mama, they are beautiful. I just started on Cars. It was never my favorite, but pretty good, and even if it wasn't, the sheer beauty of the visuals in HD... OMG.
(I'm  also waiting for Over The Hedge to come on blu-ray, that one was wow.)

Gwyneth Paltrow Sings & Shakes

Gwyneth is getting in touch with her sexy side, it seems.        :-)
Nice. I'd like to see the person liking women at all who can resist this performance.


Man, I'm so glad I learned how to touch-type back in school (an extracurricular). It takes time to get really fast, but it is so worth it.

Tommy added:
Funny you'd mention this. When I was in school I took a typing class which I thought I'd never use. I've eaten those words over and over and am very thankful that I took it.