Saturday, May 14, 2011


I must warn the public before it's too late: the Sainsbury's Taste The Difference 4 Triple Chocolate Cookies may be the most addictive substance I have come across. Approach with extreme care.

The beach at sunset (updated)

TCGirl took a series of photos on the beachs at sunset, that I rather liked. Ooodles of atmosphere.
Here's a couple. If you want more, yell up, maybe she can be convinced.

My own fave may be the top one, it has such dramatic space and light. 

They are great for wallpaper. They are not too noisy, and still have plenty of texture and interest, and a lot of space. 
Nice quality too, you should see them on my 30-inch screen, pin-sharp. 

Funny enough, my favorites seem to be those which are dominated by a large expanse of sand in the frame.  Not sure why, maybe it's just that it shows a deliberate composition. Most people tend to pretty much fill the frame with objects. (Unless they are not at all aware of the frame, in which case it often has a big, empty, flat sky or such.) 
Also, the expanse of sand creates space. 
... ah yes, in that vein, this one is also kewl: 

Office Pod

Having a dedicated workspace in your backyard will allow you to create a very important mental and physical boundary between home and work.

I don't know, it seems a little cramped. Even a bit... silly? I think I'd be self-conscious if it's be public spaces.

Probably not exactly cheap either. But then if you're really strapped for a little privacy when working, it may be the thing. And doing a bit of research, it's clear that quite many people are really keen on getting such a thing.

A work in progress - 'Solitude'

A work in progress - 'Solitude', photo essay of a drawing.

"A Single Man"

By mistake I rented A Single Man. Sent it back immediately. Listen to this:
Set during the height of the Cuban missle crisis, it depicts a day in the life of gay college professor George Falconer (Colin Firth). Falconer is still coming to terms with the untimely death of lover Jim (Matthew Goode).

This just makes me run away screaming.
One of my favorite authors, Tim Powers, said it well when he talked about why he writes fantasy, stories on a bigger canvas: "I don't want to write about 'the human heart in conflict with itself'."

To me, stories where all the conflict is emotional and never resolved, are self-indulgent and myopic. One has to have a bigger perspective on life.

... I apologize to fans of such movies, this was just how I feel/felt. If somebody gets a lot out of it, who am I to naysay that. Now I'm waffling, sure, but we can all learn and change.       :-)

* It was William Faulkner who said that the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about.

Friday, May 13, 2011

World's Oldest Cameramaker Calls It Quits

World's Oldest Cameramaker Calls It Quits, tOP article.

I love quality hand-made things.

Mike also has an article about the ethics of street photography.
It's remarkable how powerful a motivator an unexpected five-dollar note is for most people.

Little pricks

Baby Hedgehog. 

Fable of the porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever. - Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

The moral of the story is: Just learn to live with the Pricks in your life!

Paper Computers: The Next New Thing?

Paper Computers: The Next New Thing?, article/video.

I'm not convinced. A foldable display would be great, but this seems not to be that. And bending the display as interface... ? I don't think so, except for specialized uses.
(By the way, didn't we see bendable display prototypes a couple of times before in recent years?)

Adobe Eazel, paint app

[Dang, Blogger is really having fits today. I posted this earlier, but it's just gone, it wasn't even there as a Draft, so this is a quick re-write.]

Adobe Eazel seems promising. It might have a bit of a learning curve, but the videos, the lower one especially, shows that it can do some rather amazing effects I have not seen before, certainly not on a tablet. I have paid for the top-dog app Painter at least twice in the past, but I was never very impressed with it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Clockwork beige

[Thanks to Michael]

Wooden mechanical clockwork art.
It gets kewler in the middle of the video, when the frame starts moving too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cartoon art

Below is a simple frame from a Peanuts cartoon. I think it's a nice little drawing.

I think that's why I enjoy comics and cartoons so much: each frame is a little work of art. There are few things I find as beautiful as a good drawing. You can just feel that every little line is in there, put just so by the artist, and if it's good, every line is balanced against the whole.

By the way, it seems to me that many comic artists are better draughtsmen than many fine arts painters, and they work very hard: to earn a living, they have to output several quality drawings every day, which together have to tell a story too.

Enter button no workee

Just a weird little datum that may help some:
Normally, when you enter a password and hit Enter, it will do the same as if you click on the OK button on the form. But recently I have twice (once on a web site and once in a Windows dialogue) found examples where the password seemingly didn't work... except when I used the mouse to click OK instead of hitting Enter, it did work. I can't say why.
Just another thing to try if you know you're using the right pw, but it's no go.

Finally a pretty Windows laptop

You may remember last year, I wanted to buy a Windows laptop, but I gave it up, just because all those I saw were so futt-bugly!
Well, Samsung is doing well in many areas now, and the Series Nine certainly upgraded the aesthetics of Win laptops! That's a damnable handsome machine! And only the size/weight of the 13-inch MacBook Air too.

Windows is still Windows at heart, but the pleasant looks of Win7 and the beauty of this machine makes it a lot more inviting, I think.

This is also an example of where I think Apple's current ultra-minimalism is doing them no good. Samsung just added a few soft curves to this machine, and it made it so much more beautiful.

Of course it's not exactly cheap at 1300 Sterling (almost $2k), it's a luxury machine for the well-heeled (or those working for well-heeled companies). I guess you won't get good design if you ain't got the coin for it!
Not that the price is unjustified, it has a fast processor, a 128GB SSD, and 4 gigs of RAM. Well equipped for a super-compact.

MS bought Skype

Microsoft has just bought Skype!
The wisecracks are flowing like wine on Twitter.

We'll have to start saying "Microsoft me" instead of "Skype me"... but saying that makes me feel dirty. - LoyalMoses

Silencing awareness of change by background motion

Cool optical illusion.

Alice and Mia

Alice in Wonderland. I like it.
I think it's a brave but a good choice to make it another story, from later in Alice's life, rather than the classic book. You could give it more of a plot and drive, and fresh elements, which I thought generally were nice, unlike, say, those of the Hitchhiker's Guide movie.

Mia Wasikowska put the delicate face to Alice:

Superman No More?

Superman No More? article.

Superman has recently and famously threatened to renounce his US citizenship, because he was tired of the world seeing him as a tool of the US government.
This seems sensible to me. And frankly, a person as powerful as Superman is too big to have allegiance to only one country.
But of course is has upset many US nationalists. From the article above:
... in the end, the only truly interesting aspect of Superman’s character is his complete devotion to America. Because it’s this devotion—of which his citizenship is the anchor—that establishes all of his moral limits. Why does this demi-god not rule the earth according to his own will? The only satisfying answer is that he declines to do so because he believes in America and has chosen to be an American citizen first and a super man second.

Whuck? The only reason to not enslave mankind is because you're An American? That doesn't even make sense. For one thing, how would that stop you?  For another thing, well, how about ordinary(?) ethics? Just fellowship for your human beings? It seems that to some people being a national (American for example) is the only thing making you not be an animal. It seems to be an alien idea to some people that a person can make his own ethical choices, and not choose to be ruled and run by church or state.

A whole 'nuther story is that to me, his citizenship is about the *least* interesting aspect of Superman. The character is a fascinating study of the ethics of having supreme power, and what it does to your relationship to the world and your fellow beings.

Superman believes in, and is part of, America. Once he’s a “citizen of the universe” what, exactly, will he believe in? [...] Does he believe in British interventionism or Swiss neutrality? You see where I’m going with this: If Superman doesn’t believe in America, then he doesn’t believe in anything.

Again, whuck?!? "If you don't believe in America, then you don't believe in anything."?! Are you serious? For one thing, all other beliefs are just Nothing? Talk about arrogance. For another thing, again: how about he decides on his own beliefs? Have you not heard of thinking for yourself? Is life just a choice between authorities, to you? Wow. That must be a gray, cold, cowed kind of life.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Robin's nest

[Thanks to Ron]

Robins grow up, video.

iPad 2 meets klutzy wife

iPad 2 meets klutzy wife, sad/funny video showing a test of a supposedly very protective iPad case...
when enclosed in its protective embrace, an iPad can take a 500-foot drop at terminal velocity from an ultralight aircraft and hit a grass field and can be pulled away, completely unharmed.
But withstand five seconds in my wife’s hands and take a rare direct corner hit on the weakest part of the design? Not so much.

Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years

Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years, box set on Amazon UK.

Thirty-five A-movies for sixty pounds sterling! (Ninety dollars about.) Clint's not my fave ever, but that's a good deal. You can find quite many such good deals in super-box collections. I got some earlier, like the Universal horror film collection, the Marilyn Monroe collection, the Complete Buffy...
(Of course a set like this is begging for blue-ray, but I think that'll take a while, I bet it's no trivial task to make a good blue-ray release, much less 35 ones.)

Same age inside

We are always the same age inside.
-- Gertrude Stein

I find that interesting, I suspect there's a lot of truth to it. Me, I've always been very old.

Alicia Witt Dancing in a Bikini

Alicia Witt Dancing in a Bikini, video. More funny than sexy really.
Again, I'm really curious as to why Alicia is not huge. She has everything a star needs. Perhaps she lacks an ability to kowtow, I suspect a strong mind can be difficult in Hollywood, particularly for a woman.

Life is a balance

[Thanks to Kirk]

Outstanding balancing act.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Red Cross and such

Does anybody have reliable info about how much of donations to Red Cross and such big charities actually goes towards the cause? Are they just big business or do they help?

The Polynesian Way of Loving

The Polynesian Way of Loving, article.
Soon, the ship would be surrounded by a flotilla of outriggers, each ornamented with the seductive figure of a copper-limbed nymph. These lovely maidens would leap into the waters, propelling themselves along with the ease and grace of dolphins, gliding along barely beneath the surface, then surfacing, diving again, and turning on their sides to exhibit the beauty of their forms.

Blind man joke