Thursday, May 05, 2016

Listen or applaud? (Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building)

Paul McCartney said that the reason stopped touring was that they got very tired of playing for an audience who were all screaming so much than they couldn't hear the band. And the band felt there was no point.

In contrast I heard of a classic concert which was apparently so excellent that the audience after the end was totally silent for several minutes before erupting in applause! Now that's an audience who was there for the music.

I appreciate wanting to let the artist know of your appreciation, but isn't the music the point? I think the classical orchestra mentioned above understood.

K.D. Lang sings like an angel. And the audience lets her know by clapping over her performance several times. Of course that audience is very well behaved compared to hard rock audiences. 

Regarding wanting the whole experience, yonks ago I was re-watching a favorite movie, Postcards From The Edge, with my sister, in the cinema.  The wonderful performance of "Checking Out" by Meryl Streep ran over the end titles... and everybody left the cinema! Except me, I was enjoying the song. And my sister was standing in the isle, hissing at me that the movie was over, would I please leave the building like Elvis?
(BTW, an Irish friend said once that he didn't get why Danes left the theatre as soon as the end titles began. Wonder if it's a Scandinavian phenomenon?)

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Lit drones at night by Mount Fuji

Dang kewl. New medium.

(Also, I'm normally more of an electric guitar fan, but this unplugged music really rocks, as it were. I think the multiple-identical-instrument effect is a clue. On one of Ministry's tours they had two drummers with two full drum sets. And the effect, in Al Jourgenson's own words, was "like a 747 taking off".)

New hoverboard record

OK, so this is all over the news, but it's kewl.
I think the video looks like science fiction.
It's actually a lot like the Green Goblin's foot-rocket-flier in the old Spiderman comics. It's surely fast enough, despite not having a back-pointed rocket like ol' green-face's device, it seems it can go 150km per hour! Dang, that's faster than I've ever gone in a car (and presumably faster than most people have gone, since I believe it's only in Germany you can go that fast on certain roads).
Article on the Verge.

The inventor/company says it can reach a height of over 3 kilometers. Personally I'd bring a parachute.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The pinhole reading trick

From our old friend David Pogue, here is a trick to read small type without glasses. It works surprisingly well.

"Curl up your index finger, making a tiny hole. Hold it up to your dominant eye and peek through it."

I find it can actually do some good also when you are wearing glasses, but need to see a bit sharper outside the range the glasses are meant for. (Though one needs to try to not touch the glasses and grease 'em up.)

Monday, May 02, 2016

"I'm Your Man"

One of my favorite song, "I'm Your Man" by Leonard Cohen.

It's funny, the effect Lenny has on women. I saw an interview with him, when he was already middle-aged. The interviewer was a woman, and she clearly had to restrain herself to keep her butt in her chair. The Love and Desire shone from her like a lighthouse, and she was virtually eating him up.

(More Cohen)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

More on Frankenstein's Creature

Daniel "Harry Potter" Radcliffe is in a movie called Victor Frankenstein. It's a surprisingly good movie. The story, you should know, is fresh, it's very different from the original story or any earlier movies. They have two monsters, the first one an early experiment with animal parts. (The man-monster I think is... pretty good. Reminds me as much of a golem as of the Karloff monster.)

I still think though that Boris Karloff's 'Creature' (as he called it himself, as the creature never had a name in the book) is outstanding, brilliant in the design and in execution. It's hard to imagine it being surpassed ever as an iconic monster design. The tragic ugliness so intense that it is beautiful. And that they did it so early in movie history is remarkable, it won't be long until the movie is a century old!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Emoticons battle

When I started on the web in 1995, I was a little snobbish and refused to use smilies. Until I wrote a risky joke in a group email, and somebody took it seriously. Then I realized that email and chat is like conversation (not real writing), and further:

In space nobody can hear you scream, and in cyberspace nobody can see you smile.

So they are a great and simple help.   :-)

Reviews of "Wicked Lake"

"Live is a witch and then you die."

I stumbled over a song collection (used to be called "a CD", remember those?) on iTunes called The Wicked Soundtrack By Al Jourgenson, and I liked it, so I looked up the movie on Amazon UK. Well, it seemed to have some nice ladies in it, but then I read the reviews...
And they are some of the worst reviews I've read, and I found them hysterically funny. I guess I won't try that movie.

Those reviews:

Format: DVD
** Spoiler alert - but I am trying to save you money **

I'm a great fan of B movies so although this has had soMe pretty scathing reviews I just had to watch it. It starts off slowly in a college life-class as Ilene (Robin Sydney) poses nude for as strange a group of art students as you are likely to see, including the strikingly awful Caleb. Caleb follows her home and when confronted by a naked breast and one of her flatmates he runs off, inside we meet Ilene's three female friends and soon the softcore lesbian scenes start. Caleb runs back to his Texas Chainsaw like group of redneck throwbacks. The four girls head off to a cabin in the woods and on route meet some local yokels in the village store. The girls are relaxing at the cabin when Caleb and his thuggish pals arrive and it all goes to the wall. The girls are abused and threatened and Caleb gets what has been rightly coming to him from the start. Then at the stroke of midnight the tables turn and the girls reveal their true selves. Throw in a couple of cops including Tim Thomerson (Trancers - The Definitive Collection: Trancers; Trancers II; Trancers III; Trancers IV; Trancers V [2005] ) in a forlorn attempt to add some gravitas and watch it fall to bits in front of your eyes. Some films are just bad, some are absolutely dire this is just plain sheer unadulterated inexcusable drivel. The character of Caleb appears to be a misguided attempt to inject some comic relief but spending most of the film clad in pink and prancing around like a satyr who needs to get to a toilet within minutes he soon wears out his welcome and you'll be cheering on every harm that comes to him. The last scenes with him acting like an effeminate Frank Spencer clone are almost uncomfortable to watch. 
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes

3.0 out of 5 stars
By The Movie Guy on 7 July 2013
Format: DVD
The basic formula for the home break-in film is bad guys break-in and terrorize the women. Then the victims turn the tables. This is the basic formula in this film except the women are witches with certain supernatural powers that occur at midnight during the full moon. And it just so happens...

The problem is that this filmed disobeyed the successful sub-formula. The nude scenes should start with the break-in. In this case there were ample nude scenes before the women are terrorized and none during the event.

The movie features two play modes, one with a special commentary, and by "special" they mean ride the short bus special. The DVD also includes a music CD. The sound track was better than most, but the movie was so bad, it was wasted. Michael Esparza plays Ray, the role normally assumed by David Hess in the classic home break-in movies. He did an exceptionally lousy job as the lead bad guy. What was with the weak cop subplot?

While there was a bunch of nudity, it wasn't "full frontal" as the cameras were careful to avoid that area, almost to the comical point as an Austin Powers film. If you like topless, blood, "brain sucking with a straw," bad acting, bad plot with a decent sound track, and a muscle machine you got it.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, explicit sexual talk, sex, nudity.

1.0 out of 5 stars
By falcon on 6 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD
if you like lots of pointless female nudity and lesbian scenes,this could be your movie.but if that's the case,there is always porn. here's really nothing much else of value coherent story.(and speaking of porn,the story might even be better).pointless,gore,lame dialogue.the whole thing is one big long boring mess.with no real beginning,middle or end.not only is there no conceivable story,there also a pointless non subplot that attempts to tie into the main non story.i can't see who the target audience would be for this particular movie.but everybody has their own different taste.however,this is added to my list of worst movies i have ever seen.this gets the big goose egg.definitely not recommended.but then,what do i know? 0/5

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Leica camera with no controls (hardly)

Leica has just announced a new $6,000 (body only) camera, Leica M-D, with no screen and barely any controls beyond aperture, shutter, and ISO.

My first thought was What's the Point of no LCD. But then I don't seem to do much chimping anyway.

 My second was surprise that I'm actually attracted to the camera.

 My third was that... well, I actually blogged some years ago that I wished somebody would make a *simple* digital camera of good quality. I'm tired of feeling like an idiot because all the cameras have about 7,000 different settings, and most I'm not interested in and many I don't even really understand. So I like the idea of just having the three basic settings of a basic film camera.

 My Fourth thought was that while many will consider this the ultimate Simple Camera, to me, it being a rangefinder camera is actually a complexity added. It adds parallax errors (the viewfinder sees from another angle than the lens), and it makes you use time on most frames to focus the camera instead of just shooting. So I would prefer such a simple camera to have autofocus.

The fifth one is that I'd also like an screen, a tiltable one. You will notice in Leica's video that whenever the photographers shoot from a viewpoint away from their head, they have to shoot blind, that should not be necessary, it's another added complexity.

Oh, it also has no auto-ISO setting. This to me is also an added complexity, for it forces you to keep your mind on the ISO and change it with the light. And I see auto-ISO as a blessing, not the least with the excellent quality you get these days even with high ISO settings. BUT: it is pretty clear that this camera is made not the least for people who want to shoot digital but still misses the film Leica. And film had no auto-ISO...

 And of course, this being a Leica, it's a bit theoretical so far. Even loving photography, I don't ever see myself ever spending over six grand on the camera body and several thousand per lens. The difference from much cheaper cameras is just too small, from my viewpoint. If Olympus made a Micro Four Thirds camera like this for a thousand bucks, that would be a different story. (It would even have excellent in-body stabilization, which no Leica has. That is far from a trivial point, it's about four stops of light gained in many situations.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Social media and privacy

Russian Photographer’s Experiment Destroys the Illusion of Privacy, article.

It's a rather fantastic side effect of social media sites that almost anybody can now be found easily. As an example, a few years ago I found a Russian site which had ripped off a lot of pictures from my commercial site (I had at the time). It was in a big way, and it was the only time I've taken real action against such a thing. So I asked my lawyer to help, and very soon he had found the culprit, and the site was taken down. He had found the guy on a Russian social media site!
I said to him: "the social media sites are really a god-sent for lawyers and detectives, arent't they?" He said "you have no idea".

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hover Camera. Death of art?

[Thanks to Bert.] OK, it's happening: the last bit of the work the photographer had to do is being taken out of the process. Is it the end of photo art? Hover Camera.
[Note: I've nothing against the HC, it seems like fun.]

I hate to come around to that thought, but it does appear that there is something to the idea that the easier something is to do, like photography, the more the art is lost. And of course Hover Camera, if and when it has enough processing power, can easily apply the software we have which makes digital watercolors or other kinds of art from photos. And it's hard to distinguish from human-made art. So... I dunno. What about in twenty years, will there be any clear difference which is meaningful to more than the tiniest minority, between robot art and human art?

Look at that picture below. I made it last year. It is very good, isn't it?

... I got praise for it, but the thing is: it was made on my iPad from a photo, by software in seconds, and almost wholly automatically, with me only having selected a preset.
Granted, I had to experiment a bit before I found a good preset for the photo. But it's still early days yet, it'll only get better, fast.
And if an iPad can make as good art in 20 seconds as I can in two hours, why would I even bother?

Sure... personal satisfaction... "it was me who did it, not a machine", etc.
But it's been many years since I played chess. I don't feel any good point to it now that an iPhone can beat me in five moves.

An irony is that when I was a teen in the late seventies, I phoned into a big national radio show for youth ("P4 on P1") and made a comment which they put on the air:
"I don't understand why people are so afraid of computers. Have you ever seen a computer make art?" 

I know well that a computer is not alive and has to be programmed by humans to do anything. But still... I just don't know.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cry Baby!

And now for something completely different.

This is normally not my type of music. If it's not yours either, at least try the two covers, those are chilling voices. (And Janis, though I was too young and dumb to know her, is dang good too.)

Janis Joplin, Cry Baby, live 1970. (Aged just 27!)

Natalia Sikora:

Melanie Masson, 44, she is inspiring. Through the first minutes of the video, you get no idea of the intensity she can do.

American Gods

"Every end is a new beginning. Your lucky number is none. Your lucky color is death. Like father like son." 

- A fortune from a mechanical gypsy booth, to Shadow, in American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  (Winner of four major awards, and in my taste Gaiman's best novel (possibly excluding the frightening children's book Coraline (also a major claymation movie)).

The Ass Cat

The Online Photographer has a post about The Photo That Got Away. About lost photo opportunities.

One immediately flies to mind for me: I was on the street in front of my favorite lunch pub, called The Brass Cat. (Very, very old pub, used to be called The Golden Lion, but the customers always called it The Brass Cat, so they adopted it.) And two workers were working on something, one on a ladder. And his butt exactly covered the Br, so the sign said "The (ass)ass Cat". I actually did have a digicam in my bag, but I got it out too late. I really should have asked him to go up again, I wouldn't have had to tell anybody...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Klimt was on Fire

"Truth is fire, and to tell the truth is to glow and burn."
-- Gustav Klimt

Ministry: Every day is Halloween

Before Ministry became pioneers in the "industrial" super-hard sound rock, they had some softer, but equally great output. (The album "Twitch" being central. The "With Sympathy" album being more doubtful.)
The first one is a fan video, clearly. But the cartoon is funny.

An early live version? That's new. And I can't believe Al Jourgenson ever looked this young and innocent. Later he has taken care to scare children at a hundred feet, and surely succeeding. (I would say though that this version mainly has historical interest.)

I'd no idea Marilyn Manson has covered this one, kewl. It's actually a really great version, though not for the "faint of noise". But real big sound in the lower end.

To illustrate what I mean about Al's scary looks, here's a pretty recent photo: 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Being held back in a room?

When I was young, I was a member of a modern church. One day I had use of a room, but it was already occupied, so I listened by the door to hear if it was an activity which could be interrupted.

In the narrow room (the door was ajar and I could see the occupants, people I knew) were two people sitting closest to the door. On the other side of the desk was a man being interviewed, if that's the word.

That man said: "Am I really being held captured here, like a monkey in a cage?"

One of his two interviewers said: "Have you ever had an agreement with us?"

All in all, it was clear that the guy was in the process of leaving the organization in some way, and that these guys were applying all the psychological pressure at their demand to hold him/get him back.

Now, only on vague rumor lines have I heard of people actually being held back physically against their will in this organization. I can't be sure if, when, or how often that has happened.

But I have heard of many, many people, myself included a couple of times, who were in interviews for recruitment or sales pitches, who were there long after they wanted to leave, and did not feel they could leave.

Now if I got in that situation today (I wouldn't, I know the type too well now, if there's no clear benefit to yourself, don't go), I would lean forward so the interviewer(s) knew to listen, and then I'd say something like: "Listen, and please consider the legal implications of what you answer to this: am I free to go right now?"

Any interviewer with a modicum of intelligence would know, or at least feel, that he would be in trouble with the law if he held you back by physical force or a locked door. And even if he couldn't answer anything reasonable, he would remain passive while you picked up your coat and calmly walked out the door.

And in the rare case when somebody might be stupid enough to actually restrain you, you'd just have to wait til the time you were free (sit in the corner and sleep or such), and then go to the police. In any Western country I know of, restraining the freedom of a sane adult, even briefly, is very much against the law.  (In hospitals they won't even hold back a patient even if they know that he is highly likely to hurt himself by getting up.)

The only problem is that such interviewers are often highly willful people who think they have 100% of the Right on their side, and they have much to lose with their superiors, so they are very convincing. And most of the rest of us are simple generally timid, we don't want to make trouble or enemies, so we back down, maybe just arguing a bit.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Tom found this, another entry into our ongoing series about alternative vehicles. (Including flying ones, which are less often called 'vehicles'.)

Good funny

Thanks to tOP for linking to this graphic. Hilarious.

And also...

Monday, April 18, 2016

My birth town, alien nation

I want to hear if others have had this experience, please:

Last time I visited my birth town, where I lived on the same small street for nineteen years, I didn't recognize it. I mean, I knew where I was, and all the rough features where there... But if I'd just walked through somehow without knowing where I was, I really don't think I'd have recognized it!

It was a profoundly strange feeling. Not really bad or good, but so surprising and strange. I was weirded out.

I'm guessing on two reasons: one, these days it's a pretty affluent area by a picturesque fjord, so everything which can be renewed and improved, meaning basically everything, has been renewed and improved. And of course when all the details have changed, the whole place has changed.

And B, I have myself changed a ton in the time since I left. I couldn't even come close to naming the ways. So, I'm guessing, I've also simply lost the emotional connections with the place. Whatever I had, I was never a very emotional person regarding the specifics of life which people are normally interested in. My sister for example had and has a much greater connection to the town and people than I ever have achieved. I've no doubt that is healthy.

Anyway... Has any of you guys have that same weird experience or the like?