Saturday, May 05, 2007

Illuuuuusions!

More and more "hard scientists" are saying what Buddhism, Hinduism, and many other spiritual traditions have told us for millennia: the universe is illusory.

Ed Viswanathan added:

Thanks for a thought provoking blog.

In the Hindu Bhagavad Gita 9:7,8, Lord Krishna tells his friend Arjuna

“ Through my MAYA [ illusion], in the beginning of time, I create everything and at the end of time KALPA, the whole creation merge in me. By my will the whole universe is created & annihilated again and again “

God alone exists and everything else is Maya or illusion.

Stressing the cyclical nature of creation and Destruction, Lord Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita:

“I AM LIFE, CAUSE OF ALL LIFE AND I AM DEATH, DEVOURER OF ALL."

This whole process is known as LEELA or CHILD PLAY OF GOD in Hinduism.

Just like the ON and OFF switches on a digital computer makes thousands of forms of "illusion" for all of us, through Maya, God is creating all the illusion again and again.

That is the reason why Hindu salvation is known as SELF REALIZATION. That means REALIZING one is the immortal soul or Atman within and not the perishable material body which is MAYA.

www.amiahindu.com

Predictability and TV shows

Either TV shows are predictable or I'm damn sharp. (Let's not eliminate the option "both". :)

I rented the first disk of the TV Show "House", with Hugh Laurie. I knew nothing about it, only that it was respected and that I tend to like Mr. Laurie's work.
So I start the first episode... there is a good-looking young woman hurrying from a bus to get to work on time. I see the way it's filmed, and I think to myself: "Ah, she is dead. I give her two and a half minutes."

Exactly two and a half minutes later: bam! she hits the floor.

I have to admit though, that since it turns out to be a "medical drama" and not a crime show, she was not dead. The drama of the week is the doctors rushing to find out what's wrong with her, not the police rushing to find her killer before he kils again.

Boooooring.

Gandalfe counters:
My wife the nurse and I luv this show. Not so much violence as more of a who done it. And there was a rather nice piece done on a jazz pianist losing his touch. To each his own I suppose.

OK, I admit I just tend not to like drama very much. Could be me.
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Oooh, by the way, have you noticed that people never finish their drinks in films and TV shows? They get a lot of dialogue out of the way fixing the coffee or juice, and then they are done talking, and the guests leave without touching their drink. All the time. A very weird world they live in. :)

Customer service call

Customer service call.

Hive Mind

A parallel and similar development in human consciousness is: the development towards the Hive Mind.
A Hive Mind is traditionally a scary thing which has only been in use by fearsome aliens in SF novels. But it might be a good thing.
It used to be that good art of craft was almost always only found in products coming from individual artists or crafstmen (or inventors, or thinkers...). But the times are going towards collaboration.
Just one example is that it now rapidly becoming more reliable to read several reviews of something (a book, camera, computer...) online than it is to rely on the advice on a salesperson in a main street dealer.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Privacy

One of my fond beliefs has always been that privacy is one of our holiest posessions. But I'm beginning to reconsider, difficult though it is. After all, another of my fondest beliefs is that openness and communication are the most valuable things to pursue, and it does not really go with the other thing, does it?

Also, more and more I believe that threats are created by our fears, not vice versa. So work on stilling your fears, not eliminate the threats.

Here's an article with a fresh view. Quote:
"So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn’t exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones. For someone like me, who grew up sealing my diary with a literal lock, this may be tough to accept. But under current circumstances, a defiant belief in holding things close to your chest might not be high-minded. It might be an artifact—quaint and na├»ve, like a determined faith that virginity keeps ladies pure. Or at least that might be true for someone who has grown up “putting themselves out there” and found that the benefits of being transparent make the risks worth it."
Another one:
"At 17, Oppermann is conversant with the conventional wisdom about the online world—that it’s a sketchy bus station packed with pedophiles. (In fact, that’s pretty much the standard response I’ve gotten when I’ve spoken about this piece with anyone over 39: “But what about the perverts?” For teenagers, who have grown up laughing at porn pop-ups and the occasional instant message from a skeezy stranger, this is about as logical as the question “How can you move to New York? You’ll get mugged!”) She argues that when it comes to online relationships, “you’re getting what you’re being.”"

I agree. It's profoundly healthy, this mind shift, hard as it is to get used to. This whole "don't talk to strangers" thing of the 20th is not prudent, it is negative and counter-productive.
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It's a new world with new kinds of communications that us "oldsters" don't understand. I don't get how a site like Noah K Everyday is useful to anybody, but it fits perfectly in the new world. Bless 'em.
[Thanks to TTL for pointing to the NYC article.]

TTL advices:
I find that people in general are not interested in solutions. It is the problems they are excited about. When you present people with a simple and true solution to any big problem, they go all quiet and quickly change the subject. On the other hand, if you only talk about the problem their eyes lit up and they start 'sympathising' with you. Some people get so excited about reiterating the problem and calling for a solution that foam comes out of their mouth.

Whose Computer Is It?

Walt Mossber column: Whose Computer Is It?.
See, that is one of the most important reason I've stuck with Apple since the mid-nineties: apart from better usability, Apple works for customers, not sponsors or middlemen. Apple respects the customer.

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy

Remember the Rod Stewart hit "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy"?
Ready for a decidedly non-family version? Enter The Revolting Cocks. (It means The Rebellious Roosters, obviously.)
OK, the video is silly (and not for the tender of sensibility), but the music rocks.

What I really wanted to post was their much newer song "Pole Grinder" which is amazing. But it does not seem to be on Utoobe.

Nikon vs Canon

If you have any interest in high-end cameras, either practical or intellectual, here is a very observant article about how the Canon/Nikon battle is going. (Hint: Nikon is losing ground fast, it's sad.) (Note, this is only true in the high end, not consumer cameras. Under $1500, Nikon rules.)

ttl commented...

Well, there must be an order of magnitude difference in the size of the R&D budgets of these two companies. The fact that Nikon is able to compete at all is pretty amazing.

It seems to me these Nikon-is-a-has-been statements and articles appear regularly at the point in the product life cycles when the flagship Nikon camera has been in the market for quite some time and Canon has just come out with their latest and greatest.

Still, as I wrote earlier, Canon is constantly one step ahead. But if Nikon starts falling two far behind one might expect them to join forces with some other player, and then the competition would start anew.

JB adds:
It seems to me that Nikon has just made the marketing decision to push at the low end of the DSLR market. The D40 and D40x show this. They do not produce their own chips and Canon does. So Nikon is doomed to take what Sony hands them while Canon can innovate and produce sensors like the 14 bit Mk III. Nikon cannot compete in this arena.

Canon on the other hand has made the marketing decision to compete from the mid level to the top in the DSLR world. Their entry model 400D is competitive with the Nikon D80 leaving three Nikon models in the region below this.

Canon has possibly decided that the profit margin is too low in this area when you had a pack of wanna-be competitors like Pentax and Olympus driving the prices down.

So I don't think Nikon is failing, they just have a different plan which is based on their suppliers. Time will tell which is the most successful.

Of course Nikon cannot afford to fall completely into the shadows in the upper end of the market since that would damage their sales at the bottom. So they will have to come up with something to compete with the Mk III and the eventual 40D which we can assume will have some Mk III features.

Susie Bright on fantasies

"It’s normal, it’s common, to fantasize about the bizarre— the things that in real-life circumstances would trouble us, frighten us, or maybe just make us laugh. Erotic fantasies take the unbearable issues in life and turn them into orgasmic gunpowder."
- Susie Bright article

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Canon rebate scam

Last year when I bought a Canon 5D it had a mail-in rebate of £200. It took ten months and multiple e-mails and snail-mail letters to finally get the check.
I had a suspicion I was not alone. This proves to be the case.
It looks like Canon and others like them are doing it on purpose, saving big money on the big percentage of customer who just give up or forget. This is dirty business, and these companies should not be doing it.
A similar thing from Sandisk.

JB enlightens:
"Well they had a problem in the US which was blamed on the company they used to process the rebates. Canon USA promptly made public apologies (on forums and blogs) and created a way to register your rebate request on their website. This was supposed to speed up processing.

When I submitted my rebate request after they had done that my rebate was processed and in my hands within 3 weeks, maybe a bit less.

So perhaps the Canon Europe managers have been less active in fixing the problem. I haven't heard any complaints after the initial problem was fixed here in the US."

They made apologies on forums and blogs? Really? I've never heard of a big company doing that.

JB expands:
This is the message that was sent to several forums/blogs by Canon:
--------------
"Hi, Folks:

Let me assure anyone who is interested that Canon U.S.A. takes the issue of
customer satisfaction very seriously. It's not by mistake that the PC
Magazine Readers Survey has rated us #1 in digital camera after-sales
customer satisfaction for the past 3 years in a row.

We are sincerely dedicated to honoring legitimate claims for our mail-in
rebate programs. Towards that end, we recently set up a new system on our
website that allows customers who qualify for rebates to expedite their
requests through a pre-qualification process. Please visit the following web
page and click on "PRE-QUALIFY YOUR REBATE" for details.

[They had a link here but blogger doesn't like it]

In addition, we provide a toll-free dedicated support line for rebate
requests through our Customer Support Center at 1-800-828-4040, and there is
also a dedicated e-mail address for assistance on rebate claims:

rebates@...

Hope this helps!

Best Regards,

Chuck Westfall
Director/Media & Customer Relationship
Camera Marketing Group/Canon U.S.A., Inc."

Travel by balloons


Travel by balloons.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Brooks Jensen portfolio


Brooks Jensen portfolio.
I recommend downloading the PDF file. It's a beautiful collection, with nice and humorous captions.
I own his October Seas prints portfolio. Beautiful stuff.
More.

I asked Brooks about his use of the term "folio" for these photo collections:

Dear Brooks,
The interview on the Luminous-landscape video journal is excellent.
I am a little confused by your use of the word "folio" for the picture collections you sell. None of the definitions from my online dictionary really fit:
"The noun folio has 3 meanings:
Meaning #1: the system of numbering pages
Synonyms: pagination, page number, paging
Meaning #2: a sheet of any written or printed material (especially in a manuscript or book)
Synonym: leaf
Meaning #3: a book (or manuscript) consisting of large sheets of paper folded in the middle to make two leaves or four pages."
Is it incomplete, or am I being dull, or are you coining a new use?
Oh, by the way: will there be a PDF version of the new Wakarimasen folio on your site?
Yours, Eolake


And he wrote me back:
Eolake,
Well, I have to confess I'm redefining the term a bit by adapting a bit of both definition #2 and #3.
Years ago, I took a couple classes in handmade artist's books to try to find a way to use gelatin silver prints in a bound book, but I never did find a usable format that was practical. I even visited the Center for Photography in Tucson to see the artist's books with photographs in their special collection, but most of the ones they had were literally falling apart from the stress on the bindings. Finally, I just threw in the towel on the whole idea of binding and settled on the idea of loose sheets. I especially warmed to the idea when I realized that this method gave people the option of viewing the prints either as hand-held objects, or they could mat or frame them if they chose to.

To me, a "folio" is a collection of loose, unbound prints defining a content that is more like a book than a random stack of unsequenced prints. In my folios, I use a title page to lead things off, then typically a statement about the project, the images pages come next, sometimes an afterword is appropriate, and the last page is a colophon. They are sequenced, like a book, but loose, like a portfolio. It's my answer to the problem of how to include original prints in a book without doing tip-ins. I can do this type of presentation with gelatin silver prints, photogravure, inkjet prints, etc. I can include a sewn text signature or French fold component. I can even include a CD if it's called for in the project. It's turned out to be quite a flexible design idea that allows all kinds of individual adaptations.

I'm currently using a folio cover that is die-cut with a hole that allows me to place a title page behind the cover, showing through. This allows me to produce a large quantity of covers (amortizing the costs involved), and make folios for any project from one copy to hundreds. Again, flexibility is the key to the design.

I've never actually seen anything quite like the folios I produce, so there really isn't a term for it. I've been forced to make my own definition. I even tried to find a latin root that I could adapt, but folio seemed the best. I've used this term since 1992 when I made the original Made of Steel folio.

Yes, we will have a PDF of the folio posted on the website tomorrow. We almost had it finished today, but we decided to add a video component to the website that shows the folio being opened and the individual prints.

Hope this answers your question! And, thanks for asking.

Brooks Jensen

Soon

"When are you going to tell them!?"

"Soon."

"When is 'soon'?"

"When the big hand hits the S and the little hand hits the 'oon'."

- Gilmore Girls

Stephen Gillette photography


Stephen Gillette photography.
Huh!
Unusual stuff.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"Nephew", Danish band

It seems Denmark has a new pop sensation, the band Nephew. And it looks like the country and even individuals are in two minds of whether it's great or crap. At first glance I kinda like their song Igen og igen og. ("Again and again and".) I think they'll go places.

Humor

I've come to realize that almost all of films and TV shows I really appreciate have some element of humor. Though often subtle or different.

I think that humor is not a... thing you do. It's not a technique. It's not something added. It is a basic thing. I think humor is a perspective on life.

Being able to laugh is to be able to put yourself at a healthy distance to life.
To see the absurdity of it.
And to be able to process and get through pain.

And writing or creating funny things is the ability to help others do this. Which is a substantial gift, hugely valuable.

Meryl Streep singing "I'm Checking Out"


Meryl Streep singing "I'm Checking Out". One of my favorite movie songs of all time, from one of my all time favorite movies.
(First time I saw this was with my likkle sister in the movies. When the titles rolled over the last half of this, she was dragging my arm to get out of the theatre. I wanted to watch the song!) (Gee, thinking about it, I think it must have been the second time. I think I watched this movie even more times than I've watched Blues Brothers.)

I've posted on Meryl here and here. The last one includes an MP3 file of the song above, if you like it.

I guess most people don't consider her one of the prettiest stars in Hollywood. Perhaps beautiful, but not pretty. I'm wondering, what if she had been really pretty also? Would people then have not been able to see her talent? Gotten less respect? Or would she just have been totally untouchable, above competition?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Nimbus motorcycle


I just want to share an image I saw once. If I ever do films, I want to put it in.

I late nineties I lived in a beautiful spot outside Copenhagen, named Lyngby. Good connections, beautiful parks and lakes, and ample shopping, and still a lot of old-Danish feel to it.
If you look here, under pizzerias, you'll see Big Mama's Pizza House listed. This is literally right next door to where I lived, so I came there often. But in honor of exact truth, Lyngby Pizzaria (next item listed) where I also came, is where today's story took place.

One nice summer afternoon I walked down there, and outside was parked a Nimbus Motorcycle. This is an old Danish bike which is a classic. I once sandblasted the frame of one, and guess what: the design is so simple that it's flat iron, not pipes. Wonderful machines.

So I admired it and went in to get my lunch. And inside was the owner, a lean, forty-ish man. He had a simple, old-style, black helmet on the table next to him. No visir, just a simple classic design. And he had his daughter, a beautiful eleven-ish girl with long, platinum-blonde hair. And she had the same kind of helmet next to her!

And of course after their meal these two understatedly gorgeous people got out, put on their respective black helmets and got onto the classic old black motorcycle, her in the sidecar.

That is style.

Nikon Camera Reviews

Nikon Camera Reviews
A review site for the Nikon D200 and Nikon D40 cameras.
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Also, Mike Johnston has some interesting comments on the high-end (price-wise) Leica M8.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Siouxsie and the Banshees


...But by the eighties I had cut way ahead of the pack. I don't think many of my original class mates were into Siouxsie and the Banshees.

I came to think of them now because of my neighbor and friend Christine. I always want to add "the strawberry girl" to her name.

Siouxsie and friends are/were Iggy Pop fans. Here they cover his song The Passenger.
And like Iggy, Siouxsie had big influence on bands that would become much more popular than themselves. Ever the fate of the avant-gardist.

A bit of nice dancing in Hong Kong Garden.