Friday, December 30, 2005

Some DVDs to watch

At one movie a week, how can I ever get through all these? I demand a moratorium on new films until I catch up.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The lure of gold

A US company pays bribes in Indonesia as it despoils the environment. Why is this not on the TV news? Why is this not in the business pages?

New York Times critic's movies of the year

Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott, Stephen Holden.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Old things that I played most in 2005

Here are the most played tracks I added to iTunes in 2005 that were relased in previous years.

Track Artist Source
Work Is A Four Letter Word Cilla Black Dream Babes, Vol. 2: Reflections
exterminate Doctor Who
Millionaire Sweeper Kenickie At The Club
If This World Were Mine Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell The Best Of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell: The Millenium Collection
Talulah Gosh Talulah Gosh Little Hits
What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding  Brinsley Schwarz (BBC version)
Grey Will Fade Charlotte Hatherley Mojo: U2 Jukebox
I Want You To Want Me [live] Cheap Trick Sex, America, Cheap Trick (Disc 2)
The Back Of Love Echo And The Bunnymen Songs To Learn & Sing
Seven Seas Echo And The Bunnymen Songs To Learn & Sing
Get Up And Use Me Fire Engines (from Vinyl 45)
Maritime ISIS Oceanic
Just What I Always Wanted Mari Wilson Just What I Always Wanted
Nine Times The Moments A Treasury Of Northern Soul
Bomber Motörhead Bomber
Don't Look Back in Anger Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Pretty In Pink The Psychedelic Furs All Of This And Nothing

2005 releases that were most played in 2005

iTunes lost my play counts in May, but here are the tracks released in 2005 that I played the most.

Track Artist Source
We Belong Together Mariah Carey The Emancipation Of Mimi
Stay The Night Mariah Carey The Emancipation Of Mimi
I Can See For Miles Petra Haden Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out
The Fox Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Fake Tales Of San Francisco Arctic Monkeys Beneath the boardwalk
A Certain Romance Arctic Monkeys Beneath the boardwalk
Comfortably Numb Dar Williams and Ani DiFranco My Better Self
Biology Girls Aloud Chemistry
Back To The Basics Kanye West Late Registration
Cant Stop Missy Elliott The Cookbook
What's Mine Is Yours Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Jumpers Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Modern Girl Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Rollercoaster Sleater-Kinney The Woods
I Want You Back (Z-Trip Remix) The Jackson 5 Motown Remixed
You're Beautiful James Blunt Back to Bedlam
Pi Kate Bush Aerial: A Sea of Honey
Rough Justice Rolling Stones A Bigger Bang
Wilderness Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Night Light Sleater-Kinney The Woods

Why Mourinho is a winner

Great article in the London Review of Books about football managers. Jose Mourinho has two big assets. Firstly he went to Chelsea when there was a good upside potential. Secondly he is astonishingly good-looking.

What he has in common with Clough and Shankly is that the players appear desperate to do whatever it takes to win his approval, like schoolgirls fighting for an approving glance from their favourite teacher. Barclay turns to Desmond Morris to explain what is going on here, citing the Chelsea players’ body language as evidence that some profound human forces are at work – not just ‘respect’, not just ‘camaraderie’, but something like ‘love’. This may be overstating it. Mourinho, as well as being very handsome, is always nicely turned out, something that almost all modern professionals take extremely seriously. Ryan Giggs, for example, put the extraordinary impact of Eric Cantona on Manchester United down to the fact that not only was he a gifted player who trained hard, but also that his idiosyncratic, classically French wardrobe put the rest of the team to shame. In Giggs’s words, as a dresser Cantona was simply in a ‘different class’.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Virgin America

How far can the Virgin brand be stretched? How can it be that a bad experience with Virgin trains doesn't take the sheen off of other Virgin brands? Still I am impressed that this new airline will be based at SFO. If it really is going to fly to New York then it will be directly competing with JetBlue whch flies out of Oakland.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

How to care for a cast iron frying pan

Skillet is American for frying pan.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Speculative Science

Who can spend 450 million dollars on projects that probably won't succeed? Bill Gates can.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Another moving 7/7 article

Good luck to these brave people.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Who won the most caps for England?

Combine the number of England caps won by Stan Bowles, Tony Currie, Charlie George, Rodney Marsh, Alan Hudson, Duncan Mackenzie, Peter Osgood and Frank Worthington. The total is 17. Phil Neville (who I like) has won far more than the lot of them combined.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stent vs. Scalpel in NYT

In the US carotid stenting is being used as an alternative to blood-thinning drugs and blood-pressure medications to deal with carotid artery disease. But is it safer?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Which fucked-up genius composer are you?

you are Captain Beefheart! Captain Beefheart... you are one of the first modern fucked-up geniuses. When it comes to creating, you rank right up there with the likes of James Mangan, John Wilmot and Edvard Munch.

Rachel has turned to the light

Rachel was in the carriage that exploded on 7/7. I have been reading her blog for a while. Amazingly this is the second time her life has been changed by a faceless attacker. It would be easy to turn to hate and fear, but Rachel has turned to the light.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Understanding American culture part 245223423

Ruth M. Siems was an inventor of Stove Top stuffing, an enduring emblem of postwar convenience culture.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Civil Partnerships in the UK

Sometimes I am ashamed to live in the USA. Why can't we do this?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What kind of humanist are you?


Excuse us, could you just put down that hammer for a minute and listen. You’re so busy getting things done you rarely take any time out just to relax. In fact, you’ve probably forgotten how to relax. That’s because you’re so anxious to prove that it’s possible to lead a good and moral life without religion that you have built a strict and forbidding creed all of your own. You keep a compost heap, cycle to the bottle bank, invest in ethical schemes only and the list of countries you won’t buy from is longer than the washing line for your baby’s towelling nappies. You admire uncompromising self–sacrificers like Aung San Suu Kyi and Che Guevara, and would have liked the chance to be incarcerated for your principles like Diderot or Nelson Mandela. You would never cheat on your partner, drink and drive, accept bribes or touch drugs. You never waste money though you give lots to charity. Living a good life? You’re a model to us all. But it wouldn’t hurt you to try a little happiness once in a while. Loosen up.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Britain, land of freedom

The USA may have a written constitution, but it doesn't guarantee freedom.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Pandora favourite music page

My Pandora favourite music page is quite small at the moment. I thought Pandora was a silly idea, but I was wrong, it is really quite interesting. And now they have (or will have) an advertising supported service, they are fitting in with the zeitgeist.

One of the 7/7 bombing victims is writing a book

One of the 7/7 bombing victims is writing a book.

The subject? What happens when a professor of media studies, habituated to deconstructing news stories, becomes the subject of the story.

Jason Roberts has a brain

I don't know how much of this is ghost written but I like the style of it:

One player who has been so important to our success so far is Pascal Chimbonda.

I have not seen everyone in the league play but Pascal must be up there as one of the best.

He is performing every week, doing really well and it's great to hear he's getting the plaudits.

Hopefully he will sign a new deal and be around for some time.

I just hope that if I ever go to another country to play I conduct myself as well as he has.

Thoughtful words.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The insanity of farm subsidies

America's efficient farmers may be encouraged to produce far more than the country can use, depressing prices and raising subsidy payments. In other words, because the government wants to help America's farmers, it essentially ends up paying them both when they produce too much and when their crop prices are too low.

Why it can be good to think of the worst cases

This article seems to assume that people think logically and probabilistically.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How much do you spend on Intelligence gathering?

Assuming 300 million people in the USA, each spends about $150 a year funding Intelligence. Are we getting value for money?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Things to do in San Jose

... when you're dead.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Big business tries to change the meaning of Organic

Some of the rules do need changing. But the involvement of big companies is a bit scary. And yet as organic food grows, more big players will be involved.

Dean Foods' Horizon Organic [...] gets about 20 percent of its production from a 4,000-cow organic dairy in Paul, Idaho, which is small in comparison with many conventional dairy farms but huge by organic standards.

Mark Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at Cornucopia, a group representing small dairy farmers, contends that Horizon is able to run such a large farm because it dilutes organic principles. Earlier this year, his group filed a petition arguing that the Idaho farm crams too many cows into a confined area, where most of them do not graze on pasture but instead consume a high-grain diet.

"These factory farms are trying to cut corners," Mr. Kastel said. "When you feed more calorie-dense grains, you get more milk."

Horizon, which also buys milk from 305 family farms, says it is making changes and will divide its Idaho operation into two separate farms so that there will be three to five cows for each acre of pasture.

Mmm, Indian Sweets

The key point here is that the proper name is mithai, which makes it easier to search in Google. But I still haven't found a good place in San Francisco.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What Fantasy Book Heroine Are You?

Sabriel confining the Dead You are Garth Nix's SABRIEL. You confine the Dead beyond the Ninth Gate, and even when you're afraid you don't back down.

Niall Quinn in good advice shock

Most football journalism is crap, even (especially?) that written by ex-players. But here Niall Quinn explains something simple that Peter Crouch could change. It may be silly to judge by appearances, but I like Peter Crouch and hope he can make the most of his talent. And then leave Liverpool just as soon as he has mastered his trade.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Walmart's drive to the bottom of hell

Another set of own-goals from Walmart.

To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers [M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits] suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."
Ms. Chambers's memo voiced concern that workers were staying with the company longer, pushing up wage costs, although she stopped short of calling for efforts to push out more senior workers.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject

Yes, I find this sort of thing funny.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Google map mash-ups

A guide to Google map mash-ups

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tiled monuments to railway related heroic deaths in small London park

In London I have the sense of being in a a place where humans have lived for a long time.

On October 24 1975, 90% of Iceland's women refused to work, cook or look after children

In this inspiring story, Annadis Rudolfsdottir writes:

I, like many women of my generation, became a feminist that day at the ripe old age of 11 - despite being left at home alone with my nine-year-old sister, furious at being forbidden from attending the rally. It was a spur to action and many feel that the solidarity women showed that day paved the way for the election five years later of Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the world's first democratically elected female president.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Interrupts in the workplace

It can take 25 minutes to recover from an interruption.

[Gloria Mark] discovered that people in open-cubicle offices suffer more interruptions than those who work remotely. But they have better interruptions, because their co-workers have a social sense of what they are doing. When you work next to other people, they can sense whether you're deeply immersed, panicking or relatively free and ready to talk - and they interrupt you accordingly.

Restored "Little Nemo in Slumberland"

I want this. But it is $120. I'd be buying it for the child. Not for me. Really.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

For those who believe everything Bush does is evil

Congress is stalling a bill which would allow US aid money to puchase food in Africa. At present the money must be spent in the US and then more money spent to transport the food to its destination.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ravi Coltrane on John Coltrane

Ravi Coltrane:

If the plane starts going down, I'm going to put this on, because it's really the last thing I want to hear.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

US Supermarkets in trouble

When I came to the US I was at first fascinated by supermarkets. A trip to the big Safeway was very exciting. I quickly realized however that the food sold was not nearly as nice or enticing as that sold in UK supermarkets. Now it seems a lot of consumers are turning to upscale stores such as Whole Foods for nicer stuff, and big box stores such as Costco for staples.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The 1918 flu epidemic came from birds

The 1918 flu epidemic killed more humans than any other disease in a similar duration in the history of the world.

Miraloma Elementary now has a website

Everything is squashed into a narrow column, but it's a good start.


When did the farming industry become totally like a factory? Is it capatlism that drives farmers to feed brains and spinal cords to their animals? A new proposal from the FDA

allows chickens, pigs and other noncattle animals to be fed material that some scientists consider potentially infectious, including the brains and spinal cords of young animals, and the eyes, tonsils, intestines and nerves of older ones.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I was considering taking up cycling

In a bluntly worded editorial in September's Journal of Sexual Medicine with [some] articles, Dr. Steven Schrader, a reproductive health expert who studies cycling at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said he believed that it was no longer a question of "whether or not bicycle riding on a saddle causes erectile dysfunction."

More disaster preparedness

What financial documents you need to save and how to do it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Best soccer site on the net

The creator of this site has created his own weird parody world of Machester United fandom. Posing as a new Glazer-loving supporter from the USA he interprets every piece of news through this warped mirror. In his world Rooney and Ronaldo are brothers, Ryan Giggs cannot get into the Great Britain team, and Mike Phelan is the brains behind United's success. I thought it would be a short lived pleasure but the author has managed to keep it going. Bravo!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Punk promoter Esther Wong dies at 88

Wong auditioned performers by listening to their tapes, often while driving in her car, until she said her habit of flinging bad music out the window nearly got her in trouble. "One day I almost hit the highway patrol car that was right next to me," she told the Times in 1980.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Some cheap-ish restaurants

I will try and test some of these.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Links to essays in Best Software Writing I

For those who are too mean to buy the book.

Hybrids do not imply fuel efficiency

Everyone thinks hybrods are necessarily fuel efficient. But now car makers are using hybrid technology to make cars with better performance.

Monday, September 12, 2005

How to experiment on yourself

It began when Roberts was a graduate student. First he had the clever idea of turning his personal problems into research subjects. Then he decided that he would use his own body as a laboratory. Thus did Roberts embark on one of the longest bouts of scientific self-experimentation known to man - not only poking, prodding and measuring himself more than might be wise but also rigorously recording every data point along the way.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cute ad for Harrods plays on the British urge to aologize

London Underground Ad for Harrods Truly British campaign Originally uploaded by Annie Mole.

The most sensible reaction to Katrina

We are getting very little benefit from all our security spending

Outsourcing tutoring

Outsourcing is only just beginning

Immigration in the UK

Wonderful set of maps and statistics at the BBC website

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Series About Wacky Terrorists

A TV show about a terrorist cell will probably never be made.

Ahmed, whose cover is a job as a bike messenger, falls in love with a neighborhood florist - who turns out to be Jewish - but can't get up the nerve to ask her out. "You're bright, you're funny, you're talented," Musab says, urging his comrade on. "Who made the best nail bomb in training camp? You did!"

Monday, August 29, 2005


When you are on a holiday you don't really follow these kind of things," Neil Coffey, 35, a tourist from Britain, said Sunday as he stood in line to get into the Superdome. "We were surprised. We don't get hurricanes like this at home."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gossip is useful

Gossip is more subtle than is appears

"Infidelity will eventually catch up with you" "Cheerful people are not necessarily happy people" "Just because someone says they have pictures of something doesn't mean they do."

Monday, August 15, 2005

The exurbs

Why are people so scared? I blame the TV news.

In its most recent survey of Tampa home buyers, [the developer] asked people what they valued the most in their home and community. They wanted more space and a greater sense of security. Safety always ranks second, even in communities where there is virtually no crime.

You do the Cryovac and keep the freshness back!

Is this the way to put more science into cooking? Seal the food and cook it at a standard temperature.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Weird things about the USA

What is ranch dressing? Why is it everywhere? Is it food?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

55 gallons of olive oil a week

Google has its own chefs. They provide free food to employees. They go through 55 gallons of olive oil a week.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Film is still a powerful medium

Even with 36 million copies of the Da Vinci Code in print, some people are still upset about it being made into a film.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tap water is more stringently monitored and tightly regulated than bottled water.

Ounce for ounce, bottled water costs more than gasoline. Bottled water is undeniably more fashionable and portable than tap water. Bottled water causes huge numbers of plastic bottles to go into landfills.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Jim Jarmusch and Crows

He listens to his mentor-ghosts, who tell him not to dwell on the past but to concentrate, instead, on the work. ''Blake said, 'The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the crow,''' Jarmusch recited, as if this explained the heartache of a good movie going unseen. He stared a second. ''I'd like to own a crow,'' he said. ''I think that would be an excellent pet.''

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Peter J Denning on Locality of Reference

There's usually at least one cool thing in CACM. This month it is this wonderful history of Locality of reference in computing.

Monday, June 27, 2005

What Creation Records band am I?

No cheating, this was my first result. My Bloody Valentine You Are...My Bloody Valentine. You tend to be a bit distant and reclusive. You are a leader as opposed to being a follower. You are a perfectionist and pay very close attention to detail. You have the tendency to be lazy, which sometimes get's in the way of you achieving whatever it is you may be trying to perfect. You don't really care about what's typically looked upon as the norm. You really don't care about what people think about you at all, or at least so you try and make it seem. You care most about just being yourself. what Creation Records band are you? (complete with text and images) brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I don't drink coffee much nowadays, but Peets is cool

Monday, May 23, 2005

Poor Freddy Adu

In this week's New Yorker there's an article by Ben McGrath on teen-age soccer prodigy Freddy Adu.

[Adu and friends] play FIFA soccer, which presents the odd existential challenge for Adu of playing a game in which he is an official character. “The first time I was like, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable’ – and you’re a little biased too, because every time you get the ball you try to give it to yourself, try to score every goal” he said. (Adu objects to the way he was rated by the game’s designers, however: “I’m faster than they said I am.”) Nick Scrivens [a friend] described one game in which Freddy opted to control England’s national team and Scrivens chose D.C. United – a mismatch if ever there was one. Unsurprisingly England won, but “Freddy Adu” starred in the losing effort. “Yeah, he” – the virtual Freddy Adu – kept scoring every goal for Nick, and I was getting pissed off at myself in the game,” Adu said.

The horrible thing for Adu is that the hype is killing him. And he knows the England team, so he knows about Wayne Rooney, who doesn’t seem to benefit from the “positive affirmations” that Adu is learning. But Rooney really is playing at the top level, unlike poor Freddy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Quote of the day

"Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on," -- Billy Connolly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How to create a South Park portrait

My South Park self portrait.

Monday, May 09, 2005

How to create memory leaks

My one regret about working at Sun is that I never got to meet Kelly O'Hair, who is my wifes 23rd cousin (or something). The common relative is Michael O'Hair. Kelly has written found a funny paper about the Art of leaking memory.

Can I see your papers?

This is how a national id card is introduced: with no debate or dicussion.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Monday, May 02, 2005

Friday, April 22, 2005

Sometimes it pays off to be a pack rat

When UK engineer David Clark heard that Intel was looking for a mint copy of the magazine where Gordon Moore proposed his famous law, he took the morning off work to look for the copy he though he had. He was hoarding it under the floorboards, which shows a great dedication to being a pack rat.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

You can't trust online surveys. But they are fun

Online surveys like this can very easily be biased, despite the best efforts of their creators. I expected the result to be Lib-Dem because they often have the most reasonable sounding policies. In a way I am surprised that Labour came out so high for me. The biggest failure surely though are Greens, aren't they the natural home of a vegetarian? My guess is that they have unreasonable policies...
Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

My expected outcome (i.e. what I guessed before):

Liberal Democrat

My actual outcome:

Labour 8
Conservative -13
Liberal Democrat 16
UK Independence Party -3
Green -2
I should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Friday, April 01, 2005

A golden age for Children's literature

This is a golden age for Children's literature according to the Guardian. Of course it is just demographics, baby boomers have children who are reading.

San Francisco is a great place for kids, but...

According to the the 2000 census, San Francisco has the lowest percentage of people under 18 of any large city in the nation, 14.5 percent, compared with 25.7 percent nationwide.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Nice to see Toyah breaking the boundaries again by talking about plastic surgery. The real shocking thing is that she says how much she paid.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cheshire is the centre of the Solar System

How to explain the scale of the Solar System.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Quote from the new Doctor Who

Rose: "If you're an alien, how come you sound like you're from the north?" Doctor: "Lots of planets have norths".

Friday, March 04, 2005


"We're lookin' for people who can contribute to wot England has given the world: culture, genius, sophistication. Bit more than a bleedin' 'ot dog, know what I mean?" -- Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins), The Long Good Friday.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The world's first MMORPG novel

Conor Kostick's MMORPG novel Epic is finally on sale in the UK. If you've played a MMORPG then you will like this book; you can read the first two chapters here. Another interesting piece of MMORPG fiction is Anda's game by Cory Doctorow.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Trans fat

Great New Tork Times article on Trans fat which explains something I saw this week. At work we have supplies of various snacks and I was looking at the Pringles to see what was in them. The seal proclaimed 0g trans fat in huge letters. I read the ingredients and found that one of the flavours (sour cream and herb?) had some partially hydrogenated oils, in other words it did contain trans fat. I was gobsmacked. But the Food and drug administration allows a product with less than half a gram per serving to claim the product has no trans fat. So even when new labelling laws force companies to list trans fat explicitly we will still have to keep reading ingredients lists if we want to avoid it.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


In Blueprints for High Availability: Designing Resilient Distributed Systems by Evan Marcus, Hal Stern, there is a quote credited to Scott Russel, Canadian TV personality:

Tell me a fact I forget it; tell me the truth and I learn something; tell me a story and I remember.

I couldn't find this quote in Google, instead I found an ""Indian proverb":
Tell me a fact and I'll learn. Tell me the truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.
Which is better?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Neil Goodman on system design

Neil told this to Bryan Pendleton, who told it to me. When you are planning a system, design startup and shutdown first. Everything else is easy. It seems to me that if we design Crash-Only Software then we only have to do half the work.

Jim Gray interviews Tim Bray

In ACM Queue Jim Gray interviews Tim Bray. Here is an extract which has been slightly edited (because I hate to type). Jim Gray: It seems that XML and, to some extent, RDF have been fairly successful at electronic data interchange where OSI and ASN.1 failed. Why? Tim Bray: Two huge lessons come out of ASN.1. What it does is tell you all about data types. If you have a stream of ASN.1, it says, "Here's a 35 character string, and here's a 64 bit IEEE double precision float". XML says ""Here's some text called label, here's some text called price". Historically it appears that it's more valuable to to know what something is called than to know what data type it is. That's an interesting lesson.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hayao Miyazaki

There's a great article in the New Yorker (17-jan-2005) about Miyazaki. I have watched Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service many times, and I am happy to watch them any time. I think these are the best movies for young children ever made. I didn't like Spirited Away so much, but I have only seen it once. Some extracts from the New Yorker article: In a 1993 televised discussion between Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa, Kurosawa mentioned how much he admired the sweetly surreal cat bus (in Totoro). Toshio Suzuki: "When silents moved to talkies, Chaplin held out the longest. When black-and-white went to color, Kurosawa held out the longest. Miyazaki feels he should be the longest when it comes to computer animation" Miyazaki: "I like Ireland, though, the countryside there. Dublin has too many yuppies, computer types, but I like the countryside, becasue it's poorer than England" John Lasseter says that when the animators at Pixar get stuck on a project they watch a Miyazaki film.

For the in-house theatre, which shows short films that he makes especially for the museum (including a sequel to “My Neighbor Totoro”), he hired an acoustic designer to create an uncommonly gentle sound system. Miyazaki wanted the opposite of the “tendency in recent Hollywood films,” which is “to use heavy bass to try to pull the audience into the film.” He thinks that movie theatres can be claustrophobic, even overwhelming places for young children, so he wanted his theatre to have windows that let in some natural light, bench-style seats that a child can’t sink into, and films that make them “sigh in relaxation.” Miyazaki fondly remembered the days when cigarette smoke in a theatre could draw your attention to the beam of light stretching from the projector, so he placed the pro­jector in a glass booth that protrudes into the seating area. “I want to show children that moving images are enjoyed by having huge reels revolving, an electric light shin­ing on the film, and a lot of complicated things being done,” he explains in the mu­seum’s catalogue. Colleagues told him that projecting the films digitally would help preserve them, but Miyazaki relished the idea that, eventually, viewers might see “worn film with ‘falling-rain’ scratches on the screen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ramotswe on existentialism

Mma Ramotswe had listened to a World Service broadcast on her radio one day which had simply taken her breath away. It was about philosophers who called themselves existentialists and who, as far as Mma Ramotswe could ascertain, lived in France. These French people said that you should live in a way which made you feel real, and that the real thing to do was the right thing too. Mma Ramotswe had listened in astonishment. You did not have to go to France to meet existentialists, she reflected; there were many existentialists right here in Botswana. Note Mokoti, for example. She had been married to an existentialist herself, without even knowing it. Note, that selfish man who never once put himself out for another—not even for his wife—would have approved of existentialists, and they of him. It was very existentialist, perhaps, to go out to bars every night while your pregnant wife stayed at home, and even more existentialist to go off with girls—young existentialist girls—you met in bars. It was a good life being an existentialist, although not too good for all the other, nonexistentialist people around one.

Friday, January 07, 2005

2004 releases that were most played in 2004

My album of the year was Thunder Lighning Strike by the Go! Team. Apart from that, my most played tracks that were released in 2004 (according to ITunes) were (in order) as follows: You have to scroll down a long way (weird blogger bug) ... [update December 2005: fixed]

Track Artist Source
Comfortably Numb Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
Munich Air Disaster 1958 Morrissey Irish Blood, English Heart - EP
First Of The Gang To Die Morrissey You Are The Quarry
Cinnamon Girl Prince Musicology
Darts Of Pleasure Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand
99 Problems Jay-Z & Beatles & DJ Danger Mouse The Grey Album
It's Hard to Walk Tall, When You're Small Morrissey Irish Blood, English Heart - EP
The Never Played Symphonies Morrissey Irish Blood, English Heart - EP
If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind Agnetha Faltskog My Colouring Book
Come Home Billy Bird The Divine Comedy Absent Friends
Teenage Dad on His Estate Morrissey First of the Gang to Die - EP
It's a Pose Nellie McKay Get Away from Me
Inner Peace Nellie McKay Get Away from Me
Who the fuck PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
No Child Of Mine PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
Laura Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
It Cant Come Quickly Enough Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
Can't Stand Me Now The Libertines The Libertines
Uraqt (Diplo Mix) M.I.A. Piracy Funds Terrorism Volume 1
America Is Not The World Morrissey You Are The Quarry
She Wants To Move N.E.R.D She_Wants_To_Move-(Promo_CDS)
Don't Let Him Waste Your Time Nancy Sinatra Nancy Sinatra
The Slow Drug PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
Cat On The Wall PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
Music Is The Victim Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
If I had to guess what I listened to I would also have mentioned The College Dropout by Kanye West and A Grand Don't Come For Free by The Streets. And Bjork. And Liz Phair was 2003. But this was what I really listened to. You can't argue with the data.