Showing posts from February, 2007

The last year of my 20s

S o I turned 29 over the weekend (on ren ri , no less). 29, a prime number for a decade supposedly marking one's prime. It's the kind of birthday age I guess in which one takes stock. Not that I'm going to reveal my thoughts to all and sundry on the Internet! But I still can't believe I'm not 21 sometimes. Or 2.9. Met up with friends and we talked about how in college, the possible paths one's life could take were so varied. And with each year I guess the choices narrow. Not that that's bad, but it's different. Right, now for thirtysomething angst.

Linksfest: Burger Time

Finally managed to upgrade my Blogger blogs (apparently had too many posts to upgrade previously!) So here are some links. Why do we think good writers should have good morals ? In-n-Out Burger's Secret Menu . The hidden obscenity on Bill Ripken's Fleer baseball card .

Customisable Horns

C hange your horn sound ! Actually, I always thought it would be nice if there was also a "friendly" horn - something that you could press to indicate "hey, you left your signal on" or such without inspiring the instinctive annoyance that regular horns do. Appropriate warning-of-impending-crash songs: Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You", R.E.M.'s "Bang and Blame". Inappropriate horn songs: Mousse T vs Hot 'n' Juicy "Horny". (via the MIT Advertising Lab )

Where Civil Blood Makes Civil Hands Unclean

I guess the Weekly Standard is bearable when it's pontificating on Civilisation (or, okay, Civilization) as a game. Man, I loved that game.

Dazed and Confused

A nd where did the holiday go? A nice long weekend, too much of which was spent working, unfortunately. Although I did manage to install this nifty Dashboard widget so that I can post straight from Dashboard. And I did manage to get spring cleaning done, which is much fun for the obsessive - bought little cord organizers so that the wires in my house wouldn't run all over, and bought energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to replace the remaining incandescent bulbs in my house. Good environmental practice, and good for the wallet too. Can't complain about that.

Happy New Year of the Pig

A nd, in the grand tradition of watching stuff on TV that's utterly unrelated to the festive occasion because that's what the broadcasters choose to show... here's the Arcade Fire's Neon Bible site, with an awesome live version of "Guns of Brixton" (click on the "guns" link).

Friends With Money

W atched (and re-watched) Nicole Holofcener 's Friends With Money this week. It's good. A film for grown-ups (as one friend told me), and that's always good. Although I have to say Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand, and Joan Cusack act rings around Jennifer Aniston. How good is Keener? I can't think of a film I've disliked her in. Although I admit I didn't watch S1m0ne . Incidentally, I was amused by the "Scene of Intimacy" warning on the DVD box. The sex scenes with Aniston are the least intimate possible.

Linksfest: Mind and Body

G rammies last night. The Eagles tribute. Lionel Ritchie. Apparently they were going to party like it was 1979. But boy, I love Smokey and "Tracks Of My Tears" is one hell of a song. Anyway, on to the links. Afternoon naps can reduce heart disease. Speaking of hearts, here's how to go green for Valentine's Day . And at your wedding . Gargalesis (the 'heavy tickle') is one of the best new words I've learnt in a long time Ralph Fiennes gets frisky on the plane . Apparently he's English and he's patient. Why do we see faces in cheese sandwiches ? How the brain "sees" things always fascinates me.

Linksfest: Anna Nicole Says Muh-Ha-Uh

Just dumping all my surfing into one place for reference at another time... Anna Nicole Smith gets shunned by Mexia , her hometown. That reminds me of the joke about Mexia : Two Aggies pass through Mexia, arguing over the correct pronunciation of the city (one arguing for "muh-hay-uh" – the proper pronunciation; the other insisting on "mex-ee-uh" – the incorrect one). They stop in at a local eating establishment to settle the matter, asking, "how do you pronounce the name of this place?" The waitress responds, very slowly, "Deh-ree Kween." The Painted Veil deserves some Oscar noms , says the NY Times. If you want to join the Mile High Club ... apparently it's not against FAA regulations 24 has a deleterious effect on soldiers . I've mentioned the Tesla Roadster before, but sadly according to the website it's sold out for 2007. *marks 2008 down in calendar*. Ads for tampons, razors, pregnancy test kits etc. get a lot less squeamish

Anthropomorphise Much?

T here's always something bizarre to learn about Japan, I think. Such as the fact that they have manga/anime characters to depict operating systems . (Via AsiaPundit .) The OS-tans are an internet phenomenon in Japan where the OS-tan (or OS Girls) are the personification of several Windows operating systems. For example, XP-tan is depicted as a dark-haired girl with an “XP” hair ornament worn on the left side. As Windows XP is criticized for bloating a system and being very pretty without being equally as useful, XP-tan wears tight clothing and has large breasts representing memory usage. I suppose thinking about Windows XP's memory bloat as large breasts might placate many a computer geek. So what should Mac-tan and Linux-tan look like?

Everything Louder Than Everything Else

T his article on the trend of increasing compression on CDs (thanks to people mastering CDs to the maximum) and the clipping it creates is pretty good reading for audiophiles. there are millions of copies of CDs being released that are physically exhausting listeners, most of whom probably don't know why their ears and brains are feeling worn out. It does explain one thing I've always suspected: that Californication is a really poorly mastered album, and Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man", while a good song (great horn sample), is a pain to listen to on any proper sound system (or, as the article says, the song "sounds like you are being punched in the face on a real stereo system"). Man, I wonder how bands that use dynamics for a lot of their sound - the Pixies, Nirvana - would sound with this kind of remastering?

When You Gotta Go

T he craziest part of the story about the astronaut arrested for trying to kidnap and assault her love rival is the fact that she had adult diapers so that she didn't need to stop for anything . Nowak -- who was a mission specialist on a Space Shuttle Discovery flight last summer -- was wearing a trench coat and wig and had a knife, BB pistol, and latex gloves in her car, reports show. They also found diapers, which Nowak said she used so she wouldn't have to stop on the 1,000-mile drive. They say Florida has more than its fair share of crazies. (Heck, Fark has its own "Florida" category for crazy news stories originating from the state.) But this is still bizarre even by those standards. I suppose diapers were better than having exploded kidneys .

A Room of His Own

To the man cave ! (And apologies to Woolf for the post title.) The Boston Globe discusses the increasingly popular concept of specialised spaces for guys within the home - although one could argue this was just an upgraded den. Come to think of it, I already have a room with turntables, DVDs, and a pool table... The best part of this article is that I learnt about personal vending machines . Man, I want one. But then, I also want spinners and I like suicide doors just for their name alone. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go grunt and scratch myself.

The GM Superbowl Commercial

Didn't watch the Superbowl - couldn't bear to see the Colts, not after what they did to the Patriots - but this was a good commercial from GM, featuring one sad robot. Have to say the concept of an anthropomorphised object reminded me a lot of Spike Jonze's Ikea lamp commercial , which, as one might expect from Jonze, is very self-reflexive about commercials and how they manipulate you: It's an interesting study in contrasts - the GM commercial is meant to play up permanence, while the Ikea one focuses on ephemerality (or at least the idea that lamps aren't meant to last a lifetime), and yet they both use similar techniques. Up to their final parts they are both heart-tugging - only Jonze chooses to pull back the curtain while the GM one goes for the Dallas ending . Technorati Tags: superbowl , commercials , ads

Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson

W atched Half Nelson at the Picturehouse on Sunday. Ryan Gosling does a fine, fine job as Dan Dunne, teacher, budding writer, and basehead. Worthy of the Oscar nom, and certainly living up to the acting potential he showed in The Believer . I can see Ryan Gosling following in the footsteps of Edward Norton, going the Serious Actor With Good Looks route. Or is it just because The Believer and American History X naturally invite comparisons?

Now Playing

Somedays iTunes on shuffle mode just picks out a wonderful selection of songs. Last 10 tunes on my playlist: Jennifer Terran, "Hallelujah" Velvet Underground, "Pale Blue Eyes" Mel Torme, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" Calla, "Don't Hold Your Breath" Ryan Adams and Emmylou Harris, "Return of the Grievous Angel" The Ramones, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" Cream, "Sunshine of Your Love" American Music Club, "Another Morning" Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Miles Away" Death From Above 1979, "Black History Month (Josh Homme Remix)" "Grievous Angel" is really a great song.

Linksfest: I See My Shadow

Groundhog Day! Ever had the feeling of deja vu? (Pause) Ever had the feeling of deja vu? On the difference between camera shake and poor focussing . Top 10 Flickr hacks Debbie Cai watches Singapore v Thailand Who knew Sidney Sheldon had both an Oscar and a Tony?

What to Eat

Michael Pollan's "Unhappy Meals" article for the NY Times magazine was fascinating in its argument against "nutritionism". And here's Daniel Engber's rebuttal in Slate (which largely seems to argue along the lines that Pollan's conclusions seem to smack of the naturalistic fallacy). Although both seem to agree on the"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." conclusion that Pollan comes to. Meanwhile, badscience answers the question: "why don’t doctors, dietitians, and genuine nutrition academics make the same elaborate claims for the miracle powers of individual foods that journalists, manufacturers and gurus do?" Short answer: pop nutritionism is bad science.