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neurotwitch

Saturday, December 21, 2002

i want a machine that can make images like his!

SolaAuraClose136Dv1.1200.jpgImage Savant is the studio of Richard (dr.) Baily, who created the planet Solaris for the movie, as well as creating many of the images for The Cell. This is what he says:

"SPORE is an ongoing software/aesthetic development project that has grown out of a proprietary ultra-high speed particle renderer which runs on Irix and Linux. All the images on page 1 and 2 [on his website] are stills from animations, and some of these stills are constructed with over 1 billion particles.

"SPORE was used exclusively to deliver over 60,000 frames of atmospheric planet animation to the production of the feature film Solaris this year, and about 15,000 frames were created for The Core. It is currently being used to create character animation for the movie Wrinkle in Time. Ultimately, the goal is to build a living system that will breed and evolve designs and animations that I would never have thought of, and could not create with any other system ... "
posted by lee on 12/21/02 at 10:07 PM

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Friday, December 20, 2002

trivia - did you know “trivia” is the plural of “trivium?”

Poking around in cyberland, I stumbled across sites that amaze me not so much for their content, but for the devotion to the subject matter that's evident.

On Cinemorgue, the owner, DeMan (?) writes:

"On several movie-related sites (and among my circle of friends), I've noticed one question that pops up surprisingly often: "Has so-and-so done a death scene in any of her movies?" This site will attempt to answer that question for most of the "so-and-so's" that question's been asked about."

Must be a limited circle.

Catriona MacColl died in not one, but TWO movies. And Francesca Vettori was stabbed repeatedly in the mouth with an English Horn in Sleepless.

I wonder why it's only female actors?

And then there's Implosion World. Shows pictures of buildings that "blowed in real good." Lots of lots of them.

rocks.jpgWhere would we be without a site dedicated to traffic signs of the world?

The site owner has a detailed explanation of the benefits of traffic sign collecting (it reduces stress, for one thing) plus a list of suggestions for the novice traffic sign collector.

This traffic sign is from Ireland.

Enough for now ... time to watch the news.
posted by lee on 12/20/02 at 08:00 PM

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Thursday, December 19, 2002

strange search terms

This is about nothing. Really. Just looking through my log files and noticing the top search terms that lured unsuspecting souls to my eighth of an acre of the world. Number one was, not really surprising, "800-650-8375," which is the phone number for those phony baloneys at the Republican National Committee, you know, the ones who claim you've been honored with a leadership award for just a $300 contribution.

Next up is "lara flynn boyle collagen lips," which is an entry where I commented she looked much prettier before she blew up her lips. Why it's so popular, I have no idea.

Other top terms include my ever-foaming rants about that political whore Lieberman and an entry I stole from Stanley about Styrogami.

Now I think it's time to pack it up and head west. Library night tonight. And CSI isn't on, damnitall.
posted by lee on 12/19/02 at 01:47 PM

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

WTC Plans—on the bizarre side

Register (it's free) to see the New York Times's slideshow of design proposals for something to replace the World Trade Center: Slide Show. One looks like a pair of number signs (#), others are twisted things. Why does anything have to go there, anyway? Why, if they are replaced, do they have to be so tall?
posted by lee on 12/18/02 at 10:48 AM

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Sunday, December 15, 2002

My Christmas Present

I'm so excited -- Stanley got me my Christmas present early! It's a Hoosier-type kitchen cabinet, looks like maybe the Depression era, maybe later (or even earlier -- hard to tell). Don't know much about it yet, other than I've been eyeing it for more than a year and it's in need of some loving attention! Pictures coming soon! Thank you Stanley!
posted by lee on 12/15/02 at 08:41 PM

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Saturday, December 14, 2002

sierra Club is pro war with iraq

Considering the atrocious amount of damage to the environment that was done during the earlier Gulf War, you would think the Sierra Club would be outspoken and adamantly opposed to the looming war, on environmental grounds alone, and actively promoting ways to end our dependence on the Middle Eastern oil fields. But they're not. Seems like the Club leadership is not only pro-war, but is also bullying chapter members who speak out against the impending environmental disaster that will happen when the US attacks Iraq.

Jeffrey St. Clair, in Torquemadas in Birkenstocks, details Sierra Club's strong-arm tactics:

... It's not, of course. Like any other corporation, the Sierra Club's managers are obsessively preoccupied with beefing up the Club's bottom line and solidifying its access to power, the bloodstream of most nonprofits. (Read: a snuggling relationship to the DNC, supine though it may be).

So here's a warning: When you join the Sierra Club and affix your signature to that membership card you are also signing a loyalty oath.

Loyalty to what? Certainly not the environment. These days it's loyalty to the image of the Club that matters. And increasingly the desired image of the Club is manufactured by its bosses, not its members.

How important is "image" to the Sierra Club? Well, it spends more than $2 million a year and employs 25 people to work full time in its Communication and Information Services unit-the outfit's largest single amalgamation of funds
...

Okay, so Sierra Club has betrayed its mission. What is the alternative? Earth Liberation Front? Greenpeace? The Nature Conservancy? The point is, there are plenty of alternatives to an organization that seems to exist mainly to sell calendars and be able to get the good seats at political fund-raising dinners. Check out EnviroLink to see what's out there.
posted by lee on 12/14/02 at 10:11 AM

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Friday, December 13, 2002

Not for the dumb or the navel gazers

Stanley and I finally got a chance to see Solaris -- good thing we went since, at least around here, it appears it's headed for oblivion.

I read the novel (by Stanislaw Lem) the movie is based on so long ago I had forgotten the plot, for the most part, but not the mood. I watched the Russian version, which Stanley dug out of some now-defunct videostore -- I watched the entire movie while Stanley snored away. I thought the Russian version was so stupefying boring that the reviewers who claimed it's a masterpiece just don't want to admit that they fell asleep. "Oh, it's Russian, and there's Philosophy in it, and it's Existential, and therefore it must be a Masterpiece [even though I didn't understand it | fell asleep | screwed while it was on | knit an entire sweater]," they wrote [thought].

As we were going in to the theater, the ticket guy sneered at us. Hmm. I wondered side of the bell curve he falls under. If somewhere on the downward slope, that didn't bode well for the movie.

Solaris_desktop_1_sm.jpg

This movie is excellent. I found it fascinating; the two hours seemed to fly by. The mood was true to what I remember of the novel. The music was perfect. I actually got to think while watching a movie -- how damned wonderful! After it was over I realized why so many people didn't like it: it requires thought, there are no car chases, there are no martial arts, and it takes the time it needs to develop the story. No pabulum for the ADHD generation in this movie.

The acting was superb and the movie was beautiful just to watch. It touched on chords of irony and regret and, yes, existential questions. It leaves a hundred questions unanswered: it's up to the viewer to find the answers, if there are any answers. The impact is subtle, and you don't really notice it until the credits start rolling and you're sitting there saying, "but, but ... " Clooney is good. I believed his fear and confusion and sadness.

Did I have any problems with the movie? Well, really only a couple. I disliked the way Davis played Snow, and Solaris, while beautiful, didn't look like a water world to me.

I would like to see it again within a couple of months to catch the bits I know I must have missed. That, for me, means I like it very much indeed since, unlike Stanley and my nephew Ben (who could watch the same movie a hundred times in a month and be happy about it), I usually prefer to wait years before seeing a movie again. I might even, and this is very rare for me, buy it!
posted by lee on 12/13/02 at 09:33 PM

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Oh, this looks promising

Froogle (ha ha--geddit?) is Google's still-a-baby search engine for finding stuff to buy. Very cool -- when they get it fully functional, it will actually be worthwhile. I've wanted something like Froogle for quite some time now -- it's very frustrating to have to wade through hundreds of info-only sites looking for that one site where I can actually buy Hoosier cabinet pulls, for example, and not just read about them. I have no doubts Google will get it right.
posted by lee on 12/13/02 at 08:41 AM

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Gel (Good Experience Live) Conference 2003

Register for the Gel Conference (Good Experience Live), May 2, 2003 in NYC. Find out the details and get a discount if you buy your ticket early. When you buy your ticket, please type in "Lee Fleming, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)" where the form asks who referred you. Pretty please.
posted by lee on 12/11/02 at 05:15 PM

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it makes as much sense as any other explanation ...

'Haves' know NASDAQ, 'have-nots' can eat yak by Dave Barry

What lies ahead for the U.S. economy? Will it remain strong? Or will it collapse? Will all the Internet billionaires go broke and be forced to use their Palm Pilots to kill rats for food? Wouldn't that be great?

To answer these questions, we need to understand how the U.S. economy works. We'll start by following an imaginary dollar bill on its fascinating journey as it circulates through our economic system:

Our dollar is "born" in the U.S. Mint when a blank piece of paper goes into a printing press and comes out with a picture of George Washington and a pyramid with a weird eyeball. It then travels, with millions just like it, on a conveyor belt to the office of the Treasury Secretary, who sits at his desk 24 hours a day with a pen and a huge bottle of amphetamines. After he signs the dollar, he places it into circulation by tossing it out the window behind him. At this point we lose track of it. All we know is that it eventually winds up in the possession of Bill Gates.


(read the rest by following the link!)
This is from Mark Hurst of Good Experience.
posted by lee on 12/11/02 at 01:00 PM

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