Sun’s path, June to December

Blogging this because I have to do it one day…

Sun’s path, June to December (and instructions) [via @christt].

I once told her…

I am that man.

(Shame the sound quality on the video’s so poor though.)

Cassini’s continued mission

Some truly incredible pictures of Saturn and its friends.

David Byrne at Fallingwater

David Byrne visited Fallingwater— nice.

We tried to imagine the parties. Given that this was 75 miles from town, many of the evenings must have been sleepovers. The questions culminated in someone asking if Junior ever married. When the answer came back no, someone in our group shouted “bingo!” Our poor guide put her hand to her face as if this was all too much.

Old news, I realise. I’m going through stuff which has been languishing in my Read It Later bin, emptying it and moving some to the more iPhone-friendly InstaPaper.

The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants

The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants.

The Day the Saucers Came

The Day the Saucers Came, by Neil Gaiman.

Stone Buddha on my bedroom wall

Stone Buddha, rasterbated

Original, rasterbated.

j-star 08, Holotronica, and Pierre/Gondry at onedotzero_adventures in motion at the BFI

Here are some words and some (mainly excellent) music videos for you.

The above is the gorgeous video for the equally beautiful and gentle song “Omstart” by Cornelius. It is one of two things I saw three weeks ago at the British Film Institute which particularly caught my eye/ear. The other is this 1998 video, “Deadly Media” by Hexstatic:

Actually, that’s a lie; several other vids caught my eye/ear to a similar if lesser extent…

I’d gone to London to see Bash, to hear Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie talk about Lost Girls at the V&A, and to go to Bash’s flat-warming party. On Sunday afternoon she had to work, so I was at a loose end and popped along to the National Film Theatre to catch j-star 08, “the latest and most inspiring music videos, motion graphics and shorts from some of japan’s finest moving image-makers and young talent” — part of the onedotzero_adventures in motion event taking place that weekend. I rather like shorts, and music videos, and the Japanese aspect promised an interesting time. While the results were mixed, I wasn’t disappointed.

On the way in, I noticed a “Holotronica” exhibit and, while scoffing at the hubris of an artist claiming to “devise” a term, and while unimpressed by the 3-d aspect of the display, I did rather enjoy the music playing as I walked past: the Hexstatic piece linked above. I thought it was a bit old-fashioned, but good for it — and of course now I see it’s 10 years old, so that makes sense. The use of vocal samples was reminscent of JMJ’s pioneering and wonderfully cheesy yet still compelling Zoolook (the video for which introduced a young me to the lovely word “Djibouti”), and the audio/video link made me think of Lasse Gjertsen’s modern classic Hyperactive.

The j-star show was very enjoyable, though a bit tedious in places. Many of the shorts were too long, and it was very very CGI heavy: only a few pieces weren’t entirely CG, and it often felt like it didn’t add anything, or wasn’t used imaginatively. The Cornelius video above was the standout exception, indeed the best thing in the show — thoughtful, subtle, and making the most of the total possibility of CG without just being a bunch of flashy effects. A number of other vids were just flashy effects (usually to some generic breakbeat music), a few were “in love with the underlying model” (exposing wireframes, etc., which is cute but ultimately empty) and some were cartoonish, and kinda fun but not soooo amusing. On reflection I think my enjoyment was often coloured by the music as well, of course. With that in mind, a few (non-exhaustive) comments…

Three of the pieces which weren’t totally CGI were excellent. Kosai Sekine’s video for Maledict Car by Jemapur used real world footage and imaginative symmetry to very good effect, I thought — and the music was great. K+Me’s Screaming Dance by Leonard de Leonard was very good fun and again had the advantage of a rather stonking tune. Finally, this Nike cosplay ad by Kan Eguchi is classic Japanese madness, and utterly awesome. The other vids with a substantial reality presence were Junji Kojima’s video for You-you-you by Polysics, which I quite enjoyed but didn’t find beautiful, and “Evening Before the Hangover” by Ichiro Sato, (I can’t find it online) of which I wrote “Alien disco, but so what?”. It was a cute joke, but basically dull.

Clear Skies In May by Tetsuo Suzuka was beautiful, imaginative, classical, and beautifully typographical. Well worth a look.

There were two 8-bit nostalgia trips, only one of which I enjoyed. Yosawya San by Tsuyoshi Hirooka & Yohei Ito was great: musically interesting, and a very cute video. Compared to the other (below), it seemed truer to the 8-bit gaming tradition, and with some really imaginative touches, perspective, etc. (Look out for the Go game on the TV screen.) The other, Hideyuki Tanaka’s video for Ram Rider’s hello_8 bit edition seemed more lego than 8-bit (in the video, anyway), and was about 2 minutes too long; I didn’t like the music though, which can’t have helped — although on reflection it was truer to the 8-bit tradition than the other offering, so there you go. Well, there it is: you might enjoy it, but I certainly didn’t.

On the cartoony side, it probably suffices to just mention Usavich – Beware of Dance — the first of three Usavich cartoons, and quite funny (I wrote “Tyres goes disco bunnies”, meaning Tyres from Spaced), but by the third I was really bored of them.

Afterwards, I took a saunter round the BFI, experienced and enjoyed The All-Seeing Eye (The Hardcore Techno Version) by Pierre Bismuth & Michel Gondry, and, wrote on a wall. I can’t remember the details of whose installation this was, but projected onto this wall/whiteboard was a cartoon view of a town, on which we were invited to draw “where you live” using the available coloured pens. I found a suitably rectangular collection of roads and drew a simple commutative diagram encapsulating commutativity of function application, which felt like as a good an explanation of where I live just now than anything else I could think of.

Then I went back to Bash’s and cooked a mighty vegetarian lasagna for the six of us there present.

To conclude: a great day (and weekend!), and one which made me think it might be worth living in London (for a while) after all.

Upside Down Dogs

An upside down dog

I’m rather enjoying Upside Down Dogs, though it is occasionally a bit scary. All those fangs…

The Fall

The Fall — oh my, that’s a wonderful movie. You should totally go see it. A load of us went to Taliesin for it tonight and universally lurved it. Just… oh, wonderful.

Here’s the interview that made me want to see it, and here’s the trailer (which is mildly spoilerish, but the joy of this film isn’t in the plot, but in its heart, and its eyes).

Garfield Minus Garfield

Garfield minus Garfield [Thomas Bradley, but not that one].

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?

Sparse, quiet, despair.

Photos: Budapest with Alexa, March 2008

Here, finally, my photos of Budapest, from the week I spent there with Alexa at the end of March (as mentioned in an earlier post).

Yes, it’s really taken me three months to get back to tagging and naming them. You can’t really blame me: I did it once already then half the data was lost — such an experience is extremely disheartening. Stupid data.

Choice cuts:

The Alexa's tree St Steven's Basilica 300 stairs later Hammer On Alexa, slightly furrowed of brow Interesting graffiti First Alexa triptych More Alexa disdain Window arm, Margit Telescope eyepiece World Heritage Noncy! This way to the Labirintus Fisherman's Bastion, reflected (1) Happy Window Face... Peter Mansfeld Memorial (6) Kwak suds Andy drinking Kwak Budapest Fringe Festival, wobbly Alexa Approacheth, at the Fringe Magma Fire Theatre at Budapest Fringe Festival 2008 (2) Magma Fire Theatre at Budapest Fringe Festival 2008 (8) Magma Fire Theatre at Budapest Fringe Festival 2008 (14) Alexa on a Jetty Aggressive dog statue

First Alexa triptych

Andy drinking Kwak

Alexa Approacheth, at the Fringe

Portrait of a Kitteh

Portrait of a Kitteh

Big Ideas (don’t get any)

Big Ideas (don’t get any) — Radiohead on the old-tech; awesome and then some [brunns].

Sinclair ZX Spectrum – Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer – Drums
HP Scanjet 3c – Bass Guitar
Hard Drive array – Act as a collection of bad speakers – Vocals & FX

On a personal note, I’d just like to say what a joy it was once again to not only hear, but also to watch, a ZX Spectrum loading some bytes attached to an 80s television. It’s been too long…

“Errr, never mind. They’re movin’”

Slowing down — awesome video.

New York-based performance art collective Improv Everywhere showcases their latest project, “Frozen Grand Central”, which mischievously targeted victims of the Big Apple’s notoriously short now.

There’s no arguing with that

Pac man chart

Shadow glassware

Wine glass tumbler

Irrefutable proof

The moon landings really are fake!!!11 [smallcool]

(Spoken to the father, obviously)

“My goodness, she looks just like you.”

10.ambient.450.jpg

Cold beauty

Thin worship — harsh but beautiful (decreasingly so to the right, I think). I wondered why the photographer used the Haskellish term foldr1, but the answer is prosaic and on the front page. Yowzer.

So: humans may be capable of cold startling beauty but so too the sea.

Both via [ffffound], spamming my RSS with notable pixels.

Random beauty/design samizdat

I have know idea where/how she came across this, but Bash sent me a link to some really beautiful images (including the cover of a Lisp book). There’s even some Richard Scarry in there, ftw.

Gimboland sidebar now shows Bash’s photos

I’ve modified the sidebar so it displays the last 5 photos from Bash’s flickr photostream rather than mine. I haven’t uploaded any photos to flickr for forever, and Bash’s are just better anyway. Tis an honour.

“Approximate location of your property”

Heathrow daily traffic routes circa heck knows when: easterly ops, westerly ops.

Bash’s BoxingDay Bimble

Bash and I spent Christmas in Callington, at my parents’ house. It was, for both of us I think, a much needed (though in the end too short) break away from the accumulated pressures of Swansea – even though I was working on my thesis I certainly came back refreshed.

On Boxing Day, while I slaved away on chapter two’s lovingly delivered description of the Common Algebraic Specification Language, Bash went for a mooch around Callington with her camera. The results show Callington in the most interesting light I’ve seen… All crumbling walls, flaking paintwork, strange corners. Classic Bash, in fact. :-)

I won’t pick out several, because it’s worth looking at the whole set — as much as I love filling my blog with little square snippets of her work. Instead, just one, my favourite, well worth viewing at a high resolution and/or using as wallpaper. Its subtle beauty reminds me of this classic piece by my beloved Brandon Bird.

the painted branch

“Perl, I’m leaving you”

Damn straight.

Minus

I have a new love; she is a girl; she fills the world with beauty, sadness, and utter disregard of the laws of physics. Her name is minus, and she starts here.

xkcd + goats = dresden codak

Gorgeous, wistful.

See what I mean?.

But start at the beginning.

Show me the way (to go home)

show me the way (to go home).

As part of an art project about spoken directions, we’re trying to collect as many recordings as possible of people giving directions.

To take part, use one of the buttons below to give us directions to wherever you think of as “home”, in any country, and speaking in any language. Don’t refer to any maps or guides, just give directions as if you’d been asked on the street.

An interview with Ulli Haarbürste

Back in June 2003 I blogged about the truly wonderful Roy Orbison In Clingfilm stories – if you haven’t seen these yet I highly recommend a visit. Anyway, I’ve just noticed, returning for a long-overdue refresher, that there’s now also an interview with the author which is also not to be missed.

I am not aware of anyone seeing it as humour. I venture the occasional joke or puckish remark in my work as relief from the sensuality and romantic lyricism, and if people laugh that is nice, but I do not think my fans would class me as a humorist in the way that you would, say, Dan Brown.

I remember I read an interview with Gunter Grass just before my tome was delivered to the printers, and he talked of his forthcoming book and said that it was the best thing he had ever written, and I thought Oh no! Gunter Grass has had the idea to write a book on Roy in Clingfilm too! I will only be the Buzz Aldrin of this genre. And I can laugh with relief now as his book turned out to be some boring thing about the Nazis, but at the time this obsessed me, and I considered examining his dustbins and so forth to find out. Perhaps I should not admit this but I actually rang his agent of literature and pretended to be a reporter and asked ‘May I enquire, who are Herr Grass’s favourite musicians?’ but he only mentioned people like Rush and Hawkwind so I knew it was OK.

3 magnets + 40,000 pendula + 2 hits of acid = wow

Movie here. Psychedelic!

visualising the motion of 40,000 pendula under the influence of 3 magnets using Haskell. Shiny.

What’s going on here? OK, so it’s not 40,000 pendulums “all going at once”, because obviously they’d bounce off each other. ;-) What we have is a 200×200 grid (ie 40,000 pixels), and for each pixel we define a pendulum. At a given time, a given pixel’s colour represents the corresponding pendulum’s distance, at that time, from each of the 3 magnets (the pixel’s RBG components represent the three distances). Each pendulum’s movement is affected only by the magnets, ie the pendula are independent of each other. Hey presto, psychadelica-a-go-go.

A few photos of Familia Gimboland

From Bash, a great portrait of my father and I:

Andy and Terry

… and from Gimbo, three pictures of our cats:

Fudge, resplendent Kisses and disdain Eye to eye with Sophie

Bonus from Bash, just ‘cos it made me say “wow”:

Heart, take flight

Zoetica

Zoetica

Found while rambling. Yowzer.

Sayaka

Sayaka – gosh [via Bash].

The man with the van

This just in: Brandon Bird is still a genius. (Damn right he is.)