1910 Russia, photographed in colour

August 21, 2010

Gorgeous photoset- actually a full century old, and so vivid. Online here.
Thanks to Hillery for the tip.


Opossum pedicure

August 6, 2010

I cannot for the life of me figure out what the hell this is. But I enjoyed it a lot anyway. That little opossum’s hoary face, and this strange, strange, time-warp of a woman. Is it a joke? It’s pretty flawlessly executed, if so. She also has several other videos where she massages and aura-cleanses her opossums, huh? I know, right?
This video is just another reason why I love the Interweb so very hard.

Via MeFi.


Inception (no spoilers)

July 26, 2010

Saw Inception this weekend and really liked it. If you want to read a little more about some different interpretations of the film, you might want to check out these links: a solid article on Chud, one at Salon, an interview with actor Dileep Rao (who played the Chemist), and, at a glance, this handy chart showing who dreamed what.

Finally, here’s one of Nolan’s admitted visual references: this luscious scene of Fred Astaire dancing up the walls from the 1951 film Royal Wedding, shot by spinning the room and the camera simultaneously. You can skip ahead in this clip to about the 2-minute mark if you like.

Links via Mefi and AskMe.

UPDATE:

One more big thing:

After you see the movie, check out this short article and YouTube video.
That seems pretty definitive to me.
Thanks to Donaldson for the tip!


Jason Bourne is the James Bond of our time

July 14, 2010

Here’s a great comment from MeFi, in which a user named wuwei describes why James Bond is passe:

“James Bond was a character that people in his era could identify with:

“Think about how that works in the post war era. The office dwelling accountant/lawyer/ad man/salesman has an expense account. This covers some lunches at counters with clients , or maybe a few nice dinners. He flirts with the secretaries and receptionists and sometimes sleeps with them. He travels on business, perhaps from his suburb into Chicago, or from Chicago to Cleveland, or San Francisco to LA. His office issues him a dictaphone (he can’t type) or perhaps a rolling display case for his wares. He has a work car, maybe an Oldsmobile 88 if he’s lucky, or a Ford Falcon if he’s not. He’s working his way up to the top, but isn’t quite ready for a management slot. He wears a suit, tie and hat every day to the office. If he’s doing well he buys this downtown at a specialty men’s store. If he’s merely average, he picks this up at Macy’s, or Sears if he’s really just a regular joe. If he gets sick his employer has a nice PPO insurance plan for him.

“Now look at Bond. He has an expense account, which covers extravagant dinners and breakfasts at the finest 4 star hotels and restaurants. He travels on business, to exotic places like Istanbul, Tokyo and Paris. He takes advantage of the sexual revolution (while continuing to serve his imperialist/nationalist masters) by sleeping with random women in foreign locations. He gets issued cool stuff by the office– instead of a big dictaphone that he keeps on his desk, Bond has a tiny dictaphone that he carries around with him in his pocket! He has a work car — but it’s an Aston Martin with machine guns! He’s a star, with a license to kill, but not management. Management would be boring anyways, they stay in London while Bond gets to go abroad and sleep with beautiful women. Bond always wears a suit, but they’re custom tailored of the finest materials. If he gets hurt, he has some Royal Navy doctors to fix him right up.

“In today’s world, that organization man who looked up to James Bond as a kind of avatar of his hopes and dreams, no longer exists.

“Who is our generation’s James Bond? Jason Bourne. He can’t trust his employer, who demanded ultimate loyalty and gave nothing in return. In fact, his employer is outsourcing his work to a bunch of foreign contractors who presumably work for less and ask fewer questions. He’s given up his defined benefit pension (Bourne had a military one) for an individual retirement account (safe deposit box with gold/leeching off the gf in a country with a depressed currency). In fact his employer is going to use him up until he’s useless. He can’t trust anyone, other than a few friends he’s made on the way while backpacking around. Medical care? Well that’s DIY with stolen stuff, or he gets his friends to hook him up. What kinds of cars does he have? Well no more company car for sure, he’s on his own on that, probably some kind of import job. What about work tools? Bourne is on is own there too. Sure, work initially issued him a weapon, but after that he’s got to scrounge up whatever discount stuff he can find, even when it’s an antique. He has to do more with less. And finally, Bourne survives as a result of his high priced, specialized education. He can do things few people can do — fight multiple opponents, tell which guy in a restaurant can handle himself, hotwire cars, speak multiple languages and duck a surveillance tail. Oh, and like the modern, (sub)urban professional, Bourne had to mortgage his entire future to get that education. They took everything he had, and promised that if he gave himself up to the System, in return the System would take care of him.

“It turned out to be a lie.”

Nice, huh? Taken from here.


Daniel Pink: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

June 27, 2010

rewards daniel pink motivation incentive

Here’s a great 10 minute presentation about motivation and incentive. Turns out that for higher-level cognitive work, financial rewards are actually a disincentive to do good work; Pink discusses other incentives that work better. Great topic + engaging artwork = solid video.

Thanks to Reub for the tip.


Paper Transformer Thingie

June 24, 2010

Earthquake in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 23, 2010

Epicentre near Ottawa (just above centre on this map)

Ontario experienced an earthquake today at around 1:42 pm. My house (downtown Toronto, near College and Spadina) just shook for about 10 seconds.

I won’t lie, at first I thought my neighbours were indulging in a particularly vigorous bout of afternoon delight, but then I realized could feel and hear the whole house shaking, not to mention my own intestines. And my cats looked like their little eyes were gonna bug out. Woulda had to be a pretty mighty performance from Mr. Neighbour. So, earthquake. CRAZY!

More crazy? I decided blogging and twittering about it was more important than leaving the house.

This post got 1400 pageviews in under 10 minutes- clearly y’all felt it too.

UPDATE: I did some research for you!

The Canadian quake we just had affected Southern Ontario, parts of Quebec, and parts of New York State and Michigan. The epicentre seems to have been near Ottawa.

It registered about a 5.5 on the Richter scale, which ranks it as “moderate”. According to Wikipedia, this means it would be capable of causing major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions, but would cause only slight damage, if any, to well-designed buildings.

For comparison, the Nagasaki atom bomb caused a 5.0 quake (plus a buttload of radiation fallout and etc), and this year’s Haitian quake was a 7.0, which is fifty times stronger than what just totally made my guts crawl into my throat. (Here’s the Wikipedia page on the Richter scale).

WHAT TO DO IF IT COMES BACK:

Inside, crouch under a table or in a corner- away from exterior walls and windows. Cover your head with your arms. Wait.
Outside, go to open ground and hang out. Stay away from trees, buildings, streetlights, and electrical wires.
In a car, pull over and stay in the car. Try not to stop under overpasses, wires, buildings, trees, or utility poles.
Drink a stiff scotch, if available.


Finding Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks

June 18, 2010

Blogger Jeremiah Moss investigates the histories of various Manhattan street corners, trying to find the exact location of the diner in Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting Nighthawks. It’s a neat series in four parts, and I’ve always liked this painting; it was up over my couch all through university.

Here’s another nice piece of Hopperama: every year, the Washington Post runs a Peep (ie. Easter candy) diorama contest. The 2009 winner was Melissa Harvey, whose diorama was a bunny Peep version of Nighthawks. She describes the piece in this audio slideshow.

edward hopper peeps rabbits bunnies diner diorama nighthawks melissa harvey

Via MeFi and Kelly M.


Create a sick system

June 16, 2010

Here’s a really insightful article that’s tearing up LiveJournal right now: How to Create a Sick System. If you’ve ever been stuck in a crappy job or relationship, you should read this.

How do you pin [your lover or your employee] to your side, irrevocably, permanently, and perfectly legally?

You create a sick system.

A sick system has four basic rules…

Rule 4:
Reward intermittently. Intermittent gratification is the most addictive kind there is.

If you know the lever will always produce a pellet, you’ll push it only as often as you need a pellet.

If you know it never produces a pellet, you’ll stop pushing.

But if the lever sometimes produces a pellet and sometimes doesn’t, you’ll keep pushing forever, even if you have more than enough pellets (because what if there’s a dry run and you have no pellets at all?).

It’s the motivation behind gambling, collectible cards, most video games, the Internet itself, and relationships with crazy people.

Intermittent rewards, oh man. This really struck a chord with me. As an actor, my whole career is a string of small “tries” that produce intermittent rewards. Lots of auditions = lots of nothing + some callbacks + some small parts + very occasional amazing parts that I’m either really proud of or extremely well paid for (or both). So of course I keep pushing the lever; sometimes the pellet is that I get to be in a movie. Basically, being an actor is like making your living by sitting at a slot machine.


Earwax Suction

May 18, 2010

THIS IS THE MOST DISGUSTING / SATISFYING THING I’VE EVER SEEN.
Man, I loved watching it. The music is so inspirational! And when he gets that tricky one at the end, doesn’t your heart just soar? This video made me so horribly delighted that I had to yell AAAAUUUGGGGHHH the whole time I watched. I want this done so bad.

Via MeFi.


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