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Friday, August 20, 2004

Kill The White Rabbit

many many thanks to sweet rude and prejudiced swedish people for not hating on belgian sommarlight and making jenever and coffee visits very very special. we will tolerate much more in the future, dance to pop muzik and rip guts out of reality. FUCK FUCK FUCK in general!

Monday, August 16, 2004

(c) Felicia Webb

How Do You See The World will go into hibernation mode for two weeks due to re-exams. So stay tuned and I hope to catch you all in september!

Saturday, August 14, 2004


It goes without saying that any list that aspires to record the best of anything — whether of books or film or music — leaves many well-deserving items off. There is no objective method for determining what is best; there is no list inclusive enough to encompass all that deserves attention. Of what use then to readers would be a list of books that Flak staff just happened to have read in the past 10 years and consider "best"? Rather than compile a traditional best-of-books feature (one of those Top 10 lists that dot publications around the new year), we decided to praise those books published in the last decade that did one thing exceptionally well, from cover design to punctuation use, and everything — from sentences to end notes — in between.

Flak Magazine did this great list of the best books of the 90's, with very interesting categories like best description, best ending, best cover, etc. There are well written explanations on the website why they choose every book for that particular category, so definitely check it out.

My favorite category must be the The Decade's Best Sentence. The winner was this very long opening line from the book The Hundred Brothers by Donald Antrim. and it's an amazing sentence I must admit:
My brothers Rob, Bob, Tom, Paul, Ralph, Phil, Noah, William, Nick, Dennis, Christopher, Frank, Simon, Saul, Jim, Henry, Seamus, Richard, Jeremy, Walter, Jonathan, James, Arthur, Rex, Bertram, Vaughan, Daniel, Russel, and Angus; and the triplets Herbert, Patrick, and Jeffrey; identical twins Michael and Abraham, Lawrence and Peter, Winston and Charles, Scott and Samuel; and Eric, Donovan, Roger, Lester, Larry, Clinton, Drake, Gregory, Leon, Kevin, and Jack — all born on the same day, the twenty-third of May, though at different hours in separate years — and the caustic graphomaniac, Sergio, whose scathing opinions appear with regularity in the front-of-book pages of the more conservative monthlies, not to mention on the liquid crystal scenes that glow at night atop the radiant work stations of countless bleary-eyed computer bulletin-board subscribers (among whom our brother is known, affectionately, electronically, as Surge); and Albert, who is blind; and Siegfried, the sculptor in burning steel; and clinically depressed Anton; schizophrenic Irv, recovering addict Clayton; and Maxwell, the tropical botanist, who, since returning from the rain forest, has seemed a little screwed up somehow; and Jason, Joshua, and Jeremiah, each vaguely gloomy in his own "lost boy" way; and Eli, who spends his solitary wakeful evenings in the tower, filling notebooks with drawings — the artist's multiple renderings for a larger work? — portraying the faces of his brothers, including Chuck, the prosecutor; Porter, the diarist; Andrew, the civil rights activist; Pierce the designer of radically unbuildable buildings; Barry, the good doctor of medicine; Fielding, the documentary-film maker; Spencer, the spook with known ties to the State Department; Foster, the "new millennium" psychotherapist; and George, the urban planner who, if you read the papers, you'll recall, distinguished himself, not so long ago, with that innovative program for revitalizing the decaying downtown area (as "an animate interactive diorama illustrating contemporary cultural and economic folkways"), only to shock and amaze everyone, absolutely everyone, by vanishing with a girl named Jane and an overnight bag packed with municipal funds in unmarked hundreds; and all the young fathers: Seth, Rod, Vidal, Bennet, Dutch, Brice, Allan, Clay, Vincent, Gustavus, and Joe; and Hiram, the eldest; Zachary, the Giant; Jacob, the polymath; Virgil, the compulsive whisperer; Milton, the channeler of spirits who speak across time; and the really bad womanizers: Stephen, Denzil, Forrest, Topper, Temple, Lewis, Mongo, Spooner, and Fish; and, of course, our celebrated "perfect" brother, Benedict, recipient of a medal of honor from the Academy of Sciences for work over twenty years in chemical transmission of "sexual language" in eleven types of social insects — all of us (except George, about whom there have been many rumors, rumors upon rumors: he's fled the vicinity, he's right here under our noses, he's using an alias or maybe several, he has a new face, that sort of thing) all my ninety-eight, not counting George, brothers and I recently came together in the red library and resolved that the time had arrived, finally, to stop being blue, put the past behind us, share a light supper, and locate, if we could bear to, the missing urn full of the old fucker's ashes.

Loner In A Lone Country

All this kind of philosopher can do is to express, as fully as he can, his world, and attract our undivided attention to our own.
-- Stanley Cavell in "The World Viewed"

Finally finished Craig Thompson's latest graphic novel slash travel diary Carnet de Voyage. It's a wonderful sketchbook combined with funny and sad insights on travelling alone in France, Marocco and Barcelona. It's a delight to read how Thompson is feeling homesick after a broken relationship and isn't afraid of writing all his thoughts down. There are moments where you even begin to wonder if it was such a good idea of him to make this trip but then he will make this sharp observation and you just know that he's content with the tremendous influence the journey is having on him. It reminded me of another paragraph Cavell wrote in The World Viewed:
We must be willing to allow the self to exhibit itself without the self’s intervention. The wish for total intelligibility is a terrible one. It means that we are willing to reveal ourselves through the self’s betrayal of itself. […] It is why the path of self-knowledge is so ugly, hence so rarely taken, whatever its reputed beauties. The knowledge of the self as it is always takes place in the betrayal of the self as it was. That is the form of self-revelation until the self is wholly won. Until then, until there is a world in which each can be won, our loyalty to ourselves is in doubt, and our loyalty to others in partialness.
Carnet de Voyage does exactly what Cavell is hinting at. It goes down a travelling path that is rarely taken. Travelling doesn't have to be fun all the time, it's not about forgetting all your sorrows at home, visiting the next palace some sultan build and throwing a couple of coins to the first beggar you see, so he will stop bothering you. It can easily be about drawing a camel in the desert and feeling miserable because you got diarrhoea again. So on your next voyage, make sure you have this little book with you!

ps for more reviews, Bookslut offers yet another good one.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Must.... See.... This.... Film!

Ways to beat the system

Haha, it's not easy making laws. First they kinda forget that maybe an imprisoned criminal shouldn't be able to receive an insane amount of money, then they overlook "toe-licking". Say what?

UsaToday writes:

Toe-licking could become a criminal offense in the Netherlands after a man who licked the toes of several women was released by police without charges. The toe-licker, whose name was not released, was arrested in Rotterdam earlier this week after a woman who had been sunbathing said he unexpectedly licked her bare foot.

Other women had also complained, and the 35-year-old man has reportedly been pursuing his fetish for years, but prosecutors in Rotterdam said they are powerless to stop him.

"A lick over the foot doesn't qualify as a crime: there has to be some kind of objective sex act committed," said prosecution spokesman Cees van Spierenburg in the Rotterdam Daily newspaper. "That's the way the law is."

Lawmakers Peter van Heemst and Aleid Wolfsen, members of the leading opposition Labor Party, asked Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner in a formal complaint to change the law.

"How can you explain that we can prosecute someone for throwing a cigarette butt or soda can on the ground, but not for this kind of misbehavior?" the men wrote.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Go Go Go

Always make sure you keep up to date on good music. Four really nice sites that will help you along the right track:

1. Womb Life is one of the reasons why blogs can be so interesting. Don't know who MV & EE are? Find out here.

2. The Broken Face gives a wonderful introspective glance into the world of peripheral sounds.

3. the amazing online music magazine Foxy Digitalis is promoting weird music and culinary excellence (+ a lot of interviews & reviews)

4. and finally should I even have to mention Pitchfork?

They pulled me back in!

He that is taken and put into prison or chains is not conquered, though overcome; for he is still an enemy.
-- Thomas Hobbes

Mr. Hobbes couldn't have been more right since it appears that you can still make top of the world when in prison: in the UK a prisoner serving life for attempted rape has won 7 million GBP (= 10m € / 12m $) with the lottery. The story is yet another paradox of society: you sexually assault several women, you get taken away all your rights, you become imprisoned and then on your weekend leave you get rewarded by the lucky numbers. And the best thing is you get to keep to money!

The Guardian reports:

A prisoner serving life for attempted rape has won £7m in the national lottery. Iorworth Hoare, 52, was jailed for life at Leeds crown court in 1989. He was on temporary release from a Middlesbrough bail hostel when his numbers came up in last Saturday's Lotto Extra draw.

Hoare, formerly of Seacroft Gate, Leeds, was convicted of attempting to rape a 60-year-old woman in a park in the city, after a series of crimes which included one rape, two attempted rapes and three indecent assaults.

According to the Sun, Hoare began a series of sex attacks while he was still in his 20s and was sentenced to a total of 18 years between 1973 and 1987.

Home Office guidelines allow prisoners in open conditions - such as day release or community projects - to take part in the lottery and claim any prize they may win.

Hoare was on weekend leave from Middlesbrough's South Bank bail hostel when he won his £7,039,469 fortune.

A Prison Service spokesman confirmed last night that a prisoner had won the lottery. He said: "We are aware a prisoner on release on a temporary licence has participated in the lottery and we understand that he has won a substantial amount."

After his the win Hoare was moved to a closed prison for "security and his own safety".


The lottery winner serving life for attempted rape is almost certainly immune from compensation claims, it emerged today.

Iorworth Hoare, 52, who scooped one third of last week's £21m Lotto Extra jackpot in spite of being in the process of serving his 18-year sentence, was thought to have been open to claims from victims as a result of his new-found wealth.

But has learned that as Hoare's crimes date back at least 15 years, and in some cases even further, time limits on victim compensation laws effectively protect him from claims.

Richard Scorer, a partner at law firm Pannone & Partners, said the law on this was "black and white".

"The time limit for bringing compensation claims for these kind of crimes is six years," he said.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Bricks and Steel

For all the people that liked Martin Parr's Bored Couples and his Boring Postcards books, I found out about a website which collects Boring Postcards too. Visit and check them out. Most of them are taken in Sweden (which reminds me of a classic postcard I bought there too, maybe I'll upload that one later). And in case you were wondering, the author claims he didn't 'steal' Parr's idea:

My gallery has been online since the summer of 1998, that is before Martin Parr published his Boring Postcards book. I was also way ahead of Jeppe Wikström and his book "Tråkiga vykort" which was published in 2002 in Sweden. So I'm not the copycat. :-)

On Verra

It's time for some more music again. A wonderful album I keep playing these days is "Specialist in All Styles" by the Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab. The album was released somewhere in 2002 and I totally missed out on it until now. Especially the two songs Bul Ma Min and On Verra Ca will bring a happy smile on your face!

Here's a review from the BBC:

Even those with just a passing acquaintance with African music will have heard of Orchestra Baobab. They were superstars in Senegal in the seventies with their sophisticated, cosmopolitan blend of homegrown styles and Cuban influences. Their album "Pirates' Choice" was one of the first "world music" albums to have an impact in the West. Ironically, by the time of this international breakthrough, the group had already split up, victims of changes in musical taste and dispirited by civil war in Senegal.

Now after a gap of 17 years they return, their reformation a labour of love instigated by record label boss Nick Gold. And endorsed by Youssou Ndour and Ibrahim Ferrer, both of whom sang backing vocals on these sessions.

When any group reappears after a long period away the discerning listener is wise to approach the results with caution. Will it be as good as it used to be?

With Orchestra Baobab, there's no problem. It really does sound like they've never been away. This is a cunningly arranged, charming, swinging record which lives up to its title; the range of different styles attempted, all of them successfully, gives the album real variety and breath. There's excellent self-penned new material like the ska tinged "Bul Ma Min", alongside some old favourites including the classic "Hommage A Tonton Ferrer" and the Latin swing of "On Verra Ca".

The star of the show is lead guitarist Barthelemy Atisso. One minute he's delivering clean, fast, twangy lines, the next is using the Wah Wah pedal to great effect or experimenting with just a touch of scratchy noise, all done in impeccable taste. It's amazing to think that he didn't even own a guitar for thirteen years when he became a lawyer in Togo.

A delightful return from a group who seem to enjoy playing as much as ever. Music to put a smile on your face.

Reviewer: Nick Reynolds

Hate Rock 'n' Roll

The godblessed Swedish post-rock band Sonores have almost sold out their first EP, so hurry up if you want one or be prepared to pay $$$ on ebay soon!!

news: (040806)
still absolutely fabulous. the EP is almost sold out by now. we played our first show this past saturday. we dare to say that it was a massive success. the wonderful double bass was severely damaged (understatement) during transport, but elegant carpenter-skills saved the day.
the ep is sold out at skivhugget, but we expect to have a few more copies there as soon as 50 % of the group is back from their vacation in the land of organic electronics and rain. The broken *.mp3 links are also fixed as of now!

And apparently one of their members keeps bugging us with lyrics on how he hates rock 'n' roll:
Someone states the obvious
Someone sneers at all you love
Someone preaches ugly manners
excluding some, including me

This is how I learned to hate rock 'n' roll
This is how I learned to hate rock 'n' roll

All feelings blunted, all passion spent
Everybody does what everybody does
All the broken promises
to recreate a status quo

This is how I learned to hate rock 'n' roll
This is how I learned to hate rock 'n' roll

(c) Pet Shop Boys - How I learned to hate rock 'n' roll

Monday, August 09, 2004

Bored Couples versus Boring (?) Profiles

“We’re fighting boredom by trying to employ these things to entertain us but inevitably we do get bored. However interesting our lives become, however much information and media we have available, people are always going to become bored.”
-- Martin Parr

Martin Parr, who's one of the excellent Magnum photographers, has a particular interest in boredom. He made hilarious and wonderful photo books like Boring Postcards, Boring Postcards USA and Bored Couples. This last book is unfortunetaly out of print but there are a few sample shots over at Parr's website. I've taken the liberty to post a couple of them here and add some text along the way. I decided to check out profiles of singles who are looking for the perfect match on the internet. There are some quite amazing descriptions if you ask me. In a good and bad way. I'm gonna post some of the more funny ones here and hey if you disagree, say so and tell me which ones you think should make the list.

Hey there. Umm my name is Stacey. I love to surf. I live in the bay area. I'm bisexual. I sing, and thats about it.
I love the female body it is one of the most beautiful things in life. I really like to make a girl feel good about herself. I enjoy weight traing and boxing. I live everyday to the fullest.
The name's Kat. I'm 20 & I enjoy fast cars/trucks & partying. I'm very bisexual & I love meeting new sexy single women. I'm a true-blooded stoner. If you meet me, you'll never meet another person like me. Drop me a line if you wanna chat.
Hey whats going on.. What can I say about myself ,Well I am 6'4 im in the air force, I am in Pensicola Florida now. Suppose to be going to virginia but now I have to go to Georgia..later

lol I'm the wild girl that your parents told you to stay away from. lol I have my toungue, lip and ears pierced and I have a couple tats. I'm wicked open minded so if you like what I've written or you just think I'm cute then write me.
What’s up people? I’m into street racing and kick boxing. I was recently medically discharged from the army because I was injured in Iraq! But hey I got a purple heart.
hi ladies, i like the out doors. going on hikes fishing,golfing,and watching sports too. im a really funny guy and can be really fun to be with. i like blonde or brown hair and blue and green eyes.

I'm a single girl living in southern Indiana. I'm pretty laid back, I love music, down to earth, and I love to party and am open to anything. Words to live by: "People don't change they just become more of who they really are."
If you go to church don't write me, I don't mesh well w/ god lovers.
hello my name is BEAR. yes you read it right BEAR! i'm that cool guy who works at the local holiday gas station, but nobody ever talks to. anyway i'm late for work so i gotta go...
Hello im a 24 year old male from Florence,Al I dont know what to say..but write me and i will hit ya back

I am quite diverse,I think "out of the box" and enjoy sharing ideas &f eelings. I have had some interesting careers, such as training dolphins, whales and sealions, Vet tech, Child development instructor, to name a few...
Hey I enjoy the simple things in life. I DONT live everyday like its my last. I DONT drink until i cant stand up. I like driving cross country , meeting new people, and eating Wendy's AND hot girls with incredible bodies.
hey ppl i am 19 and i love to play basket ball. i love rap. my fav artist is beyonce and monica...ill be your naughty gurl holla back at your gurl. luv ya
howdy life is great in texas never have tomany friends allways love to meet new friends and meet

(c) Photos all courtesy of Martin Parr & Magnum Photos.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Of this world or not?

The photograph above of a cowled monk standing by an altar rail was taken in the early 1960s by the vicar of a church in England. At the time he saw nothing that was out of the ordinary. But his developed film showed the tall phantom monk seen here. It appears to be about three metres tall. The film was carefully checked by photographic experts but showed no signs of tampering.


Do You Imdb? Or how keeping a personal film database can make you rich!

Actually, it was babelicious actresses that led to Col Needham — a 37-year-old lifelong movie fanatic and computer wiz living in Britain who is fond of saying he was scared out of swimming pools after seeing Jaws in 1975, wowed by Star Wars in 1977, and terrified by Alien in 1979 — founding IMDB.

On a typical Saturday, Needham would watch 10 films back to back. In a year, he’d screen 1,100. Not surprisingly, he began to lose track of which films he’d seen and which he hadn’t. So, at age 23, he started a personal database to keep a log that also could be printed out for his friends to take to the video store. “It’s a terribly geeky thing to do, but it turned out all right in the end,” says Needham.

That’s a bit of an understatement considering Needham ended up transforming a small hobby into an international business. But remember, back in 1989, terms like “World Wide Web” were totally foreign. Needham joined a movie discussion group on what was then the fledgling university-linked Internet. The members were almost all American male college students, and their favorite topic was — you guessed it — who’s the most attractive actress and what movies has she been in.

Soon, the guys volunteered their private databases and actresses begat actors, which begat directors, which begat writers, which begat cinematographers, which begat plot summaries.

It wasn’t until 1993 that this first-of-its-kind database moved onto the Web with help from the computer sciences department at Cardiff University. The Web traffic soon overwhelmed Cardiff’s server capacity, and Needham put out calls for more universities to host. He ended up with sites in Mississippi, Germany, Italy, Australia, South Africa, Korea, Japan and Iceland. By 1995, Needham was finding that, as the Internet took off, traffic to the Web site would double every couple of weeks. His volunteer editors were snowed under with work.

“So we were faced with this very difficult decision. Do we give up and say it was a fun five years? Or do we see if we can make a business out of this?” says Needham. “Bear in mind that, at the time, there was very little commercial use of the Internet. There was Yahoo, there was Hot Wired, and there was an overwhelming attitude by Internet users that they didn’t want to be overtaken by commercialism.”

In January 1996, Needham launched as a commercial Web site. He put his first Web server on a credit card. Within a couple of weeks, he sold the first advertising campaign. (“We’d never sold any ads before. And the people who we sold to had never bought any ads before.”) He was able to pay off the credit card before the bill was even due and use other ad’s money to buy even more servers.

Then came another milestone: IMDB’s first movie-related ad campaign. It was the summer of 1996, and Fox was hyping Independence Day. That was also when Needham and his volunteer editors quit their day jobs one by one and joined IMDB full time. They were now paid employees of an incorporated company.

By January 1998, IMDB was becoming one of the most popular Web sites in the world, with more than 18 million visitors a month. It offered a searchable database of almost 400,000 movies and entertainment programs, and about 1.4 million industry cast and crew members. Coverage included films from the birth of motion pictures in 1891 to future releases. It encompassed every genre of film, television show and video game. And the site featured cast lists, quotes, trivia, reviews, box-office data, celebrity biographies, photographs, film festivals and major events, and streaming trailers. Next thing Needham knew, he was contacted by founder Jeff Bezos (one year before Bezos was named Time magazine’s Man of the Year).

The two entrepreneurs met in a London hotel, and Needham, now IMDB’s managing director, listened intently as Bezos described how Amazon was expanding from selling books to launching a music store, and possibly even a video and DVD store later in 1998. The two men talked about potential partnerships and decided that acquisition would be the best route. “Amazon was looking for someone to help build out the video store. And we were a scrappy little start-up looking to grow bigger,” Needham says.

The synergy was obvious. Say you look up James Dean on IMDB. Immediately, the site asks if you’d like to start shopping Amazon for videos or DVDs starring him. It’s a hand-in-glove kind of thing, plus it provides an instant movie-fan base to exploit. So, in April 1998, Amazon acquired IMDB. IMDB still operates as an independent Web site, one of the “10 Essential,” according to Time magazine.

“For a long time, we were everyone’s best-kept secret, along the lines of, ‘Hey, I can find the name of this spaghetti Western that no one can figure out because I know how to use IMDB,’” says IMDB managing editor Keith Simanton. “Now, we’re part of the vernacular in Hollywood. ‘I’ll IMDB you’ means looking up a person’s résumé. When something works, it doesn’t take very long to find it.”


Speaking of God, one of IMDB’s most notorious goofs occurred this year when, on the morning of February 25, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ opened. That same day, reports noted that IMDB had God — with a capital G — listed as a credited contributor to the movie and with his own personal page. By noontime, the credit was gone. By nighttime, the page was gone, too. But not before it referred users to other films in which He had been portrayed, from The Prince of Egypt to Oh, God!

Another reported mistake occurred when Oscar winner William Goldman, famous for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was listed as an uncredited screenwriter on Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Good Will Hunting. The reason appears to have been a long-running rumor that Goldman script-doctored the pair’s Oscar-winning screenplay. After Goldman denied doing it, IMDB excised his name from the movie’s credits.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Swedish Wonder Duo

I'm really enjoying a new music recording by the wonder duo dominique et natalië at the moment. Download the mp3 here.

Fat brain in a vat

I will suppose, then, not that Deity, who is sovereignly good and the fountain of truth, but that some malignant demon, who is at once exceedingly potent and deceitful, has employed all his artifice to deceive me; I will suppose that the sky, the air, the earth, colors, figures, sounds, and all external things, are nothing better than the illusions of dreams, by means of which this being has laid snares for my credulity; I will consider myself as without hands, eyes, flesh, blood, or any of the senses, and as falsely believing that I am possessed of these; I will continue resolutely fixed in this belief, and if indeed by this means it be not in my power to arrive at the knowledge of truth, I shall at least do what is in my power, viz, [ suspend my judgment ], and guard with settled purpose against giving my assent to what is false, and being imposed upon by this deceiver, whatever be his power and artifice. But this undertaking is arduous, and a certain indolence insensibly leads me back to my ordinary course of life; and just as the captive, who, perchance, was enjoying in his dreams an imaginary liberty, when he begins to suspect that it is but a vision, dreads awakening, and conspires with the agreeable illusions that the deception may be prolonged; so I, of my own accord, fall back into the train of my former beliefs, and fear to arouse myself from my slumber, lest the time of laborious wakefulness that would succeed this quiet rest, in place of bringing any light of day, should prove inadequate to dispel the darkness that will arise from the difficulties that have now been raised.
(c) Descartes' Meditations, Translated by John Veitch, 1901

Friday, August 06, 2004

The Horror

Writing is all a matter of mathematics or at least that's what researchers of King's College are trying to make us believe. They have worked out the mathematical formula behind the perfect horror film:

(es + u + cs + t) squared + s + (tl + f) / 2 + (a + dr + fs) / n + sin x - 1

es = escalating music
u = the unknown
cs = chase scenes
t = the sense of being trapped

s = shock

tl = true life
f = fantasy

a = small number of characters
dr = with the lights off
fs = in an isolated setting

n = the number of people

Sin x = blood and guts
1 = the stereotypes

The PERFECT horror film according to the research is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining! At least that's one observation I couldn't agree with more.

Full article located at the IC Wales website

Banksy hits it big again!

Guerrilla artist Banksy has covertly cemented a 20-foot (6-metre) satirical statue protesting at the British legal system into a central London square. It was put in place at 0200 BST (0100 GMT) on Wednesday without permission.

Banky says the statue cost £22,000 to construct, is made of solid bronze and weighs three-and-a-half tonnes (3,500kg). The figure of justice is depicted as a prostitute with leather boots and a thong. Furthermore it shows the figure of justice with US dollar bills stuffed into her garter and a plaque on the plinth saying: "Trust no-one."

"This is a brand new monument for London," Banksy wrote in a statement read out by rapper MC Dynamite. "It is a monument dedicated to thugs, to thieves, to bullies, to liars, to the corrupt, the arrogant and the stupid."

The location, an ancient green just outside the City of London, was chosen because it was the site of Banksy's last arrest.

In April, Banksy exhibited a dead rat wearing sunglasses in the Natural History Museum for several hours before museum staff noticed.

Six months earlier, he had surreptitiously hung a painting in the Tate Britain gallery, and is also known for creating the sleeve for Blur's Think Tank album.

In 2003, an exhibition in which he spray-painted graffiti on cows, sheep and pigs, was closed after the animals became "hot and distressed".

He painted the Queen as a chimpanzee during her Golden Jubilee and sprayed "Mind the crap" on the steps of the Tate Britain before the Turner Prize ceremony.

(c) BBC news

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Bioluminescence is simply light produced by a chemical reaction which originates in an organism.

It can be expected anytime and in any region or depth in the sea. Its most common occurrence to the sailor is in the often brilliantly luminescent bow wave or wake of a surface ship. In these instances the causal organisms are almost always dinoflagellates, single-cell algae, often numbering many hundreds per liter.

They are mechanically excited to produce light by the ship's passage or even by the movement of porpoises and smaller fish.

Bioluminescence is a primarily marine phenomenon. It is the predominant source of light in the largest fraction of the habitable volume of the earth, the deep ocean . In contrast, bioluminescence is essentially absent (with a few exceptions) in fresh water, even in Lake Baikal. On land it is most commonly seen as glowing fungus on wood (called foxfire), or in the few families of luminous insects.

Bioluminescence has evolved many times in the sea as evidenced by the several distinct chemical mechanisms by which light is emitted and the large number of only distantly related taxonomic groups that have many bioluminescent members.

Bioluminescent bacteria occur nearly everywhere, and probably most spectacularly as the rare "milky sea" phenomenon, particularly in the Indian Ocean where mariners report steaming for hours through a sea glowing with a soft white light as far as the eye can see.


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A. Proyas

Wow, a pretty big director who is like very very active on his own message board (700+ posts!), that's something I haven't seen before. Check out the Alex Proyas' website and especially the Ask Alex section on his forum. Proyas did among other things the visually effective film The Crow, the nice science fiction film Dark City and the recently released Will Smith box office success I Robot (which seems like a quite interesting film and likewise adaptation of the Isaac Asimov book but I haven't seen it yet).

A few quotes on being creative etc:
I think the most important thing for a writer and/or director is to develop a voice of their own. My problem from the very beginning was not so much developing my own viewpoint (because I always saw things kinda "funny" or differently), but more so seeing if there was a way that vision could fit into the big commercial machine that is the film industry. But I always tried to stay true to my own ideas, as I value originality and individuality in an artist's vision above everything else. So I guess my advice is look to those things in your work that will make it special - tell stories that only YOU can tell. Don't be afraid to break all the rules, but break them after you completely understand what they are. Speak in your own voice, if that message is clear and true, others will listen.

As a young film-maker graduating from film school, I didn't have a huge range of choice regarding employment. The Australian film industry in the mid 80's was dying. So making videos was a means to an end - it was also a great education for a director. It didn't teach me a lot about working with actors, but setting up an interesting angle sure became second nature to me. As a director you bring a lot of varied skills to a movie, for me my years of experience making videos has been invaluable.

After film school, me and two other guys (one I'd met in film school and the other was an art school student) set up a company (Meaningful Eye Contact - MEC) to make music videos. I had already started making videos for friends in bands while I was still at film school. Even though we were lucky to have some contacts life immediately post film school was pretty tough. As MEC, we rented a small office next to the train tracks in Newtown (Sydney) and spent almost every day playing cards and waiting for the phone to ring with offers of work - but mainly trying to work out how to pay the rent. Somehow we kept the business together and eventually did okay but it took many years of struggle and frustration. This business is like running a marathon, it's about overcoming pain. If your attitude is you'll keep running whatever happens you'll probably make it. Just be sure you have a little bit of talent as well though.

Research is vital - if you do your homework right the script usually turns out a lot better. At the very least you pick up some nifty jargon with which to dazzle your readers/audience.

Yes I went to the AFTRS and it's true I dropped out, but it was only towards the end of the final year (because I was keen to go to work making music videos and couldn't really be bothered completing my final year essay) so technically speaking I completed the course.

Funny story: when I was making my first "professional" music video (for a bunch of friends, with a total budget of $600) we couldn't afford to rent camera equipment (and I was officially a film school drop-out at this point) so I convinced my fellow student and good friend Jane Campion (The Piano) to borrow some film school gear and let me have it for the weekend. Unfortunately when the gear was returned we foolishly forgot to remove my name from the slate (marker board) - under "director" it said Alex Proyas and I got Jane into big trouble with the school. Fortunately she forgave me.

Dark City: I wanted the tuning scenes to have a strange "pulsing" to them so we tried to come up with a live-action version of the same effect. Darius Wolski (the DP) created it a couple of different ways - by shooting off speed - if you shoot at certain fps rates with HMI lighting you get a pulsating flicker. This is often seen as a technical mistake - in fact everytime we did the effect the studio or the lab would call us in a panic and we'd have to tell them once again that it was intentional. If we were doing dialogue and had to shoot at normal speed Darius would get the gaffer to throw the generator out of phase which would also cause lighting flicker, not quite the same but similar enough to cut in with the other footage. Hope that makes some kind of sense.

You can ask me just about anything on this forum (as long as it isn't too personal) and I will do my best to answer honestly. But there are three things you shouldn't ask me to do:

1. Read your latest feature-length screenplay
2. Produce or direct your latest feature-length screenplay , or...
3. Give you a job

Sorry but there are better ways of applying for work in the film industry - I think Assist has given you a few good pointers. Good luck!

Where did the Sun come from?

Astronomers think that the Sun was formed from a giant cloud which was rotating slowly, about five thousand million years ago, and that the Sun is slightly older than the Earth.

By studying radioactive decay of certain elements in rocks geologists can determine how old those rocks probably are. The oldest rocks they've found on Earth that I know of are between 3 and 4 thousand million years old, but the oldest meteorites that have been discovered turned out to be about 4.5 thousand million years old. Assuming that the Earth and Sun were formed at about the same time as the oldest meteorites and making allowance for some period of time that the meteorites were still too hot to freeze the evidence of their age, the age of the Earth is estimated at about 4.7 thousand million years.

Most of the cloud from which the Solar System formed was made of hydrogen gas, but there was also a little bit of other stuff, such as oxygen, silicon, and carbon. Because of gravity, all of the gas wanted to concentrate in one place, but when the gas got closer to the axis of rotation, it started to rotate faster around that axis, just like an ice skater rotates faster around her axis when she pulls in her arms. The fast rotation of the gas meant that it could not all be concentrated in one place, and what happened instead is that the gas concentrated in a flat disk (like a pancake) with most of the material in the center. The material in the center concentrated more until it got so hot and dense that it could start generating energy through nuclear fusion of the hydrogen. At that moment, the Sun became a star. The rest of the material clumped together and formed the planets, including the Earth.

Astronomers think that the hydrogen gas that is now in the Sun was created in the Big Bang, when the whole universe came into being. We're not sure exactly how long ago that happened. Most observations indicate that the universe is between ten and twenty thousand million years old. This hydrogen gas formed really giant clouds at that time, and those clouds concentrated and formed galaxies. Some of the hydrogen gas floated around in our own galaxy until something made it concentrate and form the Sun and the Solar System. We don't know what caused the gas to start concentrating. Perhaps it was the shock wave from a nearby supernova explosion.

In the Big Bang, only the very light elements hydrogen, helium, and a little bit of lithium were formed. All the other, heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and silicon were formed later, inside stars. When the some of the early stars exploded as supernovas, then these heavier elements got mixed with the hydrogen gas that was still floating around, and so these elements ended up also in our Solar System. The carbon, calcium, and oxygen atoms that are an essential part of your body; the silicon, iron, and oxygen atoms that form most of the Earth's inside; the oxygen atoms that are needed to form water; as well as the nitrogen and oxygen atoms that form most of the Earth's atmosphere: all of these atoms were formed inside very, very hot stars a long time ago. Of course, the hydrogen atoms that are part of your body and of water are even older: they were formed in the Big Bang.

Stars very seldomly form alone. Usually many dozens of stars are formed from a single big cloud of hydrogen gas. The Pleiades are one such group of stars. Such sister stars eventually move off in different directions, and after about a thousand million years you can't tell anymore that these stars ever belonged together. The Sun may have some sister stars out there, but we don't know where they are.

(c) Mr Sunspot's Answer Book

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What Bugs Can Do!

Meaning of the word "Maroon":
1. Maroons were free blacks who formed communities throughout the Carribean and Americas, most notably in the Great Dismal Swamp and Florida. These people were bravely attempting to set up a parallel existance to antebellum American society. They fought in the Seminole War, the only Indian war that ended without a peace treaty!

2. Occasionally I see someone online make a particular insulting comment: "What a maroon!". How can we use the term "Maroon" as an insult?

Apparantly cartoon character Bugs Bunny is responsible for the 2nd meaning. Listen to Bugs.

Meaning of the word "Nimrod":
1. Genesis 10:8-9, in describing how the Seventy Nations were founded by the descendants of Noah, says that Nimrod, son of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah, was "a mighty man on earth" and "a mighty hunter before the LORD". The word "nimrod" is recorded in English since 1545 with the (now obsolete) meaning "tyrant", and since 1712 with the meaning "hunter".

2. (Informal) A person regarded as silly, foolish, or stupid.

Again the 2nd meaning is all thanks to Bugs who used it to mock the hapless hunter Elmer Fudd. Listen to “poor little Nimrod”.

Monday, August 02, 2004

dialogue, dialogue, dialogue!

Otis B. Driftwood: Have you got any milk-fed chickens?
Waiter: Yes, sir.
Otis B. Driftwood: Well, squeeze the milk out of one and bring me a glass.
Henderson: You live here by yourself?
Otis B. Driftwood: Yes... just me and my memories.
Henderson: I see the table is set for four.
Otis B. Driftwood: That's nothing - my alarm clock is set for eight.

and two hard-boiled eggs!

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