Friday, 20 October 2017

Next bout of Dienstriesen

It's been a hectic time recently, late Wednesday afternoon I received an e-mail with a flight ticket to SVO in Moscow on Monday. Normally I confirm flight bookings, but this time I simply received the ticket in the attachment with the underlying sentence "go on Monday". It wasn't exactly a surprise, considering the paper work I again had to do for the Visa application (picked up my passport this morning), some administrative stuff at work, and trying to force some documentation of the DAQ infrastructure I need to integrate our detector into (of course when I asked myself twice I got nothing, but when the big bosses hear about it I get the documentation immediately), but it was a bit funny. I still have to gather a few items I need to bring in my luggage that didn't make it into the huge truck for the detector + everything else (when will things ever be done properly here...). On to the next adventure!

Went to another concert yesterday evening, a French quartet played Mozart, something modern (2016), and Mendelssohn. They did the modern piece very well although I'm not too fond of that kind of music. They also did the intense parts of the classical pieces well, but I feel a common "issue" with many performers is exactly this; the "boring" parts are the most important for a performer because they require the most focus and care, whereas the "fun" parts play themselves. I always complain... It was a very good quartet, and it was a unique performance for just 13.50 EUR, so I'm happy.

On a similar topic, the last time I mentioned rosins, I praised Bernardel. Cold dry weather has returned, and I've become more aware of what I'm doing, so the Hill Dark is my current go to rosin. I'm glad I bought both. 3rd position and bowing getting more stable and smooth, gotta keep going.

Still waiting for the keyboard kit, I hope it'll arrive today or tomorrow, or the post might send it back before I return from my trip... But then I'll spend my trip thinking non-stop about building the thing.

Ashes of Malmouth is excellent, but feels, uh, "spretigt", I can't find a good English word for that. Erratic or irregular, not very well focused, and things don't tie in as well as in the main game. But oh boy is a Skelemancer a ridiculously fast leveling build, I hope it'll keep up as my friend with his super burning Purifier and I go along. Sudden insane boss encounters have been fun, all in hardcore mode of course.

EDIT 2017-10-20 (evening same day...):Yay:

Nay: I can't build it since I'm going on the business trip :( I'm gonna be amazingly home-sick.
The list of items and the photo on the seller's website didn't show all the goodies that I received, the cables are really very nice for example. I was looking for a black cheapo TRRS cable on ebay, but the one in this kit has a metal coil all the way around it. If curious, and if you live in Europe, click here.

Also kicked every last butt in Ashes of Malmouth this evening. As usual the final boss is cool, but by far not the hardest along the way; that award goes to the jerk in the void rift. No, not the one with the trailer music and just before you meet Ulgrim again, but the similar creature in the next void rift. Of course this is nothing compared to the crazy people who have already slain every new nemesis and super boss, just goes to show I'm actually doing other things too... And still the most dangerous thing in the game is ground sh!t. No wait, doing stupid things, that's the most dangerous.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Should have stayed retired

Blade Runner 2049. Finally happened. And it was exactly, precisely what I had expected. Of course it had to be about a kid, the chosen one... But I won't dwell on that banal spectacle.

Where's the neo-noir atmosphere? It felt like Star Wars 2 (had to look it up, Attack of the Clones, apparently), which didn't feel like Star Wars, so, didn't feel like anything. Some orange splash, some blue splash.

Why is everything so clean? Dust, sand, and blood was never that pretty. And why is everything so deliberately placed? It was the perfect concoction of every yt-clip about how to make pretty films. And I just realized right there I have watched too many of those...

Where's the music? *WHOOOMP* *BRRUUMP* *KRAAAAK* for every cut to a new location, I couldn't stop myself from giggling a bit after the 10th time. That was, what, 10 min into the film? Couple of Vangelis-style waveforms here and there, that's all. Ridiculous.

Where's the speech? No c-beams, no attack ships on fire? Did nobody like owls? What about turt-, I mean tortoises being flipped over? Nobody cared about involuntary dilation? I don't remember anything anybody said! Oh wait, "You thought you were the one, didn't you?", I remember that. Aww, you poor little shit. Something about seeing miracles early on, but that never really came up again.

What's up with all the female nudity? And I'm really not a sjw, so let me put it like this: I suppose that one joke "how many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?" is actually slowly gaining traction :p I was thinking very briefly it had to do with a Frenchman being heavily involved, but iirc there's very little of it in his other work. I really, really want to watch Sicario btw.

The lady bad-guy Luv was good.

Anyhow, grumpification aside, incredibly well made. Technically it's perfectly pretty, has the boomiest possible sound effects. Don't wanna break the cow. I mean, imagine it ending up like the first film, hated and then slowly turned into something incredibly important by the ravages of time, who wants that? The closest thing we've had to the original Blade Runner was Deus Ex, and we haven't had any games like that since... Oh my, I must install that again! *niche joke*

I'll watch Blade Runner many times in the future. Blade Runner 2049, not so sure. I did hate the first one the first time I saw it, I didn't like Meshuggah, I didn't like Carpenter Brut. The difference is that these overwhelmed me and I couldn't fit them into my little head, whereas all of 2049 is rattling around in there :/ (The lack of interesting dialog helps compress the information.) I find it strange that everything about it is so universally super-praised by everybody, but I also don't understand why Nolan films are so amazing either. I suppose I'm not a film buff of this time. But yeah, wanna watch Sicario.

One last thing, it's too long. Hah!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Sourdough milestone

Keep trying and ye shalt prevail:

That's only whole wheat for the long-lived starter, "regular" wheat for the bulk of the bread, water, and salt, tastes great. Since I was lazy, I just folded, no slap-n-fold. I don't like the hard crust that everybody tries to make, so I'm really happy I can dial it to whatever I want from now on. So elastic and lovely to Rip And Tear, and to bite into - I had it with some wonderful Swedish Grevé and a smile.

Bought the coffee in that special shop, it's really much, much better to grind and brew at home than to buy a cup anywhere. Funny thing is, the next time I visited Edeka, the shop I've been going to for the last 3 years, I found coffee exactly from this roaster right there in the coffee aisle...

Passed on the OLKB Planck and went for the Let's Split with Cherry MX Blue switches instead, because I want to have fun and destroy my ears but save my wrists. Also popped and cleaned every keycap and the main housing on my HHKB Pro 2, and was reminded of how well built this thing is. And then I tried to forget how much money I put into it. But it does feel and sound amazing, *tock-tock-tock-tock*.

Cinnamon roll day on Tuesday! It's a public holiday here in Germany, so I'monna bakey-bakey. I'll try doubling up on the yeast this time and see how bubbly I can get the rolls, since recipes anyhow ask for half a cube and I usually end up throwing away the other half after a few weeks when it looks like a mummy's big toe.

Time to prepare for work, i.e. to sleep.

EDIT 2017-10-02: The very first time I watched Blade Runner after my older brother brought it home one day, I thought it was slow, boring, and a useless film and nothing happened. But I did engrave one thing very, very deeply in my "soul" (and I'm supposed to be a scientist *shame*), and that was J.F. Sebastian (and the intro sequence with the brilliant music by Vangelis with fire spewing out of chimneys in a dark city-scape, the flying cars, they eye guy, the last scene with Hauer in the rain, etc, but they were not so meaningful to me at the time; the next time when everything clicked, I remembered ALL...). Every time I watch Blade Runner, the scene with Pris and him in the alley plays through my mind instantly. It's my own definition of Tech Noir I suppose. And William Sanderson was amazing in Deadwood, only ever so slightly over-shadowed by Ian McShane's amazing take on Al Swearengen. I'm afraid I won't have this special scene in the new one :/ It's so nice to be a super plastic brain kid. I need to bring that back!

Another strange connection is the scene inside the house J.F. Sebastian lives in and one city map in Ghost Recon 1 that my brother and I played many years ago. Is it nostalgia or are things just too "perfect" these days, such that consumers have much less space for individual thoughts and dreams on top of what we consume? I've pondered this many times before, but after recently (yesterday...) having watched some comparisons of the technically superior "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" versus the Swedish counter-part (I haven't watched either yet, but as I Swede I understand very well), isn't perfecting and extending a craft to the common senses (cannot say five sense any longer) chiefly a means for the producer? Isn't this why books are still really amazing, because they let us conjure up immense physical and emotional worlds inside our minds without having it all crammed down our throats like French swans for Christmas? Nah, it's all nostalgia, modern works are fine, stop thinking and pay for it to make the world spin. Oh yeah, don't forget to smile for the cameras.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Dapper

Dapper is the best word to describe the new Kingsman film, and also for the first. Not a huge fan of either, the second was a little better, but they're ok films. Just before the show I saw another trailer (with the same contents as the previous ones pretty much) for Blade Runner, and I'm not sure I should bother. The first one was not a typical AAA film, I cannot see how they'd dare make anything like it ever again. That atmosphere thick enough that you could bang your head if you're not careful. One should keep an open mind, but certain memories I just don't want to taint. In an effort not to end this paragraph in a grumpy way, I should mention I really loved hearing In the Face of Evil by Magic Sword in the Thor: Ragnarök trailer, but Carpenter Brut will forever be the king (the "new" Maniac is amazing).

Ashes of Malmouth is on the way, and the cityscape looks great. Too bad my laptop is "getting slow". And I found a coffee shop the other day, I mean the proper kind where they roast their beans and sell them, that'll be my next grand downtown adventure.

Other than that, just trucking on. I should truck on a little harder, but now it's Saturday and I should take it easy. I.e. sleep.

EDIT 2017-09-24: I cannot stop listening to Maniac by CB, except for All Along the Watchtower it might be the best cover ever made. I'm only missing a studio version with a spot-on solo.

And OLKB Planck with Gateron blue + crazy keycap set... That's life.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas

That's a strange name for a documentary, I thought at first.

The funny part was that in the news just before I saw this on TV, young newly rich Indians expressed their happiness with their new life style with shopping, parties etc. And then this documentary comes on, and India turns out to be an antagonist towards the indigenous people of Ethiopia, the Anuak (gasp Chromium does not recognize that word!). We all know this is happening all the time, throughout history and now, so the surprising thing to me is that every time one hears about it it's equally emotional...

So, the very rich try to be nice and ship around money, and the poor countries "fight". Minimize casualties while improving the world someone in the World Bank said. I thought the expression The Goal Justifies the Means was rhetorical.

Anyway, the point is that this is a very nice documentary and you should see it, and every other point in this post is emotional filler that should be ignored ;)

This reminds me of something much, much more horrible. Some years ago I'm sure I posted something about Rondônia. For whatever reason I started looking for random things on Google Maps in hopes to discover an uncovered temple in south east Asia or maybe even Mel's hole, when I suddenly saw a huge weird structure in a country in the middle of South America. Very square mountains probably, there's no way all that is human made. Oh the humanity, zoom in and be amazed. It's absolutely f-ing ridiculous how much has been cut down in this area. Take a look to the right, even more vast areas of it. How many native inhabitants + animals were "relocated" for these fun exercises in development and improved living? I just cannot see myself buying a Pernambuco bow, no matter how many new such plants the luthiers plant. It's just the whole mentality of precious resources and how they fit in a huge world... I should also ponder the real footprint of a carbon fiber bow, but if all I ever do is ponder I'll never get another bow :p

Gosh dang it, I'm on vacation, I need to calm down. Time to sleep.

2017-09-05: I forgot about the WWII bomb in Frankfurt, I know some people nearby who might have had a forced weekend from working at the university. If that thing had gone off, the construction of FAIR would have been postponed even longer... That was kind of a joke, in several ways. Anyway, time to do some work on my vacation, gotta finish some teaching material.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

"Home"

In Göteborg, had dinner with slightly cured cod + some vegetables + 4 kinds of bread, and beer. It took me a while to realize that Swedish food is really good, albeit very expensive... 300 SEK for that :p Some big festival downtown and they just blew up a bunch of fireworks. Afternoon weather was great, just started raining. I've missed this.

One week of work at my home university, and then finally some "summer" vacation with family and friends. Will try to figure some things out, and hopefully finish some lecturing material during the upcoming working week so I won't have to do anything at all on my vacation *fingers crossed*.

Presto (1001) and Gigue (1004) are currently my favorite pieces to practice with since they're both technically not so difficult and they are rather lively, but I force myself to go through with the more technical material at least for warm-up. Didn't bring my violin, so I'll have to wait for the real vacation to play again.

EDIT 2017-08-20: Been looking for information on the total solar eclipse coming up in almost one day, I hope I'll get to see one sometime. Didn't know about many of the events that happen at the same time, which makes me want to see one even more. The US will have another one in 2024, perhaps I should plan for that one.

And it seems Margaret Hamilton is finally receiving some attention. And Stephen Hawking's ACAT is on Github. And I keep thinking about starting reading, but I can never decide on what to read... And video/USB repeaters are garbage and I don't want to waste my life on them any longer. It's Sunday evening, I might go to sleep :p

EDIT 2017-08-26: Back in my home-town. Kinda warm (did wear t-shirt + pullover + jacket, but didn't really need the jacket...), bit gray, but I don't miss the crazy warm weather from the continent at all. Not yet. And Raspberry Pi:s really are irritating toys that should not be pushed beyond the simplest tasks, I almost lost my sanity this last week trying to make one do my bidding. Even missed a Ph.d. defense I was curious about because of it, although co-workers who had time said it was incomprehensible (string theory). Related to this, I keep thinking about something a high-school friend of mine asked me a few years ago during a run; "why don't someone like you do the really cool theoretical physics stuff?" I couldn't answer him. Recently I decided I won't think "I wish I took more risks" like most people regret not doing, but not understanding certain things that other people do, that I would deeply regret. Found some old books already, started reading. Gonna get there.

Friday, 4 August 2017

A kilo of planets plox

Just watched Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Very pretty, quite fun, and regular film reviewers are just being douchebags and giving it bad scores because they think they're cool. The Imdb score fits ok (6.8), and "nerdy" film reviewers on yt are very fair I'd say. I don't know what the rest of the world is trying to achieve, it's really not a bad film, although not amazing. I enjoyed it way more than Nolan's films... While watching it, I was thinking about Serenity and Firefly and how nice it would be for Valérian to get a spin-off TV series, i.e. the opposite. Ah, the beauty of dreaming... Oh right, the lead actors really didn't play well together, but that is my only real complaint.

I'm trying to be a little less cynical these days, and one of my first steps has been to watch some 3D films again. Even after all these years, they suffer from _EXACTLY_ (yah, I went both caps and bold, I'm flippin' serious) the same problems as the first films that were released: 30 Hz is so very incredibly really much too slow, you cannot pan things over the screen in 3D, especially not with high contrast imagery, and real footage looks like shoite. I understand having two cameras set up properly is very costly and time consuming, but when you have two billboard people in 3D looking at each others' ears, I cannot help but sigh, turn my eyes, and somehow giggle a little inside of myself. YOU CANNOT USE 2D FILM TECHNIQUES TO MAKE 3D FILMS. Game developers know this so extremely well, but oh yeah, that's a lower form of entertainment so why would film creators care. However, when well made CG kicks in and it doesn't pan or have too much contrast or over-use perspective/depth budget (this is a big subject, look it up), it looks pretty nice. Still, film-makers will need a few more decades to perfect this new art, looks a little "doll housey" very often, it's not yet beautiful.

Anyway, was a nice evening. I start to get more of a feeling for when what films are considered "great", and personally it's not what makes films great for me. I like it when a film leaves certain artistic room in my mind for me to fill in, but not the kind that "they are supposed to". Oh, and the really best part? There were like 10 people in the hall room. As we say in Sweden, lyx.

Sleepy time!