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!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Intermission

Mini origami Pegasus because NeuLAND is simply running and doing its job:

I folded this guy from a piece of cigarette paper from a friend of mine, using only my hands except for one step: getting out the stupid little flap in front of the tail, I had to use a pair of scissors for that. I did all the semi-tricky sink-folds (to 80% or so, it was hard to see...). Note the size difference between the creator's hand (mine) and the figure in the first photo. The most intense 1 hr non-stop folding I've ever done.

One more week of my last NeuLAND-stay in Japan, then it goes back to GSI. Kinda. Maybe.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

And "back" soon again

Next, and last, trip to Japan on the 13th, in a week. For NeuLAND anyhow, I'm pretty sure I'll go there a few more times eventually. I should splurge a little this time and find some amazing food, rather than relying on the culinary pit that is Wako. Don't get me wrong, the food in pretty much every restaurant there is still way better than what you'd normally find outside of Japan imho, but, there's much better...

So, I didn't run every Sunday, but I did run once, 13 km in 31 C and 90% humidity. Crazy, I almost boiled over. However, after that I could cope much better with the really warm days we've had here. I did continue with a large pot for oatmeal and it's so much nicer. And I've been practicing sourdough baking, but methinks I should look for exact recipes and stop eye-balling ingredients while keeping my eyes closed.

Something happened with my violin playing this last week, I can suddenly play through the first part of Giga from BWV1004 without going all over the place. "Hey, I recognize this now!" I hit notes with my left hand a lot better and more consistently, probably because the last few weeks I was practicing the motions of my left hand fingers (dropping?), and also paid more attention to my bowing. I also noticed I really, really like the Bernardel rosin after having tried the Hill Dark for a bit. Beautiful tactile sensation and a soft tone, but probably a little less loud. I'll keep the Hill Dark for whenever I get into playing super fast tunes, I'm sure the extra grip could help to increase the "attack" as my guitarist side would call it. Oh right, I also started fiddling around with Presto from BWV1001, another one of the not so horribly difficult parts that still sound incredible at times. On my way to Bachdom (that's supposed to be a good word, like "freedom").

Summer suddenly got very busy too, I have been worried about my vacation. Japan for 5 weeks, Chalmers for 1 week to fix a stupid touch monitor, a bunch of days in Mainz for an evaluation experiment to later measure the proton radius with electron scattering, preparing an experiment in Dubna, and it seems like I got out of another commissioning experiment at KVI. I think I can squeeze in a 2 week holiday back home in Sweden somewhere there, preferably with the Chalmers trip. I love them paid trips ^_^

Time for a shower and soba for supper with homemade dashi stock! I have 1 week to finish 4 bunches of delicious soba, so I better get cracking. Dude, the things I have to put up with.

2017-06-15: Had a short night's sleep after my trip to Japan, and as usual I'll comment the films I watched on the flight, only two this time:

  • Lego Batman: They really pack a huge amount of material in the Lego films, must be great to work on. First one was better and more memorable, there were fewer Lego jokes this time. I was a bit puzzled that they didn't go to the "real world", perhaps they thought the ending note from the first film is the main reason this one was made?
  • Hidden Figures: I liked the stunt at the Academy Award ceremony. But it's a Costner film, i.e. super duper sappy, with all the focus on boring people and less on what they actually did. "Yay maths!", "yay science!", ugh. The super-ancient Euler method (*cringing into a super-small ball*), some equations and diagrams, moving a probe from-here-to-there, attending engineering courses which talk about Planck and Einstein... Don't get me wrong, a lot of people from many places in a lot of fields and locations struggled and made important changes through time, and we should never forget. But when will media ever change to fairly depict the work of any expert? I dunno, a decent film, some good points, but lacking the "spark", at least for us nerds.
The rest of the flight I was reading or trying to nap, didn't feel the urge to taint my childhood memories by watching the new Beauty and the Beast... Alright, time to get to work! In a few hours when everybody else is awake.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Back

Didn't run for over a month, and this evening I did 4 min 40 s / km for 8.5 km, quite ok considering how I treated myself in Japan. I should run at least every Sunday from now on, if only to see the blue sky and relentless sun a bit more. Best part of running is still twisting my head sideways and seeing the world bob its way past me. *Bob* *bob* *bob*

Stove and oven broke down, but 2/4 burners still work so I can survive. It's pretty nice to make oatmeal in a huge pot rather than a small casserole, I'll keep doing that. And I need to try sourdough again, gonna buy some coarse flour in the shop tomorrow after work.

Playing the violin when I can. A few days ago I found some confidence somewhere and played a little louder than usual in my apartment, and it turned out my neighbour couldn't hear me still, I asked yesterday when we went to a drink market and bought beer, a liquor, and the lovely Ardbeg Corryvreckan, that was a lovely calm evening of whisky tasting with a fellow connoisseur. Anyway, from now on I'll play more freely, it really helps the playing. Gear-wise I'm pretty happy, the violin does sound a little strange as I go up the neck, but first I better be able to actually do that before I complain about things other than myself.

New violin concerto on the way, this time in Frankfurt so I won't have to go very far. Have to buy two CR2025:s for the stupid bank gizmo for Volksbank online banking which eats batteries like the snot monster eats boogers. The thingamajig for SEB still hasn't run out of batteries since I got it, say, 15 years ago? German manufacturing is nothing compared to Swedish :D *Hides*

Gotta supervise a new supervisor for a Mössbauer spectroscopy lab tomorrow morning, so this will be an early night. Good night and sweet dreams which are made of... This? I never figured out what they meant by that.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Hanami again

Funny how I get to watch hanami twice in a row, it's really pretty.

And to continue from the last post, french press is pretty good, if you have appropriate coffee for it. Ethiopian Blueberry Heaven through filter, Guatemala Naranjo in the press. But now they're both gone and I need to order something new, but first I need to finish my business trip to Japan. Kani miso is great btw.

Another loose end was that code in Silicon Valley, of course it was an easter egg. No excuse for that typedef though :p

Skipped a month. Had a period of soul searching I suppose, and I feel I'm getting colder and colder. Which is what people expect from me; whenever I break into my conservative childish nerdy demeanor, people recoil and turn their minds elsewhere. They're happy when I'm boring, or normal and "grown up" as most would say. At least my violin is always there to warm me up. "Never grow up, never surrender!" Enough of that, gonna finish my Nissin cup noodle (oh the childhood memories) and get to work!

EDIT 2017-04-05:Apparently going to the cinema is a good thing for watching a film. Some good responses, my take:

  1. The big screen - 1/z, also lower quality than even my cheap laptop monitors. Quality over quantity.
  2. People everywhere - Encourages anonymous group behaviour which I'm vehemently against, plus I laugh more freely and honestly on my own. Sneezing, coughing, whispering, wrappers/popcorn noise, too much laughing at shit jokes, the smells, the back of heads, nasty chairs, the f*ing pile of nightmares and sticky goo everywhere when you walk out... And walk in. Reminds me of medieval shoite-fest towns.
  3. Focus - Already a contradiction. This is why I don't read (online) magazines. A good film will make me focused, and I can only be 100% focused on the real time content when I'm alone.
  4. Relentlessness - Yeah, nothing like the hardcore adrenaline pumping non-stop savagery that is a film theater. I saw a middle aged man convulsing and foaming at the mouth one time, and the young lady just behind him whacked him in the solar plexus with the chair she was sitting on after ripping it out of the ground, bolts and nuts stripped clean, embedding themselves a few inches into the walls. Really swift acting, just in time for the biggest action sequence in the film to come up. The cinema is intense.
  5. A massive speaker system - Which are all rubbish compared to my 200 EUR Denon headphones + 150 EUR DAC+amp. Better even than the IMAX in Berlin. Again Q over Q.
  6. Previews - Youtube. And friends. I have a few.
  7. Disruption - Focus, relentlessness, now this. A goldfish should show the author how to make a list of 10 unique independent items. A film that requires disruption is bad, shut it down and do something else.
  8. Alone time - Uuuuhhh... Author, read what you wrote just 1 min ago you f*ing idiot.
  9. 32 ounces of cola in the dark - Ok, I'm def. not going to the cinema now, this is disgusting.
  10. Bragging rights - I recently learnt that many (most?) games published by Wadjet Eye Games were developed in Adventure Game Studio, which has been open source for a few years. It even compiles and runs in OpenBSD! I downloaded Primordia which I got off of GoG almost a year ago, but I didn't quite find the time to start it here in Japan yet. I started listening to the soundtrack, and it's pretty good stuff, I'm happy I'm a sci-fi geek. Technobabylon was on sale but I just missed it, that game seems to have an even better soundtrack. And this list entry has absolutely nothing to do with the topic.
In closing, I still go to the cinema if friends ask me. The dinner before the film tends to be the best part though. Anyway, I'm honestly very happy, this is just my happiness shining through ;)

EDIT 2017-04-05: (Yes, another one on the same day...) I won't watch the new Ghost in the Shell movie, but that's simply because it just won't be anywhere near as good as the original. I don't care about white-washing, but here's a thought on that: The problem is not that Hollywood is casting super famous white actors/actresses to make money, the problem is "Who's that asian lady?" vs "It's Scarlett!". What will make them more money, i.e. what will people pay for? I will never understand why the public cannot take criticism. Just like with Trump. I shouldn't care :p