Only the best, artisan oil

2 July 2017

It’s pretty late as I’m writing this, and I’ll definately not hit my 8 hour’s worth by tomorrow. Not just today, every day. If I need to be up at 7, I’ll sleep at midnight. Up by 10, sleep at 3 in the morning. I know this is a terrible habit, and I’m sure that for every hour I sleep to little, I lose two in productivity during the day.

Not sure why I do it. Not wanting to sleep is not part of it, I love sleeping. Part of it is not wanting to call it a day, and having to “tally the resuls” of that day. Part of it is not wanting to wake up, starting obligations. Many of them due to my procrastination today.

Secretely I do know what it is. After about 10pm, I live in the moment. Everything is quiet. There is no sunlight to distract me with the notion that there is a place outside my direct experience. No sms, whatsapp, viber, email, phone, etc… No food to prepare, nothing on my calendar. Just time to do whatever I feel like. It’s in these hours that I read, write, study, play games, etc…

Sometimes I think it might be more productive than office hours!

(43365)

The Wire 201

29 June 2017

If you haven’t watched the wire, skip this post.

Obviously, I like the wire a whole lot. I love the wire a whole lot. If you don’t, you probably won’t get a lot out of this post. Best to leave. Everyone who loves (or even watches?) the Wire cannot shut up about it, and neither can I. Hence, one big post to get it out of my system once and for all.

I don’t particularly care for Stringer Bell. He doesn’t change during the entire saga. He’s smart, he’s an asshole, and he only seems to cares for Avon. He has his place, but I imagine he could have been written a lot better. The actor, Idris Elba, definitely has the range to pull off a much more sophisticated character. The educated gangster from the project is also a very lazy stereotype to use. Even his betrayal of Avon feels lazy.

Avon doesn’t seem to evolve either, but somehow his character works. And I think it’s because you gradually get to know his character. He starts out as a typical drug kingpin, in it for the money. But, after a while, he turns into a very sensual character. He doesn’t care about the money at all. He cares about the “game”: winning in a competition, defending his reputation. Adhering to a very strict code of conduct. Tis gradual reveal that keeps his character interesting. There is some danger that was actually a too simple, dangerous stereotype, but it has some real hart in it. Perhaps could use some more Marc Anthonyesque

Omar is a very specific case. My take on it is that he shouldn’t have been in it, even though he might be the most popular in it. He doesn’t evolve at all, even though he might doubt himself. If you try to imagine him in a revenge flick, it would be a bad one. Unlike all the other characters, he’s not part of an institution, and that sort of lobotomizes him. He’s 100% in control of his own actions. He’s affable, he’s fun, but ultimately uninteresting.

Brother Mozone is the logical extreme of this. He’s unbelievable, one-dimensional, and a very bad blow against the suspension of belief. Even in a Marvel superhero Netflick, he would be a terrible villain. I really would like to know the motivation for including him (just as Omar). Audience testing?

Bubbles is obviously the main character of the show, no debate. He goes through multiple arcs. I cried through most of them. Others, laughed. He is profoundly tragic, as even as tragedy happens to him, his reaction to it only deepens the hole. Apparently, he was so good at his role, that during a break in shooting a junky gave him some free heroin because he was looking so bad.

I think Bodie is a slightly different take on Bubbles. He’s empathic, he cares. He’s smart, protective. He didn’t even set the first step on the path of his life, but he follows his destiny with a fatalistic determination. This is very evident from his final scene, where he fully comes to terms with the destiny life has forced upon him. Without even a single complaint.

Season 2? We don’t talk about season 2.

So that’s about 10% of what I wanted to say about the wire. I guess more posts could be incoming…

(41365)

The Wire

29 June 2017

If you’ve watched the wire, please feel free to skip this post.

It was always heading to this direction. Anyone who likes, or perhaps has simply seen The wire, can’t help evangelizing it to everyone at every (in)opportune moment. So here goes.

You really, really need to watch the wire. For me, it’s the show where characters are flawed, and evolve. Good characters get punished for it. Bad people sometimes prosper. Drug dealers can be good people, victims of circumstances. Some fight to become something better, some rush towards their unwelcome destiny out of a sense of duty. People shape institutions, institutions shape people. No one is one thing (with some very notable exceptions). In short, it’s a show about a lot of very different people, and how they, and their relationships evolve.

Which doesn’t mean there isn’t some bullshit going on. Some of the characters seem written in for popular appeal. Others are too one-dimensional. Some of the episodes go nowhere, and are irrelevant for all future ones.

But watch it. You’ll probably know after the first scene of the pilot. It’s amazing.

(40365)

Great words

29 June 2017

Sisyphusian is one of them

(39365)

You thought we'd forget

29 June 2017

Have you watched the TV show “The Wire”? You really should if you haven’t, but it’s not the time for me to convince you of that fact. There’s a beautiful, tragic character that accidentally is directly responsible for the death of his best friend. He immediately confesses his crime to the police. He even tries to commit suicide right there and then, in the police station. The policeman in charge releases him right there and then. Something to the effect of “The memory alone is punishment enough”.

On the other hand, the ancient Eghyptians had an entirely different way to punish unpopular pharaos. They would literally erase him from history, with hammer and chisel if need be. This is the approach advocated in relation to the current president, even in the current digital age where such a feat would be Sisyphusian.

Dear reader, which one are you most afraid of?

(38365)

You don't want to be my kid

27 June 2017

Imagine you would like to build something with your kids, as a learning experience. For example, a bike. No gears, simple brakes, simple frame. You can probably fit everything you have to make in your head. But you still need to build it…

You’d probably have to have some sort of rule, so you don’t cop out. For example, are external tools bought, or also made? Are big tools (eg professional lathe, or an oven) allowed? If you need steel, do you just buy steel, or do you try to make it from ore? Some of this might sound completely over the top, but imagine you have 10 years or more to do it. Because it’s a lot more complicated then it sounds. You’d probably skip gears, but you would need breaks. Lights would be a nice side project as as well. But what would be the rules?

My kneejerk would be this: you have to do everything once. Then you get to do the shortcut. For example: you need some steel. Do it once. This is already huge, as you need to build a forge, etc… But if you have a single lump, you get to simply order it every time you need it. If you need a gear, you make a single one that fits badly (but still works), and then order what you need.

I know how crazy this sounds, but I think such a thing would be extremely educational. I actually lack a lot of formal education in computer science, and I would love to build a machine from scratch. I have no idea of anything beneath the lowest forms of programming. Of course, you would have to settle with an extremely basic machine, something not unlike the earliest “build it yourself” computers, eg the gorgeous (Altair 8800)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800]. Once you manage the most meagre of chips, it would even be an idea to find one of the “golden oldies”, such as the 8080.

(37365)

Coining it

27 June 2017

Malice tempered by incompetence

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Left Right

27 June 2017

I’m definitely a walker. I live in the bike capital of Belgium, and due to the enormous ratio of students to population it’s the bike theft capital of Europe. Every single one of my friends commutes by bicycle, be it dropping kids off in the morning, going to the train station, or the entire commute. The train I take every morning and evening is full of people with collapsible bicycles.

I walk. About 5 kilometers every day. So does my father. He used to walk about the same to his lab, and that’s a route everyone bikes. My brother doesn’t own a bike. My sister doesn’t own a bike. It’s weirdly genetic. If we had a placard we’d be a weird movement. I’d claim the two wheeler was the devil’s machination. That man was not meant to balance. That we should weld them all together in a big, climable pyramid. Install all the bells in such a way that offenders can be punished by a cacophony of rings.

Not that I don’t like bicycles, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be an inquisitive Luddite. Because I’m suspecting that perhaps they were right.

(35365)

Tastebuds.fm

22 June 2017

Totally out of character, but I’m member of a dating site called Tastebuds.fm. Nobody uses it for dating. It’s mostly a place to shout into the void. But it does have one amazing, unique feature, and you should join just for that.

Tastebuds.fm allows you to find the the one user that matches you the best. Which is huge. This is the person, out of tens of thousands of others, matches your music taste the best. If you’re like me, your musical taste aligns a lot with your soul.

Turns out my musical soulmate is a wonderful 22 year old Columbian. Huh. As sappy as it sounds, we’ve established a common level of sappiness. Especially around Tindersticks, Nick Cave, and Mississippi Delta blues. We’ve really dialed in a very specific frequency of melancholy, a kind of music that’s hard to appreciate without being empathic about it.

It’s actually really nice to see the Internet connecting people this well, considering how terrible it can be in the day to day.

(34365)

Will totally work

22 June 2017

Sorry for the rant. Something constructive this time. Every day, half of the wealth of the richest person in the world will get redistributed. Surely, if you’re the richest, you can afford it?

(33365)