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Series of self portaits

Feb. 15th, 2007 | 05:07 pm
location: Home
mood: sillysilly
music: Nora Jones

Well we all know that girlfriends cannot remember their boyfriends face for more than 24hrs so I did a series of daily photos to remind Taska that I was still alive while she was in Berlin, and accidently uploaded 1 extra.

These were all done in Munich. The two standing ones were outside, the rest were inside my apartment. they all were done without flash.

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Fun Anime Story "Gunslinger Girl"

Feb. 11th, 2007 | 01:18 pm

I watched an Anime series called "Gunslinger Girl" which I rather enjoyed.

Basic premise for those not familiar.  The Italian government in the not too distant future has created super-cybernetic assassins out of dying little girls.  These girls are paired with supervisors and called Frattellos (Brothers or siblings).  The girls are brainwashed bound to their supervisors and trained to kill and the pair are used as assassins.

The characterizations of the girls are fun but not realistic.  They all should be entirely mentally deranged. At least 2 were beaten near the end of their life and raped (Triela and Henrietta). Two had parents that really did not care for them, one (Angelica) was killed off by her own parents and another who was too sick (Rico) to be cared for by here parents.  The ability to display child like behavior juxtaposed with bloody killing is the main "hook" of the story.  The children are done well enough to make the viewer engaged with them but they don't make sense to me.

What is really GREAT are the "Supervisors."  Each is given a very unique personality, their own personality defects, which are mostly expressed with how they handle their girl.  This makes a great story telling technique, because we are never explicitly told about these people.  The story centers on the girl and her mission, but the real development and exposition of character is done on the "supervisor."

My complaint of the standard summary of the story is the comparison between brothers Giuseppe/Jose and Jean.  Giuseppe is suppose to be the one that considers his girl (Henrietta) a substitute sister and wants her to be more human than the she actually is.  His brother Jean is suppose to treat his girl (Rico) as "tool" and have no feeling for her.

The truth is that Jean may call his girl his "tool" and the best compliment he ever gives her is "that is adequate." and he never buys her things or takes her on trips, but he respects her and treats her well.  He may be cold, but he is not uncaring.  I find this an interesting distinction.  It reminds me of how people treat work animals, whether they are for food or police dogs.  Some people think of them as their children they want to coddle them.  Others just "use" them.  But if they get sick, or something threatens them; they will work very hard to take care of them.  Because they see value in them, even if they don't have a personal relationship.  This is opposed to Lauro who is killed by his lovesick girl "Elsa."  In some respects the story is more different.  Both show no positive emotion to their charges, but Jean respects his "tool."  He takes care of it and he does reward it.  If you think of human interactions from a behaviorists style perspective you have primary and secondary conditioners.  In the case of these girls "praise" from the supervisor is a primary motivator.  It does not matter if the words are "unfeeling" the fact that positive words "that is acceptable" are given is enough to make Rico happy and satisfied that she is being praised, and she does receive that feedback regularly.

I think the parallel could be made with a simple tool like a power-saw.  Jean is someone who does not love his power-saw if it breaks he will get a new one.  That does not mean he doesn't care for it.  He cleans it up after every use.  He oils it, replaces the bearings, sharpens the blades, in other words takes care of its  needs.  Lauro uses his tool, but disliked it.  He hated having to use a power-saw when he could be using something else.  He didn't bother to maintain it, did not give it the basic feedback and one day the blade came off and killed him.

I see this as an important difference.   Care is not love.  Care is important and perhaps more important than Love for making things function.   Even emotionally uninvolved caring is enough to nurture something.  It is enough to train animals, it is enough to help school children.  The big question is it enough for people.  I believe this story comes thoroughly on the side of no.

Gunslinger Girl

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Freedivng Croatia 2006, attempts at Video

Feb. 11th, 2007 | 12:24 pm

I mixed a little video last week of my September 2006 freedives.

This is actually 5 different dives mixed together.  I am not trying to make my dive times look longer, it was the only form of narative I could come up with for mixing the videos.  I just took my favourite footage that I had taken.  The conversion back and forth from mp3 -> aac -> mp3 has not been kind to Enya's music.  I guess my production toolchain needs more work.

For those readers interested in the toolchain.

Video is from a Canon SD 550 640x480 60fps imported into Apple's iMovie as 720p HD Video Exported into Quicktime H.264, then cropped and re-encoded with mencoder to Xvid 320x240 (reccomended by YouTube).

Enjoy the video, it is the best summary I did.

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Little Santa Just wants to ROCK

Dec. 18th, 2006 | 08:54 pm

For a more bneely style post.

Little Santa got tired of being picked on by big Santas and needed to listen to really loud music.

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San Francisco Bay Area

Dec. 4th, 2006 | 05:29 pm
location: Mountain View, CA, USA
mood: chipperchipper
music: Ramstein, Reise Reise

Well I am out in the Bay Area again.

Working at Flock HQ.  Mostly preparing for partner projects for the week, fly out Friday night.

Since it is so much cheaper to fly if you stay over a weekend.  I came out Saturday night and stayed with Mike & Margi up in SF in Beral Hights.

I tried bring 12 bottles of beer in my back made for 6 and two died in the trip.  So I had beer soaked cloths. (1 Koelsh and 1 Hefeweizen lost).

Sunday was fun.  Wound up going to Dim Sum at Koi Palace.  And had many misadventures navigating Daly City. (keys, cell phones, out of date directions, ...)

Johnathan, Brett and I enjoyed the sunny warm (for me, not for Californians) weather in Golden Gate Park.

I actually got to have good Chicago Style Pizza in SF at Little Star.  I tend to categorize Chicago style Pizza's into Giordano's (my favorite), Edwardo's, Gino's, and "Modern Chicago Uno's" (Uno's is generally credited as the creator of Chicago style pizza, but the chains stores out of Chicago don't serve the same product, nor does Uno's in Chicago compared to what it ued to make).  Little Star is a pretty good take on Edwardo's style.

So in case you havn't guessed the most fun part of going back to the US for me is Friends and Food.

At Elise's place (Elise, Margie, Mike, Johnathan)

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A bit morbid, but I still love Kazantzakis quotes.

Nov. 28th, 2006 | 04:49 pm
location: München
mood: mellowmellow

I collect my tools: sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, intellect. Night has fallen, the day's work is done. I return like a mole to my home, the ground. Not because I am tired and cannot work. I am not tired. But the sun has set.

-Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

I only realized last year  that Kazantzakis studied with Bergson at University which makes a tremendous amount of sense if you have read both.

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Fun article about me in a Major German Newspaper

Oct. 31st, 2006 | 10:34 am
location: München
mood: cheerfulcheerful
music: Johny Cash, Walk the Line

Another article this time in Jetzt (Now) the youth section of the Süddeutsche newspaper. One of the big national (quality as opposed to tabloid) newspaper in Germany.
Er kannte das Internet, als es noch ganz klein war - und ist mit ihm groß geworden: Jetzt arbeitet Robin Slomkowski an der Zukunft des Web

jetzt.de [Botschaft]


He knew the Internet as he was very small, and it grew up along with him.  Now Robin Slomkowski works on the future of the Web.

The article covers how I first started using the Internet in 1991, while I was working at Brian Mathew's molecular biology lab at the University of Oregon.  How I was unimpressed when I first saw a web browser, and how I am now trying work on a web browser that brings your personal connections back to you.

If you read German it is a very well written article.

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Cafe Hell

Oct. 25th, 2006 | 12:16 pm

Just a funny name for english speaker.

Holle is Hell  in German

Hell in German just means light

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Out Hiking

Oct. 23rd, 2006 | 11:17 am
mood: chipperchipper
music: Hills are Alive With the Sound of Music

Well this weekend I was out hiking.

Saturday in Austria on Pendling near Kufstein.

and on Sunday out at Tegernsee on Neureuth.

I do appreciate being able to go on nice hikes without owning a car.  In an effort to keep the trains full on weekends they have the Bayern Ticket here which is 25 Euro and lets you take up to 5 people on the Regional trains in Bavaria all day long.  Strangely it also lets me go to Kufstein which is in Austria but apparently close enough to count as honorary Bavarians.

Susan Reagel has been visiting us from the Porland, OR, USA, she was the quick hiker.  Taska looks like she is having a little less fun climbing the Mountain.  The Raven however looked the happiest.

It was a pretty hard hike, very steep, but in classic Alpine tradition there was a restaurant/guest house at the top of the mountain.  Here are some of the views from there.

Sunday was out a Tegernsee.  I very popular weekend destination for Muencheners.  It was a much easier hike.  It is about an hour out of town on the BOB.  I always find it funny the amount of English the BOB announcements use for what really is a very regional train.

There were these neat beetles and the beech trees were changing color and catching the light and glowing.

Susan got some painting in at the top of the Mountain, one of the fun things about following Susan down the hill is watching here hair whip from side-to-side like a pendulum.

It was dark by the time we made it  back down, but there were some nice old buildings in the town of Tegernsee and the some lights reflected off the dark water.

My legs are tired this morning after so much hiking this weekend.  Back to sitting and working on the computer.

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Quizes: Stress & Afterlife (Medium/Waiting Room)

Oct. 16th, 2006 | 08:27 am
location: München
mood: sillysilly
music: Herr der Diebe

Esther posted her quiz results, I follow.

I am a higher stress person, and am apparently going to be spending eternity in comical buracracy.

Your Stress Level is: 52%

You are somewhat prone to stress, especially when life gets hard.
When things are good, you resist stressing over little problems.
But when things are difficult, you tend to freak out and find it hard to calm down.

After you die...
the Beetlejuice Waiting Room

After death, you will end up in an overcrowded waiting room sitting beside Beetlejuice. You've been given the number 736 076 827 378 919 023, but they are currently serving number 3. Good Luck.


Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

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