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See Daniel Dennett for the title. You might also be looking for the OFFICIAL Ted Jesus Christ GOD Site.
Gyros and fries for dinner, ice cream for dessert. Inside: art, rodents, software, movies, and back to the news. Or olds, as the case may be. All that and more. Or less.
Art: I recently became acquainted with the works of Wojciech Siudmak, a Polish artist of fantastic realism living in France. It is a type of pop-surrealism (the website likes the term hyperrealism, which I find unfortunate, for it is the same term used in discussions of Baudrillard and simulacra/simulation)—anyone looking at Siudmak’s images will be reminded of Dali and company, but also of Giger and of more “traditional” fantasy artists (Michael Whelan, for example) as well. I find this style (as well as the subject matter) quite pleasing ... were I to paint more, I suspect I would paint many things in this style. One must admire Siudmak’s draftsmanship; I appreciate those who have the technical skill to unveil or reveal their creative impulses.
Rodents: I was made aware of a certain rat photo, which was described to me as follows (thanks, Jenkins): “I like how they used a picture of the rat with the most insane, almost psychopathic glare they could find to illustrate this story.”
I grew up on a hobby farm of sorts, out in the country a bit; it is all suburbs now. We had over an acre, a few head of cattle, some sheep, rabbits, that sort of thing. Tasty. In any case, once one spring we tipped/turned over one of the wooden feeders, under which excess hay, straw, mud, and manure had gathered, and out scuttled a family of mice. Our outside cats, all farm cats, had a field day, so to speak. We did not let them have all the mice; we took a small family of them, found an old cooler, filled it with straw, and made them a nice nest of sorts. There they lived peacefully for some time.
For some time.
Software: Debian 3.1 (aka Sarge) has been released. I installed it today on an old Pentium 133 with 32MB of memory and a 1.3GB drive. The CD-Rom could not read CD-Rs, so I had to go for boot floppies and a network install.
It is an improvement of sorts over previous Debian installs and installers, perhaps because it has better hardware detection and does not need to be so interactive. I never had issues with the previous installer, but it was, admittedly, a bit verbose, although thorough.
Layer Cake: Because it was supposed to be directed by Guy Ritchie and because it actually was directed by the man who produced Ritchie’s earlier films, Layer Cake has been compared to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Judged according to certain criteria those two films are superior: superior in humor, superior in the humorous coincidence department, superior in the stupid criminal division, and superior in the crime-gone-wrong category. There is a more leisurely feel to Layer Cake in comparison, and whereas in the other two films a variety of events coincide in an almost chaotic spatial layering, here they occur in sequence. In common they share thugs, wealthy crime bosses, and matters of money, often related to drugs. Here it is not a matter of misunderstanding, such as not knowing from whom you are stealing, although there are a few twists and revelations along the way.
While Layer Cake shares some sensibilities and a certain visual styling with those other two films, its outlook has more in common with Michael Mann’s Heat (1995) one might say: a criminal trying to get out of the business, the crime going wrong, and an unstoppable transition from control and order to chaos. The main weakness of the movie, as I see it, is the undeveloped nature of too many of the non-lead characters; many do not even have cipher or type status—the dialogue and acting is fine, but without more whip-quick wit and action (see Lock, Stock ...), a greater degree of characterization or at least character interaction is necessary.
Night Watch: Based on a series of novels by Sergey Lukyanenko, Night Watch (Nochnoi dozor) is a ‘hit’ Russian fantasy-horror movie soon to be released in the U.S. by Fox. The story is, to a certain extent, simple, for it (at least the movie) incorporates many of the standard fantasy motifs. In particular it is a story of good versus evil, each of which is embodied by armies of Light and Dark. Thus we should think of Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series as well as, in film terms, such movies as Versus, or the whole Jedi-Sith Light-and-Dark side of the Force conflict of the Star Wars universe. Where it differs a bit is in having the Light and Dark each mediated by the Night Watch and the Day Watch—members of the Light and Dark who maintain a truce of sorts between the opposing forces. The Others are humans with supernatural abilities who then choose either the Light of the Dark, and the truce will not last forever, for a Great One is foretold, one who will tip the balance one way or the other. Savior or Antichrist? one might ask. Again, that is to say: the material is well-known—witches and vampires each make appearances, for example. Chases through subways, showdowns on rooftops—all seen before. What Night Watch has to offer is a sincere ernestness, a belief in its own project. It contains original imagery (e.g. spidery puppets, the transformation from owl to woman) and truly human interactions, even (especially!) between adversaries. It shares a lot in common with Underworld, a likewise ernest project captivated by its own mythology—Underworld was a failure, and in the end it too quickly reduced itself to Hollywood action fare, but it was an interesting if clumsy failure, one with potential. Because Night Watch is part of a trilogy, the ending is unfortunately weak, though it provides the proper setup for a sequel.
News: Is she dead or not? Yesterday reports were made of a confession, that one of those in custody would lead authorities to her body, but today ... no, no, no. And guess what ... once again it was the top story on numerous serious news sites. I am beating a dead horse (there was a horse race today, too ... I do not care about that either), but this is rather insane—Natalee Holloway is getting more news time than Michael Jackson these days.
Where are our priorities?
—June 11 2005