Inju
La bête dans l'Ombre
Un film de Barbet Schröder

陰獣 / Inju : la Bête dans l’ombre

Inju
La bête dans l'Ombre
Un film de Barbet Schröder

時々変な理由から映画を見ます。友達は「この映画で見られる町が京都じゃない金沢だ」と言いてから陰獣のディーブイディーを貸して貰いました。金沢です。初めて見られる道理は野町です主人公は金沢の兼六園で美人な玉緒とあいます。フランス人の男優は悪くてそれでどんな時代の日本を見られる謎です:今の車我が道理で皆が着物を着けます。話が予測できて遅くて映画ままと思いますが金沢を見られたから嬉しかったです。

De temps en temps, je regarde un film pour des raisons étranges. Après qu’une amie m’ait dit que la ville qu’on peut y voir n’est pas Kyōto, mais Kanazawa, je lui ai emprunté le DVD de Inju : la Bête dans l’ombre. C’est Kanazawa. Les rues que l’on peut voir au début du film sont à Nomachi, et le héros rencontre la belle Masao dans le Kenrokuen. L’acteur qui joue le héros français est mauvais au point que je me suis dit que ce film pourrait être la base d’un prochain OSS 117. Le japon que l’on voit dans ce film se situe dans une époque mystérieuse, il y a des voitures d’aujourd’hui, mais tout le monde est en kimono. L’histoire est prévisible, et lente, et j’ai trouvé le film médiocre, mais j’étais content, j’ai pu revoir Kanazawa.

From time to time, I watch a movie for strange reasons. After a friend told me that the city you can see in the background is not Kyōto, but Kanazawa, I borrowed the DVD of Inju: the Beast in the Shadow from her. It is indeed Kanazawa. The street you can see in the beginning is Nomachi, and the hero meets the beautiful Masao in the Kenrokuen. The actor playing the french hero is lousy, what time this movie plays in is a mystery: today’s car, but everybody wears a kimono in the street. The story is predictable and slow, and I found the movie quite bad, still I was happy as I saw Kanazawa again.

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XKCD: Craigslist Apartments – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License

House of Leaves

XKCD: Craigslist Apartments – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License

I more or less finished reading House of Leaves. I write more or less because there are still annexes, footnotes I have not read yet, I’m not sure that I will read them. So what is House of leaves? From the wikipedia to the back cover, all snippets proclaim this is the début of Mark Z. Danielewski for me it was first the book XCKD was making fun of all the time, for all the typographic play that happens in the book, you would expect that somebody would figure out the correct accent for début

The book has a complex structure, with three main stories, one in the main text flow, the second in the footnotes, the third in a sequence of letters in annex. The main text is the analysis of the The Navidson Record, a documentary about a strange house. The first level of footnotes (there are more) tells the story of Johnny Truant, who has recovered the manuscript of the above, and slowly sinks into madness. The letters are the ones Johnny’s mother sent him when he was a kid. Each narrative has a different layout, a different font.

Like Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore by Italo Calvino, this is a book about books, House of Leaves just has more of everything: pages, parallel narrations, footnotes, references typographic tricks and quirks. Readers familiar with Terry Pratchet’s Diskworld novels know that in those books, death speaks in capital letters, House of Leaves is full of this: each time the word house (or its equivalent in another language) appears in the text, it is slightly knocked off the line and in dark gray (other editions use different colours). The author plays with the various levels of a book: narration, translation, typography, layout. The text is choke full with codes: acrostic, morse, braille, but also references, quotes (including one from Woz) and analyses.

House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski
Books At Transworld
ISBN : 978-0-385-60310-2

The core issue of the book is that by having clever bits all over the place, the actual story becomes dull and slow. By half of the book, I started to feel the tricks were a bit all in the same vein. I liked the various interviews though, and the part where Johnny writes with long s (ſ) characters made me chuckle.
While I got some of the hidden things, they were not subtle enough to be completely ignored. So while the back-cover claims that it is distressingly scary, I was never really involved enough to be scared, and comparing this book to the works of Poe is just plain silly. Fear is not a feeling you can associate with the act of checking cross-references. In conclusion, a interesting book and a fun intellectual exercice, but in my opinion the book is way too long and too wrapped up in its cleverness to be a really effective story.

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Cover of Cyberpunk 2013 ⓒ Talsorian Games Inc.

Cyberpunk days

Cover of Cyberpunk 2013 ⓒ Talsorian Games Inc.

Today the weather is beautiful: sunny and warm, there is green and flowers everywhere. While the ambiance does not really fit, I realised that I now live in a cyberpunk world. As regular reader of this blog might have guessed, I read quite a lot of science-fiction, and cyberpunk literature has a special part in my heart. Mostly this has to do with the fact that it was new when I was a teenager, and therefore way better than anything ever done before.

Despite what some deluded physicist believe, science-fiction is not so much about science than about ideas – if you want science, read hard-science. Whereas classical science fiction was usually set far in the future to concentrate on one idea, alien life forms, robots, exotic conflicts, or strange societies, cyberpunk stories were usually set in the near future, and concentrated on themes closer to reality: globalisation, advanced computer science, powerful corporations.

In the eighties, the near future was basically now – the setting for the first Cyberpunk RPG was 2013. During the last twenty years, something really strange happened: a lot of the stuff predicted in those books happened. This is strange, because not many of the ideas underlying the classical science-fiction literature have ever become reality. We have the communication satellite envisioned by Arthur C. Clarke, but not much more. No spaceship: the last space shuttles went out of active service this year. I have two robots, but while they are quite good at sweeping the floor, they really have no clue about the laws of robotics. While there have been tremendous improvements in genetical science, the most interesting mutation around is the ability to digest milk, and it has been around for some time. While obesity is one the rise, nobody is about to morph into a sand worm…

Considering this, many cyberpunk predictions were pretty accurate:

  • Overreaching corporations that influence nations: ✔
  • Arab countries getting on the net in their own way: ✔
  • Europe a single economical entity: ✔
  • Economical collapse of countries, including the USA: ✔
  • Huge asian influence: ✔
  • End of fossil fuel: ✔
  • Everything is connected to a computer and can be hacked remotely: ✔
  • Widespread body modifications: ✔
  • Fetishist fashion: ✔

I can’t say I’m overjoyed by the way things turned out, and some things ended up differently than expected. Japan was then the super-power to become, this role will probably played by China.
We have not run out of fossil fuel but that’s on track, the US economy has not yet collapsed, but we still have two years until 2013. While cyberspace is an accepted idea, we can’t visualise this thing properly and Keanu Reeves seems to have colonised the place. The sad thing is that while piercings and tattoo are too common to even mention, the only body modification I really wanted, a direct connection from my brain to the computer, is nowhere to be found.

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Chart of the price of one KW/hour

Energy Costs

Chart of the price of one kW/hour

There has been a lot of discussion about energy around me lately, some of it quite emotional. One thing that struck me is that people generally don’t realise how cheap energies like electrical power and fossil fuel are. One question that came up during lunch yesterday was if from a price standpoint, biking was even cost effective.

First let us consider the price of energy. In Zürich, daytime electrical power costs CHF 0.185 per kiloWatt/hour (kW/h), a litre of diesel fuel costs CHF 1.86, and contains 37.3 mega Joules (mJ), which is ≈10.36 kW/h, which brings us to a price in around CHF 0.18 per kW/h. Now, let’s consider fuel for a human, in the form of a Mars bar. A pack of 6 × 45g Mars Classic is CHF 2.7, which is conveniently CHF 1.0 for 100g. The energy content of 100g is 1896 kilo Joules (kJ), which is ≈0.53 kW/h, so the energy price is CHF 1.9 per kW/h, basically ten times more expensive. One reason for this is that we typically use a lot of energy to create food.

The energy consumption of a bike is 1.62 kJ/(㎞ × ㎏), let us assume the bike, the rider and the stuff moved is 100㎏. So the energy consumption is 162 kJ/㎞, which gives us 0.045 kW/h/㎞. The swiss railways has a energy efficiency of 0.082 kW/h/㎞ per passenger. So from an energy standpoint, the bike is still more efficient than the train (although at a lower speed), and given the cost of the swiss railways, also cost effective: 100g of mars bar is sufficient for more than 10㎞. Clearly energy is not an important factor in either biking or public transportation.

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byousoku5cm

Cinq centimètres par seconde / Five Centimeters per second / 秒速5㌢㍍

秒速5㌢㍍

彼女と新海誠の「秒速5㌢㍍」を見ました。面白かった、映画の終わり驚きました、主役二人また合う惜しかった。悲しい話ですが映像は本当に奇麗です。新海誠は「彼女と彼女の猫」を見たから知りました。

We watched “Five Centimeters per second” by Makoto Shinkai, an interesting movie, but we were expecting a different ending, that the two characters somehow meet again. A sad story, but the picture are gorgeous. I knew Makoto Shinkai because I saw “She & Her Cat”.

Nous avons regardé Cinq centimètres par seconde de Makoto Shinkai, un film intéressant, mais nous nous at­ten­dions à une fin différente, que les deux protagonistes se ren­contrent à nouveau. Une histoire triste, mais de très belles images. Je connaissais Makoto Shinkai pour avoir vu « Elle et son chat ».

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Speaker

How to build shairport on Mac OS X

Speaker

Building and running shairport on Mac OS X might seem like an academic exercise, still it is useful if you want to stream music from a iOS device to your Mac. Assuming you have macport and XCode installed on your machine, the process is quite straightforward: just install the needed packages, download the source code, compile it and run it.


Compiler et exécuter shairport sur Mac OS X peut sembler être un exercice académique, cela reste néanmoins utile si on veut streamer de la musique depuis un appareil qui tourne sous iOS vers votre Mac. Pour peu que vous ayez installé macport et XCode sur votre machine, c’est très simple  : il suffit de télécharger les librairies nécessaires, le code source, compiler le programme et l’exécuter.


Shairport auf Mac OS X zu kompilieren kann wie eine Akademische Übung scheinen, trotzdem kann das nützlich sein die Musik von einem iOS device auf einem OS X Computer hören. Sobald Sie XCode und macport auf ihrem Komputer installiert haben, ist es sehr einfach: mann muss nur die benötigte libraries installieren, den source code down zu loaden und das alles kompilieren und exekutieren.

sudo port install git-core
sudo port install libao
sudo port install p5-io-socket-inet6
sudo port install p5-libwww-perl
sudo port install p5-crypt-openssl-rsa
git clone https://github.com/albertz/shairport.git
cd shairport
make
perl shairport.pl

Additional instructions can be found in the INSTALL.md file, in particular to start the binary as a dæmon. On thing I had to change in the configuration was to add the following lines to the org.mafipulation.shairport.plist file, so that the script it picked the port version of perl (the one with the additional libraries). I also made the file point directly to the binary in the directory where I build it.

This worked like a charm under Mac OS X 10.6.7, with the sound coming from my iPhone, for instance from Buddha Machine. Now if only this could run this on my PS3, that would be awesome…
Des instructions additionelles (en anglais) sont disponibles dans le fichier INSTALL.md. Une chose que j’ai du changer, c’est ajouter les lignes suivantes au fichier org.mafipulation.shairport.plist afin que le script utilise la version port de perl, celle pour laquelle toutes les librairies additionnelles ont été installées. J’ai aussi changé le chemin d’accès du binaire pour utiliser directement la version que j’ai compilé.

Le tout fonctionne parfaitement sous Mac OS X 10.6.7 avec la musique venant de mon iPhone, par exemple depuis Buddha Machine. Maintenant si seulement ce code pouvait tourner sur ma PS3, cela serait génial…
Zusätzliche Einleitungen (auf English) kann man im INSTALL.md file finden. Eine Sache, dass ich ändern müsste, war die folgenden Zeilen im org.mafipulation.shairport.plist File änderen, so das port die Lokale version von perl brauchte. Die selbe version wofür wir alle diese Libraries installiert haben. Ich habe auch den Path verändert um direkt die Binärdatei die wir Kompiliert haben, zu brauchen. Alles funktioniert perfekt auf Mac OS X 10.6.7: die Musik von Buddha Machine
meines iPhone kann ich auf dem Laptop hören. Jetzt wäre es geil, wenn ich dieses Program auf meiner PS3 laufen lassen könnte…

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
    <key>Label</key>
    <string>org.mafipulation.shairport</string>
    <key>RunAtLoad</key>
    <true/>
    <key>ProgramArguments</key>
    <array>
        <string>/Users/wiesmann/Projects/personal/shairport/shairport.pl</string>
        <string>--apname</string>
        <string>わがまま</string>
    </array>
    <key>EnvironmentVariables</key>
    <dict>
    <key>PATH</key>
    <string>/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:/opt/local/sbin:/opt/local/bin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin</string>
    </dict>
</dict>
</plist>

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Bike Snob 
 Systematically & mercilessly realigning the world of cycling

Bike Snob

Bike Snob 
Systematically & mercilessly realigning the world of cycling
Bike Snob NYC

As I have pile of books to read, I tend to think twice about buying books, in particular books that would look good on a coffee table, still I could not resist buying Bike Snob. It was a good impulse: while I read it, I found myself both laughing and nodding in agreement. This book would be the bible of cyclist, if the bible were smart, insightful and funny.

Bike Snob contains the history of cycling (very US centric), a classification of cyclists (which is generally valid for Europe), a overview of cycling, and why you should do it™, and how you should do it. Despite the funny tone, the book is very insightful, addressing issues as varied as safety, how you should treat your bike, bad weather, and interactions with car drivers. The author is clearly a very advanced biker, with experience in races and working as a messenger in New York, some paragraphs talk about equipment types and brands I happily ignore (I recognise some frame brands), but this is fine as those are used to make a point, tell the story, not something that is really important.

In the end, a very good book, I heartily recommend if you are a cyclist, or if you want to understand this fascinating species that can again be found in cities.

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100 Fantasy Adventure Seeds by James 'Grim Desborough'

100 Fantasy adventure seeds

100 Fantasy Adventure Seeds by James 'Grim Desborough'

I could not stay in London without going to the Forbidden Planet shop. While I think the RPG shelf has seriously shrunk since the last time I went, I still found an interesting supplement: 100 Fantasy Adventures Seeds by James Grim Desborough. Meanwhile I realised it could also be bought in pdf format (with a different cover), still this is the kind of text I liked to have in a bound form.

The content can easily be guessed from from the title: each page contains a short scenario description, followed by three twists, an epilogue, and sometimes a few more notes. The scenarios in themselves are usually nothing special, and I could have though of most them by myself, but having them all together gives a very good source of inspiration. The idea of decoupling the core idea from the twists and the outcome is in my opinion very good, this helps clarify what is the narrative and what the characters can figure out during the game. As there a multiple twists per scenario, the game-master can even change his mind during the game, something I often do.

100 Fantasy adventure seeds
James ‘Grim’ Desborough
Cubicle seven / Postmortem Studios
ISBN : 978-1-907204-20-3

The setting used in the scenarios is fairly standard high fantasy, with a lots of magic and powerful gods, the back-cover contains the note: Warning: Mature Content, but there is not much to get excited about. I also suspect the author has something for undead creatures. References to non-human races (orcs and gnomes) are few, and thankfully there was nothing involving elves – for some reason scenarios that require elves tend to suck…

In conclusion, I found this an interesting read. If you are just after a few good ideas and don’t think of using this as a kind of reference, buying the online pdf would probably be a better option.

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