March 30th, 2008

“Why are you studying Germanic Languages?”


Meeting lots of people here in Tuebingen, I often get asked why I chose to study German, Dutch, etc, especially considering I have creative ambitions and no aspirations of becoming a translator or interpretor or professor or similar.

A Javanese proverb (that I found quoted in the same book I mentioned in my last postLearning By Heart) sums up my reasoning quite eloquently:

When asked what makes a good dancer, the master replied:

First, to be a good dancer, one must know the music as well as the dance.

And what else?

To be a better dancer, one must understand the stories and be able to interpret the characters being portrayed.

Is there more?

The best dancer is the one who has all these things I have told you about and is a farmer.

March 30th, 2008

Dreams as Artistic Nirvana

According to the philosophy of the book Learning by Heart by Corita Kent (which will soon be republished! get it when it comes out, it’s great!), art is making connections and articulating them in ways previously unexplored or impossible.

So then, when we dream we are practicing this process, uninhibited. Dreams are “a condensation of images and ideas that share certain characteristics – not obviously connected”.

I like this idea very much and I think it’s very true. We dream up some very creative scenarios, so creative that they sound silly when scrutinised by our waking minds, but when we are asleep they are logical progressions from the seed ideas and emotions that begin the dream.

March 30th, 2008

Segway creator furthers prosthetics technology

The inventor Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway, amongst other things, is now heading up a new effort to make highly sensitive and precise commercial prosthetics (inspired by Luke Skywalker’s prosthetic hand in The Empire Strikes Back, apparently). This video is fascinating:

Found at

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March 29th, 2008


This evening there was an international dinner at the language course i’m doing. Each student (or in small groups) had to prepare a dish from their homeland to share in a buffet. I couldn’t think of anything Welsh that I can cook, but someone suggested that I make something Greek since my mother is from the Greek part of Cyprus.

I immediately thought upon Daktyla, a sweet almondy treat that my mother and her mother sometimes make. My mother sent me a few recently by post and they were delicious… I shared them with Julia (my girlfriend) and Freekje (a mutual friend), and they were wild about them. So I thought I would try to emulate this satisfaction with the students of my language course, by making them Daktyla.


It was the first time I made them and so I think it was a great success that it even worked. They don’t look exactly like the ones mama makes but they taste almost the same. The biggest difference would be that mine were more crunchy, but I like that anyway. Above is a picture of my Daktyla before I covered them in syrup and below is the “after”.


They were delicious and tasted a lot better than they looked. Everyone was complimentary! Success.

If you want to make them, the recipe is here: Page 1 | Page 2

March 27th, 2008



I’m in Tübingen and i’m online! Here are some photos of my stay so far.

March 20th, 2008


Here’s Cannonball Adderley playing Jive Samba.
Wow! I love youtube sometimes.

Here’s a great clip of Mose Allison singing Your Mind is On Vacation.That funky drumming isn’t on the cd version!

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March 12th, 2008

Pretty Cool People


From the same site as my second-last post: Pretty Cool People Interviews.

I’ve only watched two so far (Miranda July and Olivier Marquezy), but I think they’re really well done.

Incidentally I recommend Miranda July’s book “No One Belongs Here More Than You”, and her film “You and Me and Everyone We Know”.

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March 12th, 2008

Comments now Enabled

I disabled comments a while ago, due to the merciless influx of spam comments (currently over 8000 such comments still in the moderation queue from when comments were allowed).

Now I’ve re-enabled commenting, except that you need to register an account here in order to post.

March 12th, 2008

dust you are and to dust you will return

TheSubmarineChannel has a collection of beautiful and innovative title sequences from movies. This one is amazing (the beauty of the universe; clocks; French people being beheaded – what more could you want?):

Click Here To View

Some more here. Found via Drawn!

ps I love French people!

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March 10th, 2008

The effects of smoking.


Oh no! Quit today!

Photo from my beloved

March 10th, 2008

Food Court Musical

This stunt by Improv Everywhere made my day.

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March 10th, 2008

Microsoft’s new TIME TRAVELING device.

This is breathtaking and brilliant. A powerful but FREE software has been developed by Microsoft that empowers one to explore the chartered universe – in a way similar to how google maps lets you explore planet earth – and much more.

Oh, did I say it was a time traveling device? Technically it does allow you to explore time in the universe, as the images we have from the farthest reaches of the universe represent these areas as they were millions of years ago, as that’s how long it takes for their light to reach us. is the official site, which currently only has a couple of “reactions to worldwidetelescope” videos.

March 4th, 2008

Latest from Shorpy

One of my favourite websites is Shorpy. They archive old photos, which are mostly very beautiful and/or fascinating. Here’s a really cool image from posted today:


March 4th, 2008

what’s on my (read: our) mind

March 3rd, 2008

Le Paysagiste/Mindscape (1976)

An electronic buddy of mine just brought this beautiful animation to my attention: “Le Paysagiste” or “Mindscape” by Jacques Drouin.


I thought it was pencil drawn animation but in fact it’s a strange but fascinating technique called Pinscreen animation. This involves making impressions on a board of pins, similar to those pinboard toys (shown above. I had one – lots of fun!).

In the following interview the animator himself (whose latest film in this technique, Imprints, was released in 2004) explains and demonstrates how he animates. I don’t speak a word of french but I still found this video interesting, just to see the pinboard and the way it’s used:

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March 2nd, 2008

let’s get wordy for a moment

Inspired by today’s Word of the Day, here is a short list of nice words I’ve compiled – words to do with talking, chatting, gossiping, blabbering, rambling and, something I’m never guilty of, verbosity.

Garrulous \GAIR-uh-lus; GAIR-yuh-\, adjective:
1. Talking much, especially about commonplace or trivial things; talkative.
2. Wordy.

Verbose [ver-bohs] –adjective
Characterized by the use of many or too many words; wordy: a verbose report.

Locquatious [loh-kwey-shuhs] –adjective
1. talking or tending to talk much or freely; talkative; chattering; babbling; garrulous: a loquacious dinner guest.
2. characterized by excessive talk; wordy: easily the most loquacious play of the season.

Deipnosophist [dahyp-nos-uh-fist] –noun
a person who is an adept conversationalist at table.

Prate [preyt]
–verb (used without object)
1. to talk excessively and pointlessly; babble: They prated on until I was ready to scream.
–verb (used with object)
2. to utter in empty or foolish talk: to prate absurdities with the greatest seriousness.
3. act of prating.
4. empty or foolish talk.

I like that last one particularly because of its similarity to the much more common verb in dutch “praten” – to talk/chat.

March 1st, 2008

White People

Via Neatorama: Stuff White People Like. a blog devoted to listing “stuff white people like”. Funny stuff. Just reading the first page, all these articles strike a chord:

#78 Multilingual Children

…As white people age, they start to feel more and more angry with their parents for raising them in a monolingual home. At some point in their lives, most white people attempt to learn a second language and are generally unable to get past ordering in a restaurant or over-pronouncing a few key words. This failure is not attributed to their lack of effort, but rather their parents who didn’t teach them a new language during their formative years…

#72 Study Abroad

By attending school in another country, white people are technically living in another country. This is important as it gives them the opportunity to insert that fact into any sentence they please. “When I used to live in [insert country], I would always ride the train to school. The people I’d see were inspiring.”

And this one scares me:

#68 Michel Gondry

…Between the ages of 16-20, all white people go through a phase where they aspire to become a music video director. This is followed shortly by a phase where they want to become a regular director. But in both cases, they don’t want to produce generic content, they want to create art. As a result, the two directors who have achieved this (Spike Jonez is the other) are universally beloved by white people…

Although I relate to a lot of the topics, they are not all completely dead-on. Honest! I am practically black!!

Ok shit.

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