No entry 5 years ago today.

Winslow Homer, The Life Line, 1884

They say 'A change is as good as a rest' (aptly anagramised by Michael Mesterton-Gibbons as 'Ache to resign so sad a saga?'). Yes it's been good to be away from this space for a bit though I'm not exactly sure why that is or why it even happened...


No entry 5 years ago today.

A list of the Raúl Ruiz movies seen last week at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Now of course I wish I had seen more.

(The first link is to's annotated filmography of Ruiz's work. The second link is to the IFFR photo and blurb.)

Of the Ruiz's films I did see I found The City of Pirates the most uncanny (and disturbing), Dog's Dialogue the most surprising, and The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting the most complex (unfortunately The Blind Owl wasn't subtitled so I couldn't follow it very well).

Saw three films by other film makers. Two (Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Doppelgänger and Guy Maddin's The Saddest Music in the World were instantly forgettable -- the third, Catherine Breillat's Anatomie de l'enfer left me a tad disappointed after the hype surrounding it but has been slowly growing on me.

Also good was meeting Dmitry Elentuck who flew in from Boston in order to take advantage of what he called "a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of Ruiz's more obscure films". I've been corresponding with Dmitry on and off the last year over things Ruiz. (And as it happens it was he who first pointed out to me that Ruiz was to be one of this year's film makers in focus.)


No entry 5 years ago today.

Vladimir Bartol's Alamut

How could a novel called Alamut by a famous Slovenian author have slipped under my radar all these years?

Link and another link.

I've received word that Scala House Press will be publishing an English translation of Bartol's Alamut this coming fall.

Publicity blurb from their site:

ALAMUT by Vladimir Bartol

First published in 1938 as a critical response to the rise of Mussolini and Hitler, this international bestseller tells the fantastic tale of the eleventh-century leader of the Isma'ilis, Hassan Ibn Sabbah, considered by many to be the world's first political and religious terrorist. It was from his castle of Alamut in northern Iran that Sabbah, a profound scholar and friend of Omar Khayyam, recruited his band of young fedayinsinto a sect of assassins that for forty years would threaten the sultans of Baghdad and strike terror into the heart of the Turkish empire. Translated into 19 languages, Alamut has sold tens of thousand of copies across Europe since its recent rediscovery and has been a bestseller in Spain, France, Germany, and Slovenia. Bartol's depiction of Sabbah bears a striking resemblance to Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and has been hailed across Europe as one of the twentieth century's prophetic masterpieces. Alamut will be published in hardcover and in limited illustrated vellum and leather editions in November 2004.

Not too confuse fiction with history and opposing ideologies. (It says something about our lack of understanding when we confuse a radical Shiite with an reactionary Sunni don't you think?)


No entry 5 years ago today.


I like this robot a lot. Do yourself a favor and check out the quicktime mpeg file. It will make you smile.


No entry 5 years ago today.

A new version of DevonThink (1.8).


No entry 5 years ago today.

A Little Night Music

Jim Pomeroy, Untitled, from the series "The Spinners" c. 1987-90

Paul DeMarinis: The Boy Mechanic - Mechanical Personae in the works of Jim Pomeroy.

While plans were being made for the memorial, in collaboration with his family, a small group of his friends gathered at his home to begin the Herculean task of dismantling his life. Since Jim did not leave a will, there were many unanswered questions to address. The need to preserve Jim's work for future research and inspiration was immediately recognized and acknowledged. We began by listing, photographing, numbering, and packing everything that would be valuable and necessary to understand his work in establishing an archive. At the same time, a fund was set up at SF Camerawork in San Francisco to assist in the preservation and placement of his archive.

We worked in all areas of his house, although most of the packing began in a large living room (more accurately described as a library or media room). We were surrounded by hundreds of books, tapes, records, and compact disks alongside miles of electrical wires and extension cords attached to everything in sight. Inflatable globes and dinosaurs, assorted vacuum-cleaner parts, collections of odd costumes, boxes of electronic gizmos glued to wind-up toys, and kitchen utensils were layed out on the floor for a future performance. Each space--from the computer room (which a friend described as reminiscent of a scene from Blade Runner in its morass of intricate hook-ups) to the stocked darkroom--contained floor-to-ceiling shelves and piles.

Attempting to set our emotions aside, for weeks we dealt objectively with Jim's carefully constructed environment, which only from the outside resembled a house. The dismantling of each element created a landslide of unanswerable questions that needed to be faced. We were constantly forced to make critical decisions as to what was "art," what was "life," and what was pertinent to the archive. At no time was there a clear distinction. When the decision-making process became too confusing, we gave up and packed everything in desperation. At times, we imagined Jim watching us, no doubt amused as we debated the importance and significance of these constructed objects--remnants of toys adapted with wire circuits, probably used as performance props; or industrial tools that might have been incorporated into musical instruments; or the countless "off the shelf" electronic gadgets that resembled fragments of sculptures or bizarre kinetic science projects.

Susan Kae Grant: One Man's Museum


No entry 5 years ago today.

Visited Veghel (near Den Bosch) to attend the Fischertechnik Club Day. This is the first time I've attended such an event. Met some interesting people. Saw some interesting models. Bought a few old and a few new parts. Learned a lot.

Pepper's Ghost

Pepper's Ghost is a way of creating ghosts on the stage or in other life-action places. It is a magical effect which can be explained by the cliche, "They do it with mirrors"-- for it uses these materials. An actor is offstage and the mirrors reproduce the person as if they were onstage. It was created in Victorian times and is a patented technique. Although it was created by John Henry Pepper a similar technique was used by Mr Dirck in the 1860s.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

A well designed page on Pepper's Ghost incorporating the content of several other rather garishly designed pages.

The Science Behind the Ghost, an excellent study on this famous illusion by Jim Steinmeyer, himself an illusion designer and author of the recent Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear.


(Monday, 8 February 1999)

The discussion at has ground to a halt though as far as I can tell John McCarthy is still alive, as is Ted Kaczynski. The story of Jonah and the whale is as poignant as ever.

The amaryllis


No entry 5 years ago today.

Frank Linde writes:

"I surfed a few web sites regarding British Columbia today. Found some amazing hints on how to deal with attacking bears. My favourite:

(...) mature grizzlies are poor climbers, but they have a reach up to 4 metres. If a bear is standing up it is usually trying to identify you. Talk softly so it knows what you are.

"I just try to imagine how calm and softly I would introduce myself to a 4 meter bear that probably isn't in the mood to make friends..."


(Wednesday, 10 February 1999)

Spent the day in Amsterdam where Mr. Lira and I are still working on this project.


(Thursday, 11 February 1999)

Five years later I still find this quote (from the end of the interview with Richard Rodriguez) fascinating:

The issue of the Indian, which very few people have remarked on, is a public issue. My rewriting of the Indian adventure [into a story in which the conquistador's culture was in effect conquered, absorbed, and transformed by Indians through conversion and miscegentation] was not only to move the Indian away from the role of victim but to see myself in relationship to Pocahontas, to see myself as interested in the blond on his horse coming over the horizon. It occurred to me there was something aggressive about the Indian interest in the Other, and that you were at risk in the fact that I was watching you, that I wanted you, that I was interested in your religion, that I was prepared to swallow it and to swallow you in the process.

Maybe what is happening in the Americas right now is that the Indian is very much alive. I represent someone who has swallowed English, and now claim it as my language, your books as my books, your religion as my religion--maybe this is the most subversive element of the colonial adventure.

I'm looking for someone who can program the following algorithms in RealBasic:

Calculating the Position of the Moon to an Accuracy of 0.3 Degrees

Converting RA and DEC to ALT and AZ


(Friday, 12 February 1999)

It's her birthday. We're celebrating by heading off to Berlin for a few days (it will be my first time in Berlin).


(Friday, 19 February 1999)

(The Outsider)

A Series of Re-enactments

Re-met Rod Dickinson tonight at his lecture on his Milgram Re-enactment organized by Anke Bangma. Also saw Pierre Huyghe's The Third Memory (2000), where bank robber John Woytowicz re-enacts for the Huyghe's cameras both his 1972 robbery and Sidney Lumet's 1975 film about the robbery 'Dog Day Afternoon' (at one point in Huyghe's work Woytowicz describes the original robbery as "the real movie".


(Saturday, 20 February 1999)

(The Structure of Magic)

Repeat After Me

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana)

Two versions of the Jonestown sign:

We Fear Another Waco

Rick Ross, in his Cult News weblog, comments on a new film about Zimbardo's Prison Experiment.


(Sunday, 21 February 1999)

Elaborate entry this. My attention at the time being directed towards the Interactive Fiction of Chris Crawford and Andrew Plotkin, with links to Advanced Book Exchange, Google and General Semantics, together with some interesting reflections on 'Solitude as a Strategy'

"If language is a virus then solitude can be an amazing prophylatic. It would be interesting to investigate and compare the behavioral ecology of orangutangs (very solitary) to chimpanzes and gorillas (very social)."

The Buddha in the Robot

Flipping quickly through my Blanchot reader (looking for his essay 'The Essential Solitude') I read the word 'vicious' (for 'Vicious Circles') as 'voodoo' (as in 'Voodoo Feedback').

The Walking Corpse

From the CNN blurb on Nancy Butcher's The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse:

Butcher said she had been collecting tales of strange medical mysteries for years, but the disorder the book is named after is what really spurred her to organize her research.

Dr. Jules Cotard is credited with first describing, in the late 1800s, the "walking corpse" psychiatric disorder. In this, deluded patients think they have lost body parts or their souls, and often believe they have died. Also called Cotard's syndrome, the mental disease has been found in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Another bizarre mental disorder Butcher describes is the Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome, in which a patient's sense of time, space and body image are distorted. People may appear tiny or patients may feel that part of their body shape or size has been altered.

December 2003

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