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This appeared on my facebook timeline just now. I suspect it’s one of those YOLO-esque statements, which many people on the comment thread seemed to be interpreting as “In a perfect world, there are no limits.” The “no limits” interpretation does not fit: the mathematical expression for such a statement is:[x->c] lim f(x)=∞ The original

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tessaviolet: blua: #IT’S REAL AND LOOKS TINY BECAUSE OF THE SHORT FOCAL LENGTH I can’t brain this. They look like miniatures. The focal length has nothing to do with this effect at all. At great focal lengths, focus blur can still exist – the key is the proximity of the subject to the lens. Typically,

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As you approach the shiny building it disappears! How things change… How maps aren’t sync’d!

Rasterbator – Print huge, preserve quality, save ink!

Rasterbator – Print huge, preserve quality, save ink!

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What’s so special about this photo? It’s taken in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, around 01:00 (middle of the night), NORTHWARDS. There is no light in the sky in the South. None in the East Nor in the West. Only in the North is the sky lighter. It’s coming from the sun, on the other side of

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Tai-tai Chow Mein

I’d like to keep note of a particular stir fry that I recently “came across” (by which I mean, I threw things into a wok somewhat arbitrarily, just obeying my own rules). It’s a sweet and tangy chow mein that can be served up in about 20min from start to finish.

You’ll note that I do not specify any measures. I’m also a bit meh on the actual ingredients. I only list what I myself used. Please do experiment. I’ll leave that up to you. Suffice to say on the ingredients:

a) Seq A = a little goes a long way. Just be sure to comfortably be able to coat all the contents of Seq B.

b) Seq B = stuff that’s going to need some cooking. For potatoes and beans, you may want to consider par-boiling.

c) Seq C = any veg that needs little to no cooking at all. Chop small-ish (but not too small).

d) Seq D = your carb representatives. Could be noodles, could be rice, could be couscous… could be fries. Only requirement is too cook them before adding to wok.



[Seq A]
-sesame oil
-vegetable oil
-chili oil/paprika
-oyster sauce
-dark soy

[Seq B]
-Chicken thigh/dark poultry, cut thin (4cm girth)
-any long-cook veg, diced small.

[Seq C]
-spring onions
-ginger in syrup, or fresh chopped ginger (and honey??)
-any other quick-cook veg you want, chopped coarsely.

[Seq D]
-egg noodles


1a) Boil some water.

1b) Chop the chicken thigh into pieces no more than about 2cm/1inch in girth. I specify chicken thigh as it is fairly tasty in itself; if it has some fat still on it, all the better. You could also use duck; or chicken breast, with extra chicken stock added along with the noodles later. Not sure what would happen to venison/game in this recipe…

2) Heat in the wok the ingredients in “Seq A” (ref ingredients list). Mix them around when sizzling, make sure the wok is fairly hot – but don’t burn these spices! I used cinnamon and turmeric in this recipe because they are fairly light. If you decided on a game or a more musty-flavoured meat, maybe try cumin and fennel or cloves – id est, more fragrances with a bit more punch of their own.

3a) When the wok is hot and the above contents are sizzling vivdly, add the chicken (and any tough veg that needs long cooking). Stir these around and distribute the pieces evenly. Finally, bring to a medium-hot flame/heat (we want brisk cooking, but nothing too intense).

3b) Cook the noodles. This should be fairly quick and easy.

4) Get to chopping your spring onions and ginger, whilst stopping to stir the chicken every 20 seconds or so – frequently what what.

5a) When you are satisfied that your chicken is mostly cooked (but maybe not totally), add the chopped spring onions and giner (and any veg that cooks quickly) and bring the heat back up. Stir frequently – we’re trying to sear and heat these veggies.

5b) The noodles should be ready by now, if not before! Turn off the heat. If you need the noodles to rest whilst the rest of the process happens, drain them, but leave some hot water in the pot and cover. This allows the noodles to remain hot, but also to not dehydrate.

6) Add the (drained) noodles to the wok. Mix everything around. You’ll probably find that if the noodles are still a bit damp/there’s still a smidgeon of water left along with the noodles, you can stir things around a bit longer an mix the flavours better. Avoids that burnt taste.

7) Turn off heat, serve.

A short interview with Bastien Vivès, in which after explaining his technical approach to drawing, he expounds on how he sees his illustrative works as… not illustration.

“Il ne faut jamais oublier que c’est un dessin narratif, donc il a pour but d’aider à raconter une histoire et une fois qu’il arrive à faire passer l’émotion ou le sentiment qu’on a envie de faire passer, ça ne sert à rien d’entrer dans les détails de perfection: le lecteur ne restera même pas une seconde sur le dessin. Je me concentre sur les personnages, je n’ai pas des décors monstrueux. La technique me permet d’aller vite et surtout de tenir; si je passe plus de 2 ans sur le même truc ça commence à devenir difficile.”

“Dans un art narratif le plus important c’est la narration, le dessin est là pour être un outil par rapport à cette narration […] je me considère plus comme un metteur en scène quand je fais des bandes dessinées qu’un illustrateur.”

Below is my translation:

“You mustn’t forget that it’s a narrative drawing, so its goal is to tell a story, and once it has been able to communicate the emotion or feeling, it’s pointless to start refining the details: the reader won’t stay for more than a second on the drawing. I concentrate on the characters, I don’t have extremely detailed settings. This technique allows me to work fast, and most importantly to hang in there; if I spend more than 2 years on the same thing it starts getting difficult.”

“In a narrative art the most important is the story telling, the drawing is there to be a tool for this storytelling […] when making comics, I consider myself more of a storyboard artist than an illustrator.”

This is most interesting as Bastien Vivès is the author of a virtually textless and highly stylised graphic “novel” Le goût du chlore.

Simplicity is key.

On Copyright

When working on a poster for a friend, she included amongst other things a photo of her dancing troupe which hard a copyright notice on it to the name of the photographer. I asked her, “have you sorted out the copyright usage?” She replied “Copyright is to the name in the photo.”

This basically meant: no, she had not sorted out the copyright – it also indicated not knowing what copyright is. Probably just like the vast majority of Netizens.

So let’s get one thing straight: if “Work of Art” by “Acme Studios” is copyrighted by Acme Studios this means:

If you are not Acme Studios, you are NOT allowed to make any copies of Work of Art unless Acme Studios has given you explicit permission to do so.

This means you are violating that copyright if:

  • you use Work of Art in your YouTube video (or any other video, media, publication of any sort)
  • you take a portion (sample, still, extract, crop) ofWork of Artand use it in one of your own works (site logo, flyer, T-shirt print, mug, etc)
  • you make a similar or identical copy of Work of Artthrough any means – from photocopying an image to reproducing it with crayolas; rip-recording a tune off a CD to covering it on your own guitar; copying published poems onto restaurant napkins…
  • and any other form of copying. The point is: the right to make or distribute any copy is not yours!

From the U.S. Copyright Office site:

Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
• reproduce the work […]
• prepare derivative works based upon the work
• distribute copies or phonorecords of the work […]
• perform the work publicly […]
• display the work publicly […]
• perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission

From the UK’s Intellectual Property Office website:

Copyright works are protected across most mediums – so if they’re protected in one, they’re probably protected in others. It may then be copyright infringement if you create a painting from someone else’s photograph or make a sound recording of someone else’s book without their permission.

Exemption is made for the purpose of providing small samples for reference and education – as done in two instances above. So you could include an intro to say, Led Zepplin’s Kashmir if you were legitimately discussing its structure and technique. This is called Fair Use. Uploading an entire piece is not fair use, even if you are indeed discussing the entire piece.

Whether Copyrighting is a useful tool or not, whether it encourages or stifles creativity, the debate is still open, but the point of this article is to remind you what copyright entails.

Conclusion: if you post Work of Art on YouTube and you write in the description “I do not claim to own any rights on Work of Art. Work of Art is property of Acme Studios” then you are basically saying:

Sue me, I’m an ignoramus.

The Illusionist

End-tune (no spoilers – but give a feel) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG_CPNQdc7w

I re-watched The Illusionist with my friend this evening, and she commented on how greedy the girl comes across as. When I first saw the movie, I had not thought about her in this way – I just rolled with the idea of an innocent country girl thinking magic could solve all problems. Furthermore, I knew nothing about the comedian Jacques Tati himself, the man who wrote the screenplay, and it seems the 2010 film caused quite a rucus. See Wikipedia for details.

The film centres around a Parisian rabbit-out-of-a-hat illusionist, by the stage name of Tatischeff (Jacques Tati’s real surname) who, seeing his trade’s popularity decline in the face of star musicians and divas, emigrates to Britain to seek a new opportunities, only to find himself traveling to a Scottish village where he befriends the local cleaning girl (Alice) who thinks he actually magically produces items out of thin air, such as renewing her bar of soap, and making coins appear out from behind her ear.

She follows him, against his initial intent, to Edinburgh where she continues to think he can magically and freely grant her wishes for more sophisticated apparel, and repeatedly requests for the most lavish adornments. Tatischeff obliges, though always masking, as he did back in the Scottish village, how he actually came across the items. To her it is purely magic ex nihilo; to him, it is his livelihood going up in smoke, but he continues to be unwilling to break the illusion for her.

[SPOILER ALERT] below, I will discuss the ending of the movie. Go to “END OF SPOILERS” if you want to skip.

Not finding any earnings in illusionist shows, Tatischeff tries to find basic employment to make ends meet, accepting even employment he finds demeaning to his person, whilst still keeping Alice from knowing the true provenance of ever more items for her contentment. Alice in the mean time, oblivious to her protector’s plight, busies herself cleaning and cooking, before donning her unknowingly ill-gotten apparel to see the town, now as the lady she feels she has become. Whilst in town with a boy she meets by chance, she innocently tries (and fails) to buy a necklace with a single coin she got from Tatischeff, demonstrating how utterly she misunderstood the value of money.

In the end, Tatischeff realizes that the illusion he has fed has not served either of them; he frees his rabbit to the wild and takes a train out of town. He leaves a note for Alice, with a considerable amount of money, stating simply “Magicians do not exist.”

As she looks out of the window to a rainy Edinburgh, Alice realizes (I believe) the wrong she has done to her paternalistic friend, and as she re-meets with her recently encountered boyfriend, she remains sullen and hardly responsive. Meanwhile on the train, Tatischeff starts to make a little girl’s lost pencil re-appear, but when he nearly gives her his own, otherwise identical, longer pencil in place of her old short one, he thinks again and “magically” returns her worn pencil – he has learned that giving new items for free under the guise of magic may not be in anyone’s best interests.

This is the final scene of the film, that I have just discussed. SPOILER. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HknsRka0on0


Some critics have attacked the film for being insubstantial, and a watering down of Tati’s genius. For those who have good knowledge of Tati’s work, maybe that is so. For my part, I approach the movie as one who has experienced French culture (having grown up there in my adolescence) and who has lived in Edinburgh to this date for five years. It does not rely on the Hollywoodian excitement of a frequently bounding storyline – it is more tempered, more concerned with the characters, and the relationship between the two main protagonists; between the well-meaning but ultimately clueless Illusionist, and the sweet and inexperienced yet overtly needy country lass in the city.

The movie presents a beautiful rendition of the city of Edinburgh, and anyone who has lived there will be able to confirm the accuracy of the portrayals – the artists have done a magnificent job of scouting out the town. Familiars of the town will feel that they do not really know the place, or they will want to revisit the areas so many people have walked by, but never stopped to admire. This is a film for those who are concerned with watching people and observing places, rather than simply being told tales.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W. H. Davies

I see the presentation as a highly poetic display of Edinburgh on its brightest days, and melancholically nostalgic on its rainiest; as a bitter-sweet description of how generosity can be mis-applied; as a poetic apology and explanation of mistakes we may all make in life in misguided youth, and in doting old age.

Having now read a few articles and reviews, I presently understand that the original screenplay (set in then Czechoslovakia) was an apologia to Tati’s estranged illegitimate daughter, and we can see in the relationship between Tatischeff and Alice a very naive father-daughter relationship: a father who will do anything to keep his daughter’s dream alive, and a daughter, oblivious to truths of life, simply asking for presents – and seeing her wishes granted, asks for more, as any child unfettered by knowledge of limitations would.

In the end, this film portrays for me what happens should a disconnect between two persons views of reality is not matched and confronted: both of them gave what they honestly thought was appropriate, but neither gave what was needed – Truth from Tatischeff, and Restraint from Alice.

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There are things you don’t do as a kid Because your parents are likely to kill you if you do. WHATEVER.