Archive for April, 2009

Beautiful Landscape Pics

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 by law7355
Simply stunning landscape pictures taken by Sandro Diener over at fubiz.net

See and download the full gallery on posterous

RSS Feeds & Helvetireader

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2009 by law7355

90% of my internet viewing experience is based on following a set number of websites via RSS feeds. OK, I lie. It’s about 40%, the other 60% split fairly between trawling eBay for shit I don’t want or need (except that frikkin’ awesome Darth Vader mug I won last week*) and searching for porn. For educational and artistic reasons only, mind you
Anyway, RSS. Given that all my news-like information, design-like inspiration and general ‘mirror of popular opinion’ comes from this one feed, it’s important that it doesn’t suck.
So far the best RSS reader in my opinion is simply Google Reader within Safari. Any others I’ve tried (“Times” for example) fall short on how to deal with image-based feeds.
While Google Reader is the best in terms of functionality, it’s as pretty to look at as a cat’s arsehole (and cat’s do love to show them off, one of the many reasons I like dogs)
Which is where Helvetireader comes in. Everything should be this simple, this beautiful. Where buttons and options only show themselves when you go to click on where you know they will be. Case in point is illustrated below:
Without gushing, it’s a fucking pleasure to look at, and I wish more web designers (Google’s own included) would learn from it.
As to how to get it, its a matter of installing “Greasekit” for Safari and downloading the “Helvetireader” script, which ‘skins’ googlereader’s default page.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Mrs H.S. Balls

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2009 by law7355



Probably the greatest condiment ever, Mrs Ball’s chutney is a South African institution. Given that it’s a staple purchase from the South African shop in London Bridge or Charing Cross, along with Biltong (and Boerewors in summer) I found this recipe that I’m far too lazy to ever actually make but like the idea of having:

Edward Ball, Mrs. Ball’s grandson scaled down this original recipe to make 18 bottles of (mild) chutney.

612 g dried peaches 
238 g dried apricots 
3 litres brown wine vinegar 
2 1/2 kg white sugar 
500 g onions 
120 g salt 
75 g cayenne pepper 
1 to 2 litres of brown wine vinegar for soaking 
About 2 litres of brown wine vinegar for mixing 

The fruit should be left in the soaking vinegar overnight, then cooked in the same vinegar until soft. Drain. Put the fruit through a mill. Add the sugar (dissolved) and onions (minced) and cook in a pot with the brown wine vinegar. The amount of vinegar depends on the consistency: it should not be too runny or too thick, but have the same consistency as the end product you find in the bottle. Add spices and cook for one to two hours. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. Sterlise your bottles and spoon in the mixture. That’s it – you’ve got Mrs Ball’s Chutney.

To make the chutney hot, add 75 g chopped chillies.

To make peach chutney, omit the apricots and use 850 g dried peaches instead.

The Great Wolverine Workprint Internet Leak (and Other Tales of Horror)

Posted in Entertainment, film, media, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by law7355
I had a look at the Wolverine workprint that found it way onto the internet (passed on from a friend of a friend who knows a guy who once dated a girls who’s brother etc etc – I would never myself download any movies…)
Anyway, as I was saying, I had a look at it.
It’s an early cut with lots of pre-vis CGI and probably edited before the recent reshoots, but on the whole I must say I’m pretty damned excited. Yes about the movie but more so about what it could mean for the industry and film fans.
I don’t believe it should be seen as a threat to the movie industry and serve as a watermark incident in Hollywood’s fight against internet pirates, although if the movie does anything less than fucking brilliantly at the box office I’m sure the knee-jerk reaction of the industry execs will be just that: blame piracy again and clamp down on sub-contractors and employees, all the while crying about the holes in their pockets and the mass-market thievery by internet thugs who fund terrorism and eat babies.
So far (and true to form) Twentieth century Fox’s response has been to claim it is an old rough cut without FX, music etc (fair) and that it “may contain an April Fool’s Virus”.
Awesome, well done; like that tactic has worked so well for you to date.
Seeing this version gives an incredible glimpse into the moviemaking process, particularly at how complex a ‘simple’ scene can be, with its many layers of composited videos and all the work that will ultimately go into colour-correcting them, masking them and then applying FX to convincingly blend it into the scenes we take for granted in the cinema. It’s exciting to see. It certainly makes we want to check out the final release to compare and see how they polished it, cleaned up the editing, smoothed out the narrative and so on.
And I’m not the only one: according to a great article over at newteevee.com, the torrent forums are full of fans eager to see the final cut. After all, the FX, explosions and blood-n-guts are what they want to see, not Hugh Jackman dangling from a wire.
My sincere hope is that the movie does very well, mainly because Mr Jackman has put in a lot of effort and (to my knowledge) is it’s producer so he has a lot riding on it. If it does, the industry would do well to consider the prospect of the opportunities represented by this incident: include the fans in the testing process – allow them to see early scenes (perhaps not the whole movie next time, we want some surprises) and study the responses.
In this case, if this had happened earlier, they could have learned much from the public’s reception of the movie and adapted it accordingly. For example, I think the use of some of the staple characters of the X-Men universe is shoddy in places: not wanting to make the mistakes of the first X-Men and use few characters and waste time on exposition, they’ve chosen to somewhat clumsily throw in many new faces/old favourites all the way through the movie, not really giving us the opportunity to really warm to any of their sociopathic niceties. If much of the response from the forums and fan-sites were to say the same, the film-makers would be foolish not to reconsider some of the characters or the way they’re edited.
Of course, all this is unlikely to happen. As it is, many of the articles written about the incident are what you would expect: Chicken Little responses bleating about further proof of the death of an industry. For example, have a look at CrunchGear‘s John Biggs, who believes “we are witnessing the rise of media terrorism”
What a fucking arsehat*!
It’s nothing nearly that sinister; it certainly wasn’t a deliberate and mutli-pronged attack on a people and their way of life by an opposing group holding mutually exclusive beliefs. In all likelihood, it was some sub-contractor working the nightshift at an FX house pissed off that his hours or pay have been reduced due to the recession and who happened to be working on Wolverine at the time; if it had been the Duchess we would be writing about Kiera Knightly and the scary sight of her flat chest without CGI cleavage. Or not.
Anyway, here’s hoping the movie does well enough at the box-office, until the DVD/Blu Ray is released and pirated all over again. And that they include the workprint-cut on the DVD extras so we can revisit the entire behind-the-scenes joy again and again.

See and download the full gallery on posterous