Thursday, August 31, 2006
2strokebuzz � Blog Archive � The Blur 150: Modern scooters aren't rubbish
Illnoise over at 2strokebuzz has a nice, fairly thorough review of Genuine Scooter's new import the blur.
Doesn't quite look the Dragon's cup of tea, but I'm always excited by new quality bikes reaching our shores, especially when they are backed by a copy with a reputation like Genuine.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Since I seem to be on a mission to alienate myself from the bookstore crew, I'm not sure that I can rely on getting a Slingshot next year. (Previous statement only half in-jest.) Actually, I'm little over the Anarchist's Organizer. Yes, I carried it with me everywhere, but when I did use it, it was rarely organized, and I mainly could only use it as a calendar/phone book.
With all the Web 2.0 apps coming out, it seems like the day may be soon that I can get by just using the web to "Get to Done." Now if only Apple would release a color OSX Newton with the battery life of the original, I'd be set...
Anyhow, I may just have to give Backpack a whirl.
Yes, I've been hiding in my cave lately, and most of my internet surfing has been research for painting the Vespa P200E, which I FINALLY picked up last week. (THANKS Lukas!!) Some of the reasons I haven't been posting are centered around facing the learning on body-work in general, and not wanting to lead anyone astray until I get my footing, others have to do with not wanting to unveil the art until it's finished, and still others are related to how little freetime I have because of my transportation crisis. So thanks everybody, for bearing with, and checking in from time to time.
But now, the amazing Rat-Buddy! (As opposed to the amazing Rat-Dude.)
The Buddy's only been out a couple of months, and folks are already "Ratting" them. This is actually a pretty nice scooter customization, you'll find pics in the forum thread. I'm tempted to rig up a similar ipod-based stereo system, but don't really want to cut into my glovebox like the Scooter Works kit requires. Hmmm... something to think about.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
This is so sweet! It's not solar fabric, but a kind of foil-film that is printed by presses. If you dig through the links you'll find a CNN video on the company/process that is worth checking out.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The Spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta is perhaps the most centered, he understands the computer as “a sophisticated technological prosthesis we cannot do without” and likens it to another piece of equipment, like a filer or a telephoto lens. Fontcuberta seems past the confusion of the overly enthusiastic and the “end is nigh” alarmists; essentially the change “from silver grains to pixels isn’t that significantly,” especially since that “silver-grained structure of actual photographs has already been replaced in the print media by the photomechanical dot.” Much of the hysteria over digital technology has been centered around the ease of manipulation, but that is not by any means new to photography, the act of manipulation itself though “is exempt of moral value,” what needs to be examined is the intent.
A lot of folks seem to be lining up for the funeral of the darkroom these days. Tony Long over at Wired, seems to not think it is dead, so much as receiving it's gold watch and being shipped off to Florida.
The advantages of digital are plain enough: easier storage, the ability to upload photos straight to the computer, no need for film, being able to take a mulligan on images you don't want to keep and, if results are all you require, no need for screwing around in a darkroom. Digital makes sense for the photojournalist, where mobility and simplicity are key, and it's useful for taking those casual snapshots of besotted friends down at the neighborhood local.
But for "making photographs"? For making art? No.
What I find really entertaining about this attitude, is that I can see a nineteenth century oil portraitist spouting something very similar. And as someone who has been seriously painting for over two thirds of their life, and seriously taking photographs for only a sixth, there is a certain schadenfreude to be derived from watching film photography defend itself from the "Photography is dead!" proclamations. Certainly, if you were to peruse my artist journals from the period before I'd entered a darkroom, you'd find some defensive, reactionary meditations on the superiority of pigments and binders to silver gelatin.
Certainly, I think (and hope) there will always be people out there working in their own darkrooms, developing 8x10 negatives and printing gorgeous platinum prints. But ultimately, a medium is a MEDIUM, a language for saying something and (hopefully) saying it well. There are novelists, poets, and essayists out there using Blackwing pencils, Underwood typewriters, Mac Book Pros, and everything in between. Do the tools effect their writing experience? Most definitely. Does the average reader care? Not really.
Yes, this analogy is a bit of a stretch. You could argue that the word is the writers medium, those devices are merely tools. But many more people will see any visual image, in a book, on a website than will see an original painting or photographic print. And when the average person is choosing an image for their PC wallpaper, or a poster for their dorm room, it's going to be their reaction to the content that is the deciding factor. Watercolor or Photoshop will merely be an interesting bit of trivia, much like knowing that a favorite writer does all their first drafts in longhand.
Other discoveries remain to be made. What else lies ahead for Rembrandt studies? Liedtke says that a great deal of archival research is still unpublished. “Forty or 50 years from now,” he believes, “we’ll have a much more nuanced and subtle idea of Rembrandt’s paintings and drawings. A lot will emerge, particularly about Rembrandt’s pupils, and this will affect our view of Rembrandt.” Will we know more about the man? “We’ll know more about his house, his business, his family, his daily life,” Liedtke says. But to know his character, we will have to do what people have always done: we will have to look at his paintings.
I've got five or six years worth of reference photos saved up, so subject matter shouldn't be a problem. Inspiration certainly isn't, I can't quit thinking about that cobalt teal. What a color!
Doing some internet consumerist daydreaming, linked to my burgeoning need to start painting again, I came across what seems like the best deal on a serious studio easel. If you are in the market for quality studio furniture, you owe it to yourself to check this out.
Of course, I heard a rumor that my favorite bartender is kinda handy in the woodshop... maybe she could be conned ... er bribed... er sweet-talked into helping me come up with something custom-made...
Alas poor Yorick, we knew you well...
before you were stuck in development hell...
Just found out today that Brian Vaughan's wonderful series, Y: The Last Man, is in the works for a film adaptation. This article is old, but the other few I could dig up had less/conflicting information. So I guess the details are yet to be determined, but this is exciting nonetheless.
If you haven't checked this series out yet, I highly recommend it.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Wow! The Dragon's scales are all tingly after discovering this amazing resource. I haven't really begun to dig into yet, and am just a little overwhelmed at the sheer bulk of data accessible from just the front page.
Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. <www.wilhelm-research.com> conducts research on the stability and preservation of traditional and digital color photographs and motion pictures. The company publishes brand name-specific permanence data for desktop and large-format inkjet printers and other digital printing devices. Wilhelm Imaging Research also provides consulting services to museums, archives, and commercial collections on sub-zero cold storage for the very long term preservation of still photographs and motion pictures.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
If you know anything about the history of acrylic paint... well then your at least as big an art geek as the Dragon, but that's another post entirely... then you know that Mark Golden is the son of Sam Golden, the man who invented Acrylic paint. And if you know anything about fine-artist quality acrylics, you know that Golden Artist Colors, the father and son company founded by Sam and Mark, makes some of the best in the world. They are also highly dedicated to working with artists to help get what they want out of paint, and doing it in ways which will stand the test of time.
So the Dragon is extremely excited to find that Mark has a blog over on Golden's website (which itself is a huge resource for the art geek who wants to know all that crazy science stuff about their materials.) I met Mark once, in a previous incarnation as art-supply salesperson, so I'm also excited to reaquaint myself with the man through the blogosphere.
Well, the rumors have finally materialized. Genuine now has the Rattler and the Blur posted on their website. And Stellas are fading away...
Still, so far Genuine has shown themselves to be the cream of scooter importers. I'm just hoping that someday soon they design an original scoot and have it built to their specs.
As the linseed oil in the Dragon's veins warms-up and begins to flow, I start searching for more and more painting related material. On today's menu, a very interesting homemade easel. I believe this is meant for onlocation painting, but it's got me thinking that easel design is a specialized field that has a lot of area yet to explore.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I haven't followed the Segway much, though I salute Dean Kamen's vision of an urban vehicle. Too bad most of us 'Mericans are stuck living in bankrupt 50 year old urban plans.
These new Segs look cool, I especially like the x2.
August 14, 2006 – Segway takes self-balancing technology to the next level with the introduction of the second generation Segway PT. The new Segway product line includes the versatile Segway i2 and a cross-terrain model called the Segway x2, as well as six product packages tailored to specific commercial, police and consumer market segments and riding environments. All the products feature breakthrough LeanSteer™ technology and a wireless InfoKey™ controller that enhance the Segway experience by making the ride even more intuitive and adding new and useful functions.
This guy is my new hero. And a lot of other folks as well, it seems. He's currently rated #1 on a couple of youtube's ratings.
Gentle, playful, and obsessed with motorcycles. Peter or geriatric1927 as he's known on Youtube, is a great example of how technology is really changing oral history.
The Dragon hopes you will check out all of his Telling it All series.
Peter, our hat's off to ya!
Monday, August 14, 2006
Not a whole lot of information here, but it is interesting. What's really interesting, to me, is how bad the automotive industry looks in comparison to all these hobbyist electric vehicles. I mean if one smart guy can crank out a serious electric car or motor-bike for a couple of grand more than the equivilant ICE model, why can't they be mass-produced? Who killed the electric car, Indeed. I don't want to be one to spread conspiracy theories about large corporations manipulating markets to maximize profits at the expense of the well-being of individuals, nations, or even the world (that would just be paranoid, right?) but if the big auto makers don't wise up soon, they just might find people like Tom Sines are going to be the henry Fords of the 21st century.
This is my vision of the "Car of the Future" and I've spent years perfecting this patented design. It's street legal and registered in Okeechobee, Florida.Unlike conventional cars, the "Evette" has no steering wheel, having a Joystick steering control, dual brakes, and over 2 dozen batteries giving it power. This car is Amazing to drive, really quick around corners and has been driven up to 60 mph., as for cost, you can drive 200 mi. on a $2. charge.
This is a very cool concept, especially when you consider that when coupled with bio-diesel, you are giving petroleum dependancy a 1-2 punch, as well significantly reducing emissions.
Other advantages mentioned in the article are the ability to use fewer and less expensive batteries, which creates more usable space in the vehicle, as well lowering the cost of admission.
via Wired's Auto Blog
The Mystical Experience Registry: Marie-Louise von Franz on Active Imagination
I believe in yesterday's post on Elkins' exquisite book on painting and alchemy, I mentioned that these two subjects were linked in my mind prior to my discovery of this book five years ago. Von Franz's slim volume Alchemy and Active Imagination, was an essential element (pardon the pun), in the formation of this linkage.
This book theorizes that for some practioners, Alchemy was a near Jungian discipline. Elements were perceived as avatars of archetypical figures (such as the connections made between the material mercury, the astronomical/astrological, and the mythological Mercury.) That while contemplating and actively experimenting, purifying these elements, some alchemists were also interacting with the archetype the element represented. While many commentators on alchemy have noted it's spiritual/psychological side, von Franz provides us with a framework for understanding just how this might have been pursued.
The connection I made was stimulated by a couple of things. One was the theory that Jan
Vermeer used Antonie van Leeuwenhoek as model for The Geographer (seen above) and The Astronomer, based largely on the fact their shared interest in optics would not have been shared by many in the relatively small area of Delft. Such equipment would have been highly specialized at the time, and the community of users small and most likely incestous. This made me think. Artist's pigments and alchemical elements, at this time, were as closely linked at this time as the aforementioned lens, that is the were sold as a commodity and not marketed for any particular purpose. And for the most part the community of end users would have been small.
Yes, these mental linkages are hypothetical, and not likely to ever be sufficiently documented to become historical (even in the slightly more dubious realm of art history) fact. Fortunately, the Dragon is less interested in documented fact, than he is in servicable theory. That is to say, ideas which facilitate the generation and distribution of more ideas. And for the Dragon this is a vein, which has only barely been uncovered, and most likely has years of profitable mining ahead of it.
Now if I could only find a cognitive crucible, with which I could seperate out my metaphors into their constituent parts...
While iPhone rumors have been going around for about as long as Newton resurrection rumors, this one seems to have some teeth to it.
Apple Computer chief executive Steve Jobs has been boasting about his company's much-rumored iPod cell phone amongst inner circles, AppleInsider has been told. The remarks are uncharacteristic of Jobs, who is often regarded for his obsession with secrecy -- especially when it comes to unannounced products from his own company. But it's been said that Jobs' own excitement over the device has produced a number of zealous ramblings amongst personal acquaintances dating back to this spring.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Well, I've yet to turn up links on how to replicate the physical comedy of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, but here's this at least.
I think I have mentioned recently that my new digital camera broke. I can't remember if I mentioned that I'm currently reading Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle (about 100 pages into the final volume.)
What do these two facts have to do with one another? Well, superficially, nothing. But in one of those strange synchronicities that seem to follow bibliophiles, while looking for books on medium format photography today before work, I stumbled across one of my alltime favorite books of art "theory," James Elkins' What Painting Is.
If you've never come across this one, and you are at all interested in painting, in the process of painting, in the peculiarities of the creative act when channeled through pigment, binder, and substrate... Man is this book for you. Elkins uses Alchemy as a kind of metaphor, unraveling the mysteries of the studio by juxtaposing them with the mysteries of the pre-enlightenment laboratory.
The fundamental fact that argues the importance of the act of painting, is that painters spend their entire lives working with paint. ... Oil paint can't be entrancing just because it can create illusion, because every medium does that. No: painters love paint itself, so much that they spend years trying to get paint to behave the way they want it to, rather than abandoning it and taking up... photography. It is the paint that is so absorbing, so deeply attractive, that a life spent in the studio can be a bearable life. ... Substances occupy the mind profoundly, tethering moods to thoughts, tangling stray feelings with the movements of the body, engaging the full capacity of response and concentrating it on unpromising lumps of paint and color. There is no meaning that cannot seem to flow from the paint itself. pages 192 & 193
This connection between art and alchemy has bounced around my head for years, even years before I'd become aware of Mr. Elkins, though some of the connections he draws are as inspiring as they are useful tools for grasping another way of thinking.
Image via Levity
The Brick Testament
This is kinda cool. Though if you are either extremist end of the culture wars, you should be warned not to take this (or yourself) too seriously. But then I guess if you take things too seriously, just the idea of scripture in Lego form, is probably as bad as cartoons of the Prophet to Muslims.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
For those of you who don't have to have the cutting edge iPod fresh off the apple-cart every year, (I gotta admit the 3 year old 20gigger I got still suits me just fine) but are experiencing some technical difficulties with your older pod, well TreeHugger has the answer...
We used to live in a culture where there were shoe repair and appliance repair shops all over town. These all faded away as the gear was designed to be pitched rather than fixed and was cheap enough that people didn't think twice about it. iPods, although expensive, are treated as if disposable and some say Apple wants it that way. To their discredit, Apple offers no support to entrepreneurs like Matt, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't. Thanks to Matt, one less dead iPod got stuck in a drawer or tossed in the garbage.
For all you bleeding-heart liberals out there who'd like to do a little less bleeding and a little more Rejoicing with that big ol' heart o' yours, check out my buddy Klintron's wonderful Rose-Colored News. I got hipped to this little tidbit whilst hangin' there.
The plug-in being pursued by Toyota would be able to ''travel greater distances without using its gas engine; it will conserve more oil and slice smog and greenhouse gases to nearly imperceptible levels.''
Plug-in hybrids use larger battery packs that can be recharged through a typical 120-volt outlet, allowing a driver to travel locally on battery power before the vehicle switches to the gasoline engine. DaimlerChrysler has been developing a plug-in hybrid van.
My Brother-from-another-Mother, the notorious Sky Cosby, a.k.a Pirate Papa will be in Portland this weekend, showing off the first issue of the Pirate Papa dead-tree Zine at the Portland Zine Symposium. So if you're hanging around P-Town this weekened you should check him out.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
This is funny. Jes and I got the first season of the Muppet Show recently and there was a lot going on there that was definitely intended for adults. This story doesn't get into how, in particular, this act gets blue. But if the Muppets Tonight skit where Miss Piggy fakes a "sneeze" in a crowded diner ala When Harry Met Sally is any indication...
But would Brian's father have approved?
"I think he would have loved it because of how outrageous I get. My Dad really believed in community and sweetness but the other side of him was incredibly naughty.
"He always said the only reason we did this was those moments where it is like laughing in church. It becomes so infectious you cannot stop laughing."
So my digital camera died the other day. It's still under warranty so I'll be sending it back to Sony soon. But I'm really getting the photo bug, and thinking about doing some film. So far this is the cheapest price I've found online for mail-in 120 processing. Also thinking about ordering a new Holga so this would come in handy.
This is really cool, in a Baraka/Koyaanisqatsi meets the South Pole kinda way. Makes me want to reread the Kim Stanley Robinson Mars books, and maybe rent the John Carpenter version of the Thing.
via The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Vespaway is running some posts about mpg for scooters. As this has been a major point in the media blitz about scoots hitting the mainstream, I encourage fellow scoot riding Dragons to head over there, and make your experience be counted.
we got a month or two of good riding before the sky starts crying, up here in the great north woods, for those of you with more northerly conditions, or facing a coming monsoon season, I give you the gutter-punk rat-bike rider's weather prooofing link. Shiny side up, ya hear?
This is interesting, the question itself spawns other questions.
The Dragon's Opinion?
The first Masterpiece of video game art has yet to be written.
Hell, the first Shakespeare of Comic Art has yet to appear, and video game as an art form will always (or at least for SOME time) lag behind sequential art.
Because really, until you have someone who can master an open ended story board, you won't be able to get someone who can write compellingly for video games...
Yes, the Dragon is not the most timely of newssources (although to er... buff our own talons, we have beat boingboing to two stories so far,) but still, this is a cool video. Donate generously, and maybe I'll get the time to re-mix it with the Double-Down swing version of "Ace of Spades."
Monday, August 07, 2006
This is all over the place, so you may have seen it already. Warren Ellis has started a Webcomics National Collective site, powered by a soon to be released webcomic publishing product of the same name. The illustrious Mr. Ellis's site will be called Rocket Pirates, which is great and all, but what the Dragon is really interested in is this "Commercial Product." ? Digital creation and distribution of comics has long been a case of driving nails with screw-drivers and pulling them out with wrenches. (Magna Studio being a notable exception.)
But really a platform for serious amateurs to release their works under the umbrella of approval of Warren Ellis is intriguing.
The submissions system is simply this: email your materials to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to see at least three completed pages and an overview of what you intend to do. No need to be formal -- rambly emails talking about the central concepts and what you want to achieve are fine.
I'm open to anything -- series, serialised graphic novels, single panels, self-contained shorts, newspaper-style strips -- in any style, from manga to clipart to whatever the hell you just invented in your basement. No limits.
I'm open to any kind of content. You're going to have to work pretty hard to get me to accept a superhero project for the site, but if you've got something that knocks me flat, I'll take it. But, seriously, I want to eventually curate something that takes in a wide breadth of what comics can achieve. Surprise me. Give me something straight out of literary mainstream fiction, give me a warped genre, give me something I've never seen before. That's the "theme" of the site, the glue that holds it together. It is quite simply "stuff Warren really likes."
The submissions process is open to everybody. I don't care if you only decided you wanted to try and make a comic ten minutes ago -- I'll look at it. I'll warn you in advance that the chances of my being able to provide detailed and constructive rejections are slight, but I'll do my best.
(Also, if the site turns out to be all-male because only guys submitted, I'm going to be very pissed off, and will infect you all with this lung disease my girlfriend seems to have passed to me over the weekend.)
I'd like to be up and running by the end of the month, but I won't kick the site live until I have enough work of quality. The submissions process will remain permanently open. Unless, you know, I change my mind. I am unpredictable and I drink a lot.
That's all I've got. Please feel free to pass this unedited post on anywhere you like.
-- Warren Ellis
Sunday, August 06, 2006
This is real basic, but some times it's hard to get even this much simple info gathered into one list. I've been looking at my options in these areas, but unfortunately my digital camera just died.
I guess today the Dragon is sticking with antiquarian books. The British National Archives have The Domesday Book, an eleventh century tax record commissioned by William the Conqueror.
Well I think it's cool...
It takes about 12 hours to scan one page using an X-ray beam about the size of a human hair, and researchers expect to decipher up to 15 pages that resisted modern imaging techniques. After each new page is decoded, it is posted online for the public to see.
It is cool, like finding a book from the Library of Alexandria, that some naughty pupil forgot to return.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Flatline Jack, of Geek-Week Fame, has another series on Youtube, Amanda Hades.
Low Budget Blade Runner, meets Lone Gunmen, meets Max Headroom, meets Cecile B. Demented, meets KISS.
Where is the internet Joe Bob Briggs when you need him? Honky-Tonk Dragon, though he's got some mighty big feet,is not up to filling Joe Bob's Tony Llamas.
Haven't watched all of it, yet, just the first one, which was very nice. More to follow.
This is a nice piece to fuel those drunken debates about whether single panel works are "comics," and the lasting influence of Will Eisner on panel composition. At least if your'e drinking with me. Which is highly unlikely, since it feels like I'll be slaving at Verisign forever. This was day 10 of my 12 day week, and I can't find my will-to-live. Have you seen it?
Anyway, so I'm sorry my posts have been so sparse lately. But really, check out this cool comic. It made me smile.
via Warren Ellis
Friday, August 04, 2006
File under: Who Resurrected the Electric Car?
The Dragon featured the Tesla Roadster a while back, never guessing (ok well maybe guessing a little) that it was merely a trojan horse for a horrible tree-hugger conspiracy to make electric vehicles practical and GASP! maybe even cool!
As you know, the initial product of Tesla Motors is a high performance electric sports car called the Tesla Roadster. However, some readers may not be aware of the fact that our long term plan is to build a wide range of models, including affordably priced family cars. This is because the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.
So, in short, the master plan is:
1. Build sports car
2. Use that money to build an affordable car
3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
4.While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options...
Don’t tell anyone.
Good luck to you silly humans!
This looks pretty sweet.
Why Green WiFi? A number of non profit entities focus on addressing the digital divide by providing internet access to developing areas. Green WiFi addresses one of the biggest barriers to success: the lack of reliable electricity in developing areas required to power the network. Green WiFi has developed a low cost, solar-powered, standardized WiFi access solution that runs out-of-the-box with no systems integration or power requirements. All that is required is a single source of broadband access. Green WiFi nodes can then be deployed on rooftops to form a self-healing network that hops the source signal over a virtual 802.11b/g grid. Because these nodes require no fixed installation or power tie-ins, these nodes can form an unplanned, mobile grid that can grow or be relocated as needed. Green WiFi aims to compliment and extend the power and promise of initiatives such as the UN/MIT One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, Intel's World Ahead Program and other NGO efforts dedicated to providing affordable computing capabilities to developing areas by providing critical last mile access; last mile internet access with nothing more than a single broadband internet connection, rooftops and the sun.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Great Slide show with commentary of Scooter Rage19 in San Francisco. (Yes, over a month old, and everybody's talking about AmeriVespa right now, but we ain't everybody.)
This is funny. J. K. Rowling, John Irving, and Stephen King gave a charity reading at NYC's Radio City Music Hall, and Irving and King spoke about how they hoped Harry would survive the last book in the series. John Irving, an author for whom death is a major recurring theme, and well FREAKING Stephen King! Rowling's response is priceless.
"When fans accuse me of sadism, which doesn't happen that often, I feel I'm toughening them up to go on and read John and Stephen's books," she said. "I think they've got to be toughened up somehow. It's a cruel literary world out there."