Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Traveling Hotel in Norway

Breathtaking or what? Norway is beautiful and the fjords are full of poetry. But how to market this nature´s grand design for the ignorant masses? The small town of Andalsness has come up with a novel idea -a hotel on wheels. These pictures depict the whole plan. "Hotel" rolls on train tracks across the scenery, showing the absolute best of what nature can be. Portable box rooms are minimalistic and tiny, and the whole idea is to move people in an environmentally-safe fashion from place to place.
If this were April fool´s day, I would list this as one attempt at passing wild imagination for the gullible.
But no, it is very real. I´m not sure how this would succeed in the middle of cold, snowy winters.
Stranded in a cold box in the middle of nowhere? Paging Bear Grylls, please.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Tron: Legacy" and Going Mad

I don´t know if you have already had the chance to see the new "Tron: Legacy", which is a sequel to the legendary original "Tron" from 1982. It´s in 3-D, full of cool images and gadgets. And good looking girls and boys in tights. And this is a Disney-movie, folks. Which sort of makes sense, if you have a dark and wicked mind, like I do. (Just kidding)

So far the reviews have been less than stellar. The plot is weak, if non-existing. The acting sucks. Jeff Bridges is apparently just waltzing through his performance like an insomniac on weed. The main star of the movie, Garret Hedlund, is pictured in every possible angle stretching his ill-fitting body suit. The movie did make around 44 million $ on its opening weekend, which is about $ 17 million more than the original "Tron" did, but this does lack the original estimate of 54 $. Is the sequel going to be a cult classic as its precessor? Hmm, I am not sure. The original "Tron" was also not critically well-received, nor did it make a commercial success. However, the ideas it presented at the time (1982) of the digital world, immersion into games, alternate realities, AI becaming aware etc. were groundbreaking.

The Los Angeles Times did an interesting article on the ´psyche´of the first "Tron"-movie, as theorized by Jay Martin, Martin, who is a University of Southern California Literature professor AND a practicing psychoanalyst, has provided his own intriguing take on the actual subplot of the movie. In sum, he thinks "Tron" perfectly describes the schizophrenic brain and its processes. Schizophrenic patients often see themselves being at the mercy of a machine or computer. He cites a German psychiatrist Viktor Tausk, who described
 "schizophrenia as a mental process which is experienced by the schizophrenic as if it were imposed upon him through the diabolical activity of some external force induced by a mysterious machine. The patient´s disordered impulses feel as if they are not his own, but are pushed inside from an alien outside."

In the first "Tron", Jeff Bridges´ character Kevin Flynn exhibits symptoms of paranoia, as evidenced by his videogames ("Space Paranoids"). Paranoia dwells into schizophrenia as Flynn is absorbed into the computer and must fight the manifestations of his own programs. According to Jay Martin, this underlying subplot is so raw and effective that it makes the viewers feel uncomfortable.

"The senses of fragmentation, alienation and danger as a way of life; the film´s representation of a primitive, paranoid schizophrenic process lying just beneath the surface of behavior, into which we might fall at any time - these are what made ´Tron` so hard for audiences to take".

The ideas of alternate realities, dream worlds and losing grip with reality are not that rare of a treat these days ("Matrix", "Inception", "Sixth Sense"). Perhaps the new version of the digital game world is met with less disturbed feelings?


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dream Christmas wish list

When thinking about my past paramours and their gifts, I never quite got used to receiving any fancy, overpriced stuff. As in, ever. For me, other things regardless of wealth have always meant more. Silly thinking in the long run? However, I am aware of women, and men, for whom the expensiveness of the presents equal love.
And that is what all those holiday-time commercials try to convince us of. Do you really love her? Really, really, reaaallly? Do you appreciate her? Why don´t you get her the newest Chanel makeup?

This is supposedly a real wishlist, found by a blogger´s brother in the NYC metro. Of course. Where else.
Nothing says love in New York city like "gold or silver or sparkly Christian Louboutins". For those of you who are staring with an empty look right now, Louboutins are shoes. Like the ones they wear in Sex and the City- show. (How clever, the lady of the list can single and mingle her heart out after the break up in those sparklies!)
I also like how she points out that the list of books can be found cheaper from Amazon or Ebay. Would a woman who misspells Kerastase hair products read Dickens? Or even understand the message of Dante´s Divine Comedy? Maybe she just likes to dazzle her guests with fancy reading material by the bathroom sink.
Oh well, what ever. Secretly I am just jealous that she found her own personal santa to shell out what ever the  little heart desires. Or not. Nothing is free, you see. Universe has its rules.

Have a Christmas cookie: Julian Assange and the Art of Rap-music

Mr. Assange makes his detour to the world of rap around the 5 minute mark. On the basis of this, I think he should stay on his chosen path of international information archeology. What do you think?


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chloe Sevigny, sexting and lumberjacks

For those of you that do not recognize this girl, her name is Chloe Sevigny (born 1974). The original uber-cool chick from the nineties, who was once crowned as "the IT-girl" by writer Jay McInerney in a 1994 New Yorker article. Chloe was known as the original fashion wunderkind long before Tavi Gevinson, and her impeccable taste got her a job at the now-legendary "Sassy"-magazine while she was just 17. Chloe broadened her artistic instincts to the world of acting, and began with a raw portrayal of a teen HIV-victim in the classic movie "Kids" (1995). In 1999 her work was recognized with both an Academy Award -and Golden Globe nominations as the best supporting actress from the movie "Boys don´t cry". She did not win, Hillary Swank did, and a series of small independent movies followed which, despite their merits, did not raise her star-level. Which seems to be just fine with her. Her role as the strange receptionist in the Jim Jarmusch-directed movie "Broken flowers"(2005) is captivating. Highly recommended.

Ms Sevigny also has the honor to be one of the few mainstream actresses to actually have had real sex in front of the camera for a scene in a movie. The infamous encounter took place in the movie "Brown Bunny" (2003), where she performed oral sex to actor Vincent Gallo. The movie´s reviews were critically divided and the un-simulated sex was judged immoral. Chloe never understood the big hoopla; Gallo was her ex-boyfriend and the movie´s original artistic message was overlooked.

Recently Playboy interviewed Sevigny as one of the fascinating women of 2010. Despite her work as an ultra-conservative polygamous mormon-wife in HBO´s "Big Love", she claims to still get freaky sex-notes from her neighbors. Not that the girl admits any freakyness in her personal live. Surprisingly, she loves strong masculine men who have facial hair and "survival skills". No artsy types for Chloe, lumberjacks can line up. If you´re lucky, she promises to bite. 

But in the meantime, there is always texting.

 "I’m dating, but I’m starting to feel a little discouraged, actually. I’ve been texting for a year with a couple of guys, without ever going on a date with them. The other day I got a text from a boy, but it wasn’t hot. I mean, if you’re going to text me every day, you haven’t seen me for months and you’re trying to seduce me, you’d better spice up that text and make it more exciting than “How was your day? I hope you’re having a beautiful one.” Sadly, I haven’t been doing a lot of kissing lately. "

We have all been there, or what? Texting and flirting with semi-strangers can be quite addictive. But a word of warning though; the guys with the best "seductive" lines usually know their drill. Seduction is an art form, and practice makes you the master - of the game. 

Mademoiselle Sevigny has also garnered recent exposure with hilarious parodies done of her projected image. These videos are quite toxicating, for whatever reason. I don´t believe they are directly mocking Chloe as a person, but the whole scenester-world where her name is still linked to. This is satire of brands, famous names, narcissistic self-awareness and meaningless trends.


The Antisocial Network

Funny how trends go about. First it´s the few innovators that proudly show off their new toys and habits for the rest of the vulgar herd. If it works, the masses catch on. The cycle dies, when the conservative everyman has heard or adapted the trend. Early adapters and coolness hunters are valuable in showing the way forward. This reminds me of Iceland, and how it is commonly used by companies as a closed testing ground for new fashion. If it passes there, it will most definitely work elsewhere. Don´t believe me? Go and visit. What the people wear now, is all the rage a few years from now. If anything, the current economy might even push out the creativity and craftiness in full blossom.

In the light of this cycle of chic, should we be alarmed of the recent death of the oldest known Facebook user? Ivy Bean was 104-years-old, had 4949 friends (!) and proud to be part of the network since 2007. She also used Skype, which I suspect is not the usual tool of communication for seniors in her golden age. Yes, the mature surfers are catching on the social media wagon. I blame it all on William Shatner. The old prankster with a phase gun has been tweeting since the early days of the service and currently is the proud owner of 417 394 followers. He turns 80 next year.

Jesse Eisenberg, the actor mostly known for portraying the founder of Facebook, was recently interviewed by Time Magazine. The young hipster proudly claims to not reading his mail, not having a television set for the last 10 years, and no, he does not have a Facebook account. (So I suppose the nine fellows or so presenting themselves under his name on Twitter are not really him, either) In essence, Jesse has decided to opt out of the all-encompassing influence of real-time networks, being in touch 24 h and knowing the news instantly. Or, that is at least the image he likes to give us. Why? Because it is cool. I can almost  picture Jesse carrying a vintage retro Nokia log, which works occasionally, carries a ton -but brings instant street cred for the lone cowboy who just doesn´t want to be like the rest of us. (Oh please, he so has a Blackberry or iPhone with him at all times. Trust.)

Another low-tech trendster and the original lady of hip is our very own Winona RyderShe also has declared her open dislike for our digital age. While she treasures her old mix-tapes (remember those?), the girl has no computer. Apparently Winona has heard  that "one can find anything on there; troubles, salaries and such". Ms Ryder lives in San Francisco, of all places, so the idea of her being isolated amids the hot spot of global information technology development seems absurd. But plausible, yes.When you think of all the necessary information and services being available today online ONLY, it becomes  hard to imagine someone being able to live separate from the web (in United States). This leads me to assume that this kind of living is a right for the rare and privileged. In other words, one has resources  and people working for them in minding their affairs. Can you imagine living without a computer and modern communication technology?


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amazing Images of 2010

Here is some of the imaginative, mind-boggling shots of the year. Wow, can´t believe it is almost 2011 soon.

Dancing girl robot, manufactured by Japan´s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.


Ping-pong playing terminator. Made by Vietnam´s first robotic firm, TOSY.

Kim Kyung-Hoon

Comet Hartley II. NASA managed to get never-before-seen pictures up close of the comet. Big rock.

 The European Space Agency has got some nice pics as well, this time we have the Mars. And more precisely, Orcus Patera, a long crater near Mons Olympos on Mars. The rim rises to about 6000 feet.


An Avatar wedding. Need I say more? Apparently this is a big thing in parts of China. What ever makes one tingle, that´s what I always say.

300-feet sink hole in the middle of Guatemala City (June 2010). Looks like special effects, but is very real. The tropical storm Agatha is believed to be the culprit.

Paulo Raquec

Mars shines bright red over a "moonbow" in fog in a picture taken in Hawaii´s Haleakala volcano. At the time,  in January, Mars was its closest to Earth.

Wally Pacholka

Her majesty the queen wearing 3D-glasses on a visit to movie studio (July 2010). But alas, no ordinary glasses will do: hers were primped with real Swarovski crystals. And the letter Q on both sides. Show that attitude, Lizzie!

John Stilwell


Monday, December 13, 2010

Wikileaks: The Dating Profile of Julian Assange

By now everyone and their grandmother has heard of the huge "wikileaks"- scandal, which seems to be a gift that just keeps giving. At least for us ordinary citizens, who had no idea of the shenanigans that happen behind the closed curtains of power.

I´m not going to dwell on the leaks. Let´s instead focus on the dating life of 36-year-old "HarryHarrison", who is looking for "spirited, erotic women from countries that have sustained political turmoil". (via Daily Telegraph)

The alleged profile of Mr. Assange was published in 2006 in a  service named "OKCupid".
"Warning. Want a regular, down to earth guy? Keep moving. I am not the droid you´re looking for. Save us both while you still can".  Warning noted. As the cookie crumbled, "Harry" proved to be anything but a regular guy. At the moment he is being held in prison waiting for potential extradition to Sweden, where he is to face charges of rape and molestation. I´ve always tried to believe in the old slogan "innocent until proven otherwise", especially in the case of this high-profile individual, who has cost a lot to some major players in this world. A lot.

While describing himself as "passionate", "Harry" states that he is looking for "a siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy." He also revealed to be "directing a consuming, dangerous human rights project, which is, as you might expect, male dominated. I am DANGER, ACHTUNG:"
At the end he did claim to be very protective of women and children. So there is something good in there, no?

Now, if this ad is indeed real, I would not expect any droid-looking woman from politically stable country to answer it. It is a bit too...unusual for the average Jane. But a lot of ladies are attracted to danger, if I am correct. Something about evolution, cavemen and masculine straits all bundled together.

The scary part is, that this profile is not so unheard of in the cruel, raw internet dating market.
Who remembers the infamous "Craiglist killer" Philip Markoff? Well-mannered, clean cut medical school student, who just liked to relax by responding to dating ads on the Craigslist. And ending the date with a kill.
Be honest, would you expect that from a young guy like this?


Friday, December 10, 2010

Inception and the Three dimensions of Power

Christopher Nolan´s science fiction thriller "Inception" has been  a massive phenomenon this year, yet it took me this long to actually have seen it. Was it as good as they claim? Yes, it was- albeit not as difficult to comprehend as some argue.

The whole plot centers around corporate espionage thieves, led by a man named Dominic Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). The thieves extract information out of the heads of the unsuspecting victims through means of shared dreaming. While dreaming, the mind is vulnerable and reveals the secrets to the voyers in the same dream space. But then the normal mission turns to something more daring: the attempt is to implant an idea into a person´s head, making him believe it is his own. The way to do this is "Inception": a-three-layered dream within a dream within a dream.

This whole idea reminds me of the concept on three dimensions of power, as visioned by Steven Lukes  (Power: a Radical View).
In the first dimension, the use of power over the other party is clearly visible to both sides (shall we say A and B). In the second dimension, the whole agenda is outlined by the party with power (A). So the issues B might have an interest in are not discussed or even a possibility. The reality is outlined by A, but B knows this.
Now, in the third dimension of power, the first and second dimension are incorporated. Use of power does not need to be visible or even an issue. The situation is deemed as natural, and B believes this to be in the best interest of him. B might even think the grand order is his idea. Complicated?  Lukes´ book is a fascinating read, and highly recommended for those who are interested in these sorts of things.

Christopher Nolan designed his screenplay for nine long years, and the initial idea resembled a horror movie. Luckily for us, he decided to turn it into a scifi heist film. In order to stay focused on his grand plot, he used this mind map of the three-layered heist:


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The New York Times and Classic Screen Types in One minute

The New York Times featured some intriguing short videos on their site today, showcasing the talents of a few internationally known thespians. One minute acting test. After seeing all the candidates, I must admit these convinced me of their status as well-deserved among the ranks of stars.

First, the master. Take a look at Javier Bardem´s small facial movements before the first plate crashes. Brilliant.

Tilda Swinton. She has the most expressive, androgenic face out there, and she knows how to use it.

Michael Douglas. Despite the fragile state of health he is in right now, he delivers.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I´m so Happy I could Bleed

Very rarely does a piece of music get in your veins, like this specimen here. Meet "Warpaint", all-girl band from LA, whose famous fans include actors Billy Zane and the late Heath Ledger. Their debut EP "Excuisite Corpse" came out last year with six haunting, captivating and effortlessly beautiful pieces of musical poetry. The tracks were mixed by John Frusciante, the former Red Hot Chili Peppers -guitarist. The band has been touring with "XX" this autumn, and sold out many concerts in Europe and the US. Don´t need to ask me why. Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman and Jenny Lee Lindberg, keep doing this extraordinary art. Pretty please.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bitesize pops

Tickets for a Steve Martin -event in Miami were refunded . Audience criticized him of being too boring. Or more diplomatically :"the event did not meet the standard of excellence people have come to expect".

Evolutionary psychologist claims that there is scientific data to back up claims on why beautiful people tend to produce more daughters

"I really don´t think it´s about getting laid for him". Vincent Cassel talks about the director of his new hyped-up movie "The Black Swan"

Writer Anne Rice thinks the romance-aspect of "Twilight" is genius, yet placing the vampires on high school is less so...!

PJ Harvey has announced a new album coming up. Hopefully it is better than her last one. Some people argue  that she has not produced anything as brilliant as "Rid of Me" in 1993

Director and all-around artist/auteur David Lynch has ventured into modern blues . Hmm, something tells me this is either way out there or something marvellous.

Apparently mercury turns wetland birds into homosexuals . This will lead to interesting questions about the safety of residue chemicals/metals  in our drinking water...

Jack White is not happy about his limited-edition recording releases  being sold for hundreds of dollars above their original selling price