Shopping malls are citadels

Video Data Bank: Video Art and Video Artists. Pity there are no full video downloads, as copyright still seems stronger than indie ideals. Anyway, it's still worth browsing.

Afghanistan is the hidden superpower, the Taleban are the shadow rulers of the world: According to this article, their leader, the Mullah Mohammad Omar, claims that the cause of the US' (and the rest of the world's) economic slowdown is their ban on poppy cultivation, starting a crisis on the world's drug trade. And obviously, the 'economic miracle' of the late 90s was tightly related to very high production of opium (and thus heroin) in Afghanistan. I once read that one third of the world's economy is illegal economy, so I find the Mullah's claims quite believeable. (article via Rebecca's Pocket)

International best-seller

FC Porto 2 — Marítimo 0: Which means my football club has won the Portuguese Cup. Nice.

Vaguely related to 'The Tailor of Panama', but possibly a spoiler: Why do American movies have always this shitty morality thing at the end. Why can't movies be realistic? In The Tailor of Panama — a production with a strong European influence — the villain wins and ends up laughing at everyone else. There is absolutely no morality in it, it is just how things are. And is this bad? Won't people watching the movie be able to tell the difference between right and wrong? Do typical American movies really need blatant morality? Does it work? Looking at American crime, lack of ethics, selfishness and dementia, I think not.

I went to see The Tailor of Panama, a movie based on a book by John Le Carré and starring Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush. As anything related to Le Carré, this is a spy drama, and indeed a very good one. Brosnan's casting is obviously no coincidence, as he's given the chance to play the ultimate anti-James Bond, a crap but ruthless spy in Panama with questionable ethics, zero charm and absolutely no desire to save the world. Like real spies, indeed. Geoffrey Rush is also brilliant in his role, a tailor who likes to talk far too much, inventing all kinds of stories that Osnard (Brosnan) will take very seriously. Or won't he? Definitely a great flick, highly recommended.

Seven Ways to Fake a .Wav

The new Leather Moomins website looks absolutely fantastic. It shows the kind of effect you can do in Flash with just a little thought. However, why da fuck does ganja seem the single most important thing in the demoscene? It's like, "we're nerds but we're cool". Grow up.

Look, someone parked a huge red van outside. Which, through some strange optical phenomenon, is making my bedroon red.

Anyway yesterday I stayed up late, trying to assemble a decent compilation CD — illegal — to offer as a gift to a friend of mine on her birthday. This wouldn't be one of those selections of certain songs to fit a certain purpose (why would so many people include really crap artists like Stevie Wonder in compilation tapes otherwise?). I was going to select my favourite songs at the moment, and mix them together in nice crossfader-ish way. I eventually assembled a mix of everything I'm listening to lately, but tomorrow I woke up, listened to it and said: "No."

    1. The Beatles — Tomorrow never Knows
    2. Indian Vibes — Mathar
    3. Rothko + Four Tet — Rivers Become Oceans
    4. Looper — Who's Afraid of Y2K
    5. David Bowie — Ashes to Ashes
    6. Tarwater — Seven Ways to Fake the Perfect Skin
    7. Scala — Words and Thoughts
    8. Super Science — Invert the Universe
    9. Pendle — Caffeine Low
    10. Massive Attack — Five Man Army
    11. Mr. Scruff — Honeydew
    12. Boards of Canada — In a Beautiful Day out in the Country
    HIDDEN Addie Brick — No

I didn't say "No" because of that Addie Brick song (a wonderful arabic-sparse-ambient affair), but because I had decided not to record the CD. Sudden compliance with the RIAA? I think not. Have they included subliminal copyright messages on one of the songs? Perhaps. Does the song selection lack any kind of unity and coherence? Most definitely.

This week, this city has been under extremely hot temperatures (30+ degrees Celsius), which makes people even more lazy. Even slackers like me become lazier.

Beyond 2000. Wee.

SULFNBK.EXE: Unlike other mail viruses, this one instructs the user to delete a Windows system file (told to be a 'virus'), which ends up doing all the damage. Ouch! The same way you can't trust cookies from a stranger (or a friend behaving oddly), you shouldn't buy advice, should you? However, doesn't SULFNBK.EXE have a strange icon or what?

If Elseif Else

What if: Imagine there was a World War, a comet impact, a dramatic climate change or some other kind of cataclysm. Imagine that the only books left among the survivors would be J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings triology, or any similar fiction books. Would those books be the new Bible? Rephrasing: was the Bible once a fiction best-seller? (thanks to my friend Alexander for the tip)

Tell me colours

Say I want to call some girl to say "I love you", something that was kind and tender before Stevie Wonder. Since that, if I say "I just called to say I love you" on the phone it just sounds crap, laughable, ready-made and unromantic. Indeed, pop music is evil.

Don't read if you take a major religion too seriously: First there were the Jews. They had this Arch containing some laws, and a city called Jerusalem. They built a temple. Then the (Assyrians?) came along and destroyed everything. Later, a king named Solomon decided to build another, bigger temple. Then the Romans came, and helped the Jews enhancing this temple (by this time, a guy called Jesus was spending fourty days on this tiny little hill it only takes five minutes to climb). There was a rebellion. The Romans trashed the temple and forced the Jews to go away. Seven hundred years later, the Muslims conquered Jerusalem. At first, they looked at the temple's ruins and thought about building a Judaism Theme Park, but they decided to use the good quality stone to build their own temple — a Mosque — right on top of the old one. A thousand years later there was this World War II. The Jews were the victims of heinous crimes, and the nice English and American people, famous for their hospitality, decided that they didn't want any Jew refugees in their countries and forced the Muslims out of Jerusalem and gave it back to the Jews. Not many minutes later, shit happens. And why? Had the Muslims built their temple a few metres away, none of this would happen. A FEW METRES! Or would the Jews see that the Muslims had no fault, and build a new one a few metres away from the old ruins. A FEW METRES! Why can't you guys get along?...

Soulful electronica: Sometimes good music can be completely free.

We don't need no education.

G.W. Bush has invented an energy crisis to justify more petrol and nuclear energy production. I'm getting sick of such drama. The richest European countries only spend half the energy and have an equal (if not better) quality of life. If there's a real energy crisis, perhaps efficiency — not production — shoud be priority number one. Why won't americans drive diesel vehicles with as much horsepower as their 4litre gasoline hogs (newer diesel automobiles have powerful common-rail engines)? There are so many prospects for energetic efficiency in the U.S. without 'extremist measures' like solar or hydrogen energy, that this drama invented by Bush the Second can only be defined by two words: blatant corruption.

The U.S. is the new Soviet Union: It seems free software guru Richard Stallman also thinks that way. On this speech he talks about the Stalinistic copyright law enforcement in the U.S., from soliciting informers to channeling propaganda through the educational system:

"Copyright law (..) is now a Draconian restriction on a general public. It used to be a restriction on publishers for the sake of authors. Now, for practical purposes, it's a restriction on a public for the sake of publishers."

(Via the null device)

Five man army

Massive Attack's 'Blue Lines' is definitely the best, most decisive record of the 90s. Nevermind Nirvana. I have been listening to Massive's debut lately and so many years after I've listened to it for the first time, it still sounds new. It's such an amazing feeling that I can't describe. First was The Clash the other day, now this. I am officially a nostalgic.

I guess I just got lucky. Work progressed at incredible speed today, a few problems I expected didn't appear, so I even wasted some time tweaking this website, adding 'about' pages (click on my name in the first right side panel) and other goodies. Now, with a deadline in sight, I know I'm pushing my luck. I expect to work late because of a stupid Javascript error anytime soon.

Orchestral manoeuvres

Liverpool 5 : Alavés 4. The UEFA Cup final was perhaps the most entertaining football match I've seen in a long time. It was 4-4 after 90 minutes, and an own goal (ouch!) gave Liverpool a sudden death victory on extra time. Well, I suppose that an own goal on a World Cup final would be worse, but that player definitely got the most humiliating moment of a lifetime. Despite this, it was a truly, truly spectacular match and no one in the world can dislike 'soccer' after watching such a wonder (although the basque supporters might disagree). Great.

Work. I've got a deadline next Sunday, so there'll be only a few sparse updates until then.

Quit Slashdot today! News for herds doesn't matter! Viva la revolución! Erm... actually I read the Daily Nerd, and I personally think it has its degree of interest. Of course, any responsible reader must know that Slashdot is an heavily pro-Linux, sort of leftist journal, and make a discount. Like any of today's media, I guess Slashdot is OK as long as you also read the opposite propaganda.