Tag Archives: Mirror

2837 – Lookin’ Around Corners For You II

Like I said, I read a lot lately and it is interesting to see how much my reading habits have changed. I was always interested in background, but apart from the fact that I couldn’t carry around an encyclopedia, if you look at it, even if we had owned a printed encyclopedia, who would have constantly bought updates? If they had even been available!

The book that I currently read, “Hundert Tage” by Lukas Bärfuss, is about the hundred days of genocide in Rwanda. It happened from April to July 1994. If I had bought one of the two big German encyclopedias, Meyer or Brockhaus, at the time when I started earning my own money (as had intended but never did), it would have told me about a developing country that did comparatively extremely well, about a peaceful and slightly boring small country on its way up. It wouldn’t have told me anything that could have eased my understanding of the conflict.

Wikipedia has changed all that. Sure, sometimes there are edit wars about who has shot down a particular plane, sometimes there is astroturfing, but by and large Wikipedia is pretty accurate and, whether you like it or not, in the long run it will be the only encyclopedia left, because at least the commercial alternatives won’t make it for another decade.

I’ve read the main article about the genocide, I’ve read about the assassination of the dictator Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the event that started the massacres, I’ve read about the racist ideology of “Hutu Power“, about short time Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, about several specific massacres, and so on and so on. I even skimmed the articles about the first and second Congo War, just to get a feeling for the aftermath. I could do that immediately as the need arose, and it actually did arise after the first few pages of the book.

But it is not only Wikipedia. I have an offline maps application called “Maps With Me” on my tablet and my phone. Sure, you can read a book without a map, but having one is so much more convenient. When I have Internet connectivity (not now on the train, but normally, when I read on the tablet at home) I can even use Google Maps and see photos taken in Kigali.

As a result I am far from being an expert for central African history, but I feel I have a good foundation for understanding every aspect of this particular book.

Really, it is crazy how fast the world of reading has changed, has it?

The Song of the Day, completely unrelated by the way, is “Lookin’ Around Corners For You”. Hear the Tommy Dorsey rendition on YouTube.

2776 – Money Can’t Buy It

Today the American architect Christopher Alexander is paradoxically best known for the applicability of his “Pattern Language” to the description and construction of computer programs. Basically he developed a hierarchical system for the description of patterns. A pattern is something like an archetypical solution for an archetypical problem in a certain problem domain and a given context.

Patterns are related to other patterns, and a certain situation can match more than one pattern. Patterns can also be contained within other, higher level patterns. That sounds pretty abstract and that’s right, but this kind of abstraction makes patterns so useful. Christopher Alexander for instance used patterns to describe how Good Architecture according to his best knowledge and individual style and taste should work.

In his Pattern Language he described how cities should be distributed across regions or how living and working areas should be intermingled with common spaces to create neighborhoods worth living within. The next step was the distribution of buildings and negative space, how that can create living or dead places. The pattern language is nothing more than a formal notation, usable in any field, but what Alexander used it for, was the blueprint for a beautiful world adapted to the needs of people, instead of the other way round, as is so often seen in modern architecture.

One of his smaller patterns is that we should build our homes piece by piece, including things from our past, things that mean something to us.

Recently I saw a house that perfectly fits Alexander’s patterns. It is full of things that have grown over time, have been made by their owners, and you immediately feel at home in such a place. It has character and it is above design. Sure, you can employ an interior designer and although someone really good (and most likely really expensive) can create something similar, something more refined, polished and maybe even more balanced, probably even a piece of art, it will always be just something bought. It won’t be the same thing. There is a “quality without a name” that money can’t buy.

The Song of the Day is “Money Can’t Buy It” from Annie Lennox’ 1992 album “Diva”. Hear it on YouTube.

2130 – Slow Your Speed

There are more of these mirrors around and once you start looking for them, they are really everywhere.

Well, not all of them have these attractive faults like blindness, but here’s a good one in Rosegg, Carinthia, half-way between Villach and the lake where I usually swim.

The Song of the Day is “Slow Your Speed” by Jimmy Witherspoon. There’s no video around, but on junodownload you can hear most of the song. Instead of providing 30 seconds samples, they just cut off the first 30 seconds and let you hear the rest.

2129 – Love Is Blindness II

As I said, no images today, but I figured two more of yesterday’s apple tree and mirror can’t be wrong.

Cassandra Wilson gave this song a peculiar melancholic feeling, very typical for her style.

On the other hand, melancholy is not Jack White’s thing 😀

The Song of the Day is again the U2 cover “Love Is Blindness“, but this time freshly recorded by Jack White. Hear it on YouTube.

2128 – Love Is Blindness I

It’s Thursday night, I’ve been working in Villach, Carinthia. In the afternoon it has been raining and cooling down.

No images today, a small, crooked apple tree, a blind mirror and five minutes yesterday will have to do for two posts.

This is a traffic mirror, positioned on the outside of a curve, intended to make joining the road safe – only that it is blind as a mole 🙂

The Song of the Day is the U2 cover “Love Is Blindness” from Cassandra Wilson’s 1995 album “New Moon Daughter”. Enjoy it on YouTube, we’ll come back to the song in the next post.

1852 – Peeling An Onion

Thanks for all the good wishes, I’m already feeling better now. Not yet well but better.

I can’t sleep all day and night, though I did on Monday and most of Tuesday, thus it’s probably a good time to begin posting again.

This is an image made on Saturday. It was not the only image, but it shows what I like in DSLRs. DSLRs? Yeah, I’ve put the Panasonic LX5 on a shelf in Carinthia, mounted the Sigma 50/1.4 on my D300 and went out to make DSLR-ish images. Here’s one of those that I had in mind, in the next posts we will see that this is far from my current mode of seeing though.

Using such a fast lens wide open (and the Sigma is optimized for that purpose) lets you focus on an extremely thin layer of reality. It’s almost like peeling an onion. You concentrate on a thin slice and the rest vanishes in a creamy blur.

Our eyes don’t see like that, and this is probably a reason why such images fascinate us. It’s focus and concentration at the same time. I have made a lot of these images in the past and I want to get back to that at times, strive for a mix between the convenient bliss that is the LX5, and the spartan restriction in using a fast prime on the D300.

This is where a DSLR excels. Nothing but this. The rest of the images that you’ll see in the following posts were all made on Sunday, were made with the same lens, and most of them could have been made with the LX5 as well. This one not.

The Song of the Day is “Glass Onion” from the “White Album”. If you really need the digital downloads, you can get the exclusively from the iTunes store, but I won’t link into the Heart of Darkness 🙂

Hear it on YouTube.