The monitor I’ve been using since 2008 which I bought along with Cuberick and had had my 360 hooked up to had been acting weird the past few years. Every time I’d turn it on it would flicker and I’d have to turn it off and on again twice per minute or so before it would finally flicker to stability usually 5-10 minutes later. A few days ago it failed to turn on completely. I thought I’d try to locate the problem and attempt to repair it. Cue some Youtube research, and lo and behold: my problem turned out very common – and very easy to fix, at least compared to how complex I’ve been imagining working with electronics to be.
Namely, multiple (five!) capacitors on the power controller chip were blown; a result of policies corporations like Samsung follow where they use the cheapest components possible to reduce costs and enforce planned obsolescence, a two-birds-with-one-stone type of deal for the manufacturers and against consumers the world over.
Replacing them together with buying some necessary equipment for soldering and borrowing an actual soldering iron set me back less than 10€.
Now my 9-year-old 22″ monitor that doesn’t have an HDMI-in works like new. I put in some extra time but I came out fulfilled, richer in terms of knowledge and with something that will hopefully last some more years to come – probably more than what VGA cables will still be around for.
If you have the same problem, here’s the video that got me started. My monitor’s model is Samsung 2232BW.
Can you recall the last time you listened to, let alone liked, a song somebody posted on Facebook? This one was posted by my uni mentor Despina Catapoti along with the comment “The song samples a track by the group Yellow Magic Orchestra and a composition by Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass.
I think I should make it a point to listen to music people share more often. Cause it’s true: most of my favourite bands and music today have one thing in common: somebody, sometime, somewhere, suggested I give them a shot.
This is a neat little collection of Margaret Atwood’s history in the field of science fiction. It’s split into three parts:
1) Her thoughts on science (speculative?) fiction and the persistent problem of defining the genre; thoughts on how science fiction is a continuation of much older, mythological sorts of fiction; commentaries on her early life in rural Canada, what made her move into the field and inspired her to write the novels that marked her career.
2) Reviews, articles and talks she’s written and given over the years on seminal works and writers such as The Island of Dr Moreau and H. G. Wells, Nineteen Eighty-four, Animal Farm and George Orwell, Brave New World and Aldous Huxley, She and H. Rider Haggard, The Birthday of the World and Ursula K. Le Guin (her name is seriously pronounced “gwin”?) and others.
3) A selection of her own short stories, some of which I remembered from reading Bones and Murder some weeks ago.
Listening to this wise old lady speak of her long life and pose difficult questions about SF in general was very pleasing for the mind. I also found it quite revealing, and I’m hardly versed in her work. If you are more familiar with it than I, you know what to do.
I finally did another B&W film some days ago; it had been sitting in my fridge looking at me for far too long. I hadn’t touched my vat, chemicals and spools in almost three years, either, film and developer sitting there with an expiration date years before even then.
Who says great photographs can’t come from “expired” consumables?
It was after the Spotters Weekend was over, which is where I had spent the majority of the roll. I had just a couple left to round off the complete thirty-six plus the one or two extras at the end and couldn’t think of what to shoot last to get done with it. I took a couple of selfies and prepared my developing gear.
I was sitting there in my bathroom, all sources of light blocked, tools “arranged” in front of me – or, if you prefer honest descriptions, lying around in a way I had to feel around for them every time I needed to switch one. I started by trying to, as you would, unwind the film onto the spool which would be used as its case to neatly bathe it into the developer, but I just couldn’t get the roll to fit in right. Something jammed, the film wouldn’t be picked up by the lever and it wouldn’t unwind. I must have been struggling there blind for what must have been more than 45 minutes for something that in the hands of someone who “knows what they’re doing” wouldn’t take more than 5 at most.
By that time, I could feel that I had almost ruined the edge of the film and the last pictures of the roll by all the bending and creasing I had submitted it to. I knew that force wouldn’t cut it (I could fit some pun here if I tried hard enough), but I was getting a tiny bit desperate.
I considered bailing: turning on the bathroom light and instantly burning the pictures white with light forever. At least that way I would escape that limbo between art and frustration, sitting there in the darkness getting nowhere.
If you’re waiting for some dramatic turn of events, there wasn’t one, but indeed it was a turn that saved me. I just tried twisting half the spool while holding it vertically instead of horizontally, and that somehow did the trick. Relieved, I winded the film into the spool, placed it into the tank, turned on the lights and proceeded with development.
A few hours later, this turned out to be the last shot of the roll.
I’ll admit I’m quite happy with how I look in this picture, but what I love are the chaotic, random little blemishes that pepper it from my mishandling it. Together they make for quite a unique selfie, and a selfie it is alright, clumsy self-inflicted marks and all. It just wouldn’t be the same if it had come out “perfect”. In fact, the way it’s come out (just look at the right of my head, the contour of the… what is that anyway?) I think it is superior* in every way apart from visual fidelity I suppose.
At the very least it’s a happy accident. In chaos we trust – which is just The Flow dressed up in its cool black suede suit.
Some more highlights from that roll, in case you’re interested.
*Film photography is, in my mind at least, being slowly relegated to what painting and drawing turned into after film photography itself was invented: an art form formerly used for picture perfection now rendered obsolete by some newer technology – in this case digital photography. You could say that painting was liberated and all kinds of artistic breakthroughs were had only after photography was invented and artists didn’t have to portray their subjects in any kind of technically immaculate way anymore – that would be the photographer’s job from then on. Similarly, free from the requirement that it should mainly display things “the way they really are” – we have phones and mirrorless cameras now for that – film photography can now be safely re-examined as a separate medium with its own specific physical limitations and artistic advantages. Like painting.
Σήμερα πήγα σε ένα πακιστανικό εστιατόριο στο κέντρο, δίπλα στη Βαρβάκειο, με την Sanne και τον Bart για το pre-weekend lunch. 3 μερίδες, μια σαλάτα και 3 chabati 11€. “You don’t want to know how much we would have to pay in The Netherlands for authentic Indian food” μου είπε η Sanne.
Ποτέ δεν είχα πάει σε πακιστανικό εστιατόριο στην Αθήνα.
I changed the site’s theme a few days ago. Now I’m using Twenty Sixteen. Do you like it? It’s pretty good for a “default” WordPress theme. It shines in the small details: the way the quotes show up, how it displays the Spoiler plugin, the tags on the side and title on top. I like it. Let’s see how long I’ll have it for this time around – before changing, I’d been using my modded version of Twenty Fourteen for around three years.
Today’s earworms come complete with feel-good feel-bad social awareness messages.
Watch the following if you concede to mass torture of feeling, perhaps sentient, creatures for your palatal pleasure. Yes, Moby’s promoting veganism, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Watch the following if you – wait, what I was going to write was that you should watch it if you use the Internet or own a smartphone, but if you’re here reading this, yeah, that includes you any way you cut it. It’s you, it’s me, it’s our lives now, and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.
Found this book used for 10lv at Elephant bookstore in Sofia. This was my first real exposure to fiction by Margaret Atwood, and it was enough to make me think that reading longer works from her will be something I’m going to enjoy deeply.
While looking for the real title of the book on Google, I stumbled upon this review which just so happens to portray my feelings for it pretty much exactly. Allow me then to do the unthinkable and use that review’s words instead of mine. Thank you Kelly EasyVegan.
“The stories cover a little bit of everything: fantasy, mystery, science fiction, speculative fiction, feminism, rape culture, gender wars, dating, death – you name it.
Many of the pieces are hit and miss; my favorites are the scifi stories that hinge on an environmental or animal-friendly theme:
– “Cold-Blooded” – An alien race of matriarchal moth people visit planet earth – or as they call it, “The Planet of the Moths,” a nickname owing to the fact that their moth cousins outnumber us by billions – and find humans sorely lacking in both culture and intelligence;
– “My Life As a Bat” – A series of reflections on the narrator’s past life as a bat, including a disturbing (and, as it just so happens, true) anecdote about WWII-era experiments in which bats were made into unwitting suicide bombers;
– “Hardball” – A piece of dystopian speculative fiction in which humans, having decimated their environment, have retreated to live under a giant dome. Since space is limited, the population must be kept in check: for every birth, one person is chosen to die via a lottery. Care to guess what becomes of the remains?
Also enjoyable are those stories which reimagine classic literature: “Gertrude Talks Back” gives voice to Hamlet’s long-suffering mother, and “Unpopular Gals” and “Let Us Now Praise Stupid Women” celebrates those villains and “airheads” without which fairy tales would not exist.
While at times difficult to read, “Liking Men” is another standout; this is the piece that deals with sexual assault, vis à vis a woman’s journey back to coping with – and even loving – men (or rather, one man in particular) again after her rape.
You can read the book for free on Huxley.net but I recommend you read it either off-screen or not on a web page.
It’s been demonstrated time and time again that people who can come up with incredible, fictional worlds that have something tangible to say about our own, have the ability to do so exactly because they understand this Earth and universe so well. Huxley was no exception, and his addendum to Brave New World is a beautifully lucid account of where his original work, written 25 years previously, had failed to anticipate the great emerging forces that were threatening freedom as Huxley perceived them at the time. This list of the book’s chapters might give you some idea of what those threats were:
II Quantity, Quality, Morality
IV Propaganda in a Democratic Society
V Propaganda Under a Dictatorship
VI The Arts of Selling
VIII Chemical Persuasion
IX Subconscious Persuasion
XI Education for Freedom
XII What Can Be Done?
I’m incredibly curious what Huxley would have to say about our 21st century society and where his hopes would lie today – whether he’d still think that
“meanwhile there is still some freedom left in the world. Many young people, it is true, do not seem to value freedom. But some of us still believe that, without freedom, human beings cannot become fully human and that freedom is therefore supremely valuable. Perhaps the forces that now menace freedom are too strong to be resisted for very long. It is still our duty to do whatever we can to resist them. “