Monthly Archives: May 2012

doesn’t it smell too much already?

as you know by now, i don’t watch movies really despite i work making movies. however sometimes i watch trailers. recently i was sent the trailer for Battleship, and when i played, i had this very vivid impression of having seen the trailer already, like if it was a deja vu. so, i loaded the Transformers 3 trailer too in youtube, put them side by side, and had a look. indeed. they both were the same trailer: same rhythm, same music, same editing, same shots, same extreme yellow/blue color grading. not to count the same sequence of some alien technology trying to destroy a glassy skyscraper

followed by a shot from an office in the interior of the building

followed by the building actually breaking in half and collapsing towards the camera while on fire


left Battleship, right Transformers 3 – images captured from youtube

in defense of the two movies, i must say that of course trailers are probably not produced by the actual movie makers themselves, but by the distributors, who for the sake of maximizing attendance to the movie theaters will of course replicate the winning formula as many times as necessary. so i cannot really tell what the movies really are about, just what the trailers pretend to represent, which in this case it has something to do with emerging destructive technology

driven by scary metallic alien creatures

that scare the shit out of the most heroic and tough characters

who will have to fight and be smart enought

to avoid further explosions and destruction


note the colors in this three last shots (plain screen captures from youtube, i didn’t manipulate anything), who would say these belong to different movies

no studio in the world seems to be free of guilt in this practice of going for the safe repetition. but this we knew already. oh boy, this is depressing. luckily for me, i don’t watch movies, therefore i don’t have to worry too much.

british vs american three dimensional english

in three dimensional british english,

ax + ey + rz + o = 0

is an “aero-plane”.

in three dimensional american english,

xyz(u,v) = a + i·u + r·v

is an “air-plane”.

according to this, i’d say that american 3d dimensional english seems to be more explicit than british one…

where to dream?

seems that the best way to get to live the american dream these days is to live in canada, denmark, germany, sweden, finland, france or norway. unless your dream is not mobility, opportunities or equality, but burgers and avocados. then of course america is the place. (as usual, it’s all related to quality of education and stratification of social classes)

that being said, to be fair, being here often feels like a dream to me, and i still sometime hesitate to believe it’s actually happening. so, who the fuck am i to complain! well, still, today’s picture:

best birthday anniversary ever!

this is a great day, and not only because it’s my birthday anniversary.

today, my best friend got a very well deserved and for a long time awaited salary increase that had fell in oblivion. today, things have been set right by the top bosses of his company, and he has been given the credit he deserved. he calls me and lets me know immediately after his boss left his office. the news made me so happy that i cannot imagine a better start for this special day.

and right after that i get an email, a very unusual and special email (from a very unusual and special person, although i won’t really understand that until nine days later). it’s an email telling me about this person following this blog, but it’s written in a quite different and unique way. after reading it, my heart is brimming with genuine happiness.

this is a great day already, despite it’s only one hour since i woke up!

inFORMation

that shop made me actually think that it’s a long long time information doesn’t have a weight or a smell. not that i’d prefer a steampunk future, or even an analog one, but in a way i find it amazing that there was a time where indeed [1] heavy machinery was devoted to gadgets that had one specific and single function and [b] that the information was stored/processed as form, not as content. and more amazing is the fact that it actually feels amazing. how quickly we have get used to think of information as data.

a funny shop

i love when you find a temporal oasis, a space/person for which time seems to pass at a different speed (assuming the concept of speed of time made any sense), like there was a bubble protecting something that was worth preserving, something that would be valuable to us, or to some, or to someone. today i passed by one such oasis. i didn’t get in, cause its doors were closed. all i know is that there is a shop next to my apartment (less than a block away, in fact) that is devoted to all clock and watch reparation.

i don’t know if its owner works for money or for pleasure, but i find both options amusing. specially here, in the city that gave birth to the ipads and the androids, this feels more like a cover to something. almost like if we muggles were to be kept away from something important. i’m totally coming back to this place to ask.

at the hairdresser

i always go to a random hair dressing saloon. never repeat. dunno why, no reason for it. some things in the universe don’t have an explanation, and this one of them.

today i’m lucky, one of the makeup artists here just got available, so he can take care of me. i know he’s not just a hair dresser but a make up artists cause his business card says so. he is a pretty big guy, especially in his two horizontal dimensions. he proudly wears huge tattoos all over his arms, which by the way are thick enough that he could break my neck with them. with any of them, i mean.

before getting the cut done, he gives me a shampoo clean, accompanied of a great head massage. but it’s not that delicate, almost erotic massage, but the way he talks to me and the voice in which he asks me about my life that tells me he is a lot softer in spirit than one would expect from his external appearance.

we move to the hair cutting seat, and we agree on the style we are going after today. the make up artists proceeds to execute the plan. and suddenly, while cutting my hair, he starts telling me about the scissors he’s using:

him: this scissor are new. first day today. they are so sharp, they feel great, like having sex

me: oh’cmon, that’s not possible

him: really, it is

either he really has a bad sex life and his having an orgasm right now as he cuts my hair (wait, wouldn’t that actually indicate a “good” sex life? i can’t decide), or he’s trying to tell me something that i’m not getting.

i laugh at his comment, my thoughts and the situation. lastly, the haircut is not coming bad, so perhaps i’ll come back. or not, picking random hair dressers seems to be fun.

who are they

it’s still the early evening

i just passed by my old apartment, while biking to Berkeley. it’s two years now since the last time i had to kick that rusty jammed metallic door with my feet to get in, and the last time i climbed those staircases and tried to avoid smelling all that pod in the air that floated all over the condo building. yet i have so many good memories about this place. i stop pedaling and rest my bike for a bit in front of the door. i realize i actually don’t really have negative memories of any place i’ve ever been too. and this old apartment in the middle of freaking nowhere is no exception. yes, i definitely did have good times here. well, it was an exciting period of time for me, that’s for sure. hm, perhaps, it is the echo of the feelings i had during that period of time that come back to my mind when i look to this rusty door. who knows, perhaps i cannot really dissociate place and time in my memories after all. in any case, i feel happiness when i think of this space i inhabited in there, behind that white wall that i cannot cross anymore. i close my eyes and think of the kitchen at the other side of that wall, of the walls in my office room, the wall mirrors in the bedroom, the carpet in the living room. as i walk by my old apartment entrance now, two years later, right through the very same tiles that i steped by for 365 days, i wonder who lives in there at this momment, who took over and replaced me. who cooks in my old kitchen, who sees their reflection in my wall mirrors, who stored books in my old office, and who walks or plays in my old carpet. i wonder if the sense that apartment the same way i did, or if they ever wonder who lived there before them. perhaps they do, they sometimes ask themselves how i am, or who i am? do they ever think of me? i take my bike back, i say “good bye” to my old apartment, and resume pedaling.

later this night

i’m exhausted today, but i finally made it home. i take my keys and open the door with that repetitive wrist movement that only two years of daily routine provides. i get in, and walk towards my mailbox. i open it, and immediately take out all of the publicity that i don’t care about (and that should be forbidden to drop in my mailbox) and through it away to the recycle bin. i rescue a few letters, though. a couple of them are for me. i start going up the stairs, and look to the other letters that were not sent to me. three belong to somebody called “Sophie”, and the others to “Tanja”. i keep climbing the stairs, while i wonder how are they, and who are they.

we are doing it WRONG!

i was sent a link today to this thing called the qama calculator, which basically, is an attempt to teach kids to depend less on the calculator and get better at mental algebra and calculations. and, to me, this is so fundamentally wrong that i want to cry. qama calculators are exactly what we don’t want to give to our students!

as i have explained several times in this blog, i myself am terribly bad with numbers and calculations. also, i don’t know of anyone who works with mathematics in daily basis, just as i do, that is any particularly better in mental calculus than any other person NOT doing maths at all. furthermore, being agile with number operations is of little to not help at all for them! surprised again? then take this: mathematics is not about numbers. really. mathematics is about relationships, patterns, rhythms, colors, shapes, proportions, behaviours, structures, you name it. numbers, although important, are nothing but the simplest and most primitive of all of the possible mathematical objects you might ever want to work (play?) with. as a professional you’ll probably analyze, explore and express ideas through maths, but any actual flow of numbers through all of those formulations, if any at all, is of little interest.

however, despite agreeing that numbers don’t have that much room in real/professional life, one might believe that they actually still have a pivotal role in education. that would justify a need to be agile in both manual and mental computations…?

first, i believe that in education numbers should be just one more member in a big family of mathematical objects like colors, graphs, shapes, movements or sounds (to name a few), and not especially more important than those. secondly, even when students would work with numbers, i believe that denying them the use of calculators not only has the negative philosphical impact if misleading them into believing that maths is about being good with numbers, but in practical terms it’s also a terrible waste of time and human potential. for these machines are really good at doing the mechanical/low level/stupid/algorithmical/repetitive part of any job that involves number manipulation, from which students should be free so they could spend their time doing the other non mechanical part of the job – the actual maths, such to speak. they could also use the time to internalize the real concepts, to build their own intuitions about them, to learn how to express those intuitions formally. even figuring out alternative constructions to describe the problem in question, and finding which of those alternatives resonates better with them. basically, the prohibition of calculators or projects like the qama calculator are, in fact, obsolete and represent a big blocker for teaching maths. it’s like attaching prison balls to the students!

still, some might argue that learning the algorithmic part of manual calculations is beneficial for understanding the underlying principles of, say, algebra. i think this is a misconception again. for example, all students learn that when doing a long multiplication they have to shift their partial muls by one column to the left prior to perform the final add. now, how many of them did ever naturally understand that 987 x 12 is exactly 9870 units bigger than 987 x 2…? not that many (or should i say, “zero”?). seems to me that getting them to memorize how to execute algorithms helps little on having them understand maths (in this case the distributive law).

so, since ideally we want a world where calculators (and computers, for the matter) are not seen as a thread to students, but as their friends, i cannot but feel that when there is an initiative that tries to help kids get better at manual or mental calculus is so a short in vision as thinking that training them in the art of ink & feathers calligraphy is of any use for becoming good at written expression/communication. instead, with those initiatives we are just putting even more obstacles in their path. and that’s when i think we are really doing it wrong.

so, to that qama calculator idea, i responde, “noooooooes!! please step aside! you are doing it wrong!”

do they make movies like this anymore?

– offer me everything i ask for

– anything you want!

– i want my father back, you son of a bitch!!

from the Princess Bride. to be honest, this is so much more intense to me than a building falling apart under an alien attack…

ahora seguro que no

aunque en el futuro el viaje a través del tiempo fuera posible, no creo que ahora mismo vayamos a tener ninguna evidencia directa; ¿qué tonto del futuro querría venir ahora, en epoca de crisis?

y, apesar de las ganas, tampoco veo mucha gente marchándose al futuro

ouchi

ala ala ala…. ¿una cana en los pelicos de la nariz? ¡qué fuerte!

too bad

waiting for the bart. two gorgeous women approach me. “excuse us, could you take a picture for us, please?” by the way they are hugging each other, i’d say they they’re in love. “sure, let me rest my bike over here… ok, here we go. ready”. they hand me an ipad. it’s the first time i have one in my hands. of course i’d seen a few before, but never held one myself. the women (or should i call them girls?) are ready too, posing in front of me, smiling. i think this is probably not the best spot to take a beautiful picture, down here in the train platform. but they are both beautiful, and pretty damn hot to be honest, so i’m sure that, if just for that, the picture will come out fantastic. or, will it… one of them is laughing, breaks the cute pose, and comes towards me again. “you are taking it upside down…”. “ouch, hehe, hm, first time… you know…”. she posses again, and i finally take the picture. unfortunately the sound of my train resonates all over the place by the time i’m returning the gadget to the sexy women.

spoiled

if you really think/feel that w = u.cross(v) does more sense than w = cross( u, v ), then i’m sorry to inform you you’ve been completely nerdified and spoiled forever (by oo programming)

asociaciones / associations

todos sabemos que cuando pides a alguien que te de un ejemplo de un “animal, fruta, herramienta y color” la respuesta es inevitablemente “perro, manzana, martillo y rojo”.

mi pregunta es: ¿cómo varían las respuestas en función de la educación, la cultura local, la lengua materna, el sexo o la edad? ¿algún psicólogo en la sala?

————

this might or might not necessarily apply to english speakers (or non spaniards, for the matter), but seems like when you ask somebody to name one animal, fruit, tool and color, the answer will almost certainly be “dog, apple, hammer and red”.

my question is now, how do these answers change based on education, local culture, mother tongue, sex and age? any psychologist in the room?

figuras literarias

Me encantan las figuras literarias. No hablo de la riqueza que traen al lenguaje, o del placer que supongo produce el saber utilizarlas. Hablo sólo (lo siento, voy a seguir poninedo la tilde) del regozijo de listarlas en voz alta.

Ya sabéis que me chiflan las palabras esdrújulas, y todas las que sólo pasan muy de vez en cuando por el paladar y producen cosquillas en la mente. Y los nombres de las figuras literarias son de ese tipo de palabras; una fuente de diversión. Al ser términos de origen latino, muchos de estos nombres parecen sacados de El Señor de los Anillos o de Harry Potter, o de un libro de estudiantes de medicina. Ejemplos de algunas de tales figuras literarias:

* Que podrían ser un término médico: Anadiplosis, Antanaclasis, Catacresis, Diástole, Enálage, Epanadiplosis, Epéntesis, Epífrasis, Hipálage, Isodinamia, Metalepsis, Metonimia, Paronomasia, Prosopografía, Sinestesia, Endíadis.
* Que podrían ser de la Tierra Media: Asíndeton, Aféresis, Anáfora, Calambur, Hipérbaton, Homeotéleuton, Oxímoron, Políptoton, Polisíndeton.
* Que podrían ser hechizos del universo Potter: Complexio, Conciliatio, Concessio, Derivatio, Distinctio, Distributio, Dubitatio.
* Otras como Anástrofe o Apócope podrían ser nombres de filósofos griegos, y otros como Anacoluto o Expolitio nombres de un tío-abuelo o pariente lejano de algun pueblo del interior castellano.

Ejemplos:

* “Doctor, la diástole de la hipálage superior se ha obturado, produciendo una catacresis leve. Recomiendo sumistrar isodinamia inmediatamente, y tomar una prosopografía de prevención.”

* “Asíndeton, hijo de Homeotéleuton, cabalgó 7 meses y 7 días en busca del escudo mágico de Calambur sin éxito alguno.”