Monthly Archives: January 2013

the third is a choice

from the three factors in the formula

luck + work + time = success

one is unavoidable and one is uncontrollable, but the third one is a choice.

worth mentioning i’m not talking of success in the american meaning of the word

two sides of the same thing

code is to data as energy is to mass

they’re not the same thing, but they are interchangeable

not like sex and chocolate

but seriously, algorithmic representation of things can be traded for bytes, as any mathemagician and demoscener knows by now

fractals are NOT everywhere

i’m sorry to announce to the world, that “fractals are not everywhere”.

there are just in some places. despite the clouds are not spheres, and the mountains are not cones indeed… well, flowers are not fractals, and neither are the reflections in a lake.

and i say this despite i’m one of the nerdiest people on fractals and complex dynamics you might possibly get to know

yes!!!!

i knew i couldn’t be the only one in my discontent with regards to the use of euphemisms.

i’m at this very fancy and famous hotel in the downtown LA. fancy roof, fancy pool, fancy lobby, fancy people and fancy bathroom. and there, in the fancy bathroom, i find this very graphical icon in the so called bathroom tissue (or fucking simply toilet paper). aaaaaaand this discovery makes my day. i . love . it

why?

why does everyone smile to me today? well, i don’t mean everyone of course, but i got five gratuitous smiles while in my morning and night walks in downtown to and from work.

i’ve nothing in my face today, i’ve checked, and my fancy edwardian/victorian beard is gone. nothing happened last night neither, and no special events occurred lately for the matter, so it cannot be cheerfullness irradiation of any sort. fly is closed, and i’m wearing my regular cloths.

why does everybody smile to me today!!!!

and this is the other one

so, this is the other song i’ve been playing.

i tried recoding it today, but i think i need to learn what’s a good placement for the micro to best capture the piano, because it sounds really bad. all i can hear in the recording is the (repetitive) left hand part, and little from the right. maybe i should close the windows when playing in order to get less noise, that would help.

in fact, you can clearly hear a car passing by the opened window in the middle of the recording. yeah, playing piano with the windows open? am i crazy? i’m very shy for most things people are not, but i’m not shy about showing my intimate secrets. weird? meh, just me!

anyway, here’s the link – and you’ll notice that i’ve skipped the most interesting (and difficult!) part of the song:

La Valse d’Amelie

a morning

ahhh, this is an amazing beautiful morning. and it’s late, i’m sure there’s no neighbors around at this time…

i’ve been practicing this one song for a long time now, but i’ve done little progress with it. there’s a passage when things speed up, and my fingers, which had been traditionally been known as “fast fingers” and even “magic fingers”, are in this case too slow and clumsy to satisfy my own expectations. it’s not in my nature to give up, so i no fear loosing my battle. yet, this morning i’m taking a break and trying a new song.

first think is opening all the windows and let the sun lit the living room. then i give a listen to la dispute, which is slow and melancholic, and starts slow and without complications. yes, it’s the perfect candidate indeed. i’ll try this one today. so while the apartment breaths the wonderful warm air coming from the open windows, i go into youtube and carefully watch a guy play la dispute. i observe the chords (the right hand usually knows how to play already). hm, not many chords, and pretty regular. then i jump excited into my seat next to Teresa and start playing almost obsessively.

seems after 5 minutes i sort of got it right, and in 5 more minutes i have something that in my mind resembles the beginning of the song. not in my hears though, my fingers are still clumsy even with this simple song, which reminds me it was a good idea to do this while there’re no neighbors around. timing is not good, and the volume into the notes is not correct neither. but i’m happy to see that my pattern recognition, ear, spatial memory or whatever the heck one needs for hearing+seeing a song then play it, have evolved quite a lot. fingers will follow one day. perhaps. hopefully.

but for now, it’s time to water the plants, close the windows, and run to the train station.

(sorry for the crappy sound quality)

La Dispute

the snow melted and lakes were formed, in one hour

i spent another one hour today in my real-time procedural mathemagical experiment.

i won’t be able to afford more than that for at least two more weeks, so when i found this short opportunity for coding today i though i might add something quick and easy to develop. like some small lakes scattered around the terrain, which are common in alpine landscapes during spring when the snow melts.

lakes are all about reflections, which are usually expensive to make, so i gave a try to screen space reflections. i have no idea where or when i read about the technique anymore, or how i got inspired to code something in those lines, but i improvised a small loop with a few raymarching steps against the depth and color buffers, et voilà, i got some surprisingly acceptable results! extra points for being cheap. cheap like in “framerate doesn’t change at all” (i’m around 35 fps at HD right now). so, i didn’t complain, but go to bed with this feeling of “aha, that was easy…”, which is not the norm or even common when doing computer graphics.

stop it already!

when you are traveling in a plane and they serve you the meal (i know, lets pretend that thing is eatable), why, why the hell do they bring you the silverware in a plastic bag? it’s even sealed, for no good reason. unless the idea is to pretend this silverware had never been used before! but we all know these are not brand new forks, that these got cleaned from the last flight (and that’s fine by us, clean silverware is clean). the part that makes me angry is that they know that we know it anyway. so what’s this fucking game going on here? stop enveloping them in a plastic bag, for the environment’s sake!!! thanks in the name of the planet.

randoms thoughts

i’m listing together the things that crossed my mind today that otherwise wouldn’t be worth a post by themselves, in no particular order:

* “almudena”, which is a proper female name, has its accent in the e, but it would sounds even more beautiful if it was a dactyl instead – stressed on the u

* the lamp in my mathroom looks like a boobie

* it’s january, yet i’m wearing nothing more than a t-shirt

* i do lots of mistakes in my life. yep

* the forty fifth key in my piano is slightly out of tune

end of list

while i’m not home

i left the office and arrived home really early today, it was around 2pm, when the sun still hits strong the city, the air is warm, and my apartment is brightest and looks nicest.

i just opened the door, slowly, like in an attempt to pass undetected, trying to avoid disturbing the peace of the apartment and/or the things that happen in it while i’m not home. i don’t know what those things might be. i sometimes imagine the piano singing while i’m not there, the morning bowl and spoons taking a playful shower under the tap, the plants chatting together. who knows!

i was about to discover it, ready for it. but when i opened the door everything was silent and quiet. i like fantasizing about them probably stopping as soon as they heard me pulling the door keys, then all of them pretending. i think they were just enjoying the beautiful sun light of today. and the gentle breeze coming through the windows that moves the curtains and the leaves of the plants and the few drops still coming out of the tap are just the evidence that they were pretty busy just a few moments ago. i swear i ever heard some soft distant piano notes being played while i was still opening the door. or perhaps it was the sound of my keys, i don’t know.

real villains don’t laugh

i was watching portions of the Pocahontas movie, listening to the songs to be more precise. then during “Dig for Virginia” there’s this moment where Governor Ratcliffe, in his greediness, replaces the kings head in a painting and finishes with a frightening grin.

i’ve seen this song of the movie many, many times before, and it always reminded me of Finding Nemo’s dangerous shark Bruce (i know the movie Finding Nemo came later).

what this similarity made me think of is that cartoons often (always?) associate villains with maniacs which, after having designed a great plan that will screws everybody else up, will hysterically laugh. this seems to be a rule, like no villain could actually be a bad guy without grinning or going “muahahahaha”.

however, i don’t think real life villains behave like this.

take the pope. when he attempts conscious homicide by telling poor catholic african communities suffering the drama of AIDS that using condoms comes with a divine punishment, i’d find surreal if he was going “muahahahaha!!” after finishing the communication and the cameras are off. also, i can’t imagine Dr. Mengele laughing in anticipation of his next day’s sinister lethal experiment. i don’t see evil businessmen laughing their asses off while planing the best strategy for coercion to a community from which they want some lands.

i tend to think these real life villains are all fucked up people, not knowing/understanding/feeling what they are doing, and certainly not getting any pleasure from it.

so, where did popular culture stereotypical image of the laughing villain come from?

top is newest. or, is it?

in the same way there’s right handed and left handed people, or people who hang the toilet paper roll over and people who hang it under, there’s seem to be people who sort and even reply their emails in top-is-newest and those who prefer bottom-is-newest as well.

i’m pretty standard myself in these regards – just a simple right, over and top

gazers

she’s been examining her own image and look for many minutes through her self reflection in the window, which became a perfect mirror in the darkness of this winter night.

in the meanwhile, a guy’s looking at the couple in the seats next to him out of the corner of his eye while pretending he’s looking at his phone.

and nothing makes less sense in this late night bart ride than the sunglasses that immobile man is wearing, with his sight fixed at a point in the middle of the train car (or is he sleeping?)

finally, i’m entertained and absorbed doing all of these observations, so i probably have a funny look myself right now. which makes me wonder, am i perhaps being part of this picture?

it’s the other way around

on a similar note, every nation gave itself a constitution. this has happened since the beginning of times, or at least since the last 7 thousand years, although many of these constitutions had been repeatedly abolished for long periods of time and needed to be remade, often with much pain.

indeed, these constitutions don’t simply fall from the sky like a gift, never forget that the people made them. and as times change and the values of the people change (often for the better!), we keep updating them. it has always been like that, and so it should probably keep being. which is something to celebrate, because these changes reflect that that we are moving forward.

now, i happen to have grown up in a time of change and frictions, where many situations have not been resolved or things have not been improved just because OF the constitution. in fact, many have attempted to make the constitution look like something set in stone, something untouchable, something we should follow. but i see it differently, the constitution should follow us instead. we . make . it!

so, my questions are, why, and when the hell in the last couple of decades did constitutions become sacred?

thing is, it has been repeatedly proven along history that as soon as something becomes sacred (be it a believe, a symbol, a flag, a community or a law) things start to go really wrong

just pointing out what should be obvious

wait, who said democracy is the best possible political system?

er… did i miss some important Sesame Street episode, or something?

i guess what you mean is that it’s the best system we have come up with so far, if anything.

this is a very important, key and crucial distinction. really. let me bold it: a very important, key and crucial distinction.

if we don’t understand that, then we are in serious trouble.

one of those weekends

this weekend i made a new procedural realtime rendered set. procedural means that all you see was never crafted, sculpted, modeled, painted, dressed, lighted or made in any way by hand nor by any computer application or by any other artistic means, but that it grows from mathematical formulas. realtime means that all of those formulas are evaluated by the computer in around 30 milliseconds, which in turn allows you to explore the procedural/mathematical world interactively, and, more importantly, modify it dynamically and at your pleasure.

after all it’s me, the architect, who creates this world and sculpts its shapes and colorizes its textures and places its clouds and shadows and plants its flowers and tress. from the manipulation of bits and nibbles, through often joy with assembler and stack pointers, then visiting the algorithmic abstraction of it all, fighting the machine’s hardware for efficiency, then finally using the polynomials, exponentials and derivatives to sculpt and paint my world, to finally the issue of design, composition and beauty, it’s all a long way of levels of abstraction that intermix that influence one another and need a parallel treatment.

in that awkward unreal and abstract playground, one can easily get lost, for the adrenaline in the activity, the surprises along the way, the intuitive search, the achievement, the unexpected, the learning, the challenge, the relax of the internal and intimate solitude, the ownership of something beautiful, the discovery of paths where nobody has even been before, are just a few of the rewards. and indeed, one can get easily be lost in addictively pleasant activity.

long time ago i learnt to control the beast, at an expensive price, which i will never forget, yet never regret – everything has its time and place in life, and there’s only one way to learn your lessons. yet, from time to time, when the temperature of life is the right one, when it’s harmless for the people around me and myself, when i’m sure it’s not the fruit of obsession but craving, i let myself sink into that world, like in the old days.

this weekend it was one of those rare and special times. starting from a blank canvas, i dropped one formula here, some code there, tweaked a value somewhere, and slowly built one of my favorite landscapes – alpine mountains in early spring. it’s not complete, it’s definitely not like in my dreams or expectations yet (it never is, hence the danger). of course i needs more than a couple of days to polish such a thing, so i’m certain will come back to it very soon. but only when the temperature of life is the right one again.