Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Royal Garden in Laken

Shot 300 pictures and 120 or so video clips in Laken today. The place was packed with more neighbors of ours (Germans, Dutch, French) than it was with our own Belgians. Once a year every spring the gardens become accessible to commoners for a glimpse of the flowers and plants that entertain our Royals in their boring days. Wasn't bad. Not bad at all! On the contrary... King Leopold did his best to dress the capital 100 or so years ago with monuments of all sorts. Those gardens were one of them. Come and visit if you happen to be in the capital in spring.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


When I saw this first I couldn't help thinking about someone close, who has not traveled by airplane for 30 years now for the fear of... crashing! Anyways... If you'd be that 'lucky' then you better crowl into a hole and wait to die.

It's interesting to watch traffic picking up in the early morning hours of any given day in Europe as streams of passenger aircrafts arrive to destination from Asia and the Americas. Then as midday comes the flow from Europe to America reverses. Europe domestic traffic is boiling but it's still early morning hours in the US where the traffic seems low. As the morning breaks up in the US then, new traffic emerges and gives it a similar look and feel as Europe six to eight hours earlier.

This reminds me of early morning hours arriving to London Gatwick from overseas where you see immensely long queues stack up in front of immigration control, especially with flights from Asia! World economy and population moves on the making. I wonder whether this picture will ever grow to evolve in ways whereby the yellow spots on the map represent flights that leave planet earth and move away to intergalactic travels of some sort. Maybe in a million years.

As a thought for the day, don't you think that the little yellow spots on the map look very much like swine flu virusses spreading around. No wonder the WHO is really frightened this time.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I read this article about Pixelmator 1.4 (the package has been around for a couple of years already... how did I miss it?) and gave it a try before going out and buying it (less than 50 euros). Why that then? For a PS user since version 2.5 why bother? I don't know. Primarily because it's using the Core Image technology from Apple (which makes it GPU driven) and it's fun to use its filters made with Quartz Composer (free from Apple, again). Also, it's interface and look and feel is fun to use. For someone with PS experience learning this package is a piece of cake. The tools and commands are so Photoshop like that it won't take anyone more than 15 minutes to find one's way around this. Once you start using it you discover some better performance, quality, and ways of doing things than PS itself! Amazing. I applied a whole set of filters on a portrait of my spouse that I put on Flickr. Enjoy the slideshow shown here that is driven by the Flickr engines.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Water and Wine...

Wisdom and facts dedicated to all those who enjoy a bit of wine and beer. It's far better than you ever thought. Many thx to Shaun B. for sending this to me this morning. Made my entire weekend!

As Ben Franklin said:
In wine there is wisdom,
in beer there is freedom,
in water there is bacteria.

In a number of carefully controlled trials,
scientists have demonstrated that if we drink
1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we
would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli,
(E. coli) - bacteria found in feces.

In other words, we are consuming
1 kilo of poop.

However, we do NOT run that risk when
drinking wine & beer (or tequila, rum, whisky or
other liquor), because alcohol has to go through a purification
process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.

Water = Poop, Wine = Health .

Therefore, it's better to drink wine and talk stupid,
than to drink water and be full of shit.

Friday, April 24, 2009

13 yr old lucky bugger becomes the Billionth app downloader!

Who could have known? I'm not talking about the lucky dude or gal who would be the so called billionth downloader. Nope. Not important! The thing is, which app would he or she download! It appears that he who finally won the price is a 13 year old who happened to pick the winning download app, being... hold you tight please... I shit you not... our well known Bump of Bump Technologies (jee, their company name is such a scream, as dumb as Yahoo or Google) about which I reported a couple of blogs ago. Those kids from Bump Technologies must be ecstatic! Wow! To be the winning downloaded app out of 35 thousand other possible apps, of which few are pretty hot stuff in terms of downloads, is simply huge! I hope they get the visibility they deserve and their five minutes in fame. Sometimes that's all you need to get a kick start! Here's a detailed story I copied from that explains all that...

Apple today announced that customers have downloaded one billion applications from its revolutionary App Store, the largest applications store in the world. The one billionth app, Bump created by Bump Technologies, was downloaded by Connor Mulcahey, age 13, of Weston, CT. As the grand prize winner of Apple's one billion app countdown contest, Connor will receive a $10,000 iTunes gift card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule and a MacBook Pro.

"The revolutionary App Store has been a phenomenal hit with iPhone and iPod touch users around the world, and we'd like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve the astonishing milestone of one billion apps downloaded," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "In nine months, the App Store has completely revolutionized the mobile industry and this is only the beginning."

Today, the groundbreaking App Store has more than 35,000 applications available to consumers in 77 countries, allowing developers to reach tens of millions of iPhone(TM) and iPod touch users around the world. This summer the iPhone OS 3.0 software update will provide developers with over 1,000 new developer APIs enabling In-App Purchases, Peer-to-Peer connections, App control of accessories, and Push Notifications. The iPhone OS 3.0 release will also add over 100 customer features including cut, copy and paste; Spotlight(TM) search; landscape keyboard and view for all key iPhone apps; MMS* support; and expanded parental controls for apps, TV shows, and movies from the App Store.

*MMS messaging is available only on iPhone 3G; fees may apply. MMS may not be available in all areas.

Τον Παύλο και το Νικολιό...

I've been looking for some time for a way to bring my old Vinyl discs into an MP3 player. This problem with many solutions is as old as anything in the digital world of modern day geeks. There's nothing new to report other that modern solutions offer far better quality, are much easier to work with and aesthetically way more beautiful. Mine consists of an AKAI ATT05U player with a USB output, an iMAC and Audacity, the Open Source wave editing free solution that works like a charm, with filters and all!

My first Vinyl that I tried was a pot-pouri of songs published by EMI in the 70ies, performed by the greatest troubadour of contemporary Greece, Grigoris Bithikotsis (R.I.P.), singing songs of another, the greatest, contemporary Greek composer, the man behind Zorba the Greek, Mikis Theodorakis.

Enjoy one of these songs, "Τον Παύλο και το Νικολιό", so typical of them both, singer and composer, and so typical of the great Greek popular music sound.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

As predicted by thousands (I was one of them) the billionth download from Apple's app store has been reached this week, just about an hour ago (it's about midnight the 23rd in Central Europe right now). Upon reaching the magic mark Apple promptly stopped displaying the counter and showed us this display shown here of the news about reaching the magic Billion number. Now then! Are we to believe them or was it a stunt of monumental dimensions. Somebody reported 2 days ago that if you faked your PC's date to show the 24th of April (tomorrow), then the Apple site would show you the page you see above in the capture... implying that the whole countdown was a mega-bogus. I doubt this is true...big time! That would mean that Apple's web server would otherwise download a scripted counter page that'd first check your PC's system date, and based on that it would resend the final page you see on the capture shown here. What else? People are so stupid to believe that a giant company like Apple with $29B in cash and approaching $40B annual turnover (non-GAAP) would risk cheating the public on an occasion like this?!?! Holy Moses! There are so many nuts walking around in the streets nowadays that it doesn't surprise me at all to read BS like this!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Are you bumpin' me?

Now, I am stunned! You're not gonna believe this. This bump app for the iPhone I was telling you earlier??? What would you say if I told you that my speculative 'pipe' was no good?! Take a look at this company's faq. That's what these folks say about how their app works!

Q: How does BumpTM work?
A: There are two parts to BumpTM: the app running on your device and a smart matching algorithm running on our servers in the cloud. The app on your phone uses the phone's sensors to literally "feel" the bump, and it sends that info up to the cloud. The matching algorithm listens to the bumps from phones around the world and pairs up phones that felt the same bump. Then we just route the contact information between the two phones in each pair.

Can you figure this? You bump under the impression that your personal data jumps off your iPhone a few inches away into your partner's and you get his/her data into yours (hermaphroditic pipe connexion sort-a-thing) but the darn things have gone on a tour around the planet to be matched by these folks' algorithms and sent back. Now I get it why they need to feel the bump 'simultaneously'. It's a question of physics. Two events are identical when they occur at the same point in the four dimensional time-space. The two devices send out their identity almost simultaneously following the sensor reactions from the bump, along with location info (this might be a problem for iPod touch or even the iPhones if their location has not been recently updated ) so that these folks' algorithms can do the 'QED math' necessary to match the 'bump'ers. So, if you wanna mess up their algo's bump three phones at the same time... like wineglasses! I'd like to know then whom of the three their formulas will pick as the 'odd-one-out'! It's probably a cool game for teens when a dude has to decide whom of two broads he chooses to take to the proms.

It's so funny what they say in one of their own faq questions. It's about bump identity matching where they're like:

Q: No way. What if somebody else bumps at the same time?
A: Way. We use various techniques to limit the pool of potential matches, including location information and characteristics of the bump event. If you are bumping in a particularly dense area (ex, at a conference), and we cannot resolve a unique match after a single bump, we'll just ask you to bump again. Our CTO has a PhD in Quantum Mechanics and can show the math behind that, but we suggest downloading BumpTM and trying it yourself!

Ain't this a scream? What a better way to tell us: Dudes, trust us, we're Einstein's siblings (or Feynman's for that matter).

Bump you!!!

Now is that fun, or what? Trust me! It works just fine! Imagine what more you could exchange with a trick like this! Emails! To-do lists! Pictures! Songs! Movies! Keep on bumpin'! Oh, BTW, you don't need to bump really one phone onto the other! Just shake them both at about the same time and a local connection is established (a... pipe) that feeds contact info in both directions. And the shaking and bumping are pure 'showin'-off' to take some fun advantage of the built-in accelerometer. They could have implemented it with a simple button, but it's more fun this way... feels like magic. The key thing in this app is the ad-hoc establishment of the connection pipe. The rest is just kidstuff!

...There's one more thing! It works fine with iPhones and iPods Touch in all possible pairs (that's 3 to you with ugly scores on school math).

When your dick grows inside your skull!

When I read this story I got shocked with the level of stupidity of some people. That kid Peter Chung had it coming to him... I'm showing you an excerpt here and you can go read the rest and hottest following the link...

(story from

Peter Chung, a 24 year old Princeton graduate was climbing the corporate ladder at a fast pace when he started his career with Merrill Lynch in 2001. Later that year he was stationed in Seoul, South Korea working for Carlyle Group, a Washington D.C. investment firm. Chung had it really good. He was in Korea, was making good money and was very successful at a very young age. He decided to send an email to his friends. Here is a copy of the email,

So, I’ve been in Korea for about a week and half now and what can I say, LIFE IS GOOD. I’ve got a spanking brand new 2000 sq. foot 3 bedroom apartment with a 200 sq. foot terrace running the entire length of my apartment with a view overlooking Korea’s main river and nightlife.

Why do I need 3 bedrooms? Good question…..the main bedroom is for my queen size bed…..where CHUNG is going to f#@$ every hot chick in Korea over the next 2 years (5down, 1,000,000,000 left to go)….the second bedroom is for my harem of chickies, and the third bedroom is for all of you to f@#$ when you come visit my ass in Korea.

I go out to Korea’s finest clubs, bars and lounges pretty much every other night on the weekdays and everyday on the weekends too (I think in about 2 months, after I learn a little bit of buy-side business I’ll probably go out every night on the weekdays)...

read the rest here...

Now tell me, is this guy a 'dick' or what? Those who disagree, drop me a note...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Χριστός Ανέστη...

Orthodox Christians worldwide celebrated Easter today. Orthodoxy typically follows a different calendar formula than the Roman Catholic Church. Most often the two different formulas place the celebration of Easter on two consecutive Sundays, first the Roman Catholics, followed by the Greek Orthodox. A few times the two dates are much more far apart, by a number of several weeks. And from time to time the two dates coincide! Funny buggers those clerics to keep busy with matters like these. Who cares anyway? Other than the Mandarins in the Commission in Brussels, certainly now with more Orthodox countries added to the party. A great opportunity for them to pick a fortnight long vacation break to "recharge their batteries". Not?

Anyways, for those interested, an excellent collection of 11 shots of the Orthodox celebration by the Associated Press is shown in the BBC homepage. The one shown here is my personal favorite from that collection.

Airfoil by Rogue Amoeba

Trust me folks, this Airfoil thing is a real gottahavit! Check out the info at its creator's Rogue Amoeba's site. BTW, these are the folks who gave us Audio Hijack long ago! Rings a bell? Lemme tell you how Airfoil works, though...

You install Airfoil on your Mac or PC. As you launch it, it gives you a panel that 'sees' all the potential outputs your Mac (or PC) apps can send their sound to...

WTF am I talking about, you may wonder... And you are absolutely right! OK, Ctrl-Alt-Del... we go... Suppose you have* an Apple TV in your living room, an iPod Touch (or your iPhone) attached to a set of made-for self powered speakers in the kitchen or dining room, and an Airport express in your bathroom connected to a mini set of self powered speakers too. Suppose you wanna send some sound to all of them simultaneously and have them play the same songs all over the place, all at the same time! Wow! That's what I am talking about.

Take a look (right) to see what this panel I mentioned earlier looks like. There's the list I'm getting on the MBPro for my home topology: it consists of the MBPro (yep, it appears in the list too, as 'Computer'), the AppleTV (ATV) connected to my Audio Speaker system (TV Sound system), my iPhone (connected to its dedicated JBL speaker in the dining room), and my Airport Express (VJKAX) on the bedroom level (first floor) somewhere... This last piece of hardware serves me only as wireless LAN extender, but it could easily serve its own set of powered speakers too... All devices shown with a light blue speaker icon in front means they got activated. And each one has got its own volume slider control on the right for some 'real time' mixing experience among all your output speakers. Orgasmic fun! At the bottom you find a drop-down list (the selected and active iTunes is shown here) of all the apps on your Mac/PC that can be selected to send their sound to those active outputs.

Now, you may still righteously wonder: Which are these fortunate apps, then? For which ones did the bells toll? Well... here's the magic of modern software. Made of reusable component marvels built by today's smart OOAD software developers. In other words, the simple answer is: any application that is naughty enough to generate sound! Go figure! From iTunes, to all sorts of music players and from web browsers to software radios, to audio wave editors, midi sequencers, techno-hip-hop music pattern generators, to video media players... your pick.

There is still a problem with video media players though. If you're watching a movie with your usual player app, you may be getting a lip-sync problem. At least with iTunes, VLC and Quicktime that I tested, it was unbearable! No worries though! Those dudes from Rogue Amoeba are really cool! They have included a player of their own, the Airfoil Video Player. When you use this instead, sound synchronization is perfect...

I'm hearing a kid from the back of the classroom shouting... "How about using another PC or Mac as an output to your source? "... I'm glad you asked, kiddo! Excellent question! I even got an answer to this. Or better said, the whiz-kids at RA got us covered! They're offering some free soft solution called Airfoil Speakers. Download them and install on any computer you wanna output to, and Bob's your uncle. And, BTW, that's similar to what you need to do for iPhones and iPods Touch too. Go to the App Store and search for Airfoil Speakers Touch! Once you launch that app on your iPhone (iPod) your Mac/PC airfoil panel 'sees that' in a heartbeat. All free for you to use!

Finally, the price they are asking for the basic Airfoil application on either Mac or PC, running on a single station, is 25 bucks, or somethin'! Not bad at all, right? Further on, d'you know what's really fun too? On AppleTV and on the iPhone and iPod Touch, when active, you get an icon which is a replica of your source workstation with its ACTUAL wallpaper with open windows at the time of activation and all bells and whistles! Ünglaublich! Check it out (left) almost showing a 'photograph' of my MacBook with the iTunes app icon on the bottom right to show which app is currently sending out! How cool is that!

Trust me... this thing is really big! Test it first for free and if you get convinced you need to go buy a license, or the system will start generating bad noise after some time, if you didn't make sure you paid your dues... You gotta stop being such a cheap sod after all. Those folks at RA need to earn some dough too, to be able to buy some shoes and walk to work to write this wonderful SW for you, you cheap b@st@rd!

*If you happen to have none of these things... what can I say, get a life dude!

Another Zi6 test

What I forgot to mention is that the Zi6 costs less than 200€ and I guess less than 180 bucks in the US. An ideal present for someone you care about, who also happens to love making clips. A sibling or somethin'...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Zi6 experiences

I was feeling sort of bored yesterday and went out to buy me one of these Kodak Zi6 HD pocket video cameras, more out of curiosity, I should rather admit. Just wanted to have the experience of trying some video clip shooting with a cheapy tool like that. Would I be able to create something worth spending a few minutes to watch? Of course with some iMovie polishing to go along, that is. Well, you can see the results here. Took me some 20 minutes to shoot the footage and another 30 minutes to edit, and then save (another 20 min), and 'enjoy' it on my Bravia LCD flat screen via my AppleTV. Curiously enough, colors were pretty good and picture details too. Wasn't even rendered in 720p! Only thing I hated was the non-smooth and jagging movement from frame to frame. It felt kinda like frames were dropped during the original capture. it might have something to do with the quality of the SD card. Who knows?

Anyways, I owned video cameras with far lesser video quality (VHS video like - below VGA and broadcast SD), ever since I started with family videos 20 yrs ago, and those bitches used to cost me multiples of the Zi6. Editing was tough those days too... as I'm watching today some of the clips I did then, and I was even so fully proud of that 'work', I can hardly keep not laughing MAO! Amazing thing how far technology has come to. And prices fallen dramatically. In just 20 years. Sometimes I wonder real hard: What will our siblings' siblings own in hundred years from now? I'd love to be able to live for a moment's time in a hundred years or even two hundred, just to have a short glimpse on the A/V goodies and PC toys of the future. Would there still be Microsoft and Apple around? Who'd be able to tell?!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Playing for change... or, about the Brotherhood of Man.

With today's technology, all it takes is some good fantasy and a few (Mac) tools, to create unique marvels like this one. Click on the 'play' and 'full screen' symbols and you'll be carried into the marvelous globe of ours to enjoy a clip never seen ever before. When it started playing, I kinda thought, WTF is this, but then, in a sudden moment I was 'moved' and almost got tears in my eyes... Yes I can!

It's a composite audio/video of a song whereby additional tracks were laid in by different singers and musicians from different places around the world. The finished product is simply ünglaublich!

The song itself is the classic standard "Stand By Me" originally released in 1955 by The Staple Singers and released again in 1961 by the Drifters . This composite version is a real breakaway! So turn up the speaker volume, lean back on an armchair, and enjoy the marvels of human talent, especially of those sound engineers and video montage people.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If your number ain't up yet!

Only in America! Read this report and you won't fly an airplane with a single pilot again, or at least, you'll start taking lessons to obtain your own pilot's license.


This can also be found at the beach in De Haan, in between other Beaufort 03 masterpieces. However, don't misunderstand it's purpose. It's by no means a 'work' of contemporary art. No it ain't! Could have been... but, it ain't. Any guess? Come again? Yep, you gotit! It's an improvised toilet for urinating males! Listen up! We stopped for coffee at a beach café, out there in the dunes, 'built' upon the coastal sand, and I asked the owner for the toilet. He's like, 'is it for you?' I nodded positive and he goes, 'it's behind there'. When I faced the 'toilet', I decided to shoot its picture with my phone instead of spreading my liquids in that box. What's the point?! Now, tell me, aren't Belgians marvels of invention?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beaufort 03

Easter Monday today... businesses closed everywhere as it's a bank holiday in our wonderfully Catholic Belgium. Weather was supposed to be sunny for a change... and it kinda was, in continental Belgium. Not at the coastline though. Without checking the weather bulletin we decided to go visit a few works of contemporary artists as part of an open air expo, called Beaufort 03, the third of its kind ever, along the entire Belgian coastline, from Knokke to De Panne. This is 60 km long, in case you were wondering. Of course the entire day proved as gray and misty and chilly as it could be, and this up to a few km away from the coastline. It was so foggy that we haven't even been able to see the North Sea! I could hear waves breaking somewhere out there (was low tide you see) but saw no water. We drove to the sea and saw none of it! Only in Belgium! Never mind...

So, we first drove to De Haan, where, entirely unexpectedly, we found out that Albert (Einstein) himself spent some vacationing long ago and even walked at the 'zeedijk'. There were even pictures of him posing to a photographer along the pedestrians walkway at the zeedijk! Anyways, de Haan had a couple interesting works. One belonged to the Belgian artist Daniel Buren, named Le vent souffle ou il veut and one of the Chilean artist Brigada Ramona Parra named Saqueando nuestra historia, whatever this may mean... something with Chilean history, I reckon. The third work we visited was in Westende, created by Aeneas Wilder from Scotland.

There's not much to say about... watch the slide-show and judge for yourselves... Worth the visit if you happen to be around. Pity for the lousy Belgian foggy weather though. It felt like early winter, and it's mid spring, for cryin' out loud.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

WOW! 10 million downloads in 42 hrs!

OMG, Apple iPhone aficionados downloaded 10M apps in 42 hrs per my counts since 3am, April 11th, that's yesterday, early morning. That brought the daily average to more than 5.5M downloads a day, up 35% since my first count 24 hours ago, when I first blogged about this! I believe we'll have reached the Billion mark before next Sunday. Less than 60 more million downloads to go. Peanuts!

Get ready folks! I believe we're also gonna break the "most downloads a day" record in the next few days as well! The iPhone rules! Eat your heart out monkey boy!

A friend sent me this today... on Easter day!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Redefining ecosystems, or, counting down to one Billion downloads!

When Jobs launched the app store last July no living soul was able to foresee the level of success that initiative would enjoy. With more than 30 million iPhones and iPods Touch out in the clear as we speak, we are getting closer and closer to hitting one billion downloads in just over nine months after the July 08 launch. With the current download rates, that you can easily verify in Apple's countdown page (about 4 million a day according to my count yesterday), I'd expect them to hit one billion downloads the week after next. If you are owners of any of those two Apple gadgets, live in certain countries, and have used the service (or, not) you can keep closely monitoring the counts moving towards the Billionth milestone download, and, if you start downloading apps with your iTunes around the time you think that Billionth count to be met, you may win some generous give-aways by Apple Inc as a reward for hitting that target. Official competition rules to be found here...

Metropolis M

For the übergeeks among you who get orgasmic when viewing the best of the best in arts' avant-garde, the new April-May 2009 edition of Metropolis M is out in the clear. Designed by my sibling and his partner. Enjoy 58 secs of viewing this hot off the press edition, 2009's second, in the vimeo clip attached here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Talented people

I'm watching CNBC live this Monday pm, you know, the financial network... first of all, why do Americans pronounce the 'neur' in 'entrepreneur' like the 'ure' in 'manure'? Just being curious...

Anyways, that's not the subject of my crankiness this afternoon. I just heard the anchor present some dude from Unilever, the consumer products behemoth, who was like, 'our highly talented people... who will leverage on our strengths... and will emerge from this crisis as winners by showing great leadership... bla...bla...bla...' If I got a cent for every time I heard a pitch like that I'd be filthy rich by now. Do these people actually believe what the're sayin'? I mean, if there was so much talent in their shops, would their stock still go down the tube the way it recently did? C'm on, folks. This whole oratory sounds like Webster's definition of self-deception: faking an orgasm while masturbating! Got it?

In every company I worked for (many US HQed among them) I often heard bosses talking about 'our highly talented people'. Always they sounded like we were the unique ones with excessive 'talent' in overdrive whereas each and every one of our competitors sucked! Know what? The worst of all was that many among the troops needed that stroking to enjoy their version of professional fullfillment. Get serious dude... really! Why do bosses do that? Almost always, average leaders will deliver 'stroking' opium to the subordinate masses to be seen that it's actually them who have been capable indeed, in the first place, to have assembled all that unique 'talent'... aiming to achieve "the company's long term strategies for the benefit of the shareholders!" Horseshit! What a pile of monumental horseshit! Wow! They're really good these characters! Especially as they manage to walk away with multiple millions in annual pay and related bonusses.

Am I so cranky about them buggers because of some sort of jealousy? Nay... not that at all! Been there done that! I had my fair share in playing similar leadership roles myself for some time (albeit without the multiple millions bit, rather hundreds of thousands instead) and, as I go back in memories I can't help seeing myself delivering that type of bullshit to my troops, then, too. Worst of all, I didn't realize the size of 'orgasm faking' I was also indulging into. I'd be dead ashamed for sure if I time-traveled back to those days and heard me pitching horseshit like this. Whatever...

Here's the thing. Yep, there's huge talent out there. Those rare souls who changed our lives via their inventions and advancement of the arts, science and technology in the last three thousand years. Like Confucius, Plato and Aristoteles. Like Newton, and Bacon... Maxwell, Darwin, Einstein and Feynman. Callas and Bob Dylan. Pattie Maes and Steve Jobs to mention a few geniuses in our days. Even Bill Gates for that matter, but... not that Monkeyboy Ballmer. That one is the stereotype of a bullshitting leader instead, fooling himself about his company's bottomless 'talent' reservoir of myriads of Mandarin bureaucrats he's attracted to the safe MSFT haven, to have them enjoy a stressless and balanced family and professional life until retirement. How cool is that?

I could go on for ever... Anyways, beware of your leaders' palabras agudas, folks. If you know what's good for you...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Tour of Flanders 2009 - this was the real thing!

Sunday, April 5th today and the Tour of Flanders, one of the greatest classics (if not the greatest) of professional cycling took place in a misty but later bright sunbathed day without a drop of rain! A Flemish winner, Stijn Devolder, also to keep the black lion on yellow tissue Flanders flag proud of her son, same winner athlete apparently as in 2008 (experts in the family and friends gettogether told me... I wouldn't know). I was just there for the photo-shooting, the colors, the bikes, their helmets, the moronic spectators... Unglaublich! Was more fun that I expected indeed. You gotta be there to believe it. The bikers drove 262 km in total with an average speed of around 45km an hour. From 9:45am to 4:05pm. Given some spots (hills that locals call 'mountains' - bergen) where they had to walk, bikes on shoulders, like that poor sod Cancellara with a damaged tire, then, I betsa, there must have been areas they had to do about 60 to 70km/hr. That's real quick! On my best days, when I do that gym bike and I gotta do 30 km max for half hour tops, my tongue hangs out and sweat like a pig. I am mid fifties and overweight... can't compare with these kids... Now, how can they still do that with all the insane crowds surrounding them, I got no clue! I mean, if the streets are empty, ok, I get it. But look at the shots! They ride on one another for crying out loud! Anyways, this job must apparently be paying them pretty good, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it, I reckon.

So, there I was with my... crew of siblings, I took the 40D myself with a tele zoom 70-300 with image stabilizer, and I passed two Nikons to Terry and Vincent, one wide angle 12-24 and one zoom tele 70-300, and sent them to the wolves-mountain (Wolvenberg). I went to the flat street just above our house instead, so called Wijnendale (whatever this may mean - valley of wines?), and went to wait for 30 minutes before the 'peloton' arrived. Caravans of funny and some luxury cars and police all over the place, driving up and down and making noises and feeling cool and important. Check out the slideshows here and here. the latter is about spectators who thought it was cinco de mayo today. One of them impersonated a topless babe, like in tittie bars, and went to dance around an electricity pole. Check this here...

BTW, if you like any of them pictures, feel free to interrupt the slideshow, click on the picture you like and get to its original at my Flickr account. Then click 'all sizes' on the top left corner. This will bring you to a number of available picture sizes. Download the so-called 'original' resolution for best results. The size provide is good to go for 6x4 inch (10x15cm) prints.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tour of Flanders for amateurs 2009

These folks have been riding their super-duper bikes in front of our house all day. Men and women, young and old, Flemish and foreigners! From 8:30am to 5:00pm. Sports-loving nutcases in the thousands! Cool colors though and pretty sophisticated bikes! Worth in the millions of diddlies. And their protective helmets, OMG! High tech in the making. One such helmet would feed a Darfur family for a year! To say the least... For the rest, we are living in a global financial crisis! Records of unemployed added daily to the scores of those already parked there... In the background, Cohen is still singing, in his 74th year, a fraud victim himself, that cost him all his retirement money. An almost forgotten troubadour on tour to save some bucks for his 'old days'. There is no cure for love...Hallelujah...Insha'Allah! Whatever...