Binge Watching: Zatoichi style

My friend DM lent me his Criterion Zatoichi box set. As you can see from my movie list I have watched the first six films in the series, each film around 90 minutes. Thank god that Peter Jackson didn’t direct any of these. There is a noticeable shift in the narrative away from the original hero in the 1948 story based on an actual historical figure in the late Tokugawa. This Zatoichi has become more dark and the kill count is steadily increasing. He is still the haunted anti-hero with the lightning fast sword but without the more frequent slapstick scenes from the earlier films.

Catholicism redux

As most know, I was raised Catholic. I served mass and all that. I loved the devotion and the message of peace and reconcilation. These messages have stayed with me and guide my life even though I haven’t been to a church for quite some time. I have found that the spirit has many guises but the message is eternal. I see the eternal everywhere. I continue to follow the path, and try every day to be a better man. Some days I am successful.

But I digress. All this to say that this new Pope, Francis, is quite interesting. Evidently even atheists are welcome now. How is this for a message of peace and reconciliation?

Merry Christmas

Finally, some good tv…..

Sherlock, will return on Jan. 17!

My favorite sleuth will return for season 3. I know it will be only three episodes but they will be three amazing episodes if the last two seasons are reliable indicators. Thank god since there is just nothing left on television. I’m also patiently awaiting another Masterchef from down under. Three weeks and I still don’t miss cable. The over-the-air HD antenna is functioning really well! I get the news and watch the occasional hockey game. 🙂

I heart science: gendered language on FaceBook

I wondered if there was a way to aggregate text conversations to build info-graphics. I was initially interested in my own text messages, wondering how many times i have used the word “dude”, for example. Or how many times my messages were about saying that I was on my way! The only downside was that I couldn’t find a way to export all of them as simple text. Once they were text I could easily parse them in Visual Basic. But I digress. I then thought about whether or not the same could be done with massive social network data.

I assumed that Google (the company itself) would do it in order to improve their search engines but I wondered if the information was available to little old me. It would be fascinating to convert that data in order to better grasp the “chatter”.

Turns out that these researchers did exactly that with data from Facebook. Fascinating. A lot of those gendered stereotypes are borne out in this study. The authors analyzed 700 million words, phrases, and topic instances collected from the Facebook messages of 75,000 volunteers, who also took standard personality tests, and found striking variations in language with personality, gender, and age.

So yes, there is a bias in the sample: these people are interested in participation. I wonder what everyone else is saying. I guess only the NSA can produce those infographics.

Paris: sans aucun peuple

Hypocentre is a new video with an environmental message: humans can be a destructive force on our planet. While I enjoy taking photos of the streets of Paris without people as well, I’m amazed that they got such wide shots of Parisian streets without anyone at all!

well worth the watch!

Oh…. and if you want to know how they did it, click here!

First impressions of the Panasonic 100-300mm

The kayaking was a bust. I did get a chance to use the 100-300mm, just no blue herons. I’m really happy with it, and put it through its paces in some shots with limited light. It has a lot of “character”, something that I would expect with one of my older legacy lenses. This has auto-focus 🙂

So below are a selection of various shots over the weekend. There are some macros of bird feathers and bones with my Olympus 60mm, the vast majority are the 100-300. Most have some minor cropping, some more than minor. The cows were a real treat 🙂





































Really awesome shipping container home!

I love the concept of a shipping container home. It works well with my fetish for straight lines and open spaces. Tristan sent me this link of a great video showing off a several container version in California. I love the small footprint, open vista, and the ease of modular construction. As many of you know, I am quite interested in creating a modular home at the cottage. More about that later but, for now, here is the link.