vendredi, juin 15, 2007

With Love, from Nantes

So, I managed to collect my mother at the airport the next day, go down to Le Mans to meet our friends there, have lunch, and then head off to Nantes. Nantes has been great so far, but I won't be blogging for it because I'm on vacation, dammit.

On the other hand, Blogger now has a Draft option that allows you to test new features, and of course I'm totally on board. Currently, they have a new video-posting capacity that is in the testing stages, which I'm going to test out right here. Yay, new gadgets! I'm a total gearwhore, sometimes.

Hmm. On preview, I see that this video-posting thing is convenient, but loses some of the utility of YouTube posting. I can't tag the video sample with useful keywords, nor can I add metadata about the time and place of the recording. But I suppose those are features that can be added later....

Blogging from Widget

Hi!  Apparently, Google has created a Mac OSX Dashboard widget for Blogger, which allows you to write blog posts from your Dashboard.  I'm writing this post on that same widget.  It's pretty neat, you can post to any of several blogs or save as draft and you can make use of bold and italic typfaces, BUT you can't edit the HTML tags directly nor add links and such.  Limited, but I suppose useful when you want to make a quick post.

mardi, juin 12, 2007

Day, Compressed

My mother's arriving tomorrow. I'll be in Nantes for the rest of the week. I'm moving back to Chicago one week after my Mom leaves Paris. My apartment is a cluttered mess of crap that previous students have dumped on me. I've mailed home all of my books, but I still have a shitload of stuff to put into two suitcases. I have a pile of household goods that I want to hold on to until the last minute, but need to be passed on before I leave. Also, I'm the child of immigrant parents, so throwing anything away violates all sorts of deep-seated rules; therefore, I must find a way to re-use, store, or gift everything that I can't take with me.

These were all things that were on my mind today, along with the usual go-to-work and OMG-I-have-a-thesis-proposal-to-write stresses. So, my day was spent mostly panicking about these things and trying to be as productive as possible, while also getting ready for my mother's visit. I know I won't be very productive while she's in town (which is to be expected when entertaining visitors), but I only have 7 days between her departure and mine. So, yes, a bit of hyperventilating. C'est normale.

lundi, juin 11, 2007


My day was busy but rather straightforward. I headed out before work to drop off more boxes of books at the post office (almost done!), then to work to take care of several projects. From there, back home and leftovers for dinner. Yay!

However, what I want to talk about today is something I found last week, called SelfKiss. First, a sample:

Selfkiss is a photography project by Pupsam, a studio run by David Puel and Thomas Libé. The idea, put simply, is to create photographs that explore the possibility of kissing oneself. Some of the pictures are sort of funny and cute--like the older guy, Hilton, holding himself in the pouring rain as if he were in an old-fashioned melodrama--others are a bit creepy, and others are rather sexy (or sometimes, creepy-sexy). Mind you, none of these pictures go beyond a kiss, although my favourite one is rather sexually intense (warning: man booty!). From the main page of Pupsam site project, you can click on a link to get a slideshow (diaporama) of all the photos they've taken so far.

Anyway, I find the whole thing vastly interesting. Like most things bizarre, I found Selfkiss on MetaFilter, where there was a lengthy comment thread about the topic. The person who posted the link asked whether the other readers would want to kiss themselves, and the responses and reactions were rather interesting. Some people found this photo series frankly sexy, some people found it profoundly disturbing. Some people loved the idea of kissing themselves and occasionally went so far as to express interest in "selfsex" as well, while others were completely horrified by the idea. Ultimately, for me, it's both uncanny and sexy, and that's what makes it so fascinating. Also, certain pictures are just amusing novelties, while others are far more compelling to me.

By the way, here's a translation of the explanatory text from the main page, for those of you who don't speak French:

The marvelous thing about a photo is that it captures a look, a gesture, an instant, a fleeting reality from which emotion springs. However, what is presented here does not exist, has never existed, and will never exist. But this technique puts us there, in front, like a tightrope walker on his rope, in an unstable balance between I believe it and I don't believe it.

These instants were invented by Pupsam. And yet, indeed, this is a record of real events (reportage), since long searches and deep internal journeys were necessary to arrive here:

Starting from one consenting individual, imagine together his encounter with himself (not another, but his double), to create a couple that will embrace each other, then trace their posture, the spark in their eyes, and finally the abandon to the other that is me, to make visible the impossible kiss, monstrously shameless. And so? moments that are desired, dreamed, hidden at the bottom of us, denied... taboo! Perhaps the fleeting reality from which trouble springs.

Louis Samaria

I've also noted that when the page was first posted on MetaFilter, the slideshow was a series of php-enabled pages that served the images with a simple previous/next button on the bottom corner. This allowed you to link directly to specific images, and therefore also to copy and download the images if you want to. A week later, I'm preparing to write a blog entry about it, and I find that the introductory photograph on the main page has been removed, and the slideshow has been converted to a Flash movie. The Flash format makes it very difficult to extract images, and it's impossible to directly link to it or "hotlink" (insert images in your own webpage that are actually references to the original image source, which adds unexpected bandwidth to the original image provider's server). Also, now every page on the Flash movie has a bunch of text in the corner that says "All rights reserved" and then the Pupsam company info.

While I can understand the desire to prevent hotlinking and clarify ownership of the images, I think that making the images impossible to download or link to is kind of silly. The images are small thumbnails of what are probably very large and detailed images, and all of the internet word-of-mouth advertising that they've enjoyed in the past few days has been largely thanks to the previous ability to take a sample image and post it elsewhere on the web. Either way, I would totally pose for one of these (but maybe not naked, thank you).

dimanche, juin 10, 2007

Crashing HARD and Sunday dinner

Well, after three consecutive nights of partying, I was TIRED. I slept in like crazy, and then eventually dragged my butt out of bed to do laundry. In between loads of laundry, I also tried to make some advances in the Blogging department.

As evening rolled around, DJ had a bottle of champagne to take care of, and I had leftover ají de gallina, as well as some cauliflower and potatoes to deal with. My mom was coming to town on Wednesday and we were going to spend the rest of the week in Nantes, so I needed to take care of anything that might go bad in my absence. For the cauliflower and potatoes, I cut them up into medium-sized chunks and then prepared them in a sort of curried fashion. I toasted some cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, and lovage in a pan until they were fragrant, added oil, and then tossed in the cauliflower and potatoes. I gave them some time to brown a bit, and then I added some tumeric, a bit more oil, white wine and stock. I covered the whole thing and let it braise itself until the cauliflower was soft and the potatoes were cooked through. The results were surprisingly tasty, especially in combination with the ají de gallina.

Anyway, once we polished off the bottle of champagne, we also finished off the bottle of white wine, as well as a half-bottle of red wine I had left over from last Thursday. And then, unsurprisingly, we were rather sleepy.