Sunday, July 31, 2005

Going pro

I finally caved in and paid for Flickr Pro account ($25 for one year, 2GB monthly upload limit) and I created a simple Bash script which automatically sends all the photos in given directory to Flickr by e-mail (using mutt). Everything works exceptionally well.

You can now see more of my photos, for example some of the movie posters I photographed in Dubai in 2001 (before Semptember). It seems at least half of the movies feature the exact same guy.

And other scary things, too.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Hot weather, hot product

It's very very VERY hot today. The temperatures should reach over 38 degress Centigrade (which is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit). One interesting side-effect is that the air is so hot and humid that my Fingerworks touchpad has problems operating (because of the sweat on my fingers even with airconditioning turned to max)!

Fingerworks touchpads allow you to control your computer (Windows, Linux or Mac) using the gestures reminiscent of those in Minority Report movie (although not in the air but on the touchpad surface). It can replace both your mouse and keyboard and requires no software drivers whatsoever (the unit itself generates the keyboard and mouse events and is very customizable). Unfortunately, when I wanted to link to the Fingerworks homepage, I found out the company has gone out of business!

That's sad. I've been using their Fingerworks Mini for several years, it makes my work tremendously easy and I really cannot imagine what I'll do when it breaks down eventually... :( I'll have to look for another cool device.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kobliha senses the future

Yes, she knows. She acts like nothing is happening, like everything is cool. But deep inside, she senses what is coming!!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Triumph of the will

The recent documentary Murderball tells a rousing tale of young, strong paraplegics playing rugby and living their lives to the fullest.

Even more touching is the story of little Johnny, who, despite being very "special" and forced to live in the dark by his parents, finds the time and courage to DANCE in his wheelchair! This video (.SWF) features his unbelievable dance antics and also his cute chihuahua. I don't know many "normal" people who could dance like that!

Land of the dead

Here are some photos I made at Prague's Vinohrady Cemetery. This is large, fully operational cemetery, but there are probably not enough funds and it deteriorates in interesting ways. The atmosphere is really moody (not scary!) and some of the tombs would seem great to live in (after refurbishing, of course). If you want more atmosphere, it's not a problem to enter the cemetery at night (while it's forbidden and the gates are locked).

For more extreme graveyard stuff, see the famous Old Jewish Cemetery. Or something from George A. Romero.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Japanese games rock my world

You have probably heard about the wonderful Grow online puzzle. Now, from the same warped (Japanese) minds, here comes Grow RPG which adds RPG element to the whole thing.



On another note, there were no updates in the last few days because I was playing Killer 7 on my GameCube (also available for PS2). This game (also originally from Japan) really pushes boundaries of what we define as "videogame". It's definitely one of those "love it or hate it" things but for me, this is the prime example of what needs to be done with the stagnating videogame genre. Mind-blowing story, original gameplay (who says you actually have to control where your character moves?) and visuals which I'd like to hang on my wall (and which in no way push the available hardware to its limits!). I bet some time in the future, Killer 7 will be remembered as the game that started the videogame renaissance.

Also, I think Killer 7 is the first videogame featuring the rape of old braindead man by his pretty young nurse.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Unbearable lightness of being

I swear this is true.

Yesterday, I saw two gipsy children playing on the street. A girl and a boy, both about 6-8 years old. Just when I passed them by, the girl lifted her skirt (exposing the lack of panties) and pointed to her crotch calling out "That's mine! That's mine!", to which the boy replied, dryly: "No, that's daddy's".

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The wonders of filesharing

Some things you encounter when downloading stuff from the Internet are just plain creepy:



I think this could be made into great "Twilight Zone" episode. In the end, you could find out your soul was UPLOADED TO SATAN!!!.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The wonders of English (and German) language in Czech zoo



Shamelessly stolen from bad translations board at okoun.cz, photo taken probably by "Yellow".

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Flickr.com: Cats, Dogs and Sporty Jesus

Another of those things that are already well established but I discovered them just recently:

Flickr.com is a service to store and display your digital photographs. You can use it for free if you don't upload more than 20MB of pictures in a month (the storage itself is unlimited, there's just the limit for uploads). They recently abandoned their quirky Flash interface and almost everything can now be managed cleanly using a few DHTML tricks. It's certainly much easier than you'd imagine when you read the words "web-based photo management". It also works exceptionally well with blogger.com, allowing me to publish a post with photo taken with my mobile phone camera right from the camera (provided the camera can send standard e-mails with JPG attachments, which most of today's middle-range phones can).

Using Flickr, I can automatically show you the latest photos I uploaded (see the "Flickr badge" at the right side of this page), our dogs, our cat, everyone's cats or Mr. Jesus C., the athlete (hung up in Prague's Lucerna Passage). I don't know what art is but I know what I like!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

See my girlfriend's pussy & beaver!

Yes, I will show you my girlfirend's pussy and beaver, both in one shot. But first, let me explain what "name day" is. "Name day" is something like birthday. It's celebrated once each year, based on your first name. For example, if your name is "Adam" or "Eva", your name day is on December 24 (by the way, we unwrap our Christmas presents on the evening of December 24). If your name is "Frantisek", you celebrate the name day on October 4, etc... If your parents were hippies and gave you "special" name like "GoldenSunRedPetal"... Tough luck, no name day for you.

Name day celebrations are very similar to birthdays, you basically get some gifts and maybe a cake. If you have evil parents, they can give you first name based on your date of birth and thus save on presents.

Today was name day of each and every "Karolina". Among the presents for Karolina were kitten (called "Kobliha", meaning "Donut") and Happy Tree Friends T-Shirt. So, without further ado, here they are:

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

South Park Creator

I know this link is ANCIENT but it's such a great thing that I think everyone should know about it and use it: Here is "South Park Construction Set" where you can create your own SouthPark-style characters, preferably resembling you. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer any simple "export" method but "screen capture" is your friend.



This is me and Karolina (Karolina is slightly reduced in size using The Gimp because otherwise she'd be taller than me). Specifically, that's how "she sees herself".

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The wonders of Czech language

Real-life example of what could be construed as extreme weirdness of Czech language. Look at the name of this street:



It means "By the hives" and is pronounced "ou ooloo". "U" means "near..." or "by...", hive is "ul", hives are "uly" but "by the hives" is "u ulu". The things above the letters are extremely significant and their omission can radically change the meaning of the words. (I don't use them in the examples because not everyone has Central European fonts installed.) If the ring above the last "u" was omitted, for example, the name would mean "By the hive" (singular).

When I programmed text games in the Czech language I ran into enormous problems because Czech words "mutate" according to the context in which they are used. E.g.: "Box" = "krabice". "Boxes" = also "krabice"! "Take the box" = "Vezmi krabici". "Without the box" = "Bez krabice". "Cover it with the box" = "Prikrej to krabici". "Match" = "sirka". "Matches" = "sirky". "Take the matches" = "Vezmi sirky". "Without the matches" = "Bez sirek". "Cover it with the matches" = "Prikrej to sirkami"!!!

Check out the Wikipedia for more info about the Czech language including the famous "strc prst skrz krk" sentence.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Not-So-Fantastic Four

A word of warning: The new Fantastic Four movie is stunningly bad. More precisely, it's stunningly cheap-looking and boring (if it was really stunningly bad, it would be more fun).

Several years ago, there was this ultra low-budget Roger Corman adaptation (never officially released), which actually handles some story points better than the latest Fox version!

Today's moment of intellectual movie zen: In the new Fantastic Four discussion board on IMDB, "Andy3737373" wrote: "Most people are dumb, the average person by default having an IQ of only 100".

War is Hell

No, I don't mean the war on terror but the war I have some experience with: Fantasy boardgame war.

I collect (and even play) boardgames. (If you are registered at boardgamegeek.com, you can view my collection here).

At Chotebor con, I played Heroscape again and found out it's surprisingly good game.

The boardgames usually come in two varieties: They are (usually!) either from big publishers and targeted to "average joe" gamers, or from lesser-known publishers and targeted to "hardcore" gamers. Heroscape is both!



It's being sold by Hasbro. That means a) it looks great (many, many painted figures and terrain parts in very large box), b) the rules are very simple - you can learn them literally in 5 minutes.

HOWEVER! The real fun starts when you have look the "advanced rules". They are more complex than your average Risk or Cluedo but still rather easy for seasoned gamer. By using them, Heroscape becomes intriguing even for seasoned gamer. You can also buy extra armies from various settings (this is not exactly "collectible" game - you know in advance what exactly you are buying in each pack).

More info about Heroscape here.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Process

Kafka's spirit is still alive and kicking.

I received a letter from the disctrict court saying that I was sent some money (around $80) for some stocks I bought about 10 years ago and forgot about a long time ago. "Money for stocks" in this context means something very different from what you probably think, but let's put that aside. I got a letter that court has my $80 because the company which sent it to me didn't have my current mailing address. The first (but not last) irony was that this court letter arrived at my current mailing address. But that's nitpicking.

OK. I went to the local courthouse. I was told to go to door 21. But first, I had to empty my pockets, leave my "Alien Vs. Predator" pocket knife at the desk and pass the metal detector. I went to door 21 and they told me that I have to go to the adjacent building.

I went back to the ground floor, got my pocket knife back and went to the adjacent building. There I had to empty my pockets again (and bag and and small bag etc...) and I was told to go to door 309 to see Mrs. X. And they let me keep my AvP pocket knife!

I went to door 309. It was locked. I knocked. Nothing. Not a single word written anywhere on the door. Only the number. I waited for a while. Random woman walked by and told me that Mrs. X is probably on vacation and I should ask Mrs. Y in door 301.

I went to door 301. Mrs. Y was present and very nice. She told me that Mrs. X is indeed on vacation but Mrs. Z could could also help me. I should find her at 231.

I thanked the nice lady and went back to the second floor. It didn't take long to go through the whole floor and find out that the doors on this floor are numbered from 201 to 212. I checked if the AvP knife is still in my pocket. Yes, it was.

I went back to the third floor and informed the nice lady at 301 that there is no door 231. I was told that there has to be door 231 (I was somehow reminded of "there is no spoon" scene in Matrix).

After a bit of silly dialogue, the kind lady showed me exactly where door 231 is. There was big number "209" written on it. The knife was still ready.

I knocked and went inside where I met another nice lady, Mrs. Z. I showed her the court letter and my problems were solved.

Well, almost. I was told that I have to write them a letter saying "Hello, my name is Fuka, I live at Rumunska street and I want my $80, please send it to me". I asked if I could by any chance write those two lines of text right there on the spot and was told that's out of the question because I have to mail it to them as a registered letter.

Then I turned into a cockroach.

London = da bomb!

Currently, several explosions are reported at several London Underground stations and buses. I guess this rules out the original version of "power surge".

Am I shocked? Not really. I am amazed it took so long. The G8 summit suddenly des not seem very interesting. Again (as in Madrid), the terrorists' timing is impeccable.

UPDATE: It's becoming increasingly clear that the French are behind the attack!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Learn about stuff you never wanted to know

Leaflets for two presentations given at the Chotebor con. The first one probably doesn't need translating (click for the large version):



The title of the second one is "Everyday life of the Nazgul":

Monday, July 04, 2005

Oh God please make it stop!!!

It's around 2:15 AM and I should be sleeping. In fact, I'd like to be sleeping. Unfortunately, I am accomodated on the second floor of local (Chotebor) "Cultural Center" and several meters under my feet, there is a concert going on. Also unfortunately, it's some sort of local hillbilly goth metal act. They can't play (or sing) but they are very loud. The floor is shaking (literally). Even the dogs cannot sleep.



To show you at least someting from this bizarre con (I mean this in a good way, this year it's no more bizarre than in any of the previous years), here is today's (technically yesterday's) photo of confused fans waiting for the start of cross-country Star Wars race. I think...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A guide to winning hearts & minds

Lesson #69: If you want to win local hearts & minds in strange foreign country, it's *NOT* a good idea to kill the ambassador's cousin.