Personal Media Summary: November 2015

Zdzisław Beksiński

November was a very happening month, media-wise.

We spent a week in London, during which we made an unplanned visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and I found it uninteresting except for a couple of rooms. One of these, as I mentioned earlier, was packed full of awesome “big stuff”. The other was a room I nearly passed by, until I noticed “The School of Athens” hanging on the wall (turned out to be a copy, though a full-sized one, roughly 15 feet by 25 feet!).


Talk about low expectations — the room had a replica of David too (or more accurately, a plaster cast), and I walked right by it without recognizing it. Then I began seriously looking around, and found another work by Michelangelo, this statue of Moses (another plaster cast).

Since there was also some random sculpture by Donatello, and (if you include a nearby room) paintings by Da Vinci, the place had something by each of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 🙂

On the flight back I finally decided to watch some movies. The last year has been exceptional in the total absence of any movies watched in a regular movie theater, so I made my way through Jurassic World (hoped it would be good, it started out well, but disappointing), San Andreas (wtf), and towards the end, a bit of Mad Max: Fury Road. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish it, so when I got home I actually bought the movie and watched it again (and again, and again, and again).

Apparently purists prefer the old Mad Max 2: Road Warrior. Sorry folks, I wasn’t even born then.

Anyway, if by any chance, you’ve missed out on this, watch the trailer and then watch the movie (I’d say it’s the best film this year, but I also haven’t seen many others, so it’s obviously very biased opinion)


For some reason I don’t recall now, I came across a bunch of art by some Polish dude who died 10 years ago, Zdzisław Beksiński. I’m not sure how to categorize this stuff. See one example (one of the milder ones, really) at the top of this post, and more here if you like it.

More interesting links:

  • My favored background sound (a fad, surely) while working these days is this eight-hour long sequence of “nature sounds”.
  • A great cover of “Summer Wine”
  • An ironic story about a former Guantanamo Bay inmate leading the war against ISIS/ISIL (and, dramatically, facing troops lead by another former co-inmate)
  • Since we’re heading into a long holiday season, an article (at NPR) on psychedelic mushrooms as a possible origin story for Santa Claus and his reindeer.

When Ginsberg sold clothes

Came across this ironic contrast recently, through the miracle of the internet. A poster being sold on eBay, “pinned” by someone else on Pinterest, in turn scraped by Google Image search, shows Allan Ginsberg in an ad for GAP from 1994.


If this advertisement seems mild, even boring, consider that this was the chap who wrote “Howl”, who asked “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?”, and got to be played by James Franco in the movie portraying the obscenity trial following the initial publication of the poem.

From that to selling Khakis, is quite a trip.

Anyway, if you care about this at all, you might also like Stanley Bing’s humorous adaption of the poem in in Fortune magazine a little more than a decade ago.


who heard the idiot wind of the Street and its journals and cut and cut and cut to dance the merry monkey dance each and every quarter without fail,

who saw the sky each day glittering with a thousand thousand vested perks like tiny suns illuminated,

who wept when the false digital dawn never rose, bleeding from a hail of tiny, vicious bytes, and traded friendship for gain, as everything else was used for gain, and drank from the poisoned well so deep that in the end they could pee vodka.

(Someone should update it)


Formal logical proofs, and therefore programs – formal logical proofs that particular computations are possible, expressed in a formal system called a programming language – are utterly meaningless. To write a computer program you have to come to terms with this, to accept that whatever you might want the program to mean, the machine will blindly follow its meaningless rules and come to some meaningless conclusion. In the test the consistent group showed a pre-acceptance of this fact: they are capable of seeing mathematical calculation problems in terms of rules, and can follow those rules wheresoever they may lead. The inconsistent group, on the other hand, looks for meaning where it is not. The blank group knows that it is looking at meaninglessness, and refuses to deal with it.

Monthly recap: November 2015

The base of Trajan’s Column, plaster casts of which are stored in two sections.

November was a happening month: It ended with Tara turning ONE, and began with a week-long trip to London. The plane ride was a long-ish one (and clearly the last time we’re going to travel without an extra seat for her), but less painful than I had imagined it to be.

The trip scrambled all good habits though, and one month later, I’m back to being fat and lazy 😦 So it goes …

Tara was quite accommodating in terms of letting us visit restaurants, which is great because food in London is great. We didn’t do a lot of super-planned sightseeing, more of walking around. Case in point: after a walk through Hyde Park, we ended up at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which I found quite boring, until I stumbled across a couple of rooms where a bunch of stuff was just thrown together, warehouse style, each incredibly amazing, reminding me of the last scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.