Saturday, August 30, 2008

Linux trivia: usage on supercomputers

This graphic, taken from, shows a breakdown of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers by OS. It was rather surprising to me how dominant Linux is.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Excellent postcard practical joke - return of the baboon

The backstory:
When I was back in South Africa about five years ago, my family and I had a close encounter with a baboon. We were having a picnic at Cape Point, parked by the side of the road. I was outside the car, wandering around, while my two sisters and mother were inside, munching their sandwiches. I noticed a big, ugly, hairy baboon loping towards the car and high-tailed it back inside, all the while shouting to my sister to close the front door.

Alas, she was somewhat slow on the uptake and the baboon made it in the car. He climbed over my sister and stationed himself between the two front seats. He growled at me, his ugly face and fangs just about a foot away from mine. He then grabbed our sandwiches, and made away, my mother by that time having opened up the other front door.

Bloody baboons.

So out of the blue last week, I get this postcard from Stratford-Upon-Avon, scanned here.

(I pixellated the first line of my address. The text reads: Long time no see! I left S Africa, found job randomly hitting typewriter keys for this playwright... England is nice except the food. I miss your sandwiches! Love, the babboon." I love the dodgy (baboon-like?) handwriting.

It gave me a heck of a kick to get. I wondered who the heck pulled off this excellent jape until A- admitted to it. Apparently his chum J- was in England on holiday, and A- got him to mail it off.
A fine jape. Damn fine.

Bloody baboons.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Commencement ceremony - postcard

Sent to my nephew S- in South Africa
On back:
Commencement Ceremony, Crossroads School, Santa Monica, California
Photograph by © Lauren Greenfield
Courtesy Stephen Cohen Gallery

Groeten uit Heeswijk Dinther - postcard

Sent to me by a postcrossing chum in Holland.
On back:
© Biri Publications BV NL +31 (0)297 23 76 50

On a side note, I got flickrfs working. Damn useful tool. Viva linux.

July Top 10

July Top 10

My favourite movies, books, lectures, etc. for the month of July, most of which is probably old to the rest of you.

10. Stop Messin' About: A Tribute to Kenneth Williams. BBC Radio.
Excerpts from wonderful old radio shows Round The Horne, Just A Minute, Big and Little, Kenneth Williams Playhouse, and others. Of special note is the reading of Gogol's Diary of a Madman, done with great skill and sensitivity.

Got it via Bittorrent.

9. Female Jungle (1955)
Lawrence Tierney plays a hard boiled and hard drinking detective, who investigates the murder of an up-and-coming young actress. But did he himself kill the actress while drunk? He can't remember and it is eating at him. Directed by Bruno VeSoto.
I rented this one largely because it also starred Jayne Mansfield, who is one of my favourite blond bombshells of that era. Boy, she was a looker.
Rented from Movie Madness.

8. In Bruges (2008)
Ray: There's a Christmas tree somewhere in London with a bunch of presents underneath it that'll never be opened. And I thought, if I survive all of this, I'd go to that house, apologize to the mother there, and accept whatever punishment she chose for me. Prison...death...didn't matter. Because at least in prison and at least in death, you know, I wouldn't be in fuckin' Bruges. But then, like a flash, it came to me. And I realized, fuck man, maybe that's what hell is: the entire rest of eternity spent in fuckin' Bruges. And I really really hoped I wouldn't die. I really really hoped I wouldn't die.

Saw it at the Laurelhurst Theatre.

7. Mongol (2007)
The sets and costuming were magnificent. What a visual feast this film was! And their interpretation of the Genghis Khan story wasn't bad either.

Saw it at the Hollywood Theatre

6. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
I'm not much of a book reviewer. And, chances are that everyone has already read Kafka on the Shore so that I am coming into the game. Suffice it to say that admirers of Tim Powers' work will dig this.

5. Revolver (2005)
I always enjoy Guy Ritchie's movies. One of these days I'll even watch those with Madonna in them.
Andre Benjamin and Vincent Pastore take the newly released from prison Jason Statham as an unknowing chela. With London's gangster underworld as the matrix, they gradually lead him into enlightenment. And make a hell of a lot of cash on the way. A rollicking good tale, reminiscent of Shawshank Redemption. Well, they both featured convicts, anyway.

Rented it through Netflix.

4. Portland Werewolf
This month, I played Werewolf (link goes to game rules) for the first time, and a damn good time it was too. I am looking forward to honing my skills in this month's game.
Portland Werewolf meets every month in the back room of the Lucky Labrador brewpub in SE Portland. This month there was around 24 or so people, which I was told was more than usual. It started at around 7 PM, and there was time for three games. I was a villager each time, dagnab it. Here's hoping that I'll draw the werewolf card at least once next time.
I took this photo during the third game, towards the end of the evening. I had already been quite unfairly lynched.
Portland Werewolf July -3

3. No Country For Old Men (2007)
Never have I seen a movie that was so perfectly cast. Tommy Lee Jones as the sheriff, Javier Bardem as Chigurh, Josh Brolin as Moss - all brilliant. And of course the Academy agreed.
I had devoured the book with relish, so avoided seeing the film for a little while so as not to be disappointed with the adaptation. The screen treatment rarely lives up to the original book, after all. But the Coen Brothers were sensitive to the text, even keeping the word for word dialogue in many scenes.
Rented from Movie Madness.

2. Mark Shuttleworth's lecture hosted by Legion of Tech
Shuttleworth is a fellow Capetonian, a home boy made good. Coming into serious money through his sale of Thawte corporation, he has set about doing something worthwhile with it. He is the driving force behind Ubuntu linux, which is more responsible for any other distribution for bringing the goodness of linux to the average desktop user. Apart from that, he is also the first African cosmonaut.
His talk, at the Mission Theatre, was very well attended. He started off with his space experiences, then moved on to speaking about Ubuntu. Shuttleworth is a naturally relaxed and articulate speaker, and his entire talk was extemporaneous. I found it inspiring.
Audio of the talk can be found here.
I took a few photos, but they all came out crappy. So here's one from the Legion of Tech site.

1. Johnny Cash: the Last Great American (2004)
This was a documentary made by BBC TV, and covers Cash's entire career. Worth it for the archival footage alone, this portray of the great man was both penetrating and sympathetic. Complementary without glossing over his weak points and darker side.
I blogged about the video previously here. Highly bloody recommended.

Stuff I Collect - Militaria

Stuff I Collect - Militaria WW2 WWII First 1st Allied Airborne pin OPA ration token (1 blue) WW1 U.S. Shipyard Voluntee...