Monday, June 25, 2007

Chris Cariaso's fight

I missed Chris' fight at Strikeforce, but fortunately, proelite.com has all the prelim fights online.








Edit, Jul 01, 2007: Chris Cariaso, one of the two guys who "look like they are thirteen, but fight like real men", is instructor at my gym, Fight and Fitness.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Paris je t'aime

Dubious base-ball metaphor aside, I tend to agree with Stephen Holden's review. A collection of short movies under the theme "Stories of Love, From the City of Love", held great potential for disaster. There are some very annoying segments ("Place des Victoires", Nobuhiro Suwa), and the movie tries too hard to be clever at times; still, I had an unexpectedly pleasant time overall; most pieces manage to avoid being offensive, and a few are actually quite enjoyable (Coen/Buscemi, Depardieu/Rowlands).

For this kind of omnibus movie a success rate of two out of three is a pretty high batting average. There are no home runs, however, only doubles, singles and coy little bunts.
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Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Dykes on Bikes"

I was brought out of my apartment by some the sound of drums and honks, and realized today was the "Dykes March".



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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Agitation is not information

Wired Magazine has a small piece on the "almost supernatural" ability some athletes have to "see things that nobody else sees" on the field to make decisions. Scientists are analyzing the phenomenon; and one factor they identified is what they do not focus on:
clipped from www.wired.com

Farrow has found that players who make poor decisions tend to glance at targets, rather than pausing on them. They're also more drawn to motion. "In a lot of team sports, you're attracted to the area of greatest movement," Farrow says. "But just be-cause there's a person running fast and waving his arms doesn't mean he's the best person to kick to."

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Graduated!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Once

It's always nice to see a small-budget, independent movie, becoming a success - but I was rather unimpressed by "Once", and I don't understand why it is receiving such praise. I usually don't enjoy musicals much, largely because the music is really not to my taste; and this one was not different, even though the music was atypical for a musical. In spite of some nice moments, the movie dragged on and felt at times like a lengthy music video - unfortunately not for a band I would listen to.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Strikeforce next Friday!

I am pretty excited about the upcoming Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni card next Friday. The first Strikeforce had a great atmosphere, and was a bit of a historical moment for mma, but the card itself was somewhat lacking card. This one has quite a few decent match-ups - and the main event promises to be heated, judging by the kind words Shamrock and Baroni have been exchanging:
"Phil doesn't get this, but I'm an artist," said Shamrock. "I study the art of fighting."
"Frank's an artist?" Baroni grunted. "After I knock you out, I'll buy you a box of crayons and you can be an artist. This isn't an exhibition. I'm a f___ing fighter. There's gonna be a fight. I'm gonna pound your f___ing head off. I don't know what a martial artist is. I don't get this cat. You're in for a rude awakening."

Chris Cariaso, from Fight and Fitness, is fighting on the prelims, against a guy from Cung Le's gym; I had my ticket already, and now I am motivated to watch the entire event, prelims included!

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Dark roast, medium grind

The name of that coffee from Kenya might become a bit of a marketing issue, if they have plans to export to the US.

Jon Stewart talks mma


Edited Sunday, June 24: the Daily Motion clip has been removed because of copyright issues, but this one, coming straight from the source, should not have such issues:


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ghost cities of 2100

Forbes has a small piece on cities that have a good chance of disappearing within the next century. The two surprises were Detroit, where the population has been shrinking over years, and Mexico City, which is running out of water and sinking into the ground. On the other hand, I was not too surprised to see San Francisco on the list. I could not resist the urge, and calculated that the probability to have a magnitude 7 earthquake any given year had to be around 1.7%, which is not too bad. If I stay in SF for 10 more years, I have 85% chances to skip the big one; I think I'll take my chances and stay - but finally take the time to shop for my earthquake preparedness kit

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Private YouTube video on a private Blogger blog?

Last week I set up a private blog at work; I thought it would provide a relatively informal way for team members to post updates, and I was curious to see how (or if...) this would end up being used. So I went for the no-hassle approach and set up a private blog on blogspot, visible only upon invitation. So far so good.
To lure people into coming back, I proceeded to step two of the master plan - posting a YouTube video on said blog. I upload the video, make it private, select the radio-button labeled "Enabled: External sites may embed and play this video", embed the code in a post, and check the blog. The video is there, and I am very proud of myself.
Well, not for very long. The next day, I conspiratorially tell a colleague to check the blog. The nice YouTube thing is there, the colleague clicks on the "play" button, it begins to load, and... keeps on loading, forever.
I found only one way to fix the issue - making the video public. It would seem that embedding a private video works, as long as the viewer is logged into YouTube with his account and added to the authorized viewers of the video. Maybe I am missing something here - but if not, you really have to wonder why the "enable embedding" option is provided at all. And the worst has to be that videos appear exactly the same, regardless of whether or not a user is authorized to access them - and giving no other way to find out than to wait for the load to fail.
Hopefully, YouTube will become better integrated with Google's existing suite of services over time, with a more consistent behavior; in the meanwhile, I will check back Google Videos for comparison.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Spider Man

Apparently, the special effects for the Sandman ran $100 million over budget; that is already impressive, for an overall movie budget of $250 million. But then, try to remove the character from the plot, and it works just as well (or would, with pretty minor adjustments), which begins to make it a bit of an expensive accessory.
OK, I admit it, it's not completely true - the character does bring more than special effects, and I liked the movie, at least more than what I expected given the so-so reviews it got. Nevertheless, the movie felt a bit long at times, and would have gained from some trimming.

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Democracy "à la Française"

Paris is a city of many charms, and one of them is the quirkiness of its elevators. Most of the buildings in the city were built in a time when the only technology used to move up and down involved a flight of stairs; as a result, retrofitting building to add elevators sometimes requires creative solutions.
But this elevator is really the best I have seen, by far. It is the standard matchbox-sized issue, but what makes it truly unique is its operations. It serves a 6-stories building, and only tenants who live on the 5th and 6th floor are entitled to use it. There is a certain logic to it, until you learn that actually, as for most buildings in Paris, there is an extra 7th floor with what is known as "Chambres de bonnes". In the good old days, "Chambres de bonnes" were the quarters provided for domestic help employed by the wealthy tenants of the building; today, they are used as cheaper apartments, and often rented to students.
You would think that living on the 7th floor would entitle you to use the elevator? Wrong. That's a privilege only granted to tenants of the more expensive apartments. And to make sure nobody sneaks in for a free ride, using the elevator requires a key, provided only to the lucky few living on floor 5 and 6 - which apparently caused some rising criminal activity, with outrageous cases of disappearing keys... I think the obvious solution is for the building to hire a full-time guardian for the elevator; but then, should he live on the 7th floor? And, to the point, should he be given a key?

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

I surrender!

When I began my blog a while back, it was primarily as a pretext to learn some web-development techniques - but at that point in time, it became clear to me that, while re-inventing the wheel is fun, it also takes quite a bit of time, and detracts me from posting anything. So after a friend of mind teased me by setting up a blog on blogger in about 5 minutes, with more features than I would realistically be able to put in place in a year, that's it, I capitulate - I will use the standard blogger toolkit to blog from now on. My older posts are still there, though.