Sunday, March 29, 2009

Exercise and diet

After hearing the diagnosis, the patient seeks advice.


Patient: Doctor, I’ve heard that aerobic exercise can make you live longer.

Doctor: Your heart is programmed to beat only a fixed number of times. It’s like saying your car will only run 300,000 ks. Go fast and you’ll wear it out quicker. Slow down, take a nap.

Patient: Well, what about eating less meat and eating more vegetables?

Doctor: Ha. What does a cow eat? Grass and sometimes corn. Vegetables! Eating beef is an efficient way of getting vegetables.

Patient: How about grains?

Doctor: Eat chicken. They eat grain and taste a whole lot better.


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Thursday, March 26, 2009

8B 10B 12B

Sophie admires Beatrix’s drawing…


Sophie: What did you use to draw that?

Beatrix: An 8B.

Sophie: No! Really? An 8B? I thought they only went up to 6B. What’s it write like? Draw like?

Beatrix: Too soft for writing. Good for dark parts. Very soft so my arm gets black. I start with a 2B for the outline, and move up to 4B, then 6B for the darker areas. 8B is like using crayon, or chalk.

Sophie: For shadows?

Beatrix: 8B. But they go way higher. 10B, 12B even I’ve heard of.

Sophie: How black do you need?

Beatrix: And then there’s an E grade. Really, really black.



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Burn After Reading

The Coen brothers work up a script.


Joel: We could have this CIA guy who quits…

Ethan: …and decides to write a book about the organization…

Joel: And then his wife copies stuff off his computer…

Ethan: … onto a CD and then she goes to a gym and leaves it there…

Joel: And then a trainer finds it and tries to sell the secret stuff to the Russian embassy but it’s not enough, they ask for more…

Ethan: …so the trainer breaks into the CIA guy's house...

Joel: But runs into another guy who's having an affair with the CIA guy’s wife…

Ethan: …and this other guy shoots the trainer…

Joel: Pretty violent.

Ethan: But we write comedy through violence. That’s what we do.


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Monday, March 16, 2009

Historic place becomes digital archive

Guy and James discuss an unusual site for a modern enterprise.


James: Great old building.

Guy: Carpenter Gothic.

James: Means?

Guy: Don’t know the designer. Records were lost but it is said that the builder just drew a rough sketch and made it up as he went along.

James: Plenty of room for extension.

Guy: Being a wooden building bit of a fire hazard for valuable documents.

James: It's got sensors and sprinklers.

Guy: The combination of old and new is appealing. A historic place, an important cultural relic, housing a regional digital archive.

James: Half the councillors want to turn it into a restaurant.

Guy: A quick fix to bring in some money. Culture takes a back seat to commerce again.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reportage and footage

Lupin, a would-be reporter, and Fritz, a would-be filmmaker, chide each other for their skimpy output.


Lupin: Just can’t seem to get started.

Fritz: You remind me of a reporter who never reports. Like TinTin. Here, there and everywhere, investigating, chasing, thwarting the bad guys. Where are all the articles he should have published? Where is YOUR REPORTAGE? Where are all your ARTICLES? Where are your PULLITZERS?

Lupin: Pot calling the kettle black again, are we? You remind me of a filmmaker who seldom shoots FOOTAGE. Where are all your FILMS? Where are all your OSCARS? Of course, there’s all the unacknowledged stuff. When my reportage goes in the Economist, my name isn’t there.

Fritz: Exactly. When my footage goes up on YouTube, I post anonymously. No identity adds a bit of mystery. Like the William Gibson’s Russian handicapped girl creating footage. People start asking, who is creating this stuff?

Lupin: Just be nice if all that GREAT reportage and footage was OUR stuff, not other people's.


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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


 Gary, from Hong Kong visiting Tokyo, exhorts Satoshi to join LinkedIn.


Gary: What is it? It’s a kind of social networking site for working people, to make contact with other professionals.

Satoshi: A sort of FaceBook?

Gary: If you like. But not just chitchat. You can find people, friends of friends, find out what work they do, and you might find someone to do a deal with.

Satoshi: But if you know the person already, why would you need to look on a website?

Gary: It’s leveraging. You make see a friend on LinkedIn, and you can get access to their friends. It’s called second degree.

Satoshi: So if you go through six degrees, you can contact anyone in the world?

Gary: Look I’ve got 35 contacts, it tells me that those contacts can put me in touch with 80,000 other contacts. That’s networking.

Satoshi: Sounds a useful business tool. If that’s what your job involves. Networking. Some people don’t need 80,000 friends, they’d just rather get on with being creative.