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posts for 2008. (page 1.)

after watching a horror movie which i didn’t like too much (it felt too constructed, the horror was too obvious), i watched another movie, den tredje vågen (imdb), a swedish one, called the third wave in english, and this one was really, really good. despite being an action movie. reason is, it has a story. a good one. the only bad point was that i could only watch the german dubbed version, as the original was in swedish and i don’t happen to understand that language…
the setting is europe, being threatened by organized crime. the hero, an ex cop, is dragged together with his family into a chase through europe (london to the netherlands to munich) after a backer’s wife who wants to give information to europol. the story is solid, seems to be well investigated and plausible, is mostly not predictable, tension increasing until the end, which is a partially happy end with a deep dark shade left, leaving my mind rattling, chunking on different thoughts. making me fear the environment is too real, too realistic. this is way more creepy than creep.
it’s really a shame this movie wasn’t shown in german cinemas, as it’s way better than most of the movies which were.

here i want to write a bit about doom music, as a huge part of the music i listen to can be counted to this category. in general, it can be characterized as slow, heavy music with dark lyrics, dealing with depression, death, despair, gloom, dying, doomed/unhappy love, and despair. it appears in various shapes, blended with many different genres, including death metal, ambient, noise, gothic music and jazz. even though non-metal doom music does exists, most of doom music is probably metal.
(note that i like all the bands i mention here quite alot, except probably the older stuff of celtic frost which, i have to admit, is mostly unknown to me.)

one of the more traditional doom metal bands is candlemass, with their 1986 album epicus doomicus metallicus being a major landmark in the doom metal genre. the album is opened by the song solitude (“please let me die in solitude”) which is, in my opinion, one of the best doom songs.

an important crossover doom genre is death/doom which is, surprise!, a crossover between death metal and doom music. usually a bit faster than other doom styles but still being way slower than usual death metal, it features death growls, sometimes mixed with clean vocals, and certain playing styles from death metal such as fast double bass kicking. two bands in this genre i like are swallow the sun—one of my most favorite bands; see here— and novembers doom. notably are also the older works of bands as anathema (see here), now playing atmospheric metal, the gathering (see here), now playing progressive/alternative/trip rock, and sentenced—another one of my most favorite bands; see here—, who later turned to more gothic doom or plain heavy metal, before disbanding 2005.

out of death/doom, another doom crossover called funeral doom developed, by slowing down the music, resulting in something which is as slow as a funeral march, hence hinting where its name comes from. besides the lack of speed, the music is even heavier, but also features more ambient like parts. two bands in this category are tyranny and unholy (see here).

related to funeral doom is drone doom, abstracting even more by reducing to a kind of minimalistic music, mainly consisting of a stream of drones, i.e. very long lasting notes, while often lacking traditional music structures like rythm or melody, with vocals often so distorted that they are barely understandable. the songs usually last very long, from something between ten and twenty minutes to sometimes filling a whole cd with one song. two important bands in this genre are sunn o))) and boris (see here).

another doom genre which is pretty detached from metal is doom jazz or noir jazz, a blend of doom music and jazz. the only example i know is bohren & der club of gore, a german band who started mixing jazz with hardcore and ambient, resulting in some kind of doom music. later, when their guitar player left, they replaced him by a saxophonist, turning the band completely into a jazz ensemble. their current style is a very dark kind of jazz, without vocals, somehow almost more ambient, somehow similar to funeral doom.

a lot of other more experimental acts exist, like early the 3rd and the mortal (see also here) stuff, which can be described as experimental/atmospheric doom, or the zürich based metal legend celtic frost, whose last album monotheist could be in parts counted as a certain kind of avantgarde/experimental doom.

another, more “standard” doom metal approach is gothic doom, a mixture of doom with gothic metal. my favorite in this area is type o negative, and in particular their most depressing album world coming down. some bands which i would also count into this category are tiamat, lake of tears and later sentenced. tiamat evolved more to gothic rock and had included also different influences besides gothic doom. sentenced began with death/doom, switching to more gothic doom and finally more to a kind of heavy/gothic metal. lake of tears, whose origin lay more in the death/doom origin, went through a change between several different genres; the albums which fit best as gothic doom are headstones, a crimson cosmos and forever autumn, all being somehow different to each other.

the third movie for today—and the last—was november (imdb), a psychological thriller. on the dvd case, it was described as “in the style of mulholland drive and lost highway,” what made me pretty curious. well. while watching the movie, it reminded me of these two, alone several other movies. here’s the whole list:

  • various david lynch movies, for example mulholland drive and lost highway, as, well, they have a very similar style, allowing own interpretation, being completely mystery. with the difference that this one has a ‘solution’ at the end.
  • jacob’s ladder and the sixth sense, because of not knowing what is going on and whether the protagonist is alive or dead.
  • memento, for leaving the viewer in total darkness about what happened.
  • π and fight club, because of the way many things were shown.
  • fight club and hide and seek (the first dvd i watched today), because of signs of schizophrenia blurring the reality.
  • run lola run, because of the different story versions which were told.

when reading at wikipedia, it was funny to see many of the movies i had to think of…

just watched paperhouse (imdb), a 1988 fantasy/horror movie, about a girl suffering from pfeiffer’s disease who, during her feverish dreams, happens to stay in a world which looks like one of her drawings. she finds out that she can modify the world by modifying the drawing while being awake between the dreams. reminds me a bit of the butterfly effect, even though there the modifications are completely different in that they change the whole timeline in the butterfly effect, while in paperhouse, the modifications only affect the dream world. both ideas are very intriguing.

mathematics is nothing but the search for structures. beautiful structures. i myself tend to think i understood something if i manage to have a picture of it in my head, some geometric interpretation. sometimes it’s more easy to understand something if one can somehow draw it, by hand, or using a computer, which can sometimes give insights which would not be possible without it; the best example maybe is the beautiful mandelbrot set. most visualizations are by no means as impressive as the mandelbrot set, unless the viewer is acquainted with the underlying mathematics. like the following one, produced by the programs i wrote yesterdays and today, whose beauty probably won’t unfold if you don’t know what it depicts:

posted in: computer math

do you know the feeling when, while doing something completely unrelated, like taking a shower, you get an idea? an idea which is somehow cool, which will change life completely, in some sense? with such ideas, usually lots of endorphines and adrenaline is set free, making you unable to sleep, to rest, to think clearly. then, after spending the day working the idea out, you finally notice a tiny flaw, something that didn’t worked as smoothly as you thought it would or should. such tiny, but yet so fatal, killing the whole idea, throwing you back to the ground of the pit, where you continue to lurk around, in search for new ideas. but then, it’s not as bad as it sounds. usually you learn something. you get a better understanding of something, the object in question has turned into something which you can see better with your mind, from a bit farer away, not as near as before, so near that you can see every bump but have no clue what these bumps belong to. like a new stack of jigsaw pieces, given to you to plug it into your big world puzzle, to complete it a bit more, to widen your glance on the truth. the universe got a bit smoother.

posted in: daily life math

i took these photos on my train ride on the 23.12.2007, somewhere between switzerland and northern germany. unfortunately, it was neither white in zürich nor in northern germany…

sometimes neurotoxins are not just toxic, but tasty. of course, when the right dose is used. like capsaicin, at least when it’s inside certain things. like food. if there’s enough capsaicin inside, it’s called hot. usually, way to hot for most people, if you choose the right amount (one way to measure such amounts is the scoville scale). one way to put a lot capsaicin into food is to use special sauces, for example the vicious viper sauce. thanks to reverend i now have a new bottle; my old one got empty a few months ago…
on new year’s eve, we continued our tradition to make chili. hot chili. well, a big pan of mild chili and a small one of hot chili. this time, the small one was really, really hot. comparable to an indish dish i ate around a month ago, with it the hottest stuff i’ve ever eaten. the chili’s hotness is no surprise if you look at two of the ingredients:

posted in: daily life

this one is not about me, but about drunken fellows travelling by train which are talkative. way too talkative. annoyingly talkative.
on my trip to oldenburg, one week ago, a pretty drunken guy, maybe around 70 or 80 years old, equipped with a walker and lots of booze, began asking me at münster’s main station whether he’s on the right platform for the next train to osnabrück. well, yes, he was, and so he decided it’s a good idea to stay with me and talking to me. in the train, he managed to chase someone out of his seat so we could sit there and annoyed lots of people by talking loud, which provoked some angry reactions, though they died quickly as they probably noticed that there’s no way to change the situation… well, then i spend the next fourty minutes listening to his tales and bad jokes. the couple in the seats next to us seemed to really enjoy this, often they had visible problems not to start laughing out loudly. so at least someone in that train was enjoying the whole situation. at one point the situation was pretty bizarre, when he started telling me that he could kill someone using his harmonica, by bashing it hard enough into someones brain, and then continuing that he once killed a few rabbits. while i was expecting to hear some gory details, he explained that he gave them something with mildew to eat. then, later, he started telling how easy it is to build a hand grenade with a bottle of korn, which could kill lots of people in the train. sounds great if you hear this from a completely drunken guy equipped with lots of booze… at some point, when he realized we were going to osnabrück, he suddenly noticed that he wanted to go to münster and he just came from osnabrück. what the heck, so he decided to take the train another time, to return to münster. well, finally, in osnabrück, i got rid of him… i was really glad he was simply drunken and talkative, but not aggressive…
then, yesterday, when travelling back to zürich, i had another such experience. in the ice from hannover to zürich, i was sitting at the very end of the train. everything was fine, until i went to the restroom, noticing that someone had just smoked inside there, it was stinking like hell, and when i got out my clothes were stinking, too. i suspected the guy who was inside before me, he was sitting a few seats away from me and seemed to be talking alot to the other people around him. well, first i thought that he probably knows them, and ignored the issue. later, i saw him drinking booze, and a bit more later, people around him started leaving the train when they reached their destination (or decided to change the coach, who knows…). at some point, most of the people were gone at the end of the coach where i was sitting, and at some point he looked at me and decided i’m the next one he could talk to. well, there goes the last two hours of my train ride, which i wanted to spend listening to music and watching the night through the window… in these two hours, i learned a lot on how drunk he was, about his profession, about his hobbies, about his train ride, about his salary, about his name, about his life, about his interest in martial arts – he boasted that he’s a shaolin master, and that he could easily kill people but he’d never do this, because he is such a nice guy. great, that was what i really wanted to hear. thank you. he decided many times to go smoking again, to the restroom (smoking is actually forbidden in the whole train)… well. the last hour i spend alone with him, the few people which were left left us in basel (maybe they left the train, or at least the coach). during that hour, he decided that he could smoke inside the compartment, too. well. i thought “fuck you.” and just hoped that the last thirty minutes would fly away as fast as possible… finally, zürich was announced and, contrary to my usual style of waiting until the train really arrives, i jumped up, grabbed my stuff, said goodbye and went a few coaches forward…
well. i don’t really care when people are drunk, but if they are, it would be really nice if they could simply sleep or be silent, and stop annoying other people…