This is the archive for June 2005. Recent posts can be found at the main blog page.

Play the music!

Last friday I shortly attended a (private) party in the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. We had some free beer (free as in beer, not as in speech!) and watched the Dutch rapper Brainpower. Not quite the music I like, but it was nice nonetheless.

Brainpower

Brainpower on stage

This year I will probably visit A campingflight to Lowlands paradise, more often referred to as Lowlands. This three-day music festival features a lot of nice bands like Incubus, Foo Fighters, The Prodigy and my all-time favourite singer Heather Nova. I’ve seen all these bands before, but am really looking forward to seeing them again.

Note to people who know me personally: if you want to go to Lowlands and don’t have anyone to join you, my group is open!

Too many fiction books

Last night I finished reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel, (see my previous blog post on this book). A marvellous book with an incredible story. I won’t give any spoilers, but I really recommend it to anyone who likes absurd stories. You can finish it in just a couple of days (although it took me longer because I had a two week reading gap).

Right away I started reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I’ve only read for half an hour now, but I’m already at chapter 59. All chapter numbers are prime numbers, which could be a reason on its own to read the book.

The main character in the book is an autistic boy giving a detailed account on his world. Although the book is funny, it contains no humor. The boy doesn’t like jokes, because they’re all lies. He doesn’t like lies, because if he doesn’t tell the truth, he has to think of all other false stories he could tell, like how there was (or was not) a rhinoceros in the room while he had breakfast. Do you get it?

Oh, another book-related note: I can’t wait for the new Harry Potter to arrive!

Mine trading child refugees

He carefully moves his head to the landmine and closes his lips around the firing pin. Will it explode? The boy with no arms is confident it won’t and finishes his daily routine. The mine does not explode. Not this time.

Bahman Ghobadi, an Iranian-Kurdish filmmaker, shows the terrible situation in a Kurdish refugee camp in Iraq during the period just before the American invasion started.

A group of children clear field after field from mines, day after day. Satellite, the group’s leader, organizes meetings and tells the other children which field to clear next. Satellite knows where to sell the mines. He knows where to buy guns. He knows where to get the satellite dish needed to receive news about the pending invasion. Satellite is a child, at most 15 years old. He knows how to deal with life in a refugee camp.

Agrin collecting landmines

Agrin collecting landmines

The boy with no arms and his younger sister Agrin carry a three-year old child with them. Their little brother, you might think, until you discover that the little one is in fact Agrin’s child, born after being raped by Iraqi soldiers. She can neither love the child, nor leave it behind. Their lives are a misery.

Lakposhtha hâm parvaz mikonand, as the film is titled, better known as Turtles can Fly has been awarded several times. Last year, it won the Audience Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands).

No purification

Moolaadé is a very impressive film about the practice of female purification: genital circumcision. Four little girls run away from the purification ritual and seek asylum at Colle Ardo Gallo Sy, a woman who had prevented her own daughter to be genitally mutilated. Colle offers the girls Moolaadé (a spell of protection), but pressure on her increases when a lot of the village people turn against her.

Colle protecting the girls

Colle protecting the girls

Film director Sembene Ousmane shows with great precision how traditional—and, some say, religious—culture clashes with progressive, modern society values that slowly but firmly make their entrance in African countries. This film really moved me.

Arrows on scrollbars

If you don’t have a mouse wheel and you’re scrolling up and down in any GTK+ widget, it’s very annoying to move your mouse to the small up/down button at the top and the bottom of the scrollbars.

Luckily, GTK+ is customizable. Add the following lines to your ~/.gtkrc-2.0 if you want two buttons on top and two buttons at the bottom:

style "scrollbar" {
  GtkScrollbar::has_backward_stepper = 1
  GtkScrollbar::has_forward_stepper = 1
  GtkScrollbar::has_secondary_backward_stepper = 1
  GtkScrollbar::has_secondary_forward_stepper = 1
  GtkScrollbar::min_slider_length = 30
}
class "GtkScrollbar" style "scrollbar"

Oh, and as an added bonus the slider is always long enough to grab easily.

Look, photos!

Last night I got my photo album code into a working and useful state. Right now only a couple of photo’s are online, but that will certainly increase in the near future.

Oranges and apples

Click for full-scale photograph

Visit the photo section for more viewing pleasure!

Some people never let go

A quiet field, a cloudless sky, a man, a woman, a romantic picnic, a hot-air balloon almost crashing right beside them. The man—his name is Joe—and some other people just happening to be there try their best to rescue a child out of the balloon basket. But when the balloon lifts off again, they all have to let go. One of them refuses to give up, but after one minute his arms give up on him. He cannot longer hold the rope and falls down. Dead.

Enduring Love

Photo shamelessly cropped from a photo on the official Enduring Love site at Paramount Classics.

That’s the opening scene of the film Enduring Love. But that’s just the start. A man called Jed, one of the witnesses of the accident, is shocked and tries to contact Joe, because he needs to talk. Joe—a rationalist professor—doesn’t feel like having emotional chatsessions about what happened and tells Jed to leave him alone.

From that moment on, Jed becomes obsessed with Joe and starts stalking him. Life can take unpredicted turns and that’s beautifully depicted in this psychodramatic film.

No trains today, but I'm on tv

Today the national rail infrastructure company’s striking. That means no trains at all.

Yesterday I was interviewed by the Dutch national television. I was waiting at Utrecht Central Station for my train when I saw a cameraman lying on the floor, kneeled over his video camera. From my point of view the camera was just out of sight. It looked like he was kneeling and praying for the Meeting Point flag. It was really funny, so I grabbed my photo camera to take a shot. Too bad, he spotted me before my camera focused and he turned around quickly. `Better luck next time,’ he said, ‘now is my turn to take a shot. Can I have an interview with you?’

I'm on the news

So, this is me on the Dutch national news.

Deception is brutal

Well, that movie quote is basically what’s being told in Closer, a film by Mike Nichols, based on a play by Patrick Marber. The film tells the story of two couples in an ever-getting-more-complicated relationship, giving a detailed account on their love—and sex—lifes. In the end the truth seems just as much a lie as all the lies told.

As the movie is based on a play, it has very few actors, few different sets and a lot of—sometimes rather explicit—dialogue. Although the plot was amusing enough to keep my attention, it really lacked the beautiful shots that make films a pleasure to watch. I guess films based on small plays are just a little too boring for my eyes.

The complete cast

Photo by Clive Coote, copyright 2004 Columbia Pictures Industries, shamelessly ripped from The Internet Movie Database

The beautiful music by Damien Rice (be sure to check out his album called `O’!) in the movie (and the trailer I saw while visiting Hotel Rwanda) was my main reason to visit this film. The soundtrack features `The Blower’s Daughter’ (played twice, almost full length!) and ‘Cannonball’ (only the piano parts if I recall correctly).

New hackergotchi for Glynn

Roozbeh mentioned a good candidate for a new hackergotchi for Glynn Foster on Planet GNOME. The specific post can be found at Roozbeh’s blog.

Well, I’ve been in a create-a-hackergotchi mood lately, so I Gimp’ed one for him too! The result:

Glynn

Glynn (Gman)

More hackergotchi's!

I’ve created three more hackergotchi’s for various people (using the Gimp).

Tijmen Reinout Michel

Today’s lucky winners are Tijmen, Reinout and Michel.

Initial mCatalog translation

A couple of days ago, I’ve created a Dutch translation for mCatalog, a tool to organize your films and books. I didn’t like the software, but I couldn’t stand it not being available in Dutch.

The initial translation is not 100% accurate, but hey, it’s better than nothing!

Planet GNOME-NL

Thanks to Vincent van Adrighem, my blog is now also syndicated on Planet GNOME-NL.

I’ve also Gimp’ed a hackergotchi:

My hackergotchi

Beagle translation updated

Last night I’ve updated the Dutch translation for Beagle 0.0.10. The updated version already lives in GNOME CVS and should be included in the next release.

Life of Pi, death and religion

Yesterday I started reading the novel Life of Pi, a best-seller by Yann Martel, which was recommended to me by a friend. The book tells the extraordinary story of a boy who survived a tragic accident on a cargo ship. His fellow survivors are all animals: a hyena, a zebra, an orang-utan and a tiger. Pi, as the boy is called, drifts at sea for more than two hundred days, fighting for his life and having magical thoughts. Sounds interesting to me.

Until now, I’ve only read a couple of chapters, but there are already two fragments I’d like to share. The first one is a note about the relation between life and death:

The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity—it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs what it can.

The second one is about the three of the most wide-spread religions being basically the same:

... Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed (...) Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims.

Heh, while looking up the book on Amazon, the “related books” section mentions The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, telling the story of a boy who has Asperger Syndrome (some sort of autism). He’s obsessed by math, lists, patterns and structures, not unlike the average programmer… a must-read, according to my girlfriend. Luckily, she owns the book and I already have it here. If only I had time to read it…

Hell freezes over

Today, Debian released a new stable distribution: Sarge. It ships with `brand new’ XFree 4.3 and GNOME 2.8… So, Debian remains the same after all: Debian Stable is already Debian Stale. I’m really considering a switch to Ubuntu , but for now I’m staying with GNOME 2.10 from Debian’s experimental branch.

Meanwhile, Apple announced their switch to Intel-based processors. Urgh.

Welcome to my world!

Finally, after only 2 days of hacking, the first version of uwstopia is online. Right now only my blog and the about section are finished. The Photo and Geek section will be written soon.

Stay tuned!

Hatred, insanity, I don't know

Last night I watched Hotel Rwanda in the cinema. The film is a dramatized version of a real story of a Hutu hotel manager trying really hard not to get involved in the Hutus versus Tutsis genocide conflict, but ending up hosting 1200 refugees from both ethnicities (although the ethnical difference is purely made up by humans, thanks to the Belgian colonists creating an elite Tutsi minority). A really impressive film.

Hotel Rwanda

Copyright 2004 United Artists, found on the Internet Movie Database

Read more on IMDB and Wikipedia.