Friday, August 29, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

It seems like a scarcely disguised attempt to raise interest in their site but the Very Good Taste blog has a list of one hundred items every omnivore should at least try. It's an odd list to say the least, for example there's no raw tuna or Iberian cured ham and wine is entirely absent. Anyways, it's a Friday, why not spend a few minutes seeing how many you've had.

Here's the cut and pasted blurb and then my answers:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore's Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost <- is filthy
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Processing Doodles

Here are three new algorithmically generated pictures using code I wrote in Processing. I'm quite fond of them, they seem to have a slightly ethereal Rothko quality.

processing Doodle 003

processing Doodle 005

processing Doodle 010

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ten Years On

I almost forgot until yesterday afternoon but on the 25th August I celebrated (if that's the right word) working full-time for ten years. Aside from a month unemployed when a studio I worked for went bankrupt leaving us owed a couple of months pay and no opportunity for redress I've been working solidly for all that time. I'm really thankful for it too; the film industry is a fickle beast and it's not unknown for work to dry up and for good people to find it nigh on impossible to get jobs so I've definitely had much good fortune along the way.

Ten years ago I was a callow youth, working as a runner, making tea and getting abused by the rich-kid offspring of millionaires who'd decided it would be fun to work for an advertising agency and had daddies who could arrange that sort of thing. Those were not great days, I shall always fondly remember the happy mornings cleaning the tramp piss out of the company garage so that the MD could bear to drive his top of the line BMW into it (apparently tramp piss must be very corrosive on the those expensive Goodyears his motor was sporting). Sigh, it's a glamourous industry being in the movies.

I'll also remember the happy day when having worked for less than minimum wage for well over a year I was promoted to a junior designer role where I worked for at minimum ten hours a day and made almost as much money as the receptionist - who did nine till five only.

I cannot really complain though, ten years has seen a lot of companies come and go and I'm not the same person I was then, partly I suspect because my outlook has changed with the work I've done. I am much more confident now, I am probably also more curmudgeonly though I think that's also tempered by a greater understanding of how other people think and feel - I wasn't the most socially adept person straight out of college. All that said I do still recognise myself looking back, I wonder whether the ten years ago me would recognise today's Mr Atrocity though.

Labels: ,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics 2012

So, just because I'd heard a little about it I watched the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. Having lived in London for over a decade I found most of it pretty awful, lots of stage school leaping around with umbrellas and bowler hats interpreting the commuting experience through the medium of dance. It wasn't a pretty sight. Then a red 'bus entered the Beijing arena. "Oh law" I cried, can it get worse and any more stereotypical? After the drama students had mimed trying to crush onto a rush hour 'bus in slow motion, gurning for the cameras as they did it, a most welcome and unexpected thing happened, the top of the 'bus folded down and two figures emerged on a platform from within. One was Leona Lewis of whom I know little but she seems good. The other was Jimmy Page. Some genius had the foresight to pick Jimmy Fucking Page as the musical emblem for the UK. And then they launched into Whole Lotta Love. Jimmy Page looked in his element and was loving it, Leona Lewis looked terrified but gave it a good sing. The sight of a stadium full of Chinese fans going nuts to a Led Zeppelin song was truly a sight to behold and was actually something that made me feel a sense of pride. The 'buses and faux commuters may have been embarrassing but the music was spot on.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Crystal Palace

Today, after making myself blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast, I hopped on a 'bus to Crystal Palace Park. Back when I used to live at Shenley Mansions, Crystal Palace was much closer and so I visited more often. I don't think I've been in about a year so it was fun to revisit old haunts. There are two main features of the park I like. One is the site and foundations of The Crystal Palace itself and the other is the Dinosaur Lake. Having had my fill of Victoriana I walked up to Herne Hill for a late lunch at one of my favourite cafés, Café Prov. Refreshed and refilled I took another 'bus back to Schossadlerflug.

Here's a few photos from today:

The Stairs and the TV Transmitter

The Stairs at The Crystal Palace


Cute Graffiti

Resting Dinosaur

Labels: ,

Friday, August 22, 2008


What a week. I have shifted a huge amount of work this week, I scarcely feel like I've had time to stop and catch my breath. For the next three days, however, I shall be master of my own destiny. This weekend is a bank holiday so we all have Monday off work. Tinseltroos is off to Wales for the weekend with some buddies and I have a few items on my agenda but not enough to make me feel like I'm not going to have time to relax. Tomorrow I have absolutely no plans whatsoever; I may go to Brighton or I may go to Crystal Palace. We'll see. On Sunday I'm off to Lord's again and then Monday will see me off for lunch with Tommy Dog at a Thames-side pub. It should be good. This evening I've had a couple of beers with the stone giant from Hellboy 2 guys and now I'm sat at home with toast and honey with the cricket on the radio. Life has just got a lot better and less stressful.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Casting Call

For one of the projects I'm doing at work an in depth analysis of human facial skin qualities is needed. One of the things I thought would really help would be a good plaster cast of a human face and since I'd feel bad about bullying someone else into doing it, and I wouldn't want to ask anyone to do something I wouldn't do myself, I spent most of Sunday morning in a variety of very sexy outfits. First off is this skin tight, see-through polythene top. Note the handles at the bottom and its distinct resemblance to a bin bag with arm and neck holes cut in it.

My Sexy New Polythene Top

Next up, once I had my skin-tight (spotting the theme?) rubber hat on, my glamourous assistant poured dental alginate all over my my face and made sure it was massaged into all the cracks and crannies. My world went dark and strange smelling for a while.

Face Covered in Alginate

The next item was several layers of plaster bandage, applied to support the mould. The next photo is taken at the moment when the plaster is drying and becoming quite hot, as it does, whilst I listen to Rammstein. My world is now very dark and smells of algae and hot plaster.

Listening to Rammstein As My Plaster Bandages Dry

After waiting for ten minutes for the plaster to harden I was finally able to start wriggling my face and after a few minutes of this the mould came loose and I emerged back into the light following a very strange a calustrophobic half hour. The mould, when angled to the light in a certain way looked like a positive image which was odder yet:

Ooh, It Looks Weirdly Inverted In This Light

Here's the mould filled with good ol' plaster of paris:

The Plaster Sets

After another couple of hours to allow the plaster to really set hard I carefuly lifted the plaster bandage support off the mould and then began peeling the mould itself away from the cast. This is quite nerve-wracking. iI you screw it up you have to start again because you destroy the mould pulling it away from the cast. Fortunately this worked out OK:

Lifting More Off

A bit of a clean up to remove any loose lumps of plaster or alginate that stuck to the mould:

A Little Cleaning

And here's the finished article.

The Finished Cast

I find it very odd to look at. Because I'm more used to seeing my face in a mirror I find it weird to see it the "right way round" and although I recognise the face I don't think it looks much like me. Tinseltroos on the other hand is equally freaked out because, she feels, it looks exactly like me. She wasn't too freaked out though as she now wants me to cast her face. That'll have to wait for another Sunday though.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

All Off To Lord's

It was the Friends Provident Final on Saturday and this event saw myself, Papa Atrocity and my chum Tommy Dog meeting up at St John's Wood tube station at the unpleasantly early for a Saturday hour of half past nine. I left Schossadlerflug at 8.20 so that I could pick up supplies for lunch en route through Marylebone. Once we'd collected ourselves together we pottered up to the ground where we endured the usual security bag-poking and leg-patting that the Lord's marshalls seem to like indulging themselves in. We took our seats and Kent got us underway in a pretty lacklustre fashion with both openers falling cheaply.

County Final at Lord's 2008

Tommy Dog invented a new photographic technique which invloved stuffing the lens of a small compact digicam into the eyepiece of his binoculars to get a super telephoto image albeit with lots of vignetting and chromatic aberation. I had a go too:

Through Binoculars

During the lunch interval Tommy was able to indulge in two of his other hobbies beside cricket, those of beer drinking and reading books with pictures of tanks in them.

Tommy Dog Has Cricket, A Beer And A Book With Tanks In It

I stuck to the beer part.

Happy Mixture

Here is a snap of Papa Atrocity looking perplexed at Number One Son. He does that a lot.

With Papa Atrocity at Lord's

After a few splutters, Essex did what they ought to given the target they had been set and won the game with a little to spare. Here the Essex dressing room celebrates, They are in the red sweaters on the first floor of the pavilion.

The Essex Dressing Room Celebrates

All in all a very good day with a game that had more excitement that it at first appeared it would plus I got to sit outside with my dad and a buddy for a whole without a single drop of rain spoiling procedings in spite of the weather forecast. All in all, a happy time was had by all, apart from Kent and their fans.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, August 15, 2008

Going On And On And On...

It's been a crazy busy week. I've been organising and running a complicated photo shoot for the studio in between doing more design work for Universal. This week I also started delivering my one hour introduction lecture on art history and theory. I've been feeling pretty sick all week with a nasty chesty cough and headaches. I think I really picked the wrong week to agree to do these talks. Today's was the second session and I felt it went better than the first as I'd learned how to pace the talk a bit better. It also went better because I remembered to take two glasses of water and a cup of tea in with me to sip as I talked. Speaking continuously for an hour to a room of thirty to forty people is really hard when your throat is sore.

It's been quite fun trying to compress as much information about lighting, colour and composition as I can into an hour. Working what to include and what to leave out has proved highly perplexing. I have sixty slides to show which I whittled down from over two hundred candidates which gives you an idea of the speed of delivery I'm aiming for. I'm always nervous that I don't have enough material prepared to fill an hour but so far I've managed to do the talk both times in a hour exactly. I have no idea where the time goes when I'm speaking, I get a third of the way through my notes, panic because I'm sure I've only been talking for ten minutes, look down at my watch and discover that it is in fact forty minutes since I began. I've done that twice now, perhaps next week when I do it all again a couple more times I'll have accumulated the confidence not to look at my watch for reassurance.

As is always the case, once the talk is over and I ask if anyone has question no-one asks any or gives any impression of having had a good time but I don't think they fell asleep so I'm still claiming it as a win.

Tomorrow I'm off to Lord's with my dad and my pal Tommy Dog to watch the county cricket final. I suspect we may not actually get to watch much as the weather forecast is pretty bad, so we may in fact be spending a day grumbling under an umbrella. Oh well, I keep my fingers crossed.

I don't have much else to say right now, I'm all tired and spacey so I think a quiet evening and an early night are in order.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

VFX Artist T Shirt

VFX Artist T Shirt, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

After having a grumble with other VFX people today I decided to do us a T-shirt that sums up how we collectively as a group feel. Having read yet another review of Hellboy 2 today where the film is praised for using "real" men-in-suit effects rather than CGI and then goes on to praise scenes that are nothing other than CGI I felt the time was right for a graphic complaint. The optional tag-line I might add on the back of the shirt would read, "Ruining cinema one pixel at a time."

Labels: , ,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

T Party

This weekend has been Tinsetroos Birthday Festival. She began the celebration on Thursday with dinner with her folks whilst I was at home with the flat to myself wrapping her presents. The main social event was karaoke on Friday night. Everyone knows that T likes to sing and so twelve of us packed into a wee room at Cousin Jills to belt out a few standards.

In a slight break with tradition I opted to sing Money for Nothing rather than my usual Johnny Cash numbers as I felt me and Mr Knopfler have similar vocal range (not a lot). I didn't manage the Sting parts though as they well beyond my limited range. I was quite pleased with my "Hoola moola that's the way you do, money for nothing and your chicks for free" complete with hint of geordie accent. As is traditional there was also a rendition of Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do with highly exaggerated welsh accents later on. T and her school-chum KG put everyone else to shame by actually being able to sing really well. It took a collective chorus of Europe's The Final Countdown to takes us back to the ridiculous from the sublime. This part of the evening is immortalised on video though I don't think it's really suitable for public consumption. It does prove that we'd all drunk a lot more than I remember though. Further evidence for this may be viewed below:

Tinseltroos' Birthday Karaoke

Tinseltroos' Birthday Karaoke

Tinseltroos' Birthday Karaoke

Tinseltroos' Birthday Karaoke

Tinseltroos' Birthday Karaoke

Tinseltroos' Birthday Karaoke

Tinseltroos' Birthday Karaoke

Yesterday T opened her presents from me which included some crazy Japanese socks, a T-shirt I designed and printed for her, Guitar Hero - Aerosmith, and a few other treats. The weather was filthy all day so we only went out for brunch and then scuttled back to Schossadlerflug until the evening when we got all dressed up and went out for dinner to Rasoi Vineet Bhatia which is a superb Indian restaurant in Mayfair. It was astonishingly good, certainly in my top ten meals I've had. Amongst the delights I had included tandoori salmon, minted chicken, duck confit with a coconut sauce and a, and this is no lie, fois gras crême brulée which was barmy but brilliant. Two and half happy hours later we rolled out back into the night and made our way home holding our contented fat bellies.

Today we've bummed around the flat as, once again, the weather has been shitty all day. As I write this T is shredding on Guitar Hero and showing Joe Perry and Brad Whitford how it's done. Metaaaaaaal!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Guitar Design Part 2

Guitar Design 2, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

I've been tweaking the design for my imaginary guitar a bit. I saw that Fender have brought out a tribute to David Gilmour's signature black strat from the 60s-70s and I rather fell in love with the dark maple neck, black paint and white pickups and knobs look so I applied it to my design. I've changed the body shape subtley too by making the top bout a wee bit wider and shifting it back a little to give a more slanted shape. I think it's an improvement but I'll keep playing to see if anything else pops into my head.

Labels: ,

Monday, August 04, 2008

And Two Downers

Following on from the three lovely things of the last post, Sunday brought two not so good ones. Firstly Michael Vaughan resigned as England cricket captain following the series loss to South Africa. I have always thought he was a first rate captain even when dealing with a sub-par side and he is one of the most elegant batsmen I've seen. England will miss him and I worry that they will appoint Kevin Pietersen as the new captain which could spell disaster. Great players don't necessarily make great captains and I fear that will prove to be so should Pietersen get the nod. Boo.

Yesterday afternoon Tinseltroos and I finally went to see the insanely hyped and well-reviewed The Dark Knight. To say it didn't live up to expectation doesn't even begin to cover it. You may expect a more detailed critique when I have few spare minutes. At present I'm a bit too busy on next summer's blockbuster fodder. Boo some more.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Three Good Things

I've had a culturally very pleasing week. On Monday, Tinseltroos and I went to The Empire cinema in Leicester Square to see WALL-E, the latest film from Pixar. The last Pixar movie I'd seen was The Incredibles which hadn't excited me much. Up to that point I'd seen every film from the studio as a matter of faith the moment it opened in the cinema and I hadn't missed one since Toy Story. So I'd had a few years off, Cars and Ratatouille came and went and I have yet to see either. I felt rather differently about WALL-E. I'd been careful not to spoil myself too much but I had seen a teaser trailer and a few stills, both of which convinced me I had to see the film. The beauty of the imagery quite took my breath away and I found the notion of a story the romantic leads of which cannot talk beguiling. So I was pretty excited to be seeing the film. On the other hand I didn't want to fall into the trap of having unreasonable expectations either so I'd consciously tried to temper my enthusiasm. I needn't have worried, the film is a master piece. The story is a clever fairy tale with all the allegory that implies, managing to be both intelligent but not cynical as I find many animated films to be these days. The characters were a delight and credit must be given not only to the animators but also to Ben Burtt who crafted the audio. Though they don't talk, WALL-E and EVE can make sound and you can rely on the man who created R2-D2's vocal performance in the Star Wars films to come up with goods. There is real emotion even without dialogue. The film was, of course, absolutely stunning to look at. Th level of detail in everything, the design and the lighting set a new standard for animation and every frame was a delight to behold. The last film I cried in was Mulholland Drive which I finally saw about three years ago, I don't mind admitting there was a tear in my eye at the end of WALL-E.

On Thursday night I went to my first Prom concert of 2008 with my buddy Hegl.It was a semi staged production of L'incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi. The music was performed by a small period orchestra, the same one I saw accompany Purcell's The Faerie Queen a couple of years ago I fancy. The music and singing was first rate throughout and you could quite see why Nero fell for the charms of Poppea: it was a very sexy production. Although I knew the rough plot before I went I made sure to buy one of the librettos that The BBC makes available for such productions so that none of the subtlety was lost. I was really glad I did this as it revealed the more subtle ebbing and flowing of the plot and the relationships between the characters. The show was three hours not including the interval so it was gone eleven when we stepped out back into the London streets having spent three hours transported back to the Roman Empire via seventeenth century Venice.

Today I acted upon a recommendation I'd been given to see the Vilhelm Hamershøi show at the Royal Academy. I was almost completely unaware of his work before visiting but I am very glad I went. The pictures, painted toward the end of the nineteenth century feel like a mixture of Vermeer and Edward Hopper, with a distinctly Whistler edge to the colour. The paintings are often of empty rooms or if there is a figure he or she often has their back to us and is seemingly lost in their own thoughts. The muted hues and enigmatic characters led many of today's patrons to grumble about the pictures being "miserable". I think they missed the point; they aren't sombre, but they are quiet paintings, ones that revel in silent contemplation and as such I found them very moving. The sense of atmosphere and stillness is not something often associated with modernish painting and it was all the more refreshing for that.

Labels: , ,