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unmitigated audacity Below are 25 entries, after skipping 25 most recent ones in the "surelars" journal:

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September 8th, 2008
09:22 am
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Sometime it's hard to believe
Today is my 18th wedding anniversary with my live-in partner. We were so young, and so much has happened. And yet, here we are.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Little Feat: Let It Roll
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September 4th, 2008
02:44 pm
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Not blowing up the world
I keep seeing references to the LHC project "blowing up the world" or similar. It's worth stressing that there's no risk of that.

You see, if it does happen that the start of the LHC creates a black hole (unlikely but theoretically possibly), nothing blows up. We will initially have a very small black hole. As it suck up matter, it will become increasingly heavy and at some point sink into the ground and eventually make it to the centre of the earth. There, it will grow further, which will make the earth cease to exists in the form we know.

The process described above will not be instant. There will be plenty of time to see the start of it, blog about it, post pictures on Flickr, and have CNN broadcast video footage from space. You'll have time to read about the end of the world right here, and go have a farewell beer or have hot sex, however you prefer to face the end of the world. Oh, and speaking about space, it's interesting to note that observed from space, the black hole will cause neither the mass nor the gravitational field to change. The international space station (and other man-made satellites) will stay in orbit around the centre of gravity. Staff at the space station will be able to watch the whole thing, and will still be there after, orbiting a different type of stellar object[1].

There. Glad to clear that up

[1] Likely, over 1000s of years the black hole will attract additional mass, causing the gravitational field to grow. At some point that will impact existing human-made satellites.

Current Location: Münich airport
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August 26th, 2008
02:53 am
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Some songs ought to be outdated
So, I'm still in Zappa mode - I currently making my way through the 6 volumes of 2 CD You can't do that on stage anymore albums.

One of many gems found in this collection is a a 10 minute performance of Dickie's Such an Asshole (a Watergate-era song), performed by the band best know from the "Roxy & Elsewhere" album. This is amazing stuff. The band is impossibly tight, the performance magnificent. The use of Bruce Fowlers trombone alone - as both melody and rhythm - is mindblowing. More than anything, the performance is effortless, so light and bouncy.

Anyway - while I was listening I was IM'ing with lcohen and we were commenting on how sad it can be to note that political satire from 35 years ago is still spot on. The song comments on abuse of power and the workings of a paranoid ruling class. It has a chorus going "The FBI / are gonna get your number", and ends in
the man in the white house
he's got a conscience
he's got a conscience as black as sin
all I wanna know
is how that asshole managed to get in
I guess Marx was right when he remarked that history repeats - the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Frank Zappa: Let's Move to Cleveland (feat. Archie Shepp)
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August 21st, 2008
11:48 pm
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Teh stupid, it hurts
...sometimes quite literally so.

After my, umm, "unplanned contact" with a car door I had a couple of days of back pain hell. The past few days have been better, though, and this morning the pain was all but gone. You would think I'm smart enough to know to take it easy for a few more days, and not, say, go throw the kid about in the air and such, right?

Wrong! Not smart at all. And I've got a whopping back pain to prove it, too.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Frank Zappa: Heavenly Bank Account
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02:29 am
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Another Zappa thought
While writing the previous post I was listening to Trouble Every Day - another political statement song, but bluesy and angry, not at all theatre. It's a song I've heard 100s of time. This time, however, I got a surprise.

At the end of the song (original version, recorded in '66 for Freak Out), the song transitions from the blues theme that carries the song to a faster, more aggressive guitar part that adds a second guitar layer that's not at all bluesy. Something there made me stop reading - it reminded me of something, an association I couldn't put my finger on. Then it occurred to me - the out chorus there is (at least for several bars) perfect Velvet Underground, complete with layered rhythm guitars and echoy drums.

Could be an accident - but few things are with Zappa. An LA joke on NYC music? Hard to know, but the reference is clearly there. OK, so I'm weird, but stuff like that amuse me.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Frank Zappa: My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama
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02:07 am
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Zappa thoughts
While reading tonight I've been listening to Zappa (yeah - big surprise). For some reason I felt like listening to You Are What You Is, and album I haven't heard for years. It's an odd album. I remember buying it when it was new, and I remember both being disappointed and being greatly amused. After a couple of years with albums with interesting new material (i.e., Sheik Yerbouti, Joe's Garage), Zappa had hit a dry patch. A few years later he would turn his attention to orchestration and putting together stellar tour bands (Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life), including recordings of awesome live version of old songs and occasional new stuff For YAWYI he was still doing studio work, and the result is not very good.

I was listening to this and feeling more and more disappointed - and wondering what it was that had amused back then? But then the album hit that last few songs, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, Dumb All Over, Heavenly Bank Account, Suicide Chump, etc. - and there it was! These are not great songs, not musically challenging or very interesting, but omg, funny. Not ha-ha funny - this is great musical theatre, with lots of humour in both the music, the orchestration, the lyrics, and the performance. Here, at the end of a mediocre album, Zappa maybe hits the creative source that would drive him over the remainder of his career. Political satire, theatrical and showy songs, well suited for big live performances, weird in-jokes and improvisation, and displays of band performance.

This is great stuff; I guess I was always a sucker for theatre-in-music, and this makes me smile. I also have wonderful memories of watching these songs live, in great concerts, but I'm sure I liked these songs a lot before I saw them live. These songs are like a perfect stage, and you can create the show in your head just from listening to them.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Frank Zappa: Trouble Every Day
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August 20th, 2008
01:42 am
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Tradition here calls for celebrating birthdays (and similar events) with food, cake, etc. Lots of people will bring cake to the office, the football club, etc. Most kids are big on this tradition.

chocolate muffins

My daughter loves this little tradition. We talked about what she wanted to share on her 7 years birthday, and she was quite clear: chocolate muffins, with icing, and candy. Nothing else would do.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Frank Zappa: Sunrise Redeemer
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August 11th, 2008
12:36 pm
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Things that make me smile, part 88663
Readers Digest, internet edition (via lcohen).

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
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August 10th, 2008
11:54 pm
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Experiments in cooking, part 277653
After-eight ice-creamThe kid and I tried a couple of ice-cream experiments today. For some time her favourite when we go to the local ice-cream parlour has been lemon ice-cream (or sorbet, really), so I thought we should try something similar. Once we got started I thought we should try one more. The kids favourite sweet is After-Eight chocolate mints, and I love those, too (in fact, it was my favourite sweet when I was a kid). So why not have a go at an After-Eight ice-cream?
we cut because we careCollapse )

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Einstüzende Neubauten: Sabrina
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August 6th, 2008
07:00 pm
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Jomfru Ane Band
Last night and today I've been listening to what we used to call "agitpop"; agitation pop - pop/rock created more to get an opinion out and win converts than to create music. There was a lot of that here in the '70s, as part of a thriving left-wing community.

I grew up with these bands; mum voted communist, my sisters were involved with various radical leftwing movements, etc. This music - along with bands the existed in the women's movements - played right next to the Dylan and Stones and CCR I got from my brothers.

The two bands I still like were called Røde Mors Rockcirkus ("Red Mother's Rock Circus") and Jomfru Ane band. The last one takes it name from a theatre, that again is named from a street named for a 14th century saint ("Virgin Anna"). Both bands were part of theatre / performance collectives, and most of the music was written for (highly political) shows and theatre performances.

What I like about these bands is that the music is both theatre and pop. On top of that, it's highly opinionated, dripping with sarcasm, and full of wit and clever humour. And it's so full of indignation and lashing out; these guys are trying to ignite a revolution And in the case of Jomfru Ane Band, it's earworm after earworm - perfect sing-along pop, straightforward lyrics and catchy tunes. I was singing along with this 30+ years ago, and I can still sing these songs. We used to call them "Red ABBA".

I love this stuff; never mind the the lyrics are overly naive and full of political bullshit. These people believe, they insist, and they have a good time doing so. It's great fun. And, heck, some of this still have relevance.

Current Location: 2770, Denmark
Current Music: Jomfru Ane Band: Den Stumme Lakaj
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01:37 pm
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I know y'all are dying to know
This is how I look todayCollapse )

Current Location: 2770, Denmark
Current Music: Einstürzende Neubauten: Alles Wieder Offen
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01:13 am
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Past? Waddayamean, past?
I see in the news that Vladimir Putin today put down flowers and spoke at the coffin of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I'm sure that comrade Putin was always a great Solzhenitsyn supporter - along with all his KGB officer buddies.

Pardon me while I go and throw up.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Jomfru Ane Band: Plutonium
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August 5th, 2008
01:56 am
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Simple pleasures
We've had a string of lovely summer days here lately - with just as lovely evenings. I love that, and I love spending longs, light summer eves outside, talking, feeling more than seeing the day coming to an end.

Thai soup & ChampagneOn days Like this I'm rarely on the mood for elaborate cooking. Happily, quick and simple will do. Saturday we did some shopping, and then spent a relaxed afternoon. I cooked a Thai soup with chicken, served with fresh, home-made bread and a bottle of Bollinger. A quick job, but lovely summer food all the same.
recipe behind cutCollapse )

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Bryan Ferry: The Name of the Game
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July 25th, 2008
02:17 am
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Pere Ubu
Back in the late '70s and the first half of the '80s I listened a lot to Pere Ubu. I always found their music odd, sometimes very good, and often an interesting challenge. Pere Ubu was never easy listening, exactly, but there was something about this dark and haunting music that would draw me in. There was so much going on in these albums. It was the kind of music that would make me stop doing whatever I was at, put the books down, and do nothing but listen. And time would pass.

I somehow stopped listening to those albums much, and didn't get new ones.
music ramblings behind cutCollapse )

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Pere Ubu: Stree Waves
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July 15th, 2008
02:35 am
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Nostalgia
Something made me put B-52's "Play Loud" on. And, OMG, the sound. It brings me right back. It's pop all right, but with the clear and bright sound and guitar focus, and the hard, very forward mix is so unlike anything today. And, frankly, unlike most things then.

Heck, keep this up and I'll be listening to DEVO next.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: B-52's: Lava
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12:19 am
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No driving while gay?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7503861.stm

WTF?

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Tool: Jimmy
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July 14th, 2008
11:54 am
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On preference
As I have mentioned to you on many occasions, gentle reader, I'm well aware of the great diversity of preferences. Fine as that may be, I have preferences of my own, and sometimes there's just no compromise.

Case in point: When I'm cooking, I want potatoes "not fluid". That's my preference, and I'm sticking to it.

Also, yuck.

Current Location: 2000, Denmark
Current Music: Lego Chess for PC
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July 11th, 2008
05:29 pm
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A different week
The kid has been off to visit grandparents since Monday. It's always kinda weird when she's not around. But, also, it's good. Good to have time to be another kind of me, to focus elsewhere, to be able to be more single-minded in how I direct my energy.

This time I've been spending most of the time at work - in the office or at home. Working long days, yes, but more importantly, letting my mind stay on work and projects. I've been very much in the flow. And, my god, I've kept myself busy, and I've been really, really productive. It's been a good week, but I'm glad not every week is like this.

In a bit I pick her up at the airport. That will be good.

Current Location: Kastrup, Copenhagen, Denmark
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04:45 pm
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Top grossing movies meme
Another movie meme, this via okoshun.

This is IMDb's top 25 all-time box office hits. Bold the ones you saw in theater, italicize the ones you saw some other way instead, and leave the unseen ones alone.


It's pretty clear I've been doing DVD's more than movie theatres in recent years.

Current Location: Kastrup, Copenhagen, Denmark
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July 9th, 2008
08:27 am
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From the "they grow up so fast" department
My sisters kid just dropped by to borrow stuff he'll be using to decorate the apartment where he's moving in with his girlfriend.

Not like I'm feeling old or anything.

Current Location: Copenhagen, Cenmark
Current Music: Motörhead: Born to Raise Hell
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July 8th, 2008
04:08 pm
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Amsterdam
Amsterdam bikeI arrived in Amsterdam last night, to chilly and wet weather. As usual I passed quickly through Schiphol airport and got on a train to Amsterdam city centre. It wasn't raining, but everything was outside was wet. Somehow it drew my attention to the character of the landscape - train tracks, roads, glass-and-concrete office blocks, greyish apartment blocks, with lots of trees and green in between. The areas has canals everywhere, and the weather gave me a strong feeling of being on reclaimed land.

Looking out from the train, the area has a road, train track, canal, a few houses, another canal, another road, a river, etc. It's as if someone found all the little plots of dry land in world of water, with a human population just barely hanging on. To me, this was also a bit of a science-fiction landscape, one the one had with train tracks and roads and people everywhere, on the other hand with this feeling the the water and the trees could take over any moment. Yesterday it felt even more so.
More Amsterdam behind cutCollapse )

Current Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
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July 7th, 2008
02:40 am
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Argh
Before we ask outsiders to get a clue, maybe we should try to act as if we had one in our own little community.

WTF? WTfuckingF?

Current Location: Copenhagen, Cenmark
Current Music: Patti Smith: Gimme Shelter
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July 6th, 2008
10:42 pm
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Elf, huh?

I actually always thought they were kinda boring, what with all the superior righteousness.

Middle-earth character test behind cutCollapse )

Current Location: Copenhagen, Cenmark
Current Music: Frank Zappa: The Gumbo Variations
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July 1st, 2008
02:18 am
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Need help with that?
My kid has been playing Star Wars games lately, mostly on her Nintendo kit. She especially like the "Lego Starwars" series. We thought it would be fun to watch the movies together.

So, we're watching the first (aka, IV'th) movie. We're at the final showdown, Luke Skywalker is trying to drop that one bomb that will destroy the death star before it blows up the rebel base. Darth Wader is moving in for the kill. My daughter looks at me and says "you know, dad, I have completed that level".

She enjoyed the movie a whole lot. And watching her, it's so so clear the Obi-Wan Kenobi is the real hero. Him, and R2D2.

Current Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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June 30th, 2008
01:02 pm
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All hail the prophet
Joe is a great prophet, and finally there's an interpretation for the rest of us:

Current Location: Kastrup, Copenhagen, Denmark
Current Music: Dire Straits w/Clapton: Money for Nothing
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