Daily Departures

Departing daily from the ordinary objects of my thoughts.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

What if the Simpsons were from India?

The title of this post poses an interesting counterfactual question.

If The Simpsons were from India, then they might be called The Singhsons.

Homer might be called Omar and own a cow.

Marge might be called Mar Ji and have dark non-beehive hair.

Bart might be called Bartinder and ride a bike.

Lisa might be called Lisajit and play a drum.

Maggie might be called Mugglie and read a book called Arranged Marriages for 3 Year Olds.

And, the family might just sit on a bench instead of their lovable red couch.

I, of course did not make this images. They were taken from a flash intro to the fictional cartoon The Singhsons.

Go watch, go enjoy.

[UPDATE: I added Language Log to the sidebar. It is a great blog run by a number of good linguists. It makes for entertaining reading, even if you are only a little bit geeky.]

Friday, April 28, 2006

On Poetry

Frankly, I don't know anything about poetry. I don't especially like poetry either. That is not to say that I dislike it, I just don't have any strong preference for it. I've watched people read and write poetry before and I see how much they love the words and the interplay between them, but for some reason, I don't respond in the way that these people do.

That said, recently I came across a book of poetry called The Plurality of Worlds of Lewis by Jacques Roubaud and I want reader feedback on whether or not this poetry is good.

Poem 1:
Via Negativa:

no place

moments impossible to discern

refusal of fused shadows

pure multiplicity unexampled

unsupported roofs

Poem 2:
Division of Worlds

------- this world: split in two, two irreducible, unconnected space-times.

------- in on of the other two halves, all points are joined from arc to arc; in the other, likewise

------- but between them nothing, not even an arrow: impassable space.

------- one cannot cross from one subworld to another, ------- one cannot cross alive. ------- or dead.

------- Me here, you there. ------- not together. ------- over there I'm dead

------- Over there no more than here, we are no linger in the world together

------- (you will die there, I here)

------- In return you are, ------- are ------- there, ------- still. ------- It is the only consolation. Survival is to big a word.

Finally, Poem 3:

all that a world could be, no matter what,

is, somewhere, in some way.

fullness of possibles, consistency.

no matter which talking head, mine

for example, adjacent to my body


why not

against my face, the angel's, the black shadow face itself,

but all the seats are taken, all the worlds


to you.
So, there are the poems that I'd be more than happy to have some comments on. I'm mostly interested on whether people think that they are good or not. (I didn't write them so obviously I won't be hurt if you think that they totally suck.) If any of you are feeling more ambitious I'd be interested in hearing what you think the poems are about.

I'm interested in the latter question, because I know what was the inspiration for the poems, it was the man pictured below; and, more specifically, it was his book On the Plurality of Worlds by David K. Lewis. I've got very permissive views about literary and poetic interpretation, so don't worry about this turning into an argument about what the poems really mean.

That's all for now folks, so comment away!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Get a brain

Have you ever called someone 'Bat-brain' or 'Monkey-brain'?

If you have, you no doubt intended it as an insult. Well, now you can make the insult significantly more insulting by showing the insulted what a bat-brain or a monkey-brain actually looks like. (Of the photos below, the bat-brain is on the left and the monkey-brain on the right. The brains are shown beside a business card for scale.)

You can in fact purchase these brains--well, really they are brain casts--from Universal Treasures--they truly are treasures.

Aside from brain casts you can buy everything from:
Mammoth tusks, teeth, and bones
Hundreds of Fossils from Turtles and Dinosaurs.
Petrified Wood
and even,

Prices range from a few dollars for Titanosaur Egg Shell to thousands of dollars for a build your own Stegodon kit (these are real bones we're talking about; follow the link if you don't know what a Stegodon is).

Even if you aren't going to buy anything, I'd say that Universal Treasures deserves a little surfing, just to see what you could buy if you wanted to.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fun slogans

This evening Matt directed my attention to a fun site that will generate slogans for whatever word you want.

The generator is obviously set up to take nouns as input, but there you can also use other types of words--the output might not make sense if you use anything other than a noun though.

The link is here if you want to give it a try.

A few examples are:
Philosophy: "Got Philosophy?"
Google: "Google Saves Your Soul."
Fetchbook: "Make Room for the Fetchbook."
Have fun!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tea etc.

Tea is one of those drinks that can be very boring or very complex and interesting. Whether a particular type of tea is one or the other of these two options depends on a lot of things. It depends on everything from the mode of preparation to the blend of teas to the drinker herself. You might wonder how a drinker can make a difference between a boring tea and a complex and interesting tea. Here I intend to be speaking of the experience of the tea. If you have a drinker who is chewing spearmint gum while drinking her tea, then any complexity of flavour will be completely lost. If, on the other hand, the drinker has a clean pallet, a moderate attention span--it doesn't really need to be that long--, and the desire to think about what she is tasting, then tea can provide the drinker with a very pleasant experience.

The same goes for a number of other beverages: Beer, Coffee, and Wine, for example. If you are at all interested in learning about these things, then check out some of the links that I've posted near the bottom of the sidebar (to the right of this post), under the heading 'eat & drink'.

To note a few of the links, I highly recommend:
About Wine
Coffee Geek
Beer Hunter
UK Tea Council
Also, if you follow the link to the UK Tea Council website, make sure you take note of the Tea counter. Apparently, the people of Britain consume upwards of 150 000 000 cups of tea a day.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Cycle touring

Jennifer loves her bike, as the picture above can attest. Because of her love, she is going biking. Actually she's going cycle touring and if you want to read about it, make sure you check out her blog that is dedicated to her trip. It is called A Turn of the Wheel.

Given that I'm going to be writing papers for the entire month, this blog will be a catylist for my vicarious cycle tour that I'll be going on as Jen does hers. I think it can be yours too.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New music links

I've added a new section to my sidebar.

If you are ever bored and want something new to listen to, I recommend that you check out the links under the 'listen' heading. Especially, I want to recommend six bands that you might not be familiar with. They are:
Emiliana Torrini
Joanna Newsom
The Attics
The Polyphonic Spree
Xavier Rudd
I will continue to add to the 'listen' list so keep checking it for updates.

Also, following the recommendation that I made in my last post, you should go and search for videos of these artists on YouTube--most of them have at least one video on there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sigur Ros on YouTube

Today Jen posted a music video and a few links to videos from YouTube. One of the links was to Sigur Ros, a band that I've liked for a while now. I'd not ever seen any of their videos though. I found the video for their song "Hoppipolla" and it is one of the most soothing videos that I've ever watched. Sigur Ros's music is very soothing on its own, but this video--which you can watch below--is soothing for a different reason. The video captures all of the childhood playfulness that we remember so fondly; only, this playfulness is portrayed by eight or so characters who are in their seventies or eighties. I certainly can't do the video justice, so watch it below.

Some of my favourite videos of all time take full advantage of the medium, not giving you just random shots of the band but instead they tell the story of the song in vivid, yet subtle, images. Another, less soothing but equally powerful, yet somewhat disturbing, example is below: Pearl Jam's "Jeremy."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Random cool things

Moco Loco, one of the cool blogs that I have listed on my side bar, had a post with a number of really cool things on it. One of which, falls into our recent theme of cool clocks. There are a number of other things that are cool in this post. I've attached photos of them below.

As always, however, you should go and check out the actual post, among others at Moco Loco.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Downloading movies, among other things

Recently, I stumbled upon an absolutely fantastic site; this site is so fantastic in fact that it allows you to download feature length films. This site is so fantastic that it is getting it's own line for a link so that there is no confusion where you are supposed to click. So, without further adieu, go to (if you are using a good browser like firefox or safari then please hold ctrl while you click the link and then read on):
Internet Archive
The slogan for the Internet Archive is "Universal access to human knowledge." The archive has an enormous movie section (found here) which contains 644 feature films, 56 film chest classic cartoons (highly recommended), 13 US war propaganda films from the 30s and 40s, among others.

There is also an audio archive that contains nearly 60,000 unique downloadable files. This includes a live music section with nearly 35,000 unique files.

Finally, there is a section with text documents many of which are scans of old manuscripts from a number of Canadian university libraries. For example, the University of Toronto has about a dozen scanned volumes of Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi and a 1475 manuscript (in Latin) of Augustine's De civitate Dei. Needless to say, there are many many many scanned manuscripts (and books) that you are more likely to read, but these were a few of the more unique volumes.

All that said, any of these things can be downloaded in multiple formats and burnt to DVD, burnt to CD, printed, or even just the boring old, watched, listened to, or read on your computer screen.

[I've also added a link to the sidebar; so, you'll now know where to find it at all times.]

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter mass

Remember Opentopia from this post? Well, for only a few hours (maybe for most of Easter Monday) you can see an Easter mass performed in a Czech Church in Hostyn, Moravia.

So, go here now and see for yourself.

[Also: don't forget to check out the "clocks" post below.]

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cool clocks

Moco Loco has found it again. This time the subject is clocks. In the last couple months they have featured two clocks from Buro Vormkrijgers.

The most recent is the clock above and immediately below. This clock is intended to sit on a desk and it will slowly spin around--it seems like a round desk or table would be ideal--and you read the time by looking where the face of the clock touches the table. There are no numerals on the clock face. Instead, there is a continuous sentence that says things like: "...more like around eight, but if you want to, it can be nine, and then it will also become ten, and inevitably, you think it's eleven, but then you'll..."

The older piece is a homage to the original video game--namely, pong. A video of this piece can be found here. The idea is simple. The ball bounces back and forth and when the time is to change, one of the sides scores--obviously, the right side "player" wins by vast margins.

Enjoy the clocks!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Calling all OS X users

As anyone who uses a Mac knows, there are many free pieces of software with incredible functionality and wonderful UIs (user interfaces). I was recently sent the following link, for a program called Disk Inventory X.

What this program does is map your harddrive and display the contents of your harddrive graphically. The advantage of displaying the contents in this manner is that you can very quickly see what programs, files, or folders are taking up the largest amount of space. If it turns out--as it did in my case--that there are large folders filled with files that you don't use, then it is easy to find and delete them. In my case, Garage Band had hundreds of sound clips (over a Gig worth) that I'll never use, given that I uninstalled Garage Band. I'd likely not have found these files has I simply been looking through folders.

So, anyone who is using OS X, I strongly encourage you to download, install, and use this program!

[Each of those little boxes (or, in some cases big boxes) represents a program or a file. The colour represents the type of program or file. If you click on any of the little boxes, you will have the path and size information displayed in the bottom drawer.]

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's all in the medium

Ok, so I don't really know what the title of this post means, but it sounds clever. There are obviously many things that one can use to make art. Recently, via Art Moco I discovered an interesting new medium that Ryan Brown is using. If you look at the image of Einstein above, you are likely not able to identify the medium, but that artwork--as well as all of the ones below--are comprised of painted cotton swabs (read Q-Tips).

Pretty amazing! That's all I have to say. Enjoy the pictures below.

And finally, a close-up of Einstein's eye--I think.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A pointing finger

Recently I added a number of links to the sidebar. (The sidebar, is what the finger is pointing at.)

I don't know how many people check links that fall on the sidebar, but I frequent each of the sites on my sidebar and I think that you should do so also; after all, that's why they are there. Let me bring your attention to the new sites that were just added.

Rocketboom: is a daily video blog. Rocketboom is fun. Often the post is staged as a news cast that reports on fun new things on the web (a source of some of my posts) and other times, like this past Friday, it is a "skit" that is intended to make you laugh. Go look for yourself.

Instructables: If you have read my blog recently, then you have read two posts linking to this site. (The posts are here and here.) Enough said.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: If you like philosophy, are a philosophy student, or are just curious what it is that I do, then you should check out this link. If you are of the curious what I do camp, then you should specifically check the entries for: Mereology, Plurals, Time, and Epistemology. Unfortunately, there isn't yet a general Metaphysics entry so I can't give a link.

WikiHow: If you want to know how to so something, then this is the site for you. You can learn everything from how to find your own dancing style (that's for you Mom) to how to pick a pet Tarantula.

Wikipedia: This is THE online, user edited encyclopedia. There currently 1,067,666 articles. So, you can just about bet that there is one on something that you want to learn about. (The Wikipedia is best thought of as an intro to a topic, not an expert guide, even though it is in some cases.)

The last three of these links is in the new sidebar category 'learn something.' I will add new links as I find them.

Aside from these that I have highlighted, there are other links that you ought to check out.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hungarian Shelves

I linked to these before in this post. However, I really like these shelves and I think that other people will too, so they deserve a post of their own.

If you have a lot of books and not a lot of space for a number of bookshelves like those sold at Walmart or even Ikea, then these are perfect for you. The shelves only require the purchase of a few pieces of wood a saw some screws, and a bit of time (I doubt that it would take anymore time to build this shalf than it would to put together the $30 Walmart ones.)

The site that this is from--namely, Instructables.com--has loads and loads of fun stuff. Each thing that they have on their site has a full set of instructions--complete with pictures--on how to build it, hence the name. It really is worth checking out.

After all that, I should give you the link to the shelves instructions:
For instructions on how to build the fantastically cool Hungarian Shelves, click this link!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Parody R us

If you like Weird Al style parodies, then you need to check out Spaff.com. There are dozens of songs to listen to and enjoy.

My personal favourite is: I Blog Alone (Which is a spoof of Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams").

[NOTE: Not all of the songs are universally appropriate. The one above is though.]

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Quick and easy grammar/Gizoogle

If you've ever had one of those moments when you just aren't sure what is the grammatically proper thing to say (or write)--you know, those times when you re-read a sentence over and over and at a certain point, both ways sound equally wrong--, then you should check out the Guide to Grammar and Writing.

This is not a thoroughly exhaustive to grammar and writing, but if you are having one of those pesky "I forget!" moments, then this is a site worth checking out.

That said, if you are having one of those "I don't know how to speak improperly!" days, then I suggest that you check out Gizoogle. Here's a sample, Hamlet's To be, or not to be speech (note: for full effect, either read it out loud or have someone read it out loud to you).
To be, or not ta be so show some love: thizzat be tha question:
whetha tis nobla in tha mind ta suffer
the sl'n n arrows of outrageous fortunizzles ta takes arms against a sea of troubles,
and by oppos'n end thiznem? ta die . It's your homie snoop dogg from the dpg: ta sleep;
no more; n by a sleep ta say we end
the heart-ache n tha thousand natural shocks
that fliznesh is heir to, tis a consummation
devoutly ta be wishd. ta die, ta sleep;
to sleep: perchance ta dream: ay, theres tha rub;
for in tizzy sleep of death what dreams may come
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause: theres tha respect
that makes calamity of so long life;
for who would bizzle tha whips n scorns of time,
the oppressors wrong, tha proud mans contumely,
the pangs of despised love, tha laws delay,
the insolence of office n tha spurns
that patient merit of tha unworthy takes,
when he himself might his quietus make
witta bizzy bodkin? who would fardels bear,
to grunt n sweat brotha a weary life,
but thizzat tha dread of sum-m sum-m killa death,
the undiscoverd country from whose bourn
no travella returns, puzzles tha will
and makes us gangsta bizzle those ills we have
than fly ta otha that we know not of?
thus conscience does makes cowards of us all;
and thus tha native hue of resolutizzles sicklied oer wit tha pizzle C-to-tha-izzast of thought,
and enterprises of bootylicious pitch n moment
wit this regard they currents tiznurn awry,
and lose tha nizzle of action.-- sizzoft you now!
the fair ophelia! nymph, in thy orisons
be all mah sins rememberd.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I was watching Rocketboom yesterday and was introduced to Opentopia. Opentopia has a number of sections to the website, but the only one that I really think is worth checking out is their list of webcams, from around the globe, that function 24/7. If you aren't so sure that you want to sift through the webcams, then instead of following this link follow this link to the random webcam generator.

If you still aren't convinced that you want to do that, follow one of these links:

This link will take you to a cafe in Munich, Germany. It looks like a cool cafe. The fact that they have a webcam actually makes me want to check it out... whenever I'm next in Munich.

This webcam is of a real Hairpin turn in Godovi? - Idrija, Slovenia. This one is pretty cool. I'm sure that there must be accidents on this road, so if you wanted to watch long enough, I'm sure you'll see one. It's also interesting to see how different people make the turn. Some go wide and some hug the corner. Oh, also, people go both ways around this corner... that makes for exciting driving.

This link takes you to Blue Boarder Kennels, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The camera is directed on a doggie birthing area. There is a dog with about 7 puppies in it right now. (Yes, you can watch the puppies move around and the like.)

This link takes you to a street in Oulu, Finland. If you are depressed about the amount of sunlight you get, go here and I bet they get less.

Finally for those of you who are hopelessly interested in looking into others lives, You can see some guy's computer room; and, from time to time, the guy as well. He's in Longmont, Colorado, USA.