Saturday, December 5, 2009

Luces de Navidad

SolGran VíaChueca

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Yesterday I finished Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go", a book from the same category as McCarthy's The Road, the one that leaves you speechless in utter shock. England, late 90s. Kathy B. describes her childhood in Hailsham, a somehow special boarding school. We meet her friends Tommy and Ruth and her teachers or "guardians", who greatly support artistic abilities of the students. However, even in these idyllic times, there are some cracks in the façade and we start to realize that something terrible is awaiting these kids in the future. We learn that they cannot have babies and they will work as "carers" and later "donors". It's in the second part of the novel, with the three friends as teenagers living in a farm community, when we are finally told the truth: the students were human clones, raised only to have their organs harvested. During the "donations", other clones, the "carers", are supporting the "donors" and after three or rarely four donations, the "donors" are "completed". In the third part of the book, Ruth and Tommy both started to "donate" and Kathy works as "carer". After Ruth "completes", Kathy and Tommy go to visit one of their former guardians, the Hailsham director, to ask if there was anything true about rumours that if two former Hailsham students were in love, their "completion" would be postponed so they could live together for some time. They are told not just that it's a pure nonsense, but also that Hailsham doesn't exist anymore, that the gentle way of raising the clones in the boarding schools have been abandoned. For something much worse, I assume. What is the most disturbing part of the novel is the fact that the clones accept their miserable destiny, their imminent deaths, without fighting or even questioning it.
One of the key scenes of the book takes place while they are still in Hailsham. Kathy has an audiotape with her favourite song called "Never let me go". As a child, she thinks that the song is about a mother and her child, as the chorus goes: "Baby, baby, never let me go...". She is singing the song in her bedroom and accidentally sees the Hailsham director looking at her, crying. She doesn't understand why the teacher cries and in fact, she may never understand. I believe that the director saw humanity deteriorating, something we should "never let go".

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Museo de Historia

After more than three years of work, they finally revealed one of the most beautiful doorways in Madrid.

(Pedro de Ribera, El Real Hospicio del Ave María y San Fernando, 1721-1726)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Helvetica 3

A third post about the most stylish typeface in the world. One of my favourite exposition places in Madrid, La Arquería, which belongs to the Spanish Ministerio de Vivienda, is showing an exhibition about new technologies and materials for industry. The walls are decorated with these stunning posters:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This Charming Man

Chad White by Daniel D'Ottavio.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Language ignorance

I have visited the RJB today to see a new exhibition of a contemporary Spanish architecture. It would be a shame not to share a picture of this panel:

(for non-Spanish speakers: "medicas" (without accent) really means "you medicate", but in this case "centro de especialidades médicas" means "centre of medical specialties")

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Without music, the new Glee show would be just a standard Freaks & Jocks high school TV. But those guys can sing, including him:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Montpellier, je t'aime

... and thanks to you guys, it was also so much fun.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Badass of the Week

First we had the all-time adorable Eric Northman saying "Good night, tiny humans!",

but then came Shane Botwin and hit the Mexican bitch with a croquet mallet because he couldn't find a golf club and we had a winner of the Badass of the Week prize!

Cold method

From Amsterdam Fashion Week via niwdenapolis:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Life Is a Bitch

Martin Zach won Mr. Czechia 2009 on Friday. Less than 24 hours later, he had an accident during some stupid ski-jumping competition, injured his cervical vertebrae that left him quadriplegic.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Inhabited Island

Growing up in a socialist Eastern Bloc country, we didn't have Star Wars but Strugatsky brothers. I still consider their humanist books as the best works of science-fiction genre. I recently found that the Russians adapted one of their most interesting books, the Inhabited Island, into two movies. While the ending is kind of cheesy and doesn't match well the original ambiance of the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the adaptation. While I was not imagining Maxim Kammerer as a blond surfer boy,

the Gaal siblings, Gai and Rada, were chosen perfectly:

Пётр Фёдоров, who played Gai, my favourite character in the book, was so incredibly charming!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

PR S0602

The sixth season of Project Runway has started! It has moved from the mostly-gay-oriented Bravo network to the more Mom-at-home Lifetime channel and it shows. In the first (almost forgettable) episode, a conceptual designer was eliminated, something that would not happen while on Bravo. They were keeping these freaks around because they were so damn entertaining. Not on Lifetime. You are different = Auf wiedersehen! It has happened this week to the only Asian designer in the bunch. He came with this Eastern-philosophy-like bullshit about the chicken and eggs and dressed a pregnant woman like she was bearing an egg wrapped in Jesus-like rough linen. Oh, what a delusional idea, which, however, might have worked before but not now!
This season, the group of designers is extremely strong. Much stronger than I have seen in the last five (!) season and almost as strong as in the first Canadian PR. The winning look is here:

It's impeccable! Very well done Shirin!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

True Blood Lovers

Something for you. Still waiting for the Eric's doll (to do some bad things). Maybe they will make a Godric's one, too. That would be heaven!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I just finished the second book from the Millenium series. While the first book seemed slightly out of focus (yet still worth reading), the second is a true gem, both stylistically and plot-wise. Lisbeth Salander, the major character in the Millenium books, reminded me a lot of Smilla Qaaviqaaq Jaspersen from Peter Høeg's "Smilla's Sense of Snow". Both heroines are outcasts, extremely intelligent (Smilla is a world-known glaciologist while Lisbeth is a computer guru), Scandinavians, both come from dysfunctional families... and equally hate men who hate women.

Can't wait for the third (but unfortunately also the last) book to be out (October 2009).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

M(in)isterios 8:57

Walking to the train station today, I witnessed a breathtaking scene in front of the entrance door. One man, in his thirties and very tall, was wearing a light gray suit, a white shirt and a tie. He was crying. His companion was in his twenties, wearing camouflage shorts and a T-shirt. He put a hand on the arm of the crying one and then entered the Metro station, carrying a big suitcase. They didn't exchange a word.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The battery mystery

During the 10 days of vacation, a battery in my BlackBook died. It only went through 60 charging cycles! Well, it was constantly inside my notebook and connected to the AC, but Apple claims that charged battery is kept without further charging. I would take it out, but Apple also said that removing the battery would cause a drop in the processing power. It's quite confusing then what the user should do to avoid similar issues. In my old and loved 12" PowerBook, the battery was slowly dying - from initial 3.5 hours of power to just couple of minutes before it finally died, but that was a gradual process. In the BlackBook case, the battery died instantly, without any warnings. Anyways, I paid the Apple tax yesterday.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

El robo con violencia

I just got back from my vacation. It was very exhausting, but in a good way. On Friday night, Jesus called me to go out for a couple of drinks. On the way home, I took my standard street, normally a very quiet one. I saw that somebody was walking behind me, but in Madrid that simply happens, so I didn't pay attention to it. Shortly after, that guy called me and asked for a cigarette. I replied I didn't have any and at that very moment, two of his friends who were hiding attacked me, the third broke my glasses and they stole some cash and my mobile phone. The next day, I went to the comisaría, which was full of tourists reporting pocket-picking in the Metro, but when the police heard that mine included violence en vía pública urbana, they started to take it more seriously. On Monday, by coincidence, the free newspaper was reporting this modus operandi, but also with knives included, so at the end, I was actually quite lucky.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Send Away the Tiger

Last Tuesday I updated my Blackbook to MacOS 10.5 after realizing that many useful applications were Leopard-only. Worried about losing some valuable data, I first cloned my old Tiger-based system disk and after the approximately one-hour-long installation, my computer booted into the 10.5.6. Not surprisingly, all my settings were kept, including my network settings, wallpapers etc., similarly to my last upgrade from 10.3 to 10.4. However, the installer deleted my printers, which I found kind of odd, but well, there is always a price. Unfortunately, the more important loss were all my e-mails! The Mail app launched but did not show any mails in my 3 accounts and could not download anything from the servers and had to be force quit. I started to search the Apple discussion forums and it turned out to be a known bug! Fortunately, some geek posted a quite laborious but functional way how to fix it. C'mon Apple, WTF? If the Parallels virtualization kernel extensions could be tolerated, why you cannot make your own applications to be upgraded correctly?
Overall, I like the "new" system, the QuickLook function saves me a LOT of time going through pistures and documents at work.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The crisis

I lost somewhere the dock-to-USB cable that I use for my nano and because that model does not allow me to use the old dock-to-Firewire cable that I have, I made a trip to the fnac to get a new one. Unpacking the box, I realized that the crisis had really arrived:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Own Private Lightshow

I was leaving the lab quite late today and therefore, I was almost alone in the train. It has never appeared to me, but to work as a pilot of these trains must be truly spectacular. As the train was lunging through the tunnel at a very high speed, the myriads of electric sparks illuminated the darkness. Such a breathtaking trip.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cover arts

Hand In Glove

William, It Was Really Nothing

Danielle 1988

The fourth episode of LOST brought together two characters that I wouldn't expect to meet again. Jin, presumably dead, was found by a group of hot French scientists during a heavy storm that sunk their ship. The pregnant member of the crew later introduced herself as Danielle Rousseau! That means that Jin was also trapped in the time travelling journey, together with the rest of 815ers. They made three time jumps: first to 2004, when the hatch exploded and Claire gave birth, witnessed by Sawyer; then to an unidentified time in the future, when they were attacked by a group of mysterious people and when the time started to shift again, Sawyer yelled to the sky: "Thank you, Lord!"; and finally to 1988, ending in the storm that destroyed the French ship and Sawyer commented: "I'll take that back!". I love this season so far!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Michael Phelps, one of the greatest athletes of all time, is 23 year old, smoked pot at some party and some idiot provided the tabloids with the photo. He was out of the training season. If he was holding a bottle of vodka, nothing would have happened. In this judgmental society though, Michael Phelps was suspended from the team for three months and has lost his Kellogg's endorsement because he was "no longer consistent" with the image of the company. Fucking hypocrites!
Seems that Seth Meyers agrees:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time machine

Today after the swimming, I used for the first time some lotion that I bought on Saturday. In a blink of an eye, the smell sent me to the West Blaine Street, crossing the railway track on a bike and watching Mt. Baldy covered with snow. The smell of orange blossoms.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

D&G Fall 2009

My favourite four looks:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ms. Eloise Hawking

Another brilliant episode of Lost this week, almost touching the greatness of The Constant. Fortunately, we haven't seen the Oceanic 6 at all, as the plot was entirely focused on two of my most loved characters, Daniel Faraday and Desmond Hume. Faraday was sent in the last time jump to the 1950's and it seems he actually met his mother, an Other. What is the most amazing about this TV show is the consistency, running for five seasons, with characters written off, others given more screen time, there is not a single contradictory element and the viewer feels like assembling a gigantic puzzle! Well done, indeed.
PS. Desmond, oh Desmond... so stylish, the colour combination is lovely...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Camp is not gone

It hasn't been built yet. The fifth season of one of the best TV series is back. The first two episodes of LOST were broadcasted on Wednesday and they were amazing, mainly the first one. When Ben moved the island in the last episode of the fourth season, I kept wondering what has happened to the people on it and well, now we know. They are continuously tortured by time jumps similar to a music from a broken record, as my favourite character Daniel Faraday said. During one of these jumps, Daniel talks to his constant, Desmond Hume, who is still in charge of the Hatch!

Daniel tells him to go to Oxford to see his mother. In the LOST universe, she may as well be Ms. Hawking, who was seen in the second part talking to Ben and giving him 70 hours to fix the mess.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes, You Should

Yeah, things sure will be different...

Monday, January 12, 2009


by David Černý. More here, including the clarification pdf.

UPDATE: It all turned out to be a big joke. Nevertheless, I still like the Polish design a lot, Catholic priests raising a gay flag? Priceless.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I don't like shopping for food on Saturday mornings. The store is always full of people, which is kind of annoying. Yesterday, I wanted to get my fruits and vegetables for the weekend there but, probably due to the heavy snow, I found the shelves almost empty. Today, waiting in the long queue in the cosmetics aisle, I have spotted a box with a nice picture of a garden snail, saying: crema facial con extractos de caracol. I found it ridiculously disgusting and funny at the same time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Snow in Cantoblanco

Incredible! Photos courtesy of Marta de 317.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The FORWARD directive

Romper el cristal para acceder al martillo rompecristales. Who are the brains behind this gem?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

DH S05E11

The pulse and a facial hair. Hilarious.

Bird nest

Stephen Sackur discussed with other four BBC correspondents what was ahead for us in the coming year. He predicts a big theme for 2009: the era of hubris is over, a new age of humility and realism is upon us. As an example, he uses the 900-meter tall skyscraper in Dubai, hoping that nobody will care about this monster anymore and the abandoned tower will serve as a nest for the desert birds.
Me too.
An extreme, neo-luddite view on the same thing:
In the world I see - you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Sinfonietta (V. Andante con moto)


I need milk only for my coffee. Only on the weekends. That means pouring about half a liter down the drain as that's the amount that is usually left. Fortunately, there are some sweet minds and functional brains at the Asturiana dairy. This 4x500 mL package made my day.

Dr. Aue is not my friend

but he is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever encountered. When Jonathan Littell published his "Les Bienveillantes/The Kindly Ones" in 2006, the book became a literary sensation, promptly awarded the Goncourt prize. The novel follows the raise of Dr. Max Aue to a respected SS-officer, travelling with him through the Ukrainian marshes, actively participating in the early steps of the infamous Endlösung, reaching the Caucasus where involved in the "scientific" dispute whether the Bergjuden are indeed Jews or "just" Persians and where, because of his homosexuality, became an enemy of a local SS-leading officer and was sent to Stalingrad as a punishment. There, for the first time, witnessing the fall and deterioration of the Nazi dreams, being wounded and sent back to Berlin, where he meets Albert Speer and starts to be involved in his plan of running the concentration camps "more economically". For that, he visits Auschwitz, the underground Dora factory and other camps, he is in Budapest where the monstrous 1944 transports just started and finally, he spends the last weeks of the WWII in Berlin. What is the most striking about this book is that Max Aue is an educated man, very passionate about books, art and music, and yet, we follow him through these horrors of the XX. century as those were just reasons for a slight nausea that accompanies him through the novel, which is an over 900-pages thick trip to the darkest times of the mankind. For this strange contrast between this almost adorable, young, hansome and intelligent man and his indifferent actions, some reviews even accused Littell of writting a pornography of violence. I wish I were more familiar with the structure of the classic Greek tragedies, because the last two (almost cryptic) chapters were difficult for me to understand and I feel I will have to go back soon to re-read them.


Mark Steel comments for the Independent. Nuff said.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Resolutions, f@$k them

I went to the lab today, to water my plants and to check the ones of my co-workers. Quite a light day, in fact. Before lunch, I went to swim as always and when I got there, I found the pool full of people. Wondering what's up I realized that it must have been the usual "New Year's resolutions" that I am witnessing repeatedly every first week of September and the first week of January. I won't see any of those guys there in two weeks, isn't this world really a funny place?
Anyway, today I have also accidentally found what they call "A dress code rules for the 4-H California Summer Camps". I thought they must have developed a time machine in the US and brought this piece of joke back from the XV. century. According to these rules, one can't wear a Speedo to the swimming pool! The only option are the clown pants. Crazy, crazy world. The Crisis not included.