Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Narrated by Johnny Depp, here is Alex Gibney's portrait of American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson in the documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008):

From Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney and producer Graydon Carter comes a probing look into the uncanny life of national treasure and gonzo journalism inventor Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. A fast-moving, wildly entertaining documentary with an iconic soundtrack, the film addresses the major touchstones in Thompson's life--his intense and ill-fated relationship with the Hells Angels, his near-successful bid for the office of sheriff in Aspen in 1970, the notorious story behind the landmark Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, his deep involvement in Senator George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, and much more.


Full documentary:

Yogi Cameron's Super Tea

Yogi Cameron shares the recipe for a super tea using turmeric, coriander (also known as cilantro) and ginger and how to use them individually. As of this week, I've added the super tea to my daily regimen.

Fan Ho's Magical Photographs of Hong Kong During the 50's and 60's

While a student in Honk Kong, photographer, actor and director Fan Ho, captured the city with his camera during the 1950s–60s when it underwent a major transformation. His black-and-white images with it's incredible light, are the legacy of an era that no longer exists.

Approaching Shadow, 1954:

In a Chinese Street, 1964 (via SFO Museum):

Watch the Transcendental Meditation Documentary "School of Thought" (2008)

I've mentioned before that as a result of watching the Transcendental Meditation documentary "School of Thought" (2008) directed by Tony Perri, I began practicing mantra meditation.

Here is the full version playing on Vimeo with download option enable (for some reason, it doesn't show up easily in the Google search results):

Update: The film is available to watch at Gaia.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wine Pouring the iPhone 6 Way

Suddenly, I found a reason to buy an iPhone 6. Utterly amazing that today's compact cameras and phones are able to produce footage of this quality.

iPhone 6 240-fps slo-mo by Osborne Images:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dancing with Cats: 15th Anniversary Hardcover Edition

The book Dancing with Cats by writer Burton Silver and photographer Heather Busch, celebrates its 15th anniversary with a reissued hardcover edition.

Hmmm, I´m not sure if this is for fun or for real (from Heather's website):

All around the world today, people are rediscovering the ancient practice of cat dancing, tapping into this remarkable method of channeling feline energy.

Share the gift of feline grace, and connect with your cat on an intirely new level. Let yourself be inspired by the joyous photographs and moving testimonials within this books pages. A brave leap forward in the history of human-feline relations, Dancing With Cats will have you and your cat jumping for joy in no time.

Featured image: Via book wholesaler Hardie Grant Gift.

The Wall Dogs of New York

The term wall dog comes from the way sign-painters are chained to a wall by a safety line much like a dog on a leash. In this video we meet some of New York's wall dogs, responsible for all the beautiful and gigantic murals around the city:

Vic Clinco Is the Go-to Guy for Hot Chilli Sauce

Vic Clinco has probably one of the world's largest private collections of hot chilli sauce. Having collected bottle's ever since his wife bought him 12 bottles as a Christmas gift back in 1996, the growing collection now consists of nearly 6000 bottles:

In his collection is an extremely rare pair of 'Adam and Eve' sauces from CaJohn’s Fiery Foods and one of his 'prized additions' is two bottles of Blair’s Calderas (caldera means volcanic cauldron) that are incredibly hard to find. Blair’s also makes the Guinness World Record-certified hottest sauce on the planet – the Caldera 16 Mil. This is short for 16 million Scoville units. Scoville units measure the pungency and spiciness of chilli peppers. And of course Vic managed to get his hands on a bottle. Apparently there are only 499 bottles in existence and on specialist hot sauce websites, a bottle sells for almost £3,000.

Vic said: “To put how hot that is in perspective, 11 million Scoville units is hotter than most police pepper sprays in the States – they mostly range from between 2 Mil and 9 Mil. “It is actually not even a true sauce, it’s in crystallised form, pretty darn cool.

Vic says this his most expensive bottle is worth about $900 (£580) – a one-of-a-kind – and the most he has ever paid for a bottle is $400 (£260). [...]

Image credit: Barcroft Media

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Observer: A Short Film About Stalker Photography

In Alex's images, the people are unaware of having had their picture taken because she´s doing something called stalker photography. Filmmaker MP Cunningham captures her rare form of photography in the film The Observer:

I was introduced to Alex about a year ago through a mutual friend. I had heard about a "stalker photographer" from a couple people and was pretty intrigued. After about a two month process of trying to get her to sit down with me she finally agreed to tell her story. I was pretty blown away. Seeing the world through her eyes has been a unique experience to say the least. Her photos are unreal. Can't say I completely agree with her craft but its very beautiful in its own way. [...]

I'm not entirely convinced that this is a true story and that the girl in the film is the real Alex, but nevertheless I find the film and story intriguing:

Here is an interview with MP Cunningham made by Directors Notes.

You find more of Alex's photography here.

Record Producer Rick Rubin Talks to Rolling Stone Magazine About Transcendental Meditation

American record producer Rick Rubin talks at lenght with Rolling Stone Magazine about the practice of Transcendental Meditation, creativity, making music and odd studio times:

How did you get interested in transcendental meditation?
When I was 14 years old, I went to see my pediatrician, the doctor who delivered me, because my neck hurt when I went to school. He said, incredibly for his day, that it was stress and I needed to learn to meditate. As he said it, I remember thinking, My parents aren't going to go for this. But they said, "Oh, well, if that's what the doctor says."


Did TM work for you?
I can't remember how it affected my neck issues, but it definitely affected my life. I did it from when I was 14 until I was going to NYU. Maybe stopping was a backwards version of trying to find out who I was — meditating was part of my family life, even though nobody else in my family did it.

After I moved to California, I decided I was going to start again, after not doing TM for five years. To actually start took months: it seemed like a very big decision. From the first meditation back, I realized that the person I am was shaped by the experience of the years of meditation. I feel like I can see deeply into things in a way that many of the people around me don't, or can't


Are there times when you're in the studio with somebody and you think they'd benefit from learning TM?
[...] There's a great deal of bullshit that people think about when they make music, things that don't matter. TM kind of wipes that away, and you focus on the real job at hand, as opposed to thinking about what the management wants, or what the record company's saying, or what somebody at a radio station might think.

Here is a short film made by Alison Chernick with Rick talking about being in harmony, the power of music, creativity and silence:

Tip: See also my post "Transcendental Meditation and the Alternatives".

Featured image: Portrait of Rick (unable to find photo credit).

Friday, September 12, 2014

99 Locations of New York City

OK, here we go! Let´s visit 99 locations of New York City in less than two minutes:

The Verge´s Documentary About the Infamous Sweat Lodge Incident in 2009

The Verge has made an important mini-documentary about motivational speaker James Arthur Ray´s infamous sweat lodge incident that tragically killed three people back in 2009.

One of the many bizzare facts surrounding this retreat is the one about the Peruvian ponchos. When the participants went out into the desert for the vision quest exercise that would last for 36 hours, in which they don´t intake any water or food, Ray offered them to buy ponchos for $250 in addition to the sleeping bags they already brought. Reading about this, you should be aware of that some had paid close to $10.000 to sign up for the retreat. So, show me the money!

Here is Verge´s lenghty article that accompany the documentary.

Update: After now having read the full piece, it´s so full of sickening details that I considered to delete the part about the ponchos for obvious reasons.

The Marketing Behind Heroin Bags

Scottish photographer Graham MacIndoe´s former addiction gave rise to the photo series All In: Buying Into The Drug Trade in which he displays heroin baggies that carried the dope he used. Not only were the bags visually interesting, they also had selling power due to their product names:

The glassine heroin bags in Graham MacIndoe’s photos have been emptied of their poison, removed from their context and illuminated in a professional’s studio, but they remain powerfully haunting. They become even more so when you learn MacIndoe shot all the junk those bags once contained.

MacIndoe’s been clean about four years. But he’s kept those bags because, even in the depths of his addiction, he saw something compelling about their names and logos. Even drug dealers understand the power of branding, and these crude efforts at it summarize the drug world MacIndoe inhabited for five years. “The promises that some of the baggies offered was just really intriguing,” he says. “References in the names reflected the addict’s illusions of grandeur (So Amazing, Rolex, High Life) but also the insidious destructive nature of drugs and the ultimate end game (Flatliner, Dead Medicine, Killa).”

Via Boing Boing.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Toolman of Productivity

David Allen is the productivity consultant who´s given us the work-life management system Getting Things Done. In this footage from inside his office, David takes us through his own system setup and the tools he uses:

If you´re like me and this feels a bit overwhelming, read about personal development pioneer Earl Nightingale´s thoughts about time management and John Zeratsky´s "Post-it" time management technique.

Via Lifehacker.

Steve Jobs: The Iconic Photograph by Diana Walker

The above photograph of Steve Jobs was taken at his home in Los Gatos, California in 1982 by Diana Walker when working for TIME. The following quote by Steve has been linked to this image:

This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that's what I had.

And when Steve listened to music, his preferred sound format was the vinyl record:

[...] Neil Young said in 2012, “Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl.”

This wasn’t a just wealthy man indulging in some hipster fantasy. Jobs’s analog roots ran deep, stretching back to at least to 1982. That’s when photographer Diana Walker snapped this candid portrait of him in his Woodside, California home. Other than the Tiffany lamp, the room’s only furnishings are a clutch of stereo components and a small stack of vinyl LPs. The shiny boxes loom large in the background like sacred totems, which is precisely what they were to Jobs. They embodied everything he held dear in high-end industrial design: clean lines, quality materials and workmanship, outstanding performance–price be damned. Although he would eventually upgrade to far more exotic equipment, like six-figure Wilson Audio speakers, this old school rig is still considered serious audio porn today. [...]

For the curious, if you were to put together this same stereo rig today by picking up the components on the used market, it would cost about $8,200 — not including the records.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Delivery: Billy the Bike Messenger

In No Weather´s documentary Delivery, we follow Billy, a charismatic 52-year-old bike messenger, who has been a delivery man for over 30 years. In Brooklyn, he delivers pizza, covering an area twice the size compared to the other restaurants in the area.

Despite the hard work involved, his love for being an bike messenger keeps him going. A beautiful portrait:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Challenging Impossibility: The Documentary About Spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy

I've been wanting to see the documentary "Challenging Impossibility" (2011) for a long time, and all of a sudden, it was there, visible in the search results.

"Challenging Impossibility", directed by Sanjay Rawal and Natabara Rollosson, portrays spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, who changed the perceptions of what most of us think the human body is able to achieve, when he accomplished several feats of strength after having started weightlifting at the age of 54.

Due to domain restrictions, you have to watch the full documentary here.

Watch the trailer:

Featured image: Poster via Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga.

Inside the Rally Car Cockpit: Driver Versus Co-driver

When businessman and Mitsubishi driver Samir Thapar competed in the Coimbatore Rally 2013, that´s part of the Indian National Rally Championship rallying series, together with co-driver Vivek Ponnusamy, their footage from inside the car went viral.

When a co-driver numerous times says things like "stay on the road" and "concentrate, please!", you know that things do not go exactly as planned.

Full footage:

As a result of making the edited video public, the man who uploaded it was arrested, but judging by his Twitter account, he seems to be a free man again.

Via Motortorque.

Frontline Documentary Sheds Light on Dangers Involved Playing American Football

The NFL season kicked off yesterday. It´s a beloved game for many of us, but it´s also a game that puts players in real danger due to head injuries.

In Frontline´s documentary League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis, we meet doctors, scientists, activists and relatives take on the mighty NFL organization to hold them accountable for the risks involved.

The Corner Shop That´s (Almost) Made Entirely Out of Felt

The work of artist Lucy Sparrow is unique and very impressive. In her now closed corner shop, she filled it with 4000 grocery items that were made entirely out of felt, all of which were hand sewn. The project took 8 months to conclude, with Lucy and her assistant Rachel working almost 14 hours a day.

Pork Faggots:

Hobnobs with Chocolate:

Glenryck Pilchards:

Featured image: Lucy reads one of her felt editions of the Guardian. Photography by Rosie Hallam / Barcroft Media.

Found via Inhabitat and Ecouterre.

Sir Richard Branson One-up on Lance Armstrong

Sir Richard Branson pulled off a prank by outracing his son Sam and the rest of the Virgin Strive Challenge team during Virgin Strive Challenge 2014 by putting a turbo charger on his bicycle when climbing a steep hill to Verbier in Switzerland.

I love when his son says "he´s got slighter fresher legs than us".

Friday, September 5, 2014

Comic Sans: The Day the Aussies Shocked the Design Community

When The Sydney Morning Herald decided to use the typeface Comic Sans for its front page, it drew attention since the font has fans at both ends. Personally, I´m not a big fan of this font, but still think it was a great marketing stunt.

The creator of Comic Sans, typographer Vincent Connare, now responds to the recent criticism with a full statement. This is part of it:

Comic Sans is a typeface I designed when I saw an application called Microsoft Bob, that was aimed at children and new computer users in 1994.

Yes, that typeface I designed and produced it when I worked at Microsoft.

If you remember 1995, you will remember this was the first time computers were affordable. That was because Microsoft Windows 95 was being released and it was made for not just business use but also for consumers.

These consumers, for the first time, had computers being made for them. Companies like Gateway, whose boxes had black and white cow print on them, were now affordable and Microsoft created a Consumer division for these new customers. Applications like 3D Movie Maker used cartoon characters to created movies and its characters used Comic Sans. Cartoon characters such as McZee where created and applications like The Magic School Bus, Creative Writer and Encarta were made. This was the 1990s. Remember Tekton? Neuland? Dead History?

Someone is saying Comic Sans is poorly made? It was made purposely irregular because cartoons use handwritten text that is irregular and their dogs don't talk in Times New Roman.

Comic Sans has no kerning? Yes, very few applications in 1994 used kerning, and it was made for use on the screen for cartoon characters. Kerning is extra information in a font that adds or removes white space between characters so letters that are used commonly together space better. Kerning is only used in graphic design applications or when users are knowledgeable enough to enable it in the application.


I enjoy meeting people who tell me Comic Sans is their favourite font. They say it with enthusiasm, and that is brilliant. I also enjoy meeting people who don't like it, especially if they are designers because I know secretly they wish they had designed the damn thing.

The Soundscapes of Roger Federer

By using algorithms, electronic musician James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem in collaboration with IBM, has created music by using US Open match data:

Murphy isn't soundtracking 400 hours worth of tennis matches, but relying on an algorithm to generate the sounds – Murphy is the conduit in the project, the person generating probabilities. The algorithm has three parts to it – the data that's coming in from the tennis matches (fault, second serve, ace etc), the sound output and then the complicated part – the part of the algorithm that has to translate between the tennis data and the sonic data.


It's not the first time that Murphy has experimented with the world's endless sonic possibilities. Six months ago it was revealed that Murphy is working on a system of harmonious notes unique to each of the city's 486 subway stops, creating a beautiful, organic orchestra on the city's underground each time someone taps in.

Hear James Murphy and developer Patrick Gunderson talk about The US Open Sessions:

The Morning Ritual for Well-known Executives

Business Insider lists what the morning routine looks like for 22 well-known executives. A common thread is to start the day with exercise.

Former Oxygen Channel CEO Gerry Laybourne:

The founder of Oxygen is awake by 6 a.m. and out of the house a half hour later. If you get up early enough she might even take you under her wing, she tells Yahoo Finance:

"Once or twice a week, I go for a walk in Central Park with a young person seeking my advice. This is my way of helping bring along the next generation. And if someone is up early in the morning, then they are serious about life. I can't take time at the office to do this, but doing it in the morning allows me to get exercise and stay connected with young people at the same time."

Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group:

In an interview with Business Insider's Aly Weisman, Branson revealed that he wakes up at about 5:45 in the morning, even when staying at his private island, leaving the curtains drawn so the sun gets him up.

He does his best to use those early hours to exercise before an early breakfast and getting to work.

Featured image: Early morning exercise in London's Hyde Park 1985. Copyright Tim Ayers / Alamy. Via The Huffington Post.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blue Light At Night Messes With Your Sleep

Due to the blue light emanating from screens such as desktops, laptops and phones, watching them during the late hours will interrupt your sleep since it´s suppressing the production of melatonin:

An eye doctor says he’s recently seen a few 35-year-old patients whose lenses, which are typically clear all the way up until around age 40, are so cloudy they resemble 75-year-olds’. A sleep doctor says kids as young as toddlers are suffering from chronic insomnia, which in turn affects their behavior and performance at school and daycare. A scientist finds that women who work night shifts are twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those who sleep at night.

What do all these anecdotes have in common? Nighttime exposure to the blue light emanating from our screens.

You’ve probably heard the hype these past few years: being in the presence of light at night disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythms by suppressing the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. But melatonin does far more than help us get sleepy – it’s also an antioxidant that appears to play a pivotal role in slowing the progression of cancer and other diseases.

“I’ve been spending a lot of the past 20 years worrying about it,” said Dr. Richard Hansler, who clocked in 42 years at GE Lighting developing “all kinds of bright, beautiful lights” before his move to John Carroll University in Ohio, where he studied the effects of light at night on our health. It was the mid 1990s, and at that point, he said, his concern wasn’t widely shared.

“I discovered that using light at night is bad for people’s health and interferes with their sleep. I felt a moral obligation to do something about it, particularly when I learned it’s the blue component in ordinary white light that is suppressing the production of melatonin. And melatonin not only helps you sleep but is a marvelous material that has a very big influence on health in general; specifically, if you don’t have enough you may develop diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even a couple kinds of cancer.”


Because artificial light at night has only been around for the past century or so, and the hotter, brighter blue light has only been so heavily concentrated in our light sources for the past 10 or 20 years (the previously popular incandescent bulbs don’t emit the same amount of blue light, which is stronger in CFLs but stronger still in LEDs), its long-term effect on our eyes and bodies remains unknown.

In the article comments section, f.lux was mentioned and I have now installed it on my laptop. It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and iPhone/iPad and it´s free.

It takes care of this:

f.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.

Featured image: A couple watching television in the 1950s. Via HelloGiggles.

Via Caitlin Dewey.

Post-it Time Management

This is a great time management technique by John Zeratsky. You set out to do one big thing for the day, three medium things and a few little ones.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Laird Hamilton Shooting the Malibu Pier

Surfer Laird Hamilton took advantage of the big waves due to Hurricane Marie and shoot the Malibu Pier twice:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Julian Treasure´s 5 Ways for Conscious Listening

Recently I watched an excellent workshop by sound consultant Julian Treasure. At the end, he spoke about 5 things you can do to improve your listening skills.

The 5 things you can do put in writing:

1) Silence: For at least three minutes a day, try to find a place of complete silence (if not possible, at least aim for very quiet). It helps to recalibrate your ears, so that you can actually hear the quieter things once again.

2) Mixer: In a noisy environment, practice focusing your ears on one sound, then another (like the mixing board of a sound system); It will improve the quality of your listening.

3) Savouring: There’s a “hidden choir” all around you; focusing on such mundane sounds as the dish washer or a babbling stream can reveal rhythms and build an appreciation for the simpler things in life.

4) Listening Positions: This is the idea that you can shift your position (or “level” of listening) according to what you’re listening to: active/passive, reductive/expansive, critical/empathetic. These adjust certain filters that we all have, such as culture, language, values, beliefs, attitudes, expectations and intentions, which increasingly focus our listening from all “sounds” down to things we specifically listen to.

5) RASA: An acronym for Receive (i.e. paying attention to the person), Appreciate (giving verbal feedback such as small sounds of agreement or interest), Summarize (feedback of what you’ve understood), and Ask (ask questions afterward). Practicing RASA will improve not only how we listen, but our retention of information.

Emoji: The New Species

Emoji characters are all around us, almost having become a species of it´s own. In this little documentary, narrated by James Gillies imitating the voice of Sir David Attenborough, we examine our complex relationship with these little creatures:

Apple Campus 2: Bringing California Back to Cupertino

This is the Apple Campus 2 that after project delays is expected to open in 2016 instead of next year.

Here is footage from the construction captured in August:

Below are screenshots from the official Apple Campus 2 video:

I especially love this project because of it´s environmental focus. As Apple´s Senior Arborist David Muffly so beautifully puts it: "The idea is to bring California back to Cupertino."

Diane Horner's Country Hip Hop Dancing

At first glance, I thought this was a joke because of all the ironic remakes out there, but it's actually for real. I have never heard of Country Hip Hop Dancing before, but it sure looks like great fun.

Diane's remark, as noted by Got a Girl Crush, puts a smile on my face: “You can even add your shoulders if you want. That’s the fun thing about hip-hop dancing.”

Via Peter Kafka.

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