Movie: here and now


‘Here and now’

Just for a short while,
the memory lingers.
Enduring imprints,
from the here and now.


The final version of small movie containing a poem by Rob Walker called Transcending Silence and the art installation by ‘Dance’ by Myra Wildmist. The whole tied together by shadows, a misty mountain in Japan, second world war. A the burned in patterns on the skin of a Japanese woman. I would say: enjoy.



two weeks ago in japan i sat on that Mountain
the bald young monk explaining zazen meditation
the release from past and future
and the silence of engyoji temple
teaching me the here/now
and here and now we sit in The Vales
a silence broken
by the eternal happiness of hi-5
on a blaring tv
which is everlasting
you my balding father
hair stolen not by time but radiation
you sit on the bed in your tracksuit pants
bulging with the incontinence nappy
below your buddha belly
your corporeal form shapeless as a toddler’s
i ask if you need anything
you don’t
all your physical needs met
in this daily malignant shallowness
the blastoma has excised your past
and your future is inoperable
you don’t remember who came yesterday
or what you ate for breakfast
you have achieved a kind of benign transcendence
only those around you
feel the eternal depths of sorrow
but you
are in the perpetual
Here and Now.

text © rob walker, 2010


BURN2 2014 Santalarity: What’s in the Box?



Jedda Zenovka

A few days ago Santalarity closed. Santalarity is a spin-off from Burn 2, the burning man art festival in Second Life. Tau hitched a ride on the small train that went around the site and then got sidetracked in a forest. Since I liked this forest with it strange trees, I decided to take some pictures and while I was at it, I took some of the other builds. Unfortunately I did not get all the builds, nor did I get the names of all the artists as some of the builds had already been removed and some were removed after I took a break so that I did have a picture of them, but not the artist who made it. If you know the artist or the name of the art(most did not have a name) then by all means place a comment or mail to


Miko Kuramoto
Miko Kuramoto

This forest was owned by Miko Kuramoto although it listed someone else as the creator. I just list it under the owner. I find the mesh trees very intriguing sorry so I made a lot of pictures, especially because the forest was on the edge of the sim and it gave the idea that beyond the wood was a vast tundra stretching out. I also took the opportunity to tweak the pictures by using various settings of poster edges and blending layers. The above picture uses poster edged for the trees, but I did not apply it to Tau. I will intersperse pictures with that of the rest of the builds.

Burn 2
Burn 2
On the edge

This is a view of the center of the sim. It is the central gathering place where sometimes parties are held. Tau never goes to parties as she is too shy. I seldom go because I got other things to go to.


Empathic Eccentricia

The above picture is from the Empathic Eccentricia build which is made by Veleda Lorakeet, Ohmy Shalala and Tau. The monkey is made by Tau, below is a close up to show the rat sitting in the bowl the monkey hold. The rat hold a camera  has an animation for posing.

Empathic Eccentricia
Empathic Eccentricia

This a far off shot of EE. The snowman disappeared when touched.

Empathic Eccentricia


Edge of the forest.
Huntress Catteneo
Huntress Catteneo
iSkye Silverweb
iSkye Silverweb
The far horizon
The far horizon


Daark Gothly
Daark Gothly


Daark Gothly
Daark Gothly



SL11B: Monkey Mind: a movie.

A movie about the Emphatic Eccentrica build as the Eleventh birthday of second life. The EE team consisted of Almut Brunswick, Ohmy Shalala, Veleda Lorakeet, Laughton McCry, Merit Coba and Tau.





Bookreview: And the hippos were boiled in their tanks.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their TanksAnd the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by William S. Burroughs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Junky I discovered this book by Burroughs among the books dubbed as crime novels in my local public library. It was probably labelled as such because there is a murder in it and I don’t think the library has a label for literature as such. So it would be the most logical choice from their viewpoint, but somehow this label doesn’t fit the book.
From the introduction and comments I gather that Burroughs and the co-writer Jack Kerouac were part of a literary movement called the Beat generation and that this book was written before they became famous. In fact the book was published after they both died because it was deliberately put off. It was the wish of one of the people involved in the murder that it would not be published in his lifetime. It ended up as being published in nobodies lifetime..
The result of the delay at publication was that the book gained a mythical state. Like many things that are unknown it peeks the interest, gains notoriety and heightens expectations.
But what were the results?
The book seems a lot like Junky, with the same down-on-their-luck types as feature in that book, but a little bit less criminal. Most of the people are poor and some are the brink of crime. The best term to define them is: a bunch of freeloaders. They live on the money others make and they get that money by borrowing and not paying back, gaining it in a half legal way or by outright crime. For example: one of the characters pawns the diamonds of a relative, pocketing the money for himself, without letting the relative know.
Most of the book describes this freeloader life from various angles and against this backdrop is set the awkward semi-gay relation between a young man and an older man that finally ends in a death. The book is however not a crime novel. There isn’t a real upbeat towards the killing, nor any investigation or anything else that is part of a crime novel. The murder itself and the aftermath actually are only a small part of the book and occur well in the end. It feels almost as and anti-climax when it does, which it probably will be for anyone attracted to crime novels. The murder isn’t what the book is about.
But what is?
The charm of the book is the writing, which is to the point and frugal. Just like in Junky there is not a word too much it this book and no beating about the bush. The story is told straight and without any moral justification from the writer. Crime happens, people steal, someone gets robbed. It all is told in the same way as the writer tells that people had a bite, took a leak or banged their girlfriend.
The characters in the book have opinions of course, but nothing is morally weighted by the writer. Everything is told as it happens, to the point. It is almost clinical.
I like the writing style as a way to learn how to write. The shortness of the book combined with a efficient writing style made it readable.
The problem I foresee for me is that much more of this will start to bore. If a bigger book would be filled with just more scenes of freeloading then such book will become a tedious read. It does make me curious about the books that made Burroughs famous. I assume there must be a lot more to them.

View all my reviews

SL11B: The box

The box



The box was an art installation we (that is Taubie and me) made for the anniversary of Emphatic Eccentricia. A slightly altered version was made for the eleventh birthday of second life. That is the one these pictures are from. The box started when Veleda Lorakeet made a frame in Osgrid from prims. She is currently making this frame in real life. The frame made me think of self contained worlds within a larger world. So after some fabrication I came up with an installation based on a thought experiment by Schroedinger know as Schroedinger’s cat. The experiment can be found here.
So here are picture of The box,  the metaverse containing the universes for these mouse-like creatures.




The box installation

The box works like this. When you press the red box you see floating in the above picture, the box will open and show a random set of universes brought to live.

A happy dance.





The one that got away and the one that fell off.

SL11B : Monkey Mind -2 – Merit Coba

This post about Monkey Mind goes a little bit deeper into the details of our build at SL11B.
The idea behind Monkey Mind was to create a framework in the shape of a computer that would contain the various expressions of the contributing artists. Since artists tend to have their own shenanigans(:)), a project like this, that starts almost at the spur of the moment will somewhat lack overall consistency. While I am writing this down I realize that it might be nice to ask each participant their views on their own contributions, so I will have to add those later, if any.
I am always a bit in doubt of providing explanations. Personally I rather have people make up their own mind instead of having artists spell out what they meant to convey. But then again, how else would we know if what we want to state actually is perceived in that way?
Enough words, let’s provide some pictures and they will be mostly about my contribution as to give me time to ask the others about theirs.


Some time ago I went on holiday to Barcelona. Barcelona has an excellent subway system which, besides providing a fast way to travel around the city, also provides some coolness for the intrepid tourist who braves the heat of the day. Even in May the temperatures rose above the thirty degrees centrigrade(that is into the eighties for you Fahrenheit users). In Barcelona people aren’t much different from people in other cities and during their travels they chase away their boredom by plugging themselves in. Walkman’s, handhelds and various other electronic devices isolate them from their surroundings and transport them into another world . One of the mind. For some people this might be a deplorable experience, I don’t see it as such.  People might not talk to the person sitting next to them, but then again they might be talking to someone at the other side of the world. There is a certain liberty in that you can now choose with whom to communicate and befriend, which might be a good thing, but at the other end, you probably stick with people you feel comfortable with and thus avoiding people who might be different and give you new insights. It opens the eyes and closes them.

This concept inspired me to make the futuravi. Which is this guy/girl.


The futuravi contains two aspects. It is connected to the rest of the world by various devices that opens it’s eyes and ears to a world of the mind.  Incidentally there are lines in the song Jumbo by Underworld that refer to this(the song by the way expresses a great deal of the concept.) So let me quote some lines:

you pick up the phone  and i’m imagining you.”

“the telephone breath between us
there are no borders between us
only these wires”

The futuravi pushes the idea a bit further because, as in the song, you can imagine the other. That is, you as an outsider can change the way someone looks. This might be a technological possibility of the future. Since our world becomes virtual it is technologically possible for you as viewer to determine the looks of the person you are watching. You might see the one you are talking to as a dragon, while the person sees himself as a human.

To capture this aspect I made this connector-device which allows an other person to change your looks.


This is a pictural instruction I made so that people would follow it regardless of the language they speak. The futuravi jumps on the connector.


There is a console connected to the device.


People can use this connector device to change the looks.






This is the texture I made for an elevator that we didn’t add to the build.

Here is a link to the song Jumbo by Underworld.


SL11B: Monkey Mind -1

So I haven’t been posting much to this blog of late because we were busy with SL11B.

So what is SL11B?

SL11B is the name given for the celebrations organized around the 11th  birthday of Second Life and it  runs from the 22nd of June till the 5th of July of this year.  The celebrations are held at a group of connected places(called sims from simulators) where people of different backgrounds  exhibit their enthusiasms.  As such one can find art exhibits next to stands promoting books, people reciting poetry or showing off the latest of fashions or promoting understanding for things like gender dysforia and disability, so basically everything that  you can do or make in Second Life. Except for the things we don’t want to know about, such as porn. No worries there mate, for there are festivals for that to.

As is usual we always got in a bit late so we had to make up for lost time by working extra hard. It wasn’t different during SL8B, SL9B or SL10B.  In addition I was actually not counting on Emphatic Eccentricia(EE) doing something this year, so I organized my own exhibit, which is called The Box and inspired by Schroedinger’s cat.  But EE did something this year, so I joined in that one as well. So this post is about the Emphatic Eccentricia exhibit which is called Monkey Mind.

Now let’s look at some pictures.

Monkey Mind – Initial design

This was the first design which was mostly made by Almut Brunswick who took care of the infrastructure. We put my Monkey Head on it, for reason I do not quite know. It was an moment of inspiration, but I can’t actually recall who came up with it.
The idea behind the built is that it was inspired by the SL11B theme: the empires of the future are empires of the mind. The general idea is that the building represents a computer.

Monkey Mind – Improved design

This one is a later design in which Veleda Lorakeet add these pipelines which represents data transfer.

Monkey Mind – SL11B design

The initial build on the SL11B ground. It was considered to be too tall so….

Monkey Mind – SL11B 2nd design

This is the almost final built.  Note the rerouting of the vel’s pipelines. Ohmy Shalala changed the monkey head by replacing the head with brains  and Almut replaced most of the primary objects (called prims) of the infrastructure with mesh. Mesh items are far better looking and take up less space than prims. The ground floor was replaced by and now has a hole with digital texture in it.

Monkey Mind – SL11B final design

This is the final design. Veleda added a core to the system and various other items have been added. In the next post some more details.

Monkey Mind can be found here:


Added one more because Almut said she like to see it with the surrounding buildings.

Monkey Mind -Raw-Final

Another one. with a more normal light setting.





Bookreview: Magic Bites

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Who the heck is Kate Daniels?

She is an edgy sarcastic kick-ass babe with a sharp sword named Slayer. A magic sword of course, for a real kick ass girl in a world turned to urban fantasy can’t be without one. Just like she has to be tattooed on a place you can only fantasize about and wear a leather jacket two sizes too large. It would be unseemly otherwise.

Kate is that typical loner that everybody wants, either in bed or as a hired henchman or for lunch or because she is powerful. And thus she can give them the middle-finger and scoff at the powers-that-be without incurring the penalties for doing so. Like being torn apart by the Beast Lord for gross insolence, just to name an example. Not that he isn’t an insolent asshole himself. I fear a love interest. This testosterone filled uber macho just has to play top dog, but you know, deep down inside, he is just a pussy. We are promised a lot but nothing gets delivered.

Kate is not to be had. She is too busy or too independent. Oh, and she doesn’t fit into any of the organisations that beg her services: they all suck one way or another.Loyalty goes to persons.

Get the picture yet?

Now Kate is also twenty five with -say- about a decade of experience in her particular line of work. And an accomplished magic user to. And a experienced sword wielder. And well educated -she speaks her languages-. And has knowledge of a very obscure nature. But there is an explanation for the latter two: it is her father who taught her everything. Her human father that is.

Score one for home education.

You might think that would be enough but Kate is also provided with a mysterious background. Just to entice you to cling to the series.. Who is her real father? No doubt it gets revealed at some point, say in book five of the series. And boy, you will you be dissatisfied.

Granted the book is a nice read. I like the slang Andrews uses or the learn words I never heard about such as expletive. I learned a few new things and hopefully I can use them to my advantage. But the story is in a shambles. At various points it looks like Andrews changed her mind or got stuck and then she pulls a rabbit out of the hat.

When the investigation is dead in the water Andrews lets a vampire attack Kate so she can extract information from it. There.. issue solved. And when it’s going nowhere fast again, lets have the villain turn up so the story can move on. Don’t like the romance? (there is a more virile guy entering the stage) . Right.. lets change the guy’s personality so he loses any wit he has and doesn’t match with Kate at all.

It not just these changes of heart, but it’s the inconsistencies in the story. For instance: Kate is good at her job, but has no money to spend. A feat that goes unexplained.

There is a so called crusader of the order that hunts the villain for four years who is apparently crazy, a loner, and armed to the teeth, but operates secretly, with all that weaponry? . And what is more: somehow this crusader manages to turn up at the right place at the right time two thirds into the story. Almost as an afterthought, for most of the book he never puts in an appearance. A most secretive guy indeed. There is no good explanation for it other then that Andrews wanted him to be there.

And the list goes on and on. Take the wards for instance that the villain uses to break Kate’s ward and then conveniently abandons so she can use it against him later on. Or the fact that the villain apparently lets the crusader live. Or take the scene where Kate sits sipping wine on her porch, while the evil guy and his minions approach. She waits him out and then , when he is about to attack, she jumps inside her house where she is safe from harm, due to aforementioned wards.

Ilona Andrews likes to write scenes, but loses sight on what should connect them: a good story line. This is a cool scene and that is a cool scene. Storyline? Uhm, think of that later.

I can’t resist to compare Kate Daniels to Sonja Blue. Somehow the latter seems more human than the first, even though she is a crazy vampire. Kate is just a bit too good to be believed or connect with.

Does this make it a bad book? Not at all. It is certainly entertaining. Especially when I compare it to a Sci-FI book named Time Travellers never die, which I was reading at the same time.

Magic Bites is certainly not as good as Sunglasses after dark. I would like to give a second book a try, just to see if Andrews does a better job. Unfortunately it might never happen, as my local library doesn’t have it and I rather buy books I really like.

View all my reviews

Bookreviews: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

By Max Brooks: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War [Audiobook]By Max Brooks: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War [Audiobook] by -Random House Audio-
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(contains a section that can be seen as a spoiler: it is at the end and marked as such)

I decided to listen to the audiobook version of this book for two reasons: I have a interest in post apocalyptic settings and like to see how a book is translated into a movie.
The translation of the book into a movie is something that we need not consider here. Although there are similarities between them, they are superficial at best. Unless the sequel to the movie gets aligned to the book, that is.
There are three similarities: there is a zombie outbreak, the storyline plays out all over the world, and there is the same character that we follow: the UN investigator.
But the latter’s role is just totally different. In the book he has almost no personality as he is only used to give voice to the people telling their stories, while in the movie Brad Pitt takes the center of the stage.
The audio book adds an additional layer to story. A book that I read lets me give the voices their own characteristics in my mind. A ‘hero’ is to me something personal that I fill in. I read from various other reviews that many found the writings to be similar voiced. I did not experience that as such as they used distinct voices in the book that gave them color and personality.

Now let’s mention some good points of the audio book.

The stories from everywhere created an interesting jigsaw puzzle that not only pieces together an overall idea of what was going on in the world at the same time, but also build up to unfold the development of the zombie ‘war’. It is an interesting, and certainly fresh idea for a zombie apocalyptic story. The writer tries to keep the pieces fitted together by referring forward and backward to certain key moments, events or ideas, which is certainly helpful at the start of story as the jumping all over the place can also create confusion if not kept in check.
The voices used in the book helped a lot with fleshing out the characters and I was certainly gripped by some of the stories.I saw in the actor list that they used some respectable actors for various roles: Alan Alda,Jurgen Prochnow, Martin Scorcese, Bruce Boxleitner, Frank Darabont.
Some stories stand out for me. The one related by the Chinese doctor Kwang Jinghsu who tells about the first zombie case he runs into and the description is horrifying. The flight of the Indian Ajay Shah to try and escape by ship via Alang, the ships’ graveyard. The one told by the blind Japanese hermit Tomonaga Ljiro who seeks to die in a lone forest, but refinds faith. But I was specially gripped by the story of colonel Christina Eliopolis who is sucked out of her damaged airplane but manages to save herself by chute and lands in marsh full of wandering zombies hundred of miles from safety.

So to the bad points.

The first good point is also the first bad point, because all the stories are separate stories that tells but a moment in the whole war, there is little room for character development. This makes a character rather one dimensional.
There is some kind of attempt to give the ‘grunt’ Todd Wainio a kind of overall binding role as he returns several times and has most of the space in the story, but he is the least interesting of all characters as he is as fake as can be.
I am probably too European to like the way some Americans like to represent their military, and Max Brooks is one of those. Overconfident and smug. He is that guy that flattens your hometown and napalms the surrounding lands and then approaches your with a big smile to say: “So there missy, that should settle it. No need to worry. We got it all under control.. We’ll be heading over the next town now. But I might be around later on, if you feel interested.” Wink.
(Waino tells the interviewer on a side note that he is certain he has some kids fathered by some grateful ladies from the places he liberated. What a revolting man).

As much as there are likable characters -or at least believable characters- in the story there are also totally unbelievable characters.
The prime unbelievable character is General Travis D’Ambrosia, the commander in chief. At the moment the counter attack is ordered he is basically a defeatist and should have been relieved of command. He tells the interviewer some nonsense about three basic rules of war: men must be bred, fed and led. And then he explains how all these rules do not apply to the zombies. And then tells of more advantages they have, totally neglecting to mention all the weakness zombies have and which can be exploited(which they later do).
An almost equal unbelievable character is the Englishman David Allen Forbes. He was introduced as having experience with castles and writing a book about it and then goes to tell some nonsense about European History in which the middle ages are classified as institutionalized anarchy.

Say what?

But it got worse.. Next he mentions that there is a difference between a castle and a palace and he mentions how castles were often turned into palaces so they lost their defensive value.
And that is true enough.
And then he says the most profound stupid thing I have ever heard: ”.. like Versailles, that is why it was such a cock up.”
Did I hear him say: like Versailles?
I played it again: Versailles.
Again: Versailles.
No student of any level of history of warfare would ever mention Versailles as a defensive structure. Versailles was not a palace converted from a castle. It was build from the ground up as a prestigious object to show off the power and wealth of Louis XIV, the 17th Century king of France, the ruler of the most powerful nation of Europe at that time. Versailles was exactly not a defensive place because Louis had a big army, and big navy to protect him and plenty of forts if he needed them. It was exact the opposite of a castle because he could say: I can afford such a place and do not fear my enemies..
It was never at anytime considered or converted or used as defensible structure, not by the French, not by the Germans when they occupied France, not by the Allies when they liberated Europe..
Nearby Disneyworld Paris is more defensible.
Only an utter clueless guy would mention Versailles or use it.

Another weak point in the story is that the style of story is distant, observational and in hindsight. You know that everyone is basically going to survive. There seems to be seldom any interaction between the interviewed of the moment and anyone else of the interviewed. It turns to matter of fact observations. This is perhaps intentional, but it creates distance. As if you are hovering above it instead of being in the midst of it. It also takes away any uncertainties doubts, or interesting complication. Nobody of all of the interviewed seems to contradict someone else. It is dry, distanced and faultless. Which might make a nice report, but takes away from the story.
But what I often missed is the anguish people would experience when they see one of their loved ones turned or sick. Or even see them back as zombies. Brooks describes that at the start somewhat. But soon enough he the zeds are zeds. That they are your friend, lover, partner, dad, mom or buddy is pushed aside fairly rapidly.

And then there is this.. this -how to tell it- this demonstration of a certain myopic mindset.
When public humiliation and corporal punishment(flogging) are reintroduced crimes are are no more, so we are told by the former vice president of the United States.. I see.
And when American soldiers ‘fight’ they suffer of course less losses than say the Russians and the Chinese man on man.. Of course.
And in Israel a rebellion erupts when the zombies start to show up, because certain extreme groups in Israel rather compromise the safety of the whole nation to further their own cause. Right. Patriotism is only for Americans.
And the Cuban problem is easily solved by having them take in five million United States refugees so that the western(=American) ideas of greed ( oh sorry: free enterprise) and democracy gets spread around and eventual restores Cuba to a democracy.
It is that simple.
And when a German officer(from West Germany) is ordered to abandon civilians by his (former East German) superior, he at first refuses, but when pressured buckles under anyway. without asking an explanation, consulting his staff or talking it through with the civilians. Noo. All he has gained is the benefit of fifty years of western inspired conscience. See how down on their morals those (Former) Eastern Jerries really are anyway, cause that guy kills himself afterwards.
But regardless of west or east: it is the same cadaver discipline of course and the same way out. They never change, those Germans: only their excuses.
At some point I was wondering if this was meant to be satire or that Brooks really thinks that is how you deal with the worlds issues or how the world works?

But the list extends into the story telling.
So the battle of Yonkers shows that the US army is not ready to deal with the dead yet. Mind you, they are shown to be extremely incompetent. Not even using things to hinder the advancing horde with, like say a wall of cars, barbed wire, cheval de fraises, minefields, stakes, ditches, wood fences, wires, fallen trees and anything else the books are filled with. And claymore mines! No Clymore mine. Easy to set up, deadly, shoot balls of metal that go right through you. But noo.. the army has been ordered to be incompetent.
Or has it been written?
For Brooks now tells us that there is a break between refugees and the zombies. Up till now he tells us in all other stories how they were mixed.
But the Battle of Yonkers is designed by Brooks to show of the incompetence of the US army, forced on them by who knows who? The press? The politicians? Their superiors? Why not blame them all!
It is a setup.
We are looking directly at the writer forcing an unbelievable twist in his story. You can see his hands grabbing it, twisting and turning, until it is disjointed enough so that the best equipped army in the world loses the first time around.
Zombies 1. Humans 0.
It is one of those fake wrestling matches.
They have to lose to have the US overrun, but also to have the army get up for a second round. As if war just consist of a few important battles.

—zzzzzz spoilers down here zzzzz ————-

Its a few years later, after this severe defeat the army counter attacks under command of mister defeatist D’Ambrosia via an offense from the rocky mountains. From the west to the east.
Wow.. how many people would that take? Well, they walk side by side, just like how they search for survivors and evidence after an aircraft crash, so we are told. So that’s something like 1400 miles as the crow flies. And assume for every ten yard one grunt. That is 300.000 men. Oh wait they got a second line: 600.000. And then you need replacements, backups, support, perhaps some more men per 10 yard really, certainly in denser area’s. Double that. Triple that. Quadruple that. You need to guard the flanks too, the liberated areas. You need logistics, repairs. replacements. 5 million? 6? And that from a country that has suffered 200 million dead and lost over ⅗ of it’s land. And most of it’s industry and food supplying area’s.
Brooks is basically unable to properly handle this. His stories are basically light weight and interesting, and work as separate instances, but he can’t tie it together in the end. He needs to twist too much to make it work. I assume he does. Because I hope that he does not really belief all these things that he wrote down. It is such an absurd look of the world.
But you got to give him credit for one thing though. Once the United States has won the victory at home, it doesn’t retreat into isolation and let the rest of the world to it’s own devices. Why should they anyway. What would the world do without them! They got a whole world to liberate… or conquer.
It is just the way you look at it.
It is..

—————spoilers end———————————–

One star extra for the great voice acting and the great colonel story. It gave me tears, honest.

View all my reviews