Sunday, December 30, 2012

Movies | “Glass of whiskey with an irresistible young actor”

One of the benefits, although ever so dubious ones, of being sick and in need of bed rest is a possibility of mini-home-bound-I-am-stuck-here-and-need-to-relieve-the-boredom-but-I-am-out-of-steam marathons. In my case it was movies. One set of selections was inspired by a photo of Ezra Miller taken by Garance Doré at the Martinez Hotel during the Cannes Film Festival 2012. It is a nice photo, non?

“Another Happy Day”: Some families comprise of individuals that are dysfunctional, self-absorbed, neurotic, argumentative, cynical, sensitive, mixed up, angry, and whatever else you want to add here, who are more than willing to dish it out or spread around the “goodness”. Cringe worthy viewing, if you are not into that sort of drama either at home or otherwise, “Another Happy Day” is a wreck I kept on watching mostly because, well, these people do not exist on celluloid only. I know a few…

“Beware the Gonzo”: High school misfit, outcast, and nerd revolt for the 2000s. Kind of cute and idealistic with a twist and some lessons to boot.

“Every Day”: Adults are sorting themselves out more clumsily than the kids.

I can see why IMDb rated them all below 7/10 and critics at Rotten Tomatoes were not more gracious (45% and below), but – remember – quality had a different meaning for me in this instance. We’ll see what becomes of him.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coded Candy | Chrome, Siri and little big details

Chrome for iOS - Tab counter turns into a smiley face after 99
Siri - Confirms what “tomorrow” means, when it is mentioned close to midnight - The settings screen for to-do reminders is designed like a letter

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Music | Little Dragon to the rescue

Depending where you are, you might be coming down from the pre-Christmas madness, celebrating the second Day of Christmas, getting into Kwanzaa celebrations, or hopefully practicing the idea of Boxing Day, or maybe not. Either way, any day is a good chill-out day, especially, if you have been feeling the bundling up of pressure and things screaming to be done-and-done-now, something that seems to inevitably happen when the year comes closer to close. Strange that one… Little Dragon is a mellow band from Gothenburg, Sweden, and chill-out is their game. Brush the heat – or, brush off ‘the heat’.

Center. Breath in. Breath out. And repeat.

December Festivities | Kwanzaa

The first U.S. postage stamp 
commemorating Kwanzaa. Issued in 1997.
Relatively recent, created in 1966, Kwanzaa is an African-American and African-Canadian celebration of African heritage that starts on December 26 and runs till January 1. This is not an alternative to any Christmas or post-Christmas celebration; it is a day of African pride, a day that stands on its own and celebrates seven principles of umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December Festivities | Christmas Day

Lulajże Jezuniu


Lulajże Jezuniu, moja Perełko,
Lulaj ulubione me Pieścidełko.
Lulajże Jezuniu, lulaj, że lulaj
A ty go matulu w płaczu utulaj

Zamknijże znużone płaczem powieczki,

Utulże zemdlone łkaniem usteczki.

Lulajże, piękniuchny nasz Aniołeczku.

Lulajże wdzięczniuchny świata Kwiateczku.

Lulajże, Różyczko najozdobniejsza,

Lulajże, Lilijko najprzyjemniejsza.

Dam ja Jezusowi słodkich jagódek

pójdę z nim w Matuli serca ogródek.

Dam ja Jezusowi z chlebem masełeka,

włożę ja kukiełkę w jego jasełka.

Dam ja Ci słodkiego, Jezu, cukierka

rodzynków, migdałów z mego pudełka.

Cyt, cyt, cyt niech zaśnie małe Dzieciątko

oto już zasnęlo niby kurczątko.

Cyt, cyt, cyt wszyscy się spać zabierajcie,

mojego Dzieciątka nie przebudzajcie.
Hush Little Jesus
Hush little Jesus, my little pearl,
Hush my favourite little delight.
Hush little Jesus, hush, hush
But you lovely mother, solace him in tears
Close your little eyelids, tired of weeping,
Solace the little lips, fainted from sobbing.
Hush, our beautiful Angel.
Hush, you graceful little flower of the world.
Hush, you most decorative little rose,
Hush, you most comfortable little lily.
I'll give Jesus sweet little berries
I'll go with him into his Mother's heart's orchard.
I'll give Jesus a little butter with bread,
I'll put a doll into his crib.
I'll give you, Jesus, a sweet goody
raisins, almonds from my little box.
Hush! Hush! Hush! Let the sweet little child fall asleep
Here it has already fallen asleep like a little chicken.
Hush! Hush! Hush! You all go to sleep now,
don't wake up my sweet little child.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December Festivities | Getting artistically cultural on Pancha Ganapati

December 21 through 25 – I am down with Lord Ganesha, the Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture, celebrating a new beginning and mending of all past mistakes, plus since each day has a different power color associated with it – golden yellow, royal blue, ruby red, emerald green and brilliant orange – I am up for a real party.

December Festivities | Yule | Winter Solstice

Photo from Celtic Queens
The Goddess gives birth to a son, the God, at Yule (circa December 21). This is in no way an adaptation of Christianity. The Winter Solstice has long been viewed as a time of divine births. Mithras was said to have been born at this time. The Christians simply adopted it for their [original emphasis] use in 273 C.E. (Common Era).
     Yule is a time of the greatest darkness and is the shortest day of the year. Earlier peoples noticed such phenomena and supplicated the forces of nature to lengthen the days and shorten the nights. Wiccans sometimes celebrate Yule just before the dawn, then watch the Sun rise as a fitting finale to their efforts.
     Since the God is also the Sun, this marks the point of the year when the Sun is reborn as well. Thus, the Wicca light fires or candles to welcome the Sun’s returning light. The Goddess, slumbering through the winter of Her labor, rests after Her delivery.
     Yule is the remnant of early rituals celebrated to hurry the end of winter and the bounty of spring, when food was once again readily available. To contemporary Wiccans it is a reminder that the ultimate product of death is rebirth, a comforting thought in these days of unrest.
- from Wicca: A guide for the solitary practitioner by Scott Cunningham

Monday, December 17, 2012

Random | Just to be clear, the forecast for December 21, 2012 is –

Music | Depeche Dad, or DMK do “Enjoy the Silence” lo-fi with major cute

DMK officially is here and here.
From Wikipedia – “Dicken Schrader is a Colombian-American video artist, whose works include being a commercial director, editor, motion graphics designer, writer, and creative director. He is most noted for his YouTube viral videos featuring himself and his two children, Milah and Korben, performing cover versions of Depeche Mode songs using an old keyboard and various toys and household items as instruments. In February 2012, the trio officially adopted the name DMK. As of July 2012, DMK has covered four Depeche Mode songs: Shake the Disease, Strangelove, Everything Counts and Black Celebration.”

And now as of December 12, DMK has done this:

Dicken Schrader: Keyboard, xylophone, tambourine, soda bottle, maraca and voice | Milah Schrader: Ukulele, melodica and voice | Korben Schrader: Toy keyboard, can set and voice | Audio mix by Tato Lopera | Wardrobe by Carolina D'Lacoste | Music and lyrics by Martin L. Gore (Depeche Mode)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Music | Female singer-songwriters №6: Kimbra

I am hearing funk and Frank Zappa calling… I don’t care. Sounds way nice.

December Festivities | Santa Lucia, ljusklara hägring let’s celebrate Luciadag and Lussinatt

Top: Photo by Claudia Grunder
Bottom: Saffron buns, glögg, from Valarie Budayr’s “A Santa Lucia Festival” for Rhythm of the Home
Swedish: Santa Lucia, ljusklara hägring = Saint Lucy, bright mirage
Danish: Luciadag = Day of Lucia
Norwegian: Lussinatt = Lucia Night

St. Lucia was born in Syracuse. Her parents were noble, wealthy and Christian. When still a young girl, Lucia dedicated her virginity to Christ; hence, as a teen she did not want to marry a pagan suitor – she meant every word of her vow. By that time Lucia’s Daddy was long gone, having died when she was an infant, and Lucia’s Mummy was quite unwell having developed a hemorrhage (cause unknown; we are talking late 200s C.E. here). One would imagine a marriage would be economically welcome. Still, Lucia being devoted persuaded her Mummy to pray at the tomb of St. Agatha for a cure instead. It worked. Lucia shared the nature of her vow and a desire to give her wealth to the poor. Mummy was so happy with the cure that she agreed. The pagan suitor was enraged. Since these were the times when the Christians were really out of favor in the Roman Empire, the pagan suitor, feeling rejected and obviously revengeful – because, honestly, what was this going to get him other than prove he was utterly parochial, but I judge with a modern mind, and also digress – accused Lucia of being a Christian in front of a judge. Lucia was not caving in. She stuck to her faith. The judge, a clever man… ordered her to a brothel. Crazy, ha? Somehow the guards could not move her to the house
of sin; the burning to death also did not work; supposedly her eyes were removed – or she did it herself at the outset – bit unclear here; with a thrust of a sword to her throat she met her demise in 304. The day of Lucia’s martyrdom was December 13th – the shortest day of the year according to the Julian calendar. Winter solstice?! Pagan?! Not anymore, Gregorian calendar moved that to December 21st. Still, Lucia means light and Santa Lucia Day is a celebration of days becoming longer. More light, get it? 

Roughly, what we have now is Swedish girls dressing in white and holding candles, one wearing candelabra as a crown, while handing out candy, cookies, cakes, coffee and glögg, Swedish boys dressing up as stjärngossar, in hats shaped like cones and decorated with stars, or as gingerbread men, Finns, Norwegians  and Danes embracing what they need from the Swedish way, the latter "to bring light in a time of darkness” after World War II and centering on Christianity rather than being secular, for the populace of Caribbean island called Santa Lucia December 13th
being a day of National Festival of Lights and Renewal, some Italians making the day all about gifts from Santa Lucia where children are being rewarded for being good or bad by getting gifts or coals, respectively, and having to respect Lucia with coffee, her donkey with a carrot and Lucia’s escort Castaldo, with wine even though they are advised to never watch Santa Lucia doing her delivery, other Italians eat small biscotti shaped like eyes, light bonfires and candles, Sicilians do not eat anything made with wheat flour and switch to cuccia Venetians are all about fried cheese, Swiss have Santa Lucia hand-in-hand with Father Christmas giving gifts to girls and boys, Maltese also celebrate Republic Day. Free for all? Bring on the light!
“Santa Lucia’s Day in Second Life” video by Voff Uggla of “Living in the Virtual World Second Life”
“Santa Lucia” sang by Malena Malena Ernman and Charles Castronovo – thanks Voff Uggla

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Art | Christmas Art at Laguna Beach

Along South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA, U.S.A. ©MAK

December Festivities | Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Did you notice it is 12/12/12? Beside the point. But then again, how could’ve Juan Diego found flowers in bloom atop a typically barren hilltop, and what’s more, flowers not native to his homeland? Such is the partial story of the Virgin Mary appearing on the Hill of Tepeyac, Mexico. Mary in her Mexican guise went through a title change in 1990s form Patroness of the Philippines to Patroness of the Americas, Empress of Latin America, and Protectress of Unborn Children. Ah, the Popes and their crazy antics! The title of the Queen of Mexico seems to have stayed with her through it all. And rightly so. She is quite something: wearing blue-green mantel with stars over an exquisite golden dress tied high with a belt, she hovers above on a crescent moon supported by a cherub with sunrays emanating all around her. Let’s not forget that she was also identified as the Woman of the Apocalypse, by one Miguel Sánchez, a Novohispanic priest, writer and theologian. She covers a lot of ground being divinely dressed in Aztec symbolism, pregnant under that high sash and a figure in the Book of Revelations, the final book of the New Testament. She is Mexico. Hail The Queen!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December Festivities | Hanukkah | Hava Nagila

There are many ways to play it…

Sunset, December 8 to nightfall, December 16

December Festivities | Bodhi Day | Three Monks

Celebrated on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, or December 8th in Japan, in many Buddhist countries, Bodhi Day commemorates the day Siddhārtha Gautama got his Buddha shit together after a prolonged sit-in under ficus religiosa – that is to say, he awoke, understood the nature of things, became enlightened. 
     And figuring stuff out is what “Three Monks / The Three Buddhist Priests (三个和尚, San ge he shang)” is all about. This short animation was produced after the Chinese Cultural Revolution and was released at the beginning of 1980s. The story is based on an old Chinese saying “three monks, no water” or “One monk will shoulder two buckets of water, two monks will share the load, but add a third and no one will want to fetch water.”
     “Three Monks” is a gentle treatise on how pride can interfere with perceived work allocation and, in my mind, poses a question “Is a major calamity really required for us to get our shit together together?”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Festivities | St. Nicholas Day | Skip the saccharine and get real with Eartha Kitt, and some Queens

St. Nicholas "Lipensky"
Russian icon from
Lipnya Church of St. Nicholas
in Novgorod
St. Nicholas Day is a European tradition. It is a day on which Nicholas lives up to his reputation and brings gifts to children. Why would this be restricted to the children is beyond me, and I take a cue from wonderful Eartha Kitt – been awful good!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fashion | Giorgio’s One Night with The Dragon

At the start of June 2012, Georgio Armani went to Beijing, China to showcase three of his collections. I am late to the party, but the festive season is now, so last minute checking out of what’s out there, in this case a.k.a. dreaming, is absolutely warranted. This Green Dragon Dress is sure something.

Read also: WWD “Giorgio Armani Wows Beijing” by Luisa Zargani and Kathleen E. McLaughlin

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Music | Female singer-songwriters №5: Terry Lynn

Gentle sounding wallflower Terry is not. She's all Jamaican sound but this is no cocktail in the Caribbean sun kind of thing, unless you are thinking Molotov. She talks of Jamaica as a place of “no unity, no love, nobody [getting] love round [Jamaica] again” and stays optimistic in the face of violence, corruption and poverty and what she sees and hears in Waterhouse – an impoverished area of Kingston, Jamaica. 

Alright, alright, it’s not all anger and gloom. She has dance tunes, too, like “Jamaican Girls”.


The System was shot on location in Porus, Jamaica utilising HD video shot by the Rickards Bros using PDR's still-photography techniques of the Afflicted Yard.

The composition, texture and use of natural light in The System is intentionally similar to a series of photographs taken by PDR in 2007 known as Friday Morning Market.

The photographs from this series documented a day in the life of a typical slaughterhouse located at the back of a community market in rural Jamaica.

In The System, the struggling of doomed animals, the brutality and indifference of the butchers and the slaughterhouse itself is presented as a series of visual metaphors that relate to the lyrics in Terry Lynn's song.

To be precise, the violence and nonchalance of the killers are direct references to the police while the pigs are a clear reference to the victims of police violence within a seemingly inescapable garrison - the slaughterhouse.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Music | Tricky tells it like is

"Ghetto knows that you don't deserve."

I have a soft spot for Tricky. He is one clever and intense mother.

To quote DominoRecords who uploaded this video on YouTube, “Ghetto Stars is a dark, tense and heavy track about the reality of the gangster lifestyle, too often glamourised in music. Tricky tells it like it is, "Ghetto Stars don't go far, ghetto traps locked behind bars" and "...riding in Zephyrs while my Nan plays the bingo.” ” 

The track features vocals of Franky Riley. She penned it, too. Tricky describes how and what in his post on the “Mixed Race” album, “I wrote all Franky’s lyrics except this one. I just played her this dark, heavy track which I only had a chorus for, went out for a couple of hours, and… wow. She wrote exactly what I was thinking. It’s a gangster song, that tells it straight without glamorising it. Poverty breeds crime – people don’t just wake up in the morning and want to be a gangster. Some rap music glamorises the gangster lifestyle, I’ve had real gangsters in my family, three of my family have been murdered, two of them have been shot, one of them stabbed, I remember not seeing my uncle for years, and asking my great grandmother where he was and her saying he’s in prison but at least I know he’s safe, and at least I know where he is.  Having friends like Freddie Foreman, they all tell me to keep going with my music – they say that there’s nothing glamorous about that lifestyle. Ghetto Stars don’t go far, ghetto traps, locked behind bars.”

And if that wasn’t enough, here is Tricky and Franky’s take on “Piece of Me” originally done by Britney Spears.

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