March 28th, 2003


...and uncut

A time-traveller wanders the halls of the St Petersburg Hermitage Museum, moving from period to period as he wanders from room to room.

Sound simple enough, an amusing diversion and an insight into different periods of Russian art and life.

What makes it special is that it's an unedited 96 minute single shot. Two years to set it all up, 96 minutes to shoot it. Words fail me.

More here.

Remember the War

It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.)

But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.

Yup, it's a fantastic article comparing Bush with Hitler's rise to power. Nicely scary comparison, well written.


Watching Buffy this evening. The episode was prretty good, but people kept talking over it, so I left 2/3 of the way through. I don't mind people talking over comedies, but when it's something I'm trying to get an emotional investiture in, constant distractions and discussion just distance me from it. There's no point watching drama if you're not going to care about it, after all.

And then they started watching Se7en and I figured that while I haven't seen it in a few years, I've seen it several times, so I can happily have it on in the background without worrying about it. Except that I'd apparently forgotten more than I thought. Andrew hadn't seen it at all and after the third time someone said "I don't remember this bit, oh now I do." I decided that if I stayed I'd just be grumpy. I now really want to watch it again, but I guess I can wait until someone else is about who fancies it.

What I can do is get around to playing Quake2, which I Kazaaed a few days ago. I haven't played it for about 3 years, so want to see how long it takes me to get back in the saddle...

Cool Tech Alert

Got lots of MP3s? Do most of them have the wrong ID3 tags and filenames?

I've handily spent dozens of hours downloading programs and swearing at the wilful incompetence of their programmers to find the perfect solution to your problems.

You need MusicBrainz and MP3 Studio.

MusicBrainz fingerprints each MP3 by it's frequency levels and then looks up the likely track name (which you can then check and correct as necessary). It then updates the tags to match the information.

MP3 Studio takes the tags and uses them to rename the files. I rename all of mine to "d:\my music\artist\album\tracknumber - trackname" which keeps them all nicely arranged.

Between them they can deal with pretty much all of your MP3s.