Saturday, June 30, 2012

11 Months, 3000 pictures and a lot of coffee.

Amazing stop-action animation I found on This is Colossal.

Description from Youtube:
Started out as just a collection of snaps as I stripped down an engine bought off ebay. (To replace my old engine, which had suffered catastrophic failure). The snaps were so that I remembered how everything went, so I could put it back together again.

Then I realised it'd be quite cool to make it an animation. found some suitable music, rekindled my ancient knowledge of Premiere, storyboarded it, shot it as I worked on the engine (my poor DSLR got covered in engine oil), this was the result.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bill Ramsey climbs a 5.14b at 52 years old

I was feeling old this week. I pulled a back muscle at the climbing gym trying to make a sideways reach that was just a little too far for comfort. I went ahead and climbed for two days after the injury hoping it would work itself out, and of course it got worse. Now my ribcage hurts when I breath deep and the pain is excruciating when I sneeze or cough. I'll take it easy this weekend and be back on Monday.
 At 41 years old, I've got back into climbing after ten years. I don't have any kind of expectations of greatness, or even mediocrity. I am only trying to stave off the oncoming glacier of old age. We all know it's coming, but if we're healthy, active and lucky we might hold back that glacier a little bit longer.

This video is pure inspiration... Bill Ramsey, who is a philosophy professor at the University of LasVegas, did a 5.14b climb a week before his 52nd birthday. To give you some idea of the incredible difficulty of this climb, the original Yosemite grading system stopped at 5.10 as the most difficult climbs. But then as the years passed it added 5.11, 5.12, etc. as climbers continued to mount more and more technically difficult climbs. I think the current record is set at about 5.15...
 My current best is still at a mere 5.10.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Susumu Yokota - Secret Garden

Susumu Yokota's videos are always as visually delicious as they are musically.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Alfred Schnittke: Concerto Grosso no.1 (1977), V. Rondo: Agitato

I would rank this among the top five pieces of music that have influenced me the most. I first heard the piece by Schnittke when I was about twenty years old and it floored me how effortlessly it went back and forth between musical styles and eras. It's almost as if he took a hatchet to Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky and Cage and then meticulously stitched the broken pieces back together one note at a time into a hauntingly beautiful Frankenstein symphony.

For the attention-deficit among you, here is the spectacular final seven minutes of the concerto.

But I would highly suggest watching the entire thing here because there are themes that are introduced early in the piece which surface again and again in various forms like inside jokes.

A Far Cry - Schnittke: Concerto Grosso no.1 (1977) from Cosmos Lee on Vimeo.

Some Folks Call It A Sling Blade

The short film that inspired the Oscar Winning film, Sling Blade.
Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris & Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In 2007, when The Four Horsemen was filmed, Ayaan Hirsi Ali was originally supposed to take part in the discussion but had to cancel at the last moment due to a personal emergency. Now in 2012, the discussion continues without the late Christopher Hitchens but includes Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


The climber, Dai Koyamada, travelled from Japan to the Swiss alps four times between 2010 and 2012 to work on this particular bouldering problem. Bouldering problems are climbs that don't require ropes because they remain close to the ground, but rank in difficulty between V0 (easiest) and V16 (impossibly difficult)... I, myself, can do somewhere around a V2 or V3 climb... But Dai Koyamada here solves a V16 climb...Notice how, at certain points, his entire body is hanging from two fingertips and a single toe-hook.
It's a long video, so if you get impatient, his final ascent begins around the 12:00 minute mark.

「The Story of Two Worlds low start V16」 from project_daihold on Vimeo.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Super technical skateboarding tricks (1000 fps slow motion)

I'll admit it, I am totally out of touch on the subtle nuances of contemporary skateboarding. It used to be that the kick flip, the heel flip, the nollie, the varial flip and the pop-shove it were all you needed to know with street skateboarding... But wow, these super slow-motion shots show just how technical the sport has become.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Richard Dawkins & Daniel Dennett. Oxford, 9 May 2012

A discussion between evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins and neuroscientist/philosopher, Daniel Dennett on the similarities between biological evolution and the evolution of culturally contagious ideas, or "memes", such as religion.