Two Stops Down

A journal on photography by Thomas Riggs

Coffee and Cigarettes

If I’ve been quiet with my posts lately, it’s because I’ve been trying to decide which of the 11 vignettes in Jim Jarmusch’s star-studded “Coffee and Cigarettes” (2003) I enjoy most.

I’ve come to love this film so much probably because of:

  1. its sheer awkward brilliance;
  2. the photographic feel of stringing together many conceptually (and visually!) linked shorts.

I tried finding a decent clip available online, but there’s not many. I do heartily recommend seeing it if you can, though.

A new D&D adventure: The Downfall of Ammysk

Kyle and Ben with lots of funny-shaped dice

The first part of The Downfall of Ammysk (RSS), Ben’s homebrew Dungeons & Dragons adventure, is now up on HuffDuffer and will released a part a week, like previous games. I think it’s our best set of recordings yet, or at least our best effort at roleplaying.

I have it on some authority, namely Ben’s, that we won’t actually be finishing the story. (Plus, the last session’s recording cuts out early. Oops.) But who knows, maybe Daniel and the others will return in some other tale of adventure!

The players in the recordings, clockwise from their sitting positions around the mic, are me (Daniel), Ian (Belorin), Barend (Gregory), Hannah (Tomira), Kyle (Solitaire) and finally Ben behind the DM screen.

Universal Design Studio's amazing space for Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Installation

A few weeks ago, I went on a whim to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year show at the Natural History Museum here in London. What really surprised me (aside from the rather intimidating “10 Years and Under” category) was the amazing design of the space, something I found out was undertaken by Universal Design Studio:

Each individual photograph is displayed on a custom-designed light panel, allowing the viewer to fully appreciate every minute detail within each spectacular image. Theatre-style track lighting throughout the exhibition then cleverly highlights the existing architecture and places the exhibition within the context of one of the Museum’s beautiful original Waterhouse galleries.

Universal Design Studio PR

The effect is something like how I’d expect an art exhibition on the Enterprise to look like. Sadly they’re not totally photo-quality prints, but the effect is still great. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is on at the NHM until the 11th of March.

On notebooks

*hums the Imperial March*

I think a writer's notebook is the best way there is to immortalize really bad ideas.

— Stephen King

I've been looking for a source for this quote for a while.

There's certainly a stage when you start keeping notebooks that this seems like downer advice, but once you've filled a few and really opened yourself up to your ideas (once you've gotten good at starting, as Merlin would put it), it's helpful to be aware of the necromantic power the notebook can have over old, forgotten scribblings.

[via]

Things you might not know about Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey

The bone-wielding ape who represents the evolution of the species is called Moonwatcher in all versions of the screenplay.

The moon Monolith is indeed called TMA-1 (Tycho Magnetic Anomaly, after the Tycho crater) in the original screenplay, as it appears in Clarke's book. The Earth and Jupiter monoliths are named TMA-0 and TMA-2 respectively, despite not being in Tycho. [Wiki]

There was voice-over narration planned throughout most of the second and third acts of the film.

The cost of Floyd's flight to the moon is $10,000, first class.

The script describes Floyd as "reading from [an] electronic newspad", described in Kubrick's scrawled screenplay notes as having "facsimile selections of NY Times, Time magazine, Playboy, scientific periodicals; an electronic library".

Ominously, the mission to Jupiter was officially dubbed MAXAR, as in Maximum Acceptable Risk.

Depending on which version of the script you read, the HAL-9000 was originally programmed by either Mr. Fried or Mr. Arkany.

See also: The Other HAL

Todo.py and wc.py moved to GitHub

My posts on todo.py and wc.py, two basic Python scripts I made as learning exercises, still get a good number of page-views on this site. So, I've moved the original code of both to GitHub, where you can have better access to the source code and contribute your changes.

The wc.py script has been updated, too. It will now run properly on new systems (e.g., computers other than mine, sorry about that), and it has a built-in help command.

Riggzy/Wc.py - GitHub

Riggzy/Todo.py - GitHub