Iceland, as another planet

Friday, 19 December, 2014

Now here’s a way to look at a holiday to Iceland… view it as if it were another planet, in another solar system, as San Francisco based designer and filmmaker Alex Cornell, did recently.

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“Purple Rain”, starts with a B flat suspended 2 with a D in the bass

Friday, 19 December, 2014

When I think of eighties music, I think of… eighties music, and then find something else to give thought to. “Purple Rain”, by US musician Prince however says a lot about how much of the music of the time could have been. In my humble opinion that is. Like the track or not though, its back story is fascinating:

The stage is dark. A chord rings out. It’s an unusual chord – a B flat suspended 2 with a D in the bass. A year from this night, the sound of that chord will be enough to drive audiences into hysteria. But right now, in this club, the crowd of 1,500 or so people listen quietly, because it’s the first time they are hearing the song that the chord introduces.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Friday, 19 December, 2014

2 and a half stars
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies scene

Two years after the release of An Unexpected Journey, and the third installment in the elongated series of films based on British author J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit, The Battle of the Five Armies, trailer, directed by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson (“Heavenly Creatures”, “King Kong”), finally reaches cinema screens.

Having spent what seems like an inordinate amount of time travelling through Middle Earth to reach Lonely Mountain, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a Hobbit, and his Dwarf companions, commence fortifying its cavernous interior, under the directions of Thorin (Richard Armitage), as a number of armies advance towards them.

Fans of Tolkien’s book will no doubt enjoy seeing the film adaptation of the story come together, but for those with a more casual interest, there’s really not all that much to focus on. Indeed, there’s spectacle and splendor aplenty, but as with the previous two titles, so little substance. One, rather than three films, would have been the idea.

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Gifts that give, but give differently

Friday, 19 December, 2014

If you’re looking to give this holiday season, but give a little differently, perhaps even give someone something of the not so material type, Zen Habits has put together some suggestions that may fit such a bill.

The holiday season is here, and with it comes consumer madness. I’m not a fan of buying a bunch of gifts and getting into credit card debt just to stress yourself out more and work harder to pay off the bills, all to add to the needless clutter we already have in our homes. So I say opt out.

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This is the captain speaking, is an Instagram photographer aboard?

Friday, 19 December, 2014

In NSW, and I dare say in many other places, motorists are not permitted to handle their mobile phones whatsoever while they are driving. They are however able to pass their device to a passenger, but that’s about all. Needless to say taking Instagram photos is clearly out of the question.

Airline pilots appear to be bound by similar regulations, though as this collection of images goes to show, they don’t always seem to adhere to them, unless of course another crew member, someone who is non flight deck personnel, is actually taking the photos.

Perhaps airlines could consider assigning someone the role of flight photographer… many of these pictures, by sheer virtue of the circumstances in which they are taken, are stunning.

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Where you can walk on water but it’s no miracle

Thursday, 18 December, 2014

There’s a lake in Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains, where the water sometimes freezes so slowly, that the resulting ice appears to be crystal clear. So if you are nearby, and are edging your way across the lake’s surface, you are in effect walking on what looks like water, rather than ice.

An explanation of how the crystal clear ice forms can be found here.

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The best of the best ever groundbreaking albums

Thursday, 18 December, 2014

As you would expect, works by Kanye West, Radiohead, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Nirvana, Micheal Jackson, The Ramones, Kraftwerk, Carole King, Miles Davis, The Byrds, Loretta Lynn, The Mothers of Invention, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Ray Charles, and Woody Guthrie, are listed among the forty most groundbreaking albums of all time.

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Some significant scientific achievements and breakthroughs in 2014

Thursday, 18 December, 2014

Twenty-fourteen, the year that was… a summary of what Quora member Howie Reith considers to be significant scientific achievements and discoveries of the last twelve months.

In December of this year a DNA analysis of human remains was completed. Those remains were conclusively determined to be those of King Richard III, the infamous 15th century monarch of England.

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I come from the land of the flat white… or do I?

Thursday, 18 December, 2014

The flat white, a coffee brew that’s kind of like a latte, and also a cappuccino but with less froth and an absence of sprinkled chocolate, is apparently taking hold in the US. I can’t say I’m a flat white fan, hence the surely crude description I offered of it, but if the drink is amassing a following elsewhere in the world that can’t be a bad thing.

But in the States, where cappuccino foam became wetter, not dryer and stiffer, we never found the need for such a drink. Still, Americans have a yen for adopting trends from the Commonwealth. From wetting the parched gullets of Aussies and Kiwis, the flat white eventually made its way to the hip and posh cafes of London, and has been migrating to the U.S. over the last couple years, as everyone from New York to the New York Times to the New York Post to Vogue began declaring it their new favorite coffee drink.

What I didn’t know however is that there appears to some dispute between Australian and New Zealand baristas as to who devised the brew. We’ve been here before though haven’t we? When it comes to frothing up certain diary products, the two countries seem to find themselves at loggerheads. Why is that?

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And that was 2014…

Wednesday, 17 December, 2014

I’m getting ready to close off for the year, in fact I did last week, but don’t think I’m taking it easy, there’s still plenty on the to-do lists to get through before the festivities proper can commence. Nonetheless disassociated has been, during these last few days, in the ultra capable, and ever dependable, hands of the WP timestamp.

Maybe timestamp should run the site permanently?

Anyway that means there’s another couple of days of posts coming at you until the end of the week, including, just maybe, for old time’s sake, a film review.

Anyway, I shall return on Monday, 12 January 2015, and take this opportunity to thank you for reading along. May your year end break be safe and happy. Here’s some music, Reflektor, by Arcade Fire to go out on… I hope you enjoy it, the video is certainly intriguing. And in the words of Arcade Fire, see you on other side…

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