Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah

Recorded live on Nulle Part Ailleurs, Canal + (1995). And this short but touching interview following the release of his first E.P.:

"... And what do I want people to get from the music? Whatever they want, you know... Whatever you like."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Must see TV, fall '06

Although I don't watch much TV during summer, it can be nice to get addicted to a few good tv shows especially during the long and cold winter nights. And that might includes evil cylons, a cheerleader, a serial killer, a few refugees and other new yorkers:

1) & 2) Battlestar Galactica (SciFi, Fridays at 9pm) and Heroes (NBC, Mondays at 9pm): in a close tie, my two favorite shows these days, Battlestar Galactica (BSG in short) is a post-9/11 re-imagining of the late-70s scifi series following the last survivors of the human race on their quest to planet... Earth. More than a scifi show, BSG is an extremely well crafted, well acted (Mary McDowell and James Edward Olmos as President Laura Roslin and Admiral William Adama are fantastic!!) drama that happens to take place in space. Heroes, the new (only?) hit show on NBC, is basically a superhero comic-book on tv filled with high-octane tightly written plots and attaching human characters, regular people all over the world discover their new talents (a time/space binding Japanese office worker, an indestructible cheerleader, a telepathic cop, a dual-personality hooker, a flying corrupt congressman, ...) and their place in the universe. Save the cheerleader, save the world!

3) Dexter (Showtime, Sundays at 10pm) Dexter is a brand new show starring Michael C. Hall (David from Six Feet Under, one of my favorite character from my favorite show but then again was there any character I didn't love on this show?) as forensic expert (just like in CSI) Dexter who happens to be... a serial killer. But a good one. You see, Dexter has urges, urges to kill and his late adoptive father, a cop, taught him how to canalize these urges to do some good and get rid of people (criminals, other serial killers) that the justice system or police won't deal with. The show takes place in the sweaty, dirty side of Miami and Michael C. Hall is brilliant as usual.

4) Lost (ABC, Wednesdays at 9pm): still good, still too many questions unanswered (but there of course lays the genius of the show), a few answered ones (why the plane crashed, who are the Others) and while a bit slow in the first seven episode of this mini-season 3, the show ended on a cliffhanger and resumes in February with 15 episodes in a row

5) How I Met Your Mother (CBS, Mondays at 8pm): a good ol' fashioned sitcom a la Friends about love and life in New York City. Not really original but funny. Plus the characters live in a building a block away from mine (on w75th St.) which adds to the list of sitcoms taking place on the Upper West Side: Seinfeld and Mad About You (both at 129 w81st St), Sex and the City (Charlotte lives at 275 Central Park West) or Will & Grace (both living at 155 Riverside Drive).

What about you? What are your favorite shows these days?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Songs That We Sing

Charlotte Gainsbourg's (daughter of legendary french singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin) new album 5:55 was co-written by Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) and Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) for the lyrics and Air for the music and produced by Nigel Godrich (producer of Radiohead). That's some nice people gathered here and the resulting mix is working quite well with Charlotte's personality and voice.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bill Clinton and Vaclav Havel

Today I went during lunch break to a discussion panel at Columbia University (which is about 100 feet north of Nasa) between former US and Czech presidents Bill Clinton and Vaclav Havel entitled The Challenges Of New Democracies. Clinton made a touching tribute to Vaclav Havel reminding people that along with Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, he had been the only person to radically change the course of a country in a non-violent way. The discussion topics between the two ex-presidents ranged from democracies around the world (differences between democracies and majoritarian republics, should every country be a democracy?), positive and negative interdependencies, the status of the US as #1 superpower as a "way overrated concept", Iraq (surprisingly, Clinton doesn't share the optimism of the current administration "we need to get people out of the killing business and back into the politics business"), the price of freedom and civil liberties, Hilary ("I can't say too much. I have a wife in the Senate, so whatever she says, I'm for"), post-communism and the after-presidency life where Clinton seems to really enjoy what he's achieving with his foundation.

Now Bill Clinton is one of my favorite person on the planet (a bit of a "clintonista" as my friend Jayson would put it) so it was a real treat to see him live for the first time (even more so after watching a conference press with W. this morning on CNN the differences between the two are even more striking, for one, one of them knows actually how to speak). And I couldn't help myself during the full hour wishing the 22nd Amendment (which limits every presidents to a maximum of two mandates) to be abolished. Bill seemed to somewhat share my views on that point ("Fortunately for you, there's the 22nd Amendment or else I think I could still be there if office!").

A video of the conference is now online on Columbia's website (RealPlayer video) and a podcast of the event will be available this week-end on iTunes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Improve your Firefox

A list of very useful extensions and themes (all of them compatible with the brand new Firefox 2, which is still better imho than the new Internet Explorer 7) to customize and improve your internet browsing:

  • DictionnarySearch: looks up selected word in an online dictionary
  • ForecastFox: get international weather forecast and displays it in status bar or any toolbar
  • Foxmarks: synchronizes your bookmarks across machines
  • GooglePreview: inserts web site previews in google and yahoo search results
  • IE View: open pages in Internet Explorer via Firefox menu
  • Image Zoom: adds zoom functionality for images
  • Map+: view a map of selected address
  • Tab Catalog: shows thumbnail-style catalog of tabs
  • Tabbrowser Preferences: enhances control over some aspects of tabbed browsing
  • DownThemAll: download manager/accerlerator
  • Sage: lightweight RSS/Atom newsfeed reader/aggregator
Here's also a list of cool themes compatible with Firefox 2: Noia, iPox, Aluminium Kai and iFox. There are tons and tons of other extensions and themes available on the Firefox add-ons website.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Noir Désir - Le Vent l'Emportera

A bit of french rock for tonight. One of my favorite song from french rock band Noir Désir recorded live in Evry (2002).

Note to self

Note to self: don't forget to sue Warner Bros for a blatant copy (parody?) of my Halloween costume. Warner just released this pic of the soon-to-be-released director's cut DVD of Superman 2. Just wait for my Wonder Woman costume next year...

A Fox News Moment

From the always entertaining but not so bright Bill O'reilly of the always entertaining but not so bright Fox News network:

"Halloween is a $5 billion industry in the USA, second only to Christmas in consumer sales? And the Eve of All Hallows has now spread to many other countries. But France is rethinking the trick-or-treat situation. According to the magazine "Le Monde," the French have begun to reject Halloween because of the rise of anti-American feeling in that nation. And that's fine with me. I'm still boycotting France. Besides how would you like to say Bon-bons ou batons all night long? That's "trick-or-treat" in Francais. Bon-bons ou batons, bon-bons ou batons.
Ridiculous? You make the call."

We've made the call, Bill, we have. Besides a Bill O'reilly boycott should always been taken as a compliment.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nasa News

Space Shuttle Discovery (isn't she beautful?) is currently gently rolling out to Launch Pad 39B in preparation for launch on mission STS-116 to the International Space Station. The shuttle's payload includes the next space station components: the P5 integrated truss segment and the SPACEHAB module The launch window for mission STS-116 opens Dec. 7.

This amazing new view of the Orion Nebula (a composite of visible and infrared light) was created using both NASA's Spitzer and Hubble telescopes. (click on the pic for more info and a larger high-def image) In other shuttle and Hubble (shubble?) news, a new 900 million dollars mission was decided last week to go and repair the aging Hubble Telescop. Great news for all astronomers around the world as this telescop brought unprecedented discoveries about the origins and the inner mechanics of our lil' universe.

No, it's not an inside view of my stomach after the last Halloween party but a really frakking big storm on Saturn captured by orbiting spacecraft Cassini (this spacecraft is navigated, between pregnancies, by my dear friend Julie at JPL where I used to work): 8,000km (5,000 miles) wide with winds up to 550km/h (350 miles/h)... (click on the pic for more info and a movie of the storm)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cat Power - The Greatest

Cat Power (stage name for singer Charlyn "Chan" Marshall) is a strange little lady. I saw her recently live in NYC and she seems really shy and to have her own world (which is a good thing) but she's a real artist with a warm, original and evocative voice. She just released a new album (The Greatest).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Midterm elections (updated update)

It's this time of the year again! Votes recount days are coming! The people have put the Democrats back in charge of the House, and--as of this writing--are two seats away from retaking the Senate.

Hearing people talking on the subway or at a coffee shop, most of them seemed rather suprised and happy about the Dems victory, but then again we're in NY...

A good news never coming alone, Bush just announced Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resignation.

It's raining today outside. But it's a nice day.

UPDATE: it's now 50-49 for the Democrats as they just won Montana. Only one race left in Virginia where Jim Webb leads by 3,000 votes over the prett much racist republican Sen. George Allen. In case Webb is declared winner of this race, Democrates will have control over both houses.

UPDATE 2: and done. Now the Congress is in the hand of the Dems. Hopefully they'll know what to do with it. A nice day indeed. ;-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Log Lady Diaries 5

I play my part on my stage.
I tell what I can to form the perfect answer.
But that answer cannot come before all are ready to hear.
So I tell what I can to form the perfect answer.

Sometimes my anger at the fire is evident.
Sometimes it is not anger, really.
It may appear as such, but could it be a clue?
The fire I speak of is not a kind fire.

Nina Simone - For A While

Effortlessly beautiful.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween in NYC

A few random shots of Halloween in New York City... really creepy (left-click for larger pictures)