Tuesday, July 31, 2007

finally

Rospuda valley will be protected: link

night on earth

playing by heart

Parler d'amour, c'est comme danser sur de l'architecture:

and what about humans?


SF, 16th and Bryant, 22nd of June 2007, artist: Rigo

Monday, July 30, 2007

if

If an incredibly handsome, cute and funny guy is asking you out for a date (or at least a phone number or an email address) after seeing you with wet hair, a completely red face (resulting from spending 20 min in sauna) and crazy and confused look in your eyes (resulting from the embarrassment of having to talk to the cute guy with the red face), and moreover he remembers your name after meeting you only once, 8 months ago, you:
(a) tell him that you will not give him your phone number because you do not like phones and you would anyway never pick it up if he would call you
(b) tell him that you are in a hurry because you have an appointment with a friend
(c) tell him that you do not feel like dating anybody right now anyway
(d) afterwards you wonder what is wrong with you
(e) make a resolution (that you most likely will not keep) that you will agree to go for a date with the next person that will ask you out
(f) wonder if the cute guy will think that you are crazy if you show up at his work tomorrow and say that after sleeping the issue over you decided to go for a dinner with him
(g) all of the above are correct

PS Sauna afterthought: Celulities on the black skin looks MUCH MUCH worse than on the white one.

scientists at work

Check this out. Assen installed a webcam in his lab that 24/7 records what he does at his bench: link (sometimes this link does not want to load, then go to Krogan lab webpage and there click the last link on the page).

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rospuda - cyberprotest

Send an email to Polish Prime Minister asking him to undertake actions that will prevent damage of Rospuda Valley that is planned to start on 1st of August. Just fill in your name and an email address: link.

Friday, July 27, 2007

sleepless in SF

I haven't slept since more than 36h and I am still not sleepy. I worked 18h straight (from 1 in the night till 6.50 in the evening) and I am not tired. I think I turned into a robot. But who wouldn't after spending 5h seeding 1200 bacterial strains on agar plates and 10.5h spent in front of fluorescent microscope looking at subcellular localization of certain protein in around 16'000 worms.
When I close my eyes I actually see spotted green worms snaking around me, distinctly reminding me of leopard sharks cruising around their prey...
Maybe that's why I can not fall asleep. At least that gives me more time to experiment with my camera. Unfortunately, most of the pictures that I take now are self-portraits, as other people run away as soon as they see my camera :-(

View of one part of my room:


In the background one of the most beautiful gifts I ever got, and definitely the most unexpected one:

Mr. Cogito

Years after Carpenters' translation Zbigniew Herbert's poems make their way back to the American bookshops thanks to Valles translation: see a NYT review.
If translating poetry in general is challenging, then in particular translating Herbert must be a nightmare. So even though according to the NYT review the new translation is far from being perfect, I would still think that it should be a-must-read for any poetry lover.

Nothing Special by Zbigniew Herbert

nothing special
boards paint
nails paste
paper string

mr artist
builds a world
not from atoms
but from remnants

forest of arden
from umbrella
ionian sea
from parkers quink

just as long as
his look is wise
just as long as
his hand is sure -

and presto the world -

hooks of flowers
on needles of grass
clouds of wire
drawn out by the wind

Thursday, July 26, 2007

for Radzik :-)

Unfortunately, these are photos of my parents' garden:


Grease-sing-a-long

Did I mention that I went to "Grease-sing-a-long" at The Castro with Anne and Sebastian few months ago? I just found a video from that evening:



We take the pressure and we throw away
Conventionality belongs to yesterday
There is a chance that we can make it so far
We start believing now that we can be who we are

Artist: Frankie Valli
Song: Grease

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

day in pictures

Of course I had to test my camera today. So I was not even sorry that my major experiment did not work out because of some weird fungi contamination.
Instead of spending 6h in micro-world looking at worms at the fluorescent microscope, I spent that time exploring the macro world and possibilities of my new camera.
Here are few first pictures.

Picture number 2 - view of the lab from my desk. Wow, 18-55mm lens is pretty wide already...


Picture number 40 - bushes in front of UCSF. Again, 18-55mm deals pretty well with taking macro pictures:


Picture number 97 - skyping with my parents. Polarizer helps to get rid of "computer interference" (or however it is called):

ultimate happiness

Already yesterday Lev concluded that my unjustified happiness springing from the fact that I started working hard in the lab, can be only explained by me entering the maniac phase of the bipolar disorder. I wonder what he would say today seeing me running around the lab, laughing, jumping and taking pictures of everything and everybody WITH MY NEWLY ARRIVED NIKON D40!!! It's amazing that such a small thing can make somebody so happy...
So far I only got 18-55 and 55-200 Zoom Lenses and I hope that I will not regret not having wide angle zoom lens during my hike in Sierra Nevada next week. But I already tested VR (vibration reduction) system of my 55-200 lens and I have to admit that it works amazingly well - basically removing need of carrying a tripod with you!
The stupid mistake that I made was not ordering immediately the second battery. I guess I should still buy it somewhere before I go for my week long hike.
On this note I wanted to thank everybody who helped me decide which camera I should buy, especially Lars, who provided me with the most comprehensive information about Nikon D40. Actually, I am going to add his comments to my previous post about the camera, in case anybody else would also find them useful.

Framingham Study

Apparently, obesity is contagious. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that people are most likely to become obese (chances of that incease by 57%) when a friend becomes obese. NYT article speculates why that would be the case.

rabbits

Don't you just love those of your friends who can always come up with an appropriate poem, quote or any other form of cultural reference to anything that you say, pulling them out of their memory as magicians pull out rabbits from their hats?

Last Thursday I shared with Assen and Ganka theory on "men's modes" presented to me some time ago by Lev. According to this theory men have 4 modes: eating, sleeping, fucking and bullshitting. Assen contemplated on that for a second and then with all the seriousness said: "Lev forgot about one more mode: shitting. As Bukowski says: A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement." It's good to know that men are that simple.

Other example. Yesterday I was skyping with BB and somehow we got into the subject of who is sleeping or sleeping not with whom, why and why not, and also who finds whom attractive, and again why and why not. There, not the first and surely not the last time in my life, I had to admit that (esthetically) I find girls much more attractive than guys. BB kindly suggested that maybe then I should consider dating girls. I told him that I did not think that it was what I wanted as I tend to enjoy sex with guys a lot, and even though I could imagine somehow technically solving this issue, still - maybe because I have a battered wife syndrome or something - I simply like guys regardless of their physical appearance. To that Bartek came up with Shakespeare's sonnet: Were kisses all the joys in bed, One woman would another wed. (Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, IV)
I asked him if he knew all Shakespeare's sonnets, and I said that he definitely should, as then all girls would find him irresistible. He answered (in Polish, of course): "Nie wkurwiaj mnie". There isn't really direct translation of that into English. I think the closest would be: "Don't fuck with me". And here I have to add that BB NEVER EVER swears, neither in English nor in Polish.

PS Two links sponsored by BB: intellectual whores and ladder wiki

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

quote of a day

Truth springs from argument amongst friends.
- David Hume

Monday, July 23, 2007

guide to successful dating:

rational arguments always work with girls



PS two lovely movies: "Before Sunset" and "Before Sunrise"

one laptop per child

It's not perfect, but it is ingenious: link

update

Dear Diary,
I am sorry that I did not write anything for such a long time, but I was really busy. I reached a stage in my SF-life that I decided it was highest time to start working really hard and figure out if the project that I had started made any sense.
That also made me realize that there must be something seriously wrong about me as working hard made me feel extremely happy...
I have to admit that now I feel even more happy than I felt before. Moreover, I am kind of proud of myself as it feels like my days are longer than 24h - I am still able to live my busy social life and work hard at the same time. I also feel that I reached a good balance between work, sports, friends, cultural life and fun.
So if you do not see any post appearing here, do not worry. That means I am just having great time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

inverse correlation

Progesterone and estrogen down, stupidity up. n=1000

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

another one of those

communication barrier

free the rabbit!

What did he do to deserve it?

SF, Guererro and 22nd, 16th of July 2007

missile defense system

Kaczynski meets with Bush and one more time proves how smart he is: link.



But that is even more crazy.

The smarter sex

A woman and a man are involved in a car accident; it's a bad one. Both of their cars are totally demolished but amazingly neither of them are hurt.
After they crawl out of their cars, the woman says, "Wow, just look at our cars! There's nothing left, but fortunately we are unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace for the rest of our days." The man replied, "I agree with you completely.

This must be a sign from God!" The woman continued, "And look at this, here's another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune." Then she hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head in agreement, opens it, drinks half the bottle, and extends it back to the woman. Politely, the woman refuses to accept the bottle.

The man asks, "Aren't you having any?"
The woman replies, "No. I think I'll just wait for the police..."


I just found it in the old email from Vinciane.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

our new house

I decided to check where precisely our new house is located and how much time it will take to get to it from my work.
As I expected it is located slightly further away from my work than the old house (6 vs 5 km), but as most of it is on the bike path along the coast (meaning flat and no street lights) it is not any longer than my previous commute.
What I did not expect is that it is located basically on top of Telegraph Hill, just few meters away from Coit Tower. That of course would explain spectacular views from our roof...
I am very happy that we are moving there, it really seems like a great place to live with so many things happening just 2-3 blocks away from our street.



View "up" from the corner of the street on which our new house is located.

SF, Coit Tower, 15th of July, 2007

View "down" from our new street:

SF, 15th of July 2007

the one with a pig

Andrzej Lepper (leader of Self-Defense Party) and his driver were driving for several days throughout Poland. One day a pig jumped out in front of their limo and as a result of it, got killed. Leppper seeing what has happened asked his driver to go the nearby house and pay the value of the pig to its owner.
The driver came back after around one hour with a cigar in his mouth, a bottle of wine in his hand and torn clothes.
- OMG, what has happened to you? - asked Lepper.
- Well, the farmer gave me the wine and the cigar, his wife made food for me, and their 19-year old daughter enforced wild sex on me...
- Why? What did you tell them?
- That I am a driver of Andrzej Lepper and that I just killed the pig.


Andrzej Lepper i jego kierowca jeździli przez wiele dni po Polsce. Pewnej nocy przed limuzynę wyskoczyła im świnia. Nie przeżyła tego spotkania. Lepper widząc co się stało, kazał kierowcy iść wytłumaczyć wszystko właścicielowi i powiedzieć, że wszelkie straty zostaną zrekompensowane.
Kierowca wrócił dopiero po godzinie z cygarem w zębach, butelką wina w ręce i w poszarpanym ubraniu.
- Mój Boże, co ci się stało? - pyta Lepper.
- No cóż, rolnik dał mi wino, jego żona obiad, a ich 19 letnia córka chwile szalonej, niezapomnianej rozkoszy.
- Cóżeś ty im powiedział?
- Że jestem kierowcą Andrzeja Leppera i właśnie zabiłem świnię.

free bikes in Paris

20,000 heavy-duty bicycles were located in around 750 special racks all over Paris and are free (29 euro/year) to use by both tourists and residents of Paris.
I think that it is a fantastic idea and sincerely hope that it will work out well, encouraging other cities to come up with similar solutions. BBC link
EDIT: better NYT article

Thursday, July 12, 2007

roller coaster

Life likes to play tricks on me. Whenever I decide to slow down, it says: no way!, it's time to speed up, so you'd better hold on!
Whenever I think that things are going well and the situation is stable, then BOOM! earthquake comes.
Just today Lev asked me how my roommates were and I told him that nothing exciting was happening at home and that nothing had changed since the last time he had asked that question.
Right. Ha, ha, ha.
4 hours later I am back at home and what do I learn? Well, nothing special, just that John bought a house in North Beach and that we are going to move there in 1.5 months... If I want to move with them of course.
And you know what? I want to move with him and Kristina. I have no doubts about that. I love them, they are great easygoing roommates and they are almost like family to me.
I love living in Noe Valley as well and I will surely miss it (especially now when Sebastian, Anne, Imke and Thomas are moving in just 2.5 blocks away from my house...). But I love Kristina and John (and Atti) more. It took me less than 30 seconds to decide that I want to move with them and I decided that before I even knew where precisely our new house will be and how it will look like.
By now I saw photos of it and I saw it on the map and I have to say it's great! We will have 4 bedrooms (so we will have one spare room for playing the piano and practicing yoga), bigger "open" kitchen connected with dinning/living room, plus exclusive access to the roof of the house from which we can see the ocean, downtown, Coit Tower and Golden Gate Bridge! Also area in which our house is located (North Beach) is very nice. It is basically Italian district with many little cafes, restaurants and live music, it is close to Chinatown and also just a few minutes away from the beach.
So I guess by now I am pretty excited about the new place and I do not feel that much sorry anymore for moving out of Noe Valley...

Monday, July 9, 2007

so true

The father of three children comes back home and sees his children sitting in front of the house, still in their pyjamas, playing in the mud, surrounded by the empty boxes after Chinese food. The door to his wife’s car were open, as well as the door to their house. There was no sign of their dog. He entered the house and saw that there was even bigger mess than in their front yard. The lamp was lying on the floor, the carpet was rolled under the wall, the TV was on, the dinning room floor was covered by toys and pieces of clothes. The kitchen did not look any better: there was pile of dirty dishes in the sink, remnants of the breakfast were spread all over the kitchen table, a fridge was wide open, dog's food was all over the floor, a broken glass was lying under the table, and next to the back door there was a sand castle…
He run up the stairs, on his way stepping on more toys and children clothes, but he was not paying any attention to that. He was just looking for his wife, worried that maybe she is ill, or that something bad has happened to her. Then he saw that from under the bathroom door the water is leaking to the rest of the house. He opened the door and saw wet towels lying everywhere, lots of foam, more toys left in mess and kilometers of toilet paper that was surrounding everything. Moreover, a mirror and walls were painted with the toothpaste…
He speeded up and entered the bedroom, where he found his wife, lying in the bed, in her pyjamas, reading a book. She looked at him, smiled and asked:
- How was your day, honey?
He looked at her in disbelief and asked:
- What has happened here today?
She smiled again and answered:
- Do you remember, darling, what you ask me every day when you come back home after work? You ask me what the fuck I was doing whole day long.
- Yes – he replied uneasily.
- So today, I was not doing any of the things that I usually do.


Ojciec wraca z pracy i widzi, jak trojka jego dzieci siedzi przed domem, ciagle ubrana w pizamy i bawi sie w blocie wsrod pustych pudelek po chinszczyznie, porozrzucanych po calym ogrodku. Drzwi do auta zony byly otwarte, podobnie jak drzwi wejsciowe do domu i nie bylo najmniejszego sladu po psie. Mezczyzna wszedl do domu i zobaczyl jeszcze wiekszy balagan. Lampa lezala przewrocona, a chodnik zawiniety pod sama sciane. Na srodku pokoju glosno gral telewizor na kanale z kreskowkami, a jadalnia byla zarzucona zabawkami i roznymi czesciami garderoby.
W kuchni nie bylo lepiej: w zlewie stala gora naczyn, resztki sniadania byly porozrzucane po stole, lodowka stala szeroko otwarta, psie jedzenie bylo wyrzucone na podloge, st_uczona szklanka lezala pod stolem, a przy tylnych drzwiach byla usypana kupka z piasku. Mezczyzna szybko wbiegl na schody, depczac przy okazji kolejne zabawki i kolejne ciuchy, ale nie zwazal na to, tylko szukal swojej zony. Zaniepokoil sie, ze moze jest chora, albo ze stalo sie cos powaznego. Zobaczyl, ze spod drzwi do lazienki wyplywa woda. Zajrzal do srodka i zobaczyl mokre reczniki na podlodze, rozlane mydlo i kolejne porozrzucane zabawki. Kilometry papieru toaletowego lezaly porozwijane miedzy tym wszystkim, a lustro i sciany byly wymalowane pasta do zebow.
Przyspieszyl kroku i wszedl do sypialni, gdzie znalazl swoja zone, lezaca na lozku w pizamie i czytajaca ksiazke. Spojrzala na niego, usmiechnela sie i zapytala jak mu minal dzien. Popatrzyl na nia z niedowierzaniem i zapytal:
- Co tu sie dzisiaj dzialo?
Usmiechnela sie ponownie i odpowiedziala:
- Pamietasz, kochanie, ze codziennie jak wracasz z pracy do domu, to pytasz mnie, co ja do cholery dzis robilam?
- Tak - odpowiedzial z niechecia.
- Wiec dzis tego nie zrobilam.

bear's list

I bet this joke is funny only for Polish people:


A bear made a list of animals that he was going to eat. Soon all animals in the forest found out about the list and some of them decided to beg the bear for mercy.
The first animal to pay a visit to the bear was a wolf:
- Hello dear bear. I heard that you have the list of animals that you want to eat.
- Yes, that’s true, dear fox.
- Am I on this list?
- Yes, you are.
- Would you mind moving me a bit down on this list that I can say good bye to my family and have last nice big meal?
- OK, I will move you down a bit – replied the bear.
The second animal that visited the bear was a fox and the situation repeated itself. He also asked if he was on the list and if he could get a few more days of life that he could use to enjoy himself. Again the bear agreed on that.
After the fox several other animals visited the bear and finally also a rabbit came to see him:
- Hello dear bear. I wanted to ask if I am on your list?
- Yes, you are.
- Well, listen bear, could you remove my name from the list?
- No problem, dear rabbit.



Niedzwiedz zrobil sobie liste zwierzat które zje. Dowiedzialy sie o tym lesne zwierzeta.
Wilk postanowil pójsc do niedzwiadka
- Witaj niedzwiadku. Slyszalem ze masz liste zwierzat które zjesz.
- No mam
- A czy ja jestem na tej liscie??
Niedzwiadek wyciàgnàl swoja liste, szuka, szuka i odpowiada:
- No jestes wilku
- A czy móglbym cos jeszcze porzadnego zjesc przed smiercia i pozegnac sie z rodzina??
- No mozesz
Nastepnie lis przychodzi i tez pyta, czy jest na liscie
- Tak, jestes lisie
- No to czy móglbym jeszcze przed smiercia upolowac sobie jakas kurke i skorzystac z ostatnich chwil zycia??
- Mozesz lisie, mozesz
Nastepnie przychodzi zajaczek
- Niedzwiadku czy ja tez jestem na twojej liscie??
- Tak zajaczku jestes
- A czy móglbys mnie z niej wykreslic?
- Nie ma sprawy zajaczku.

press conference

During a press conference in White House one of the journalists asks:
- Mrs President, do we have a proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Iraq has the mass destruction weapon?
- Of course - the president answers - we kept all the bills...


Konferencja prasowa w Bialym Domu:
- Panie Prezydencie, czy mamy dowody na istnienie broni masowego razenia w Iraku?
- Oczywiscie, zachowalismy przeciez wszystkie faktury...

in meantime in Poland...

One of the Polish vice-Prime Ministers, Andrzej Lepper, was sacked today as his name was linked to a major corruption case involving huge bribes. In response to that Lepper withdrew his party (Self Defense) from government raising the prospect of an early general election: link.
Hip hip hurra!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

bottled water

Bartek forwarded to me an interesting article about environmental impact of drinking bottled water. It is an issue that I was considering myself since some time.
In Poland I always drunk bottled mineral water and I even had it delivered (by my father) to Germany. However here, in SF, it seems that tap water is of superb quality (it comes from Yosemite). Moreover, bottled water that you get in the shops is often just a tap water put into the bottle... That's why I hardly ever buy it here, and if I do, I tend to choose Evian or St Pelegrino (which are true mineral waters). But I have to admit that during social events at work - out of laziness and convenience - I often grab a bottle of water. I will do my best to stop that bad habit and I encourage you to do the same.

Once you understand the resources mustered to deliver the bottle of water, it's reasonable to ask as you reach for the next bottle, not just "Does the value to me equal the 99 cents I'm about to spend?" but "Does the value equal the impact I'm about to leave behind?"

Friday, July 6, 2007

iCrazy

I am so happy that somebody said that aloud: see BBC article about the iPhone phenomenon.
With all my love for Apple and Apple products I am still deeply convinced that the vast majority of people who bought iPhone within the very few first days that it is on the market have serious psychological problems. They bought fancy toy to compensate for the lack of love from the side of their parents, draw more attention from friends or even strangers, and in a few days they will be surprised to find out that iPhone is not Prozac and in long term it will not help them solve their life problems. Guys, grow up. Or seek medical help.

Background info for friends in Europe not aware of the iPhone phenomenon in the US:
iPhone is a fancy phone that also has integrated iPod and camera (but as you know vast majority of all other phones on the market can also take photos and play music). The special thing about iPhone is that it is beautiful and elegant (as all Apple products are) and it makes browsing the internet easy - it actually has Safari that works in exactly the same way as on your computer (that is great of course!)
The problem is that you have to buy it for 500-600$ and you can use it only in one network (AT&T), which actually has the worse performance of all networks that you can have in the US. Moreover, you have to sign up for a 2 year contract and during this time pay monthly few of at least 60$...
And to buy this thing people actually queued in front of Apple and AT&T shops. Some of them queued for more than a day! Can you imagine? And all that without ever personally seeing the phone or keeping it in their hands. How insane is that?
When iPhone went on sale I was in Santa Monica and I just happened to pass next to the Apple shop. I was surprised to see around 1000 people queuing there, several TV-cameras, people taking pictures of other people who just bought their iPhone and clapping their hands and cheering for them... Before I realized that it was Apple store, I actually thought that there must be somebody famous there (it was LA in the end...). And yes, there were, the first iPhone owners enjoying their 5 minutes of fame...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I knew it!

The recent study shows that contrary to the common believes women do not talk more than men do. Check out this NYT link.
Anyway, we should not count how much one talks but how much sense what one says makes....

EDIT: BBC article about the same issue and also from there 546 words men never use

beauty

Check out this link: beauty check. It shows results of pretty interesting study which was aimed at understanding what makes certain faces more beautiful than others. Some of the results of this study are pretty disturbing...

that's not funny

If:
(1) you have lots of free time
(2) are normal
(3) have a good sense of humor
(4) are curious what is the final proof for God's existence
(5) want to know what really happened with WTC on 09/11/01
(6) want to know more about UFOs or how to build a time machine

Visit the webpage of Prof. Jan Pajak, who says about himself:

"I am the creator of the most modern secular philosophy on Earth, called "totalizm", and also a revolutionary scientific theory named the Concept of Dipolar Gravity, from which directly stems the formal proof for the existence of God." (That is from the sub-page called God).

He has also interesting insights into what happened with WTC on 09/11/01:
"a morally degenerated, although technically advanced civilisation which uses UFO vehicles, reaps a whole multitude of material benefits from enslaving and exploiting humanity. For example, sperm and ovules that they secretly "milk out" from people during night-time abductions to UFO decks, allow them to rear the so-called "biorobots". These biorobots are actually human descendants, who in the parasitic civilisations of UFOnauts carry out all dangerous, difficult, or dirty works.(...) According to my interpretation of events, an active and very evil attempt of UFOnauts to provoke humanity to a destructive world war, took place on Tuesday, 11 September 2001. In order to express it in a few words, this deceptive attempt of UFOnauts to destroy humanity boiled itself down to the destructive use on skyscrapers of WTC in New York the ability of an invisible UFO vehicle to evaporate tunnels in solid objects. This devastating capability of UFOs is unknown to human scientists or to normal people, therefore almost no-one could recognize what happened in New York, in spite that this happened in view of millions of people, and also in spite that many cameras which filmed the collapse of WTC skyscrapers captured also UFO vehicles which caused this collapse."
Taken from Evaporation of WTC buildings in New York by UFOs.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

the 4th of July thoughts

When you live in San Francisco you almost do not realize that you live in the US. Holidays like today's remind you about it. You do not belong here. You do not identify with these people. This is not your country and you do not know what you should celebrate today.
That is strange. I wonder if it will change with time? Will I acquire a sense of national identity with Americans?
Defining myself today I would say: I am Polish, I am European. But I also feel that I do belong in San Francisco (basically, it is Monika-custom-made city), so probably soon I will start saying proudly: I am San Franciscan.
Will these feelings expand towards the whole US? Will I say in few years: "I do not have one home, one country. I am a citizen of the world"?

question to photographers

Inspired by a NYT article reviewing digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras and encouraged by they low prices I finally made a choice which camera I want to buy.
My first choice is Nikon D40 (second being Canon EOS D400). Here is nice comparison between Nikon D200, D80, D70, D50, D40, Canon 5D and XTi cameras).

The major shortcoming of Nikon D40 is that it does not have automatic sensor cleaning system... I am not really sure how big issue is that? All old style cameras also did not have it and somehow people were able to manage that problem.

Nikon D40 comes with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens and I plan to additionally buy a tele-lens
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Zoom Nikkor, as well as a wide angle lens Nikon 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor.
The problem is that the latter lens costs 940$... So I was wondering if any of you maybe has Tokina equivalent of this lens (or any experience with Tokina lenses in general) as I am tempted to buy it as it costs only half what Nikon lens does. Here is comparison
between those two lenses.

EDIT (25th of July 2007) - Here is what Lars wrote to me in reply to this post:

About the camera: Actually, we own a D40 since 3 weeks now and are very satisfied with it. We bought it with only the 18-55mm lens in the kit, as I have a couple of other Nikon lenses already (24mm f/2.8; 50mm f/1.8; 105mm f/2.8; 300mm f/4). So for me the decision pro Nikon (vs. Canon) was a clear cut.

Since you don't have any SLR lenses at all, you are free to choose - but I would still go for Nikon (though Canon would be fine too). Your decision will rather be, whether to get a new D40 or a used D50! The former is newer and mostly better than the latter, but has one clear disadvantage: The lenses. Whereas on the D50 basically all modern lenses (Nikon, Tokina, Tamron, Sigma) work just fine, with the D40 you are bound to the VERY modern lenses, which offer a ultrasonic drive (aka SilentWave) for autofocus. Currently there are only some Nikon and Sigma lenses offering this, but in the future there will definately be other from Tokina and Tamron as well. With other words, on the D40, my lenses which I had before (all belong to the "D" series), do work on the D40, as they measure the light (exposure, metering) and I can use them to take pictures with manually turning the focus ring, they just DO NOT autofocus! Julie doesn't like that, so she is only using the original 18-55mm lens. This is a nice lens, covering a reasonable range of zoom for everyday use, which will fully satisfy you most of the times. Noteworthy, since the D40 has a lens-magnification factor of 1.5 the 18-55mm lens corresponds to a 28-80mm lens by the known standard, as I said, enough for most daily situations. However, if you want to shoot wildlife animals etc, you definately want a more tele-lens: so the 55-200mm, corresponding to an 80-350mm lens is what you want! Buy it by all means and do so with the camera in one of these SUPERkits having both these lenses. An interesting alternative, would be the image-stabilized new tele lenes (their VR series) from Nikon, eg the 300mm f/2.8, designed for digiSLRs -they are really good, but pricey and heavy. I don't believe you need them, unless you go on safari again - but then you could still rent one...

The "automatic sensor cleaning system" is no issue at all (for me), if you only pay a bit attention while changing lenses. Obviously avoid long opening periods of the camera with no lens in front, and any dust! The 6M pixels will be plenty, no need to spend more money for the 10M pixels D40x.

About the other lenses, I don't think you need a fisheye nor a macro at this moment. Of course you can always get it later if you feel you are missing it! Fisheye effects you can do on any picture with photoshop, and in order to do really nice macro pictures you need to invest and carry around! a tripod... About the wide-angle: It is nice to have one, but then 28mm is not soo bad. If you need something wider, keep in mind, it is expensive and heavy, as these lenses contain a lot of glas... Make sure you get one with ultrasonic drive (aka SilentWave) if you want to autofocus (although for wide angle manual works very good and easy - tele is more of a problem).

I do believe you should buy a UV filter for both lenses for protective reasons! And pouches for camera and the lenses...

I hope you find this useful - let me know, for what you go. And, don't by anywhere else than online. Trusted stores I know are, Adorama and B&H photo - you will need to juice and use your credit card though...

Monday, July 2, 2007

make art, not war

Buck Fush?

SF, Valencia, between 22nd and 23rd; 2nd of July 2007

high moral standards

The guy wakes up at 1 in the afternoon with a terrible hangover. He slowly opens his eyes and surprised he sees on the bedside table four bottles of cold beer and the following letter:
“Darling, stay in bed and relax. If you need anything call me, I will take free time from my work and will come home immediately. Your beloved wife.”
The guy is very surprised and confused with the letter, so he asks his son:
- Did I come back yesterday with flowers or some nice jewelry, or something like this?
His son replies:
- Are you kidding? You came back at 5 in the morning completely drunk, you made a lot of noise and you broke mum’s favorite lamp, and when she tried to undress you from your trousers, you said: “Fuck off, you whore, I am married.”


Facet budzi sie okolo 13.00 na potwornym kacu. Patrzy, na stole cztery schlodzone butelki piwa i list nastepujacej tresci:
"Kochanie, wypoczywaj, jakbys czegos potrzebowal to zadzwon, zwolnie sie z pracy i przyjade. Twoja kochajaca zona".
On na to pyta syna, co sie sta_o, czy wrócil wczoraj z kwiatami, pierscionkiem lub czyms w tym rodzaju, nic bowiem nie pamieta. Syn na to:
- Cos ty, przyszedles o piatej nad ranem kompletnie pijany, awanturowales sie, a gdy matka sciagala ci spodnie powiedziales: "Won dziwko, ja jestem zonaty".

message in the bottle

The husband takes his wife for the first in her life golf game. She immediately managed to send a ball in a wrong direction and broke a window in the house standing nearby. The husband got a bit irritated with her and shouted:
- I told you to be more careful! Now we will have to go there and apologize and probably even pay for the damage!
As he said, they did. They knocked on the door of the house and in reply they heared male’s voice saying:
- Please enter.
They came inside and just next to the entrance they see: a whole in the window, some sort of old vase shuttered into pieces and a man sitting on the couch. The man asked them:
- Did you break the window?
- Hmm, Yes, we are very sorry for that… - answered the couple.
- No need to be sorry. Actually, I am grateful to you. You see, I am a jinn and I have been imprisoned in this vase for many many years. Because you saved me, I should now fulfill three of your wishes. But if you would not mind, I would ask you to use only two of your wishes and leave one for me.
- Of course, that is not a problem – replied the husband. – My wish is to receive a million dollars every year.
- No problem – said the jinn – moreover, I guarantee that you will leave for a very long time. And you, young woman, what do you want?
- I would like to have a big, beautiful house in each country of the world with the best maids possible.
- No problem. Moreover, I promises you that nobody will ever break in into any of your houses – said the jinn.
Then the couple asked the jinn what his wish was. He replied:
- Well, I was stuck alone in this vase for such a long time, that my biggest dream is to go to bed with a woman… And since you are so young and attractive, I would really like to have sex with you…
- What do you think, honey? – The husband asked his wife. – We got from him so much money and all these houses… Maybe you could agree?
So the wife agreed and went to bed with the jinn. They had sex several times during the afternoon and when the jinn was finally satisfied, he looked in her eyes and asked:
- How old you and your husband are?
- We both are 35 – she replied.
- Are you kidding? 35? And you still believe in jinns?