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Picture of the week - Pride 2016

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Last weekend was Gay Pride.




Sjálfstæði!

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Iceland is obsessed with sjálfstæði (=independence).

It is the argument to end every argument:
Whaling might not be a good idea -> but sjálfstæði!
Let us have a discussion about an entry into the EU -> but sjálfstæði!

It is the major self definition of Icelandic culture:
See Laxness "Independent People" for a deconstruction. Though written well before 2008 it showcases how the culture of obsession with sjálfstæði! was one of the contributors of the economic crisis in Iceland.

Finally it can be used to advertise anything, like microwave food:

1944, food for independent Icelanders

Sjálfstæði!
Posted on - Categories: Iceland


Elections!

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I was proven wrong. Elections are going to be on the 29th. Not that a dirty foreigner like me can actually vote, I just have to hope that everyone else is not going to fuck this up again.


I trust Simon Pegg with my Star Trek....

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was my attitude before seeing the newest Star Trek, despite everyone else being worried after seeing the trailers. I love Hot Fuzz and Spaced. I have loved the Star Trek franchise ever since I was introduced to TNG when I was 18 (But at the same time could laugh about its flaws as well. After all this is my favourite Star Trek blog).

In other words the creator of a movie/series I love was taking on a franchise I love, which he loves as well. Warm fuzzy feelings all around.

I saw the trailer last Christmas, heard about the decision about Sulu and thought: I'm glad he noticed Star Trek needs more gay.

Then I saw the movie and had some stray observations:
  • Yorktown is gorgeous

  • This is the first time since TNG that I feel like I would love to live on the Enterprise

  • This is the first time I actually like Kirk and would be ok with him being my captain

  • Simon Pegg is a master of writing male friendships

  • Do Scottish people really say "lassie" that much? I keep thinking of the dog

  • All the Easter Eggs in this movie make me happy

I like my movies humorous, positive and hopeful and I was a happy fangirl coming out of the movie. Happier than I had been after the other two. So the week after I watched them again. Another list:

  • Kirk is just such a complete ass in the first movie and the movie keeps justifying his behaviour by him being right

  • The iceplanet cave is always very Empire Strikes Back to me

  • Someone calculate the odds of Kirk, Spock prime and Scotty all being in the same area on the same planet. Ford and Arthur being picked up by the Heart of Gold makes more logical sense. Being out-logiced by the Hitchikers Guide is not a good thing.

  • I always cheer a little when Spock is beating Kirk up

  • I'm completely team Spock in this movie


  • I like the idea of having a movie about the dangers of further militarization of Star Fleet

  • Scotty resigning over drone strikes without any juridical process makes him my favourite character in this movie

  • He could have disabled the ship before the first attack though, but I guess I had some hidden anger towards the crew members who were killed in the attack and felt that the Enterprise just making it back to Earth with Khan would have been too easy?

  • And he straight up murders a guy. Still the best character in this movie.

  • I actually like Kirks arc in this movie (finally learning the Kobayashi Maru lesson)

  • Kirk should have stayed dead, from a storytelling perspective (not because I don't like him, or maybe a bit because I don't like him)



Other than the difference in tone (drama vs friendship and hope) I noticed another reason the other two movies annoyed me: Fan service. Both times clunky, both times for no other reason than to provide fan service:

Last time, Zoe needed to wear underwear, and this time it was Alice Eve's turn. You know, it's a rather large male fanbase, and JJ wanted to appeal to that.
Source



Yes, sadly that is also a bit of a Star Trek tradition, but Trekkies are proud to be more concerned with stories, characters and ideas that boobs and explosions. We are better than that.

A thought occurred to me while I was watching women standing around in underwear being ogled by Kirk for our amusement. Simon Pegg would not write this kind of scene. This guy would not write this kind of scene.

I like my Star Trek inclusive, I like my Star Trek hopeful, I like my Star Trek not automatically assuming I must be a cis-gendered male. I trust Simon Pegg with my Star Trek.




Picture of the week - HDR pictures with gimp

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I don't actually like the look of HDR pictures, especially of landscapes. I always find they look fake. But for learning purposes I decided to create an HDR picture with gimp. I took three pictures of Kirkjufell in Grundarfjörður, with normal exposure, -2 and +2 exposure. I did some basic white balance correction and normalizing for each image.



Then I opened the pictures as layers in gimp (File → Open as Layers). with the normally exposed as the base image on on bottom and the overexposed image on top. I opened the layer dialogue (Windows → Dockable Dialogs → Layers) and chose "Add Layer Mask" for the underexposed picture by right clicking on it in the layer dialogue. I chose a Grayscale copy of layer as maks.
I then did the same for the over exposed image, but inverted the grayscale layer mask (Colors → Invert).
Layer masks determine which part of the layer is transparent and which opaque, with black being full transparency and white full opacity. Thus the lighter parts of the underexposed and the darker parts of the overexposed image are layered over the base image. I then played around with the layer modes using screen (other possibility = addition or normal) mode for the underexposed and burn (other possibility = multiply or normal) for the overexposed. See here for an explanation for layer modes in gimp. I played around with transparency of the two layers until the result was less fake looking. The I merged the three layers together and corrected the colour balance again. Here is the result:




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