East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The Algorithm got me wrong – and a neat dance

In the last weeks I’ve spent quite an amount of time on Youtube watching streaming, subbed Chinese TV series, and it was a lot of fun. I like watching something new, and often the different cultural nuances add an unexpected spin on classic themes and tropes.
It’s good entertainment, and food for thought.

A curious side-effect was that the Youtube Algorithm decided, based on my viewing history, that I am obviously Chinese – and as a consequence it started suggesting a selection of Chinese language contents – of which I can’t even read the description.
And this is curious, because – for instance – I usually watch a lot of Japanese music videos on Youtube, and it never tried to push on me Japanese drama, or Japanese news service.
I wonder what’s different in this case.

Anyway… being considered Chinese does have its perks, as I am discovering a lot of traditional music and other contents.
So, today being Sunday and all that, I offer you a neat little song and dance number.

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A little mythology

Back when I was a kid in school, I loved ancient history and yes, mythology – and probably that’s where my earlier interest in fantasy and adventure stories came form.
The Odyssey is still one of my favorite stories, and myths are still a great source for story inspiration. And so, despite the fact that I have not a moment to catch my breath, I decided to start another online course – on Youtube, this time.
Here’s the preview…

Who needs sleeping anyway?

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Sounds from another age

selection_554Back then long time ago when grass was green1, back when the internet was very different from what it is today, I started developing an interest for the first half of the 20th century – the gilded age, the roaring twenties, the sophisticated thirties.
I started watching movies, reading books and listening to music.
And back then I discovered a thing called Past Perfect – a record company specialising in remastering, through a complex resampling method, the original records of those ages past. The guys “simply” acquire as many good copies as possible of records from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and then resample each track, using redundancy to repair damage to the tracks: the idea being that hardly two old records will be scratched in the same spot, and therefore, if you get enough copies, you can patch together a single clean, undamaged record.
And it works!
I was able to track them down through that early internet, and I ordered a few records – and these are still among my favourites.

And only a few days ago I found out that Past Perfect has now a YouTube channel, where you can listen to their collections, and then order them through various online shops.

Here’s one of their records, just to give you an idea – but check out their channel, and their online catalogue – you’ll find lots of great music, remastered from the original 78 RPMs

  1. Yes, today is also George Harrison’s birthday. 


Eight Video-Blogs

vlogsIn the last year I started following regularly a certain number of video-blogs on Youtube – and I’ll keep following them in 2016.

So I thought I’ll share my faves – considering that they might interest you out there, as some of the topics are the same covered – or marginally touched-upon – in Karavansara.

I’ll spare you the technical and professional vlogs and the obvious (TED Talks, Harlan Ellison etc., and more in general, instructional vlogs.)
So here they are, in no particular order… Continue reading

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5 Tools Everyone Writing Adventure Stories Should Be Using

toolboxIt was suggested to me I do a list of five about adventure writing and about the sort of tools that can be a real life (or time1) saver when you are writing adventure tales.

Yes, of course, Wikipedia and Google Translate, these are quite useful. And Google maps.
And a good reference library does help, too.
But is there something more, or something more suited to writing, and adventure writing in particular?
These are of course my fave tools, and I am sure many out there are using other software/websites/services.
If you’d like to add to the list of suggestions, please do so in the comments sections.
It’s always nice discovering something we don’t know, and that might get handy.

As for me, here goes my list of five. Continue reading


Voyage of the Iron Hawk

Here’s a nice – but short! – pulp adventure movie – Voyage of the Iron Hawk.
It’s absolutely great, but alas, as the creators pointed out

This not a trailer for a feature film. It was created as a VFX and stylistic test. The film does not exist (yet), and this is not a complete representation of it. This is simply an action-packed VFX exercise. Enjoy accordingly.