Deep dive into the marvelous world of amazing creatures #newspudding

At university, I was most impressed by one professor for molecular genetics, who not only was extremely knowledgeable in his field of study, but also suffered from the worst case of dandruff I’ve ever encountered. The shoulders of his black jackets were covered with powdery skin residue, to such an extend that his scientific credence was somewhat overtoned by student jest. I have moved on since, and this dermally challenged professor dropped from sight. But science has progressed, so that now we know that dandruff is caused by yeast: and in fact, these Malassezia species cause most skin disease in humans. M. globosa and M. restricta seem to be the worst culprits when it comes to dandruff. Read more in Wikipedia… and better use a shampoo that effectively combats these yeasts.

Readers will know that I enjoy Wikipedia and that I thumb through the articles almost on a daily basis. However, and slightly disappointing, if it comes to bagpipes, Wikipedia only tells half the story. Little mention about the long term hazardous effects of blowing the bagpipe on the health of the musician. Bagpipe lung can be added to the list of alternative monikers for hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is already known as “bird fancier’s lung”, “farmer’s lung” and  “hot tub lung,” after the wide range of activities to which it has previously been linked. Instruments can become infested with mould and this can be related to potentially fatal lung disease. Next time you see (or hear) a bagpipe playing, or even think of giving the old bag a squeeze yourself – consider that !

Finally to one of my favorite creatures! My youngest son told me a weird story that humans eat dozens of spiders each night… a tale that I found slightly disturbing, and mostly unbelievable. I advice you to do a quick internet search for “demodex” and look at the images and read the articles. These creatures dwell in the hair follicles of your eyebrows, come out at night to roam your face and live of the oil on your skin. Next time you look your loved one in the face, try not to think of this intriguing organism… and better not bring it up in pleasant conversation. I did, it kinda ruined the mood of the evening.

Nine Blue Dogs Painting – 120cm by 100cm, oil on acryl and canvas inspired by the Pharaohs & our Labrador Buddy

The background of this painting is highly structured Acryl (unlike many of my other paintings I used only little sand or pigments), the dogs are in oil. Each dog differs slightly from the other, yet they all are very similar; I’ve used a paper template and some spraypaint to create and position the initial outlines. I developed this template technique in 2013, and it allows the creation of shapes in exactly the right position very quickly, yet as I soon discovered the risk is that the painting may look sterile and as if it came off a printing press. So the placement of the template in a deliberately deviating position and the final step of painting by hand with a rough brush is key to make the motives come alive.

A bright painting, with strong contrasts between the pale background and the dark blue of the animals. Ancient Egypt is mostly reflected by the shapes, not the colors.

Get Smartner ! Cool comet Oumuamua. More #Newspudding

I was intrigued by the news about ‘Oumuamua, the first known interstellar body observed within our solar system. Speeding at tremendous speeds, ‘Oumuamua’s trajectory is hyperbolic, which will take it out of our solar system. And as the object doesn’t seem to have had any gravitational encounters with our planets, ‘Oumuamua most likely came from interstellar space, and may have been traveling for several billion years. It doesn’t seem to transmit any signals though – so it isn’t an extraterrestrial rocket filled with little spacemen. The core of this unusually elongated shape seems to be icy, but the surface consists of red grey dust that has collected over millions of years and which has turned into a hard layer under the merciless radiation levels of interstellar space. Read more in Wikipedia!

Finally, I stumbled across the company motto of Gartner, the famous market research company. They came up with an impressive yet simple statement that seems to capture the company philosophy and value in just three words: Smartner with Gartner“.  Congrats to the Garter Markneting department!

Read more like this here.

Find my books here.

 

Is this a #Newsflash? No, more like a #newspudding. Topic: movies and #cinematic successes & failures

I have been looking at a couple of articles that, although not #realnews, may be interesting for you to take a quick glance at, even if only superficial.

Stumbled across an article about a Bodybuilder from Germany, Ralf Moeller, who became quite a celebrity in Hollywood. You can read more about this 1.96cm celeb here. Ralf made quite a success of himself.

From there it was (however) only a small step to a list of the worst movies ever, some of which feature (drumroll – but no surprise whatsoever)… Adam Sandler. This depressed me no end; just imagine spending a year or more to write, act, direct, edit and market a movie; all that time & effort, to then be featured in this list as one of the worst movies ever: Life is cruel.

The discrepancy between the worst movies in that list and the movies that bomb at the box-office is intriguing. I actually kinda linked The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Blade Runner 2049, Hello Dolly and One from the Heart. But none of those made a lot of money. Sad! The audience is merciless.

Better quickly turn the page on that unsavory topic, and zoom in on some of the best movies ever made – especially the country lists contains some gems: the Dutch Turkish Delight (an early work by the famous Hollywood director Paul Verhoeven), Australia’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the UK’s The Third Man and Lawrence of Arabia. All absolute favorites of mine.

Before you get the impression that I am a couch potato, only watching old movies on my TV: I actually saw two movies in the cinema this week: The new Star Wars movie and The mountain between us. I enjoyed both, the former because the makers managed to reinvent the series yet again; the latter because two excellent actors excel in a very intimate what-if, end-of-world scenario. Naturally, the idea of being left on a deserted mountain is close to my heart (as reflected in my own work, see the section “books”)

More newspudding here https://clemenssuter.com/deep-dive-into-the-marvelous-world-of-amazing-creatures-newspudding/

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My list of the best movies & series ever made in the History of Humankind!

Cinema – hard to imagine life without it. Pronounced close to death for years… but nevertheless artists keep on cranking out movies, and good ones too. Why do people enjoy cinema so much? A cinema is a unique place: you visit it with dozens of people, no need to talk, great for a first date, and (added bonus) you have to switch off your mobile. To keep track of all the movies, and some of the television series and shows that I’ve seen, I began creating a list many many years ago.

What makes a great movie?

I’ve seen hundreds of movies over the past 50+ years. The first-ever movie was Mary Poppins, I was a boy of 5 or 6, and going to the city cinema with my parents and older brother and sister was an amazing experience, engraved in my memory. Shortly after that: the Sound of Music. No wonder I still rate these two movies as top of the list. The miracle has never left me. From The Godfather, to Young Frankenstein, all the way to Hannah Arendt and Bohemian Rhapsody… I love cinema.

One key criterium for a great movie is great acting. Charlotte Rampling, Harrison Ford, Stephane Audran, Robert Mitchum, Isabelle Hupert – these actors immerge in their roles so that you actually believe they are the character. Great directing. Francis F. Coppola, Martin Scorsese, John Ford, Margarethe von Trotta,… all these directors managed to great a convincing, wholeness, an consistent atmosphere. A great movie also depends on a great storyline, which may be fantastic and absurd, but which is totally consistent within itself. Most of all, a great movie is memorable. Many movies are utterly forgettable, interchangeable. Good movies you will never forget, even when they were made on the tinniest budget, even with unknown actors.

Based on this handful of criteria, I continuously rank all the movies and series that I watch (current count: 600). Here you can find a list of my favorite movies – ranked. And here you can find the movies that I watched recently, rated but unranked.

My love of cinema is reflected in my books. All my prose is intended to trigger a movie in your head. Find out more: www.clemenssuter.com/books

eBook Promotion Campaigns, what works and what doesn’t?

As an author, you are probably always on the look-out for ways to get more readers of your work. There are different ways of promoting your work, and below I describe my mixed experiences with a few eBook Promotion Campaigns that I have used for my eBooks and paperbacks. Admittedly I use many methods to get into contact with (potential) readers (this blog is one of them – enjoying it so far?), so this is just a glance at the possibilities. Since I can track my eBook and paperback sales in quite some detail (minute by minute if need be, and by rough global location), I can track the success of any campaign quite well. So below a couple of ideas of what works and what doesn’t work if you are thinking about promoting your work.

Method 1. Facebook ads and promotions

It is possible to create ads on Facebook either to make your books better known throughout the community or to get more followers on your Facebook account. I have tried both. How to do this? Basically what you can do in Facebook is to create an ad with an image and an action, tailored to your audience. For my books I have for instance selected the “interest keyword” post-apocalyptic and I have also selected the regions where I would like to position my books (e.g. United States, Canada, Australia, UK or combinations). You can also select the age groups or other demographic characteristics of the people who you would like to target. Finally you can decide on the timeframe: one week or four weeks or only one day. Extremely easy to set up, even a fool can do it (of which I am living proof). The result? I have followed his approach with different variations over the last three years and the result has been disappointing in regards to increasing book sales. Although it is possible to reach thousands, if not millions of Facebook users, I have seen marginal increases in books sales at best. Urgh Yuck! I did succeed in generating a handful of followers for my Facebook page… but that is a nice to have and it is question whether this increases the book sales – not in the short run, mate. Taken together, Facebook is not ideal for eBook Promotion Campaigns.

paperback

Nothing speaks against reading paperbacks. Let me guess, the biggest challenge, however, is something called “prejudice”. Ebooks are not your type, and most probably you find them too difficult, too messy, and definitely not sweet enough?

The second approach

There are special services on offer like the one below (picture). “Shout my book” promises to reach hundreds and thousands of people through retweeting on Twitter, over a distinct period of time. For me this was an interesting experience, the provider was very kind and engaged and did more than promised actually, BUT the effect on the number of e-books sold was negligible.  The number of Twitter followers did show some slight increase. In conclusion I would be hesitant to use this option again.

Option number three for eBook Promotion Campaigns

Twitter. Here a very interesting observation, as some of us (many of us?) may regard twitter as a channel where everybody is simply shouting and hoping that somebody picks up their hollering from the resulting chaos and turmoil. However, what I’ve noticed is that as my activity on Twitter decreases (e.g. if I am “out of office” for longer times) a detrimental effect on the sales of my books occurs. Aha! So continuously engaging with the audience through twitter seems to have a direct effect on sales. The tweets shouldn’t be a steady stream of ads for the books though, I notice that most people will mostly follow links to interesting blog posts. People are interested to hear about my (weird) life in general.

This is a just a small and superficial glance at some eBook Promotion Campaigns that I have run. What’s your experience?

Example of a eBook campaign

Shout my book – Twitter eBook Promotion Campaigns

Learn more about the books by Clemens P. Suter: www.clemenssuter.com/books

The muadhin calls for the evening prayer on Tharir Square in Cairo, Egypt

Moments later, the author of this blog was hijacked by an obscure Egyptian who took me to a store where several of his acquaintances tried to sell me cheap lotus perfume at a price 10 times higher than the actual market value. Fortunately my telephone rang at the right moment allowing me to get up and escape.

Learn more about the books by Clemens P. Suter http://clemenssuter.com/books

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