Tu vuò fà l’americano

Here's one of my favourite scenes from 1999’s "The Talented Mr. Ripley": Tom’s first peek into the good life as Dickie and his friends are having an absolute blast in a Naples nightclub1 and performing Tu Vuo' Fa l'Americano (alternative link).

I seriously wonder how the productions of Patricia Highsmith's novel inevitably ended up being so… glamoruous. There's nothing remarkable about Tom, apart from his insidious, innate drive to claw his way up the top of the bucket of rats. Neither is Highsmith's spiteful and contemptuous writing - yet I find myself quite pulled toward her Novels, be it the full Ripliad, "Strangers on a Train" or "Cry of the Owl", or dramatizations such as the excellent BBC ones or "Carol" (The Price of Salt).

The films, however, are a sight to behold. The Talended Mr. Ripley's cast is riveting. Quite the difference to view them as young as they were back then:

  • Jude Law, a charming young philanderer, as opposed to the creepy old philanderer he now seems to be,
  • Gwyneth Paltrow still interested in acting (and being great at it!) instead of hawking poison to the most gullible of affluent suckers,
  • Matt Damon still possessing enough edge to hide his immense charisma and charm behind the mask of Tom's shifty, untrustworthy, barely-hidden malevolence,
  • and Philip Seymour Hoffman, well, being alive.

So, please enjoy this blast from the past with Tu Vuo' Fa l'Americano as performed by Rosario Fiorello and the Guy Barker International Quintet. Or perhaps you'd enjoy the song as performed by the Gypsy Queens?
The meaning behind l'Americano fits with some of the story’s themes in a funny way, with Tom as narrator remarking that Americans immediately go for Italian suits, while in turn Italians have a penchant for English cuts.

The rest of the soundtrack is also swell, with Sinead O'Connor’s Lullaby for Cain eerily setting the mood, and composer Gabriel Yared building great soundscapes as well.

  1. Well, the supposed "Vesuvio" nightclub was apparently really in Rome 


Video: Sing Jan Swing - Kinetic Type

The flow of Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing" visualized by moving letters. Neat.

Sing Jan Swing - Kinetic Type by designer Krystina Burton on vimeo


The joy of Telegram bots 

I inherited a simple Telegram bot from someone. The ease of programming these small things really makes programming fun again.

You don't need any more than plain python and the requests module to run it.

The SonyDevWorld bot

While working on the bot, I familiarized myself once again with deploying small isolated services with systemd and it's --user features. Pretty neat.

I also wrote a small ansible role to deploy the bot onto a server.


Toggling dark mode manually via javascript 

Building upon my previous explorations, I wanted to let people without an OS-wide dark-mode toggle try it out themselves directly.

For that, we use the styleSheets.cssRules browser API.

Try it! toggle dark/light

function toggleDark() {
  let stylesheets = document.styleSheets;
  for (let sheet of stylesheets) {
    try {
      ruleList = sheet.cssRules;
      if (ruleList == undefined) {
    } catch (e) {
      // Catch CORS denials and skip stylesheet
    let dark = "(prefers-color-scheme: dark)"
    let light = "(prefers-color-scheme: light)"
    for (let rule of ruleList) {
      /* type 4 == CSSMediaRule */
      if (rule.type !== 4) {
      let text = rule.media.mediaText;
      if (text.slice(0, 22) == "(prefers-color-scheme:") {
        rule.media.mediaText == dark ?
          rule.media.mediaText = light :
          rule.media.mediaText = dark

Caveat: If testing this on local file:// URIs, CORS will bite you, either on Chrome or FF. On FF, at least you can remedy this by setting privacy.file_unique_origin=false in about:config. See CVE-2019-11730.

For Firefox, you'd be better off installing the website-dark-mode-switcher add-on instead.


Dark Mode all the things!

I've recently reworked a whole lot of my pages to work with prefers-color-scheme. Not nearly as much work as I'd thought, lots of fun and the results look stunning.

See Dark Mode rework for details.


Music: Gerry Rafferty - As Wise as a Serpent

Calming, late-night highway music. Great for finding your inner peace in case you've lost track of it.

So we sit in empty rooms and dream our lives away
While the spirits come and go without a sound
Yeah just like you and me, they're tryin' to find a way, find a way, find a way home.

Official Video - Lyrics


Climbing knots 

Posting this mainly so I don't forget myself. In German, because that's the way I learnt it.


  • Ankerstich, Prussig, Doppelter Prussig
  • Mastwurf
  • Halbmastwurf
  • Halfmastwurf mit Sicherungsschlag -> "Halbmastwurf is never alone!"
  • Achter
  • Sackstich (Hausfrauenknoten)


  • Use eight-knot for securing to lap belt
  • Use Halbmastwurf for belaying when securing a climber, keep end of rope (upwards?)
  • Must be clipped in at the top with two counter-facing carabiners when rappelling
  • When climbing along a rope course, have your two carabiners always clipped into opposite directions


  • Have ready: Two carabiners at the ends of your "tentacles"
  • Eighter metal piece for rappelling
  • Prussig, at the back
  • Using upper body strap, not lower


  • Connect two ropes by weaving an eighter from both sides, it's the most practical that way

See also: VDiff climbing



Man, does it feel great to run. I hadn't previously run more than five kilometers at a time regularly, but now I don't feel like I've even accomplished the bare minimum if I don't break ten. At some point, you don't even need music in your ears to keep you going, you just enter deeper into the zone.

Yes, this entry is pretty braggadocious. I felt the need to write it down nonetheless.


Music: The Dead South - In Hell I'll Be In Good Company

I'm beginning to warm up to Bluegrass music. Damn shame the Banjo's so heavily associated with red-state hillbillies when in actuality it is a very demanding and soulful instrument. The lyrics are wandering into darker territory, a welcome change from Country banalities.

Official Video


Recent films 

Ad Astra

I’d rather re-watch 2001…

So much attention to detail, but fails on the larger points. It took me a while to understand what the story was even about.