This is my blog, I call it, The Gospel According to jden, I write about my projects, obersvations about technology and the arts and cultural sector, with a specific focus on the Australian realm.

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The Ultimate Guide to Constructing a Contax Zeiss Cine Prime Set

I’ve been slowly putting together my own Contax Zeiss cine prime set, and found myself making crazy Excel Spreadsheets as I try to piece together a nice set of primes from the Contax Zeiss range. In this post, I’ll show you all my working and show you how to build your own set of Contax Zeiss glass, and show you some sets that other people have put together.

Why Contax Carl Zeiss?

During the mid-1970s, Carl Zeiss of West Germany partnered with Yashica in Japan to launch a new line of Contax SLR cameras. Together, the two companies created the Contax/Yashica (C/Y) mount. The partnership of the two companies produced a set of extremely high quality lenses built from Carl Zeiss designs. The lens were manufactured in both Germany and Japan, and with two different aperture varieties.

The lenses have remained popular with collectors and film makers alike for the close resemblance to Carl Zeiss Super Speeds cinema prime lenses. The lenses carry a similar design, build quality, and aesthetic with the the Super Speeds that can go for several-to-tens-of-thousands-of-dollars per lens. Comparatively, Contax Zeiss lenses can be had for hundreds to low thousands.

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What if Australia had the Electoral College?

Who would be Australia’s hypothetical President?

The Electoral College is the voting method to elect the president and vice-president of the United States of America. The Electoral College is infamously a very bad electoral system that often elects a president despite not winning the popular vote. It is a highly flawed system and is not at all likely to replace the system in Australia — but in-light of the Election Night that would never end, we’ve all become experts in the Electoral College and I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if Australia adopted it.

How does the Electoral College work?

The Electoral College is a group of presidential electors that have the sole purpose of electing the president and vice-president. Each state (and the District of Columbia) has a number of electors equal to the number of congressional seats in that state — that is — one elector for every United States senator and one elector for every United States congressperson in the state. There are total of 538 electors (and thus electoral votes), made up of 100 Senate seats and 438 House of Representative seats, and an absolute majority of 270 or more electoral votes are required to elect the president and vice president.

Generally, it is a winner-take-all method in each of the states (and D.C.), except for Maine and Nebraska which have a one-elector-per-district method.

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How to construct a vintage cine prime lens set

I recently purchased myself a vintage Nikon EL2 35mm film camera — I totally love it — and it came with a Nikkor AI 50mm f/2.0 lens. I decided to revive my lens collecting hobby and finally complete my Nikkor prime set — which I want to cine-mod. A few years ago, I picked up a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, which came with a few Nikkor primes and a MetaBones BMPCC to Nikon SpeedBooster, and I fell in love with these Nikkor primes. They are absolute tanks, solid metal construction, engraved markings, amazing optical quality and relatively cheap to pick up these days.

Even in Australia, there is a pretty good market for vintage Nikkors, and we are close enough to Japan that I have access to that huge secondhand market for relatively okay shipping. I will have another post going into detail about what lenses from the Nikkor AI/AI-S series you should pick up to put together into a prime set, but for now I want to write about how to construct a set of prime lenses. Starting from a basic 3 lens set to a massive 11+ lens set and specials that cover a wide range focal lengths.

What is a cine prime set?

When someone says the phase “cine prime set”, many filmmakers will immediately think of lenses like the Zeiss Super (Standard) Speeds, or Arri-Zeiss Master Primes, Cooke S4 Primes or maybe Leitz Summilux-C Primes. But what exactly is a cine prime set?

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Don't call it a comeback

After a long break in blogging, I am making a come back. I have spent alot of my newly found Covid-19 free-time finishing off my blog migration from Ghost to Jekyll; and otherwise updating and fixing my website from being a very very boring single page website to something that actually represents me on the web.

In the coming blog posts I will post about various technical points of interest I came across building this website. Additonally, I will be slowly introducing various categories, verticals, columns to write about a broad variety of subjects. In the interium to avoid missing out any of my frequently updated blog posts you can subscribe to my newsletter below.

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September: Multi-disciplinary

This month I will do something I have been talking about for a long time. I am going to start a podcast.

It will be called Multi-disciplinary, an infrequent conversation about diverse and numerous creative fields.

The idea will be that I will talk to and interview—slash—hangout with creatives from different fields — hence multi-disciplinary.

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Slam August

As is becoming a regular event on this blog, it is now August 7 and I am announcing the project for this month.

In the months of August and September Spoken Word SA is holding the heats for the 2017 Poetry Slam, so naturally I am going to enter and hopefully win (I won’t). The first heat is the 18th of August and the last is 15th of September with the final on the 22nd of September.

I have had the tab open for this for pretty much 6-months, and have not started working on anything in that time, which is why I am setting this as a project. For most people (myself included) see slam poetry as probably something like this.

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A not very timely update on the July book

While I waited for the delivery of a book I ordered online — which turned out to be not in-stock, and the company had emailed me a week ago asking if I wanted them to order it from the supplier and apparently took no reply as a “no”, nevertheless 3 weeks later I have the book, Famous Last Lies, An Anthology by Claire Cock-Starkey — I started listing influential people in my life. Massively-long-run-on-sentence notwithstanding, these are “influential dead people” and moreover “influential dead people I have never met”. So when I finally go the book, I could look up their famous last words and start to put together the book.

Close followers of this blog — to which I think there is two, including myself — will remember the original intent of the book would be correct false famous last words, which I would call famous last lies and then list the actual last words. Now it turns out, knowing someones last words is hard enough, but finding someones actual last words is even harder. When I issued myself this project I only had one of these in mind: Oscar Wilde.

My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go.

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Saying no to $2000

Most tortured souls spend the day-time pretending to be a starving artist and the on prowl for grants and other large sums of money to fulfil their creative vision that no one else wants to pay for. 11-months out of the year this is me. So why did I turn down a grant of $2000?

I live in the-city-I’m-beginning-not-to-hate of Adelaide in Australia, we are a small microcosm of artistic endeavours and other fun things. Once such organisation which strives to bring “streets and public spaces to life through a series of activations, events and projects” is Splash Adelaide. So you can imagine my surprise when they gave me $2000 to put on an event. I had emailed them at 11:56 PM — for a 12:00 AM deadline — a hastily written, rorted with spelling mistakes, and grammatically questionable proposal for a previously aborted event called MAGIC x WINE. They liked the idea, but didn’t like the wine part, aiming for something a little more PG-13. And so started the journey to today where I finally pulled out of the Splash Adelaide Winter season.

The red herring should have been the breaking down of the original vision when they wanted to get rid of the wine — and when the title consists of two elements and one of them being wine, its not a great place to start. I had a meeting with my frequent collaborator and we came up with some other ideas for the evening including — but not limited to: an infinity cube of mirrors, The Adelaide Festival of Magic, taking over a carpark for a magic show, a gala show and dinner, and some other ideas that I can’t surmise in a handful of words.

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July: Famous Last Lies

Time for a project that I can actually start and finish in the one month allocated, alas I am posting this on the 9th day of July — the deadline is still within reach. For the months of July I hope to write a book, but rather than 100% original content it will focus of a tried and tested skill of mine and that is desktop publishing and layout.

The premise of the book is a compilation book of famous last words of some famous people, but will focus on how often these last words are actually not really their last words and hence famous last lies. I am not sure how many of these I will be able to uncover in the complete set of; famous last words, the dispute, and finally the actual last words. But nevertheless this will be nice design challenge and editorial challenge as I write very short bio’s of these famous people to go along with their words. Also an exercise in searching WikiMedia for public domain images of famous (dead) people.

The end goal will be to have this available as a hardcopy book and for sale on Amazon, all independently published. I will be using Blurb to have the book printed and distributed, I’ve not used them before but they look pretty cool.

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Competiton Research

Unlike most of the projects I have started this year, this one has already been done. Someone has already designed and brought to market (albeit limited) eyewear that is designed from typography.

I first stumbled upon these many years ago probably in 2012 or 2011, and I remember it clearly because I was devastated. There is nothing more crushing than discovering that something thought you came up with in an original and unique way has actually been done before. I’m sure everyone has felt this in some way or another, it is frequent in creative fields, but I also experienced it a lot while completing my degree in mathematics — most of the times it had been done centuries before you were even born.


The collection called TYPE by Japanese eyewear company Oh My Glasses — which is an amazing name for a company — and are for sale only in Japan.

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June: Is that a font I see?

This month I will do something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I will be designing my own glasses, as in spectacles for the face — but they will be modelled on fonts (or typefaces if you want to be fancy).

There has already been at least one of these glasses been designed before, but there are a number of issues with them — that I will go through another time — nonetheless I am excited.

The plan is to 3D print them at some stage and stealth send them to Bailey Nelson (or anyone else that makes eyewear) and get them instores and make a bunch of money and live happily ever after.

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A month of impropriety

This past month has probably been the least productive month of my adult life. A large part of this is my failure to complete this month’s thing. I call it laziness but someone with a degree in psychiatry might want to claim it’s something else. I blame it on my appalling diet of this month, I’ve eaten more processed foods and transfats to last me a decade.

The good news I guess, is the project of this month Poppigami doesn’t have a hard due date until October of this year, so never fret it will be finished—just not now. Also, turns out the legality of creating a non-for-profit is much harder than one might expect.

Among the other things I should have done at sometime this month was to sort out my enrolment for University to finish off two degrees, a Splash Adelaide event, personal website, and national Fringe tour registration. Not a great time to be unmotivated.

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A deep dive into and folded paper and copyright

The poster child of this project is the actual origami design that will become the poppy. Previously I said when I first tried to make an origami poppy there was nothing online, well it appears that has changed. A search on Google reveals there is a whole bunch of origami poppy paraphernalia.

Google Search for origami poppy

I also found my origami poppy that I made in 2009, I told you it has a way of making it self known when I need it—or the more truthful answer: I was cleaning my desk and I found it.

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Competition Time

A friend of mine works at the Adelaide Film Festival and linked me to a competition they are running for screenplay writers. I decided to enter.

This was helpful because it set a hard deadline for completion of the screenplay. A hard deadline I did not make, ☹️. The deadline was Wednesday the 3rd of May and at the time of finding out about the completion was about 2 weeks away. I still had two-acts to write, and was really getting bogged down with the Act II—spoiler alert, I still am. The reason I talk about this is because the day before it was due, I actually read the submission details and low and behold I only needed to submit the first 15-pages along with a synopsis and longline. And believe it or not I have (over) 15-pages of screenplay.

Alas I needed to write a one-page synopsis, I have never written a synopsis in my entire life and naturally I left myself with 5-hours to write it. Furthermore, I needed to write a logline, this was a word that was new to me. Basically it is a one sentence overview of the screenplay—the premise. Screen Australia has a really nice guide to help you write a synopsis and various other overviews of your screenplay. I had to a one-page synopsis, at first I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fill up an entire page, but as these things go I had about 3-pages I needed to little down to one. I won’t go into detail about actually writing it all, it’s not very exciting at all, but I did find the process useful and it got rid of some of my writers block.

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It's gunna be May

It is now May 8th, I was hoping to do work on another project this month and was waiting for an email to confirm some details. However, the email came and was not positive—at least for now. So for the month of May I will create a non-for-profit organisation.

This is an idea I have had for about 7 or 8 years, something I used to do in high school. Overtime I have developed it into something quite interesting and hope to this year launch it. In Year 9 (I think) it was November 10 and I hadn’t got a poppy yet for remembrance day, so I decided to make one—out of origami no less.

What I thought would be a readily available design was not to be the case, turns out there is not really a design for an origami poppy. Instead I searched for various flower designs and chose one that was close enough to a poppy-esque flower to work. It was quite nice, and people seemed to enjoy the whimsy. In later years I would reuse the same poppy, I still have it somewhere, miraculously every November it exposes it self on my desk despite the literal metric ton of shit that calls my desk home.

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It's (a)live

I still have some more posts to write about the April project to make a maths blog, but it is now May 1 and the due date is now so the blog is now live. Check it out,

For the most part the development side of things is complete, I need to clean up the code and get rid of all the commented-out lines from the development and rollout the LaTeX-style CSS into a seperate project called MathsBlog.css. As far as content goes there is a little bit I had hoped to write but don’t have live yet. This includes the podcast, some long-form pieces, and the style guide. I had also hoped to have some post lined up in the queue so I don’t have to think about content for a few weeks. These things are easily fixed and can be knocked out when I have a free day to spend on it. Overall, I am happy with it and glad I have an outlet for the nerdier things to write.

Screenshot of

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Buy me a ☕ Button (made with ❤️)

A trend thats popping up on websites these days is the “Buy me a Coffee ☕” in the footer of websites. It’s basically the Web-hipster.0 (that was a Web 1.0/2.0/3.0 joke, if that wasn’t clear) version of the Donate button. Kind of like how everyone all of a sudden had “Made in [city] with ❤️”. Naturally I wanted both of these on my new website.

Buy me a ☕

There is of-course a start-up that provides this button as a service, with an equally start-upie name, Ko-Fi. The button looks like this,

Buy Me a Coffee at

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Dynamically numbered headings with CSS

When designing this maths blog I wanted it to have the look and feel of a real academic mathematics paper. I have talked previously about the standardised use of LaTeX in maths and how to include literal mathematical expressions on a website, but what about the rest of the paper? MathJax does not typeset anything outside the maths mode delimiters \( ... \), LaTeX is much more than just maths.

I wanted to have numbered headings, numbered theorems, lemmas, definitions etc. This is something LaTeX does automatically for you. You could of course name the headings and theorems manually, but what happens when you need to make structural changes to your document? Or if you have to break a theorem into two lemmas? You then have to go back and re-number everything in your document. I went searching for a LaTeX layout equivalent online and didn’t find anything. So let’s take a look on how we can do this with CSS.

Let’s do it

I wanted to impose some requirements to make it feel like writing in LaTeX, below are elements required for a minimum viable product.

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Dissociative Screen Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder Noun, psychiatry

  1. A psychiatric disorder in which two or more distinct personalities exist in the same person, each of which prevails at a particular time.
  2. multiple personality disorder.

Don’t stress out, I haven’t written a story with MID as the plot driver—I have written however a story with split-screen scene. Which begs the question:

How do you write split-screen in the screenplay format?

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