jazzfish: A red dragon entwined over a white. (Draco Concordans)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Words are inadequate (the poor craftsman curses his tools) to describe the beauty of our coasts, but words are what I have available.

--John M. Ford, "Chromatic Aberration"
Twenty-six years ago, give or take, I kept seeing "How Much For Just the Planet?" on the spinner-rack at the Fayetteville library. I never checked it out, though. I do wonder what that might have done for my reading habits.

Ten years and a couple months ago I read Heat of Fusion and Other Stories for the second time. This time I got it. "Chromatic Aberration" and the Hemingway pastiche "The Hemstitch Notebooks" remain two of my absolute favourite short stories, for wildly different reasons.

Ten years less a few days ago I cracked up at a Star Wars joke hidden in a period discussion of Renaissance theatre in "The Dragon Waiting."

Five years and nine months (ish) ago I got married under the Declaration of Unity.

Five years less a few weeks ago, TNH asked me "Who do you want to write like?" and my eyes filled up with tears and I mumbled "Mike Ford."

Ten years and a day ago I sat down at a computer to start a class on using MicroStrategy and pulled up my Livejournal friends page, and the first thing I saw was a post from Jo Walton headlined "John M. Ford, 1957-2006".
Hush, now, at the glass clouding, hush at the silicon crumbling, hush be still at the metal flowing atom by atom, spare no protest for evaporation and cold welding and decay, for Time shall take its own.

--John M. Ford, "All Our Propagation"
Footnote: If you've not read "Against Entropy" in its original setting, do. It's the first comment. Note the timestamp on the post, and on the comment.

Another love meme is on...

Sep. 23rd, 2016 06:17 pm
azurelunatic: Vivid pink wild rose.  (wild rose)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
[personal profile] littlebutfierce is hosting a love meme. This is the sort where comments are screened and approved, and pronouns are requested. (I tend to be hesitant to nominate others for auto-screened love memes, because screening means that the person who leaves the comment gets notifications, and I believe that unscreening in a thread you've subscribed to does not generate notifications.)

My thread is unscreened and may be replied to.
jazzfish: a fairy-door in a tree, caption $900/MONTH + UTILITIES (The Vancouver rental market)
[personal profile] jazzfish
A few weeks ago we saw a place that we liked enough to put in a bid on. Sadly, we got outbid: foiled by the selling agent's utter apathy and incompetence, which caught our agent Rhonda by surprise. (A sample: when you're selling a condo there are certain documents you're supposed to have available, such as strata bylaws, council minutes, a depreciation report if one exists, a list of recent or upcoming major work on the building, that kind of thing. Dude had none of those, and in fact said to Rhonda "hey... i see you bought a unit in this building earlier this year, so you must have copies of the strata documents, can i have those?") I'm still a little bitter about that but mostly over it. The bylaws technically only allowed for one cat, and it looked out over an occasionally busy street so noise would have still been an issue. Oh well.

Earlier this week I walked the couple of blocks from work to take a look at another unit. It was ... questionable on the inside: awful paint and wallpaper, some old water damage, and carpet and applicances that look like they went in with the building thirty years ago. (The microwave over the stove has big clicky pushbuttons and no turntable.) I liked the layout, though, and the roof deck, and the fact that it cut my commute by an order of magnitude.

Last night [personal profile] uilos and Rhonda and I went out for a closer look. Rhonda pointed out a number of things that basically amount to "this is a fantastic investment property": the roof deck has a great view of downtown and the mountains, the location is spectacular and will only get better in 5-10 years when the Broadway skytrain line comes in, and the cosmetic damage can be dealt with for substantially less than the likely appreciation value of the property. They both noted some additional hopefully-old-and-only-cosmetic damage. [personal profile] uilos also pointed out the lack of storage space, and the tininess of the kitchen, which I had missed in my amazement at the thirty-year-old appliances.

[personal profile] uilos was understandably not thrilled with the prospect of having to do, or pay someone to do, an awful lot of work on the place. I wasn't happy with that myself, but the fact that the layout worked so well, together with the commute, meant I spent much of the evening trying to talk her into it. We went round a bit, and realised that the strata claimed to have a gas line running to it so the useless wood fireplace could probably be retrofitted to gas after all, and decided to sleep on it.

This morning she said "I've been thinking about it and I can make everything work except the kitchen. There's no possible way to get enough space in there."

I thought about it for a few seconds and said "Crap. You're right."

The unit's a townhouse, which as near as I can tell is Canadian for "apartment with stairs." The floorplan shows two levels but each of those is cut in half by a three- or four-step flight. One of these semi-levels consists of the kitchen, dining room, and balcony. There's no way to make the kitchen any bigger without cutting into the middle of the dining room, and there's no way to get additional counterspace or cabinet-space or pantry-space without embiggening the kitchen.

It is, I am telling myself, just as well. I'd really rather not spend down my entire retirement savings to date on making my house livable, and I'm not 100% sold on the area. And in spite of the cosmetic damage we'd almost certainly get outbid anyway.

Be nice to not have to look at places anymore, though.

Email, email, email

Sep. 23rd, 2016 04:56 pm
qem_chibati: Coloured picture of Killua from hunter x hunter, with the symbol of Qem in the corner. (A cat made from Q, E, M) (Default)
[personal profile] qem_chibati
My care2 account is being shut down as of October 1st. If you need to email me, please do so on my gmail account!

(12 years worth of emails, and this was my mostly fannish email account for many, many years. ;_____; I can at least import most of the incoming emails to gmail, but I think the sent items are all pretty much gone. Not to mention, I've been updating and updating and updating various places where I signed up, but who knows what I've missed. Kind of sad seeing all the places that no longer exist though. ;___; )

Do the wardrobe shuffle

Sep. 22nd, 2016 10:43 pm
lovingboth: (mini me + poo)
[personal profile] lovingboth

Yesterday was spent shuffling furniture about. From a house that's being cleared came seven dining chairs, a dressing table, a small table and some garden furniture. Out went six not very comfortable dining chairs and a cheap chest of drawers. That was fairly simple, although the existing – borderline unsafe – gardening furniture is still here. Whether it'll end up as a pile of decaying wood in the garden for insects or at the recycling centre, I don't know, but having seen some stag beetles in London, it'd be nice to see some here.

A friend down the road got two disassembled wardrobes and a chest of drawers. That involved moving out a chest of drawers and a sort of coffee table sized chest of drawers from one room, then moving an existing wardrobe and chest of drawers from another room into the first room, and leaving assorted bits to assemble in the second room.

Someone's garage now has the 'out' furniture, plus a couple of other things from the cleared house, including a writing desk and a tall rusty metal storage thing that may end up going to London somehow.

Now 'all' that needed to happen was assembling the wardrobes. These are Stag flat pack designs from the 1960s. It was interesting to see that some basic ideas are still used in IKEA etc stuff today. The person who'd broken them down hadn't taken photos of the process of doing that, but helpfully labelled which bit was from which and suggested that I do the simple one first. That might have been sensible except that they'd broken, either in taking them apart or in transport, one critical bit of the base of the more complicated one. A metal combination screw and 'secure this end' part hadn't been removed from the base where it was supposed to hold the middle vertical 'wall' and had broken the base, fortunately at the underneath side.

Fortunately, again, the two bases were identical – presumably it saved money only having one design – so it was possible to use the simple one with its intact screw holes instead. Having started, it seemed a sensible idea to continue with the more complicated one.

Which went fine up until the back. As with many IKEA ones, this uses some thin hardboard with a wood-coloured veneer on one side as the back. With much flat pack furniture, this can't be one sheet of the correct size or the packing box would be too big. So you get it in two or three pieces and join them together. Tape or nails is the current way, depending on whether there's something to nail it to or not. The sides are typically in groves of the real walls.

But for some reason – part of which only became clear later, instead of doing the sensible thing and having two vertical pieces, each roughly the size of one of the doors, it has four horizontal pieces, one smaller than the other. Attempting to stack them on one another failed, even with some duct tape, but then it was then that the use for some odd bits became clear: four bits of woodish stuff, the length the width of the wardrobe but otherwise quite small. And with a grove in two sides. Ah ha, these go on top of one bit of hardboard and hold it in place while proving the base for the next bit. Ah ha2, they have some thing that can be screwed into the sides, behind the hardboard, to keep it all fairly rigid too.

Which would have been great, except that only one of the two screws on the first of the three bars was anywhere near the right place. The other end was too high. There's a limit to how much you can hammer the side of hardboard to get it to go down (it breaks the hardboard if you're not careful!) and no amount of pushing it would get it to the right position. So of course the next layer starts too high, neither screw fits, and you end up not being able to get the top / roof wall on.

It was at this point that I gave up until the new owner came home.

When she did, we decided to do without all but the first bit of hardboard, but just use their support bars instead. I for one have always said that wardrobes shouldn't have a back.* The metal bits that hold the roof on aren't screwed in, so you have to get them just right for them to drop into the holes in the sides. Which isn't easy, given that the roof is much thicker and is the second heaviest bit of the whole thing. Get it wrong, and they drop to either side and then you've got to lift the whole thing again, usually taking the connectors that did get in their holes out and have to do them again too.

Repeat, several times, possibly breaking the base – the middle wall did bend over more than it should have done at one point, until it works.

The doors were almost simple, but there's a lot of work in the almost. You can see where modern door hanging designs come from, but the subtle changes since the 60s mean they are notably better for rehanging doors. These almost properly fit – but do close! – and it's not clear how you would adjust things so they do fit properly. About the only thing I can think of is start again, making sure that everything that is supposed to be a right angle is exactly 90 degrees.

Having done that one, it was going to be much simpler to do the simple (no middle wall) one. And it was! It did have a fixed top shelf that the first one didn't and this was the reason for having horizontal hardboard bits for the back: instead of having the back 'behind' the shelf, the top shelf has the top and bottom grooves for the hardboard. This probably also explains the asymmetrical sizes of the pieces of the hardboard – because you could choose to have this shelf, the last bit had to be the vertical size of the space left underneath the top shelf because that makes the maker's life easier in terms of stock control. As with the base unit, you then only need to have one sort of back.

This time, the three larger bits of hardboard fit (with a little hammering…) and it's only missing a back on the top shelf – there was no way you want the top to slot into that and have the annoying connectors fit too. If it had been lighter, perhaps, but not this lump.

The result worked perfectly in terms of its doors and is a tribute to the quality of the original design. It looks horrid to my eyes, but its new owner is seriously into retro stuff and loves it.

Except that she wanted it on the other side of the room. Push, shove, push. No, it's too big there (it blocked part of the window). One reason for wanting it there is that she wasn't convinced they'd be enough space to open the doors fully because of the bed. But.. push, shove, push.. yes there was. I thought there would be, just, having had a play with an unattached door earlier.

After that, the chest of drawers was simple…

* How else are you going to get to Narnia if they do?

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

miscellanea, as it often is

Sep. 22nd, 2016 03:22 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Last month we put Chaos the old white cat on a small dose of gabapentin. In people this is an anti-anxiety med. I'm told it doesn't actually numb the pain in his back legs, but it makes him care less about it. He's definitely up and moving a lot more and may be getting some muscle mass in his hips again, which would be good. He's also feeling enough better to insist on LAP TIME anytime anyone is home, and to occasionally take out his frustrations on Kai the little brown cat. (Kai is also old but not really showing it, except for how her "dilute-tortie" coat grows more dilute each year.)

I went down to Portland last weekend with Steph and Kat A--, to see / meet a handful of west-coast VP folk. It was good to just hang out with some pretty decent new people for awhile, and talk shop or books or cats or whatever.

We stopped at Powell's on the way back, which was of course amazing. I somehow got out with only $50 in books. That could easily have quadrupled or more if I'd had the chance to see more than two-ish of their five floors. Definitely going back at some point.

And the sun had come out, and Kat's car is a zippy BMW convertible, so we put the top down for the trip home and I sunburnt my scalp. Worth it, though. I'm beginning to come 'round on road-trips, at least ones with good company and frequent short stops.

House-hunting eats up a stupid amount of time and brainpower. There are just enough maybes on the market that I keep checking online to see if anything new has come up, and going out to look at the possibles, and being mildly (at best) disappointed. All this takes time and makes it hard to schedule things for evenings and weekends. Bleh.

Two open houses tonight. Perhaps one of them will work out. If nothing else November and December are likely to be dead times, and then it'll kick back into gear come spring.

Printers I have known

Sep. 20th, 2016 11:59 pm
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
Teletype - when I was one of the small group doing a Computer Science O-level, we had to go to the local FE college who were just starting to teach it. They didn't actually have a computer for us to use, but they did have a Teletype with a connection to the Open University. You wrote your BASIC program on the Teletype, and a leased line to the OU enabled it to run. When, not if, the program didn't work. I can't remember how we edited it (some extremely simple line editor or just over writing lines by entering a new line 100 or whatever?) but you could also get the Teletype to save it onto paper tape for fast - something like ten characters a second! - upload next time.

I don't think I have any of the paper tape, but there's at least one printed program somewhere.

Some dot matrix - after a month or so, the college got the bill for the leased line, went 'HOW MUCH?!?' and decided that getting a Research Machines 380Z would save money, even at over £3k for the version with 8" floppy discs.* Plus at least another thousand for a dot matrix printer, because it wouldn't work with the Teletype properly.

I can't remember what it was, but it could do 132 characters on a line which rules out the next one. I do have a couple of printouts from it though, including a program that simulated radioactive decay by turning a rectangle of asterisks into dots over several passes - my first encounter with e, after I noticed that if my little asterisk's half life wasn't 'one' loop, doing the obvious calculation** didn't work properly - and two games. Doubtless someone somewhere could look at them and go, 'ah, a Centronics..'

Epson FX-80 - I'm quite surprised that WP doesn't have a page on this, even though it gets a mention on the dot matrix printer one, because to those of us of a certain age, it's iconic. I didn't own it - they were about £700 around 1981 - but my university department had several because they were so (relatively) cheap. They also ended up with some MX-80s that could do graphics (not very well, but even so..)

Some line printer - dot matrix printers print a vertical slice of a character at a time, a typewriter prints a character at a time, and a line printer does, gasp, a whole line of text at a time. As this is done by 80 or 132 or more little hammers hitting the paper and something solid at the same time, five or more times a second, they're quite noisy. I SAID THEY'RE QUITE NOISY! Consequently, it was kept in another room under a noise insulating cover, and we only got the results.***

ZX Printer - the first one I bought, £49.95. That was the end of the good news. Narrow and nasty and needing special paper (about a fiver a roll) it worked by having an electrical spark burn off a layer of aluminium from the paper to reveal the black paper underneath.

You tell the young people of today that, and they don't believe you.****

I do have a couple of printouts from it, but the printer and some paper got donated to the computing museum at Bletchley.

Tandy / Radio Shack plotter - in one sense, another bonkers design: a small cartridge held four tiny pen-like ink cartridges. By moving it and the paper in the right way, you drew lines on the 15cm or so wide paper. Draw the right lines and you've got text! I think it was in a sale to the point it was cheaper than an inkjet and did colour that meant I got one.

Some OKI 24-pin dot matrix - not mine, but the person I worked with for many years. They paid £1,500 for it, the same cost as their Zenith 8088 PC clone running at 8MHz, so almost twice as fast as a real IBM PC. The reason for the price tag was that unlike the FX-80 et al which created their characters with a maximum of nine dots per vertical line, this used up to twenty four. Some of the 9-pin printers could bodge this by printing each line three times, moving the paper very slightly each time, and calling the result 'near letter quality' (i.e. as good as a typewriter) but it never was.

Neither was this, but it was over three times faster. The design meant you could also reuse the ribbons quite easily too. I can't remember what eventually failed on it.

Citizen Swift 24 - another 24 pin dot matrix, got largely because of the price (£200ish??) and the way we didn't need the width of the OKI. Only used by me with DOS, Windows XP had printer drivers for it.

Canon BJ-10 - the first inkjet I used. These were neat - a bit shorter than a ream of A4 paper lying down, but otherwise more or less the same size, they were virtually silent and did produce high quality results. As a result, when it died it was replaced by a..

Canon BJ-10e - slightly better version. I think this was the one that had a lovely tall but narrow bold font that was perfect for printing speeches on. It also died after about 18 months.

HP Deskjet 500 - Going back to an older machine! Bought second-hand off cix, this wasn't as neat, but was much more reliable. The quality wasn't great and inkjets are expensive to run, so..

HP Laserjet 6P - the first laser printer for the office in question. Alas, this was after the marketing people took over HP. The print quality was very good - some very nice brochures for a potential Millennium Commission project were done on it - but who thought it was a good idea to have the paper intake be a dust and crap magnet at the top of the printer? Most of the rest was plastic rather than metal too.

Panasonic KX P4420 - I recognise it, and I wrote a printer driver for my word processor (Borland's Sprint) for it, but I can't remember if it was the replacement for the LJ6P or if it replaced the LJ IIs of the LibDem by-election team.

Minolta SP101 - back to my ones. Many laser printers of the early 90s had 512kiB of RAM. While that was plenty to print text and small images, it wasn't enough to do a whole page image at 300 dots per inch resolution This one did some compression of the image data, so it could. You could also 'easily' fit some more RAM but the Minolta sales person at the show I bought it at gave the wrong info so I ended up buying the wrong chips at first.*****

Even so, this is what the London Bisexual Group newsletters and other stuff were printed on for my years as its Hon Secretary.

HP LaserJet Series II and Series III - I've written about these before. As they went out of fashion, they became dead cheap while staying extraordinarily versatile thanks to an host of companies doing add-on stuff for it.

Dell laser printer - I can't remember which. I can remember getting it from a Freecycle event in Forest Hill c2010 and being pleasantly surprised it worked. When the LJ III stopped picking up paper reliably and the usual cures involving sand paper didn't work, it got replaced by this. The speed - about 16 pages a minute - was nice, but it failed to pick up paper after a couple of years and nothing I did could get it working properly. The first printer I had that used USB rather than a parallel port.

Brother HL-2250DN - the current one, bought for £85 in 2013. Does duplex and has a Ethernet port as well as USB so it's shared with everything here. Replaced in Brother's line by something slightly faster but more expensive, grr, but it's showing no sign of going worng.

* I'm sure I've told the story of breaking it by putting a floppy in the wrong way up. They were very nice about it...

** If the half-life is say three ticks rather than one, then 1/6 - a third of a half - must die each time, yes? No!

*** Several hundred compiler errors ending with 'Missing ; in line 3137' usually, indicating that you'd left one out somewhere in the preceding three thousand or so lines.

**** I've just tried.

***** Every cloud has a silver lining: the 256kiB chips ended up expanding a sound card, the lovely Gravis Ultrasound, the sound card to play DOOM with.

(Hmm, that's interesting - this didn't crosspost from lovingboth.com on the 20th.)

Getting the rules wrong

Sep. 21st, 2016 10:58 pm
lovingboth: (mini me + poo)
[personal profile] lovingboth

Yesterday, someone found out they'd been playing a favourite board game wrongly / 'not according to the printed rules'. In this case, the missed rule makes a better game and the judgement involved is half the skill in something that has a lot of luck already.

But lots of people ignore rules. Few people play Monopoly without adding some variant or other, usually making it a worse game* by increasing the money supply or reducing limits on houses or.. Even the current rights owners have been guilty of that, including by adding another die to make it easier to land on squares you want to land on / easier to avoid ones you don't.

I've been taught games wrongly – the classic example was the game where the owner had missed that each turn you could do only one of four things and thought you could do all four, every turn. The game didn't last long…

Some people make a fortune out of it: Othello is Reversi with a restriction saying you have to start with one of two opening positions. Somehow, the Japanese patent office granted a patent on it anyway and the 'inventor' cleaned up.

Some games are improved by tweaks. I think one favourite has one mechanism, a favourite of the designer, too many and so do without it.

What's your missed / ignored / improved rule story?

* Feel free to substitute 'an even worse'…

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2016 01:14 pm
bjornwilde: (01-Pino)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
 Just need to say walking the fine line of an AI that is not self-aware but is programmed to seem that way is a challenge. Like I want to make sure Pino seems artificial now so when she gains sentience it's noticeable, but I don't want to go full robot at the same time.

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2016 08:57 am
bjornwilde: (i don't know what i expected)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
I think today I need to avoid Tumblr and FB. Most of what I see there is upsetting and horrifying. I'm taking a break from Trump, police shootings, Syria, the Dakota pipeline, oil spills, political memes, and all that noise. Yes, I know it's a privilege to be able to do that, but all it is doing is stressing me and sapping my will. It'll be there when I can handle it again, which is just so awful to realize.

One of the things I don't like about FB and Twitter, and quickly Tumblr as well since Tumblr seems to want to kill tag tracking, is how it's a ceaseless firehose of information which I don't seem to have much control over. I'm having a similar problem with Mixcloud. I keep seeing uploads from feeds I don't follow and I can't figure out how to stop it. I just don't have the filters to ignore content I don't want to see and it bothers me that I have to scroll through crap to find the feeds I do want to listen too. Bah.

I'm also getting sick of the political/petition spam I get in my inbox.

OK, enough complaining. Onto work projects. I'm going to try doing three, then tagging, then three again. See if I can't keep up with threads and be productive.
azurelunatic: Prayer to the Bastard from Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Things which have happened recently, an incomplete list:

Saturday the 10th: Seanan book party, where I hung out with [personal profile] afuna beforehand, attended cheerfully with [personal profile] tiferet and [livejournal.com profile] geekhyena, and then had dinner with [personal profile] tiferet after. I hastened myself home after that, as there were many details about my post-surgery recovery that suddenly needed discussing with a friend.

Sunday the 11th: The LF's 20th birthday! Hooray!
Went over to [personal profile] quartzpebble's for dinner, gossip, and general funtimes. I washed some dishes while [personal profile] quartzpebble prepped dinner. There was gossip. Later, we played with makeup.

Saturday the 17th: [livejournal.com profile] theferrett book party, where I was late because BART was fucked up (construction on the train tracks between my station and downtown SF), but Fun Was Had. I ran into W, and realized that a) I had not been introduced to her husband, and b) I was already nodding-acquainted with him from previous events, many of them Seanan events. (He's the well-dressed guy with the neatly-wrapped long hair.) I caught her up on Major Life Events. I chatted with people! I said hello to [livejournal.com profile] theferrett; yay meeting people From The Internet! There was afterparty planned. We went to the same place that Tif and I had gone to the week previous. I wound up at The Fun Table, and met someone named Flitter and renewed my acquaintance with Z, who turned out to have some hobbies that I had not heretofore been aware of.

Sunday the 18th: some very nice conversation with a friend, and a certain amount of wrestling with technology to make it do what we wanted.

Called Purple to check if dinner was a possibility; he had been running errands and staying home, and therefore dinner was not a great idea. I am fairly sure I got teased about my surgical recovery process.
Called Darkside to check in on things. Darkside has Opinions about Certain People, and they're not terribly printable, either. We also had a cheerfully smutty discussion in which he teased me about my surgical recovery. Darkside is the greatest.
Poked [personal profile] sithjawa about Matters Esoteric, in case Things Get Weird, Again. Also some other parties.


It turns out that when the topic of a 3D-printed, glow-in-the-dark clitoris comes up in IRC, you're going to get pinged, if the person who finds it is [personal profile] kaberett, and you and they have been engaging in This Sort of Thing As A Hobby for ... five years, now? Hilarity ensued.

Also in Matters Esoteric, it turns out that while I may be Somewhat Rusty, I still have a decent enough understanding of structure and purpose to take a rather baroque and Ceremonial sort of thing, inquire politely into local concepts, and hopefully deliver a viable alternative.

Instead of going to the happy hour I'd considered, I had dinner with Purple. Also with phone and phone's kid, who's now in Year 10 (Australian); we can use bad language in front of him because he's been in an Aussie boarding school and those will corrupt you right quick. He appears to be one of the local student techies, and thus following along quite firmly in the old man's path. He is one of the people who is *visibly* techie, so people keep poking him for tech help. He needs an apprentice. (He apparently already has one.)

Having been introduced to phone's favorite little place on California Avenue earlier in the summer by me, Purple now has it on the regular rotation. We're both in favor.

I spent a little less time chatting in the parking lot with Purple than I otherwise might have, and went home in a good mood that was somewhat marred by technology fail. (First, the cell signal was eaten by 280. Then, the watch-based dialer failed to load. *Then*, the headset had disconnected from the phone when the return call came. And once I had rebooted the headset, the watch dialer didn't do the thing again, either.)

But then I was home, and technology-related fail was less of a thing.

Some links:

Fiction; contains some nice fun excessively controlling parental "love".

A perennial bit of ... inspiration, I guess?

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2016 09:41 am
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
 Work is feeling overwhelming. RL is feeling overwhelming. But I can handle this. One thing at a time and the list of crap I have to do will go down.

Just need to breath and keep going.

But damn, I'd love a day or so off, out somewhere away from things.

It was the best cow I've seen..

Sep. 19th, 2016 06:30 pm
lovingboth: (mini me + poo)
[personal profile] lovingboth

.. in Into The Woods, anyway. I don't know how I missed seeing while booking that JA's and my tickets were on the second row from the front, rather than the back. They must have been returns, and huge thanks to the unknown people who didn't want them.

The show itself was excellent, with only a few problems. With eleven people on stage, including someone mostly there as a pianist, it was slightly undercast in terms of numbers: Cinderella's prince was doubling as one of her stepsisters, for example! There's also no real narrator – that was shared – which leads to a problem avoided by cutting a bit out. But all of them were good, especially the person being a cow, and it was the second best second act of any of the, erm, nine productions I've seen.

Speaking of which, another highlight was that the family to one side of us had only seen the abomination that's the film version, and so were a bit surprised at how many people are killed off in the second half of this one, even if it's lower than it should be.

Sunday was [title of show] which is on until next Sunday. Smaller still, it's the story of the creation of itself… As such, there's an element of wondering how real some bits are. Alas, I didn't have any doubts about the realism of the way the two gay men writing it were noticeably giving themselves much better bits than they give the two women.

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

Oh, is that the time?

Sep. 18th, 2016 11:59 pm
lovingboth: (mini me + poo)
[personal profile] lovingboth

Earlier this week, Amazon finally had a cheap copy of a book I've been after for a while – the Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual for the Panzerkampfwagen VI, otherwise known as the Tiger Tank. It arrived just before I left for the weekend. If you're interested in the subject, it's a fascinating read: I started at about 9pm and went 'Oh..' at after midnight.

As far as the 'owners' bit of the title goes, the equivalent Haynes book on the Spitfire says something like 'forget owning one to fly unless you've a million quid to spare'. This one just says 'forget it': only six of the just over thirteen hundred made survive even vaguely intact.* But it is written by the owners of the only one restored to running order, The Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset.

Hmm, it's been at least five years since I visited.** Hmm, Tiger Day or Tankfest next year?

Typically, the Daily Fail's article on the book gets lots of things wrong in its historical picture 'German Tiger Tank on road in Normandy in Northern France during the Second World War'. As any fule kno that's the Panzerkampfwagen VII, aka the Tiger II. And there are two of them. And, to me at least, both of them are by the side of the road…

* Not that stops assorted people offering one for sale. One bunch sent photos of a model to prove they had one…

** I spent the first day of the second OpenCon there as it was nearby. I think that was 2011. The previous visit was just after I'd leant to drive, so early 2002. The one before that was as a child, when they still let you clamber all over everything!

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2016 08:56 am
bjornwilde: (i don't know what i expected)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
 Today appears to be a day of ick. Got a sinus head ache, vague nausea, and am feeling inflamed or lightly feverish. I've taken an allergy pill and some Advil, as well as drinking mint tea, so here's to hoping I'll be feeling better soon.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2016 09:48 am
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
 I hate running garage sales as I either end up asking too little or asking too much. Like I'll staff but don't ask me to price. 

And how's your Saturday morning going?
lovingboth: (mini me + poo)
[personal profile] lovingboth

I did badly at French when I was at school. Last in the class at the end of year one* exam, and it went downhill from there.

On the plus side, it did mean I was put into 'economics / government and politics' from year two rather than Latin (those who did well) or German (those in the middle), so I only ended up failing the one O-level..**

.. so badly, it didn't appear on the certificate as a fail. Result, even if I thought I was going to get at least an 'E'!

Yesterday, we were told that the girl JA stayed with on her German exchange trip earlier this year has failed.. something, possibly just English.. so that her school is keeping her back a year and she's not being allowed to go on the return visit here in a couple of weeks time.

Even I think that's unfair.

* What I'm supposed to call year seven now.

** Which I'm still a bit annoyed about: at the end of year three when it came time to pick options for O-level, the school said we could drop French. Then, when the results were in, said 'Oh, we were lying – we just wanted to see how many people would drop it if they could. Which they can't.'

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

Hanna Runner

Sep. 16th, 2016 04:02 pm
jazzfish: book and quill and keyboard and mouse (Media Log)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Luke Scott (dir), Morgan

Hanna crossed with Blade Runner, with the atmosphere of Alien. Those latter two shouldn't come as a surprise for the first film from Luke "Son of Ridley" Scott. I wouldn't call it a horror movie but I wouldn't necessarily disagree with someone who did.

The plot revolves around a bunch of scientists who've created an artificial young female human named Morgan. Morgan has poor impulse control and nonstandard thought processes. Lee has come from "corporate" to visit the remote lab and decide whether the Morgan project should continue. As you might expect, Things Go Poorly.

I liked it pretty well. I found Morgan's disconcerting affect and Lee's iron-clad control entirely believable. The setting (Northern Ireland playing upstate New York) is gorgeously green and foggy, and adds to the melancholy-ominous atmosphere. The only character who does something unforgivably stupid (psychiatrist Paul Giamatti) is established immediately as a pompous idiot; everyone else's stupid decisions are justifiable.

Here there be spoilers )

Also, a strong Bechdel pass. In fact, I believe it may fail the reverse-Bechdel, as I don't think there are ever any conversations between two male characters that aren't about a woman.

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2016 01:13 pm
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
 I gotta say, I am liking the Bendu as they are being introduced in Star Wars Rebels.

I am also starting to look forward to the Dr. Strange movie. I am not meaning to start a harsh on the questionable casting choices they've made, but I am very much looking forward to Chiwetel Ejiofor's Baron Mordo. I like what I am seeing of his character from the trailers, while I doubt Marvel would be so creative, I'd love it if he never turns bad guy. I'd love the frenemy sort of thing with Strange and Mordo, since they are enemies in the comics, but I'd love for it to be more philosophical differences rather than Mordo goes evil.

Also, if anyone is considering Strange for a pup, I do have [personal profile] metaphysician  as an journal I am not using and could pass over. =)

I think this might be a record

Sep. 16th, 2016 03:16 pm
lovingboth: (mini me + poo)
[personal profile] lovingboth

I need to be in London on Saturday evening – someone booked the wrong train there, so I'm giving them a lift. Ok, what's happening in the London fringe theatre then? Slightly annoyingly, the previous best way to find out has had a makeover and it's not as nice to use as before but..

.. Oooh! Menier Chocolate Factory have the last night of a production of Into the Woods! It's probably not worth clicking to check if there are any seats left, but..

.. Oooh! Last one!

So this will be the third professional production of it in ten months: Manchester Exchange (intimate, very good) at the end of December, West Yorkshire Playhouse (bigger, some nice ideas and very well sung, but not quite as good) in June, and now this. Add in another three months, and there was the American school that did it at the Fringe last August, making three and a half productions of all sorts.

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.