An assortment of TV

Oct. 21st, 2017 11:45 pm
emperor: (Default)
[personal profile] emperor
I quite enjoyed Rellik, though it seems it wasn't popular generally. The premise is that the series starts nearly at the end of things, and then keeps moving backwards in time (along with some slightly odd backwards-video effects). It's an interesting idea, particularly the way this means you see character development in reverse - people who initially seem quite sympathetic turn out to have previously been unpleasant, and so on. Unfortunately, they seemed to think it was OK to include a lot of cop shop cliches since they were doing something new with the narrative structure. But still, it worked for me.

In a different vein, Lucy Worsley's programme on choral evensong - a gentle look at the history of the early Reformation, and how Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I each made their mark on the music of the Chapel Royal and more widely across the country. I'd have liked longer segments of music (and less talking over them), but it was still an hour well spent.

Finally, there was Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me, where the naturalist tells us a bit about how he finds living with Asperger's. I don't want to generalise, but he's very good at explaining how he relates to the world, and how his autism affects that - both its highs and its lows. It's very personal, and you can see he's describing very intimate details about himself; I think to try and get the more neurotypical of us to try and see the world a little as he does. He then goes to the US to see how they try and treat people with autism there, and it's obviously very painful - both to hear people describing autism as a disease that should be eradicated, and to see the impact of dealing with autism on the people he meets and their families. Chris is clear that now he wouldn't want his autism cured, but that equally he might have made a different decision in the past, and that he's been lucky to be able to find a career that lets him play to his strengths.

Orthodoxy in Oxford

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:55 am
naraht: Orthodox church in Romania (art-RomaniaPantocrator)
[personal profile] naraht
One of the things that I loved most about Russia was being able to pass any random church – usually a beautiful Baroque church – and know that it was an Orthodox church. And the fact that there was usually a service going on, which meant that I could go in, light a few candles and stand for a few minutes to enjoy the architecture and the singing before going on with my sightseeing. (There's no expectation that you'll arrive on time, or indeed stay till the end, as long as you know the points of the service during which you're not meant to leave.)

Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)

Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.

• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)

Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...

ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.
venta: (Default)
[personal profile] venta
Me and my trusty notebook (by which I mean a spiral-bound paper thing) have fought dangers untold and trials unnumbered (and the painful LJ mechanism for reading poll results) and added up scores.

The glamour, honour and glory of first prize is split between Diffrentcolours, Shermarama, and Dr Bob[*], who all got 23 1/2 out of 45. Special mention to Dr Bob for being the only person to score 5/5 on a round (on the Sports round, no less). [**]

Wooden spoon award goes to Damerell. Not because he got the lowest score (he didn't), but for the entertainingly nonsense answers and generalised commentary he shoehorned into the poll. Plus getting at least two correct accidentally due to sarcasm. Also for being the only person across the whole of DW, LJ, and the quiz' original intended audience to get the channel 5 question right.

Any prizewinner is entitled to demand a pint from me in person as winnings, should we cross paths ;)


The answers! )

[*] Since this is going to be crossposted, and some of those usernames exist on LJ-only, some on DW-only, and some on both I cannot be bothered fixing the tags everywhere ;)
[**] Recount! CEB also got 5/5 for TV. I'm going to stop counting now, because there is a fairly high chance I've got it wrong elsewhere too.

Blade Runner 2049

Oct. 21st, 2017 06:59 pm
emperor: (Default)
[personal profile] emperor
Before going to see Blade Runner 2049, I re-watched the original (in the Final Cut version, which I don't think I'd seen before). It's still a classic, although the treatment of women is terrible (and I seem to notice more of that with each rewatch); the plot and visual tropes have inspired a vast amount of film sci-fi that's come since.

The sequel doesn't disappoint - the city-scape is very much from the same visual and audio space as the original, while the desert-scape of Las Vegas is a suitably post-apocalyptic wasteland. There's the same slow pacing (although at 2h40, this is substantially longer), and it's great to see Deckard back again, although I'm a little sad to see the ambiguity of his replicant-or-not nature from the original resolved. There are some great scenes, including a brawl in front of a holographic Elvis and some very creepy moments from Niander Wallace. And there's the continued theme of what it means to be human, and what sort of relationships we can or should have with those who are not.

There aren't really any new ideas, though, and the treatment of women is probably worse than in the original, which feels less forgiveable now than it might have been in 1982. And the bass was rather over-done to my ears, to the point of dragging you out of the scene sometimes. I'm sure I'm going to want to watch it again, though...

7 things make a post

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:26 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
1. We spent a pleasant low-key weekend in Todmorden with my mother and stepfather for Charles's birthday / their wedding anniversary. The only niggle was the mild cough I had before going turned into a horrible cough and I got very little sleep on the Saturday night, so my patience etc on the journey home was ... limited. We got home with no-one murdered though.

2. I love my Yuletide assignment and have a plot bunny gently growing. It's going to be pretty niche and I don't care, so long as it works for the recipient.

3. Thanks to the aforementioned cough, I missed morris practice last week - so frustrating given my fears about falling out of it - but I managed it again this week, and it is still very happy making. (I am so, so unfit compared to all these older women, but they are all so pleasant and welcoming.)

4. Charles was away this week with the school residential outdoor activity week with PGL. It was a bit of a challenge for him being away from home and his usual routine, but he seems to have mostly enjoyed it, and enthused at me about climbing and rifleshooting and archery and a few other things too ... It is good to have him back; and now it is half-term.

5. I had my flu jab this week, and the children had their flu sprays last week (I am a bit envious of them, but the nurse at my GP surgery is really very good about doing jabs quickly and with minimal pain). Flusurvey has started up again and are keen for more participants if any of my UK subscribers aren't already doing it and would like to.

6. It seems like half my reading list already posted about the #PullTheFootball campaign to require a congressional declaration of war before the US President can launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  But in case you didn't see it, that link has actions, phone numbers and a script for US citizens (the rest of us can just help by sharing it with US citizens ...)

7. Clipping wrote the soundtrack for a new TV show, The Mayor, and tracks from it are being released weekly onto Spotify and iTunes.  I couldn't find an official Spotify playlist so I made my own and am adding the new tracks each week as they get released - TWO this week for a Halloween-themed episode.  The show's premise is that an up-and-coming rapper stands for mayoral election as a publicity stunt for his music career and accidentally wins. I love this idea, but can't find a way to legally watch the show from here; anyway I am really enjoying the musical output.

happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
So, I have a (totally fine, not at all at all cancer-y) lump in my breast, and I’m going to talk about it here because:

1) Personalisation is a really important public health tool — it’s a good idea for those of us with breasts to check them regularly for lumps, and my talking about finding a lump will make many of you, the people who care about and relate to me, more likely to do so.

2) I think there’s a lot that’s scary and unknown about finding a lump, and I’d like to do a tiny bit to reduce that — I can’t make it not scary and not unknown, but I can tell you about my non-scary experience, and give you (especially those of you in the UK health system) an idea about what to expect from the process.

3) When I was thinking about writing something about this, I realised that when I speak/write publicly about my own health, it’s often (always?) with the aim of tackling stigma. So for me, it’s an interesting exercise to write about something that isn’t at all stigmatised, and I’m interested to see what I learn through doing so.

I also want to emphasise that not only is everything totally fine, not at all cancer-y, but also I’m fine. This can be a very difficult experience for people who have the exact same outcome as me, but for me, not so much.

All of which leads us to:

Cut for not-cancer )

Wrinkle in Time

Oct. 18th, 2017 01:34 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
OK, so I actually read "Wrinkle in Time" (and book #2 but not any more). I think I'd had the impression that I'd read it at some point and forgotten, but now I think I never read it at all, it's really really different to anything I remember reading.

It's very good at what it does.

It's very shivery when they realise how far the horrible grey mist on the universe has spread.

It sets up a very convincing backdrop of angels and other beings fighting against badness with human help, in ways where this is how the universe works, and what people stumble upon is the same stuff that scientists like the childrens' parents are just starting to discover.

The characters of the children (well, mostly Meg and precious Charles Wallace at this point) are very good.

I stumbled on the narrative convention of mentor figures swooping in and saying "hey children, only you can do this, you need to go through this set of trials, when this happens, do this, you don't need to know about X, good luck". Like, that's a common narrative convention that works very well: you just don't question too hard the mentor figures have some special insight into how quests turn out. It's especially useful in childrens books because you can explain what needs to happen directly to the main character and reader. (Think of all the stories of stumbling onto the first person you meet in a secondary world who says, you need to do X, Y and Z.) But eventually you read too many books where it doesn't work like that that you start to question. Even if you don't ask if they might be lying, you wonder, could they really not spare twenty minutes to summarise the biggest risks and how to avoid them? How do they know what's going to happen? If this is all preordained, they why are they providing even this much help, and if not, and the fate of the world hangs on it, can they really not provide any more help?

This is partly me having been spoiled for some simple narrative conventions by being exposed to too many variants, and possibly (?) me not understanding theology well enough (I'm not sure how much this is something that is supposed to actually happen for real, and how mcuh it's just a book thing?) It doesn't always fail me, this is basically how Gandalf acts all the way through LOTR "OK, now we're going to do this because, um, fate" and I'm happy to accept it all at face value, even when other people quibble, but in some books it bothers me.

ST: Discovery vs. B5: Crusade

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:04 pm
sparrowsion: (mini-sparrow)
[personal profile] sparrowsion
Compare and contrast:
  1. Captains Gabriel Lorca and Matthew Gideon: "obstinate, difficult, independent, not prone to following orders from home, not politically astute...but he'll get the job done" (quote via Wikipedia).
  2. Michael Burnham and John Matheson: not trusted by all of their crewmates.
  3. "Discovery" and "Excalibur": experimental ships running on a blend of technologies.
  4. The tension between conflict and exploration: the intended rôles for the ships and how we see them, and the series in question considered against its progenitor.

More "Ghost in the Crown"

Oct. 16th, 2017 06:39 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
More bits of my poem "The Ghost in the Crown":

And I showed them the script
That I held in my hand.
“I call this play Catching­-The­-Mouse.
Understand?”
...

I'll fish for the king
With a play for a net.
I said, "With my net
I can catch him, I bet.
I bet, with my net,
I can catch the king yet."

...

"My head needs a pillow!
Your lap, to be blunt,
Is soft, and to hand,
And it’s pretty vacant."

...

So I went to her room.
But I passed, on the way,
A room where my uncle
Was kneeling to pray.
This must be the moment
To cut off his head!
But as I crept closer
I heard what he said:
“I murdered my brother!
I freely admit!
Dear God, please forgive me.
I’m rather a git.”
And I couldn’t kill him.
My blow was prevented.
For if he should die
Now he’s prayed and repented,
He’d go up to heaven;
That’s all very well,
But doesn’t seem fair
When my father’s in hell.
So I went on my way
As he muttered amen,
I hope that he’s sinned
When I see him again.

...

"And here is the head
Of a person historic!"
He gave me a skull.
And alas! It was Yorick!
I looked at the bones
And I thought as I sighed,
How he kissed me, and gave me
A piggy­back ride.
And now he’s a skull
And he’s silent and scary!
Now what has become
Of your dancing so airy?
The songs that you sang?
And the jokes that you said?
Now all that you have
Are the bones of your head?

...

The Lady Ophelia
Of whom you were fond.
She climbed up a willow
And fell in a pond.
And most of her talk
At the times she was verbal
Was straight from the pages
Of Culpeper’s Herbal!

...

I'm quiet, and I'm dead,
And I’m tired of my quest.
I’m glad of the silence.
I needed a rest.
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
You know that weird feeling where your tests sometimes pass and sometimes don't, and you eventually realise they're not deterministic? But it took a while to notice because you kept changing things to debug the failing tests and only slowly realised that every "whether it succeeded or not" change didn't follow changing the code?

In this case, there were some failing tests and I was trying to debug some of them, and the result was the same every time, but only when I ran a failing test by itself and it passed did I realise that the tests weren't actually independent. They weren't actually non-deterministic in that the same combination of tests always had the same result, but I hadn't realised what was going on.

And in fact, I'd not validated the initial state of some tests enough, or I would have noticed that what was going wrong was not what the test *did* but what it started with.

I was doing something like, there was some code that loaded a module which contained data for the game -- initial room layout, rules for how-objects-interact, etc. And I didn't *intend* to change that module. Because I'm used to C or C++ header files, I'd forgotten that could be possible. But when I created a room based on the initial data, I copied it without remembering to make sure I was actually *copying* all the relevant sub-objects. And then when you move stuff around the room, that (apparently) moved stuff around in the original copy in the initialisation data module.

And then some other test fails because everything has moved around.

Once I realised, I tested a workaround using deepcopy, but I need to check the one or two places where I need a real copy and implement one there instead.

Writing a game makes me think about copying objects a lot more than any other sort of programming I've done.
venta: (Default)
[personal profile] venta
Every year, a bunch of ChrisC's university friends rent a big house and go away for the weekend.

Which caused a little consternation for us )

So there was some panicking, and ChrisC and I churned out a 50-question "nostalgia" quiz. Note: the target demographic for this is quiz is emphatically people who were born in the mid 70's, and grew up in the UK. Anyone else is very possibly going to struggle.

Hell yeah, I'd like a 90s nostalgia quiz... )

"Give us the ballot"

Oct. 15th, 2017 01:42 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
On 17 May 1957, Dr King preached:

Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the ballot, and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law; we will by the power of our vote write the law on the statute books of the South, and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence. Give us the ballot, and we will transform the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. Give us the ballot, and we will fill our legislative halls with men of goodwill, and send to the sacred halls of Congress men who will not sign a “Southern Manifesto” because of their devotion to the manifesto of justice.

Sixty years on, one in thirteen black men in the United is still disenfranchised. In many southern states it’s far worse: the Florida figure is one in four.

https://www.salon.com/2016/11/28/felony-disenfranchisement-the-untold-story-of-the-2016-election_partner/

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/22/a-quarter-of-floridas-black-citizens-cant-vote-a-new-referendum-could-change-that/

Sociopathic characters in fiction

Oct. 10th, 2017 02:19 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I've read several examples of sociopathic characters in several different books, and been left with a bunch of thoughts.

Read more... )

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