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Could be well worth waiting for - Radio 4's due to broadcast an adaptation of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency starting in October, in six parts, with Harry Enfield in the lead, supported by Andrew Sachs and Billy Boyd, amongst others.

arakinuk noticed Weebl's trailer for Big-Ass Badgers. ^_^

For more reading, though, maybe the summer edition of Subterranean holds something of interest, free online, including Unrequited Love by Gene Wolfe, and Make a Joyful Noise by Charles de Lint, amongst other short stories.

Via fursthatcook, news of a culinary revolution: Bacon Salt. No calories, vegetarian safe, and Kosher certified. ^_^ "Everything should taste like bacon" .. okay, time to get my mind out of the gutter. =:)

Discworld wedding cake!

Achewood finds the guy who made Comic Sans. =:) (Thanks to arbutus. For some reason, I haven't yet got into the strip regularly, but the bits I've caught suggest I should)

Here's a dream journal with a difference - it's not about a dream as such, but a condition midway between dreaming and consciousness: the body, having just come from REM, remains in its normal state of paralysis, but the mind's beginning to rise from dreamland. You're unable to move, and may be perfectly awake otherwise, or might still be dreaming, overlaid on reality. The writer recounts the two times it's occurred to him.

thewerewolf spotted the trailer for Skinwalkers: "Creatures, bound by the blood of the wolf, that can kill with curses and move at lightning speed, watching the night sky for the rise of the blood-red crescent moon. They are SKINWALKERS. They feed on our flesh and thirst for the taste of human blood. The red moon signals each pack, divided by principles, hell bent to survive an ancient prophecy. On his 13th birthday, Timothy (Matthew Knight) a half-blood, is about to reach the time of his transformation." So far, it's gained an IMDb rating of 7.7, and isn't listed on Metacritic. The trailer suggests it'll be heavy on the cheese, light on the science ("There is a gene.. which separates.. man.. from animal." *ralph*), but plenty of Things Going Boom. Stan Winston involved, and from the glimpses offered, looks like it'll be visually decent.

On the other paw, the trailer for Get Smart provides some hope it could be good, though the writers don't have a particularly distinguished portfolio. Steve Carell seems like a good casting choice for the lead, though.

Musical discovery for the day has to be Wizoo's Xphraze, vaguely like a cross between Reaktor and Dimension Pro.

Found while researching a '56 Stratocaster library, "Fender now offers an extensive line of contemporary cutting-edge Stratocasters alongside vintage reissues, as well as maintaining a Custom Shop service that builds guitars to order. Those who wish period-accurate replicas can request Stratocasters with original-style cloth-coated wiring, pickup and electronics designs, wood routing patterns, and even artificial aging and oxidizing of components using the Custom Shop "relic" process."

Jobhunting's seldom the greatest thrill in life, but occasionally potential clients deviate from the usual turgid text, eg "Discovery Mining has a strict “must wear clothes” dress code".

By ursulav.
Cheese sauce on cauliflower is a trusted classic, but if you want a pleasant variation on the theme, try adding a dash of horseradish to the sauce.

ScaryGoRound, a neat comic with a drily gothic sense of humor, and mysteries far more convoluted than Scooby Doo. And it's daily, too. Not much to catch up on.. only five years' worth. ^_^; (And as a bonus, here's the style of the Diesel Sweeties artist when he's wielding a pencil rather than pixels; and one by Achewood's artist)

A very, very puerile game. Be sure to read the comments as well. =:D

So, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Quite reasonable, despite lacklustre direction and somewhat off-kilter pacing. I was sorry to see the loss incurred, but.. I suppose there'd been something of an aura of finality, in a Cowboy Bebop way.

Witness the Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank, thanks to atomicat. Then read the reviews. =:D

Appropriately, I learned of a current Radio 4 series, Hut 33, via the inimitably sensible bruce_schneier (whose feed you really should have heard of by now, if you're interested in topics like genuine security, rather than security theater). "Set in Bletchley Park, in 1941, this sitcom focuses on 3 code-breakers forced to share a draughty wooden hut as they try to break German ciphers. Unfortunately they hate one another. In theory, 3rd Lieut. Joshua Fanshawe-Marshall is in charge of the hut, but he struggles to even find his way there, let alone exercise authority. Minka, their Polish secretary, provides much needed efficiency, although she is worryingly keen on extreme violence as the solution to all problems."

Not a bad deal: the new PSP will be sold with Daxter, a 1GB stick, and a Family Guy UMD, for $199. (And presumably less from places like Amazon)

Good article on the decline of the music industry. '"They left billions and billions of dollars on the table by suing Napster -- that was the moment that the labels killed themselves," says Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of management company The Firm. "The record business had an unbelievable opportunity there. They were all using the same service. It was as if everybody was listening to the same radio station. Then Napster shut down, and all those 30 or 40 million people went to other [file-sharing services]."'

I doubt I could ever cut it as a DJ. I wouldn't be able to resist giving everyone virtual whiplash in the abrupt changes in style in my playlists.. =:)

This is what war does to people. Do not go to this link unless you're prepared. It's all work-safe; no images, just descriptions and accounts.

nicodemusrat found these rather spiffy art installations.

Well, that's a bit of a nuisance.. I seem to be getting spurious errors with my Pioneer DVR-108, sometimes freezing about a minute into the disc writing. Not a huge matter, given Hyzenthlay's got an internal DVD-R, but it's always good to have multiple routes to the warren, so to speak. Perhaps its retirement is nigh - I could certainly use additional hard drive capacity. Though that's assuming the IDE-FW400 interface isn't the failing component. Certainly would be most welcome to be able to have all the sample libraries, Refills, and suchlike online.
Reminds me of an article in Rolling Stone magazine on how the internet is the biggest change for the music industry since the 1920's when phonograph records and radio stations replaced sheet music.
Rolling Stone do seem to have some good articles - I've noticed some insightful political writing there, in particular.

I'm still amazed at how long it took for the iTunes Music Store to come about - not because the technology only came into being then, but purely the intransigence of the music industry, with none of the labels being interested in actually releasing their entire catalogs, but only tiny subsets, and only by themselves, rather than in conjunction with the other labels. Not to mention being absolutely insistent on DRM so onerous that few people could be bothered with the hassle, replete with inconsistent restrictions, varying from Thou Shalt Not Burn This, Heretic, Nor Use an MP3 Player, to more relaxed rules.

Unfortunately, the movie industry's only beginning to wake from its stupor - it may be another year or two before we start seeing similarly massive collections available online. Meanwhile, people continue to be presented with the choice of paying money for heavily locked-down files, or hopping onto their favorite P2P network and getting a file they can use as they choose - less for more. That's always such a good business model. :-/

Still, I suppose change takes time - and creates new opportunities for those more willing to explore the possibilities opened by such distribution advances.
Rolling Stone definitely does have some good articles, yes. When I visited wolfsinger last year, I picked up an issue that a long and insightful article on George W. Bush, for example; I can't say whether it's a typical article, since that was the only copy of Rolling Stone I ever checked out, but if it is, then the magazine really deserves a lot of respect.
Another that's often overlooked is Harper's, which has had some outstanding articles, such as one I recall going into great depth about the planning for Iraq's reconstruction. I think I may have that saved somewhere, if you're interested.
Oh, yes, I'd definitely be!
Ooh! Surprisingly enough, they've still got it online, for free public access: Baghdad year zero:
Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia
. Quite lengthy, but worth the time.
Ah, thanks. Mmm, I actually think I read that one, too - the intro, at least, seems *very* familiar so far.
Dirk Gently could be interesting. I liked the novels, so I hope Auntie Beeb will make the show available for download as well. :)

Bacon salt could be interesting, too, although I'm not sure that *everything* should taste like bacon. But if you can add flavour without calories, why not? :)

"Skinwalkers" sounds rather cheesy, to be honest. (And FWIW, the title doesn't sound very appealing, anyway; in WW:TA, skin dancers are people who become shapechangers with the help of (IIRC) at least three werewolf pelts, and they're generally considered to be pretty evil, to say the least. Not the kind of people any werewolf would want to associate with, anyway.)

Puerile games are fun, and this one is no exception. The car I sometimes borrow from my parents would be an Anal Fiesta, then... XD

Oh, and it's bruce_schneier, not bruce_shneier. :) I couldn't help but snerk when I read "Unfortunately they hate one another" in his blog, though - I love that kind of dry, witty statement. ^^

Yeah, good point about Napster, but ultimately, it's not about the music - it's about the money, of course. I think the biggest problem the labels had with Napster (and still have with iTunes etc. today, FWIW!) is that you can grab/buy that one track that interests you without buying the whole CD that also contains another 10 or 12 filler tracks. I can kind of understand (from a business perspective) that the labels are trying to keep their goose that lays golden eggs, but I also refuse to support them, so I'm only buying CDs used anymore now, mostly on eBay (with exceptions being made for unknown/indie artists that sell their own CDs at their concerts etc).

And as for the Daily Kos article... I've actually read that before, but it still makes me feel really sick. To an extent (to a very small extent!), I can actually deal with horror stories involving people, but dogs (or other animals)? That just really upsets me, and if others feel the way I feel there about people getting killed, maimed, tortured and abused (rather than dogs), I can understand what drives them to become insurgents. Not that I condone violence, but if I could, I'd at least subject those who're actually in charge and who're responsible for all the things that have been happening to a Clockwork Orange-style reeducation; maybe if they were forced to deal with what their greed done, they'd not do so again.

Oh well.
It's very difficult to predict if it'll be made available - they tend to enjoy geo-locking their "Listen Again" material, and CD/DVD releases seem entirely arbitrary, if it's not a high profile show. Still, I can always upload my copies of eps.1-4. ^_^ (Of course, whether it's any good or not, I can't tell, not having yet listened to them.. it can take me a long time to get around to something in The Pile. I need to work on some cataloguing, but there's just so much, scattered across many a DVD-R.. :-P)

I'm quite curious to find out what Bacon Salt's actually like - I do like their notion of bacon fries. :-9 Not that I'm one for deep frying, but there is definitely something to be said for really well cooked fries/chips, especially if accompanied by some good mayonnaise, Belgian style. But then, I have a weakness for crunchy foods. ^_^

Mm, I vaguely recall that angle of Skinwalkers.. probably something the writers heard tossed around, and thought it'd make a good title (which, I suppose, it does), without heeding the context. It's a pity screenwriting so often sits low down in the cinematic pecking order, but it's easy enough to get by with mediocrity, rather than having to pay attention to details. (Hence the proliferation, as just about everywhere, of generic pizza joints in the Bay, yet there's only one place for Chicago style stuffed pizza. They're always packed, so you'd think someone would take notice and try offering some competition)

Hee! Oh, that's a good one. =:D

Gack! Must've been late or half-asleep when I typed "shneier". Or maybe it was a malevolent keyboard elf that made the C key not depress when I hit it. That's it. ^_^ He's always worth reading. Concise, giving the useful details, expanding on them where helpful, with such a refreshingly non-alarmist outlook. So tiresome hearing politicians all around exhorting us to be afraid, be very afraid, however marginal the risks or potential downside, or however meaninglessly specific and ineffective proposed "remedies" are.

I actually don't seem to come across the "few good tracks" syndrome - now and then, as with "We Are Bis From Glasgow, Scotland", which had a few filler tracks. The aspect I'd most love the labels to embrace is to encourage people to experiment with their tastes, discover new groups and acts they might never have otherwise encountered. Yet there too, they're trying to pull another Napster, doing almost everything they can to kill off net.radio, this time in tying the sane licensing rates to an insistence on either applying heavy DRM, or lowering the bitrates unusably. (Meanwhile, broadcast and satellite stations continue to receive perfectly sensible licensing rates) The labels' downfall has been a long time in coming, but it's awfully nice of them to try hastening it.

I couldn't read that dKos article again. It's too harrowing. And yet, Bush and his friends want more of this, for years on end? Only now is any serious opposition in DC building up, it seems - for all this time, it's been perceived as similarly political suicidal as opposing that other great "war", on drugs, which has been so spectacularly successful. (And of course, including such hazards as pot. Good gods, are these people still living in Reefer Madness?) And the consequences will persist for a while yet, given out of a population of 22m, there are now some 2-3m refugees suddenly migrating into neighboring countries, and a similar number internally displaced, let alone the number of deaths caused, estimated a year or two back at around 600,000. Even if Iraq's infrastructure were intact, that'd be a gigantic reconstruction effort.


Here, have a bunny.


That the Lancet study was from October 2004 already, actually... it estimated the number of deaths around 655,000 or so, I think, so if we extrapolate, we might conclude that the total number might reach about 2 million this coming fall. Quite a number, isn't it? And all you hear about in the news, if you hear anything at all, is "the 3479th American Soldier™ died today defending his country - God™ bless America™!". As if the only thing that matters is the soldiers - but, well, all the others are just brown people wearing tea towels on their heads, right? They don't even speak English, so why should we care about them...

Oh well - here's some wolves:

As for the rest... mmm, yeah, if you could upload those episodes, that would be great. :) And yeah, bacon fries sound interesting; pity that the salt itself is rather expensive. Including shipping, the 3-pack would cost 18 USD, and for about 200 grams of salt, that *is* really expensive.

Mmm, yeah, I agree about screenwriting etc., too. I always hear "capitalism will take care of it", but in reality, it seems that all too often, it doesn't. Which is not a reason to dump capitalism, one might add, but it never ceases to amaze me how blind some people are (and, apparently, want to be)... and it never ceases to sadden me how the soulless mainstream crap drowns out all the quality stuff (something that's true with regard to both movies and pizza).

Heh. Well, if you catch that keyboard elf, be sure to make sure he doesn't come back. :) And I agree about Bruce, of course; he's a pleasure to read, and I really should treat myself to his books some day. Hmm, I wonder if the university's library has them (I definitely have no hope for the public one)...

The "few good tracks" syndrome is more prevalent if you look at mainstream albums but also have a more ecclectic musical taste than usual, I guess. I frequently encountered it, myself, and still do at times. But yeah, if the labels are gonna die, I'm not gonna shed any tears... they were useful once, maybe even necessary, but these days, they only stand in the way of music.
Scratch those numbers, BTW. I just checked, and while the study dates from October 2004 and while ~655,000 is indeed the correct number, that number is from a *follow-up* study done in 2006. Of course, it's still a huge number of deaths...
It's an aspect of reporting that's long bothered me in a broader sense, I'll admit - not that it's anything new, as The News for Parrots noted over thirty years ago. Any airliner disaster is reported in the form of "Four Elbonians were killed today in an airliner crash at Lower Higglesworth, which claimed the lives of 128 people." I've never understood why those four are separated out, simply on the basis of their place of birth, or passport. It was a horrendous event, and many lives were lost. (Whether the cause will be dealt with, or simply blamed on "pilot error", is another matter - a scapegoat's a lot cheaper than reconstructing runways)

I'll see if I can get those eps uploaded in the next day or so, then. Hopefully it's worth it! ^_^ (I continue to be impressed by just how much original programming the BBC comes up with, even if there's a fair amount of tedious material in there too. But then, I've no interest in most soaps - there's the rare exception, like Auf Wiedersehen Pet or Queer As Folk - but they're undeniably popular, and ideally, broadcasting should strive for a broad balance between mass appeal and specialist interest. I'd still say scientific programming's sorely under-served, though, and even Horizon's seen a fair degree of dumbing down, even unto the realm of pseudoscience)

Yow! That's certainly not cheap, though I suppose delivery would count for a lot of the cost, especially if airmail's involved, rather than surface. Still, given its nature, I'd hope it'd last a good while, so it'd probably be many months before one finished off even a single jar - if you're actually interested, maybe you could split an order with kalogrenant and hawthorn? Or maybe you could try a little dabbling in commerce, and import a small volume of it, to resell to specialty food emporia..

Certainly, capitalism works quite well - the trouble is that sometimes, people forget what we see around the world isn't any pure form of capitalism, or any other political or economic dogma. Free markets always have many exceptions built in, sometimes in favor of people, sometimes corporations, usually a good combination of both - tax breaks, industry regulation, health care as a cost to employers (or not).. there's no single, simple, ideologically pure solution. As one would expect, a highly complex system is governed by many interlocking rules, developing new ones as time passes, in response to outcomes and demands, individual, corporate, and international. (Which, I suppose, aids in immigration being such a contentious topic, as it straddles all three, even without the wretched addition of outright xenophobia)

Mm, the music industry as a whole's seeing a great deal of upheaval, but that's inevitable, not just with the net's new distribution channels, but in music's creation as well. There was an amusing moment in that documentary from the 80s I uploaded a while back, where a representative of the British Musicians' Union was lamenting that on a previous tour, Barry Manilow had hired a full orchestra for backing, but now, he only had to bring along a few keyboard players and their kit. His tone was of trying to defend and restore the old ways, but I dare say viewers then knew that was a doomed voice speaking.

Ah, I'm over LJ's 4300 character limit.. [continued on other side of monitor]
Yeah, I never understood that about airline crash reports etc., either. They're reported in a slightly more sensible fashion here ("In an airplane crash this morning, 1828359246 people died, among them 0.0834 Germans"), but the Germans are still singled out. I suppose the news just do it because it's what people want to hear, but why *do* people want to hear? I'm just not sure; personally, I feel no connection to any random schmuck just because he happens to be part of the same totally arbitrary group of 82 million people as me. Ah well...

Mmm, thanks - I'm looking forward to the show. :)

Yeah, I suppose I could ask them about whether they might want some, too; nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that kalogrenant at least won't, and I don't really know hawthorn all that much really (we do exchange hellos in #fursuittv when we see each other there for the monthly show, and I occasionally spoke to him at EF or on private occasions (I was once a friend of his mate, so I saw him a couple of times), but outside of that...). I suppose I could try to sell them on eBay, but I'm not sure whether I'd actually be able to or whether I'd just incur even more costs (in the form of eBay fees).

Delivery is 5 USD, BTW, according to PayPal (which they use for their shopping cart system); the other 12.99 USD is just for three jars of salt. And I'm not even sure that shipping costs wouldn't be higher for international shipping; they shouldn't be if this is what PayPal charges, of course, but small businesses sometimes simply don't realise that not every customer is from the USA (or maybe Canada).

Oh yeah, and I agree about capitalism, and I'd also add one other thing that (some) people tend to forget: namely, that capitalism, ultimately, is there for the benefit of the people, and that just like any other system, it has to be evaluated against that.
Instead, at one not so minor extreme, electronica can be created purely on a good laptop, using applications like Logic Express, Reason, Reaktor, and Xphraze, with almost limitless possibilities for synthesis possible, or simply sample manipulation for accurate reproduction of specific natural instruments, as with Ivory or Acoustic Legends HD, with large piano and guitar sample libraries behind them. No need for multi-thousand dollarpound dedicated synths, when their software equivalents can be piled high on one drive, and for far less money. (Video's been heading that way for a while too, of course - witness Final Cut Studio, offering pro-level editing suitable for broadcast and cinematic use, at $1299 for the whole package)

It's quite wonderful to look at tracks from ReasonStation, loaded into Reason, and watch them playing back, knowing every note and beat's the result of maybe dozens of modules working together, merging and modulating original waveforms and samples, effectively placing the creative potential of untold thousands of instruments from around the world, and those purely within one's imagination. And all on a laptop that closes down to be a sleek 1" slab I can toss under my arm. I still want retroactive genetic manipulation, teleporting, and intergalactic travel, but still, the technology we do have is pretty wonderful. ^_^

*noddles* I don't know much about synthesisers (real or in software), admittedly, but that sounds about right. :) Technology makes things more accessible, and while people will still want actual grand pianos, for example, there is no real reason why someone who just wants to compose their own music would need one - or even, for that matter, any real piano, or even an electronic piano, or even a "real" synthesiser. A good sample library will be enough, and if it's not good enough, well... then sample libraries etc. will improve over time until they are.

And yeah, technology is pretty nice already, isn't it? If you can afford it, that is; I'd love to get a laptop myself (something like this, ideally - 999 grams, and it really does seem to get 11 hours of battery life), but I simply don't have the money for it, and the same thing is true for just about everything else, too. (In fact, if *any* of the more expensive electronic devices in my place broke down, I likely would be unable to replace them.) It's one thing I really hate about the modern world - there is so much you could get, and the only thing that's holding you back is an entirely artificial concept.
Great photos too, btw. ^_^ I love the expression on the wuf in the second.. and there's no mistaking the happiness on the first. =:D

Yeah... or the third, for that matter. ^^
I doubt I could ever cut it as a DJ. I wouldn't be able to resist giving everyone virtual whiplash in the abrupt changes in style in my playlists.. =:)

I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks that their playlists would give virtual whiplash (and I've used 'whiplash' in conversations about music *chuckle*) due to changes in style ;-) Heck, with my iPod set to random play, I can give myself musical whiplash *grin*.
Hee! I've actually refrained from using iTunes in a random mode for that reason - I know I'd wind up with something like Japanese gabba next to mournful Madradeus tango. ^_^; I might try setting up some meaningful playlists, though - sometimes I need oontz, just for the fun of it, or simply to cover up coughing from the Horde™, often I'm more in a bouncy mood, or something more along the lines of melodic rock, as Beck's so adept with. Not to mention IDM or similarly unclassifiable folks like Motoro Faam. (Whom I can currently only dream of composing works of such free spirit)
Mmm. Feel like exporting your library listing sometime? ^_^

I'd love to try making a musical tastes poll sometime, but it's so ridiculously difficult to categorise many groups, and I wouldn't want to confine answers to options I already know about. Such a pity LJ doesn't have an easy means of sharing tracks in-house, without having to go to filedumps like sendspace.com, or one's own ISP webspace, which many folks don't seem to have as an option any longer, or only to some paltry extent.

BTW, if you've not seen it yet, I thin you might really get The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It's a bit stressful at times, as it does hit one's emotional core, but.. it's so worthwhile. You can download it over BT here (it's the second torrent you want, not the live action or trailer).
a condition midway between dreaming and consciousness

Ah, yes. I know it very well. It's happened to me dozens of times, and has sometimes come with OOBEs and other phenomena.

It can be pretty frightening because you can't control your body and so you can't breathe voluntarily, so you think you can't breathe at all (actually, your breathing is still on automatic from sleep, so you're fine).

It can also be a lot like lucid dreaming: whatever you think becomes real. So, if you wake up feeling as though you are smothering to death, your mind is likely to invent a cause. Like Akusai says, if you happen to live in Medieval Europe, you might call it a succubus or a witch-ride. If you live in contemporary Western culture, you're more likely to call it alien abduction.

After I did some reading about it and learned a bit more about it, it started being more fun. And then one night I figured out how to come out of it voluntarily calmly and without struggling, and since then it has never happened again!

I have no idea why.
Oh, you've personally experienced the condition? Would you like to recount it?

Certainly, it's easy to see how one's preconceptions would inevitably shape its perception. It might be illuminating to examine how remote cultures (Papua New Guinea, remote parts of the Amazon basin, etc) have seen such phenomena, if at all, alongside more relaxed - at least socially, if not necessarily politically, as in Bhutan, Nepal, and the not-really-being-occupied-no-rilly Tibet. (Of course, Bhutan's seen its own problems through immigration, and chose to try solving them through a zero immigration policy, which, from what I gather, has worked out as well as one would imagine. Fancy that!)

and since then it has never happened again

Spoilsport! =:) Egad, how odd is that?

I've never been one for lucid dreaming, unfortunately - it just doesn't seem to happen reliably, though I do have the odd fun dream. Mostly, it's more just what I'm served, than what I'm aiming for. Which is sometimes quite cool, but I'm only going to start noting down shooting aspects like camera angles once things are much more advanced. ^_^

Well, let's see, there was the time I took a nap and ended up in outer space, and there was a time when I got out of body and did a friction-free, infinite pirouette, then there was the time when a vampire pursued me out of my nightmare into my apartment.

Those are the highlights. It just went on and on. I was fascinated and a bit tormented. There is one phenomenon I haven't heard discussed anywhere that I still get from time to time; I call the Buzzing. It's when, in between sleeping and consciousness, every cell in the body vibrates -- sometimes strongly enough to be unpleasant. Couldn't tell you what it is, though!