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I've not been prompt at replying to comments lately - that was due to the sky turning this strange blue hue last week, accompanied by warmth. Seeing the forecast hike itself into summer mode (even if temporarily, with the coming week looking rather less exciting), I snagged a few days off, and spent most of Sunday through Wednesday roaming around the hillsides of some of the local nature reserves, reveling in the glorious views and peacefulness. Getting back into work on Thursday was something of a welcome change, simply to give the poor paws a rest. ^_^; Still, that didn't stop me venturing out again on Saturday, albeit stupidly late - I didn't catch the bus to the top of the hill in question until four, which led to me reaching the trail I'd intended to make the mainstay of the walk until past seven, thanks to plenty of photography along the way, with some quite lovely panoramas along the way, such as this:

Trailer for the week has to be Cloud Atlas, produced by the Wachowskis, with Run Lola Run's director. It strikes me as vaguely similar to a cross between The Fountain's theme of interconnectedness, the lavishness of The Fall, and the epic scale and pacing of The Fifth Element.

Could be fun! One of the MLP:FiM writers, M.A. Larson, recently had his forthcoming books, Pennyroyal's Princess Boot Camp, optioned for film production by Reese Witherspoon's production company. It'll be a few years off, of course, but the big screen could sorely use more princesses in the spirit of Brave, versus.. well, just about everything else from Disney. The first book's scheduled for next summer, the second a year later, and the film - provided it doesn't languish in Development Hell - in a couple years. As he says, "if you like worlds with a core group of female friends, kindness, magic, and dragons, you may very well like this book."

Have you wondered about how the brain's wiring is structured? Apparently, it's remarkably linear - planes of connections woven together, rather like cloth, with the planes at right angles to each other.

Sadly, without subtitles - don't suppose anyone reading this can translate Turkish? - but this trailer for Kosmos does look interesting (IMDb). The blurb from Picturehouse: "KOSMOS is a profoundly imaginative journey that bursts with philosphical ideas, mystical subplots, and truly surreal moments. Kosmos appears on the outskirts of a snow-swept town, and rescues a local boy from drowning. He is hailed as a miracle-worker, and the townsfolk quickly welcome him into their community. But as he becomes entangled in the lives of the locals, it is less and less clear whether he is a force for good, or evil." Having seen it, I'll admit, I can't give it a strong recommendation. It's an interesting production, but with so little cohesion of its narrative, it's more of a splicing of unrelated vignettes than a self-contained film. Still, you may find you derive something else entirely from it.

Graeme recently released his latest game, this time a tie-in for ParaNorman: 2-bit Bub, free, and no in-app purchases, sneaky or otherwise (iOS Universal) - trailer over here.

Some quite novel work's being undertaken to replace some uses of concrete with straw.

An online comic to try: Malaak, a superhero. Not usually a genre that holds much interest for me, which occasional exceptions like Watchmen and Batman Returns, but this is a purely Lebanese affair, lending it quite a different air to the usual American dystopias of late.

So, Zynga went public at $10/share in Dec 2011, and everyone in the company was barred from selling until May 28 2012. Except.. for a few executives, who managed to secure a waiver to that restriction, leading to them selling $515m on April 3, at $12. "This arrangement is at the heart of an insider trading lawsuit filed yesterday in San Francisco by the law firm Newman Ferrara. "Zynga's regular employees were still locked up from selling their shares. But the guys at the top, who saw what was coming down the pipe, got to cash out," said Ferrara attorney Roy Shimon. By the time the original lockup expired on May 28th, the company's share price had dropped to $6. After last week's earnings report it dropped to just over $3." Four other law firms have announced investigations.

In reply here, or in your own journals - how about a photo or two of where you live? Either nearby, or just somewhere in the vicinity. It might be picturesque, or self-effacing.. whatever you want to say. Just show me a bit of your world. ^_^ Here's a view from last week, when the weather was in its oddly hard to locate "Summer" setting. It's from the bridge I walk across between the warren and the bus stop up to the campus - it just seemed pleasant enough I had to put the bags down and get the camera out. ^_^

Want to enjoy music in its separate tracks? Here you go - on the front page at the moment, there's Golden Years, Rio, and Rock Lobster, amongst others.

Meanwhile, another remix compo: "Bjork has touched nearly every facet of art over the last 20 years, constantly creating new boundary-pushing works. And now, "Mutual Core" from her latest album "Biophilia" is available for you to remix. Create your most inventive remix by August 7th for your chance to be released on One Little Indian, take home a $1000 voucher to Plugin Alliance and win the Sounds/To/Sample Elements Library."

I'll also plug the current Humble Bundle, this time exclusively music. And it's seriously good. Participants include Christopher Tin's orchestral epic ("orchestral" as in actual orchestra, I should note) "Calling All Dawns", from which Civilisation IV drew its theme, Babe Yetu. Just that, frankly, is worth the price of whatever you want to pay, but there's also TMBG's "Album Raises New and Troubling Questions", Hitoshi Sakimoto's "Best of the Valkyria Chronicles", Johnathan Coulton's "Greatest Hit (Plus 13 Other Songs)", OK Go's "Twelve Remixes of Four Songs", and MC Frontalot's "Favoritism". As you might expect, all of them are available as FLAC and MP3 downloads, and as ever, payments don't need to use PayPal, with Amazon and Google amongst the payment options.

A point of some minor contention - why do we only see the female companions' families? "We see Rose and Donna still living at home with mum. We see their boyfriends, and grandads, and dead end jobs as they wait for "something better" to come along. Even Martha, who is at least not living with her mum, is still controlled by her family and her mum. Yet, we never hear about Captain Jack's mum, or Mickey's or Rory's. The men all have their own homes and their own lives away from their families, but women are all still "stuck at home" in some way." (Now, an episode featuring Captain Jack's mother.. hee!)

United Noshes continues apace, with Côte d'Ivoire, apparently not requiring particularly exotic ingredients, as well as being one of their more successful outings. ^_^

Rather a cute, useful, simple idea: "Long story short: I have no idea how much mathematics etc. I can add here without explaining it myself as math teachings in the Internet are often really complicated compared to the actual matter. And if my text is uncomprehended because it lacks some background information… it just means that my text is useless and waste of time. My solution: give my readers a button they can press when they just can’t understand what I try to say." So as you move your mouse pointer over each paragraph, a button appears by its side, "Now you lost me!", which sends them notification of where you ran into difficulties. (Needs JS enabled)

Need a fox-based tea towel?

If you're interested in spacefaring technology, the UK Space Agency offers their magazine, space:uk free of charge, either as a paper subscription, or as PDFs. (Currently, the subscription entry fields don't include Country, but they assure me international subscribers are welcome, and they'll be revising the page accordingly)

Thought relee or xyzzysqrl might be interested in this, in particular - Moon Rising, coming for various OSs: "Moon Rising is a turn-based, strategy indie game set on the Moon in 2099. The Moon is being mined for its hidden resource Helium-3, as a powerful and clean source of energy for Earth. As an elite commander for one of Earth’s super powers it is your duty to gather resources and take control of the Moon. Spread across 5 different areas, heated battles take place between the super powers mining the Helium-3. Featuring a single player campaign and multi-player synchronous/asynchronous gaming Moon Rising will provide hours of exciting and challenging gameplay experiences. We are hoping to release Moon Rising on PC/Mac and Mobile in Q4 2012."
The only interesting photo around here is the recent 15 acre grass fire.
Okay, let's have that, then. =:D

It really doesn't have to be anything magical - I'm looking more for just "slice of life" shots, but if there's something special to show, that's even better. ^_^

(I'd ponder something from a hilltop, but isn't your immediate locale somewhat Dutch in landscape height variety? I'm afraid I've only ventured into the center of the state a few times, and the last occasion was several years ago. North of the Bay, of course, I-5 becomes dramatically more picturesque, let alone up around Arcata and thereabouts.. maybe you could work remotely?)
Only big hill here is private property. I could head into the sierras, but that's not exactly 'here.'

Sunflower fields were nice, but they've been harvested and are dying off, and again, not 'here.'

Levee along the Feather River. They burn the vegetation off every year to prevent critters from burrowing and building homes, which can weaken the levee. Levees failed most recently in 1997 and 1985.

Recent fire in thick vegetation in the riverbottoms. Firefighters couldn't get close enough to put it out, so they made a perimeter and let it burn out. This was an impassable blackberry thicket -- now it's stubble and white fluff. There aren't even any thorns left on the branches. I found small stumps still burning as I walked around.
In my part of the world, I am sandwiched between the rural hills of

Heath Common

And the urban centre of Wakefield and (slightly further to the North) the powerhouse of Leeds

I get the best of all worlds here.

Edited at 2012-08-01 11:31 pm (UTC)
You make a strong case for your locality. ^_^ That's an excellent sort of situation - easy access to being out and about, nobody else around, or right in the heart of it all. British (and, I suppose, European in general) cities tend to perhaps have that advantage, with less of the urban sprawl of, say, LA, or indeed, even heading west out of New York - it's not urban, or even suburban, but there's little break in the continuation of stores by the roadside.

Sort of makes me wonder if there'd be interest in a furmeet that's not based in the city, but outside it - a good ambling around some of the local footpaths, taking in sights you can't enjoy any other way. (Even a potluck picnic, perhaps! Assuming the weather were merciful)
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Ack! Quite so. ^_^;; I think the brain was stuck with an earlier revision of reality, wherein Lana, as I recall, was having second thoughts; but that seems long past.

Being cinematographers, I wonder if they'll feel at all inclined to document the transition? Probably not. Still, there does seem to be a film waiting to be made, exploring gender identity and fluidity, but in a way that'll engage people beyond its core audience, showing the world at large what diversity there is, and how body/gender identity really doesn't have to have anything to do with physical appearance. And that's not even getting into the furry aspect..
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Ahh! Ah well.. it's a fairly fundamental aspect of oneself, so I suppose being wary of one's privacy is quite understandable, especially in something of a celebrity position.

Oo, I need to catch that other video. ^_^ I try not to get enmeshed in studios' plans for "going viral", so I kept myself to just the main trailer (and, yes, the three little ones before) for Prometheus.

Cloud Atlas does seem quite an intriguing project. The overall nature reminds me strongly of The Fountain, but with more of the overarching nature of The Fall, coupled with high Hollywood. I want to see the big audiences go for something like this - I feel it could work, given what a success Avatar was, and not long after, Inception. Perhaps we're starting to see big budget productions becoming less afraid of really seeking something new?
Lovely place, that hilltop and the area around, but I'd add more trees to the mix. Hills always come with trees in my mind :P

Here's a snap of a part of the city where I used to live in back in Poland, Rzeszów.

Rzeszow Castle Bridge

Edited at 2012-08-02 08:05 am (UTC)
It! It! It!

I may post pictures later. It's almost 5 am and I need to sleep. Damn you Youtube!
Lovely panorama again. :) And a very nice photo of where you live, too!
Oh, very nice! Are you graced with local bunnage as well, or just (no insult intended) squirrels?
No but we have bunnies at work and at the gym.

Work seems to have the most wildlife, a couple of weeks ago wesaw a ferret, and there are plenty of Foxes ( or as my India friend calls them wolves)