If you have a few minutes to spare, to read an engaging slice-of-life vignette, I'll happily recommend jakebe's "The Dinner". A good author can draw you into the setting, and have you caring, interested in the characters - and this accomplishes just that. There are other pieces in the same setting, if you feel inclined to read more about those involved.
A simple drawing with a nifty prize: drop your contact info into the hat, and you could win a trip to Kourou to watch an Ariane 5 launch, with some 1:200 scale models for runners-up. Entries are accepted up to June 23 2013.
princebambi wanted to share some exceptionally cute deer animated GIFs. ^_^
One of the current exhibitions at the British Library looks like it could be rather interesting: Propaganda: Power and Persuasion.
I'm very tempted to try making it along to WildPhotos, something of a convention for wildlife photography. Tickets aren't cheap, but not bad at all, considering the number of distinguished speakers - and there are opportunities for volunteering. It's in London, the weekend of Oct 12/13 2013. There's quite a roster of speakers on both days, plus workshops on topics such as macro photography, camera traps, technical mastery, and LightRoom 4. Tickets include a single day of the speakers, both days, half a day plus a workshop, and all workshops.
If you're looking for hare-themed prints and greetings cards, have a peek at the selection offered by the Hare Preservation Trust.
I went along to a fundraiser for a local arts center, in the form of a blues & rock festival - ye gods, but they did well! Some really tight acts, plus beer from a noteworthy local brewery, plus the simple delights of properly barbecued burgers and sausages. =:9 Here's a parting moment, below, from the final act of the evening, Virgil and the Accelerators; above, one of the Firehunter guitarists.
I shan't try to predict who the next Doctor will be, given the showrunners have always tended to pick away from the spotlight. Besides, not only does the BBC tend not to have a bottomless budget for huge names, but big stars tend to be busy - not much use for a show that's filming for months every year! (Which, indeed, has bitten Sherlock, given Benedict Cumberbatch's popularity of late, forcing the recording of season three back. Not a bad choice by Moff, though =:) I'd love to see a choice that isn't both white and male, but I'm not overly optimistic on that count. Still, if that were to come about - well, not that she'd ever be asked, for the reasons above, but.. wouldn't Judi Dench be rather wonderful? And then there could be Joanna Lumley. Maybe we can get huskyteer nominated?
I saw this question posed by Musician's Friend, and would like to hear what you think: what are the best music videos of all time? Myself, I'd be tempted to put Ashes to Ashes at the top - there's a great deal of storyline packed in there, referring to David Bowie's past. Perhaps next would be Chris Cunningham's videos for All is Full of Love, and Come to Daddy, and the Studio Ghibli produced video for Chage & Aska's "On Your Mark". And into the mass of things, others I'd rate as noteworthy: Ladytron "Destroy Everything You Touch", the tango number from Moulin Rouge, The Real Tuesday Weld "Bathtime in Clerkenwell", Mistabishi "Printer Jam", Lady Gaga "Poker Face", Hot Chip "Don't Deny Your Heart", Gorillaz "19-2000" and "Dare", Frontier Psychiatrist (of course!), Fluke "Atom Bomb", and Boris Johnson vs 2 Anonymous DJs "Is Fatboy Slim a DJ?".
You might recall I mentioned the rather extraordinary Wheelharp that Antiquity Music had made. Now, they're raising funds to actually bring it to manufacture. ^_^ Voilà! Their Kickstarter. It's likely to remain rather a costly instrument to purchase, but the shirts are quite dashingly stylish, nonetheless. As for what it is:
Why the Wheelharp?
Bowed stringed instruments like the violin, viola and cello have been utilized since ancient times. Many have attempted to develop a mechanical keyboard instrument that can create the warm sound of bowed string instruments, but previous attempts have been of limited capability. Digital synthesizers and samplers have yielded innovative results, but most have fallen short of creating convincing, authentic sounds.
The Wheelharp puts the actual sound of multiple bowed string instruments at the player's fingertips. Combining an efficient keyboard-controlled design with extensive dynamic control and a full chromatic scale, the Wheelharp gives its player a rich sound palette of actual bowed strings that cannot be matched by synthesis or sampling.
How the Wheelharp Works
When the player presses any key on the Wheelharp, the action moves the selected key’s respective string toward a rotating wheel with a rosined edge, which bows the string. With the right pedal, the player controls the speed of a motor that turns the wheel, which varies the bowing speed of the wheel against the string. The wheel speed and the key depth can both be used to create swells and decrescendos. The left pedal controls a full damper system that extends across the strings. An electromagnetic pickup floats above the strings and a piezoelectric pickup is mounted to the soundboard, allowing for the player to fully control the amplified timbre.
Or, if an adventure's more your thing, how about a 1930s b&w toon world game? Fleish & Cherry in Crazy Hotel looks quite gorgeously designed.
Well, that was odd.. the other day, the iPad suddenly stopped playing with WiFi - it saw the house networks, and connected to mine, but wouldn't pass any data. I feared it might be a bizarre hardware problem, but tried a restore anyway, just in case, but to no avail. But - doing a plain restore, without restoring from a backup (ie only the OS) did indeed restore WiFi. Checking with the start of a full restore proved that that killed WiFi again, and similarly, OS-only kept it working fine. =:/ Thankfully, the Genius Bar staff's procedure caught that, as well as observing that the iPad's battery is only at around 87% of nominal capacity, after about 500 charges - not bad going. (Interestingly, that was ascertained by them connecting on it to a diags:// URL on the local WiFi) So, I didn't wind up going for the battery replacement after all.
And so it came to be that on the 27th day of May, 2013, I engaged in this "window opening" thing I've read about, owing to a surplus of heat in the bedroom. I'm given to understand this is actually quite commonplace in some parts of the world.
I was minorly amused to notice how even the ratings on Amazon UK were for Cosmopolis, last year's release from David Cronenberg - similar numbers of voters for each of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 star ratings. It's easy to see why, of course - it's quite an experimental film in style, akin to something David Lynch might achieve, but in a more restrained manner. Personally, I enjoyed it, but it's absolutely not a film for everyone. FWIW, I notice it's surprisingly cheap on iTunes - $6 or £6 for the HD version, though with no extras, same as with the disc releases.
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Peugeot's Wacky Racers ad is quite beautifully produced. And no, the name isn't coincidentally familiar, even if Muttley only appears right at the end. =:D
Prompted by needing headphones for another longer train journey, I finally got around to researching some headphone reviews, making a list of candidates that seemed to fit my preferences, until I came across the entry for the Sennheiser HD25-1 II (why do manufacturers so love these alphanumeric soup monickers?). Another thread on those specifically also appeared to hold them in some regard. So, I plumped for them - beyond their audio quality, the particularly good isolation caught me as especially useful, and they seem to be made to last. Assuming I don't forget my brain again and lose them on a different train, but the warranty only covers the headphones, not my brain. Besides, what would I do without it for however many weeks repair would take?
Hm! Seems to be the season for me and oddball hardware issues.. I noticed the other night that I couldn't seem to focus accurately in Live View, on the D7100, when I'd never had any troubles before, on the D90. I was beginning to be worried I'd have to send it in for replacement, when a few neurons clicked their heels and reminded me I'd read of lens incompatibility issues with some Sigma lenses and the D7100. And lo, there was the answer. As neither Nikon nor Canon publish details of their lens interfaces, it's up to third party manufacturers to reverse engineer the details. Clearly, something altered subtly with the D7100. =:P It appears Sigma can update the firmware in the affected lenses (in my case, the 10-20mm f/4-5.6), so I sent off a query to check how I might be able to put those through the process; unfortunately, as I bought it used, and the seller doesn't have the receipt, it'll be a paid matter - but, I suppose, worth it. It's only good for crop bodies, but it's a rather nice lens, and quite economical, with a superbly wide reach and modest minimum focus distance, making it a fun option for food photography.
Yay for backups! Ordnance Survey sneakily dropped iOS 5 support recently in their MapFinder app, meaning I was never to see another useful update, given the iPad 1 can only go as far as 5.1.1. Rather unfortunate, but the app worked fine, so I wasn't overly bothered. Then came the full restore, noted above, and with that, iTunes happy to let me install the current version.. and eventually, the penny dropped - I could just pull a copy of the previous version from my Time Machine backup. Voilà! Reinstalled, and it happily let me restore my purchased tiles. (Four local 1:25,000 ones - there's no match for Ordnance Survey's cartography, especially when it comes to footpaths and field boundaries)
I see the iTunes Festival 2013 is warming up, again in September, and at the Roundhouse. No acts I'm especially interested in seeing as yet, but they've always had at least a few of interest in the past. This year, the first booked acts are: Thirty Seconds to Mars, Primal Scream, Justin Timberlake, Queens of the Stone Age, Jake Bugg, Jessie J, Phoenix, and Jack Johnson.
Ah, the wonders of politicians who espouse the virtues of being self-made and independent of governmental aid.. Employment minister Mark Hoban keeps most of six figure profit on his taxpayer-funded second home (courtesy of the Telegraph; a Conservative-leaning broadsheet)
Here's a fun little not-test. ^_^ Have a look at this selection of drawings of neurons, and arrange them by experience: undergrads, graduates, and research lab leaders. There is enlightenment here.
Well, that's a bit of a nuisance. Ernest et Célestine is now available for download and on disc - but, if you want it in HD, apparently you must be French. =:) iTunes UK only offers SD, and Amazon US & UK only have DVDs - but go to Amazon FR, and there's the Blu-Ray. =:/ Why do studios so love making it awkward to let people buy from them?
I made jam. ^_^ Well, more of a salsa, I suppose. Having returned from Grillstock (Manchester's is next weekend!) with some fantastic sauces, I felt I couldn't let the newly emptied Chili Garlic Jam jar be left empty. So, the other morning, I took a can of crushed tomatoes and some smoked garlic (from the same vendor), and started gently boiling down. =:9 Other additions included some very old red wine (effectively vinegar), a little sugar, a finely chopped smoked pepper, fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, and galangal. All very straightforward, and yes, worthwhile. =:9