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So, we saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 recently. Quite enjoyable, but the storyline didn't quite come together, for me - it felt rather as it was, a generic story involving characters from the first film. =:/ On the other paw, the night felt right to finally get around to Ernest et Célestine - which was an absolute delight. ^_^ The characters felt so genuine, the settings and their innate prejudices quite convincing, and that beautiful hand-drawn animation! Gorgeous! Absolutely, see this if you can. (And I'm pleased to note its English dub is actually quite good, and due to debut in LA and New York, followed by a "nationwide expansion to major markets")

If you enjoyed Ratatouille (not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular here =:), you might enjoy learning there'll be a Ratatouille ride at Disneyland Paris soon, with the emphasis being on experiencing the world from a rat's perspective, close to the ground. =:D

An SL area I think I may have to visit: Onderon, a neutral world in the Star Wars universe, here photographed by Inara Pey. It sounds entirely accommodating of visitors of all species, providing you wear an Observer tag, unless you're wanting to participate in the RPing.

rigelkitty released a new electroswing set. Can't go wrong. ^_^

Here's a documentary Kickstarter to consider, on being transgendered in India, Three Halves: "Needless to say, India's estimated one million TGs undergo immense hardship on their journey to inhabit the body they feel they were born to live in. The festival offers a rare opportunity to escape, where ‘hijras’ can relax in a unique environment, free from judgement or mockery. The Koothandavar Festival, in Koovagam, Tamilnadu is an important part of ‘hijra’ history. Each April, thousands of ‘hijras’ visit this tiny hamlet to dance, sing, socialise and re-enact this extraordinary tale of love and grief:

On the eve of battle, the warlord Aravaan prepared himself. He was ready to die in combat but before he did so, he wanted to be married. Who would agree to being a wife for only one night? Lord Krishna, on hearing this, transformed himself into the beautiful Mohini and fulfilled Aravaan’s wishes. The battle dawned and Aravaan was killed. The last thing he saw was Krishna/Mohini standing on the side of the battlefield, wailing with grief."

An event that might interest one or two folks: the RAF Museum is holding an Open Cockpits Evening on Friday, March 11 2014, 6-9pm: "For one night only the Museum will open its doors and allow access to some historic aircraft. Get up close and personal with these beautiful machines and experience the collection in a new light." The highlight for me would be cockpit access to a Vulcan. =:D

If you have an iPad, keep an eye out for the release of RymdResa. I'm participating in their beta testing, and it's rather a special kind of "game". I say that ambivalently, as it's a game in a similar way to Second Life - it's not inappropriate to term it thusly, but it's not really a game either. =:) You're exploring the universe, following the loss of your homeworld - sometimes, you'll encounter helpful artefacts, sometimes, wastes of time. Ah, and there are poignant observations about it all, professionally voiced. It's all rendered lovingly in 16-bit style - not a conceit I'm generally taken by, but it does work.

Rather an impressive bit of kit, and a little reminiscent of the opening scene of BTTF: Large European Acoustic Facility, the loudest sound system in Europe, capable of more than 154dB. (It's used to subject satellites to the noise of a launcher taking off and in flight)

For the SL nerds, this posting by Monty Linden goes into technical detail on their HTTP project, aimed at substantially raising the number of simultaneous connections possible, based on ping time and request rate. It's quite illuminating to see how complex an issue this becomes, given the variety of factors - some under their control, some not. Addressing them all, as such, becomes a multi-layered affair, laying modest foundations at first, then building upon them.

Speaking of which, the Lab recently gained a new CEO, succeeding Rodvik - one Ebbe Altberg. So far, so good - he's been happily engaging folks on Twitter, and SLU. It's quite a challenge he has, of course - there aren't a huge number of MMORPGs around, and fewer still that revolve around user designs, rather than the company itself, leading to a good part of what sets SL apart: you can be pretty much anything you want to be, not just the designers' vision, but at the cost of an inherent lack of optimisation when it comes to rendering the world, be it over-complex models, or needlessly high resolution textures. Still, it's a fairly unique venue, and I'm delighted to be there. I hope he will be too.

Here's a very cool robobunny, NyoROBOtics Brownie-chan. ^_^ (Some more stills can be found over here)

If you're a UK photographer, and have a hankering for expensive lenses, you might be interested in Lenses for Hire's February special: 50% off all rates! That's making the notion of a short spell with some eye-wateringly costly lenses quite attractive. In particular, I'd love to try out the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4, and possibly either the 500mm f/4, or the infamous Sigmonster (300-800mm f/5.6). If I did so, I might try arranging a trip to Skomer to use them. And while I'm at it, maybe a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 for Grillstock.. the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 does a good job, but I wasn't entirely satisfied that it was as sharp as I'd've preferred - arguably something of an inevitability with zooms vs primes. (And it has to be said, the Nikkor 300mm f/4D is phenomenally sharp, even with a 1.4x TC, on a 24MP crop sensor) FWIW, I've had it clarified by them that this discount does indeed apply to all rentals booked in February, rather than taking place in February - if you're renting for at least seven days, you can book a lens up to six months ahead. You're charged only upon dispatch, though they will place a week-long authorisation hold on the required funds when the booking is placed.

Don't suppose anyone's using multiple hard drives on a USB 3 hub? I'm just wondering if the interface finally offers sufficient bandwidth to service two drives simultaneously without impinging on performance. My photographic archive resides primarily on a pair of external USB 3 drives in a redundant RAID configuration, which I currently just connect directly to Hazel - but, as the current rMBPs only have two USB sockets, rather inexplicably, I'm pondering a hub to leave some USB connectivity free, but not if having all the traffic hanging off one interface slows things down, given the volumes of data that I tend to shuffle around on them. Still, I suppose it's not that often I delve into the archives anyway.

Unrelatedly, if you use external HDs, do make sure your power strip setup is solid, lest you wind up having it commence an automatic eight-hour rebuild when their power is suddenly cut. *cough*

On that note, I noticed French ISP OVH has a cloud backup offering, hubiC, with some quite attractive pricing, topping out at 10€/mo for 10TB (or 1€/mo for 100GB), which compares quite well against Dropbox's 100GB for $10/mo. At the top level, I'd be able to store every photo I have in the archive, and still have plenty of room to spare. Don't suppose anyone has experience with how well they fare in reality?

With huskyteer's prompting, our latest Master of Malt (a dangerous site indeed - and they do ship worldwide, though that doesn't come cheaply) order included an example of jenever, the Dutch breed of gin. In our case, Filliers 1992 vintage 2nd release graanjenever - quite different to the London examples I've tried! Quite a bit lighter in nature, a little more herbal. My other bottle was a Dictador 20 year old, from Colombia - the defining characteristic here is a long, long, happy tail of caramel, almost Christmas cake. The roomie, meanwhile, plumped for Auchentoshan Three Wood - still not as complex as last year's 25y.o. Glenglassaugh, but then, that was a couple times the price. =:P Oh, and a couple samples: what promises to be a very nice 17y.o. calvados, and an example of sotol, a Mexican spirit made from the Desert Spoon plant - not a name I'd heard before, so I had to give it a shot.

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Aw, poop! Isn't that mechanism normally fairly forgiving? Still, PO features little in my collection, with a couple standouts: the Big Brother theme (not a show I have any fondness for, but I love that track, "Tast E"), and his remix of Elvis's Rubberneckin'.

how do people custom make such shiny, pristine pieces of one-off, cartoon-like, film-quality armor?

I do want to find out! I'd absolutely love to make something along those lines. ^_^ Though first, I'd probably settle for bringing my SL self into reality. I suspect it may be through vacuuforming, as patch_bunny used for at least a couple bunny masks.
Damn I WANT that bunny suit!
Way too cool, ne? ^_^ I have to find out how to make something so smoothly curvaceous, so shiny.. I suppose I could try asking them directly, though being Japanese, there may be something of a language barrier. =:/
Karaoke just went to a completely different level.

I will now be infatuated with robo-bunny for the afternoon.

..at least.

You can see why I had to include the bun in this entry. =:D Bun plus cybernetic look - that hooked me immediately. No question about it, I'm going to have to work out how to accomplish that kind of look. Presumably vacuuformed plastic?

One problem for me would be the head. I've only once worn a "solid" head, courtesy of Robert Hill, who let me be Leticia one time, one of his characters, a bat dominatrix. There, the head was fiberglass, fitting fairly tightly around the head, and giving quite an unearthly feel in the process, with every breath sounding like a SCUBA setup to me, though of course, perfectly normal outside. Still, she was definitely a fun character to play - though admittedly, I fell into Vicky Rabbit much more readily. ^_^

(Can you imagine being part of a group of cosplayers like that? Damn, that'd be so much fun!)
Vacuumform possibly. There's a number of heat-and-form plastics out there now.

I might be tempted to use a foam and polyester fill (bondo) combo. There's a number of paints out there now that really give a cool plastic look.

Now if robo-bunny had just a little bit of white fur somewhere...maybe some trim?

Thanks for the reminder about the bear-mouse groovy moovy!... I'd heard about it a while back and forgot to look for it.... :> *tailwags*

...oh! And I'd love to traipse around SL with ya sometime, if that sounds fun ^v^

Thanks for the USB tips also.... Lotsa great stuff in this posting as ever!... I'd think about checking out those lens deals, except you said it was for Brits only... hehe :}
I'd sort of done likewise, unfortunately. ^_^; Trouble is, the owners don't seem to want to push it much, even to the extent of not even making an HD version available in the iTunes Store, let alone any extras. I eventually wound up finding it on Usenet in 1080, and the other week seemed like just the right opportunity to finally get to watch it. So very glad I did. ^_^

Mm! I really ought to get in-world more. I just never seem to remember outside of the time when it's time for me to snuggle up with my bunny and panda for the night.. who are you in-world?

'Course, don't forget there are plenty of other lens rental outfits! I've used Borrow Lenses in the past - good outfit. They'll deliver, and offer various pickup locations as well, though they're mostly a Bay Area operation. I do need to remember to place my rental order before the month's done - I'm curious to find out how well I'd get on with the 200-400mm f/4, and at half price, I'm very tempted to see about the Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 as well, though I'd really want to have a suitably sturdy tripod and gimbal mount for that, given it weighs in somewhere around the 5kg mark - not really ideal for handheld shooting. ^_^;
RymdResa looks interesting, potentially a lot of fun.

Meant to ask on twitter, but less of of a word limit here. There's a guy in London that'll replace one of the fans on my Macbook for a reasonable fee (£45), I've been meaning to look into if there was anyone around Cambridge Heath I could hang out with whilst that happened? :3
It's one of those games that's as much about the experience, as any goals or accomplishments - I suppose Device 6 and The Room share something of that quality. (Both I can also recommend. Device 6 has sort of a Prisoner feel to it, in a way, whilst The Room is essentially a set of intricate puzzleboxes, looking rather superb on a retina iPad)

Hm, that's not an unreasonable fee at all. I wonder if they'd be able to handle something more intricate - the SMC on my old MBP has died. So, whilst almost all of it's perfectly alright, it simply can't be turned on. Replacing the whole board's a bit wasteful, not to mention pretty expensive - and really, with the new rMBP, it's not that high a priority. But if I could get it back into action for the cost of carefully swapping out the SMC for a replacement (sourcing that could be fun.. maybe from a main board that's duff, but still with a good SMC?), it could be a lot more feasible.

Cambridge Heath? Coo, that's untrod territory for me. ^_^ Maybe on a Saturday? There are one or two particularly good gastropubs in town.. good food and good beer make such a great combination. ^_^
Does like that'll be the case, could be a lot of fun I think :)

Aye, especially considering a new fan on it's own is only a pound cheaper ^^"

Not sure, his site is http://www.macsmith.co/, though that's not up yet, my brother got the quote from them emailing them here

Good food and good booze is one thing, but both are always so much better with good company :D (though, gah, they only open Monday to Friday :P)
Ah! Cool beans. I was becoming concerned at the prospect of having to use the phone to contact someone about a repair, in 2014. ^_^; (Hm. Think that might have to be a future poll question of some kind.. I'm really not one for phones, nor is the roomie) Certainly, can't hurt to drop the guy a line and see if that's a level of repair he's equipped for, given the fun involved in SMD desoldering and soldering by hand. It can be done, certainly, as is the case on small prototype boards, or just board tweaks, but it's pretty fiddly, especially taking into account not wanting to apply too much heat, lest you damage the component, or start lifting the traces off the PCB. (And attaching logic analyzer grabbers to those finely pitched leads.. usually much better to ensure there's a convenient via on the board, and just solder a wire in there as necessary)

Whenabouts might you be looking at heading down? Would you be around for just that day, or lingering awhile?
Not got anything planned at the moment, should get it sorted out at some point. My eldest brother went to the Glasgow iStore, they're quote for it was £51, so got to decide whether I want to go to an independent or the Birmingham or Milton Keynes iStores *is terribly indecisive*
Ah, no worries. ^_^

Myself, I'd probably choose London over Milton Keynes. =:) As for Apple vs an independent - hmm, tricky. Assuming the work's successfully accomplished by either, it mightn't be bad to support the indie, though there's not much of a price difference in it.

A good point in favor of London is the presence of such luminary pubs as the White Horse. =:) Good food, and a fairly eye-popping selection of beers. Though, I've actually been won over lately by the Royal Standard of England - closer to me, though arguably no more convenient, given it's then a 40 min walk from the station, and whilst the beer selection is more modest, I'd say the food's better still, plus an amazingly atmospheric building - quite a wonderful atmosphere.

Of course, there's more to see and do in London than eat well. But that's never a bad thing. ^_^
Haha, I can see how this'd be fun, being on a Ratatouille ride would be like becoming reduced to a leprechaun. Much fun, but the closest I will have been to a proper, massive theme park is whatever they have in Blackpool, where I'm headed in late Feb :P

Master of Malt, you say...? I will put the blame on you when I go bankrupt. I am one sucker for hard liquors.
Well, there's always Alton Towers, though I haven't been there in ages - and Thorpe Park, which I've never been to as yet. (As a leveret, I was enchanted by De Efteling, over in the Netherlands - all lovingly fashioned after old fairy tales and other classic yarns. Even the waste bins, designed to look like various characters with invitingly open mouths, would be constantly exorting children to place litter in their mouths, calling out "Papier hier! Papier hier!")

Master of Malt's a pretty good outfit. The prices seem quite in line with normality, and delivery's not bad either - for the three bottles, that amounted to about £7 for next day, or £5 within a few days. And they're also the folk behind Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's rather special range, including the superbly mellow Bathtub Gin, not to be confused with its vastly more potent Navy Strength variant, as well as Navy Strength Rumbullion, a real delight if you're partial to spiced rum.

But, of course, their entire range goes far, far beyond just that - a plethora of whiskies from all around Scotland and far further afield, plus calvados, tequila, sotol (tried that sample last night - very pleasant! I may well add a full bottle of that next time), rum, and more. And they offer 3cl samples of many of them, too.
The only one I've been to so far is one small theme park (Tivoli) in downtown Copenhagen. They are blessed with a rollercoaster and other fun attractions but they are by no means the biggest and most fearful rides out there. Alton Towers is surely on the cards sometime this year!

The Malt people seem to have a great offer on the table. It is so hard to find some more local varieties, especially whisky, and I happen to be one whisky-loving croco. So I guess after my payday they might be shipping a bottle or two over to Yorkshire :3
Squeak! :D

*starts saving for a trip*
If you happen upon any further info on the ride, be sure to share! It does sound like they're going all out with it, with the rides themselves possibly running trackless, so everyone doesn't get the same experience every time. I am, of course, tickled by the prospect of them replicating a Parisienne street scene not far outside Paris. =:)
Gotta say, that bunny caught my eye! :F Those plasti-formed robot costumes are pretty sweet! I wouldn't mind trying my hand at that some day.
*grin* You can imagine my ears perked up on seeing those photos. ^_^ I thoroughly enjoy cybernetic TFs and suchlike, so seeing a leporine 'bot..

So you're thinking it's vaccuforming as well?

Ahh, I need to drop them a line, and see if I can find out. Not that it matters hugely, I suppose - as long as the effect is achieved, it doesn't matter how. (Though that would certainly have bearing on how easily transported it were - definitely one advantage of a foam head!)