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Well, that was a pleasant surprise! A very anonymous-looking package arrived, obviously containing a hardcover book of some kind. Maybe something from a Kickstarter project a while ago? Nope - it was a complementary copy of the Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year, volume 7, containing two years' winners and finalists, myself included. ^_^ Of course, I'm biased, but it's a book I'll treasure - not only for the obvious, but the sheer quality of the entries throughout the four categories (Travel Icons, People, Wildlife, and.. wait, I'll remember) really is something to behold, and indeed, encourage - everyone featured is an amateur, with perfectly ordinary DSLR kit, sometimes quite old.

A little while back, I mentioned Long Way North, an interestingly stylish-looking animated feature; I've just noticed iTunes US has it currently available as a 99¢ rental (and $7.99 to buy, including extras. Would be pretty cool if iTunes would credit a rental fee against a purchase, if you chose to keep a copy. Still, at $1 to try it out.. ! Sadly, it's still £4.49 for a UK rental, or £9.99 to buy)

I also recently made note of what looked like quite an interesting monster flick, Colossal - and here's its new poster. ^_^

Poll #2064104 It's movie time! ~flails~ Which have you seen?





Upstream Color




Summer Wars


Cats Don't Dance


The Wizard of Speed and Time


Jupiter Ascending


Yay, my first churrascaria! =:D An old (formerly, maybe again?) LJ friend happened to be in the city for a stopover, and he declared that "unlimited is his favorite kind of meat". ^_^ It's a style I'd long vaguely intended to try, and it didn't disappoint - it's the usual format of waiters coming by every few minutes to carve off some topside/sirloin/lamb/pork loin/etc, which you complement with some salad bar pickings. Sadly, as there tended only to be a couple slices at a time, it didn't really lend itself to photography, and I didn't really feel comfortable getting the waiter to pause for a moment for a shot. =:) I am also resolved to obtaining a Frolic shirt, as he was modeling that day, but sadly, a quick check with Neonbunny revealed they're sold out of that fairly limited run, but they may well make another run sometime.

Well, that promises to be rather good fun.. if you recall the Turing/Bletchley themed pop-up cocktail bar I mentioned, I duly received my invitation to place a booking within four hours of receipt - luckily, I woke up with an hour to spare. ^_^; Some quick emailing around, and we sorted out a suitable adjustment to the booking, so huskyteer, myself, and the roomie will be headed down to what's probably a wartime bunker in Chelsea next month for quite a special evening. ^_^

Good news, every.. ah. Well, yes. So, it seems the BBC Store has indeed been improving its offerings, to the extent that all three (three episode!) series of The World's Most Dangerous Roads are indeed now available in HD, not just SD as originally. (And affordably, too - £12 for all nine hour-long episodes) Yet, despite being a BBC Worldwide project - so, nothing to do with the license fee - they apparently will only sell their downloads to UK residents. WTF? The restrictions seem the same as originally, similar to Apple: five devices can be authorised on an account. Arg. Still, maybe I'll do the same as elsewhere - buy under the conditions imposed, and use under the torrented lack of restrictions. (As for the show itself, I should emphasise it's very much not what it might sound like - they're more along the lines of rather precarious travelogues, with an emphasis on what's around them, and why, not shying away from the often tricky regional politics involved)

The iPad's battery has a minor mystery attached to it. =:D As I've noted, its life isn't what it once was, but still perfectly useful, at around 6-7 hours, and almost always, the battery percentage is useful, though these days, it tends to die soon after the 10% warning, or sometimes before - with one odd exception! If I'm out rabbiteering, the displayed percentage positively plummets, to the extent that I can arrive there, have spent maybe half an hour watching the buns, and find it at 45%! On Thursday, it excelled itself in pessimism, and declared it had 16% remaining. ^_^; But that only happens when rabbiteering. O.o It seems to be some kind of misreporting by the battery, as when I arrived at the pub a little while later, it grumpily insisted it only had 6% left - which was also the case when I left, an hour and a half later, and by the time I arrived back home. Hooking it back up to Hazel changed its mind, declaring "46% Charged". Most curious! I wonder what could be triggering this? Maybe the cooler temperature outside? Or some oddity with the cell tower(s) it sees in that specific location? Maybe I'll pop it into the fridge for a spell, and see if that has any similar effect. Likewise, I'll try putting it into airplane mode before heading out rabbiteering sometime, and see if it still occurs then. (And maybe even enabling and disabling it before setting off, just in case it's some kind of baseband weirdness)

I wonder how accurate iOS' step count/distance tends to be - it's claiming that after Thursday's rabbiteering and supermarket run, I covered about 3.5 miles in just over 9,000 steps. Hoo!

Yay! Someone's uploaded the entire run of the recent Phoenix Wright anime. And subtitled, too! ^_^ But, for now, my TV viewing consists of the original Australian version of My Kitchen Rules. (And not long now until MasterChef returns! The BBC only discloses schedules a fortnight in advance, so we might get a heads-up next week, as it's begun in March for the past four years)
Anonymous packages: I received one in December, a padded shipping envelope from Japan! Definitely a WTF? moment, I opened it up to find a top. A machined metal spinning top, 5-6mm in diameter. Absolutely no idea who had it sent to me. They're not terribly expensive, but I've never expressed an interest in such and I don't know any of my friends who play with tops. Very odd.

Speaking of films, I'd suggest adding two options (yes, I know you can't edit it): No Plans To See It, and WTF? Never Heard Of It. And speaking of the films you've listed, not only am I familiar with The Wizard of Speed & Time, two stories. I literally found a copy of the 16mm short! I was running the film program for a science fiction convention and this random guy gives me a reel of 16mm film that was recovered from a bar in Tucson, Arizona that used to show films on the weekend. It was somewhat damaged, mainly the outer footage, I think maybe it was in a stack with others above and below it as the inner footage looked undamaged. You could see the splices where things had been assembled in to a longer reel. Well, on the label for the reel it said The Wizard of S&T, and it was fairly new at the time. I had an extremely sharp knife with me, and I cut straight through the damaged film down to the splice, and mounted it on a projector -- and the short, The Wizard of Speed and Time, appeared on the screen. In excellent shape.

Second story: Not only did I meet Mike Jitlov, and not only do I have a signed personalized poster of TWoS&T, I played chauffeur to him. A friend of mine was on the committee for a local sci fi con that I was not involved in. Mike was a GoH (the fill theatrical version had come out by that time) and she wanted someone to run him around town, do errands for him, general gopher stuff. In return, I got a guest badge for the con. Mike was signing and selling posters and gave me one. As it happens, the artwork was by Kelly Freas, and somehow the original artwork was accidentally destroyed by the printer, so the poster is truly limited edition. A friend of mine, Jason, was a huge fan of Mike but couldn't go to the convention, so he asked me if I could get an autograph. Mike had one poster left, and it was damaged, so he personalized it for Jason and gave it to me. It really made Jason's day. Sadly, ten years ago Jason passed away suddenly of a stroke. One of my best friends, Dave, was involved in the cleanup of his room: Jason lived with his parents, and his mother wanted his closest friends to deal with his room and take anything they wanted as mementos. Dave got the poster, he and his wife had it very nicely displayed, though Dave lost his wife to cancer a few years ago.

Enough Jitlov and morbidity over mortality.

Love me some Brazilian steak house! I think I'll have to do it again when we're in Phoenix next. We have friends who have truly eclectic taste to dining out, and they're DINKs (dual income, no kids) and we almost always go somewhere cool with them. We were planning to do a new French restaurant in Scottsdale when we were in town last month, but there was some sort of festival event and there was absolutely no parking in downtown Scottsdale. We ended up at a place called Couscous Express. It is anything but fast food, you're going to spend over an hour here, we spent two. You sit down and the owner immediately brings you lentil soup and hot mint tea. Fantastic place in a very dodgy area.

I heard of that Turing/Bletchley Park bar! I would so love to see it, have a wonderful time! That's one thing that I really want to see, Bletchley Park is such a formative place for us computer peeps. As it happens, we may be popping up to Scotland for a week at the end of the year for a wedding, but it's unlikely we'll have time to go so far south for touristing.

(too long of reply, part II follows...)
(continued from previous)

I've heard of Dangerous Roads. I wonder if it will be available on the Apple TV when they get their app released. Sounds pretty awesome, I've seen a pretty dangerous road: it was around a copper mine in east central Arizona.

iPad battery: yeah, that's a tricky one. You might try the old NiCad Reconditioning trick: full charge, full discharge, rinse, repeat. Loop a video full-screen and let it go. It might help. I've never had absolute faith in the estimate of battery life, though I have found that when my Apple laptops tell you that the battery is low and you need to plug them in, YOU NEED TO PLUG THEM IN!

I've tried a comparison count to see if my Pebble watch and iPhone are in agreement as to step count and it was close, within perhaps 10%. So I think it's sufficiently accurate.
Oo, that sounds like a trip worth capturing on a good dashcam. =:D I think the closest I've been to anything like that was one time out of Barcelona - with neither my mother or I being huge beach lovers, we rented a car and headed inland. And I do enjoy going off the beaten track - I just hadn't quite anticipated just quite how minor the road would become. ^_^; So there we were, on a bare mountainside road, meant for beater 4x4s and tractors, in some little Fiat, cautiously edging over the small rocks forming the "surface", occasionally with me getting out to guide her carefully across a path least likely to leave us stranded. By the time we hit actual road again, we were both perfectly happy to stay firmly on the black stuff.

Brilliant fun, though. =:)

(Speaking as the one who wasn't driving)

It's had a few opportunities to "reset" its estimates, but it's still rather optimistic - if it genuinely runs down (rather than this "phantom discharge"), it's likely not to even hit the 10% warning before just turning off. I must remember to try airplane mode next time I'm out there, though the coming week's looking fairly dull. =:P

Interesting, then, how much distance one can cover without really realising it! No bad thing, of course. (Ah, I can't wait for the weather to get brighter and warmer - I love going for long walks, whether just for fun, or with some destination in mind, such as a noteworthy pub in the countryside a bit east of here - at about 1h30-1h50, it's just a good length to help work up a bit of an appetite and offer a spot of exercise. Or there's a very easy 30min walk to the train station, and potentially a bus back to the warren, else it's a bit of hike up the hill. But if you've eaten and drunk well, that's not so much of a consideration =:)
I hear the trick of draining it to about 20% from a full charge can help, but the general rule with Li-ion is to never ever ever drain it completely. The comparison between my batteries (which I never drain) and those of friends (who constantly run theirs down to nothing) is consistently surprising.
That's quite a cool story about Jittlov! .. I've run into him a few times too but never chaffeurred!
I've wondered what Mike has been up to, that convention was probably a good 20+ years ago.

The reason why my friend wanted me to drive him around was that she knew I don't gush over people and wouldn't be an absolute gooey sycophant. And Mike appreciated that. He was a pretty cool guy IMO.
Nice! ^V^
That's an excellent policy really.. just treat people like they are people... most really prefer that even if celebrity (as noted in the Bob Welch song "everybody's so different, I haven't changed") ... the few ones that want to be worshipped aren't that much fun to be around anyway :D

I think the last time I saw Mike was seeing him *also* on a bike cruising around the Rose Parade floats about 4 a.m. ... where I was too :D ... prolly about ten years ago...
Hmm. Was your previous engagement with a Mr Saito, by any chance?

Most cool with Mike Jittlov. ^_^ I do hope he's keeping busy in something creative. I drew such inspiration - well, more enthusiasm, perhaps - from WoSaT; it was so clear he derived such pleasure in what he did. It's easy to see why he'd fall out of love with the industry, with its almost entire shift to CG, but then. there do remain stop motion opportunities - Laika creates some amazing works, or even the London-based folk behind last year's Christmas ad for Sainsbury, purely accomplished with genuine stop-motion animation.

I've always loved the Mediterranean attitude toward evening dining - entire families will pile into the local joints, from kids to grandparents, and spend hours into the night just enjoying the food and drink, chatting, and all that. Even when I'm out and about by myself, I'll often tend to favor a cozy gastropub, like the Royal Standard of England, or even the Magnolia Cafe (now apparently Magnolia's - it may well have been that way officially since its makeover that removed its gorgeous mural, but it'll always be the Magnolia Cafe to me =:), where I can just casually enjoy a few pints, some good food, and LJ/Reddit, and take all evening or afternoon over it. ^_^

I do need to revisit Edinburgh. Had such a good time up there - I can easily see myself living thereabouts, if things worked out that way. Glasgow sounds well worth visiting as well - quite a different kind of place, but nonetheless with plenty to offer.