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Quite a neat little raccoon encounter posted by Dan Skunk, wherein our hero helps out a rackety-coon unable to get back out of a dumpster.

From the "you couldn't make this up" department: news of a BBC3 project in September, where they "will surprise commuters by staging an opera at an unnamed London rail station, without any warning. The 65-strong orchestra and three opera singers will swoop in unannounced, with selected members of the public joining in as a chorus after being contacted at the last minute by mobile phone text message."

Those with an interest in Japanese (and other Asian countries') TV and film might want to note the launch of ImaginAsian TV, a new satellite channel visible in the US. Amongst other things, they'd appear to be running various anime series, including the more interesting Figure 17, seemingly subtitled, though that should be confirmed. It's an independent venture, so the programming choices could, potentially, be more adventurous than the norm. Hm. Wonder if Dr Slump might finally have a means of entering American homes? ^_^

Pic for the day: kenket's "Production", for the EuroFurence con book cover. And from rosequoll, a pair of quolls, Warner style. And a cute kitten.

The Reg notes a presentation at the ongoing Hot Chips conference, outlining the PlayStation Portable's chippery, including a 333MHz R4000 with SIMD.

Nifty. rss2email is a set of Python scripts which send RSS subscription updates to you by email. And needless to say, it's entirely libre et gratis. The instructions work for OS X, substituting curl -O for wget; given they're all text scripts, loading and saving them from a browser would work too.

Irony of the Day, courtesy of the DoD.

From addedentry, a rather cool aggregation site for audio weblogs. And on that note, Corante is now running an audio series of interviews, to be made available in AAC and MP3 formats, and via RSS enclosures. The first show features various lawyerly guests discussing the recent Grokster decision which held that P2P organisations are not liable for what's sent using their software.

If you think you've some 3D artistic talent, you might want to consider the prizes available in the 2004 povray competition, closing on October 15th. Or, there's HP's contest (closing Sept 15), to create a 2D work based on their sample images, with the grand prize including a PowerMac G5, a 20" iMac, a 15" PowerBook, projector, camera, desk, chair, and three HP printers. ^_^;

Wouldn't it be neat if some cons could stream some panels live, for those unable to attend?

The ISC's take on recent vague warnings being bandied around of an unspecified threat of a net.meltdown last Thursday: "The ISC would like to go out on a limb and predict that the Internet will not vaporize into a cloud of nothingness this Thursday, but if it does, it's been our pleasure to help stave off its inevitable annihilation this long."

Hee! Ian McKellen's signed up to provide the voice of Zebedee in the forthcoming Magic Roundabout film, due to be released in February 2005, contrary to its IMDb entry, which also claims his evil counterpart will be voiced by Tom Baker. ^_^ Some images of the CGI versions of the characters, so this site claims, can be found here, including, of course, Dylan.

rabitguy mentioned Renart the Fox to me, a rather promising forthcoming animated feature from Luxembourg, beginning its release in December this year.

If you've noticed the next generation DVD formats under preparation, maybe you've also been less than swept away by the specs, offering around 20GB per layer, compared to the current 4.7GB - pretty much essential for carrying the higher requirements of HDTV, but not really pushing much beyond. Optware, on the other paw, appear to have genuine prototype discs and equipment, suitable for mass manufacture, offering around 1TB per disc - the equivalent of one hundred dual-layer DVDs. Finally the Stephen King book club can go digital.

A good site for UK TV ads - including, most notably, the memorable Dunlop - Tested for the Unexpected (1MB WMV). The encoding's not too good, but you'll still be able to see enough. ^_^

I finally got around to watching Stephen Chow's God of Cookery the other day, and, unsurprisingly, I'm very pleased I did. It's unmistakably a Hong Kong film, with the low budget camerawork, and the consistently playful, over-the-top storyline. Hollywood can occasionally not take itself so desperately seriously, but that remains the exception rather than the rule. It's hardly as exquisitely crafted as Tampopo, but easily worth your time nonetheless.

Here, have some jelly babies.

And if you're within reach of Berkeley, the Pacific Film Archive's holding a Guy Maddin season from Oct 8-31. When The Saddest Music in the World rolls around, be sure to catch it - and Heart of the World, an intense six minute cinematic experience.

Bunny cable ties, stress squeezums, CD holders... Hee!

An amusing little graphic illustrating the nature of the "Swift Boat" group's connections to Bush Sr, Karl Rove, and Bush Jr. And then there's a former Lt Governor of Texas stating that he got Bush Jr into the National Guard (1.9MB QuickTime), on the behest of a family friend. What routes for avoiding Vietnam were there - that is, how would Joe Shmoe go about getting into such a post, rather than becoming cannon fodder? (Short of obtaining multiple deferments, as apparently happened with Cheney five times, or skipping the country; not that I'd blame anyone for wanting to avoid being sent there)

Has a penguin ever been elected Jesus?

Word of Balto 3: "The film seems to involve some of the producers from the second film, but the writers from the first film (two of them anyway) are back, and the plot (or what we can discern of it) sounds much more Balto 1-ish, with emphasis on action/adventure rather than 'spirituality'."

Cool. There's apparently yet another release of Evangelion on the way, the "Platinum Edition". Its main thrust is remastered audio (5.1 now) and video, apparently to very good effect. Still, I already own the series (the two laserdiscs ADV put out before ceasing production of LDs, and the rest on VHS, which I happened upon one evening in Amoeba Records - $10 each. And you could sort of count the not-entirely-legitimate VCD set I later bought for portability, claiming to be from "OSCAR", logo being a golden statuette.. :), but it's maybe something to consider in the future, once things become more settled.

Amusing.. the latest entrant into the burgeoning Iraq documentary arena will come from the director of Three Kings. [NYTimes link]

Finally, some good news from BT Wholesale: in light of the "extended reach" trials in Milton Keynes, from September, there will be no minimum line standard required for a 512kbps connection - if you're on a DSL-enabled exchange, you're around 99.8% certain of being able to sustain a reliable connection. Also, the line loss for a 1Mbps connection will be relaxed to the current level required for a 512kbps offering (-60dB), around 6km from the exchange. 2Mbps' requirement will remain unchanged (-41dB).

Meanwhile, LTT Broadband provides wireless service to parts of Essex, Surrey, and Sussex, permitting a customer to choose their uplink and downlink speeds, and contention, and then see the monthly cost. Those aspects can then be changed later, as need dictates. The main benefit is the availability of high outbound bandwidth, it'd seem, given the hideous cost of BT SDSL - LTT's 1024/1024 is a bearable £42.

I took the plunge on Sunday, upgrading Bunny from 10.2.8 to 10.3.5; Panther's got various pleasant improvements, but the Wallstreet is slightly too old to actually be supported, necessitating the use of XPostFacto to munge things a little. With the many caveats attached, I'd been reluctant to go ahead, but, all went very smoothly. (Besides, the partitioning I'd set up a while back was making things very tight, not to mention all the accumulated digital kipple) The only hiccup was a video glitch initially, lending a purple tint to much of the display; checking the support forum yielded the suggestion to remove the ATIRageProGA kernel extension, which did the trick - it's flawless now, and rather more responsive than Jaguar into the bargain. Overall, I'd recommend other Wallstreet owners giving it a go: it's faster, plus offering the various niceties of Panther. It'll be fun to see how Tiger (10.4, coming in "H1 2005"; a preview was distributed at the recent developer conference) improves on it. I can see Dashboard yelling for an RSS widget..

Unusually, the menagerie is away for a few days - and so, the kitchen is mine, all mine! Muahahahahaaa! So, dinner wound up being a roasted eggplant/aubergine thin crust pizza, to which I added chicken (breast, sliced, marinated in oyster sauce, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, and Sichuan pepper), bacon (lean offcut bits), shiitake, and baby corn. Part of that, plus a salad of Chinese leaf, spinach, baby vine tomatoes, and sweet peppers, all accompanied by a Hordean Special Bitter.

Finally, from the University of Toledo's College of Business Administration.. oh, why spoil it? ^_^ It isn't mentioned how much of the course grade this covers.
Cool raccoon story. I sometimes wish I lived on the north American continent, just so I could see raccoons up close and personal. I'm looking forward to 10.4 as well.
That's one thing I never got around to while I was in Brisbane (well, Corinda, much of the time) - what are the zoos like in the area? Taronga Park, of course, is well known, down in Sydney - and they do have my kin, though no raccoons. austin_dern can happily confirm there are some to be seen in the Singapore Zoo, though, but that's a bit of a journey for a day trip. ^_^ (Great zoo, though.. some of the best enclosures I've seen, with real effort put in to give space to their inhabitants, plus some large walk-in areas, such as one with several lemurs. Once inside, there's nothing between you and them. Wonderful)

I was once lucky enough to be treated to the sight of a raccoon dinner, while visiting plushlover on the northern Californian coast. His house then was regularly visited by Momma and her kits, and so, he set out some kibble, and we carried on chatting and such for a while, before eventually hearing some quiet scratchings by the door. Gently, he opened it, both of us remaining quiet - and there they all were, gratefully munching away on the treats to be found, muzzles twitching away as they crunched heartily, barely a couple feet away. Definitely one of my fondest memories.. ^_^
I'm trying to imagine Tom Baker eating that particular brand of Jelly Baby. ;)

Or Ronald Reagan.. ^_^
SIMD? Single Instruction Multiple Datastream? *snaps* I'll KILL YA! I'LL KILL ALL'Y'ALL! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
*giggle* Oh, I positively adored working with Altivec. ^_^ Want to repack two words into one, in any arbitrary order? Just use vec_permute. Great for stripping fixed-point results down into bytes for screen rendering. And sim_g4 was so nice for modelling instruction flow through the various execution stages on a cycle-accurate basis.. made spotting resource contention and cache misses trivial.

I just wish I could find a need for the eieio instruction. ^_^
"ImaginAsian TV"
The more exposure, the better.

"Renart the Fox"
Oooooo! I like the sound of that.

"Finally the Stephen King book club can go digital."
Own the entire works of Stephen King on only 55 HVDs! :P

"Dunlop - Tested for the Unexpected"
I really like that. The laughing guy sowed visions of Saddest Music. :D

"holding a Guy Maddin season"
I do hope Maddin's following increases dramatically very quickly. God knows he's lured us in for life!

"cable ties, stress squeezums, CD holders..."
So cuuuuuute!

"Has a penguin ever been elected Jesus?"
Haha! Well funny.

"yet another release of Evangelion"
Thus it goes with the realisation of not doing it right the first time(s). When will distributors learn?

"99.8% certain of being able to sustain a reliable connection."
99.8% certain my furry ass! That'll be the frykken day. ^^

"I took the plunge on Sunday, upgrading Bunny..."
Well good. To quote Lord Morley from The Private Eyes, "All's well that end satisfactorily." ^_^

"University of Toledo's College of Business Administration"
......*long drawn-out sigh*
The more exposure, the better.

Ah, now there's a quote to extract out of context. ^_^

But yes, I definitely like the idea. It's a little odd, really, given how (comparatively) well served the Hispanic community's been for years now, yet AFAIK, the only options 'til now have been whatever few Asian broadcasters themselves make available to viewers outside their respective home territories. ISTR there's something primarily Chinese on Sky in the UK (up in the 800s or so), but always seemed to be soaps/dramas or travelogues; the latter, I admit, were quite interesting, in a random style. ^_^

"Renart the Fox"
Oooooo! I like the sound of that.

The artwork does look rather nice, ne? I'm always pleased to see more diversity in animated art styles, rather than having everyone strive for The Disney Look. Nothing wrong with it, but the near-uniformity becomes a little depressing - and ultimately, serves against those newer studios' interests, I'd argue. Ask a selection of folks on the street who produced Anastasia and The Road to El Dorado, and you can bet the majority would say Disney. (Of course, that inevitably would include the ten percent or so who'd be liable to call Bugs and Daffy as Disney characters)

I do hope Maddin's following increases dramatically very quickly. God knows he's lured us in for life!

Oh, quite so. ^_^ TSMitW hooked me from but a minute or two in; the announcers reeled me in. I was then dusted in cayenne pepper and fried to a spicy blackness.

And, of course, Dracula still awaits! ~happy~

"yet another release of Evangelion"
Thus it goes with the realisation of not doing it right the first time(s). When will distributors learn?

Grf. Indeed. Still, I suppose they could sort of be excused, as that was (IIRC, BICBW) one of their earlier DVD releases. It showed, sadly, that they should've watched more fansubs, to see more elegant ways of dealing with such blocks of text, such as starting a scene with an overlay, then fading to the original text. Or, of course, just leaving it be, unless the text's genuinely material to what's happening, optionally placing a subtitle there as appropriate.

As I said, once I'm able, I'm quite tempted to pick that release up, as it does seem they've worked a lot on the new 5.1 mix, and the series does offer plenty of scope for an enhanced soundstage. But first would come the shiny new PowerBook. ^_^ (I was, of course, quite relieved to find the PBG5 didn't see a Paris debut on Tuesday, unless that'd been accompanied by a No Repayments financing option)

"University of Toledo's College of Business Administration"
......*long drawn-out sigh*

And remember, these people may well be running large companies in the future. Yay!
"Ah, now there's a quote to extract out of context."
AGAIN. Thank you Jeremy Lloyd & David Croft. ^_^

"but the near-uniformity becomes a little depressing"
I take it the same does not apply to anime, then. ^.~

"I was then dusted in cayenne pepper and fried to a spicy blackness."
Then drenched in a vat of beer. :D

"And, of course, Dracula still awaits! ~happy~"
Be afraid. Be -very- afraid. :D

"they should've watched more fansubs"
Fansubs are wonderful. :)
Sure, the image and audio quality aren't the -very best- you can get, but it's perfectly enjoyable and you get that personal TLC touch; eg. text translation & translator's notes. Something, as you say, more distributors should take heed to.

"worked a lot on the new 5.1"
That's something I was disappointed with the R1 Akira DVD. The Japanese Audio was only in 4.0, it was not the 70mm 2.20:1 aspect ratio, -which- I know for a fact, was the version they broadcast on Sci-fi Channel for many years. Ah well.

"And remember, these people may well be running large companies in the future. Yay!"
Freefall... *inserts Disney WB falling SFX* ;)