Cadbury bunny - coy

Duck croquettes

Have some ski jumping with tires. ^_^ (via jenn_dolari)

I have two new depictions of myself! ^_^ First up, by /u/War_Dyn27, in vectors, and then, a pencils bust by /u/Lunatic_Pangolin. I'm delighted with them, perhaps needless to say. ^_^


Whilst the Kickstarter for the David Bowie statue is concluded, the latest update notes that if anyone's still interested in chipping in for any of the reward levels, that does remain an option. They're on course for a September 2017 unveiling, with the sculptor now working on the maquette; once that's complete and approved, then the full size version can begin. ^_^


Here's some geeky fun: a presentation at one of the CCC shindigs, on hacking the PS4. =:D

If you're looking to rent a DSLR lens and/or body, LensesForHire are again running a February special: this time, all rates are 25% off for any bookings made before the end of the month, and they'll supply a 25% coupon for any future use. Bookings can be as far ahead as they'll accept (at least six months, ISTR), and there's no problem rescheduling a booking, provided there's enough notice (a fortnight, I believe). I'm happy to recommend them - reasonable rates, and they're fine with courier delivery and collection, or in person (though they'll meet you at a nearby cafe, given the location itself holds quite a lot of value in total =:). In the past, I've borrowed a Sigmonster from them, to see how it'd work out as a wildlife lens (answer: it's a very good lens with superb reach, but the weight means a tripod & gimbal mount is mandatory, so you can't just go wandering and quickly take advantage of a spontaneous moment), and Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 for wildlife and an airshow, where it acquitted itself admirably in both contexts, though inevitably, at the cost of double the weight of my usual Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S; my shoulders were not very amused the day after the airshow. ^_^; As an indication of the costs, their normal rates for those two are £214 and £190 respectively for 5 days (minimum of 3 days), for lenses that currently sell new for around £5500 and £5000. I notice they're now offering the D500, amongst other bodies, for £147 for 5 days, before discount.. if I do take advantage of the offer, that's probably what I'd try this time around, as I'm interested to see just how good the new autofocus module really is (the same as in the new flagship, the D5), and the ability to get 10fps in continuous mode could be very useful in those wonderful action moments.

Saturday saw a window of a couple hours of bright winter sun, so of course, I had to scamper off for some rabbiteering - and the buns were happy to oblige. ^_^ Evidently, there's one bun expecting before too long, as she's out gathering straw for the nest for her babies. Unfortunately, that means nothing to some others, including one buck who decided she deserved to be pursued aggressively. Thankfully, despite getting perilously close, she departed untouched. ^_^ Through the rest of the afternoon, I'd see her take the same route, gathering straw consignments. Ah, soon, there'll be a few new tinybuns to observe. =:D



And a fraction of a second later..


It's been confirmed: Peter Capaldi will leave Doctor Who, with the 2017 Christmas special being his swan song. I'll miss his brash style, but, I'm grateful for what he brought to the show, and it does mean we get to play with the delicate sensibilities of fen who reject the concept that a time-travelling nigh immortal alien who can regenerate from almost any mortal peril, into an entirely new body, couldn't possibly alter their skin tone or gender along the way. =:D At least that canard's been put to rest with the advent of the quite superb Missy, mercifully. And, not too long to go now: we'll see the Doctor again on April 15 2017. ^_^

So, who would you invite to the role? Beyond Joanna Lumley, who goes without saying. ^_^ I'd be supremely tempted to ask Lori Petty. Patrick Stewart would be great fun as well, with the bonus spectacle of geek heads exploding everywhere. =:) Thinking a little more inside the box, Eva Green comes to mind - though she's probably too busy to commit to a multi-year production schedule.

I am absolutely loving these boxed wine reviews. =:D

What's your backup regimen? Do you have one? In my case, it's primarily macOS' own Time Machine, which simply performs incremental backups every hour, in the background, keeping those for a couple weeks, then culling older ones to leave daily, and so on, as far back as space permits. Then, for the photography, I'll also occasionally copy the Aperture library over to a soft RAID of two external drives, and complete libraries (I cycle them out when they reach more than around 50GB) onto another external. I'd like to have something off-site as well, given the above won't help if there's a thorough burglary or bad fire, though I'd at least have lower resolution JPEG versions of some of the better ones on Flickr and 500px. Ultimately, I'd like to set up a proper server, with space for several drives - maybe something prepared, eg Synology or QNAP, or home made, using Unraid. With the latter, I'd ideally want the system to be something compact, along the lines of a Mac mini, adding external drives as desired, rather than a hefty server case, but I'll have to research whether Unraid even supports external USB3 or Thunderbolt drives. (I wouldn't be looking for speed, so everything hanging off a USB hub would be fine - it'd be running over 802.11ac anyway, again assuming that's no problem for Unraid)

Heh, not bad - the last Transferwise transaction took a matter of hours to complete, from initiating payment via ACH, to availability. Why on Earth can't/don't the banks offer such a service themselves, rather than leaving it to third parties? Friction, I suppose - enough people will pay the standard international transfer fees, versus seeking such alternatives? (xe.com is another such; it used to be rather more complex to set up a transaction, but I believe that's changed recently, with the back end migrated to a different financial provider)

Glar. Whether it's Apple or Google at fault, I don't yet know, but this is quite annoying - now, it seems after I restart Hazel, or even just change IPs, Google requests re-entering all my Google Apps (in my case, just email) passwords. Which, of course, it refuses to just accept from the Keychain - I've got to perform that manually. Adding in Mail's obstinance with occasionally being "unable" to send email with a bogus authentication failure, and I'm wondering if it isn't time to just be rid of both Mail and GMail. Perhaps I'll set up a VM sometime, and test out any adequate clients, to see how well they can cope with a large archive, multiple accounts, and a good number of filter rules to keep all the mailboxes in order. (Ah, Eudora.. much as I loved NextStep taking over from classic Mac OS as the future OS' foundation, having to eventually leave Eudora behind was one step I regretted - always perfectly reliable, and fast)
Porsupah with camera

The delights of runny yolks

Another great track from Steam Powered Giraffe: I Don’t Have a Name For It. ^_^ And.. ! I enquired of them if there was any chance of any UK performances (they're based in San Diego), and there is! They'll be at the Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln, 25-28 Aug 2017, with tickets going on sale on Feb 1. "The Asylum Steampunk Festival is the largest and longest running steampunk festival in the World, attracting participants from around the globe. It takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend in the historic City of Lincoln. For four glorious days the historic streets of Lincoln are thronged with thousands of splendidly dressed steampunks enjoying a festival which strives to combine art, literature, music, fashion, comedy and simple good fun." I am indeed most tempted. ^_^ (Of course, where I'll be by then remains to be seen, but that's an easy enough aspect of existence to modify on a temporary basis) If I were to go along, that'd be my first con since ConFurence 10, back at the Town & Country in San Diego. And it'd be an excellent excuse to contemplate some appropriate costumery.. =:D

Don't suppose anyone else might be along at the Destinations Show next weekend? (Actually, Feb 2-5; Thu-Sun) It's mostly a travel expo, with loads of weird and wonderful tour operators and the like, but for me, the attraction lies in the speakers, this year including the likes of Michael Palin, Simon Reeve, and John Simpson. There'll also be this year's photography contest finalist entries on display, alongside masterclasses on aspects of the craft. Tickets may still be available for free, else there's paid entry available (something like £11, I think).

So, here's an interesting development for tech sorts wanting to remain in the EU: a new French startup visa! Its domain seems to be limited to startups, but with that caveat, it appears to be issued to the person, not the company, as with the H-1B - so it would seem to be possible for someone to leave for another company, with no extra bureaucracy. By comparison, an H-1B is approved for an individual to work for a specific company (and indeed, in a specific position, and even location) - if that company goes bang, you're almost back to square one, with the new company having to put in a new application, with the very welcome benefit that at least you're not subject again to that year's visa quota, having already been counted under the year of your original petition's approval.

I don't mark celebrity deaths often, but I'll make an exception to that for John Hurt. Such a fabulous career, spanning Alien, Contact, The Storyteller, Watership Down, 1984, and so many more, not to mention his surprise introduction to Who canon as the War Doctor, a memorable role indeed. Back at the Trilobyte offices in 1995 or thereabouts, I got to meet him - he was working on a future project, Tender Loving Care, where (appropriately enough) he played a doctor, and so, he came around on a tour of the office to meet everyone. I don't really recall what I said - something very ordinary, I think, maybe just greeting him - but that occasion remains a very warm memory.

And a special prize to the bunny who'd fiddled with their camera's controls a few weeks ago, and forgotten to set it back from AF-S to AF-C, as well as leaving it on S rather than Ch.. =:P Still, I only lost a shot or two through that, before eventually realising what was going on. (AF-S acquires focus a Single time, then stays there - good for portraits and static subjects. AF-C keeps acquiring focus Continuously - what you want for moving subjects. S, meanwhile, takes just one shot, however long the shutter button is depressed; Ch keeps on taking them continuously, at the highest rate it can; in the D7100's case, in 12-bit normal crop mode, that's 6fps. The new crop flagship, the D500, not only has an excellent, new autofocus module, but can also manage 10fps, which would be ideal for those wonderful action moments, where everything's concentrated into just a second or two)

Regardless.. ^_^


A minor convenience from BT: a nuisance caller blacklist. It's apparently a combination of their own ISP-style blacklisting, analysing call traffic, and your own additions - receive a junk call, and you can then dial 1572 to add it to your personal blacklist. No charges involved.

Following on from a previous entry: I did indeed wind up resuming case 3 of Apollo Justice from the beginning, and after a couple hours of retracing my steps, successfully progressed to meeting Valant on the coliseum stage, and from there, eventually, to the end of the title. I definitely enjoy the Phoenix Wright/Apollo Justice series - of course, the logic in the cases is always a bit wonky, and it can be quite frustrating at times when you're aware of the point you want to make, but have to puzzle out how to express that in the game (presenting a piece of evidence, say, that has some implication regarding the point you're trying to make, even if quite indirectly), but ultimately, the characters do grow on you (with the exception of Wocky =:), and when the epilogue rolls, I do find myself missing them already. And just because, I'm now playing through the following title, Dual Destinies, again; for whatever reason, Capcom released DD on iOS first, putting quite a few events in the timeline out of order, so I'm now getting to experience things in the intended fashion. I wonder when the new title will come to iOS.. and the new Animal Crossing, for that matter. ^_^

When the friend I mentioned the other week showed me his fitness stats on his phone, I was reminded that I could also do that with mine, though I turned it off soon after getting it. Voilà! Re-enabled, and now it's keeping track of the distance and number of steps walked each day. Not as much as I'd prefer, but still, not too terrible - Wednesday, f'rex, saw - or so it recorded, given I don't have it on me inside the house - 4,752 steps, coming to about 2.9km.

If you've ever wondered about defining function pointers in C, there's now a very handy reference available. =:)

Here, take a look at the best toothpick dispenser ever. =:D

If you like hearty ales, you might want to take advantage of Bath Ales' special on their positively wonderful Festivity, their winter seasonal - BOGOF! So you get two cases for £26.50, not just one, each case being a dozen bottles. Delivery is a flat rate £9, unless you're local to Bath. Ends at the end of the month, if they haven't run out beforehand. And yes, it'll keep very well - I had a couple straggler bottles that lasted about two years before I finished them, and they were even better. ^_^ Note that you need to follow the newsletter's link above, rather than going to the site as you might otherwise do. (The description on the page makes it clear that you're getting one case free with each case, and you should see product code B1G1FFEST beneath the price - if you don't see that, but FES7B, you're paying normal price) Whilst it is indeed better on cask, it's one of those lucky beers that loses very little being bottled, so it's pretty much as good as you'd get in one of their pubs. Me, I went for two cases, ie four. =:)

No dramatic shots of them, but, I was delighted to see tinybuns on Friday! Probably in their first month outside, and every bit as adorable as you'd expect. And fast - if they want to zoom, it's virtually teleportation. =:) Here we see one of them out in their first winter, only a matter of weeks old, with what's likely to be their mother. ^_^


Of some minor geek note: the new iOS 10.3 beta marks one quite interesting transition - the debut of Apple's new APFS filing system, replacing the erstwhile HFS+. It seems safe to imagine that if they're experimenting with APFS on a mass scale with iOS, will macOS be far behind? Will 2017's WWDC hold word of HFS+ finally departing the stage?

Ever wondered just how Bezier curves actually work? Here's a superb explanation, with helpful animations assisting the equations, conveying the points being made visually.

Random nerdery: apparently, there existed adapters so you could use cassettes in 8-track players - about as elegant a solution as you might expect, effectively a small tape player protruding outside the player. The host then demonstrates a similar kludge from the early 2000s - an MP3 player inside a cassette case. It's the finale that's the most wonderful, though - yep, an MP3 player in a cassette adaptor inside an 8-track player. =:D

Going purely by the trailer, Colossal looks like it could be quite a fun giant monster flick. ^_^

Food! Three from M&S, this time. Soft yolk Scotch eggs: good. The yolks are indeed soft, but the meat seasoning remains rather timid. Lamb moussaka: very good! Needed no herbal augmentation. As fiddly as ever to get out of the tray, though. Beef hash: disappointing. Good ingredients, but bland gravy as supplied, requiring much perking up - in my case, pepper, oregano, sage, paprika, oyster sauce, half a field mushroom, and some Quorn mince.

Apparently, the UK's entry for Kiev's Eurovision 2017 in late May is Lucie Jones "Never Give Up On You". She certainly has an excellent voice, but I'm not particularly interested in the song itself. But then, my Eurovision choices don't usually tend to be winners. =:) You can read more about her over on the Contest site.

The sheer scale of the Women's marches against Trump was quite phenomenal - not just in DC, but in so many cities around the US, and indeed, around the world, including Antarctica! And not just cities, even, but in rural Minnesota. ^_^ Estimates are, of course, difficult to ascertain, but US Prof D J Pressman suggests a total of "between 3.3 million to 4.2 million", making them the "largest protests in US history". Much to Hair Führer's disgruntlement, estimates place the march in Washington as having three times as many people as his inauguration the day before. As you'd expect of an NPD individual, this didn't sit well with him at all - he later used his address to the CIA to lambast the biased media for reporting the modest crowds, with reporters even suggesting his crowds could be smaller than Obama's in 2009. You can see plenty of photos from the Bay Area's marches over here. (Originally, they'd only planned one, in the City, but eventually ceded it'd work better if they went for three instead: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose)

Pizza is big business, of course, but the usual strategy with the huge operators is via food chemistry, with additives to help prevent the pizza tasting much worse than it began, and everyone (mostly) uses thermally insulated sleeves along the way. But this place works rather differently, part-baking them at home base, then loading them into a van with individually controlled ovens, so they finish baking en route. Intriguingly, they don't appear to just take your order, but drive around with the most likely needed pizzas, only falling back to an individual delivery if necessary: "First the ovens are pre-loaded with a selection of pizzas that have been par-baked in the production facility. The pizzas chosen for loading on the truck are based on past orders from certain neighborhoods, allowing engineers to predict the most likely pies that will be ordered and stock the truck with those; if somehow a pie that is ordered isn’t on the truck, a car from the company’s fleet of delivery Fiats will make the trip to deliver the pizza."
Bunneh!

Southern Goulash

Here's a fun little bit of TV archaeology: the first episode of the UK version of Family Fortunes (née Family Feud), dating from Jan 6 1980.

Yay, Arrival is finally coming to downloads! iTunes US will see it on Jan 31 2017, for $15, extras included. ^_^ iTunes UK isn't showing a date yet, unfortunately. Amazon US is saying Feb 14 2017 for the physical releases, including a 4K BD edition, for $30 (or $25 for BD, $20 for DVD). I missed it in cinemas (well, TBH, more a matter of little motivation, with the local place being just your average multiplex, same anywhere in the world), so this is one title I'm especially looking forward to. Without any spoilers, please, how much rewatchability would you say it has? If it's any comparison, I thoroughly enjoyed Contact, which rests within the fairly modest number of DVDs I actually did play several times.

Speaking of DVDs, I actually bought a few on Tuesday, contrary to my strong preference for digital-only media, thanks to their very low price. ^_^; A friend had let me know the night before that a particular place had a cheap copy of Satantango (a film you need to set aside about seven hours for =:). Perhaps needless to say, I was unduly tempted, and also picked up a box of the Leningrad Cowboys, including their magnificent concert with the Red Army Choir; Code Unknown, which sounded quite interesting; A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, which looked much too strange to ignore; and The Night is Young. FWIW, if you haven't heard, or even heard of, the Leningrad Cowboys, YouTube can oblige: here's a playlist of tracks from said production. It is quite gloriously daffy.

Most cool! In an apparent first, the US Mint will be producing - albeit only as a high denomination collectors' gold coin - a coin with a black Lady Liberty. It's in commemoration of the Mint's 225th anniversary, with future designs exploring other ethnicities as well. ^_^ (h/t supergee)

And technology progresses.. Kingston's announced 1TB and 2TB thumb drives. =:D (Cue memory of the Mars University library on two tiny storage devices, per Futurama. Come to that, are we there already? I wonder how much storage you'd need to digitise an entire large library.. well, the British Library lays claim to 150,000,000 items, but that includes not just books and documents, but audio, maps, stamps, and more. Still, if you say roughly 100m books and magazines, stored purely as high resolution images - let's say 1MB per page, and an average of 250 pages (magazines and newspapers would be lower, books likely higher), so that's 250MB per publication. Multiply that by 100m, and you're at 25PB. So, using those 2TB sticks, you'd need around 12,000. They're 72x27x21mm each, so if you treble the volume to allow for cabling and ventilation, so about 120cm3 each. Multiply by 12,000 gives about 1,500,000cm3, or about 1.5 cubic meters. Wow)
Porsupah by Potato Otter

Taking stock of the making stock

It would appear the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu are returning. =:D

We may well get to see two stars colliding in 2022, likely forming one of the brightest night sky objects. For now (as far as we can see), they're two tightly orbiting stars, approaching closer and closer.

Could be interesting: Hasbro's launching Hanazuki on Jan 12. "Starting with nine, 11-minute episodes that are a mix of colorful psychedelia crossed with anime influences, viewers will meet a girl named Hanazuki, who is gifted with powers that are tied to her many moods. In her orbit are bunny-like creatures called Hemkas, a sheriff of the moon named Dazzlessence Jones, and Kiazuki, who may or may not be a friend." I am, of course, entirely uninfluenced by the presence of bunny-like characters. The show's homepage is over yonder.

So, I finally got to see Max Max: Fury Road, as an old Uni friend's stayed for a few days over the New Year. It was.. interestingly feminist, though basically devoid of story. I'm pleased I finally got to see it, but also content I didn't go for it at iTunes' recent bargain basement price.

The full cast for Star Trek: Discovery has been unveiled. Breaking with convention, the lead isn't a captain, but a lt commander, referred to as Number One, apparently in homage to Majel Barrett's original role in the pilot. It'll debut in May 2017 with a 13-episode series. Summarising, there'll be:

Main cast:
Sonequa Martin-Green as Rainsford: lieutenant commander of the USS Discovery.
Doug Jones as Saru: A Science Officer serving as a lieutenant aboard the Discovery.
Anthony Rapp as Stamets: A Science Officer specializing in astromycology.

Recurring:
Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou: Captain of the USS Shenzhou.
Shazad Latif as Kol: Commanding Officer of the Klingons, and protege of T'Kuvma.
Chris Obi as T'Kuvma: A Klingon leader who is looking to unite the Klingon houses.
Mary Chieffo as L'Rell: Battle Deck Commander of the Klingon ship.

Minor PSA for UK peeps: there's a new central number to call if you experience a power cut: 105, which will put you through to your local network operator.

Saturday was magnificent fun, getting to finally meet up with an old Bay friend for the first time since probably 2005. We chatted about his motivation to leave the US for Rotterdam, happening in the coming weeks, my photography win last year, who indeed is Best Pony, and much more. ^_^ We wound up going to a pub that seemed to have quite an interesting menu, and reviewed well on TripAdvisor, and yes, from the moment I walked in, I had a good feeling, with seating including armchairs, benches, stools, and dining chairs, so you could make yourself comfortable as suited you. As for the food: well, yes. =:9 We started with cod cheek scampi with nduja aioli, and artichoke ravioli with truffle, but it was when our six-hour braised beef ribs arrived that we gasped. ^_^; We were defeated, but to good effect - the bones have been simmering for a couple days, for some very good stock, which'll be the basis of something delicious later this week.



A little one-shot furry anime: Buta, 24 mins long.

A few music videos, if you're up for them:

- Renaldo and the Loaf, "A Convivial Ode". Long-running surrealist music project, probably familiar to fans of The Residents, this is their first track and video since the 80s.
- My Russian Pony, "Happy New Year". It's a SFM-produced video, so to me, the faces never really look quite right, but the track's simply so buoyant that it's impossible to care.
- Marjan Farsad, "Khooneye Ma". Beautifully sung track, with an elegantly animated video.
- Elle King, "Ex's and Oh's". If you love the brassy stylings of singers like Shirley Bassey, you'll want to try this.

Blar. I really enjoy the Phoenix Wright (et al) games, but the latest iOS release seems to have skipped a Capcom QA stage or two, plus introducing some less than optimal changes, notably that previously, you could choose (if things went sufficiently wrong with your choices) to resume at one of a few midpoints in a case. No longer! Apollo Justice only offers resuming from the very start of each case. Which, having encountered a bug, looks like my only option in case 3. No huge matter, in the grand scheme of things, but still, it'll be a bit tedious, spending a couple hours winding through the case, only to reach Investigation Day 2, where things went awry. I've filed a bug report with Support, but given we're talking about Capcom, I suspect my only option now is to just start the case afresh, and grind through the first half again. (Or give up on it and request a refund, but I'd prefer to enjoy it all, despite an annoying hitch)
Eddie and Musky

Long Island iced tea

Apparently, some iPlayer users accessing the service on particular TVs are now being offered the option to preview Ultra HD HDR test footage, including a four minute segment from Planet Earth II. Personally, I'd really enjoy seeing some high framerate tests, too - even interpolation of 25 or 30fps material, performed well, can make quite a substantial difference, especially in action sequences.

Robocop's designer is now working on a four meter high robot, which the manufacturer expects to sell for around $8m each. (Of course, it's from Asia - South Korea)

Here's some encouragement for webcam owners to set a password: The Insecam Project, making a large database of unsecured webcams available and searchable by country, manufacturer, and more.

There are bunnies! Around my usual circuit, that is. ^_^ Over October, November, and December, I'd seen very few around - perhaps one rather bored individual in one spot, and that'd be it. On Thursday, though - no bunucopia, but there were one or two at all of the spots, including maybe four at my main spot. =:D No amazing shots to show for it, I'm afraid, but I'm nonetheless delighted to see some actual activity again.


Autostraddle has a particularly good obituary for Carrie Fisher. It's not merely a recitation of her roles, but what she brought to them, and her life outside film, including being a vociferous advocate of mental health and eliminating the stigma still associated with it. It (almost) concludes with the quite perfect line: "Remember the white dress I wore all through that film? George came up to me the first day of filming, took one look at the dress, and said: "You can't wear a bra under that dress." "OK, I'll bite," I said. "Why?" and he said "Because.. there's no underwear in space." He said it with such conviction. Like he had been to space and looked around and he didn't see any bras or panties anywhere. He explained. "You go into space and you become weightless. Then your body expands but your bra doesn't, so you get strangled by your own underwear." I think that this would make for a fantastic obituary. I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra."

Dreams are always rather wonderfully odd things, but I'm wondering quite what led to me dreaming of being on a runaway narrowboat. ^_^; (I was cogent enough to realise there wasn't much of a problem as long as we were on the level, but I wasn't sure what to do when we hit a lock) Coming soon as a major motion picture!
Cadbury bunny - eyes ahead

Duck!

Music video for the week is easily Steam Powered Giraffe "Malfunction". It's a song with meaning, beside being a fabulous track in its own right. (h/t jenn_dolari!)

/u/marshykip very kindly drew me. ^_^

Chris Kluwe outdoes even The Rude Pundit, in this fabulous diatribe, so tragically warranted.

So, I finally became the last person on the planet to buy Kerbal Space Program. ^_^ The latest 66% off sale swung me over. (Of course, at a time when I can't actually take advantage of it, being down at my mother's for Yule, and consequently, reliant on cellular connectivity - specifically, 6GB at full speed, and unlimited thereafter at 256kbps)

And of course, whatever you're celebrating around now, I hope everyone has a wonderful time. ^_^ Here, the duck's coming out of the oven in a bit, with the rather too snug fitting roasting pan now laden down with parsnips (microwaved to prepare them), roast potatoes (where I admittedly cheated and bought pre-prepared ones - a little stupidly, I bought the ones in duck fat, not remembering what they were going to be cooking with =:), brussels, and stuffing (some good sausage meat, a couple extra herbs, and several portabellini chopped up finely). Then there's also some red cabbage that's been microwave simmering away, some carrot batons I'll pop into the micro when it's time to serve, and gravy, which'll be just some granules, boosted with some extra herbs, and - well, I thought a slightly boozy gravy would work well with the duck, and thought Rumbullion might be just the ticket.. oh, well, such a pity that leaves much of the bottle unused. =:) And to go with it, a bottle of 2014 Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve Selection, which sounded just right to work against such a tasty bird.

[ETA] Et voilà! Oh, yes, that worked. ^_^ It's lacking in artfulness, but not in flavor. =:9

Gynoid Porsupah

The delights of crockpots

It is conceivable some may not yet have seen this Dinosaur Comic on furries. =:D

Agent A continues! The story's next installment (a little confusingly called the third chapter, as the first part's since been split into two chapters) is now available! Apparently, they're aiming for a total of five chapters. Remarkably, it's a free update - hopefully with some means of offering some kind of payment, given this reflects months more work by the team, but I haven't yet had a good chance to try it out.

The Bunnykick: a double (50ml) of Sipsmith VJOP, topped up with plenty of ice, and then Fever Tree ginger ale to a half pint. You'll remember it. ^_^ (VJOP is their "navy strength" version, at 57.7%, fortified with further botanicals)

Was it nou who showed off their spice selection a while back? Here's my current selection. Not shown: several more within the core. =:) Those are the less frequently used ones, like ras el hanout, and long pepper, plus a couple bags of ginger and cumin at the end, just peeking through. The little unmarked tub is black cardamom, which needs to be restocked before long. (I tend to use it mostly in Bolognese sauce - adds just that bit of robustness to the tomato)



Show me yours? ^_^

Radio Garden loads up a globe, and overlays all the radio stations it knows about. Zoom in and explore, and listen to any of them. It's really quite magical.

Here's a series of tweets noting the rather extensive ties the Trump team has with Putin.

Last Saturday, I set about creating a random beef dish. ^_^ I was nosing around one of my preferred supermarkets, and noticed the butcher counter had ox cheek, and for very little money too. Of course, I had to pick up a hefty chunk, aware it's both beautifully flavorsome, and in need of plenty of cooking. I was a little worried that maybe I could've done with a slightly larger cut, so I picked up some thickly sliced chorizo as well, both for the texture and its own flavor. What I actually wound up doing was slicing several portabellini mushrooms thickly into the crockpot, along with a can of good French onion soup. I then sautéed a red onion in a little olive oil, to help reinforce the base of the sauce, and added that as well, then sat the cheek on top. Then, some initial herbings: some rosemary, basil, sweet smoked paprika, Tellicherry pepper, and some ginger & garlic paste, plus a bit of olive oil, to ensure the meat didn't wind up going dry through what would, after all, be a long braising, this being 3am, with the intent of serving in the evening. ^_^

I turned out not to really need tweaking the seasoning - it was quite nomworthy around lunchtime as was, but I did add a bit of the red wine the roomie had picked up, to help add further body to the sauce, and turned the (same) cheek over again. I perhaps should've remembered to thicken the sauce toward the end, but, no matter. ^_^ I served it with boiled brussels and roasted carrots that had been soaking for a couple hours in very sweet water, along with gnocchi. Suffice to say - I'm happy with how it turned out. It doesn't really look all that amazing (TBH, not much of my cooking does =:), but the cheek was as tender as anyone could have wished for, needing but a nudge with a knife to cut it, and a hearty, zingy gravy, backed up by some balanced vegetables and their textures & flavors, and that nicely potatoey base.



Behold: perhaps the most perfect canid eyeroll ever. ^_^

Here's rather an interesting DSLR macro lens (available in just about every mount): Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2.0, offering 4-4.5x magnification. Manual focus only, unsurprisingly, but the sample photos indeed look promising, and it's very reasonably priced at a recommended $199.

Of some nerdy interest, maybe? We've all seen YouTube videos where, once you've posted them, you get to realise the uploader's chosen to block them in some arbitrary set of countries. But lo! There is a site that can advise. ^_^ eg The Daily Show's Year in Review is apparently blocked in Australia and Canada; now you can see just where YouTube's geoblocking is being applied. And likewise, if you're affected, there appears to be an easy alternative.

We were watching Mystery Diners last night - it's somewhat trashy TV, but I confess, it holds a certain appeal - and they visited an apparently prominent club in LA, and wound up with something of a train wreck where there's not much sympathy to be had for anybody involved. We start with the owners, who charge a mere $5000 per bed (they mostly have just beds and tables) per night; then the manager, who's found to be buying vodka from a local discount warehouse and sending his own "staff" around selling it for a mere $200/bottle (a mid-range rum was said to be $550, by comparison), the proceeds of course going straight into the manager's pocket, in cash; and the wait staff leader, seeing her sales swiped away, proceeds to tell customers that the kitchen's closed, but they can offer "gourmet sausages" from the bar menu, for only $15 each, which she promptly buys from the street vendor just outside. =:D
There She Is

Semprini

The David Bowie statue Kickstarter I mentioned a month or so ago succeeded in its target, putting on a truly impressive sprint - the project was around £63K on Saturday, £73K on Sunday, and Monday saw them breach £103K. =:D I'm really looking forward to seeing the final work once it's installed. Ha, just look at that final sprint!



Everyone knows about the original Humble Bundle. This one, however, is special. =:D Imagine you're Neil Gaiman. You've got some really nifty books, comics, and scripts long, long out of print, sometimes only ever appearing in an obscure small press title, or never even intended to be published. So that's what this is all about:

I'd put into the Humble Bundle all the rare things we could find.

Books that were long out of print, stories and such that collectors would pay hundreds of dollars for, obscure and uncollected comics and pamphlets and magazine articles. Even the things I am still vaguely embarrassed by (like the Duran Duran biography, a hardcover copy of which, as I said, can set you back thousands of dollars these days, if you can find one).

Books which have been out of print for 30 years, like GHASTLY BEYOND BELIEF, a collection of quotations from the strangest SF and Fantasy books and movies that Kim Newman and I made when we were 23 and 24 respectively. Things that were absolutely private and never before sold, like LOVE FISHIE, a book of poems and letters from my daughter Maddy (aged 8) to me, and from me back to Maddy, that was made into a book (with help from my assistant the Fabulous Lorraine) as a gift for my 42nd birthday.

Two long out-of-print books from Knockabout Comics: OUTRAGEOUS TALES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT and SEVEN DEADLY SINS, with stories written and or drawn by me, Alan Moore, Hunt Emerson, Dave Gibbons, Dave McKean and a host of others.

Rare out-of-print comics stories by me and Bryan Talbot, by me and Mark Buckingham, even by me and Bryan Talbot and Mark Buckingham.

There would be small-press short story and suchlike collections like ANGELS AND VISITATIONS and the LITTLE GOLD BOOK OF GHASTLY STUFF containing stories that went on to win awards and be collected in the more big, official collections (Smoke and Mirrors, etc), and stories no-one has seen since, not to mention non-fiction articles, like the one about the effects of alcohol on a writer, or the one where I stayed out for 24 hours on the streets of Soho, that are now only whispered in rumours.

There would even be a short story of mine, “Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle”, published in 1985, that is so bad I've never let it be reprinted. Not even to give young writers hope that if I was that awful once, there is hope for all of them.


I really need to get some of the recent Bay photos up.. ^_^; In the meantime, here's one that just tickles me - it's that fabulously brisk stride both the dog and their human are showing. Is it not a minor delight? ^_^


Saturday saw me attempting to make sushi. ^_^; I started with the correct rice (defeated by a GPRS-only signal inside the supermarket, I was saved by a display helpfully next to their in-store sushi preparers with various relevant supplies, including a box marked SUSHI RICE), then polished it four times, and left it to sit for half an hour in just enough water to cover it, plus a bit. Surprisingly, to me at least, it continued to absorb quite a bit of water in that time, so I topped it up, and carefully oversaw it for about 15 mins cooking, turned it out onto a big plate, sprinkled rice seasoning on, turned that around gently, and left it to cool, covered by some film. It proved quite difficult to resist snacking away on sticky rice balls. =:9 And then it came time for the sushi itself. ^_^; In the end, I made five rolls, with the first two being unfortunately rather scruffy, as my usual large knife simply wasn't cutting it, literally. Mercifully, the roomie came to the rescue with a sharpening stone he'd had tucked away, which made for actually quite tidy cuts. ^_^ I think the one starring tempura king prawns perhaps worked the best, with that lovely bit of crunch adding that extra texture.

It appears that the Horizon following up on Fleischmann & Pons' "cold fusion" experiments, or rather, a few groups who'd set about similar experimentation themselves, was indeed on the right track: there is indeed a legitimate phenomenon at work, even if inadequately understood.

Interesting.. a little while back, Napster's founder was floating the idea of "Screening Room", a service offering film rentals for home viewing while they're still playing in cinemas. Of course, the studios have been reluctant, with rampant paranoia over piracy. It now appears Apple's in similar discussions, though again, encountering the same reluctance. Personally, I'd love to see a new film at home - multiplexes lack any magic for me, whilst at home, there's no risk of others talking or taking phone calls, and the food and drink is much, much better. =:) The kind of cinema that does pull me in is - well, there's the fabulous 1920s movie palace of the Castro Theatre, which until a couple years ago, had its mighty Wurlitzer organ emerging from the floor, for a ten minute performance before the screenings. Or even the Little, in Bath, crammed into a Georgian city center terrace, brimming with atmosphere.

I so regret not recording the doorbell a couple weeks ago. The battery in the bell box was evidently giving its last gasps, with absolutely wonderful musical results. Normally, it's just an electronic chime of the eight notes of (yes, I know it's not the actual name of the clock) Big Ben. Then, however, it took on a new dimension, with the notes randomly warbly wavering up and down.

Has anyone seen Long Way North? It's a French/Danish animated feature, about a young Russian aristocrat who embarks on a long journey to find her grandfather. It's available on DVD, or in HD/SD from iTunes UK (English voicework only) for £10, or iTunes US ($13, coming Jan 3 2017).


Health insurance company Vitality has an interesting angle on getting an Apple Watch series 2 for £69 - the caveat is you must keep earning "activity points". It's structured as an interest free loan over 24 months - if you're a complete couch potato, you pay £12.50 that month, with a discount of £2.50, £5, £7.50, £10, or £12.50 applied depending on how many points you earn that month. The number of points earned for different activity levels are listed over here.

The BBC's confirmed the Doctor Who special's time: 5.45pm on Christmas Day, and airing the same day on BBC America, and on the 26th in Australia, on ABC. Thinking of festive feasting, do you have any thoughts yet on what the centerpiece of the meal will be? I think we're leaning toward duck - it's a more traditional bird than turkey anyway, and vastly tastier without having to resort to brining. That said, if you do go with turkey, I can highly recommend brining to help bring it extra flavor very easily - just sit the bird in a bath of water, salt, and whatever herbs you care to add (rosemary, garlic, and pepper, f'rex) for a couple days in the fridge.

Zootopia was just given a prestigious gong: best animated film of 2016, by the New York Film Critics Circle.

There may be an Invader Zim TV movie on the way. =:D

Courtesy of a friend over on SLU, a rather fun track from an Iqaluit based band, The Jerry Cans: Northern Lights - and this time, the same track to a different video, in Inuktitut. It's sort of folk music-ish, but don't let that put you off. =:) It's a brilliantly vibrant track, in whichever tongue you choose. ^_^
Alphabet

A celebration of rice

So, I bought the new Ghostbusters unseen. Now to find out if I'll regret my purchase, or snuggle up to it and all the extras included. ^_^ FSM knows I watched the original many times - maybe this will turn out the same way, and help reignite my love of filmwatching. (The sequel I recall not being a patch on the original, but to be fair, that was after a long leg of a roadtrip to ConFurence, so I probably wasn't in the best mindset for a film) Well.. I like it. Quite a bit. ^_^ They're very much their own films, thankfully, just with a similar storyline and characters. I wanna be Holtzmann when I grow up. =:) And her grand moment toward the end.. just wonderful. =:D I wonder if IDW will be producing comics with the new Ghostbusters? I also took the opportunity to pick up a copy of Kubo and the Two Strings, which I've begun watching, and.. ye gods, even by Laika's standards, they're working some magic. ^_^ (There's also a four-film set on iTunes US, with Kubo, Coraline, ParaNorman, and Boxtrolls for $35, though sadly, no extras on PN or Coraline. In the UK, it looks like it'll be coming out in early January) And yes.. I think it's all actually helping reignite my love of enjoying good film. ^_^

I sent a little message the other day to Dan Piraro, of Bizarro fame, wondering if they might have considered a Patreon (answer: they're interested, but right now, the move down to an idyllic spot down in Mexico's occupying their attention), and noted "Momentary" along the way. Reply: "I shared your email with Dan and he said the photo behind that link is truly, unbelievably, in the original sense of the word, awesome!" Now that's an endorsement I'm very proud of. ^_^

I must see if I can find out the story behind this costume/sculpture.. ^_^

I'd love to hear about your favorite gig. ^_^ There must be some great tales to be told. For me, it's nothing wildly exciting, just huge fun: 1996, LA, on our way to see Orbital at the Hollywood American Legion. We feared we were too late, having set off late from San Diego, but with some light drizzle, everyone else was even later, so we actually wound up being early, sort of. And thus I spent the entire night between the speaker stacks. Oh, that was some good, good sub-bass. Spleen approved!

Nintendo's partnering with Universal to bring Nintendo themed areas to Universal parks in Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. =:D "These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They will be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants. Guests will feel as if they are playing inside their favorite games – this time in real life."

This new luxury train in Japan looks like it'd make for a rather delightful journey, ne? The ten cars will be host to thirty passengers, with "six sleeping cars, a lounge car, a dining car and an observation car at either end of the train", and the "dining car has a formal, yet comfortable, atmosphere. The cuisine will be overseen and made on-board by world-class chefs in an open kitchen."

Is anybody else following the current "MasterChef: The Professionals"? I'd love to be able to revel in the goings-on with someone else. ^_^ I'm especially keen to see how Roseanna fares - despite her age, she really seems to get it, let alone her aptitude for presentation, outpacing chefs who've been in the industry for a decade or two longer. Maybe she'll stumble at some point in the competition, but so far, I'm seriously impressed - I'd love to see what she's doing in another ten years!

Apropos Saturday's dinner, here's a not-so-random photo of one small sample of the bounteous sushi we enjoyed back at one of our old sushi haunts, back in the East Bay. ^_^ I certainly won't promise Saturday's efforts will resemble this in much more than containing fish. =:)



Following on from a discussion with kishenehn, I'm wondering: are you using an S1 or S2 journal style? Me, I'm still happily on S1 - I haven't felt any need to change it, as I'm simply content with the style as is. (And no, "like" buttons aren't going to lure me over =:)

If you're minded to have your email hosted independently, Migadu appear to offer an appealing proposition: all their paid accounts cover unlimited domains, addresses, and storage, rather than - as is almost universally the case - per account. There are three paid tiers, differing only in how many messages you can send per day, starting at $5/mo or $48/yr, permitting 100 outbound messages a day. There's even a free level, covering just a single domain, and they're explicit on the point that if you want to remain on that plan forever, you're welcome to do so. They're a Swiss company, so, as far as is reasonably practicable, they're liable to take your privacy seriously, though it appears some of their hosting is with the French vendor OVH, which may complicate jurisdiction.

Okay, this is shaping up to be quite the nerd entry. ^_^ I stumbled upon this fascinating TV history tidbit: "The 1943-44 television committee appointed to coordinate British television after the war (known as the Hankey Committee) recommended that a high-definition (1000-line) colour television system based on Baird’s Telechrome should be implemented after the end of the war. Due to the difficult post-war conditions and Baird’s premature death in 1946 these ambitious plans never materialised. The existing 405-line black-and-white television system developed by EMI in the pre-war period was expanded across Britain. British colour television broadcasts did not officially begin until 1967, over 20 years later." Could the UK really have had HD color TV by the 1950s, had things simply worked out a little differently? That seems like a huge challenge for the electronics and CRTs of the time.

thewayne pointed out rather a spiffy offer: the tech publisher PacktPub offers a free ebook every day. (Nov 29 2016's, f'rex, was Android Programming for Beginners, whilst today's is Blender 3D by Example)

Do you have an Apple TV (the current version, with fully fledged tvOS)? How's it worked out for you? I'm quite tempted, at some point - the BD player the roomie has, which we usually use, mostly works well for network playback, but it does throw up occasional issues. With an ATV, we'd have a zero-hassle option with constantly updated software, versus the current one, whose firmware hasn't been updated since purchase.

It's probably old hat to the avgeeks, but I found this clip rather amusing: pouring tea while performing a barrel roll. Yes, for real. ^_^

This will be the star of Saturday's dinner: sake. ^_^



Left to right, they're: Seitoku Junmai ginjo sake "Trapeza", Sohomare Tokubetsu Kimoto junmai sake "Heart and Soul", and Dewazakura Omachi ginjo sake "Jewel Brocade". As for food - well, I bought a salmon fillet, so about 1/3 of that is now sitting in a marinade of water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lots of dill, and a little sugar, for some nommy sashimi. The rest will probably go into a few maki - I picked up a ripe avocado, spring onions, cucumber, and cream cheese, as well as some sea bass, and I've got some crab defrosting as well, plus panko crumb and tempura mix. Then there's some roast salmon pate, chargrilled artichokes, Iberico ham, a raw milk French cheese that looked irresistible, and lemon arancini, so between all that and the sushi, we should have flavors aplenty to complement the three quite different sake. ^_^

Hm! This might be worth checking out, for anyone with an iThing: Attenborough Story of Life, free.
"• Explore the most comprehensive collection of Sir David’s work ever released online.
• Includes six decades of highlights from more than 40 landmark BBC programmes, including Planet Earth, Blue Planet, The Life of Mammals, Africa and others.
• Watch unique collections of films curated by Sir David and others.
• Create and save your own collections and share them with friends and family.
• Hunt for hidden films featuring Sir David, recorded exclusively for the app.
• Explore extraordinary sequences of animals and plants, from iconic large species to rarely seen enigmatic creatures. See them hunt, mate, eat, travel and communicate in their natural habitats; ranging from the high mountains to the deepest oceans, across deserts, forests and the polar ice caps."

NIH announced that they've "identified an antibody from an HIV-infected person that potently neutralized 98 percent of HIV isolates tested, including 16 of 20 strains resistant to other antibodies of the same class. The remarkable breadth and potency of this antibody, named N6, make it an attractive candidate for further development to potentially treat or prevent HIV infection, say the researchers."

A friend recently finished working on Sainsbury's Christmas ad, which is indeed quite superb - all stop-motion animated. They've been working on it since April. =:D And here's a look behind the scenes.

And here's a peek at the Doctor Who Christmas special, c/o Children in Need.

Star Trek: Discovery has cast Michelle Yeoh, potentially as the show's lead. And amongst the endless remakes: Lost in Space, coming as a ten episode season to Netflix in 2018.

I recently revisited one of my favorite watering holes, and enjoyed a quite superb fish dish: monkfish in herbed crumb, with a lemon Hollandaise, atop tenderstem broccoli and roasted heritage potatoes. A veritable delight, with that succulent fish, almost better than lobster, married to the gentle acidity of the sauce, plus just enough crunch from the broccoli, and all with the comfy potatoes backing it up. ^_^

Here's an article that anyone who considers themselves a PC gamer should read: Video Games are Boring, from a veteran game designer. (h/t supergee) "I love video games and I work with people who love video games. But when I listen to Kristina describe the video games she says she wishes she could play, the video games she says she wishes existed-games that would sound extremely boring to most gamers but interesting to most of my friends-I realize that I too would love those games so much more. Listening to Kristina made me realize that I hadn't been having good ideas. I realized that I had been working with people who think too similarly to myself, who draw on the same cultural references (geek culture), who use the same game design theory that was developed mainly by (white, male) gamers for (white, male) gamers. I realized that I was stuck. This is what happens when everyone is the same as each other. We make boring things."

On a minor and fun note: iOS users can now pick up free Star Billions stickers. ^_^ As for season 3, its conclusion, they're apparently aiming for a January 2017 release. Not long now!

"Oh Hey! It's Alyssa" is a fortnightly comic running on Autostraddle, which is well worth looking at, if you're into slice-of-life introspection. Here's episode 9, the most recent, by way of an example. It's not madcap or surreal, but rather, realistic, even if cartoonishly presented.

Rather lovely. ^_^ Here's Claridge's Christmas tree, this year designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson. Breaking with convention, it's not so much the tree, but the space. I'd wander along, but I doubt I'd be able to capture anything better than the publicity photo.

Thursday evening saw the roomie and I wander along into town for the Christmas lights turning on. ^_^ No huge ceremony, or world-famous guests - simply a good, family-friendly time when the center of town is thronged by crowds enjoying nommy munchables (in my case, a chickenn tikka marinated skewer, the meat cut off and sliced into a naan. So very tasty!), the kids on all manner of miniature rides, and the secondary stage host to local schools showing off their vocal talents, finishing off with a Salvation Army brass band. ^_^ We're both atheist, but there's no denying the wonder of some of these classic numbers, rendered with such love.

Nintendo's announced the release date and price for Super Mario Run: it'll be a free download, with a single $9.99 IAP to unlock the full game, and it'll be coming to the App Store on Dec 15 2016. As the embedded video demonstrates, it's only technically an autorunner - really more of a Super Mario platformer where he happens to always be on the move. Myself? I'd be willing, but I've already got so many great platformers to get through, like Leo's Fortune and Paper Monsters Recut. Animal Crossing, though, I'll be there for on launch day, assuming they take a similar approach to IAPs there as well. (The news of which apparently bumped their share price by some 5%)

And, Capcom's just released Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney on iOS, and on Android come Dec 8. Needless to say, I bought it the second it hit the App Store. ^_^ (I wonder if Franziska von Karma will be back.. doesn't look like it so far) It's 99¢/79p to download, including the first half of the first case, with the rest and the other cases available separately, or as a bundle for $14.99/£10.99.

A good review of the new MacBook Pros, over on Ars Technica, with a particular eye for details, down to the low end model's 802.11ac WiFi topping out at 867Mbps, but 1.3Gbps for the touchbar models.

Many of you may already know of the Hydraulic Press Channel on YouTube. Now, there's the Waterjet Channel too, starring a 60000psi jet - eg cutting an old Canon SLR in half. ^_^; (I'll admit to being amused by their surprise discovery of the pentaprism, aka "block of glass" =:)

Once in a while, the spirit of the BBC shines through, as in this clip from the end of Newsnight earlier this month. "You might have seen the demand by Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell that BBC One should play God Save the Queen at the end of the day's programming to mark our departure from the EU. Well, we're not BBC One and it's not quite the end of the day, but we're happy to oblige."

Amongst the words censored by EA's Scrabble app (at least, the crusty 2013 version I keep around; they later redesigned the board layout in a way I really didn't care for, and so, deliberately haven't updated it since): "damn". ^_^; "shag" is also absent, even if you meant the bird or carpet, likewise "fag". Yet, "wog" is valid (!), as is "spic".

Via nou, word of the fascinating concept of cured egg yolks, which are exactly what they sound like - yolks, separated from the rest of the egg, left to cure in a mix of salt and sugar, winding up quite firm after a month or so. "They tear apart with some effort, and grate easily into golden curls that are delicious sprinkled on salad or used in larger quantities on pasta (think of it as a drier way of approaching carbonara – or up the cream)." Don't suppose anyone's already made such, or is familiar with their use? They sound very useful - I sort of have to give them a try, just out of curiosity. ^_^

PlayDOSgamesOnline does just what it says: you can run any of a huge variety of games within DOSBox, in your browser. ^_^ eg Outpost and Bioforge.

Watching the BBC's recent "Scotch! The Story of Whisky" has been quite fascinating so far, with one tidbit I'd never been aware of: the pronunciation of Islay! I'd just been winging it with a fairly literal (to me) pronunciation as either izlay or eelay, when apparently, it's more like eye-lah. On which note, I am informed that Morrisons apparently now carry some of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's fine wares, including his delicious Rumbullion, and delightfully mellow Bathtub Gin. If you like spiced rum, I can happily recommend Rumbullion, or indeed, its heftier kin, the Navy Strength version, with even more aromatics, and weighing in at an appropriate 57%. ^_^ Similarly the gin - if that's a drink you enjoy, the Navy Strength version is quite a special creature indeed. If you consider Martin Miller to be the word "Gin" inscribed lovingly in Copperplate, Navy Strength Bathtub Gin is chiseled in marble in Times Roman.

As you may have noticed by now, I find it oddly fascinating how films' availability and presentation varies across regions. ^_^; I've just noticed that whilst Ernest & Celestine is now available in HD in both the US and UK iTunes Stores, the US gets an English dub, whilst the UK receives a subtitled version of the French original. That said, going by the English trailer, it's a good version. Still, I so wish the iTunes Store management would push multiple language tracks - there's no technical basis for them not to be available, and indeed, now and then, they're around, but for whatever reasons, the studios seem disinclined to providing such. Even extras are subject to similarly arbitrary boundaries: Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree has iTunes Extras in the US, but it's the feature alone in the UK; same story with Dredd.

What do you get when Porsche decides to go hybrid? The 918 Spyder, developing a peak of 887hp, for 0-60mph in 2.6s. ^_^; It's not that I have any personal interest in that kind of travel, so much as an appreciation for the sheer level of engineering and design involved.
Porsupah SatW

Berthaud's Époisse

mondhasen set me thinking over my last entry - how do folk add images to their entries? That is, how do you go about it, specifically? Do you upload to somewhere like imgur and add the URLs manually, or do you use LJ's rich text editor and let it take care of that? Or maybe a client app? Myself, I compose entries in a text editor, and add the URLs by hand. As for hosts, that's been imgur for a while, for general "images", and Flickr for my own photography. (Agh, I do hope Flickr's future remains assured, with Yahoo busily disintegrating. There are simply so many communities on Flickr! Hosting is comparatively trivial - getting people to establish communities is quite another matter, and seldom even touched upon in all the discussions I've read)

A Kickstarter to support: a David Bowie statue in Aylesbury Market Square, being the location he debuted Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust. They've secured the necessary permissions from the three councils involved, and even have a mask cast from his face, used in the filming of The Man Who Fell to Earth, so the likeness will be spot-on. The goal is £100,000, and they're at £17,505 after nine days, with 31 days to go. As far as they're aware, this will be the first David Bowie statue anywhere.

It doesn't matter if you're familiar with My Little Pony - this animation loop (as a GIF) is really quite nifty. ^_^ It's made of photos of fifteen carvings on eight pumpkins, each taking some seven hours to complete, with a total of 1000 photos taken before they narrowed the selection down. (h/t ungulata!) It's 3MB, so maybe best to wait if you're on a cellular piece of wet string.

I would be failing everyone were I to not highlight the trailer for Festival of the Spoken Nerd: Full Frontal Nerdity. ^_^ And you can buy the entire show, plus extras, DRM free, for a mere £τ.

I finally got to see Beyond Beyond, a Swedish animated feature, which I first encountered a couple years ago, but couldn't actually locate until recently. This was, unfortunately, with an autotranslated subtitles track, but nonetheless - I'd happily recommend it, if you might like a sort of modern fairy tale, animated, on a theme we'll all encounter sooner or later. The animation reminds me a little of Hoodwinked - they're perfectly aware they're not Pixar, and they're playing to that! It's quite a stylised look, but no less lovingly animated for that. It's available on iTunes, albeit with an English dub - but, with a cast including Cary Elwes and Patrick Warburton, that might actually be pretty good. ^_^

If you're sufficiently geekily inclined, here's a superb IEEE Spectrum article on the long path toward EUV lithography, which chip foundries expect to be crucial in going down to 7nm and smaller feature sizes in the next few years. It explains just how difficult progress has been - with the wavelengths involved being so much shorter than visible light, everything changes, with air being opaque, glass similarly, so lenses aren't an option, and even mirrors pose daunting challenges.

Just on the off-chance this'll show up in anybody else's searches on the topic: if you're having trouble with your Sennheiser headphones (the snappily named HD25-1 II, in my case, but it seems common across their range) exhibiting erratic loss of audio in one or both channels, fixed by nudging the cables around their entry point to the speakers, you may well not need to buy a replacement cable. Instead, try using some pliers to pull the connectors out, then plug them back in again. It seems the trouble is sometimes (often?) the pins making imperfect contact, not trouble with the cable. That's all but cured the problem here, though I have had to (literally) touch the right cable a couple times to restore perfect balance - otherwise, it's survived a normal cycle or two of being stuffed in the camera bag and taken out, and between rooms.

Might anyone have a monitor recommendation? ^_^ I'm pondering getting a small monitor to accompany Hazel, doubling as extension desktop space and TV. The catch appears to be that I don't really have space for anything big, and seemingly all the manufacturers dump fairly horrid resolution panels into monitors smaller than 24" or so - at 19", it seems to be a surprising challenge to find much at HD, let alone higher, with many at 1600x900, others not even that. Thin and light would be very good, and a wide color gamut would also be welcome. 17" would be ideal, 19" might be workable.. 15" might even be better. Internal speakers would be welcome, and I'd sort of prefer 16:9 (16:10 even better), but 4:3 would be okay.

Furry artwork of the week: The Quiet Forest, by Noben. (SFW) Such a delightfully serene, warmhearted scene. ^_^ (I haven't included an excerpt, as I couldn't really find a good crop - it needs to be viewed in its entirety)

Game of the week for me has to be PinOut, from Mediocre Games, of Does Not Commute. ^_^ It's sort of a pinball game, distilled into the game's essence, applied to a game that couldn't exist in the physical world. It's a little like an endless runner, in that the table is infinitely tall - your job, of course, is to accurately hit the ball such that you manage to ascend. It's all conducted in a gorgeously vivid environment strongly reminiscent of TRON, with a soundtrack to match. It's free, with a single IAP adding the ability to resume from checkpoints. I'll pay for that happily - this is much too good to simply enjoy for free!

Interesting to see the same flight I took a few weeks ago (the same plane, I believe) recently diverted to Vancouver when several staff took ill with some suspected ventilation fault. The investigation's ongoing, so few details have emerged, but it seems there was no lasting harm caused to any crew or passengers.

When life gives you a ginormous wildfire, make unique whisky. =:D (Originally typed as "wildlife"..)

These salt lamps are rather lovely. ^_^ Basically, a big chunk of Himalayan pink salt with a bulb inside, on a wooden base, so they give off quite an unusual, warm glow. Only downside is they ship with 15W pygmy incandescent bulbs, so I'd want to see if there are LED equivalents available, as they don't seem to last that long.

Doubtless inspired by the Mean Tweets series, here's Developers Read 1 Star Reviews.

Egh, I'll never understand publishers/labels/studios. How on Earth is it reasonable that The Art of Zootropolis is £20 as a physical hardcover, and £19 as a Kindle edition? Does the book really only cost £1 to produce, distribute, and deliver (free)? Bah.

The self-hosting seems to be working out - transfers, so far resulting purely from my previous entry, have cost 0.82¢. ^_^ Next, I think I want to get a simple gallery up, probably drawn directly from the previous site. If it turns out I need shopping cart functionality, I can always hop back onto SmugMug.