It not a joke!!! It is the truth!!!

Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

So farewell, LJ
mini me + poo
lovingboth
This will be the last 'me at DW' post with cross-posting to LJ turned on.

I am not surprised at what has happened - an extremely popular social media site in Russia* was always going to be under pressure to do this - but I am disappointed.

If you ever used your LJ password anywhere else, you need to change them.

* Is it still more popular than the differently evil FB there?

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/575399.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

I was looking forward to seeing how long I could keep them on the line too
mini me + poo
lovingboth
Oooh, I've had my first ever 'I'm (obviously fake name) from the Windows computer company, please do this to fix the problems you've been having..' scam spam phone call.

Unfortunately, they hung up on me when I expressed my delight at this...

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/574387.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

Grr, it looks like youtube-dl doesn't do live streams on evilFB yet
mini me + poo
lovingboth
Anyone successfully record Jen's talk or know if they're publishing it as a non-live stream?

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/573988.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

Partly to test the new DW image hosting system
mini me + poo
lovingboth
On the way to IKEA on Tuesday, JA and I went through Hucknall, where there was this (click on it to get a bigger version):



That's a bucket of water, isn't it?

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/573916.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

A tale of three films(ish)
mini me + poo
lovingboth
I've seen three things recently where the attitude to race has been very noticeable.

One of the local churches has a monthly film night and this month it was The Blind Side. I suspect the book is much better - it's one of very few Michael Lewis books I haven't read, and the rest have been very good. By concentrating almost exclusively on the story of one person and the family that adopts him, this is one of the ultimate 'white saviour' films, urgh. Appropriately, Sandra Bullock won the 'best actress' Academy Award and Quinton Aaron didn't even get nominated.

La La Land has the whitest Los Angeles since the last film set there. There are some black musicians in it but they don't say much and if you see it, count how many other BME people get lines. (Also see how many people are smoking: I don't remember spotting any.)

The Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events gives it the space that the film version denied it and it's much better as a result. There's some padding, especially in the first couple of episodes (The Bad Beginning ones) and some foreshadowing that I don't remember from the early books, but I am really looking forward to the next series which has the best books (and, I hope, the third series completing the set).

Xanna's pointed out the way that it's Violet who's almost always holding Sunny - I think Klaus carries her twice, including once when he's hypnotised - but it's the casting that I found so striking: in both books and film, Mr Poe, the hopeless coughing banker is white. He's played by K. Todd Freeman here. In both books and film, Aunt Josephine, their guardian in The Wide Window is white. She's played by Alfre Woodard here. Even Uncle Monty, guardian in The Reptile Room, is played by Aasif Mandvi here.

Three 'motion picture stories'. Only one has gone out of its way to have diverse casting.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/573645.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

Seeing the holes in the robotic cheese
mini me + poo
lovingboth

I have recently started watching Humans. It's very good, and I'm looking for a copy of the Swedish original to compare it to, but there are some aspects that just jar me out of the suspension of disbelief.

Anita, the android that the family buy, says her processing power is about twenty petaFLOPS – twenty thousand million million floating point operations a second. That'd put her third on the current list of fastest supercomputers. But..

.. where's the evidence elsewhere that this sort of processing power is (relatively) really cheap? The cost of getting Anita's said to be about the same as a car and she has full language capabilities and excellent vision processing for example. But people are using current style computers and laptops via keyboard and mouse, and not talking to their toasters.

.. it turns out (micro spoiler) that she's quite an old model. Fourteen years old in fact. Why hasn't there been any significant advance in CPU processing power since then?

.. why's she built to do so many floating point operations in the first place? As the great Chuck Moore likes to say, robots use integers, not floating point. The real world may be analogue, but robots measure it with analogue to digital devices that have a limited resolution. Even if you're (pointlessly, in many cases) sampling audio with 24 bit resolution, you're still working with integers that easily fit in 32 bits. It's a lot easier and faster (and cheaper in terms of silicon space and power requirements) to do integer maths than floating point.

.. there have clearly been major advances not reflected elsewhere in the world – one of the biggest problems with real supercomputers is cooling them because they take a lot of electrical power, never mind Anita etc being charged for at least a day's use with a few hours plugged into a low voltage charger and not having a visible heatsink, they're not even human body temperature.

Ah yes, temperature. Read more...Collapse ) This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/572044.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.


Lazy cinema
mini me + poo
lovingboth
My preferred film genres do not include 'uplifting' and/or 'feel good' romantic comedy dramas.

Looking at British and American films,* there are some exceptions: the glorious fantasies The Princess Bride and Stardust, for example, along with the more bitter sweet examples of A Life Less Ordinary, The Tall Guy, Tamara Drewe, Chasing Amy, Earth Girls Are Easy, His Girl Friday, Grosse Pointe Blank, Intolerable Cruelty, and the original 'Pete and Dud' Bedazzled. That's out of about a thousand titles listed on WP and I don't think I missed many I like.

What others should I consider?

* There are more French / Italian / Hong Kong etc ones, but we tend only to get to see the best of those.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/571672.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

Museli musings 2
mini me + poo
lovingboth

Following on from my previous post on this, Aldi have been continuing to change things. This lead to at least one frightening* period when all three stores in vaguely easy reach didn't have any of the not-so-good stuff, never mind the good stuff.

To my surprise, they're now back to selling 750g packets… but in cartons that are almost the same thickness as the 1kg ones. It's at times like this that I'm glad I kept one of the old 750g cartons! Sadly, I don't have any receipts from that period, so I can't check if the price per 100g has changed, but I don't think it has.

I am now wondering what's behind this: a couple of months wasn't very long to try a marketing the new size. Was the move to 1kg a complete disaster in terms of sales?

The related** change is that their clone of Muller Light yogurt six packs have changed from being half strawberry and half raspberry and cranberry to being half strawberry and half cherry. I'm not nearly so keen on the cherry one. It's fine to have with pies etc, but not for breakfast.

Fortunately, Morrisons currently have a 12 for £3 offer on the real things – cheaper than the typical offers of a pack of 6 for £2 or two packs of 6 for £5, depending on the date – and you can pick your own flavours…

* Well, fairly scary.

** To me, anyway, because I have my museli with fruit and yogurt.

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/571597.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

Catching another Don
mini me + poo
lovingboth

The current season of ENO opened with a new production of Don Giovanni, and I gave a little 'eek' when I realised that it was nearly at the end of the run before I'd got around to arranging to see it. I have seen 'quite a few' productions before,* but it is the greatest opera ever written and each of them has shone a new light on it even if, as in the case of ENO's last but one production, it was on how not to do it.** But if I am ever allowed to direct it, it's this one I shall shamelessly steal – erm, improve – the idea of the opening from.

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, the opening features Don Giovanni being disturbed with his latest conquest, Donna Anna, by the arrival of her father, the Commendatore. The latter is killed and given how long it is since it was first performed, it shouldn't be a spoiler that this is not the last we see of him… Watching and commentating on all this is Don Giovanni's servant, Leporello.

So there are two questions that the director has to think about because they affect how we see the Don from the start. The first is how consensual is the relationship between Don Giovanni and Donna Anna. The libretto has Don Giovanni masked and one of the problems between them is that he won't tell her who he is, but is it attempted rape? The second is how accidental is the killing of the Commendatore: is it murder, manslaughter or misadventure?

During the overture, this one has a series of women walk past Don Giovanni and Leporello, stop, turn round and go through one of a series of doors with him before coming out again. I've seen others where this sort of thing has happened, including ones like this where there's also been one man in the queue of conquests. What doesn't convince me is that he doesn't do anything to pick them up: we're expected to believe that merely walking past is enough to get the stream of nine or so people into bed. It's fair to say that the role isn't performed here by Brad Pitt. The other improvement would be to have some of the people exiting the door be adjusting their clothing / having their skirt tucked into their knickers at the back or something.

I guessed that the last in the queue would be Donna Anna and indeed it was. The moment I sat up was where the set opened up and there were two rooms, one of which had the pair inside. There is some mimed negotiation and Donna Anna wants a masked man wielding a knife to 'assault' her. Even better, her father enters the other room with a woman very unlikely to be his wife who he begins to top! He hears Donna Anna's cries, enters the other room and is 'You want it? You have it' stabbed by the Don.

It fails to work with the plot – Donna Anna is supposed to only realise later that Don Giovanni is the one who's killed her father etc – but it's nearly brilliant.

What I'd do is project something like the screen of someone using Tindr etc during the overture. With a masked profile picture, the Don is going 'yes' to anything in a skirt, and ends up in text conversation with Donna Anna who says that her fantasy is… But I'd keep the Commendatore being up to some extra-marital sex in the next room.

Alas, that's the highlight. Some of the other ideas – like having Donna Anna's boyfriend, Don Ottavio, be her husband rather than just engaged to her – are pointless and contradict small bits of the plot. Some – like having the statue of the Commendatore be as unlike marble (what they're singing he is) as it's possible to be.. up until he enters the room, when he's a bit marble, but more like the resurrected body – are 'huh?' Another of the latter is the number of doors people go through for no very good reason. Some ideas – like having Don Giovanni attempt to seduce a servant over the phone rather than by standing underneath her window*** – are mostly harmless, but serve to raise a question or two. The call's made from a phone box with a rotary dial, so when is this set?

The final idea – having Don Giovanni escape Hell by sending Leporello in his place – is something I've never seen before, is sort of in character, but only works here in terms of explaining WTF someone looking like Leporello's clone has been pointedly wandering through the scenes throughout: he just replaces Leporello as the servant and it's back to the opening corridor and its stream of walking past, stopping, and… It could work, perhaps, but my favourite ending is still that of the Francesca Zambello production for the ROH, where we see a naked Don in Hell, carrying an equally naked woman.****

The set design – a series of greys and drab olive (taken from tank camouflage paint tins?) – is uninspiring and the rest of the design isn't up to much either, with the exception of having Leporello look like Michael Caine. The English translation is also ok rather than great.

But you could close your eyes and listen to this one, and I'm very glad to have seen it.

Two more performances: Monday and Wednesday. I'd bought a 'secret ticket' – you pay £20 and only find out where you're seated the day before. I'd guessed that it having been at the Tkts booth in Leicester Square for £30 meant that it was likely to be a good seat rather than up in the balcony, and ended up in the middle of the fourth row of the dress circle, normal price £125.

* A quick count says about twelve 'live in theatre' ones, some of which were seen more than once, plus a couple of 'live from..' satellite broadcasts and at least half a dozen on DVD.

** Normally, if the production is badly directed and designed, you can shut your eyes and listen, but even the singing was poor in this one.

*** Best line from any 'outside the window' production was one in the mid-90s: 'This worked quicker at Kensington Palace…' Now Princess Diana is long dead but we've another woman PM, you could have 'Downing Street'.

**** This was the production I paid HOW MUCH to see live and was definitely worth the money. Sky Arts were showing it at one point and it's also available on DVD.

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/571141.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

Changing his story 2
mini me + poo
lovingboth
CW: rape, rude wordsCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/571035.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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