A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- January 27
- Bought a laser measuring thingy. Smallcat has already associated the
beep the thingy makes with the little red dot he likes to chase,
so when the thing beeps by itself (e.g. automatic power off) he
starts running around looking for the dot.
I'm sure no good will come of this.
- January 25
- A Good Day to Die Hard:
ugh. Even for a bubblegum movie this was pretty terrible. The audio
mix meant that if you didn't want to be deafened by the explosions,
you couldn't hear the dialogue, and to be honest I think that's
just fine because you're not really missing anything. This movie
has nothing original about it, and no redeeming fetures.
- January 19
- I very vaguely recall watching the TV series, but I didn't make
anywhere near enough connections between it and The Equalizer
- to be fair, there's a lot of obsessive detail on the IMDb Trivia
page, but I didn't even remember the guy's name from the TV series
which, er, is the same as the movie. So, is the movie any good?
It starts slow. In fact, it takes quite a while to get going, to
the point where I was beginning to wonder if I was watching the
wrong movie. Then it sort of kicks off into hyper-violence, and
then we get the inevitable escalation, although for all that it's
an escalation, none of it really matches the trigger scene in the
office above the restaurant for sheer brutality. Even what I
thought was the denoument in the Home-Depot-a-like store was... I
dunno. It didn't quite punch the same way. Anyway, aside from
that, it does a nice job of going from peaceful la-la-la movie to
cranking up the tension. There are a few facepalms - the guy who
is supremely prepared being surprised that they kidnapped his
friends does not really sell well, for example - and the side
trips into minor retributions, clearly ground-laying for a series,
are distracting and frankly mundane by comparison to the main
story. And, to be honest, the actual denoument (which is after the
thing I thought was the denoument) is deeply silly. "Oh yes, I'll
just take an international trip with no problem whatsoever at
short notice to kill off the last guy, undetected, because that'll
definitely be no problem and will definitely solve the cycle of
escalation I've been dealing with".
So, it has flaws. But it is good, and I'll probably watch
the sequel when it comes around.
Now I need to go and have a word with my satellite PVR about the
fact that it seemed to record three fragments of this rather than
one continuous recording...
- January 13
- How To Train Your Dragon 2:
excellent. The characterisation of the dragons in particular is
incredible; I kept watching them in the background while there was
foreground action going on, and the animators have taken the
trouble to have them do things rather than just sit out of sight
while "more important things" take place. A small bit of the same
complaint as for Minions: Ruffnut being all swoony over Eret's
muscles is a little too foregrounded for a background joke for the
adults, and is a bit off one of the core story points, i.e. you
don't need to be the Brawny Alpha Male to be the hero. I dunno,
I'm not the core demographic for this movie in any sense, so maybe
I'm picking up on things I shouldn't.
The "fetch new data" part of the RSS toy has been producing an
error from a library every time it runs, because someone out there
has invalid UTF8 in their RSS feed and something in the
Python/MySQL world is insisting on treating the data I'm sure I
said was binary as UTF8 data, which then causes the MySQL binary
part of the toy - to which I have no access - to log the
aforementioned error. After judicious poking at various things
I've managed to wrap the triggering code in a context handler
which captures the error instead of printing it; this was
complicated by the fact that the code runs on Mac AND on Linux,
for which the desired hackery is trivially but critically
different, and by the fact that my code was using stderr
implicitly elsewhere, so capturing it and closing it broke that
part of the code. But now, all good.
Well, except for That One Guy and his duff UTF8 code. But I can't
- January 7
- Almost forgot, I saw most of The Flag
over Christmas. This is one of those well-balanced movies that my
Dad would describe as "harmless" or perhaps "light": it's fun, it
pokes fun at things without being malicious (in this case, it's
very much poking fun at Anglo-Irish relationships and stereotypes,
and doing so cleverly), and it's engaging without being
demanding. Summary of plot: man goes on caper to restore
father's/family's good name, and the McGuffin is the Irish
Tricolour flown above the GPO during the 1916 Rising. It all works
out the way you'd imagine from the outset, and everyone is happy
except the grumpy local barman who cast aspersions on the family
in the first place. And probably the guys who lost the flag aren't
happy either. And maybe the guys in the police car. But, you know,
everyone else is happy, including the audience. A point of
excellence in this movie: the
hapless heroic paddies are
surveilling their target - a British Army barracks - and how do
they conceal their motives? By thickening up their accents and
acting gormless. Pure genius, and of course it
works. I strongly recommend this movie, although you might need
subtitles and maybe some sort of cultural guide.
- January 6
- Helpful error message:
ip_tables: REJECT target: used from hooks FORWARD, but only usable from INPUT/FORWARD/OUTPUT
(This is probably triggered by something fail2ban is doing,
so I'm gonna have a fun time identifying the actual
- January 4
- Antman and the Wasp:
it's like they took all the stuff that made the first movie good
and decided not to do it again. This movie dragged, it wasn't as
funny as it thought it was, and really I spent a lot of time
waiting for it to just move on.
- January 2
- In case you're wondering, I abandoned the Advent of Code
thing. From the 14th to the 15th it went from "fiddly little puzzle"
to "long-winded explanation of multi-mode, multi-turn battle
simulation" and I read through the description and thought, "ugh,
too much like actual work". And I never did figure out why my
solution to the 12th was wrong. Maybe next year.
- January 1
- First movie of 2019: Minions
which... look, minions are funny. But they're not "entire
feature-length movie" funny. They work best as goofy comic relief
in a feature that they're not the stars of, and I think that's the
main thing that's wrong with this. Lacking children of the
relevant age, I have a few questions about some of the content
(e.g. the family robbing the bank with actual, rather than goofy,
guns; the protagonist pointedly adjusting her top when she first
appears; the presence of a torture chamber scene, even if it
quickly turns into playing for laughs) - and I do get that maybe
some of this is to keep the babysitter happy, but still. Anyway. I
did laugh out loud at parts of it, and it was fun, but it just
felt like the same sort of stretching you get when someone tries
to write a book based on a magazine article.
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Once more, with feeling.