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Everything posted by dog-days

  1. Yes, just finished the final episode. Very powerful. I think it was Jill going to sit with Marcus that got to me the most.
  2. Been watching It's a Sin. Hadn't particularly intended to, but was browsing Netflix and was shown a short scene, thought 'I'll just give it five minutes because I really don't want to watch characters cope with AIDS' but got drawn in anyway. Russell T Davies's writing is so light and brilliant, and casting and direction are spot on, I couldn't stop.
  3. Hope it's the first of many more bans. Horrible stuff.
  4. Yes. My Dad read bits of Pyramids aloud to me when I was around nine years old, and a year or so later I read Hogfather. Afterwards Wyrd Sisters, Reaper Man and Feet of Clay. And onwards, until I soon had to wait for Terry to release a new book... A lot of people have suggested that Guards, Guards! the first City Watch book could be a good starting point.
  5. I've been avoiding the news from Italy because it mostly makes me want to vomit. But does anyone know why Fratelli d'Italia are strongest in the north? My mind had involuntarily recast Italy with stock characters from the UK, with the north being metropolitan sophisticates with broke have-nots buying cheap papers with sell-your-soul-and-get-a-cheap-holiday deals in the south.
  6. OTOH, I support the protesters and admire their courage. OTOH, I have a bad feeling about this - there could be some pretty nasty counter-moves from the Revolutionary Guard, assuming the latter are still being paid and their wages are worth something.
  7. WTF. Hilary Mantel has died. This is a shit week. I thought she was younger than seventy and imagined she'd be around and busy writing and providing social commentary for decades. The Thursday before last saw the premature and very sad death of fiddle-player and all-round lovely bloke Paul Sartin.
  8. But you sent the application? I'm so glad you did!
  9. Oof, the nostalgia. I played Deus Ex as a demo from a CD-ROM that came with PC Zone magazine, fell head over heels in love with it, almost died of joy when the next month's PC Zone magazine came with a demo of the second level, and got the full game that Christmas. Even by the standards of the day it wasn't brilliant graphically, but I was blown away by how it let you use different strategies to complete the missions - which themselves could be resolved differently. Apart from Zelda: Ocarina of Time all the adventure/action-type games I'd played to that point had been very linear, and the glories of the Black Isle CRPG hadn't quite exploded across my horizon at that point. I would like to start drawing my pension now, please.
  10. My hands don't do well in the cold at all (not even cold but just lack of warmth makes them go numb), and fingerless gloves wouldn't help me - it would just leave me with blue fingers. So I wear touchscreen gloves - similar to this minus the snowflake patterns. They wouldn't help in genuine cold, but for the intermediate stages they're good. Hot water bottles are great. If you use one to keep your stomach warm, it's supposed to make your body more willing to distribute heat to the limbs. Probably a myth, but a hot water bottle is still better than sitting there freezing. I like the idea of microwaveable heat pads, but have never tried one. As far as clothing goes, layers are key, though layers plus a gigantic thick fleece is best. I was in an unheated office last March, and wore two pairs of socks to work everyday. People laugh at thermal underwear now, but that's probably because they're from middle class homes and have never known life without double-glazing and affordable central heating. When I briefly lived in China, people used to keep a gigantic thermos flask full of hot water at home, and the thermos could continually be used to top up your tea container. That could be another way of having a continuous source of warmth close at hand. Obviously you don't have to use it for tea! (Whiskey toddy would be the tempting but very wrong path there. Things haven't got so bad that we're drinking to make our living conditions bearable yet, have they? ). I once overwintered in the capital of a land famous for not existing with a live-in landlord who was invulnerable to the cold and didn't believe in central heating. To be honest, when I wasn't at work I mostly stayed in bed under the duvet because it was the only way to keep warm. Or I went to cafes though this was a rather expensive solution to the problem. Or I hugged the big fluffy resident dog and felt slightly less sorry for myself.
  11. Aargh. He must have spent the night drinking toasts in one of the Commons bars.
  12. I read it yesterday; it was a really good article. Loved the description of the writing of Good Omens.
  13. For me I really like voices. I'm not a very visual person, and how someone speaks tends to make a bigger impression on me than how they dress or what they look like. So I don't mind the speed of audio books, as long as I like the narrator's voice, accent and delivery otherwise. (One of the things that makes my heart sink is seeing "read by the author" in the audiobook description because their lack of training tends to be very obvious.) Also, slow reading is useful when I'm listening in German because it gives my brain extra processing time. And the verb comes as an extra nice surprise.
  14. I see the author is a trained medievalist. Sounds very promising. I've been looking around for historical mysteries, but till now nothing has caught my fancy. (Shardlake spoiled me). Picked up the first of MacLean's seeker books in a library but put it down again after skimming the first few pages, but put it down again after spotting something I disliked. Can't even remember what it was now! I should probably give it another chance.
  15. King Charles starts as he means to go on, by doing something mean and unpopular. He'd be a much more loveable monarch if he wore a set of spaniel-shaped ear warmers all the time. Perhaps the BBC could just edit them into its footage as part of its propaganda efforts.
  16. A lot of the political cartoons in response to the Queen's death have been very sentimental, but I like this one from the i. The parents of acquaintances are reportedly enjoying all the pomp and ceremony, in addition to my own mother, who could probably write a book all about arcane Anglican rituals if she wanted. I'm glad someone's getting something out of it.
  17. Read my first Charles Stross book The Rhesus Chart, number five in his Laundry Files series. I was underwhelmed. It wasn't terrible, but the characterisation seemed thin, in particular the female characters, and if you're going to anchor your humorous SFF series around the culture of big office bureaucracies, you'd better be really funny – this was mostly flat. I didn't hate it and would read another if that's what was there on a long train journey, but I'm not going to be rushing out to catch up on his other works.
  18. This sounds quite important: researchers from the Francis Crick Institute have found that air pollution causes cancer, not through damaging healthy cells, but by causing old cells in the lungs to reactivate when a chemical alarm is provoked by the inhalation of particulate matter. The article talks about the possibility of people living in areas with high atmospheric pollution taking a pill to block the alarm. Would be nice if we could get rid of the air pollution instead, mind.
  19. Have always thought the Mid-Autumn Festival sounds beautiful. Hope it gains more of a foothold over here. Out of interest, have you ever tried a fresh Mooncake? They look stunning, but I doubt that the ones of suspect age sold in packets could taste that nice, and I've never seen one being sold fresh in the UK. When I have my own kitchen again, I'd like to try and make one of the ones with lotus paste filling.
  20. Na, we should be sending out the MPs to scour the land for an infant born at the minute the Queen died.
  21. Versailles is much more admired architecturally, has better weather, the lingering glamour of the Sun King, and some pretty famous gardens too. If Buckingham Palace wasn't the monarchy's main residence and symbol, I doubt its lumpen massiveness would be much of a draw on its own.
  22. Heh, I'd half convinced myself that I remembered Clover from the original trilogy. Abercrombie got me there.
  23. No sure about the economics of the tourism side of the argument. London is full of Royalty-related merchandise, and things like the changing of the guard are a big draw - I suppose that could stay on post-monarchy, but it would be even emptier than it is now. I've had a quick look but I haven't seen any surveys/studies on what international tourists describe as attracting them to the UK. Not sure if someone else would have more luck? I'm in favour of keeping the royals for now so that head of state and head of government are separate. Even with a purely ceremonial President, someone like Nigel Farage, for example, could be absolutely poisonous in that role. The conventions governing the behaviour of modern constitutional monarchs at least pushes them towards reserve and an illusion of universality. Of course, Charles may try and change that. In which case, I'll have the popcorn ready for the constitutional fun and games.
  24. Looks pretty amazing. I found a video interview to hear what his voice is like. Haven't found any clips of him acting yet.
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