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Posts posted by dog-days

  1. 11 hours ago, karaddin said:

    The talk about Deus Ex games a few pages back has me again disappointed I never got far with the original. My PC at the time it came out couldn't handle it, by the time I tried to get back to it graphical standards had moved on enough for me to be unable to back to it (I'm a shallow gamer, I really struggle with things below the current standards graphically). I'd love to be able to lift it into something equivalent to the Cyberpunk engine with its fantastic facial/eye animations but with the original story.

    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.

  2. 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? :unsure:). 

    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.

  3. 2 hours ago, Jussi said:

    I read it yesterday; it was a really good article. Loved the description of the writing of Good Omens


    ...they were also two guys who operated at different ends of the day. Neil, at this point in his life, was largely allergic to the morning and would wake around lunchtime to flurries of crisp answerphone messages from his collaborator, which were generally variations on the theme of “Get up, you lazy bastard”.


  4. 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. :)

  5. 3 hours ago, LongRider said:

    I don't usually read mystery books, saw this author here somewhere, so picked up A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger at the library.  It is a historical fiction set in Medieval London 1385 under the reign of Richard II. The mystery concerns the whereabouts of a book of prophesies that predict the death of England's kings up to and including the current one. 

    The story includes the main character and many secondary characters who populate the high and low places of London.  There were many layers to the story and not being a mystery person I'm sure there many clues and foreshadowing that were missed, and yet I still found it an enjoyable read.  Recommend!  Holsinger's next historical fiction The Invention of Fire is on the 'to be read' list. 

    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. 

  6. 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. 

  7. 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. 

  8. 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. 

  9. 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. 

  10. 43 minutes ago, Denvek said:

    How many people visit Versailles every year? Hasn’t been any royalty there for a while.

    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. 


  11. 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. 

  12. 1 hour ago, mcbigski said:

    As far as monarchs go, she was top notch.  Seemed awfully weird to see a news article referencing King Charles III today.  He's been Prince Charles for longer than I've been alive, and it reminds of that bit from Airplane II.  First the earth cooled, then the dinosaurs came...

    It kind of amuses me that I can Google King Charles III and see photos of the late much-missed Tim Piggott-Smith in the title role of the 2017 film. Piggott-Smith was a character actor mainly known for playing a deeply disturbed and corrupt colonial district superintendent in The Jewel in the Crown

  13. 5 minutes ago, Hereward said:

    To you, with your frame of reference. Doesn’t make it a universal thing. I suggest looking at comments from those, particularly the military, whose oaths were to her, personally. I find it tear jerking to read some of them. 

    But I realise I’m wasting my time. There’s absolutely nothing that we (not you personally, the denizens of this thread) have in common. A good time to make the final break from a place that I’ve mostly loved for over 20 years. Good luck and best wishes.

    Forelock tugging is over in the Queen Elizabeth thread if that's what you need. 

  14. On the subject of not all of us having more than one house (or any house):

    Crown Estate

    Finances of the British Royal Family

    Queen lobbied for change in law to hide her private wealth

    TBH, I'm not anti-monarchy. I was fervently republican as a child/young teen, but seeing the likes of President George W Bush elected boss of the world moderated that quite a lot. The late Queen was palatable in comparison with the likely alternatives. I have complete faith in the ability of the British people to elect a total shit to the highest office in the land. 

    ETA: Presenters and guests really struggling over on the S4C rolling news. 

    Presenter: Well, we know about her love for Scotland. What about her love for Wales?

    Dafydd Elis-Thomas: Uh...weeeeellll....

  15. 3 minutes ago, williamjm said:

    On a practical note, since there is some urgency for the Government to do something about the cost of energy crisis is Parliament going to be suspended for a period and interfere with that? Can legislation be passed during the interregnum or does it need to wait for Charles to be crowned?

    Given how long it's taken for some monarchs to have their coronations - Victoria was crowned a year after she inherited - I can't imagine it holding things up. Charles became King as soon as his mother died. 

    eta: Maltaran beat me to it. Also, maybe I have been subconsciously struck by terrible grief. Caught myself using an apostrophe before an 's' in a straight plural. 

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