Recent entries from Meme-Free Zone - the blog of MarcusRowland
NOTE: This blog has been rated FR15 by the author. Blog content is not moderated by TtH
One of the things I'd like but really can't justify buying is an AC-3 RF demodulator - a gizmo that sits between a laserdisc player and a home cinema amplifier and converts AC-3 digital sound tracks to surround sound. I narrowly missed getting an amp that had this built-in when I bought my home cinema setup,; Richer Sounds ran out a few days earlier - and never bothered to buy one after that because PAL laserdiscs don't have AC-3 tracks, they're only found on some NTSC discs, and I only had a couple of discs that supported it. But when I bought my current laserdisc player the vendor threw in 30-odd disks with AC-3 tracks, and it would be nice to hear them properly.
It isn't essential because they also have digital stereo tracks, but if I could get hold of one cheaply I'd love to see what it can do. If anyone can point me at a cheap source (MUCH cheaper than the one currently on ebay UK which is £85 including delivery) I'd be grateful.
...and others with an interest in typography; the iPad game Font Nerd, in which you have to identify fonts, is currently a free download. May be today only though.
Were Disney's "Man in Space" and "Our Friend The Atom" ever released on video, DVD, etc.?
The new CF card for the Nikon D70s arrived today. I put it in and tried it - and it seems to work perfectly. I can only assume that the previous owner somehow messed up his cards, which can apparently happen if you access them via a card reader rather than through the camera.
The only problem I didn't understand was that the counter for frame number is reading 1.1 - but I just realised that there's a teeny "K" there too, as in 1.1 thousand pictures left on the 4gb card!
Next step will be to make sure that everything really is OK and that e.g. the sensor isn't dusty, file transfer works, etc. But so far it's looking very good.
I've just realised that it has a socket for a remote control timer/sequencer, which means that if I wanted to spend another £20 or so I can set it up to do time lapse photography.
Anyway, count me VERY pleased!
Update a few minutes later - everything seems to be ok!
...was a Nikon D70s body and battery charger - for £15!
There's a snag, of course. It has apparently been giving problems accessing memory cards (it uses CF cards) and the owner decided it's not worth trying to get it fixed, since it's a fairly old model and "only" 6 megapixel. My research last night suggests that this is a fairly common problem, with several possible causes and solutions - at this price I'm happy to see if I can make them work. I've tried it without a card and everything else seems to be working very well, unfortunately it doesn't have any internal storage without the card so I can't actually check the sensor works, but the rest seems fine, my lenses autofocus on it, etc.
Needless to say I don't currently have a CF card - my last one went when I sold my HP Jornada - but Ebay found me a 4gb card from a UK seller for £6.26, so hopefully I'll be able to check this out properly at some point in the next few days. Then if it turns out not to be repairable by me I think I'll just sell it for spares and repair - doubt I'll lose much by doing so,
...when Iceland* put five pepper symbols and a Warning - Hot! sign on their frozen chicken Vindaloo they are NOT kidding.
*The UK supermarket chain, not the country.
on reflection, the 4" long and 1" wide red pepper on top of the curry might have been a bit of a giveaway...
Someone on Westminster Freecycle wants to get rid of two portable 5.3 metre flagpoles.
I've got a Munchkin Silver Piece (has some game effect but I have no idea what) I was given at Dragonmeet - I don't really play the game, does anyone (IN THE UK) want it?
First to comment gets it.
I'd really like to see Person of Interest get at least to the voting page for the Hugos. Tactically I think it doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning in the long form, or even getting to the voting page: Gravity is almost certainly going to win, and Orphan Black S1 can make a much better case for being a single coherent narrative as a TV series. Then there's Thor 2, Man of Steel, Hobbit 2, etc. etc.
So I'm looking more at individual episodes for the short form award. I'm inclined to think that 2-21 "Zero Day" or 2-22 "God Mode" are the most SF-nal - 2-21 is the one that reveals how The Machine is evolving its consciousness, 2-22 shows what happens when an omniscient AI is in your life, but I think on the whole 2-21 is the one I prefer. Or I may just nominate both.
Any thoughts? Or is there a better contender I'm missing?
...Person of Interest S2 is eligible for the long-format dramatic presentation Hugo (if you consider it as an ongoing narrative, which I do).
later: some other possibilities
Thor: The Dark World
The Man of Steel
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (animated - part 2 was released in 2013)
Any other suggestions?
Very pleased that The Problem of Susan has been recced on calufrax
, which means there'll be links to it on the front page of the big Dr. Who archive for the next week or so.http://calufrax.livejournal.com/578931.html
later - edited in the correct title of the bloody story! Reminder, do not post while half asleep!
Is there a list of books, stories, etc. eligible for this year's hugos on line anywhere?
I'm going to give away these two TV stands on Freecycle once the ads get moderator approval - let me know fast if you're interested in either and can collect from London W2 QUICKLY
large - 90cm x 50cm deep x 40cm high, castors are broken, made of chipboard or MDF, strong but VERY heavy
Small - strong metal frame, crap MDF or something boards, I think may have originally been a stand for a big speaker or something. 50cm wide, 38cm deep, 30cm high.
Originally pointed out by doc_w_31415
I mentioned this at Picocon today as proof we really are living in the future - a sports illustrated swimsuit calendar shoot in free fall. Thought I might as well provide a link. One small error on my part - it isn't the "vomit comet", though I'd imagine they use similar techniques.http://moviebob.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/for-science.html
There's a link for the photos as well as the video - all in the best possible taste (except for cramming a girl that size into a bikini that size)
I decided that the small table I got for the printer was too low, so I've been looking around for something a bit taller. Today I found something on gumtree for a tenner - from the picture I thought it was the large version of Ikea's GORMM shelves, cut down a bit in height, but the wood is a lot thicker, so I'm not sure now. As usual I had to trek out to the arse end of nowhere - in this case East Dulwich - but fortunately the route back was fairly straightforward, a bus then two trains with a relatively easy interchange. I say fortunately because it's HEAVY - I'm guessing 20kg or more - and moving it was not fun. Unlike the MDF one, this one was big and heavy enough to make an entire fleet of rafts, and wouldn't turn to mush if it got wet, but fortunately it was actually a fairly nice day anyway.
It's about 90cm wide, 115cm high, and 50cm deep, and so far is accommodating the wide printer, a lot of paper, and other odds and ends, with a lot of room to spare. So long as it doesn't collapse I'm reasonably happy with it. And with a bit of luck the other table I got may be useful elsewhere - I'm thinking of reorganising my video stuff.
More of my stuff - my old laserdisc player, the Elvis CDs (I've decided I can live without them), an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, the macrovision-defeating gizmos, Bloody Marie, and Blood Ties.http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html
I'm adding more stuff as I can persuade myself to sell it, so if you're in the UK and use eBay it may be worth adding me to your favourite sellers list so you know what to avoid...
In celebration of our new feline overlord (see previous posts)
Feel free to use.
I just spotted something a little worrying about any theistic version of Hello Kitty. Discard the first three and last three letters and close the gap, and what are you left with...?
Maybe she's a trickster god! Note also that the first three letters discarded are Hel - maybe this is the innocent death-free trickster avatar! Can't think of any useful meaning for tty in this context, can anyone else?
It's my grand-niece's 3rd birthday later this week, and when I was thinking about her present I was told that she's very fond of pink things and Hello Kitty
. So I got her various pink things including some Hello Kitty
stickers and wrapped it all in Hello Kitty
So I was thinking about this, and remembered an old SF story by Cyril Kornbluth called The Advent on Channel Twelve
in which millions of kids are encouraged to believe in a children's character called Poopy Panda, to such an extent that their belief makes him into a real deity.
So, mashing that idea together with American Gods
, what sort of deity is Hello Kitty, and is she worth worshipping? I don't see her being heavily into smiting, somehow, though some might disagree
, but her back-story, as I understand it, is more of the "kindness to others" variety. She probably doesn't fit the Bast slot, and I suspect she's a bit too wishy-washy to appeal to e.g. Catwoman.
gave me M. Probably not the best set of answers ever, but it's about the best I can come up with tonight:Something I hate:
Mice. Despite being a biologist the little bastards really annoy me, as does the damage they do and the mess they leave. Currently I'm (hopefully) mouse-free, apart from the frozen ones I keep for the snakes.Something I love:
Marmite, I really love the savoury yeasty taste - unfortunately the stuff is loaded with salt and really bad for me. I don't dare buy Twiglets and other foods made with it because I scoff them in about ten seconds...Somewhere I have been:
Milton Keynes. I've been through there a few times, never stopping long. It doesn't look as awful as some claim, but I've never been there without a motorbike, I suspect that it would be a bugger without transport. I've even written some fanfic which doesn't destroy the place, They Saved Milton Keynes
, a Top Gear / Wallace and Gromit / multiple others crossover.Somewhere I would like to go:
Mars. Fat chance; medical limits aside, I'm claustrophobic enough that I think I'd freak out aboard a spaceship eventually. Metropolis, if the place actually existed and I could be sure I wouldn't be zapped by invading aliens or Lex Luthor. More realistically, Manhattan might be interesting some time, but I'm trying to avoid air travel as much as possible so it'll have to wait for the Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!Someone I know:
Oddly difficult, since I know several Ms - I'll go with Matt Goodman, of Heliograph Inc., who published several Forgotten Futures
books and Diana: Warrior Princess
. A nice guy who I don't see often enou...
I was going to fix the bike today but ended up getting some other things done; I've "repurposed" the top of a really wobbly folding wooden table to make a new lid for my laundry box / bathroom seat, which is now looking a hell of a lot better, and started backing up some of the analogue-sound laserdiscs to DVD so that I can play them without messing around with cables (for some reason laserdisc players won't play the sound from analogue-only discs through the player's digital output). One of the disks was Queen's Greatest Flix
, which is not as good as I thought I remembered, the other was the stop action versions of The Pied Piper of Hamelin
. It's a 1982 laserdisc based on children's TV shorts from 1979 and 1981, made by Cosgrove-Hall, a company with a long track record for children's animation. I don't have equipment for a direct video image capture, so the shots that follow come from the DVD I recorded and aren't as good as I'd like since I already had another hour of video on the disk and had to use too high a compression rate - I'm going to have to do it again some time with nothing else on the disk. Both are about half an hour long.http://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/53419/90-0509-5/Pied-Piper-The/Cinderella-%281982%29
The animation used wooden dolls (I think), claymation, and anything else that suited the needs of the production company. It's occasionally a little slow-moving compared to modern animated film, but works well.The Pied Piper of Hamelin
is basically an animated version of the traditional poem and paintings based on it, read by Robert Hardy. The town of Hamelin is infested with rats, a mysterious Piper arrives and offers to get rid of them for a thousand guilders. The ...
Forgot to say that the third shoe duly dropped yesterday - I wanted to go somewhere on my motorbike, for the first time in several weeks, and found that the rear indicators have stopped working. I was already late so ended up taking the tube. This is probably just a relay or connector problem caused by the damp weather, but I need to fix it before I can take the bike out on the road. I also need to think seriously about whether I still want to keep a bike - this probably wouldn't happen if I used it every day, but infrequent use is not good for electrics etc., the battery, water in the fuel, etc. etc., and it actually turned out that I made this particular journey much faster by tube.
I'm not going to decide quite yet, I'd want to wait for the warmer weather to sell it anyway, but I think I'll have to get my head around the idea before long. Or actually start using it again, which really isn't a necessary part of my life style these days - it's fun, but public transport and walking meet most of my needs.