noideadog: (meerkat)
This weekend I: drank margaritas in the beautiful beautiful air conditioning, cycled around Manhattan for my longest ever bike ride (47.5miles/76.4km), saw the final Harry Potter movie (surprisingly good), finished listening to the Rebecca audiobook (fantastic!), finally created a US Paypal account so my address can stop being "Brooklyn, NY, USA, Ireland", failed terribly at a NY Times Thursday crossword, watched most of season 1 of Arrested Development, and played a lot of games of Carcassonne. There's an Android app at last!
noideadog: (culture)
Nice bit from today: we're watching the trailers before Scott Pilgrim and there's a trailer that shuts up the entire audience. I forget what it's called (the Devil, maybe?), but it's set in an elevator and it's very tense and the whole room is rapt as we watch what's unfolding. I don't much like scary movies, and I'm still pulled into the story. Complete silence. Collective breath-holding. It's very intense. I'm just thinking "I will go see this", when the words "M Night Shyamalan" appear on the screen and there's this loud groan from all corners at the room at once. The spell is broken. Nobody cares any more. Then everyone's laughing together at the group disappointment. It was good solidarity. I was briefly part of the zeitgeist. Thanks, MNS!

If you've read the comics, the Scott Pilgrim movie is a thing of great joy. If you haven't, it may well be incomprehensible. I loved it and will go see it again.
noideadog: (culture)
There is an ant walking along the top of my laptop. There's no food up there, ant. What a long journey though: through the door, across the tiles, up on to the bed, up my leg, onto the laptop, all the way to the top of the screen, and then I hope it's an awe-inspiring view of the whole kingdom/bedroom to make up for there being no food at all. Not even a place to stick a little flag. Poor ant. I really like ants, except when there are millions of them and they're swarming and then I find them a bit freaky.

The rest of this post contains spoilers for His Girl Friday (1940s movie), Revenge of the Skrulls or whatever (recent Marvel silliness) and what we're having for dinner. If you care about being surprised by any of these, you should go read something else now.

We watched His Girl Friday last night and I learned that being a big manipulative jerkface will make intelligent women fall in love with you. It's useful to know. For guaranteed results, you have to make sure to you never listen to a word they say, and you should always physically restrain them when they try to walk away from you. Women totally love that. I don't mean that Hildy wasn't fantastic: she got some great and funny and vicious lines, and she was self-assured and awesome right until she devolved at the end. Did she catch a brain disease? Did she piss off a writer? There's no other explanation for her wacky decisions. And couldn't she have punched Walter in the face just once? Just one time? Just for me? I was fine with her going back to newspapers instead of marrying the world's most boring insurance salesman, but why would she decide to marry that appalling man instead? I was so sad for her, though I think it was supposed to be a happy ending.

You know what I love? I love not living in the 40s. I do wish we still wore hats though.

Today I turned six precarious piles of assorted comics into one small box of good comics and one massive pile of less good comics to inflict on the neighbourhood kids. Someone's got two years of the Marvel main title and Mighty Avengers coming to them. I warn you, Carroll Gardens, there will be skrulls. Nearly everyone's a skrull, magic skrull detection technology will appear after they've spent a bunch of issues explaining how impossible it is and then they'll randomly kill off a character that you're not much supposed to care about, because of pathos and to provide motivation for her husband to go to some batshit thing or other. (She'll get better next year, don't worry). Captain America dies for a few months too. I forget how he gets better, but I don't think it was very interesting. (New Avengers is still great fun and well written, and that's bad luck for the neighbourhood kids because I'm keeping those ones).

Enough about comics. It is time to make dinner. The clammonger sold me some local littleneck and topneck clams, and I'm trying to take a mental step past the fact that they're still alive in my fridge right now, so that I can clean them up a bit, shuck them ("take your clam shucker", advises the internet howto, and I feel a bit inadequate), add some breadcrumbs, garlic and olive oil, then bake them some. The internet doesn't say to put parmesan on top, but it sounds like a great idea to me. The internet does say to add a little white wine, and I'm debating whether to try vermouth instead. Will that ruin everything? Would you, oh interwebs?
noideadog: (Default)


Originally uploaded by xymb.
Joel made huevos rancheros and black beans for breakfast, I did ravioli and a bottle of fizz for lunch, and we went out for Thai food for dinner. This is the kind of traditional Christmas that I can get behind.

Also, presents. Joel got me a sextant, a rugged waterproof compass, a divider, a notebook, some still-mysterious other apparatus, and a copy of Celestial Navigation Simplified on DVD. (The picture shows William F. Buckley Jr's earnest blue jumper talking about taking sun sights in a time before irony. Look, they're on a boat.) I've spent a lot of today learning about zenith distances and declinations and working out the altitude of the kitchen ceiling and that kind of thing. I'm looking forward to trying it out on actual suns and stars. This stuff is brilliant.

This evening we saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie, which was a bit average. Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are good fun apart and glorious together, and Rachel McAdams does fine with the cardboard cut-out character she's given, but it's still kind of meh. With a setup so rich, I was disappointed by how obvious it all was. Those characters, those actors, and the steam-punk setting gives a great opportunity to be a bit offbeat and interesting, but it was the usual collection of tropes, explosions, extended fight sequences and sequel preparation that makes up any action movie. Kind of a waste of the material, I thought.

Now I'm drinking a beer in bed (such decadence!) and considering whether to sleep or read. It's not a school night, and tomorrow's not a school night either. These holidays are, as advertised, happy! I hope they're good for everyone else too.
noideadog: (coffee)
Tonight: Manhattan Cubed. Watching Manhattan in Manhattan while drinking Manhattans. I've been excited about this since I invented it last week.

Edit: Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.
noideadog: (culture)
How've I never seen The Shining? Joel, Gavin and I are at IFC for a late showing. I avoid scary movies, so watching The Shining after my bedtime is clearly a fantastic idea.

Edit: That scared the crap out of me (and I loved it).
noideadog: (coffee)
I'm slow of brain and scattered of thought today this week, but here's some things that I'm finding interesting:

First wedding plans: we're looking at May 2010, a fairly small reception, and (I guess) the Dublin registry office. We need to read about what options atheists have for getting married. We're discussing taking each other's citizenships as well, but I need to read more about that too.

Kindle: the kindle continues to be fantastic. I love it so much that I just bought a book (the Kite Runner) that I already had in real life, because it's more comfortable to read on the kindle. It's the best bit of technology I've bought since my powerbook.

Sleep: what the hell is going on, brain? My sleep patterns have become irregular and weird. 9:30pm last night. 2am the night before. 5:30am the night before that. Getting up in the morning is very painful, and I think the weird sleeping is a big part of why my brain is so slow this week. Joel reinstalled the seratonin-lamp on a timer, and it woke me up at 8:30, which hopefully will push me back into some sort of sleep routine. I truly hope so anyway: I haven't been in work before midday all week.

Java: I did a html/css/javascript class today, which was informative and fun. I've developed a new appreciation for formally learning things that I already mostly-sort-of know; it's enjoyable to convert that to solid understanding. Half way through Stanford's CS106A, I've learned far more than I expected from an elementary CS class. For example, as a non-object-oriented-programmer. I never really grokked why it was considered to be so powerful; there was a perfect lightbulb moment about a week ago where suddenly it was so obvious. Wow! I couldn't believe I hadn't understood before. I wanted to wake up Joel, all "Oh my god! Look! Things can know how to do stuff! Other things don't have to know how they do it! This is amazing!". I was quite ridiculously excited about it. Learning java has made my python better too.

Arabic: Arabic starts again next week. I'm looking forward to learning some Arabic grammar, and I've been trying to squeeze some vocabulary into my brain in advance. I have a huge stack of index cards, and I'm going to only write the words in the Arabic alphabet, and try to get less reliant on the handy transliteration. It's slow, but it's fun.

Comic con: NY Comic Con is the weekend after next, and there are approximately seven million guests including (yay!) Bryan Lee O'Malley, author of one of my all-time favourite comics, Scott Pilgrim. I feel like I should be more excited that Brian Michael Bendis, (author of my actual favourite ever comic, Alias) will also be there too, but he's written so much in the last year, and so much of it was crappy, that the excellent stuff from his past is now tainted. Other guests include Garth Ennis, Mike Carey, Joss Whedon, the Penny Arcade gentlemen, Greg Rucka, Alex Maleev, Seth Green, and Grant Morrison, but alas not J. Michael Straczynski who was signed up but then had to go collect his BAFTA instead.

Speaking of Scott Pilgrim: Michael Cera is going to play him in an actual movie. I can't imagine a translation to the screen not sucking, but Michael Cera is a very good start. Hey, have you guys seen Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist yet? It's awfully sweet. (Is "awfully sweet" a good one-line summary of every role Michael Cera has ever played?)

And speaking of happy things: if there was a life backup utility, and I knew I would one day have to save my life at a particular point, I would pick this week. Life is incredibly good and I am grateful to my ancestors and Joel's and the people who founded universities and domesticated cats and invented air travel and set up the internet.
noideadog: (comics)
It's 9.58 on a school day, but instead of being diligently at work, Joel and I are at the IMAX, waiting to see Batman on the big big screen. I would describe my current state as "excited".

Edit: amazing!
noideadog: (nyc)
I won't deny that I'm a sucker for heartfelt pomp and ceremony, but even considering that, the fireworks this evening were wonderful. We took a boat (the "Celebrate Your Freedom" boat from my previous post) along the Hudson for maybe an hour, then circled at the Statue of Liberty for a while, before settling into place to watch the firework display. It drizzled a bit, but the atmosphere was great; people were cool about talking to strangers, and everyone was really into just being there, and being quite unironically excited about it being the 4th of July.

The US seems to be a good place for people not minding other people see them being earnest; coming from socially-defensive-ireland, the lack of cynicism is exciting and just a little bit unnerving. My favourite thing was some guys in their twenties in Yankees jackets joining in with the song on the speakers (something about freedom and an eagle) and totally meaning it. It was.. seriously, it was just perfect. I love that stuff. I wished I had a flag I could wave. And then the fireworks were thirty five minutes of awesome. And then, I swear to god, someone near me broke into singing "happy birthday America", and people joined in. A superb experience.

Incidentally, pictures of the Statue of Liberty hadn't prepared me for it being.. you know.. actually very good. She projects justice and equality and nobility and, oh, all sorts of honourable things. I can't describe this properly, but it's true. She made me feel optimistic for humanity.

(Gosh, this is all a bit wide-eyed and happy, isn't it? I'll go back to being cynical and defensive soon, I promise.)



We went to a late showing of Hancock, a dreadful movie about Will Smith doing product placement in California. It's a shame, because it actually starts rather well: after thirty minutes, when the basic plot had neatly wrapped up, I thought it had been a nicely executed version of the generic redemption-of-tarnished-hero story. It's nothing too deep, you understand, but a nice little variant on a common theme. Since the story had clearly ended there, it did cross my mind to wonder how they'd fill up the rest of the time..

.. and unfortunately, how they filled up the rest of the time is by tacking on a quite silly, entirely different story, which makes very little sense and is mostly just a method of having the audience fidget impatiently though another hour of being shown products they might like to buy.

I don't recommend Hancock, but if you can get tickets to a movie that starts about 40 minutes after it does, watch the start and leave after the slow clapping scene. (You'll probably feel the need to get out around then anyway)
noideadog: (chimney rabbit)
The internet is mostly about cats.

I made catface her coldwaterbottle (a groundbreaking innovation using preexisting hotwaterbottle technology and ice to make the stupid weather bearable), and actually it was kind of a pain in the ass to make, since I had to melt the icecubes a bit to fit them in, but in the end I had a pleasantly cool bottle, wrapped in a cloth bag. I considered keeping it for myself; that's how nice it was.

And I put it on the bed, near where she likes to sleep, and she yowled at me, looked at it from five feet away, then backed away. I.. have no idea how she thinks. No clue. Except: I took one of Joel's sweaty tshirts from the laundry bag, and wrapped that around the bottle, and ten minutes later she was asleep with her forehead pressed into it. She likes the smell of Joel more than almost anything. I think she likes the coldwaterbottle too, but, again, who can say with cats.



Something stupid: I left my bank card in the machine again, this time in the Union Square branch, twenty minutes walk away. It's the machines' fault (apart from how it's entirely my fault, of course). WaMu machines dispense the money before returning the card. It's backwards.

The bank shreds uncollected cards after one day, so when I remembered at 5:30 this evening that I had to go collect it, I was a bit stressed. Cue humourously getting my skirt caught in the wheel of my office chair, and having to tear it to be able to leave without taking the chair with me. Cue getting the L train (so! hot! underground!) so that I'd definitely be there on time, then losing my mind briefly and getting off a stop early. Cue flapping along in my flip-flops, walking a hurried-old-lady walk, and getting to the bank with ten minutes to spare. Success!

But then they wouldn't give me the card because neither of the two forms of identification I had were acceptable. Even though I knew the pin on the card I was there to collect. Even though my branch had called them that morning to say I'd be collecting it. Oh boy. I wasn't all that happy about that, to be honest with you.



It's still a bit warm.



Did you like Juno? I did, a lot. I ordered a copy online for Tina (younger sister, 15 years old) a couple of months ago, and since the dvd was just released this week, she should be getting it soon. But the problem now is that I was unexpectedly home in between, and cornered Tina to talk about "So you are fifteen and have a boyfriend and we should talk about some things", and now the movie's a little tainted by its proximity to that conversation. I hope she doesn't think that I'm send it to her For Her Own Good.

(Which I am, of course, but in a different way. If you don't know it, Juno is a movie about a fifteen year old who gets pregnant. It got a bit of bad press for the relative ease with which the protagonist got back to normal life afterwards -- there's certainly no "teen pregnancy is bad, kids!" message. However, if you don't care about that (I don't, much), it's a delightful, sunshiny movie with a good story, amusing dialogue and a wonderful soundtrack. And of course, from a big-sister point of view, I'd like Tina to see at least an occasional movie which has admirable female characters who aren't mostly naked. Bonus: this one also has teenagers who look like actual teenagers.)



It occurs that if this summer stays like this, I'm going to spend a lot of evenings hiding in work (where I am) writing shite into livejournal.
noideadog: (culture)
Iron Man was sold out everywhere, so instead we saw Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. It was less bad than I expected, and there was a unicorn in it. The best bit was when the projector broke down near the end, and after the projectionist had fixed it, some dude in the back yelled "Rewind it a bit!". This was in real life, I mean.

Luckily, we have tickets for Macbeth on Tuesday, so balance will be restored. Having missed Patrick Stewart as Macbeth in London and then in Brooklyn, I'm grateful to whoever decided to do a run on Broadway too, just for me. And on Wednesday, Diane and I are going to see As You Like It, except that apparently it has samurais. Culture is like a box of chocolates.

Tuesday's also our first anniversary. This time a year ago I was asleep was vaguely aware of the existence of a sysop in New York with a hot accent, but had no idea what the weekend had in store for me. A whole year. Joel's clearly a tolerant man, and this will be the first year of many.
noideadog: (culture)
Dyawanna know what else? I'll tell you what else. Yesterday we went to see The Forbidden Kingdom, which is a movie in the Karate Kid genre, but with a bit more of being transported to a Magical Chinese Kingdom through the Gate of Nogate to defeat the Jade Warlord's hordes. It's quite thoroughly rubbish, but Jackie Chan and Jet Li are fabulous, so it's also plenty of fun. I like wirework kung fu movies with magic and flying and suchlike. Recommendation: wait for dvd, so you can fast-forward through the plot.

And something else: we thinking of getting a dog. Maybe a yorkie (check out these guys), or maybe a floppy king charles spaniel. We want a dog that's smart, enthusiastic, and smaller than the cat. He needs to be small enough to fit in a dog carrier bag, so he can go on the subway to the park, but doggish enough to not be annoying. No silly handbag dogs for us. We're not entirely decided that it's a good idea, is all. (Or rather.. only one of us has entirely decided, and the other is coming around to the idea)
noideadog: (culture)
Last night we saw "There Will Be Boredom" a seven hour long movie about drilling for oil while being mildly depressed and acting irrationally. People said the Jesse James movie last year was slow, but it was enjoyably slow; it was a quiet journey kind of slow. TWBB is a journey too, but it's a journey like Heathrow to San Francisco: you zone out and sleep for several hours, and when you come back to life, shoulders stiff and brain foggy, you're -still- on the bloody plane with hours to go. DDL was so obviously pushing all the buttons of an Oscar Winning Performance that I'm kind of offended that he won an Oscar for it.

Joel's one line review of TMBB: "If you'd been wondering if Paul Thomas Anderson is still making long, pretentious movies, the answer is "yes."
noideadog: (shutup)
The series of steps involved in playing a movie on Joel's media system for the first time.

- pull down the projector screen
- switch on the projector
- switch on the sound system
- boot the media pc
- log in as joel (he changed the password a while back so I'd be able to use this system)
- startx -- can't write local files blah blah. Hm, there's no homedir.
- check password file.. there should be a homedir
- ps auxw | grep mount -- it's trying to mount the other pc
- boot the other pc
- sudo mount -a -- no sudo access
- reboot -- can't find ide drives. wtf?
- powercycle -- it can find them now
- boot
- can ping the other PC, still no homedir
- reboot. powercycle. boot single user mode.
- need root password. Arse. Fine then.
- boot.
- Are there -any- window managers installed? Do I even remember how xinit works? No and no.
- xinit -- xinit starts a single xterm by default, out of focus and in the corner of the screen (there's a mouse attached to this box, but it's not easily accessible)
- read man pages.
- figure out xterm geometry to create a new xterm directly under the mouse pointer. Ok!
- vlc -- can't find disk.
- dmesg -- the disk is there. Get it together, vlc.
- read more man pages
- vlc dvd:///dev/dvd -- for fucks sake, like
- dvd starts to play. Hurray! Start to get comfortable, but..
- realise there's no sound
- powercycle all the sound-related things. Trace cables.
- try with headphones -- works fine, but headphone cable isn't long enough to watch the movie while sitting down.
- give up. text joel "Is there an incantation to make your insane media system produce sound?".
- read response. Read it again. Say some language.
- reboot again
- change the bios to disable onboard audio. srsly.
- boot. no ide disks.
- powercycle. boot.
- repeat several of above steps.
- watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

When Joel came home I told him "My next boyfriend will have a dvd player".
noideadog: (meerkat)
Watched the Princess Bride, played Battle for Wesnoth, lazed around. Kicked off the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries just as Joel arrived home. 327 minutes of period drama later we returned to the twentyfirst century to find that it had somehow become 5am. A good way to spend Friday evening.
noideadog: (black books)
What I read and watched in 2007.

Books I read )

Comics I read )

Movies I watched )
noideadog: (culture)
Three bits of Cultural Education today:

Branford Marsalis in the NCH this evening. It can be a bit tedious to sit and watch jazz in a polite atmosphere where you're not encouraged to shout "Yeah!", but this was excellent and I got that great saxophone shiver down my spine. I was all ready for the tenor sax to explode my brain, but I didn't know soprano sax could be like that. So good. I hereby resolve to never dismiss the soprano saxophone again.

Daredevil comics. You assume, don't you, that Daredevil comics have to be about biff and pow and brightly coloured pictures of The Man Without Fear! punching bad guys in the face. But Daredevil: Wake up is beautiful and well made and is a comic for grown up people who like comics. I'm very pleased about this and may even go so far as to say that Tiarnan was right and I was wrong. Maybe.

Hamlet on DVD. My secret shame: I'd never read or seen Hamlet. I wasn't altogether clear on what Hamlet was about, apart from a chap called Hamlet and a skull and someone called Ophelia and 80% of the things people quote when they're quoting Shakespeare and plenty of what they say when they're not quoting as well. I watched the first hour this evening, but I have to sleep now, so I'll finish it tomorrow. Gosh, Laurence Olivier wasn't bad, was he?
noideadog: (culture)
We just had our first Babylon 5 night. It was an absolute delight to be watching B5 again. God, the pilot's rubbish though. The dialogue! The acting! The hair! It's incredible that the series got made at all after that thing. DaveW says that there's a director's cut that's much better than the original. I really hope that's not what we just saw. The first episode was just what I remember though, and I have B5 joy. I love that programme so much. I can't wait to get to the episodes that are actually good.

We're continuing with it next Tuesday. If you're interested, watch the first episode and you'll be caught up and ready to join in. (You could watch the pilot too, but it doesn't have a lot of relevance to anything and it really is crappier than freshly crapped crap, so I can't recommend it for anything other than MST3K-style amusements.)

In other DVD happenings, screenclick.com just sent out my first two DVDs: Hamlet and Airplane. It's an inspired combination. I'm sure they'll complement each other very.. interestingly.

They included a code for a free month's rentals. You get two weeks for free anyway, so it's only two extra weeks, but if you were planning to sign up, let me know and I'll send it over.
noideadog: (california)
Laziest of days. Slept in until eleven, then mooched around the Persian food market, enjoying the unfamiliar food selection and wondering what things were. I came home with mysterious soft cheese and flatbread as well as some interesting tobacco science that will likely make [livejournal.com profile] mr_wombat die. But it's the thought that counts, right?

Since then, it's been a pleasant afternoon of sprawling on my bed reading RK Narayan, eating green apples and listening to BB King. Poor BB King. Poor bluesmen. Poor blueswomen. It's so tragic that my bluesjoy derives entirely from their bluespain. If only they'd talked to each other and tried to work it out. How much happier they'd be. How much incredible music we wouldn't have. Sorry bluespeople, you have to stay sad.

Yesterday [livejournal.com profile] thaths took us for Indian lunch and a gorgeously shot Bollywood movie that combined interesting moral ambiguity with flamboyant dancing. I liked it a lot at the time and the more I process it, the more I get out of it, because I still can't decide whether the protagonist was also a hero or an asshole. Probably I've been watching too much preachy Aaron Sorkin recently, but it's stimulating not to be told what to think. Also, I love the dancing, which is generally in no way connected to the ongoing plot. (Not that a scene about being in the rain with ducks doesn't add tension to any dramatic moment). Here's another.

What else.. [livejournal.com profile] gerrowadat and I found an Italian restaurant with great food, great atmosphere and a waiter who broke into loud and exuberant song to serenade the woman at the table next to ours. I dunno what it's called, but it's right at the Caltrain end of Castro, and I recommend it if you're in Mountain View.

I'm content this evening. Everything is very calm in my brain.
noideadog: (culture)
DoC and I are going to see Little Miss Sunshine at UGC at 19:15. Anyone want to come?

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