gominokouhai: (Default)

In 1787, Robert Burns the Ploughman Poet walked along the riverside by the Falls of Bruar. Bruar Falls, in Athole, are exceedingly picturesque and beautiful; said he, misspelling ‘Atholl’ as he did so, but their effect is much impaired by the want of trees and shrubs. Thus inspired to action, he did what any of us would do. He wrote a poem and addressed it to the landowner.

Let lofty firs, and ashes cool,
My lowly banks o'erspread,
And view, deep-bending in the pool,
Their shadow's wat'ry bed:
Let fragrant birks, in woodbines drest,
My craggy cliffs adorn;

and so on and so on

There was already a birk adorning those cliffs, but he'd gone home to write a poem.

As a result the Duke of Atholl instituted a massive tree-planting programme. Because some inkstained twit wrote a poem. Is that how you get a public works project approved? Is some latter-day Bard even now penning A Humble Petition to just get the damn trams finished already? Or is that, as I suspect, a niche that these days is filled by the letters page of the Scotsman?

Nonetheless, a couple of weeks ago I popped up north to view the result. The Falls of Bruar is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and these days you can't see any of it because there are trees everywhere.

IMG_6897

There's some scenery behind here, but you can't tell.

I already can't stand Robert Burns. Now he's actively ruining things I like to do (viz., looking at waterfalls). I'm inclined to start taking this personal.

I can't write like Burns (thank Christ), so perhaps a humble petition after the style of Scotland's other favourite son will suffice.

Ohh, 'twas in the month of July two thousand and twelve,
Into the woods around the Falls of Bruar did we delve,
And tho' the scenery was beautiful like a painting or a frieze,
None of it could we see because of all the bloody trees,
and ooowhhh ...

I may have slipped into a Milligoon voice towards the end there, but in my defence, it's hard not to.

Remainder of the photoset is here. I had to climb down slippery rocks on cliff edges to get some of these shots. Rabbie is actually trying to kill me.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Today: suits. I have worked in the New Town for ten years. Every day I walk past the same people. Only in the last couple of weeks, now that I have a suit on, have they started nodding and smiling at me.

Since I have to wear suits all the time now, I thought I'd broaden my range of shirt colours beyond the standard Henry Ford options, the better to avoid the Nineties movie villain look. Got some blue shirts and some grey shirts (no reason to go crazy, now). The shopguy offered me a shirt with a stripe in it, but I gave him a Look. (Baby steps.) When I wear the blue shirt, every one of my staff mention how nice I look. When I wear the grey shirt, everyone asks me if I'm feeling all right. Wonderful: now I have to learn about colour co-ordination. Currently I'm far too busy learning about gross profit margins, which are fascinating, I can tell you.

The suit I'm currently wearing has very capacious trouser pockets. So capacious are they in fact that they've added a second pocket inside the pocket, so that you have a remote chance of ever finding anything that you put in there. Thoughtful, perhaps, but I'm wondering why they didn't just make it properly in the first place.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Part One of an occasional series. Today: On Owning a Garden.

Someone is torturing ponies next door. This won't do. It makes the neighbourhood look bad (neighbourhood, hurr hurr), and I'm about ready to call the SSPCA.

What's that you say? Small humans make noises like that?

Can we have the wet weather back again, please?

gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

So, apparently, yesterday some people propelled a ball into a rectangle slightly more frequently than some other people propelled the same ball into a different rectangle. As a result, today thousands and thousands of people gathered in the street, all wearing clothing of a particular colour, to watch a bus go past. The bus had some overpaid teenagers on it. There was singing. Did I miss anything?

We couldn't get that many people out on the street when they dismantled the NHS, ohhh no. But apparently propelling a ball into a rectangle is important.

gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

Okay, so when Chekov and Captain Terrell beam down to investigate the planet for suitability for the Genesis Project, they think the planet is Ceti Alpha VI. Then, when Khan explains that THIS IS CETI ALPHA FIVE, he says that Ceti Alpha VI asploded—secretly!—fourteen-and-a-half years ago. This is stated as the reason why Ceti Alpha V looks a lot less hospitable than it did during TOS, and it's presumably the reason why the crew of the Reliant weren't capable of accurately counting to six.

Planetary systems are numbered from the inside out. Ceti Alpha Prime would be the planet nearest the star, Ceti Alpha II would be the next one out, then Ceti Alpha III, IV, and Ceti Alpha V would be inside the orbit of Ceti Alpha VI. So when the Reliant warps in on its planetary survey mission, they count planets Ceti Alpha one two three four five six... and beam down to the wrong one.

If Ceti Alpha IV had asploded, they might be forgiven for getting the name of Ceti Alpha V wrong. There would still be the pressing issue of a suspicious-looking additional asteroid belt that wasn't on the charts. But when Ceti Alpha VI asploded, six months after we were left here, the only planets that change their name are Ceti Alphas VII and onwards. The only way for Chekov and Terrell to end up on Ceti Alpha V in a system that, unknown to them, has the sixth planet missing, is if they were actually trying to beam down to Ceti Alpha VII and they still fucked that up.

This has bugged me for thirty years, and no amount of Ricardo Montalban's acting can change basic planetary physics. No, Ricardo, stop trying to distract me with your chest. This isn't even basic planetary physics, it's basic planetary arithmetic.

Also, did the star chart not have a big X marked on it, with Here be incredibly dangerous genetically engineered criminals from the 20th century? Did Kirk not actually tell anyone when he established a colony of psychopaths in a habitable system at the end of `Space Seed'? Carol Marcus does mention, only fifteen years afterwards, the galactic problems of population and food supply. Did Kirk hide a bunch of incredibly powerful, genetically-engineered lunatics on a valuable planet, and then try to act surprised when an innocent survey vessel caught hell for it later?

I used to own The Nitpicker's Guide to Star Trek (unsurprisingly), and it went on at length about Kirk apparently forgetting to notify Starfleet about the nest of big-titted maniacs he left carelessly strewn about the galaxy. It didn't mention that Ceti Alpha V cannot be mistaken for Ceti Alpha VI. The guy who wrote the Nitpicker's Guide also failed to count accurately to six. This bugs the hell out of me.

gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

Socks.

Seriously folks. Man has sent rockets to the Moon, split the atom, provided socialized healthcare. Acheieved miracles in every field of human endeavour. EXCEPT we still can't invent a sock that doesn't have a razor-sharp seam made out of some sort of adamantium steel wool that runs right across the most delicate part of my toes, where the cuticles are. Socks hurt. I can't imagine why that might be part of the design brief, which means that now, 6000 years after we invented civilization, we still fail at making socks.

If I ever need to do any serious walking I need to bind each individual toe first with micropore tape before I subject them to the inevitable cruelties of their cotton-and-polyamide foot-coverings. Socks really ought to be spelled with a ‘U’ in place of the ‘O’.

Cogitating upon this, as I often do, it often occurs to me that I only ever buy one brand of socks, and have done so for the past nineteen years, so perhaps the problem is just with my socks. Then, inevitably, I realize that this is complete bollocks. I do in fact often buy different brands of socks, but I always end up throwing them out because other brands are worse.

Human 21st-century sock technology is utterly woeful, and as a species, we should be ashamed.

gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

Life is currently an unending, relentless nightmare, but I have 701 Greatest Hits of the 1980s on .flac and you, dear reader, and the rest of the benighted universe that spawned you can kindly fuck off and leave me to it for an evening.

I'm currently up to B. And this one has Bonnie Tyler.

(I'm amused that I go into a directory marked 701 greatest 1980's music hit Singles and think, ooh, what should I listen to next, so I hit double-tab to bring up autocomplete and the computer asks me if I want it to Display all 699 possibilities? I'm glad that penelope has my back. BitTorrent, you have failed me for the last time.)

(It has Bonnie, but there's no sign of Video Killed the Radio Star. And they have the wrong Spandau Ballet track, but so does everyone, and one can't have everything.)

Also: The Doctor's Wife. OHMYGOD YES.

I'll live.

Emails

Wed, Oct. 27th, 2010 16:49
gominokouhai: (Default)

Hello Paul, your Star Trek costume has arrived. Bloody hell, my life just took a weird turn. However it's just a top, so if you could please wear black trousers and shoes... welcome to the wonderful world of movie stardom. Please provide the bottom half of your own spacesuit.

Has anyone seen my legs? They don't appear to be below my waist, where I normally keep them.

Playing the Star Trek psycho (it's just occurred to me: That Scene with Janet Leigh wouldn't have worked nearly so well with a sonic shower) tomorrow and Friday, and then, on Friday, I have to change out of the Starfleet uniform and run off to audition for a completely different piece. Specifically, I need to stop killin' dudes, cross town, and do a romantic scene with a beautiful twenty-year-old. I can't see this ending well, and not only because the romance is written by Dostoyevsky.

I mean that quite literally. Dear old Fyodor Mikhaylovich is not particularly renowned for his mastery of the screenplay as an artform, largely due to his untimely death some years before the genre was invented. This script is lifted straight out of the book into a single fixed scene, one set, one shot, no direction, and no regard given to how films work. I gather this company have previously only done stage work: it shows. More work for me. Would be a good part, though.

~

At regular pays-the-bills work today I've received a single-sentence email (Can you please confirm that we have a reservation with you for 2 people for 2 nights Nov 11-12) in 100-point Arial text, taking up four screens and requiring me to scroll. I don't respond well to being shouted at. I've considered answering in 200-point ALL CAPS AND BOLD FOR GOOD MEASURE, or maybe whispering a reply in Flyspeck-3. Neither option amuses me sufficiently. I think I'mma sophisticate this up.

my dear mister price
your reservation stands firm
like the ancient oak

Better idea: commission Brian Blessed to phone him up and reconfirm.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Apparently they're remaking The Day of the Triffids. I loved the book: I remember reading it on my way home from school. That wouldn't be a particularly interesting story, but I cycled.

The franchise is rather beloved across the pond, witters patronizing Yank David Ehrlich, and maybe the closest thing the British have to a genuinely iconic monster. I'm not so sure about that. We've got Daleks and Cybermen. We've got Sontarans, Haemovores, Silurians, Sea Devils, Rutans, Terileptils, and the Nestene Consciousness. I could go on for some time in this vein, from Autons to Zygons, so perhaps I should move on.

The British need a mobile nettle as their iconic monster? We've got Mr Hyde. We've got freaking Dracula. (Okay, Bram Stoker was Irish. It's close.) And we gave the world Margaret Thatcher. We're doing pretty well for monsters.

The 1962 movie took huge liberties with the book and is notable only for having Janette Scott in it, whom, it should be noted, I really got hot when I saw. Based on the trailer, though, it seems that all she gets to do is swoon over Howard Keel. I think I can safely give that a miss.

I'm off to watch the 1981 BBC adaptation again. There are two seconds of sub-par special effects and one bad hairstyle, but apart from that, it's pretty much perfect.

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