Pub Wednesday night?
And does anyone have a couch going spare?ETA: couch not required, gotta hotel.
I have a day off so I am taking a brief, hopefully sanity-restoring trip to the motherland. The train fare cost a hair over £50, so you'll be buying the drinks. However I can guarantee
witty appreciative conversation.
Reliable sources tell me that the Hoose sucks now. Is the regular meeting still there, or would Dagda or the 9A be a better bet?
[This was going to be a comment in reply to someone else's blog, but it wandered a little....]
I found an ink cartridge yesterday. I don't use ink cartridges, because it's not the 1930s. It was in an unused pocket of the belt pouch I use when travelling. At some point, years ago, we must have swapped pouches.
An ink cartridge. Very nearly gave me a relapse.
I thought about it for fifteen seconds, did a little mindful breathing, and tossed it.
I was fortunate, maybe, that shortly after my breakup and meltdown I was compelled to move cities on short notice. It forced me to rationalize: to determine the minimum necessary amount of Stuff with which I can live in reasonable comfort. It forced me to discard Stuff that I might otherwise have insisted on retaining as a keepsake. I had to pack all my Stuff into a single 1950s Admiralty-pattern kitbag and, as a result, it forced me to learn self-reliance at a point in my life when that's exactly what I needed.
Give me a sandwich toaster, a device with mobile internet, a change of underwear, and Kilkerran sherry wood, and I shall move the Earth.
I'm also fortunate that I could leave the rest of the crap in the flat and trust my staff to throw it out for me. The company billed me for it afterwards and they way they went about it was kind of dickish, but it helped a lot to have someone else deal with that for me. I could focus on the moving on.
And then there are things like this ink cartridge. The ink cartridge is a metaphor. We must have swapped pouches years ago: we bought two identical ones in the outdoor supplies shop in Aviemore, 2012 or so. I've been carrying her ink cartridge around for ages without realizing it. Yesterday I was able to dispose of it. A little bit more moving on was achieved.
Things like this are going to keep happening, piece by piece, with no end in sight, but each one is a step in the right direction, although it often doesn't feel like it at the time.
At some point, when I'm back in Edinburgh, I'm going to have to deal with the storage container, 80% of which is still filled with her Stuff (and which I'm still paying for). Does anyone have a need for several boxes of ladies' size 12 underwear?
(Isn't there a womens' shelter in Edinburgh? Is this the sort of thing they might want?)
I added pajh's Rule for Life #40 to the list last week, while I was down in That London, drinking in the pub with some friends. It is this: Never let someone else define who you are.
An obvious corollary is not to let yourself be defined by their Stuff, either. In fact, never let Stuff define you.
Today is my birthday. I am now older than my father was when I was born.
I'm still not interested in breeding—it's cruel enough to bring a new human into this dystopian nightmare world, worse yet to saddle one with my defective genetic legacy.
Welcome to the world. The climate's fucked, the government is entirely composed of plutocratic psychopaths, and somehow we're all still racists. Oh, by the way, you have short hamstrings, chronic migraines, and a selection of interesting brain weasels. And stay away from red wine if you know what's good for you. Not going to inflict that on someone.
I do, however, regret the missed opportunity to have a convenient target for dad jokes. I would make the best dad jokes. Or perhaps I mean the worst.
Bloody hell, it's just occurred to me—if I had spawned, I would be a single parent now.
Quite happy staying as uncle pajh. Although I'm considering getting a dog. Or maybe a snake.
I don't think I need to go into too much detail. This year has sucked giant cheesy gorilla dongs. I'd hope for better things from 2016, but frankly, that's setting a fairly low bar.( I gots plans for the new year )
Half way out of the dark.
Spare a thought please, this Yuletide season, for Jehane's family. I know them and I know that they're putting a brave face on it. But a table has four sides: and there's no way to set a table for christmas dinner without a big, glaring, empty gap where your daughter should be.
I wonder if I should phone them, polite friendly call to wish them well, or whether I'm too close to the problem and I'd make it worse.
Roastin a ham just now, and once that's out of the oven the pheasant is goin in. The brine this year is ginger, orange juice (oranges left over from sazeracs), and rum. And too much bicarbonate of soda. Usually I use bicarb to wash my hair, so I have a giant jar of it with a huge spoon, and hence my quantities were off. Or perhaps not. I'll know in a couple of hours.
I also have sausagemeat stuffing, sossinges with bacon wrapped round, potatoes, and parsnips and sweet potatoes that I'mma roast with a maple glaze. I am fully aware that I live on my own, but circumstances should never stifle genius. Fortunately, I'm fond of sandwiches.
Also, it's cold enough in this flat that I don't need to keep any of the leftovers in the fridge. The counter will be just fine.
Merry christmas all. Now get back to work or I'll belt your nut in.
Last night's post was a touch on the melodramatic side, I'll grant you, but it matched how I was feeling. Gettin it all out onto paper, or pixel-stained post-millennial equivalent, helped a lot.
Wanna know how I know I'm over it? Good, because I'm about to tell you.
Cee Lo Green's seminal ‘Fuck You’ came on the radio while I was settin up the breakfast room for tomorrow. (Minster FM are actually pretty good. They were playin TMBG earlier on.) It was the bowdlerized radio version, natch, but I fixed that while dancin around the tables, arrangin cruet sets, and generally thinking that my life is pretty okay.
Such a deep and meaningful song, too.
And this time I didn't even need the Shatner to help.
Managed to pack almost all of my clothes into a 1950s Admiralty-pattern kitbag, plus the absolute essentials:
- Sandwich toaster.
- Two Glencairn glasses.
- Two old-fashioned glasses.
- Bottle Kilkerran sherry wood.
- Bottle Wild Turkey rye.
Found the Chinese supermarket. Five minutes walk from the flat, on the way to work, and they sell Jian's Chop Chop guo tie from the restaurant that's five minutes walk from my Edinburgh place.
I'm going to be just fine, I think.
Back up to Edinburgh tonight, two days at work, and then pack another kitbag to come back down again on Sunday. I might even bring a pan or something this time.
I aten't dead folks! Been busy being awesome. I know you understand.
Awesomer yet and on general release RIGHT THE HELL NOW, gratis to stream or torrent: Death Knight Love Story! In a world... suspiciously similar to the World of Warcraft universe... one corpse... forcibly resurrected in an unholy ceremony... escapes the dread legions of the Lich King. Can she learn to love again? Find out
this summer this holiday season right the hell now.
Starring: BRIAN BLESSED as the Arthas the Lich King! JOANNA LUMLEY as Lady Mirabeux! JACK DAVENPORT OFF COUPLING as Zielieck! ANNA CHANCELLOR as Miria!
And, in a very brief cameo in the first couple of minutes, yr. corresp.!
On which note, I'm just going to leave this here:
- I was in Death Knight Love Story with BRIAN BLESSED
- who was in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with Christian Slater
- who was in Murder in the First with Kevin Bacon
For what it's worth, if you're keeping count, then if you're terribly charitable about the strictness of your definitions, we established last time that I also have an Erdős number of 8.
Go, link, share, watch etc. Did I mention it has BRIAN BLESSED as the Lich King?
What are you doing with your free time, pajh? you say. Well, since you asked so nicely, I'll skip the otherwise obligatory
free time, what's that joke, and go straight to the incontrovertibly true answer: these days I spend my free time dressing up in skintight Lycra® and wrestling with men I barely know.
I may have mentioned in a previous post that Hollywood-grade motion capture systems create the potential for new narrative paradigms for the 21st century. Well, mostly I mentioned that they allow a specific actor, that actor being me, to hear the single most beautiful phrase ever expressed to an actor. We'll get to new narrative paradigms later. Meantime, there have been a number of very rapid learning experiences while working with thew new tech, not least of which is that I actually don't look totally terrible in skintight Lycra.
Unsurprisingly, most of the research in gyroscopic technologies these days is being done by the ballistics division of the US military and their contractors. Many of my readers may not have a particular interest in the increasingly accurate science of the transformation of alleged insurgents into chargrilled jerky from a distance of many kilometres, but fret not! for those of us so callously disinterested in how to blame friendly fire on technology, there are subsequent benefits for all of us (except for the families of the alleged insurgents, presumably): benefits like the upcoming Wolverine movie, and Skrillex' latest tour. I am, as ever, all about the trickle-down.
Another benefit of the fact that this is all repurposed military technology is that it's all incredibly robust. The suit comes in a case that is waterproof to 500 metres, and also conveniently scaled to comply with most airlines' regulations regarding carry-on luggage. In the event of a terrorist attack on a plane in which such a case was stored, it's more likely to survive than the black box. I dread to speculate on the newspaper headlines once the crash recovery team have spent a week attempting to recover data from it.
Apparently the Captain spent twenty minutes trying to have an elaborate fistfight with the first officer, followed by an extended period of merengue dancing, with occasional periods of .
jazz hands. This presumably contributed to the crash, but exactly how is a question we hope maybe to have answered by next week
Oh yes, the mocap. The suits are surprisingly accurate and expressive, to a level that I didn't think was possible. And you can play the mocap live in realtime into any 3D world you care to devise. In the following examples, we're going to be using Minecraft, because Minecraft. Also, because Minecraft is incredibly pretty, and it shows you just what you can do with a blocky Steve guy with no facial expressions.
Ye First Video: Meet the Creeper
In this short film I play the Creeper, which while it's not exactly a speaking role, does have the benefit of being in the title.
Took us about five minutes to shoot. About an hour of getting the suits configured first, but that's just teething. On a regular film shoot I spend much more time hanging around waiting, and there are usually fewer copies of Transmetropolitan lying about with which for me to occupy my time. These suits are awesome.
Ye Video the Second: in which pajh does acting
I know I'm a middle-class New Town bastard these days, but I do still pay attention to my acting when I get the chance. I have the most popular text-to-speech voice in the known world, and physical acting is no less an important discipline. I have done courses. I've done the Alexander Technique. I do stretches properly before I perform mocap (judiciously excluding the stretches that are likely to tear the €500 lycra suit, natch). I'm not by any means attempting to put myself up there in Patrick Stewart territory, but I think my research has paid off. In this second video I have more of a starring role.
I showed this to stormsearch and she got about twenty seconds in before she had to pause it and proclaim,oh god. It's you. Something about the way I hold my head slightly to one side, it would seem. And then there are little things, like the fact that apparently I pick my right foot up when I'm considering something. I didn't know that about me until I watched it expressed by a blocky Minecraft Steve.
The level of expressiveness and the subtlety you can get from the tech is quite incredible. I'm quite excited to see where this goes next.
In my Copious Free Time, obviously.
My preferred serve at the moment is—no really, trust me on this—whisky and cream soda. Get yourself a nice smoky Islay blend (Black Bottle is good, plus the purchase of it pisses off Donald Trump; Islay Mist is far superior if you can find it), pack an old-fashioned glass with plenty of ice, and add cream soda. Since I am a posh New Town bastard these days, none of the supermarkets round here sell cream soda. I have to walk for twenty minutes before I can get to the grotty kind of shop that has a proper shelf full of Barr's products. It is worth the walk.
There is a commonly held belief that one shouldn't add mixers to single malts. This view is incorrect. You still shouldn't, ever, add mixer to single malts, unless you have a really good reason, which I often do. In defiance of this naive view, I have tried the same pour with Smokehead. Smokehead is a single malt (Scuttlebutt has it that it's a seven-year-old vatted Ardbeg with a dash of 10yo), but it still doesn't work as well in this serve as Islay Mist, which is a bloody fantastic drop for a blend, and cheap too, if you can find it.
Limited Edition, single hogshead, Ximenez finish cask strength 1996 Ben Riach: bloody marvellous. This is the bottle I was saving for when Maggie died, and now I finally have something for which I should thank the horrendous old bitch. Worth waiting for. Not a lot of point in my reviewing this, since most of you will never get to drink any. I have bottle no. 112 of 310, and this one's not coming round again. But nonetheless: bloody marvellous. Tart apple, hint of stewed raisins, and strong acetone on the nose; incredibly sticky mouthfeel, with a touch of burnt golden syrup on the palate; lighter notes and the sherry and oak all come out when you add a drop of water. The concentrated essence of apfelstrudel in a glass. Bloody beautiful. Thanks, Mags. Please feel free to die again any time you like.
Now, who's up for clubbing together to buy a cask of something nice, so that we may drink it when Gideon Osborne is finally deservingly assassinated?
I had a whisky recently that tasted exactly like Scarlett Johansson. I'm not kidding, that's what it tasted like. Or possibly it tasted like how she looks. Unfortunately I can't remember anything else about it, not even the whisky's name, or how it could possibly taste like that, or how I would know. Must have been a good one.
Many of you will know of my fondness for Lidl's finest
Ben Bracken single malt. Lovely fresh vanilla cream notes, hint of lemon sherrrrbert, and it's about eighteen quid a bottle. Scuttlebutt has it that it's the last expression from the mothballed Tamnavulin distillery, but if that's true then I'm not sure where they're still getting the stuff from, since Tamnavulin reopened in 2007.
Vaguely related, today's find has been Aldi's finest,
Glen Marnoch 12yo Highland single malt. There's no such place as Glen Marnoch and Internet is suspiciously silent on where this stuff came from. It's spent some time in a sherry cask, without question. Dry white pepper and old wizened cinnamon sticks on the nose. Packed full of fresh fruits—watermelon, guava, tropical fruit salad—citrus, and a warm welcoming sherry length to it. Nice long smoky finish with a little ethanol kick at the end. And the whole thing comes in at under twenty quid.
I'm starting to like Aldi. Their weinerschnitzel is good too.
It is now possible to have a mocap system that links directly (and accurately!), in realtime, to a fully realized 3D set. Both the motion-capture system and the set in which it is to be rendered are simultaneously available to a sufficiently skilled technician, who can manipulate elements of same as required while the motion-capture is still continuing, from a single laptop. This might not excite you in the way I've just described it, but what you must consider is the fact that we have these tools available. This in itself has potentially broad-reaching effects about the nature of storytelling in the 21st century. And, which is much more important, as a direct result, tonight was possibly the first time ever that the following phrase has been uttered, honestly and without irony, to an actor:
Don't worry. Stand still and I'll rotate the world around you.
Oh yeah baby. If there were ever a reason why I got myself into acting, it's this.
The Muppets do Bohemian Rhapsody. Presented without any further comment. I'm going to have terrible mosh neck when I wake up tomorrow, and it's entirely the fault of Dr Teeth and his Electric Mayhem. Okay, partially their fault and partially the fault of Penelope Spheeris.
(You should follow that last link; I'm giving you a no-honk guarantee.)
It transpires that I gots a smartphone app. Some of you should remember the pajh-inna-box of old. Now it has an app. This would be unsurprising in itself were it not for the fact that Googol Play allows user feedback comments, most of which are about how awesome I sound. There's one there from user
Jessica Rabbit thus:
I own many, many tts voices but this is the best, yet! [...] this male, u.k. voice is the most natural sounding and also elegant & sophisticated! [...] I can listen to this imaginary Englishman throughout my day helping me with my appointments and such!
I suspect the real Jessica Rabbit would say
LOL somewhat less, being a lady who knows what
elegant and sophisticated actually means. If this were the real Jessica Rabbit commenting, none of you would see me for dust.
I'm not bad. I just sound that way.
At the market on Sunday someone was cooking bolognese sauce at the pasta stall.
Slow-cooked in red wine, she said, offering me a taste. I don't taste stuff at markets unless there's a vague chance I'm going to buy something, which is a bizarre new rule of etiquette that I seem to have adopted for myself, and I had no cash that day. But the smell was enough. I wanted bolognese.
I research these things, I'm thorough. Read a bunch of recipes and then deliberately ignored all of them. The vast majority of bolognese recipes, I am still astounded to note, don't specify red wine. Many of them insist on white wine, but I don't care what Dr B says, this is a bolognese and it's having red wine in it. To do else would be madness.
Celery is another one of those things. Apparently you need celery to make a soffrito. I've never eaten celery and I'm not about to start now. I did consider buying some today, but I'm not about to buy a gigantic pack of the stuff in order to add a tiny amount of it to a soffrito. Until celery is available in individual sticks I shall remain unabashedly free of its pernicious apiceatic influence.
So. Read a bunch of recipes, ignored all of them. Ended up with this:( May contain images too saucy for those of a delicate nature )
And lo, it was delicious.
(There was also whisky, which it's possible you may determine from the content of this post.)
Tomorrow: minced-meat pies. Rowr.
Guys. GUYS. They built a robot in Stockholm and they put my voice into it.
FurHat speaks with the CereProc William TTS voice. He uses built-in CereVoice vocal gestures to add extra realism (and sarcasm) to his speech. That's right. When they wanted to teach sarcasm to a cold, unfeeling machine, they knew exactly where to turn.
I like the fact that they gave him a hat. It seems to be a truth, universally acknowledged, that a voice this awesome needs to have a hat on top of it.
Well, Phase One of my grand plan to construct an invincible robot body for myself is complete. Now I just to need to work out what Phase Two should be.
Tenuously related: research for this article involved googling for
fur hat robot, which turned up—natch—I Am Russian Robot, a rather nice little comedy skit.
Also, please note that
guys is gender-neutral. American women with names like Chrystal and Ronnette use it all the time.
@marksutherland: @gominokouhai I just spent the last half hour pasting GladOS quotes into the box on the Cereproc homepage
@marksutherland: The canonical voice of sarcastic rouge AIs is now @gominokouhai : gominokouhai.dreamwidth.org/246773.html See: free.dom0.org/PajhOS.mp3
Glad to be of service.
Chocolate and peanut butter.
Have ever two diverse flavours been so deliciously juxtaposed? Apart from maybe beef and cheese. Or bacon and maple syrup. It would seem that this is something the Yanks do really well: putting together two things that, on paper, should become an abomination unto all the laws of god and man, only to discover: dude, this is awesome.
Actually, it transpires that there is one thing better yet than even chocolate and peanut butter. Chocolate and peanut butter and bourbon. In a milkshake.
It's like everything that is good about America in a cup. It's the Liquid of the Free and the Hooch of the Brave.
In addition, and this point may be vital to full enjoyment of such a beverage: it looks like regular milkshake, and thus can be drunk at work.
I have been doing some experimentation, and my first conclusion is this: before you do anything else, before you even finish reading this post, go and buy chocolate syrup. I know you have drinking-chocolate powder in the cupboard. It is insufficient. If you don't have the finest American-themed grocery in the land just around the corner from you, and I'm guessing that most of you don't, then you can get it online.
The best goddamn milkshake in the universe, I'm not even joking
- Four or five scoops of vanilla iced cream.
- About a shot of chocolate syrup. If you've run out of chocolate syrup, three teaspoons of drinking chocolate forms a barely-acceptable substitute, but seriously, go and get some chocolate syrup.
- One shot of milk. That's if the iced cream is sufficiently soft. If the iced cream came directly from the freezer, use two shots of milk.
- Blend into a brown-ish paste. (Tip: pulse the blender. If you let the blender run, all the iced cream piles up on the sides and it won't get blent. Pulsing gives it chance to collapse down into the middle again.)
- Pour a little over half into a glass and give it to your peanut-allergic girlfriend. If you don't have a peanut-allergic girlfriend, you can probably order one online.
- Add a shot of bourbon and a level teaspoon of peanut butter. Smooth peanut butter, for Cthulhu's sake. And be careful with the amount. Ever tried eating peanut butter off the spoon?... you don't want that. Be stingy.
- Blend until it is blent. Then blend a bit more for luck. Peanut butter has a tendency to form hidden lumps.
- If you can control yourself, pour into a glass and enjoy. If not, drink it straight out of the blender. Nobody's watching, I promise.
Best served with a colourful straw and a rousing chorus of something from Assassins.