[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.
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.
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.
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.
I promised I was going to make the chilli Vesper work and by Eris I've done it. On the third try. The first one didn't count, because I was using tequila. Tonight: success.
Did my research first, and turned up the useful factoid that you can buy quinine powder (although not, apparently, any more from the company linked from the Esquire article), which can be used to requinify Lillet back to a reasonable simulacrum of the 1953 recipe. This I have to try. But not today. Today is for habanero gin.
Yes, habaneros. I know I promised Scotch bonnets last time, but they're significantly harder to buy dried. Habaneros are basically exactly the same thing but from a different part of the world, and spelled differently. They have the same light zinginess and all the tropical fruit pineapple-mango-papaya freshness on the approach. They're also spicy as all fuck, so do not attempt the following unless you habitually gargle Tabasco for fun.
Turns out that the whole problem with buying them dried was completely pointless anyway, because doing it with dried chillies doesn't work. (That was the second failed attempt.) It worked perfectly well with the Arbol chillies in the tequila, but a Vesper requires more subtlety. Buy fresh. Hell, that means you could use Scotch bonnets after all. You can get them in Sainsburys now for cheap.
Utterly fuckin amazing habanero Vesper, I'm not even kidding this drink will eviscerate you with pleasure, you will literally BLEED to death AND YOU WILL THANK ME
- Decant 300ml of gin into a glass container. Glass, because I dread even to speculate what this stuff would do to plastic.
- I used Colonel Fox's gin, because the balance of flavours would go well with the fruitiness from the chillies, but frankly the chillies are powerful enough that you could use any old antifreeze as long as it's 40%ABV or more.
- Chop two (fresh!) habaneros (or Scotch bonnets, like we discussed) into quarters and drop them in. Screw the bottle up tight.
- Infuse for an hour. Give it a gentle shake half way through.
- Since this drink requires preparation, you have adequate time to a) chill down your martini glass and b) ponder what it is you're about to do to yourself.
- Seriously, NO MORE THAN AN HOUR. Strain out the chillies.
- For the love of God, Mary, Jesus and all the little cherubim and seraphim, label the bottle with the gin in it. It still looks like water and when you wake up tomorrow you're going to be wanting some of that. You might also not be thinking particularly clearly. Preparation saves lives.
- Showtime. Combine in a cocktail shaker:
- two measures chillified gin;
- one measure regular, unchillified, gin (no need to get crazy, now);
- one measure vodka;
- half a measure Lillet Blanc;
- dash Peychauds bitters.
- Top up with ice and shake like a motherfucker.
- Double-strain into your suitably chilled martini glass.
- Add a large, thin slice of lime peel. Lime, because it's got chilli in it; also, because I firmly believe that there is no single application of lemon that cannot be immediately, infinitely improved by the substitution of lime.
- Drink until you can't feel your nipples.
- Don't even think about touching your dick until you've washed your hands twice.
Yes, it's pink. It is so pink in fact that I have a new life goal: one day, I shall run a classy cocktail bar, and when a gaggle of irritating young women come in who've seen Sex And The City too many times and think they're being sophisticated, I shall serve them one of these garnished with a cherry. It looks exactly like a Cosmo and then I shall laugh and laugh and laugh as they die. Remember, this cocktail started from Bond's recipe, to which I added chillies. This is a man's pink.
Also, it tastes bloody fantastic.
The photo above is photoshopped all to hell because I inadvertently shot it at ISO800; the choices were employing stormsearch for her 'shop expertise or making another one to take another picture of it. If I did that, I'd have to drink it, and there's only so much unadulterated joy that one can experience in a single evening.
While we were in 'shop, she clone-stamped out the rather obvious tandoori sauce stain that was visible on the counter. I wish cleaning the actual counter were that easy.
ObSafetyNote: chillies, so wear safety goggles. (Getting that wrong is a mistake you make exactly once in your life, and I have a permanent note on my medical record to say so.) Also, there is a mild-to-severe risk of botulism from using uncooked chillies: C. Botulinum lives in soil and reproduces anaerobically, so the gin won't kill it. I am still researching methods to alleviate this risk without boiling the chillies in vinegar, which works but makes them taste of vinegar. When I sort that out I'll let you know. Meantime, if I wake up paralyzed tomorrow morning, I want you all to know that it was totally worth it.
You may commence the statue-building now.
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.
(05:55:21) pajh: I love cyberpunk. I wish there had been more of it.
(05:57:53) pajh: As a result, you may find that I use the phrase ``hack the planet'' more often than a regular human being might, and the word ``duuuude!'' /much/ more often.
(05:58:13) pajh: I hope this won't impact upon our friendship.
I love the Moon. Just look up and there's a heavenly body whirling just above our heads. It's a bit of Space, right there. You can make out features of an entire mysterious alien world with nothing but a glance. It's right there in the sky, every night, and nobody ever seems to comment on just how fantastic this is.
The Moon has emerged from totality now and a muddy cloud is receding across her surface—gradually, but still crossing the entire disc while one contemplates it. It's like watching the entire two-week process of a waxing Moon over the course of an hour.
Walking home from work, I stopped and conversed with many random strangers (and I'm not talking about the drunken lunatic who started screaming
Brokeback Mountain at me, presumably on account of my hat, or the three girls who thought he was talking to them and that it obviously meant he was gay). A bunch of Japanese tourists were pointing their cameraphones at the sky: I pointed out that they'd need a significantly better zoom function for the pictures to come out. Later, a group were coming out of a concert at the Usher Hall, pointing upwards, and wondering how long it would take. I told them that it would be half an hour until totality and that it would last until about midnight. They thanked me, I said no problem, and we moved on.
I don't often talk to people, much less random people out on a Saturday night, but tonight were all unified and humbled by the magnificent cosmic ballet acting itself out above our heads.
For, under the blinking eye of Selene, are we not ultimately all one?
This remarkably pretentious screed brought to you by Organic Rye Vodka and a vast, complex, yet impossibly beautiful astronomical display whirling in plain sight above us.