gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

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.

gominokouhai: (Default)

A post about the new Doctor Who is coming, I promise. In the meantime I'd like to talk about some old Doctor Who. And the Beach Boys. And the Archbishop of Canterbury. But mostly I'll be focusing on Doctor Who. All will become clear. I hope.

Some time ago a good friend left me a copy of some music by a band known as The Pixies, a Boston-based alt-rock ensemble, to which I've only just now got around to listening. They sound like this. They produced this in the distant past year 1990:

Listen ye and be amazed. (It's quite good.) Specif, listen and note ye how similar it is to this, of which it is a direct cover version:
In which there are further embedded media )

Bear with me and try, if you can, to ignore the brass line from All the Strange, Strange Creatures. The bassline is identical. I only noticed when Murray provided a version without the brass line in it during the first episode of Season 5. It's right after Eleven tells Patrick Moore to pay attention, when Rory and Amy are driving the Mini to the Hospital (00:40:15). I once wrote fanmail to Murray Gold and asked him if this was an unconscious ripoff or a deliberate homage. I'm beginning to realise why he never replied.

I understand that there are eight notes and that, as a result, there are a finite number of permutations to which one can subject those eight notes. But I must be forgiven if I am occasionally suspicious.

While we're on the subject of cultural homages—because I'm sure that's what these are—let's just observe that Paradise Towers was a total ripoff of J. G. Ballard's High-Rise. I'm not judging. I'm just saying.

Apparently this weekend was the anniversary of some fictional (and highly unlikely) thing that didn't happen to a bloke who probably never existed, involving a story during which he was crucified and then entombed in a chocolate egg from which he escaped on the third day, or something. Apparently on these occasions the Archbishop of Canterbury is obliged to give a speech of some kind. Apparently, according to what I can tell from BBC news (about 01:07 in), the Archbish makes reference to popular culture.

It's probably unseemly to involuntarily shout woo! from the congregation while the Archbish is giving his address. So it's probably a good thing that I was only watching the BBC stream. Nonetheless it's good to know that the cultural information flow goes both ways.

Frankly, we've always known that Rowan Williams was a leftie Who-fancying nerd. His problem is that, as chief spokesperson for a monolithic, regressive, medieval, omnipervasive, misogynistic, homophobic, repressive, anachronistic, capricious, conservative, disingenuous, perfidious organization, he's never been allowed to say so.

Since at least the 1970s, the Doctor has been swanning out of police boxen and teaching people that they were actually lefties all along. It's good to know that he's managed it with the Archbish. of Cantab. as well. As always: the Doctor shows the way.

gominokouhai: (Default)

I can't believe nobody's thought of this before.

ws1 ws2

Courtesy of the good fellows at the Keep Calm And Carry On O-Matic, naturally. And, incidentally, totally unrelated to the content of my previous post, although I know some of you are thinking that the half-shot of tequila must have had something to do with it.

So I'm about a billion years behind the times. Don't judge me. I'm having fun. I'm simply not cut out for today's fast-paced here-today gone-tomorrow internet world. I still find all your base funny.

While we're on the subject, I saw this on a t-shirt recently and WANT:

cut to save your friends page )


gominokouhai: (Default)

I wanted to drink something specific this evening. So I tinkered around, added this and that, finally got it perfect, and only then realised that I'd just invented the daiquiri. I'm not quite sure if this makes me a genius comparable to Constantino Ribalaigua, or whether I'm just a hundred and fifty years too late.

Part of the problem was that, after a double bacon cheeseburger, cajun fries, and short-stack maple pancakes I was extremely thirsty but very, very full. Basically I wanted a long cold lemonade, but short. So I set about inventing the concentrated essence of lemonade.

The concentrated essence of lemonade

  • Juice of one large lemon and one lime.
  • Two shots sugar syrup.
  • Dash Angostura bitters.
  • It wasn't working at all until I added half a shot of tequila.

Shake very well over ice and strain into a chilled Nutella glass.


My shot measures are Imperial, so each shot here is one and a half ounces. They were a christening present from my godfather (who displayed remarkable prescience in determining, when I was three months old, exactly what present I'd value most when I turned out the way I did). They come from a silversmiths in York that has a five-digit phone number on the box, which tells you how old I am.

And now I am no longer thirsty. Job done.

Although now I'm considering combining the drink with a layer of pineapple-coconut hydrocolloid foam... it may be that my problems are deeper than those of mere hydration.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Today (by which of course I by now mean yesterday, due to Dreamwidth posting weirdness) is the 214th anniversary of the battle of Cap St. Vincent. Happy Battle of Cap St. Vincent Day, everybody!

It was at St Vincent, when 15 British sail of the line went up against 27 Spanish, that a youngish Commodore Nelson personally led the boarding party that captured the Spanish ship San Nicolas. From there he hopped over the rail onto the San Josef next to her, and captured that, too. After the battle they called it Nelson's patent bridge for boarding enemy vessels.

This is HMS Victory. She was the flagship at the Battle of Cap St Vincent, commanded by Admiral Sir John Jervis. He became Earl St Vincent after the battle.


When you see that bearing down on you with the guns run out, you know it's time to panic. This is one of the first things we learn as sailors.

This is the upper gun deck of HMS Victory. You're not allowed to take photos here, but I was. On this day 214 years ago, this picture would have looked a great deal messier than it does here.


There are two more such gun decks below. The guns get progressively bigger as you go down.

Eight years later, at the battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Sir John Jervis Earl of St Vincent was First Lord of the Admiralty. It was to him that the schooner HMS Pickle reported the news of the victory at Trafalgar and Nelson's death. By that time Nelson had himself been in command of Victory for two years. He got himself injured by a sniper because he insisted on poncing about on the quarterdeck in full dress uniform looking like a target, then lived just long enough to be told that he'd won the battle, and promptly expired. I swear he used to plan these things.

I'm told that today is also Crass Commercialization Of Basic Bodily Functions Day, but I prefer to talk about things that are actually important.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Last night a well-known Edinburgh bistro reopened as a tapas-style Scottish restaurant. I was invited along for free food and booze.

Tapas has become a big thing lately. Spanish restaurants started it, then the Indian places and, later, the Chinese places started moving in. I think the business case is that you can serve tiny portions for almost the same price as a regular main course, and get everybody to order six of them. So in this case they're doing a Scottish menu, local ingredients, all done as small portions for sharing.

For the Grand Reopeningapalooza, all the portion sizes were reduced further to canapé-scale, usually served on spoons, as a sort of tasting menu. You got one mouthful, went oh or eh or occasionally even bleh but more usually oh or even ooh!, and then waited twenty minutes for the next mouthful to come round. In the meantime, the drinks were flowing. They had a good selection of Scottish ales and ciders—none of which I bothered trying since I already know them all very well—and a very competent bartender selling local-ingredient cocktails. Example: there was a Tom Collins on the menu made with Scottish (Hendrick's) gin. They call it a Tam Collins.

On booze and bragging rights

The special cocktails of the day were a local daiquiri and some kind of rhubarb martini. Both looked fascinathing, but I pride myself on my daiquiris, so out of professional interest I'm going for one of those first.

Waitress: It's made with apple juice from the local farm.
Yr. corresp.: Which local farm? Belhaven, Laprig...?
Waitress: ...um. It's a nice man called Peter.
Yr. corresp.: Oh, that's Belhaven Fruit Farm.

Turns out actually it's Thistly Cross, which is associated with Belhaven Fruit Farm but not actually the same thing, but I knew what I meant. I was at least correct enough to impress the shit out of the waitress, which is what counts.

On shellfish and squeamishness

The first course came round on individual spoons, and the waitstaff were very careful to ask do you eat black pudding? Of course I eat black pudding. Black pudding is delicious. The second course was oysters. Nobody asked if I eat ciliated bivalves. Jehane demurred, but I subscribe to the except-sodomy-and-Morris-Dancing principle of trying things once.

Based on extensive research, then, this is what oysters are like.

You're presented with a grey, fleshy, mucosal mass wallowing in a pearlescent shell. Drizzle over it the red wine and onion sauce and squeeze over it the wedge of lemon. The lemon juice will squirt skywards first, making a desperate bid for your eye: this is a natural law, like gravity but in reverse. Turn the lemon around and try again.

Raise the shell to your mouth and try not to think too hard about what you're doing. Down the hatch.

The oyster will remain stubbornly in the shell and you'll get a mouthful of red wine (which I can't drink), onion (which I loathe), and lemon juice (which nobody drinks). Quickly, now—because every moment gives you more time to think twice about what you're going to put in your mouth—poke the mollusc a bit until it comes free. Swig. Oh, God, it's huge and you have to chew! It's got the consistency of chunky snot and it tastes of onion and the fishy smell you get at the end of a dilapidated pier. Swallow as soon as possible. Resolve never to do that again.

Spend the next 24 hours with a debilitating migraine. Once you've regained the power of sight, spend another hour reading up on Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.

Oysters, it would appear, aren't really my thing. Fortunately there was a fantastic rhubarb-and-ginger martini on hand to take the taste away and to take my mind off it.

(Apparently drinking vodka with oysters isn't a good idea, even if it is Blackwoods (Scottish!), but it was an emergency.)

On selective hearing and second helpings

I wave the waiter away when he comes round with a tray of something we've had before: a breadcrumbed bauble nestled on a bed of tomatoey stuff, which I remember being delicious. Alas, we're tasting canapés, not pigging out at the restaurant's expense. Nonetheless, a mouthful every ten minutes isn't exactly providing me with adequate sustenance—especially not with all these cocktails.

J stops the waiter and asks what it is, then takes two.

J: We haven't had the lemon sole yet.
I: He said lamb rissole.

Oh well. Bonus food!

Afterwards, we went out for quesadillas, because we were still hungry. All in all, a fantastic evening, modulo the minor shellfish poisoning. I'm told it's only rarely fatal.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Today I was accosted by a black-market delicatessen. Ratty-looking bloke pulls me aside as I'm leaving the supermarket, asks me if I'm looking forward to Christmas. (The answer, as ever, is no.) He offers me all manner of otherworldly festive delights. I am resistant. He suggests I might like to buy something for the Missis. While he's talking, a packet of corned beef falls out of his jacket.

You're selling me corned beef for Christmas? Happy Yuletide, Darling. I bought you this token of my affection from a dodgy man at the bus stop.

Vaguely related: yesterday in the Scotsman there was a letter complaining that the letters complaining that Christmas starts earlier every year are starting earlier every year. I am tempted to take this further opportunity to determine the depth of the Scotsman's call stack.


Cut for: spoilers for the third <cite>Alien</cite> film, and use of the R-word in a non-triggering context )

(Ever the voice of reason, [personal profile] scotm informs me that Brassed Off wasn't made until four years after Alien3, so such an elevator pitch is unlikely. The solution is obvious: David Fincher travelled back in time after seeing Brassed Off to pitch Alien3 to Fox. The residual time-dilation effects are why the film runs so slowly.)

The dramatic possibilities of grimdark Brassed Off in space, with gore are legion, and were totally neglected in Alien3. I think it's time we explored this vision now.

Disaster strikes tightly-knit community of the mining planet of Sheffield-426. The colliery has been shut down because of the xenomorph attacks. Destitution is rife; also, eviscerated corpses are everywhere. There's a comic-relief mortuary worker who's the only person still in employment. Fortunately, the Space Miners rediscover their spirit—and perhaps even a little romance—when they find they can defeat the alien with the power of SONG! Pom, pom, parp.

It's scared of fire! Quickly, play the trumpet section from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown!

I wanna introduce you to a personal friend of mine. This is an M41A Space Tuba, with over- and under-mounted thirty-millimeter trombones.

In Space, nobody can hear you do the glissando from the Wallace and Gromit theme.

I think I've figured out where Alien3 went wrong. In the first film, it crept around killing people. In the second film, it turned lights on and off, so it could operate simple machinery. The aliens were getting smarter. In the third film, the alien kills off all the characters in descending order of interestingness, leaving it a bloody mess full of insipid redshirts by the half-way point. Thus, the xenomorph provides literary critique on the script of the film itself. Presumably, by Alien Resurrection, the alien has become intelligent enough to write fart jokes into new episodes of Doctor Who.

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