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The Book of the Howlings of Ming, Seeker After Arcane and Esoteric Truths
Overdue update 
23rd-May-2007 01:07 am
Been rather a while since last post but been a bit busy getting new project up and running.

First up, looks like I'll be at Decalogy after all. Reached an accomodation with parents - I'll be up there Thursday PM and head back Sunday morning and see them off at the airport in the evening. Guess I owe thanks to burntcopper, renegadekaz, tinkerbell1980 and others for motivating me into working something out.

Still on the subject of Decalogy, with the military theme thing, I have a cupboard full of cammies, a loft full of airsofts and piles of webbing etc and yet, right now, I am *so* tempted to wear my English Civil War kit. Doesn't hurt that Bruce and Caroline apparently live near by and have pikes. Kate has also offered the loan of a rapier. However, Stuart may have come up with a most wonderful suggestion - that I turn up with a certain fish!

That said, now that Sloopy's doing resin Webleys (they look great BTW and will be a more than acceptable stopgap till someone sees sense and does an airsoft version), the idea of trotting out the Brig No. 2s again is also strongly appealing.

Other things:

Went to the JMS signing on the 12th with tlanti and others from the LOTNA. Think I managed to avoid being too much of a gushing fanboy and managed to restrict myself to commenting that B5 rewarded repeated viewing. Also managed to avoid bringing up the subject of Legend of the Rangers...

Even managed to make the LOTNA meet in the evening which was especially interesting because of the semi-formal discussion about New Who.

Speaking of which, I may be about to sign up for what would probably be the geekiest thing I've ever done. Posted by katana137uk:

BSG 2007
The Politics, Poetics and Philosophy of Battlestar Galactica
A One Day Symposium
28 July 2007
Buckingham Chilterns University College

Full details here...




That weekend appears to be another of those logjam ones: there's a possible Civil War muster (details unknown yet), The Men They Couldn't Hang are playing in London that evening and there's a Vietnam-themed airsoft skirmish on at Combat South and yet a day of serious in-depth BSG discussion sounds very appealing!

Project seems to be going well. We've got our access passes at last so we can now think about leaving the building for lunch and worry less about loo breaks etc because we don't need to worry about needing someone to let us back in again. Seems there's also a lunchtime fencing session in the Reebok Centre very nearby on Mondays too.

One utterly bizzare thing: last week, we were being walked through use of the time and expense system by conference call with the US. I managed to bring things to a halt by awkwardly asking "Um... does this mean we can't enter a mileage claim that's not in US Dollars?" "Er... ah... yes..." Next time someone talks about globalisation having gone too far, I will cite this as evidence it hasn't.

One side effect of commuting to Canary Wharf - a chance to read more. Books I have read lately:
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Essentially a collection of applied microeconomics but far more entertaining than that sounds- the authors very cleverly interpret data to answer some very interesting questions e.g. they quite convincingly argue that the real reason for the sudden decline in crime in the US in the 90s was not due to zero tolerance policing, a growing economy etc but Roe vs Wade because, suddenly, fewer of the people from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds who were statistically more likely to commit crime were being born.
  • Razor's Edge by Hugh Bicheno - a new book on the Falklands War, written by a former British intelligence officer in Latin America. Very interesting stuff - the author has pretty strong and scathing views of the Argentine and British political and military establishments (even icons like H Jones of 2 Para come in for quite a bit of criticism) but a lot of respect for the individual line soldiers on both sides. Well researched too, with photos showing how key battle sites like Tumbledown and Two Sisters would have looked to people on the ground.
  • Who Killed Kennedy by David Bishop and James Stevens - An unusual Who novel, written from the perspective of a journalist investigating that shadowy military organisation UNIT and its strange, inexplicable activities in the 70s. Lots of geeky continuity but it works - it doesn't overwhelm the story although the Kennedy connection feels a tad tenuous
  • Currently reading And We Shall Shock Them by Sir David Fraser - An account of the British Army during the Second World War, from how it got into the state it was in at the start of the war, its rude shocks at the hands of the Germans and its reforging into a war-winning army. Pretty convincingly and unsentimentally account so far...

Escorted parents to The Galleria on a shopping expedition on Sunday. I'd decided I needed another suit but discovered that due to some very sharp and uncharacteristic discounting at Austin Reed, I actually came away with two rather nice ones at 2/3 the budget I'd allocated for *one* so feeling very pleased.

Saw Spiderman 3 with Liz in the evening. Dear God, what a load of crap that was. Not quite is the same league of suckiness as, say, Street Fighter or Wing Commander but truly GOdawful. You know something's badly wrong when the audience is sniggering through all the supposedly emotional moments.
23rd-May-2007 12:17 am (UTC)
I'm reading Freakonomics right now. It's really very good indeed isn't it.
27th-May-2007 07:38 am (UTC)
It is indeed. Levitt's approach to searching for relevant data and questioning correlation versus causality really struck a chord with me because of all the similar (but probably rather less successful and certainly less entertaining) efforts I've had to put in for the financial modelling I've done. Really must start hanging round their blog more!
23rd-May-2007 08:13 am (UTC)

Yup I had the same reaction to Spidy 3...The audience was laughing when the butler said I loved your father...roll eyes.
I was totally dissapointed with Wing commander movie too. I LOVE WC3 I was my ultimate game! I still have it, but very hard to run off a new XP PC...the sound goes funny and jumps, but the film parts are fine..WAHAHAHA!
27th-May-2007 07:56 am (UTC)
Well, see you in Blackpool then!

It makes me wonder, given it had the same director and main cast and that the first two were pretty good, what went so badly wrong with Spidey 3? Then again, neither the Superman nor X-Men films managed to produce more than 2 decent one and I'm not convinced the Batman ones got even one till Batman Begins came out!

FWIW, I loved WCIII too (WCIV is also a great game but I am still bitter about Chris Roberts turning Tolwyn into a raving loony villain!). I was stunned to realise that those two games and even, arguably, WC:Prophecy, had better storylines, visual design and even acting (don't often say that about Mark Hamill ;-)). What makes it even less forgiveable is that Chris Roberts directed the film. He of all people should have known what a WC movie needed!

One important question: who did you go for, Flint or Rachel? The scene where you make your choice was the one bit that jarred a bit - couldn't see Blair being such a sleazebag about it.

Incidentally, were you aware there was another piece of footage where Hobbes leaves a video message explaining to Blair why he's reverted back to the Kilrathi? For some odd reason it was on the console but not the PC version!
27th-May-2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
Hmm I believe I tried going for both of the females in WC III..Flint which one was that? Rachael was the tech right. OH interesting about Hobbes!! MMmmm I liked Angel in the movie wuff!
Batman Begins was brill, I knew the minute It started on the screen I would like it.
27th-May-2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Flint was the young pilot, Rachel was your crew chief. Both options are more that a bit iffy, frankly. One of them's under your direct command, the other's an enlisted person. Confed might be different from modern militaries but that's got to be against regs!

The clip about Hobbes reveals that the Hobbes who defected in WCII was an artificially constructed personality. The real one was restored when Trakath spoke a code phrase during a communication. Looking back, you can see Hobbes start, that apparently is when the real Hobbes comes back.

Re: Angel in the movie. Saffron Burrowes was definitely one of the few redeeming features of the film but not even she was enough to save it!

That reminds me, there was a WC animated series too. ISTR grabbing copies of it but never got round to watching it, must try to find them...
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