?

Log in

Dolphin men and black suit guys
 
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Rayner's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015
10:49 pm
Reading notes on the 2015 Hugo Awards
This is a slightly cleaned-up version of the notes I made for myself while going through the 2015 Hugo Awards voter's pack, set down here in case anyone's interested, what with the awards happening today and everything.

For every category not listed here, I either ran out of time and didn't vote, or my though process wasn't in-depth enough to be worth recording.

Possible spoilers ahead.

Read more...Collapse )

Regarding the entries from the Puppies' voting blocs, most of them turned out to be poor to mediocre. If that's the very best SF&F that they deem ideologically acceptable, I can see why it hasn't previously had much success getting on the ballot. They've pretty much demonstrated, hilariously thoroughly, that it's crapness that keeps their approved works from getting nominated, not some shadowy radical-left cabal. There were a few Puppy entries that I enjoyed reading, to be fair, but nothing that clearly stood out as award material. I will, however, say that I reckon Kary English is capable of Hugo-winning writing, and I hope to see some of her work nominated in future years under fairer circumstances.



This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/5166.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID (comment count unavailable comments so far).
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
11:04 pm
(French lesson, 1993 or thereabouts)

Teacher: What is a return ticket in French, Paul?
Paul: Aller et retour, Miss.
Teacher: What is a single, Chris?
Chris: Er, just to there, Miss.




This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/4958.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID (comment count unavailable comments so far).
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
9:28 pm
The Horror of Pigeon Street
I think we need to talk about Pigeon Street. For anyone who wasn't a small child in early-80s Britain, Pigeon Street was an animated series about the various residents of the titular city street. It had a colourful cast of characters, such as Clara the truck driver, Mr. Jupiter the astronomer, William the window cleaner, Mr. Baskerville the detective, and all their friends and neighbours. The street had actual pigeons too, of course, who occasionally played some minor role in the plot but mostly just fluttered around making cooing noises.

Many of the characters had their own theme songs, which ranged from catchy to the kind of earworm that stays with you for life (I'm willing to bet that everyone of a certain age has had the "Long-distance Clara" song going around in their heads since the last paragraph). Each episode featured a couple of these songs woven into a connecting plotline. This would typically be a slice of everyday life, with a few of the characters going to work, helping each other out, and dealing with the little problems of human existence. Simple, charming little stories about a friendly urban community.

Here, watch a couple of episodes so you can see what it's like:

Episode 1: "All In a Day's Work"


Episode 6: "Pigeon Post"


And then...

And then there was the episode "A Light in the Sky". This one starts out normal. The pigeons fly around a bit. Reg the street sweeper has his leaf pile scattered by Watson the dog. There's a song about Mr. Baskerville and Mr. Jupiter. Then, a few minutes in, it takes a sudden swerve into the bizarre.

The residents are puzzled and disturbed by a twinkling, dancing light in the evening sky. They stare and chase after it. It disappears after luring all the characters to the top of a tower block. The next day, they show lingering confusion and strange behaviour. The light is never explained, even in the frankly creepy song that ends the episode. It's just some unknowable, sanity-challenging entity that human minds cannot comprehend.



It's not even as though this happened when the creators ran out of ideas. This was episode 2.

Let me tell you, it is distinctly unsettling as a pre-school child to have your cute cartoon show descend into cosmic horror. Decades later, I still can hear the weird piping sounds. The unearthly geometries still haunt my waking thoughts and seep into my dreams. What was the light in the sky? WHAT WAS THE LIGHT IN THE SKY?
Saturday, April 16th, 2011
10:32 pm
More computer bits!
I am definitely going to have to move out in a few weeks, as the landlady has decided she doesn't have time to deal with letting individual rooms in the house, and wants to get a letting agent to manage it for her. I don't want to rent a whole house or deal with some greasy wazzock in a shiny suit, so it's time to find somewhere else. Bother.

The following things have turned up during packing. They are free to a good home. Please comment if you would like any of them!
  • Bay Networks/Nortel 24-port Ethernet switch (BayStack 350-24T). I think I have a PDF manual for it somewhere.
  • A couple of PS/2 keyboards, untested.
And vintage CPUs galore:
  • AMD K6-2 350 MHz CPU (Super Socket 7).
  • Intel Pentium MMX 233 MHz CPU (Super Socket 7).
  • Intel Overdrive CPU (DX40DP100, replaces a 486SX). Built-in heatsink.
  • Intel 486DX-33 CPU with heatsink and fan.
Some of the stuff from my previous post is also still available, including the Unix workstation hardware. This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/2943.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID (comment count unavailable comments so far).
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
1:15 am
Free computers!
I 'm clearing out as much stuff as possible, because it looks like I'll need to move house soon. This means the following workstations and PC bits are all free to a good home:
  • Asus A7A133 motherboard with 1GHz Duron processor (with heatsink and fan). I can also give you a couple of PC133 memory sticks for this if you like.
  • 1.7GHz Celeron processor and motherboard. Needs a CMOS battery and a CPU fan, and is therefore untested. Has onboard sound and Ethernet. Comes in a mini tower case.
  • Matched pair of 1.7GHz Xeon processors (http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=27262). They're in a motherboard and tower case, but since it's some weird Dell server I'm not sure how much use it is.
  • About 50 floppies, with and without various bits of software on them. Relive the baffling mid-90s obsession with installing poorly-drawn novelty icons for your desktop.
  • Internal SCSI CD-ROM drive.
  • SGI Indy with 17" monitor. Needs a standard PS/2 keyboard and mouse, which I can probably supply if necessary. Currently running some old version of Debian Linux, I think.
  • Two DEC 3000 workstations. Half a gig of RAM each (which was jaw-droppingly impressive for 1993). No monitor, but will work fine with a serial console. Will run NetBSD fine, but Linux hadn't been ported to these things last time I checked. One has some sort of tape drive, the other has a caddy-style CD-ROM drive. I can provide tray-style CD-ROM drives that should work with these. I also have a PDF manual for them somewhere.
  • VT420 terminal. White phosphor. Could be a nice retro interface for one of the above DEC workstations! Has a cable to connect it to a standard 9-pin serial port.
  • External 5.25" floppy drive with SCSI connector.
  • External SCSI CD-ROM drive (untested).

All of them worked when last powered up, unless otherwise stated. Please offer them a home! This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/2802.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID ( comments so far).
Thursday, December 30th, 2010
12:10 am
Notes on TRON: Legacy
Notes on TRON: Legacy
  • It doesn't suck. It's not an all-time classic, but it's shiny and decently enjoyable. It's always a relief to get a sequel that is not facepalmingly poor.
  • Lots of references to the first film, some rather subtle (such as the hoarding above Flynn's arcade). I'm sure I missed some, not having seen the original for years.
  • Shiny.
  • Some of the references are purely for computer geeks ("Backus" and "Cray" as programs on the Game Grid?).
  • CLU is The Stig.
  • When the DVD comes out, I'm going to have to keep pausing it so I can read the computer screens.
  • Shiny.
  • It kind of ends before the plot starts.
  • They totally got the whole "beardy hippie free-software programmer as an action hero" idea from Richard Stallman's appearance in XKCD.
  • Did I mention the shiny?

This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/2532.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID (comment count unavailable comments so far).
Saturday, December 18th, 2010
3:05 am
Discovered while shopping
Curiously-named groceries...Collapse )

In other news, still looking for a housemate. Anyone want to come and live in Leytonstone in a really nice house?
This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/2283.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID (comment count unavailable comments so far).
Thursday, November 4th, 2010
12:42 am
A leaflet got delivered to my house today. It was from the local council, announcing a public consultation about what services they should cut in order to fix an estimated shortfall of £65 million over the next four years. It looks like this:

Make Your Opinion Count leaflet

Hmm. Haven't I seen that design somewhere before?

Keep Calm and Carry On poster

I think someone is having a bit of a laugh, although at whose expense I am not sure.
Monday, October 18th, 2010
9:52 pm
The BBC article "The Science of Optical Illusions" has a comments section at the bottom with the warning:
At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.
This comes the day after they reported the death of Benoit Mandelbrot, pioneer of fractal geometry.

Am I the only one who's now wondering if this means research has progressed a little too far on the Berryman Logical Image Technique?

(Hmmm, interesting, this link looks like it might have more inf`}ªÐ.ÿÿÿÿÿÿNO CARRIER

This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/950.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID (comment count unavailable comments so far).
Monday, May 3rd, 2010
8:45 pm
Dreamwidth
Thanks to the estimable [personal profile] ses, I now have an account over here on Dreamwidth. If you're there too and I haven't found you yet, please come and add me!

I'll be crossposting everything to LJ for the foreseeable future, so if you don't have a Dreamwidth account, you'll still be able to see my woefully-infrequent updates.

This entry was originally posted at http://pfy.dreamwidth.org/420.html. You can comment there under your LiveJournal name by using OpenID (comment count unavailable comments so far).
Monday, April 5th, 2010
4:09 am
The Noodle Incident

I was just looking through a load of old e-mail from university, and found this:


To: [the entire biology, chemistry, physics, and pharmacology departments]
From: [DELETED]
Subject: The Chemistry of Fireworks
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 09:07:27 +0000


I would like to apologise to all those people who attended The Chemistry of
Fireworks lecture yesterday. I take full responsibility for the
inconvenience caused, and hope things can return to normal in two weeks'
time, with [DELETED]'s lecture on forensic chemistry, which definitely
will not contain any flashes or bangs.

Once again, many apologies.

[DELETED]

I'm still curious.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
4:19 pm
FAO London people: free glass
EDIT: all claimed or dumped now, sorry.

Does anyone want any old window glass (e.g. for sheds, cold frames, etc)? We are getting new windows fitted, and the old ones will go to the dump if not claimed. There are some large complete panes (2-3 feet on each side), and a few smaller ones still in frames. Please let me know soon if I should save you some!

Panes removed so far are (approximately):
16" x 38" (x2)
30" x 38"
20" x 44"
36.5" x 44"

The smaller panes are from the openable bits at the tops of windows, and have therefore just been prised off in their frames. There are 6 so far, all about 12" high and 1.5 to 3 feet wide. One is frosted glass.

More will appear over the next couple of days, as the rest of the house gets done.
Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
10:47 pm
Computer clearout part 3
It's time to get rid of some neat stuff (mainly vintage Unix workstation hardware) that I'm never realistically going to have time to use. Leave me a comment if any of it is any use to you!

  • SGI Indy with 17" monitor. Needs a standard PS/2 keyboard and mouse, which I can probably supply if necessary. Currently running some old version of Debian Linux, I think.

  • Two DEC 3000 workstations. Half a gig of RAM each (which was seriously impressive for 1993). No monitor, but will work fine with a serial console. Will run NetBSD fine, but Linux hadn't been ported to these things last time I checked. One has some old tape drive, the other has a caddy-style CD-ROM drive. I can provide tray-style CD-ROM drives that should work with these. I also have a PDF manual for them somewhere.

  • AT keyboard. Chunky and robust enough to be worth getting an adaptor to use it on a modern PC - half the casing is solid steel!

  • VT420 terminal. White phosphor. Could be a nice retro interface for one of the above DEC workstations! Has a cable to connect it to a standard 9-pin serial port.

  • External 5.25" floppy drive with SCSI connector.

  • External SCSI CD-ROM drive (untested).

All of them worked when last powered up, unless otherwise stated. Please offer them a home!
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
3:57 pm
Liar, liar
Terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will appear in court in January, charged with attempting to blow up a plane using explosives concealed in his underwear.

However, the court is unlikely to believe Abdulmutallab's testimony, as eyewitnesses clearly state that his pants were on fire.
Saturday, September 19th, 2009
1:51 pm
A bad case of gas
Dear Meter-Reading Bloke,

The digits 3 and 5 are not interchangeable, especially when you do it in the thousands column.

HTH,
pfy


(After a chat with customer services, my bill has just gone from £2058.68 to about £9)

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
6:00 pm
Another computer clearout
I have the following computers, laptops, networking gear, and parts to give away, because I desperately need the space. They're all yours if you want 'em. If not, they go on Freecycle.
  • Tower PC. Intel Celeron 333 MHz processor. 128Mb RAM. 1 Gb hard drive. Tekram P6PRO-A5 motherboard. S3 ViRGE 4Mb video card. CD-ROM and floppy drives. Adaptec AHA-2490UW SCSI adapter.
  • Scanner (Primax Colorado Direct 9600) with driver/software CD and cable. Worked OK when I had Windows 98, but haven't had much luck with it under XP.
  • Two Netgear N524 network hubs. 24 ports, 10baseT Ethernet. Believed working, but not tested.
  • Intel AnyPoint 3240 DSL modem. USB connector. No cables, unknown whether it works.
  • Dell PowerEdge Scalable Disk System 100 (SDS100). Some kind of RAID disk array. Contains six disk trays with 9Gb SCSI disks (but has empty spaces for another two). I don't have the software for it, so out it goes. Warning - this thing is heavy, I don't recommend moving it on foot!
  • Laptop, Dell Inspiron 3000. Pentium 200MMX, 64Mb RAM, 2.1Gb hard drive. 800x600 SVGA TFT display, floppy drive, one USB port. Currently running Damn Small Linux. It seems to keep forgetting the BIOS settings, so the CMOS battery might need replacing.
  • Laptop, Dell Inspiron 3200. Pentium 266MMX, 64Mb RAM, 4.1Gb hard drive. 800x600 XGA display, floppy drive, one USB port. This one probably also needs a new CMOS battery.
  • Laptop, Dell Inspiron 3200. Pentium 266MMX, 208Mb RAM, 4.8Gb hard drive. 800x600 XGA display, floppy drive, one USB port. Might actually have a working CMOS battery. Running Kubuntu Linux, but I don't have the password.
  • CD-ROM drive for the above Inspiron laptops. Slots in in place of the floppy drive.
  • Some kind of audio cable, 5-pin female DIN to 2 male RCA.
  • CD-ROM audio cable (4-pin flat connector at each end)
  • Broken 386 laptop. Screen is cracked, battery is dead, floppy drive doesn't work. If you connected an external monitor and keyboard, you'd have a really ancient and slow PC. It dual-boots DOS and some ancient version of SuSE Linux. If you can use it for anything, it's all yours.
Leave me a comment if you want any of them!
Thursday, July 16th, 2009
2:03 am
Dignity FAIL
I just saw a really fat cat run through some railings and get stuck halfway. There was a long, manic flailing of paws until he gave up, reversed, and stalked off huffily into the bushes. It is times like this I wish I could upload bits of my memory to Youtube.
Sunday, May 24th, 2009
5:20 pm
Setting a bad example
My pension company is urging me to save the environment by switching to paperless communications. Personally, I think they could start by not sending me two copies of my annual statement and three copies of the "Go Paperless" leaflet.
Thursday, May 7th, 2009
12:22 pm
Monday, March 9th, 2009
1:38 pm
I bought a coffee and some fries at Burger King on Saturday, because I was about to go on a three-hour bus journey and needed something to keep me from dying of starvation before I got to the end of it. This cost three pounds and something, which is a rant all in itself. But anyway, this is how the transaction went:

Me: *pays with a ten pound note*
Server (handing me six pound coins and some shrapnel): Sorry, no fivers.
Me: No worries. Just a sec, this one's a fake. And this one... oh, and this one too. Do you have any real money?

He did, at least, exchange them without fuss, but I bet they went straight back in the till for the next poor sod who is in too much of a hurry to check their change. After all, he'll just get in a heap of trouble at the end of his shift if he's short by a few pounds.

If I have to put up with much more of this, I'm going to start paying for everything with my own personal currency, which will consist of notes saying "I promise to moon the bearer on demand". This, you understand, is a more meaningful promise than you get from the Bank of England.

And despite all this, I still seem to have another two of these bastard things in my wallet. To whoever's making them: if I find out who you are, I intend to cram them into all of your available orifices until you die of lead poisoning.
[ << Previous 20 ]
My Website   About LiveJournal.com