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The Dirty Dozen (1967)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)


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Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
March 16
Apparently Charles Bronson thought The Dirty Dozen was too violent, to the point where he walked out (temporarily) mid-filming. That would be guy who made five "Death Wish" movies. It's a dated film in a lot of respects, mainly in terms of the effects; the storyline is fairly straightforward - grimmer than I expected at the end, but straightforward nonetheless and wouldn't really need altering if the whole thing was remade. Apparently at the time of release the idea of American soldiers being anything other than knights in shining armour was a bit of an upset, which is something that's hard to recapture now. To be honest I mainly watched this because it's been on one channel or another repatedly for the last month so I figured I'd give it a go. Can't say I'd be inclined to watch it a second time.

Oh, and somewhere in the third act, Virgin Media decided I couldn't continue to watch the show "for copyright reasons"; I flipped over to Freesat to continue watching, and when I flipped back to the Virgin box later it was running again. No idea what that was about.

March 08
X-Men: Apocalypse started out well enough, but then seemed to get sort of fuzzy and lose its way before eventually Magneto inevitably changes sides and works with Xavier instead of against him. And there was the whole "bad guy is the Mummy" bit. And the "have my mental pain" routine that was used in The Crow back in 1992. And further tweaks to the Wolverine origin story. Ok movie, but not something to lose sleep over if you missed it.

March 03
Today's fun MacOS discovery: the thing in High Sierra that allows you to add drivers from third-party developers to your system can't be operated when you're controlling the Mac using screen sharing. I had to line up the mouse pointer on the appropriate button, then go to the Mac, plug in a mouse without moving it, and click the button. Alternative approaches I found required booting to recovery mode. The single most annoying part of this is that there's no easy way to discover it: the UI shows you a button, you click on it, and nothing happens. If you dig around, you'll eventually find a system log entry that says the click is being discarded because one PID doesn't match another (although what those PIDs are for doesn't get a mention). Sufficient web-searching at that point turns up the solution: use directly-connected hardware instead of remote control. Apparently the same issue affects some third-party hardware, so even with directly-connected hardware you might still encounter difficulties.

Giant eye-roll, is all I'm sayin'.

February 24
Two movies over the weekend. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was ok, but it's hard to beat Sam Raimi's movies. I think this version of Spider-Man is a little too cocky; Tobey Maguire's version seems to get that out of his system in the first of Raimi's productions, while this iteration seems to consider it core to his character. Since I never followed the comics other than when they occasionally cropped up in the newspaper, I have no idea which is more canonical, but I do know that I prefer the less cocky version. Other than that... this prematurely terminated series (since they stopped after 2 movies of a planned 4) likes its dark endings, doesn't it? Again, I get that some of this is canonical fanservice, but I also like whoever it was - Warren Ellis? - who said approximately that a movie isn't the same thing as the comic it's based on, and shouldn't try to be. It's certainly heroic that movies like Sin City and Watchmen managed shots that looked like the comic brought to life, but that sort of misses the point about the media being different, somewhat. Anyway, back to Spidey: mainly I feel like the best and worst thing I could say about it is that, well, now I've watched that franchise. Waiting for the Marvel Universe one to make an appearance on my various non-purchase sources (TV or streaming rental) so I can see how it works out.

T'other movie was a different kettle of fish altogether: First Man is, granted, a cinematic rendition of a book, but the slavish attention to detail is to match reality, not necessarily the source material. It covers Neil Armstrong's life from test pilot to moon landing, and for authenticity goes so far as to use the original CAPCOM audio from 1969 ("Roger, Twan- Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."). It's a fascinating look at someone who was extraordinary in so many ways while essentially claiming his ordinariness; it becomes obvious with a look at how he dealt with the many mishaps in his life that he really was extraordinary, separate to winning the lottery to be the first human to walk on the surface of another lump of space rock - successfully flying a plane missing a metre of wing, recovering a plane from a bounce off the Earth's atmosphere, handling a multi-axis spin in zero gravity when he should probably have been unconcious, escaping from the "flying bedstead" before it crashed, and so on. You sort of get to concluding that if he hadn't been in Apollo 11, it wouldn't have succeeded. Anyway, great movie, well worth watching.

February 16
Harry Potter and the Threequel of Lucre Part 2, uh, I mean The Crimes of Grindelwald did not, as far as I can tell, contain any of said crimes. I did like the movie - Jacob again stealing the entire thing as far as I was concerned - but I didn't buy Jude Law as Dumbledore, and I can't take Johnny Depp seriously in this role which, given he's the uber bad guy, sort of undermines the premise a bit. Anyway. There's a third one of these probably in the next year or two so we'll see how it all segues nicely into Voldemort or whatever.

February 14
Using Apple's Migration Assistant to copy user details from Old Server to New Server.

  • run MA on new server.
  • select "Time Machine Backup" as source, and point at old server.
  • prompts for password, accepts it, does nothing.
  • run MA on old server.
  • Old server goes through a preparatory dance of shutting things down, asking for admin password, etc. Once it's good and dormant, it pops up an error: can't run MA from an active Server - you need to do one of a bunch of other things, such as Target Disk mode.
  • Haul old server out of its niche so I can cable it to new server. Boot it in headless mode and hold down 'T' for what I think is a sufficient amount of time to activate Target Disk mode.
  • Wasn't long enough. Reboot and try again.
  • Back on new server, the target disk has appeared but it has a warning icon on it.
  • "New Server has Server app installed. Can't use MA. Please demote new server"
  • Opt to quit MA on the new server, which I'm accessing via Screen Sharing because it's also headless; this apparently causes it such a conniption that the screen sharing session stops working.
  • Reboot new server from the ssh session I'd cleverly set up.
  • Fruitlessly trawl for "demote MacOS server". Implication seems to be that I need to reinstall MacOS?
  • Rename /Library/Server and remove Server.app fron new server, and reboot.
  • Back through the MA launch palaver again.
  • Yay, target disk isn't tagged with a warning this time.
  • Can't select what I want to transfer until it's done figuring out how much data is in each category, ok...
  • Can't select what I want to transfer even after all that? Uh, ok...
  • Doesn't transfer account passwords. That's annoying.
  • Will take six days! Will take six hours! Will take six minutes! It's been on "will take 45 minutes" for the last hour or so, and the transfer speed is constantly dropping to maintain the 45 minute ETA.
  • Hours later: "Could not obtain authorisation to create new users on your system" which was the only bloody thing I wanted it to do in the first place.
So now I'm back to the original advice to reinstall the New Server from scratch because otherwise I've just got an incomplete clone of the old server. AWESOME.

February 02
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: I'm not quite sure what to make of this. I mean, the main character - Newt - never quite felt like the main character to me for some reason. And not because Tina was the main character, either; the storyline clearly puts her in the damsel-in-distress position almost throughout, and puts her sister in the damsel-in-undress (hah! you see what I did there?) role, and that's pretty disappointing for a movie written by a woman. I think the character I enjoyed most was Kowalski, because he just rolled with what was happening to him, and that was both well written and well played by the actor. I'll probably keep watching these as they make their way to the TV, but unless the subsequent movies are dramatically different I suspect I won't exactly be leaping at the opportunity to see them.

I've thought about this some more, and while Tina did have more agency and less distress than you might believe from the paragraph above, it still felt like she was playing a poor second fiddle to a weak lead - and no fault of Eddie Redmayne; the character as written was weak, not the portrayal.

February 01
Deadpool 2 was fun, as expected, but not quite as good as the first one. I guess the first one was a hard act to follow, plus all the gags - cultural references, breaking the fourth wall, Deadpool losing arbitrary bits of himself - had already been used in the first one and no matter how hard they try the second one was always going to feel like it was either ticking the boxes or doing "same thing, only with a bigger explosion". Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, I just felt like I might have had a bit more fun rewatching the first one.

January 27
Bought a laser measuring thingy. Smallcat has already associated the beep the thingy makes with the little red dot he likes to chase, so when the thing beeps by itself (e.g. automatic power off) he starts running around looking for the dot.

I'm sure no good will come of this.

January 25
A Good Day to Die Hard: ugh. Even for a bubblegum movie this was pretty terrible. The audio mix meant that if you didn't want to be deafened by the explosions, you couldn't hear the dialogue, and to be honest I think that's just fine because you're not really missing anything. This movie has nothing original about it, and no redeeming fetures.

Sanctuary Runners - Good People doing something good.