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Watching
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)


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Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
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.

January 19
I very vaguely recall watching the TV series, but I didn't make anywhere near enough connections between it and The Equalizer - to be fair, there's a lot of obsessive detail on the IMDb Trivia page, but I didn't even remember the guy's name from the TV series which, er, is the same as the movie. So, is the movie any good?

It starts slow. In fact, it takes quite a while to get going, to the point where I was beginning to wonder if I was watching the wrong movie. Then it sort of kicks off into hyper-violence, and then we get the inevitable escalation, although for all that it's an escalation, none of it really matches the trigger scene in the office above the restaurant for sheer brutality. Even what I thought was the denoument in the Home-Depot-a-like store was... I dunno. It didn't quite punch the same way. Anyway, aside from that, it does a nice job of going from peaceful la-la-la movie to cranking up the tension. There are a few facepalms - the guy who is supremely prepared being surprised that they kidnapped his friends does not really sell well, for example - and the side trips into minor retributions, clearly ground-laying for a series, are distracting and frankly mundane by comparison to the main story. And, to be honest, the actual denoument (which is after the thing I thought was the denoument) is deeply silly. "Oh yes, I'll just take an international trip with no problem whatsoever at short notice to kill off the last guy, undetected, because that'll definitely be no problem and will definitely solve the cycle of escalation I've been dealing with".

So, it has flaws. But it is good, and I'll probably watch the sequel when it comes around.

Now I need to go and have a word with my satellite PVR about the fact that it seemed to record three fragments of this rather than one continuous recording...

January 13
How To Train Your Dragon 2: excellent. The characterisation of the dragons in particular is incredible; I kept watching them in the background while there was foreground action going on, and the animators have taken the trouble to have them do things rather than just sit out of sight while "more important things" take place. A small bit of the same complaint as for Minions: Ruffnut being all swoony over Eret's muscles is a little too foregrounded for a background joke for the adults, and is a bit off one of the core story points, i.e. you don't need to be the Brawny Alpha Male to be the hero. I dunno, I'm not the core demographic for this movie in any sense, so maybe I'm picking up on things I shouldn't.

The "fetch new data" part of the RSS toy has been producing an error from a library every time it runs, because someone out there has invalid UTF8 in their RSS feed and something in the Python/MySQL world is insisting on treating the data I'm sure I said was binary as UTF8 data, which then causes the MySQL binary part of the toy - to which I have no access - to log the aforementioned error. After judicious poking at various things I've managed to wrap the triggering code in a context handler which captures the error instead of printing it; this was complicated by the fact that the code runs on Mac AND on Linux, for which the desired hackery is trivially but critically different, and by the fact that my code was using stderr implicitly elsewhere, so capturing it and closing it broke that part of the code. But now, all good.

Well, except for That One Guy and his duff UTF8 code. But I can't help that.

January 07
Almost forgot, I saw most of The Flag over Christmas. This is one of those well-balanced movies that my Dad would describe as "harmless" or perhaps "light": it's fun, it pokes fun at things without being malicious (in this case, it's very much poking fun at Anglo-Irish relationships and stereotypes, and doing so cleverly), and it's engaging without being demanding. Summary of plot: man goes on caper to restore father's/family's good name, and the McGuffin is the Irish Tricolour flown above the GPO during the 1916 Rising. It all works out the way you'd imagine from the outset, and everyone is happy except the grumpy local barman who cast aspersions on the family in the first place. And probably the guys who lost the flag aren't happy either. And maybe the guys in the police car. But, you know, everyone else is happy, including the audience. A point of excellence in this movie: the hapless heroic paddies are surveilling their target - a British Army barracks - and how do they conceal their motives? By thickening up their accents and acting gormless. Pure genius, and of course it works. I strongly recommend this movie, although you might need subtitles and maybe some sort of cultural guide.

January 06
Helpful error message:
ip_tables: REJECT target: used from hooks FORWARD, but only usable from INPUT/FORWARD/OUTPUT
Er, yes.

(This is probably triggered by something fail2ban is doing, so I'm gonna have a fun time identifying the actual source.)



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