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Funeral in Berlin (1966)
Funeral in Berlin (1966)


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Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
July 12
I read a bunch of Len Deighton some time ago, mainly sort of filling in blanks in the "Classic Spy" genre. I knew Michael Caine had starred in a couple of film adaptations, and when a few showed up on TV I recorded them. So this evening we watched Funeral in Berlin which was pretty good, but which also was obviously taking cues from the Bond franchise which had just kicked off - Caine's Harry Palmer is more of a goofball, there's the obligatory romance, and even the Walther PPK makes an appearance, but that's to be expected - if there's anything you can say about Hollywood, it's that they prefer making 300 variations on the same movie to making 1 unique movie - and to be honest it doesn't really take away from what is, at the end of the day, a fairly solid spy movie. I had forgotten a good deal of the details so the twist, when it came, was a bit of a surprise. Good movie, will watch the other one I've got recorded and look out for the rest.

July 08
I bought a GoPro HERO+ (which is about 2014 vintage) because I wanted to play with one without spending several hundred euro on the latest model, and I gotta say, the quality of this really doesn't make me inclined to spend any more on it. The USB connection seems incredibly flaky, and I've found a bug in the firmware whereby it creates files that are too large for the internal web server to transfer; the camera periodically gets wedged in some weird state where random iterations of power on/off, wifi on/off, plug out/plug in, etc. eventually return it to operation; the wifi occasionally fails outright and requires similar abuse to get it functioning; on the whole, this makes me wonder how the hell the brand got so popular if this was their top product four years ago. Tonight's new trick: there are 8 files on the camera. Or 2, if you believe the front panel. Or 9 if you believe Image Capture. It doesn't matter, though, because you can't download any of them via USB.

July 07
I had to renew my driving license, so visited the centre in Santry on Friday. As I've somewhat inured myself to spending two hours a day on the bike, it seemed obvious that I'd use the same means to get to Santry particularly given that the bus trip took about the same length of time. So this is how I discovered the (as yet incomplete) Royal Canal Greenway; essentially it's just the old towpaths repurposed to provide a mixed-mode route for pedestrians and cyclists. The surface varies wildly depending on where on the path you are and, sadly, how affluent the surrounding neighbourhoods are; there are also a few bike-unfriendly (and, I might note, wheelchair unfriendly) gates along the route I took; but on the whole it was a pretty nifty way to travel from Dublin 15 to Dublin 7 without having to deal with too much traffic. Of course, once I got off the towpath in Dublin 7 I was straight into the more usual cycling-hostile infrastructure: bike lanes which swerved into unmarked pavements, bike lanes which disappeared, an absence of bike lanes right where they'd be useful, and finally, at the Omni centre, a row of Sheffield stands installed too close to the adjacent wall to be properly usable.

But that was Friday, and today is Sunday, and today we had no agenda for hitting much of this same route other than to go for a bike ride somewhere where we wouldn't feel threatened by traffic at every turn. So we ran the slightly scary gauntlet from Castleknock village to the nearest canal path entrance (includes one roundabout, and a narrow road over a humpback bridge with no crossing point right at the entrance to the canal) and made our leisurely way down the path for half-a-dozen lock gates and back again. One of the bridges we passed is William Rowan Hamilton's graffiti spot, commemorated with a plaque above the towpath. We stopped in Ashtown on the way back for something to drink, then moseyed on home. Altogether a pleasant trip on a Sunday and something we'll probably do again if the weather favours it while we're still living in this neck of the woods.

Speaking of cycling... Phoenix Park, Castleknock Gate to Parkgate Street:
  • Oh, this is nice. Segregated bike lane, properly surfaced.
  • ...with signs on the pavement showing you direction and that pedestrians shouldn't be here. Cool!
  • I wonder what happens where I cross traffic? Roundabout coming up, so I'll find out...
  • ...aha. I have to yield. Ok, not ideal, but at least traffic seems to slow down.
  • Coming up to Aras an Uacthar Reoite!
  • Woop, nearly hit that cyclist going the wrong way. Guess they didn't see the signs.
  • Eek, that's a bit unpleasant; the entrance to the bike lane after the Aras roundabout is at a bad angle to the direction of travel, sloped, and kerbed.
  • Woop, nearly hit that pedestrian. Guess they didn't see the signs.
  • Hmm. Few patches of tarmac across the lane here. Bit bumpy.
  • Man, what is it with those? They're like rumble strips, only aperiodic and unmarked.
  • Ooo t-junction ahead. Guess I need to give way...
  • ...what the... bike lane reroutes out onto Chesterfield Avenue as it crosses the junction?
  • Ok, at least it's still in a bike lane, albeit just a painted line between me and traffic now.
  • ...and some Lance Armstrong wannabe decides it's a good place to overtake. Thanks, FELLOW CYCLIST.
  • Another roundabout coming up. I think this is the last. Wonder how this one handles the bike lane?
  • AAAAAH! Where's the bike lane gone?
  • Awesome. Dropped into the traffic lane as it narrows, just as drivers are looking away from the left-side margin to see if there's traffic on the roundabout as they approach.
  • ...and the bike lane magically reappears as a dotted line extending from the kerb onto the roundabout.
  • Ok, back to solid line at least. Last stretch of park before the exit.
  • HOLY... what the hell happened to the surface? It looks like it's been ploughed!
  • CRAAAAP obstruction ahead, traffic to my right. What the hell is blocking the lane? Oh, a Park Ranger truck. THANKS, OPW!
  • (Oh, it's ok, he's got his hazard lights on.)
  • I'm sure glad I've got front shocks on the bike, this pavement would be playing hell with my wrists otherwise.
  • And whee, end of bike lane some dozen or so metres before the end of the park.
  • We now return you to your regularly-scheduled city biking.
(loosely based on watching my GoPro clips of this run, which I've been doing 4-5 days a week since May; the pedestrians, Lance Armstrongs and wrong-way cyclists are a daily feature, the OPW trucks pop up periodically to remind you that it's their park, not yours.)

July 06
We've started watching Clooney's Catch-22 and mostly I realise I don't remember much about the book beyond the absurdity (which is sort of the point, I guess), but it's very good so far.

June 21
The Accountant: aside from a bit of preaching to the camera, actually a pretty good movie, although I'm not sure "People with Autism can be Relentless Killers too!" is the sort of positive and uplifting message autism support groups would go for. Oddly enough, I saw the "final" twist coming well in advance, but didn't expect the twist before it (I was expecting a character to have met a tragic end somehow). Anyway, yes, worth watching.

June 14
I think I may have watched Unforgiven with Dad many years ago, but it's certainly been long enough ago that I'd pretty much forgotten most of the story and confused it a little with some other western where coffins wind up on the sidewalk. Anyway. It's actually slightly comedic before it gets very much not so, with Clint Eastwood almost hamming up the "Old Cowboy tries to get it together for one last gig" routine along with Morgan Freeman. It's a good movie; a little grim, a little predictable, but good nonetheless.

June 08
Wrapped up Good Omens tonight. A few things didn't make the screen, and I felt like the balance of events in the last two was a little off (basically, if your TV series is about Armageddon, it's a bit weird to have half an episode or more about what happened after Armageddon didn't) but I don't want to suggest I didn't enjoy it. A lovely piece of work, fantastic performances all round, and I think I want to have another run through the book now (probably my fourth or fifth read of it!)

June 07
After some investigation I have concluded that my GoPro camera creates files which its own built-in webserver will not deliver to a client in their entirety - the connection closes at the 2GB boundary, while the files may run somewhere past that. Tsk. (You can retrieve the rest using HTTP's Range header.)

Arrival was stonkingly good, the more so because I'd absolutely no idea what to expect so - as I presume was intended - I spent a good deal of effort trying to figure out what was going on and gradually recognising that clues had been left along the way. It's a slow movie, and nothing explodes (well, mostly) and you're probably gonna have to actually engage your brain for it, but it's definitely one to see.

June 02
Finished Season 5 of Bosch which was really good except for the very obvious hooks for Season 6, and the whole Bosch/Chief confrontation where you're wondering if Bosch didn't just copy the file he brought with him, and if not why not.

Also now working our way through Good Omens which is basically perfect, and I do like the speculation that you could've swapped Tennant and Sheen's roles without difficulty (i.e. Tennant playing Aziraphele and Sheen playing Crowley). I think Sir Terry would've been very happy with how this has turned out.

May 25
I'd seen Unbreakable long enough ago that I'd forgotten most of the details, and neither of us has seen Split, so of course we watched Glass which is a sequel to both. There were a few backreferences to the preceeding movies but nothing you couldn't figure out from context, and I don't think it'd have dramatically changed my opinion of the movie, which was "Meh". It's just sort of slow and drawn out and the twists are telegraphed and, I dunno, it winds up feeling like "Everyone's doing comic books, me too". Oh well.



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