A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- July 24
- And back to Dublin: we were away in London for the last
week. Highlight of the trip was seeing Mr. Van Gogh's
Sunflowers at the Tate, along with a bunch of other stuff
(other paintings and sketches) not all of which I'd have
recognised as being by the same artist. Also there was a painting
by an Irish artist in the collection which was so much a homage to
Van Gogh that the guy had even signed his name in roughly the same
way as "Vinnie" did (same shade of red, similar angle to the
painting he was "homaging", etc.)
- July 23
- Last of the "it's on so we'll watch it": Arrival, which
is still as good the second time around when you know the gimmick,
although it doesn't hit quite as hard and I spent some time
looking for what I may have missed the first time around (there
were a few small things, but nothing major).
- July 22
- Star Trek: Beyond was a rewatch; it's
fine. There's nothing terribly brilliant or awful about
it. Which I think was approximately my opinion of the first time I
saw it, too.
- July 21
- Independence Day: Resurgence:
a bit of a stinker. I mean, they couldn't get Will Smith, so they
made up a crap story to explain his absence. Jeff Goldblum
basically plays Jeff Goldblum, and noone challenges him at the
critical point, which was a key part of what made the first movie
interesting. Precocious kids and Goldblum's "dad" introduced for
no reason other than to be put in immediate peril and to ham up
the dad/son bit briefly. Action sequences that just... fell
flat. Discontinuities - if the queen could take over control of
the alien spacecraft, including the hijacked ones, why didn't she
do that when they were shooting at her? It's sort of like they
missed most of what made the first one any good, then took the
slightly goofy elements and turned them up to eleven because more
goofiness is funnier, right? (spoiler: no). And Bill Pullman gets
to make a heroic speech to noone in particular? The more I think
about this the more bits I remember as being Just
Wrong. Anyway. Don't bother with this, just go back and watch the
first one again.
- July 20
- More take-whatever's-going movie-watching: we watched The
Martian again. Such a great movie, really keeps the feel of
the source material even when it diverges from it for the sake of
run-time or whatever.
- July 19
- Ah, the joy of restricted channel choice and no on-demand
viewing: The Last Witchhunter
was ... not terrible. It had plenty scope to be awful, and there
was certainly mockable stuff in it, and dear GOD the giant THERE
WILL BE MORE hook at the end, but no, I actually kinda enjoyed
watching Vin Diesel indulge his D&D habit in movie form. How they
got Michael Caine into this I have no idea; maybe he owed Vin a
favour or something. And of course Elijah "I'm not a Hobbit" Wood
was playing, well, Not A Hobbit.
- July 18
- The Brother had recommended Moneyball
to me ages back, and my reaction was probably "Meh, baseball
movie". Turns out it's actually very good, and mostly based on
reality (in fact, reading between the lines on IMDb it seems maybe
that proposed departures from reality might have been partly to
blame for the replacement of the original director, but who
knows). Most importantly for the based-on-reality part is that,
spoiler, it doesn't have the happy ending / endings you expect,
exactly, which would have been so easy for the creators to do
given the more-or-less fairytale nature of other parts of the
story. Good one, see it.
- 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 8
- 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 7
- 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
(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.)
- 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
- Hmm. Few patches of tarmac across the lane here. Bit
- 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
- 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,
- (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
- July 6
- 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.
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And that was the first half of 2019