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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 30
Seems the Treadstone people got the memo about the series being cancelled after they'd wrapped Season 1, because instead of a denouement there's a whole heap of setup for the following season which never got made. Annoying, that.

Continuing to plough through the Expanse books, and it occurs to me that the (as far as I know) final season can wrap things up nicely with the book 6 storyline without getting into the setup for season 7. There might be a small bit of housekeeping to do, but not much. On the reading end of things, the decades of gap in the storyline is a bit weird and jarring; they managed to kill off a major character or two along the way without falling into the Game of Thrones trap of killing off someone that'd turn you off the series; and I'm finding the current and previous books have a bunch of padding in them that I don't care for - I find myself skip-reading paragraphs to find out when The Next Interesting Thing Happens. Still, on the whole I'm enjoying it.

I'll say one thing, though: the protomolecule very quickly went from being the star of the show to background noise for the usual inter-human conflict. Probably there's a point there. "OH HEY we found some mad alien space technology that's millions of years old" "COOL how can we kill each other with it?"

July 29
Weird. I applied the latest Apple Security Update, and went back to my random pile of ongoing unfinished hacks, one of which is a Django-based thing that I run using ./manage.py runserver $(hostname):8000. This used prompt to accept network connections on startup, and reprompt when I altered the code and the automatic reload kicked in. Now it seems to randomly prompt for approval, and after an unspecified length of time it simply stops accepting connections until I force it to restart again.

Smells like a cache of some sort.

July 25
Finished Expanse Book Six. On one hand the end of the fight at Medina Station was a bit Deus Ex Machina; on the other hand I guess the writers had kinda painted themselves into a corner, whether intentionally or not. I didn't expect the ending to be so ... complete, though. Anyway. Let's see what book seven has.

July 24
Harry Potter and the something something was on, so we watched that. (ok, ok, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.) Actaully, I only kinda half-watched it as I was chewing my way through book six of The Expanse, having decided that by the time the sixth series shows up I'll have forgotten about it or the plot divergence will make it less spoilery.

July 20
We've started on Treadstone; seems like there's only one season so hopefully no worries about cliffhangers. First episode is good enough to have us sign up (metaphorically speaking) for more, at least.

July 19
Bosch just sort of ... ground to a crappy halt. Billets' little dance with the department was sorted out in a fraction of an episode and in a stupidly obvious fashion, and then Bosch did Bosch in the stupidest possible way ensuring that a bust was busted, victim and perpetrator died, and Bosch wound up in trouble. Like if he'd even done the bust-busting in such a way as to let the Feds have their cake first? This is certainly a lot more like the Bosch of the books, but the Bosch of the TV series I thought had pulled away from that somewhat because you'd kinda think you can't keep being that much of an asshole and still have a job.

July 18
Absolutely chewing through Bosch. I don't recall any of this storyline from the books, but then it's been a while since I read them. It's good, though.

Nerdery: trying to create a framework for a thing; testing does a number of create/delete operations. Gotcha: delete doesn't, and there's a finite limit to the number of creates that are possible as a result. Tempted to reach out to ... people to see if I can get this cleaned up, at least, although it's unlikely I'll ever actually need this for anything outside the office.

(Yes yes. I'm learning stuff on my own time for application in the office. Still.)

July 13
We've started into the new season of Bosch. So far pretty solid; not overdramatic, just continuing the same level of quality as prevous seasons.

July 12
Successfully enabled DKIM on my mail server with only a moderate amount of swearing, not helped by the fact that the available version of DKIM software is a little old and like several other pieces of vended software for this system, doesn't seem to have had its out-of-the-box configuration integration-tested. In any case, this might prevent emails I'm sending to people with GMail accounts from having to go fish in their spam folders to find my correspondence...

July 11
Maybe it's time they retired that "It's Comin' Home" song...

July 10
Much better today. Still out of it: cooking dinner, I kept forgetting that I'd meant to put plates in the oven to warm, and when I finally did remember, I discovered that I hadn't turned the oven on past the (somewhat useless) "light only, no heat" setting. D'oh.

I did devour the Expanse book. Much better, I think, than the visualisation, because there's a lot of inner dialogue and backstory going on that didn't make it into the show, and it's worse for it, unfortunately - there are a few things scattered through the show that don't make sense unless you've read the book to get the context for them.


I was thinking about this - a lot of people blame George Martin and Game of Thrones for the whole trope of killing off characters that are "too big to fail", but to be honest, I read Charley's War as a kid, and the closing act of the First World War has Charley's nemesis, Snell, forcing his unit to charge a german unit with a tactically better position with the result that almost everyone is killed. I don't fully recall how invested I was in the characters, and I do remember one of them survived (the sergeant with the tattoos, as I recall), but I can pick out a number of other stories I've read in the intervening years where there's a surprising "can't happen" death, at least one of which - in Ben Elton's Gridlock - almost made me toss away the book in disgust. The point is that the trope isn't a new one, but it definitely feels like Game of Thrones stepped it up somehow and now everyone wants to do it. The thing is, I think it's got limited value as a storytelling device, because if you become sufficiently invested in the character then there's a good chance that the death will put you off the story. But if you don't become invested in the character, you don't get the shock value of the effect because ho hum background character #27 just died.

Mostly, though, I kinda wish people would just cut it out. I watch and read this stuff for escapism not a reminder that the universe is random and terrible.

July 9
Holy... post-vaccine hit like a bus today. Started out feeling a little off, developed into pretty much a full-body hangover sort of thing coupled with a headache that was still throbbing after I'd dosed myself with ibuprofen; I shudder to think what it would've been like if I'd decided to brave it out. I hadn't planned on a day off work, but frankly I was fairly useless so after a couple of small things (including, hah! reducing a step of the project build time from ~40 minutes to ~5) I signed off and sacked out on the sofa, alternating between reading The Expanse book 5, poking in a desultory and unfocused fashion at the Internet, and... just kinda hurting. Come bed time I had an epic bout of shivers, without actually being cold; come to think of it, despite the aches and pains of the day I don't think I was running a fever either.

I will note a certain annoyance in the midst of my discomfort that this was the first day since mid-April this year that I haven't gone outside and walked at least 3km (most days 6, some days a run).

July 8
Pfizer 2 - Electric Boogaloo. Got my second shot at 2pm and about an hour after I got home I figured I wasn't going to get anything done for the rest of the day, so ibuprofen, liquids, and rest.

We did watch the season 5 finale of The Expanse (oof, that didn't take long, he said, looking at the preceeding entry...) which was, well, a bit flabby and disappointing. In particular the killing off of a major character "off screen", as it were felt cheap and unnecessary and likely reflects the fact that the actor wasn't available for further seasons (of which I understand there is to be one more) rather than some grandiose story plan. I've started into the matching book to confirm this. That aside, though, it just felt like all these loose ends were left lying around, and not in a cliffhanger sort of way, more like, "oh, we ran out of time, too bad".

Also, weirdly, I did not recognise Amos' prison visit person until they met the survivalist guy - up to that point I was wondering, "c'mon, where's the reveal, what modifications does she have?" I have no explanation for this failure on my part...

July 2
We wrapped up season 4 of The Expanse more or less without realising it: it was only when we want to watch the next episode and were presented with season 5, episode 1 that we realised. Having finished the viewing, I picked up on the reading... one thing that comes across far more clearly in the book is that when you get to the denoument on New Terra / Ilus, Miller can't see the other alien artifact. Sure, he says something about it, and asks Elvi to point him at it, but it's not clear if that's because he's damaged or what. It's not only clearer in the book, it's funnier. The plots diverge a little in the reading as well, and to be honest it's a coin-toss as to which works better - I enjoyed what I watched, but I feel like I'd equally have enjoyed a slavish clone of the writing in screen format.

As I was typing this, notification of my second COVID appointment arrived. So by mid-July, we'll be a vaccinated household and probably threatening relatives with visits, muahahaha.

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And just like that it's another H2.