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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

October 30
Spent an enjoyable few days at The Wicklow Escape. Lots of reading, a bit of walking, a hot tub, and fine food and drink.

Finished rereading The Peripheral and Agency and a Walter Mosely title I'd been picking at before I picked up Ulysses.

Episode three of The Peripheral TV series: things kinda go wacky. Major departures from the book, but also I'm not entirely sure I followed the whole epsiode. A margarita may have had something to do with that.

October 23
Finished Vikings S4: there's a bit of setup there for S5 (who the heck is Jonathan Rhys-Meyer's character and what's the significance of his sword and do I even care?) but mostly they just concentrated on tying up "the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok avenge him" with a surprising death or two thrown in for good measure. It looks like we've got half of S5 on Prime Video so I guess we can watch that next.

What we did watch next, though, was The Peripheral and you know what? It's pretty sweet. It's been long enough since I last read the book that I'd kinda forgotten lots of stuff but I was definitely pleased to see the bendy phones make an appearance simply because their presence in the book is a minor thing that works well without going into specifics; a classic Gibson trick, that. It also amuses me that at the time the book was written, the idea of a store that did 3d printing for you was kinda futuristic where as now it's like, sure, I can see that being a thing I could find somewhere in Dublin albeit maybe not at the scale in the show. Some of the casting doesn't match how I'd imagined characters but who cares? And of course I've started rereading the book. I've spent the last couple of months working my way through a classic and difficult 20th century masterpiece, I think I deserve a little bubblegum.

In nerd news, learning about Docker from someone's three-hour YouTube course because, well, I can. I have some nominal use for this knowledge acquisition but I'm already suspicious I'll need VirtualBox or similar instead, but I'm gonna go ahead and watch this anyway.

October 22
I finished Ulysses. I think that's quite enough achievement for the day.

October 18
We're still truckin' through Season 4 of Vikings; Ragnar has met his fate as told in (some of) the Sagas, and we're waiting to see what his sons are gonna do about it.

I'm also still trawling through Ulysses (1921 printing). Nighttown was... interesting. Currently back at Eccles Street for Q&A. What I'm finding really intriguing is the amount of random science thrown into the book; remember, this was published at the start of the 20th century, but there's a bunch of stuff in there that I think we'd now assume everyone knows but back then may have been at least a little esoteric (such as the make-up of water molecules) and the odd bit of "ah, that's since been debunked" (e.g. luminiferous ether gets a mention in what looks to be a non-ironic context). Is it a good book? Smarter people than I appear to think so. I'm certainly enjoying bits of it while finding other bits of it tedious and hard work with no apparent reward, and I suspect there's an amount of "related reading" you'd need to do to see the full extent of the wordplay and other literary highjinks going on. Onward!

October 16
Digging in a(n inconsquential) piece of code which had stopped working, and discovered that part of it had never worked. D'oh.

October 15
The original Dirty Harry, much like its sequels, again doesn't appear to have aged particularly poorly - the story is fairly solid. It's interesting to read about the list of people who turned it down for being too right-wing only for Clint to push the story of the sequel to explicity tone that down.

October 9

Keeping the cat company, and using the time to rewatch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure which I've probably not actually seen since I first saw it way back. It's a kids' movie, to a large extent, but that means that much of the humour is still pretty funny because it's not reliant on things that were funny because they were risqué for a kid: I found myself actually laughing out loud at parts of it even though I knew the gags were coming. About the only thing that hasn't aged is our two heros hugging, then recoiling from each other to say, "Fag!"; I strongly suspect neither of them is proud of that, given how they've turned out as people several decades later. Two minor memory failures: I had a few bits and pieces in my head from the sequel that I expected to be in this movie, and I totally did not realise that the start of The Matrix, where that self-same Keanu Reeves is ducking around a partitioned office space with guidance from a non-local source on when to take cover, is absolutely an homage to the police station sequence from this movie, and you cannot at this point convince me otherwise.

(Also if you haven't seen the video clip of Keanu Reeves cackling like a hyena at the false premise of digital scarcity, go seek it out. It's an interview during the press junket for the most recent Matrix movies and I swear Carrie-Anne Moss looks worriedly at him as if he's just hurt himself or cracked up or something. It is choice.)

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