a long weekend

A long weekend almost over. Been fun. Chilled. Saw a few friends, caught a few movies. Ate toast.

Usually by the end of the long weekend, I will have hit double figures for number of films seen, this time I made it to 8. A very relaxing 8 at that, not an exhaustion induced marathon. I have managed to run into friends each day of fest, some only fleetingly alas. I’ve caught up on the seating politics of the group I used to sit with, close to a schism no less though friendly enough.

The Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, was disappointing alas. I was really looking forward to a new Greenaway as I have loved some of his earlier films including Prospero’s Books and The Pillow Book. In this one, as always, I enjoyed his use of, and experiments with, framing in order to tell a story. Visually delightful but the story, while it continued along, lacked depth, and even interest.

Curiously, the two standout films for me so far were both documentaries. I enjoy documentaries but they’re not my preferred sort of film either. Yesterday was Sherpa, which explored the nepalese community that they make their living from supporting the Everest climbing industry, and “industry” is the right word. There’s an early shot of of climbers, effectively queued mid ascent. Hundreds of them, their colourful jackets bright against the white of the snow.  The doco was initially going to be about one of sherpa who was likely to attain a new record by reaching the summit 22 times, and of their clients on their first trip. Instead, an avalanche resulting in the deaths of 16 nepalese, which became the heart of the movie.

Tonight, I saw a doco called Palio, about a horse race in Siena. I read a book of this race as a child and loved it, reading it many times. I even have a pennant for the contrada of the snail, one of 17 contrade that compete in the race. Beyond that I knew little of the race. Thanks to this doco, I have seen it, and the Square in Siena where it is held. It looks amazing and this is no ordinary horse race, representing hundreds of years of culture. In some ways, not dissimilar to the history of bull-fighting in Spain. I don’t follow sport and am rarely excited by racing but was on the edge of my seat for the racing portions, and felt both the good side and the bad. It is not an easy race, either for horses or riders. One day, I would love to visit Siena and watch the Palio.

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bit of a sucker

Targeted advertising: sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it, sometimes I both love and hate it at the same time. Was just on facebook and “scored” an ad for a new edition of Dick’s The Man in the House Castle by The Folio Society. I used to love Folio Society editions and have quite a few. Dad used to be a member and I inherited some of those and have picked up more of my own in second hand bookshops both here, in London and in the famous book town in Wales, Hay-On-Wye. I’ve never actually joined myself and they always had an odd, regional based approach to pricing eg it was more expensive to order the same book from the UK, not including postage, as an Australian than as an American or English.

Dunno where that’s at these days but the prices do seem a little better. Looks like they even have a bunch of SF books. Which brings me back to Man in the High Castle. It looks nice and isn’t too expensive. On the other hand, as you can see from the photo, I already have a nice edition of it from Easton Press in the US. Still a little tempted, and I may well add it to a general order as I’d quite like their set of Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. I loved the Foundation books and have ageing, smelly paperbacks of them, purchased no doubt from the SF piles at Ashwood’s in the late 80s.

Thankfully I already have an extremely nice edition of Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles from Subterranean Press so have no problems passing on the Folio Society edition. I do have a cheaper leatherbound edition of the first 4 Hitchhiker’s books and would like nice editions of them someday. I missed on their first print run of Dune, which does look quite spectacular, on the other hand it is $150 and the Easton Press version is very nice too.

Posted in books, june | 1 Comment

festing away

For me, Sydney filmfest started today though opening night film was earlier in the week. Saw two films, The Shore Break and The Postman’s White Nights, neither at the State Theatre. I have started filmfest in a place other than I usually start. On the way to the first film in Circular Quay, I passed one of the people I used to sit with. She screamed out “I miss you!” as she dashed past and I screamed “I miss you too” :-)

We had a couple of hours between films so we caught a ferry to Mosman and back. 45 minutes cruising the harbour in the late afternoon sun for free on our opal cards. I could not have done that in my old subscriber days. There wasn’t that sort of time available between films and the State Theatre was just a bit too far from the Quay. We still had an hour to kill when we returned so had white wine and oysters on the promenade. Felt rather grand on a gorgeous winter’s day in Sydney. Even got to watch the sun set over the Harbour Bridge :-)

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reading bits

I had an idea of spending a week or two or three of blogging rants except I can’t remember anything else I was going to rant about. Instead here’s what I am reading at the moment…and it’s not blogs. Well ok, I’m currently ruminating on Mr Shaddow’s post on the role of electronic services in libraries and think that’s worth a wider conversation. In recent months I’ve been focusing on reading…actual books, no wait, actual novels in electronic form. Not physical books. I decided I should revisit Raymond E. Feist and read his entire oeuvre. Some have been fun to revisit, and there’s a few I missed as well.

When I do get round to reading my feeds it’s mostly tech and gaming and these are the things I’m reading, if not regularly, but at least dipping into from time to time:

One site I used to enjoy until it disappeared was Download Squad. It was good for finding out about new software and updates without getting too heavy. I haven’t really found a substitute for that.

Posted in june, tech | Leave a comment

filmfest on a flexi…or two

Having finally given up my subscription to filmfest a couple of years ago, I’ve been adjusting to life on a flexipass. I miss my old festival buddies but liking the flexi experience that requires me to think about what films to watch again. We bought a 20 film flexi-pass a couple of months ago but only got round to going through the programme and selecting flicks last weekend.

Timewise we’re somewhat restricted and trying to see films when the kids are with their dad. That has still meant we’ve managed to book 14 films so far with a couple of spare tix (we bought an additional 10 film flexipass). So we went through the programme and only looked at films that suited our availability. Of those films we still managed to get what we wanted though admittedly we did cut it fine on a few as they were close to selling out. We actually had to choose between films we wanted due to timetable clashes.

Here’s what we have so far:

Doesn’t look too bad a list at all and across several venues. No longer just the State Theatre.

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all the lolz

So like, I’ve discovered recently that people actually say “lolz” and not spell out the acronym…and they’ve been doing it for years. I joked about this on twitter and immediately thought of a counter example as I’ve always worded BOFH (as in “bof” with a silent “h”) myself. Other acronyms are difficult to word eg HTH or RTFM. At the same time, I continue to be amused that acronym speak is still a thing.

Acronym speak was really common back in the earlier days of the internetz (pre webz – all the zzzz) and usenet. I have little doubt that was because the early net was largely IT type folk who loved using, and abusing, acronyms. You could craft entire sentences with acronyms. Then SMS happened, then twitter happened and there continues to be a need for character economy ie reducing everything to as few characters as possible, while remaining vaguely readable.

Even ASCII art has staged a minor comeback!


Posted in history, june | 1 Comment

is blogging still a thing?

Here we are in June and I’ve got to ask the obvious, is blogging still a thing, and is it a thing that matters?

In the time since #blogjune 2014, I have blogged a grand total of 9 times, nearly half of those in November. My annual June blogging is mostly respectable:

  • June 2014 – 30 posts
  • June 2013 – 4 posts
  • June 2012 – 23 posts
  • June 2011 – 24 posts
  • June 2010 – 33 posts

but otherwise, in the inbetween times, not so much.

I barely read other blogs these days, certainly none in libraries or even friends for that matter. I sort of keep up with a few streams on computing, tech and gaming but that’s about it, and sporadically even then.

Several years ago it was a really fun time, lots of interesting blogs and everyone was reading and commenting, there were lots of growth spurts and ideas bouncing everywhere. For me at least, I’ve reached something of a developmental plateau. There’s still interesting things happening but the urgency is not the same; perhaps there’s more of a move toward consolidation around good practice. Though that sounds a little too corporate-speak :)

Perhaps it could be said that those of us who used to blog and think we were radical, have become the establishment. We’ve created our networks, lists of contacts, etc. we are now the old guard…or like to think we are. For me twitter and facebook continue to be happy places for engagement, others spend more time in instagram and other places.

What do all you pesky kids want now? ;-)

Posted in june | 7 Comments