17 July 2009

Camcorder nostalgia

The first video camera I ever used was the Sony HVC-2000P, with its “outstanding” 6X zoom lens. It weighed a “lightweight” 2.5kg, so you had to brace it on your shoulder and peer into the monochrome viewfinder. That was just the camera. To actually record something, you needed the SL-3000 portable Betamax VCR. That was the size of a small suitcase, and weighed an additional 9.1kg. You wore it on a shoulder strap, on the shoulder that wasn’t supporting the camera. ... Read more

8 July 2009

Ender’s Game

A few weeks ago I read “Ender’s Game”. I think Orson Scott Card is a pretty loathesome individual, but it’s one of those SF novels everyone references, so I thought I ought to read it. To my surprise, I discovered that the novel is full of homoerotic subtexts. Well, actually, sometimes they’re surface texts: The horrible alien creatures menacing earth are called “buggers”; the young boys trained to fight them sleep naked together in group dormitories; there’s a soaped-up wrestling match in the showers; and in one particularly touching scene, one boy gives another boy a forbidden kiss. Oh, and the teenage boys show practically no interest in girls. Given that Card is infamously homophobic and against same-sex marriage, I’m going to guess that it’s all unintentional, and that in his case homophobia indicates what it usually does: repressed same-sex desire. It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for him–but not quite. As to the literary merits of the novel, I wish they had been more evident. The dialog is simply absurd. He tries to head off the criticism in the introduction, but I’m not buying it. No child speaks like the kids in “Ender’s Game”; not even a child prodigy. [Spoilers follow] ... Read more

2 July 2009

Memorial haiku

Mollie Sugden dead Mrs Slocombe is no more Now her pussy weeps

29 June 2009

Things I’ve learned from TV: Bringing death home

I get annoyed by people who say “Oh, I never watch TV”. Sure, 90% of TV is crap; Sturgeon’s Law applies. Similarly, 90% of books are crap, but you wouldn’t hear the same people saying “Oh, I never read books”. TV can be educational. It can even be educational and entertaining at the same time. You just need to be careful what you watch. Tonight I watched a couple of episodes of Penn and Teller’s show “Bullshit! ... Read more

26 June 2009

Vacation

So, I’m back from a one week vacation in Virginia. We stayed in a castle on a mountaintop in the Appalachians, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a pretty amazing experience. The place was like an English stately home–except that instead of being roped off and littered with “DO NOT SIT ON CHAIR” signs, we actually got to live there for a week. It was the most relaxed vacation I’ve had in years. ... Read more

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