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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 07:02:56 AM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP, Me (all tags)
Reading: "War Trash". Watching. ODGF. Me.

Poll: Buy another new coffee machine?



What I'm Reading
War Trash by Ha Jin. Novel about a Chinese Korean War soldier who's captured and held in US prisoner of war camps. Feels very much like a memoir: written in the first person in a low key manner without undue drama. Despite that read it in nearly a single sitting: the events follow quickly enough that it feels very fast paced, and it's written in a very simple, lucid English.

An interesting read because of the subject matter: not often you hear views from the neglected side of this neglected war. The prisoners are forced to choose between being repatriated to Mainland China or to Taiwan: the camps are bitterly divided between the two factions and to choose either has dangers in the near and long term. Worth a look.

Downsides: might feel a bit cold for some. The bit where he abandons hope of reuniting the girl he's been waiting years for is handled in a few dispassionate sentences. Suspect it was supposed to hint at a grief too great for expression. Since I'm not what you'd call a passionate man, at the time it just seemed to me that he was just not that into her.

Review, review, review.

What I'm Watching
Saw "Transformers" at the cinema. Thought it was pretty good, though I was too old for the toys so my childhood remains safely untramplable by Michael Bay. (George Lucas pretty much crushed it into pancakes anyway).

Liked the robot designs and the transformations. The robots really seemed to have a feeling of weight, I think helped by the fact they weren't so big that the physics was completely ludicrous. Fortunately cars, trucks, helicopters, tanks and aeroplanes are small enough to move fairly rapidly. The transformations seemed geometrically possible, and I liked the intermediate half-transformed action too.

Mixed feelings about the action: did like the TV-news style fragmentary style where you get to see brief flashes of action from a particular viewpoint. On the other hand, it did make it a bit tricky to follow what was actually happening.

Human-stuff: about what you'd expect: fairly dull but not actually excruciating. Would have liked to see a bit more about the characters of the Decepticons, though it was a bit too long as is.

Worth seeing if you like action movies.

Wikipedia, effects.

Operation Don't Get Fatter
11st6 the same as last week: hopefully two weeks in a row means the reading is true.

Have used up most of the Meal Replacement Bars, but still have a load of the milkshake powder left due to the buy-one-get-one-free. Seems a bit wasteful to throw it out.
Weight week 86

Me
Suffering various annoying household things.

The washing machine has been leaking water in the draining parts of the cycle. Normally that means the pipes are clogged up, so I had to drag it out and clean up a hideous mess of water, soap remains, and the remains of old rat droppings from behind it; then Mr Muscle the drain pipe, after which it seemed to run clean.

Even then though, it still leaked water when I did the next load. Found a bit more water in an overflow container which I've now drained, and de-gunked a filter-thingy; but don't think they were causing the problem. Will have to hassle the landlady if it's still leaking on the next cycle. Wish I wasn't so useless at all this practical shit.

Also suffering yet more coffee-machine woes. Managed to drop a small jar of sandwich paste from the cupboard, which with almost laser-guided precision hit just on the top rim of the glass jug carafe, shattering the whole thing.

The Morphy Richard site has the replacement part listed as both "Out of Stock" and "Available to buy online". Not sure what that means: is there just going to be a delay if I order it? Or will they take my money and never deliver anything, leaving me coffee-machineless for weeks when I could be buying a new one? Gah.

Also, while there's been no sign of rats, mice or slugs for ages; I do have a bunch of ants. I've got powder and spray, but they only seem to climb walls for brief stretches in the kitchen; so don't see where to lay the powder and not poison myself. Homebase has traps which I might try, but it says they're for black ants and these are medium brown. Double gah.

Me 2
Been feeling kind of down and antisocial lately. Maybe it's the hot weather. Have some time off soon though.

Web
How Microsoft killed the desktop.

Distraction game. Good chance for only children to get the Sibling Experience.

"The Most Important Article On Psychiatry You Will Ever Read". Long three part article on antipsychotic medication dosages.

< A routine Saturday out. | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
To Punish and Enslave | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Meh. by Arbeit Macht Pie (4.00 / 2) #1 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 07:16:56 AM EST
If only the rest of the film had scenes as intense as Blackout's initial attack on the FOB.
Bay got the hook in me, but failed to drag me to the boat, aside from taking my admission fee.

What are you talking about? by spacejack (4.00 / 2) #4 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 07:47:14 AM EST
I for one was terrified his parents were going to find the robots in the back yard. That was like half the movie.

[ Parent ]
The reports of the death of desktop apps by spacejack (4.00 / 2) #2 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 07:41:54 AM EST
are greatly exaggerated. For myself and most people I work with, desktop apps are alive and well and probably won't be turned into web apps anytime soon: Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, AfterEffects, text/code editors, 3D modelling/rendering apps, audio editing apps. Almost none of the apps I was using 10-15 years ago have turned into web apps. Some of us switched to web apps for email and address books... that's about all I can think of.

Sure, I use a ton of web apps today, as does everyone. But they never existed as desktop apps.

I don't think he's really talking by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 07:47:06 AM EST
...about existing apps, but developing new apps.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
true, sorta by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 07:57:31 AM EST
But most new ideas for apps make sense as web apps. i.e., even if it was more work to build a web app than a desktop one, the additional functionality of being a web app would probably justify writing it as such.

Aside from improvements on existing ideas I think desktop apps have been pretty much covered.

[ Parent ]
Sandwich paste by ni (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 10:24:11 AM EST
Can you offer a description of this mysterious fixative for us Neanderthals in North America?


"Not of this world..." -- 256, on the subject of the New Jersey Turnpike
See by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 10:40:20 AM EST
Here. It's pretty much self-explanatory.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Ah, does NOT affect my statutory rights! by ni (4.00 / 2) #8 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 10:42:54 AM EST
Well, that clears that up.


"Not of this world..." -- 256, on the subject of the New Jersey Turnpike
[ Parent ]
If you were a posh bastard by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 10:47:27 AM EST
You would translate the word "paste" into French to make it "pâté".
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Oh. Right then. by ni (2.00 / 0) #10 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 11:08:04 AM EST
That possibility had occurred to me but it seemed as though you UKia types would be more likely to use the French than us Colonial sorts.


"Not of this world..." -- 256, on the subject of the New Jersey Turnpike
[ Parent ]
Chicken & Ham Paste? by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 03:54:05 AM EST
*urp* Sounds worse than spam.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Those ants by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 01:08:25 AM EST
Are they really tiny and sort of slender looking? If so they might be pharoah ants, in which case you'd be better off alerting your landlady cos they're a bit difficult to get rid of and you need it done professionally really. Ant powder just breaks up their nest into lots of new nests. They're a real problem in big blocks of flats (hence me knowing about them) and places like hospitals, I haven't heard of them in small buildings before so you should be OK. Look em up on the internet, you should be able to make a diagnosis.

I thought Trasformers was awful. It bored me silly. I think I'm getting a bit old for films like that.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

Damn things won't hold still for the camera by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 08:49:42 AM EST
They appear to be about 2mm long not including feelers, which Wikipedia says is the right length.

They don't appear to be particularly small or slender to me though: they just look ant-sized.

Ants More ants
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Difficult to tell from that :) by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 11:49:43 PM EST
Size and colouration makes me think pharoah ant though, unfortunately. There are only really three pest types, and red ants are much bigger. And redder. Wikipedia:

"Pharaoh workers are very small (about 1/16-inch long), light yellow to reddish brown in color with the abdomen (hind portion of body) somewhat darker. There is no stinger. The petiole (narrow waist between the thorax and abdomen) has two nodes and the thorax has no spines. Eyes are well-developed. The antennal segments end in a distinct club with three progressively longer segments."

This is probably of more use.

Hope you've got good eyesight :)

If they're not bothering you too much, just tell your landlord, and try and keep the place clean. Pests tend to gravitate to where there's food, which will hopefully be someone else's flat. My tenants get all hysterical about them biting their babies and going in their eyes etc, but I don't really believe them. I don't think they do any real harm. They're a bugger to get rid of though and it needs to be done professionally.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Not sure if the novel touches on it by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #15 Fri Aug 10, 2007 at 06:44:27 PM EST
Jung Chang claims that many of the units sent to Korea were largely those that defected from the Nationalists late in the Civil War. Mao saw it as a way of getting rid of possible political enemies en masse.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

The protagonist by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #16 Sat Aug 11, 2007 at 02:18:22 AM EST
Is a former student at a Nationalist military school, and the two factions in the camp are the Communists asking to be returned to China, and the Nationalists asking to be sent to Taiwan.

I doubt Mao saw it as a means of getting rid of potentially Nationalist soldiers though. Many of them were Communists, who were harshly punished when repatriated: the book has soldiers turning to Nationalism in the camps because they fear what will happen to them if returned. The capture seems to have been seen as a humiliation: if Mao wanted to get rid of them surely he would have simply allowed them to leave, why lose face with military captures when you can gain face with an apparently magnanimous gesture. And I'm not sure Mao would want to boost the strength of Chiang Kai-shek's army.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Quite possibly by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #17 Sat Aug 11, 2007 at 02:53:07 AM EST
I think she was focused more on the actual deaths than the prisoners. There were some fairly brutal attrition battles in Korea. Wasn't there a particular hill called the Meat Grinder?

Support from professional historians for Chang's biography of Mao seems at best divided though.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
To Punish and Enslave | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback