Print Story G'day, Mate
By TheophileEscargot (Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 08:26:12 AM EST) Reading, Watching, Museums, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The Surgeon's Mate". Watching. Museums. Me. Web.

What I'm Reading
Finished Aubrey/Maturin book. The Surgeon's Mate by Patrick O'Brian. Pretty good: having escaped from the Americans they return to Europe, engaging in intrigue and some minor battles. There are no big engagements here; but there's a good chase over the Grand Banks as their dispatch-carrying brig is tracked by two schooners, and later a daring hit and run attack by an Aubrey-commanded sloop on a two-decker French 74. Liked the way Aubrey seems calmly confident beforehand, but afterwards remarks: "I thought she would blow us out of the water without so much as a by your leave, ha ha ha!"

Once again though, I'm sure I've read this one before, though there's no record of it on HuSi, K5 or in my spreadsheet. Somewhere my book-reporting has gone wrong. Well, still enjoyed it: must have been a while ago.

What I'm Watching
Saw "I am Legend" at the cinema. Mixed feelings. Thought it was a really great film for the first two days. Very creepy, especially before you see the whole creatures, set up the tension really well. Surprisingly, the Fresh Prince does a great job of acting as the last man on Earth, capturing his loneliness and grim discipline very well.

The problem is of course the ending.

For those who don't know, the original book was written by Richard Matheson, who's better known as a screenwriter: he wrote The Incredible Shrinking Man for instance. So it's not surprising that the book works very well on a film: it's very cinematic. But it is surprising that they chose to throw away the brilliant ending. Downbeat endings are allowed in horror movies even by Hollywood rules, and Matheson knew what could work. In the book, the creatures start to display increasing intelligence and organization, gradually building up their own society, very different to our own. That's what the title means: the protagonist eventually realises that to them he's become a legendary monster, stalking and slaughtering them in their sleep.

The movie though insists on tacking on a stupid happy ending. The hero isn't the last man on earth after all, finds a cure for the monsterifying disease, which other survivors take to a survivor's community.

There a couple of minor credibility problems, like how they're going to extract the cure, and the unlikely coincidence of other survivors turning up to rescue him at just the right time. More seriously though, it undermines all the tension, the suspense, and whole point and Unique Selling Point of the movie.

The tension is supposed to come from the increasing intelligence of the monsters, which already outnumber him. But in order to make them suitable M16-fodder for an action hero, that has to be completely ignored. All but one of the monsters keep acting dumb. The supposed brilliant scientist seems utterly incurious about this new intelligence. The ethical implications of killing a new intelligent species are also ignored. Also, the drama of the movie comes from him being the last man on earth. Being the last man on Earth apart from all these other survivors who turn up at convenient times undermines the concept.

Still, if you can overlook the ending it's a pretty good monster movie. When I woke up in the night for a pee I even found myself checking for Darkseekers behind the shower curtain.

Saw the Terracotta army at the British Museum. Got tickets on the day: semi-accidentally jumped the queue after mistaking a crowd outside for a general-museum crowd rather than a specific-exhibition crowd. Feel somewhat guilty since I normally don't like queue-jumping. Oh well, it's probably what he would have wanted. Only with more decapitations.

Exhibition: quite interesting, there are about twenty of the warriors (there were 8,000 in total) and they look quite impressive: fairly detailed. There are also some supporting artefacts around the outside: bricks and tools and such.

Not quite sure why the exhibition's so popular though: advance tickets are sold out for about a month, but there's much more interesting and diverse stuff in the permanent collections.

A Day in the Life
Back at work. As expected, big pile of live issues for me to fix since they've fired so many people there's no-one else who's been cross-trained in the stuff I know.

  1. Somone needed a JPEG image for a platform which only accepts them. So naturally they renamed a PNG file to have a .JPG extension. Somehow, that didn't work.
  2. They've been told if things don't appear, to deactivate/reactivate the unit. (It's also item 2 of 5 in the "common problems" section of the support document). Call says "we’re reluctant to deactivate & reactivate the unit in case we incur any more problems that we can’t fix." Worked after I reactivated it.
  3. There are pages numbers missing, but they don't say which ones. I asked them for an example: turns out there's nothing missing after all.
  4. Another "I’m reluctant to de-activate / re-activate". Deactivate/reactivate fixed the problem
  5. Another non-problem: either never happened or fixed itself.
Support-land is OK to visit, but I really don't want to live here.

Essays. Medicine: the power of the checklist. The Daily Me leads to enclave extremism. Problems with Steve Fuller's Critique of Evolution.

Pics. Weird shoes. Abandoned Sun Microsystems facility. Porn by girls for girls.

Improve your life and strength with the Third World Squat

Economics. Economic philosophies of Clinton and Obama. What accounts for the clean-up of US manufacturing?

Since the 1970s, US manufacturing output has risen by 70% but air pollution has fallen by 58%. Was this due to improved abatement technology or shifting dirty production abroad?

... Putting these two findings together, international trade can explain at most 28 percent of the clean-up of US manufacturing.

... The analyses here suggest that most the pollution reductions have come from improved technology, that the environmental concerns of antiglobalization protesters have been overblown, and that the pollution reduction achieved by US manufacturing will replicable by other countries in the future.

< Well that year just went all to hell | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
G'day, Mate | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
Waitaminute by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 08:52:22 AM EST
Are you R Mutt, or just reposting his K5 stuff?

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

That porn link by hulver (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 11:20:44 AM EST
Pretty funny.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
I thought so by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 12:33:53 PM EST
But the MeFites says it's far too sexist and stereotype-promoting to be funny.
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 ]
Heh by hulver (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 09:51:11 PM EST
That's why it's funny. Duh.

Porn by Bridget Jones.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

[ Parent ]
Somehow... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 12:01:09 AM EST
the Sun building pics feel like an abandoned church...

I Am Legend by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 12:13:04 AM EST
Having not read the book, I found it all went wrong as soon as the other survivors turned up - I liked the way one of Darkseekers learned his tricks for catching people and had tamed his Darkseeker dogs.

Anyway, now I know there's a book, hurrah, Amazon!

Terracotta warriors by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 03:41:32 AM EST
It will be cool if they ever work out how to unearth them without the paint colour disappearing. That's what they're waiting on to finish the excavation IIRC.

I guess another possibility is they don't work out how to keep the paint, but imaging tech improves enough to make some pretty covers for Time magazine.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

I am legend.... by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #8 Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 03:28:24 PM EST
.... the moment all goes pear shaped is when ....

SPOILERS galore....

... the girl uncovers that god talks to her. And she is serious.

The worst part is that the director and screenwriter are serious as well.

I almost vomited in the last scene: the refuge is a beautiful suburbian town where the first thing you see when entering is a church.

USians: why do you have to be like that!

G'day, Mate | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)