Bloomin’ Microsoft…, part one

Evening Campers,

I’ve just finished setting up my daughter’s child account on her new Christmas laptop.

Windows 10. And a Microsoft Account. Since moving back to Windows from Ubuntu, I’m aware of just how user unfriendly Microsoft products are. Jumping through hoops, things not syncing, settings not updating properly. It’s all very frustrating.

The temptation, which is very real, is to install Ubuntu on my current laptop. I’m holding back, because having access to a Windows machine is hand, and it annoys me that I have to say that. There’s always the Dual Boot option but that’s just an annoyance.

Maybe in 2013, once the laptop is a few years old, I might build a new desktop computer. The laptop is handy, but it’s not all that.

On the other hand perhaps Win 11 is the next great hope?!?!?!?

Creative November, Part One

First things first, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year. But I am doing a Creative November.

What does that mean?

Well, a bit of writing everyday.

It doesn’t have to be main story stuff. Could just be a bit of worldbuilding, some character work or expanding on some in-world terminology.

I’m using a new notebook I treated myself to a week or so ago. I’m a whore for a new notebook. 🙂

So, yesterday I put the first few hundred words down on a new story. It has no proposed length but I have an end(of sorts) in mind.

There’s no pressure, just committing some mental resourses to something I used to enjoy. Also, it’s good for the mental health to have something to do that isn’t just the mundane housework.

What’s the story?

It’s starting as a police procedural type on a distant, recently settled world. I have some mad ideas to add to it. No wizards or giant robots though. I don’t think it’s that kind of tale. 🙂

Links:
NaNoWriMo

Giving Prometheus a Second Try

When I first saw Prometheus I was massively annoyed by it. Just lots of small nitpicking issues. (Of course, I realise this now. Ha!)

The finger in the drink from David to Charlie is the big one that everyone who has a problem with the film seems to have. But last night, watching it for the second time, I was a lot more forgiving. Charlie is drunk and bitter in the scene. His Engineer gods are nothing of the sort, and he’s drunk and taking it out on David. So David passes him a drink with his finger in it for just a bit longer than being sneaky or an accident.

See this here though, Charlie doesn’t like David, and the android is being as confrontational as perhaps his programming allows. In his manner, at least. So, a finger in his booze is much of a middle finger to Charlie.

It seems to make sense on a second viewing.

At the time of seeing the film in the cinema I remember having other issues but none were evident watching it last night. I really enjoyed it. Well acted, with a good cast. The visuals were incredible. And the story is solid.

There is one thing. The xenomorph reveal at the end. I don’t know it that was a late addition to the film because it looks goofy and I think you’d have a better effect with the Engineer on the ground, convulsing, with his chest bursting open and a brief glimpse of a crazy looking chestburster, then the screen goes black.

Just an idea.

I’m on to Alien Covenant this evening, watching it for the first time. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it.

A Brief Update

Hello peeps,

I hope you’ve been behaving yourselves. This is the time of year when I pay for my annual webhosting and think “I really should do something on DesertOfZin to justify the cost”. Ha!

Is everyone well?

I hope so.

I had my first of my Covid-19 jabs at the beginning of March. That is exciting. And the schools are back, which is great for the daughter (although they’re off for the Easter holidays right now.)

It is weird that my wife, the Computing Science teacher, hasn’t yet had her first vaccination. You’d think, with the rush to get the children back to school, the teachers would be high on the list of essential workers. Obviously not.

And here in Scotland our Tier 4 lock down is slowly coming to an end. On Monday past more shops and businesses opened with the rest, hopefully, seeeing another positive change come April 26th. As with everything, time will tell.

Anyway, stay safe.

Rammstein – Deutschland

I’m not much for metal anymore but I have a few favourites still, mostly a holdover from years back. Rammstein is certainly one of these holdovers. There’s nothing quite like metal sung in German. It’s almost like it was made for the music.

So, I find this:

It’s from back in the golden, care-free, pre-covid days of 2018. As I said, I’m not into metal as much now so it totally flew under my radar. But it’s just marvelous.

Take a listen. I’ll be going down the Rammstein YouTube rabbit-hole…

Be seeing you…

Links:
Rammstein – Deutschland

2021 – Goodbye, Raging Hellscape Of 2020!

Happy New Year. You can almost taste the enthusiasm there, can’t you?

Let’s all agree that 2020 was crap, yeah? I was fortunate enough to get out the year without losing any loved ones to the Australian bush fires, murder hornets, Boris Johnson, Brexit, Trump or Covid-19. I count myself lucky.

Now begins a fresh orbit of the Earth around the sun and it’s a good time to shake off the cobwebs and reach for some hope.

I’ve not been one for hope. Especially not for the last few months. It’s been in short supply here in Desert Of Zin Mansions.

But it’s a New Year.

The calendar is fresh, Earth’s rotation has begun anew, there’s potential ready for all of us.

And the sunlight hours (for us in the north of the world) are getting longer.

Good luck out there, travelers. Excelsior!

Transformers: War for Cybertron, part one of three – Siege

Howdy folks,

There’s and all new Transformers animated series, in a nifty anime style, on Netflix, called, if you didn’t read the title of the post, “Transformers: War for Cybertron”. It’s part of a trilogy of six episode miniseries with the first called Siege.

It’s all about the Autobots trying to escape Megatron’s Cybertron, while he tries to bring about their total annihilation.

I’ll be honest, it’s the same origin story that has been done to death about the Transformers but its well done, the animation is pretty cool, the synth soundtrack is kicking and it’s actually a lot of fun. And Ultra Magnus is in it. And Jetfire too. 🙂 And few other characters who it was good, and unexpected, to see.

The next two chapters of the trilogy aren’t out yet but if you gain any joy out of giant robot space opera, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

I’m looking forward to the next parts already.

Now, on to something new…

Some happy memories, and Headswim

I’m up late tonight, scribbling down some notes for the novel, and I’ve got some Headswim playing in the background.

Headswim you say? One of the best bands you’ve never hear of.

Pardon me for getting all introspective here.

I first saw Headswim at the Cathouse in Glasgow, when the Cathouse was at it’s previous location. If it remember correctly, and I probably don’t, they were on a three band bill with Tool headlining and, for reasons I can’t remember either, they couldn’t play that night.

It ended up that there was barely a dozen folk there that night to see the other two bands. My friends and I stuck it out and, after the gig when everyone decanted to the open club downstairs, we hung out with Headswim. They were really great guys, and it was a great night.

I’m not sure if this is the “Lockdown” talking but I miss things, like going to a gig and hanging with the band after. Getting drunk with pals and acting like a bit of an idiot. I understand that being a husband and father means that I have to adopt a responsible attitude but it’s not like Ruth doesn’t champion any social thing I get around to doing.

And something odd seems to be happening to my social anxiety at the moment. I’ll ponder and update you later. Thanks for listening, internet.

Doctor Who : The Sensorites

It’s a muddled affair.

Ep1 :

Someone steals the Tardis lock. And traps us on a spaceship that itself is trapped in Sensorite space. Christ, it’s not the best. Hartnell is struggling with his lines, which is fine as I’m struggling with the whole script.

But just wait until you meet John. He’s the most charismatic person in space.

Ep2 :

The Sensorite’s planet is made of Molybdenum. Molybdenum? Oh, my!

But in all seriousness, I am enjoying the Sensorite’s facial hair.

Ah, so previous humans have been dicks to the Sensorites. Classic humans.

Ep3 :

Susan, going down to the Sensorite planet? Surely not. It can’t be allowed!

In all seriousness, the story has picked up. While episode one was a duffer, from two onward it picked up considerably.

And there’s some really good character development with Susan, and the poor John who is just a victim of Sensorite mind control.

And a final point, never trust an administrator with a disintegrator.

Ep4 :

Chesterton!!!

Could it be… the water? Let’s pretend it is, and see if we’re right.

Also, is the administrator evil or just incompetent?

Ooh, Doctor, now what is down the aqueduct? And I can only hope that was your tummy rumbling.

Ep5 :

The Doctor is in a fighting mood. I’m hoping he’s going to kick some ass.

And John has been returned to us!

And so has Barbara. To be honest, in all the excitement, I had kinda forgotten all about her… Oops.

Ep6 :

What’s happened to the space lady? Will the Doctor and Ian find who is poisoning the aqueduct? Will the City Administrator finally get kicked in the nuts?

Verdict :

A dodgy start but it gets much better.

The crazy humans at the end are brilliant and let the story turn full circle.

Also, the Tardis crew are just excellent. I was never much of a Hartnell era fan before but I’m really feeling it now.

the substitute (a tom berenger classic…)

Okay, this might seem like I’m pouring venom on it straight away, with a shady title like that, but let’s not forget that Berenger, at the height of his powers, was a very watchable actor.

And 1996’s The Substitute is showing those powers in the ascendant.

Here’s the deal; Jonathan Shale (Berenger) is a mercenary whose fortunes have turned. His team have returned to the U.S. after a botched mission in Cuba. Anyway, his girlfriend teaches at an incredibly rough high school in Miami, she’s pissed off the gang who runs wild in the school. She gets badly beaten up and Shale manages to set himself up as the substitute teacher of the title.

It’s a brilliant action / thriller with high quality performances from everyone. It’s brilliant. Brilliant.

The sequel, The Substitute 2: School’s Out, isn’t. It’s direct to video trash, despite being led by Treat Williams. Treat Williams is always watchable, but not even he can save the sequel.

(I mean, really, it sucks so hard from the first moment. It is the absence of subtlety in movie form. I’ve rarely seen a film so bad, and I’l watched a LOAD of shitty films. And there’s even a third and fourth film. What?)

Back to the first film, Ernie Hudson is the school principal, Luiz Guzman is one of Shale’s mercs, and the rest of the cast – none of whom I recognize – are reasonably above-average.

I know that the “white man rescuing the inner city school from itself” film isn’t a new genre, but The Substitute is still worth a watch.