Tag Archives: meta

Terrible sentence structure

I read back the blog post I wrote yesterday, and the sentence structure is shockingly bad.  I’m prone to passive writing, and equally prone to run-on sentences.  That blog post is pretty much a master class in shockingly bad writing (structure, not necessarily content).  I thought about going back and correcting it, but it seems a little disingenuous given the post was off the cuff as it were, just a rambling dialogue with my own brain.

It does highlight something I’ve been getting worse at over the years – proof reading.  I’m getting lazier.  I used to write and read everything back a couple of times, these days I’m lucky if I read it while I’m writing it.  This increases the number of incorrect word endings I use (-ed instead of -ing, -ing instead of -s, etc.) along with just missed out words.

I must try harder.

Given up blogging?

Maybe not. Last few weeks I’ve had an itch forming to start writing blog posts again. Maybe I’m starting to finally recover from the crushing despair I felt in the job I left in June this year? Who knows.

Whatever the reasons, I’m definitely starting to feel more creative again and that inevitably leads to blog posts.

It’s January. Actually, it’s January 2013.

This is my semi-regular where the hell have I been post.  I’ve been writing these as long as I’ve been blogging.  I don’t think I write them for you, dear reader, but for me, so that I can remember what the hell I’ve been up to because frankly, I’m not very good at remembering.

It’s good sometimes to take stock, see where I am, what’s happened, where I’m going, why I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing.  This is, in the very best use of the word, meta.

Without a doubt, Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook have replaced my desire or need to write blog posts.  Letterboxd has replaced the location I write about movies (and I quite like Letterboxd, let me tell you, although I’m not sure the social media side of it is going to work out, a lot of people follow a lot of other people and it’s not easy to see what’s going on there).  As a result, my blog takes second fiddle really, anything I feel the need to urgently blurt out happens in under 140 characters and I tend not to think about it in broader terms and turn it into a blog post.

That’s probably a shame, although I’m not sure it’s as if a thousand readers are missing out on my rambling.

Life in general is the same as life in general always is.  I’m still coming to terms with the recent death of my mother, and what that means for my life, and more importantly the life of my sister and her family.

P1120084I will risk the wrath of the car gods by saying that we finally bought into the new car market.  After 3 years of very painful car experiences, both in terms of cost and convenience, we’ve bought a new one.  Three year warranty, no MOT for the first three years either, low road tax, and most importantly, new.  That means it’s not carrying a whole bunch of latent problems that lie in wait until we have no money left that month and then leap out and bite us.  It’s the smallest car we’ve ever owned, but it’s new and it’s ours and it finally gives us a sense of security in terms of being able to get to places.  After 3 years we can use it as the deposit on another new car, and so on, and so hopefully over time, we’ll be in a much more stable position.

Of course, it’s not free, and there’s a monthly payment, but at the moment, the payment year on year is less than we were paying purely for repairs and MOT’s on previous cars.  I think one year the Mondeo cost us around £1200 in multiple essential repairs, each time you think it’s just low enough in cost to cover it, but over the year it always mounted up.  The new car is less than £100pm.

The house needs sorting.  So much stuff.  We’ve not decorated in any sense since we moved in, it’s not in us to just do it, and we can’t afford to pay someone else, but it’s going to have to happen soon.  Both sofas in the lounge are dead, and the excellent covering Grete made to hide the deadness isn’t going to last much longer.  We got the brickwork on the outside of the house sorted, after I blogged about it a while ago, and a nice person responded and said ‘out of all that, sort the bricks before winter’, so we did.  But there’s a bucket load that needs doing.  The drive is basically falling apart since next door removed the massive hedge and replaced it with a fence – I think the soil has shifted quite a bit, and the drive is slumping sideways.  Ah well, as with all things like this, we’ll wait until it becomes necessary rather than desirable and then deal with it.  Like the boiler and the central heating.  We’ll muddle along, doing what’s necessary, always hoping it’s enough until we win the lottery.

Work is work.  I’m not cut out for working for a living, but I manage to hide it pretty well.

I’m amazed daily at the pace of change in the world of IT and technology, if we think this is the future the next five to ten years are going to be amazing.  ‘Screens’ are going to essentially vanish, turning into work surfaces and converging so that they become computers.  Mobile computing will become the only form of computing.  Follow-me data will become the normal kind of data.  Privacy will face even greater challenges, and yet government agencies will continue to realise that they are losing a battle against encryption and secrecy.  The public will become more public and the private will become even more private.

I’m still diabetic, still taking the tablets, and still handling it okay, and all the while still pretending it’s okay not to really lose weight, and that somehow managing it is enough.  One day I’ll finally admit it’s not enough and that the closer I get to 50, the more I’ll have to work to stay off insulin.

We haven’t been to the gym for a very long time, sadly Grete’s back kept us away for a good portion of last year and frankly right now, it’s too cold, but I think if we made new years resolutions, which we don’t, then going back to the gym would be at the top for us both.  Grete’s doing amazingly well with her diet, getting back on that wagon.

My Spectrum fad isn’t over, but it’s on hold.  It turns out that I have room in my life for one hobby.  I’m either playing computer games, or reading, or watching films, or messing with computers, or painting miniatures, but I don’t seem to be able to balance all of them over a several week period.  At the moment, I’m back to games and movies.  Who knows how it’ll change over the next few months as the weather picks up.

bookthing-square2Speaking of books – BookThing is still going strong (and has a nice new logo), and I’m really proud of what Grete has built there.  Sanderson has finally finished the Wheel of Time series, taking over after the tragic death of Jordan.  I’m tempted, at times, to give the whole series a shot now.  I read a quick review of the final book and it suggests Sanderson has given it a fitting end, now that the end is there, maybe I’ll have the will to plough through the braid pulling and complete stupidity that some of the characters demonstrate.  Perhaps.

Stella Gemmell has written a novel, due to be released later this year, which is just awesome news.  I so hope it does well, and it’ll be one of the first books I’ve looked forward to in a long time.  I wish Mike Carey would write another Felix Castor book, but it looks like he’s doing something else first.  I know you can’t force art, but come on Mike, for me? Please?  I started the new Dresden book but haven’t finished it, got sidetracked by movies and games (see above).  I think it’s better so far than Ghost Story was, but it still hasn’t kicked into the kind of enjoyment the previous books gave me.  I hope the spark isn’t gone, I hope the flame still burns somewhere and that the story picks up.

fringeFringe!  Fringe, Fringe, Fringe finished.  We watched all 13 episodes over a 2 day period, having specifically stored them all up and read nothing until the finale had been broadcast.  It was excellent.  One of the best TV series’ I’ve ever watched, and a criminal shame it ended so soon.  But at least they knew the end was coming, FOX gave them that gift.  Was it the best it could have been?  Maybe, maybe not, but it reminded us where the story had come from, it answered some of our questions, and it made sure to ask another one right at the end.  I would have liked more of some things and less of others, but art is art and they only had 13 episodes and a reduced budget.   Something has to change if we’re going to get good quality genre TV shows with high production values, rather than cheap serials with guys in capes shooting bows and low production values.  Networks must trust the shows to build a following over several seasons, they must give them the creativity they need and the chance to grow, not order half seasons at a time, risking leaving them in limbo.

Quality genre TV asks sweeping questions over many, many episodes, but I guess they didn’t learn with Babylon 5, nor Firefly, and Fringe won’t teach them anything either.  Advertising revenue is king, immediate gratification is the only option, and our TV will become more and more like the Running Man world we all laughed at (but secretly expected to happen).

the hobbit pressI saw The Hobbit – it was nearly 3 hours of indulgent awesomeness.

We’ve started watching The Following (Bacon is good, in sandwiches and on my TV), and Criminal Minds is back next week, so plenty of harrowing TV to watch, broken up with episodes of Rizzoli & Isles, Bones and hopefully soon Castle, to keep us calm and not fretting quite so much.  Ted Danson in CSI worked far better than I expected, and I’m looking forward to his return as well.  Since our cats bought us the entire Battlestar Galactica series on Blu-ray, we’ll need to get around to watching that eventually, and I’m assured by a friend at work that it’s as good as, if not better than, Fringe.  We’ll see, we’ll see.  Alcatraz got cancelled – you bastards, it was quite good, and Sarah Jones was superb in the lead role, a good, strong, solid, believable female lead character, brushed aside by a network which needs instant results.  That series could have been huge.

I put a long list together on LetterBoxd about movies coming in 2013, you can read it here.  It seemed like a good place to put it, although it’s garnered less interest there than when I previously put that kind of thing on my blog, so maybe I’ll do that next time.

And I’m slowing down which means I think I’ve probably said enough for one post.  This is 2013, even the date sounds futuristic – let’s make the best of it.

Articles and Sorting

Hmm, the 8bit Mid-life Crisis posts are increasing in number pretty quickly, and I think they’re going to break the ‘articles’ page.  They already break the sorting which is alphabetical, so 10 comes before 2, and if I keep writing them at 1 a day, which is where I am at the moment, it’s going to outgrow that list of articles very quickly indeed.

That whole articles page was really a way of tying together a small number of posts on a particular topic, but I guess if I end up writing 10’s of posts for the Spectrum stuff, it’s not going to fit.  Also, frankly, it’s a ball ache adding the custom fields which make the posts show up on that page.

So, I need to have a think and approach this in a different way.  Maybe a simple 8bit Mid-life Crisis category would suffice.  I tend to under-use the categories, and they do list the posts in reverse time order so that might work out okay.

Edit: Right, stuck with ‘Retro Computing’ category, which I’ll post all the Spectrum posts under.  If you want to read them all, they’re there.  You can also read a summary of all the kit, on the Retro Computing page.

Hands off my content!

I gave up one of my domains a few months ago, the one relating to David Gemmell.  I won’t repeat the domain here for reasons which will be obvious in a moment.  Last night, I wondered wistfully if anyone had picked the domain up.  A quick whois showed it had, and so I visited it in my browser to see what they were doing with it, hopeful it was being used to bring David’s fans together.

Sadly, rather than that, someone had basically taken my David Gemmell eulogy, and a brief bio, combined them as the only post on a WordPress install and stuck adverts between each of the paragraphs.

Maybe if it had been something less personal I would have simply ignored it, but that eulogy was very personal to me, despite me posting it to the web.  It was still mine.  There was no attribution on the post on the site in question, and although my eulogy finished with “I will miss you ….” the way it had been re-posted just to generate advertising revenue made it meaningless.

The whois entry didn’t give a contact e-mail address, so I tracked down the web host (same company as the domain registrar) and sent a polite e-mail to their support department, showing the original content on my blog, explaining that it was my copyright, and asking if they could please speak to the owner of the site.

In their defence, they replied in a few hours saying they would contact the owner, and this morning when I rechecked my content had gone.  To be replaced by a generic Eco Advice post, interspersed with adverts.  That same content is all over the web, including one site lovingly titled “ArticleSnatch”.

I sort of feel like writing back to the web host and saying the owner is doing it again, but this time they’re using generic content designed to convince search engines to send traffic their way, but frankly, I can’t be bothered.  Now they’re not stealing my personal content, I can’t work up the enthusiasm to say much, and I guess the text they have used doesn’t belong to anyone specific.

Funny old world the web these days.  A few years ago we were told you couldn’t run a site off ad revenue alone, and now some ‘enterprising’ individuals basically make a living delivering nothing of value with advertising thrown in.

Quiet around here …

Normally when I stop writing blog posts, it’s because I’m going through a low period emotionally.  It’s been quiet around here for a while and although some of that is absolutely related to my mood, a greater part of it is because I’m just busier than I have been for a while in the evenings.

Three trips to the gym a week might not sound like much, but we’re there for 2 to 2 and a half hours, so during the week that eats up virtually all of the evening.  When we get back we’ve got to eat, and then we’ve got to catch up on TV.  On the days we’re not at the gym we’ve either been playing Lord of the Rings Online more often again, or we’re recovering from the gym and catching up on TV!

On top of that, in the last few weeks we’ve had a lot of people visiting, family and friends, and that takes up time and emotional energy.  So it’s been a bit sparse around here other than gym updates.

I’m not sure if that will change any time soon, we’ve got visitors this weekend, we’ve had a lot of stress about cars and the house, and I’m in a pretty low place mood wise, but let’s see what happens.

Untidy Blog

Meh, transferred (or half transferred) various blog posts, forum posts and stuff from various sources to here, before I shut down some other websites I host, but as usual, got bored half way through so now I have a bunch of old, badly tagged, wrongly formatted stuff hanging around.  To make it worse, I’m not sure how far through the process I got, so there may be only half the posts I want to transfer but no easy way to find them amongst the 1386 (soon to be 1397 when I hit post) items on the blog.

Oh well, must devote some of my impending holiday to sorting this place out (in lieu of sorting anything in the meatverse out).

The problem with posting reviews …

Is that eventually your opinion will come back to haunt you.  I was just re-reading some of my reviews of movies, and it struck me that I may be completely insane.

Did I actually say that Attack of the Clones was more ‘entertaining’ than Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring?  What kind of a dick would say that?  Apparently – me.  Here.  I’m not sure I still think that was the case, but clearly at some point I did.  I’m not in the habit of making shit up, especially not stuff that makes me look like an idiot 4 or 5 years later.  I think it’s kind of fascinating how your own opinion or view can change, sometimes without noticing, over time.

My memory now is that Attack of the Clones was weak.  But how much of that is my memory and how much of it is being reminded for the last 4 years about how terrible it was?

These days, I can’t conceive of many movies being more entertaining than the Lord of the Rings, I love beyond all measure of love the extended movies.  But let’s be frank, there’s still a fair amount of trudging goes on in the third one.

Maybe reviews should be ephemeral.  They should fade over time, they are the product of a moment.  Your mood at the time, the context, the situation, the journey to the cinema or the day you had before you put in the DVD.  They are coloured by your expectations and your desires, and then as time moves on and you watch the movies again, or hear about them, or understand more about your own views maybe your opinion changes.  You come to love something more or perhaps see flaws where there were none previously.

Maybe it’s naive to imagine we should always feel the same about any kind of art.  That somehow ranking something or giving it a score sets in stone how much we like it.

I was reading a piece on Den of Geek this morning, including references to how Blade 2 was better the Blade.  If anyone reads my review of Blade 2 they’ll find I had a slightly, different, opinion.  But if I watched it now is that how I would feel still?  Was I so disappointed because it was bad, or because it was not at all what I was expecting?  I ordered fish and got steak.  Even if the steak is awesome, if you were expecting fish you’re going to be a little unhappy right?  But a few years later you can look back and think, hang on, that was a mighty fine piece of cow after all?

Perhaps.  Maybe I’ll get Blade 2 on DVD and have another look.

So anyway, what’s the point?  The point is, all my reviews are a view from a point in time, in the moment, expressions of what I felt at the instant I wrote them.  No more.  Maybe no one cares but me, I was just surprised to read back some of the things I said about movies I thought I hated or loved, and marvel at how my view has changed.

My perception.

And hence, my truth.