Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Film — The Gamers : Dorkness Rising

The first film, The Gamers was a loveable low budget knowingly self-mocking film for D&D players, by D&D players that did the convention ciruits some years ago. Now, armed with a budget for some better special effects, the hilarity continues.

The story? Well, a bunch of the usual suspects play D&D, only to make up numbers, one of them has to rope in an ex-gf.

If you know you will get the in-jokes, this one is definitely for you. A great popcorn movie.

Film — Watchmen

After many years and many false starts, a movie that is, for the most part, frame for frame, line for line, exactly as the original comics.

In some places, the deviations are good -- the public back story unfolding as cameos behind the credits; some are neutral and clearly to economize on time (details of the big reveal); some are clearly modern zeitgeist (Ozymandias is still trying for clean cheap energy -- something that Dr Manhattan had implicitly already delivered in the original); and some are rather disappointing (how Rorschach deals with the child killer, the epilog with Dan, Laurie and Sally).

Rated 18 "for strong bloody violence", the occasional points where Dr Manhattan makes people explode into gore, or Silk Spectre and NiteOwl inflict compound fractures are quiet tame (by contrast the no more than 15-rated "Contains moderate violence" second episode of Texhnolyze had me feeling queasy with far less).

Overall, excellent!


Five years of the new car, and 30,704 miles from 24,432 last year, a total of 6272 miles, 432 more than last year, a chunk of which will have been hospital visits, and driving rather than cycling to the Film Festival.

At least I've got a head start on cycling this year.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

First cycling day

I could have been a little more enthusiastic, but today is the first nice -- mild, sunny, calm, and with the evenings opening out -- day for cycling to work. And showing that it was the first, even if I didn't have to get off and push, it was 57 minutes in the saddle, as opposed to well under 50 like at the end of the season.

LATER -- homeward bound is on average downhill, and the last 4 miles are flat; so it was only 48 minutes, which is closer to my end of season outbound time. And I slept like a log, shrugging off any disturbance from restless legs and snoring. Good times.

Links for 16-Mar

Which is more beautiful -- OO or FP?

Effective Powershell (free e-book).

PowerShell -- enabling "dir -a:d" in V2.

An alternative to the where T : new() constraint (updated with lambdas).

Managed code and the worst exceptions.

StyleCop release and ReSharper plugin.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Links for 2-Mar

Parallel extensions in F#.

The ILMerge tool for assembly aggregation.

Partial classes and default constructors gotcha.

Mocking objects with NaturalSpec.

Where did that PoSh function come from?

Killing locking file handles without killing the owning process.

Anime — Mahō Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora (魔法遣いに大切なこと ~夏のソラ~)

AKA, in not at all literal translation of the main title, Someday's Dreamers: Summer Skies, a one-season series from Q3 of last year. I'd not seen the earlier series, but picked this up on a whim in a fairly thin season (shared only with Strike Witches); but this stand-alone story didn't need that.

Rendered in an interesting style -- nigh photorealistic settings (rotoscoped?) with characters overlain -- this follows Sora Suzuki (the sub-title being a pun on her name), a girl from Biei on the northern island of Hokkaido on a one-month apprenticeship in Tokyo to become a properly licensed mage, permitted to use magic on specific request by clients made via the Ministry of Magic. While that may sound like a girl from the Highlands coming to the Smoke in some Harry Potter-esque scenario, that, fortunately, is the last thing it resembles.

The magic here is quiet, for all its power -- to stop a falling petrol tanker, Sora just gestures and concentrates, with no whirling magic circles or brightly coloured beams such as Nanoha might have employed in the same circumstances. And as such, the series falls into a peaceful slice-of-life style, split between Sora (and her classmates) making their first supervised house calls, learning and living in Tokyo in the summer, and, in Sora's case, finding a first romance with the surfer dude lodged with the same supervisors.

Oh, and surprise plot twist in the last quarter of the series.

Of last year's series the one whose OP and ED themes have found themselves playing as "what is that tune running through my head?"