Saturday, May 24, 2014

Feminist coincidence on @itvLewis?

All-female college at Oxford has a reunion and the first death is that of Poppy Toynton. Have the writers been punny, naming a character, with strong feminist credentials, rather like Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist? They even include another feminist newspaper columnist who jokes about her status being above the average journalist, differentiated by the appearance of her photograph above the inches - - and £40k.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

King Richard III: Catholic burial in Westminster Abbey, please

I won't wax lyrical about this as it seems so simple. He was a King of England, his wife (Anne Neville) is buried in Westminster Cathedral and so it is obvious that he should be buried with her. Now, she hasn't got a grave marker, as (according to the Westminster Abbey site) was killed the same year at Bosworth. So somewhere near the alter seems fitting, but disrupting floors and foundations to get his bones sort of nearby seems excessive, but he was KING OF ENGLAND. If any recent monarchs' corpses were ignominiously tombed, wouldn't we want future citizens to take up the cause, pay respects appropriately and bury them with as much pomp and circumstance as their position deserves?

I can see that a State Funeral might be a bit of a damp squib (go on, how many of The IT Crowd fans wanted me to write damp squid?) given that throngs of adoring/morning subjects who felt the impact of his reign aren't available.

But he really deserves much more than he is getting. We're grateful that he's been found (shame that the female archaeologist busted open the cranium accidentally, though) but now we must muster more effort to recognise his contributions.

I also agree with this blog that correctly asserts that a Catholic funeral would be necessary given the faith he held upon his death (presumably).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Plucky little pony

Not sure I can really justify why this tickles me so, it just does. One of life's mysteries.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Google Reader: a retrospective

When I first heard, I admit I was furious. I don't normally set much store by interweb facilities. Sure, I enjoy Facebook for the photos, LinkedIn for the networking, Gmail/Rocketmail/Hotmail for the communications, but apart from some very light blogging and tweeting (as evidence by this neglected blog) I really could say I'm cyber-lite. I don't have such capabilities on my mobile telephone. I access the internet by a slightly more advanced version of dial-up or visit the local internet-enabled cafe (and use gallons of bandwith/electricity for a very reasonable 40p bottle of spring water). I never even text, let alone send photo messages - do you know how expensive they are?

So, when I learned that the one crucial site that I used LOADS was disappearing for no good reason, I was fuming.

I joined this petition. I grumbled to people lengthily. I was very sad. I had used my Google Reader account for as long as it had been available. I had stored there all my subscriptions to comics, blogs, job searches, news updates, etc. I thought it would last forever. I actually thought what a fun insight it would provide should I ever leave this mortal coil unexpectedly early, my nearest and dearest taking comfort in all the funny cartoons I enjoyed and serious political debate on which I kept tabs.

I knew that good ol' Google wouldn't be persuaded. Someone had mentioned the costs of keeping it alive and compared it to the revenue possible, but we GReader scamps weren't cross-posting or tweeting or blogging or promoting enough. We could have been punished another way. Make it slower. Fill it with ads. Do a YouTube and make us watch a commercial before we could get to the good stuff.

Instead there was just a steady reminder to back-up, download, collect and otherwise archive the information lovingly contained therein before the big power switch in the sky was turned off.

Resignedly I searched for alternatives. I tried Old Reader, but it didn't float my boat. I'm now using Feedly, but I'm still not convinced. I wanted more functionality for free, but maybe I'm just greedy.

I'm no longer angry. Strangely, it subsided pretty quickly. Feedly is now my go-to site after Facebook and my various email providers.

However, I'm beginning to think Google's Do No Harm promise is ringing hollow...

Sunday, March 09, 2014

X Men: First Class - belated retcon conversation

I don't know if it is the historian-archivist in me, but my revulsion of revisionist works really prevents my enjoyment of film series which offer poor continuity. I could start with the Hulk nonsense (how unnecessary it was to remake a movie so soon afterwards, how confusing it is to have different actors in the role within my living memory, etc.), or I could mention my surprise at the reboot of Spiderman: though this could be more to do with my concern that the reboot might have been timely but I am simply old enough to remember the first franchise properly and thus newer versions seem like heresy.

I understand that film studios are in the business of making money not life-changing, world-view-shifting art. It is commercial. It is also very wasteful, but I'll write about the lack of renewable elements of film sets and concomitant excessive rubbish it creates.

 Maybe it is the wastefulness of remakes to which I object. If the first films were fine, why mess around and waste money making another? Other than the obvious answer of 'make more money for the studio'.

However, my main chagrin has to be the lack of continuity and the sense that the makers don't really like the subject of the films or respect its fans enough to keep facts straight.

I know how hard it is to plough through material and make sure the argument is cohesive, avoiding repetition or omission that might change fundamental parts of the cannon. Perhaps I'm naive in assuming all official output has to be cannon, but for me it does. If the original creator or whoever owns the rights now says, "Yes, make this new comic/book/film/doodle using the content/ideas/characters that have previously been used." Then I really do expect there to be a shared sense of responsibility to make the new material sync with the previous; not just thematically fit, or 'you could see how someone would think that would be sort-of appropriate' - I want it belong cogently and cohesively in the same universe. I don't want a mind-fog moment of 'erm, I might be wrong but didn't she used to wear red shoes when she was in fighting mode' and then have to endure either of two equally insupportable situations:

1. Watch the movie assuming they are right, that your brain has somehow melted rendering all previous stored information muddled and worry about your ability to remember the order of door, lock, lid, pants, sit, wee when the occasion arises...


2. Watch the movie assuming they are wrong, that they couldn't be bothered or had insufficient resources to properly research the previous output and worry about what other jarring inconsistencies may arise before the film concludes, releasing you into the sweet freedom of wiki checks proving that yes, you did remember that inconsequential detail correctly.
N.B. This is similar to my worry about live performances where a small dance misstep or incorrect chord or forgotten line can ruin the experience for me and leaves me on the edge of my seat with nervousness before the performance has even begun. I cannot even bear the anticipation of errors, I am involuntarily but irretrievably mortified on their behalf, guilty of aiding and abetting their mortification by choosing to view this performance and thus forcing them to present themselves for judgement by an audience (only one of which is me). It is irrational but unavoidable.

For those wanting a tiny taste of the furore that can be created when cannon is disrespected, please check out this X Men link which hints at the consternation bubbling away on the interwebs.
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