Three movies for 2015

Spectre

I like the new turn Bond movies have taken with Skyfall, and I hope this doesn’t return to the pre-Casino Royale days.

Blade Runner (final cut)

Seen the original, seen the director’s cut, and I hear this version is worth watching.

Terminator: Genisys

Because Arnold? The last two were terrible, IMHO, this can’t possibly be worse.

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Audio-bookery

I read books very rarely these days, or rather very slowly, sometimes just a page or two a day. One of the ways I do “read” regularly is orally rather than visually, by listening to 10-15 minutes daily. Audible.com’s $14.95 monthly membership happens to work out quite well for this, since I rarely finish listening to a book in less than a month. Yes, ten years ago this would’ve been a joke, but it’s totally worth it.1

Selecting audiobooks is very different from regular books or e-books. It’s impossible to “hoard” them2(!) A bigger difference is what I end up looking for. Instead of going by the author or the theme, I find myself giving a huge weight to the narrator. An average narrator ruins the experience3.

The reason I mention this is I found a two-year old article4 about the same, which has a list of “famous” narrators. One of my famous narrators didn’t make the list, so I’ll mention her here. Wanda McCaddon5 was the narrator of “The Birth of the Modern” by Paul Johnson, and ever since, I’ve been seeking her out everywhere (my favorite so far has been “The Guns of August”).

Anyway, depending on your point of view, available time and inclination to listening to someone talk, you’ll either find the idea of audiobooks a “fad” or something you’d enjoy6. If it’s the latter, go for the 30-day free trial and see how you like it.


  1. Think “price of a haircut”, or “four cups of coffee at Starbucks” 
  2. Well, ok, you can, but you have to try hard. Compare to e-books, where a whole mass of them piles up in a jiffy. Which is why I gave up on them. 
  3. I wish most authors who try to read their own stuff would take a hint (one notable exception being Prof. Michael Drout
  4. Wall Street Journal, “The New Explosion in Audio Books 
  5. Though she uses a stage name, and I encountered her as “Nadia May” 
  6. On the other hand, some of the add-ons, like the so-called “immersive reading” experience where you buy both the audiobook and the e-book are definitely not worth it. 

Experiences in framing

There was a painting we bought during December 2013 in New Orleans that had been lying around in a roll in the trunk of my car. A year and half later, it’s finally up.

I’ve hung up photographs before, which is usually just a simple affair of inserting it into the frame the right way. Properly mounting a painting has a lot more to it — and while I cut several corners in this attempt, I know about things I can improve on1 next time.

Jazz Painting Framing

  1. One obvious newbie error was to order a mat with the same size as the painting (should be a couple of inches smaller). 

From a usenet posting little less than a decade ago1, something that explains a common pattern in “high-level flame wars” on the internet …

I think the term you’re looking for is “willfully ignorant” or perhaps “stubbornly ignorant”. They’re actually too fundamentally intelligent to be truly stupid, but the intelligence is being perverted in the service of an active ignorance that seeks reinforcement of its own preconceptions, rather than being open to the subtle panic that inevitably arises when learning something truly new & different.


  1. … came across it in Zach’s “Rob Warnock archive” 

A weekly recap of reading …

… would be a great idea! Here is something I found from ten years ago on The Rad Geek People’s Daily:

Everyone’s got their own Friday afternoon game to play, and this one’s mine. I’m introducing a new recurring feature for the Rad Geek People’s Daily: Over My Shoulder, quotes (mostly without commentary) from something I’ve been reading this week. Irony to one side, this isn’t really intended as bragging about my reading list; the point is that what I’m reading is a way of getting at things I’ve been thinking about, even if I don’t yet have a confident position to stake out yet; and also that there are a lot of people out there who are smarter than I am, and not everything they write is something I can link to in online commentary or read the whole thing weblog posts. So here’s the rules.

  1. The quote should be something that I have read, in print, over the course of the past week. (It has to be something I’ve actually read, and not something that I’ve read a page of just in order to be able to post my favorite quote.)

  2. It should be a matter of one or a few paragraphs.

  3. There’s no commentary above and beyond a couple sentences, more as context-setting or a sort of caption for the text than as a discussion.

  4. Quoting a passage doesn’t entail endorsement of what’s said in it. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t. Whether I do or not isn’t really the point of the exercise anyway.

Could be snippets of text, or snippets of code, or maybe just a phrase or two …