Monthly Archives: November 2006

Antikythera Mechanism Reconstructed

I remember reading about the Antikythera Mechanism many years ago. All that was really known at the time was that it was a complex mechanical device which was thought to have been used for astronomical calculations. More sophisticated imaging equipment has been used to reveal much more of the innards of the surviving fragments, and a reconstruction of how it may have looked when complete has been made. Interesting stuff – details from the BBC.

I wasn’t built to get up at this time

I am so out of practice with this getting up in the middle of the night thingy. I went to bed at a moderately sensible time, but could I just get straight off to sleep? No chance. So here I am, an hour after the alarm went off[1], and having to face the prospect of going out into the cold, dark “morning”[2]. All of which reminded me of a song – I wasn’t built to get up by The Supernaturals:

Oh, the milk on my corn-flakes
It’s the same as any other day
It’s just me, that’s been dragged backwards through a hedge
And the girl doing the weather
Somehow keeps it all together
But I feel like jumping off a window ledge
I wasn’t built to get up at this time
I’m not the sort of guy that rises and shines,
I wasn’t built to get up
I’ve got a head-ache, I’ve got back-ache,
I’ve got a neck-ache, and I need a break
But I’ve somehow got to get out of the door

Could have been written specially for me…

[1] Look, it takes me a while to get it together in the mornings, OK?
[2] I’m sure morning shouldn’t start before sunrise


Random YouTube clickage led me to this earlier today. It’s a short animation by Dony Permedi which manages to be funny, touching and a bit sad, too. If you like to take things seriously, it’s about having the determination to fulfil your dreams regardless of the cost. Either that, or it’s about a crazy little bird.

Off I go again

Off to London tomorrow for a couple of days. I haven’t been for a few months, so I suppose it’s about time. It makes a change from when I used to go every two weeks, which was a bit much…

The only real problem with going there at this time of year is having to get up and go out long before it gets light, which I never really like. On the other hand, there is something appealing watching the sun rise and the sky gradually get lighter while enjoying an excellent breakfast on a train.

Depending on what happens, I may or may not post something over the next couple of days.

Robin Hood – Tattoo? What Tattoo?

Now this was a slightly different episode. In the pre-titles sequence, we’re taken back to Robin’s time on the Crusade. He’s involved in a slight altercation with a Saracen who, having stabbed Robin, tries to kill King Richard. Naturally, it’s a dream, and Robin wakes up just in time for the opening titles.

The outlaws raid Marian’s home, just in time to hear Gisbourne tell the assembled nobles that Marian has agreed to marry him. After relieving people of their valuables, Robin takes the ring that Gisbourne has just placed on Marian’s finger, which gets Gisbourne a bit upset. The usual fight follows, during which Robin cuts Gisbourne on the arm, revealing a tattoo that Robin has seen before…

Lots more fun and games follow. Djaq is captured by the Sheriff’s men, and it takes them a quite unbelievably long time to notice that she isn’t a boy. Robin, realising that the “Saracen” who tried to kill the King was actually Gisbourne, completely loses the plot. I mean seriously loses it. Forgetting his vow to never kill anyone, he has to be stopped by his friends before he can kill Gisbourne.

There’s lots of the usual silliness – a rescue attempt that goes wrong (“It’s a trap!”), a side-plot involving a vial of acid, and the Sheriff’s attempt to get Djaq to make some more, and a very long fist fight between Robin and Gisbourne.

In the end, the evidence is destroyed (that acid came in handy for the Sheriff), and the outlaws escape just in the nick of time, as you might expect, and head back to the forest, where they all settle down again. Though there is the little matter of Will Scarlett having said that he thinks he’s in love with Djaq. I wonder where that will lead…

Torchwood – Countrycide

There’s something nasty going on in the Brecon Beacons. People are disappearing without a trace, and concerned that something nasty might have come through the Rift[1], the Torchwood team leave their usual city location for the countryside.

It all gets a bit messy very quickly – bodies stripped of all their flesh, mysterious figures seen fleetingly, and a general atmosphere of menace. And it’s all a quite lovely piece of misdirection. Given the stories so far, what we’re expecting is some nasty alien wossname, or maybe even some supernatural thingy that’s come through the Rift. And it all builds up nicely along those lines.

So when the real horror is revealed, it’s even more shocking. Jack gets quite upset about it and comes to the rescue of the rest of the team at the traditional last moment[2], doing an action hero routine with a pump-action shotgun.

Gwen is still having a wee bit of trouble adjusting to the new world she’s found herself in. And it’s the horror she’s experienced, and knowing that she can’t talk to anyone else about her new life, that leads to her starting an affair with Owen. All that bubbling sexual tension had to go somewhere, I suppose…

I’m deliberately not revealing the details of this episode – if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll understand why when you do. Let’s just say that it’s really nasty. A good slice of horror, and a bit more insight into the characters. Good stuff. :bouncy:

[1] Odd spacetime thingy in Cardiff. Stuff drops through it all the time, some of it strange, some of it very nasty indeed. And yes, I am from Cardiff, so stop laughing at the back there!
[2] Oooooh, about five seconds later, and Ianto would have had his throat slit…

Found some motivation

Had a quiet day today, and didn’t do all that much, but somehow found enough motivation to get on the exercise bike for the usual 10km while watching Robin Hood[1]. I think my heart rate monitor needs a new battery or something[2] as it showed some odd numbers again, but it did suggest a peak rate of 137, which is believable.

[1] Review thingy later
[2] Either that or my heart is in serious trouble :uhoh:

Gandalf is not happy

I suppose it was only a matter of time for an attempt to be made to film The Hobbit, given the quite reasonable success of The Lord of the Rings. New Line have the rights, and I’m sure most people were expecting that Peter Jackson would be given the job of making it.

But as he’s currently arguing with New Line over income from the DVDs, and won’t talk about the next movie until that’s settled, New Line have apparently decided to go ahead without him. BBC News reports that Ian McKellen, who really has to play Gandalf is not at all happy with this decision. A fan site is encouraging a boycott of New Line movies in an attempt to persuade them to change their minds. Having seen the list of movies there, I’ll have no trouble going along with that plan…

My suspicion is that removing Peter Jackson from the project is more of a bargaining thing than a final done deal thingy.

However, whatever happens with The Hobbit, I’m far more alarmed at the apparent plan to make a prequel to LOTR. Yes, they want to make an extra bloody movie based on nothing more than some of Tolkien’s notes, and probably an awful lot of stuff made up specially. :eek2: Now that is something really worth a boycott, not to mention slapping the perpetrators with a large wet fish.

Robin Returns

Nice to know it’s not just me – it seems enough people have been watching Robin Hood to persuade the BBC that paying for another series would be a Good Thing, or so BBC News tells me.

And down again

Another random weight fluctuation today, mumble, mutter.

Walked to work as normal, but as it was raining and I was feeling tired, I got the bus home, which was a much less painless operation than yesterday’s long wait.

I didn’t feel inclined to attempt getting on the exercise bike tonight.