dc: (Satellite 2)
I seem to have been pretty much hibernating since the end of Satellite 2. The Dead Dog ended when we left after 1am on Monday morning, I got back and slept for a while, waking up at some point (there was daylight) to snaffle some food and then crawled back into bed. Yesterday, woke up early, got up and had breakfast then crawled back into bed... Bit of a pattern there. While having breakfast, I watched the Lugosi Dracula, a secondhand DVD I got from At the Sign of the Dragon, the dealer we had at the con. (I have a small passion for the Universal horror films of the Thirties/Forties.) Its pacing was ideal for my tired brain; I wasn't too tired, though, to appreciate that Lugosi was actually rather impressive in the role, allowing for the different style of acting of the time. It has been quite some time since I last saw the film, and I had forgotten the way Browning makes it look as though Lugosi has walked through a web without disturbing it: simply done, but very effective. However, I would really like to get my hands on a copy of the simultaneously filmed Spanish version: the actor playing Dracula may be less skilled than Lugosi, but from the clips on the disc's extras, the direction is much superior.

Anyway, not really what I set out to write about. After all my banging on about it to everyone I met for the better part of eighteen months, we finally got Satellite 2 to the launch pad on Saturday morning. There was an odd moment when I looked at the registration desk — laden with leaflets and booklets — and thought, Oh, shit! I haven't brought any Satellite 2 flyers! And then I remembered this was actually it...

The opening ceremony started with a film of Apollo 11 launching to the accompaniment of Also Sprach Zarathustra[*]; then a big pink foot came down and the Python theme started[**], which is when we walked in and took our places. The Python bit seemed to go down very well, as did the choice of a white waistcoat to mark the DCM: a fair number of people got that.

And then we were into the con, with a programme which seemed to be well-liked. Certainly there were times when it was hard to get gophers because everyone wanted to go a programme item, and Ken MacLeod commented on how much of the programme he wanted to see. Iain M. Banks was a superb guest of honour, approachable and enthusuastically taking part. (With him and Ken at Satellite 1, we have been very lucky with our guests of honour.) The oddest comment about the con I have heard came from someone who did not come to it. I am told that someone was attempting to persuade a media fan to come along and got the response that it was a space advocacy convention masquerading as a science fiction convention. Um, no, I don't think so. Yes, there were some items in the science stream which could fairly be described as space advocacy (and I don't see a problem with that at an SF con), but it wasn't by any means a majority of the programme. Of the programme items I saw (either whole or in part), the ones which were highlights for me were Inadvisable Rocket Science[***] and Iain Banks's Room 101. I particularly loved his diatribe against Michael O'Leary, the boss of Ryanair. He referred to one of the ships in Matter, The Hundredth Idiot: the source of the name is a quotation. ‘100 idiots make idiotic plans, and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot, whose plans succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he’s a genius.’

When I read Matter, Michael O'Leary was exactly the sort of person I thought of at that point.

I'm not quite sure exactly how the balance falls between scary and gratifying, but there were quite a few people asking about a Satellite 3.... Gulp.

I feel like going back to bed... I lasted quite well through the con, despite that awful bout of neck pain last week (it really buggered things up, although I got a lot of rest I was trying to catch up from quite a spoon deficit because of that). Admittedly, I had to use some Red Bull, but I lasted the con. Flopping at the Dead Dog was needed, though. I am hoping that by tomorrow I will be back to something like a normal sleep/wake ratio. Friday morning, of course, I need to get my father to the Beatson. (He's eating much better, by the way: the stent has really helped.)

Oh, while I remember: if you have any con reports from Satellite 2 (or see any), could you point me to them? (No, I haven't caught up with DW/LJ. Don't be silly.)




[* Which brought back memories: the BBC used it as the theme for their Apollo 11 coverage.]

[** This year is also the 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus, if you didn't know.]

[*** A nuclear ramjet, planned to fly at low altitude at Mach 3 with an unshielded nuclear reactor spewing a radioactive trail behind it? As Phil Wellings said, the capacity to delivery nuclear bombs would have been almost redundant.]

dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
OK, I have spent a substantial part of the past three days in bed. For those new to my journal, I have ME, which a lot of people don't know when they meet me (which suits me). This is because I tend to pace myself so that when people see me, I'm not too bad. If I am too bad, I generally can't make it out, so it's easy not to spot I have it. It is also not, mostly, as bad as it was at the start, but just lately it has taken a serious turn for the worse. Partly this is the effect of my having had a few months of other health problems (asthma, chest infection, weird dietary problem), partly having had to expend a lot of my spoons on helping out my parents (my father has been ill, in hospital a couple of times, and my mother's mobility is very limited). Except that I have had rest and things should have been on an improving curve, but in fact things have been been inclining to be worse. I can't help wondering if some of my other medication is having a bad effect on the ME. The past three days I have had almost no energy, had problems moving around the flat, and have tended to feel so exhausted I was on the point of collapse while I was lying down.

I am quite pleased this didn't hit earlier, because it would seriously have buggered up Friday. I spent a chunk of the day with [livejournal.com profile] banhe, whose birthday it was. There was photography involved, and food, and the giving of presents. It was excellent getting the chance to catch up with her.

Since she's vegan, we ate in the Note. I decided not to take the risotto cakes (which are delicious and I can tolerate them) because I always take them lately, and instead decided to have the lasagne. It was nice, and I had no catastrophic effects, but there was definite unpleasant bloating for several hours afterwards. I recently also tried some beans (since I like beans on toast) and it wasn't too bad — not the catastrophically bad effects I was getting with fibre a few months ago. However, definite discomfort and bloating, enough to suggest eating more fibre would be a bad idea. So, it looks like it is going to be a while yet before I get back to being vegan.

My father's is not too well again; in exactly what way, who knows? He will not describe his symptoms. He's been put on some new medication which looks like some fairly potent antimicrobial, and he's going to be reassessed at the end of the week, and possibly admitted again to hospital. This is going to be fun.

I have been pleased to discover that there's now a BBC iPlayer which works properly with Linux, using Adobe AIR if I recall correctly (I installed it just before the ME thumped me at the weekend). Not sure how long that has been available, I haven't even looked at the iPlayer page for several months. It's about time, whenever it was implemented.





dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Well, I went to Eastercon (LX, in Bradford) and had a good time. My original plan had been to take the laptop, but when I saw what the hotel was going to charge for wifi I reconsidered that plan, which seems to have been wise. (Not only was it very expensive, it didn't work very well, if you will excuse the understatement.[*]) Given that I started to feel unwell the night before I travelled down (still not sure what was going on there), and that something was giving me much grief at the hotel in the form of allergies affecting eyes, nose and throat, the spoons lasted pretty well. In fact, bizarrely, the single worst bit of the con was the closing ceremony: sitting in a chair with poor support for more than an hour wiped me out. By about two thirds of the way through it I was seriously despooning. Fortunately, there was sustenance in Ops which revived me so that I was fit to head out for the train. Anyway, I'll try to post a bit more about the con when I have more time. It was good fun, saw lots of lovely people, had an astonishing amount of hugs and free alcohol... Yep. Fun.

Today I surfaced for a bit, met a friend and went to the cinema (In The Loop — more vituperation per minute than any other film). Soon I need to drag myself home. Oh, and by the way... If anyone doesn't know or has forgotten, Satellite 2 in July in Glasgow will be a jolly good convention, with Iain M. Banks, science, lots of fun, and real ale. You know you want to be there.

Oh, and in case it isn't obvious: I have not remotely caught up with my flist. :(


[* One of my favourite overheard exchanges from the con: Fan: Your wifi in this hotel's shite! Hotel staff: Yeah, that's why I don't use it.]
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
I am coming to the conclusion that this throat is not simply the effects of much talking at Eastercon coming about ten days after an URTI; I think I caught another URTI at Chester. It is mild, but bloody annoying, grumbling away in my nasopharynx. It is a beautiful day, but I know what I need to do is stay in and rest. Bum.

So I am mentally fuzzy, and a little woozy, so not all that productive today. I did manage to get out in the past couple of days to spend time with [livejournal.com profile] banhe, [livejournal.com profile] sheonamcc and [livejournal.com profile] ambersrequiem, which helped recharge my batteries a bit. Trout on Thursday was good, but I did despoon a lot at about half nine. What a pain.

What I need to do in the next day or so is actually go through the addresses I got at Eastercon and organise them. I suppose I should really wait until I can be sure I can focus on the text...

One programme item at Contemplation, of course, was the screening of Doctor Who. It was not the pile of steaming ordure which the first episode was, so it was very well received. But I watched it again last night on BBC4 and... it really was not very good, was it?* (I actually almost feel asleep during it.) I would almost rather watch The Gunfighters again... Actually, strike that almost. *sigh*

If only that were the worst thing on television last night. A new series of Have I Got News For You started last night, and I watched that... and wished I had not, because what immediately preceded it? An election broadcast by the BNP. Where is an emoticon for jaw hitting floor when you need one?

As you might expect, the actual words they delivered were very carefully chosen so as not to frighten the horses. (They are not, unfortunately, so mentally challenged as the NF were.) But the imagery...! At one point, behind the talking head, there was a graphic of shuffling, slope-shouldered, zomboid silhouettes and the text immigrants everywhere.... OMFG! I am trying to work out if there is any chance of this bunch getting a representative into Holyrood, but my head is not clear enough. There are places like Ibrox to take into account. How many votes does it need for one of these twunts to get in on the Glasgow list?

Also WRT the elections... I was not pleased to learn from [livejournal.com profile] banhe the other afternoon (yes, I have not been keeping up with all the news, either!) that the SNP have taken Souter's money. *head in hands*

At least we have the options of Greens and a local independent here.



Gah. I am going to have to go and take some medication, I think. In the meantime, here is a wee meme I have picked up via [livejournal.com profile] loveandgarbage and [livejournal.com profile] sharikkamur. How this works is: you go to IMDB and pick 10 of your favourite films. Pick 3 plot keywords from each and see if people can guess what they are. Here are my ten films for you to guess (no cheating by looking them up!):

1: Messiah, Payphone, Negative Footage [2001: A Space Odyssey, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] blue_condition]
2: Ice Age, Throat Slitting, Title Spoken By Character
3: Catholic Church, Neo-Nazi, Condom
4: Rain, Paranoia, Ocean
5: Anti-Conformity, Peace, Mud [Woodstock, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] blue_condition]
6: Satire, Redhead, Military
7: No Opening Credits, Unspoken Love, Sword Fight [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] soon_lee]
8: Hitler, Nazi, Swedish Sex Bomb [The Producers, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] loveandgarbage]
9: Air Base, Decoder, Torpedo
10: Very Little Dialogue, Character Name In Title, Firework


I have tried to pick keywords which are not the obvious for most of them, although in two of the more obscure I have taken one obvious keyword at least; one film is from this century, most are more than 20 years old. Three of the films are in languages other than English. One is in English and another language.

And now, here is exactly the same thing done for TV programmes:

A: Character Name In Title, Time Travel [Play For Today: The Flipside of Dominick
Hide
, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
B: Conspiracy, Demolished Town, Sequel
C: Sex, Student, Hospital
D: Midget, Conversion, Heathen
E: Religious Differences, Pursuit, Morality [Battlestar Galactica, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] loveandgarbage]
F: Hit And Run, Hospital, Police [Life On Mars, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
G: Famous Opening Theme, Corridor, Ethics [Doctor Who, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
H: War Room, Scandal, Election
I: Cult Favorite, Interracial Relationship, Famous Score [Star Trek, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
J: Cult Favorite, Surreal, Ensemble Cast


This list contains three American programmes, all the rest are British; there are two comedy series; seven are classifiable as SF. None of them are obscure (there were obscure ones I was tempted to use, but not having more than one keyword made that difficult ;o) ).



[*All right, that was an understatement. There is a very happy goat in the corner...]
dc: (Doctor)
So. Tomorrow it is time to decamp for points south, and Eastercon. I have been having a quick look at the programme, groaning at having to be up and sentient at some ungodly hour on Sunday (11am!), but generally thinking that it looks like a damn good programme. It certainly has one of the classic features of a good Eastercon programme, namely that whenever I see an item I really want to see, it coincides with another one I really want to see (or have to be at). Contemplation is looking good, and I think Chris and Fran and their team have done an excellent job in getting an Eastercon together so quickly. I am hopeful that this will be a good one.

I hope that someone will go to The Great Clomping Foot of Nerdism at 20:00 on Friday and tell us all about it here afterwards, since having volunteered someone for another panel on at the same time I kind of feel I should be there to lend moral support. I shall avoid referring to the Eastercon Better Not Mentioned, honest. I also would have liked to hear the talk on Web 2.0, but have to be elsewhere at the same time.  Yep, this might be a good one.

I am slightly.... No, a bit more than slightly concerned about my spoons. Various things have contributed to my spoons being depleted in recent months, and also to my not getting the opportunity to adequately refresh them. I am probably at the level I would have liked to be around Sunday at the moment, which is not brilliant. I may be able to run on adrenaline (I can do bursts, of up to a week if necessary, if I don’t really stop and I am driven by necessity or having a good time, but it demands payback afterwards). Probably with caffeine. I might be able to build in enough rest time to see me through without that. We shall see; if anyone comes across me and I seem antisocial (apparently not listening or focussed, monosyllabic replies), then it is spoons that are the problem.

One of my concerns about spoons is that it might limit the amount I can do, in terms of helping out. (Because as well as being a good thing to do, it is fun.). Let's hope not.

According to the final (I am not saying a word...) Contemplation programme, it is still not certain that Doctor Who shall be shown on the Saturday. Know what? I don’t really care. I am baffled that the same time which gave us most of Eccleston’s series and something like The Girl In The Fireplace can also give us drivel (being polite, here!) like, oh, Fear Her, and the guff about Rose which inundated the last series... and Saturday’s episode. (And, to focus on a completely unimportant bit of trivial detail, could they not have found someone who could show Freema Agyeman how to use a stethoscope the right way round?)

Just wondering, too, if I was the only person who heard the continuity announcer heralding the start of the third series of Doctor Who and thought something along the lines of Mumble mumble mumble feckin’ 29th!

Life On Mars... It has just occurred to me to check what has happened to the DVD release date, since that was supposed to be next week, but that was before sodding football screwed the screening of the current. Yep, it has been pushed back to April 16th. Interesting that last night there was no end-of-episode preview of next week. A good episode... though I may have nightmares about Gene Hunt, Diana Dors and a bottle of chip oil for some time to come... hopefully sans the Tufty costume, at least.

By the way, Satellite 1 shall have a presence at Contemplation (all the Politburo, I think, unless something unexpected happens). At Eastercon you can sign up for Satellite 1 at the current rate of £15; prices rise when Contemplation is over.

Incidentally, there is a group picture of the Politburo on the web site. Interesting how stern most of us look; I was certain I was smiling, too...



While I have been writing this, a worrying tickle has set in in my throat. Oh, for fuck’s sake! That’s all I need, another URTI... Fingers crossed it comes to nothing.

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