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The Keanu movie about the ronin was not as bad as the trailer led us to believe it would be. I saw it in a theatre with an aikido afficianado and she was also somewhat shocked by its overall quality, some aspects of the plot, and the treatment of the end of the story.

The second Hobbit movie is very good though I don't really enjoy the roller coaster sequences, as impressive as they are. I don't think the old don would know what to make of them... still it is nice to have more screen time and more of the concurrant stories. Oh and the synthetic elf captain is an interesting character and quite fetching.

American Hustle was really good. Some tremendously sexy bits and a lovely twirling plot. If you at all enjoyed any of their previous work, you should not miss this. And if you aren't already slightly obsessed with, say, Jennifer Lawrence you should watch Silver Linings Playbook. and The Hunger Games movies. But not Winter's Bone.

I quite recommend the Divergent trilogy of post-apocalyptic juvenile novels. In fact I like them more than The Hunger Games overall. This is entirely due to Katniss and Tris, in that I didn't like Katniss anymore after part way through book two but I was with Tris all the way through to the end.

Speaking politically about the characters and stories for a moment: Katniss starts off with some agency and sheds most of it through the course of the story. Tris starts off with only a little and takes more and more onto herself. Katniss sacrifices others, often unintentionally. Tris sacrifices herself throughout her story (while sometimes putting others at risk).

Leaving the soapbox I am apprehensive about the Divergent movie coming out soon. I got bad vibes from the trailer .. like The Golden Compass bad.. *shiver*.

The Wolverine and the X-Men show (Netflix) from earlier this century was pretty entertaining, once you give up any thoughts of canon (Since any fan (past or present) of X-Men or superhero comics know canon and continuity only as cruel jokes this should be easy). I actually liked the story they told and mostly buy how the stitched the various characters into it (except Erik who [spoilers redacted]). The only really bad spot is the Japanese visit ... instead see The Wolverine movie which is more fun, and slightly less insulting to intelligence (generally) and Japan's culture.

We haven't finished Hobo With A Shotgun (Rutger Hauer) but it is truly a remarkable thing. I rewatched Four Rooms and even skipping a lot of bits regretted the time overall. Farscape is back on Netflix and so I put it on as background sometimes. Hikaru hasn't come back s no progress there but Trigun is available with real audio and subtitles, fond memories (fan subs were better).

I tried Hulu. It has commercials and the video quality was worse than expected. No sale.

Thanks to an Amazon card (from vendor's Christmas guilt) I've been indulging in Kindle purchases and catching up on my Stross.
I finally read Neptune's Brood  and am two-thirds through the re-issue of the first part of The Merchant Princes. In both cases Stross is not only a thrilling and sneaky writer but a terribly educational one .. especially about economics and finance, though certainly political science, history, technology, nuclear physics, and of course the complexities and contradictions of the human condition. Oh and I read Rule 34 the follow-on Liz novel to Halting State which trilogy will not be completed as intended. that one teaches you about depravity and Scots slang, along with the rest.

I made a bit more  progress on the Kate Daniels novels by Illona Andrews. They are so much fun and quite clever. Some near-Jim Butcher levels of sneaky seeding of the major plot has been going on ... (I refer to the Dresden Files. Read 'em. Next book is out in May so you have a few months to catchup.) and Kate has ended up with a family whether she wanted one or not.

Courtesy of a silly promotion in October I found out that Audible has some of the The Great Courses series from The Learning Company (as advertised in expensive magazine) and I've been slowly working my way through their mythology lectures: first a relatively quick survey of classical myths and now I'm getting towards the end of a longer, more in-depth course called "Myth in Human History". It's really interesting stuff not only with the individual myths and goddesses but the themes he draws from are wonderful. This course contains units on creation myths, gods and goddesses, heroic mono-myths, and tricksters (so far). Really excellent and thought-provoking. The discussion of the effects of nomads on agricultural societies, and their gods and myths are wonderful and all but forgive the time wasted on Freudian and Jungian 19C gender politics.

Telly? The third American Horror Story is really fun. They seem to have no shame and are taking full advantage of their setting (New Orleans). Lost Girl continues to be more amusing than expected (Netflix through season 3). The Witches of East End
was better than expected and Devious Maids was pretty fun with a few rough spots. We really liked Continuum and are looking forward to more turning up on Netflix. The cop mystery show Life only has two seasons but it is brilliant and ends well .. really well. You should watch it all. Fringe ended up rather well, though it is pretty hard to get through parts of season 4 and5 (She couldn't stay awake to get the intro to the future storyline).

We see almost every episode of the Stewart and Colbert news hour (if not quite on time) and @midnight is actually pretty fun. It's a bit too lively for bedtime, really.

Who? I really enjoyed the 50th anniversary "Day of the Doctor" show and all the little homages and touches. I liked the Christmas special well enough and am curious to see what the new chap will be like and where the writing is going after all of the build-up and , well, timey-whimey plots of the last few companions... We'll see how they do.

How about you lot? What have you enjoyed reading, watching, browsing, or falling asleep to of late?



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A review of Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier
http://www.schneier.com/book-lo.html

Bruce Schneier is an accomplished author and security expert. In my line of work, information security, I've studied his books before and I read his writing almost daily as his opinion is of great value and often quite interesting. If you've already read one of his books or if you already know what security is(something about keeping DAD away from your CIA) you should have already read Liars and Outliers (if not go buy a copy) and may not get as much out of this review.

As a much lauded and often quoted security expert, accomplished cryptographer, and prolific writer about security technology and politics Bruce Schneier has well established standing to ask questions like: "What is security? What is trust? How do they work? Where did they come from?". He, like many of us, has been searching for good answers to these questions for many years and many people already use his previous answers to these questions in the work and life. From his standing at the top of the field and his success in influencing how everyone thinks about security and trust issues in society (he coined the term "security theater") he not only gets to seriously consider these questions but is likely to come up with new well thought out answers that will influence the world.

This is not a book on how security technology works internally. Instead the author explores how morals, social and societal pressures, security, and others factors influence and shape who and what we trust, for what, and even a bit of why.

As such the audience is much broader than some of his earlier works. This book will provide valuable insight and entertainment to the general science layman who has enjoyed works by Gleick, Singh, Gladwell, or other popular science authors and it should not be missed. It provides and provokes questions and answers key to human existence and help you understand why you do what you do personally, socially, and politically.

Read more... )

wiki: http://f.adric.net/index.cgi/wiki?name=LandO
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Movies: Loopers was excellent, on par with Inception and On Time for good entertaining movies with actual plots and thought provocation. In a completely different way the new Dredd and Resident Evil movies were quite entertaining and all the more so because they almost entirely lacked a plot or any provocation to thinking -- in fact the blessedly brief moments when they relaxed on the fan service to attempt such things were the low points of either film.

The fan service was particularly strong with the new RE movie. Lovely lovely ridiculous costumes ... including one in my new favourite shade of purple. Almost worth her character being blonde this movie rather than the much better dirty brunette hairstyle of other films. Another positive note is that Ms. Jovovich has put on a little weight and looks much better for it.

Gaming: The new Batman film was disappointing but Arkham City looks to be as good as hyped. Guild Wars 2 launched well and is every bit as excellent as one would expect from the team at ArenaNet. I look forward to playing alot morw GW2 in the future but for now most of my game time is being spent trying to finish the story of my primary toon in The Old Republic while my attention holds / before the game dies. Steam brings many goodies, such as a new X-COM game from Firaxis (!) and the indie "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" FTL and I keep buying the Humble Bundles (and you should too) and hardly playing any of them.

Books: Reamde was excellent. It's an easy recommendation for anyone who has read Stephenson before and hearkens back to Cryptonomicon in many ways (all good) with a more mature and skilled writer (and only one time setting, with some mild flashbacks). It's quite the thriller and as might be expected quite educational about all sorts of things. Also read recently of his are Some Remarks, a collection of letters and essays (not quite a pre-death Grumbles but very interesting) and some bits from the Foreworld.

Stephenson and several notable co-conspirators have channeled their interest in historical science fiction and martial arts into a ambitious project. It's one I knew of and did not subscribe to but I am enjoying the output. I'm reading volume two of The Mongoliad and quite enjoying it, though it seems a great deal slimmer than the first volume. Among other pleasant surprises is how compelling the character of the Khagan (Khan of Khans) has been.

I've also recently read, in novels, the latest Rachel Morgan book. It was fine overall, though I must say I am looking forward to the series winding up soon. The author is having trouble balancing 10 books worth of powerlevelling of the heroine (now actually a goddess of sorts) and her allies versus making a compelling antagonist and a readable plot.

Manga:ナナとカオル gets a new character in book 16 and that's really adding to the fun of what was already a great read and good kana practice (from the sound effects and signs).

Comics: I've been enjoying reading comics on my Kindle Fire from Amazon and Comixology both. In addition to more than $20 of tasty classic Witchblade collections (Origins V1-3), a Dr Who, Star Trek crossover (?!), I've dipped my toe into Batman books as well. The Arkham City collection of all the game tie-in comics was brilliant, not only setting up the characters and story, bridging the two games, but beautifully drawn. I got it from Amazon: Batman: Arkham City. Further if you have ever enjoyed a Batman comic then Hush is not to be missed.

Alas, all of the complaints about the Comixology Kindle Fire Comics app are true. Most damning is how few of the comics available online show up in the Kindle app for reading even after purchase.

Telly:Revolution continues to teeter on the edge between watchable schlock and terrible drama. Grimm is still good as the second season rolls along. The new American Holmes show Elementary is showing hopeful signs two episodes in, but they have a heavy burden with the Great Detective. I teared up a bit at the end of the Dr. Who season finale.

With October some of the best shows are coming back on the air both top-notch and delicious schlock alike ... and almost all on the BBC. The new American Horror Story show looks to be even better than the first show and the new Bedlam isn't too bad. One of my all-time favourite guilty pleasures shows Hex is being replayed Saturdays and there's more yet to come. The not-a-real-Tivo is getting a good workout.

I manage to watch a Rachel Maddow about twice a week but she watches all of them. She has a stronger stomach I guess. Please on't misunderstand I adore and strongly respect Ms Maddow as one of the few journalists standing, but I have to limit my exposure to political news. The last dosage had me ruminating about the constitutional definition of treason and foaming a bit.

Studies: I'm making minimal progress on my year-long NSM studies themselves because I'm studying packet analysis (and soon Snort) for my 503 class and preparing lessons, labs, and teaching another class (401) in weekly chunks. I'm elated to be teaching but I'm still struggling to juggle it all around work and home. Oh and I got my CISSP, finally.

Moved: Still unpacking in rare fits and spurts. We're starting into a new phase of arranging and putting away of things that will likely run the month but may result in some books finally getting shelved. I have discovered three items (so far) borrowed/misplaced by others and need to conspire to drawn their attention to this fact...

How about any of you lot? Any good reads of late?

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I've been buying music again in fits and starts this past year and it's getting better and better. I've taken suggestions from Amazon and Apple, and plenty more from Last.FM and humans. Most of the buying has been through Amazon MP3, which has good prices and seems to generally be a lesser evil.

Playlists, albums, words, links )
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In the last two months I have been in a pool and in a lake. In the pool I waded around and practiced trying to float1 and in the lake I tried to relax on a tube and then spent awhile clinging to a ladder. This also means I have been outside in a state of undress in the vicinity of strangers and acquaintances ... the presence of family and friends not being remarkable in this case (as without it I'd not be outside/ away from home).

I have made absolutely no further progress on meeting new people, but have met some anyway. Need to resume OkCupid homework but it's difficult and not just because of the weird matches.

No noteworthy progress on exercise and I'm barely keeping weight at or under a milestone day-to-day.
Nagging thought that I'm not going to be able to do this "exercise" thing without a partner2 isn't particularly constructive. Roomie looks better every week though her diet is only slightly improved and ruminations on the 'unfairness' thereof are wastes of heat and annoying besides.

Am coming to grips with the impending move, though I do not welcome it or any of the various troubles it represents including sticky conversations about cats, closets, money, and relationships ... in approximate order of awkward unpleasantness. Oh and packing. Li9ttle fleeting hopes dance around unfinished projects and planned improvements around the house teasing with the idea that on the other side of "the move" progress might be made, we can do better next time. Which is to say that with the moving official, nothing is getting re-cabled, shifted back into place, installed, upgraded or fixed that isn't some kind of emergency.

One little test down (and one more little one to plan and schedule) with one big test coming up next Tuesday.

I'm not going to the convention, but I may make it to one of the anti-con parties.

1 NB: If you are trying to float it doesn't work. The lake was not particularly relaxing, so I may have to keep with pool for quite awhile before making any more progress there.
2 The thought is that if I could find someone to spar, hike, or take aikido (eg) with I might actually do such things sometimes, rather than struggle against computer opponents in Starcraft 23.
3 Actually yesterday I played a few hours of Overlord II quite enjoyably and haven't touched SC2 in a week.
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... due to the difference in humidity between car cabin and parking deck.

I seem to have gotten off to a good start this morning, this Monday. I didn't oversnooze and got out of the house at a reasonable minute and to work in plenty of time. Coffee soon, but first a few more words. I got 199.5 and 199 from the evil bathroom scale last night and this morning. It's a tiny thing but it was nice to see a number starting with 1 again for a change. Perhaps we got most of the moping out of the way yesterday.

Did not finish Starcraft 2 this weekend, entirely because the final mission is, of course, that most hated of scenarios: timed defense against unlimited opposition + boss. Played a game or two of Alien Swarm pleasantly enough though online play seems pointless. I did finish Saturn's Children by Charles Stross and that was a lot of fun. I do quite recommend it, as I have anything of his I have read or heard, including the short fiction piece "Overtime" of his and of course Accelerando.

Ah, yes, I remember now: coffee and breakfast. Hope you all had a pleasant and/or productive weekend.
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Aw, come on, you know you've been wanting one.

Tonight I am not reading another Sookie Stackhouse* novel and I shut off the video game of the moment (Torchlight, http;//www.torchlightgame.com/ is a perfect replacement for Diablo II with all of the gameplay mechanics, fixed, and a bunch more with nice 3d graphics and a clever story**). i had some caffeine with dinner and switched to water after one glass. (Last night I had Sprite™ wit my burger). I put on the sleep playlist, put the gaming machine to sleep, set myself awaya nd coaxed the cat to follow me to bed.

Two albums later the music has stopped and I didn't get to sleep. Brain hardly let up. In fact the hyperactive brain chatter seems worse now that I have landed a new job than when I was suddenly completely out of work and not sure how I was going to pay for things. New job starts next week. It's a big deal and I'm quite nervous. Probably need to buy some more clothes, for instance. I intend to work on that tomorrow ... even if I have to stay up all night.

Should I wear a hat to the office? There's one here for me to try. I have managed to talk myself out of buying a briefcase before I know what's going on over there ... these and other ponderings keeping me awake are brought to you by AMC's television show Mad Men, closing in on the end of their third season.

Much more exciting still is that they have a new property based on the quirky classic show The Prisoner coming out shortly: http://www.amctv.com/originals/the-prisoner/

So, since the is the first mention of it here: Yay, new job with awesome company.

Footnotes and their footnotes )
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The Fisher King
Although I am uncertain of many things about this film, I can assure you that it is Terry Gilliam, even had the opening credits not informed me. Worth seeing, of course .. but I'm not fully certain I can explain why.

Mummy 3: Jet Li
Or whatever the title was. Previous to the jumping sharks yetis, I was going along with this movie due to it's fast pace and gorgeous costuming. I was merely amused by the long stretches of dialog in Mandarin (?) with no subtitles and the weak writing. But oh gods, Evie looked amazing in that gown and the fight choreography for the scenes Jet Li is actually in is breathtaking. By the time one of the yetis signals a field goal, I had stopped trying to care, and was just watching the little cursor track rightward. In several ways the closing credits are better than the movie. Mr. Li and Ms Yeoh were excellent in their minimal roles, and did not deserve to be in this truly poor movie. And all of that is without addressing any of the Western v. China material. Or even suggesting that archaeology was involved.

Ironman
Finally watched this last week at some insistence and it was really well done. I was more pleased than expected by many things, including the last cameo.

  • Shonen: A few episodes (31-33) of Soul Eater (ソウ ルイタ). As the season two plot climbs, character development battles will shortly give way to battles with the enemy.

  • Shojo: The third season of Zero no Tsukaima (ゼロの使い魔). Since this one is shojo (hybridized), the battles mix in around the character development. Much of it is saccharine but there have a few moments of genuine drama in this show, and I expect a few more. I am of course rooting for シエスタちゃん in no small part (ha!) because ルイズちゃん is sooooo irritiating.

  • I found a torrent of several CDs worth of audio something from ZnT and extracted, reencoded, split, tagged ... the soundtrack album. i even made a torrent for it, but no one seems interested *sniff*.

  • As a follow on to listening to the audiobook of Dune, i have been reading through the books in the original saga. I've just started God Emperor of Dune this weekend. I'm certainly getting more out of them than my first sprint through however long ago.

  • adric: books icon (c) 2004 adric.net (Default)
    Brave Men Run: really amazing, fun characters, interesting backstory, the 80s

    Black Jack Justice, Season 1:, Vic : Noir done well, with lots of sneaky extra laughs

    EscapePods: foo and bar, pervert, t. rasa, doggie voice (raw) is worth the listen or the giggles

    PodCastles: barbie giggle? cup and table!

    and Non-podcasts:

    Planet Terror !

    よつばと! ... とちゃんだめ。。。。ええええ?

    BSG: Season 4 (snagged "free" eps of Psych, Eureka, BSG, and Monk)

    Ed: Been queued for weeks and growing steadily, I'm posting this list of notes so as to stop putting off the post.
    adric: books icon (c) 2004 adric.net (Default)
    But first kibble for all *nomnom*.

    Books: The first three Honor Herrington novels by David Weber.

    Movies: Saved!, Blacula and 30 seconds of Weirdsville before someone gonged it hard.

    Games: I mopped up NWN: "Darkness over Daggerfall" and have hacked into the fascinating NWN:"A Dance with Rogues". I tried out demos of shareware "Depths of Peril" and "Eschalon Book I" and gave up on each after one short play session. Although they are both interesting and quite well done, neither caught my attention. Both had Mac binaries available, so yay them.

    More? )
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    • The Dark Knight
    • Prelude and Nocturnes, The Doll's House
    • five Merry Gentry books
    • The Darwin Awards, 4th ed
    • Foxy Brown
    • The Cheap Detective

    MCU

    26 June 2008 08:24 pm
    adric: books icon (c) 2004 adric.net (Default)

    Reading: I'm a couple chapters into Guns, Germs, and Steel which is quite refreshing and promising so far. The author hopes to suggest scientifically backed answers for some big questions I have been ruminating on for a while. I read half of Bad Monkeys last night before crashing only because I couldn't stitch the sentences together while my eyelids were cracked open. It's been quite fun so far. Have they tried to make a movie of it yet? And I'm making no prgress at all on Yotsuba&!

    Oh, and Chapter 2 of the Windows Server book (70-646) is apparently about IPv6. Like waaaay about it. As in, two days later I'm try to get the prefixes for the link types straight and I may have to make flash cards. ff::::::: ...., fe:::::::::, *dies*

    Steam games: Heroes of Annihilated Empires (RPG vs RTS) single-player demo is a little clunky and the learning curve a bit sharp but it might be worth the effort. I certainly spent a couple hours hacking into the scenario, which I hope isn't the first one in the game(?) due to it's size and difficulty. Loki Norse warrior demo wouldn't even start a game, so that's dispensed with. The good news? Penny Arcade Adventures: Ep 1 was amazing, really great. In addition to really hilarious and fun game play it is the prettiest and best sounding game I have played in a while. Skip the demo if you're using Steam and just buy it, or you'll have to start over *shrug*, a niggle. If you can't cough up the 20 bucks now, better to wait because after the demo you'll really want to register ;)

    Movies: Immortal: A strange French movie (in English) via Netflix based loosely on some comics I have not read (Nikopol trilogy?). Beautiful scenes and interesting characters. Hardly makes any sense at all due to translations and yet that doesn't take away from the film any more than unsubtitled poetry. Or Egyptian. Slap Shot: An odd movie from 1977(?) about hockey and ... well ... hooliganism? Really hysterically funny, and Newman's performance is actually quite good.

    Eddie Izzard: Stripped Wed show: Wonderfully funny and provocative, even in other languages than English. He's used the time since his last tour well to come with lots of new material that is funny and still very much his. A great show and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sotto_voce for dragging me out there for birthday.

    Podcastery: I'm barely keeping up with Escape Pod and Pod Castle, and I listened to very nearly all of Cory Doctorow reading his Eastern Standard Tribe (Podiobooks) while baby sitting Windows installs at work Monday.

    EVE: Well, I'm slowly piling up Research Points. Those are good for somethig, I think. Also, another few days and my toon can study Hacking. Woo.

    Right now I'm less than twenty percentum into "Ender in Flight", a new Ender's Game story posted to IGMS by Orson Scott Card himself.

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