Dec. 4th, 2020 08:20 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
You can find more info on my userinfo page - but this is just here to say that I'm very happy to be friended by anyone that wants to read me. I rarely post friends-only, and that only tends to be about things that mention work, so if I don't friend you back you're not actually missing much...

If you do friend me, this would be a good place to leave a comment introducing yourself, and letting me know how you found me!

I have lots of awesome friends - if you want to make a few more then take a look at here for Dreamwidth and here for Livejournal, add a few people, and leave comment so people can add you too.

The links posts come from my page at Delicious and are posted to DW and LJ via a web app which I wrote, and you can use yourself here.

A note to Livejournal users:
You can easily leave comments using OpenID - this allows you to "sign in" using your LJ id, and that way I can tell you're you!

A note on correcting people's grammar in the comments.

Official Spoiler Policy.
andrewducker: (Default)
Dr Strange
Good, fun, Marvel movie. Suffers from all the failings you'd expect (hero's story that's too close to Tony Stark's, dodginess around Tibet/Nepal and replacing a major Tibetan character with a white one), but on its own terms is solidly entertaining, had an ending that didn't fall into the usual traps, and was gloriously pretty whenever magic was involved. Most fun I've had with a Marvel Movie since Winter Soldier. 7/10

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Harry Potter spin-off set in 1920s New York. Eddie Redmayne came across to me as a cross between David Tennant and Matt Smith, but that's no bad thing, and I enjoyed this a fair amount. It's not amazing, but it does have a lot of sensawunda, and lays the ground for apparently _five_ movies. Spoilerish thoughts, encoded in ROT13:
Tryyreg Tevaqyrjnyq pna nccneragyl svtug n ybnq bs jryy-genvarq Nhebef gb n fgnaqfgvyy, ohg Arjg pna (ng yrnfg) fvatyrunaqrqyl fheivir uvf nggnpx? Naq ur gheaf hc va Arj Lbex whfg nf fbzrbar vf nobhg gb tnva pbageby bire na Bofphen? Zl thrff vf gung Arjg vf n uvtuyl pncnoyr ntrag, frag ol Qhzoyrqber gb znxr fher gung Tevaqyrjnyq vf ceriragrq sebz trggvat jung ur jnagf. 6/10

It was a proper science-fiction movie! By which I mean that it bore some resemblance to the written science fiction fiction I love, being largely about exploring an interesting idea in the way that only science fiction can. Not everyone I know loved it, but the majority of them thought it was marvellous. Aliens arrive, and our viewpoint character is a linguist trying to understand them. I've seen it twice at the cinema, and there are so many lovely moments in there about the difficulty of understanding one another. Not perfect, but ambitious in all the right ways, and well worth seeing. Also, you should totally read the short story, available as part of "Stories of Your Life, And Others" by Ted Chiang. 9/10

Disney does Polynesia. Gorgeous scenery, lovely songs (although largely not memorable), nice plot, good characters, and well worth watching. Lots of it was fun, the resolution wasn't what I was expecting, and I had a thoroughly good time. Not sure it's going to stay with me, but I will definitely be enjoying a second watch when it hits the small screen. 7/10

OnePlus 3
My new mobile phone. Which doesn't suffer from the flaws of my old mobile phone (basically: lack of memory), and works very nicely. Being able to draw a V on the screen to turn on the flashlight is a nice touch, and the fast charging is great. Basically, a great top-of-the-range-last-year phone for only £300. I've not really found anything wrong with it yet, other than it being very slightly larger than I'd like (about halfway between the 5X (perfect size) and the 6P (definitely too large for me).

This film could be used as a test. If you think it's a delightful story in which two people are brought together by the power of fate then you're a terrible person who should never be allowed anywhere near any kind of machinery or device that might cause harm to others. If you think it's a terrible story about two awful people who must not be allowed to ruin the lives of anyone else, and must therefore date each other, then your opinions are probably generally trustworthy.
John Cusack is a guy who will cheat on his girlfriend within seconds of meeting another woman, Kate Beckinsale is a woman who believes the universe has opinions about who she should sleep with. This would be fine if the director didn't seem to think this was a lovely story, and that the universe works this way. Which I don't mind if you play it with a certain level of knowing whimsy and magical realism (LA Story is one of my favourite movies), but it's awful if you play it straight. -173/10

LA Story
God, I love this movie. It makes it clear that we're in fantasy land really early on, and doesn't take itself even slightly seriously, except when it needs to. Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E Grant, and Sarah Jessica Parker are all clearly having a marvellous time making it, and I grinned the whole way through. 17/10

Lara Croft GO
Turn-based puzzle game starring Ms Tomb Raider. Got it on my mobile phone, and have been enjoying working my way through the puzzles. Nothing too complex, but nicely presented, and only £1.50. Well worth picking up if you spend much time on the bus.

You're The Worst Season 3
I introduced Jane to You're The Worst so that I had someone to watch season three with. We binge-watched the first two seasons, largely at her insistence, and they continue to be great TV about two people who should never be in a relationship with anyone. Funny, smart, well-written, and self-aware. Then we watched season 3. The first half wasn't as good as the first two seasons - the writers treated the characters as cartoonish versions of the people we'd gotten used to. And then, about halfway through, it got its mojo back, and proceeded to rip my heart out through my chest. Marvellous stuff. 6/10 for the first half, 9/10 for the second half.

I haven't seen this yet. Yes, I know, I'm a terrible person. I score 0/10.

I just spent two days there. It was good. The train museum was a fascinating slice of British history - particularly comparing the train carriages which had belonged to various members of the royal family over time. We enjoyed walking the walls too. And the Christmas market was nice. And the hotel we stayed in had enough electrical sockets, an event unheard of in my existence. 7/10, would happily go back for a couple of days at some future point.

10/10. Would snuggle again.

(Because there are loads of different things in here, if you're going to leave a spoiler-ridden comment then be a lovely person and ROT13 it, so that people can read about the other ones without bumping into spoilers.)
andrewducker: (Default)

Showing off the kind of thing you can make in the Quill VR art package.
andrewducker: (Default)
Advice about seasonal greeting cards from a friend of nwhyte who is a postal worker:

[this is specifically UK oriented, but most of it will apply in any country where end-of-year greeting cards and gifts are a big deal]

Okay, now that the Christmas card season is underway, allow me to offer some first-hand tips aimed at stopping your cards getting lost or damaged in the massive crush the Royal Mail endures at this time of year. Every day I see the stack of damaged cards in the mail centre, and I try not to think about the wasted effort, and possibly even heartbreak that it represents. It's easily avoided.

The less expensive cards have awful gum on the envelopes. Make sure the card is correctly sealed, and don't be afraid to use tape if you have to.

Never, and I mean NEVER send cash money through the post. We have all sorts of casuals in during the festive season, and they can't all be thoroughly vetted. It's easy to spot a letter with a banknote in it. Really.

Identify your letter simply and easily with your surname and postcode on the back. That's enough to track you down if something bad happens. That's a good tip for all mail anyway.

Try and post all of your cards at once, and stick a rubber band around them. Everyone concerned in the handling process will bless you, and it makes them easy to handle and process, and prevents random damage occurring to them in the early stages of handling. If you have no rubber bands, accost your postman. I guarantee he will have access to thousands.

ALWAYS take them to a post office if you can. The rubbish in mailboxes is dreadful during the party season. Just today I pulled a half-drunk can of Red Bull from a box full of mail, and of course, some of it was soaked. You see worse things too. Ghastly.

If you HAVE to use a post box, bear the following in mind: Don't post mail in the rain or snow. I have scooped many tragic handfuls of mail from boxes, posted by people who should really have known better. Post boxes are not waterproof. The older ones are better. The boxes in supermarkets are great too, as the mail goes straight into a bag, avoiding much scraping and pulling.

Here's one you might not have been able to work out for yourself: If you are using a post box at this time of year, leave it as close to the collection time as you can. REALLY don't post too early in the day. Why? Well, imagine a big metal tube full of letters, with the removal window at the bottom. Imagine all the weight on top of the bottom cards, the ones which have to be removed first. Perhaps ones with a "budget" flimsy envelope. The ones which have to be pulled through the opening guarded by a rusty, fifty year old wire frame. Do I have to complete the picture? The ones posted late are usually OK, because they don't have so many on top.

Despite this, please keep sending cards. This is a great time of year for us. I'm working 12 hour days at the moment, but everyone I meet is smiling, and chatting, and wishing me a happy Christmas. I'd love to think that folks were doing all they can to make sure all of their cards arrive at their correct destinations, and everyone has as happy a festive season as possible.

On behalf of all my colleagues at Royal Mail, have a very Merry Christmas, and, of course, a Happy New Year.
andrewducker: (Default)

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