Monthly Archives: July 2007

Look, it’s not about him being in the altogether, right?

Equus is an interesting play. Tortured, disturbing, melodramatic and ends in a solution that is in some ways a little too pat, but it is thought-provoking.

I was a touch cynical about watching this, given the enormous publicity and hype that surrounds it, but shoved the cynic back into his cave, and I’m glad I went in the end. It’s hard to describe the feelings it evokes, but it was a very powerful, dramatic production, with a stark, minimalist stage and props, and the horses merely steel masks on actors.

We were perched high up in one corner, near the roof, and craning to see over the railing in front certainly didn’t help create atmosphere. The memory of the event is really a series of impressions, smoke and lights, glints off steel masks and feet, collapsing into darkness. I can’t analyse the meaning behind it, because I’m not quite sure what I make of it, but it’s definitely intriguing. I did sometimes feel the acting was little stiff; they were playing their parts rather than being the characters, which reduced the intensity for me and made it less absorbing, but I definitely think it was worth watching.

Engrish, how affection we have entailed!

Electronic Remote Control:

Partly press the shutter release button gently Starts the camera automatically to focus/the photometric system.

Press down the shutter release button completely to release camera shutter carrying on photographs

Press down the shutter release button completely and proceed to Impel To fix camera shutter making a longtime exposure. (Camera must be established in Bulb)

Hooray!

Particles, they swarmeth!

So. I have these particles, yes? And I have this Sodarace thingy, yes? And are they swarming and finding solutions? You bet they are. My best DaintyWalker streaks across in 423 frames, as opposed to 1934 for the original. No complaints there. The only problem is that each iteration of the sim is run in real time – which means that it takes about 150 seconds to analyse a single generation of solutions, update the coords in the phase space and get ready for the next run. Not ideal. I want them running in real time, or better, so I can actaully see the results of the swarm as they swarm. This save-each-frame-as-a-JPEG-and-then-make-them-into-a-movie is frustrating, to say the least. But it’s better than nothing.

Oh, and apparently I’ve plagiarised 2% of my draft dissertation. Among the plagiarised phrases are such gems as “1.1 Introduction” and “find the best possible solution”. Intriguing. I didn’t know I would have to revise my table of contents because I was filching it from elsewhere. Oh, and I’ve also pinched titles of papers. In my bibliography. I suppose I’ll have to change those too.

Women talk less? Hah!

It was all over the news a few days ago; apparently it’s now been established that women do not, on average, speak significantly more than men. About 564 more words per day, apparently.

Those researchers should have been on the bus with me yesterday, on my way to Hackney. Enough anecdotal evidence was found on that single journey to blow this theory out of the water. Two seats behind me were a professional-looking couple; both in suits. This symmetry was sadly not reflected in their verbal output, though. Throughout the 45-minute journey, the woman kept up a non-stop outpouring of mundane personal trivia, to which the man responded with a series of grunts and monosyllabic answers. He might have been silently screaming inside, although his exterior demeanour was calm. I was certainly screaming inside, willing her to shut up.

I would hazard a guess that this incredibly one-sided conversation will single-handedly tip the worldwide balance and invalidate the results of that study.

Ah, the good old days of editing config files by hand

I used to tinker with my computer settings. All the time. I was always looking for the next great way to optimise, or failing that the next great way to make a tiny, totally insignificant improvement that would nevertheless leave me feeling most gratified.

This was all done on a 386 with 4MB of RAM, mind you, so any improvement was worthwhile. Endless sessions with memmaker, tinkering with DOS=HIGH,UMB and changing device drivers to load high instead of conventional. Ah, dear old DEVICEHIGH. From my cynical old age, of course, I appreciate the humour of it all, but at the time it was deadly serious. The hours and days I spent reading and fiddling with smartdrv settings would probably have been better spent doing other things, but were deeply gratifying.

And where has it all gone now? What use is it to anyone that I had the cleanest, fastest loading config.sys and autoexec.bat known to humanity? None whatsoever! Memory and hard disk space have become so cheap that we are all gluttons, throwing them around like Zimbabwean dollars, caring not for the delicate tweaks that made the difference between a slow system and a slightly less slow system.

I long for thee, days gone by! And yet… if I had to do all that now, I’d probably be pulling my hair out. Nostalgia is a fickle mistress; she paints the world in rosy tints but forgets to mention that they blind one.