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Stack of Books
Posted on Tuesday 27 January 2015 at 11:10 am

I'm Alive & 2014 Reading Bingo

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I got the chapter to my advisor by last Monday like I needed to do. The last few pages I wrote are absolute crap, but I got it done. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent doing everything else for the application for funding for next year. I should hear within 2 or 3 weeks. Here's hoping.

Thursday I suddenly remembered that classes had started and I needed to teach on Friday so maybe I should do something to prep for that. Minor technicality. Friday morning was teaching then Friday afternoon and the weekend I decided to do nothing. Friday afternoon was lovely. Saturday was the local monthly board game group meeting so I spent 12 hours playing games. Yay! Sunday was laundry, grocery shopping, and the like. Now things are back to normal, I think, and I'm moving on to the next dissertation chapter.

A few of you have been posting various memes the past few days that I might join in on in another day or two. Also, I'll go back and read the flist and comment generally. For now, eanor has posted a 2015 reading bingo challenge that I might steal, but it reminded me that failte_aoife posted one in 2014 that I'd sort of done but hadn't posted. So I went back and checked my 2014 read books and even though I only remembered to do about half of them intentionally as I went, I actually managed to blackout the entire board with books read in 2014. So here's that.

2014 Reading Bingo

Books Under the CutCollapse )

Just a quick drop in "Howdy!" and mini-update.

I spent a little over a week at Disney World and the Harry Potter parks at Universal with the family just before Christmas and then it was the holiday itself, all of which was quite wonderful and I'll try to update more on them later. Now I'm grading final exams, which should be done later today and I might be able to get more regular posts in after that. Then again, I'm still at my parents' house and it is harder for me to find internet time there than at home since I want to spend time with the family while here, so maybe posting won't really resume until I head back to Virginia in about a week and a half.

I did watch the Doctor Who Christmas special (it was OK), but haven't managed to listen to Cabin Pressure's Zurich episodes or the Good Omens dramatization. Criminal, I know, but I'll get there! Hopefully today for Cabin Pressure. Not sure when on Good Omens. Then it will be War and Peace sometime after New Year. I've downloaded Cabin Pressure and Good Omens and will download War and Peace so let me know if you want them. For War and Peace, though, if you live in the UK or can do a UK proxy, you'll be able to download the entire thing as a podcast here.

If anyone is interested, Humble Bundle is currently running a Doctor Who audio dramatization deal. I'm a huge fan of Humble Bundle because you can set your own price, decide how what you pay is divided among the creators, Humble Bundle itself, and various charities, and everything is DRM free. At the moment, if you pay at least $1 you get 8 episodes and as long as you pay at least $15 and over the average (currently at $13.02) you get at least 22 of the Big Finish adventures. There will be more added next week and if you buy now, you automatically get those, too. It is only available this week and next so go here and buy now if you want it!

EDIT: Grades submitted and Cabin Pressure listened! It was a fantastic end to the show and I'm a bit sad that it's over but since it had to end eventually, I'm glad it went out as it did. :)

Posted on Wednesday 10 December 2014 at 10:43 am

Theme Parks

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I'm going to Disney World next week. There are six adults taking one toddler, because my niece is really just an excuse for the rest of us to have fun :) You can get FastPass tickets for some rides and shows so you don't have to wait in line and my mom kept asking me what FastPasses I wanted to try and get. I kept telling her I'd be perfectly happy with anything but what I really wanted was one day away from Disney World to go to the Harry Potter theme parks nearby so that's happening, too. I'm super excited about that as I've been to Disney World a few times before but this will be the first time for me at Harry Potter.

I think I know where I'm going to want to go next, though...
BBC considers Sherlock-land and Doctor Who-world theme park

The BBC is thrashing out ideas for a new £2bn theme park in Kent which could turn popular dramas such as Doctor Who and Sherlock into major attractions.

The BBC’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide has signed a preliminary agreement over the use of its shows at the theme park and holiday resort, which is due to open in north Kent in 2020.

A BBC source said that the discussions were in the early stages but that hit shows including Doctor Who, Top Gear and Sherlock were all being considered as subjects for rides or other attractions at the park, which is backed by Hollywood studio Paramount. (Source)

BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 7 December 2014 at 9:53 am

BBC Radio Full Christmas Schedule

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Cabin Pressure Series 5 = 6 Episodes? Me thinks someone in scheduling / website management goofed, perhaps due to being on autopilot, and no one warned them not to get the hopes up of Cabin Pressure fans! ;-)

6 Episodes?

Anyway... I'm sure most people on the flist were already aware of the air dates for Cabin Pressure Zurich Parts 1 and 2 and for Good Omens, but the full radio schedule between now and Christmas is up so I thought I'd run through a few highlights beyond those two between now and 25 December. I've got a bit of time today and I've missed doing the regular schedule posts. I'll see if I can get back to something with them in the new year.

Radio GoodiesCollapse )

There's a bunch of other stuff, but those are the highlights. I'm also looking forward to the the New Year's Day 10-hour dramatization of War and Peace with John Hurt, but that's not got a schedule page yet.

BBC Radio
Posted on Thursday 27 November 2014 at 10:01 am

BBC Radio Christmas Schedule

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I hope all the Americans on the flist are having a Happy Thanksgiving. Mine is a bit crazy and I'll do a real life post in a day or two. Meantime... the BBC Radio 4 Christmas season schedule has been announced so we now have air dates and times for the final Cabin Pressure, Good Omens, and other goodies.

Cabin Pressure
From the main schedule announcement:
Turbulence is expected as the eagerly anticipated dates for Cabin Pressure’s last ever flight are revealed. MJN Air’s crew will make their final two-part trip on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th December at 6.30pm. The programme stars Stephanie Cole as Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, Roger Allam as 1st Office Douglas Richardson, Benedict Cumberbatch as Capt. Martin Crieff and writer John Finnemore as Arthur Shappey. Special guests include Anthony Head and Timothy West.

There's also a separate post for Cabin Pressure and Good Omens (targeting the geeks in one go, I suppose), that includes a picture from the recording.

Good Omens
From the main schedule announcement:
Thunder clouds will be gathering over Lower Tadfield as Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s cult novel Good Omens is dramatised for the first time; with an all-star cast including Mark Heap, Peter Serafinowicz, Colin Morgan, Josie Lawrence, Clive Russell , Julia Deakin, Louise Brealey and Charlotte Ritchie – to name but a few.

The adventure will begin with a special double-bill on Monday 22 December at 11pm and culminate in an apocalyptic hour-long episode on Saturday 27 December. Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. Atlantis is rising, fish are falling from the sky, the Four Horsepersons are assembling, everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan. Everything that is, but for the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon who are not all that keen on the prospect of the forthcoming Rapture. In fact the prospect of Armageddon is all really rather inconvenient for them.

There is a Good Omens website up now that includes pictures from the recordings, a few clips, and some comic book type images to go along with the clips and more is to be added over the next few weeks.

War and Peace
There are lots of other random things on the main schedule announcement, but the only other one that appeals to me is a ten-hour dramatization of War and Peace starring John Hurt, Simon Russell Beale, and Lesley Manville to air all on New Year's Day. I'm definitely going to listen to it at some point but not in the original all-day go that will be accompanied by "a ten hour Twitterthon. Bringing listeners a companion to the audio broadcast, there will be a live running commentary on the dramatisation itself, including helpful family trees, maps and historical trivia." Not sure how I feel about that. A website with all that info would be cool so I might try to check it out after the fact.

Posted on Tuesday 4 November 2014 at 12:13 pm

Warranty Woes

My surge protector / emergency battery made a popping noise this morning which was followed by an odd burning smell then I realized my laptop had switched to battery. The surge protector and everything else plugged into it were all working fine and the laptop charger wouldn't respond even when plugged into something else so no idea what caused it all but obviously my laptop power charger is dead. Good thing I don't need my laptop for things like writing my dissertation and grading papers. Nope, not at all. Actually, it isn't that bad. The good laptop with the now dead charger is still under warranty so I should be able to get a new charger free and I have a backup laptop that is annoying but can keep me going for a few days until the new charger arrives. Except warranty phone call, of course, turned into far more of a hassle than necessary. In my head, the phone conversation should have gone something like this:

Me: My laptop power charger died this morning.
Person on phone: Are you sure that's the problem?
Me: Yep. The computer works fine except it is now dead as the battery is drained and I can't charge it. Everything else plugged in to that outlet works fine and the charger doesn't power the laptop or even light up even if I plug it into other outlets.
Person on phone: OK. We'll send you a new charger.

Instead the conversation, after multiple transfers to the wrong department and quite a lot of holding, was more like:

Me: My laptop charging cable died this morning.
Dude on phone: OK. Let me just send you to a website to run a diagnostic on the harddrive.
Me: The charging cable is dead and the battery is drained so the laptop is off.
Dude: Well, I need to run this diagnostic to see if there's anything wrong with the computer.
Me: The laptop is fine. The only problem is the charger. Everything was working and should do so again once I can get some power to the computer.
Dude: The diagnostic scan will require an internet connection and approximately 10 minutes.
Me: Laptop no turn on! No power!
Dude: We just want to see if there's anything else wrong so we can send all the parts at once and fix any other problems you might be having.
Dude on phone: It really would help us.
Dude: Fine. I'll send you a new charger.
Me: Thank you.

Stack of Books
Posted on Monday 3 November 2014 at 2:03 pm

Quick Dissertation Help Mini Poll

Hive mind: without details, which of these sounds like it would flow better...
A.) NY political history, NY non-political history, non-NY political history or
B.) NY political history, non-NY political history, NY non-political history?

In one case I have to separate the two NY parts and in the other I have to separate the two political parts. In both cases, the last two have nothing to do with each other.

My main problem with resolving this on my own is that I intuitively think options B is better (politics together) and is better for my final argument, but every time I try to write it that way, I can't make it work. My brain will only process writing transitions and train-of-thought using option A.

Posted on Friday 31 October 2014 at 8:34 pm


For any Cabin Pressure fans not following John Finnemore on twitter... he's said there will be a complete show CD set which will include a special booklet. First teaser of the booklet's contents is an annotated diagram of GERTI.

BBC Radio
Posted on Friday 31 October 2014 at 4:34 pm

Oh, Bugger, BBC!

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BBC changed their iplayer settings specifically to break download programs like the one I currently use for radio stuff. There's currently a backdoor that still works but is extra work. As long as it keeps working, I don't really mind the extra work. If they manage to close it off, too, I'll be rather annoyed. The sad thing is that I'd gladly listen without any of this unofficial stuff if they'd just give me the option to listen on my iphone without being connected to the internet (so temporary downloads like for TV rather than just streaming as is the only current option for radio) and the ability to buy anything I want to keep. That's it. I'd give them more money if only they'd let me, but to not give me that option and then to take away the only thing that works is just ridiculous!

Also, I've clearly decided to stop doing the weekly/bi-weekly schedule posts. It was getting to be too much work and no one was really commenting so didn't seem worth it. I still want to do review posts of stuff I've listened to and will try to get some of those up soon. I've got a bit of a backlog.

Tangentially related: in my class this week, we were discussing a book about Hitler and Stalin and their respective dictatorial systems. I told my students today that I'd watched the John Hurt film version of 1984 on Sunday then started the Dictators reading on Monday so that was interesting. They asked why I did that and I said I'd not been thinking about class at all but rather Stephen Fry had mentioned on a recent QI that he'd never read 1984 but had seen the amazing film version whereas I've read the book many times but never seen the film and he made it sound cool so I decided to get it and watch it. I then realized that I was getting several blank stares so I said something about how at least half of them probably had no idea what that sentence meant and one kid replied "I understood it, but that had to be the most British, or at least most BBC, sentence imaginable!" I think he should get bonus points for at least knowing QI=BBC.

Bratty - drum
Posted on Tuesday 14 October 2014 at 10:00 pm

Song Lyrics Meme

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Swiped from sunshine304 and qwentoozla.
Done this or similar ones before, but it has been a few years so why not give it another go?

1. Open up your music player. Hit shuffle.
2. Record the first few lines of the first 25 songs that come up. Skip instrumentals, but don't skip the embarrassing ones.
3. Make hapless LJ/DW denizens guess the song names and artists. Google is cheating. For musical songs, the name of the musical is acceptable in place of the artist.
4. Cross out the songs that have been guessed.
5. Pass it along.

Click for Hint and LyricsCollapse )

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