Angelic Paranoia

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What I’ve been doing
Sunday 9th June 2019 9:13 pm

A lot of programming stuff. I have found that learning things that I'm already using at work has been such a help - there are some things I never knew existed and now I could change them to make them so much simpler. So it's useful and interesting and fun, but also time-consuming.

Tennis. The French Open just finished, so I've been listening to that, when it's been on the radio/online. I watched it, on mute, for five minutes and that was enough - the camera work just does not do me any good. It was exciting and now we are on to grass, which mostly happens not on the radio during the day when I'm at work. Until we get to Wimbledon, then there's eight hours a day of it to listen to.

Singing and dancing. Choir goes in terms, so our end of term concert is during Wimbledon, then we have the summer off. Dancing is most weeks and some weekends until the end of July, when it becomes some weeks and some weekends. It was really cold at the start of the season (end of April/start of May), warmed up enough that I didn't need so many layers, now it's got chilly again.

Writing. None of this leaves much time for writing, but I have started a few things, but not got any further than a completed first draft. I am trying to put some effort into finishing something, if slowly, because it's been so long I've forgotten how to write.

Decluttering is also going slowly because I fit it round everything else. At the moment getting rid of things mostly involves moving them to the spare room, but in the summer when I have some more time, and when I have some days off, I will work on getting it out of the house. I did remember to take a bag of stuff to the charity shop this weekend, so that's a start.

For LJ Book Bingo I finally decided that I needed to assign my list of books I've read to squares. I've found I've filled most of them, but in a way that means I have no lines. It's a skill.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – June
Sunday 2nd June 2019 2:11 pm

This month I'm going to try pilates (from YouTube videos).

This is mostly because I read an article back in winter about yoga and pilates and it said that they do similar sorts of things for you, but certain types of people tend to like yoga and certain types tend to like pilates. I was in the second group (I can't remember any more details than that). Since I tried yoga a couple of years ago, I thought I'd try pilates to see if I like it any more.

The only thing I know about it is that there are some similarities to ballet, based on discussions with my sister, who does pilates.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – May wrap-up
Friday 31st May 2019 7:36 pm

This month I was watching The Orville. I saw the first episode, which I didn't think much of. Although I introduced the characters I immediately forgot everything about them. And also I was distracted by one of them being Kasidy Yates from DS9. And Sydnay's dad from Alias being an admiral.

And then I watched episode 3 (About a Girl) which I did like. I laughed at one point, which was unexpected. I still wasn't sure about some of the humour. I couldn't really bring myself to care about the characters. But maybe that's just because I haven't watched many episodes.

I quite fancy watching some more, but not enough to a) pay for them or b) give up time to watch them. It's the sort of thing where, if it was on TV, I'd record it all and get round to watching it eventually.

I'll give it 7/10.


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 29th May 2019 8:47 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. I struggled with this a bit at first because it's different to Jedi Apprentice - they don't have the same friends and they're not comfortable with each other, even though Obi-Wan's the same age as Jedi Apprentice finishes. But once I got used to that then I enjoyed it. I liked that it showed how Qui-Gon came to know about the chosen one prophecy.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. It turns out this is the last of Rainbow Rowell's books that I had to read. I can see why everyone goes on about this, it's really good. I especially liked that it never explains Eleanor's home life, you get to find out as you go through the book.

What I'm Currently Reading
Family Secrets: The Things We Tried to Hide by Deborah Cohen. I bought this on Kindle by accident - I had it on my Amazon wish list (which is a list of all the books I mean to read at some point) and it turns out that if you buy a Kindle book you don't go through the usual buying process on Amazon, it just buys it as soon as you click the button. It was on offer at the time, so I thought it wasn't worth 'returning'. I didn't intend to read it. I'd put some fanfic on my ebook reader and read the summary. Then, at the train station I tried to open the same fanfic and it crashed my ebook reader. So I started this instead. It is really interesting - I've read about Indian 'half-caste' children and divorces and their scandals. I'm currently on a chapter about 'idiocy' and how they dealt with disabled children in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. I'm really not very far through this at all. Partly because I realised I don't remember anything from the previous books - it is coming back to me, slowly, but it's making the book hard going to start with. I remember having this problem with the previous book and eventually I got into it, so I'm sure I will with this one too.

What I'm Reading Next
I have plenty to read and I have to take some books back to the library, which pretty much guarantees that 'just having a look to see what's there' will end with me coming home with something.


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Star Trek (2009)
Monday 20th May 2019 8:47 pm

I don't know how I blinked and ten years has gone by since the 2009 Star Trek film. I was tired the other day, and there's been talk of it, due to it being the tenth anniversary, so I watched it. And then remembered exactly what I thought of it when I saw it for the second time: the plot is paper thin. But the first time round I was so busy being amazed at how good the actors were at being those characters that you don't notice the lack of plot.

What I really liked this time around was Leonard Nimoy. I could really feel his friendship with Kirk, despite it being a Kirk he'd never met (technically) and a Kirk who didn't like him.

I think I am all Star Trekked out now. But the tennis season (on TV) is really winding up - the French Open starts on Sunday.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – May
Thursday 9th May 2019 7:13 pm

This month I'm going to watch The Orville. I keep seeing it mentioned, so I am curious. I am not hopeful though, because I watched a trailer a while ago and it wasn't funny, but I thought the programme is supposed to be funny. Which doesn't bode well. But the first episode is only 10p (even if first episodes are never a good way to judge a series).

But if anyone has any suggestions of good episodes to start with, let me know - I won't get to anything before the weekend.


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 8th May 2019 8:07 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Death in the Spotlight by Robin Stevens. And I am up-to-date! Until the new one comes out, then I'll be waiting for the library to get it in in e-book form. I enjoyed it, but had no idea who the murderer was. Probably not helped by most of my reading being in bed at night when tired.

What I'm Currently Reading
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay. Adam Kay was on Cats Countdown in dictionary corner and read a bit of this and it was funny. And then I found the library had an e-book of it... and a very long waiting list. It finally came to my turn, so I am two chapters in. It isn't as funny as I thought it was going to be, but it is still amusing some of the things that happen. It's also really thought-provoking when he talks about 97-hour weeks and never getting Christmas off.

A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin. I was halfway through, but stopped for library books. I like that most of the chapters are about characters I like. I dislike the Iron Born and Dorne chapters though, they are hard going.

What I'm Reading Next
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. It's finally out in paperback, so I asked for it for my birthday.


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The Menagerie
Sunday 5th May 2019 6:05 pm

No Discovery spoilers this time.

I rewatched the Menagerie and realised it's really just a tale of friendships - of Spock and Pike and Spock and Kirk.

Spock plans to take Pike to Talos IV. He has it all worked out with the Talosians to take over the Enterprise and distract Kirk long enough to get Pike there. He tells Pike he has it well-planned and he does. That part at least.

Going to Talos means the death penalty and Spock commits mutiny, which is not exactly going to do much of his career either. Those parts are not so well planned - he pretty much relies on Starfleet feeling sorry for Pike and understanding why Spock does it, once he explains. He is also perhaps relying Kirk putting in a good word for him. He risks a lot for Pike, which speaks to the depth of their relationship.

What makes it interesting, is Kirk's reaction to all this, once it's all been explained. He says:

Mister Spock, even if regulations are explicit, you could have come to me and explained.

Spock says he didn't because he didn't want Kirk to face the death penalty too, which Kirk doesn't get the chance to respond to. But it does tell us that if Spock had gone to Kirk with his plan, Kirk would have helped him. Kirk didn't even know Pike - they only met once. So it speaks a lot for the depth of Kirk and Spock's relationship that Kirk would take on the same risks, just to help his friend help another friend.

Kirk points out at the end that Spock has been very emotional about it all. Of course Spock says it's all logical, but really, it's not. The planning Spock does it logical, but initiating it is entirely out of emotion.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars April wrap-up
Tuesday 30th April 2019 7:58 pm

This month I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

I looked through the episode descriptions (which Netflix likes to make difficult) and chose one that seemed most relevant to me (ie didn't involve small children). The format was that it introduced you to the people who were getting tidied up and why they were doing it. And how American houses have so many cupboards. And then they are inspired to tidy up, with some cut-aways to Marie Kondo giving us tips.

It was interesting to see how she inspired them to get rid of things and interesting to see different people's lives and American houses. I just didn't feel the need to watch any more - I feel like if you've seen one you've seen them all. And also you can find similar videos on YouTube for free (although it turns out if you don't have Netflix for a year you get another month free).

So I'll give it a 7/10.


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This time with Discovery spoilers
Monday 22nd April 2019 11:50 am

Read more...


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Not posting much
Sunday 14th April 2019 7:31 pm

I'm struggling to find the time to post much. The three evenings a week I am in look like this:
6pm get home
6-7pm dinner
7-9pm 1 hour coding plus 1 hour doing things I need/want to do (not necessarily consecutive or in that order
9-10pm feed Sammy and watch TV
10pm go to bed to read

Two nights a week that 1 hour free I have includes half an hour of doing things I need to do (eg food shopping). I end up leaving most things for the weekend and then don't have time to fit everything in.

But I am doing better at the coding thing, now my rules are to do 10 minutes to an hour and no more than that, except on weekends when I can go up to two hours.

And I am watching more TV. This is partly because I have Netflix for a month to watch Discovery, and it turned out to be another free month, no idea why, but I'm not complaining. I have got through it quicker than I thought I would, partly because I have had some time with no energy to do anything other than watch TV that doesn't require a brain. And partly because it's not as bad as the first series (which is not hard).

I have two problems with Discovery this series:

  1. They're obsessed with spinning the camera round and can barely keep it still for two seconds, so it becomes more something I'm listening to than watching
  2. Last series there was one character I liked, one I hated and the rest I was meh about (well, by the end of the series - there was another I hated at the start). This series has one character I love, who I suspect is not going to be in series 3 (if there is one) and two I hate. They keep teasing that the characters I hate are going to die/leave the series and then they don't.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – April
Monday 1st April 2019 7:11 pm

This month I have Netflix, to watch Discovery, since it finishes later this month (and why pay for three months when you can pay for one). So I am going to watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, because I'm intrigued to see what it's like.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars March wrap-up
Sunday 31st March 2019 8:09 pm

This month I've been doing 100 days of code. The idea with the 100 days things is that it gets you into a habit. Except that it's a habit that requires having an hour free each day and I just don't have that. I tried squeezing it in and made myself ill, which is not great. I think it would be better if it was 10 minutes, but I can't see how you wouldn't get much done in 10 minutes for many of the 100 days challenges.

It has been good for getting me doing it, I just need to not overdo it again. So I am carrying on doing it, as I'm a fifth of the way there and doing it will be achievement. I'm just going to do the more relaxed version where days don't have to be consecutively and a day can be less than an hour.

I'm going to give it 6/10.


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 27th March 2019 8:07 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George RR Martin. After finishing series 7 of Games of Thrones I thought it was about time to get back into the books. And I am behind - this is the fourth book. Usually I struggle to get through these - they are wordy and they are big and heavy and it feels like the chapters that bore me are the longest ones. But this one I read in a weekend.

Roswell High: The Outsider by Melinda Metz. This was both strange and interesting. It was strange all the differences between it and the two series (well, what I remember of the Roswell High TV series). Mostly that Max is blonde, which I just can't picture at all. It was interesting to see what Max, Isabel and Michael felt and what they could do. On TV you see Max healing people, but in the book it explains how he manipulates molecules. It was all right, but I don't know that I need to read any more, particularly.

What I'm Currently Reading
A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin. I literally just started this today. It is about 750 pages - 200 pages longer than the last book. So it might take me a bit longer - not least because I don't want to spend another weekend too ill to do much other than read.

What I'm Reading Next
The Chalet School and Cornelia by Katherine Bruce. The thing I love about pre-ordering books is that I forget I order them and then one day I get home to a book in the hall. Which is what happened with this book. It's set in the Tyrol days, so I'm looking forward to it.


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Busy, busy
Sunday 24th March 2019 7:21 pm

I have mean to post (and comment and do all the other things) recently, it's just all been a bit crappy.

The week before last I got over-excited by the 100 days of code thing and got some coding done every free moment. And overdid it. I spent last Sunday doing nothing to recover. I decided last week that I would redefine a 'day' from being an hour, to somewhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours, and I wasn't allowed to do more than 2 hours in a day.

And then it all completely went tits-up by work being crazy, so there was no way I had the energy to do any coding, even when I wasn't working in the evening/morning before work.

And because bad things come in threes, my stove died. By sparking a lot, which was scary. And didn't do much for my stress levels. It is the least bad it can be though because the only thing not working is the ignition, and you can light the gas without that. And it's under warranty, so at least it won't cost me anything (extra) to get it fixed.

So I have spent this weekend catching up on TV and reading. Last weekend I finally got round to watching Game of Thrones series 7 (only two years later...) and then decided to catch up on the books. I was watching a series, reading the relevant book six months later to get the background, then watching the next series. But I got really behind and after spending some time trying to work out which I read last, I'm now partway through the fourth book.

The one bright spot in the week was dancing, which I didn't have the energy for but is de-stressing. I learnt a new dance, after having watched it before, dancing a position at the back of the hall, and then dancing it for real. All those years of ballet were good for remembering sequences (well, better than I was, if not perfectly). We'll see how well I remember it next week. It was a simple dance, but it was a self-esteem boost.

This week shouldn't be as crappy as I'm only doing my job, not my boss's as well (they got rid of him and shared his duties out between three of us, so we do his job on top of ours once every three weeks and I find it so stressful).


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars March
Sunday 3rd March 2019 7:23 pm

This month I'm going to do 100 days of code. Obviously not all 100 days in March. Not even all 31 days in March because there are some days when I'm only in the house long enough to eat and sleep. And I already missed yesterday's because I was reinstalling my operating system.

But I will do some of the 100 days of code and doing that this month should then keep me going to finish it - which will probably be around the end of summer (depending on how hot this summer is).


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars February wrap-up
Wednesday 27th February 2019 8:51 pm

This month I've been reading Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. On the whole, I enjoyed it, although if it was made into a TV series or film I would definitely not watch it.

It was a murder mystery with magic and I like both of those things. I didn't like the gory bits or the sex-related bits (I am generally not interested in reading either of those). I did find the plot got a bit convoluted and I wasn't quite sure how exactly the whole thing ended up being solved. But that might have been a side-effect of me reading more than one book at a time and taking a while to read this one. I spent a lot of the book trying to work out why it was called Rivers of London and eventually worked out it referred to the B plot. It was really specific about London and Covent Garden, which I liked.

However, there was one massive thing wrong which annoys me every time I read/hear it, and that is the police caution. It's not specified in the book, but at one point one of the characters arrests another. The arrested character carries on talking and the police officer then points out that she just said that anything this character said would be used in evidence against them. That's not how it works, it just isn't. For a start, the caution just says that anything they say will be taken down and used in evidence. Full stop. And logically, anything they do say could be used for, as well as against. It's lazy research - the caution is literally written on the government website.

I'll give it 7/10.


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Stuff I love: Sammy
Sunday 24th February 2019 12:34 pm

Stuff I love

I haven't done much of this meme, but I couldn't not include Sammy.

Sammy

I discovered recently that he is tame - the definition is pretty much not scared of me, trusts me, doesn't freak out immediately if you hold him. He has had all four feet on my hand a few times. It's just hard to get him to do it because he's big enough to stretch to get all the food on my hand. He still freezes if I talk to him when he's up - as if he's been caught out. I think he's just not a people person. Which is fine, because neither am I.

He is all about the food. I don't put very much in his food bowl because he gets all his food from my hands or from the food I've buried around his cage. Not that he realises I'm the one who buries it. A while ago he had a couple of days of getting up earlier and went around his cage looking for the food that I hadn't buried yet.

He is pretty lazy. I put a treat in a cardboard puzzle. Missy would have destroyed it in less than two minutes. I make his easier and he finally gets round to them after two weeks. Male hamsters tend to be more laid back and Sammy is as laid back as it's possible to get.

Sammy


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 20th February 2019 8:59 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hive by Brannon Braga. One of the squares in LJ Book Bingo is graphic novel or comic. I was intending to swap it, but I thought I'd look at the graphic novel section in the library just to see if there was anything interesting, as at least graphic novels are really short. I found this one, which I did not enjoy. The plot was confusing and it was about the Borg which was dull. They had an OC important to the plot who looked just like Beverly Crusher but with slightly differently shaped hair. Plus it's a comic, which I just find hard to read when it's more than just a three square strip.

Sunny Side Up by Susan Calman. It's hard to say what this is about. She meanders a lot, but it's partly about how she's now happy (mainly thanks to Strictly) and how everyone should be more kind. Despite the meandering and hard to explainness, I enjoyed it anyway.

What I'm Currently Reading
Still Dune. Very slowly. It's getting interesting, but hard going. I am half-tempted just to look up a plot summary because I am interested in the mysteries but don't care about any of the characters.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I am enjoying it, it's an easy read. I definitely wouldn't want to see a TV series or film of it, though, because it's a bit gruesome. I am just glad I skim read descriptions at the best of times. I am liking all the police stuff in it, though, with the added supernatural makes it interesting.

What I'm Reading Next
These will keep me going for a while, but I'd like to read the Roswell High books. Watching Roswell New Mexico is reminding me of the series and I'd like to see how similar both series are to the books.


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Clocks
Sunday 17th February 2019 9:22 pm

It's all been going on with clocks recently. Well, two of them. Well, my alarm clock and my watch.

One morning I went to turn my alarm off and the button disappeared into the clock. Fortunately I could still turn it off by unsetting the alarm. But the button that no longer existed was necessary to change the alarm time. The clock is over twenty years old and a piece of it fell off years ago. I thought I'd glued it back on but found that was not the case when I turned it over to take the battery out.

I did consider for a while whether I needed a new alarm clock. There is an alarm clock on my iPod and my phone and my travel alarm clock. And I have one of those clocks that gets light before it goes off. Which I've found good for being able to wake up in the light in the winter, but frightens the life out of me when it goes off (it has 16 volumes, they are all loud). It also doesn't do the waking me up gradually thing, so is useless in that aspect. It also doesn't have a battery back up if the power goes. It does take a battery, it just doesn't do anything useful.

I also don't use it as a clock. It's just too far away and too big, so if I need to know the time I pick up my small bedside clock and put it up to my nose. It also has an alarm, but it's a very unreliable clock and a more unreliable alarm.

My alarm clock is a radio alarm clock, but I don't listen to the radio either. I've had it for so long that I associate the slightly tinny radio noise with annoyance and it makes me want to turn it off the second it's come on.

But I ended up buying a new radio alarm clock for £7. You can spend ridiculous amounts, mainly for the ability to charge your phone with your clock. Even though it would be cheaper to buy a plug. Since the new clock is smaller I've moved it further away from the bed so I now have to get up to turn it off, rather than just sitting up. This is because the traffic on the way to work got hideous so it would take 10-15 minutes extra to get to work. Considering my journey is generally only 20 minutes, that's quite an increase. Since I tend to spend about 10 minutes after my alarm goes off trying to get out of bed, putting my alarm clock further away means I have to get out of bed and am not going back again afterwards. Of course, once I'd shaved 10 minutes off my morning routine the traffic went away and I was 10 minutes early. I've started leaving a bit later and it's all fine now.

On Friday I looked at my watch and realised it wasn't vaguely telling me the right time. Or ticking. After thinking about what a pain it would be to take it somewhere to get the battery changed and how it would cost nearly as much as I paid for it and it didn't look that hard, I thought I'd have a go at changing it myself. I did manage to prise the back off, but broke off a plastic piece that held the strap. I have now bought a tool so I can get the strap off and not do that again. And glued the piece back on - I've been trying Gorilla glue and it is really good. I glued the hoover back together and after it set I couldn't get it apart again when I pulled.

The battery was the tiniest thing in the world and needed a magnifying glass to see what type it was. At which point I realised I don't have a magnifying glass. I found an app for it, which unhelpfully turned the torch on, which reflected off the battery so I couldn't see a thing. I eventually managed to find the battery type, established it's not one you can buy in the shops and ordered one for about £1. So on balance it's probably cost me more than I would have paid if I'd gone somewhere, but it will at least be cheaper next time.


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