Author Archives: tangognat

his dark materials on del.icio.us

A nice way to get news on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials triliogy via del.icio.us, a group of people are saving news items with the tag “hdm.”

Latest news — Chris Weitz of American Pie is going to direct the Tom Stoppard scripted movie adaptation of The Golden Compass. Weitz also co-directed “About a Boy” so he has worked with screen adaptations of novels before.

teenage moping remains eternal

I find the return of Morrissey weirdly comforting. It’s like something familiar is being resurrected from my childhood. Now I’m feeling bad that I tossed my cd of “The Queen is Dead” off the balcony of the apartment I moved into right after high school (I was experiencing a fit of Morrissey hate). It landed in the street and was promptly smashed under the wheels of a passing semi, but now I have the urge to listen to “Cemetary Gates”.

Other good songs:
Your Feet’s Too Big
May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up your Nose

Morrissey should cover those songs. That would be excellent.

I got wordpress

I managed to get wordpress going. I haven’t transferred anything over. I decided to set up a knitting blog, as it was the easiest subcategory of the things that I write about here to spin off into its own area. There will probably be very intermittent blogging going over there, as I am slow with the knitting, and it is more of a test blog than anything else.

The fabled 5 minute set-up took me more like 15 minutes, but I was trying to set things up during the commerical breaks of the Alias season finale. Is it bad that I find slightly sadistic torturing Vaughn so much more attractive than the mopey Vaughn that has been present for most of the season? So far, I’m digging wordpress, but I’m going to give myself some time to play around with it before I decide if I want to transfer everything over.

I feel like I have a shiny new toy! I am such a geek!

now and then here and there

If you are a young Japanese boy and you wake up all cheerful one day, go to school and afterwards climb a tower to watch the sunset in the late afternoon where you encounter a mysterious and quiet girl with blue hair, there is a good chance you will suddenly be kidnapped by interdimensional robots operated by an evil military organization.

This is what happens to the young hero Shu of “Now and Then, Here and There.” I had a feeling something horrible would happen to him when in the opening scene of the series he gleefully sits down at the breakfast table to eat some nato. Now, I know some people love Nato. I’ve met people who think it is a fabuous dish to eat in the morning, perhaps with an egg broken over it. Nato is a dish made out of fermented soybeans. It is brown and stringy, and it looks and smells like I what I would imagine would come out of an alien if they had an upset tummy. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with people who adore nato, it is just not for me 🙂

So with the introduction of Nato so early in the series, I had a feeling that things would take a sudden turn for the worse. After a rough day at school where he loses a kendo match, Shu is watching the sunset with a enigmatic girl named Lala Ru, when suddenly several robots materialize (a couple are giant mechanical dragons or snakes) and kidnap Lala, with Shu accidently pulled into an interdimensional vortex. Shu ends up on the run on a giant military ship, captured, beaten, tortured by a sadistic king…then it starts to get worse. The style of animation is simplistic and many of the characters in the series are children, but this contrasts greatly with the plot as Shu is confronted with the horrors of war. It doesn’t seem to be the stereotypical “plucky boy gets a robot and perseveres against his enemies through will power and determination” type of series that I originally thought it was going to be after watching the first half of episode one. Now and Then, Here and There is on three disks, and I’ve only watched the first one so far. I’m not sure how or if Shu will manage to rescue Lala and get back to Japan, but I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series.

men in skirts

Today I bought 2 pairs of shoes and saw Troy!

Usually I like seeing movie trailers. However before Troy they showed trailers for The Notebook, Day After Tomorrow, Constantine (isn’t Hellblazer a better name? Why not Hellblazer?!), and Catwoman. I also saw a teaser for Ocean’s Twelve, which was basically text on the screen, no footage of the movie at all. The Ocean’s Twelve teaser was the only one I enjoyed. You can do a lot with good title design.

My sister, who actually remembers the Illiad and some of her Greek history classes posted her impressions of the movie which are much more informed than mine. I am suddenly feeling inspired to reread the classics again. Maybe I will drag out my old copy of the Iliad. Or perhaps taking my current powers of concentration into account, I will read the Illiad along with Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze.

Peter O’Toole is so good as Priam. I got all weepy during one of his scenes. Brad Pitt’s Achilles seems rather vacant and obsessed with his self image, which I guess is appropriate for Achilles? I don’t remember.

I think Eric Bana’s musculature makes up for his ears, and he made me feel great sympathy for Hector. Sean Bean is a fab Odysseus with a wry sense of humor. I wish I could have seen more of Odysseus, but the Trojan War isn’t really his story 🙂

I never realized that back in ancient times women warbled wordlessly a whole lot. Wouldn’t men warble too? The soundtrack got annoying at times.

OK, this is pretty hilarious, via Boing Boing: Troy in 15 Minutes

I heart usability testing

Usability testing, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1) You don’t have to be fancy or expensive

Some people may think you need screen capture software and/or a video camera, but you can also get very valuable results with just a person, a computer, and a piece of paper to record their actions.

2) You counteract assumptions

I did some testing today with a colleague for a page that I thought was pretty much ok. I was pretty sure that the testing would confirm that the page was good and had minimal problems. Imagine my shock and surprise when all of the people who tested the page had an unforseen problem doing a really basic task! The HORROR! But isn’t it good the page was tested before going live?

3) It isn’t hard to get test subjects

Here is where you can leverage the good will you might have as a librarian 🙂

Most people like libraries or at least don’t mind being asked for their opinion or help if it is for the library, I think. So if you don’t mind walking up to strangers and asking for their help and a few minutes of their time, something everyone does when they approach the reference desk to ask you a question anyway, you will be able to do some impromptu usability testing with no trouble at all.

how I use movabletype

How do I use movabletype – I have this blog, and a blog for my sister at a subdomain, so two blogs and two authors. I have a dead test blog with two additional authors. Grand total is 3 blogs and 3 authors, although I’ve thought of setting up a couple of additional blogs for reading and knitting. Haven’t got around to that yet. Currently I like the feeling of space to experiment that I have with my current installation of movabletype without the licensing restrictions. I’m curious to see what would be made available in the feature release of 3.0 as opposed to the developers release that just came out.