2013 — 17 October: Thursday

After the meal in "Mr So" I picked yesterday evening's film for us to watch from the list of unwatched titles that Mike has managed to accumulate recently. I chose "Summer in February" — not because I knew it, but because its director had earlier made such nice work from the third David Lodge campus novel "Nice Work" as a TV mini-series in 1989. I retain a sentimental fondness for Haydn Gwynne... who wouldn't?

"Summer" was set among the Lamorna group of Newlyn artists in 1913 and reminded me, somewhat, of Christopher Hampton's 1995 "Carrington" which was similarly set among a group of real-life 'Bohemians' of the time. Well, we stuck with it to the end, but were both left wondering why we'd bothered. There was a fine, albeit minor, appearance from Hattie Morahan1 as Laura Knight but that's not enough to hang an entire, curiously low-key, affectless film on.

A much sunnier...

... start to the morning. Potentially busy day ahead, too. And next-door-but-one is currently, noisily, having his driveway dug up. I shall have to turn up my pre-breakfast music.

Words, words, words

Putting aside the thought that I used that phrase (from Hamlet) in a recruitment ad I wrote in 1984 for writers to persuade them to join the exciting world of CICS publications, I enjoyed this essay. And I had enormous difficulty as a child wrapping my head around this particular "unusable" word, too. Source and snippet:

I suspect that "inflammable" will soon go up in smoke. There appears to be growing confusion as to whether the prefix "in" serves as intensifier (highly flammable) or negator (fire resistant). We're probably only one big lawsuit away from the word's near-extinction. Picture the poignant plaintiff, about to receive a multimillion-dollar settlement, explaining in broken English that he bought his daughter a blouse made of an inflammable fabric because he wanted to protect her. Picture the clothing manufacturers racing to alter their labeling.

Brad Leithauser in New Yorker

Now here's a delightful snippet I didn't know, from a "Chronicle" essay:

In the 1760s, Lazzaro Spallanzani — who disproved the
widely accepted doctrine of spontaneous generation — also
outfitted male frogs with tight-fitting taffeta pants to
demonstrate that amphibian eggs don't develop into embryos
unless they are fertilized by sperm.

Professor Barash strikes again! (Source.)

Back from a short...

... supplies run (and a refreshing drink for the Yaris after last night's exertions) neatly in time for Mr Postie to drop off the cute sucker's first new battery in nearly seven years of corralling dust bunnies. It works out at £7/year and is a helluva lot cheaper than buying a new sucker. Besides, I only cleaned it last Saturday.

Well, that was fun!

Back in the days when I was young and innocent (that is, earlier today) I sallied forth to drop some weights off with Len (for stabilising his cat play tower now that the kittens of yesteryear more closely resemble a pair of young mountain lions). Then it was on to Roger & Eileen to blag a free cuppa and a biccie or two. Back at Technology Towers an email from one of my gurus awaited me. It asserted that it was (surprisingly) easy-peasy to upgrade to Win8.1 so, two hours later, and after only a few (but quite anguished) bouts of bad language, I'm now using my new, improved Win8.1 Pro with Media Pack system, almost as usual.

Blast! I'd left NPR playing when instead I could have been listening to a live concert of Patricia Kopatchinskaja playing Stravinsky's Four Norwegian Moods (a relatively slight piece) followed by the masterful Violin Concerto. Back to get_iplayer I shall shortly go, therefore. I'm now listening to her 'encore'.

The bad language?

Oh, that was when:

  1. Microsoft emailed me the security code I needed to finish the Win8.1 installation, and thus arrive at a position where I could reboot BlackBeast, fire up my email client, and receive the security code I needed to finish the Win8.1 installation. Thank Allah for an Android Tablet PC at that point. Or my Android smartphone. Or my Linux Laptop PC. And Google Mail
  2. The nVidia graphics driver for a card (which, in my case, I 'ave not got) stopped working, and reported thus in the Action Center, inviting me to check for optional Windows Updates — a process I ducked out of after giving it ten minutes or so, only to discover that
  3. The suggested "Step 2" consisted of letting an nVidia tool scan my system to identify what driver was needed, if, and only if, I first installed Java

Not quite thought that all the way through, methinks.



1  Whose enchanting performance in the recently rewatched 2008 TV version of "Sense and Sensibility" as Elinor Dashwood was a highlight that rivalled that of the sainted Emma Thompson 13 years earlier.