2016 — 30 July: Saturday

I like to vary my morning routine.1 For example, today I left the Linux "splash" login screen waiting for a minute or so while attending to curtains, radio, and kettle. Plus patio fresh air ingress system. Thus, when I eventually logged in I saw the hourglass as usual, but for several seconds. And no trace of the next popup window demanding "authentication" for "an application" before it could run. "A-ha", thinks I, "I bet that means Dropbox is hanging/crashing. There will doubtless be a new 'core' file in /home indicating a crash."

Never place a bet...

... before the first sip of tea. The Linux software update has run, Dropbox is sitting there telling me it's up to date (I actually managed to download a couple of the smartphone camera shots I took on the bank of the Itchen yesterday), and there's no steaming heap of dropped bits slumped in /home. All seems well.

I'm not yet...

... in a position to produce a merged list of film and TV items, but I shall try (yet again) to get a few of the loose ends tidied away into Kodi's SQLite DB in readiness. Simply faking an XML stub2 and matching .nfo file proved insufficient yesterday, but I'm not done yet.

The 2,920 films that Kodi reports are a result of 3,155 items in the "Movie" folder, including 27 subfolders labelled (of course!) "0" and "A" through "Z". My not terribly agile pre-breakfast brain is thus able to deduce that I currently have a hill of 208 video titles still missing in action. That, in other words, is the size of the "Odds and Ends" pile3 I mentioned yesterday.

They do things...

... differently when making films in China:

This was also the only time I witnessed the ceremony that the Chinese hold when they start on a film or TV project. They put a video camera in the lobby of the hotel and draped red silk over it and the leading actors bowed to the camera, each holding three sticks of incense in the Buddhist fashion, one for past lives, one for the present, and one for lives to come.

Ben Thompson in one of his blogs


... was a grimly-interesting portrait of people going through much the same (financial) angst that Christa and I dealt with in the mid-1970s. Some things don't change very much. Though I learned that the average assistance from "The Bank of Mum and Dad" now stands at £17,500 — a sum that — 40 years ago — would have comfortably paid for our first house in Old Windsor and all its decorative and electrical rework! (Link.)

A June bride

While I was using my Epson scanner to produce some images for one of my occasional musings, I made the unwelcome acquaintance of a new error message:

GIMP's distress

That "dying plug-in" doesn't have quite the same ring as Tchaikovsky, does it? You can find the musings (on Modigliani) by clicking the error popup.

In the 27 years...

... that have whizzed by since hoovering up this jolly trio of comic caper novels...

Duffy trio

... I somehow became aware4 that behind "Dan Kavanagh" lurked Julian Barnes. So how come I forgot that until reading Andy Miller's review of "The Mule" by David Quantick, and seeing both a throwaway reference to Barnes' pseudonym and a reference to Martin Waddell's "Otley" — which can still be seen in the background of one of my favourite photos of Christa from 1977?

Christa in 1977



1  "Vary" may be over-stating things. "Tinker" is more accurate.
2  Such faked XML stub entries can be successfully deposited in the Movies table of the SQLite DB, but not the TV Shows table, it seems. Investigations are ongoing.
3  One such oddball title very early in my list of "hard nuts to crack" is "The 5th Alternative Miss World (1985)" which Channel 4 showed quite late one evening. Although it left no trace on IMDB, nor on any of the DBs Kodi snoops around in, Brian managed to track it down to a not terribly informative BFI page here. No, I have no idea why it's labelled 1985 when it covered the 1981 contest. Nor do I remember whether the thing is actually worth hanging on to any longer. That's not the issue!
4  As shown by my hand-written "Julian Barnes!" inside one of them.