mat's recent activity

  1. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    mat
    Link
    I have just started The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett. I've had a copy since release day and I only just feel ready to read the final Discworld book. I grew up reading and re-reading the...

    I have just started The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett. I've had a copy since release day and I only just feel ready to read the final Discworld book. I grew up reading and re-reading the books obsessively, Pratchett is my ultimate safe place, every time it takes me right back to reading under the bed covers with a torch so my parents wouldn't come past and see the light (looking back I doubt they cared because why would they want to stop me reading). I never understood why people got upset by celebrity deaths until Pratchett died. I only met him once but through his writing he is part of my family in a fundamental, intimate way.

    I'm literally five pages in. It feels different somehow and that might be me, it might be him, might be a bit of both. He knew he was dying while writing this book, so I'm not expecting it to be an entirely jolly experience but if there's anyone who can make their final goodbye glorious and wonderful,it's Terry Pratchett.

    My wife, although I didn't meet her until we were in our twenties, was doing the very same thing as me as a kid. We rarely read the same books, and when we do it's usually some time apart - but through some amount of effort we managed to synchronise our reading lists and we're reading this one at the same time.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on Sucks to be him! How Henry the vacuum cleaner became an accidental design icon in ~design

    mat
    Link Parent
    I dunno, having had both I definitely prefer bags. I pay maybe £5 for a year's worth of bags (two dogs and a toddler!) and what I don't have to do is ever dick about taking out and cleaning...

    And thank god it doesn't use those fucking bags the other models used! Changing bags was such a pain in the ass, and was a total scam.

    I dunno, having had both I definitely prefer bags. I pay maybe £5 for a year's worth of bags (two dogs and a toddler!) and what I don't have to do is ever dick about taking out and cleaning filters, because the bags are the filters. Changing bags on a Henry is a matter of seconds and very easy.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Ratz Instagib: The purest arena shooter in ~games

    mat
    Link Parent
    You were right originally - Jif is a cleaning product, although it was renamed Cif in lots of countries, I remember it from before digital image formats were a thing. It's also a brand of peanut...

    You were right originally - Jif is a cleaning product, although it was renamed Cif in lots of countries, I remember it from before digital image formats were a thing. It's also a brand of peanut butter

  4. Comment on Sucks to be him! How Henry the vacuum cleaner became an accidental design icon in ~design

    mat
    Link
    I have one of these vacuums and it's amazing. Works better than a Dyson, costs a fraction of the same, has survived well over a decade of everything I've thrown at it - including construction...

    I have one of these vacuums and it's amazing. Works better than a Dyson, costs a fraction of the same, has survived well over a decade of everything I've thrown at it - including construction waste, not to mention life with two dogs and a toddler. It recently stopped working and I checked online and turns out there are only FOUR things which might fail and they're all replaceable - bought a new part for £15, undid seven screws (no clips, it's all screws holding it together), replaced the part, did up seven screws, good as new.

    Anyway what I think is most interesting about this is the anthropomorphisation of a domestic appliance, and the way so many people seem to have taken this little device into their hearts - and I think that's one reason they're so successful. The fact they work really well helps a great deal of course. Related, I once saw a statistic - no idea how reliable it was but it sounds plausible - which said almost 80% of Roomba owners had named their robots, and you can buy various outfits for your robot should you want to.

    Humans are so weird.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on US parents say Peppa Pig is giving their kids British accents in ~tv

    mat
    Link Parent
    I suspect he's getting to the upper age range for Peppa Pig at that point. I haven't spent a lot of time with it. There is plenty of 5+ media which is more complex. But sometimes it's nice for...

    My nephew is 5, so a bit older.

    I suspect he's getting to the upper age range for Peppa Pig at that point. I haven't spent a lot of time with it. There is plenty of 5+ media which is more complex.

    But sometimes it's nice for them to not have to think - which is related to why young kids like repeating the same stories over and over again, it's soothing for them to exist in a predictable world for a bit. Adults do it too - how many people do you know who listen to old albums or rewatch movies or TV shows? It's a smart bit of brain hacking. The other night my kid asked me to read Goodnight Tractor five times in a row, back to back. A book he's known word-for-word since before he could speak, but he was using it to calm himself. Clever boy.. (probably wasn't conscious if I'm honest)

    Maybe you're just, like, a great parent? :) My nephew was not easy to handle in that regard, even though he's pretty chill overall.

    Well, I am that. (it's really not that hard, it's just tiring!) :D

    But it's just practice - both for you and the kid. By the time you've done it three, ten, twenty, fifty times with your nephew it would be easy for you too.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on US parents say Peppa Pig is giving their kids British accents in ~tv

    mat
    Link Parent
    Bluey is so, so good. There's so much to learn there for parents as well as kids. It often makes me cry, in a way I really wouldn't have done before the kid was born. The episode Sleepytime in...

    Bluey is so, so good. There's so much to learn there for parents as well as kids. It often makes me cry, in a way I really wouldn't have done before the kid was born. The episode Sleepytime in particular leaves me a complete wreck, as does Granddad - and several times I've had to talk about the difference between happy and sad tears with the kiddo.

    I would happily watch Bluey even without the kid, and I think that's an indicator of good children's media, that it's good all on it's own - same for books, got three new picture books delivered today and read them on my own at lunchtime. Sarah and Duck is another TV show which is that good - a few years ago (pre-kid) at New Years when my wife had just had a miscarriage we stayed in on the sofa and watched Sarah and Duck all night and it was lovely.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on US parents say Peppa Pig is giving their kids British accents in ~tv

    mat
    Link Parent
    Peppa is an idiot. She's rude and disrespectful to her parents - especially her dad, she's mean to her friends, she's a bully, she's self-centered (I mean sure, all kids are but let's not...

    Peppa is an idiot. She's rude and disrespectful to her parents - especially her dad, she's mean to her friends, she's a bully, she's self-centered (I mean sure, all kids are but let's not encourage it), there's some really outdated ideas about gender, her little brother is awful, she seems often to lack wonder which is such a terrible thing not to encourage in a child - the list goes on.

    It concerns me that her whole world lacks real conflict, or any sentment besides amusement and very mild irritation

    My kid is 2.5. His real world pretty much lacks real conflict and any sentiment besides "good" and "bad". Things in his life are mostly either amazing or terrible. You can't tell very little kids complicated stories, they can't process them. You can show them deeper emotions - we have some amazing books about death, for example - but they're still simple stories. Repeating simple stories over and over, on TV or books or even in song, is one way they learn to process stuff. As they get older they'll want more from their stories but pre-school age? It's all very big, simple things. Because that's what toddler emotions are like. Big and simple.

    the most problematic thing about Peppa Pig is how it was clearly designed to provoke addictive behavior.

    It probably wasn't, at least not by the production team. It's probably more that pre-schoolers have very short attention spans and making long episodes loses their attention. My kid will just sit through a single 20 minute short film, and then only if you catch him at the right time. 5-10 minutes is perfect though. If the TV network decides to cram 5 episodes back-to-back into a half hour show that's on them.

    and it is not easy for an adult to break the cycle.

    I dunno, it's not that hard. My kid would watch TV forever if he could (actually not true, tried it once just to see and he gets bored after about an hour) but I have the remote. When we're done, we're done. I say "last one" and we watch a last one and the TV goes off. Sometimes he makes a fuss but he gets over it, and making kids do shit they don't like for their own good is part of being a parent.

    Anyway, the main problem with Peppa Pig isn't so much that Peppa Pig is a bad show (although it is) it's that there is so much better out there they could be watching instead.

    7 votes
  8. Comment on Open letter to NASA Administrator Nelson from Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos in ~space

    mat
    Link Parent
    I get the impression he wants to get those NASA wings on his stupid flightsuits. He wants to be a proper astronaut like he dreamed of as a child. It's the same reason all his spacecraft are named...

    I get the impression he wants to get those NASA wings on his stupid flightsuits. He wants to be a proper astronaut like he dreamed of as a child. It's the same reason all his spacecraft are named after Apollo-era people, which is kind of creepy and weird. Musk at least reads sci-fi..

    7 votes
  9. Comment on US parents say Peppa Pig is giving their kids British accents in ~tv

    mat
    Link Parent
    When I was growing up a lot of kids TV was produced purely to sell cheap plastic toys so I guess things haven't changed that much, we've just dispensed with having a physical product. I am SO glad...

    The new generation of children shows seem mass-produced to farm ad money.

    When I was growing up a lot of kids TV was produced purely to sell cheap plastic toys so I guess things haven't changed that much, we've just dispensed with having a physical product.

    I am SO glad I live in a country with a state-funded media who have a legal requirement to produce quality kid's programming. BBC Children's is incredible.

    9 votes
  10. Comment on US parents say Peppa Pig is giving their kids British accents in ~tv

    mat
    Link Parent
    I agree with this but not for the reasons you think. Among my parent friends, Peppa Pig is universally disliked and the reasons why are pretty consistent and not controversial at all. I don't ban...

    entirely uncontroversial

    I agree with this but not for the reasons you think. Among my parent friends, Peppa Pig is universally disliked and the reasons why are pretty consistent and not controversial at all. I don't ban my kid from choosing Peppa when he's allowed to watch TV because he's a small human with his own agency which I encourage - but I do try to guide him to other, better things. Bluey (if my kid picks up an Aussie accent from Bluey I'm fine with that), Sarah and Duck, Charlie and Lola, Kiri and Lou (same for a Kiwi accent), almost the entire output of Children's BBC which isn't Peppa Pig is better than Peppa Pig. Except Moon and Me. Fuck Moon and Me, and luckily my kid agrees with me on that one. He goes out of his way to point at Moon and Me and says "no" when choosing stuff to watch.

    My kid only really watches TV via the BBC app so I don't need to vet anything in advance.

    9 votes
  11. Comment on Open letter to NASA Administrator Nelson from Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos in ~space

    mat
    Link Parent
    Reads the same to me, but I'm not very good at reading that sort of language so I could be wrong. It does appear to have a fairly clear subtext of "Jeff really wants to go to the moon please...

    Reads the same to me, but I'm not very good at reading that sort of language so I could be wrong.

    It does appear to have a fairly clear subtext of "Jeff really wants to go to the moon please please please let Jeff go to the moon Mr NASA please if it's money he's got money don't worry about money just let Jeff beat Elon to the moon pleeease"

    12 votes
  12. Comment on The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up everyday in ~life

    mat
    Link Parent
    Oh, fair enough. Perhaps a bit of an edit to the title might have avoided confusion? Something like: "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Just Showing Up - HN comment goes into more detail than the...

    Oh, fair enough. Perhaps a bit of an edit to the title might have avoided confusion?

    Something like: "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Just Showing Up - HN comment goes into more detail than the actual article"

    1 vote
  13. Comment on What do you collect? in ~hobbies

    mat
    Link
    I have amassed and disposed of a number of collections over the years, there's only one I've stuck with for any amount of time and that's editions of Alice in Wonderland. I have maybe 15 now, the...

    I have amassed and disposed of a number of collections over the years, there's only one I've stuck with for any amount of time and that's editions of Alice in Wonderland. I have maybe 15 now, the oldest is from the late 19th century but most are newer. I have the Dali illustrated version, a pop-up one, The Annotated Alice, Philosopher's Alice, various copies illustrated by people other than John Tenniel (you almost certainly know his illustrations). Also some reworkings of the story like Automated Alice or The Looking Glass Wars. I recently gave away a few editions so I don't have quite as many as I did, but my cousin lost her whole library to mould so y'know. Had to do something.

    Over the last couple of years me and my wife have been slowly working on a collection of limited edition prints by illustrators we like, including a gorgeous Chris Haughton which has a whole wall to itself because it's so damn nice, and we just picked up a Paul Kidby Discworld characters print which is still awaiting framing. I'm hoping to one day get something by Shaun Tan but I can only find them for sale in Australia and they're expensive enough even before thinking about shipping or import tax.

    6 votes
  14. Comment on The truth behind the Amazon mystery seeds in ~life

    mat
    Link
    You can skip the first half of the article fairly easily if you know the background and skim the rest to get the general pictures, but it's a good read if you've got the time for it all....

    You can skip the first half of the article fairly easily if you know the background and skim the rest to get the general pictures, but it's a good read if you've got the time for it all.

    Personally I always thought the 'brushing scam' explanation didn't quite smell right.

    Spoiler/summary

    It looks like in many, possibly all, cases people had just ordered the seeds several months previously and forgotten about them.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on 'Woke coke': Drug dealers marketing 'ethically sourced' cocaine in ~news

    mat
    Link
    Sort of related to this, I have a friend whose weed dealer uses compostable baggies, which I think is a nice touch. I don't think they charge extra but I haven't asked.

    Sort of related to this, I have a friend whose weed dealer uses compostable baggies, which I think is a nice touch. I don't think they charge extra but I haven't asked.

    7 votes
  16. Comment on The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up everyday in ~life

    mat
    Link
    Not really a complaint but it does seem a little odd to link to the HN thread rather than the actual article. Lots of us read HN already, don't we?

    Not really a complaint but it does seem a little odd to link to the HN thread rather than the actual article.

    Lots of us read HN already, don't we?

    3 votes
  17. Comment on Black players on England football team bombarded with racist abuse on social media in ~sports

    mat
    Link Parent
    It's important to remember that Boris isn't just xenophobic, he's also been openly racist on plenty of occasions

    myriad of xenophobic comments that Johnson's made in the past

    It's important to remember that Boris isn't just xenophobic, he's also been openly racist on plenty of occasions

    14 votes
  18. Comment on What are your favorite bits of more juvenile humor? in ~misc

    mat
    Link
    The venerable comic organ, Viz. If you're British, you know Viz. It's obscene, juvenile, bitingly satirical often to the point of being unrecognisable as satire and very, very funny. At school I...

    The venerable comic organ, Viz. If you're British, you know Viz. It's obscene, juvenile, bitingly satirical often to the point of being unrecognisable as satire and very, very funny. At school I once had a Viz annual confiscated by my English teacher, I walked past her room after school to find her sitting at her desk laughing uproariously. She had the decency to apologise and say she was wrong. (I liked Mrs Newton, she was one of those teachers who changed my life forever) Example comic about Winston Churchill, also Francis of Assisi. The ongoing series Drunken Bakers is so black as to be barely comedy, instead portraying a Kafkaesque nightmare of spiralling addiction and suffering that is still somehow kind of funny (I'll admit Drunken Bakers isn't really juvenile so I shall balance that with their long running feature, Up The Arse Corner)

    5 votes