mat's recent activity

  1. Comment on Alec Baldwin fatally shoots crew member with prop firearm on film set, authorities say in ~movies

    mat
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    That price is up against the additional crew and insurance costs of having actual firearms on set though. And the insurance cost probably just went up a decent chunk.

    CGI is complicated and expensive

    That price is up against the additional crew and insurance costs of having actual firearms on set though. And the insurance cost probably just went up a decent chunk.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on At what height should I hang my TV? in ~talk

    mat
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    With TVs I've always used the rule of thumb that if you split the screen horizontally into quarters, the top line should be level with your eyeline. So you're looking up at 1/4 of the screen and...

    With TVs I've always used the rule of thumb that if you split the screen horizontally into quarters, the top line should be level with your eyeline. So you're looking up at 1/4 of the screen and down at 3/4 of it, if that makes sense.

    Computer monitors should be higher, top of the screen level with your eyes.

    5 votes
  3. My thoughts on Denis Villeneuve's Dune

    OK, well. Dune then. Sort of a live review, as I watch. Some more in-depth thoughts at the end. Mildly spoilery, but not if you know the story already. Fair warning, I will not be judging this...

    OK, well. Dune then. Sort of a live review, as I watch. Some more in-depth thoughts at the end. Mildly spoilery, but not if you know the story already.

    Fair warning, I will not be judging this film on purely it's own merits. It exists in the world and also in the world are Lynch's film (for reference I consider the spicediver fanedit, Alternative Edition Redux, to be the canonical version of that), the Sci-Fi channel miniseries and obviously the books. Yes, even the prequels - the first of which is one of the worst books I've ever read and I've read The Davinci Code. Anyway, on to actually watching it...

    Well, it's pretty. One problem is that no matter how good the design is - and the design is VERY good - it's just not as good as Tony Masters and David Lynch building on material from Mobius and HR Giger. This film is obviously heavily influenced by them though.

    In my head Caladan is a lush, fertile, welcoming world. It's been colour graded to grey and desaturated. Feels wrong.

    He's lifting both shots and dialogue from Lynch's film. That's good. My brain is filling in the missing bits of internal monologing.

    Nice implementation of Chakobsa. I like that.

    Hans Zimmer can just fuck off with that big stupid honking sound he shoehorns into everything. So annoying.

    This film is missing Roger Deakins. I mean you can say that about a lot of films but this one especially. It is beautifully shot but Deakins would have taken it to another level.

    Why are people whispering at each other over like ten metre distances? I hate that. Speak up, you're outside, it's windy and you're far apart! It's not moody if you obviously can't even hear each other. Yes, small thing, but things like that which upset your suspension of disbelief are jarring.

    You can't put a crysknife away without it tasting blood. Pffft. That's just ignoring lore for the sake of it. Five seconds would be all it took to do that bit. We could have had one fewer lingering shots on the knife itself instead. As an aside, the Shadout Mapes as a means to explain bits of Arrakeen and Fremen lore to the Atredies (and us!) is horrendously under-used.

    The ornithopters in this movie are badass. There is an in-universe reason for them that I can't remember.

    I wonder how much of this works if you haven't seen Lynch's version (which has much more internal thoughts of characters) or read the books?

    Stellan Skarsgard is channelling Apocalypse Now era Brando pretty hard and that is in no way a bad thing. His Baron is absolutely superb, probably the best part of the whole film. Piter de Vries is nowhere near weird/creepy/insane enough. Leaving out Feyd-Rautha is a mistake, he's the anti-Paul and even though Sting did a relatively terrible job in Lynch's film, that doesn't mean he's not important.

    Zimmer teasing elements of Eno's original theme is a nice touch as well.

    You know what's cool? What's cool is that at certain key moments I get lines from the book appearing in my head, from whichever scene is happening. That's a really good sign. I haven't read Dune for years.

    So OK, overall, it's not as bad as I was expecting. It's pretty. It's stylish. It's annoyingly colour graded but what isn't these days? But this film doesn't add much to the telling of Dune over the Lynch's film or even, really, the Sci-Fi miniseries. Villeneuve is obviously a fan of both books and Lynch's movie and what he has made is good. A lot of what he's made is basically just a remake of what Lynch did, and I don't just mean because both films are based on the same book - there are multiple direct lifts straight from Lynch's film, and that is perfectly OK. But it's not about what is here, it's about what isn't.

    Because it leaves a lot out - it's shallow where it should be deep, it's straightforward where it should be mystical, simple where it should be weird. It's 8-10 characters when it should be twice that and worst of all a lot of it seems to rely on viewers knowing the lore rather than having time to explain it: and all that is because film is the wrong medium for this story.

    It misses out on exploring much about any of the characters simply because nobody has enough screentime to go into their motivations, which are generally multifaceted and complex - I do appreciate Villeneuve not wanting to have characters stand around expositioning at each other (MCU, looking at you), or doing a voiceover of character's thoughts like Lynch did, but that means you really need to spend time with them so they can show us what they're thinking, not tell us. "Show don't tell" is good filmmaking but it takes time.

    For example, Paul and Jessica get most of the screen time but we don't really learn much about them. Because you need a lot of lore to contextualise their motivations - Jessica's actions and desires need to be placed in the wider context of her relationship to Leto and the Bene Gesserit and their plans and while Villeneueve does try to do that a bit, it's one or two lines with Leto and one rushed (literally, they're doing a walk-and-talk) conversation in which Helen Moahim mentions the Kwisatz Haderach and little more.

    The Guild are barely even mentioned. You see some lower level navigators but you don't know who they are if you don't already know who they are. The Guild's influence is so important to so much of what happens in Dune but if you didn't know they existed already I'm not sure you'd leave this film knowing there was a spacing guild at all. Same goes for the Emperor and the Landsraad, they hardly come up at all. The thing about Dune is that it's not just about Paul. Paul is important but he's really just the pointy end of a lot of long-game players and systems and their interactions. That doesn't really come over in Villeneuve's film. Also it's not really a structural issue but I'd have loved to have seen more of the Heighliners. A Navigation sequence would have been fun too.

    The thing is, Dune deserves a TV series. A high budget one like Game of Thrones. I want an hour on Caladan, learning about the Atredies. I want an hour on Kaitain learning about the Padishah Emperors and the Bene Gesserit. Same with the Harkkonens. I want to be 3 or 4 episodes in before I even see Arrakis. Movies are great for telling short stories, maybe novellas at best. But big, long, complicated books need to be on TV where they can spread out, take their time, develop characters and fill in backstory and motivations.

    Overall, 7/10 and I really hope the second movie gets funded because stopping here would be even worse. It's worth watching but don't expect a great deal underpinning what is still a very beautiful film. I could have written that same sentence about Bladerunner 2049, thinking about it.

    8 votes
  4. Comment on 4 insecure standards we can't easily abandon in ~tech

    mat
    Link Parent
    Have you encountered anywhere that allows emoji in passwords? I've always thought that would be a good way to add entropy.

    Have you encountered anywhere that allows emoji in passwords?

    I've always thought that would be a good way to add entropy.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on I don't like coffee. Can James Hoffmann change that? in ~food

    mat
    Link Parent
    I'm waiting for the video teased in the channel promo with blacksmith Alec Steele, in which I expect Tom to be quite overwhelmed by very hot metal and powerful machinery. I do mean overwhelmed in...

    I'm waiting for the video teased in the channel promo with blacksmith Alec Steele, in which I expect Tom to be quite overwhelmed by very hot metal and powerful machinery.

    I do mean overwhelmed in a nice way. I love how excited Scott gets about stuff, and one's first experience striking red hot steel is pretty exciting. I've never used a power hammer but Alec has a couple of fairly hefty ones in his current workshop.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents in ~news

    mat
    Link Parent
    So the hidden premise that "murder is OK if it's someone I don't like" exists in my opinion - or not - dependent on when I say something? That's really interesting. I assume you did not know David...

    So the hidden premise that "murder is OK if it's someone I don't like" exists in my opinion - or not - dependent on when I say something?

    That's really interesting. I assume you did not know David Amess, or have any connection to him. I don't think you're in the UK so his politics have no impact on your life. His death means nothing to you. So why does a week change anything?

    8 votes
  7. Comment on British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents in ~news

    mat
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I think there is. It might not be a very obvious difference but I think it's there and perhaps it only works if you're in my head and know how the feelings differ! To give a slightly different...

    Is there a functional difference between these? In my opinion, they are not very distinct given the circumstances of why he can't cause anymore harm and as such there is an acknowledgement, even if unintentional, on the positive outcome of violence.

    I think there is. It might not be a very obvious difference but I think it's there and perhaps it only works if you're in my head and know how the feelings differ! To give a slightly different example of how that might work, when my grandfather died I was, in part, glad. Because he was suffering a lot so while his death was a bad thing, there was a positive aspect in the ending of that suffering.

    I appreciate that's a somewhat different situation and doesn't directly compare, but it's similar. Death, being a human thing, is rarely 100% black or white.

    I also think in this particular instance it's a very fine line to walk and I'm very aware of having to be careful about doing that. There is some interesting discussion to be had on the subject as well, which is part of why I posted what I did.

    I think in general we are so used to championing "our team" that when there is some duly 'positive' (very incorrect term but I can't think of a better way to describe it) press for the opposition [...] our default is to contradict it.

    A fair point but I am trying hard not to do that. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, and it's not the first time I've considered my opinion on the topic. I spent most of today painting a wall with the radio on (so lots of news breaks) and have had time to consider so I hope this is a considered opinion rather than a mere reaction.

    8 votes
  8. Comment on British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents in ~news

    mat
    Link Parent
    Why? Why do you have to assume that? Especially when I (thought I) was very clear that's not what I am saying. Because it happened today? Would you make that unwarranted assumption tomorrow? Next...

    It is very hard to read all this without arriving at the hidden premise in your reasoning, which is "murder is okay when the victim is immoral".

    Why? Why do you have to assume that? Especially when I (thought I) was very clear that's not what I am saying.

    Because it happened today? Would you make that unwarranted assumption tomorrow? Next week?

    I will feel the same way in a day, a week, a year. It doesn't make any difference when I say this.

    If I was glad he was dead and I thought murdering Tories was OK, I would just say that. I don't care that much about what you think to bother hiding that. But that's not what I think.

    because this hidden premise is a requirement for the argument to be cogent at all...

    No it isn't. That makes no sense.

    11 votes
  9. Comment on British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents in ~news

    mat
    Link Parent
    Perhaps part of the problem is that all day today I've heard various Tories (Tories = UK conservatives) on the news harping on about what an amazing, kind, fundamentally good person he was. When...

    Perhaps part of the problem is that all day today I've heard various Tories (Tories = UK conservatives) on the news harping on about what an amazing, kind, fundamentally good person he was. When he was demonstrably nothing of the sort. I'm sure he was very pleasant in person, most politicians are. It is their job. And I'm sure he was kind to his family and loved ones, again, most people are. But his voting record speaks for itself. He caused a lot of harm to a lot of people.

    I don't think idolising the dead - or the lesser form of immediately pardoning them - does anyone any favours. There is a context, of course, where such discussion is not appropriate. I would hardly be saying "yeah but he was a bit of a homophobe though" to his widow. But this is not that context. I also don't think there's a "too soon" because David Amess is not going to be news in a few hours. I will probably never type his name again after this weekend. This - for the most unfortunate of reasons - is his day, warts and all.

    I also think you have to take intent into consideration. Some of your republicans probably would be genuinely happy that AOC had been killed. Some of them would probably wish they'd done it. But I'm not glad Amess is dead. I wasn't even glad when Thatcher died, and she was far worse. I can be happy that he's no longer able to cause any more of the harm he spent most of his political career causing without remotely condoning the violence that led to that situation. So in answer to your question, absolutely I think it's possible to hold those two views at once. I don't see a problem there. Violence is bad, but so was David Amess. There's no contradiction. I think in people (at least here) are capable of understanding that kind of nuance, aren't they? This isn't Fox News.

    13 votes
  10. Comment on British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents in ~news

    mat
    Link Parent
    What's tricky is that this isn't unequivocally terrible news. I'm not sitting on a fence here, I'm being very clear where I stand. There are many, many reasons it is terrible but things aren't...

    What's tricky is that this isn't unequivocally terrible news. I'm not sitting on a fence here, I'm being very clear where I stand. There are many, many reasons it is terrible but things aren't always black or white. The world is very probably a marginally better place without David Amess in it. Not for his friends or family, but certainly for a lot of the people his future votes would have caused suffering for. He stood for, and did, a lot of pretty bad things.

    This is awkward partly because we're not supposed to speak ill of the dead (although that's clearly nonsense); but also because any comment along the lines of "well, perhaps the world is a little better off without him" is often read as some kind of endorsement of murder - which, to be very clear, I am absolutely not endorsing.

    But him leaving politics is still a positive thing. The manner of his exit is not. It's entirely possible to express that opinion without condoning violence nor eroding democratic norms (although if you have any tips on how to do the latter without stabbing anyone, the norms we currently have in this country do require some serious change).

    17 votes
  11. Comment on British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents in ~news

    mat
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    Stuff like this is a little tricky because while I have no wish to condone actual murder and I do feel for his family and friends, and I don't want to crow over the death of a human being... on...

    Stuff like this is a little tricky because while I have no wish to condone actual murder and I do feel for his family and friends, and I don't want to crow over the death of a human being... on the other hand he was a nasty piece of sexist, racist, homophobic shit who voted for numerous things which caused other people pain, suffering and likely even policies which led to - or at least contributed to - deaths. His voting record is here.

    He didn't deserve to die for that, though. Lose his job, certainly. Retributive justice, perhaps. Stabbing? Much as I detest his politics, no. Not that. Although I can understand why someone would want to.

    23 votes
  12. Comment on What is the easiest, cheapest, most low maintenance pet a person can have? in ~talk

    mat
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    Freshwater shrimp > snails for algae control, btw. I think they're nicer to look at but there are some pretty snails out there as well Also assassin snails will eat all the other snails and are...

    And the law of snails is: You either have one snail, or infinite snails. If you want more than one you need a predator.

    Freshwater shrimp > snails for algae control, btw. I think they're nicer to look at but there are some pretty snails out there as well

    Also assassin snails will eat all the other snails and are pretty good at living in small groups. My last tank had four and it was a pretty consistent four although I'm fairly sure it wasn't always the same four.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on Tour of 'The One', a $500m mansion in Bel-Air in ~design

    mat
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    Update from a friend in LA: "The existence of this house has been an ongoing public battle here. Everyone hates it for their own reasons and now it’s just a giant eyesore sitting empty except for...

    Update from a friend in LA: "The existence of this house has been an ongoing public battle here. Everyone hates it for their own reasons and now it’s just a giant eyesore sitting empty except for the Tik Tok’ers who break into it regularly for clout. "

    That, oddly, makes me feel rather better. At least it's failing on multiple fronts and if the kids are getting some fun out of it, well, more power to them.

    10 votes
  14. Comment on Tour of 'The One', a $500m mansion in Bel-Air in ~design

    mat
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    If you can stomach more, and props on making if through three videos so far - there's another video featuring Nile Niami's actual personal house which is rather smaller yet still incredibly tacky....

    If you can stomach more, and props on making if through three videos so far - there's another video featuring Nile Niami's actual personal house which is rather smaller yet still incredibly tacky. Even more tacky than "The One", yet still somehow just as sterile and heartless.

    Sadly he might lose all of them seeing as he's being chased by a lot of people (and at least one government department) that he owes multiple eye watering amounts of money to. Oh no. Won't somebody think of the wealthy property developers? Oh how awful.

    6 votes
  15. Comment on What is the easiest, cheapest, most low maintenance pet a person can have? in ~talk

    mat
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    I would argue this is not low maintenance. I've had various aquaria over the years and while I've mostly had a great deal of fun with them, none of them have been low maintenance. Rather the...

    A small aquascape (planted aquarium)

    I would argue this is not low maintenance. I've had various aquaria over the years and while I've mostly had a great deal of fun with them, none of them have been low maintenance. Rather the opposite. Once you finally get them stable, sure, they can tick over with maybe an hour a week of messing about changing water and so on, but they're a lot of effort even then - schlepping buckets around, conditioning tap water and suchlike. Smaller tanks require less moving around of stuff but they're considerably less stable so if something goes wrong it goes wrong fast.

    Not to mention the cost of lights if you want your plants to actually grow. Horticultural LEDs aren't cheap to buy and even factoring in the low power draw of LEDs they still eat power. I guess if you live somewhere sunny and can find a spot near a window that's less of a problem, although I have also found sunlight is often an invitation to algaetown.

    7 votes
  16. Comment on What is the easiest, cheapest, most low maintenance pet a person can have? in ~talk

    mat
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    In my experience of having done it a few times, dogs and cats get on just fine. In that the cats mostly ignore the dogs and the dogs do what they're told by the cats. Depends on the dogs/cats in...

    In my experience of having done it a few times, dogs and cats get on just fine. In that the cats mostly ignore the dogs and the dogs do what they're told by the cats. Depends on the dogs/cats in question of course.

    Spiders, snails, ants etc. All easy to keep and very low maintenance. Also if you must rodent, get degus not hamsters/rats/etc. Degus are social and diurnal (they're active in the day, not the night) and they don't scent mark with urine so there isn't piss everywhere all the time. They can be trained to come by name as well, which is neat. They're pretty cool if you can find them. Never keep them alone though, they get lonely.

    But the thing with very low maintenance pets is they also tend to be less interactive. A spider might only need feeding once a week and it's environment cleaning out every month or so - but it won't do much for you. You might as well have a plant at that point. A fourth dog won't add a great deal more work over and above three but it will give you a lot more back.

    4 votes
  17. Comment on Tour of 'The One', a $500m mansion in Bel-Air in ~design

    mat
    Link Parent
    There's another video but I can't face watching any more of either of those people. I barely made it through that video and I did a lot of skipping. The problem is, it's too big to put a single...

    There's another video but I can't face watching any more of either of those people. I barely made it through that video and I did a lot of skipping.

    The problem is, it's too big to put a single person/family in, but it's too small to be a hotel. I can't think of much of a use for that kind of space. Hosting small but very exclusive events, possibly. But I doubt LA is exactly short of that kind of venue.

    It looks like the developer is in some quite serious financial trouble so it's very possible this place could go for a fraction of what it's "worth" - although given it is both unfinished and has a lot of outstanding bills/taxes/etc that's not unreasonable. To be honest if I had a few hundred million to spend on a house in LA I'd buy it for the location, tear that monstrosity down and build something nice (and rather smaller) there instead.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on Jamie Costa's test footage for Robin Williams biopic in ~movies

    mat
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    Could you elaborate on why you find the use of the word 'test' quite so annoying? You are clearly quite upset but I don't really understand why.

    Could you elaborate on why you find the use of the word 'test' quite so annoying? You are clearly quite upset but I don't really understand why.

    3 votes
  19. Comment on Tour of 'The One', a $500m mansion in Bel-Air in ~design

    mat
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    Oh god it's so depressing. Such a waste of time, money, space, effort, everything. The whole place looks like a corporate HQ. That view is insane though.

    Oh god it's so depressing. Such a waste of time, money, space, effort, everything. The whole place looks like a corporate HQ.

    That view is insane though.

    8 votes
  20. Comment on What are you procrastinating on today? in ~talk

    mat
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    Putting up the studwork for an interior wall. It's only a small one but it's going to be really fiddly because I've got to build it around a sliding door that I just hung. Also tidying up, and...

    Putting up the studwork for an interior wall. It's only a small one but it's going to be really fiddly because I've got to build it around a sliding door that I just hung. Also tidying up, and finding the screwdriver I dropped behind a really tall and awkward to get past bit of built-in furniture.

    On the other hand this wall will be the last major construction task in my newly rebuilt workshop so that's quite encouraging. I could put it off by going to out to buy some plasterboard but I really hate wrangling that stuff in and out of the car.

    What I'd rather do is stay inside in the warm and write something. Words or code, I don't really mind. Warm is the key part here!

    Maybe I'll do the tidying and that will both warm me up and make my workshop feel like a nicer place to get the rest of the things done in. As a "getting shit moving" strategy, I'm a big fan of tidying up. Doesn't require thought, does get fast, visible results. 15 minutes of sorting stuff out is a great way to get moving on a day you're otherwise not excited by.

    3 votes