pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
I've posted this before, I know - it's from Arthur C Clarke's Astounding Days, quoting Lord Dunsany - and while it doesn't relate to the universes Pratchett created, I felt it was appropriate to repost it in his honour.

And there came upon him at last those mortal tremors that are about the end of all earthly journeys. He hastened then. And before the human destiny overtook him he saw one morning, clear where the dawn had been, the luminous rock of the bastions and glittering rampart that rose up sheer from the frontier of the Country Beyond Moon's Rising. This he saw though his eyes were dimming now with fatigue and his long sojourn on Earth; yet if he saw dimly he heard with no degree of uncertainty the trumpets that rang out from those battlements to welcome him after his sojourn, and all that followed him gave back the greeting with such cries as once haunted valleys at certain times of the moon. Upon those battlements and by the opening gates were gathered the robed Masters that had trafficked with time and dwelt awhile on Earth, and handed the mysteries on, and had walked round the back of the grave by the way that they knew, and were even beyond damnation. They raised their hands and blessed him.

And now for him, and the creatures that followed after, the gates were wide that led through the earthward rampart of the Country Beyond Moon's Rising. He limped towards it with all his magical following. He went therein, and the Golden Age was over.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
Just on a whim, I went looking online for keyboards for mine, because it would be REALLY nice to be able to leave my laptop at home, and all I do abroad is use it for typing and browsing anyway - a basic keyboard and WP suite will do me nicely. There seem to be quite a lot of them, and all have reviews which suggest they are reasonable at what they do - enable text entry much more efficiently than does the touch-screen.

Unfortunately they are ALL Bluetooth-based, and given that the primary intended use is typing on the restricted tray-space of a trans-Pacific airliner, that's a no-go. It's easier just to take the laptop, although the HDX may be coming along as well, simply for its ease of flipping out and watching pre-loaded stuff on when I don't want to end up in a tangle of cables.

A keyboard which possessed both power and hardwire data connections to the body of the Kindle and which incorporated support for plug-in memory (flash drives of whatever description) would make a mint. It would also potentially destroy the micro-laptop market overnight. There are cables by means of which a standard USB drive can be adapted to a micro USB slot (I have one for my Galaxy S3 phone), and I can't see why a bunch of micro USB ports can't accordingly be put in the side of a Kindle keyboard for the appropriate interfaces - AC and/or data in, AC and data to Kindle out, and one spare for an appropriately cabled USB hub or card reader.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
It's a wonderful second-line web browser, and this is 90% of why I use it. (The other 10% is as a PDF reader so I can read drafts of things I've e-mailed to myself when I don't want to go to the hassle of unpacking and firing up my Laptop.) But seriously, now that I am also using it to review large amounts of video, I do wish mine had more than a paltry 12 GB of space.

Specifically, I wish it had a slot for a (preferably full-sized) SD card. I was very sad and sorry, a few years back, to lose the services of a cute little PDA/cellphone which had this particular function. No taking the back off to get at the memory; you just pushed it into a slot at the top and away you went. Push-in, push-out - you could fill a memory card with video or pics, pull it out, drop in a new one with all your music on it when it was time to start listening... Of course those were the days when these cards were routinely 2GB rather than 8 or 16 or even higher, but the video and picture files were proportionally smaller (the camera was no more than 1.3MP, IIRC).

Yes, I understand, the makers want you to trade up to a new one every few years - but MEMORY AVAILABILITY shouldn't be the driving factor here. Oddly enough, my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone has a USB adapter available with a micro SD slot that goes into the phone and the other end takes a USB thumbdrive, so I can actually fill up both the internal memory (at least as large as the Kindle's) AND the micro SD card (I think it will accept them up to 32GB) and then drop vast swathes of it onto an external thumbdrive. AND the Galaxy S3 has both forward and rear facing cameras. In many ways it is superior to the much larger Kindle Fire HDX. The only major problem with this is that you shouldn't attempt such a large transfer unless your S3's battery is fully charged, or you have near-immediate access to power when the job is done, because of course the USB doohicky occupies the Micro SD slot into which the charger would go, but it does allow for quick out-transfer of files to a very portable source of backup on the fly.

Now of course if you'd just finished a quick holiday and were travelling light without even a laptop to your name, and you happened to be flying on one of those airlines with seat-back USB chargers, the flight back to wherever you came from would be the ideal time to do this. Charge-and-dump or dump-and-charge as appropriate, because there's nothing else to do. At least on the sectors I fly, you STILL cannot use your phone or data services in the air, though I understand there are changes coming in this regard. Among other things, some airlines no longer require you to power-off your devices for takeoff and landing, which are arguably the BEST times to take really good and exciting aerial pictures.

In other news, HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!!
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
"It is difficult to say which would be worse: if the nation were really so populated by fragile twentysomething toddlers so mentally brittle and incurably neurotic that the deployment of a perfectly good verb could send them over the edge into some sort of 1980s concept-album psychic crisis or if instead (and as I expect) all this hysterical insistence upon their emotional vulnerability were simply a passive-aggressive means of exercising control over what is said and thought, over how schools are administered, etc., with the people crying about “trigger alerts” acting simultaneously as hostages and hostage-takers."

Source.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)


Requiescant in pace.

Here is a reminder (in case one was needed) that there is such a thing as an honourable enemy.



And now, with 11am creeping upon me, a minute's silence for the fallen...
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
Yep, it's the anniversary of Trafalgar Day, when the British did just that to the French and Spanish Navies.

With that out of the way and the absolute, unquestioned supremacy of British sea power assured for the next hundred and eleven years, the Royal Navy had both the time and manpower to pursue other worthy goals.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
You ought to know why this day is special.

HINT:

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good Luck! and Let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

~ Dwight D. Eisenhower


And if you don't, you need to RUN AND FIND OUT. Because it's a lesson writ in blood on how tyranny must be confronted.

"The Struggle for Europe", by Chester Wilmot, would be a good place to start.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
You are the leader of a diplomatic mission dealing with the first contact problem.

It becomes apparent to you that the "friendly" aliens are not what they seem, and that their stated desire to 'serve humanity' could very well be culinary. It also very quickly becomes apparent to you that they are monitoring your diplomatic communications home and that any formal warning will trigger an immediate and violent response against you and your fellow team-members.

You have ONE opportunity to send ONE message that won't openly tip them off, to warn your entire species that trouble is on the way and to let you get away before they realise what you've done. What do you send?

I would choose this: http://youtu.be/iSifCF8k27A?t=37s

If I had audio, I might whistle the opening bars.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
And (for those who aren't yet there) to all, a good night. :)
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
When you go off into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights to form your own religious cult or sub-group, it is vitally important to give it a name that:

a) sticks
b) suggests your purpose
c) attracts potential converts or members.

Meet Jean-Gaston Tremblay and Fr Michel Collin, two ardent Catholics; the latter so ardent that in 1950 he declared himself Pope, an action for which he was promptly defrocked, excommunicated, and placed under an order instructing Catholics to actively avoid him. This didn't stop Collin from acknowledging Tremblay's "mystical" ascension to the Throne of Peter in 1968, but that's quite another matter.

They eventually formed a joint community which went under the name of "The Apostles of Infinite Love". What could possibly go wrong with a name like that?

From 1978 to 2001, the movement was sued because of alleged abuses, including rape, extortion and sexual abuse.

Hmm, yeah. We might have guessed.

It is worth noting that the Quebec Public Prosecutor dropped everything after 34 years of investigation... but if anything carries overtones of "mystical Catholic sex cult", then "Apostles of Infinite Love" surely qualifies.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
The Battle of Amiens.

A stunning Allied victory.

The weapons, the organisation, the methods... all British.

The Aussies and the Canadians might have brought their own special magic to the show, but at the end of the day this was a British victory, and to the British High Command goes the credit.

It was the start of a hundred unbroken days of the same thing, extending right to the end of the war, with the British Expeditionary Force romping with ease through the sorts of defensive systems which, two years previously, had held them at bay for months at horrendous cost.

That, my friends, is what you call an exit strategy.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
On this day in 1916...

You can accuse someone of not having their job done right, you can accuse them of making mistakes, you can accuse them of horrific oversights...

But when they shell the enemy's lines for a full week before the attack with every gun and shell they can spare, the thing they cannot be accused of regarding the fate of their men is callous indifference. Sorry, no. Not hearing of it. And when their enemy packs up and retreats at the end of four months because he never wants to go through that sort of shit again, and in the process wrecks every building, blows every bridge and poisons every well, that enemy cannot claim victory - or even a draw. Not morally, not technically.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
On this day 69 years ago, the Western Allies began the Normandy landings, and reopened the Western Front in Europe in World War 2.

It was a margin call because of the weather, and the planners foresaw the possibility that it would not work. Had it failed, the consequences for the Allies might have been disastrous.

Fortunately for all concerned (except Nazi Germany, of course), it did not fail - though in some places it came dangerously close.

It was the ultimate vindication of a man not usually seen as a forward military thinker - in fact, much the opposite. He wrote these words in 1916, just days after the first tank battle in history:

"In view of the successes obtained by the tanks, I suggested that he should carry out experiments with special flat bottomed boats for running ashore and landing a line of tanks on the beach, with the object of breaking through wire and capturing Enemy's defences."

That man was none other than Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. It is a pity he did not live to see his idea come to its ultimate fruition, against the same enemy he had first faced twenty years before.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
Author of the Demon Princes sequence, Cadwal trilogy and The Dying Earth, among many other science fiction and fantasy novels.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
The cause of death is given as breast cancer. I was never a fan of the band per se but they did produce some stand-out hits, including the notorious (and brilliant) I Touch Myself.



From her obituary in The Australian Online:

Chrissy expressed hope that her worldwide hit "I Touch Myself" would remind women to perform annual breast examinations.

So remember, ladies. When you think about her, touch yourself. And make sure you participate in your local mammographic screening programme. If there isn't one near you, get your GP to set up a yearly reminder and do it that way. And if you've got a family history, get a move on early.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
One of the great defenders of the Free World has left us. RIP Maggie.
pathology_doc: (some desperate glory (colin))
The Australian Labor Party's media control and censorship bills are dead in the water, voluntarily withdrawn, and the Party itself is in chaos.

Some at least of Britain's media organisations have announced they will have nothing to do with government control of Press content. The Government is not the people, and some Britons at least still remember what their forebears fought and died for within living memory.

And so I offer you this. (Spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen Skyfall yet, but Judi Dench's delivery is brilliant and IMO worth the spoil.)

The first line of the stanza (from Tennyson's Ulysses) was not quoted by M in Skyfall, but I think it's relevant and it probably should have been. The whole stanza runs:

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Emphasis mine.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
First of all, here is the original tune. If you're wondering why I've heard this theme song often enough to filk it, I need only point to my two children and to the Treehouse TV cable channel.

Here is the filk. )
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
And whatever your faith (or absence thereof), have a safe and happy holiday season.

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