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Chris H

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Chris H last won the day on February 11

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About Chris H

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 08/11/1960

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    http://headfirst.www.idnet.com/blog.htm
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    Chris H
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    @headfirstonly

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  1. @Marshdrifter Yes please!
  2. Chris H

    Tour dates!

    A few photos from Bill's UK appearances, and the associated WGB gatherings:
  3. Chris H

    Reviews

    I put my review up on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3159786704
  4. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. A non-fiction account of the Theranos affair. This is a salutory and disturbing tale of what happens when grandiose self-belief loses all touch with reality and moves to Silicon Valley. The supporting cast includes Henry Kissinger and General James "Mad Dog" Mattis. The most insane true story I've read for many years. The litigation continues to this day... After Atlas by Emma Newman. A bleak, Earth-based follow-up to Emma's Planetfall, which I really enjoyed. This is very different, and I enjoyed it even more (I burned through it in a single day). Future police procedural, heavy on augmented reality and interesting tech, with a big dollop of dystopia thrown in to really mix things up. Did I mention the bleak? This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan. A novel that soon begins to take on a distinctly "This Is Spinal Tap" shape, borrowing heavily on the Oulipo school of writing (so you can have fun spotting the techniques as they crop up). It's the tale, told through interviews and recollections, of legendary 80s pop group Memorial Device. The blurring of fact and fiction is so well done that it's difficult to know where reportage stops and invention begins - I suspect that even a citizen of Airdrie, where the novel is set, may find themselves wondering if they attended one of the band's gigs back in the day. I got a lot out of this one, possibly because I was even more heavily in to music in the 80s than I am now, and almost certainly because I'm very familiar with the sort of authorial tone that crops up in band fanzines. Really enjoyed this one. Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O'Neill. Another novel that shows strong Oulipo influences, chronicling the remarkable lives of sixteen obscure (i.e. fictional) Australian writers. If you know even the tiniest bit about Australian literature, you'll recognise what's going on; this one really did have me laughing out loud. It takes a while for the scene to be set, but when the gags start landing I was howling. The final joke, which has been set up for almost the entire book, pays off *perfectly*. And like This Is Memorial Device, even the index has jokes in it.
  5. Much as it pains me to become involved with streaming services, my latest album is now available on Spotify. It'll be up on iTunes and Amazon Music in the not too distant future as well. As always, it's available on Bandcamp, where you can also read the lyrics and good stuff like that. https://headfirstonly.bandcamp.com/album/beyond
  6. I am currently reading: Embers of War by Gareth Powell. I understand Remote's reaction to the Trouble Dog books, but I enjoy them a lot. Like Banks, his characters often operate in moral grey areas. There are some interesting creations too: I've heard Gareth read scenes featuring Nod the Engineer which are particularly funny. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber. A meditation on whether or not most of the work that people do these days is meaningful or not, concluding that it is not. The book comes complete with a taxonomy of different categories of meaningless jobs. I can only read it in short bursts, because the illustrative stories and examples gathered from messages to the author on Twitter and elsewhere following the publication of his original essay end up making me furiously, blisteringly angry. You need to read this one, so we can do something about fixing the things that Graeber is writing about. Psychogeography by Merlin Coverley. Reads like a sixth-former's essay and manages to make the Dadaists and Situationists sound dull. Seriously, this reads like someone who has never read an academic paper trying to write an academic paper. If this was a Wikipedia page, it would be plastered with [citation needed] flags. Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement. A memoir of the implosion of a significant talent and an examination of our self-destructive urges. A record of a time that is as far away from us now as the 1930s were from the Beatles, which is a very sobering thought. Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott. Very entertaining gothic weirdness along the lines of Hope Mirrlee's Lud-in-the-Mist, but about two hundred pages too long. When I finally got to the end of the book and found the story would be continued in the next volume, I concluded that it would have to go on without me... The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. The story of the cholera outbreak that took place in London in 1854, told in forensic and gruesome detail. The invention of cities helped human beings to live successfully at population densities that the planet had never seen before, but all those bodies provided an environment for diseases to proliferate in ways that had previously been impossible. This is a record of the replacement of one scientific paradigm (the miasmic theory of disease) with another, and how the evidence was compiled to discredit the old theory and support the new. It was also a pivotal point in the development of data mapping. Time to Think by Nancy Kline. Starts off as your typical "help your business grow" text focusing on how giving people your full attention when they talk, and not interrupting them, enables them to think more deeply and become more creative. Gradually gets more and more out there until by the end Kline appears to claim (and this is not an exaggeration) that her approach can cure cancer. So, yeah.
  7. According to Formula 1's own website, a modern racing car can generate 3.5g of downforce (3.5 times its own weight), which means that if the car's going fast enough through a tunnel, it could theoretically drive upside down: https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/inside-f1/understanding-f1-racing/Aerodynamics.html There have been complaints from race circuits that F1 cars leave ruts in the asphalt, like heavy goods vehicles do on freeways.
  8. It's called a splitter. They're designed to reduce the amount of air flowing under the car at higher speeds (by diverting most of it upwards, or to the side). This improves downforce, stops the steering getting too light at speed. And the number of cars I see on the roads over here with broken ones flapping about under the car is ridiculous.
  9. Fans of progressive rock might want to make sure that they reserve a copy of issue 98 of "Prog" magazine, out on May 3rd. For, like, reasons.
  10. Switched over to a Lexus hybrid this week. 60 mpg, up from the 44 mpg I was getting with the last car. All the bells and whistles. And because it's a 2015 model, road tax is £0.00.
  11. After completely rewriting the lyrics I'm kinda pleased with this. https://headfirstonly.bandcamp.com/track/off-the-edge
  12. I missed Incredibles 2 when it hit the cinemas, but now it's gained a digital release, I watched it last night. Spotted the villain almost immediately, but it was a fun watch. The sequence with Jack-Jack and a garden interloper was by far the highlight: Tex Avery levels of comedic mayhem. As if Brad Bird had looked at Scrat's appearances in the Ice Age movies and decided to show how they ought to have been done. Plus Isabella Rossellini!
  13. Warner Bros have brought out a new release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, mastered from the original 65mm negative and scanned in 4K and this time they *didn't* throw lots of sharpening, colour grading and other post-processing at it. The result is spectacularly good - it's the film as I remember seeing it in my childhood. You can no longer see the brush marks on the front projection screen that were present in just about every shot in the "The Dawn Of Man" sequence in the earlier release. The film positively *glows* with the numinous. There are no new extras, but you get all the special features from earlier discs.
  14. Whoa, those have been massively embiggened! The preview had them actual size and side by side, which was my intent. Is there any way to stop the OTT enlargement here?
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