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Feel the Force and Do it Anyway

What Colour is Your Lightsaber?

Eat, Meditate, Repress all your Emotions

I'm a Wookie, You're a Wookie

How to Win Acolytes and Influence Billions

Who Moved My Droid?

The Seven Habits of Highly-Effective Jedi

Men are from Tatooine, Women are from Alderaan


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22 April 2018 @ 09:34 pm
I appear to be writing Kylo Ren fic. Save me!

Last weekend I bought The Last Jedi on DVD. It's really a very expensive public education film about the danger of cults.

Much as I've always been a sucker for tormented baddies, I suspect it is being over-generous to the characterisation to be reminded of Claggart's line from the libretto of Billy Budd, 'the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehends it and suffers.'* Nonetheless, it is very apt.

Question: in which work of popular culture have I recently been reminded of the line 'build a Heaven in Hell's despair', because it certainly wasn't Blake.** It will probably turn out to be Twilight or similar.

*I'd be surprised if the biblical original hadn't cropped up at some point in contemplation of the Force, though.

**Hell for me will be the pit of boiling oil while an amateur actor reads the lesser works of Blake and Wordsworth for all eternity.

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22 April 2018 @ 04:44 pm
I am trying and failing to purchase new walking shoes. The challenge in doing this is that my existing walking shoes, which have now seen better days, are the platonic ideal of what I want and everything else is Wrong in comparison. I would just buy the old ones again, but since I bought them in 2009 even the internet is failing to deliver. They have been replaced by the manufacturer with two slightly different pairs, neither of which is quite right.

Ironically, after ranting about both Marks and Spencer and women's trousers, I appear to have purchased three pairs of trousers from Marks and Spencer. I feel my point still holds, in that I was not able to purchase the socks I went in for.

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18 April 2018 @ 08:59 pm
I hope that if I am ever on a plane with one damaged engine and a window smashed in at 32,000 ft that my pilot sounds as frankly bored with a mundane day at work as Tammie Jo Shults does in this recording of yesterday's incident on Southwest Airlines while she is bringing the plane into land.

ATC: Is your airplane physically on fire?

Pilot: No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing.

Isn't it a good thing that she persisted with her wish to become a fighter pilot after being turned down by the US Army (she joined the navy).

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15 April 2018 @ 05:11 pm
As I move various garments between drawers, wardrobe and suitcases the question arises as it does a minimum of twice yearly with the major changes of the seasons: do I have too many clothes or insufficient storage space?

The answer, I think, is neither. I do have a lot of clothes. Other people get by with far fewer. On the other hand, I only possess clothes that I wear* and I tend to keep them a long time because I look after them and my weight/size doesn't vary a great deal within the reasonable lifetime of a garment. The real issue is that I have a lot of specialist clothes that I couldn't do without if I want to do the things that I do, and these take up a lot of space and have relatively limited overlap with other things. So I possess:

* A work wardrobe. Summer T-shirts and some more casual summer trousers get worn outside work, but that's about it. I do not need black polyester trousers in the rest of my life, and I don't really want my non-work clothes to acquire work associations.

* Seasonal non-work clothes. The UK has seasons, I feel the cold and though my house maintains a decent temperature by UK standards it does not maintain a steady one all year. I need summer and winter clothes both in and out. This also means complete changes of most underwear, because winter is thermal vests and woolly socks, and summer isn't.

* Really specialist clothes:
(1) Skiing. I own quite a lot of stuff for cross-country skiing, plus insulated trousers for downhill. All of this takes up quite a bit of space. The waterproof jackets do get other wear, some of the other stuff gets occasional hiking or gym use.

(2) Hot holiday clothes. My shorts do not get a lot of use in the Uk. Nor do those strappy sandals. I own two linen tops suitable for countries where some sort of elbow-plus sleeve is required in 35C, I am not going to get rid of them and have to buy new ones next time I travel to a desert.

(3) Summer holiday hiking gear. There is a point at which it is worth it.

* Stuff that I like to much to get rid of and that might come in one day for fancy dress. The Rupert of Hentzau jacket that was a mistake. The Laura Ashley skirt that wasn't and I got a lot of wear out of, but that these days awaits a Harry Potter themed party. The Gap sundress from 1998 that is really now too small, but I bought because it had a sort of Jane Austen air. Garments I made and was particularly proud of.

* Things to wear to weddings.

Oh yes, add shoes and coats.

So yes, quite a lot of clothes all told.

Must get back to it, it is currently all covering my bed.

*With the exception of the velvet skirt bought from the Jigsaw outlet shop that I intend to wear just as soon as I can find (1) a top to go with it, (2) an appropriate venue.

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14 April 2018 @ 08:50 am
To not particularly great surprise, Winter Olympics all time great, Marit Bjørgen has decided that it is time to hang up the ski boots. Not unexpected given that she is 38 and post-Olympics is a natural time for retirement, but still it is a bit weird. I went on my first skiing holiday in 2003, came home and found that Channel 4 then broadcast a couple of hours of cross-country skiing in the middle of the night. I was not an instant fan, which honour went to Bente Skari* for the remaining few weeks of the season, and noticed Bjørgen only in the next season, when Skari had retired and Bjørgen broke through to the top. But she has been there every since, with occasional pitfalls and one season on maternity leave, and it is going to be really weird to watch next year and know she won't be back.

Thanks, Marit, it's been a lot of fun.

Marit Bjoergen crosses the finishing line in the lead

*I have often liked the people who are at the top. And why not, they're good!

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Jiffygate continues unresolved, perhaps forever. Chris Froome rides on, while inquiring minds ponder just how Team Sky intends to show he got those adverse findings though legit medical use. Pyeongchang is behind us, and the Commonwealth Games don't involve Russia, so the Sochi doping saga rattles on.

So kindly stepping in to prevent boredom over the summer come the Austrian police, who yesterday raided the offices of the International Biathlon Union, and today are working with the Norwegian authorities in an investigation involving the IBU president, 72 year old Anders Besseberg* and secretary general Nicole Resch. TL:DR, it's a corruption probe into the concealing of doping results of Russian competitors. The IBU appears to have been covering stuff up for years. Info in English here.

Alas, at this point I can't find the relevant article, but I seem to recall that two members of the CAS panel that decided that there was insufficient evidence to strip Sochi competitors of their medals, despite clear evidence of tampering were associated with, you guessed it, the IBU.

*He's been president since 1992, apparently, which tells you a lot about how this sort of thing happens in a number of sports. Maximum 10 year terms, for goodness sake!

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Do you have a frozen river? Does this present a potential nuisance? Do you have an army and a large quantity of explosives? Problem solved!

This one had the best music. English-language version here.

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06 April 2018 @ 07:56 am
Not even Thought for the Day can have one reaching for the off switch like the words 'our Friday poem - William Wordsworth' And Tintern Abbey at that.

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05 April 2018 @ 10:14 pm
After some truly filthy weather earlier in the week when I was visiting my parents, finally today managed to bring a couple of hours in which warmth, sunshine, and the absence of rain coincided. I would say, "Long may it continue!", but it is forecast to rain tomorrow. On the plus side there continues to be no need to mow the lawn.

A swift state of the Nineveh:

* I read Soul Music last week and realised that I had never previously finished it. Teenage me was annoyed that it wasn't all about a girls' boarding school, and knew nothing about rock music. I still don't know much, but I got a lot more references. It's not one of Pratchett's best, I felt that although all the cast are potentially interesting it doesn't go deeply enough into any of them. However it is good fun and happily, Susan would get more developed in later books. I think that it may be time for a re-read of early middle-period Pratchett.

* I have made a sweatshirt out of this Liberty fabric with pink icebergs on it. I am rather smug about my successful essay of an exposed zip. OK, it would have been better if I had made a winter-themed sweatshirt in autumn rather than spring, but I shall wear it this weekend and then it will be ready in six months time.

* I am finally watching Skam, to be precise season 3 of Skam, which is the one that reached international fandom. It is as good as reported, far more teenager-ish teenagers than one often sees, and with outstanding acting. I shall certainly post about it when I've finished the series.

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