20170918_215919
BBC Horizon ran a one-hour "Goodbye Cassini - Hello Saturn" programme after the end of mission. My Big Boss takes up most of the second half of it, describing how the magnetometer discovered the plume activity at Enceladus.

If you're wondering who the woman in the purple shirt and glasses that she hugs at the end of mission event during the very last minute of the programme, can confirm that was me (see screencap above). That was shot about a minute after the loss of signal. :/

You can catch the Horizon programme on iPlayer if you missed it here.
In which I envisage using contemporary CBeebies shows for sexual orientation and gender identity educational purposes. Honestly, I kind of wish they would.

Octonauts
Episode in which Shellington, aka the walking encyclopedia, comes out as non-binary.
Kwazii: “Shiver me whiskers! Who knew you could be a boy AND a girl at the same time?”
Tweak, biting meaningfully into a carrot: “Duh, Kwazii.”

Charlie & Lola
Episode in which Lola decides to be a boy.
At the end, Charlie reprises the intro: “This is my little brother Lola. He’s small, and very funny.”

Bing
Episode in which Bing discovers his feelings for Pando are different from his feelings for Sula or Cocoa.
Flop: “Queer love: It’s a Bing thing.”

Clangers
Episode in which it is revealed that Clangers are sexually undifferentiated and reproduce via parthenogenesis.
Narrator: “Somewhere, out there in the vastness of space, there is a species whose stories have resisted being shoehorned into heteronormative human expressions of family life. Up until now, this wasn’t one of them.”
Cars & Daddy on a bicycle
In this drawing by Humuhumu, done in purple pen, you see two cars on the left and Humuhumu's Daddy on a bicycle on the right. These are the things Daddy likes to do: driving, riding bicycles, and driving us to places where we can all ride our bicycles.

Dashi from Octonauts
In this drawing by Humuhumu in the lower left and upper right, you see renditions of Dashi, the dachsund from the BBC children's show Octonauts, in light blue marker pen. The octopod is partially visible in the upper left, as is "Dashi nose practise" in the lower right.

Dashi is Humuhumu's favourite Octonaut. Here is the description of Dashi from the Octonauts web site, emphasis mine. Dashi is a smart dachshund / sausage dog who oversees operations in the Octopod HQ and launch bay. She monitors the computer systems and manages all ship traffic. She's also the Octonauts' official photographer and enjoys taking photos of undersea life.

....Oh. Ah. Huh.
nanila: me (Default)
( Nov. 17th, 2016 12:53 pm)
It occurs to me that, while I’ve been very slow to begin to read long-form writing (e.g. novels & non-fiction longer than magazine articles) again, I’ve actually been watching quite a bit more new stuff than I have since before Humuhumu was born. Mostly since I no longer have to go to bed before 10 PM every night because I'm so tired. There are some spoilers here for "Planet Earth II", "Frozen" and "Paddington". The other reviews are of documentaries or are spoiler-free.

~~~Television~~~
Planet Earth II: Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, of course. I have to admit, I giggled all the way through the snow leopard sequences because I couldn’t stop thinking of that sketch from “John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme”, which features a cameraman and a biologist with absolutely nothing in common, stuck up a mountain together for six months. Eventually they find common ground in mocking Sir David for continuing to narrate all these grand BBC nature programmes after retiring from field work. “We should just get an ordinary leopard and Tipp-Ex it!” “Or get an albino serval and do potato prints on him!” Er, anyway, the scope and cinematography of the programme are excellent, as one would expect, and it is fantastic at the end of the day to soar with the eagles, face-plant into the snow with a bobcat, or cheer on a baby iguana as it navigates a treacherous run through a perilous, snake-strewn obstacle course.

The Missing: This is one of those crime drama programmes that felt like it was going to be a two-or-three parter and then wrap up neatly. The BBC does that sort of thing brilliantly. The first two episodes were wonderfully suspenseful and quite scary.

Now that we’re six episodes in, it’s all gone a bit silly. I’m still on the fence with whether I’m on board with that, given how unlikeable most of the protagonists are.

Masterchef: The Professionals: Let’s be real now, I mostly watch this because of Monica Galetti, who pulls the best faces and is also, despite the lack of Michelin stars, a better chef than Mr Beardface aka Marcus Wareing. He thinks he’s the best judge on the show when he’s clearly entirely limited his tastes to fine French cuisine. Monica not only has that expertise, she also has palate that is capable of appreciating more diverse flavours. And she has the best hair.

My investment in this programme is a pale shadow of my love of Bake Off [RIP]. It peaked during the “normal” Masterchef in 2013, the year that Natalie Coleman won.

~~~Film~~~
Frozen: Aaargh. I’ve seen it a few times now. I don’t love it. Too many dreadful sappy songs, not enough ridiculous snowman and reindeer dialogue. Humuhumu likes it, though she thinks the ice monster is too scary, which is why a parent has to watch it with her. Presently I’m being heavily questioned about why Hans wants to steal Elsa and Anna’s kingdom. Gosh it’s fun explaining to a four-year-old what powerful motivators greed and a lust for power can be.

Paddington: Happily, Humuhumu loves this film almost as much as Frozen, though she thinks the naughty lady (Nicole Kidman’s character) is scary. I don’t mind rewatching it with her, as it's a pretty blatant parable about the positive effects of immigration. She asks a lot of questions every time it’s on, trying to understand the moral implications of what’s happening. The last time we watched it, I had to tell her no less than ten times that no, Uncle Pastuzo wasn’t coming back, because a tree fell on him during the earthquake and he died before he could get to the shelter.

The Take: The timing of the cinema release of the film (Bastille Day 2016, the day a freshly radicalised Tunisian man drove a lorry through a crowd in Nice, France) was awful, especially given the premise - terrorism by white people is subsequently erroneously blamed on Muslims. I enjoyed this. It was action-packed, well-paced and featured a lot of Idris Elba. What’s not to like? It was also entirely forgettable; the week after we watched it, I had difficulty remembering the title. If anyone was looking for further proof that Idris Elba should be James Bond, this adds to the already enormous stack of evidence.

The Man Who Knew Infinity: The bloke and I are both great fans of G. H. Hardy’s A Mathematician’s Apology, which lays out the working and personal relationships between S. Ramanujan and Hardy from Hardy’s perspective. This biopic attempts to show the same from Ramanujan’s. There are some great character portrayals of Bertrand Russell and John Littlewood. The film makes an effort to illustrate how the combined impact of Ramanujan’s isolation from sympathetic peers, loneliness at the long separation from his wife, poor physical condition, and Hardy’s drive to make him rigorously prove his theories, drive him to an early grave. It gives flavour for some of the barriers he faced in the form of obvious institutional and societal racism and the more subtle, unintentional racism of his allies, as exemplified by the little scene where Hardy asks Ramanujan if he enjoyed the college dinner (mutton, which Ramanujan didn’t eat because he was vegetarian). But it falls short, somehow.

Hypernormalisation: The bloke and I watched this three-hour documentary in the run-up to the US election. It’s pretty epic in scope as well as length, as it attempts to draw together historical decisions to explain how we’ve arrived at the present stage of “post-truth” politics. Its narrative begins with the ostracisation of the Syrian government by western powers and heavily leans on the use of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi as a pawn in a game of global distraction as well as the normalisation of the use of suicide bombers in modern warfare. There are a lot of diversions, including Jane Fonda and artificial intelligence research, which feed into the narrative with varying degrees of comprehensibility. The soundtrack is great (lots of Nine Inch Nails), although it feels like there are a few too many lingering shots of dismembered bodies. That said, I’d recommend it if you have the stomach, because it provides a compelling argument for the way ill-conceived political maneuvering has brought us to the stage where Donald Trump proved a viable candidate for the US presidency. It doesn’t offer any solutions, so it’s a pretty bleak viewing experience, although you may derive a certain hopeless satisfaction in contemplating becoming a devotee of nihilism afterward. Watch it for free on iPlayer here. Viewing requires a UK-based IP address.
Just so you know, there really is only one correct answer to this question.

Poll #17726 Gardener's World
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16


What is the best thing about the TV programme "Gardener's World"?

View Answers

The gardening tips
0 (0.0%)

Monty Don
1 (6.2%)

Monty Don's dog
15 (93.8%)

I was too ill last Friday to string together enough coherent thoughts to make a post, so the Unscientific Poll is coming to you at the very odd time of Monday.

I find myself a lot less invested in this series of Bake Off than I was in the previous one. One contributing factor is knowing that this will be the last series to air on the BBC, and the last with this set of four presenters. All three of the female presenters are leaving (Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins), meaning that not only will the show move to a channel with adverts, it will also retain only the intractably orange and bearded Paul Hollywood. Channel 4 will have to come up with some startlingly spectacular replacements for me to have any desire to continue watching.

Another is that, although I am charmed and delighted by Selasi's insouciance, Benjamina's understated wit and Candice's inexhaustible range of goth lipsticks, I get the feeling that any of last year's finalists - Nadiya, Tamal, and even the so-dull-I-had-to-look-up-his-name-Ian - would wipe the floor with all of this year's contestants, including Jane, whom I must reluctantly admit is probably the most accomplished baker even if she is my least favourite. None of them seem to be upping their game at the pace that last year's contestants had on reaching Week 7. Perhaps Wednesday will change my mind.

Anyway, enough from me. Which of the remaining contestants are your favourites? I shall place the poll behind a cut in case there are readers who haven't yet seen the latest episode(s).

Poll! )
In a rare, almost scientific move, I am following up on last week's poll. Here is my new phone case, simultaneously expressing my love of Japanese woodblock printing and Pokémon Go.

Pokemon Go meets Katsushika Hokusai

The Great British Bake Off has begun again. The first episode of the new season aired on Wednesday night. I livetweeted with the other fanpersons on my list. We all fell in love with Selasi Gbormittah. So...who is/are your favourite(s)? (A reminder of the contestants, with photos: Radio Times listing)

Poll #17641 Bake Off 2016
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16


My favourite(s) on Bake Off this year are:

View Answers

Andrew
3 (18.8%)

Jane
2 (12.5%)

Louise
0 (0.0%)

Selasi
16 (100.0%)

Michael
0 (0.0%)

Benjamina
10 (62.5%)

Candice
8 (50.0%)

Val
3 (18.8%)

Lee
0 (0.0%)

Kate
2 (12.5%)

Tom
0 (0.0%)

Rav
3 (18.8%)

Humuhumu is presently in love with the Clangers. She has Clangers bedsheets, the Clangers DVD and a set of Clangers miniatures, all acquired from the BBC Shop clearance.

The episodes she loves most are centred around Granny Clanger. These include "The Curious Tunnel", in which Tiny and Small discover a tunnel that sucks things up and spits them out onto the surface of the planet, coincidentally where Granny is trying to have a peaceful moment to herself, and "The Knitting Machine", in which Major invents a knitting machine as a labour-saving device for Granny. (Granny is less appreciative of this than he expects.) I suspect the attraction is at least partly because Granny is a central figure in the Clangers' clan in the way that Humuhumu's grandmothers are not, due both to distance and personality types. Granny is embedded in the home lives of Tiny and Small, always there, knitting away, napping, caring and being cared for by the other family members.

The set of Clangers miniatures included: Tiny, Small, Mother, Major and Baby Soup Dragon. The set did not include: Granny and Soup Dragon. Soup Dragon can be purchased separately. The only way to acquire a Granny miniature, however, is to buy the Clangers Home Planet play set. I can afford to, and will do this for Humuhumu, but I find it most aggravating that the only way to acquire Granny is to spend about four times more than I spent on the set of other figures. Especially since all the other Clangers are available in pairs and individually as well.
When I was in HMV (RIP) looking for Christmas presents, I discovered that the complete Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett as Holmes was on sale for £25. All four television series and the two TV movies (The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles) in one beautiful box set? I didn’t hesitate. I snapped it up. I’ve been making my way through the archives with delight for several weeks and am now halfway through the second series. Watching Brett play Holmes has made me realise all that’s missing from the very popular current BBC Sherlock.

He is perfect as Holmes. Just perfect. He has all the mannerisms and the look of Holmes. The ability to change position from recumbent lounging to wiry, cheetah-like poise in the blink of an eye. The tall, lithe strength of Holmes. The pale, ascetic face. Crucially, he also has a sense of humour (sadly lacking in the Cumberbatch version). And not the RDJ camp style either, which is funny and I love it, but isn’t canon Holmes. I mean he has Holmes’ sense of humour: the sudden flashes of merriment, the barks of whole-bodied laughter, at moments seemingly inappropriate to other people. The brief wry smile. He can also transform himself into the myriad characters that Holmes adopts during his sleuthing - a bent old bookseller, a down-and-out tradesman. Cumberbatch is seemingly capable of only playing Holmes as Holmes, half-hearted attempt at impersonating a priest in A Scandal in Belgravia notwithstanding.

Plus, my favourite aspect of the Holmes mysteries - and I suspect that of many others, given the popularity of the BBC’s Sherlock, the plots of whose episodes only vaguely resemble the originals - the relationship between him and Watson, is so sensitively portrayed by him and his counterparts. (Watson was played by David Burke in the first series, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and by Edward Hardwicke in the succeeding series.) In the post-Reichenbach episode, when Holmes shocks Watson and makes him faint with his dramatic reappearance, there’s a moment when Watson is still unconscious and Holmes is checking him before bringing him round. He runs his hand over Watson’s face, and the combination of quick professionalism and genuine tenderness expressed in the gesture is worth a thousand of the overt quips about gayness in the present BBC Sherlock to this Loony Fangirl.

Rosalie Williams makes a fantastic Mrs. Hudson (as does Una Stubbs in Sherlock). She aids and abets and perseveres, with a gentle bustling air that helps her steal scenes in her moments on-screen.

I have one confession of impropriety to make. During the episode featuring Tim McInnerny as Vincent Spaulding/John Clay in “The Red-Headed League”, McInnerny popped up through the floor at the climax. I couldn’t resist. I shouted, “HELLO, DARLING!” (Blackadder fans will understand, I’m sure.)
nanila: (kusanagi: sometimes it's true)
( Feb. 6th, 2012 11:13 am)
We've now watched the entirety of Series 2 of Fringe. Cut for major spoilers and crankiness. )
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