Monday, December 30, 2002

Just passing through...

Actually, I have discovered a use for this. You see, while I do have net access at home, I quite often post from the library. And I've now discovered that Birmingham library has such a fanatically restrictive filter that I can hardly get anything done. (In fact, it even stops me doing some work research, as, ludicrously, it blocks not only the Yahoo Group, but every Geocities site! So I can't even look at, let alone edit, Bits'n'Bob-stones! (Well, if I know exactly what I'm looking for, I can find its cache on the Google index, but going any further would probably count as "attempting to evade the filter" or some such.

The really ridiculous thing is that if I made an exact mirror of my site on an ISP's webspace, BT or somewhere, the filter would have no problems. It's only because it's a Geocities site! Sorry, Birmingham, but that's absurd. And before you start telling me that every library does this, I'll tell you that my home service, Worcestershire, doesn't. In fact, Worcs. has about the most liberal net policy I've seen from a library service: you can use your own floppies, use chatrooms, edit your websites, even play games, go on as long as you like (if no-one's waiting), and so on. Frankly, they're better at it.

Another absurdity: the B'ham libraries' homepage is Yahoo, yet most Yahoo services are blocked! Even the directory of member pages is out! Email works, thankfully - which means, of course, that I could get at the Yahoo Group that way - but that's about it.

Hey - I've rediscovered a use for this blog - moaning! Maybe I should call myself the Furious Furry [something else alliterative] =:) Oh yeah, while I'm on the subject, have a read of this:

Of course, it's way too sensible for anyone "wiv inflooens" to have read, but such is life...

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Hello? -oh? oh?

Does anybody actually read this thing? I only ask because it's a fair amount of work to maintain, and I generally do most of my (considerable) quantity of talking on the watershipdown Yahoo Group these days (public archives, so you don't need to be a member to read them, though you do to post or look at the Files section.) There's also my own website, Bits'n'Bob-stones to think about. So, given the tiny numbers on the hit counter for here (<5 most days), I'm wondering whether to keep it going. If anyone's reading this, and has an opinion, and can be bothered, they can email me at daveb75

Monday, December 09, 2002

Methrahessi lay hli hyaones!

Or "Methrahessi is here today!" Methrahessi (which itself translates as "storyteller") is a little program I knocked up in Delphi to translate between Lapine and English (and vice versa). It's not on the site, as Geocities won't allow zipfile hosting, but I have put it in the Files section of the Yahoo Group. You'll need to be a member of the Group to get at it, which itself entails having a valid Yahoo ID, but neither of those things costs anything, so get on with it!

Friday, December 06, 2002

Spectator Spectacle

There's a letter in the current issue of the Spectator putting forward the view that the reason for Tolstoy's lack of enthusiasm for Shakespeare was that Tolstoy did not speak English. The writer of the letter says that he considers the sound of Shakespeare to be the reason why people consider him a genius, and that this simply does not survive translation.

Why is this of any interest to us? Well, the letter is signed "Richard Adams, Whitchurch, Hampshire". Mr Adams is known to have a very high regard for Shakespeare, and the clincher is the style of writing in the letter. I have no doubt that this letter was written by the Great Man himself. Completists, rush out and buy your copy now!

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Wot no WD?

In my increasingly desperate search for any news on the Watership Down film front, I had a look through every film magazine I could find in Birmingham Central Library today. I didn't find anything relevant, but I did run across an interesting article in the "Vol 56, #1, Fall 2002" issue (it's American, as if you couldn't guess!) of Film Quarterly, written by Akira Mizuta Lippit, Associate Professor of Film and Visual Studies at the University of California in Irvine. (He's the author of Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife, don't you know...)

The article is called The Death of an Animal, and considers how animal death has been treated on screen. I would have thought that this would have been the perfect place to mention Watership Down, which is pretty much unique as a U-rated film (The Plague Dogs is PG) containing scenes of bloody and violent animal death. But no, not a word about it, although animation was clearly considered as there is a lengthy footnote about the shooting of Bambi's mother.

One other interesting passage referred to a hunting scene in Renoir's The Rules of the Game:

"'To die like a rabbit', which implies a meaningless, unconscious death at the hands of a vastly superior force, seems, in Rules of the Game, to have lost its metaphorical value in the extratextuality of the scene ... to die like a rabbit in Renoir's film is to experience and suffer a surfeit consciousness of death; to experience the death of the rabbit as an impossible and ecstatic death."

(And you thought I only posted light stuff here...!)