CRRRaSh! 334 Behold, I am the Beholder

By Roy Mathur, on 2020-09-08, at 23:56:57--01:05:07 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Insurance Renewal

The process of cancelling automatic insurance renewals is deliberately annoying, so you give in and accept that your quote will be much more expensive than the year before.

Shopping around is a pain, but I reduced my home insurance premium by 30%, so shop around, and screw you insurance companies.

Do you know why premiums are going up? Take car insurance as an example. According to the Guardian, motor insurers have been caught selling our data to ambulance chasing law firms---quod erat demonstrandum---vicious circle.

Death

There's been more death in the family, but I've reached the point where, while it hasn't normalised for me, a couple of deaths a year is what I've come to expect.

Too Much Eyeball

Recently, after watching the first episode of a new TV show for the sake of this podcast, I have added the rest of the season to my infinite playlist for future viewing.

I will definitely catchup up at some point, but right now, I have too much in both the podcast (Doctor Who, books, comics etc.), and my real life (seriously, you do not want to know) to commit to anything more than my usual quick not-even-trying-to-be-objective non-review review. (Not being a reviewer is a whole thing I bore people about constantly).

Also, at this point, I am so tired of being beamed in the retina by the light of a thousand suns that I'm starting to feel like a big floating eyeball monster.

Apologies to Cornwall

I listened to 333 and it sounded like I was putting down the Cornish split, a sweet roll used in place of scones in a Cornish cream tea. I was being slightly regionalist. I admit it. The implication being, that scones are better with your cream tea than splits.

However, after having my cream tea, using generic scones from a supermarket located in the mysterious regions in which I dwell, betwixt the Middle Lands and the Great and Terrible Smoke, it is apparent that my native scones are, in fact, garbage.

It would not be a stretch to guess that a Cornish split might be better, unfortunately, you can't get them here.

Another thing you can't get here, and I was recently comparing to my native scones, was the buttery, crumbly, sumptuous, and far superior American biscuit.

The Cake Corner intermission is finished, please return to your seats and enjoy the rest of the show.

Project Power

Middling budget sci-fi action film starring Jamie Foxx about drug induced superpowers. It's okay, not special, even if Gordan Joseph Levitt is in it, and that's all you need to know.

Lovecraft Country

The works of H.P. Lovecraft, a very racist genre writer, seeps into our world in this horror series based on Matt Ruff's novel.

Author of the The Safe Negro Travel Guide (based on the real Negro Motorist Green Book), a Korean vet in search for his missing father, and his childhood friend, set off on a road trip to find the mysterious town of Arkham/Ardham, Massachusetts, the last known address of the veteran's father.

As well as making me boil with anger for much of the episode, at the horrible injustices suffered by African Americans, I was also, especially in the closing scenes, reminded strongly of another Lovecraftian road trip to a supposedly fictional town, the excellent John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness.

Oh, and that cool long, low woody car is some sort of Packard.

Harper's Island

Available on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

I'm planning to rewatch Harper's Island because I found it delightful, when it came out in 2009.

It is a based on Agatha Christie's Ten Little N-word (I told you it was called that, wotsname), changed to Ten Little Indians, and And Then There Were None in America.

It's a trashy survival horror, like Scream mixed with Dynasty, but set a small island with no way off. The episodes have titles like Ka-Blam and Thwack, which really says it all.

Battlestar Galactica

The BBC, probably in an attempt to change the licencing model, don't even get me started, seem to be buying older cult shows, like the aforementioned Harper's Island, Heroes, and Battlestar Galactica.

I rewatched the last three episodes of Battlestar Galactica (2004), to see if I could understand the ending any better many years later, and... The easy stuff like finding our Earth, settling, and interbreeding make sense. Ronald D. Moore cameo? Okay. But time jumping posh Gaius Baltar and Number 6? Are they just the choric voice breaking the fourth wall by chatting to normal Baltar and Six?

Lost did it better.

Lower Decks

Cheerful, ridiculous fun, from Rick and Morty's Mike McMahan, but I'll say what I said in pod 326, "The one reservation I have, is that the show follows the lives of junior officers, while I would have preferred it to be about ordinary crew, which is something we rarely see in the franchise."

I'll also mention that there seems to be a fear to do straight drama in animation lately, like Star Trek: The Animated Series 1973--1974, which I enjoyed. Which brings us on to the next show...

Animated X-Files

This is a comedic spin on the cult conspiracy show that I love.

Are they trying to copy Lower Decks success?

See what I said above. Come on people, commit to doing serious drama in animation.

Raised by Wolves

Not the UK sitcom, but a new HBO sci-fi show about androids raising kids on a hostile planet. In my mind, it brings together Ridley Scott's two major franchises, Blade Runner and the Alien series.

It's set in a backdrop of a war between atheists and religious nuts. And, though I am not an atheist, that statement should tell you where my sympathies lie, and that's despite the atheists' use of child soldiers.

There's also a wiff of C.J. Cherryh's AZIs from Cyteen and other novels, as well as ye olde 1970s novel The Artificial People by an author I can't remember. (Searching for a title that generic on Google, proves how useless Google can be and why it will one day be replaced). I could go on, but here's a thought: imagine if Sil from Species was your mum.

Ridley Scott's one of the producers, though it was created by someone I don't know and also stars actors I don't know, which is, frankly, refreshing. I do so get get tired of the same old faces.

The Mandalorian

Season 2 is coming to Disney+ on the 30th October.

Smartphone Astronomy

Two things you need. One: an app to tell you where things are. I use the free Sky Map on Android. Two: a manual mode for you camera. I have a built-in mode for this on my Huawei 9 Lite called Pro X. Without the manual mode, you are screwed.

Recently, I went for a night time stroll and could see the Moon, Mars, and several stars easily. Then, a couple of days later, hoping for better luck with the camera's pro setting, I went out again, but the sky was still too bright, Mars hidden behind the tree line, the Moon hidden behind shifting clouds, and it was just generally too cloudy. My mother expressed an interest, so later that same night we went out and tried again, with the same result, except we managed to identify the constellations Cassepoeia and Delphinus.

Finally, on a clear night just days ago, though the Moon and Mars were beneath the treeline, I photographed Jupiter!

By the way, in case you're thinking how pastoral, how idyllic! No, this isn't backyard astronomy, as much as it is side-of-bloody-fast-major-road astronomy. If this stuff tweaks your fancy, go to my Twitter feed for photos of my late night urban astronomical escapades.

Banjo Pickup Hack

Many of us use the excellent Chinese 5 Cherub piezo on our instruments (or the same but more expensive Korg tuner pickup). Usually we attach these to the headstock.

However, I have got a much better signal output clipping it upside down to a lolly stick threaded through the strings behind the bridge. I also read from unconfirmed internet sources that the wood used for lolly sticks is either Baltic birch or poplar; both resonant tonewoods.

The other great thing about such a hot output from your pickup is that you can then use the banjo pot as a terrifying vocal microphone. Why? So you can pretend to be Darth Vader.

Email Dead?

According to Thunderbird, I haven't sent an email since February.

Naughty Podcasters

No, not that type! I've noticed some of my fellow podcasters incorrectly labelling chapter times in enhanced podcasts, forcing audiences to listen to at least a portion of their ads. Don't do this. It's pretty damned well transparent.

Or, and I don't even know how this is done, what about those unskippable podcast ads that, even if you fast forward, bounce you right back to the beginning?

Or seamlessly transitioning into an ad or endorsement.

I'm not offended by ads per se, I am myself a podcaster after all, but I'm also a listener subscribed to almost 300 podcasts, so unscrupulous ads and endorsements really annoy me. Come on people, you're better than this.

Have a Go, My People!

The hobbies and stuff I like to do isn't exactly thought of as traditional for brown, yellow, black, or red people. I know because I have sailed, played my ukulele, fought in armour, used a bow, shot firearms, ridden my Vespa, and I'm into music where I'm the only one who looks like me. That is not to say people of colour don't want to do these things, but that they feel excluded from them. I know, because that's how I have felt many times.

Equally, if you have a disability, or are a little quirky, which is the way I like to think of myself, you can also feel left out.

If you want to do something, go and do it and don't let the naysayers, the bullies, the bigots, or the plain arseholes, limit what you can do. Believe me, some will discourage you, but screw them and do it anyway.