CRRRRS 521 A Fistful of Nerd

By Roy Mathur, on 2024-01-23, at 22:51:15--00:02:58 GMT, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show

Geek Life

It's time for another geek life update. I do two types of episode; either a single topic feature or (like this one) a meandering multi-topic 'zine; a veritable fistful of nerd, if you will.

This is another of my infamous second tapings. Monday's attempt was awful, thanks to my bizarre delivery brought on by tiredness, irritation, and possibly madness.

Ordered Sci-Fi Book Never Arrived

I ordered a sci-fi book recently, from a place less than a kilometre away, and it never arrived. I have ordered books from different continents without this problem, so why is it... Oh, never mind.

The book in question? I no longer reveal my geek purchases until they are fulfilled in case I drive up the price.

Kermit the Frog Rainbow Connection Minifigure

I prefer buying only the thing one actually wants, rather than succumbing to the misery of completionist collector.

The last toy I bought of note was the LEGO 71033 Minifigure Muppets Series: Kermit The Frog Minifigure. Well, I am a banjoleleist.

(N.B. This is the first of several items wrongly placed because I rode off into the Forest of Random).

Doctor Who Scarf

My ancient Doctor Who scarf was repaired. I have to add tassels, then it's ready for its debut.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure

At long last, I have finally re-re-re-etc.-read these beloved comic books by Herge (Georges Prosper Remi). The chequered background of the author, most prevalent in colonialist racist caricatures like Tintin in the Congo, etc., seems less evident here, except for the inclusion of a black man in wildly varied group of white opportunistic imposters because, hey, even this guy who isn't white thinks he can pretend to be the descendant of a white man. There's also a racist quip or two and the off-panel gutting of a shark.

The one story, spread across two books, explain Captain Haddock's ancestry and how the humble alcoholic sailor inherits his fortune. We join our heroes Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock on a convoluted harzardous hunt for hidden treasure involving pirates, crooks, fraudsters, multiple cranial contusions, booze, fighting, firearms accidents, and Thomson and Thompson forever having to be rescued from their own hats. We are also introduced to the brilliant, but hearing-challenged Professor Cuthbert Calculus, Nestor the butler, and Marlinspike Hall.

If you like Wes Anderson movies, like The French Dispatch, or Jean Henri Gaston Giraud's (Moebius) comic books, you'll be familiar with the distinct clear, bold, and deliciously colourful art style. It was developed by Herge and is called Ligne claire (clear line). The pages are heavy with mostly multiple panels and a few large illustrations. The big panel on the last page of an exhibition at Marlinspike with our happy heroes has some nice depth. If the look appeals to you, go to the source, and crack open a Tintin or two, if by some miracle your haven't already.


Ever wonder who wrote those Commando-sized small format sci-fi comic book adventures of the 70s by DC Thomson (1905, David Couper Thomson, Dundee; The Beano, The Dandy, etc.)? Me too.

According to an interview, Ray Aspden was one of a cadre of freelancers paid to trot out sparse, gadget-laden boys-own adventures. He believed (mistakenly) that comics should be dense of text. Looking at the excellent results, his editor did a good job paring them down.

What is the lesson for writers? Don't be precious and listen to criticism. I once had an editor and it can chafe, but you grow.

The Observer, Daily Mirror, i, Metro

I trialed obtaining my news once weekly from a newspaper by reading the family's out-of-date Daily Mirror, Metro, and i, before embarking on my plan to buy The Observer (518). It was a disaster. Even skimming kicked me in the teeth with so much bad news that I thought my head would explode.

The Good Liar

Romancing scamming rotter and ruthless conman Ian McKellen gets more than he bargained for when he tangles with Helen Mirren in 2019 film.

Two actors I really like in an intriguing, nasty, depressing, and unplesant thriller; in that order.


I was getting stuck into Invincible season 2, superhero alien insect sibling and all, when suddenly... paf! Radio Times says the second half isn't retuning until vaguely early 2024.

For All Mankind

Season 4 is finished, with the Martian revolutionaries winning, their families joining them, and a mining station on Goldilocks by 2012.

I'm betting on season 5, though please improve hair, which has been poor throughout with trully awful bad caps, wings, and beards.

Artemis Moon Missions Delayed

In real life, NASA has delayed the Artemis Moon missions to at least 2026.

Mr. Robot

I've been rewatching Mr. Robot just for fun; the USA Network 2015--19 series about anarchic hackers taking down the system. Even the voice over works, helped by Rami Malek's subtle natural expressions.

It's occasionally derivative, there's a lot of Fight Club in it, but there is only a single episode in the whole series I don't like as much as the others. That's pretty good for a four season series.

This is the best fictional representation of hackers on screen to date.

Screw you, Evil Corp.

Red Team Field Manual

Watching Mr. Robot made me reach for some books in my library, including this one on computer security basics by Ben Clarke...

UNIX Training Guide

...And UNIX basics by Clifford Mould.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

After a conversation with a friend, and some further research, I've found out that Galadriel was a warrior in The Silmarillion, so ignore everything I said on the pod about what annoyed me about her characterisation in The Rings of Power.

Roll on season 2 sometime this year.

True Love

Oldies' suicide pact Beeb 2023 drama.

I like Lindsay Duncan, but can't understand why a friend demands to be murdered, when he could have popped pills after his botched self-hanging. It would have been an easier out than a bag over the head. Illogical and too grim.


Game are giving up selling second hand games, while CEX has no such plans.

What an interesting business decision.

Motorhead, Hawkwind, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds

The Best of Motorhead and Hawkwind's Epoch-Eclipse 30 Year Anthology have arrived. The former stems from the latter after Lemmy left.

Hawkind, with their long association with cult sci-fi/fantasy author Michael Moorcock, embody space rock, albeit sometimes with tongue firmly rammed up cheeks.

It's many years since I listened to Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. I bought the CD set some time ago, but still haven't played it through.

Buy Physical Media, Don't Rely On Streaming

I have no confidence in streaming companies, so my advice is to stock up on physical media.

Video Recording on YouTube Versus Skype Versus Your Phone

In preparation for a new way of talking to you, possibly with guests, I tested YouTube Live streaming. It was a failure on all fronts. My webcams were laggy, the resultant less than 40 sec clip would not finish processing, and there was no sound.


Instead, I found Skype's phone app, with split-screen and built-in videorecording, a much better solution for creating YouTube group chats, though, of course, not live chat streaming. In fact, local solo selfie videos straight from my Samsung A14 phone work well, but not as well as remotely via Skype. I suspect Skype is using cloud server processing.

TikTok, Bluesky

I'm only on most social media platforms as protection from identity theft. The latest are TikTok (@roythewiz) and Bluesky (, so don't bother hitting me up on those.

I would still love to hear from you and you can guarantee a response if you contact me by e-mail.


Browswer-wise, I tried Vivaldi again, made smoother by some speed hacks at Windows Report, but a few days later it's slow again, so I'm back to using Firefox.

As a Netscape, Netscape Communicator, Mozilla, Seamonkey, and FireFox user, I'm sad at the ugly interface changes. However, I use downgraded versions of Seamonkey to read RSS and Thunderbird for mail.


If you find the FileZilla process not shutting down on exit, version 3.66.4 seems to solve the issue.

Microphone Errors and Omissions

In 518 I didn't tell you I was using a Shure SM58 microphone.

Since 519 I've gone back to the Shure SM7B.

In the distant past, I said plug-in power on a recorder isn't phantom power (it isn't), but does boost dynamic mics (it doesn't). It's c. 5V for some small condenser mics like lavaliers.


Remember I put out the call to recommend to me a pair of small on-ear Walkman-like headphones? I built my own from the KOSS KSC75 ear hook cans and a metal band from the AV:Link headphones (DOA). In other words, I drank the custom cans KoolAid. They sound good, but the cable is microphonic.

Koss liked the tweet because, like Ford Prefect and other denizens somewhere in the vicinity of Betelguese, they don't get mild sarcasm.

Blood Pressure Monitor

I'm walking to get mobile and lower my blood pressure after it spiked following the chest infection. I'm using a blood pressure monitor and Google Fit to measure progress.


We finally got a plumber and, though I can't say the experience wasn't fantastic, the mind-destroying rattling has gone. However, we still have the underlying thrumming when the pump active (common to all systems) and we also received a huge bill from OVO Energy.

If anyone sleeps in a bedroom with a hot water tank in a cupboard, you have my sympathies. Architects, hello, yes, you. Stop designing houses like this, you twits.

A Storm Killed Our Fence

The plumbing fixed, but a storm knocked down our fence. The universe can be a right git.

Was It Alright?

Was it alright tonight? Was my second attempt bearable? I have a non-linear mind that even I don't understand and I'm currently wearing out a shrink, so let me know what you think.

Start Podcasting

I'm always faffing about with my recording setup, but I started on an iPhone, so start recording, especially if you are a minority geek in the UK.