27 October 2019

It’s been a while since I did one of these updates, but I have managed to write a few blogs on China, my short trip to Singapore, and I even managed to get one more from Finland in January.

I’ve managed to finish editing my photos from Sweden, so that’ll be next.

Photography

I haven’t taken many photos this week. I was planning on going to the Canberra Nara Candle Festival, but it was cancelled due to bad weather.

There is a large family of magpies living in my street. I think there could be around 20. They haven’t swooped me yet, which is good. When I was 4 or 5 I was swooped – I don’t remember a lot, other than there was a lot of blood.

What have I been watching?

This week was the start of Watchmen, a new HBO series based on the comic books, and set in the same universe as the movie from a 10 years ago, but about 30 years since the events in the movie.

I am a big fan of Damon Lindelof’s The Leftovers (seriously, like top 4 shows of all time), and this has a very similar feel to it. Most of the first episode was just world building, and it is a very interesting world.

A world were all police keep their identities a secret, but are restricted from using deadly weapons, and require command approval before they can retrieve their sidearms from a lock in their cars. A world with spontaneous squid rain. A world with ultra right-wing terrorist organisations.

After my first watching I was very confused, but very excited about the possibilities of this series. I grabbed a podcast discussing the episode, and I am a bit clearer about what is going on.

Netflix and its algorithm

My Netflix history remains rather stacked with Star Trek episodes, car shows, and The Good Place which started back up this month. A friend recommend a movie to that I hadn’t heard of at all, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Netflix gave it an 80% match rating when I started watching it. It was great, an anthology of 6 short stories set somewhere in the midwest of The States in the 1850s (ish, I think). When I went back to grab the link Netflix has updated my Match to 95%.

This movie has been out since 2018, but in that time Netflix has never recommended it to me, I had no idea it even existed.

I really think Netflix is being far too conservative with their recommendations, and the level of customisation they do on their front page. Netflix customise the posters images for the TV shows and movies they show to every account or profile. Whenever I open Netflix I see the same shows and movies I haven’t started or don’t want to watch and I go and do something else, or watch another Star Trek episode.

They really need to expand the Match rating, or give me a list of things “we think you should try, but we aren’t 100% sure on” – remembering that a Match score says absolutely zero about the quality of the show or film. I have watched a number of things on Netflix with a Match score well above 90%, gotten to the end and thought why on earth did I bother with that? That was utter garbage.

A friend also recommend an anime movie with a very anime premise of “female private school / academy students command tanks as a sport and drive around a field shooting each other.” It was no Full Metal Alchemist (the series, not the recent live action thing…) but again, I enjoyed it immensely, and it only had a Match of 68%.

I also started the new Paul Rudd show Living with Yourself. It is hard to explain the premise without spoilers, but I can recommend it. At least give it the first episode.

YouTube

As always, YouTube, lots of YouTube. I genuinely feel like I get my money’s worth with my YouTube Premium subscription and no ads (also Google Play Music).

One thing that I find fascinating to watch on YouTube is lockpicking. It is also somewhat horrific how quickly a (ninja level) skilled lockpicker can open almost any lock.

Lockpicking Lawyer is one of the best channels on YouTube, not just on lockpicking.

Another series I enjoy a lot is Two of These People are Lying on the Matt and Tom Channel. Three people try to convince Tom that a Wikipedia title selected at random is theirs by explaining what it is (making up a BS story on the spot) – ok that doesn’t sound great, but it is hard to explain, and also hilarious.

What have I been listening to?

Refuse released a new album this last week, War Music, and it is good. I put it on at work last weekend when I had to go in for a while to catch up on some stuff. It has replaced a podcast for a few commutes this week as well.

What have I been playing?

Borderlands 3. Many years ago I spent a fairly long time in the original Borderlands, playing co-op. I never got around to Borderlands 2, but I decided to give number 3 a go. I read a few reviews and made sure it was a good game to play offline, and not in co-op, and it is. I miss games that are driven by a story and characters. I’ve been really enjoying it. I’ve only played 5 or so hours over the last couple of weekends.

I chose the Siren character based on their skills being helpful for single player.

Another thing I have started doing while watching TV is “learning” to pick locks. I am sure this some cliche as a nerd. Just something to keep my hands busy and distract me from snacking or eating too much. I think it’s working.

I am barely competent, and unable to graduate past anything other than this training lock which almost opens itself. But it is a good replacement to a ‘second screen’ game on my phone while watching TV.

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