7 November 2008

Quantum of a review

Last week T and I went to watch the new Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Despite all the criticism I've seen and heard, I actually liked the film.

WARNING: Spoilers below! Go watch Casino Royale and then see Quantum of Solace before reading on...

I can see how it deviated wildly from the usual 007 recipe, and how this could cause rage amongst die-hard fans. James came out battered and bruised after relentlessly chasing bad guys and fighting them in hand-to-hand combat. None of Q's gadgets ever gave him the edge, infact they hardly made an appearance. And I nearly cried after watching what Bond did to his Aston Martin. Yow!

Then there was the villian. He didn't have any megalomanical plans to take over the Universe. No interesting pets or scar tissue. Infact, apart from being a criminal, he was kind of, well... ordinary.

But I liked all this. Quantum of Solace is a James Bond for now. A more realistic super spy, who doesn't always do or know what protagonists are supposed to. I liked the way the story continued smoothly from Casino Royale -- Daniel Craig portrayed a "quantum" of "solace" well. The plot was different enough to be unexpected and despite the comparisons to the Bourne Trilogy... although, let's face it, ultimately all action movies are compared to the Bourne Trilogy... the action sequences in Quantum of Solace were fast paced, with Bond pulling out some typical moves but with some atypical camera angles. It was fun!

Unfortunately the A40 is littered with speed cameras so the journey home from the cinema was really boring. ;)

4 November 2008


Ok, I know it was a long long time ago (in a galaxy far far away) when I last posted to Epicycle. I did actually move the site for a while onto a Freedom2Operate hosted site, and used Wordpress, but sadly that blog stagnated and died as Freedom2Operate expanded.

In the last few years bandwidth has become cheaper, web standards have become richer and the rise of social networking has made personal publishing more of a norm than a niche. With this, the Blogger interface has also become more capable. It's still not as configurable as Wordpress et al. but given my habit of "tweaking" I think I'm more likely to post using Blogger than anything Wordpress based. ;) Moreover, there have been a lot of changes (within as well as without) since my last post, and what with the coming new world order, I can't help thinking that the next several years will be interesting enough to blog about.

So I've decided to revive Epicycle. I can't promise that I'll post more frequently, or even more poignantly, than before. But I'll try. My layout template still needs some working (told you I love "tweaking") and some of the old links are now dead (please let me know if you stumble across any of them). So please mind the wet paint.

And if you are a citizen of the U.S.A.: VOTE!

27 September 2004


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

24 September 2004

Le Lune

The fortnight gone has been really overcast, so despite the bitter cold, the clear sky last night was a welcome change and provided me with a chance to partake in one of my favourite hobbies: gaping at the Universe. (It's big!)

With this, last night was the first time I got to try out my new(ish) camera (pictures below!). The great thing about this camera (the Canon Powershot S1 IS) over my last camera (the Canon Powershot A10) is that it provides alot of features found on film-cameras, and while it still isn't as good as a DSLR, it's great for taking photos that would otherwise stretch most point-n-shoot cameras.

Anyhow, here's a thousand words (click on the thumbnails to view them at full size)...

Le Lune
Taken at full (optical and digital) zoom. Cropped and adjusted in Photoshop.

Capella (I think! I forgot to take my Palm with me)
Again, taken at full zoom, and cropped and adjusted in Photoshop. The red halo effect around the star is an artifact of the lens.

Perseus (Again, I think!)
Cropped and adjusted as the others. I had the aperture opened up to the max. on this photo, while the shutter speed was set for 2-seconds -- enough time to resolve the detail without too noise from the CCD.

6 September 2004

Random musings

Earlier today I was on my way across the college walkway to buy some lunch when I walked past Prof. Stephen Hawking going in the opposite direction. Neither of us were travelling at a velocity close to light speed so please do not draw any Einsteinian analogies from that last sentence. ;) I think Prof. Hawking is here for the conference on quantum gravity in honour of Prof. Chris Isham's 60th birthday. It was good to see a celebrity on campus (whereby celebrity is defined as someone who has appeared in an episode of The Simpsons).

When blogging, is it better to write shorter pieces frequently than longer pieces less frequently? Answers on the back of a postcard to...

Last week's All Hands Meeting in Nottingham, UK, had its ups and downs. The presentation of my paper was nearly marred when my laptop decided to permanently switch to VGA mode 10 minutes before I was due to talk -- Microsoft aaaarrrrrgh! None of our group managed to win anything in the raffle, but we managed to acquire a few freebies. In order of coolness:

We're such nerds! :)

I recieved my new camera last week! Yay! A Canon PowerShot S1 IS... *drool* Can't wait to try it out!