A Mind @ Play

random thoughts to oil the mind

Month: February 2008

Weak Six Nations

Three games in and this is looking to be one of the worse Six Nations competitions of recent years. Wales’ table position is rather flattering, and with France and Ireland yet to play the big games are still ahead for them. And once again Scotland will be vying for the wooden spoon with Italy. But all is not lost. England’s performances have provoked some of the finest examples of impartial commentating from the BBC, including this ‘special’ moment from Brian Moore.

Another Day, Another Plugin

WordPress Plugins

With the news that WordPress Photo Album plugin potentially contains a security vulnerability, I decided it was probably time that I took stock of my increasingly long plugins list and removed some of the outdated and superfluous items. One of the greatest improvements to WordPress of late has been the automatic update checks provided for plugins listed on the official site, which whilst by no means universal does at least mean that updates for many popular plugins will automatically be reported without the need to check up on each one manually. This little list of what remains represents some of the better plugins I’ve encountered.

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Katyń

Caught Andrzej Wajda’s Katyń this week as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and have to say I was fairly impressed. It will probably be the only film I’ll see since the prices go up at this time of year, and indeed I was quite lucky to catch this one since the first showing sold out with over a week to go, no doubt in large part due to the significant number of Polish people living in Dublin. Sadly, being sat right at the front didn’t give a particularly good vantage point for flicking between the pictures and the subtitles, and this is one film I’ll have to watch again on DVD before I can fully make up my mind, but the screenplay was well written and easy to follow despite the amalgam of different plotlines. Unfortunately, some of the character portrayals were rather wooden and to some extent detracted from the film’s message, if there is one beyond the plain Rankean historical analysis.

Nevertheless, Krzysztof Penderecki provides a beautiful score to underline the images, with a smattering of Tchaikovsky and Chopin thrown in during some of the propaganda scenes. As a piece of cinematography the film probably deserves its Oscar nomination, though it is difficult to tell whether it will be remembered more for that or its political implications. That the film does not get caught in a loop of nationalist propagandism is important in light of the tendencies in Moscow and elsewhere. Power is not what comes from the end of a gun but the ability to make people believe ones lies. Certainly disturbing news from Putin’s Russia.

The film’s climax is a rather visceral, and to some extents shocking visual of what the film is after all about. However it does offer an interesting juxtaposition for those taken by the irrationality of mankind—as officer after officer is dispatched in the name of political idealism, these same go to their deaths with a prayer on their lips. Absurd or simply tragic? One thing however is for certain, and that is that my quest for the non-melancholy Polish film continues…

For a brave new future.

Daily Links

Book Glutton – Another social internet site, this time designed around the premise that it’s good to read together. The site offers members a chance to form and join reading groups, enabling them to discuss and annotate the book while they read.

ControlC – This website provides a way to save a copy of everything its users ‘copy’ on their own machines, as a way of safeguarding against losing links and information they accidentally overwrite. Not sure how this works with files rather than text being copied, but it claims to be compatible with most major operating systems.

Visible Body – A fascinating look at human anatomy. Free 3D model illustrating the various systems of the body. Sadly currently only works with Internet Explorer.

What Should I Read Next? – Rather limited in scope, it simply does what it says on the tin, suggesting further reading to entered titles. It offers little more than you might get being an Amazon customer, and since this website relies on a small selection of registered users to provide its suggestions, it’s hard to imagine its current database of around 50,000 titles growing too considerably.

Late Resolutions

Although it may be customary for resolutions to start after New Year’s, most things surrounding this blog and its author work in a slightly different time zone to everything else. Nevertheless, it was my intention to make an effort to post more on this blog, partly since it might otherwise fall into disuse, partly in order to stretch these fingers more and let a little blood into parts of my brain that are getting a little dusty. The content will be much the same—i.e. as random as ever—but the aim is to post something once a week, albeit supplemented occasionally by interesting links and silly YouTube videos. That might also include some crazy literary wonderings. We’ll see.

But to kick start February, vaguely akin to the peacekeepers, here’s the THX lemur:

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