December 2010 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

12th Blood Donation (27th December 2010)

Finally managed to squeeze an appointment in while eligible to donate! It’s barely a 5 minute walk to the centre from my flat. Got the 9am appointment and everything ran super-smooth.

Iron test sank like a stone and the letter confirmed the blood tests were fine.

From just before the needle goes until until just after it’s taken out, I simply don’t look at my arm. Today I was feeling a tentative bravery. It is my 12th, after all! So I looked down during the donation. Was a slightly grossed out by all the tubing and especially the little overflow pocket draped over my arm. But it was OK.

Had a bag of crisps and some lovely ginger bisuits in the recovery area afterwards. Felt totally fine. Strolled back to my flat and snoozed for half an hour or so.

Blood Donation Test (22nd December 2010)

Although the letter said I was eligible to donate again, it actually meant I should go to the donor centre and they’d take some samples for testing. This lets them confirm their testing methods are working before I give another full donation.

Snowy Scampering in Regent’s Park (19th December 2010)

Walking, a few kick-arounds, some frisbee, a snow angel, various birds, climbed a tree and a few impromptu snowball fights in fields of icing sugar snow.

TRON: Legacy 3D (slight spoilers) (18th December 2010)

Just my 3rd visit to the cinema as a grown-up. Would love to rave about this but my hopes were so high. Has a fairly cliché storyline and dumbed-down script. The cyber action sequences and CGI sets were super cool, with amazing detail. Not a classic but I enjoyed it!

More female characters add some sparkle and love interest. Favourite vehicles are either present or re-invented. Some cool new ones towards the end. Some familiar characters return and all-new ones are introduced, too…

Saw it at the Odeon on Tottenham Court Road, which was a very expensive choice. The 2D version would probably be adequate, if you can find it anywhere. The 3D parts are quite a sight, particularly as I hadn’t seen a modern one so far.

Film started after it’s showtime by about 20 minutes due to adverts – many of which did 3D better than the film! They threw stuff in the audience’s face from time. Just seems a bit obnoxious.

Gripes are easy to write about. The cinema is still a fun event.

Better Than I First Thought (31st December 2010)

Wow, this is actually a great/awesome movie and I recommend it to any sci-fi fan. Saw it for the 2nd time, this time in a Vue cinema but again in 3D. A large amount of it is 3D, I was just getting so accustommed to the depth that it looked normal!

On the last point: with the exception of the family Flynn, everything on ‘the grid’ is a program, function or the new thing. (Oooh, you’ll have to go see to find out what that is.) It’s rare to find a film where actors make those cybernetic roles seem plausible, systemmatic and yet emotional.

Movies from The Matrix and The Terminator franchises make nearly all the manufactured entities into wooden automatons or characatures. Which is fine, for those worlds. TRON: Legacy lets them live and breathe, feel and emote. Just like the original did – maybe more so.

My First AppleScript (14th December 2010)

This starts BBC 6 Music in Safari after the Mac G5 test machine has started up. It sizes and hides the window.

tell application "Safari"
        open location ""
        set the bounds of the first window to {20,350, 415,990} // top left corner, bottom right corner
        tell application "System Events"
                set visible of process "Safari" to false
        end tell
end tell

The syntax is emminently readable but hardly intuitive. The line which says set visible of process "Safari" to false simply does what the GUI calls Hide Safari. For my first attempt at that line, I simple wrote hide safari but that was invalid.

Also, that statement only works when it’s nested within a tell application directed at the magic strict System Events. You aren’t telling Safari to Hide itself, you are telling the operating system’s event model to change a property it is storing about Safari, which then leads to Safari being hidden, from what I can gather.

Such implementation details aren’t helpful in a scripting language which appears to attempt a low barrier to entry. It succeeds for the most part and lots of copy-and-paste AppleScript code is easily found on the web.

Cleaned my Windows (10th December 2010)

Using a little stepladder, window cleaner, a cloth, some domestic cleaner and a fair bit of elbow grease to bring a new lease of life to the pair of tall sash windows in my bedroom. Doing the outside seems rather precarious and impossible so I’ll ask the landlord about that.

Dentist Appointment & Family Dinner (7th November 2010)

Trekked from London to back my home county of Hampshire to visit my dentist. Was surprised to see snowy fields as I got out of the Greater London area. Went from there back home for a family take-away. Back garden had half a foot of snow over it! Took the train back into London that evening as they were nearly empty and quite regular.