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w/e 2021-03-28

We went for a walk up “the Cat’s Back” this week, on the edge of the Black Mountains, just this side of the Welsh border. My first time there. It’s a shortish drive from here, along increasingly bumpy and narrow roads, then we had a nice walk up hill, with great views, and then a walk back down into a valley. A good place for photos, although often my 50mm-equivalent lens seemed either too wide or too narrow.

Photo looking along a grassy ridge that stretches away from the camera. In the background are distant fields, blue under a cloudy sky.
Walkers on the Cat’s Back

§ This week I wrote a quick script* to export data about the 984 times I’ve been to the cinema since 1989 to a CSV file that I could then import into Letterboxd. So I’m now on there and will keep adding to it, including the few movies I watch at home, which I haven’t recorded elsewhere. Tsk, so much metadata lost.

I’m not, yet, super into Letterboxd, reading other people’s reviews etc., but it seems very nice. It feels like Web 2.0, made by people who love films, has a nice community of fans, gets its data from a nice source, seems to work well, etc.

I also imported my “Films to see” text file where, for a few years, I’ve been adding movies after reading good reviews, and that’s now my watchlist. I can see it might be worth paying for the $19/year Letterboxd, partly to find out when any of those appear on TV services I get.

(* Obviously, it wasn’t that quick to write the script. I wrote the script for django-spectator, then had to publish a new version of that package, then update my own site to use that new version, then fix yet another something to do with Docker of course, then… well I got there in the end. Stupid web development.)

§ We watched one of those watchlist films this week, Destination Wedding, and I wish I could remember what caused me to add it to that list. The premise – a man and woman, strangers, grudgingly travel to a wedding with hilarious consequences! – would not normally attract me. But whatever the review was and, I guess, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, made it seem appealing.

Ah well. It wasn’t awful but, hmm. I wondered if it had been adapted from a two-person stage play because every scene is only the two of them in one location, talking in a slightly unrealistic manner. Keanu’s expressionless face has its moments but, unfortunately, few of them are in this film. Once I’d had the thought, “Martin Donovan would have been brilliant in this,” Keanu just seemed to be doing a very stilted impression of him. Winona was fine – I’m enjoying seeing her in more things these days – but would have been better with someone else to react to.

§ For a while there’s been a colourful male pheasant who occasionally comes to snack on the seeds the tits chuck out of the bird feeder to the ground, like tiny tantrumming babies. For the past couple of weeks he’s been accompanied by a pale brown female pheasant. (I assume they’re the same pheasants each time, who knows, or cares?) She is much less skittish than he is. At the slightest noise he’ll stalk off, leaving her happily feeding.

And this week a pair of red-legged partridges have started walking across the garden to the same spot; word about the messy tits has obviously got out in the world of game birds. The partridges look pretty cool, with stripy wings, bright orange legs and beaks, and orange frames around each black eye, like colourful sunglasses.

§ Thank you to everyone for the kind words about my Half-century notes, including Jeremy, Nat, Nicky, Tom, the commenters and anyone else I’ve forgotten.

Thanks partly to the witchcraft of putting the clocks forward it’s now 7pm and it’s still light out! Doesn’t seem natural.

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