Puzzling the oddities of blogging

The Model M next to my laptop

No matter how many different directions I take this blog in, it never changes the most popular topic. Back in September 2011, I set off on an epic quest. The quest was to take me through the darkest passages of the world wide web, and round the world (in my mind), only to curve back and take a local twist. After about a month, my search came to an end, and I had sourced a genuine IBM Model M through sheer chance, and dumb luck. In fact, I’m typing on that very keyboard right now, though it has been neglected as of late. It resides in my room in Magheralin, as it is too massive to occupy a spot on my tiny desk in Belfast, and loud enough to wake up all the neighbours. But it is as fantastic as I remember, and in perfect condition. I’m still amazed there wasn’t a single mark on it when I got it. It was just caked in about 15 years worth of dust, and neglect. Thankfully there are some computer enthusiasts who haven’t thrown out their old kit, and this just happened to be sitting in a cardboard box in the home of a physicist turned software developer on the Grosvenor road.

The most read post just happens to be “To M or not to M, that is the question” with over 2,500 views! Just to give you a sense of perspective, the next most viewed post, Back to Work, only has 600 or so views. Are keyboards that fascinating? Or is it just that they happen to be the most popular, slightly obscure topic I talk about. Most of the games I mention have far more coverage than the IBM Model M, yet they remain much less popular when it comes to views. This has been puzzling, but it is probably something to do with the ratio of people interested in a topic compared with the amount written about it. There are proportionately much fewer people interested in IBM Model M keyboards compared with, say, Metal Gear Solid, but there are also much fewer people writing about old keyboards. Who knows!

The cooker in a much more modern kitchen than ours, with pestle and mortar for good measure
The cooker in a much more modern kitchen than ours, with pestle and mortar thrown in for good measure (because we’re all alchemists at heart)

We got a new cooker this week, replacing the old Creda which was on its last legs. Two of the hobs defaulted to full power, making them largely useless for cooking, and it was pretty beat up. That may have been a bit harsh. The cooker wasn’t in too bad condition, and served us well for years and years, surviving many Christmasses, and hundreds of cakes, bread, brownies, and anything you could think of. The new cooker is a beast, and one of my choosing – the AEG 49002VMN. It is much more modern than the last cooker, with touch controls and more functions than you can shake a stick at (now that’s a strange saying), but it does mean I’m responsible for teaching everyone how to operate it. I thought it was fairly intuitive, but it is a gadget cooker, for gadget lovers. As for the actual cooking ability, so far, so good. The temperatures in the ovens seem more accurate, and there isn’t the same risk of burning or overcooking as there was in the Creda. Best of all, the hobs actually work, so we haven’t been dependent on the induction hob as before. Expect many more cakes for the future.Looper

Speaking of the future…time travel has not been invented yet, but 30 years in the future, it will have been. Of course, it was instantly outlawed, and subsequently used by criminal gangs to send targets back in time for murder and disposal. Or that’s the setup to Looper, at least. I finally got round to seeing it, and I have to say I did enjoy it. It was a novel approach to the whole use and abuse of time travel, and got me thinking about a few things. Most of those things were regarding plot holes or impossibilities of time travel, but if you accept the rules of the fictional Looper universe, then it is quite compelling. The story follows Joseph Willis…sorry, Joseph Gordon Levitt who plays a looper; basically a hired thug, who waits around for a target to appear, bound and with a bag over their head, and fills them full of lead. He then collects his pay, strapped to the target in the form of silver bars, and dumps the body. There’s one important proviso that comes with the job. Because of the highly illegal nature of time travel, you will be faced with the prospect of killing yourself, or closing your loop. The Looper’s future self is transported back from the future, and they unwittingly kill themselves, like any other target. This comes with a big payoff, and you are released from your contract, free to enjoy the next 30 years. A very interesting concept all in all, and Levitt is faced with this very prospect, turning his life upside down. Joseph Gordon Levitt took on the role of a young Bruce Willis admirably, and had his mannerisms down perfectly. The make-up department did a great job as well, and in scenes where the two characters are facing each other, they could easily be mistaken for father and son. I would highly recommend it, though it does rather drag at the halfway point, but not enough to detract from the film’s overall value.

That’ll probably do me for now, but until next time, don’t let your loop run!

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