Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 21:43 on 04-08-2013, James D
Damn, I was hoping (probably unrealistically) for Idris Elba.
at 21:29 on 04-08-2013, Cheriola
I'm having this discussion with another person right now.
Yeah, I want a female / genderqueer / POC doctor, but I don't want Moffat writing hir. At least the actor is older this time and has some gravitas. (Caveat: I haven't seen much of Smith. I gave up on the current show after "The Beast Below".) Capaldi seemed capable enough in what I've seen of him. (Islington in the original "Neverwhere", for example.) Maybe they'll even stop with the actually-squicky 'romance' plotlines for a while, if only for fear of squicking the ageist teens in the audience. (You wouldn't believe the number of people in denial about the Nine/Rose romance specifically because CE was supposedly "old and ugly".)

I already see a lot of Chameleon Circuit adventures in Twelve's fanfic future, given that Capaldi already had two other roles in NewWho and Torchwood.
at 20:54 on 04-08-2013, Alice
So, Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor: thoughts, if anyone has any?

My interest in Dr Who has been waning steadily over the last however long (to the extent that I haven't watch the last series), so I mostly don't care one way or the other. Mildly disappointed but utterly unsurprised that they picked yet another White Dude, but other than that: *shrugs*.
at 17:42 on 04-08-2013, Cheriola
Thank you for the sympathy. I'm feeling better today. Not great, but at least not "Oh god, please make it stop" anymore.

Yeah, the last time I got a sun stroke was when I was 13 and in summer camp, waiting out in the blazing sun for my parents to come pick me up, and they were hours late. And I hadn't slept at all the night before, because my house mates were hazing assholes who would paint your face with permanent markers if you fell asleep.

That's why I thought I'd be okay if I just stayed indoors during this heat wave. I suspect it might have been more a lack of electrolytes than the warmth, actually. I've been eating mostly homegrown veggies this last month, and our soil is really mineral poor. (I know several people who've had to have their thyroid glands removed before they turned 60, due to chronic iodine deficiency, for example. Yes, even with the iodine-enriched table salt they've been selling for years. When it happened to my mum, the non-local specialist assumed she must have grown up in the mountains, with no access to seafood whatsoever.) Add that to not buying bottled mineral water anymore, and the minor hemorrhaging... well.

So, put some salt in that apple juice, people.
at 19:20 on 03-08-2013, Shim
@Cheriola: tut mir Leid, sowas zu hören :( Pass auf dich auf, und ne gute Verbesserung.

My room gets pretty warm these days; not much I can do about that. In some places I'd sleep in whatever room was cool, but the current house-share doesn't allow for it. Luckily my lifelong distrust of the sun and relentless tea habit tend to work pretty well.
at 18:50 on 03-08-2013, Alice
Aah, that sounds really scary! Glad you got some help and are recovering!

I remember being at a youth camp near the French-Swiss border one summer with a bunch of other English teenagers who all lived in northern Europe (and were thus not used to high summer temperatures). Every time there were mealtime announcements, one of the camp leaders would end the announcements with "and remember: it's always good to drink water!". By about day two, we were all chorusing along with him (and mimicking his lovely Irish accent *g*), which seemed like mostly fun at the time, but is something that's certainly stuck with me.

I actually still find myself internally repeating the phrase - complete with Irish accent! - when it gets hot and/or I'm thirsty.
at 18:23 on 03-08-2013, Cheriola
Ferrets, I have come to tell you: Take the heat seriously, and drink more!

I thought you can only get a heat/sun stroke in the actual sun, and I was spending my day in a relatively cool communal room, doing nothing strenous. But it turns out:

Sleeping (or not, as it were) in a room that doesn't drop below 25 °C at night + light blood loss + drinking less than a litre in 8 hours, and only unsweetened, unsalted tisane at that = shivers and a world of pain come morning.

Thankfully, the shivering fit and some of the more unusual pain symptoms (skin feeling like sunburnt, UTI-like cramps of hell) were odd enough to get me worried (the joint pain, stiff neck, headache and dizziness could just be put down to my insomnia) and to seek out my mum for help, instead of trying to get some late-morning sleep in that rapidly heating room. Apparently the shivers are the last symptom before your core temperature rises to 40°C and your brain starts cooking. I wasn't even sweating anymore, or really noticing the warmth of the room. Even now, as I've slept most of it off in a cellar room with wet towels on my legs, and have rehydrated, my bedroom just felt pleasantly cozy when I was getting my laptop. The thermometer says it's 31°C.
at 12:43 on 03-08-2013, Kit
So I just discovered that the BBC made a Neverwhere audio drama, and having just blasted through it, I must say it was delightful. There were just a few details that threw me a bit (like Natalie Dormer being just a bit too chipper for somebody who has just seen her whole family being horribly murdered, and a couple of other little things), but generally the voice acting was really great. James McAvoy voiced an incredibly adorable Richard Mayhew throughout, Benedict Cumberbatch purred, sighed, hissed and spit his way though the Angel Islington's lines in a gloriously alien and creepy way, Lucy Cohu's perfectly modulated pitch and incredibly beautiful voice fit Lamia perfectly, and Anthony Head was a splendid Mr. Croup. So, yeah, I'd recommend it to anyone who likes the book (even though I'm not sure it would be adapted to someone not familiar with the source material), because it is made of win and joy and fun (and, ah, Cumberbatch, but that might just be a personal preference...).
at 03:43 on 02-08-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Well, it took me a week, and I didn't think I'd actually finish it, but it's done.

Time to disappear into the ether for another four months!
at 16:23 on 01-08-2013, Alice
Wow. Those are quite, er, something. Oh dear.

The ones that have made me laugh most so far have actually been the ones with the worst titles/text as opposed to the worst cover art. (Well, cover "art".) Like The Legend of Oescienne: The Beginning, which as the post points out, is book two of a series. Or The Forgotten Ones (also book two of a series, as it turns out), which has the delightfully implausible tagline: "urban fantasy... by the seaside".
at 12:08 on 01-08-2013, Arthur B
I like the ones where the font choice is so terrible you can't help but misread the text. I misread the title of The Healthy Penis Guide as The Reality Penis Guide (which I imagine would be a guidebook rating and reviewing the penises of reality TV people).
at 11:36 on 01-08-2013, Robinson L
Got put onto this blog on lousy book covers a couple weeks ago. Favorite from the current first page is Punishing a Good Deed, both because it looks kinda like the Australian cover to On the Jellicoe Road (only crap), and because it says "A James Anthony Frantino Series" - a whole series in the one book?

There's also a memorable one from mid-July where the image is blatantly ripped from one of those online RPG banner ads you get on sites like TV tropes. Not as in retraced from the ad, as in reproducing the actual banner image.
at 09:52 on 01-08-2013, Shim
@Ibmiller: they don't rot away, is AFAIK the main reason. Handy for those who want posh coffins that will remain posh. In some cases it's also because a coffin will be unburied for a while, as it's less... leaky. Occasionally, it's because a corpse is highly radioactive.
at 16:58 on 30-07-2013, Ibmiller
So, based on Abigail's awesome review, I read Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl - anyone else read/heard of it, or anything else by Flynn? I quite enjoyed it - clever and well written, if a bit implausible.

@Alice - why would they make coffins from lead? And it does sound rather creepy - we don't know what's in it, so we'll just cut it open. Said every horror script ever. :)
at 21:00 on 29-07-2013, Alice
Archaeologists at the Richard III dig site find a coffin within a coffin: The team will now find a way to lift the heavy lead coffin from its medieval grave and transport it to the university for analysis.

However, traditional techniques, such as X-rays and Cat scans, will not work due to the lead casing and scientists will only discover who is inside once they cut it open.

Was anyone else's immediate thought: "yeah, this is going to end well..."?
at 15:23 on 29-07-2013, Alice
Hah, yes, I meant to add "of course, the six movies Alasdair's watching needn't be part of a series" to my post. :)

Looking forward to the article, anyway!
at 06:10 on 29-07-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Just to dampen anyone's expectations, I'm just going to be writing about one movie, but I wanted another five movies that it was related to for context. (I was gonna write about everything, but I didn't have enough to say that couldn't be compressed into a page or two).

Funny though..."unrealistic expectations" is key thematic element of this movie...and played into its critical reception.
at 20:39 on 28-07-2013, Alice
Same: "six movies" immediately made me think of Star Wars, but Wikipedia (of course) has a "list of film series with six entries", which just makes it more intriguing. It could be Care Bears! The Fast and the Furious? The Lone Ranger? Rocky?
at 08:34 on 28-07-2013, Melanie
Well, now I'm incredibly curious.
at 18:45 on 27-07-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Today is going to be a busy day. I am going to watch six movies.

Tomorrow I will write something I have wanted to write for at least a year.

It will not be about those six movies. Those are just research.

Gunna be a looong day.
at 01:45 on 27-07-2013, Ibmiller
You do rc :)
at 02:04 on 26-07-2013, Sister Magpie
In Branagh's version (which I've seen years ago and actually liked, in a mindless fluff sort of way), they are played by Branagh and Emma Thompson, wheras Hero was played by some bland young actress and I can't even remember her male counterpart.

Kate Beckinsdale and Robert Sean Leonard, iirc.
at 16:49 on 25-07-2013, Alice
Oh, if only...