mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (rabbiteer)
Somehow, Starr has lived this long without seeing "Duck Amuck" or "What's Opera, Doc?"! Luckily, Turner Classic Movies put on a special Chuck Jones tribute tonight, and a Tweet from [livejournal.com profile] kittykatya alerted me to the fact. Starr's cultural education is now increased.

Luckily, she's the type of person who can properly appreciate a classic Looney Tunes short, and her reaction to each consisted of "This is my new most favorite cartoon ever!" The woman has taste. It's amazing how funny a cartoon can be without focus groups, Nielsen ratings, a merchandise line, or a stream of "notes" from studio executives. The folks at Termite Terrace just made films they liked, and hoped other people would too. It worked.

I note that Daffy Duck used the "D'oh!" exclamation long before Homer Simpson. Also, Starr will never again hear "Ride of the Valkyries" without the word "wabbit" echoing in her head. Heh heh heh.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 07:41 Mythbaby: "Mythbusters" Build Team member Kari Byron is pregnant! Congratulations! Guess she'll be missing some of the rougher stunts. #
  • 14:50 Walked to client and back, about 10 minutes each way. Great day for it, 70 degrees out. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (space_tech)
This is the first shuttle launch in decades that I've managed to watch live. The experience takes my breath away; so daring, so defiant, putting people atop all that high explosive and flinging them into the hostile vacuum above us. I'm not always thrilled with my species, but this sort of thing restores my faith in our future... at least briefly.

In a very small way, I contributed to this launch, which only adds to the thrill. I contributed indirectly, to be sure, just by doing my day job keeping the Macs of Langley humming; but I'm proud nevertheless.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (orbiting)
I don't even know who won the Super Bowl. As the "Mythbusters" marathon unreeled in the background, I spent the day doing laundry and dishes, finding our digital camera which has been lost for three months, and making a little box for the new kitten's food bowl. The box has an opening through which only she should be able to fit, therefore keeping the other cats from stealing her kitten food. Older cats seem to love kitten food.

Anyway, the Internet's allowed me to catch up on some of the Super Bowl movie trailers. J.J. Abrams has done me a favor, I think; it's finally gotten through my head that this is not the Star Trek I grew up on, and that I need to stop worrying and just go along for the ride, or not. Right now, I'm still on the side of giving it a shot - if nothing else, it's audacious, and the franchise needs "audacious" badly. Besides, I'm a bit impressed with their method of crowbarring this story into 40 years of canon whether it ought to fit or not.

Plus, Enterprise appears to have a LOT of firepower these days. In that one half-second clip, she seems to be absolutely dumping phasers and photorps on whatever's upset her. Battletech players, remember the "alpha strike"? "Screw the heat, screw the ammo, fire everything!!!"

Having said that: the Ninth Doctor as the arms-dealing mastermind behind Cobra is awesome, but I already miss his mask. And the Baroness' bodysuit. Also, Land of the Lost didn't look too bad, once we take out the bits with 20-century junk lying around. And the bits with Will Ferrell. Oh, wait...
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (flying_gif)
Freaky: We have, on the downstairs TV: the satellite box, the DVD player, a PS2, and now a Wii. I have been thinking all week about getting a switch box so as not to keep yanking cables from the TV's two RCA left-right-video connections. Yesterday morning, I mentioned this casually to Starr. Yesterday night, Starr's sister gave me for Xmas an RCA input switching box that she'd purchased days ago, thinking maybe I might find a use for it.

Whoa. Telepathy.

Awesome: Starr is in the dining room playing "Hey Jude" from a Beatles piano book I'd given her for Christmas. This is one of the best "sit down, take a deep breath, and stop fretting about stuff because fretting's the best way to blow it completely" songs ever written. There's a lot going on in my life right now, much more than I'm used to trying to keep track of, but I just can't get too messed up about it all when "Hey Jude" is drifting in from the other room.

Gonna make my award-winning mashed potatoes this afternoon to go with the pot roast Starr started last night at 1am. Should be an excellent Fauxmas dinner.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (TARDIS42)
Since my 'Net connection is still wonky, I may be reduced to watching this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special on SciFi. The horror.

On the other hand, I received a nice Who fandom Xmas present in the from of this Livejournal artwork post by [livejournal.com profile] _tonylee_. The image linked at the bottom cheered me greatly; the likenesses are a bit off, but it's still my desktop wallpaper for a while. (One of them. The other wallpaper is the Apollo 8 "Earthrise" shot right now.)

As Starr works tonight and tomorrow, we finished the majority of our own gift-giving last night. Among other things, I received two hardcovers: an H.P. Lovecraft collection, and a Hitchhiker's omnibus of all five novels and the short story. In each case, these will supersede paperbacks already on my shelf, thus retaining the integrity of the Stuff Reduction Plan. Starr, on the other hand, got a gift card for plenty of crochet yarn, and a brand-new toolbelt to aid in her remodeling projects (she's already done a den and a bathroom). She wore the toolbelt around all evening to 'break it in', so I think it was appreciated.

I am messing with my co-workers today, playing Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra with album breaks provided by cuts from the "Sailor Moon SuperS Christmas For You" album.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (mecha)
Four years after the OAV series concluded in Japan, I have finally found time to sit and watch through Macross Zero. For my part, I was disappointed in the show.

The CGI effects of the Valkyrie fighters made up a high point - the opening chapter demonstrates a drawn-out Fighter-to-Battloid transformation sequence that nearly made me drool. Sadly, the actual plot and characters brought me right back down. The series suffered from prequel-itis: I knew the Earth wouldn't be destroyed, because that job would fall to the Zentraedi in four years. For the same reason, I knew that Roy Focker wouldn't be killed in combat, making his dogfight duels mildly tedious.

A repeated subplot is the preservation of the ancient ways of the island people, which again felt moot with the coming holocaust; and the bad guys only received the personalities of one-dimensional psychopaths. I expect better than that in anime. One of them had the nerve to try a sympathy ploy on the audience minutes after napalming a village of non-combatant islanders. I just wanted them to hurry up and get killed in combat so we could get back to the real plot.

Oh, and late in the series, there's the standard anime "I have taken it upon myself to decide that humanity has reached a dead end so I shall cause their destruction in order to pave the way for the next rulers of the Earth" scientist. Isn't that one on TV Tropes yet? Boring. Lame. Move on.

Still, I feel more "caught up" on the Macross mythology now, so I'm ready to hit Macross Frontier next. As always, your mileage may vary.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (daicon-girl)
Sunday, I locked the door to the Portsmouth apartment for the last time, and turned the keys in to the main office. It's weird, looking at the place all empty and echoey. That apartment was home for 18 months; having spent most of the first 30 years of my life in one dwelling, I always find it strange to leave.

We're having folks over on Saturday night, so the new place has to be presentable. That's an interesting task, as our five rooms of this 'n' that have to be shuffled into a house which still has plenty of Starr's parents' stuff in it. Of course, since some of that stuff includes objects such as big flat-panel TVs, I can accept the challenge, but it's still a lot like trying to work the new expansion cards into your favorite CCG deck without going over the card count.

In other words, I'm still exhausted. There's a bright side when I pass my old exit every day and remember that I don't have to stop at the apartment for anything, but with the work we still have before us, I predict that Sunday will be chock full of slacking.

Anyway, let me tell you about the awesome computer I set up in the study this week. 8 MHz processor - 4 megs of RAM - 20 meg hard drive! The 9" screen will display images in a palette of two colors (black or white), and the entire operating system fits neatly on an 800K floppy.

I love that old Macintosh SE; it was a much-appreciated gift from [livejournal.com profile] rattrap back in (I think) 1991 or so, and I got a lot of Starfleet paperwork, creative writing, and Hypercard gaming done on it. Eventually, my dad bought me a Mac LC III which introduced me to the amazing world of color graphics; the LC III is long gone, but the SE booted up happily on my shelf and is right now running MacWrite II, A Mess O' Trouble, and the Dark Side of the Mac screensaver. Very decorative and retro. (The clock battery inside is long dead, and I'm not sure it's worth cracking the case just so I don't have to fix the time on every reboot. Otherwise, it's humming along nicely.)

And may I also wish a Happy Birthday to [livejournal.com profile] shrewlet, who may well have found the Answer to the Ultimate Question...
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (orbiting)
Oh, speaking of Freecycling, I've got a flatscreen TV in the apartment that neither Starr nor I want to carry downstairs, much less haul out to the house. It's a 27" (or 29", I can't remember) Philips HD television that handles 1080i (and I think 1080p). It's got an HDMI input, S-Video and composite video on the side, and coaxial and 2 or 3 composite inputs in the back.

We bought it off the Philips website as a refurb for about $500. It came with a power board issue that would cause it to spontaneously turn off, but it could always be turned back on in 2 or 3 minutes or so, and the problem hasn't recurred in about 6 to 8 months. It's a flatscreen, not a flat panel, so it still has a nice heavy picture tube, and that's why I'm not interested in moving the thing. We have Craigslisted it, but everyone interested so far has been a no-show.

Anyone willing to come over and haul it off can have it for $200. We have two nice flat panel TVs that Starr's parents are leaving with us, and are planning to just buy our own flat panel when we move again.

Takers?
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 09:38 Was not expecting polling line to be so long. Pleased to see it, but means I will have to go back again after work. Poor time management. #
  • 17:06 Morning wait to vote: 60-90 minutes, impractical. Afternoon wait: 2 minutes, no worries. #
  • 21:17 I cannot believe I've got CNN on the TV for the first time in years. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)

  • 21:53 @meiran Eccleston rules, as far as I'm concerned. However, Tennant does get 2-3 awesome episodes per season. #

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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cheesed)
Insurance companies: if you don't stop showing me commercials where a car accident is re-enacted in first-person perspective, I may just go all PTSD on you, and none of us want that.

Perhaps I'm whining and should just suck it up, but every time someone does that on TV or in a movie, I have to restrain the urge to freak out. Been there. Did that. Did NOT enjoy it.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 18:36 Wow, "Ice Road Truckers" is just like "Deadliest Catch" except, boring. #
  • 19:38 As I suspected, my Jedi robes were ruined by the leaking battery in the trunk. My fault for not cleaning trunk quicker. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (whovian)
I recently finished Series 4 of the revived Doctor Who. In many ways, the finale wrapped up and tied together the last four years of programming, as Russell Davies is moving on to other projects. The finale was a slam-bang affair, one comparable to ST:TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds" in breathtaking moments and an edge-of-the-seat cliffhanger. However, the finale underscored certain themes of Davies that I hope to see put to rest.

Originally, the Doctor was a political fugitive from his people, but he eventually evolved into a crusader of Time and Space, saving individuals and entire planets from oncoming disaster. His fourth incarnation sacrificed himself to save the existence of the universe from one man's foolishness. The Doctor was clearly fulfilled by his never-ending quest.

When the Doctor returned to television, he was in some ways a broken man. He had been at least partially responsible for the destruction of his race in an attempt to prevent an apocalypse (a futile attempt, as it turned out). Other characters made much about the Doctor as the bringer of Death. Of course, he repeatedly staves off even greater death and destruction, but apparently one gets minimal points for that.

Rose Tyler's love healed the Doctor, and in fact he began to return the emotion openly for the first time in the 40-year history of the show. But he then regenerated into a new body and personality, and Rose was forced to leave him, and he sank into depression and despair. The crusader of Time and Space was replaced by a sad, lonely immortal who kept on keeping on mainly because he didn't have anything better to do.

When the villain of the finale mocks the Doctor for creating a band of "Children of Time", willing tools who will aid our immortal in the destruction of lives and worlds, it's completely unfair, and yet the Doctor shows hurt and shame. What he's really done, of course, is give a succession of companions a broader perspective, the skills and the confidence to defend themselves and their loved ones, and the ability to make the awful decisions at times when the Doctor isn't around. They are "Grown-ups of Time" now, but the Doctor is too busy wallowing in failure to deal with that.

The new helmsman, Steven Moffat, has written episodes that temporarily bring back the crusader. While Moffat's Doctor in these tales retains a vulnerability that the older series did not give him, he remembers his role as the defender of Life, and revels in the challenge. I absolutely hope that future seasons return to that philosophy, as the worn-out, depressed Doctor is a shadow of the beings he once were, and I become sadder with every episode in which he flails about desperately.

Why have I gone on at length about this? Because the older Doctors, the Fourth especially, represent in many ways the person I've always wanted to be. Assertive, cheerful, full of wonder, and up to the challenges of life. Frankly, the Doctor these days has a far emptier life than I do, and it's hard to see the fictional hero I've felt so connected to suffer so. I guess this is something of a "Get Well" card to my old hero.

Further points, with spoilers, below )
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (TARDIS42)
"Midnight": the most excruciatingly painful 43 minutes of Doctor Who I can remember watching.

I'll be kinder to the science flubs from now on. This episode had no science issues, no overt plot stupidity, no unreasonable characterizations, no bad acting... and yet I can assure you I'll never watch it again if I can help it.

The episode is a cheap "bottle" show, intended to save money (I'm sure) for the Library two-parter and what I suspect will be another three-part finale. One set, and few actors: a futuristic tour bus with a small group of tourists aboard. The episode may have been a bargain for the writing budget as well, because very little happens.

Spoilers ) Sorry for all the vitriol, but I've had a pretty nice weekend, and I needed to get that out of my system as quickly as possible :)
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
Found Iron Chef Japan on the Fine Living Network. Now I need only suffer through the occasional Martha Stewart commercial to get my fix. Sadly, NBC / Universal came down on them about the Backdraft music, and the whole show's been re-scored by someone who didn't really get it; but it's better than nothing.

There's a tire fire in North Carolina this week, and the smoke's traveled all the way up here. The air in Portsmouth is nasty. I feel like someone in a cyberpunk book who should be walking the city streets with a small respirator. Sucks, because otherwise the heat's much more tolerable today.

Thank goodness for the Baen Free Library and the Baen CDs. Because of those resources, I didn't pay any money for John Ringo's The Hero. Now, I enjoyed his first "Posleen" books well enough, though the ending of the war was unsatisfying; but this book pretends to be one story for 100 pages (!) and then, without warning, changes its mind, abandons nearly everything, and becomes a completely different story.

Imagine you're watching the second Trek movie, getting into the story, and the first face-off between Kirk and Khan has just ended. Suddenly, a renegade cadet from the Enterprise steals the Genesis Device plans, uses the prefix codes to cause warp core breaches and destroy both ships, and hides in the Mutara Nebula in a 72-hour survival spacesuit to wait for an arranged Romulan pickup. Unknown to him, one of Khan's men got out in a similar spacesuit, and is hunting him down as the only chance for survival.

While the "hunting each other down" part of the movie might be gripping, I assume most people's reaction would be, "WTF? What happened to the plot I was just watching? Who are these people? I don't even like these people." That was my reaction to this book. Ah, well, it's not like I don't have lots more to read, including In The Serpent's Coils, Grave Peril, and Little Brother (yes, it's a free download).

Oh, and while I'm reviewing things, have I mentioned that I am now quite the Steven Moffat fan? The ending of "Forest of the Dead" had me saying to myself, "Bit of a downer, but everything lined up properly, lotsa neat stuff, some good lines. Good episode." Then: Non-specific Spoiler ) Well done indeed.

Speaking of which, the reason there's not going to be much 2009 Who is that David Tennant will be playing Hamlet on stage that year, which I'd love to see. Here is Neil Gaiman writing Tennant's Tenth Doctor as Hamlet:

"To be, or not to be, that is the question. Weeelll.... More of A question really. Not THE question. Because, well, I mean, there are billions and billions of questions out there, and well, when I say billions, I mean, when you add in the answers, not just the questions, weeelll, you're looking at numbers that are positively astronomical and... for that matter the other question is what you lot are doing on this planet in the first place, and er, did anyone try just pushing this little red button?"


I'd so watch that.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (mecha)
Things I like about Iron Chef America:

The Chairman's confident good humor.
Stern-visaged samurai chef from Japan, Masaharu Morimoto.
Cooking geek Alton Brown.
Smack-talk and teasing between the chefs.
No air-headed commentary from Japanese actresses.

Things I miss about Iron Chef Japan:

The Chairman's culinary megalomania.
Maverick avant-garde chef from New York, Masaharu Morimoto.
Professional fortune-teller Kazuko Hosoki.
Chefs focused on their dishes as if lives depended on them.
Air-headed commentary from Japanese actresses.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
Hmph. The Microsoft Office 2008 icons are kinda ugly.

Listening to some Vangelis music at work this morning. "Alpha" is one of those tunes that sends tingles up my spine when I listen to it, and awakes wonder and potential in my mind. If only I could stay in that headspace for days at a time... it probably wouldn't be good for me, but I feel that I'd get a lot done while I could stand it.

I wonder where the 'tingles' come from? It's absolutely a physical sensation to me, but I have no idea what produces it.

Far more importantly, my mom is walking now without human assistance. She's still using a walker or crutch, but given that she couldn't even move the leg two weeks ago, this is an absolutely awesome development, and I joked that she's making far better progress than I did. If any of my friends have ever wondered where my buried stubborn streak came from, this may provide a clue. I am thrilled for her - and while she's there, they think they may be able to correct a nerve issue that's pained her for about 20 years, so, silver lining!

And speaking of doctors, it took me a visit to Wikipedia to learn that the awfully-familiar looking archaeologist on Doctor Who this week was Dr. Corday on ER for seven seasons. Cool.

Sontar-HA!

May. 4th, 2008 11:44 am
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (whovian)
The Sontaran two-parter from this Doctor Who series really pleased me. Lots of fun things happened, the production design of the alien battlesuits and technology looked great, and we got a somewhat more mature Martha Jones back for a couple of episodes. There were a few rough pacing moments - as if the script worked out about 10 minutes short overall - but nothing fatal.

Donna remains an excellent foil for the Doctor, freaking out in fear one moment and standing up to him the next. It's a lot of fun having grownups aboard the TARDIS, and even when Donna must leave, I hope they consider continuing the trend. At no point did the episode get stupid (well, there's an atmosphere bit near the end which is a little brow-raising, but not too bad), and UNIT gets to show that, in the 21st century, they're actually good for something.

I'd put in a request, if I could, for the Beeb to fund some more space episodes, as Earth is getting invaded now every month on the first Wednesday. It's like paying bills - "Let's see, cable, electric, water, and oh yes, alien invasion due tomorrow. Must call in sick to work."

Everyone caught the face that shows for a split second on the TARDIS console screen, right?

We're picking up spoilers on scan... )

So yes, I'm a happy Whovian today.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (TARDIS42)
This weekend was good. I got to chill a little bit, which I'd long needed. Had caviar for the first time ever; it tasted mostly of salt, and slightly fishy. I've heard it's served on buttered toast, and I think that would improve it quite a bit.

I also tried the Lord of the Rings online role-playing game. The first thing I noticed is that it's certainly prettier than WoW (and therefore needs more video processing power than, say, my desktop can handle). I enjoyed the Minstrel class I tried - there's something entertaining about whipping out a lute in the middle of a melee and dealing damage with a few bars of a song.

But, when all's said and done, I enjoy the slightly surrealistic graphics of WoW - they seem to fit with a world which has so many fantastic shorthands for everyday actions - and the LotR game takes itself fairly seriously, which also isn't really what I'm here for. I might play it if there were a Mac version and no other competitors, but my subscription will stay with Blizzard for now.

This week's Doctor Who episode brings the Series 4 average down to .667. Even discounting the goofy, thoughtless science - which is hard, since one element is a major plot point - there wasn't much special about it. Donna was great; her emotional arc about the future of humanity and our ethics, and the conditions of the Ood provided a welcome touch of development.

But overall, the episode was fairly formulaic, including at least one completely gratuitous CGI death, and someone trying viciously to kill the Doctor for no reason at all. One touch I did like: minor spoiler )

Fun fact: the episode was filmed in sweltering heat - yay for fake snow. And I'm looking forward to seeing some old foes of the Doctor next week!

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