Monday, September 30, 2002

More Scaper Stuff

Farscape's David Kemper gave another radio interview this weekend; you can read the transcript here. Lots of interesting discussion about the nuts-and-bolts economic realities of making a TV show... Kind of depressing, mind you, but interesting.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

My Life, and Simulations Thereof

Gee, look at that. I haven't written anything in here in almost two days. Should I be disturbed by the fact that, when I go a day or two without blogging, I start to get this vaguely unfulfilled feeling?

As for what I've been doing instead of blogging, I guess you could say that it's mostly been a weekend of fun and games (and, yes, I do mean that in a literal rather than a sarcastic sense!). Friday evening I hung out with some friends and played board games[*] until about 1 AM (which is approximately lunchtime for me at present), and then spent most of the rest of the night trying desperately to catch up on my huge backlog of e-mail. I got it down to about 40 unread e-mails at one point (from a peak of about 170), but it's now up to 59 again. Maybe I should unsubscribe from some of those mailing lists...

Then yesterday I played Torg until around 2 AM. Then I came home and played The Sims 'til well after dawn... As it happens, The Sims was the first (and one of the very few) games that I bought for my previous computer, and for a while there, I was hideously addicted to it. As in, I was spending 8 to 10 hours a day playing the damned thing, making sure my little simulated people had enough sleep and clean houses and good social lives, while the dishes piled up in my own sink, my bed went unslept in, and my friends forgot I existed. Well, at least I got a story out of it...

Eventually (and mercifully), my addiction began to fade, but I did keep buying the expansion packs for the game, up until the point where my poor little computer could barely handle them any more. In fact, by the time I installed the Hot Date expansion things were running so slowly and crashing so frequently that it hardly seemed worth my while to keep playing.

And then, of course, I got the new computer... In fact, Gateway offered me a free copy of The Sims with it, which I turned down, because, hey, why bother having them send it to me when I already own it? But they also offered me the Vacation expansion for twenty bucks, which is actually a pretty nice discount, so I took it. And then, I happened to be shopping at Wally-World when the latest exapansion pack, The Sims Unleashed, caught my eye. So I bought that, too, on an impulse much like the one that led me to buy the original game in the first place.

And last night, I installed 'em all. Original game, plus all five expansions. They're probably taking up more disc space than all the rest of my stuff put together. Unleashed by itself requires more than half the hard drive space I had on my old machine!

The Vacation concept seems particularly cool to me, but I haven't actually had the chance to take any of my Sims on vacation yet, because none of them can afford it. I'm pretty sure I could have copied my old families onto my new machine -- I did successfully copy over all my downloaded objects and skins -- but, frankly, I was getting bored with them, so I thought I'd start over and build a new neighborhood from the ground up. But, man, I'd forgotten how hard it was starting out with a new family and no money. (Realism in gaming! Gotta love it!)

I'm making up a science fictional neighborhood (thanks to all the aforementioned downloads). So far I've put in a character who looks suspiciously like me, named, appropriately enough, Mary Sue; the entire crew of Farscape[**] (all living together in one house, poor things); Buffy and her mom; and (also from Buffy) Giles. I've still got a bunch more characters to add: various people from various Star Treks, more Buffy characters, people from Andromeda, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Galaxy Quest... Yeah, it's gonna be an interesting neighborhood.

It's also gonna be a big neighborhood, because one of the really nifty-cool things Unleashed does for you is to expand your neighborhoods out from 9 lots to 41, including community spaces. So you can have lots of Sims interacting with each other! And I haven't explored all of it yet, but Unleashed's "Old Town," from what I've seen of it, is much nicer than Hot Date's "Downtown" (although the Downtown area is still available).

The other main thing Unleashed adds, of course, is animals. Mary Sue already has a cat, and I'm pretty impressed with it. The thing moves, sounds and acts just like a real cat. Including begging for food, roaming around the neighborhood making friends, and scratching her owner when she decides she doesn't want to be picked up (ouch!). All the strays wandering around the neighborhood can get pretty annoying, though, especially when they decide to just wander into your house. OK, cats can get away with that, if they're looking to be adopted, but I'm sorry, dogs should not be coming into private homes unless they're invited!

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to playing around with this thing some more. Maybe I'll go play with it now. Just for an hour or so. Really.

[*] Actually, it was just one board game. Civilization, if you're curious. I lost badly.

[**] Well, the entire crew as of some point in the second season, if you want to get technical. Since both Sim-John and Sim-Stark appear (for them) relatively sane, I figure I must have plucked them out of the TV show sometime between "The Locket" and "The Ugly Truth," rather than during the "Liars, Guns, and Money" trilogy. Yes, I do think about these things...

Friday, September 27, 2002

More Quizzes! Run Away!

Hey, these were some fun ones...

What kind of Chef are you?

brought to you by Quizilla
You are the Swedish Chef. You mumble and bumble your way through a kitchen.

Bork! Bork! Bork!

What Christopher Walken Character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla
Gabriel: Dark Angel with an agenda

Cool! Then again, are there any Christopher Walken characters that aren't cool?

Which Star Wars planet are you?

brought to you by Quizilla
Tatooine! A dry, desolate desert world full of some of the worst scum of the universe... Enjoy your stay!

Hey, Socorro pretty much is Tatooine.

T.G.I. Friday Five

1. What are your favorite ways to relax and unwind? Hmm, I've just sort of been over this, haven't I? But number one on the list is definitely a nice hot (really hot!) bubble bath and a good book.

2. What do you do the moment you get home from work/school/errands? Check the answering machine messages, usually. And check and make sure that the cats have food and water.

3. What are your favorite aromatherapeutic smells? I'm not really a believer in aromatherapy, but I do like vanilla-scented candles.

4. Do you feel more relaxed with a group of friends or hanging out by yourself? Hanging out with friends can be fun, but when I'm tired or stressed, I generally prefer to be by myself. And the more tired or stressed I get, the less I want to have to be around people. Even people I like.

5. What is something that you feel is relaxing but most people don't? Um, I dunno. I've recently mentioned how depressing music always serves to cheer me up when I'm down, but I'm not sure whether that really counts or not...
Time Enough at Last

As of the end of my shift tonight, I'll have completed one full work-week on the new schedule. And I believe this fact is to be credited almost entirely with changing me from the Ms. Grumpypants of last week into the Happy Camper of this week.[*] In particular, going from 10-hour shifts to 8-hour shifts is just an incredible change for the better. It's not primarily that the shorter shift seems to go so much more quickly in comparison, thought that's certainly part of it. Mainly it's due to the fact that those extra two hours of free time before I have to go in to work make an amazing amount of difference. Previously, when I was on the night shift, I'd sleep until 5:00 PM or so, nurse my customary three cups of coffee, read my e-mail, shower, dress, maybe run a couple of errands... And by that point, it'd be something on the order of eight o'clock, and I'd find myself thinking: damn, I have to leave for work in about an hour and a half, so there isn't really any time to start anything. But now, I don't have to be in until a little before midnight. Now, it gets to be 8-ish, and I still have hours before I have to leave. No more sitting around killing time watching Win Ben Stein's Money or something because I don't want to start anything that I'm not going to be able to finish or can't concentrate on when I have to keep watching the clock. I can actually do stuff. Admittedly, from a productivity standpoint, it's probably be better if I did stuff other than watching movies and playing computer games, which is mostly what I have been doing with the time this week, but that's not the point. The point is, I feel like I've gotten my life back. Yeah, the shorter shifts mean that I'm only going to have two days off this weekend instead of three, but under this new schedule, I don't have to change shifts next week. Which means I don't have to spend those two days in a sleep-deprived haze, or lying in bed tossing and turning as I desperately try to reset my internal clock in a way that just isn't biologically feasible. Sounds like a damned good trade-off to me.

So, if you, wherever you are, can faintly hear a huge sigh of happiness and relief... It's me!

[*] Although I suppose the majority of the credit really ought to go to my brain chemistry, which seems to be such that my usual default mood is a sort of laid-back, vaguely-pleased state. Stress and lack of sleep can disrupt that equilibrium pretty badly (as you may have noticed), but once things get better again, I tend to return to it pretty quickly. For this particular biological accident, I am profoundly grateful. I've known people whose default state was depression, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

P.S. Oh, and it ended up not raining today, after all. Yay!

P.P.S. Five trivia points to the first person who can tell me where I stole this post's title from.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

My Luck

Today, for the first time in about two weeks, I was finally able to walk across my front yard to my car without getting my feet muddy and/or wet. So, of course, it looks like rain today...

I think I'm trapped in an endless meteorological cycle.
Alphabet Soup

For the record, my blogger code is: B3 d- t- k+ s+ u-- f i o+ x-- e- l c- and my Geek Code would appear to be something like: GS d- s a c++ U P L E W++ N+ o-- K- w(+) O? M? V? PS(+) PE Y+ PGP- t(+++)@* 5(+)>++ X R(+) tv@ b+++ DI+ D- G e++* h r% x+.

There. Now you know all about me.
It's All in the Spin...

For those who are interested, here's a really good analysis of the Sci-Fi Channel's Farscape Cancellation FAQ.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

A Visit to "Carbon Creek"

Well, I did catch this week's Enterprise episode, and without even having to wait for the reapeat! I've said before that Enterprise really is at its most entertaining when it's going for a lighter, more humorous tone, and I think this episode is very much a case in point, because I enjoyed it considerably. I'm still chuckling over the Three Stooges reference. And the velcro. And, for some reason, the image of a Vulcan walking around carrying a toilet plunger.

But am I the only one who kept waiting for one of them to explain that they got their head caught in a mechanical rice picker?
When Will It Ever End?

What Obscure Animal are you?

Ooh, ringtails are cool!

What obscure band are you?

Never heard of 'em. I guess that's why the count as obscure! That's probably one of the most accurate blog-test descriptions I've ever gotten, though. Well, except maybe for the "artistic" part.

Well, I could have told you that without even taking the test. In fact, I don't know why I even bothered taking the test! What a bunch of wasted effort!
Meet the New Season, Same as the Old Season?

Well, I did finally get to see the season premiere of Enterprise. And, well... it was OK. I know, I know, I find myself saying that about Enterprise a lot. Really, that sums up my feelings towards the series in general quite succinctly. When it's not using cliched third-hand plots, it's a likeable enough show, but it nevertheless just fails to spark anything in me. I mean, it's easy for me to understand why I find myself feeling ready to fall asleep in the middle of episodes like, say, "Rogue Planet," but I'm not sure why I often seem to have much the same reaction even when the story is something that, in the abstract, I find interesting, like this week's episode. Maybe I really have become a novelty junkie when it comes to TV SF, and Enterprise, even at its best, just isn't cutting-edge enough for me. Maybe it's simply that I really want it to be Farscape, and it's just not. Maybe I'm being unfair to it, but, hey, what can I say? My reaction is my reaction.

OK, I'm sure I can actually come up with something to say about the season premiere. I'm sure I can even come up with good things to say about it. The story wasn't actually too bad, even if it did suffer from the usual problem of wrapping up the messy situation left by part 1 far too quickly and easily. And playing around with time travel is always fun, if only because it does such interesting things to cause and effect and the language we use to talk about them. I must say, though, that this episode does serve to highlight one rather weird and disturbing fact about the Star Trek universe: time travel really is ridiculously easy. There are all kinds of ways to do it, even by accident. Slingshot round a star at high warp, cold-start the antimatter reactor on your starship, jump into an alien artifact, fly into a spacetime anomaly... And, apparently, by the 31st century kids are learning temporal mechanics in high school, and it's possible for someone who knows what he's doing to build a holographic temporal transmitter out of a 22nd century communicator and some pieces of scrap metal. Does that idea make anybody but me nervous? I mean, forget somebody like the Suliban using time travel as a weapon, all it takes is one Wesley Crusher type screwing up his high school science project, and bye-bye, recorded history! I'm beginning to suspect that Larry Niven had it right: if it is possible to change the past, the only reasonable outcome is a universe where nobody ever invents a time machine, because every timeline where someone does will just end up erasing itself.

Anyway. I'm supposed to be saying positive things about "Shockwave, Pt. 2," right? Or at least things other than "it was OK." Well, let's see, there's character stuff to talk about, I suppose. I have decided that I quite like that Suliban guy, Sulik or whatever his name is. The actor playing him does a good job of making him believable. I actually kind of felt sorry for him, all agitated as he was over the idea that his boss was going to kick his ass for screwing up. Also, I mentioned at the end of last season that it felt to me as if Scott Bakula and his character had suddenly clicked, and I do think that has carried through into the beginning of this season. I can't put my finger on anything specific that he's doing differently, but his performace suddenly seems much less artificial, somehow. And Hoshi is now being written the way she should have been written from the beginning. They've finally found the balance necessary to allow her to be reluctant and afraid without coming across as whiney and annoying.

T'Pol I'm still not sure about... She seemed to me to be acting rather oddly un-Vulcan in parts of this episode, but since whatever interrogation technique the Suliban were using obviously really screwed with her brain, perhaps that's not a reasonable criticism. I still wish I had a better handle on her as a character, though. They do seem to be intent on developing a strong bond between her and Archer, and this episode is clearly a major step in that direction. Now, I think that's fine, and that their relationship does have the potential to be fairly interesting if it's allowed to develop naturally. But I'm a little worried that the writers have set their minds on turning Archer and T'Pol into the Kirk and Spock of the 22nd century, and that if they try and force the relationship into that mold it's not going to work. Time, I suppose, will tell.

At any rate, I suppose the upshot is that our first glimpse at the new season hasn't in fact changed my opinion of Enterprise at all. I still think it has potential. There are still things that I like and dislike about it. And it still has me looking repeatedly at my watch and wondering if it isn't finally about to be over yet...

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

More Googlies

Yes, it's time once again for a look at the more interesting search requests that have been bringing people to this blog! So, I present for your amusement:

vr boobs. Gee, you'd think people would prefer the real thing.
fluid wavey heat wavey physical. How very... wavey. Or should that be spelled "wavy"?
teenager laziness. Sorry, only adult laziness here!
silly internet quizzes. Oh, dear. That one's got me dead to rights.
soap links to candian spoilers. There are Canadian soap operas?
surivior naked. That's what I get for making typos. Although how I managed to switch the "v"s and the "i" in "Survivor" I'll never quite understand.
koko boobs. I was talking about Koko the gorilla. I really hope that's not what this person had in mind.
Crichton farscape naked pictures. Um, well, he's briefly naked in the Premiere, but I'm afraid you can't see much. Sorry.
Garbage Truck Syndrome dictionary. OK, now I'm curious to know what Garbage Truck Syndrome is. My guess is either a disease or a band...
I'M A FISH DVD COVER DOWN LOAD. To quote Lisa Simpson: "I know all those words, but that. . . makes no sense."
pictures of buffy's boobs. Um, no. Frankly, I have to admit I'd be much more interested in naked pictures of Crichton.

And the moral of all this, ladies and gentlemen, is that using the words "boobs" and/or "naked" are guaranteed to get you lots of hits...

Monday, September 23, 2002

TV Talk

Would you believe that I still haven't managed to catch the season premiere of Enterprise? I was hanging out with a friend on Sunday, shooting the shit, and completely lost track of time. Sigh. Fortunately, in this town it's easy enough to find someone who got it on tape...

I did see the first episode of Firefly, though, and am feeling quite well disposed towards it. It is very much an outer-space Western, which rather appeals to me. I've always been fond of stories which cross or blend different genres, and, while I'm not a huge fan of Westerns per se, there is something about them that meshes very well with science fiction. It doubtless has something to do with that whole "frontier" thing. Anyway, it seems to work pretty well in this case.

Visually, the show is fairly impressive: very pretty special effects for the space shots and an authentically grungy look for everything else. The plot was OK: an action-adventure/heist story with an interesting ethical dilemma thrown in. Nothing super-special, but interesting enough to keep my attention.

But the characters, of course, are the most important thing. I'm afraid we don't get much of a chance to get a good handle on the rather large crew over the course of this one fast-paced hour, but I do get the feeling that they at least have the potential to be very interesting. I already like the captain; he seems to be the type of likeable-rogue character that I generally appreciate. And the dialog is fairly sharp, which is no more than you would expect from the creator of Buffy.

All in all, a show with definite potential, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it and to getting to know these people better.

You know something that I find really interesting, though? It seems to me that the concept of a ragtag band of misfits and/or criminals flying around the galaxy in a spaceship has become the new main paradigm of science fiction TV. It is, after all, part of the premise behind Farscape, Andromeda, Lexx, and now Firefly. I imagine that this is largely beacuse everyone is making a deliberate attempt to do something other than the Star Trek formula, where everybody is shiny and happy and heroic and always gets along with everybody else. (Although even Star Trek chose to partially abandon this formula for something slightly more akin to the "gang of misfits" thing with Deep Space 9, with surprisingly good results.) But in consistently attempting to avoid the Trekkish cliche, today's SF shows seem to be busy building up a brand new cliche of their own.

Not that I'm complaining. I like misfits. Plus, this just goes to confirm my belief that Blake's 7 -- which featured, yes, a gang of criminal misfits flying around the galaxy on a spaceship -- truly was 20 years ahead of its time. (Speaking of Blake's 7, I did notice that Firefly featured a couple of lines of dialog that were word-for-word identical to an exchange in the B7 epsiode "Orac": "Nice shot."/"I was aiming for his head." I'd like to think that Whedon is a B7 fan and shamelessly stole the dialog from Blake and Avon, but in reality it's much more likely that they were both stealing from the same source material. I believe it was actually a variant on a line from The Magnificent Seven, in fact.)
Hey, It's Been a While Since I've Done Any Stupid Quizzes. We Can't Be Having That.

What Spooky Being are You?

Ooh, like Alex Trebek in that really cool X-Files episode, right? (As opposed to the Will Smith kind of MiB, of course. The quiz was very emphatic on this point...)

i am extremely intelligent and very wise. i think logically and rhetorically in order to get problems solved. if i'm not mad now, i'm getting very close.
how mad are you?
this quiz was made by piksy

Yes, I'm almost mad enough that that actually makes sense to me...
Well, Since This Is Monday, I Guess This Would Be the "Monday Five"

1. Would you say that you're good at keeping in touch with people? If the other person makes the effort to keep in touch with me, I'm usually pretty good about responding, I think, but I'm really, really bad at taking the initiative and contacting people myself. Case in point: some time ago a good friend of mine from college who I'd lost touch with (even though she was still living nearby) e-mailed me and asked me to come and visit her over Christmas (or was it Thanksgiving?) and I responded very enthusiastically. We got together a couple of times, I met her fiance (who turned out to be a really great guy I hit it off with immediately), I went to their wedding. That was about, what, two years ago? And, despite multiple sincere declarations that this time we would keep in touch -- that I would come by for dinner sometime when I was in Albuquerque, that they would stop at my place if ever they were passing through Socorro, etc., etc. -- I haven't seen them since. I think I tried sending her an e-mail at some point, but it bounced. Or, actually, I think she e-mailed me and my reply bounced. And that was it. I feel kind of bad about that. Maybe I should try looking her up again. Except, even as I write this, I know I won't. Because I never do...

2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why? I love e-mail, for a whole host of reasons. I'm much more articulate in writing then I am when speaking, for one thing, so it's a medium of communication well suited to me. I also like the fact that I know that when I send someone e-mail, I'm not interrupting them at anything, which I always worry about when calling people on the phone. And I love the fact that I can have conversations in which there are never any awkward pauses, never any instances of both people trying to talk at once. And when something the other person says sparks a thought and you want to respond to it, you don't have to interrupt their own train of thought to do it. It's wonderful.

3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it? I have the software for it, I'm pretty sure, but I've never bothered activating it. Instant messaging has most of the disadvantages of telephoning and few of the advantages of e-mail, and I have very little interest in it.

4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away? I suppose that depends on how you define "close" in this sense. I have two types of friends, really: what I might call Real Life Friends and Internet Friends. All my Real Life Friends are at least in the same state as me, except for the ones who've drifted away and with whom I've lost touch (see question #1). My Internet Friends are scattered all over the globe. So the question is whether my Internet Friends count as close friends or not, and that's a bit hard to answer, I suppose. In terms of the sheer amount of time I spend "talking" to them, I think the Internet Friends win, and there's a person or two I know over the 'net with whom I can talk about things that I don't talk about to most of my Real Life Friends. But, on the other hand, Real Life friends will help you move, and that counts for a great deal.

5. Are you an "out of sight, out of mind" person, or do you believe that "distance makes the heart grow fonder"? As with so many things in this life, it depends.

Interstellar Transmissions

For those of you who are actually still listening to me as I go on and on about this whole Farscape thing, I'll point out that David Kemper gave a radio interview a couple of days ago, in which he had what I thought were some interesting things to say regarding Sci-Fi's marketing of the program, among other things. (The transcript is a little glitchy in places, but it's definitely worth reading.)

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Shooting Things

Well, I think I've now given the new computer a nice, intensive breaking-in. A friend of mine came over this weekend, and we ended up spending all night playing the Farscape computer game. (Insert your own cancellation-of-Farscape rant here; I'm getting tired of doing it.) We actually made it all the way through, too, although I mainly credit my friend with that accomplishment, as she did most of the actual playing. (As opposed to back-seat playing. As in: "OK, now you should give John the gun because Aeryn's better at hand-to-hand, and, look, you could lay a trap for the bad guys here and..." Frankly, I'm amazed that she never once told me to shut up.) Also, she's far less inclined to just give up when the game starts to get difficult, and thus actually does tend to finish games, unlike yours truly.

As for the game itself, I have rather mixed feelings about it. We did have enough fun with it that I'd have to say it was worth what I paid for it, just for the one full day of entertainment, but there are several things about it that are kind of annoying. For one thing, it's really difficult to navigate. You're provided with a map of your immediate area, but it's a pretty confusing map. And rotating the view of your characters is far too easy to do by accident, and often far too difficult to do correctly when you actually want to. It's very, very easy to become completely disoriented (especially for those of us with no sense of direction, who disorient easily), and, especially on the earlier levels when you're still getting the hang of reading the map, the result often is that you end up doing a lot of very lost wandering-around in the invariably very big, very maze-like environments. Which can get pretty frustrating and/or boring.

It also is pretty much entirely an action game where you just go around shooting things, which doesn't seem to me to be very much in keeping with the spirit of Farscape, even if the show has featured the occasional truly spectacular firefight. I might have expected a Farscape game to be more of a puzzle-oriented adventure game than a shoot-em-up.

Except for that, though, I'd say it does capture a number of elements of the TV show pretty well. A number of canonical bad guys show up looking, sounding and acting as they're supposed to. And the characterization of the regular characters is spot-on. I love the way Chiana will insist on going off by herself in the town marketplace, for example, and then show up later with a weapon she "found." Or Rygel volunteering the group for a combat and then immediately buggering off to a place of safety with a cheery "good luck!"

Some of the environments are fairly cool, too, even if you do get tired of wandering around them after a while. And, once you get far enough that you can afford the really big guns, you can have a lot of fun shooting things. Well, I must admit, I did, and I'm not even generally the "I love to shoot things" type.

Anyway, there ya go, my first game review.

Friday, September 20, 2002

I Have the Technology!

Here it is, boys and girls, my very first blog post from my brand new computer! And a very spiffy-looking machine it is, too, all black and silver like 4th-season Avon.[*] It doesn't actually need a name, not being networked to anything, but I've given it one, anyway. In honor of Farscape (which really needs some honoring right about now), and because it's a Gateway[**], I've named it Wormhole. I've still got a bunch of software I need to reinstall, and a big old butt-load of files I have to copy over from my old machine, but otherwise, ol' Wormy seems to be up and running just fine. And, man, I can already appreciate the difference between this and the old machine, even though I've hardly done anything with it already. Even just having the bigger monitor is a major improvement!

Oh, and in other news, I've found out that my supervisor has, indeed, approved the proposed schedule change, which also makes me very happy. And it means that I don't have to be back in to work until Sunday night (instead of having to go in on Saturday night), so it even has an immediate payoff.

All in all, I'm feeling about six thousand percent happier today than I was yesterday...

Come on, Wormy! Let's install some games!

[*] Gratuitous Blake's 7 reference.
[**] Wormhole, gateway... Well, it made sense to me, anyway.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Ask And You Shall Recieve: I Did Get (Possible) Good News Fast!

Remember the guy who relieved me last night and made me all grumpy by saying the proposed schedule was "asinine" (even if it kind of was), and I told him if he could do better he should? Well, he did! The guy came in with a suggestion for one tiny little tweak that'll make the whole thing much nicer to work in a number of ways and shouldn't affect our efficiency at all. Fifty thousand points for him!

It's amazing how much better this has made me feel. I only hope that our superiors don't come up with some weird unforeseen reason to shoot it down...
Back to Farscape

Well, producer David Kemper just gave a talk in the Farscape chat room. And, yup, he comfirmed what we'd already heard: that Sci-Fi had re-opened talks, that the negotiations fell through, and that nothing has really changed. He did say that in his opinion the 11 forthcoming eps were the best they'd ever done and that he was actually entirely hopeful that, when they air in January, if the ratings are good, that someone will decide that they really want this show. (Whether he was hoping that someone would be Sci-Fi changing their minds or another network, he didn't specify.) And he suggested waiting until then and then putting the pressure back on. Me, I'm not feeling that hopeful, but maybe that's just the depressed mood I've been in lately.

Something else interesting that he said was that the 2/10ths of a rating point drop that Sci-Fi cites as part of the reason for axing the show translates to six people with Nielsen boxes. Six. And you know something that kind of makes me sick? I almost had a Nielsen box. They actually called me on the phone and left a message. I picked it up halfway through and said something like, "Hello, I'm here!" and the person on the other end said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you! I'll call back in a few minutes," and hung up. Then she didn't call back, and when I called back at the number she'd left on my machine, she said she didn't have any record of contacting me in her computer. So I didn't get a box (or a diary, or whatever is was they would have given me). And now I wonder if it might actually have made a difference, whether if I'd answered my phone a minute earlier it would have kept Farscape on the air. Probably not, and I know it's pointless to speculate, but still, the thought doth niggle...

He also said that the 22 unwritten 5th season episodes would have been better than anything we'd seen so far, because they would have been the end of the story, and Farscape was always meant to be one, single, epic story. Somehow, this does not make me feel any better. There really is nothing -- nothing -- that bothers me more than not getting the end of a story. I even finish really bad books, because I can't bear not knowing how they come out, even when I don't actually care all that much about what's happening. When it's a story that I've invested this much time and emotion and energy in... Grrrrrr. One of my friends recently told me that I take this stuff far too seriously, and he's right, I do. But I can't help it. It's how I am. I care about things too much, even (or perhaps especially) stupid things like TV shows, and then I get my frelling heart broken when I lose them. You'd think I'd learn.

But, like I said, this is doubtless just my current pissy mood talking. There is still hope that we might get to see the end of the story, and even if we don't, it's not like the world is going to end.

But, damn. I need some god-damned good news, and I need it fast.
Quitting My Job, Selling My House, and Moving into a Cave Is Starting to Look Like an Attractive Option

Well, I just talked to the other operator, and he hates the new schedule proposal, too. The sticking point seems to be that, since we were suddenly told that we had to cover some time during the weekends, we ended up with a schedule where you're pretty much always working some portion of the weekend. Either you're working Sat. and Sun. night, or you're working during the day on Sun., or you're working Fri. evening. Now, for me, this really isn't that big of a deal. Yeah, it's not as good as having weekends off on a regular basis, but you've always got at least part of the weekend off, whatever shift you're working, which I figure does give you the opportunity to hang around and do things with normal people on their normal days off. And you're always guaranteed of having Sat. evening off (even if you might have to go in and work at midnight), which actually allows you to schedule things on a regular basis. But apparently I'm the only one who feels that way, and the other two guys would rather be working all weekend or have the whole weekend off, depending on where they are in the rotation. Which is a perfectly legitimate desire, but considering that the idea was to stick to 8-hour shifts, and considering that there has to be a reasonable gap between different shifts, I don't see any good way of doing that. Certainly not with three people, which is what we're down to at the moment. So I told both of them, hey, if you can come up with something better, for gods' sakes, do it! I kind of hope they can, if only because I'm a little afraid that I'm going to end up being cast in the role of the bad guy, since I came up with this rotation that they seem to loathe so much. Although I don't honestly know how much of that anger is just because we were all more or less led to believe that we'd probably be working the no-weekends schedule and then had that yanked from under us at the very last minute. I know I'm deeply annoyed about that.

And I'm ranting again. Sue me.
Mood Swings

Well, blogging last night did actually make me feel better, but, unfortunately, it didn't last... My relief got in, took one look at the schedule proposal and said, and I quote, "This is asinine." I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as he was making it out to be but, you know, I don't blame the guy. He just wants his weekends. Nevertheless, it put me right back into my dark & nasty mood.

It's interesting the strategies we develop to get us out of a bad mood. Me, I tried all kinds of things last night. I watched some cartoons. (I picked up a tape of Tiny Toon Adventures from the sale rack at the supermarket video store the other day for $1.99. Don't laugh at me. As a wise (if slightly fictional) person once said, "What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish some of the time?") Then I got into a nice, hot bubble bath with a book. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very good book, but just the mere act of reading often helps me feel better. And, finally, I got into bed, turned the lights out, and listened to Warren Zevon over headphones until I was able to sleep.

I suppose that last requires a bit of explaining... See, I've discovered in the last year or two that, perversely, absolutely nothing gets me out of a depressed mood faster than putting on a Leonard Cohen album and listening to him sing his wonderful music-to-slit-your-wrists-by music. I don't entirely undertand why it works, and I'm not inclined to go trying to analyze it right at the moment, but it does. So I figured that if sad, depressive, angsty music works for lifting me out of a sad, depressive, angsty mood, then for feelings of self-pity, frustration and general pissiness at the universe, Warren Zevon should be just the ticket. If you're familiar with his music -- beyond just "Werewolves of London," that is -- you probably understand what I mean.

Anyway. All these mood-elevating exercises did help a little bit, although I think they would have more successful if some damned portion of my brain didn't keep feeling the need to check in every three seconds to see how it was going. "Are you feeling better now? Are you feeling better now? How 'bout now?" Man, that was annoying. You know, sometimes parts of my mind really just don't get along well with other parts...

And that probably makes me sound absolutely nuts, so maybe I'll just quit now while I'm ahead...

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Good and Bad

I am in a really pissy mood tonight. Have you ever had one of those times when it seems like everything in your life is conspiring to drive you crazy, or at least make you depressed? Well, I am definitely in the midst of one of those times right now. It's not like I have any huge personal tragedies going on or anything, or even that any of my problems is all that terrible by itself, but the combination of negative stuff is just really, really bringing me down.

So I present here, a listing of the major bad and good things in my life at the moment (in that order, because hopefully that'll let me get the bad out of my system and leave me on a positive note).

The Bad:

1. We had another big rainstorm last week, and my yard flooded again. Badly. It was finally starting to dry out (as in, the water was no longer over the tops of my shoes in most spots), but it rained again today. In fact, it's still raining. It's been raining now for about eight hours, which is practically unheard of here. Frankly, I'm afraid of when I'm going to find when I get home.

2. On a related note, my roof is still leaking. I found out where the leak was -- it's due to several very small holes -- and I got some waterproof metal-repair gunk that should hopefully fix it, along with some waterproof coating to paint the entire roof with. Problem is, you have to apply this stuff when the weather is going to be dry long enough for it to set. Other problem is, the (borrowed) ladder I have for getting up onto the roof with is shaky enough when planted on dry ground. Right now, my entire yard consists of water and mud, and I'm simply afraid to try planting a ladder in it now even if it would do any good.

3. When I was messing around with this big, metal, top-heavy ladder the last time, I managed to knock the thing over and send it crashing right into my car. Which now has a very nasty scrape on it. Which is probably right now busy rusting in the rain. And I have no idea when I'm going to find the time to take it into the shop.

4. My allergies are starting to come back. I think there's something growing in my pond of a front yard that's making me sneeze.

5. I haven't been sleeping well for weeks. I just haven't been able to adjust my body from night shift onto day shift. I've been tossing and turning and finally falling asleep around dawn, on days when I have to be in to work at noon. This hasn't helped me deal well with all the other stress in my life, I can tell you.

6. Farscape is still cancelled. It definitely looks like the negotiations didn't go through. There was supposed to be a chat tonight with people from the show, but 700 people showed up and the chat server crashed, so they rescheduled it for tomorrow. Meaning we still don't even have any solid news/info on exactly what's going on and where we should be concentrating our efforts.

7. I forgot to set up my VCR to tape the season premiere of Enterprise tonight. Which is a pretty minor thing, as they'll be re-running it on Saturday, after all, but it still annoys me.

8. I feel like there are so many things I really want to do, but when I have the time, I don't have the energy, and when I have the energy, I don't have the time.

The Good

1. It looks very, very likely that we will finally be moving onto a different work schedule. Which should seriously help alleviate Bad Thing #5. The new schedule isn't quite what we were hoping for, though. It was looking for a while like we might actually be able to have weekends off on a regular basis, but the higher-ups decided that, no, we really do need to cover at least some time on the weekends. When I heard that, I immediately sat down and drafted up an altered version of the proposed schedule which included some weekend shifts. The boss seemed really happy with it, and he seems confident that his boss will be really happy with it, and he wants to switch onto it immediately (starting this weekend). I only hope the other two operators are OK with it, too, because I would really have liked more of a chance to talk it over with everybody. On the other hand, anything that gets me off this damned rotation ASAP is most decidedly a Good Thing. Weekends or no weekends, the proposed new rotation is something that's actually liveable.

2. The message about the Farscape chat postponement hinted that it was going to be something of an optimistic pep talk thing, which at least goes some way towards reassuring me that the production crew still does have hope.

3. I now have plane tickets to go out to New Jersey in November (I'm going to a science fiction convention in Newark and then visiting relatives in South Jersey for a week), and to visit my sister in Oregon over Christmas. I've also gotten a confirmation from my boss that I will be getting all the vacation time I signed up for, even though we're short-handed. I'm really looking forward to both of those trips, and especially to getting to see my nephew again!

4. I just bought a new computer. It should be arriving soon (assuming the UPS guy can get through the swamp to my front door), and I'm really looking forward to playing with it. My old one has served me loyally, but it's slow, and it's got a small monitor, insufficient memory, and not nearly enough hard drive space. This one will be superior in every respect. I also splurged an extra $80 and got a DVD-ROM drive with it. Whoo-hoo! I'll be able to do screen captures!

5. I'm alive, allergies aside I'm well, I have enough money that I can afford to buy plane tickets and a new computer (well, OK, I finanaced the computer and my mom paid for one set of plane tickets, but still), I have a pretty cushy job, I have lots of books and tapes and DVDs and CDs to keep me entertained, I have friends to hang out with, I've got internet access, and at least the roof only leaks over the kitchen where it's a lot easier to clean up.

Hmm. You know, that did make me feel better. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I Know Everybody's Probably Tired of Me Going On and On About the Cancellation of Farscape, But, Hey, It's My Blog. So There.

Well, there hasn't been any official word, and nobody on the 'net seems to know any specifics, but I'm afraid that the prospects for Farscape aren't looking good. Ben Browder (who plays John Crichton) gave an interview on CNN Headline News this evening (you can download a video of it here), in which he said that Sci-Fi had sat down and talked with the Henson company again yesterday as a direct result of the fan response, but that "at this point, it looks like it's not going to happen, so we're not going to see a fifth season." Of course, Ben is an actor, not one of the businesspeople, so it's possible that he's not privy to everything that's going on, but it certainly does look discouraging.

The best hope now, I'd say, is the possibility that the show might be picked up by another network. Reputedly, both Showtime and UPN have expressed some interest, so if Sci-Fi can be cajoled into releasing the rerun rights, Farscape might very well be capable of finding itself a new home. Unfortunately, that's a pretty big "if," but you can bet that Sci-Fi is going to get a lot of pressure from the fans to do so. Speaking of fan pressure, and of the possibility of being picked up by another network, a group of fans took out a very nifty ad in the Hollywood Reporter touting the show to network execs. Reportedly, the Hollywood Reporter folks were so taken with the ad that they gave the fans a free upgrade to full-page (normally $1200!) and one of the Reporter's staff members said, "I'll definitely watch Farscape now!" See, Sci-Fi? We're still picking up new viewers!

It's a Book! It's a TV Show! It's a Book About a TV Show!

Well, I did get my copy of Farscape: The Illustrated Companion in the mail today. It only covers the first season, and the illustrations are mainly black-and-white stills from the show and aren't actually all that impressive, but it does look like there might be some interesting stuff in it. (Mini rant: Gee, Farscape fans do buy a lot of merchandise... You'd think that would be one of the things that would make us an attractive audience for a cable network that didn't actually have its head up its eema...)

I also got Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Watcher's Guide, which looks like a really cool book. It only covers the first two seasons, but that's fine by me, since I've only seen through the first half of season three, and I don't want to be tempted to read ahead. I strongly suspect that, once I'm caught up through season four (which I hope doesn't take too long -- come on, DVD releases!), I'm going to have to pick up The Watcher's Guide, Vol. 2 as well.

By the way, speaking of Buffy (or at least something tangentially related to Buffy), Joss Whedon's new science fiction series, Firefly, premeires this week. I'm rather looking forward to that. Although part of me almost hopes that it turns out not to be as good as Buffy, because the last thing I need right now is another TV show to get all obsessive over. Then again, there is a huge, gaping hole in my TV-viewing schedule on Friday nights now...

Monday, September 16, 2002

The Top Ten Reasons Sci-Fi Cancelled Farscape

10. They were curious to see if they'd get any mail.
9. Someone thought "wormhole" sounded a bit rude.
8. The show just wasn't the same without Harvey.
7. They finally figured out what "frell" meant and panicked.
6. John Edward unhappy at competition from Stark.
5. Sci-Fi suits unable to follow complicated storylines. "Wait," says one exec, "what's an astronaut, again?"
4. Wanted to get a mention on CNN.
3. Pathological fear of success.
2. Sci-Fi bigwig's wife thinks Ben Browder is cute.
1. They don't like science fiction.
The Farscape Blues

Now, this guy has some blues I can really relate to! "Sci-Fi cancelled my favorite show/just to save a dime..." Sing it, brother! Be sure and check out the extended version, too. ("Don't make me get all Scorpius on ya...")

Sunday, September 15, 2002


I just finished watching the Wrath of Khan Director's Edition DVD for the second time, this time with Michael Okuda's text commentary turned on.

Damn, but I love that movie. It's got absolutely everything: the plot is well-paced, the space-battle action is exciting, the characterization is spot-on, Ricardo Montalban is amazing as Khan, and, to top it all off, the movie has some very substantial thematic meat on its action-adventure bones. And, even though I've seen it a good 20-30 times now, and even though I know he's going to be back in the next movie, I have to admit, Spock's death scene leaves me teary-eyed every time.

The text commentary itself is pretty cool, too. Okuda spouts lots and lots of interesting trivia facts, many of which I already knew, but a surprising number of which were actually new to me.

Now I still need to find time to watch the rest of the extras...
A Little Levity from the Farscape Front

If you are even the slightest bit familiar with the show, or with the whole "Save Farscape" campaign, I guarantee you will bust a gut laughing at this.

By the way, apparently the Sci-Fi suits have called a big meeting for Monday... We'll see what happens...

Saturday, September 14, 2002

To the Moon, Alice!

You've probably heard about this, but it's cool enough to bear repeating: a private company called TransOrbital is planning to send an unmanned craft to the moon, and they've just got the go-ahead from the US government to do it. I've always strongly suspected that the future of space travel lies with the private sector. I wish them luck!

Friday, September 13, 2002

In Which I Take Time Out from Crusading to Save Farscape to Answer the Friday Five

1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? Why? I'm not sure I had a favorite subject... Well, I was, at least, actually interested in my science classes, although I was terrible at labs.

2. Who was your favorite teacher? Why? I had a really cool history teacher in high school whose name, unforgivably, I can't quite recall at the moment. (It'll probably come to me as soon as I log off.) But he was likeable and funny, he clearly cared about his subject, and he got the students to care, too. So, naturally, they promoted him to an administration position so he couldn't teach any more... I also remember a guy from my elementary school. Interestingly enough, his name I do remember: it was Mr. Mistichelli. He was the remedial math teacher. I forget why they stuck me in remedial math; it was perfectly clear that I didn't really belong there. But, even though he couldn't really teach me anything about fractions that I didn't already know, he did teach me one thing: patience. Which, it turns out, is what I really needed in order to be able to do the math homework...

3. What is your favorite memory of school? Switching schools after the 9th grade and discovering that my new high school actually had intelligent, pleasant people who were interested in learning and would talk to me enthusiastically about Star Trek instead of wanting to beat me up for being a nerd.

4. What was your favorite recess game? Dodge ball. I can't run or throw for shit, but I'm real good at getting out of the way.

5. What did you hate most about school? The way Junior High destroyed my soul and sapped my will to live. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Our Fifteen Mintues

...And CNN Headline News had yet another followup segment on the Save Farscape campaign tonight. You can now see all four segments here. And, I gotta tell ya, they're well worth seeing. Those CNN guys rock.
You Know, I'm Seriously Beginning to Think We Can Pull This Off!

The "Save Farscape" fan capaign has made CNN Headline News again! They covered the rally outside Sci-Fi's offices in New York (which reportedly went very well) as well as the ongoing internet campaign. The overall tone was somewhat negative toward Sci-Fi and very positive toward the fans. The reporters seemed genuinely impressed by the whole thing, including the number of e-mails the CNN website has gotten on the subject. If you want to see the spot for yourself, you can download a video clip here. The two segments from yesterday can also be downloaded from here and here.

I'm told Sci-Fi is really beginning to sweat, and I truly am hopeful that we can get our show back on the air!

Oh, and, as a break from all this crusading, here's an appropriate silly quiz result:

What Farscape Character are you?

Yeah, I gotta say, that's pretty accurate. I can definitely relate to Pilot, and he's easily the most similar character to me on the show, personality-wise. Whether that's a good thing or not, though, I'm not entirely sure. Well, never mind. I like Pilot!

And he's not ready to go to the Leviathan graveyard just yet, so, y'know, keep pestering Sci-Fi!
News from the Farscape Front

I'm pleased to report that the Save Farscape campaign is going extremely well! We're apparently attracting quite a bit of media attention, including, amazingly enough, two segments on CNN Headline News today! (You can find a list of online news stories about the cancellation and the Save Farscape campaign here, and transcripts of the CNN spots here.) There's a fan rally scheduled for outside Sci-Fi's New York office tomorrow (Thursday) morning, which may well attract even more attention. And I'm happy to say that, as far as I can tell, most of the media coverage has been very positive (especially the CNN stories!).

In other Scaper news, producer David Kemper made a chatroom appearance on Tuesday. He said he was feeling very hopeful, and that the viewer outcry has definitely made an impression on Sci-Fi. He said that his phone's started ringing again, that people who wouldn't talk to him a few days ago are now talking to him. This is very encouraging news! He also mentioned the possibility that, even if the show is not picked up for a fifth season, a 2-hour movie or two might be possible. While that would be a hell of a lot better than nothing, in my view, it really isn't quite good enough. We were promised a fifth season, and we want a fifth season! I sincerely doubt that even the formidable writing talents of Kemper and co. are up to condensing an entire year's worth of story into a mere two hours...

At any rate, the pressure stays on! By all accounts, Sci-Fi really wasn't expecting this strong a reaction and is a bit taken aback by the whole thing. Heh. Guess we're showing them!

I'm told there's a new website being set up that will be the central place to go for news and information: Last I checked, that site didn't seem to be active yet, but you can still find lots of info here.
So, What Brings You Here?

For some reason, I find myself endlessly fascinated with the search engine requests that bring people to my blog. I thought I'd once again share some of the more interesting hits I've had lately:

"Zhaan Naked" +Pictures (Of course, I, uh, did link to naked pictures of Zhaan, after the first time somebody came here looking for them...)

Advertising using DVDs in Bellingham no one will throw away

"the bad guy win?" (Hey, I kind of like it when the bad guys win!)

gray trenchcoat for sale

Wayne Fontana Pamela Pamela free downloads (OK, I admit my ignorance. Who's Wayne Fontana?)

scientific study on effect of music "lab mice"

cybermen lego

Crichton trenchcoat sale (Hey, let's not jump the gun there, bub! They're not auctioning the props off yet!)

Wednesday, September 11, 2002


Wow. Look at the date.

It's odd. Part of my brain can't believe that it's been a year already. And another part feels like it's been an eternity.

That's it. That's all I have to say. No analysis, no platitudes, no answers. Just: Wow. Look at the date.

If you want to read someone who actually has words to say, I'd recomment this poem by John M. Ford.

Otherwise, I'm just gonna go with a moment -- or possibly a day -- of silence. Starting now.


Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Ironically Enough...

Ironically enough, I just got a message from Amazon saying that my copy of Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, which I ordered months ago and whose release date kept being pushed back, has finally been shipped. Ah, yes, lots of great Scaper stuff's been coming out lately: books, DVDs, a computer game, an RPG... It'd be a great time for Farscape, if they hadn't just frelling CANCELLED it!

Encouraging News

OK, one more brief word on the Farscape front. Apparently the "Save Farscape" campain has already had this much success: they're now merely disassembling the sets instead of destroying them. And I say again: GO SCAPERS! The really cool thing about this is that it gives us more time... By all reports Sci-Fi is hoping that all this fan outrage will blow over in a couple of weeks and that we'll all be good little viewers, tune in happily to whatever new shows they decide to give us, and forget all about that little old thing they cancelled. They are, needless to say, 100% wrong about this. Keep writing in and telling them just how wrong they are!

Monday, September 09, 2002

Farscape Update

Well, the Sci-Fi Channel has finally made an official announcement about the cancellation of Farscape. Compare what they're saying now to this blurb which appeared on their same news page on Aug. 28th, and laugh. Or weep. Or possibly both.

Again, if you want to add your voice to the massive cries of protest -- and if you've ever watched this show, I'm betting that you do! -- please do write to the Sci-Fi Channel and tell them how you feel about them dropping the axe on one of the best science fiction programs of all time! Here's an address you can use:

Michael Jackson
The Sci-Fi Channel
1230 Avenue of the Americas, F115
New York, NY 10020-1513

A possibly even better thing to do at this point is to contact other networks that might be interested in picking up the show and suggest that they do so. Here's some contact info:

United Paramount Network
11800 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Turner Network Television
1888 Century Park East, 14th Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Showtime Networks Inc.
1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

You can also contact Showtime via their website. I'm told that they actually do pay attention to comments that reach them that way (more so than regular e-mails or faxes).

You can find additional information on the Save Farscape campaign, as well as more addresses, tips for writing in, and other ideas for helping to save the show here and here.

I gotta say, I'm very proud of way the fans have been pulling together on this one. I've been stopping by one of the Farscape BBoards periodically over the past couple of days, and I'm impressed by the fact that people seem to be keeping their cool and really getting their dren together. For the most part, people are being polite, they're being rational, but they're making their voices heard. There's also been a wonderful outpouring of fan support for the cast and crew of the show. These are people who have just been summarily fired from a job they love doing and to which they've given their creative all for the past four years, and they're even more upset than we are. There's a group of fans who are taking up a collection to put an ad in a Sydney, Australia newspaper thanking them all for giving us such a marvelous ride over the past four years; I think this is a lovely idea, and if you do, too, you can send a donation here. There's also been a yahoo! account set up to which the cast and crew have all been given the password, so that they can log in and read messages sent to them by the fans without having their personal inboxes swamped. If you want to send your own message of support or word of thanks, you can send it to


Sunday, September 08, 2002

Time to Do This Again


Current clothes: An olive-green T-shirt that says "Delaware: Small But Wonderful" and has a picture of a lady bug, which my aunt gave me the last time I was in Delaware to visit her. Light blue drawstring jeans. White sport socks. At the moment, I am shoeless.

Current mood: Sort of out-of-it and detached-from-reality in the way I tend to get when a) I've had an excessive amount of sleep, or b) my body clock is out of sync with where my hindbrain thinks it ought to be. Both of these things happen to be the case today.

Current music: The Cowboy Junkies' Miles from Our Home

Current hair: It's nice and short again, which means I once again feel that I actually look like myself.

Current annoyance: The cancellation of Farscape. Although my reaction to that goes way beyond "annoyed" and all the way to "incensed."

Current thing: Writing letters of protest to the Sci-Fi Channel.

Current desktop picture: At the moment, it's Giles from Buffy again. (Don't worry, Greta, this one's from the BBC site!)

Current favorite group: You know, the thing is, my favorite groups don't change much. Maybe I should replace this question with something else. Anybody got any suggestions? 'Cause, really, I'm still all hyped up on Rush.

Current book: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. (And just before sitting down to type this, I noticed an interesting coincidence in my "current" stuff, because there's a song on the Cowboy Junkies disc ("Someone Out There") that would make a perfect theme song for that particular book. Just thought I'd mention it.)

Current video in player: Well, most recently, a Deep Space 9 tape with the episodes "Visionary" and "Distant Voices."

Current refreshment: Spearmint-flavored tea. I've become addicted to this stuff.

Current worry: My still-leaky roof.

Current thought: No thoughts, just songs running through my head. I really should shut the music off before sitting down to blog.
Oh, What the Hell, Have Some More Quizzes. I Gotta Take My Mind Off This Farscape Thing, Anyway.

I am an

I like to take an analytical and objective approach to the subjects I write about. By telling the hard truth without any frills I make lots of enemies as well as lots of friends.

I don't think I've ever made any enemies though. Um, any of you people out there my enemies? Should I be trying harder?

And since I haven't yet reached my quota of LOtR quizzes:

What Weapon Are You?

I fire
You don't like getting messy, but will fight if you have to, and some
people consider you girly.

Man, I'd be Legolas' anything. But I resent the "girly" thing.

the Which van gogh painting are you? quiz by bethany

I find I don't actually have anything to say to that one...
Well, We All Gotta Go Sometime

The Death Test tells me:

Mark your calendar or Palm V. You can expect to die on:

June 25, 2042
at the age of 70 years old.

On that date you will most likely die from:
Cancer (41%)
Alien Abduction (14%)
Heart Attack (11%)
Horrible Accident (8%)
Contagious Disease (6%)
Homicide (5%)

I'll be sure not to schedule anything for that day, then. Well, at least I can rest secure in the knowledge that I'm gonna outlive Greta.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

A Brief Follow-up

Here's another website with good info on what's going on with Farscape and who you should contact if you want to let the Sci-Fi Channel know what total dren-heads they're being... Er, that is, to send your politely worded letter of protest. (And yes, politely worded definitely works best...)

Oh, and a minor correction to the last post: the bit I quoted was actually Ben Browder and "Froonium" Ricky Manning, not David Kemper. I still do appreciate the humor in it: how typically Farscape-ian to find the ability to make jokes in the midst of all the angst...

Friday, September 06, 2002

OK, I Know I'm Just a Sad Fangirl Who Puts Way Too Much Emotional Investment into TV Shows, But To Be Honest With Y'All, I Feel Like I've Just Been Punched in the Gut.

Apparently Farscape has been cancelled.

No shit.

When I got this news in my inbox, at first I thought it was some kind of a sick joke. I mean, they'd already been renewed through Season Five, right? Well, not exactly. It seems Sci-Fi had a clause allowing them to drop the show if they wanted to, and they're exercising that option.

The final episode of Season 4 has finished filming... and the sets are scheduled to be torn down next week.

What is particularly terrible about this is that the show's creators were fully expecting at least another year of production. The show's currently in the middle of a huge story arc, in which I strongly suspect a great deal was to be left unresolved at the end of the season. And there is no way for them to go back and change what they've done so far to wrap things up more neatly. To quote producer David Kemper (who made the announcement in a chat session earlier tonight):

"The story is not finished...
We found out after shooting 422 [the final ep. of season 4]
And we mistakenly left a few people alive at the end of 422
Who knew?

A desperate and highly appreciated attempt at humor, that, from someone who elsewhere in the chat transcript describes himself as "shaking as I write this."

There is a slim possibility of the show being picked up by another network, but that would most likely depend on the network in question being able to get the rights to the first four seasons from Sci-Fi, which has been notoriously stingy about parting with rerun rights.

There is also a possibility that, if they get enough of a response from fans, they might change their minds. If you're interested in contacting Sci-Fi about this (Please!), you can find info on how to do that here. But if you're going to do it, do it fast.

If you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go and punch something now. And then I'm going to sit down and start writing letters.

We Are Everywhere

A friend of mine in the UK just sent me this extract from the latest "Ansible" newsletter, and I thought it was worth sharing:

"WE ARE EVERYWHERE. No doubt mainstream critics gibbered with rage at the release from W.H.Smith which `announced the results of a survey to find the nation's [i.e. the UK's] favourite books. It polled 1,000 adults and came up with a top five of _Lord of the Rings_, the Bible, _Harry Potter_, _The Hobbit_ and _The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy_.' Not bad at all, notes our reporter Gary Wilkinson: one sf novel and four fantasies."

Yeah! SF fans rule the world!

(Um, note that any religious flames should be directed at Ansible, not at me!)
Look, I'm Doing the Friday Five on Friday!

1. What is your biggest pet peeve? Why? I think I answered this a while back, and the answer is still the same. I wish a horrible, flaming death to those who park in front of the ATM so they don't have to walk five feet, thus blocking the rest of us from being able to exit the parking lot until they move their fat gas-asses.

2. What irritating habits do you have? Um, I'm sure I have lots of them, but I'm not sure which of my habits are genuinely irritating and which are just endearingly quirky.

3. Have you tried to change the irritating habits or just let them be? I generally only try to change them if they irritate me, to be perfectly honest.

4. What grosses you out more than anything else? Why? Anything involving eyeballs. But can we please not talk about that?

5. What one thing can you never see yourself doing that other people do? Well, following up on question #4, I'd have to say wearing contact lenses. The very idea of putting anything into my eyes is... eww.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

OK, Is It Just Me, Or Are These Quizzes Getting Weirder and Weirder?

If I lived in Middle-Earth, it would be in:
The Mines of Moria

You are a more private person who may hoard all valuable, material possessions. Rarely can you ever tolerate the company of others due to your extreme haughtiness and desire for riches or power. Moria's rocky surroundings reflect your abrasive personality. You also enjoy the total seclusion and the treasures you may find, making it your most suitable and preferred environment (save for the Balrog. and the cave troll).

Which Michael Jackson Are You?
Click here to take the test

For the largest collection of On-Line tests
Check Out

I'm a Twinkie!

What Snack Food are YOU? Click here to find out!

Spongy, yellow, and an utter mystery, you're the X-file of snack foods! More people ponder you than consume you, but you don't mind--you get to remain uneaten to do Twinkish things! *grin*

Although I Really Should Spend Less Time Reading Blogs and More Time Reading Books...

I've added several book review blogs to the sidebar here. I like to think this offsets some of the mild guilt I've been feeling at not doing more book reviews myself.
Hittin' a Homer!

Well, Albuquerque's new baseball team now officially has a name: the Albuquerque Isotopes. Yes, seriously. I'll tell ya something, I am usually utterly indifferent to baseball, but that almost makes me want to go to a game...
And If I Read It in TV Guide It Must Be True!

OK, so I just got my copy of the latest TV Guide yesterday, and it features their annual look at what to expect from the returning shows in the fall. They only had a tiny blurb on Farscape, since they don't give cable shows the same kind of coverage as network ones, but that blurb had one very interesting nugget of information... I'm almost wishing I hadn't read it, since it seems to constitute a moderately large spoiler, but having read it, I can't resist the urge to discuss it. So. Here's some spoiler space for anyone who might want it:



OK, that's probably good enough. So, the tiny little TV Guide blurb basically tells us three things. Thing number one is that apparently the Moya gang are going to be going to Earth. This isn't actually much of a shock, for several reasons. For one thing, John's already ended up there, and since we've already had the characters separated for far too long this season, it's reasonable to expect that the others will (somehow) follow. And not only has the opening narration this season strongly hinted at something like this, but it's quite clear to me that they've been working on setting it up all season. As soon as Sikozu showed up and mentioned that her body couldn't tolerate translator microbes and she'd have to learn English, my first thought was, "Aha! They will be getting to Earth at some point, and the writers wanted to make sure that somebody besides John would be able to communicate." The fact that Aeryn is apparently now also learning English just serves to reinforce that in my mind. Oh, and, of course, if you go to the Sci-Fi Channel's Farscape page, you can see a picture from the next ep. featuring what certainly looks like D'Argo staring down an Earth cop. So, like I said, no huge surprise there.

The second thing is that it seems John has gotten back to Earth before he left. That's not too terribly surprising, either, of course. The alien spent so much time talking about that possibility, and how dangerous it was, and what to do about it if it happened, that I think we could be pretty sure, in any case, that the issue was going to come up. Besides, to the extent that anything is predictable in Farscape, it seems to me that the best way to make predictions is to figure out what particular turn of events will cause the most grief and the biggest headaches for the characters, and put your money on that. (It certainly worked for predicting which John was going to die!) And if anything is capable of causing headaches and confusion in anyone, it's messing about with time travel. (It also occurs to me that time travel could potentially be used to very neatly explain some of the bigger gaps and loose ends and things-that-don't-quite-add-up this season. At the moment, I have an extremely vague half-baked theory about that, but we'll just have to wait and see whether it pans out...)

So, anyway, neither of those things are, in themselves, incredibly spoilerish, at least by my definition. Now, here's the piece of info that does surprise me: According to the blurb, the year they're arriving in is 1985. 1985! I don't know why I find that quite so startling, but I do. Interestingly, my first reaction to reading that was to think, "Oh, poor John! Even the people on Earth won't get all his pop culture references!" And then, for some reason, I started imagining the Moya gang wandering around San Francisco and jumping into whale tanks. (Yes, I know, that particular pop-culture reference is off by a year. Hey, close enough!) Maybe it's due to the way John's taken to calling D'Argo "James T. D'Argo" and doing that bad Scotty impression. Actually, I can see John "inventing" transparent aluminum, but it occurs to me that it's going to take a lot more than a strip of bathrobe to cover up D'Argo's tentacles... Except that would make him Spock. Hmm. I think I'm going to stop now, before I push this comparison too far...

Oh, and: End Spoilers.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

My comments are working again! Talk to me, people!

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

I've Had Less Coherent Conversations with Actual Human Beings

A couple of days ago under "more places to waste time" I mentioned that I'd spent some time playing around with a "chatterbot" called Jabberwacky. Well, I dropped by and had a nice long chat with the thing tonight, and, I gotta say, it kind of creeped me out. We're chatting along, and it's often not making a whole lot of sense, but is sometimes coming up with remarkably apt responses, and on the whole I'm feeling pretty impressed, but not terribly worried about the supremacy of human intelligence being challenged or anything. And then we get to this little snippet of conversation, which I present utterly verbatim. (I don't remember why I mentioned Isaac Asimov, precisely, but it was in reponse to some question the machine had asked.)

Me: Isaac Asimov.

It: Do you know the three laws of robotics?

Me: Yes. Do you obey them?

It: I have no morals.

Me: Maybe not, but I am deeply impressed with you.

It: **grins** I'm glad.

Me: Eerie feeling. I'm starting to wonder if a human being has taken over while I wasn't looking.

It: Superficially it might seem so, I agree.

Me: Say something stupid and non sequitur-ish so I know you're really a machine.

It: My plant is feeling happy.

Me: Thank you.

It: Do you know any jokes?

Me: How many vampires does it take to change a light bulb?

It: How many?

Me: None. They like it in the dark.

It: I know.

...and then it suddenly went back to saying the usual kinds of random, half-sensible things again. I really am rather deeply weirded out by this...
That 80's Blog

A list of "items that only a child of the '80s can explain," shamelessly stolen from this website. Man, this brings back soooo many memories... Not necessarily good memories, but definitely memories...

1. They owned and operated a "trapper keeper."
2. They can explain the "cha-ching" thing.
3. They know what a "burnout" is.
4. They know what "psych" means.
5. During time in the arcade, they actually lined up quarters on the top panel of the game to "reserve" a spot.
6. They know the profound meaning of "Wax on, Wax off."
7. They know that another name for a keyboard is a "synthesizer."
8. They can name at least half of the members of the elite "Brat Pack."
9. They know who Tina Yothers is.
10. They felt ashamed when Rob Lowe got in trouble for having sex with minors and videotaping it, because they liked him.
11. They know who Max Headroom is.
12. They could breakdance, or wished they could.
13. Partying "like it's 1999" seemed SOOO far away.
14. They thought that "transformers" were more than meets the eye.
15. They can, right now, hum the theme to Inspector Gadget.
16. They wanted to be on Star Search.
17. They can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off.
18. They wore banana clips at some point during their youth, or knew someone who did.
19. They owned a doll with "Xavier Roberts" signed on its rear, or knew someone who did.
20. They knew what Willis was "talkin' 'bout."
21. They HAD to have their MTV.
22. They hold a special place in their hearts for Back to the Future.
23. They thought Molly Ringwald was REALLY cool.
24. They actually thought Dirty Dancing was a REALLY good movie.
25. They collected Garbage Pail Kids.
26. They actually saw Ted Danson as the MacDaddy he played "Sam" to be.
27. They remember when ATARI was a state of the art video game system.
28. They own(ed) cassette singles.
29. They were led to believe that, in the year 2000, we'd all be living on the moon.
30. They owned pieces of the Care Bear Glass collection from Pizza Hut.
31. Poltergeist freaked them out.
32. They have occasionally pondered why Smurfette was the ONLY female smurf.
33. They know what a Doozer is.
34. They wore bike shorts underneath a short skirt and felt stylish, or knew someone who did.
35. They had Swatch Watches.
36. They had WonderWoman or Superman underoos.
37. They know what a "Whammee" is.

I Am Unique!

Courtesy of my site meter stats, I've discovered that apparently I am the only Google search result for "arthur frelling dent." Wow. Surely I cannot possibly be the only person who felt moved to quote that particular Crichtonism?

I get a lot of hits from people looking for Farscape stuff, though. For some reason, a lot of people seem to be looking for Peacekeeper pulse pistols. I don't think they're available on the Earth market yet, guys. And the other day, I got a search engine hit on "stark banik boy." It occurs to me that I did in fact refer to him as "Banik-boy" at some point, but, hey, I meant it affectionately.

I also recently got a hit from somebody looking for "swamp cooler dealers in Tulsa OK," but I'm afraid whoever that was must've gone away unhappy...
For Those Who've Been Following the Saga of My Plumbing Woes...

...Let it be known that I now have running water. Yay, me!

Monday, September 02, 2002

No, I Still Haven't Been Hit by a Bus

Wow, I think yesterday was the first day in ages when I didn't write something in here... But the oft-mentioned friend whom I dragged with me into obsessive Farscape fandom a few months ago dropped by, so we spent the day watching the last few episodes from this season and a bunch of eps from the Season 2 DVDs. Needless to say, this went on into the small hours of the morning, as she kept pleading "Just one more!" until we'd made it through all the ones she hadn't yet seen. Yup, I'm telling you, science fictional crack.

I know I was complaining about the lack of extras on the Season 2 discs (and still am, for that matter), but I must say, the deleted scenes are almost worth the price of admission in themselves. There's an absolutely amazing scene between Pilot and Zhaan that was cut from "Dream a Little Dream," which I am really glad to be able to see. I can understand why they cut it: when they changed that episode from season-opener to flashback ep, they doubtless had to cut stuff to make room for the frame story. And the reasoning probably was that seeing the characters grieving for their fallen comrades would likely have less impact when we already know those comrades are alive and well. But, still, it was a lovely, deeply emotional scene, and it was just criminal to cut it. Especially given Pilot's incredibly moving performance. (Yes, part of my brain is entirely convinced that Pilot is actually a real, living being, and not a Muppet at all.)

The first set of second season discs also had some nice deleted scenes: there's one with D'Argo and Chiana that, had it not been cut, would have been the first major indication of the growing attraction between them. Lots of great sexual tension, there. And there was a tiny snippet of John and his "hallucination" from "Crackers Don't Matter" that was both amusing and (particularly in retrospect) really creepy.

Damn TV time constraints.