Friday, July 30, 2004
Having finished up my most pressing chores for the day (like the good girl I am), I suddenly realized at about 1:00 that I was starving. So I got in the ol' car, figuring I'd make a stop at the ATM for some cash, pick up something fast-foodish, bring it home, supplement it with that nice healthy salad I made earlier, and relax in front of a Northern Exposure DVD for a while before work. After all, I'd earned it. Right?
Yeah, needless to say, it didn't work out that way. I got as far as the bank, and then the damned car wouldn't start again. There wasn't even enough juice for the radio this time. Hell, there wasn't enough juice to light up the numbers on the clock. Eventually, some kind soul gave me a jump, which, somewhat to my surprise, actually worked, and I headed back to my mechanic, who, foolishly enough, had said "If you have any more problems with it, just bring it back in!" On the way over there, the battery light came on. Yeah. Not good.
The mechanics seemed pretty surprised. "But we checked everything out! We swear! It was good!" Hey, I believed 'em. I mean, if a mechanic's going to lie to you, he's much more likely to be telling you something's broken when it's not than vice versa, right? They said, well, maybe it was some kind of intermittent problem that just wasn't showing up before. They also said they were pretty busy, but that if they waited until they weren't, it'd probably be Monday, and they didn't want to leave me without a car that long, so if I hung around for a while, they'd take a look at it when they got a chance.
So I hung around for, oh, twenty or thirty minutes in a little room with some really crappy magazines for company. (You know, I used to never go anywhere, not even on a ten-minute run out to the bank, without a book on my person. Why the hell did I stop doing that?!) Anyway, the guy took a look at it and said, yup, sure enough, whatever the reason was, the battery was pretty much hosed. Bad news, though: they didn't have the right kind of replacement battery in stock. But he replaced the terminals and got the car started again for me so I could go somewhere and buy a battery. (By the way, they made no attempt to charge me for any of this, which is the other reason why I trust these guys. I like my mechanics.)
So, I drove the car home, went into the house without shutting it off, grabbed my toolbox -- which is pretty well-stocked and should have everything even an automotive ignoramus like me needs to change a battery, right? -- and took myself to the auto-parts store to buy a battery. The guy told me there'd be a four dollar "core charge" which I could have refunded if I brought in the old battery. "Hey, no problem!" I said. "I'm just gonna go and swap 'em out in the parking lot, and I should have the old one for you in a few minutes." He didn't bother charging me the four bucks.
So, out into the parking lot I went. Terminals came off the battery, no problem, and... the damned thing wouldn't come out. It was immediately obvious why: there was a bracket holding it in place. Perfectly sensible, of course, and easily dealt with. Right? Well, yeah, except for two important facts. Fact one: there isn't enough room under the hood of your average car to swing a field mouse. Fact two: I had three different sets of wrenches and sockets, and not one of 'em was designed to work in that small of a space. Worse still, they were all metric. I have an American car.
I spent the better part of half an hour trying to loosen that one damned bolt. In 97-degree heat. Not having eaten anything all day. By the end of which time, sweat was dripping into my eyes and onto the lenses of my glasses, I'd torn a good hunk of skin off my pinky finger, the damned bolt was no looser than when I'd started, and it was beginning to look like that battery was going to sit right there under my hood until the end of time.
Fortunately, at about the point where I felt ready to collapse from heat exhaustion, a kind stranger in possession of an (American!) socket set with a very long shaft happened by and dealt with the problem in about two minutes. At which point I discovered another interesting fact. The guy at the auto parts store had given me the wrong battery. I told him the battery number the mechanic had given me. I gave him the make, model and year of my car. I asked him twice if he was sure this was the correct battery for my car. And he gave me the wrong battery! The terminals were on the wrong sides. Now, I know reversing the polarity always works on Doctor Who, but, really, I don't think my car would have appreciated it.
Fortunately, he didn't give me a hassle about exchanging it, and the correct one cost exactly the same as the incorrect one. Mr. Kind Stranger helped me get it hooked up and, halle-frellin'-lujah, the car actually started!
Of course, I realized after we'd gotten it in there that we'd forgotten to put the plastic cover that went over the top of the battery back on, but I figured, screw it. That can't possibly be an essential part, and if it's important I can re-install it later. After all, it doesn't involve loosening that damned bracket.
Then I drove home, washed the sweat off, ate some food, drank a bunch of liquid, and actually managed to make it to work more or less on time.
And that was my exciting day. How was yours?
Because I forgot yesterday.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Man, I don't know what's wrong with me this week. I've been feeling incredibly sleepy and lethargic. And not sleepy in the way I feel when I actually haven't gotten enough sleep. Just like, hey, I could curl up on the bed and nap at any given moment if I let myself, whether I actually need to or not. Indeed, I ended up sleeping until noon today (after going to bed around, I dunno, 1:30 AM), just because I kept waking up and simply not feeling like getting up. And when I'm awake, I just don't feel like doing anything. If I sit down in front of a book or the computer, I'll stay there and be entertained, but getting myself to get up and move and do something else is next to impossible. I'm not sick. At least, I'm pretty sure I'm not sick. I feel a lot like I do sometimes in the depths of winter, when it's dark and cold and I just want to curl up and hibernate for a while. Except it's freakin' July. Maybe I could blame the whether if it was hot, but for the last few days, it's been comparatively cool. Weird.
(And before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusions, I'm not depressed, either. In fact, I feel pretty darned mellow...)
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Here's some photos from the filming of the new Doctor Who series. Look! Autons!
(Link lifted from Sore Eyes again.)
Freudian Inventory Results
|Genital (46%) you appear to be stuck between a progressive and regressive outlook on life. |
Latency (63%) you may be using learning as an escape from living.
Phallic (20%) you appear to have negative issues regarding sexuality and/or have an uncertain sexual identity.
Anal (46%) you appear to have a good balance of self control and spontaneity.
Oral (43%) you appear to have a good balance of independence and interdependence.
personality tests by similarminds.com
Learning is living. And what the heck does "stuck between a progressive and regressive outlook on life" mean?
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
You're big, bulky, and extremely wild. At the same time, you're rather cold and standoffish, even a loner of sorts. Taming you may be one of the last great quests of the people who do manage to find you or even seek you out. So many of them just want to plunder you for what you have of value, but there are a few, the ones who will stick with you, that truly value your rugged remoteness. As long as no one is spilling stuff on you, you are truly beautiful.
Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
This gave me quite a chuckle: The 10 Laws of Bad Science Fiction. My personal favorites:
6. Remember that any device improvised or jury-rigged, out of available materials on short notice, will work at least as well as or better than the actual device whose function it is meant to emulate or replace. Makes you wonder why we don't just build all of our weapons and warp-drives out of rubber bands and chewing gum. This principle is also known as "MacGyver's Law", or "The Doohan Principle."
9. Remember that technology introduced at the start of the story always causes everyone's problems, while technology introduced in the middle or at the end of the story always solves everyone's problems. This could be referred to as the "If-Only-I'd-Invented-It-Ninety-Minutes-Later" Conundrum.
(Link via Sore Eyes.)
Monday, July 26, 2004
Sunday, July 25, 2004
I just got back from seeing I, Robot. Now, I have to say, my expectations for this movie were about as low as they could possibly be. I'm a big Isaac Asimov fan from way back, and absolutely everything I'd seen or heard about the film led me to believe that it was going to be yet another complete butchering of a science fiction classic. In fact, before leaving for the theater, I told someone I was mainly going out of curiosity as to exactly how many RPMs ol' Isaac was likely to be doing in his grave.
But you know what? I didn't hate it. OK, I wouldn't call it a really good movie. Most of the action sequences aren't all that exciting (and the stupid camera tricks they use in an attempt to make them more exciting just annoy me). The pacing drags a bit in the middle. It suffers from a couple of major cop-movie cliches. And the dialog isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is.
But it isn't the horrible desecration I was expecting. Yeah, I think the movie does stretch Asimov's conception of how his robots worked a tiny bit, but it does so far less I anticipated, and certainly much less so than the trailers led me to expect. The very idea of casting a fashion model as Dr. Susan Calvin made my blood boil, and seemed like a good enough reason to hate the movie all by itself, but, I have to admit, they actually did get her personality right. The mystery plot, while it bore no resemblance whatsoever to any of the stories in the book, at least felt vaguely like the sort of thing Asimov might write, albeit punched up in a Hollywood-action kind of way. I rather doubt Asimov would have liked the ending (which actually seems to have been lifted from a different science fiction writer altogether), but the honest truth is that it does follow on pretty logically from some of the things Asimov himself explored in his novels. (Actually, there's quite a lot I could say about the Three Laws of Robotics and the end of the movie and some of Asimov's later books, but I don't want to get too spoilery and it's getting towards my bedtime, so I won't go into it now. But it's an interesting topic, and I may ramble a bit about it later on.)
So, yeah. Didn't hate it. Color me surprised.
Of course, I'd still love to see Harlan Ellison's version.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Feeling annoyed over my car problems, I took myself off to do this quiz, which purports to find you a poem to match your mood. Well, it told me I was having an existential crisis, and offered me some Yeats:
An Irish Airman Forsees His Death
I KNOW that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
Hmm. Not bad at all, in a pleasantly depressing sort of way. It certainly hasn't done anything to make me feel better about my automotive problems, though.
Damned car. I was out running errands in it today, and it suddenly decided it wasn't going to start on me any more. Turn the key. Click. Nothing. Turn. Click. Nothing.
It might just be the battery; there's a lot of corrosion around the darned thing, and it hasn't been replaced since I've had the car. Didn't have anybody around to try giving me a jump (mainly because I didn't look hard enough, but oh, well), so I called AAA, who apparently just ask you "where do you want it towed?" instead of trying to determine whether you need a jump or whatever. So I had them drop it off at the service center. There's nobody there on a Saturday, but I guess I'll call 'em Monday morning and ask 'em to take a look at it. I'll be kinda embarrassed if it is just a dead battery, but I'll be really annoyed if it's something major with my electrical system, so I guess there really is just no good outcome here. Sigh.
Friday, July 23, 2004
You're a Black Crayon. Dark and Mysterious. At
times sexy. You can be conservative and
elegant. The bad thing is that you represent
rebellion, darkness, and mourning.
What Color Crayon Are You
brought to you by Quizilla
You know, the black crayon was always my favorite. It'd be worn down to a tiny little nub while many lesser colors still had all of their wrappers.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Here we go again. It's a little shorter than usual this week, I think, 'cause I kept forgetting to look at the logs. (Told ya I was feeling kind of apathetic lately.)
I just got a new printer! And about damned time, too. I was starting to get really fed up with the old one. It was an Epson Stylus 740, which I bought a couple of years ago when I first got this computer, and I guess I'm not going to complain about it too hard because for quite a while it really was adequate for what I wanted to do with it. (Mostly just printing text. Often quite a lot of text.) But it was starting to have some major problems. Even immediately after replacing the cartridge, the text would be blurred and broken, to the point where it was getting hard to read. Cleaning the heads a few times would sometimes help a little, but not for long. And, frankly, it was never much good with printing pictures. They'd always come out with faint horizontal lines through them.
So, I replaced the poor old thing with a shiny new HP Deskjet 5150, which I believe cost me just about exactly the same amount of money. I've just now got it set up and running, and I'm already feeling very, very glad I made the replacement. This thing prints nice, crisp text and pictures (much better than the old Epson ever did). It's quiet, it's relatively fast, and it's got a big old "job cancel" button on the front, which is very handy for me because I constantly keep hitting "print" and then suddenly realizing that, no, I wasn't quite ready to print that out yet and I just need to change one more thing. The only drawback seems to be that if you don't remember to extend the output tray before you print, it shoots your pages across the room. Which is kind of entertaining, actually, although I imagine the novelty value of that probably wears off pretty quickly.
Anyway, yeah, I am currently feeling very happy with my personal electronics purchases, and I just thought I'd share.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Still kind of in "blah-about-blogging" mode, but here's a highly amusing link for ya: a kitty-cat user's manual for computer geeks. A small sample:
A CAT unit should be taken once a year to a VET (Very Expensive Technician) for a system checkup. Do not attempt to open a CAT. There are no user-serviceable parts inside. If a unit emits strange smells or sounds, it should be serviced immediately by a VET.
You may examine the CAT system to determine if it has a male or female scuzzy port. If the port is male, then the CAT unit may emit a non-toxic aerosol. The VET can remove this component. CATs with female ports are plagued by periodic heating problems. The VET can fix this permanently by removing an internal part.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
I've got nothing I feel like blogging about. Oh, I'm sure there's stuff I could talk about, but, frankly, none of it is interesting me enough at the moment that I feel like writing about it at all. I couldn't even find any stupid internet quizzes I hadn't already done. And, believe me, I looked.
I got nada. Nothing. Zip.
You people post some entertaining links in the comments or something.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Things I did today:
Man, I hate summer. It isn't even the swamp cooler's fault, really. It's just that god-damned hot outside.
Here's yet another "top 100" list I've seen floating around the internet... I'm not at all sure where this one came from, but it's somebody's list of top 100 SF novels, which naturally caught my attention. I agree with a lot of these, actually. Several more of them I regard as books which are important in the field, even if they're not really top-100 material in terms of quality writing. A few of them I think are good, but not that good, or not the very best work of their respective authors. And a very few of them left me thinking, "You have got to be kidding."
Anyway, here 'tis. I've bolded the ones I've read, italicized the ones I have but haven't gotten around to reading yet, and added a few boring parenthetical comments.
TOP 100 SF BOOKS:
1 Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
2 Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game [S1] (1985)
3 Isaac Asimov, Foundation [S1-3] (1951)
4 William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
5 Ursula K Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
6 Robert A Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
7 Larry Niven, Ringworld (1970)
8 Robert A Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
9 George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
10 Dan Simmons, Hyperion (1989)
11 Ursula K Le Guin, The Dispossessed (1974) (Can't believe I've gone this long without reading this one. I really ought to get to it soon.)
12 Frederik Pohl, Gateway (1977)
13 Joe Haldeman, The Forever War (1974) (I read a library copy of this in my teenage years, but I really don't think I was old enough to appreciate it. There's a copy now on my To-Read Pile waiting for me to give it another go.)
14 Walter M Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959)
15 David Brin, Startide Rising [S2] (1983) (One of these days, I may get around to reading this series.)
16 Arthur C Clarke, Childhood's End (1954)
17 Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy [S1] (1979)
18 Alfred Bester, The Demolished Man (1953)
19 Ben Bova [ed], [A] The Best of the Nebulas (1989)
20 John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar (1969) (I thought for a minute I might have this on the Pile, but, no, I was getting it confused with The Sheep Look Up. Which I seem to do a lot.)
21 Ray Bradbury, [C] The Martian Chronicles (1950)
22 Gene Wolfe, The Shadow of the Torturer [S1] (1980) (I've got a Wolfe omnibus edition that I think has this in it.)
23 Arthur C Clarke, Rendezvous With Rama (1973)
24 Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination (1956)
25 Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light (1967)
26 Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human (1953)
27 Robert A Heinlein, Starship Troopers (1959)
28 Isaac Asimov, [C] I, Robot (1950)
29 Philip K Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)
30 Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1954)
31 Harlan Ellison [ed], [A] Dangerous Visions (1967)
32 Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon (1966) (I've read the short story many, many times. The novel version is on my Pile, but I'm a little wary of cracking it open, as I don't see how it can possibly compare to the original.)
33 Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead [S2] (1986)
34 H G Wells, The Time Machine (1895)
35 Niven & Pournelle, The Mote in God's Eye (1975) (Another one I read as a kid and have a copy of that I hope to get to sometime soon. At least, I think I do. I vaguely remember buying it.)
36 Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep (1991)
37 Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
38 David Brin, The Uplift War [S3] (1987)
39 Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (1992)
40 Clifford Simak, Way Station (1963)
41 H G Wells, The War of the Worlds (1898)
42 Connie Willis, Doomsday Book (1992)
43 Isaac Asimov, The Gods Themselves (1972)
44 Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992)
45 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)
46 Philip Jose Farmer, To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971)
47 Gardner Dozois [ed], [A] The Year's Best Science Fiction [S] (1984) (I've got a couple of these, but not the 1984 edition.)
48 Gregory Benford, Timescape (1980)
49 C J Cherryh, Downbelow Station (1981)
50 Arthur C Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
51 Isaac Asimov, The Caves of Steel (1954)
52 Greg Bear, Blood Music (1985) (I hereby nominate this as my top condenter for Book That Really Doesn't Belong on This List.)
53 Robert Silverberg, Dying Inside (1972)
54 John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids (1951)
55 Pohl & Kornbluth, The Space Merchants (1953)
56 Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age (1995)
57 James Blish, A Case of Conscience (1958)
58 Clifford Simak, [C] City (1952)
59 Hal Clement, Mission of Gravity (1953)
60 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)
61 Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
62 George R Stewart, Earth Abides (1949)
63 Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars [S1] (1912)
64 Philip K Dick, Ubik (1969)
65 Lois McMaster Bujold, Barrayar (1991)
66 Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)
67 Isaac Asimov (et al) [eds], [A] Hugo Winners/New Hugo Winners [S] (1962)
68 Tim Powers, The Anubis Gates (1983)
69 Arthur C Clarke, The City and the Stars (1956) (I'd thought I had read this, but it turns out I was thinking of Against the Fall of Night. I think.)
70 Philip K Dick, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch (1964)
71 Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five (1969)
72 Arthur C Clarke, The Fountains of Paradise (1979)
73 Poul Anderson, Tau Zero (1970)
74 James Blish, [C] Earthman, Come Home (1955) (This is one of the "Cities in Flight" series, right? I have a couple of collected volumes of that on the Pile.)
75 E E 'Doc' Smith, Grey Lensman [S4] (1951) (I've got a collection of Lensman stories on the Pile too, but I don't think this one is in there.)
76 Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975)
77 Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864)
78 Joan D Vinge, The Snow Queen (1980)
79 Robert A Heinlein, Time Enough For Love (1973)
80 Stanislaw Lem, Solaris (1961) (Actually, I think I may have read this one ages ago, too, but I'm always getting it confused with Fiasco. In any case, I do have a copy now.)
81 C J Cherryh, Cyteen: The Betrayal [S1] (1988) (Read all of Cyteen in one collected volume.)
82 Harlan Ellison [ed], [A] Again, Dangerous Visions (1972)
83 Robert A Heinlein, The Puppet Masters (1951)
84 Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan (1959)
85 Samuel R Delany, Babel-17 (1966)
86 Brian Aldiss, Helliconia Spring [S1] (1982)
87 Harlan Ellison, [C] Deathbird Stories (1975) (I might have this on the Pile, actually. I know there's some Ellison on there somewhere, but I can't seem to find it. Which really tells you something about the state of the To-Read Pile.)
88 Samuel R Delany, Dahlgren (1975) (The only Delany I've read was Triton, and I didn't really find it to my taste.)
89 Robert A Heinlein, Have Space-Suit - Will Travel (1958) (I may have read this at some point, but I don't think I have. That's an oversight I really ought to correct.)
90 Niven & Pournelle, Lucifer's Hammer (1977)
91 Frederik Pohl, Man Plus (1976)
92 Robert Silverberg [ed], [A] Science Fiction Hall of Fame 1 (1970) (Read this ages ago and don't even remember what was in it.)
93 Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men (1930)
94 Robert A Heinlein, The Door Into Summer (1956)
95 Thomas M Disch, Camp Concentration (1968)
96 John Varley, Titan (1979)
97 Michael Bishop, No Enemy But Time (1982)
98 Robert A Heinlein, Double Star (1956)
99 David Brin, The Postman (1985)
100 Vonda N McIntyre, Dreamsnake (1978)
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Friday, July 16, 2004
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Here we go again:
You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.
What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
All true. Completely and undeniably true. Except that I never insult people's paperbacks, not even if they're reading D&D novels or Kevin J. Anderson. Well, OK, maybe if they're reading von Daniken or something...
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Have I mentioned lately that I love The Onion? I mean, how can I not love stuff like this?
NERD HAS MOST OBSCURE CRUSH EVER
JACKSONVILLE, FL—The unrequited nature of area nerd June Manzo's crush on actor Peter Tuddenham, who provides the voice of piloting computer Slave on Blake's 7, is only slightly more agonizing than the process of explanation she must put herself through every time her media obsession is discussed. "He has this slightly sinister but dynamic way of speaking on the show, particularly in the 'Headhunter' episode," Manzo said, painstakingly describing Tuddenham to fellow science-fiction fan Bradley Preakniss. "When I hear his voice congratulating Avon on his 'consummate skill,' I just get shivers... Doesn't that ring a bell? No? Not at all?" Manzo's crush is surpassed in geekiness and obscurity only by that of Denver's Demitri Ostrow, who has a long-harbored passion for author Neil Gaiman's "fabulous" assistant Lorraine.
Mind you, I hardly consider that "obscure." And I think Tuddenham's voice was much more attractive as Zen then as Slave, although his performance as Orac had perhaps the most charm of the three.
And what does it say about me that three different people e-mailed me this article?
My swamp cooler is dying. The pump seems to be working fine, but even on "high" barely any air comes out. It's like the inside of a furnace in here. Or like the inside of a big metal box in 95-degree heat, which is exactly what it is. And I'm not gonna be able to get anybody out to look at it until next week, probably, because this week I'm asleep during the day when they'd be able to come out.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
I am now a third of a century old. Well, OK, as my sister pointed out a while, back, technically I won't be a third of a century old for about another four months. But I am 33 today and, I have to admit, not entirely thrilled about this fact. It seems like every day, I feel just a little bit older. Funny thing, that...
Here's a little article on the current state of science fiction on television. I do love the first paragraph:
"Buffy" is long gone, and the "Angel" TV series just had a stake driven through it. "Farscape" was cancelled long ago, and the "Star Trek" franchise has for years been zooming at Warp Nine to the Suckitude Galaxy.
Ain't it the depressing truth. The article then goes on to list a number of genre shows worth looking forward to, though, some of which seem much more worthy of anticipation than others. Alas, I strongly suspect only the Farscape miniseries and the new Doctor Who (if and when it's available here) are likely to prompt me to overcome my apathy enough to actually turn on the television.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Saturday, July 10, 2004
It looks like Paramount is finally releasing the original Star Trek in season boxed sets. I'd been waiting and waiting for this, and I can't for the life of me understand why they didn't do it sooner. I'm definitely what you might call a "lapsed Trekkie" these days, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for the original series and would love to have it on disc. But there was no way I was going to buy the individual episodes on DVD. Admittedly, the boxed set is pretty pricey, but getting 29 episodes for $85 sure as hell beats buying 14 or 15 discs at $16-17 each.
For those who didn't catch it when it aired but may be curious to see the 30-second Farscape miniseries promo, you can download it here. (Scroll down to the "Not Really Music Videos" section.) One warning, though: the ad incorporates a longish clip from the final scene of the TV series, so if you haven't watched that, you might not want to watch this.
Friday, July 09, 2004
What Color is Your Brain?
brought to you by Quizilla
At work or in school: I work best by myself. I like to focus on my ideas until my desire for understanding is satisfied. I am easily bored if the subject holds no interest to me. Sometimes, it is hard for me to set priorities because so many things are of interest.
With friends: I may seem reserved. Although my thoughts and feelings run deep, I am uneasy with frequent displays of emotion. I enjoy people who are interesting and of high integrity.
With family: I am probably seen as a loner because I like a lot of private time to think. Sometimes, I find family activities boring and have difficulty following family rules that don't make sense to me. I show love by spending time with my family and sharing ideas and interests.
That's all remarkably accurate. Although, with people I'm truly comfortable with, I'm much less reserved these days than I used to be.
Yep, it's this thing again!
Current clothes: Long, dark blue denim shorts. A light gray t-shirt with a light-blue short-sleeved denim shirt unbuttoned over it. Gray wool hiking socks. White sneakers.
Current mood: Mostly OK, but with a tiny thread of unfocused irritation lingering in the back of my brain for some reason.
Current music in CD player: Hmm, since I got the MP3 player, the CDs have mostly been sitting in the rack. I guess I ought to change this one back to "current music," huh? I've been listening to randomly generated playlists a lot, which can get really interesting. Let's see, on the walk in to work today I heard: The Beatles, "The End"; Stevie Nicks, "After the Glitter Fades"; Rush, "Beneath, Between, and Behind"; James Galway, "Shenandoah"; U2, "Elevation"; The Chieftans, "Txalaparta"; Over the Rhine, "Cast Me Away"; Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "One More Day, One More Night"; Enya, "Deireadh An Tuath"; Fleming & John, "Devil's Food"; Gordon Lightfoot (again!), "The Last Time I Saw Her"; The Rooftop Singers, "Walk Right In"; Pink Floyd, "The Post-War Dream"; and a bunch of promos for Doctor Who audio plays. I love this gadget.
Current annoyance: Being at work.
Current thing: Listening to randomly generated playlists on the Karma.
Current desktop picture: This extremely cool picture of the nebula NGC 2440 and the white dwarf at its center.
Current song in head: Well, now it's "Walk Right In." The radio in my head appears to be very suggestible at the moment. For the last few days, it's only taken the merest mention or even the vaguest association with a song to start it playing in my head.
Current book: I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, which was extremely good. Next up, I think, is Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky.
Current video in player: Still a tape of third-season Farscape episodes I started copying a while back. I still need to finish that, but I don't think there's much of a hurry, because now it's looking like the second-season tapes I mailed out a while ago might have gone missing. Sigh.
Current DVD in player: Disc three of The Simpsons season 3, which I went back to after finishing with the Angel discs.
Current refreshment: Ginger ale.
Current worry: Time passing far too quickly.
Current thought: That that response to "current worry" sounded a lot more vague and general and philosophical than I really intended, when what I really meant was, "I have some stuff to get done by the end of the month and I'm worried about finishing it."
Thursday, July 08, 2004
I dunno, I'm kind of starting to get bored with this again. I wonder if there'd be another public outcry if I just stopped doing it?
Anyway, here's the latest:
Sci-Fi has just announced an air date for the Farscape miniseries: it begins on Sunday, October 17th. As it happens, my sister is going to be out visiting me the week before that, and that's the date she's flying back.
So I immediately called her on the phone and informed her that she'd better make her airline reservations for early in the day, as I am not missing this because I'm busy driving her to the airport. I mean, I love my baby sister, but you gotta have priorities. Of course, one of the reasons why I love my baby sister is because she understands this sort of thing perfectly.
(Oh, and there's supposed to be a trailer for the miniseries during Stargate tomorrow. I think I'll set the VCR. I've no great desire to watch a Stargate episode, but that's what the fast-forward button is for, after all.)
I just finished watching Angel season three (though I still have some of the extras to get through). I find I have very mixed feelings about it. It started out as possibly the weakest season of what I've seen so far. The first half had some excellent individual dramatic moments (such as the circumstances of Connor's birth, which really took me by surprise) and some good touches of humor, but it was also unevenly paced and full of overly trite and obvious "message" stories. Watchable, in other words, but not exactly gee-I'm-glad-I-have-this-series-on-DVD quality. Then, just as I was starting to feel pretty much resigned to this, it suddenly got really cool. Surprising plot twists! Stunning revelations! Suspense! Angst! Tension! Betrayal! I found myself planning to sit down and watch one episode and instead watching two or three at a time because I wanted to see what happened next. And for quite a while, it was very good. Unfortunately, the last few episodes were kind of anticlimactic. Interesting, but not exciting. I somehow can't help but feel that they would have done better ending with Holtz disappearing through the spacetime rip with Connor as the season finale, as opposed to the rather cliched cliffhanger they did end with. All in all, I'd say I'm about equal parts pleased and disappointed, but I'm certainly still interested enough that I'm planning on picking up season 4 when it's available.
Some random thoughts:
|Which generic smut novel character are you? (With somewhat relevant pictures!)|
The Well-Endowed Kitchen Wench
Look, if you’re going to keep slipping in the rain, at least stop wearing those revealing cotton gowns.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Hmm. Did I say something about having actual content sometime?
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Since I've got a birthday coming up very soon, this seemed like an appropriate thing:
|In 1971 (the year you were born)|
|Richard Nixon is president of the US|
Charles Manson and 3 of his followers are convicted of multiple counts of first-degree murder
An earthquake in California's San Fernando Valley kills 64 people
New York Times begins publication of classified Pentagon papers on US involvement in Vietnam
The $70 million Kennedy Center opens in Washington, DC
A four day revolt at New York's Attica state prison ends after being stormed by 1000 state troopers
A new stock-market index called the Nasdaq debuts
Walt Disney World opens
Intel releases world's first microprocessor, the 4004
Ray Tomlinson sends the first e-mail
Libertarian party established in USA
Kid Rock, Denise Richards, Sean Astin, Winona Ryder, and Ricky Martin are born
Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series
Baltimore Colts win Superbowl V
Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is published
The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour premieres on television
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel wins Grammy for song of the year
All in the Family premieres
It's actually kind of cool to think that I've been around exactly as long as e-mail.
You are A New Hope era from Episode IV!
You are surrounded by Jawa and miles and miles of
hot deserts. Your future looks bleak but have
hopes to move on to bigger and better things.
Old mentors and space adventures await you. Who
knows? Maybe you'll save a princess!
Which Star Wars Era Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
(Yes, I know. My blogging has consisted mostly of lame quizzes for days now. I resolve to do better... uh, sometime.)
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
|Your Icecream Flavour is...Neopolitan!|
|You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your Ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!|
Find out at Go Quiz
Hey, I like the vanilla and strawberry just fine! Actually, though, I much prefer mint chocolate chip.
Monday, July 05, 2004
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Today is a day worthy of recognition, a day which it is marvelously appropriate to celebrate with explosions of fireworks. Yes, that's right, today is the 950th anniversary of the supernova explosion which created the crab nebula! (Well, OK, it's actually the anniversary of the date on which the light from said explosion reached our planet. But, please, it's a holiday! Let us not quibble over details.)
Saturday, July 03, 2004
I got out to see Spider-Man 2 today. And, you know, it's odd... I could name a dozen things in that movie that shouldn't have worked. Story elements that were silly or cliched or that just plain didn't make any sense. Places where the pace dragged or the tone got way too preachy. And yet, honestly, I enjoyed the hell out of nearly every minute of it.
I gotta respect a movie that gets away with that.
Friday, July 02, 2004
OK, I don't think anybody else seems particularly interested in the Name That Tune game, so here, at last are the answers. Which I'm sure you were all absolutely dying with curiosity to know.
1. "Some say he was a prisoner who never was set free"
"Bitter Green" by Gordon Lightfoot. Because, as previously mentioned, I seem to have somehow ended up with a metric shitload of Lightfoot tunes.
2. "This doesn't have to be the big get even"
That would be Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty with "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." See? Not all that obscure.
3. "Now he's drinking down his Christmas blood-wine in the curse-ed halls of Stovokor"
Yes, as several people have pointed out, it is quite obviously a "Klingon Christmas carol." What it is, specifically, is part of Luke Ski's "Fanboy Christmas," an utterly charming medley of geeked-up holiday tunes. That particular segment is, of course, "Gowron Got Run Over By a Reindeer," which I, hopeless nerd that I am, find absolutely hysterical.
4. "Roll us both down a mountain and I'm sure the fat man would win"
That would be Jethro Tull's catchy but politically incorrect "Fat Man."
5. "Ah but a man never got a woman back, not by begging on his knees"
This is Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man," although the version I have is actually a cover by Elton John. I've got an entire disc full of Cohen covers, most of which are far inferior to the originals. Elton's version would be OK, if he weren't making a truly unfortunate attempt to mimic Cohen's gravelly voice.
6. "Forget about the worries on your mind"
"Rhythm of the Night" by Valeria, from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
7. "I don't believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate"
That's "Ghost of a Chance," once of my favorite Rush tunes. It's a secular humanist love song! How many of those have you heard?
8. "And if the dead man won't depart, drive a stake into his heart"
This is a song called "Journeyman's Grace" by Fairport Convention, and definitely falls under the category, of "songs I didn't even recognize as stuff I own." Which tells me that I need to listen to that Fairport Convention disc more often. Or, you know, at all.
9. "Without evil there could be no good so it must be good to be evil sometimes"
That's Satan, the Prince of Darkness himself, singing "Up There" from the South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut soundtrack.
10. "It will surely light up--darkened worlds"
"Stoned Love" by the Supremes.
11. "Heat the pins and stab them in"
"Bulletproof... I Wish I Was" by Radiohead.
12. "Crossed lines I shouldn't have crossed"
"In My Place" by Coldplay. I like Coldplay.
13. "It was 1910 and they never had a friend"
"Cherokee Bend" by Gordon Lightfoot. Again. Did I mention I had an inexplicably large amount of Lightfoot?
14. "Not that we're complaining, since the fresh fruit all comes free"
This would be "Carmen Miranda's Ghost" by Leslie Fish. It's about the ghost of Carmen Miranda haunting a space station. I couldn't make this stuff up.
15. "Slipping in and sliding out of conscious feeling"
"Comatose" by Depeche Mode. Which gets filed under "why the hell did I buy this disc, again?"
16. "This machine will will not communicate these thoughts"
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)" by Radiohead. I'm not actually a big Radiohead fan. I've only got one of their discs, and I think I've played it all of twice. But sheer random chance picked up two songs off of it.
17. "You need elephant balls"
This is "Rhino Skin" by Tom Petty. And I apologize for choosing that line.
18. "With every wish there comes a curse"
That's Bruce Springsteen's "With Every Wish." Ha! Now don't you feel stupid! Not one of my favorite Springsteen tunes, for the record.
19. "If you believe in the power of magic, I can change your mind"
"Don't Answer Me" by the Alan Parson Project. Sort of an anti-love song.
20. "Heap big woman you gonna make a big man out of me"
This is Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls," of course. Classic!
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Here we go again. (Is anybody getting tired of this yet?)
According to this mildly goofy personality quiz:
You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.
Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.
You are not to be messed with. You may explode.
Yeah, that's right! Fear me and my intellectual abilities, my amazing self-control, my explosive potential, and my extreme ability to focus on... Hey! Look! Shiny objects!