Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Another Crop of Random Interesting Links

The Worst Jobs in Science: It's hard to choose between "orangutan urine collector" and "Kansas high school biology teacher."

Chihuahua word game: An addictive word puzzle game.

The REAL Myers-Briggs personality types: You know those tests that claim to sum up your entire personality and tell you whether you're suitable for a career in bean-counting or psychotherapy, right? Here's what they're really telling you. Are you Evil Overlord material or a National Enquirer headline in the making?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Enough About Me. Let's Talk About Who.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through the commentaries on the new Doctor Who DVDs, and, while a less dedicated fan might question whether they're actually worth paying something like $75 for them and importing them from Canada, I've definitely been enjoying them. The director of "The Long Game" tends a bit towards the unfortunate habit of narrating each scene as if we weren't capable of watching the episode for ourselves and knowing what's going on, but otherwise these people all seem to know how to do DVD commentaries and make them interesting. (I can't help but contrast it with the commentary tracks on the 1st season Blake's 7 DVDs I ordered from England a while back, which consist mostly of the actors going, "I don't remember this," and long periods of awkward silence.)

The commentaries on "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" are particularly entertaining, due in part to the fact that that 2-parter is just a damned good story to begin with, but also due to Steven Moffat (the writer), John Barrowman (Captain Jack) and Dave Houghton (the FX guy) being so clearly enthusiastic about the show and the commentary and Doctor Who in general. It's always fun when the people making a show are such fanboys themselves, and listening to these guys talk about how Who made them frightened to death of shop-window dummies and blue cheese when they were kids, there's no question that fanboys is exactly what they are.

And it makes me chuckle rather a lot when they get to talking about the characters' sex lives:

MOFFAT: "Put a short enough skirt on a Dalek, and Jack'll go for her."
BARROWMAN: "...or a big enough plunger."

[Rose tries to get the Doctor to dance with her. He looks kind of freaked out.]
MOFFAT: "Doctor, you sad old virgin."

(Yeah, OK, I'm easily amused by sex jokes. So I'm twelve.)

Anyway, I've been hurrying through these commentaries at a furious pace, and it's making me sad to think I've only got one more disc left to go. I need new episodes of this show, now! Does anybody know when, exactly, the new season starts up in the UK? All I've heard is "spring," which is pretty vague.

Speaking of which, for the Americans in the audience, you'll be able to see this show on Sci-Fi starting March 17th. Trust me, you don't want to miss Jack! Or the scary gas mask kid. Or the Daleks, the Bad Wolf, the game show parody, the jokes, the action, the aliens... the Doctor...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Yeah, I Might Have A Shot At That One.


Gold Medal Winner in...


Who can fit the most amount of logos on their suit

'What rejected olympic sport would you win gold in?' at QuizGalaxy.com
Random Thought #6,007

Can you claim to be a member of the Mile-High Club if you've had sex in Denver?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Today's Moment of Geekitude

I keep getting spam e-mails with the sender listed as "doctor." They're all trying to sell me viagra or something, of course, but every time one comes in, my heart does this weird little skip because it looks like the Doctor is sending me e-mail! And for one split second, some tiny portion of my brain thinks I might actually have an invitation to run away in the TARDIS.

If only...

Friday, February 24, 2006


I have to wonder whether there's a reason Netflix skipped six West Wing discs and a Babylon 5 movie to reach deep down into my queue and send me some Simpsons instead. I mean, I don't really mind. I could go for some Simpsons, when I've finished watching the Doctor Who discs (thank you, Canada!). But I am confused.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yet Another Post of Random Linkage

Tom Baker Says: Apparently, if you send a text message via British Telecom, it's read in Tom Baker's voice. Naturally, people have taken advantage of this to make him say naughty words, tell bad jokes, deliver movie quotes... even "sing." You must hear him "sing."

The Ten Best Sci-Fi Films That Never Existed: I don't agree with all of the opinions here -- in particular, I think the craptacular acting from normally competent actors that you see in the Star Wars prequels has very little to do with green screens and a great deal to do with the fact that no actor on Earth could make some of that dialog work -- but it's an entertaining article. (Me, I still wanna see Harlan Ellison's version of I, Robot.)

Battlestar Galactica Survivor Count: Of course there are people out there keeping careful track of that number of Laura Roslin's whiteboard and posting their analysis on the web. And here they are.
Getting Literary

OK, let's talk about books again... Right now I'm reading a collection of stories by Franz Kafka. Man, I feel all pretentious just saying that. Hey, look, I'm reading Kafka! But then, a couple of weeks ago I was talking about reading Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos, so maybe it all evens out. Anyway, so, yeah, I'm reading this book mostly because after encountering a reference to something for the seventeen zillionth time I start thinking I ought to go and read the original if I'm going to pretend to any semblance of cultural literacy, and "The Metamorphosis" is one of those kinds of thing. Also, I was deeply, deeply traumatized by reading "In the Penal Colony" in high school, and I believe in facing up to one's literary fears or something. Or possibly I'm just a glutton for punishment. (Although, I must say, William Sleator's House of Stairs which freaked me out even more comprehensively at a much younger age is still sitting on the To-Read Pile, mocking me. It's been sitting there for years and I'm still afraid to re-read it, though whether because I'm afraid it'll freak me out again or that it won't, I couldn't really say.)

Anyway. Kafka. What a bizarre guy. And the really strange thing about these stories is that, after you've finished reading one, your conscious mind is going, "Well, that was kind of pointless" and your subconscious is going, "Aiiiieeeee! There are bugs crawling on me!" Or at least mine are. It's the damnedest thing. I have no idea how it works, but if you could bottle it, you'd make a fortune.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sci-Fi Friday: Because It's Not Like Anybody Expects This Particular Demographic To Be Out On Dates

Ah, there's the high-quality Battlestar Galactica I'd been missing for the last few weeks!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's Good to Be a Nerd.

Ooh! I just got an e-mail from Amazon.ca saying they've shipped my Doctor Who DVDs. Yay! If anybody needs me, I'll be sitting out by the mailbox...

Also, Netflix is sending me Quantum Leap, because it's been too long since I've seen Quantum Leap, and I need to remember why I used to really like Scott Bakula.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Calling Thog...

Current reading: a "thriller" so bad that I'm frequently distracted by images of smartassed robots silhouetted in front of the page. Best line yet: "During the hours that Webster slept like the dead, he woke twice." Can't. Stop. Giggling.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sad News

RIP, Andreas Katsulas. You were one of the very best things about Babylon 5.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bowl Call

I just got a phone call from my mother saying that my sister had somehow managed to flush her cell phone down a toilet. Not just drop it into the toilet, mind you, but actually flush it, which, personally, I find to be a rather impressive feat. (And she's probably going to kill me for talking about it here, but, honestly, I think this is the sort of thing about which one almost has an obligation to mock one's family members in public.) Mom seemed rather worried about this because, for some complicated bureaucratic reasons that are way too boring to get into, they can't just indefinitely suspend the account on that phone, and, since Mom's the one who pays the bill, she's worried about somebody getting their hands on the phone and making zillions of calls. To which I responded, "Don't worry, Mom. I really doubt the sewer-dwelling mutants can get a signal down there."

Sometimes I feel sorry for my mother, being saddled with the klutz and the smartass for kids. Mostly I'm just amused.
The Curse of the Corpse Sopranos

All right, all right, it really is time for some actual content. How about the ever-popular "what I've been watching on DVD lately" post?

I have now finished season 3 of The Sopranos, a show I've been intermittently binging on an entire season at a time. And I seem to keep having more or less the same reaction each time: I'll start out interested but perhaps slightly more critical than involved, thinking things like, "Aren't there a lot of dangling story threads here? Is there really any point to this plot development? Man, that character's annoying..." But by about mid-season, I'm completely sucked in and have become absorbed by even the most trivial details of these characters' lives. Season three was particularly interesting in that respect, because I started out feeling that it was perhaps the weakest of what I'd seen so far, and came out of it feeling that it might be the strongest. Certainly there were some extremely well-written individual episodes. My personal favorite was the one in which Christopher and Paulie get lost in the Pine Barrens, which contained some black comedy of the finest order. Best line:

PAULIE: How can we be lost? We're in fucking New Jersey.
CHRISTOPHER: South Jersey.

OK, possibly that's only funny if you're actually from South Jersey, but it had me giggling hysterically.

Then, having finished the current batch of Sopranos, I watched The Corpse Bride last night. Which delighted me right from the very beginning, although, for no reason I can quite put my finger, on the delight faded to mere enjoyment as the movie went on. I still definitely recommend it, though, if you have any taste at all for the stylishly macabre.

Next up: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Yet Again Still More Random Links

This counts as blog content. Shut up. It does.

Star Wars Valentines: These range from the kind of lame to the hysterically funny to the just plain disturbing.

Seremuppety: Serenity enacted by the Muppets. I found Fozzie's Wash especially amusing.

JesusPets: A call for heathen animal lovers to volunteer to care for pets left behind by Christians after the Rapture. (Yes, it's a joke. At least, I'm pretty sure it's a joke. But it's a damned funny one. Uh, no pun intended.)

The Elements of Spam: Learn to spam grammatically and with style!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Cat Came Back

For everyone who expressed disappointment that the Garfield link I posted a couple of days ago was down: it's working now.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I Love That Movie.

You scored as Forbidden Planet. You are the film score to Forbidden Planet. You accompany the story of the human discovery of the ruins of a powerful alien race that lost control of its own evil desires: the monsters from the id! The composers of your "electronic tonalities" never received proper credit for their innovative work.

Forbidden Planet


2001: A Space Odyssey


Star Wars: A New Hope


Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow


Beneath the Planet of the Apes


Star Trek: The Doomsday Machine


What Sci-Fi Film Score Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

Friday, February 10, 2006

Yes, It's the Lazy Person's Way of Blogging

Still more random interesting links, stumbled across here and there on the net:

American Book Review's "100 Best First Lines from Novels": I don't agree with all these choices, by a long shot, but there certainly are some intriguing opening lines here.

Brokeback to the Future: I will never, ever look at the Back to the Future movies in quite the same way again.

Ask a Stupid Question: You think you have to deal with idiots in your job? Try manning the phones in an emergency room.

Romance Covers Gone Wild!: Much amusing mocking of romance novel covers. I might have linked to this site before; I can't quite remember if it was this one or a similar one. In any case, there's certainly a lot of stuff there I know I hadn't seen before.

Garfield, Minus the Talking Animals: Take the animal dialog out of a "Garfield" comic strip, and, bizarrely, it mutates into something sad, profound, and not entirely without artistic merit.

Doctor Who Fan Podcasts from Tachyon TV: I haven't listened to the "Five Doctors" one yet, but I did download and play the "Christmas Invasion" commentary, in which the episode is heartily mocked in ways I alternately found mildly annoying and hysterically funny.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Family Matter

So, as previously mentioned, I've been watching The Sopranos, and it occurs to me to wonder if perhaps someone out there can answer a question that has been driving me absolutely crazy about this show. Namely: How is Tony related to Christopher? I know Chris is his nephew, but he certainly doesn't seem to be either of his sisters' kid, and I can't remember that Carmella even has any siblings. Anyone? I could try googling, but a) I'm not entirely sure what to search for, and b) I'm only in the middle of season 3, and would prefer to avoid stumbling across spoilers by accident. But, honestly, this is the sort of thing that I lie awake at night and wonder about.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Monthly Update Meme

Because I know you're all just dying to know this stuff...

Current clothes: Blue hoodie with the Blogger logo on the front. Black t-shirt from Mt. St. Helens under it. Tan jeans. Black belt. White crew socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: Pretty good. The upside to working a bunch of overtime (aside from the money, of course) is that it makes you appreciate every moment of free time. Just not being at work is enough to make me feel happy right now.

Current music: Pachelbel's Greatest Hit: Canon in D, my guaranteed never-fail Serious Stress Reduction Music. I played it at work earlier, then when it finished, I turned the volume up and started playing it again. Which tells you something about what work was like today.

Current annoyance: I still have a big old icky snot-glob hanging out in the back of my throat. And, yes, that's disgusting to hear about, I know, but, trust me, it's even more disgusting to have.

Current thing: Waiting for this week to be over so I can be off the day shift.

Current desktop picture: This Astronomy Picture of the Day photo of Earthrise on the moon.

Current song in head: "Sometimes a Fantasy" by Billy Joel. Who I am kind of starting to wish would keep his fantasies to himself.

Current book: Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos. Not one of the show's most interesting or exciting (or, for that matter, scientifically plausible) episodes. But the writing, at least in places, actually seems rather better than Terrance Dicks' usual for these novelizations. There are some nice moments of humor.

Current video in player: Nothing since the last episode of Battlestar Galactica.

Current DVD in player: Disc 1 of Season 3 of The Sopranos.

Current refreshment: Moroccan Mint tea. That's mint-flavored green tea. Excellent stuff.

Current worry: The cracks in my walls are expanding again. I suspect part of the reason is that it's been dry as a bone here for months, which leads to soil shrinkage. But I don't like it at all, and I'm particularly worried about damage to my new stucco.

Current thought: It's nice to have a cat on my lap who actually sits still, rather than jumping up and down onto my keyboard and bouncing all over the place. Good Nova! Of course, being that Vir isn't in the room, I'm now wondering what trouble he's getting into elsewhere in the house...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

Oh, wow. Insomnia. I haven't had that since I first moved in here and kept waking up at 4 AM to hammer shelves together.

I don't actually think I slept last night at all, but, then, I read a study once that said people who lie in bed all night and get up convinced they never slept often did sleep for many hours, and the time between when I looked at the clock at 3:30 and again at 6:00 did seem to pass surprisingly fast, so maybe I'm better off than I think. Still, I'm pretty sure that if I ever wake up enough to tell, I'm going to feel like crap. And not just from lack of sleep, either: I seem to have been (mostly successfully) fighting off some kind of infection for the last week, but it's made my tonsils feel a bit tender and left big gobs of viscous nastiness sitting in the back of my throat. I finally gave in and took a decongestant last night, and while the throat-glob appears to have decreased in size, the inside of my mouth now feels like... Hell, I don't know. Whatever your mouth feels like when it's all dried out. I'm all sleep-deprived; my brain can't handle metaphors.

Bah. I'd think about calling in sick, if it wouldn't make all that overtime I worked this weekend to help us get caught up kind of pointless.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Baby Boom

I'd like to offer hearty congratulations to my blogger buddy Peter Chattaway and his wife, Deanna, on the birth of beautiful twin babies! Even if it is extremely freaky to me, for some reason, that so many people I know are having babies. (A cousin of mine gave birth last month, f'rinstance, and a friend of mine should be due pretty soon now.) I think part of it is that it makes me feel old... Surely people my age (or younger!) aren't ready to be the generation of parents? Never mind the fact that when my mother was my age, I was nearly ready to start high school. And part of it is that babies just seem to me like deeply strange things for anybody to want. Although I can't help but look at Peter's pictures of tiny beautiful helpless things and sort of see the attraction. Still, getting up for 2 AM feedings with the kitten was more than enough for me...

I just pre-ordered the new Doctor Who boxed set from Canada. Because I've waited long enough, damn it!

Of course, for those of my fellow Americans who are, um, a bit less obsessive than I am, I remind you that you'll be able to catch the show when it comes to the Sci Fi Channel in March. Which, you know, you should absolutely do.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Another Open Letter to a Kitten

Dear Vir,

Please stop attempting to eat my unabridged dictionary. It will not make you smarter, if that's what you're thinking. In fact, it may very possibly make you dumber, if I give in to my growing desire to smack you in the head.

your annoyed human
Because I Can Never Resist a Music Meme...

Open ITunes, or whatever you happen to use, and answer the following questions:

Number of songs: 5126

Sort by song:

First Song: "'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel" by the Cowboy Junkies.

Last Song: "Zorak's Horrorscopes: Scorpio" from Space Ghost's Surf & Turf. Which isn't technically a song, so if we're rejecting it on those grounds, the last song is "Zorak's Blues," in which the bug actually sings. Sort of.

Sort by time:

Shortest song: Well, the shortest track is called "Mutant Enemy Closing" (aka "Grr, Aargh!") and is all of three seconds long. The shortest actual song (which I had to skip through a whole bunch of dialog snippets and stuff to find) appears to be "Miracle Cure" by The Who, from Tommy, clocking in at 12 whole seconds.

Longest song: The longest track is "The Original, Uncut Dramatization of The War of the Worlds." The longest musical track is "La Zebramix Special John Lennon," an interesting remix-mashup thing featuring a bunch of Lennon tunes. It's a smidge over 29 minutes long. If we disqualify that as counting as more than one "song," then the crown is instead held by Pink Floyd's "Echoes," at 23:28.

Sort by artist:

First Artist: The's ("Whoo Hoo")

Last Artist: Zolar X ("Silver Shapes") (That's ignoring the tracks that don't have an artist listed.)

Sort by album:

First Album: 20 Years of Jethro Tull

Last Album: Zooropa by U2. Again, ignoring the tracks with no album title listed.

Top Five Most Played Songs: Well, here they are, but bear in mind that I've only had the iPod for a few weeks so, statistically, these mean nothing:

1) "Clocks" by Coldplay
2) "Cartoon Heroes" by Aqua
3) "eBay" by Weird Al Yankovic
4) "Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One Remix)" by Alabama 3
5) "Time" by the Alan Parsons Project

Though, actually, only the first three have been played more than twice.


"Sex": How many songs come up? Only two, which kind of surprises me. "All He Wants Is Sex" from one of the Lexx soundtracks, and "Sex Farm" by Spinal Tap.

"Death": How Many Songs come up? Six.

"Love": How many songs come up? Two hundred and thirty-two! Wow, you'd think that was a popular emotion or something.

"You": How many songs come up? 372. Of course, that includes "your" and "you're" and "yourself" as well. Also "youth," "young" and other such things. If there's a way to search iTunes for "you" as a standalone word, I don't know what it is.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cue the Slow, Sarcastic Applause.

All right, how's this for irony? I had a hankering for some new music to listen to at work tomorrow. And there's several new (well, new to me) bands whose stuff I really wanted to pick up more of, having been given a random track or two by various people. (Yes, given! For free! Over the internet! Gasp!) However, I've reluctantly come to the decision that I simply can't buy from iTunes, because stuff you get from them won't run on any player but an iPod, and I both object to that in principle and realize that it could seriously screw me a few years down the road. But tracks from Napster come with this DRM stuff that makes it impossible to get them onto the iPod without jumping through all kinds of annoying hoops that I really just don't feel up to bothering with right now. So in the end I said "screw it" and bought nothing.

Congratulations, music industry! Good job protecting your sales figures from evil music pirates! Congratulations Apple! Good job protecting that monopoly!

What's especially amusing is that, hey, I probably would have bought the albums the downloaded tracks were from.
The Nicest Thing Anybody's Said to Me All Week

A friend of mine, on having located the relevant anthology and discovered that I had, in fact, correctly identified the author of a science fiction story he'd mentioned in passing to me months ago: "You're a scary, scary nerd."

What especially pleases me about this is the fact that I live in a world where people say things like that to each other and mean it as a compliment.