Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who Interview

I've just been told that the interview I did with the authors of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan's Guide to Doctor Who for Kaleidotrope a while back is now available from Marc Schuster, one of the authors. The easiest way to read it, should you be interested in such a thing, is to click on the "fullscreen" button on the left. They've added some fun pictures to it, too!

Random Links: Science, Etc. Edition

Ten Things You Don't Know About the Sun: Fun facts about our favorite mass of incandescent gas.

Dr Who Dalek found in pond: This was all over the internet several weeks ago, so I suspect anyone likely to find this interesting has already seen it. Still, just in case you are and you haven't... Someone found a Dalek in a pond. Seriously.

Cosmos on Hulu: One of the great science programs of all time, now available to watch for free online (although, sadly, only if you happen to be in the US). I just re-watched this show fairly recently, myself, and it holds up amazingly well. Awesome, inspiring stuff. Watch it with your kids, if you have 'em, because this is exactly the kind of science programming kids should be exposed to.

Science Tattoo Emporium: I don't really understand the appeal of tattoos, myself, I must admit, but it's nice to know that they're for science nerds, too. The guy with the resistor symbol on his wrist gave me a strange, disturbing flashback to Alien Nation, though, before I realized what it was.

100 Hours of Astronomy: A "global astronomy event" running from April 2-5, featuring, among other things, live webcasts from astronomical observatories all over the world, including the VLA.

Andy Hallett, the green demon of 'Angel,' dies at 33: Deeply depressing news, not least because, dammit, nobody should have to die of heart failure at 33. Hallett was a truly talented guy. There aren't many people who can make green makeup look that good, and, man, could he sing. His character, Lorne, was easily my favorite person on Angel, even though he was just a recurring guest role.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Think I'm Gonna Sit Today Out.

The snow seems to have nearly stopped, and it was mostly just scattered flakes, anyway. And the weather report says Abq. should be dry this afternoon. But, damn it, it's cold and gray, and I don't feel like running around the city doing things that, frankly, aren't all that urgent, anyway. I'm sure no one will think less of me if I take the hours I set aside for errand-running and spend them curled up with a book instead. Will you?

(If I need another excuse, it's also true that I slept badly last night. Which isn't much of an excuse, I admit, as I feel more lazy today than tired. But I forgot to take my allergy pill and woke up in the middle of the night with an itchy nose. Then after I got up to take the pill, I realized I was cold and had to get up again and fetch the warm blanket I'd put away about the same time I packed up the sweaters. I did get back to sleep, but it seemed like shallow sleep, and involved odd dreams. Did you know zombies were allergic to milk? I didn't either, but apparently my subconscious believes it, as it was an extremely important plot point in said dreams. Then, when I woke up this morning, I was busy trying to buy a train ticket in South America. Yeah, your guess is as good as mine.)

WTF, Weather?

Geez. A few days ago, I put away my sweaters and got out my shorts, and today it's snowing.

I was going to drive up to Albuquerque today and run some errands, but now I'm wondering if I can use stupid weather as an excuse to put it off. Hmm...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

All Hail The God Of Nerds!

Apparently this is a slightly updated version of this thing, so how could I resist?

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd God.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and write on the nerd forum!

Good to know that hasn't changed, then.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In Which I Answer Your Burning Questions

A while back, my sister called and left a message on my answering machine saying that she'd just seen the movie Donnie Darko and wanted me to explain the ending to her. For some reason, people seem to have this touching faith in my ability to explain weird SF-related stuff. I have no idea why. *cough* Anyway, I had to call her back and admit that I'd never actually seen the movie, oddly enough, but I have corrected this gap in my cinematic experience now. And, without delving into spoilers here, I will just say that the ending seems pretty explicable to me. It's the middle I'm a bit mystified by. Which nevertheless puts it significantly ahead of Primer, a movie I watched not all that long ago and about which my only comment was, "OK, clearly I need to watch that at least another five or six times before it makes sense." I think, by the way, that this is a very unfair thing for a movie to ask of me, given that I don't even seem to have the time to watch most of the stuff I'm interested in once. Anyway, uh, if you want to discuss it now, sis, you can call me back or leave a comment here or something. Don't say I never did anything for ya!

In a matter that's completely unrelated, except for also involving a deeply weird work of fiction, at least one person said they'd be interested to hear what I thought of Perdido Street Station after I finished it. Which I did a while ago. I'm actually not entirely sure what to say about it... On the one hand, the plot is, objectively, pretty thin for a novel that long; I'm not at all sure how satisfying I found the ending; and the long passages describing people's exact routes through the city every time they traveled somewhere where not exactly excitement-inducing, no matter how cool the city itself might be. On the other hand, the setting was amazingly cool and imaginative and well-realized, the characters were believable, and all of the individual plot elements were interesting. For me, at least, the stuff on that second hand dominated, and I found it on the whole to be a decidedly enjoyable and worthwhile (albeit rather slow) read. I'll definitely be interested in checking out more of Mieville's work.

There. Anything else anybody wants me to comment on?


I was tootling around minding my own business today when this poem suddenly popped into my head and I found myself more than a little startled by the fact that I was able to remember it very nearly word-for-word. (Well, OK, there was one line I blanked on and had to look up.) So, I thought I'd share:


No one's hangin' stockin's up,
No one's bakin' pie,
No one's lookin' up to see
A new star in the sky.
No one's talkin' brotherhood,
No one's givin' gifts,
And no one loves a Christmas tree
On March the twenty-fifth.

--Shel Silverstein

Peace on Earth and happy March 25th to all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

"It's Like Breaking The Ninth Wall."

I recently picked up Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on DVD, and, as I'd sort of expected, I do think the ending works better when you see the whole thing as a unit, rather than watching it an act a day on the internet. What I didn't expect, though, was the fully produced musical commentary track, which was easily the most hilarious damned thing I've encountered in weeks (and that's counting the actual show on the DVD). Seriously, if they put out a soundtrack for the commentary, I'll buy it.

There's just something really, really wrong about that, I know. And yet it's so right!

(I'm also amused, by the way, that when you search for "Dr. Horrible" on Amazon, as I did to find the link above, the last thing that comes up on the list is this.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A T-Shirt From The Uncharted Territories

I just had two different people ask me whether I knew that the Henson Company is selling Farscape 10th anniversary t-shirts today. Come on, guys, you know me! I ordered mine last night. Heh.

They're on offer for 24 hours only, though, so if you want one so you can be cool like me, act now!

And happy anniversary, Farscape! I can't believe it's been that long, but, then, I did start watching a couple of seasons late, so it's only been something like eight years for me. And I'm gonna hold onto that thought, 'cause it makes me feel younger.

[ETA: Looks like they're going to be extending the sale through Sunday.]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Infectious Laughter

All right, here's somebody being snarky and witty about Skiffy's proposed name change:
"According to research done exclusively for BNET Media by TNS Cymfony, syphilis jokes account for about four percent of all commentary about Syfy." Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark. Or an unsightly rash leading to eventual brain damage.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'd Prefer "The Scientifiction Channel," Personally.

I feel as if I ought to have something snarky and witty to say about the news that the Sci Fi Channel is changing its name, but I just... I don't know. You can't satirize this:
The principal reason the idea kept coming up, Mr. Howe said, was a belief “the Sci Fi name is limiting.”

“If you ask people their default perceptions of Sci Fi, they list space, aliens and the future,” he added.
Excuse me. I'm just going to go and bang my head now.

Goofy Watchmen Videos, Continued

Here, by the way, is part 2 of the "Vague Recollections of Watchmen" video I embedded in last week's post. Maybe it's the fact that it's three o'clock in the morning, but I find this hysterically funny. Also, I totally think they should have cast the guy doing Ozymandias in this one in the movie. Hee!

Note: Contains huge honkin' spoilers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cavlacade Of Goofy Watchmen Videos

Most of the random links I'm accumulating at the moment seem to involve goofy Watchmen-themed videos on YouTube. Eventually, I decided they needed their own post. Enjoy!

First up, Rorschach vs. Wolverine! Not really spoilery, except maybe for X-Men 3, if anybody actually cares about that.

Then, the single Wrongest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

And some half-asleep guy summarizing what he remembers of the comic. Contains very large (albeit incompletely remembered) spoilers. Also contains the single most hilarious description of Rorschach imaginable. Hee! This is part 1, which covers everything but the ending. I can't seem to find part 2. I don't think it's up yet.

And this... may be a bit spoilery. And will be a bit painful. Um.

And there ya go. Do I need to mention that most of these will probably make no sense at all if you're not familiar with the comic, the movie, or both?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Current Currently

Current clothes: Dark gray t-shirt with a picture of a Dalek on it. Long-sleeved shirt over that, unbuttoned. Um, I think it's sort of off-white. Blue jeans. Black belt. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: Not too bad. Much more awake than I felt an hour ago, which is good. Especially as this is the point where I need to switch from going to bed disgustingly early to trying to stay up as late as possible.

Current music: Haven't really been listening to much of anything recently. Probably some more random-shuffle stuff a few days ago.

Current annoyance: Well, my sinuses are definitely aware that it's spring. Although I shouldn't complain too hard. So far, the allergies aren't all that bad this year. Of course, not everything's started blooming yet.

Current thing: I'm not sure I have one. Reading, maybe. A bit more intensely than usual, I mean. I feel ridiculously pleased by the fact that the infamous To-Read Pile is now down below 450 books -- enough below that it seems likely that I'm not going to creep back up above it again. Maybe when I get down to 400 I'll throw a party.

Current desktop picture: Well, it was this image of the Milky Way over Mauna Kea, but when I went to the Astronomy Picture of the Day site to find a link to it, I loved today's nebula picture so much that I immediately changed to that one.

Current book: Just started Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. Which I've been meaning to get around to reading for approximately forever.

Current song in head: "Someone Keeps Moving My Chair" by They Might Be Giants.

Current DVD in player: The last disc of season 10 of Stargate SG-1. I've got one more episode to go, and then I can say I've seen the entire series (minus the TV movies, which I'm planning to get to soonish). I should probably watch that tonight, but I'm almost a little reluctant for it to be over. It's been fun!

Current refreshment: Peppermint/spearmint tea.

Current worry: I don't want to worry about stuff right now!

Current thought: The thing that bothers me is someone keeps moving myyyyyyyyy chaiiiiiiiiiir.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Annoying Kind Of Time Travel

You know what's a really great time to have to arbitrarily put your clocks forward? Right smack dab between two 12-hour shifts, both of which start at 7:45 AM. Thanks a lot, congress!

Didn't I read somewhere that Obama was in favor of abolishing Daylight Savings Time? Why hasn't he done something about that yet? I demand action! Forget fixing the economy, I want my goddam hour back!

(OK. I feel better now. Really.)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

My Poor Young Ears

Train Horns

Created by Train Horns

Clearly I should have gone to more rock concerts in my youth, because that hurt.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I Watch The Watchmen

Man, this has been a good week. I've been walking around feeling fine and happy for days, which is a nice change from the low-energy, high-stress state I was in for a while before that. Mainly the difference is due to the fact that I've finally gotten my sleeping patterns switched around into something sane and adequate. As a bonus, my current sleep schedule means that I'm up and around during the day to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. And even the allergies that come with said beautiful spring weather haven't been nearly as bad as they were last week. In the interests of making a good week even better, I've burned some vacation time in order to put in shorter days at work and divided the hours thus recovered between accomplishing useful things (like getting a desperately needed haircut) and indulging in some quality goofing off. And then today I skipped work entirely and instead drove to Los Lunas to see Watchmen, which I regard as a truly excellent use of my time.

So, Watchmen... I gather that reactions to this cover a wide spectrum. Personally, I thought it was marvelous. Although I will admit that it's within the realm of possibility that the movie doesn't stand on its own quite as well as I think it does, and that the main reason it pleased me so much was because it did such an incredible job of evoking the comic, which I can say without hesitation is one of the best things I've ever read in a lifetime full of reading.

Mind you, it's been probably ten years or so since I last read the graphic novel. I had vaguely intended to give it another re-read before seeing the movie, but never quite got around to it. Which may be just as well. I find that with any movie based on something I've read, it works better if there's enough of a time gap to erase the details of the original from my memory. It means I'm not sitting there the whole time drawing minute comparisons instead of enjoying the movie on its own terms. What I do remember very clearly from the original, though, are the emotions it evoked in me, the themes and the symbols and the unique feel of the individual characters, and the movie had that stuff nailed.

There was one plot change that's impossible not to notice if you have any memory of the comic at all, but my reaction to that was, essentially, "Oh, man, I wonder how they're going to pull off [huge honkin' spoiler] with any credibility at all?" followed a bit later by, "Oh, I see. They don't need to. Huh. Cool." So, that worked, impressively enough. I guess that's the kind of adaptive tweak you can pull off when you really, really get your source material.

I do have one eensy, weensy nitpick, though. Guys, the word "gila," as in "Gila Flats" is pronounced "heela." Dr. Manhattan should not mispronounce things! But other than that, it kicked ass.

I was thinking that I'd find it really interesting to hear from anybody who'd seen the movie without first reading the comic, but honestly... If you haven't read the original and it seems remotely like the kind of thing you might be interested in, I suggest buying a copy right this minute. Then, as soon as you get your hands on it, cancel everything you have planned for the day and read the thing. Then go and see the movie; whether you want to wait ten years first or not is up to you.

(Note: I'll happily discuss the movie and/or the comic in the comments if people are interested, but I ask that spoilers be carefully labeled. I'd hate to ruin this one for anybody. Even if it's an entirely different kind of cool when you go in knowing what's going to happen.)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Anybody Want A Slightly Used Cat?

You know what's really fun? When a 25-pound cat suddenly decides to jump up onto a TV tray upon which is resting, among other things, a very full mug of very hot tea.

I wouldn't necessarily have thought tea droplets could fly that far.