solarbird: (ORLY)
What the hell? I didn't know we had Trekkies in Congress. Of course, if he was a real Trekkie - one worthy of the name - he'd know that these people he's talking about aren't Klingons, either. He'd know they're really Romulans. Duh.

(Yes, I know the neoconservative "Vulcans" were actually calling themselves that after the Roman god, and not Mr. Spock, but whatever. The whole thing is highly illogical. Muah.)
solarbird: (Default)
...there was a little computer generated short with a bunch of computer chips as characters inside a computer system. The main character was named Spider Chip 68000, and it used to show on KBTC between episodes of Doctor Who occasionally, along with other odd little CGI shorts. I miss it. I wrote them once asking where they got it, but I never got an answer. If this sounds at all familiar to you, reply with details. I'd love to get a copy.

Saturday's miles: 9.6
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1252.7
Miles out of Rivendell: 787.7
Miles out of Lothlórien: 332.7
Miles to Rauros Falls: 76.3

Mostly today I biked over to [livejournal.com profile] kathrynt and [livejournal.com profile] llachglin's house and planned out a new front yard and garden for them. (That's how I got the 9.6 miles on a Saturday.) There's a bit of hardscaping, a bunch of plant moving, and a little platform (née deck) and a fairly major revision to how they would be looking at their yard overall. The goals were to de-emphasise the garage/bring the main house forward (not an easy task, the way the house is situated on the property makes the garage extremely prominent and everything else secondary) and make the garden easier to maintain and use it - or, at least, to make it so they're more likely to maintain it. I think it's a pretty good design and should make some pretty significant inroads in doing both, but I haven't really done any significant garden design before, so hopefully if they build it, they won't hate it to death. ^_^;

oh dear

Jul. 2nd, 2006 05:31 pm
solarbird: (Default)
And again with the hot. Why is it being August in June and July? My snow peas are unhappy from the heat, my greens are all bolting (which, honestly, isn't really out of season, but I'm still cranky about it), and I'm having to water the frikkin' lawn. This is dumb. Oh well, it's supposed to cool off a bit this week.

We went and saw Superman Returns, and, um, yeah. It's a fan film. More importantly, it's not a particularly good or creative fan film. It's not awful, mind you; but it brought almost nothing new to the table. So while the acting and effects and such were better than the typical fan film, I expect professionals - you know, people who do this sort of a thing for a living - to do better than that with $200M or whatever the hell they had to spend. Instead, we get this total fanboy worshipfest of the Donner original, where he's trying to reshoot all the "coolest" bits from the first film shuffled around a little so it doesn't look like he's just doing a remake, and then have him tossing in all this extra oh for the love of god we get it already Christ imagery.

Honestly, scene after scene after scene is a resetting of a scene from the 1978 movie, except possibly for some of the inserts that overemphasised the Jesus shtick. (Note to self: buy a Jesus shtick. Whack Bryan Singer briskly about the head and shoulders with it at first opportunity.) I think I was particularly insulted by the crudity of Lex Luthor's evil plot; an excruciatingly lame scheme, it appears to have been designed solely for the purpose of establishing a set-piece comparison between the Fortress of Solitude as Heaven and the short-lived Luthor Island as Hell. And that's one of the subtle moments. The other attempts at thematic storytelling don't make enough sense to comment upon, except to note that, in a couple of cases they're actively self-defeating.

Here are the parts I didn't find either annoying or disappointing: 1. Surprisingly, the kid. He's fine. Superman's talk with him towards the end of the film is not fine, but that's not the kid's fault, or the fault of the actor playing him. 2. Lois Lane's fiancée is not a dick. He's a nice guy, and capable. Thank you for that. 3. The actors did the best they could with the material they had, with the exception of Sam Huntington's complete inability to get a handle on Jimmy Olsen. Well handled, everyone except Sam, who may now stand in the hallway holding buckets of water for a while. 4. um... I'd say Lex Luthor's anger, but the fact that they do nothing really very good with it kind of puts this back into the "annoying" category because of the wasted potential. 5. Luthor's psychotic prison friends, particularly the one with a talent for piano.

But that's about it. I could go into more detail, but I don't really want to bother. Instead, if you want a good Silver Age Superman story, skip the movie and find a copy of the Red Son graphic novel, which recently came out in compilation form. Silver Age Superman - by which I mean the Superman of the 50s-70s who is utterly indestructible except for Kryptonite, whose super hearing means he hears everything on the planet (and if this film is to be believed, hears everyone on this planet even in low earth orbit where there's no air to carry the sound waves - sorry, I digress), and who is essentially not a super man but a lesser god - is really, really hard to tell a story about, because you just can't hurt him, or even stop him. Nigh-invincible heros are, on the whole, desperately boring. Richard Donner managed it for one and a half or maybe two films (depending upon how much credit you give him for the 1980 Superman II); this film does not manage it; but Red Son pulls it off nicely. Go read that instead. It's a little more expensive than a theatre ticket, and it's not perfect but you probably won't get exasperated at it.

Still, it was a great day out and we had tasty food at Mama's (in Belltown) and Mimi got a nice bit of art for her kitchen at Pike Place Market. So all that was good.

Saturday's miles: 4.5
Sunday's miles: 2.6
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1015.6
Miles out of Rivendell: 557.6
Miles out of Lothlórien: 95.6
Miles to Rauros Falls: 293.4

Here, have some linkblogging:

Smartcars are coming to the US. They don't appear to run on E85, but I do think they're cute. No substitute for not being car dependent, but cute, and, of course, very high milage. I've no idea how they actually drive or how loud it is in the cabin or anything like that, of course.

[livejournal.com profile] spazzkat found a bunch of animation sequences from the Powerpuff Girls Z anime showing in Japan. They're on YouTube.

Omar the Model reports that Iraqi forces have reportedly captured one of the people behind the Askari Shrine bombing in Samarra. That's good; I just wish I had some idea how good, give the huge bombings earlier today.


All Snug in their Beds


Quizfest 2006 )

LOSTage

May. 11th, 2006 10:51 am
solarbird: (Default)
Grabbed mostly from a reply I made on someone else's LJ.
zomg the spoilers )

wow

May. 7th, 2006 09:17 pm
solarbird: (asumanga-yay)
Okay, for those of you who are watching Series 27 Doctor Who airing now on the Skiffy Channel, and are aware of what happens at the end of this series?

Don't worry. Series 28 is just fine.

God damn is it fine.

You're going to love 18th century France.

oh dear

Apr. 7th, 2006 11:40 pm
solarbird: (ORLY)
I may have just found an actual design use for drop caps.
solarbird: (Default)
I'm running for the Norwescon Guest of Honour Selection Committee. This is an advisory committee that comes up with potential guests to Norwescon. I think four of you can vote, but that's not why I'm posting this here. I think I'm mostly doing it because I just sent it in.

----- Statement for Election - [livejournal.com profile] solarbird -----

Vote for me if you want someone on the GoH selection committee who will bring up names from outside the core. If you thought Foolscap's decision to bring in Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade alongside Harlan Ellison as co-Guests of Honour was genius, as I did, and loved the resulting dust-up, as I did, then I am your candidate. If you want someone who will bring in suggestions like Michael Poe (Errant Story), or Jon Kilgannon and Mark Sachs (A Miracle of Science) or Fred Gallagher (Megatokyo), vote for me. If you want someone who tosses out names like Chiho Saito (Revolutionary Girl Utena, possibly the finest effort in high urban fantasy of the 1990s and substantially unknown to mainline fandom) or Rumiko Takahashi (Inu Yasha, Maisan Ikkokou, Ranma 1/2), or, well, anyone from CLAMP studios, vote for me. If you want someone who knows exactly why the word "Daikatana" is still funny, then I am your candidate, and I deserve your vote.

I'll list my own negatives for you: I am not a big reader of modern SF&F novels. I still read and still enjoy reading, and my classics background is pretty solid - particularly in the short-story canon - but I'm not the voracious novel reader others on the committee are. Similarly, I dropped my subscriptions to Asimov's and Analog when I realised they were boring me to tears several years ago. I hated Beggars in Spain. So if the person you want reads the surviving prozines religiously and skulks through the new-novels section every week - or even every month - I'm not her. Similarly, if you're looking for someone to pitch a Big-Name Actor as a guest, then, for the love of god, do not vote for me. I'm the chick who made Scientology jokes in the newsletter when John Travolta showed up, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

But if you want someone who is strongly aware of the alternative forms of fantasy and science fiction, someone who is knowledgeable enough to know, at least, what kind of questions to ask, and where to go asking - that's me. I'm that person. If that's who you're looking for, I am your candidate - and I want your vote.
solarbird: (Default)
Massive LOST spoilers and speculation, skip if you care )
solarbird: (made her from parts)
I still haven't come up with any good ideas for the daily Norwescon newsletter. I always build it as a concept project, up from first principles, usually around the convention theme in some way. The Norwescon people would mostly be happy if I repeated Mr.Cranky's Disruptive Newsletter - the only Norwescon daily newsletter ever to have an extra issue because people would not stop sending in contributions - every year, but I hate standard jokes and go so far as to refuse to provide new ones, tho' the gods know they'd be happy to let me.

It's actually rather difficult for me to communicate what makes a good 'zine idea. One of the things I absolutely refuse to do is pre-write articles. It has to be something that can, should, and, really, must be shaped by things that go on at the convention. If it's something consisting of articles you can write up beforehand, you've got it wrong. Those should go, I dunno, in the programme book; things written before the convention should be published before the convention. The at-con newsletter should be a creature of the event, not of the convention committee or pre-con planning.

I've seen newsletters that have gone the other way. They haven't been pretty.

It's kind of similar to coming up with an RPG environment, I guess, instead of coming up with a short-story that's already written and which you plug in as you go. Or, as [livejournal.com profile] spazzkat put it, I want to build a platform, not an application.

Using a handy example: at last year's NASFiC, CascadiaCon, I set up a world where the Republic of Cascadia was real; I made up a history and a bunch of laws and customs and maps, and then the convention ran - from a newsletter standpoint anyway - in that context, and news and the like reflected that. (Issues here: http://solarbird.net/FaxCascadia/ if you're curious. Whenever I do a 'zine, the ones 2/3 of the way through tend to be the best, since that's far enough in to the con that I've gotten the hang of the event but haven't gotten too tired yet.)

Hm, now that I think on it, this is probably what has me coming up with more RoC stuff like I posted just recently.

[livejournal.com profile] risu has suggested doing something that invokes Heribert Illig, who thinks that the early Middle Ages never happened. He is crazy and that is good, as crazy is generally directly proportional to funny. (Not always. Otherwise the time cube guy would be the aleph1 of funny, when in fact he is not even actually of infinite funny, merely a very, very large but finite set of funny.) She also suggests involving a Rain of Jaguars, which is also generally good.

Meanwhile, [livejournal.com profile] spazzkat suggests travelogue entries from terrible, horrible places, in which there's something, but I don't know what yet. The catching point there is the pre-written-article trap, which I avoid at all costs. But there's something in it, given the NWC29 theme of "Journeys, Adventures, and Quests of Fantastic Fiction."

Hm. Hm hm hm hm hm.

Also, if you're going to be at the convention, I function much better with an editorial pit than without one. I can come up with a decent share of the funny on my own, but I'm also pretty good at refining funny that pops up from other people into stronger, more durable funny. This time spent would count as volunteer hours, too, so you could get volunteer credit and get into the volunteer's pit and the gift drawings and all that. Talk to me if you're interested, but not if you can't stand being edited, as you would be. There are a disturbing lot of prima donnas in fandom and I have no time for that. It'd be evening work, usually from 10:30-Midnight(ish) for the morning edition.
solarbird: (Default)
And in other thoughts, Catherine 'Cat' Grant (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1994)) is Cordelia Chase (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (1997-1999), ten years later, or, in our world, four years earlier. Discuss.
solarbird: (molly-oops)
...that certainly wasn't what I was expecting...
solarbird: (Default)
Okay, so, [livejournal.com profile] kathrynt asked me to detail my theory about what's really going on with Baltar!Six. I'm going to go a bit beyond that, because that's only part of the Grand Unification Theory of Battlestar Galactica.

Ready? Click through, or don't, but if you do, you've been warned.

MASSIVE spoilerage for BSG 2.18 herein - seriously, massive spoilers with unbridled speculation )

OH yeah.

Feb. 24th, 2006 09:10 pm
solarbird: (Default)
I have exactly one thing to say about BSG 2.18: I was so fucking right that I have right spewing out of my ears. I will, in fact, be doing the right dance now. Here, this is me doing the right dance:



Thank you.
solarbird: (not_in_the_mood)
The big dog:
The majority of graduating(!) American college students can't read an editorial for content, compare credit card offers, or intelligently engage in other, similar, common tasks. The sad part is, this is an improvement. As in, this is better. God. (Pew Charitable Trust study information here, including the full report.)

The little dog:
BSG 2.13/Epiphanies, brief but important spoiler; very disappointed )
solarbird: (Default)
I saw a flock of robins on the way to the shops yesterday. Kinda early for that, isn't it?

Spoilers: BSG 2.12 )

Today's token: 0.6 miles
Miles out of Hobbiton: 568.2
Miles out of Rivendell: 108.4
Miles to Lothlórien: 358

Just for fun, I charted out how much walking I did inside the shops I visited. (Once a month I go to Costco. That was today.) It totaled 1.2 miles. This is the sort of thing actually decided I'd chart it out just for fun. The 0.6 miles excludes that, of course.

I've got a cultural warfare update to put together, so I'll get that done now.
solarbird: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] spazzkat put the Spielberg War of the Worlds on his Netflix queue a couple of months ago; it showed up today, and he and [livejournal.com profile] annathepiper started watching it while I was out. Picoreview: "My god - it's full of crap."

Damn, this is a seriously, seriously bad movie. I'm not just talking ordinary bad - I'm talking Mission Impossible: 2* bad. It isn't even edited coherently; it's like Spielberg thought, "okay, this one has just turned out to be poo," slapped a bunch of scenes together, and kicked it ass-first out the door.

If not for some reasonably good disaster pr0n, I'd absolutely nominate this as a suck-off candidate. Every character is incredibly annoying. Every character is incredibly stupid, including the aliens, who apparently are actually parakeets, as is demonstrated by their being confused by mirrors. The aliens have global shields around them except when they don't, so that you can run up to them and go BOO!, but do again so that when you throw the grenade, it bounces back off. The metapolitics are grotesque enough that I don't even actually want to think about them, and what, exactly, does Spielberg hate about 10 year old girls, anyway - other than, apparently, everything?

There's not one surprise in this film - other than, maybe, how much it sucked; in fact, I would have to say that any surprise count would have to be negative, as I actually did a four-beat countdown to the "click" moment in one particularly tedious, but intended to be suspenseful, scene. Also, I don't think I was supposed to laugh uncontrollably at the car ferry incident, but I did, particularly when the sedan o' family plunged straight into the river at Tom**. Man, that part was a fucking laugh riot.

Sadly, that was the last fun this pile had to offer. You don't even get to watch any of the characters you hate - which is to say, all of them - die. Even the obviously most dead jackass magically reappears hale and whole at the end, hundreds of miles away. Damn you, Stephen Speilberg, for crushing my dreams of Robby on fire!

Bah. I've wasted too many perfectly good words on this shitfest. I think I'll go floss out my brain.

* I didn't think John Woo could make a movie that bad either. I'm 0 for 2 on these things. And no, it's not an irrational hatred of Tom Cruise. It's a purely rational hatred of Tom Cruise. No, wait, I'm just being glib. That has nothing to do with these films sucking harder than a five dollar wharf whore on swing-shift; it's merely the icing on the top.

** If this and Battlefield Earth are what Scientology does to filmmaking, I want to know where the hell the MPAA is. Fucking useless bastards! Why the hell aren't they protecting me from copies of this?

zomg

Jan. 6th, 2006 10:46 pm
solarbird: (asumanga-yay)
After seeing Battlestar Galactica 2x11 ("Resurrection Ship") and Doctor Who 28(BOO-YA!)x01 ("The Christmas Invasion"), I have exactly this thing to say:
We are living in a fucking golden age of television science fiction.
I mean god dammit that's how it's supposed to be done.

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