Thursday, December 21, 2006

Where Snow Man Has Gone Before

You've done this. Admit it.

What color is the weather?

Right now it's brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgundy. I'd like to point out that it is THIRTY-FOUR DEGREES OUTSIDE. Al Gore, where are my melting polar caps?

For those of you that don't know why I'm freaking out about this? I live in PHOENIX, ARIZONA! Like Tatooine without the cool buildings!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

But is that December or March?

Well, this is an interesting article. Myself, I never worried about it all that much. I know some people hang a very big hat on the idea that Christianity "stole" Christmas. That alone makes it all... Something. (If specifically Christian imagery shows up someplace, well, that's just coincedence.) I think that after two THOUSAND years (or so) the argument gets a little tired. But this would certainly be an interesting twist. I hope my better educated readers (and siblings) would comment on what they know. Me? I'm going to enjoy the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas.

p.s. From the comments:

"Why March 25 as the key date? Because it was the date associated with the vernal equinox (and thus with equal day and night, divine balance and all that) and the month of Nisan (and thus Pesach) in the Jewish calendar was (eventually) keyed off in relation to that. Et cet."

It's also the day that Gollum fell into the Cracks of Doom, clutching the Ring.
That Tolkien, what a rascal!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Surak - More Modeling

Looking good, if I do say. Juuuuust about ready for texturing. Thanks to the Rhino for reference.

Ocean's 13

Yeah, I know, 12 wasn't very good. But I'm a sucker for this kind of movie and I LOVED the first one. And doesn't this just look like a hoot?

EDIT: Well, it would look like a hoot if you could see it. Not everyone can be YouTube I guess... Try here.

A Christmas Carol

I've been waiting weeks to post this. Yesterday Hugh Hewitt did a segment on A Christmas Carol, it being the anniversary day of the book being published. So here we are.

As I mentioned before, Jim Hill Media is reviewing FORTY versions of A Christmas Carol ever put to film. He recommended this one most highly. And with good reason. It's produced by Chuck Jones! It looks very Victorian, very dingy and dirty. (Now that I think on it, it kind of reminds me of Jones' A Cricket in Times Square - I'll have to search for that...) And this is a GHOST story. Sure, the ghost of Christmas future is scary. That's easy. He looks like death and hangs out in graveyards and shows Scrooge his own death. It's the OTHER ghosts that are so unsettling as well! The GoC Past creeps me out. They include the GoC Presents' legs of Ignorance and Want. And Marley is very much a dead dead fellow. Great stuff. There are much longer versions of A Christmas Carol that have done far far worse.

Here are the highlights:

And here is the whole film. (Still only 30 minutes.)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Nothing new here, but it's a Christmas fave. Well, it's a Christmas fave for ME. Scott can post Rudolph on his own blog. Wonder how cool this looked in person? Wonder how they followed it up the next year?

Surely You're Joking!

No I'm not, and don't call me Shirley! From the maker of Airplane, David Zucker! Funny? Scary? You pick.

LOTS of BSG Today on Sci-Fi

BSG is running a BSG marathon today, starting with the beginning of Season 3 and ending with Hero. It's already in progress. Sorry for the late notice.

BTW, on the podcast we find that Ron Moore is a lapsed Catholic. Well. That explains almost everything.

Monday, December 18, 2006

BSG Monday - The Eye of Jupiter - 41,402 Survivors

First off, I'm told they changed the title from the Eye of Zeus. Um, not that we haven't had a mish-mash of Roman and Greek gods before now (Mars has been mentioned) but we've already established Zeus (and where IS Tom Zerek these days?) as the top of the Colonial pantheon of gods. Just saying.

Ok, see? THIS is what BSG used to do, week in and week out. Everybody gets a hand in. Want a Tyrol story? Got it. Sharon? Two of 'em. A little "Why is Six the most sympathetic character in this ep?" Spades. Apollo and Starbuck? YIKES! Sam Anders is back and ADA (Anastasia Dualla-Adama for the latecomers) finally gets something to do! THAT'S juggling the character arcs. (How do you kill a circus? Go for the juggler.)

The "previously on Battlestar Galacticas" are ominous. Let's flash back to all the most complicated stories of the season. No EyeTigh, so that's a small relief. Starbuck and Apollo, Hera, and FINALLY last weeks ep and the current predicament. Oh, and we're back to the 2.5 trick of "Hey, here's plot that we cut from an earlier ep for a nifty character moment when our show clocked in a three hours last week. Sorry."

First we're following up from The Passage. For those that are wondering, we've been there for two weeks, so the gang is getting their vittles. This will become important later on when the fleet jumps away into unprotected and unfed space. They should be ok over the winter break.

We immediately continue along with the MUST (Massively Unresolved Sexual Tension) from Unfinished Business. We find out very quickly that 1) just 'cause we're in space doesn't mean we don't have messed up Catholic girls 2) there's only so much guilt even Lee Adama can take and of course 3) they're not fooling anyone. I DID watch Spoilervision (Next Week on BSG) and while it was brief, it seems to imply that ADA will get more screen time. Good for her.

Anders gets to not only be nine feet taller than Lee, but he's all ripped and greasy and looks like an extra from a razor commercial or some such. And he gets to be right. I hate it when that happens. Lee's look when Anders tells him that not only is Kara fooling around on Anders, she's fooling around on Lee too is the second best in the ep. She's Hellen Tigh without the charm or the moral compass! (This is where we find out if She Who Is My Wife is reading.)

Tyrol has spider-sense! Ok, I was expecting him to be super-mechanic and follow the pinging of a micrometricly out-of-phase fribonic Cylon thingy and find the big bad. But it turns out that he's still working out parent issues. I would love it if Tyrol became a priest. I miss the spirituality that the early shows had. You had some true-blue believers like the priests and Six, some in the closet yet fiercely religious folk like Kara, and you had the balance with Wild Bill and Gaius "I Am God" Baltar. I think that adding Cavil into the mix is terrific (especially when he plays off of Six and Leoben) but they need to bring up the other end. It was a nice touch seeing both Tyrol and Kara struggling with their upbringing. And of course I loved Cally telling him that this side of him wasn't so bad. All this AND heaping helpings of plot. This is BSG on all cylinders.

Felix (SEE? EVERYBODY gets something to do this episode. Except the Nuggets - they had their ep last time and look what happened.) gets to tell us that the world is about to end and that "Hey, I don't believe ANY of this, but it makes you think, eh?" (Yeah, I know, EyeTigh is the Canadian.)

It amuses me to no end that people can still think Wild Bill is bluffing. Especially when it comes to protecting The Fleet. When he orders the nukes deployed EyeTigh gives him this great look that says "I've never loved you more." Laura tries to play the "Aren't you the guy that will throw away the whole of humanity for your kids?" card. Doesn't work. Lee and Kara? You need to be friendlier to the old man.

I slipped up. I had no idea that Wild Bill didn't know about Hera. I have been laboring under the assumption that it was really really going to hit the fan when Athena found out that Adama had kept Hera from them. For some reason I wouldn't have been nearly as worried that just Laura had lied to them. I mean, still hugely dramatic arc, but I didn't see any way back from my imagined Athena/Helo/Adama fallout. (LOOK at all the balls in the air this ep!) I still like Helo, I just don't care what he says anymore.

The Gaius Baltar show - Oh, this is a messed up little man. When he radios over the the fleet is a truly terrific moment for everyone. They'll take Boomer back and giver her her own hangar bay to play with before they even give a kindly LOOK to Dr. Baltar. These are the looks that beat out Lee finding out about Kara's extra-extra-curricular activities.

Six - I've come to the conclusion that nobody but nobody looks hurt the way Tricia Helfer does. I've said before, she may have been cast because she's a supermodel, but this gal can act. "Here, play the same character nine different ways. Most of them look and dress exactly the same. And we need to be able to distinguish them all. Good luck." Nice to see GB still has a Six in his head. I want to see what the GB in Six's Head is saying about all of this. I won't be at all surprised if at the very very end of it all, Six is the hero. Or she has a tragic ghastly end. Either way. (It's not a Joss show. It's not a Joss show. It's not a Joss show.)

Cavil. I can't think of the last character that I loved to hate this much. That's a tough trick. You either actually love the character or you hate them so much you don't want to see them. I really love to hate Cavil. I think the other Cylons feel the same way.

Leoben is now officially the Cylon equivalent of Dualla.

Caught a picture of Xena: Warrior Princess this weekend and thought "Hey! It's New York Times reporter D'Anna Biers!" I'm sure it's not supposed to work like that. Her arc continues to be interesting. I think the difference between Six and Three is three- er, is that Six really knows who GB is (better than he does) and (for WHATEVER reason) loves him anyway, really unconditionally. Three THINKS she knows who he is. I really don't think Three totally GETS GB. It's like in the gazillion monster movies where the scientists try to harness or control whatever unharnessable or uncontrollable thing - Six is the one standing by saying "You're meddling with forces you can't possibly understand." And Six is ok with that. There will come a moment (soon, I'd expect) where Three will be confronted with the awesome purity that is Gaius Baltar's ability to make the WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG choices.

According to Jane "The Passage" Espenson, there is a writer who can just rattle of pages and pages of Hybrid dialogue. Everyone has a skill.

Ok, I know it's only the mid-season break, but I'm sick sick sick sick of the now mandatory cliff-hangar. It comes to the point where when you know it's a break of some kind, you can just see the dominoes being lined up for the big "ARRRRRRRGH!" moment. Cliff-hangars are easy. They really are. Resolving them satisfactorily is not. And writing a satisfying END to something is the hardest thing to do. Which is why it's not done much. We're going to come back next season. Write us a tiny bit of closure and then pick up again next year. You know, last week would have been a good closer.

I wouldn't mind if next season was the last. Maybe season 5. I desperately want this show to have an END. And yes, I want the colonials to find Earth. Maybe that's not the End. Maybe that's the beginning of the last act. Whatever. (My guess is that the Fighting Agathons will be the only ones of the Gang that live to set foot on Earth.) Just don't rattle away on us, Ron.

Ron Moore still hasn't done his podcast this week. No scotch for you, producer man!

Ah well, see you January 21st, when Sci-Fi fraks up my whole BSG viewing routine and moves to Sunday nights.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pulp Fiction

Interesting movie news the last couple of days. First of is the news that Sam "Evil Dead / Spider-Man" Raimi (let's not forget he was the producer behind Xena) is going to be making a new Shadow movie. I think the 1994 Shadow with Alex "Why Are You STILL in the Country" Baldwin is a great "almost" movie. It was like a genuine Shadow movie was being made and then some fool started watching Burton's Batman too much. I also recently read that Raimi almost got to do it back then, but was passed over. So he went and made Darkman. Ahhh a terrible price is sometimes paid.

Now today I read that Guillermo "Hellboy" Del Toro is looking to make Tarzan. I liked Hellboy a lot. I think it skipped a bit in the last act and I always felt it was a little incomplete. But I can come up with worse folks to do Edgar Rice Burrows. Wonder if it will come out at the same time as the perpetualy "Coming Soon" John Carter of Mars?

And now on the opposite side of the pulps, CLASSIC HEROIC LITERATURE. Robert "Back to the Future / Forrest Gump / Contact" Zemeckis is making BEOWULF. This is the stuff that kept J.R.R. Tolkien writing into the wee hours of the dawn. One of Tolkien's earliest works was an english translation. I'm not always crazy about Zemeckis, but you have to admit he pretty much always gets the movie he's going for. I love it when a director gets the clout to make anything he wants and then does.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A New Tim Minear Show Awaiting Cancelation

No, seriously, maybe it WON'T be canceled. Really.

(Tim was the OTHER creator of Firefly and Angel. He's the Republican / Libertarian one.)

"DRIVE is an action-fueled drama following a diverse group of Americans driving for their lives (or the lives of their loved ones) in a sinister, cross-country road race. Some of them have been coerced into joining The Race; others have sought out The Race themselves, hearing rumors of the $32-million prize. Each has a reason to compete. And each must win."

Well, here's the new reason this has just become Must See TV for me: It's rumored that Nathan "Captain Mal" Fillion may pick up the lead.

Go Vote For Lileks

Not sure if you still can, but go here:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peter Boyle 1935-2006

Sad news.

Worried about Hugh 2

As mentioned previously, Hugh Hewitt mentioned that when asked to recommend three movies to explain America to foreigners he suggested Cool Hand Luke, Caddyshack, and Hoosiers.

I've been asked what MY three would be. It's interesting. I have to admit, I tend to come up with WAR movies. Or EXPLORER movies. HEROIC Americans doing AMAZING things with DEATH and DANGER and DERRING-DO. We tend to pick movies that show our best and our worst. Face it, Taxi Driver is not a bad contender. It's hard to come up with a better representative for The Worst. Scarface? (The original OR the remake.) Bonnie and Clyde? I'm sure someone will cry out some poverty infested Chaplin flick or The Grapes of Wrath or some such.

I confess, I haven't seen enough OLD war movies (the movies, not the wars) so Saving Private Ryan would be high on my list. (No, Kelly's Heroes is not my representative American movie. Great flick. Sorry for the negative waves, Moriarty.) Apollo 13 is way up there. I'm a big 'ol movie snob so I want older flicks as well. (Pre-1970's is old, thanks.) Even here, what makes them American? The fact that we can spend that much money on such lofty endeavors? (Going to the Moon, saving the world.) That we are willing to? (Were willing to...)

Comedies - I would think that these would be the definitive American movies. I'm sure the world over we're more represented by Sylvester Stalone than Bill Murray (who is Canadian). Here's where folk get into fist fights. Do you pick something like American Graffiti which tries to show what we like about the U.S., or do you go for Cadyshack or Ghostbusters which has glorious fun with our warts? It's a Wonderful Life (you had to see that coming) or Animal House? Woody Allen makes the definitive NEW YORK movies, sure.

Good grief, this is a tall order. I would think these three movies would have to show what makes us do things. What stops us from doing things. What we want. What makes us laugh. What scares us. Where we've been. Where we're going. (This is why I'm leery of Westerns - Huge part of the American character but they're either mostly candy-coated or they get into Dances with Don't We Just Suck).

My Humble List

  • Superman (1978) - Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Real live New York City. This is what we want to be really badly. Four years after Vietnam and Watergate, Hollywood could still occasionally make movies like this without winking and giggling too much.

  • It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Even if there weren't small towns like this (and from what I've heard from my parents and grandparents, there were) there ought to be. What gets missed in the "God Bless Us Every One" ending is that George Bailey is a pretty miserable fellow who keeps doing the nice things in SPITE of what it gets him. That's American right there, that is.

  • Casablanca (1942) - "The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative." - Winston Churchill. That is Rick Blaine. He lies, he cheats, he steals, he kills, he wins, and in spite of himself winds up the hero. What's more American than that? It's also filled almost entirely with a real cast hiding in America as the last safe bastion of freedom (well, with a film industry). Remember that during the scene where everyone shouts down the Nazis by singing Marseillaise.

There you go. It's not much, but it's mine. I'm sure I missed some dooseys.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Never Happened?

You do know that Iran is hosting a conference that is questioning / denying the Holocaust? It's a MYTH says Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. This is still ILLEGAL in Germany, by the way. And a whole COUNTRY (that is pursuing nuclear weapons) has set this up. I just checked CNN and FoxNews. Nothing. New York Times (by your command) has nothing today. Mel Gibson, well known hater of and danger to Jews (*cough*), lots on him. Nothing on Iran.

It's not breaking news TODAY maybe? The conference started a couple of days ago. Maybe that's why? Apocalypto opened Friday, so what? How long did the stories about the CARTOONS about Mohamed run? BEFORE people started to be killed for them? (Would that be disproportionate response?)

Why is this not news? I mean TOP news?

We will never forget. We just sometimes won't care.

Problems posting?

Is anyone having difficulty posting comments? Viewing the blog at all? Anyone? Anyone? (Do you realize that Beuller... Beuller... is twenty years old?)

Just So You Know

A marathon of BSG Season 3 episodes (Occupation through Hero) will air on Tuesday, December 19th starting at 8AM/7C on the SciFi Channel.

So this week you stragglers can go watch the DVDs, then watch the marathon, and get the three missing eps off of iTunes. All set!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Six Word Stories

This is old, but I never published it. Alan Moore, still a genius.

Worried about Hugh

Hugh Hewitt just mentioned (well, Friday he did - podcast) that when asked to recommend three movies to explain America to foreigners he suggested Cool Hand Luke, Caddyshack, and Hoosiers. I've never seen Cool Hand Luke, but I know that what we have here is a failure to communicate.

Non-Spoiler BSG - Lyrics and Interview

Taken from The Battlestar Galactica Wiki: The lyrics and translation of the BSG opening titles:

Lyrics (Sanskrit):
English translation:
Aum bhoor bhuwah swaha

Tat savitur varenyam

Bhargo devasaya dheemahi

Dhiyo yo naha prachodayat

Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life,

Remover of pain and sorrow,

The Bestower of happiness,

Oh! Creator of the Universe,

May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,

May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.

Also for fun: Harlan "Angriest Man in This or Any Other Universe" Ellison interviews Ron Moore.

BSG Monday - The Passage

HooooooooYEAH! THIS is why we watch BSG. Allright, it's why I watch BSG. I had high hopes for this one, being written by a talented and prolific Buffy and Angel writer, Jane Espenson. (She'll be doing another one on the back half of the season.) This episode was harrowing from almost the first minute. The episode it will be compared to will be "33", I'm sure. They have the same sort of "fleet's in trouble" self-contained structure.

EyeTigh is back in the CiC. And he even gets a mostly warm welcome. (Mostly. More on Felix and ADA in a moment.) I'm getting to where I can watch an episode and spot the scenes that went un-cut (usually really great, textured, character scenes) that caused some huge chunk of PLOT to wind up on the cutting room floor. Coming soon to "Previously on Battlestar Galactica". Well, that's one way to do it. This week it was "Paper shortage." Boy it's good to see EyeTigh and Wild Bill getting along again. Not saying ET isn't still crazy and I'm sure he'll continue to be out-scary anyone in the fleet.

Kara gets more great scenes. Lee mostly doesn't (ok, he had good stuff with the pilots). Is she really THAT much more fun to write? I know, it's a Kat-centric ep, so that automatically brings Starbuckbuckbuck into the mix.

I hope they do something cool with Felix again soon. They seem to be setting him up for it. ADA hasn't had more than exposition this whole season! Can we have a little bit of fallout from Unfinished Business please? Unfinished Unfinished Business?

But enough about the Gang. This was first and foremost the Nuggets' episode. It's been a long run from "Act of Contrition". And this show has done a terrific job of filling up the corners with this crowd. You see them here and there and you tend to remember who they are. It's fun to go back to the early episodes and see the first time you knew who Deckhand #4 was before his tragic death on Kobol. I remember coming back to the Fleet in Occupation and seeing the Nuggets running the show. It was the first really hopefull moment of the episode. And Kat got to be CAG.

Kat. She shaped up to be a really nice foil for Starbuck. (Starbuck's goodbye was perfect. Nice to see that the writers still don't pull punches with Kara. She's an awful person with a heart of gold.) I could have done without the "Secret From Her Past That She Just Can't Live With" cliche - it pretty well marked Kat for Death the moment it came up. She had enough history that they didn't need to make up more. I could have seen her making the same decisions without it. Heck, her "ashamed" speech from Final Cut was enough to motivate this episode.

As awful as it was watching Kat get put through her paces the moments I remember even better from this episode were with Hotdog. That's right, the real life Lee Adama (Edward James Olmos' son). Whereas by the time she died (and it was a fantastic death) you saw Kat's demise coming from a battlestar away, I really didn't know what was going to happen to Hotdog. (Someone is transcribing the flight roster we saw with all the pilots' real names even as we speak, I'm sure. I think HD's last name is Costanza.) Every time they made a run you just KNEW something awful was going to happen and they nailed you to the wall with it every time. Somehow they managed to really communicate what was on the line with this episode. It never felt "safe". Might as well have put "Written and Directed by Joss Whedon" in front of it.

BTW, Ron Moore talks about radiation sickness being Helo's Big Fear after three months on Cylon Occupied Caprica. I didn't really get that from the ep. Nice idea though.

Well, see you next week with The Eye of Jupiter - the mid season finale. Gut-wrenching cliff-hanger to follow, no doubt. Then we come back on January 21 for the new Sunday Night Galactica. Boom boom boom.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Firefly: Don't you just miss it?

I put this together a few years ago. Now through the wonderment of YouTube I can share it with the wide wide world without incurring inordinate bandwidth costs! Shiny!

Maybe someday I'll do the "Serenity" edition. I am a leaf and all that. Definitely the bug that day.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Take that Jack Bauer

For the last few months I've been seeing the signature line

"Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas."
Heh. Very cute. This morning I saw

"Jack Bauer wears Bill Adama pajamas."
So say we all.

p.s. I'll write up Jane "Apartment" Espenson's BSG on Monday. Firmly in my top five episodes. Maybe my favorite. After next week I'll do my "Story So Far" ranking.

Friday, December 08, 2006

An Old Hope

Here's something: Bob Hope used to be funny!

Not to worry, he used to pick on Republicans too. Usually when something unstoppable and vicious couldn't be killed. "It's like a Republican!" Equal time. Those were the days.

Not Just For BSG Anymore

Why doesn't anyone say "Felgercarb"? I gather there was a recent ep of Veronica Mars where the characters started using "Frack". (Aside from being Joe Sweedon's favorite show, enough that he even did a guest appearance, that may get me to watch the show right there.) I guess none of the gorram Firefly curses caught on. Except in China of course.

TMP Shuttle Progress

Some further work on the Surak (or the T'Mas as I'll most likely name it). Shuttle is done (I may go back and redo some of the underside before texturing) so I'm now finishing the sled itself. All textures are temporary.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

We'll Miss You John

Ahhhh, THERE'S the unbiased jounralism I know and love from the Cylons.

"During Bolton's 16 months at the U.N., the fine points of diplomacy took a back seat to his aggressive pursuit of President Bush's global agenda, which ranged from pressing for sanctions against North Korea and Iran to installing U.N. peacekeepers in conflict-wracked Darfur to overhauling the 61-year-old United Nations to meet 21st century challenges."

No editorializing there.

How is establishing sanctions and then not enforcing them diplomacy (Mr. Carter)? How is a U.N. force in Darfur BUSH'S global agenda? Besides, isn't that what the U.N. is FOR? Blah blah not the world's police blah blah multi-lateral approach, blah blah BLAH BLAH #*&@ING BLAH!

(Listening to Chess while writing about the U.N. is a recipie for cardiac arrest, let me tell you.)

Scary Mary

And in today's "That's not RIGHT" category:

Hide your children. Heh.

It's That Day

Can you imagine living in a country like England? Italy? (Wait, let me check my blog stats. Ok, you, you on the Isle of Man looking for "Jamie Bamber", you don't have to imagine.) My point, such as it is, is that we have almost 225 years of History as a nation, 500 some years (from a European perspective, yes, yes, Lief Erickson, Native Americans, whatnot) to remember. As opposed to having history back to the DAWN of HISTORY or the like. So we don't have to remember much, as compared to the above. Our geography is tougher, sure. That's why we don't know where anything ELSE is in the world. Until there is weapons fire exchanged, then we find out where it is. (I had no idea that Israel was completely surrounded by folk that hate it. After this summer, now I do.)

Anyway, history. American history has some wild stuff in it. (Andrew "Twenty Dollar Bill" Jackson being violently opposed to paper money is a funny bit.) When I was a kid, we learned Columbus, Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, hurry through WWII the school year is almost out, annnnnnd, sorry, time to go home and spend the next four months inside or at the swimming pool. See you next year. I have a basic criteria for minimum knowledge of American history: July 4th, 1776. This is the only DATE I REQUIRE. Know when it is, know what it is, buncha guys in wigs writing on parchment. Bonus points for John Hancock.

I would ask that you know The Civil War is mid 1800s. I have a tough time with the date m'self. You can cheat, sure. Remember that the war started RIGHT after Lincoln's election (I insist you associate the civil was with Lincoln - maybe Gone With the Wind) and so therefore the year must be divisible by four, plus one. Or you can reverse engineer "Four score and seven years".

Know WWII was mid Twentieth Century. Japan, Germany. And here's the other date that while I don't think you HAVE to know, it might be good if it creates a small but distinct tingle when you hear it. If "a day that shall live in infamy" means Ben Afleck to you, then that's just the world we live in. But at least at that point you realize that there are ships involved and people not watching much television.

December 7th, 1941. (Variations of "FDR lied, people died" is a curiously consistent refrain when I google it.)

Here's an interesting article on the Greatest Generation that participated on that day. It's amazing to think that it wasn't' THAT long ago that there were American Civil War vets walking about (mid Nineteenth Century, see above). That people who grew up without radios or telephones or cars (due to technological unavailability, not economic unatainability) one day saw a fella from Dayton walk on an extra-terrestrial rock. (July 20th, 1969 is another big one with me, but it's totally optional.)

So, to recap: Jul 4 1776, mid 1800s, Lincoln, mid 1900s, Germany, Japan. (I'll add Sep 11 2001 when I'm older.)

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Less Trot from the Fox

Well this is kind of sad news. Not dead guy sad news, but still... I wish I were in a position to decide to only work once a week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Help! It's a big guy in a fake beard!

My wonderful sis in law (no, the other one) sent me this. This time next year she'll be a mom. Nice to know she's doing the prep work.

Klaatu Barada Nikto - The Musical Edition

I'm listening to the score to The Day the Earth Stood Still, by Bernard "Psycho / North by Northwest / Citizen Kane" Herrmann. ("Who is this Bernard Herrmann, and why do we have to keep hearing about how great he is?"). The film was directed by Robert "Sound of Music / West Side Story / Star Trek: The Motion Picture" Wise.

The score uses two theremins. This is the quintesential Sci-Fi instrument. It goes weeeeeeOOOOOOOOOooooooooooOHHHHHHHHHH. It's actually a very pretty sounding instrument, when it's not be played to be W-eee-eeee-iiiiiii-rrrrrr-dddddd! (Boowhaaaahahahahahahahhahaha!)

I remember being at Bob's house with all our movie geek buddies. Bob's Dad had a movie scene (Spellbound) with an "unusual instrument that you miiiiight not recognize" he said with a twinkle. It played about half a second before most of us chimed in (in harmony) "Theremin!" Wrong crowd, sir. Heh.

Happy Birthday Walt!

Walt Disney. Love him or hate him, he still makes George Lucas look like a poser.

Hanging Out with the BSG Folks and misc BSG babble

Not only am I blogging about BSG, now I'm blogging about the BSG podcasts. I listened to the "Round Table" BSG podcast. It's like three hours long! (That's a LOT of scotch.) They recorded it at Ron Moore's apartment in Vancouver with Mrs. Ron, Helo, Lee, Baltar, and - BADGER (Firefly, go watch it)! First off, it's James Callis, Jamie "I'm Not Really American" Bamber, and Mark "Badger" Shepard - all Brits. Jamie Bamber sounds exactly like Callis with a higher voice. At one point they're all three talking. It's like the Geico Lizard family reunion. Seriously.

Arrrgh - it's a little bit spoilery. The spoilery bits are funny (you can make some leaps of logic - they involve Badger's character), because Mrs. Ron doesn't know anymore than we do and she starts getting testy. It's also fun to hear "the gang" wandering in and out of the kitchen, finding out they're out of ice, etc. It's nerdy fun to be sure. They keep the tape running when Penikett gets his keys, says he's been drinking water the last hour, he and Ron talk about the next time he's on set, and all the "I'm about to leave" babbling that people do.

They talk about the scene where Laura finds out about her cancer and all of the Caprica ships flying over. I keep waiting for Shepard to mention that Serenity flew over in that scene. The Firefly cameo!

Jamie Lee (might use that rather than NFL) is somewhat dismissive of the idea of "genocide" (no genes) regarding Cylons. Penikett says "This is the point when Jamie has had enough scotch that he actually BECOMES Apollo."

Sounds like Badger's a fan. I mean, knows the show backwards and forwards. Cool.

"Downloaded" is now forever "Cylons in Coffee Shops" (Jamie Bamber).

The cast is all still firmly in love with "33". Can't blame them.

They actually explain why Six doesn't have a name. Baltar never bothered to find out. Ever. It became a game for Baltar to see how long he could NOT know her name. Perfect. For GB that's just perfect.

When asked what other character they might want to play, almost everyone says "Baltar". Except James Callis, who wants to play Six. So he can have scenes with Baltar. Bwahahahaha!

Anyway, it's a good rambling romp and worth listening to while you do something else. I mean, don't just sit and listen to a podcast for three hours, you could be watching Angel or something!

Speaking of podcasts, this is an interesting article. I never listened to all of this podcast. Now I'll have to go back.

On teh internets, apparently "Unfinished Business" is becoming the hotly contested ep. I loved it. Lots. Like, Final Cut loved. Maybe not Scar loved. I can't tell if Mrs. Ron hated it or not. Her post may have been sarcastic. She did mention that she now hates Starbuck. But that's part of the fun. At National Review Podhoretz loved it. (Gotta be careful, the last time I posted a link to an NRO BSG article I started a fight in another state.) I just love seeing National Review posts pop up at TrekBBS or Whedonesque. Whedon and Trek fans are not the most conservative groups out there. Mrs. Ron reads NRO. I gather Mr. Ron does not. Heh. This is now officially a Love it or Hate it ep. I wonder if "Pegasus" falls into this cat? I loved it. SWIMW hated it. I mean, lots. But she loved "UB", so there we are.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday BSG - An Episode About Boxey!?

Oh, BOXING! Well, wasn't that fun? All the heartbreak you could possibly want served up a in bite-sized 40 minute chunk. Starbuck is evil. We know that now. And Apollo is just bad choices on legs. Poor ADA (Anastasia Duala-Apollo, keep up). (Oh, wait, I'm still mad at her for the whole Billy thing. Way to go, Lee! I think the only one I'm cutting any slack anymore is EyeTigh!) Listen to the podcast this week, it's a hoot. It's Ron Moore, Mrs. Ron, Grace "Rhino Thinks Sharon is Hot" Park, and Tahmoh "I Can't Pronounce Your Name But You're Helo" Penikett. Some fun stories like the fact that Penikett is a big boxing fan, been boxing since high school or something, and the original draft had Apollo cleaning the mat with him. Actually, the ORIGINAL draft didn't have him at all. THEN he got to be mat cleaner. Then he said to Moore "Have you seen me? I'm Helo!" Heh.

You know, for a really terrific episode, I don't have THAT much to write about it (comparatively). Great performances all round. Michael "EyeTigh" Hogan continues to just seethe with every frame he's in. I'm looking forward to the DVD's deleted scenes. Apparently they knew that they wanted to flash back to the "One Year Later" missing year, and they had to use the New Caprica sets while they could, months before they'd shoot the rest of the episode, so as usual they shot more than they could use. One of the things they shot was how EyesTigh and Starbuck got to be buddies. I was more interested in seeing that than the Lee / Kara thing (which I was plenty interested in, sure). I mean, just from their last scenes together in Lay Down Your Burdens (the laugh riot showdown with her, Lee, and Anders) you got a good idea of the rift. I didn't think the specifics were necessary. Oh, except the specifics were more heart-rending than I could have thought possible, so ok. Anyway, they filmed the Tigh / Kara stuff (don't get any ideas you slash nutjobs you) but had to cut it for time. (They really should just start making two-hour episodes.) DVD, here we come!

"The Fighting Agathons" is one of my favorite lines, so when you read TFA, that's who I'm talking about. Kind of like NFL (Non-Fat Lee.)

The best part of the ep was when Wild Bill shut down the Dance and left us all thinking "That's it? What about the Main Event?" THEN we got Kara and Lee. And they were just so very very FURIOUS. I mean, EyeTigh even took a step back. Wow.

Well, next week is Jane "Apartment" Espenson, who was mortified at having to follow this episode. "I'm like the act following The Beatles!" said Jane "I AM the Nerd Trio" Espenson. Sometimes you have to roll the hard six.

p.s. "Hero" made such a non-impression on me that I totally spaced that Three (the press is Evil) had a toaster shoot her in the head so she would resurect and she wound up back at the Opera on Kobol (possibly seeing the other five Cylons)! (Why don't the Cylons settle there instead of Earth? Surely THEY don't care that Kobol is infested with Cylons? They're like the little brother that only wants something because YOU want it. So I've heard...)

Good grief, you'd think they were Nikes!

Playstation 3 - Game Box of DEATH! Playing the games doesn't lead to violence, just HAVING the games leads to violence.

Simon Says

Hello, my name is Bill and I'll be serving your evil today. A subpage of THIS. Yeah, there goes your day.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Album Covers and iPod Advances

The newer iPods (of which one I own) display a little thumbnail of the album art, if it's available. Every once and a while I'll take a random sampling of my music and add the appropriate artwork to the collection. Cool. Very 21st century. It almost makes you not miss flying cars so much. (Nobody wants everyone to have flying cars. They just want flying cars for their own selves, soaring above the unwashed teaming masses. Just saying.)

I've discovered a dark side to the technology: Random play is no longer as fun if I'm looking anywhere near at the iPod. I used to be able (BSG, season one, Kobol's Last Gleaming: The Shape of Things to Come) (sorry, that was what randomed while I was typing this) (oh, and I got it wrong, it's Passacaglia - same ep, same theme, it's when Six and Baltar see the baby crib) to play iPod-name-that-tune. Yes, I know there is an actual name-that-tune game on the iPod - not the same thing. Anyway, if I'm looking at the iPod and no art comes up I can handily ignore the text and say "Zanzibar, Billy Joel, 52nd Street!" and feel all knowlegey (about my own music, but hey, I have 9,218 songs on my iPod). Now I look over and see a big bright album cover! Harder to ignore, easier to see. But I've discovered (Ah! The video game of Tomorrow Never Dies! No idea the track title) that a good way to get around this is to blog. Figured I'd share.

Speaking of iPods (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - ah this is a good one, it's Zaphod and Marvin and the Tank) today's PvP is hilarious. ("What a depressingly stupid machine!")

Composer Shirley Walker 1945-2006

Well, this sucks. Shirley Walker has passed away.

Here is my favorite Walker story:

For those who want the "Latin" lyrics used in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, there is an amusing and fascinating anecdote. Shirley Walker tells the story.

"As you know, the music team is rushing to the finish line as a film is in its final dub phase. Even the known orchestrators are not always given the credit they so justly deserve for insuring the timely execution (so to speak) of the score. I've become tired of fighting for credits for the support team that helps pull me through the final throes of recording and mixing my scores.

The choir for Masks gave me the opportunity to rectify this terrible situation. I made a chart by number of syllables of every music persons name backwards to use in creating the language you hear. 'Oh Nahlim Mot!', the phrase the score begins with, is Tom Milano, the music editor of most of my features, whom I originally worked with doing the Flash TV series.

You get the idea. It was working so well, I realized that I would need to include some of the film producers and executives at Warner Bros. After all, they were paying for my little inside joke. People do like to be included in these sorts of things. I had to lie to the Warner Bros. legal department person who called to ask me what the language was and what was being said.
They certainly didn't want to be a party to me saying "screw Warner Bros." in Danish. I told them it was an obscure nonsensical choral language that existed only in out of print orchestration books.

I think I actually spent more time on my plot than I did on the score during the week I was preparing the choral cues. It was quite fun to see the looks on peoples faces, as they realized what they were hearing. Only two people had deciphered the puzzle by the time we recorded the choir. It was very difficult for the singers to sing the strange words. I'm sure they would
have had more fun doing it, had I been able to include them in the joke too.

While I was mixing the score, I had Bobby Fernandez (Zed-nahn-fur E-Bob) record the choir accappella onto a seperate DAT, ostensibly for my sample reel. The look on Tom's face as he began to suspect what I had done was well worth the whole deception. He finally turned to me and said "You didn't do what I think you've done, did you?".

The rest is history. Everyone on the music team has a tape of the singing of their names (we transfered to 1/4" tape and played it backwards; the old "back-masking" trick)."