And the FireFly fizzled
Entered 10:21:41 AM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
This is not a slight, rather when I say "adequate" I mean that it was not bad. It handily disposed of the drek that is Star Trek Enterprise, for example, but it does not, for lack of a better word, "transcend" into legend like Babylon 5.
For a drama, it was fairly standard fare. For Sci-Fi, it was very "realistic", but it didn't push the boundaries (aside from CGI, where the use of CG objects as solid ws done very well). The whole "Chinese influence" is hardly novel, at least to someone like me who's seen a lot of Sci-Fi (although usually Japan is the other pole, not China).
I suppose what got to me was the lack of what I expected Firefly to be considering it was from Joss Whedon. I expected sparkling wit and wrenching tension, all of which the episodes delivered, but sparsely and unevenly. Only two episodes stood out in my mind as being clearly superior works, namely Our Mrs. Reynolds and Objects in Space. The humour in OMS was top-notch and consistent, and the villain in OiS was superbly realized-- a creepy, disconcerting fellow who exuded a sense of true menace and unpredictability. Rarely have I seen such a fleshed out villain in Sci-Fi.
Now I suppose my main reason for rating FireFly so low is that I have come to expect dense, layered plot arcs from most of my science fiction (thanks to Babylon 5 and the last 4 years of Star Trek: DS9).
However, in retrospect, I realise I am probably being harsh since FireFly never got a full first season and it's painfully obvious an arc was being slowly built up re: River and the Shepherd.
As I recall, the first season of Babylon 5 similarly felt like nothing more than a watered-down Star Trek clone to me, until the very last episode of that season, when I realized what it could be.
In that episode, the main characters have uncovered a plot that involves the assassination of the Earth Alliance president. In any other Sci-Fi show, they would have been able to get the word out, to warn the President in time. Instead, the officer in charge of the investigation gets shot in the back before he can warn anyone, and the viewers are left to watch helplessly as the Presidential shuttle explodes in the void. THAT was the moment when I knew the series was going to be different, daring--that it was going to transcend the bounds of conventional American science fiction.
FireFly had no such "moment" for me. It was fun and amusing, but with only two out of fourteen episodes really rising to the level of "keepers" for me, I have to call it a series that left me... well, that just left me. I don't hate it, nor am I rabidly fanatical about it. I would like to hope the movie answers some unanswered questions, but I won't lose sleep waiting for the answers.
It's sad in a way-- had this come out around 1986, before the various Star Treks (not all of which stank to high heaven), Babylon 5, Stargate and Farscape, it might have been a revolutionary, "mind-blowing" concept. But having seen all those shows and more over time, and having been steeped in plot-rich Japanese sci-fi anime, I can only call it a solid entry amongst all others in the genre. It has its charm, but I fear it will end up the Brisco County Jr. of Science Fiction shows (barring a second season, in which case all bets are off).
At least they got "Kaylee" off the prozac drip rather quickly-- (or is it Ritalin, I can never remember). If there's one
thing FireFly doesn't need, it's the distinction of having a character that makes TNG's Wesley Crusher look stolid and mature. (Shudder).
Joss Whedon's Firefly
Entered 10:05:39 PM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
When I first heard the advance press previews for Joss Whedon's Sci-Fi series Firefly and saw the first trailers, I expected a cross between Trigun and Outlaw Star. Having finally started on the DVDs of the series, I am pleasantly surprised to see that while the show does have many similarities to both "Space Western" anime, it stands enough on its own to not be an annoying ripoff.
What is annoying, however, is the annoying "happiness and light" character of Kaylee. Doubly annoying is that I was teased with the quite pleasant prospect of her extermination, only to find that she in fact lived, a joke which even the show revels in as being "psychotic". (For that level of self-referentiality I can forgive it).
Knowing what I know about good drama, I am willing to bet that before this series is through, Kaylee will be seen to be the most traumatized, mentally battered individual in the series. There is no way a human is that happy without a) either being lobotomized, or b) compensating for some massive trauma.
Of course I would be tempted to say she was an alien, but supposedly one of the "radical innovations" of this show is that it's Space Sci-Fi without aliens. (Sorry, Red Dwarf beat them to the punch with that over 10 years ago, rumours of a Dalek invasion notwithstanding).
Still, 1.5 hours in it looks quite promising. Let's see how it holds up, shall we?
Omega take this damnable machine
Entered 06:03:41 PM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
Now I get a new motherboard and the PROCESSOR is faulty.
By the ancient and venerable seal of Rassilon, if the *RAM* turns out to be bad next I'm going to pitch this whole thing into a black star!
Honestly... I do like to upgrade, but the ONE time in my life when I DON'T want to power up the machine, a total
refit becomes necessary.
Entered 10:23:52 AM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
And then what do I see on the page?
"Dec 22, 2003 10:06 am - Delivered XXXX XXXX XXXXX FL - No signature required - release waiver on file "
The blasted thing had been languishing at my door for I know not HOW MANY hours....
It is so utterly, pathetically sad when I have to use the computer to become aware of events transpiring at my
Entered 09:59:27 AM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
Lately I've been having troubles with my laptop spontaneously rebooting... research into this has led me to this interesting bit of general-purpose information, which I log here for future reference...
"By default, Windows 2000/XP are set to automatically restart the computer on such a fatal error, which can make it difficult to catch the error displayed so as to get an idea as to the exact problem occurring. In order to prevent the operating system from restarting automatically in this way you need to change a Windows Start-up and Recovery option...
1. Right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop, and select Properties.
This will allow you to view the error message that gets displayed when the system crash occurs."
Dismay in the Heart of Winter
Entered 06:58:31 PM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
With one Parent dead and another worrying herself sick, I am painfully aware of the fact that at some point I will be cast adrift into the cold universe all by myself, isolated and forced to rely on only my own devices.
I do have some loyal and trustworthy friends, for which I am grateful-- however, as time has painfully taught me, aside from them, the vast majority of those who have called me "friend" have used the appellation somewhat loosely, being more than content to retreat into the woodwork of creation, scuttling back into obscurity like Blattidea when association no longer finds itself congruent with convenience or advantage.
I find it a perpetual source of annoyance that even though these-- how shall I term it, being coldly realist-- marginal acquaintances (no, you sick sods, this isn't about anything as mushy as love, if you want that kind of nonsense there is no shortage of mellifluous wordsmiths out there willing and eager to treat you to their burgeoning banquets of overblown angst and agony)1 have deigned to (for all intents and purposes) abandon me, though I have done them no perceivable harm, indeed having treated them with nothing but dignity and respect and going out of my way to be helpful as needed-- I still worry about them every now and then (but not to the point of debility or even deep concern). The fact that I even still cogitate on the matter of their existence irks me. As Tony Soprano might say "They oughta be dead to me".
But more than that, I find it deeply disturbing that I might have to cast my lot with the like of these fickle individuals in future. I view friendship as an important, somewhat reciprocal arrangement, not lightly regarded nor carelessly discarded, and I always find myself aghast when those around me exhibit exactly the opposite attitude and consequent behaviour.
I used to think myself a fairly good judge of character-- indeed, it is why the number of friends I have is literally countable on one hand. I do not socialize for the sake of socialization-- I find that route tiring and insincere. I associate with those I have observed and found to be--to be blunt about it-- not utter wastes of my time. If I want to be "dumbed down", I'll watch FOX-- there's enough blither there to stunt my intellectual growth for aeons. I deal with those I feel I can communicate with and, in the best case, trust-- or at least not count on to stab me in the back. That's about all I ask for. If I merely speak to someone now (besides the obvious social platitudes), that's a "big deal" as far as I am concerned.
But now I question my own skills. Perhaps being too insulated-- being only really surrounded by those who I more or less understand through the course of years and the operation of time-- has dulled my ability to read people, but in recent years I have indeed been stabbed in the back, and more-or-less abandoned by a good many people I used to think I was on fairly good terms with.
Usually, if it were an isolated incident, I might let things slide-- but this pattern has been going on for some time now, and the mere fact that I am writing about it indicates the depth of my ire on the topic. People with whom I used to converse on a fairly regular basis now no longer deign to even answer simple E-mails.
What irks me the most, I suppose, is the lingering uncertainty of it all. If I offend, and am told to "smeg off", or something, at least I know where I stand. Silence is inscrutable, thus puzzling, and hence annoying for someone such as myself who detests the opacity of mysterious circumstance.
What does this have to do with my thoughts on my inevitable solitude?
Well, far be it from me to visit the sins of some insensitive clods (thank you, Slashdot) on an entire species... but if my faculties in regards to the accurate estimation of the reliability of humans is so far off now (as opposed to in my youth), then I truly will be cast amongst the savages when I grow older.
Every now and then, in mellower moments of introspection, I ponder the notion of solitude and the contrasting concept that perhaps it would not be that bad to rely on others for companionship or support.
Then I chance across sites like this, and the true nature of the human beast-- which in my addled sentiment I ofttimes tend to gloss over-- is laid bare before me once again. Raw in its repugnant repulsiveness, it re-hardens my ancient resolve against wasting my time trying to satisfy the whims of some fickle, superficial homo sapien sapien that would but smile brightly, all the while waiting, biding its time to skulk off and commit some disgusting act in furtherance of its giddy descent towards ultimate abasement.
If this is what humans do on their spare time (and I must admit I always rather thought it was, but not THIS bad) then it's no wonder I can't even get a decent E-mail out of half of them. I feel almost filthy being in the same quadrant as these ape-monkeys now... Those who are my friends now should count themselves as exceedingly fortunate at this moment; as if I was feeling introverted and isolationist before-- after seeing that motley crew of reprobate degenerates-- now I just want to pitch myself into the heart of a black star-- at least it would be far more sanitary there.
My wonderful thought for the Yuletide Season.
1 - The wordsmith in question knows who I mean. Heh.
Entered 01:44:51 PM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
These people cannot say things along the order of "The moon rose and it was bright".
Instead they spew out vomitus diarrhic along the lines of "The serene orb ascended, casting its ethereal glow through the mysterious wafting ether of velvet night."
Bah. And of course other humans eat this up as "inspired" writing.
Behold the 'Spider Hole'
Entered 03:08:01 PM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
I laughed out loud upon seeing MSNBC's latest foray into cutting edge journalism--
A life size, sturdy, plywood replica of the "Spider Hole" Saddam Hussein was hiding in, which they were all too produd to display, offering up a tour for the lucky viewers.
How long before this becomes a "thrilling attraction" in some Terran theme park?
"Now for 5 euros you TOO can experience the conditions in Saddam's Spider Hole!"
Ladies and Gentlemen, We got him!
Entered 10:08:19 AM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
It's rather amusing, watching the media spin masters try to pre-emptively cover up all the awkward questions his capture will bring.
For example, he cannot be a doppelganger because "US Intelligence never gave credence to the theory that he used doppelgangers." So all the time they were tearing their hair out about them in the popular press at the beginning of the war, they must have been engaged in some clever disinformation ploy. Yes, that's it.
Funny pre-emptive move #2 "Saddam was not a 'details man' so he wouldn't know anything about WMD other than what his advisors [who knew he had none] told him" and its equally preposterous corollary "the war is his fault because he TOLD US he had the WMD and he gassed the Kurds years ago!"
So the Totalitarian knows nothing of his own arsenal? A man who lives and dies by the sword would just tke the word of his henchmen that he had WMDs? And so what if he said he had them? We had intelligences agencies and the UN making it quite clear he did not have them. The press is trying to imply that the war leaders ignore their own data in favour of the rantings of someone they have always tried to marginalize as mad or now, misinformed(!). They are trying to say the inference of WMDs was as legitimate a reason for the invasion of a whole nation--and the deaths of our troops--was the real legitimate presence of them (cf. North Korea).
If we had no data to the contrary I might accept that line of reasoning-- but even to this very day the UN maintains they have no evidence of WMD. None have been uncovered even though the nation is in US hands, the inspectors found none, and none were used during the war. Sorry, Mr. Rumsfeld, but the evidence of absence is JUST THAT-- the evidence of ABSENCE. We went to war over little more than a grudge and a Haliburton kickback. Of course I'm sure the captured Saddam will be pressed to provide you a bit more cover, as these pre-emptive media "retcons" already indicate.
Back to today-- when the Iraqis showed US soldiers on TV, being asked questions, the US was up in arms that this was a violation of the Geneva convention. How now is Saddam's getting his tonsils checked any different? He is a POW...
"But no" say the British, "the Geneva convention does not apply because there is no war!" No war? There is still an occupying force in the nation actively engaged in combat operations. Funny how the rules just don't seem to apply depending upon which side of the gun you happen to be.
I would dearly love to see his trial. There isn't enough comedy on Television these days. Does he deserve what he gets? Absolutely. But did we have the legal right to go in and give it to him? Unlike 1991, absolutely not. At least not for any reasons yet put forward.
"The matter of why Doctor Xadium's Time Capsule is fixed in the curious shape of a 'beverage vending machine' from late 20th-century Earth [Humanian Era 607934] is a subject never broached in polite conversation. Ever. Whilst some have scurrilously posited that Xadium cannot properly effect the repair of a simple Type 60 Chamelionic circuit, it is generally accepted that these disgraceful innuendo are slanderous and utterly unfounded."
- Lord Sendrilmetavanskastaron, "The Gallifreyan Renegades", thirty-eleventh ed.
D O C T O R
"Doctor Xadium was an errant Time Lord whose overactive sense of humour at High Council meetings earned him a more or less permanent holiday from Gallifrey.
Stuck on Earth trying to cobble together a new TARDIS-- but equipped with nothing more than the technological equivalent of bear-skins and stone knives (as well as some metal tape)-- he decided to use his time to follow the myriad trends in Terran society, studying their crude, primitive laws and laughable attempts to improve themselves scientifically.
Aproximately 26 Earth-years into his exile, in order to offset his growing frustration with the 'self-involved, short-sighted, bombastic ape-monkeys with delusions of grandeur"', he took to irregularly recording his more sardonic-- or dare we say even cynical-- views on the ever-progressing devolution of 21st century human civilization (not to mention his own petty irritations) in his 900-year diary, excerpts of which we have extracted from the data core of his notoriously insecure Terran 'computing device' (which in terms of function is slightly less advanced then a Gallifreyan child's first number line).
It is almost refreshing to note the ceaseless amazement he displays at the Terran propensity to supress any information, be it political, archaeological or scientific, that gets in the way of their pedestrian, self-absorbed world-view. It is for this reason that historians have labeled Doctor Xadium 'The Discoverer of Obvious Truth'
- Lord Sendrilmetavanskastaron, "The Gallifreyan Renegades", thirty-eleventh ed., WHO IS GOING TO GET SUED ONCE I GET BACK TO GALLIFREY BECAUSE HE DOESN'T REALIZE MY SUB-ETHER NET CONNECTION STILL WORKS AND I CAN SEE THE ABSOLUTE RUBBISH HE'S SPEWING FORTH OVER THERE AT THE OPPOSITE END OF THE GALAXY
T H E