chronovore: (Default)
I was out of the USA in 1993 and 1994, so I missed the last two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite Japan having just about every popular American TV series available for rental, TNG has not been available from any of the local places. A friend at work is a big fan though, so he lent me his Japanese-region collection of Season 6 and 7.Yahoo!

My wife is willing to watch all manner of SF with me; we watched Millennium from start to finish in the US, all of Evangelion (and we both hated the ending together). She loves Fringe, enjoyed The Lost Room, and Firefly. But my wife hates Star Trek. She can't deal with aliens who are only differentiated by skin tone and some funky prosthetic glued to their forehead.

So I can't watch them with her, she's not interested; and the friend at work didn't want me to keep his pristine, perfectly kept mint collectors' edition sets for a year. And I didn't want to either, since my son has a tendency to get into my office, rifle my toys, and generally explore a lot. And by "explore" I mean "take apart, apply stickers, and otherwise damage."

Thank goodness for Handbrake! I've ripped all 30 or so unseen episodes to .h264 MP4 files and am watching them during my commute on the train each day.

Picard has the only haircut which has aged well. Troi and Crusher's hairstyles are pretty frightening, and Deanna Troi's jumpsuit, horrible even at the time, is leagues worse now. Dropping her in science blues was a good decision.

I'm looking forward to catching up. The show is still oddly inspiring.
chronovore: (furious)
January 2006A nightmarish neighbor: noisy, nosy, now in jail / Police say they hauled guns, ammo, drugs from his home:
For three years, Bertone, who once worked for the city Housing Authority and ran for the Board of Supervisors in 2000, has wreaked all sorts of havoc in an otherwise quiet community in the southeastern part of the city known as Little Hollywood, officials and his neighbors said Wednesday.

Bertone, 54, doesn't just play loud music, authorities say. At all hours of the day and night, he has blasted police radio broadcasts, shrill oscillating tones, Spanish dance tunes and other noise from speakers he installed on the outside of his home at 336 Lathrop Ave. Police said they could hear the racket from 100 yards away.

Bertone isn't just a nosy neighbor, they add.

Police said he hooked up floodlights and six cameras that swept the block. Inside his home, he could monitor his neighbors' movements on four video screens.
Flash forward to November 2006 - SAN FRANCISCO / Blaze guts home of ex-noisy neighbor / Fire called accident -- owner plans to leave neighborhood:
The home of a San Francisco man who once tormented his neighbors by tracking them with surveillance cameras and blaring music from the roof went up in flames Wednesday, in what firefighters called an accidental blaze.

The two-alarm fire broke out just after noon near the water heater in Don Bertone's home at 336 Lathrop Ave., in a southeastern neighborhood known as Little Hollywood. Firefighters believe heat from the appliance ignited fumes from a nearby can of gasoline.

LEAST ACCIDENTAL FIRE EVAR.
chronovore: (OMFG)
Earlier I railed against The Dollhouse. I take it all back.

...Actually, no. I stand by everything I said about the first five episodes. I was completely right; the series just improves a lot with episode 8, and the last two episodes (11, 12) are really good. There's a -lot- of thought-provoking science fiction happening in there, and a reasonable amount of literary depth.

So I'm in for Season 2. I'll watch it regularly, enthusiastically. And if Joss stabs anyone in the fucking chest, I'm going to fly to cali and headbutt him.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Or I'm just not that into it.

I'm watching the series now, and up to ep. 5 -- it's no Firefly. It's no Buffy, either. The basic premise should be to have at least one character we like or sympathize with. Because Echo has no sense of self in her tabula rasa state, and the other characters she plays are not around long enough for us to develop a bond with (and are sometimes not that likable either), and because all the other Actives also have this characteristic. This leaves the only consistent characters to be the highly morally compromised agency members, such as their security chief egotist, the programmer egotist, the boss-lady egotist, and Echo's handler who is complicit in the abusive operations. Sure he's looking after her, but if he's got any real streak of morality he'd do what he could to rescue Echo and expose the company. Or possibly he's a long-term fabricated amalgam personality himself, incapable of betrayal. That might be interesting.

Then there's an FBI agent who is being successfully duped and observed at every turn,who has had exactly one montage sequence in the first 5 eps. supposedly showing how tough and determined he is. 

Did Whedon forget what drives character dramas? Or is he just working us around until he stabs someone in the chest?

Saturday

Aug. 24th, 2008 11:56 am
chronovore: (OMFG)
Yesterday was interesting:
Had lunch with The Wife's nursing students, as a kind of English conversation salon. It was fun; we have a local teppanyaki wine bar that's really a nice, relaxing place for hanging out. It went well but the aircon was hard-pressed to deal with the body heat and teppan heat while prepping food for 18 people. Never seen my son look quite so overwhelmed; he was acting really shy at first, because he probably couldn't decide who to try and charm first; a couple of the ladiez were incredibly pretty. Like, "if these two show up in a nursing outfit, I'd be expecting a porn bass-riff to start immediately." Va-va-voom. The boy eventually got over his reticence and dragged one of them out for a walk, little Casanova.

While we ate, we got to see the crowd headed for Daicon 7 at Namikili Hall. The restaurant's on the main drag between the train station and the hall. Lots of arrested development geeks, surprising me how much the geeks/nerds/SF dorks in the USA have in common with the ones in Japan.

After lunch we split up; my friend Jeremy from NZ and I went to check out the Con, and were suprised to find out it cost 13,000 yen to get in! We opted for a coffee at Starbucks and I checked the local movie times. Star Wars: The Clone Wars CG movie is playing, and I was determined to see it on the big screen. I went back and checked to make sure the pricing thing was correct, and lo and behond, it was actually FREE to get into the dealer's room and the 2nd floor galleries.

We checked the dealer room, which was tiny and pretty sad, like... really sadly lacking in anything. If I had been a fan of the fanfic manga, limited release DVD or CG-manga scene, I might have been excited to meet some heavy players in that scene, but it just isn't my thing. Then at one corner I saw some stuff from FEWTURE MODELS, with work by Yasushi Nirasawa, one of my HEROES.

On closer inspection, it turned out there was a book signing by him at 14:30, less than 7 minutes from that moment! I bought a book voucher and a t-shirt and headed up to the signing. I was the only foreigner there, and pretty much stood out readily. He greeted me in rough English, and I talked about how his stuff has been an inspiration. He looked stunned that he has had a foreigner fan for more than 10 years, since I got in with CREATURE CORE some 13 years ago. I asked him to push for a reprint, since I left my copy with Jeff Wilcox as a present prior to coming to Japan (thinking I'd be easily able to replace it). He also came up with a neat way of signing my T-shirt and book, and thanked me for the support. Daicon went from being a zip-bupkiss experience to being EPIC!

I'll post separately about Star Wars.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Charlie's Diary: Bechdel's Law:
Alison Bechdel, cartoonist and author of Dykes to Watch Out For, has an interesting observation on movies — a little test she applies to them. It's a very short checklist, viz:

1. Does it have at least two women in it,

2. Who [at some point] talk to each other,

3. About something besides a man.

I bring this up as a point of interest, because of what it says about the blind spots of popular entertainment. Most Hollywood movies fail this test; if you extend #3 only slightly, to read "About something besides men or marriage or babies", you can strike out about 50% of the small proportion of mass-entertainment movies that do otherwise seem to pass the test.
chronovore: (OMFG)
It appears that DaiCon 7, an international science fiction convention, will be held at Namikili Hall near my home in Kishiwada, Osaka over Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 23~24).

If any of y'all are planning on attending, drop me a line here or in email.
chronovore: (OMFG)
Tor.com / Science fiction and fantasy / Blog posts / Freebies Bonanza: a bunch of full books in various non-DRM'd formats, and bunches of wonderful fantasy art desktops are available for a limited time at Tor. Wow. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] theothermichael!
chronovore: (Default)
[Error: unknown template video]
WARNING: Only watch this if you have no interest in the movie, or have NO CARE of spoilers. Most of the explosions, characters, and plot points (as well as reveals) appear to be in the trailer.

That said, I'm still hyped to see it. I like rollercoasters, even though I can see where the tracks go.
chronovore: (OMFG)
BG&E2

Let EA never, ever buy Ubisoft. This kind of thing would never happen.
chronovore: (Default)
Being Human (Wikipedia): I found this online and recommend you adopt your P2P or YouTube vector of choice and do the same. This is a post-Buffy pop-horror show with hyoooooj potential. It centers around a few supernatural creatures trying to make their way in the human world, trying to lead a "normal" life. Think "Party of Five" meets "Supernatural," except with better writing and less pretty performers.

The acting is good, the dialog is largely realistic but peppy, as are the relationships, at least when considered within the context of badgered minority groups having a common theme -- and always being willing to badger even less fortunate groups than their own, ironically.

They also introduced plenty of seeds for future development of the characters, mysteries about their past, and in one case a large, shadowy conspiracy which threatens to ruin everyone's party.
chronovore: (OMFG)
I'd heard that Steven Brust was writing a Firefly novel. I'd also heard that if it wasn't optioned to be printed as a dead-tree version, that he'd offer it as a fanfic. I am stunned to see that he has, in fact done so. (via [livejournal.com profile] ferricide)

http://dreamcafe.com/firefly.html
Word and PDF formats up now, under a CC license.
Other formats to follow.
chronovore: (Default)
Last night I played Bioshock until I cleared the Medical Pavilion. I don't suspect it's going to get less scary, but I'm really, really happy to be leaving the "haunted hospital" setting. That shit is kryptonite to me. I've heard a lot of analysis over the "harvesting the Little Sisters' Adam" and whether or not it affects the overall play of the game. All I can say is, playing a horror game requires that the player be psychologically invested in the story, or at least their current situation. Knowing that this is all just pixels on a screen, and that you can re-load and re-play at any point -- that's like reading a horror book and saying "oh, it's just a book. it's just fiction..." It defeats the point of indulging in the media. So I'm letting myself get very immersed in the game, enjoying the boo scares, savoring the suspense, and trying to /believe/ what's happening. And the game goes out of its way to keep the player in an "everyman" position for maximum transference of self. As such, there is just NO WAY I can look at a whimpering little girl go skittering away from me, and when the choice comes up RESCUE/HARVEST, I don't feel like there is a choice, if I'm "playing as myself."

I spent lunch at a rickety, mediocre Indian restaurant with our IT guy, who's the only guy in Osaka with whom I can readily discuss my love of Star Trek. We discussed the merits of the various incarnations of the Enterprise series. I like the "C" which only really had one great hurrah. He likes the "E" -- and he's getting into Stargate SG-1 now. (music linky: IDC - DJ & recording artist - downloads)

Wikipedia's entry for Recursion is much more robust and interesting in English than its corresponding one for Japanese (再帰呼び出し); thank goodness I'm able to parse the English version.

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