chronovore: (sweater)
In the Scorpion TV show, as encouragement for his team of four geniuses, the lead character at one point trots out a line: "We have a collective IQ of 700!"

So does a preschool classroom full of five-year-olds. What a stupid thing to say. Hardly genius. 

book notes

Aug. 11th, 2015 08:03 am
chronovore: (sweater)
"Clarity is an overrated component of storytelling. James Ellroy’s The Big Nowhere, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and David Peace’s Nineteen Seventy-Seven are three of my favorite crime novels, and I don’t think I could explain their plots with a gun to my head.
What matters in crime fiction is feeling. It’s attitude, atmosphere, dialogue, mood. It’s the idea of one or more individuals going up against institutions of great power. It’s the idea that the underworld exists, right in front of you, all the time, and you just have to look."

Grantland, on True Detective's second season
chronovore: (sweater)
(during formal dinner at Lecter's home)

Hannibal: First and worst sign of sociopathic behavior: cruelty to animals

Jack: That doesn't apply in the kitchen.

Hannibal: I have no taste for animal cruelty; which is why I employ an ethical butcher.

Bella: An ethical butcher? Be kind to animals and then eat them?

Hannibal: I'm afraid I insist on it.

PYROMANIA

Apr. 21st, 2013 04:32 pm
chronovore: (OMFG)
Just finished Season 5 of Supernatural.

Wikipedia confirms what I felt: the series was supposed to end with this season, and it was done-done-done, but then was picked up for another, and another, and another.

Should I keep watching? I can't picture the show having a better end than s5 sported.
chronovore: (Default)
Finished ep. 6, which finishes the season. Less zombies than any other episode. :-/

Even so, I'm quite happy they've chosen to tell a different story than strictly recounting what happens in the comics; it keeps it fresh for the fans of the comic, keeps us guessing what will happen at any time. Each medium has its own benefits and limitations, and it will be good fun to see how things vary as the story progresses.

However, I really hope they don't try to go after the scientific explanation of what causes the zombie plague as a main theme. They're zombies; so what? Other than a throwaway line or two ("They say it started in China..." or "The CDC's last broadcast said burning the bodies might lead to the contagion going airborne..." I do not need to know why the dead are up and walking. I just want to see how everyone reacts, that's all these things are ever about. For me, at least, this is a historical truism.

The Anne Rice vampire books were fun for the first couple, where they solely dealt with the effect of becoming a vampire on a human psyche. Even the vampires didn't know why they couldn't die, they just knew the rules for avoiding death. As soon as the story focused on trying to explain vampirism and turned away from the psychological and sociological aspect, the books became really uninteresting. Monster Island is another nice piece of interesting, creative zombie fiction, and it too chose to focus on the human aspects of the effects of a zombie apocalypse, and even one zombie who manages to retain his conscious mind. Then in the subsequent books, a technical explanation was attempted, as well as extrapolating other happenings which might occur if their rules for zombifying are true... but who cares? It's not what zombies are about! I don't want to have an author rules-lawyering himself through what may or may not work within his proposed pseudoscience. Just show me how humans can continue to be awful or heroic to fellow humans, even while their world falls apart.
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: (Default)
http://www.thrfeed.com/2009/11/dollhouse-canceled.html

Well. Damnit. It actually got pretty good in the last 5 eps they aired. I'm trying to remember if anyone got stabbed in the chest. If there was, I'm less sad about the cancellation. But I was enjoying it toward the end.
chronovore: (Default)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: I've started watching this movie twice, and haven't been able to finish it yet. The first time, I started the movie quite late and its peaceful, surreal, melancholy world proved too much a soporific. The second time, it had that effect on my wife, though I was enjoying it and wide awake. She just could not parse the humor. My explanation of "Well, to Americans... some Americans, this is quite funny" did not hold water, so to speak. Next time I'll try to watch it alone, possibly with some Portuguese beer and wearing a red toque. "ESTEBAN! ESTEBAN!"

A Beautiful Mind: I watched this on a plane twice and was really impressed. Ron Howard can not make a bad film to save his life; I've been a fan since Coccoon, and I even liked How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Acting is top notch, understated and believable throughout the entire film, without an excess of emotionally manipulative schmaltz. Ed Harris is perfectly cast, and it is always amazing to see the actress Jennifer Connelly became despite her atrocious beginning in Labyrinth. What was she, 14 at that time? I'd be pissed if people judged my art based on what I could churn out at 14, so I should cut her some slack. More than anything else, I'm entranced by the film's ability to induce empathy for a sufferer of schizophrenia. What it comes down to is that we're all broken in some way, and it's just part of what we are, and how we do what we do. In John Nash's case, he's both more broken and more gifted.

And the film does a lot better on a nice TV than watching on a 5" screen with minimal contrast and color depth.

Also watched through ep. 7 of Burn Notice season 2 (still fun), and the first 4 episodes of Warehouse 13 which I'm hoping picks up, because the setting and gadgets are really fun. It's X-Files meets Indiana Jones, or at least the OSS guys from the end of Raiders. The producers should be hiring Ken Hite (
[livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo ) to spruce up their doo-dads and science hokum. Then again, I think Ken Hite should be hired to spiff up the Tomb Raider storyline as well, which I've got top men working on right now. Top. Men.
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?
chronovore: (mouthy)
The Pirate Bay acquired for $7.8 million // News:
Global Gaming Factory X has acquired file-sharing site The Pirate Bay for SEK 60 million (USD 7.8 million).

Along with the purchase of file-sharing tech firm Peerialism, GGF intends to turn the website legitimate, offering compensation for copyright owners whose content is featured on the site.

"We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site," said Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF

"The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited internet sites in the world. However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary.

"Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it. File-sharers need faster downloads and better quality," he added.

Peerialism creates file-sharing technology, which GGF intends to incorporate into The Pirate Bay when the acquisition is completed in August.

"Peerialism has developed a new data distribution technology which now can be introduced on the best known file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay," offered Johan Ljungberg, CEO of Peerialism.

"Since the technology is compatible with the existing it will quickly allow for new values to be created for all key stakeholders and facilitate new business opportunities."

The four founders of The Pirate Bay - Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström - were found guilty of violating intellectual property rights earlier this year, each receiving a one year jail sentence and fines totalling USD 3,620,000.
chronovore: (OMFG)
The upgrade from iPod 5G (classic style) to iPod Touch is not like moving from 1.n to 2.0. This is not even a 3.0 experience; this is some whole other new thing, like waking up and finding out your dog can talk.
chronovore: (Default)
I just checked out the premiere episode of My Own Worst Enemy, the new Christian Slater TV show. It seems to be a mix of the BBC's Jekyll and The Bourne Identity, which is a pretty clever combination in and of itself. Slater does a surprising job of depicting two distinct personalities, which is surprising since I thought he could only do a middling imitation of Jack Nicholson. I'm happy to see Madchen Amick getting work, and stunned at how good she looks, too.

PRIMEVAL

Aug. 21st, 2008 01:26 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
This week on iTunes there's a free download for a TV show called "Primeval." It's about dinosaurs invading a generic and ill-defined British countryside through a rip in the spacetime continuum. Let me save you the time I wasted on it: IT IS BAD. Not "laughably bad," or "fun bad," just bad. I've seen better representations of dinosaurs and deeper plotlines in coloring books.
chronovore: (Default)
  • melon is a vegetable
  • so are strawberries; apparently the meat is a vegetable, and the seeds are fruit? it was unclear
  • cats prefer beef to fish, but prefer cream to either of those
  • eating sushi with your hands is good manners if one is seated at the counter, but when eating at the table chopsticks are preferable
  • tarabagani (king crab) the most popular crab in Japan, is not a crab - it's related to the hermit crab; crab is generally eaten in winter, but is actually more sweet in summer
  • sashimi tastes better after 8 to 12 hours of sitting, chilled; not rotting, per se - but essentially that, as a buildup of some form of acid actually increases the umami as well as breaking down the flesh, making it soft. They did ikedukuri on a just-caught maguro tuna, and it was actually very tough and resistant to chewing
  • you can actually eat umeboshi with unagi; this isn't really news, but i learned that if you show me a fat, juicy umeboshi while i'm eating, suddenly i have to have a fat, juicy umeboshi with my rice

jerks

Jun. 16th, 2008 06:49 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
MPAA wants to stop DVRs from recording some movies:
MPAA has pressed its Petition for Expedited Special Relief on behalf of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers. How did these media companies get an FCC proceeding so fast? Ars bets that hiring former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy as their attorney helped. Abernathy supported former FCC Chair Michael Powell's drastic relaxation of the agency's media ownership rules in 2003, along with Kevin Martin, now head of the agency.

Movies go through a timeline of staged releases that lasts about three years. First they go to theaters; 60 days after that they start showing up in airplanes and hotels; in 120 days from their theatrical release they transfer to DVD and Internet download; about a month later to video on demand/pay-per-view; by the end of the year to premium subscription systems like HBO and Showtime; and eventually to basic cable and free TV.

MPAA says these studios want to release their movies to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) "significantly earlier and prior to DVD release"—although the trade groups' filing won't say exactly how much sooner. But in exchange for the accelerated service, MPAA wants permission to obtain SOC blocking of recording capabilities. The group promises that once said movies have reached the home video sale/rental stage, the blocking will stop. (remainder of article) (via /.)
I know there's a bunch of you who think Cory Doctorow's a loudmouth, but he's got one thing right about DRM and copy protection: nobody wakes up and says to themselves, "Gee, I really want to do less with my media today." And that's all this is about; the MPAA wants to be able to restrict your ability to use the technology you bought in a way that you've already been using it. Horse puckey.

I'm going back to books. Well, videogames and books.

WANT. NOW.

Apr. 12th, 2008 01:23 pm
chronovore: (Default)
Gadget Lab from Wired.com | Myka: One Set-Top Box to Rule Them All?

Of course, they'll probably IP-block outside of the US for any official torrents. Their loss, of course people will still be able to grab the non-official ones, making life easier all around. I wonder how it will work with various net-controls, like being able to send the box a torrent remotely from, say, email or equivalent.
chronovore: (Default)
Books:
Spook Country - I cannot seem to finish this book, and there's only about an 1/8th of it left. The tidbits of wry, Gibson wit and insight are present, but evenly spaced throughout the book; instead of constant, they're consistent. I don't have much sympathy for any of the characters, save Brown and Milgrim, because they're stand-ins for the American populace, both the misguided and outdated conservatives, and the willingly self-medicated and self-victimizing liberals. They're the reason I'll eventually finish the book.
Godland Celestial Edition One - A loaner from [livejournal.com profile] stevenkaye, I was prepared to not much like this book. It's a tribute to comics as pop art, largely mimicking Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's writing style, as it might be effected in modern times. Edit: Somehow forgot to add that I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, and found it very thought-provoking in terms of how culture has changed in the last 30 years, particularly where comics fit in to society.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier - Different from the first two, but still very good. I'm about 3/4ths finished, so no spoilers as yet, please! It should be noted that, if you're going to pay US$30 for a comic book, this is what you should get. The damned thing's an artifact of modern media; it's made from comics, straight prose, illustrated text, handwritten footnotes, and postcard props, with many of those being printed on paper specific to their normal presentation. And the dust jacket removes to reveal the black cover and embossed logo of the titular Dossier itself. So. Neat-o.

Games:
Tomb Raider Legend - A present from [livejournal.com profile] weezie13. This is a lot more fun than I'd expected, since many reviews said Lara handles like a water-laden cow. She's pretty nimble, though a little less than the Prince of Persia, from which much of the gameplay seems to replicate. I've cleared one time trial so far, and will probably try a few more; I'm always interested to see new ways to encourage players to revisit a level, as well as get extra mileage out of painstakingly created world art.
Burger King's Pocketbike Racer - Shut up! No, just shut it! It's fun! It's buggy, simplistic, and unbalanced. It's unable to find other Xbox Live races no matter when I check (though I can start my own, and have had a Friend join). But I've found it to be engaging in a "just one more race" way, and have felt genuine animosity toward some of the AI characters, so this is probably the best US$4 I've ever played.

Movies:
Catwoman (off HDD recorder) - It takes a lot of effort to make a bad movie out of anything that features Halle Berry shaking her ass in a backless bustier and leather jeans with strategic rips in them. But, wow, this is just tremendously bad. The fight sequences are a bunch of half-second, no set up quick cuts, and all of the climbing and running action is done by a CG version of Halle Berry that looks only marginally more believable than Neo from the big Agent Smith fight in Matrix Reloaded. And this leaves aside any complaints I might voice about abusing the character license, making something that has nothing to do with the original character. At one point this movie was going to be a Tim Burton flick with Michelle Pfeiffer, following on the events of Batman Returns. Gah. I thought this was going to be the worst movie this month, but then I saw:
Paycheck (off HDD recorder) - HEY! Everyone, please quit giving Hong Kong directors Hollywood-level budgets. When something's dumb, or makes no sense, or is cheesy, but it's in the context of a movie which cost 1/10th or 1/50th of a Hollywood action movie, IT STILL ROCKS. When Ben Affleck suddenly develops bo-staff skills at the end of a movie, it's substantially less plausible and harder to overlook than if some HK actor does.

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