The Big Think

September 30, 2005

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 3:20 pm

Now everybody’s into Tolkien. And I feel a little like, hey, I’ve been into that stuff my whole life. And in fact, you used to beat me up for it.

online interview with Joss Wheadon and Neil Gaiman

Back from the Valley

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 2:44 pm

Just got back from watching Serenity. I was powerful enthused (Mal-ism there) to see so many people at the early showing. I don’t know if it’s because the film has such good word-of-mouth, or if science fiction fans are all a bunch of cheapskates (the first matinee is only $4.50), but the place was about 2/3rds full.

My review? I really, really enjoyed it.

I won’t spoil anything about the movie, but I will say that one of my favorite shots, one that stood out even above the hugely-movie-ish Giant Space Battle special effects shots, was the first sequence just after the title that opens up in space, moves through the front window of the ship’s cockpit as it makes a blazing reentry into atmosphere, and then follows Cap’n Mal as he talks to the members of his crew, but what makes it special is that the whole shot- probably 2-3 minutes- is one continuous sequence with a steady cam and no breaks or interruptions (it’s a beautiful piece of up-and-down-stairways camerawork with only one slightly awkward zoom towards the end of the marathon) as it moves gracefully throughout the entire ship, showing every room from cockpit to cargo hold in a way that finally made me grasp not only the physical layout of the ship (I could never quite get it in my head from the small screen), but also in a way that makes me appreciated that the set designers, artists, and technical people made the Serenity set look believable and real; that they poured their love into their work and wanted to do the set reveal, introduce the characters, and show the cast credits while taking the viewer on a visual ride that most people may not notice but that doesn’t end until you see the final credit: directed by Joss Wheadon.

The rest of the movie skillfully weaves together the story line from the series, but does it in a way that won’t be boring to people who already know what the story is about. The movie answers a lot of questions and ties up enough loose ends to be satisfying to fans, but leaves enough space for future films (or maybe even the return of the series?).

Another favorite part: watching the credits. I’m a credit-watcher. Maybe it’s the fact that I do production work, or that I’ve crewed on a few films, but I know the long days, weeks, and months that go into the crafting of a hundred and eighty minutes of celluloid. I understand and can appreciate the sacrifice of gaffers, boom monkeys, and grips. I always sit and watch the credits, even if I know there won’t be a little Pixarish surprise at the end. I’ve done it for so long now I can usually pick out a few names from other films. I’m usually the very last one to leave the theater. Not so Serenity. There were probably fifteen people still sitting quietly watching the credits roll as a nice acoustic guitar version of the TV theme played over the last 30 seconds.

And I thought to myself: credit-watching sci-fi geeks. These are my people.

September 29, 2005

Serene

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 8:45 pm

Going to see the new Serenity movie tomorrow. Then I’ll finally be able to read Katherine’s review.
I decided not to go to the free blogger-only screening (which, I came to find out, was really a “free if you have a heartbeat and are moderately ambulatory”). The theater they were showing it at is 25 miles away, and in my 20mpg 1992 truck, it was cheaper to forgo the free ticket and see the matinee at the theater that’s 1/2 mile from our door. Yes, the theater is ugly and huge, and I can see it from the bathroom window when I take a shower, but it’s shiny to have a Tinseltown so close.

*UPDATE* Dang it! It’s not playing at the Cinemark. Looks like I’ll have to go much farther to see it. (stewievoice)Blahst!

*UPDATE AGAIN* Blame Sherlock, but it isplaying there. Goody

Repurposed

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 10:11 am

Some funny video game captions. (mild language)

Must-Have

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 9:37 am

A bunch of must-have software for OS X.

September 27, 2005

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 11:23 pm

In America, you’re brought up with the assumption that travel is a temporary “escape,” and any activity that doesn’t make you lots of money is irresponsible. But, after years of traveling and writing, I’ve realized that true wealth is found in time. That is, if you shift and simplify your life in such a way that you can spend your time on your passions (instead of more “things”), then life is so much more satisfying. My passions are traveling and writing, and I lead a very simple life that enables both activities.

Rolf Potts

Miroslav

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 10:26 pm

The pinnacle of midi orchestral samples. Listen to the Dvorak in the sample area on the left and tell me this library wouldn’t be fun to own. I’ve got some so-so midi sounds that work okay in day to day stuff, but I’m seriously hankerin’ for this library. Too bad I don’t have a decent sampler to play them on.

Hoops and Yoyo

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:05 pm

This is one of the funniest things since Strongbad put boxing glove to keyboard.

Fiber?

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 9:01 pm

It looks like somebody (Verizon?) is responsible for spray painting funky marks up and down our street, and in our lawn. At first I was a bit miffed (I still hope the spray paint they used on the pavement wears off soon), but, if my Dad is correct, it may be Verizon that’s installing Fiber Optics to each home- and yes, that deserves Capital Letters. Oh joy. I can’t wait to call Cox and tell them to pound sand.

According to the Verizon site their FiOS service has the following speeds/prices:

5Mbps down/2Mbps up : 34.95-39.95 (wonder why the range and not one number?)
15/2: $45-50
30(!)/5: $180-200

About time.

Spammers!

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 6:42 pm

In addition to this personal blog, I also have two business websites. One has been in existence for a few years and the other one is still parked and awaiting design.

When I registered the pages, I listed my PO box as my contact address. I should have gone online to one of the anonymizers to get an invisible pass-through address that keeps the junk mail at bay. I can’t remember how to do this, but I’ve seen it done where you hide your contact info at the domain registration site.

Today alone I received SEVEN credit card applications. Apparently American Airlines and AMEX think I don’t have enough credit as they each sent me two apps addressed to each website.

I have already taken the trouble to write the DMA and get put on their “do not junk mail me” list that supposedly keeps junk from clogging your snail mail box (or PO box in my case). I’ve come to find out, however, that compliance with the wishes of people on the DMA list is strictly voluntary. They can keep sending you junk and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I’ve been sending their empty postage-paid envelopes back to them. Sometimes I crush up the original envelope and stuff it in there. I’ll always shred the credit application that comes with it.

Today I decided to try another tack. I’ve printed out a letter that asks them to remove me from their current and future contact lists and stop mailing me. I’ll start sending this out in their postage paid envelopes and see how far it gets me.

The post office actually has a little bit of protection regarding junk mail. Several years ago we started receiving some mildly racy catalogs in the mail. We found out later that a friend had signed us up for one as a joke and they sold our address to everyone in their industry. The problem is, not everyone in that industry is “mildly” racy. I felt like scouring out our mailbox with soap every week. And no matter how many phone numbers I called or how many people I spoke with I wasn’t able to get removed from their mailing list. Besides, tracking down the originating mailing list was an exercise in futility because, get this, companies won’t tell you who they bought their mailing lists from- it’s an issue of privacy. (?!?)

The Post Office, however, has a nuclear option. It’s a form specifically aimed at explicit advertisers (the “adult products” world mainly). In very strong language it basically says: “no kidding, quit sending stuff. We’ll toss your sleazy butts in jail if you don’t”.

That did the trick. When I asked the post office guy if it could be used for non-explicit advertisers, he said “I can’t see why not”.

I hate spammers.

I Want This Shirt

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 2:54 pm

Too funny

XBox Four Billion

Filed under: Computing,Games — jasony @ 12:00 am

According to this article, Microsoft lost 4,000,000,000 on X-boxe 1.0. Their successful Xbox v 1.0. Can’t imagine how they define a lack of success.

Xbox 360 is right around the corner. Shall we go for a 5 billion dollar loss?

I’ve played the Xbox for about 20 hours and, while some of the games are fun (Halo, Halo 2), I don’t like the controller design. No, scratch that, I hate the controller design. I hope they can get something a little more ergonomic next time around.

September 26, 2005

A Scanner Darkly

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 4:33 pm

Phillip Dick’s stories keep getting mined for some truly mind-blowing stuff.

September 25, 2005

Stuffy

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 11:07 am

The persistent cold-that-isn’t-a-cold hasn’t let go of me since I got it almost three weeks ago. I don’t really feel sick (i.e. I don’t feel like sitting on the couch or sleeping all day). I generally only have one symptom at a time: a cough or a sore throat or a runny nose, but never more than just one. This morning I woke up and had my ears so badly plugged up it’s messing with the ol’ inertial guidance system. I’m dizzy.

I also can’t hear worth beans, and so I’m not able to get any work done arranging an vocal piece today because I can’t hear the harmonies! I’ll just be stuffy and deaf the rest of the day. 🙁

September 24, 2005

Andrew

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 1:17 pm

Out of respect for Giles and his family, I haven’t written about the past week until Giles got a chance to break the news. Giles posted a brief note today about his brother.

Erin and I went up to Waco this past thursday for the very sad memorial service.We’ll miss you, Andrew.

Giles, your friends stand with you and your family in this tough time. For as long as you need us, we’ll be here. Longer.

We all love you very much.

Serenity

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 1:02 pm

Hey Hey! I’ve been invited to attend the special bloggers-only sneak preview of Serenity next week.

September 23, 2005

Rita Panic

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 4:06 pm

Well, back to the grocery store today. The milk is re-stocked (mostly), the toilet paper is back up, and there are eggs. But the entire bread aisle has been ravaged. All of the normal, non-specialty bread is completely gone.
But we were able to pull right up to a pump at Texaco and fill the tank at $2.69/gallon. It only cost us $36 to fill up. Urp.

September 22, 2005

Disgardia

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:31 pm

Unlike Festivus, Disgardia sounds like a good idea.

Rita

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 9:10 pm

Okay, this is just silly. Erin and I went to the grocery store a few minutes ago and the shelves were completely empty of milk, juice, eggs, bottled water and…. toilet paper(!?!) We’re two hundred and fifty miles from the coast here in Austin. I don’t think there’s going to be a desperate need for Charmin in the next 72 hours. At least the gas lines have remained relatively sane.

Sometimes I feel like the seriousness of a Big Televised Event is inversely proportional to the amount of hype it gets. I’ll bet Rita pauses late tomorrow afternoon, shakes her soggy head in disdain, and then heads on back out to sea: no use wasting my fury on these panicky, over-hyped people. Besides, a two hundred mile traffic jam is just too easy of a target.

Not that I want anyone to get hurt or anything. But who among us really believes that much of the current overreaction isn’t due at least in part to the pictures broadcast of Katrina?

BTW, last I heard, Rita had been downgraded to a Cat 3 and was turning more east.

I hope nobody gets hurt, there is minimal property damage, and we all learn to chill out and not panic next time. It only gives the newsvultures fodder.

September 20, 2005

Man of the Hour

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:50 pm

Who do you call when the your really need direction and logistical control? Why, the military. You have to love Lt. Gen. Russel Honore and his handling of reporters who wanted to stand in the shadow of Rita and relive Katrina. Honore’s response? “You are stuck on stupid, and I’m not going to answer that.”

Listen to the mp3 audio and read along with a smile.

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