December 4th, 2006



Well, hell - if even Lileks thinks it's too damn cold in these parts, then I don't feel so bad about my sub-freezing grumpiness. The man grew up in North Fargin' Dakota, for heaven's sake, has lived here for all his life*, and he thinks it's too cold and miserable. So I don't feel so bad about all the complaining I've been doing in recent days. It is that cold.

*He spent some time in Washington DC in his youth and apparently hated it. Well, yeah. Nobody actually lives there but the extremely rich, college students, and people too poor to move to the suburbs. Like Detroit, except with more museums and fewer factories.
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The mockery he deserves

News flash: OJ Simpson's blackness revoked!

In other news from Cobb, he's reposting the Race Man's Home Companion, which probably did more for me in thirty minutes of concentrated browsing than that diversity class I put up with for an entire semester. I hope he keeps up with this, periodic game reviews, and just slices of his life, because that alone would make his blog worth checking out, never mind the politics. We're all burned out on that crap, thanks.
the mark

No FX for your future

Something for you folks headed to BNAT to think about...

Jason Silverman's take on Hollywood SF movies is that they're too laden with expensive effects to get greenlighted. He points to the recent failure of The Fountain, and morosely concludes that Hollywood just isn't willing to do big-budget SF films like 2001 and Star Wars any more. Not that they were actually all that willing back in the day, either; somewhere in my stacks of stuff I have a copy of the MidAmericon (1976 Worldcon in Kansas City) progress report which contained a notice that some filmmaker by the name of George Lucas was bringing a rough cut of his upcoming SF film to the convention and would be selling props to try and raise money to complete production.

The thing about this article that bothers me is that Silverman doesn't seem to be very familiar with SF or with the history of the genre on video. Some of the most God-awful dreck Hollywood ever made has been SF that had a ton of money spent on FX, while some of the most excellent SF movies spent a lot more time on plot and character while not being real big on the FX. By the same token, the BBC has a long history of producing excellent SF series with laughably minimal FX budgets (Dr. Who being perhaps the best known) that have attracted sizable fan communities throughout the Anglosphere and beyond. So it's not that it can't be done; it's that Hollywood doesn't seem willing to give it a try. There are dozens of award-winning and popular SF stories that wouldn't require much in the way of FX; The Stars My Destination, for example, is a Bruce Willis vehicle waiting to happen, and could be very cheaply done since most of the action takes place on an Earth not too much advanced (technologically) from the one we're living in.

I got to this article by way of a post in Ed Driscoll's blog which notes that while making small-budget "indie" films that don't have to play in Peoria to be successful might work in a purely bottom-line sort of way, in the long term (and it won't be a very long term, either) that kind of filmmaking is going to destroy the infrastructure needed to make big-budget blockbusters. Ed doesn't say it, but essentially what they're doing at the major studios is voluntarily retreating to a 1950s B-movie mode of production.
the mark

I'm in the rear with the women and the forties of beer!

Well, today was largely a waste of my time and the Evil Banking Neighbor's money, considering that I spent about an hour of it chasing a 90-cent error in our month-end settlement that had somehow slipped by both me and my supervisor. At $16/hour, this doesn't strike me as a real useful use of personnel (as a Corporate AdvantageTM or otherwise) but they're not paying me for that kind of opinion. Their loss. *shrug*

The 4GB SD card from Newegg arrived via UPS today along with the USB read/write device for same, which made loading said card with music a lot easier than it was when all I had to work with was the Palm software installation package, which requires you to do a HotSync to get stuff into the Palm and its card. Wound up spending all evening at home moving songs and ripping more songs and moving freshly ripped songs to the card, which means laundry must wait for tomorrow night, but that's okay since it's going to be warmer tomorrow night. Not that that would take much.

Time to plug in the TX and go to sleep.