Monday, February 28, 2011

I watched Firefly

It's not like I waited 10 years.  Only 9.

I liked it.  I like ensemble casts and mysterious pasts and space cowboys and space pirates.  I love good music (and this show had some outstanding music).

With its themes of hardship, personal freedom and responsibility, frontier, and family, Firefly had a lot going for it.  It reminded me of a lot of things.  It wasn't really like any of those things, but there were some similarities.
  • Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy: I'm not totally sure why this one.  Maybe it was the world/universe?
  • Outlaw Star and Black Lagoon: Blond, Hawaiian-shirt wearing  pilots, mysterious girls in boxes, fish out of water, running from the powers that be, women fighters who could kill you with their pinkies, bounty hunters, space courtesans, and more.
  • Cowboy Bebop: It had a bit of that scruffy, rough-and-tumble, mercenary, dark past, ragtag crew of misfits vibe.
It wasn't all great, though.  There were some very wooden acting moments, occasional continuity issues, and big, honking plot holes that yanked me out of otherwise good stories. 

To be fair:
  • This is a huge, sprawling story, and they had to build the world from the ground up.  I would guess that their percentage of continuity errors was lower than most shows; it was just more noticeable because of the sheer volume of things that had to be created and could thus be messed up.  
  • Also, sci-fi shows always have wooden acting moments.  Sometimes, due to script revisions (or last minute scripts), things don't make enough sense for the actors to spin them right.  These kinds of errors are particularly obvious when everything else is crafted and pulls together (in post-production and editing).  These errors must be forgiven because, dudes, this is a weekly show.  Can you imagine doing all this stuff in that short of a time period?  Really?  When you're building a future world from ground zero?
  • Even though they must be forgiven for the above reasons, the plot holes were the worst distraction for me.  There was one episode that could have been amazing had one gaping plot hole been smoothed over.  Because it wasn't, the end was dramatic but ridiculous and totally preventable, and thus I couldn't really feel as bad about it as I was supposed to.

I'm pretty bummed it got cancelled.  Its cancellation seemed partly like a self-fulfilling prophecy made by network folks who "wanted a Joss Whedon show" but didn't really, you know, want a show created and controlled by Joss Whedon.  Playing it out of its intended order and making stupid demands that alienated casual fans were probably not smart choices made by the network.  The people who suffer are the actual fans and the people who loved and created the show, and that seems a shame.  I bet the executives are still making money off the more than decent DVD sales.  They could have made more, I'd bet, if they'd just believed in the project and its creators.  Alas.

On to the movie, eventually.  I'll like that, too, and then it will be more of a bummer that the show didn't get to last 2 or 3 seasons.  In the presentNow fans own the internet even more, and I think if the show were to happen now, the fans would've been able to save it for at least a whole season or two.  It worked with Chuck, right?

When did you first see this show?  What did you think then?  Seen it recently?  What are your thoughts on it now?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

medical adhesive and love

As promised in another post, here it is:

It's designed to dissolve in a lot of really hot water, the tech tells me, and as I wash my hair I think, Some people's love isn't even strong enough to adhere in water of any kind, and I want to believe that the bonds between me and the people I love are not so weak as to dissolve in hot water, but experience may be teaching me otherwise, which is one of the reasons why I prefer chocolate, which never aspires to be eternal or adhesive even for one night.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The bibliophile's lament?

I was going to be good.  I waited until the 20th to start the book.  I did the math.  80 pages a day would get me done right around the time the next book came out.  I wondered if I could really read that many pages a day since I usually read while exercising, and I don't have an hour and a half to exercise a day.  I re-figured and decided I could do it if I read a bit extra on the extended weekend here.  (Hardly a chore.)  I could definitely get it done before the next book came out.

And then, I chose not to stop.  I had a lot of things I should've been doing with this extra day off.  I had no reason not to do them.  I didn't do them anyway because it was snowing dreamily outside and what I wanted to do was read this book.  So I did. 

To punish myself for this lapse of self-control, I think I shall get myself on that strict sleeping and waking schedule I need to be on starting tomorrow morning.  And there will not be this wonderful book to read in the meantime.  And I will get all the things done on my list this week, and I will not whine about it.

I don't feel as guilty as I should because this book is wonderful and worth it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wise Man's Fear

Should I start rereading name now in case the book comes out early (even though I'm pretty sure this one is a hard lay-down date and not a soft one)?  I don't want to finish too early and then have to wait, but if I wait too long, I'll still be reading Name of the Wind while Wise Man's Fear looks at me mournfully from the To Read Shelf.  Oh, the agony!

Have you started rereading yet?

Monday, February 14, 2011

corporate personas and other stories we tell people about ourselves

I read a bunch of business books and interviewing books before taking my first corporate job last year, and they were fascinating.  One in particular talked about creating a corporate persona.  When you start working at a company, it doesn't matter what your work reputation was before; now you have the chance to remake yourself and control people's initial perceptions about you!

I laughed because it reminded me of junior high and then college.  Whenever you start some place new, you get the chance to reinvent yourself.  You have baggage, but the new people you meet don't know about it, and when you're with them, you can, to some extent, create a new you with them.  (You just can't ever let them see you interacting with your family. :)

Maybe you were a slob who was always late, but in your new job, you can dress neatly and be on time, and everyone will assume you have always been so.  Sometimes, that baggage gives you so much drag that you can't stop it and change how people perceive you where you are.  Sometimes you have to go where nobody knows your name, so you can become a you more like the you you aspire to be rather than the you who's dragging you down. Eventually, you may grow into that person.  Yeah, deep.

I was pretty deliberate about my corporate persona, in that I didn't really build one.  I tried to do the opposite, actually, and bring my non-businesslike qualities to the fore.  I played the book-nerdy, slightly goofy, plushie-loving, non-threatening, a tad spacey, non-ambitious role I created, and it has served me well so far.  I have avoided the pitfall of appearing driven, dedicated, and focused because that's not who I am able to be anymore.  I could play it for a time, but I don't have the energy to keep that mask on for long.  I wouldn't want to set false expectations at the beginning.  Better to be more who I am; less weight on the mask, that way.  Competent but hardly exceptional.  That's what I aimed for.

How about you?  Have you ever reinvented yourself (corporate persona or new school or anything)?  What did you change about how people perceived you and why?

Netflix streaming

So there has been a bit of a snafu about Netflix maybe moving toward heavily encouraging streaming (cheaper for them), and I'm not a big fan.  This is because most of what I watch via Netflix is foreign stuff.  I like choosing my langauge track and subtitle combos myself, and I love extra features.  Maybe they've improved lately from how they were the last time I looked into it (nothing was available), but I don't think so.

Some friends recently tried to watch an old silent movie I had recommended, and they hated it because the soundtrack was awful.  I rented that disc last year, and it had about 6 options for soundtracks, so you could pick which one you wanted.  Three of them were excellent.  My friends didn't get any choice but a crappy one.  They also didn't have the option to listen to the commentary (which wasn't that good, honestly, but it did have some new information I found interesting).

Until streaming really gives me the same functions and choices as DVDs, I'm just not going to be a fan.

How about you?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meat raffle, anyone?

I live in the great white north, and up here, we apparently love our meat raffles in the winter. I see them advertised everywhere, from church signs to bars to mom and pop roadside restaurants. And every time I see them, I wonder . . .

Wonder no longer, my friends. I have gone to the source of most knowledge to find out what a meat raffle is, and I hereby share this information with you so that neither of us have to wonder anymore. 

Now you know. And knowing is either half the battle or the beginning of avoidance.  I guess I should tell myself it's posh if the British do it, right?  I really wonder if anyone's written a child's picture book about a meat raffle.

Do you have any weird, winter traditions in your region? 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The age when everything is a story

My nephew is at the age when everything is a story.  He thinks in narrative, and when he plays, he creates a story for whatever is going on.  It may not always make sense to Grandpa or Mommy, but it's definitely a story to him.  I remember that aspect of my childhood, too, and I encountered it when babysitting and working in the church nursery.

I'm pretty sure this is common for most children, and I find myself wondering why.  My li'l nephew's parents and teachers read to him, so maybe being given stories all the time calls for the same in return.  If so, do kids who aren't given stories so freely skip this stage?  I'm very curious.

Is play necessarily narrative-based?  Do we all naturally, intriniscally think in stories?

What is your experience? What stories do you remember playing?  Where do you think you learned to play that story?  And when did you stop?