Friday, November 26, 2010

Traveling through Time Trax

The best part of Netflix and Hulu is not that they provide vast riches of content, but how they serve as media time-capsules. Digging through their collective libraries is a bizarre and wonderful way to pour over cultural touchstones of your youth: the good, the bad, the incredibly bizarre . . . all there together.

They have POLE POSITION! Yeah, you forgot about that, didn't you? They took a video game where you drove a car on a race track and somehow extrapolated a story about kids solving crimes with their artificially intelligent cars.

The 80's really had a thing for human/machine stories like that. I know you're going "Knight Rider" right now, but I'm not going to let you. I'm gonna make you think about Airwolf, and realize that it actually wasn't awesome. No. It was garbage, and you loved it as much as I did.

And speaking of disappointing: Inspector Gadget. Remember what a great show that was? Yeah, only it wasn't. That animation must have cost them tens of dollars to produce.

I think we need to cleanse the palate here, so your head doesn't swim too much from all these let-downs. While you can't find much of the series, there is an Animaniacs movie on Netflix, and it holds up quite well. Fun, light-hearted comedy that's surprisingly sophisticated for a kids show. Just amazing. I'm adding the DVD's to my wishlist right now.

Jim Henson's the Storyteller? Oh yeah, we've got all that. The weird thing is that I've remembered the pilot episode, in detail, ever since I saw the original broadcast. It's about a guy who gives away his last biscuit and gets a magic sack that he uses to get a bunch of demons out of a castle and then later trap death . . . who's this little white bald thing, for some reason? I don't know what to tell you, but please watch it, I need it to be bouncing around someone else's head too, so I don't feel (as) crazy.*

*I'm honestly just glad I have evidence that this episode is real, and aired on television. I stopped talking about it because most people thought I'd dreamed it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ok, so Harry Potter 7, part WHAT.

I made it out to the midnight showing of Harry Potter 7, Part 1 last night, which is really the ideal scenario for properly enjoying a franchise dripping with hardcore fans. The environment was buzzing with enthusiasm for the latest installment, creating an audience that I knew would be reacting to every little nuance of the what the crap was that trailer? Are they really making a movie called "Cowboys and Aliens"? Seriously?*

In many ways, book seven is the hardest treatment to tackle, even when broken into two parts. Pacing is always an issue when the leisurely stroll of a novel has to be boiled into three hours or less, and that's especially a problem with Deathly Hallows, where much of that stroll is three characters going camping and trying to figure out what to do. Overall though, I think the film adaptation does a good was that Daniel Craig? That was Daniel Craig right? I mean Harrison Ford, fine, after Indy 4 he might as well do a "Cowboys and Aliens," but Daniel Craig has plenty of career and integrity left. What is he doing?

The reason Potter 7-1 holds up is that it uses not only action beats to keep things moving, but also I mean Stephen Speilburg isn't that surprising, he'd put aliens in a movie about ancient Rome, he puts aliens on his cereal every morning. Remarkably, the writers occasionally do Rowling's characters more justice than she does, and manage to I just kept waiting for that trailer to become a joke. I sat there waiting for the gag moment, where one of the aliens would burp or something, but it never happened.

So, in summary I HAVE NO IDEA what happened in Deathly Hallows, part 1.


Friday, November 12, 2010


I think Wikipedia is pretty cool, in general, and I'd say I use it on a daily basis. Despite the rolled eyes of so many who say it's unreliable since anyone can edit it, Wikipedia offers a ton of information, with citations, and it's the only place you can go read an in depth article on light saber fighting styles.

That being the case, I'm thinking I'll probably donate this year in their annual fund raising drive, as requested by the appeal mentioned above.

But . . . I have to ask . . . what the hell is with that picture*?

Why is he so serious? Is that supposed to show us how desperate he is for our donations? I'm not sure I want to see that every time I want to look up the list of 30 Rock episodes. It kinda makes me uncomfortable, him up there staring at me.

"Come on Sam. Hit the link. You're always here looking up processor models, and you never contribute a thing."

And maybe that's the problem right there, it seems like he might have his "Dad face" on.

"I'm not angry that you're reading about locations in the Harry Potter books. I'm disappointed."

Actually, now that I look at it a little closer, he just looks uncomfortable. I think maybe Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales just really needs to pee. They should replace the text on the picture with that in mind.

Please read:
A personal appeal from
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
who refuses to go to the bathroom until you donate.

*John Ritter's cousin is constipated. Please give Wikipedia some money.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wonderful Wizard of OP

Running a Minecraft server has been fun, but it's also brought about some of the weirdest instant messages I've ever received. Being an "op" (short for "operator") means that I've agreed to play god to this digital world, balancing out the bugs in a universe's early Alpha version. As such, the people inhabiting that reality occasionally offer up their "prayers," by which I mean "Google Chats," requesting my intervention.

What do they ask for? Here are some examples:

Oct 16 -
I am trapped
I am deep, out of picks
and even though I lit the way
I cannot find my way out

Oct 31-
Ok, time to turn the monsters off now
they spawn like crazy now
you cannot get away or even have a chance

please warp me somewhere
I fell out the bottom of the world and am stuck

I doubt the Minecraft developers realize what a strange religious experiment they've created- much the same way Eve Online has become an unlikely political microcosm. But it seems appropriate that all the op's powers are wielded through the talk command, literally speaking to effect changes in the world.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm going mad with power here, but keep in mind: I CAN CREATE INFINITE DYNAMITE.*

*The wise man builds his house upon the rock, the foolish man builds his house upon the sand. The man who builds his house out of dynamite . . . your op is keeping an eye on him, just keep your distance.