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Archive for June, 2010

thinking of calling my new home…

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

The Temple of Vengeance, or of Love.

Now that my kids are hooked on The Thief of Bagdad my daughter’s going around adding “…of justice” to everything.

Dad, there’s no toilet roll! Of justice!

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scattered Lost thoughts, also, unladen swallows

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Let’s get this out of the way: what is the air speed of an unladen swallow?
What about an unladen Galvao?

So I’m up to the bit where the woman parachutist needs rescuing and <shock> she’s not Des’ girlfriend. And I’m wondering how I managed to get addicted to a series in which it’s surprising when the ludicrous coincidence doesn’t happen.*

The most amazing moment for me so far in Lost, though, is in that basically disposable episode where we discover that new characters Paulo and Nikki are thieves and murderers. And in telling their story we’re sent back to the day of the crash, to see Nikki coaxing Paulo out of shock and reminding him of the diamonds. And Nikki picks through the wreckage of the plane, with that whining engine and all the other characters we know staggering around in the background.

So that means, I guess, that they shot footage of Nikki and Paulo at the same time as everyone else in the opening. And withheld it for two seasons, and didn’t call the actors back until they’d decided to work out their plot? Wow. My wife suspects it may all be digital. Maybe, I dunno what’s easier, actually. But I wonder how many other people are in that initial scene, how many of them got their own minutes of camera time that we haven’t seen yet. And how much of the whole plot was already written when they shot that opening.

* My frustrations, let me tell you them. Alas, how stupid and careless the Others appear to be. Perhaps that’s their charm, that they don’t have to be competent to pose a threat to a bunch of fractious and self-absorbed PTSD sufferers. But: assuming everything Ben says is false, still we have several problems. There are 8 hatches on the island. One of them may or may not contain a ticking bomb that can, at least, disrupt the Others’ communications and wreak havoc on their home comforts and… they can’t be bothered to tend it themselves, instead entrusting the task to whichever randoms happen along. Interesting. They discover that two things they desperately want – a pregnant woman and a spine surgeon – have been dropped on the island, and their response is to try to kidnap both and subject them to drugging and deprivation, having made themselves unambiguously into enemies through other acts of violence, in order to gain their cooperation. Hum. They’re master manipulators, but they don’t seem to be able to parley. I’m guessing there’s a great reason for all this, right?

Donald Douglas, web oddity

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I strongly dislike it when Eaglespeak strays from its core mission to editorialise about geopolitics.

Donald Douglas, though (with a name that sounds like a pseudonym for the war machine – like Ray Theo Gruman or something) is a whole nother issue. I was distracted almost immediately from his wingnuttery by the sidebar on the right. Anti-Obama stuff, red-baiting, bikini babe. Well, that’s not an uncommon cocktail among self-identified right-wingers on the web, and there’s probably a paper to be written on politically-inflected gender performance somewhere in there. Fine. Ads, ads ads ads ads punks ads: I’m guessing the ironic cultural commentary is unintentional. And then:

I am a pro-victory Associate Professor of Political Science teaching in Southern California. I love my country, and I fully support current U.S. military operations around the world. I despise the hard-left radical agenda and discourse. I also abhor irrationalism in argumentation. I welcome comments and debate, and I’ll defend my positions vigorously. Yet in friendship, you’ll find no one more trustworthy nor loyal; in battle you’ll find an umatched competitor whose tactical elan would make Machiavelli proud.

He does not mention his ultraviolet smoke belt in ninjutsu.

I guess I’m just not used to active faculty in institutions of higher education advertising their sexuality online, or making extravagant claims about their battle prowess. Or swearing at people in comment fora. Perhaps this is the healthy way of the future. But it does make him look an awful lot like an unshaven, undies-surfing internet douchebag. Apparently he teaches at Long Beach City/Community College (a fact about which he seems oddly cagey and non-specific), which is no doubt a fine institution that respects the freedom of speech of all of its faculty and is unburdened by the urge to bowdlerize its faculty’s websites, and good on ’em for that.

Lost finishes, I’m still in season 2

June 3, 2010 Leave a comment

So apparently they all learn to stop worrying and love the island? Or Pam Ewing wakes up?

I’ve got to that point where John Locke blows up a second hatch. This one rigged with C4 and under a farmhouse/satellite dish antenna. And chock-full of potentiall mystery-answering schwag, such as The (goddam) Dharma Initiative Operating Manual. Which leads me to say:

if you are engaged on a sensitive mission
if there are mysteries to be uncovered
if a computer is involved

…start by shooting Locke in both feet, so he can’t follow you. Also, if you find something, tell everyone immediately. I cannot stress this one enough, and it will be my first and probably only contribution if I ever find myself inside some Kafka-Borgesian Magic Box with a bunch of guilt-ridden misfits.

Once again, though, the actions of a single character not getting it remind me of the experience of playing RPGs. Likewise the way different characters drift in and out of story, guest for several episodes, then disappear. I’m only half joking when I say I suspect that Lost is actually a game, and the scripts come out of playlogs.

Gollum a la Russe

June 3, 2010 Leave a comment

page of illos from a Russian trans of the Hobbit. Look for Smaug’s death, battle of 5 armies, but the whole thing has a delightfully jolly quality that JRRT’s own illustrations somehow never captured. Here’s Gollum:

list of links, Alcott, Gaza ships, visualisation tools

June 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Alcott on Where the Wild Things Are

Notes on Bakhtin’s chronotopes

Impact of the Gulf Oil gusher

Trad Kakinada boatbuilding.

Israel and the Gaza “freedom flotilla

Wrecks off Goa

Host of wild nautical-themed woodcuts evokes Escher, may displace my LJ icons for years to come

Against the easy essentialism of the relativist argument: no, it’s not just your opinion. (remember to comment on Fantastic Journal about this)

Review of 3 free visualisation software tools