tablesaw: A stick-figure person walking in a carefree manner. The caption reads, 'Haters gonna make some good points' (Haters)
I wanted to get some recreational coding done today, but that didn't happen. A few other things did, though.

Household things: I put up a new curtain rod for the blackout curtains in our bedroom, and did some lawn maintenance in the front yard. After initiating some mowing two weeks ago, last week's trip meant that a lot of progress got wiped away. More weed whacking and mowing have it looking okay, but still not great. In the backyard, [personal profile] temptingcuriosity has asked for the dandelions to be harvested for greens, so I'm going to continue with that tomorrow.

I found my copy of Sad Pictures for Children. It's such a strange artifact now. It's the printing of a webcomic that's been wiped from the web, and which may or may not have narrowly escaped being burned by the author after printing. But it's so beautiful. At this point it's one of the most difficult things to get that I own.

I also grabbed a copy of one of my Doom Patrol TPBs and read a bit of that.

When I settled down to code, I made the mistake of putting Cowboy Bebop on as "background." It was totally not background. It's still an incredible show, and I haven't watched it in a while, so it completely dominated my attention.

We watched the new Doctor Who, which I liked, and the finale of Bates Motel, which I also liked.

My impulse is to try to wrap this up with something I've learned, but striving for meaning in simple communication is one of the things that keeps me from posting anything.

If you don't like it, scroll past!
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
(This is a dear author letter for Lost Library the 2015 iteration of [community profile] invisible_ficathon. This time, we're not writing fanfiction for fictional texts, we're writing the texts themselves, so I'm addressing myself to the archivist who will merely be retrieving these wholly accurate and canon excerpts

In general, I prefer gen, meta, but above all else, I'm a fan of pastiche. So strive for "accuracy" of tone in the "original" and its fictional world, and the content itself is unlikely to make a difference to me.)


Dear Lost Librarian:

Thank you for taking the time to locate, prepare, and present these hard-to-find works of art. I've given some notes regarding what I'm looking to find. Please include any contextual notes you feel appropriate as an archivist, but I would prefer if such commentary is clearly indicated, as I am not intimately familiar with the works in question.

A Perfect Vacuum
Gigamesh

Lem describes aspects of the novel, but the watchwords are "commentary" and "hubris" If you choose to present entirely commentary/footnotes, while leaving the text upon which it comments nonextant (or merely vanishingly small) I would be incredibly happy.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Dixon Hill (series)

Noir and pulp and pulp and noir. The 30s-40s time frame and the title "The Big Goodbye" give a strong indication that Hill is more similar to Chandler's Marlowe than Hammett's Spade, but any similar period feel is going to be acceptable. Obviously, Picard's holonovels are an adaptation of the original Dixon Hill stories. Though I was original expecting stories or novel excerpts from the original printed fiction, excerpts from any subsequent adaptations would be acceptable as well, as long as they are true to the spirit and character of the originals.

And as always, I would appreciate any excerpt that includes Haircut Lipinsky.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Daddy's Boy (film), Spiderman Too: 2 Many Spidermen (play)

I am a big music lover, so please be sure to include the full lyrics of at least two songs: a big production number, and a lesser-known song. Obviously that it's hard to make an excerpt meet the word count with just lyrics, so feel free to include libretto, stage directions, screenplays, etc.

Mass Effect
Blasto (film series)

I've seen most of the Blasto films several times, so I'd like to see something from the now-hard-to-find Blasto Saves Christmas!. Also, if you have access to any of the Blasto screenplays written after Shepard did that thing that ended the war with the Reapers and changed the universe irrevocably, I'd like to see what effect it had on the Blasto films.

Steven Universe (Cartoon)
Space Train to the Cosmos (Album)

Again, I'd like to see full lyrics to at least two of Mr. Universe's seminal work. In addition, I'd appreciate any contemporary excerpts related to the album, like liner notes, reviews, promotional materials, or outtakes from session recordings.
tablesaw: The Mexican Murder Rock from <cite>Warehouse 13</cite> (Mexican Murder Rock!)

I'm trying to write a thing about stereotypes, but it's hard because I haven't been writing for a while. While procrastiresearching, I started asking my (non-Latina) girlfriend whether she thought "Mexicans love Morrissey" was a stereotype. She had never heard anything like that. She wanted to know, in response, whether "Mexicans love Mariachi music" was a stereotype.

What I'm trying to get at (in the other piece, the one I'm still not writing) is the way in which stereotypes aren't generalizations, but ideological statements that justify the hierarchical positions of different social groups. "Mexicans are lazy" and "Mexicans are hard-working" are contradictory, but each works to justify Latin@s being stuck in labor-intensive jobs without promotional paths in the United States. But "Mexicans love Mariachi music" doesn't quite get at that directly.

What I wanted to say didn't quite crystallize until I saw Bankuei's post/tweets:

Marginalized folks are punished for their cultural markers, appropriators are rewarded for using other folk’s cultural markers.

It really doesn’t even matter WHAT the thing is being appropriated, it’s really about appropriating as a means of reinforcing the power structure about WHO is allowed to take and WHO is expected to be taken from.

"Cultural marker" was precisely the concept I was looking for. It's not just that Mariachi is a form of music from Mexico, it's that it's one of the cultural markers used in the United States to stand in for "Mexican/Latin@/Spanish-Speaking Brown Person", along with "cactus," "sombrero," "poncho," "tequila," "mustache," and "Cinco de Mayo." In fact, if you're looking for the cultural markers for Latin@, just go to a "Cinco de Mayo" "celebration" by white people, and you'll see "Mexican" neatly packaged. Identifying any of those trite markers is a reminder of how Mexican culture is marginalized by its differences, and various other Latino cultures are erased through homogenization. "Mexicans love Morrissey" doesn't fit anywhere on that ideological map of the dominant group.

But "Mexicans love Morrissey" still feels kind of stereotypy to me; why would that be? Well, looking at my own definition, it must have an ideological grounding that resonates with me. Perhaps that's because I'm also a Mexican-American who also likes Morrissey and listened to him in high school.(It also clearly resonates with others, like Rio Yañez, whose graphic is at the top of this post, and has used Morrissey as a muse several times.) And it is ideological, it runs counter to (or at least parallel to) the status quo.

I don't know that there's quite a word for that kind of non-dominant stereotype. They're around, but they don't get reproduced by the dominant culture in the same way, and you're not going to hear about them unless you're part of a group, or at least have actual positive interaction with that group. "Black don't crack" strikes me as one as well (with revolutionary messages of both beauty and resilience).

I don't have an ending, so here's a clip of Matt Smith comparing a Japanese fighter to Eeyore and Morrissey.

Rio Yañez draws Matt Smith imagining Eeyore and Morrissey with a sword.
tablesaw: Ration Hornblower, from the cast of Smile Time, peeks his horn nose out at you. (Ratio Hornblower)
This is my Dear Author letter for Invisible Ficathon. It's also my first Dear Author letter, so bear with me. I'm going to copy the "Details" information (which were written "IC"), and fill it out with some extra information, including source information.

I am not really a fic reader; even in fandoms I'm deep into, I prefer reading meta. The fic I read is rare, usually highly recced out of things like Yuletide, and has kind of meta qualities. I like crossovers and other things that highlight form and literary quirks of the source, rather than having an engagement with the characters themselves. Similarly, I read gen almost exclusively. However, as you will see below, I'm not ruling out romance or porn in some circumstances where I suspect it would be interesting and/or hilarious.

Gigamesh
My favorite part of every Gigamesh fic is the Hannahanian commentary that by necessity accompanies it. I know that fandom has generally decided the commentary should be about twice the wordcount of the accompanying fic (as in the 33/67 Drabble exchanges), but I prefer the ratio to be much more skewed to the commentary side. I'd hope for at least a triple-sized commentary, but if you feel comfortable making it even bigger, go for it!

Also, while I generally read only gen fic, I do also enjoy Gigamesh fic that is half-and-half. I go both ways: romantic/sexual fic with gen commentary is OK, as is gen fic with romantic/sexual commentary. But doubling up on the pairings is right out.
Source: A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem.

A Perfect Vacuum is a collection of reviews of fictional books. There are preview pages available on Google Books that can give you an idea of what the book is like. It is modeled after James Joyce's Ulysses (using the mythology of Gilgamesh and Enkidu), and more especially, the very intricate and often suspect textual analysis of the same. "Our task is made easier in that Hannahan—unlike Joyce!—provided his book with a commentary, which is twice the size of the novel itself (to be exact, Gigamesh runs 395 pages, the Commentary 847)."

Blasto (fictional film series)
I also really love the dialogue of Blasto (and Bubin) and love reading crossovers with other fandoms (or vice versa). Gen only. I'm not trying to be a prude, but I'm not interested in reading about Hanar procreative activities. no, not even with Asari.
Source: Mass Effect series.

The Mass Effect wiki has a good summary, but I strongly recommend listening to the entire audio of Blasto 6: Partners in Crime, as taken from the Mass Effect 3; it's about ten minutes. You will understand why I love the dialogue. There's apparently a comic book too, but I haven't read it.

Escape from Zyzzlvaria
I'd love to see Captain Blastoid in a crossover with other fandoms like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, The Producers, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego and others that have no apparent connection to each other. Gen only, please.
Source: D2: The Mighty Duck Konundrum, MIT Mystery Hunt 2009, MIT Mystery Hunt 2010, Round 2009 (from a different timeline, and so not necessarily canon).

I'm not specifically asking for there to a be a puzzle in the fic, but, if you really want . . .

Tulola-Gobu
I'd really like to see more about what happened between Nasta-se and Dullo-ge before the start of the novel that led to the murder. If at all possible, please write in Chaosian, or, if you can't, be sure to capture as much of the color of the language as you can.
Source: Son of the Realm of Unspeakable Chaos (Translation)

Another puzzle-based source, but I really wanted to include this one because I felt like conlangs deserved a place in the Invisible Ficathon. The known Chaosian dictionary is limited and is mostly dedicated to describing flags, hence my reference to "the color of the language."

See You Next Wednesday
I don't even know how to give guidance. It seems like everyone who writes fic for this has seen a completely different film. If your fic can provide insight into some of those discrepancies, that'd be great, but if not, go wild.
Source: The films of John Landis (Wikipedia page).

This title has referred to lots of different films within films, so I really don't want to limit interpretations, but I'd love to see something that tries to merge two or more. Also, given that one of the most notable See You Next Wednesdays is advertised "A Non-Stop Orgy" (though the parts of the film we see does seem to have lots of orgy interruptions), I totally accept that this one may get porny.

Dixon Hill (series)
I love Haircut Lapinski fic, and I have yet to see anyone address his obsession with fractions with appropriate detail.
Source: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Memory Alpha)

The noir detective novels that Picard uses for holographic recreation. One of the characters gives the line: "I'm as jumpy as Haircut Lapinski trying to land on a fraction." That is the best line. THE BEST. And it has been plaguing TNG fans for a while, based on websearches. It is time for the truth to be known.
tablesaw: One machete is raised, a host more rise to meet it. (From the "Machete" trailer in "Grindhouse".) (Brown Power)

STEPHEN GREENBLATT: When I was writing the glosses for the Norton Shakespeare, I remember doing the glosses for Much Ado About Nothing and I came to the line in which Claudio says, I would marry her "were she an Ethiope." So I had to explain what "were she an Ethiope" meant, and I said in the marginal gloss, "Ethiope, i.e., black and therefore, according to the racist Elizabethan stereotype, ugly."

Now, someone criticized me for being too politically correct by saying "racist stereotype." But if you're actually faced with the practical question of how you're going to gloss the thing, you have to say "Ethiope, i.e., Ethiopian, i.e., black," that is clear. But if you're saying I'd marry her "were she an Ethiope," you have to explain what that means, and you could say "i.e., black and therefore ugly," but what does that mean if you're writing a book for a contemporary audience? You have to acknowledge that the values have drastically shifted.

You could also point out, if you were doing a fuller account, that Claudio was actually a very unpleasant character and that happens to therefore qualify this, but it isn't the whole story. The whole story definitely involves a broader, not just the defects of Claudio's character, but a certain set of broader Elizabethan understandings that Shakespeare routinely draws upon, often to make paradoxical effects. He loves this black mistress, the dark lady, and he makes much of the fact that he loves her despite the fact that she's dark and therefore violates the canons of beauty. But you can't begin to understand this if you don't understand something about the values of Shakespeare's time and also recognize that they're not necessarily our values.

Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing comes out tonight, and I wanted to quote this passage because this very racist line is included in the film. It didn't have to be, filming or staging Shakespeare means cutting a lot of dialogue (unless you're Kenneth Branagh and want a movie with an intermission). What's more,an anti-semitic line in the film was pointed cut (Benedick saying, of Beatrice, "If I do not love her, then I am a Jew").

In the film, this line is framed very pointedly. As Claudio speaks it, a black woman is framed in the background, making it particularly clear who is being slurred. This deliberate shot is abrupt and unsettling, which contributes to it becoming a laugh line for most audiences. (The audience I saw this with was mostly white; I don't know the makeup of other preview audiences that have reported laughter.) In defending this shot, Whedon has compared this to something that might happen in The Office (interview)

But while it might seem similar on the surface (close enough to encourage laughter by recognizing the form) there are some very important differences. The Office features several characters of different races, all of whom are characterized as having complex lives that overturn the tokenism that American corporate bureaucracy (as embodied by Michael Scott) wants to reduce them to. In contrast, all of the speaking roles and a wide majority of the extras in Much Ado are white. The black woman in this shot isn't seen before or after, and isn't particularly in focus while Claudio speaks either. She exists only to be slurred by one of the leads.

Whedon is also struggling against the narrative of Shakespeare's original source, which wants to unite its opposing forces into honor and harmony. Whedon does a good job of showing Claudio's turn to the dark side, but by the time the slur comes around, Claudio has done his penance and is being redeemed. That's not a narrative that The Office generally worries about (outside of the Pam & Jim's story, which is a more traditional romantic comedy plot).

It creates a very pointed hierarchy. Shaming a white woman at a public wedding is a grievous sin that must be redeemed, but shaming a black woman at a public wedding, eh we'll just let that slide because she's not the bride (never the bride) and we're running out of time.

One reviewer argued that the message of The Office is “Yes, racism still exists, but you are not alone.” But what we see in that moment of Much Ado About Nothing is that the black woman is completely alone; she is isolated, out of focus, denied a voice, in that shot, and in the rest of the movie as well. But for the cast of white characters, well, it's a bit awkward, but hey, you know, Claudio's a good guy. He was really sad at that funeral. Besides, do you even know who that woman is? I mean, are you sure she was invited, because I haven't talked to her.

I don't know what other people think when they see that shot. I suspect that many feel, without even thinking about it, that with the tension of the moment, and the similarity to other, better, comedies about race, laughter was necessary and appropriate. But I know that what I was thinking was that woman probably spent a long time getting ready, choosing her dress, getting her hair made up, feeling really pretty, and then suddenly everyone was looking at her while the groom said black women are ugly and terrible.

I didn't laugh.

Crossposted on Tumblr)

tablesaw: A redshirt says, "I'm just here to pay off my Academy loans anyway." (Academy Loans)
I spent this weekend at the Egyptian for the Cape Town Film Festival, run by Entertainment Weekly and the American Cinematheque. I became a Cinematheque member last year, and really enjoyed it, but I was on the fence about renewing. But shortly thereafter, I heard about this festival and, more importantly, got an income stream again, so I reupped and grabbed a bunch of tickets.

The screenings were lots of fun. It was exciting to see the Egyptian so busy, with the courtyard filled to brimming for each show. It was also a show of force for the volunteers, most of whom I'd seen at other screenings at other times, all of whom were friendly and excited.

The courtyard of the Egyptian Theater filled with people before the 6 p.m. screening of Return of the Jedi.

Earth Rises

This was, probably, the most important film in the entire festival. Some of my favorite moments of the festival happened when I was watching it. With hundreds of geeks in attendance over the course of the week, it was a binding force, something we could share and laugh about.

I am speaking, of course, of the trailer for Season 3 of Falling Skies.



TNT was a sponsor of the festival, specifically promoting the new series of Falling Skies. If you can't or don't want to watch ad, it's a series of dark and dramatic scenes from this show about an alien invasion of the United States (and probably other parts of the world, who even knows). Early on, Will Patton yells Take cover!, and an artificial echo is added to his voice (Cover! Cover! Cover!). For the next few seconds, short snippets of dialogue are punctuated with more Cover!s, growing into a massive crescendo of music, explosions, Cover!, chaos, Cover!, warfare, Cover!, Cover!, Cover!, then silence.

With six hundred nerds in a room at the same time, a good number of them are going to use that silence to yell Cover!

Especially when this ad is run before every film in the festival, with several people, like myself, seeing it several times. It became a bit of a thing.
Falling Skies

As an extra "bonus" the season premiere of Falling Skies was screened before Escape from New York on Friday, which I was attending. It was, exactly the way I remembered it two years ago when I stopped watching the first season because it was too boring. I felt little bad about it. It has a cast full of people I really like, and a lot of the sci-fi elements in this new season seem to be much more interesting than what had been present before. But I just couldn't keep my focus on it. It has the same "a bunch of stuff happens to a bunch of people and then it ends" pacing that I don't like about Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, but without even the occasional character moments that make those later shows somewhat compelling.

I don't really know why they wanted to show it before Escape from New York. I guess there's kind of a similar apocalyptic-action vibe between the two, but they really didn't mesh well, and the Russell/Carpenter crowd was not too pleased with the delay.

The episode was followed by a terrible Q&A. The interviews with actors and filmmakers was of extremely high quality when I was there, but the interviewer in this case was a overexcited puppy asking questions that sounded like a parody of celebrity magazines. The actors had a hard time responding to them as well; Moon Bloodgood had a minor meltdown when she had to field a spoiler-angled question despite having no coaching about what kind of spoilers she was or wasn't allowed to reveal.

The whole event was a dissonance in an otherwise incredibly smooth event. But what else should we expect from the sponsors? It's certainly not the worst commercial break I could imagine for an event like this. And TNT gave us free soda, popcorn, and (for some reason) bandanas. So there's that.
Escape from New York

Okay, here come the actual movies. It's been a while since I watched the movie (I skimmed it for a puzzle a few years back, but didn't have time to sit down and watch it), and so it was mostly hazy TV memories on this one. What I was struck with the most was how much it reminded me of videogames. The Metal Gear Solid references were the most direct, but there was just something about the way Carpenter filmed a lot of the action that feels very much like a videogame today.

Kurt Russell came out after the movie for a Q&A that was very entertaining and touched on lots of his early career. It also sped into some bizarre tangents, such as when the name "Anderson" inspired him to spend a minute or two talking about how good Hugo Weaving was in The Matrix. As for New York, he talked about being terrified of Ox Baker because of his history of hitting people so hard they died after wrestling matches (the actual causes of death are mostly unrelated, but enough to make a young and pretty actor cautious).

Speaking of Kurt Russell being pretty, Kurt Russell looks really pretty in this movie. Russell talked a bit about who might play Snake in a remake of Escape; I'd look toward Ryan Gosling.

(More soon)
tablesaw: Paul, who is a ghost, declares this to be "Booooring!" (Booooring)
At my birthday bar thing/dinner I was tipped off to the fact that there's a reasonably close movie theater in North Hollywood that shows second-run movies for three dollars, or a buck fifty on Sundays. So [personal profile] temptingcuriosity and I took a trip on Sunday to see Wreck-It Ralph. It was fun, and I'm glad I saw it because everyone else I know has seen it already. And I don't know if you've heard, but it's about videogames.

I wanted to review it here, because I'm committed to doing more reviewing of things, but I can barely bring myself to care enough to think of something to say. I enjoyed myself enough when I was watching it, but by the time I was home my enjoyment had all drained away.

There's no problem that can't be solved in the scope of a two-hour movie, as [profile] joshroby once pointed out, but that doesn't mean that all stories can be told in that scope. In the undoubtedly worked and reworked and re-reworked plot of Wreck-It Ralph, there isn't much room for the stories of characters outside of a precoded series of checkpoints, an inevitable grind until leveling up (but not changing classes).

Perhaps there's something to say here about Wreck-It Ralph's ultimate message that it's better to be happy with your crappy job than to fight the system: the heroes are rewarded for maintaining or restoring the status quo. But, hey, it's a Disney movie with Bowser and Q-Bert in it. It's too big to fail, right?

I did really like Alan Tudyk's amazing performance as King Candy, though. I'd say it was an ok use of two hours and $1.50.
tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
This past weekend was a lazy one, like the New Year weekend before. (The Xmas weekend was stressful, with most of my Christmas Day trivia written on Christmas Eve.) [personal profile] temptingcuriosity and I went to LACMA on Saturday, avoiding the bigger events (Kubrick and Caravaggio) and indulging our own personal preferences (Surrealist Drawings and Maya artifacts). On Sunday we stayed in, made bacon pancakes, and lounged around because it was cold outside.

I asked her what she was looking for from the new year, but I already knew what her year looked like, when I thought about it. Really, I wanted her to ask me the question. I know I want to get hired permanently at this new job, but past that I wasn't sure. Talking about it, I realized that I wanted to create more in 2013. Not a particular thing, or a big thing, just lots of things.

Recently, I say a lot that I'm too much in my head. I talk to folks a bit more on Twitter, and I'm talking to people in person, but I'm not getting things out in non-conversational settings anymore. As a true geek, I worry about the narrow bandwidth of talking to people one-on-one; I just don't have enough time to tell things to everyone I would like to. Blog posts allow you, my friends and readers, to time-shift the Tablesaw experience to fit your schedule (something I know I appreciate).

But while blog posts are always things I need to do more often, to get into the habit of writing long things (or just short things that aren't twitter), what I want to do is just create more things that I can share. And saying it the other day made me excited and happy. A good sign, I think.

This year I don't just want to do things I love, I want to make new things to send out into the world with them, so that my experiences can travel beyond the horizon of my personal bubble. I want to write about at least one thing a week, TV, movie, game, what have you. I want to make some more puzzles, definitely at least one thing I can bring to the NPL convention in Austin. I want to finally hide a geocache in LA. I want to make some games, eventually, somewhere. There's a pre-Companions DW/AW game knocking around in my head that mostly needs a lot of research (that TemptingCuriosity is eager to help with).

My birthday is on Thursday, and I turn 35, a number that is a multiple of the amount of fingers on one hand, which means that I'll probably freak out sometime this year, though I'm successfully blocking it out for now. It's a good time to have a plan, and it's a good time to have a plan that focuses so much on simple joys. Last year was not a good one, this one will be better.
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
Poll #10606 Would You Like to Take a Survey?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5


Do you like zombies?

View Answers

Yes
1 (20.0%)

No
3 (60.0%)

Um, it's not that we wouldn't like to take your survey; it's more like we'd rather have dental surgery.
1 (20.0%)

Would you like to see George Wendt in a new musical?

View Answers

Yes
2 (50.0%)

No
1 (25.0%)

Would you like to take a hike?
1 (25.0%)

Would you like to see George Wendt as a zombie in a new musical?

View Answers

Yes
1 (25.0%)

No
2 (50.0%)

Try using a better deodorant.
1 (25.0%)



This has been a week for musicals. On Sunday, I saw Reanimator: The Musical. I missed this in its initial run last year, but I am so glad I saw it now as it prepares for a tour to the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you have the opportunity to see it in any of those places, you absolutely should. The staging is uniformly excellent, with Grand Guignol effects as horrific and cheesy one would expect. But I was constantly surprised by the show. The music was better than I expected, in writing and performance. I also didn't realize that the show was created by the same creative team responsible for the Reanimator movie. But mostly, I never thought I would get to see George Wendt as a lobotomized zombie slave on a small stage. That was pretty awesome.

Though it's generally comedic, there are only a few cheap jokes, which makes them stand out all the more. When a large bunch of zombies make their entrance, they do the Thriller dance, of course. And while most songs are original, one is a knock-off version of "My Way." But on the whole, it's an excellent show.

Tonight, I went to the last show of the East West Players' season, A Little Night Music. Though the text remained the same, the production took its design cues from 1910 Shanghai. I've never seen this musical in its entirety, and I really enjoyed it. I also recommend it, though sadly, unlike Reanimator, it does not have a Splash Zone in the audience.



The 9:00 a.m. alarm continues to be a good schedule making me more productive in terms of job search and general doing of things. I've gotten in touch with a staffing agency, and tomorrow I'll be doing a phone interview with a company that is looking to hire a legal word processor for four or five months. If that goes through, it will be a surprise. I was just getting used to the idea of having lots of free time. (I've only learned to cook one new thing!) Still, it'll give me a chance to keep the cash flow going while looking for something more steady.
tablesaw: Katsuhiko Jinnai, from El Hazard (Jinnai)
Any time you see someone talking about Sherlock fandom of any variety, replace Sherlock with Matlock.

If the discussion in question in involves genderswap Sherlock, you may, at your discretion, decide that it means Murder, She Wrote.
tablesaw: The Maple Street streetlight blinks on and off and on. (Monsters Are Due)
Lots of new shows. Here's what I've been thinking . . .
  • The Playboy Club: A show about the Playboy Club. Gone and goner, and good riddance. It wanted to be Mad Men so hard, mostly so that it could be horrible to its women characters while trying to say that they were totally equal. Disgusting, and I'm glad it's gone. (See also, "Final Insult to Injury: Before Cancellation Playboy Club Rewrites Steinem History.")
  • Revenge: The Count of Monte Cristo with a female protagonist. I was only able to watch about ten minutes before I got the same "my eyes glaze over" feeling of rich white people I can't tell apart that I got from Gossip Girl. Though I do see [tumblr.com profile] mswyrr covering it. Recommended?
  • Hart of Dixie: City doctor goes south to learn humility from "real folks." I think I lasted about three minutes before clawing my eyes out.
  • Terra Nova: People in the future travel to dinosaur world because the future sucks; also kill dinosaurs. It looks pretty, but it really has no idea what there is to the show other than people looking at dinosaurs. Somebody apparently decided it should be focused on a family, but the family dynamic is really uninteresting and generates no drama. So the plots are all about dinosaurs being dinosaurs.
  • Ringer: Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a former drug addict who takes over the twin's high-society life when the twin dies except the actually faked her own death. This show is terrible, but moves into the perfect place for a trainwreck by virtue of a decent cast and absurdly melodramatic story.
  • Unforgettable: A cop with perfect recall solves crimes. Forgettable.
  • Person of Interest: A computer genius, who built a near-omniscient Orwellian nightmare of a computer for the government, hires a hitman to be Batman on the side. This is a very slick show, but the political aspects just squick me out more than usual. Add to that the main characters are deliberately ciphers, and the whole thing feels hollow.
  • The Secret Circle: A retread of The Craft where the children of a secret witch circle form their own secret witch circle in a small town full of mysteries and secrets. This from the same team as one of my current favorites, The Vampire Diaries, so I'm going to give the show a little time to get up to speed. They seem to have the style and the components in place, but it hasn't quite gotten a story going yet. <Smallville>Start challenging your relationships, PCs!</Smallville>
  • Prime Suspect: A New York cop solves crimes while dealing with sexism from coworkers and others. Supposedly based on the original BBC series, though it doesn't show much relation other than a general concept. It doesn't hold a candle to the original, but it still holds its own as a solid U.S. cop drama. I think it's nailing its concept square on the head that other shows like like The Closer have shied away from, except in the margins.
  • A Gifted Man: A high-powered, narcissistic neurosurgeon becomes a Ghost Whisperer. Didn't make it through the pilot of this one, either.
  • Pan Am: A Pan-American Airlines flight crew experience the upheavals of the '60s from both sides of the Atlantic. This one definitely benefited from being watched after trying to watch The Playboy Club. While the show oversells the empowerment of women working at Pan-Am, it does understand that the way to show empowerment is to show women actually doing things. In the teaser of the pilot, we see our various heroines dealing with newfound fame from the cover of Life magazine, working as an activist in Greenwich Village, discussing romantic encounters with different men, and receiving instructions for an espionage mission. I don't know if I'll stick with it, because it lacks an edge at the moment, but it has a lot of promise.
  • American Horror Story: A dysfunctional family moves into a haunted house. Not really a great show for synopsis, since it's a all about the horror. I watched the pilot on Hulu while working, and realized I needed to watch it again. It's very much a show about the filming and presentation. I hope it can keep the pace set by the pilot, since it was my favorite pilot this year.


To sum up:

Eagerly watching: American Horror Story
Watching: Ringer, The Secret Circle, Prime Suspect
Mostly Watching: Terra Nova, Pan Am
Not Watching: Unforgettable, Person of Interest
Didn't finish one episode: Revenge, Hart of Dixie, A Gifted Man
Canceled: The Playboy Club

I'll do returning series in a separate post, soon.

Headspace

Oct. 14th, 2011 03:03 am
tablesaw: Charlie Crews, in a dark suit, rests his head on his left hand (That's Life)
I've been in my head too much, recently.

No, that's not it.

I haven't been letting enough of me out of my head, recently.

I'm going to try to force myself to do more journaling.

Also commenting. I tend to think that I shouldn't respond unless I have something substantive to say.

I need to remember that "thank you" and "I hope you feel better" are also substantive things to say.

So. Post before bed.



You know, I made this icon so that I would have something I could use when I talk about the show Life. I didn't expect it would be so necessary for my actual life.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Since I had business on the second floor, I decided to climb my way back to the sixteenth, to see how my body was doing.

I have to admit, I've been slacking on my exercise routine. I haven't been using my stationary bike as hard, or remembering to do other exercises as often. I haven't been sleeping as well, so I haven't gotten up early enough to lengthen the walking part of my commute.

On the other hand, various lifestyle changes have kept this slacking from turning into giving up entirely. My main focus has been my exercise bike, which I keep parked in front of the TV, and I've gotten fairly good at watching TV or playing videogames while on the bike instead of the couch. So when I'm "slacking," I'm not finding the energy for a full high-speed, high-tension workout; but I do still sit on the bike and pedal more leisurely, sometimes for two or three hours. And I still find time for wall push-ups, though with less rigor than I used to have.

Walking up the stairs, it was harder than I'd like it to be, but even though I felt like I was going to give up after about four flights . . . I didn't ever actually have to. I didn't even need to stop for a breather. It helped wake me up a bit too. In fact, if I hadn't had to get back to work, I probably would've kept going up.

I've said before that I have a tendency to slide into slothfulness. I don't really gain much pleasure from exercise, and I don't know that it's ever going to be something I seek out. But I'm glad that I've put a stopper on how far back I can slide.
tablesaw: Charlie Crews, in a dark suit, rests his head on his left hand (That's Life)
Exercise bike + TV (Bachelor Pad) + book (Bujold) + cellphone (this)
tablesaw: A redshirt says, "I'm just here to pay off my Academy loans anyway." (Academy Loans)
SAGAL:
Your book is called "Nerd Do Well." Is there anything out there that's too nerdy even for you? Have you ever met somebody who's in some culture or subculture so weird you're like "oh my god, that's just too strange?"

Mr. PEGG:
Babylon 5.
—"Actor Simon Pegg Plays 'Not My Job'," Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me, June 18, 2011.

Infodump

Jun. 5th, 2011 10:58 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Things done since ever.

  • Bought tickets for the NPL Convention in Providence. Will be flying into Boston on the 4th (5 p.m. EDT), looking to bum around before heading to the hotel on Wednesday afternoon, then flying out of Logan early on the 11th (7 a.m.). Who'll be around?
  • I also said, "Screw it!" and asked for the rest of that week off from work, so it's going to be a real vacation for me all through to the 15th. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. But it will not be working.
  • I'm coming out of a funk (well, came out of a funk a week or so ago). It's always hard to identify it when I'm in it, till my body rebels and says, "No, Tablesaw, you need to do things again. You're going to do those situps, and then you're going to go out and see people." I'm looking ahead to when the pushback happens, the time when I feel a little sick or a little tired, and I let my momentum slip, and I can't pick it up again. On the horizon, this is most likely to happen because . . .
  • I'm probably going into the dentist this week to get my other wisdom tooth looked at. I have a feeling it's going to need removal too. The last time that happened it took a lot out of me. If it happens again, I'm going to need to plan ahead so that I can remomentatize myself.
  • I planned to go geocaching with [personal profile] trinker, and then found out it was to happen on her birthday, so I went all out to be the birthday fairy. It turned out kind of okay.
  • All the TV shows ended, and everyone is pregnant, I guess.
  • My phone, my crappy-ass phone—that is only one step removed from a crappy assphone—has started losing its charge, so I'm actually getting a smartphone. Virgin Mobile, which I've been using to keep my cell-phone bill under $10/month, has an unlimited data plan for $25/month. It should arrive this week. So that'll be interesting.
  • The Portal 2 print is framed and gorgeous-looking. I'm also wrestling with framing these prints on the cheap, which would be easier if the United States and Canada hadn't decided that they wanted their own special paper sizes.
  • Oh, I got a haircut too. For me, it's super short. But then, my hair was getting kind of long. For a while, it looked way too young for my big, bearded, thirty-three-year-old face, but it's looking better with a beard trim.
  • I watched a friend run Dungeon World at Strategicon over the weekend, which got me rereading Apocalypse World. After playing through a campaign, the directives made a lot more sense. It's a fascinating game, which is probably why I keep talking about it to everyone I meet. Also, much like with Smallville, I'm seeing it in the shows I watch. Sons of Anarchy and Dexter are totally running on Apocalypse World.
  • Finished Dragon Age:Origins. Pablum is too exciting a word.
  • Visited the Museum of Death, knocking another item off of my bucket list (defined as things that are close enough for me to throw a bucket at). It was disappointing. I was hoping for a curatorial perspective beyond, "WOW ISN'T THIS COOOOOOOOL!? SERIAL KILLERS, MAN! FUCK SOCIETY!" There were some nice touches: a set of crime-scene photographs near (what I assume was) the brief mention of the murder-suicide. On the other hand, relics of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein were counterposed with "ads containing humorous depictions of cannibals." Yeah, that wasn't too pleasant.
Gotta go to bed now . . .
tablesaw: One machete is raised, a host more rise to meet it. (From the "Machete" trailer in "Grindhouse".) (Brown Power)
In a 1998 survey, three different groups of white people were asked whether they had black friends

One group was asked, "Are any of your good friends that you feel close to Black?" When asked directly, 42% of white people said they has good friends who are black.

The next group was asked three consecutive questions. First they were asked, "Do you have any good friends that you feel close to?" If they answered yes, they were asked "About how many good friends do you have?" Finally, they were asked, "How many of your good friends are Black?" When asked with this three-step approach, 24% of white people answered that one or more of those close friends was black.

The last group was asked, "Many people have some good friends they feel close to. Who are your good friends (other than your spouse)? Just tell me their first names. Is there anyone else?" Information was taken on the first five people mentioned, including race. When investigating social networks, only 6% of white people listed at least one black person among their five closest friends.

In contrast, when black people were asked the same question about white friends, the responses were 62%, 45%, and 15% respectively.
Why this happens. )
Tom W. Smith, "Measuring Inter-racial Friendships: Experimental Comparisons" [PDF]

While I was looking for this paper, I made this too:

A photograph of Stephen Colbert, smiling ecstatically and pointing at his 'black friend' Alan. Alan appears less than thrilled. Text reads: BBFF.

GIP

Mar. 1st, 2011 11:09 pm
tablesaw: Burton Guster says 'Beer' in a seriously manly fashion, man. Because it's a man thing. Beer. (Beer)
I now have an icon for booze-related things. Made by [personal profile] entwashian!



Also, I made one for puzzle constructing, based on last week's Buttersafe.



I also updated my Duck Hunt icon, based "Schadenfreude Dog" from Aled Lewis's Videogames vs. Real Life series.

tablesaw: A twenty-sided die glows with the power of the Great Old Ones. (Cthulhu Icosahedron)
I've been avoiding Community because, well, what [personal profile] mswyrr said. But I also know a lot of people who really enjoy it, and I kept seeing fun vids focusing on Troy and Abed. So today, after running through my queue of Daily Show and Colbert Report, when Hulu suggested that my next show be the most recent episode of Community, my first thought was no.

When I saw the title was "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons," my second thought was maybe.

When I realized the teaser image was one of the characters in Drow Blackface, I was in morbid curiosity mode.

And then . . . it was good?

I still don't know how I feel about the Drow Blackface issue. It was clearly called out and the defense was noted as hypocritical, but it was superfluous, which I always wonder about. I leave it to someone more experienced to read.

And the show seems to have moved away from privileged white guy being the star to focusing on the ensemble? Maybe? If anyone wants to campaign for or against, I'm all ears.

But what struck me the most was that instead of a parade of geek references, the episode actually plumbed the depth of the social aspect of games. And I think the fact that most of the characters weren't gamers, it made it easier to cut through the cruft of references. Instead of owlbears and beholders, there was a fundamental breakdown of the social contract and conflict over the role of the DM. There's powergaming through metagaming. There's a conflict over role-playing versus roll-playing. There are hooks and callbacks. There's a struggle over the purpose of the game. And it generally seems to give anyone watching a sense of why they might be interested in playing a game like this.

Although the game they were playing was actually in the show was (loosely interpreted) first- or second-edition AD&D, it seemed to be tracing the steps of Forge theory.

The writing staff seems to be mostly ignorant of gaming, which might be the point. Telling a funny story with a role-playing game is different than telling a funny story about a role-playing game.
tablesaw: "This sounds like Waiting for Spy Godot" (Hunt)
I still am not quite prepared to talk in detail about the Mystery Hunt, because a lot has to do with my team experience, which was awesome, but also more personal. So instead, here's a list of recommended puzzles from this year's Hunt.

This post contains minor spoilers. Most Mystery Hunt puzzles have little or no instructions. Under the cut tags, I'm going to give more explicit instructions and some comments to make the puzzles accessible, both to more casual solvers and to seasoned veterans who want to skip ahead to the good stuff. (If you don't see any cut text and you would prefer not to see some or all of these spoilers, read this page from my Jaunary 19 page.) Complete answers to each puzzle can be found using the "Call in answer" link at the top of each page.

Keyboard Cat. How it works )

Toad's List. How it works )

Everybody's Got to Be Somewhere. How it Works )

Meta Testing. What It Is, How It Works )

Timbales. What it is )

Stuff Nerd People Like. What It Is, How It Works )

Expletive Deleted. Figuring out how to fill in the blanks shouldn't be that hard, and I'd feel bad spelling it out. I will spell out how to get from there to the final answer: How to Get from There to the Final Answer )

The Cats Meow. How It Works, Why It's Fun Even if You Don't Want to Solve It )

Part of Speech. How It Works )

Painted Potsherds. How It Works )

Inventory Quest. How It Works )

Laureate. No need for spoiler tags, this one is straight up with its instructions. This is a cryptic crossword, so if you're not familiar with those conventions, it's going to be very difficult. Specifically, this is a cryptic in the style of the Listener Cryptic, so if you're an American cryptic solver unfamiliar with British conventions, this will still be very hard. But if you do happen to be familiar with solving very difficult cryptics in the British vein, this puzzle is lots of fun.

Hints, with a bit of love!. How )

A Representative Sampling. How It Works )

Plotlines. I think this is the puzzle that maximizes accessibility and awesomeness. Definitely look even if you click through immediately to the answers. How It Works )

Toto, I Have a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore. I can't really spoil this one, but I feel like the aha is fairly accesible to the right sorts of geek. If you don't see what's going on fairly quickly, click through to the answer. If you do, here's how to get a final answer ).

Unnatural Law. How It Works )

E Pluribus Unum. Okay, this one looks unfair, but it's actually fairly tractable, and can be a good way to start thinking laterally about puzzles like this. How It Works )

Unlikely Situations. Just look at the puzzle. If this puzzle is for you, you'll recognize it instantly and figure out what to do. If you don't it's probably not the puzzle for you. How It Works ) Even if you don't want to solve the puzzle, you may want to click through to the answer to see a little bit more about the subject.



So those are my recommendations. There's a lot more stuff that I enjoyed, but it's all less accessible, and I'll probably need to talk about them more spoilerily to do them justice. These are just ones I think more people would get a kick out of.

If you think I've listed too many, then here are my top three fun, accessible puzzles: Toad's List, Inventory Quest, and Plotlines. Go do those.

Also, here are some puzzles that I didn't work on but are on my list to try. No descriptions because I haven't spent any time working on them.

Profile

tablesaw: -- (Default)
Tablesaw Tablesawsen

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
141516 17181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags