Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For fans of Charlie Jade and Other Shows I Like

Check some good recaps, interviews and conversation from Charlie Jade, Burn Notice and other shows that I don't watch but hear good things about at R.A. Porter's Pop Critic's page.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bot-dar

My bot-dar has gotten overly sensitive over the last couple years. About a year ago, I accused a nice young lady of being a bot writing a log. Yesterday, I accused Jose (who commented on the last entry) of being a bot.

I don't know what to make of becoming so sensitive to having bots invade my personal space. It certainly happens, but it unnerves me that I accuse live, flesh and blood people of being SPAM bots. Is it me?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Computer!

Woohoo! I got a new laptop the other day. It has something like 10 times faster processor and/or something like 10 times more RAM. The new one rocks and is far bigger and stronger than the old desktop that I had used.

I can now communicate, do work on the computer and even procrastinate more efficiently. Now, instead of waiting for some free time to go through my e-mails and clicking on links that friends send me, I can now just take a breather from doing some studying/writing and have near instant access to anything I want on the laptop.

Before, I would have to wait around for at 5 minutes for any program to load then something like 5 more minutes to do the types of things I wanted to do. The old desktop would probably also take around 10 to 15 minutes to boot up. Now I can do practically anything I want in a couple minutes.

I can even have a load of applications open and not slow down the computer.

Only disadvantage came during transition time. Had to transfer files and applications with a CD-RW rather than just copying files over the apartment wireless network. It would have just taken too long since nothing's really wired, the old desktop is too slow and the old desktop could never stay on the network reliably. But now I've got most everything I use on a regular basis on the new laptop.

Unfortunately, I only have 25 uses of the resident Microsoft Office on the laptop, so I'll probably just have to load 2003 that we have on a CD. No worries. I just won't have to spend so much time having to learn a new version.

I love that I can now use my own computer anywhere in our apartment and on top of that, take it out to a cafe or something if I need a break from my surroundings.

The best part of this mobility: I can now compute in air conditioning. We have the old desktop setup in the part of the apartment that doesn't have air conditioning and sits next to the kitchen. Sure, great for when making food and such, but it got sooooo hot in there!

On an amusing note, this mobility around the apartment also means turf wars with the wife, even if it also includes more availability to the wife. She likes watching TV while working. I don't. Simple solution, though: I can wear headphones and listen to music.

Things look up from here. Better control over my surroundings while working on the computer and faster processing time. I look forward to getting a lot more done.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sense and Memory

Back in the spring semester of 1999 at college, I remember experiencing my visual memories in a unique way. At the time, I liked to say that I saw my memory in technicolor, which I guess could still apply.

But now, after having my attention directed toward Super 8mm film from our wedding videographer, I think a better description would be that during that semester at college, I saw my visual memories in Super 8mm film with the color heavily saturated. I think the stronger the memory, the more saturated the color became.

And the strange thing: remembering that semester of college presently, I think the visuals have a lot of shadows and it's very dark. I haven't had visual memories in color saturated Super 8mm film in a long while, though. At least, not of anything else other than my wedding on my TV at home.

I wonder what influenced me to see my memories in that way back then. A lot of those Super 8mm film memories were some length of time previous of the time I re-experienced the memory. So long before, in fact, that the events in the memories felt like they came from a whole other life or the life of someone else.

And kind of sadly, I haven't really experienced such vivid memory recall for a long time now. Well, maybe I did today, but it involved smell, more specifically, the possible smell of cats and dogs. Since the wife and I adopted Max and Miriya, the brother and sister cat, I've been surprised that our apartments hasn't acquired an overwhelming stench of animal.

Today, I remembered an old friend who had cats and a dog, and his family had that animal stench smell in their house, all the time. That smell just wouldn't leave my olfactory sense. Plenty of memories about that friend flooded me after the sense of cat and dog, but those are kind of private.

Smell and memory reminds me of a time that a girl "broke up" with me (long story. . .that will not be broadcast on the Internet). After she broke up with me, I couldn't get the smell of her perfume out of my nose for weeks, and while I had that smell in my nose, I couldn't get rid of the desire to be around her. This whole thing would occur more when I was alone and trying to focus on something else. The strangest thing, though, the smell of her perfume annoyed me!

Funny enough, accidentally capturing this girl's perfume in my nose happened during the same semester that I saw my visual memories in Super 8mm film. Suffice to say, it was something of an intense semester.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Many Tracked Brain

The other week, I got hyperfocused researching some aspects of the DC comics universe on Wikipedia. I need to research geeky things sometimes because I didn't really get into them back in the day like the wife and some of my friends have.

My automatic, subconscious mind, however, kept on flashing intimations of the area behind the register of Wendy's in Ayer, MA. That was where I had my first real, official job. I kept on picturing a young, zitty kid (not necessarily me, mind you. . .since this kid had red hair and freckles) with an apron and a paper hat on, holding a big wire thing used to drop the fries into the deep fryer. The things drip, drip, dripped grease. I could feel the massive heat and oil all over my face.

While hyperfocusing on researching the universes of some TV shows, flashes intimations of a late night at my college, right in front the library, at the top of a small hill. It's usually night.

Interesting how my brain makes these intimations while I'm getting all hyperfocused on the 'net. I have the feeling that the same thing happens to other people.

I have this theory that this kind of hyperfocused research and focusing on certain things triggers these kinds of intimations. It could happen because that kind of research activates a certain part of the brain or maybe it triggers some kind of process that brings up these intimations. The themes of these little "research projects" have somehow become associated with memories. I don't know if the connect is direct, indirect or even possibly practically random. These associations just kind of happen.

It kind of works like when I forget something or lose something. Trying to remember the something, I sometimes just have to blank my mind and let the memory bubble to the top. At other times, I have to backtrack through my brain, association by association, forwards, backwards, side by side, up, down. . .whatever way seems like a good way to go.

And back in my youth, I could sometimes just pour myself a cup of milk and drink it to remember something that I blanked on. I wonder if soy milk could do the same thing for me.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Revisionist Viewing of the "New" Doctor Who Season 4 Finale

[Along with voicing my opinion, this entry definitely acts as a cheap ratings stunt]

The season 4 finale of the "New" Doctor Who that aired on the Sci-Fi Channel in the US last Friday night disappointed me quite a bit and really made me feel frustrated about Russell T Davies.

BEFORE MOVING ON, THOUGH, SPOILER WARNING. DON'T READ ON IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE EPISODE AND DON'T WANT ANYTHING SPOILED.

Essentially, the season finale felt like it ended with too much of a deus ex machina that made me feel cheated. The resolution of defeating the Daleks felt too easy.

I'm cool with the whole three Doctors thing, the original Doctor, Meta-Crisis Doctor and DoctorDonna. I'm even cool with the solution to the problem coming from the existence of three Doctors.

The following excerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend voices my opinion about the element that caught my craw:

But yeah, this last finale was just too much deus ex machina for me. . .especially with the "master control panel" for the Daleks and Davros being at the doors of the TARDIS. What was up with that? And what is up with having that kind of thing? Sure, I can understand if Davros had one (once bitten, twice shy with his Daleks in the past rebelling), but to allow it to control Davros? What? What?! What?!?! But I think the main issue was that there was absolutely no reference or emphasis on the thing before they took control of the master control panel.

In other words, the lack of allusion to the control panel before DoctorDonna started fiddling with it. I think just having a character use or manipulate something in a scene, unless the sudden appearances of things is appropriate for the type of story told, especially when it becomes a vital object, breaks a rule of storytelling in some way. At least, it breaks a rule of engaging storytelling.

After some unconscious thinking on the matter, though, I came up with the following revisionist explanation that I e-mailed my friend:
Maybe Donna got a glimpse of the master control panel while in the TARDIS. It didn't really strike her as anything important while she was just normal, banal Donna, but once she became Doctor-Donna, she made sense of that memory of the master control. Also, did the Meta-Crisis Doctor also receive memories from Donna. . .so they could both actually remember the control panel.

So at least the Meta-Crisis Doctor programs the coordinates for the TARDIS's landing on the Dalek ship to be right at the MASTER CONTROL. Maybe he doesn't have everything planned, but that gun thing they had put together was really just a diversion. Being born in war and willing to commit genocide is kind of a sign that he was willing to sacrifice Donna on a hunch that if she gets zapped by Davros, she would become Doctor-Donna and figure out bunches of stuff out on her own.

And so after getting zapped by Davros and becoming Doctor-Donna, she remembers the MASTER CONTROL, which isn't necessarily a MASTER CONTROL but could be something else, but she's Doctor-Donna and can quickly move wires around & stuff at Time Lord cognitive speed to create a MASTER CONTROL. And then we know the rest after that.

Which, then, certainly brings up a whole bunch of other interesting narrative points. How does a genius, an intuitive one at that, get portrayed successfully as a protagonist? How does someone who has just become a genius after going through a "meta-crisis" and starting at the audience's level or lower of intelligence get portrayed successfully? And, less interesting, did Russell T Davies even think of the above scenario or did he just let an unsatisfying deus ex machina occur because he likes doing that kind of thing? And, just to throw it out there, am I being a spoiled anti-fan or does my criticism come from my "writing sense."

Either which way, I'm not sad to see
Russell T Davies leaving Doctor Who as head writer. I give him credit for really being one of the main forces for bringing Doctor Who back to world. He has probably written some great episodes that I really liked. This finale, though, along with the resolution to the deus ex machina in Season 3 finale, "Last of the Time Lords", really just makes me think that I've had enough of Russell T Davies.

I look forward to and welcome Steven Moffatt as the head writer come season 5 in 2010. The writer of the episodes "Blink", "The Empty Child", "The Doctor Dances", "Silence in the Libary", "Forest of the Dead", of course, "The Curse of the Fatal Death", among others that he has written, I look forward to see what Mr. Moffatt has in store for us for at least a season.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Update on my Tedium

I still live, even though I'm in a strange and tedious rut that has potential for growth and inspiration.

The day job occupies me with tons of cognitive heavy tedium. I wish I knew how to explain it. Assisting someone with the sales of health insurance, selling health insurance, bothering people about paying their health insurance premiums every once in awhile and also helping people with their health insurance claims and administration has a lot of activity. It taxes the cognitive facilities and stretches the problem solving skills and expertise. The need to do things speedily and perfect probably doesn't help.

But trying to come up with a description of that tedium would take time and energy that I would rather dedicate to more important things, like. . .working on my bachelors project.

Unfortunately, the project has become somewhat tedious, too. I've written a 22+ type-written outline, but it still needs a lot of work. I need to organize it so people will find it more readable, interesting and even gripping. It probably requires more concrete details, but I don't want to overburden it with the details.

My work style doesn't necessarily help, either. I can't just cut and paste things in Word and add something here or there. Pen and paper, referencing older copies, writing up a whole new draft of an outline (I'm probably on v. 10 or so, including earlier ones that I started then scrapped because they eventually didn't work. . .even though that's better than trying to write a paper from nothing then scratching that!). The process requires a big amount of thought in one spot, lots of copying text, big thought again to make a transition, bunches of copying text, thought, copy, though, copy, etc. etc.

OK, OK, I can see the tedium there. This editing process requires adaptive imagination rather than innovative imagination. My mind just doesn't care for adaptive imagination when it comes to intellectual and social situations. Kinesthetic and sports situations becomes a whole other matter, probably the same thing with strategy and tactical games. OK, maybe my intellect doesn't mind adaptive creativity so much. . .ack, a whole new situation that would require exploration into my psyche and vocabulary to figure out how I feel about something and how to articulate that feeling.

Anyway, I think I need to once again explore a new direction with The Lextopia. I originally thought about using it to talk log stuff for my projects and even write about writing topics, but that becomes something of an issue when I want to become a writer, but I have yet to decide on my "specialization" as a writer.

For the uninformed out there, posting something for public viewing on the World Wide Web pretty much destroys its ability to make money. Economically, it literally becomes infinite supply for a limited demand (that's essentially the issue with making music, movies and other intellectual property available on the Internet), so who would want to buy something that, theoretically, everyone could buy for free for who knows how long?

I don't want to bleed my ideas and have them lose their ability to generate capital. The socialist and anarchist tendencies in me call this thinking in me a "sell out," but crap, man, we all need to make money somehow in today's world, and I'd like to make that money doing something I enjoy. I don't get to do it now, but I very much like the idea combining the whole "work to live and live to work" into one holistic approach to life.

So, yeah, you'll probably see a bit of experimentation again on the Lextopia until I find something, again, that works for me and works for the audience.

Any ideas?