So many words, so little time....

Monday, January 31, 2005

I suddenly feel much more balanced in my world-view...

I just spent some time in the care of our local hospital, which is always an experience. I was quite distressed to discover that you can't use a laptop when you're hooked to a ventilator because it might interfere with the machine. WTHeck!?

If this thing is that badly shielded, then I don't want to be hooked up to it! I didn't even need that part, anyways! This must be a huge problem for the hospital with all the geeks around here trying to get something done instead of staring at the ceiling like God and the charge nurse intended. At any rate, that is done, the kids are very very relieved. I sort of found a few spots of floor in my house and I'm back at work.

I just got sent a link to a webpage where someone is trying to derive the stats for the Tachikoma tanks from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex for GURPS so they can include them in their game.

To misquote Qui-gon Jin, "There's always a bigger geek." ;)

Monday, January 17, 2005

They Need to Rename "Battlestar Galactica"....

Most of the geekier forums are wibbling about this series premier. Even the normally staid Slate forums have mentioned it a time or two. You'd think I'd be right there, but like many of the original series' frothing fan-freaks I'm staying aloof. They have totally changed the origins and original thrust of the story.

The changes to the character's names is the first thing that busted my chops. I'm sorry, but it isn't the same when Apollo's not his name but his call sign. I know it was totally cheesy, but it worked. In it's own bad Sci-fi way it enhanced the fact that these people were not born in Trenton, New Jersey. They're descended from us, so they did bring all of that mythological stuff along, but they didn't just step off the bus to deliver their lines. And let's all be consistent here - if you're using their old series name as their callsign, then Adama needs to have a different last name and so does Apollo. "Adama" would be his callsign from back when he was a young Viper-jockey. Col. Tigh has the same problem. And if you say, "That's because that would be a stupid callsign!", well, you obviously don't know a lot of real fighter jocks or pilots. Think of the locker-room nicknames from your jr. high, and you'd be pretty close to the usual range.

My youthful jones for Dirk Benedict may be long gone, but it's ghost is slouched against a wall smoking a stogie in the back of that conference room and shaking it's head, with Lorne Greene's is standing right next to it. I could write several thousand words, but those two really encapsulate the two problems I have with the new characterizations. I love Edward James Olmos as an actor and he does good work here. I think he could have done well to anchor a truer version of the story, but with all the other "hip" changes he comes off as too out of touch and tacked on. They may as well have cast Michael Ironside. While there may be someone named "Starbuck", there's no Dirk. That girl is pretty and all and she does allright with a cigar but with so many other re-imaginings they picked out the wrong trademarks that sold the character. It wasn't his cigar and his other contretemps, but his ability to do these things but still feel on a level with the rest of the characters. I mean, they were a bunch of Harry Hairshirts, and here's this kid who never followed a rule in his life that he could break. Somehow you have to believe they would put up with all of this BEFORE the Fall of the Colonies, otherwise Dirk would have been a ground-pounder or in jail. It's very intrinsic to his performance. She says the same things and mauls the same lines, but it doesn't come off as breezily piratical, she comes off way too hardnosed and dark.

The changes to the Cylons from "alien menace" to "disgruntled former slave race" are a major issue. Cylons were not created by humanity, and they are not robots but an alien race whose soldiers were heavily cyborged (hence the "chrome toasters" line). They start off as little alien guys, and as they gain ranks they gain more and more enhancements and modifications, including additional brains. Their rank system is defined by how many brains you have. The Imperious leader has five, and the rest range down from there. The second book "The Cylon Death Machine (Battlestar Galactica, Book 2)" goes into much better detail because parts of it are from the perspective of the commander of a remote outpost. Oh, and before some member of the "Please Please Please Get A Life Club" tries to hit me on this, these books are considered cannon for the original series, as they were written by Glenn A. Larsen himself (he adapted them from the scripts, which he also wrote). And don't #(@*#&$& EVEN get me started about Number 6.

The whole damned thing feels dark. It wasn't supposed to be a dark and grim tale of revenge. It was supposed to be about forces that can't be fought, but you had to fight on anyways and the honor that can be found in that. The Colonists were supposed to be more like the population of London during The Blitz rather than imperialists getting their comeuppance. The point was to highlight an innate goodness in humanity, not to make them semi-innocent pawns to their ancestor's mistakes. That was something we needed to hear back in the depths of the Cold War, and I'm naive enough to think we need to hear it again, too.

I'll have to watch it at some point. I know that. My irritation with it will at some point be superseded by the forces of that geeky need to re-visit and re-invent the things they love. I know this, because it's that very same force that got me through the Richard Hatch books that have come out in recent years. Maybe when it hits DVD I'll get a bottle of wine and watch the series. That way, if I throw stuff at the TV I'll probably miss. ;)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

BBSpot's Top 11 Ways Geeks Can Hide Their Geekiness...

11. Shelving the Star Wars and Star Trek videos in the back behind the Steven Seagal films.
10. Calculating their blood alcohol level at the bar while alone in the bathroom.
9. Pouring caffeinated water into Evian bottle before taking it to work.
8. Keeping the AOL icon on desktop.
7. Pretending to use pencil and paper to calculate the tip after a meal instead of just doing it in your head.
6. Putting on Star Fleet uniform at convention hall, not on the bus on the way to the hall.
5. Keeping the programming books under the mattress, next to Playboy and Penthouse.
4. Pretending Liv Tyler poster is for her performance in the video for Crazy, not for her role as Arwen in The Lord of the Rings.
3. Rearranging CD collection so it's not in alphabetical order before friends come over.
2. Cleaning the office.
1. Only answering the phone with "Engineering this is LaForge" after checking caller id to make sure it's one of your friends from the Linux Users Group.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A new addition to the Links Bank...

Going crazy, but wanted to point out a new addition to our links bank. Dandy and Company caught me with their Christmas crossover with PVP, and it looks like we've all got some reading to do. Enjoy!