Saturday, November 8, 2008

For shame!

One of my pet peeves is when people don't return their shopping carts to a store's designated cart return area. It's so lazy and inconsiderate. Is it really THAT much effort to walk a few extra steps to put the cart away? Do people really not care that the cart, at best, is clogging up the parking lot by taking up a space, and at worst, could damage someone's car? Not to mention that having the stores' employees wander around the parking lots gathering carts is time that the employees could be spending doing other, more constructive things, like stocking merchandise, helping customers, etc. In other words, this costs the stores money, which in turn gets passed on to the consumers.

The other day, Mr. Entity and I were in a parking lot that had been frequented by several extremely lazy people. I decided it was time for a public shaming, of sorts, so I whipped out my camera phone. Not that any of these people will read this, of course, but going to the effort of annotating the pictures and posting them online has given me a thrill of righteous indignation.

I mean, really! In two pictures, the cart is literally TWO parking spaces away! In another, there are at least two cart returns nearby! Truly, these acts of laziness are a sight to see.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Heroes: I've got a theory...

Spoilers for Episode 303:

Question/Issue: If Tranessica were "created" (presumably in a lab), why would a creation that valuable be raised by the likes of Hal Sanders?

Possible Answer (that leads to more questions): It was a nature vs. nurture experiment. Would clones, with the same genetic makeup but in different circumstances, manifest the same superpowers? Would the circumstances themselves matter? Is it a coincidence that someone who grew up around physical abuse has great strength as a superpower?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stargate Universe: Are you kidding me?

This is old news, but I found a page online that supposedly lists the character descriptions for Universe. I don't know if this is authentic, but if it is, it is horrific.

Character Breakdowns, Stargate Universe 03/09/08

Colonel Everett Young. 40’s handsome, capable, former SG team leader. Like the Jack O’Neill of ten years ago, but Young’s edges have tended to sharpen over time. He requested permission to serve the remainder of his commission on Earth upon marrying his wife, Hailey, two years ago, but for now he’s temporary commander of a secret off world base. The loss of two members of his team several years ago has taught him never to take anything for granted, and be prepared for anything. He stays on top of his team so they stay alive.

Tamara Johanson. 20-25. SGC Field medic, Captain grade. Off world experience. Beautiful, tough, smart, capable. Paramedic level training. Able to triage serious injury. Modest background. Dreamed of being a doctor but couldn’t afford medical school and the Air Force was her best option. She ends up being the most medically inclined person on the ship but is overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge and experience treating seriously wounded and ill patients. She also lacks the medicine and supplies and has to make do.

Cloe Carpenter. 20 ish. Stunning and sexy. Daughter of a U.S. Senator. Silver spoon upbringing and a little spoiled but not stupid either. Politically and socially savvy. Dreams of following in her father’s footsteps but for now she’s a bit of a party girl in her first year at an Ivy League school. Her father’s tragic death and the dire circumstances of being trapped on a spaceship seriously tests her character.

Eli Hitchcock. 20-25. Total slacker. Utter genius. Mathematics, computers, anything he puts his mind to. Acerbic sense of humor. A social outcast. Comes from a broken home. Lacks confidence because his true intelligence has never really been recognized like Matt Damon’s character from Good Will Hunting with a little Jack Black thrown in.

Lt. Jared Nash. 20-25. Junior SGC team member. Officer material but green and rough around the edges. Every teenage girl’s fantasy. Like a college quarterback thrown into his first pro game, he is thrust into the role of leader well before he’s ready for the responsibility and must learn to take command, earn respect through action, and manage the diverse personalities on the ship to keep everyone alive. Like Jason Bourne, he is skilled and well-trained but mentally unprepared for the urgency of the situation.

Ron “Psycho” Stasiak. 20. Marine. Big, strong, silent. You want him on your side. You don’t want him mad at you. Lacks control over his temper in non combat situations. His emotional expression ranges from sarcasm to anger. His past is a mystery but it’s clear something dark formed the hard shell around him. Yet, there must also be some moral center because otherwise he’d kill everyone around him. Think Eric Bana’s character “Hoot” in Blackhawk Down. Adam Baldwin at 20 could play him.

Geez, where to begin. The first character, the one in his 40s, will basically be a parent chaperoning a bunch of kids? *eyeroll* I could understand 1 or 2 of them being young (e.g. taking some recruits on a training mission with some mentors, something going wrong, etc.), but ALL of them? The characters also sound like stereotypes: the sorority girl, the male slacker genius, etc. Would it be too much to ask that they shake things up a little? Like if they HAVE to have a slacker genius, that it be female, for once? Or have the guy be the spoiled brat? I am also offended that 100% of the women have "beautiful" and "sexy" as their character requirements, but only 1 out of 4 of the guys do. (However, one of the guys is described as "Every teenage girl’s fantasy", so I suppose that physical attractiveness is implied.)

This is not to say that I am opposed to trying to attract younger fans to Stargate. It's probably good long-term business for Stargate to hook fans when they're young, so they can grow up (sort of) with the show. Also, I am not opposed to having some younger characters on the show, for variety. But given the level of technical and military expertise that is needed to work on a Stargate mission, and given the level of clearance that someone would need to work on a program like Stargate, young people who are qualified to work on the team should be somewhat rare. Will the mission that strands these characters consist of ALL of the young people in the ENTIRE Stargate program? Also, as Mr. Entity said, this character sounds like Wormhole X-Treme. In 200, they even joked about replacing the main characters with younger versions, and it was portrayed as a really bad idea.

Given the quality of episodes in Season 5 of Atlantis, and given this as a starting point for Universe, I am not excited about the new show at all.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stargate Atlantis: Tracker (Season 5)

Finally, here's my review of Tracker!

Given the quality of the previous two episodes Whispers and The Queen, and given the preview of Tracker (Keller gets kidnapped...again[1]?), I had extremely low expectations of this episode.

Anyway, here are some notes I took while I watched the episode.

- While it's understandable for Sheppard to be surprised that Rodney would volunteer for a humanitarian mission on his day off... in the alternate timeline he experienced in Season 4, alt-Rodney told him that he and Jennifer were in a relationship. So why would Sheppard act surprised, if he should know that Rodney would fall for Jennifer?

- So, Ronon asks why the people on the other planet are sick, and she tells him it's like an Earth disease, influenza. How does that help Ronon?

- Didn't we see this episode before? Wasn't it Missing?

- Did Keller ACTUALLY think she could outrun her captor?

- We're almost halfway into the episode, and so far, it's been a lot of walking and chasing. Wow, it's so exciting and interesting.

- So, Keller has been kidnapped to save the life of a dying child. Again I say, didn't we see this episode before? Wasn't it Miller's Crossing?

- Hmm... a Wraith wandered into the child's cave. This must be where Ronon shows up. ... ... ... Oh, Keller killed him. My bad.

- Geez, Ronon's tracking ability borders on a psychic power.

- Umm... Keller is attempting to fight Wraith? With a stick?

I'll give this one a back-handed compliment: It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it'd be, and towards the end, it got fun. Granted, the first half of the episode, when Keller and her captor, Kiryk, were en route to their destination, was boring. Once Kiryk started opening up, things got more interesting. Kiryk seemed like he has potential to be interesting, and he and Ronon could've had some character growth by teaching him how to be "human" again. But we probably won't see him any more. Alas.

Some people on Usenet pointed out that given the high rate of kidnapping on these missions, Rodney and Ronon absolutely should not have wandered so far away when Keller was treating her patient in private. They also noted that the Wraith seem to be getting easier and easier to kill, if Keller can take one out (referring to the one she stabbed in the cave). However, as the discussion progressed, someone pointed out that a doctor would know a good spot to drive in the knife.

The Rodney/Ronon/Keller situation was a little interesting, although I think Ronon might be exaggerating his interest in Keller to give Rodney a hard time. The episode could've been a little more interesting if, when Keller was trying to break up the fight between Kiryk and Ronon, Ronon had accidentally injured Keller. I know that is kind of a cliche. But during the episode, I had no concern for Keller's well-being at all. I don't think Keller should've been in mortal danger, but I wish the writers had done something to shake things up a little, like putting the characters' psyches and relationships with each other in danger. Given that Ronon may have some romantic interest in Keller, that certainly would've affected their dynamic.

[1] Amusingly, Jewel Staite complained at Comic-Con about getting kidnapped in the woods for a second time.

Snark Attacks: Heroes 303 (One of Us, One of Them)

This post contains SPOILERS regarding season 3's episode One of Us, One of Them, which aired in the US on September 29, 2008.

Prior to this week's ep, I came up with a loony theory regarding Tranessica: multiple "clones" (or septuplets, or something similar) that sorta share a consciousness. When one dies, the others absorb the dying one's consciousness and powers. (Or maybe only one does, like the closest one.) Presumably, Niki absorbed Jessica when Jessica died... Perhaps Gina died offscreen and Niki absorbed her. Perhaps "Tracy" absorbed Niki when she died in the explosion.


Hah, Sylar looks about as freaked out as we did to find out MamaP is his mom. I can't imagine who in the hell is his father...

Bye, Bridget. Nice knowing you! (For 5 seconds.) MamaP must keep a supply of Bridgets around for just such an I-Must-Feed-The-Long-Lost-Son-Emergency(tm).

Hmm, since the Heroes Main Character Gene Pool seems limited, I'll bet we find out that Tranessica is related to Claire's mom. (But they'll probably save that for season 4.)


I see that Zombie Nathan has a door of +20 To Summon Dark Peter.


Ok, there's a baddie who shoots blue fire (we saw that last episode). What are the odds that he's going to get into a showdown with Claire's Biomom?


OMG, having Sylar out there catching baddies is just SICK.


Ha ha ha, they tried to make us think that Claire's Biomom was Lyle's Biomom, too.

Meredith: I think what Claire is trying to say is that when you're like us...
Mrs. Bennett: STFU NOOB!


OMG, Sylar is just MISUNDERSTOOD and needs STRUCTURE. *slaps forehead* Of course! Why didn't they think of that in season 1?


"What kind of overconfident nemesis are you?" Roffle.

Queue Haitian sighting in 3...2...1...


Mr. The German, don't taunt the Fear Demon. It's just... tacky.

I wonder if that bank is a WaMu.


Matt is tired of walking. Poor Matt.

Matt has an obsessed fan! Poor Matt.


Hmm, I wonder who "the guy" is whom Daphne works for. Hmm... Adam? Phantom Linderman? Horny Mohinder? Zombie Nathan? Bob (before he died)?


What a bizarre scene with HRG and Sylar. (That's the one where Sylar is telling the cops to bring them coffee.)


Oooooh! Tracy and Niki were born on the same day in the same hospital! My clone theory has merit!! :D :D :D


So, what are the odds that Dark Peter is actually Peter? (And not someone pretending to be Peter?)


Claire and Meredith: Girls Gone Wild.


Queue Sylar rescuing Noah in 3...2...1...

Whoa. Noah used reverse psychology on Sylar. They're such a cute team. They're like Riggs and Murtaugh. Starsky and Hutch. Crockett and Tubbs...

Oh, FFS. Sylar's about to kill one of them.


Dr. Zimmerman CREATED Tracy? CLONES!! CLONES!! Damn, I wish I'd posted my theory prior to the episode's airing.



Ugh, Hiro and Ando are on level 5?

HEY, Claire's not going to a cheerleader sleepover!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stargate Atlantis Reviews: Whispers and The Queen

Whispers (507): Not awful, but not great. I was disappointed that the characters fell prey to horror movie cliches, like splitting up, wandering off at the peak of danger, and refusing to follow orders when sternly told to stay inside and lock the door. Also, there was a Pegasus human civilian whom they met upon arrival, he disappeared for a while, showed up later, and then died horribly. How did he survive in the interim? I think it would've been funny if the tough solder, Sgt. Dusty Wells (Mr. Entity called her "Rambette"), developed a crush on Dr. Beckett. Imagine him squirming uncomfortably as she hit on him. Heh.

The episode's biggest flaw was that it was dull.

I have one small gripe: I find it completely out of character that Sheppard didn't know he had all-female team. :P My first thought was that Sheppard would've noticed all those attractive women in one place. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me that Sheppard was ignorant about his teams, in general. First, given the high (government) classification of the Stargate program, there "should" be only a small pool of people to draw from, so it's not like there'd be a lot of unfamiliar faces. Second, given the various threats that Atlantis faces, it's important to know who both is and ISN'T supposed to be there; unfamiliar faces, teams, etc., should raise red flags. Ahh well...

The Queen (508): Let me put it to you this way. Mr. Entity, who is much more tolerant of less-than-great episodes than I am, said several times, "This is dumb."

This episode had numerous problems.

1. Dr. Keller, a relatively new arrival who's hardly had any screen time and background, has suddenly developed something (gene therapy, I assume?) to prevent the Wraith from feeding on humans? I realize that she used Michael's data, and Keller is very intelligent, but it still seems like this happened awfully quickly.

2. Telling Todd about this gene therapy was STUPID. Sure, Todd has teamed up with them in the past, but those instances provided clear benefits to both sides. What the Atlantis team was proposing would fundamentally alter the Wraith's way of life, and it was something that the Wraith had very little incentive to want. I recall that The Team's reasoning was that humans were a dwindling resource, so if the Wraith could feed on "normal" food, there wouldn't be competition for resources and hence would be less warring among the tribes. However, given that a previous Wraith tribe wanted to use Beckett's retrovirus to turn rival Wraiths into humans to feed upon, a safe assumption would be that, had Todd agreed to The Team's plan, his goal would be the same: neuter other Wraiths so that "his" Wraiths could feed upon them. The Team has been down this moral road before: It's one thing to kill Wraith, it's another thing to turn them into humans and allow them to die. Making an offer like this to a Wraith, without considering what would happen if he turned on them, was very irresponsible. And not only that, the last time they did something like this, it didn't work out so well. Plus, what Wraith would be stupid enough to make the first move and trust the other Wraith NOT to turn on him?

3. Take a drink every time Ronon says he thinks this is a bad idea! Take a drink every time Ronon threatens to kill Todd! Ronon's lines sounded like they were automatically generated.

4. Todd got an audience with The Primary, the Supreme Queen...just like that? No appointment making, no two week wait, no bribing of the secretary...?

5. Teyla seemed shocked that Todd changed the deal on her by murdering The Primary and forcing her (Teyla) to take the blame. I can't believe The Team didn't prepare for Todd to change the terms of the deal. I realize it was a lot more "dramatic" for Teyla to be caught off guard and put into a life-or-death situation, but it was extremely cliched and unoriginal. It showed that The Team hardly thought through the mission: they transformed Teyla physically and expected her to persuade The Primary that being transformed into humans was a good idea, just like that? It would've been much more interesting if they had essentially prepared some scenarios (plans A, B, C, D, E...), rehearsed them several times, thought through several incentives to pitch to the primary...and then seen all the planning thrown out the window by The Primary's hive -- not Todd -- doing something completely unexpected, forcing Todd and Teyla to work together to come up with a way out. Having Todd in so much control over the situation just emphasized what a horribly bad idea this was. The writers not only depicted The Team as being idiots, but the writers also presented a predictable, cookie-cutter situation.

6. Todd should have given Teyla a crash course on Wraith social behavior. Again, as I said above, they needed several well-rehearsed scenarios.

7. So, The Team made their way to the hive ship that Teyla and Todd were on, and they got captured. And Teyla went to talk to them in their prison cells. And The Primary's old second-in-command, who immediately distrusted Teyla (naturally), overheard Teyla talking to The Team. Wow. I. Did. Not. See. That. Coming.

8. Finally, at the end, Todd was left in control of the hive as the new "Primary"'s (Teyla's) proxy, he informed Teyla that he wasn't going to implement Atlantis' plan, and he sent Teyla on her way. Wow, I'm sure Todd will NEVER think of using all this power for his own gain, and especially to strike at Atlantis! Especially since he knows about their sooper seekrit plan!

Again, this whole thing was just stupid. The Team went through with an extremely risky play, allied with someone who is extremely intelligent, dangerous, and obviously has his own agenda, and they didn't leave behind any reins with which to control him. Nice going, writers! Your characters are officially idiots.

This episode made me think of the excellent TNG episode Face of the Enemy, how that the TNG episode was interesting and poignant, but that this Atlantis episode was embarrassing.

In some ways, what this comes down to, for me, is that I've never thought of the Wraith as good villains, and I'm getting tired of seeing them. They're one of those races that constantly leaves me wondering how they became spacefaring. They're too one-dimensional. Sure, we've learned more bits and pieces about them over time (e.g. they can give back life/strength to humans, just as they can take it). But they have no personality, no culture. All they do is fight and feed. They're what would be leftover from Klingons if you sucked away all of their personality.

The biggest thing about the Wraith which makes them so uninteresting to me is that they can never be allied with. Ever. They see humans the way that (non-vegetarian) humans see cattle. With SG-1, we had the Goa'uld as somewhat two-dimensional villains, but they were clever and interesting. Then we eventually had the Tok'Ra, who showed us that there could be a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and symbiotes. In other words, simply having a symbiote didn't make one evil, it was what you DID with it that made you evil. How can we ever say the same of the Wraith?

Wouldn't the Wraith be more interesting if we found out that the Wraith we've been shown were exceptions to "normal" Wraith? What if the Wraith we've seen came about through evolutionary necessity? Perhaps they got cut off from "normal" Wraith, and they had to evolve a way to feed on humans to survive? Or what if "normal" Wraith "evolved" socially and came to see feeding on humans as sinful, similar to how humans sometimes decide that eating animals is wrong and choose to be vegetarians? And then, what if those Wraith saw "our" Wraith as abominations? That would be somewhat interesting. From what we've seen in 5 years of Atlantis, all Wraith across the entire galaxy are exactly the same. This is disappointing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Snark Attacks: Heroes 301 and 302

[It should go without saying that this post contains SPOILERS about Heroes episodes 301 and 302.]

Maybe I will make "Snark Attacks" a regular "feature" on The Boringest Site. As the inaugural (and perhaps final?) Snark Attacks entry, I present a snarky critique of the premier of Heroes Season 3.

Before I begin, I should clarify something: I don't dislike the show. I'm not a huge fan of it (I don't care for its the soap opera aspects and general campiness), but I don't dislike it. I kid because I care! ;) However, if Mr. Entity didn't watch it, I would not watch it either.

I should also disclose that I saw episode #1 when it premiered at Comic-Con, so I've had all summer to sharpen my snark. ;)

Now, with that out of the way...

We begin with Peter being attacked by Dark Claire (tm). What's with the outfit? Did she have to go into hiding in a BDSM club? "No one will EVER think to look for me here!" ?? I mean, really. Why does ANYONE think black leather is suitable for running around town? I really hope, when it's revealed at the end of the season (I assume) WHY she's shooting Peter, she has a darn good reason for that outfit.

But for that matter, why is she bothering to shoot Peter? Isn't he, like, invulnerable?


Um, Peter was Nathan's shooter? WTF? I'm sure there will be a "good" explanation for this.


If Hiro plays with time enough, won't he start aging, compared to his peers? He's going to be an old man by the time Ando is 30!

I thought Hiro's sister was taking over the family business? Granted, it's not clear what exactly Hiro's job is, but since he's in SuluDad's old office, that kinda implies he's got significant powers and/or duties.



Mr. Entity: "What house in California has a plot device, even?"

Mr. Entity: "All Claire has to do is throw herself at a window, and she'll be fine. And look, there's a window! What kind of shutter keeps out Claire?"


What kind of flimsy closet door keeps out Determined Sylar? 'Sides, if he's planning to steal Claire's healing power, he should NOT be afraid of injuring himself to get to her!


How and when did Maya meet up with Mohinder?

Ok, Mohinder spent the entire 2 seasons researching powers, and 2 seconds...he's figured this all out?

Ahh, the lizard terrarium, an oft-overlooked security device. Much more secure than safes.


Speaking of safes...

Ahh, the oft-used secure safe, opened with a SINGLE BUTTON. SuluDad should've hidden that formula in Mohinder's terrarium.

"I asked you not to open the safe." Ok, that was pretty funny.

OMG SOMEONE TOOK TEH FORMULA! At least the bit with the woman -- the "speedster" -- had a cool effect. I wonder how long she was camping out near Hiro's office, waiting for him to open the safe he wasn't supposed to open? Was she stalking the delivery person who brough him the DVD with SuluDads' message?

Whoa, she just informed Hiro that she moves "really fast". That must be the scientific explanation.

I wonder how much she has to eat every day.


Poor Matt. :(


Huh. Apparently, when Nathan heals, his hair also gets styled, too.


Wow, Mohinder has a very sophisticated lab in his grungy POS apartment. And now he suddenly, immediately can GIVE powers to people? AND HE THINKS THIS IS A GOOD IDEA? ??? He's an odd combination of smart and stupid; he has an INT of 20 but a WIS of -2.


Poor Claire. :(


Claire, as Sylar examines her brain: "Are you going to eat it?"

Sylar: "Eat your brain? Claire, that's disgusting!"


Eww, Claire scalp.

Claire, of COURSE he's not going to kill you. You're SPESHUL! Besides, you have the "plot flag" checked on your character sheet. Mr. Entity: "And now Sylar has enabled God Mode."



They better have a good explanation for this.


Hey! Captain Sheridan! ;)

Ok, they better have a good explanation for Nessica showing up.


Poor Matt. :(


Ok, now we are watching Hiro as he witnesses the future catastrophy. Wow, The Hero (tm) gets betrayed by his Trusted Sidekick (tm). What will they think of next?


Now, Mohinder is at the docks, debating what to do with his serum.

Mr. Entity: "What if some fish gets ahold of it?" ... "And this week's 'Dumb As Mohinder' Award..." (Mr. Entity found that phrase on this blog, I believe.)

As Mohinder stands dramatically at the docks, debating whether to inject hismelf, the electric guitars in the background music give the scene a very classy touch.


Mr. Entity, as Mohinder attacks some thugs: "Mohinder goes ninja!" ... "Ah, the infamous 30 Foot Chuck." (Mr. Entity picked that up from either Kryptonsite or Smallville DVD commentary.)

Oh look, the same symbol that Matt saw in the desert is behind Mohinder. What were the odds?


Hmm, after her encounter with Sylar, Claire can't seem to feel pain any more. Has Claire suffered BRAIN DAMAGE?


zOMG, in Mama Petrilli's dream, almost ALL of the main characters are dead. It's a freakin' bloodbath. Doesn't anything happen in moderation?


Oh, good grief. Mohinder's superpower seems to be not just strength, but Epic Horniness.


Tonight, on Matt vs. Wild...


Yay! Elle is back! I know several people find her annoying, but I think she's hilarious. Which reminds me. Elle's mother must be the most beautiful woman in the history of the universe, if Bob produced her.


Mr. Entity: "Look, it's a Nissan!"


Oh noes! Has Sylar sucked out Claire's soul?!? That might be even worse than brain damage!


Claire: "I can heal, but what kind of lame power is that?" Um, yeah, that's really lame. I, uh, hope I never get that stupid, useless power. Ever.

Peter: "I could give you some really useful advice, as your uncle, as one superpowered entity to another. But, it's not yet the appropriate time in the plot, so I must zip away. Have fun suffering on your own."


Uhoh... Bob isn't answering Elle. Is he DEAD? ... Yes.

Uhoh... is Sylar going to kill Elle? Or is he going to be an Evil Overlord and let her live, so she can SUFFER?

Oh, he was going to try to kill her.

(Meanwhile, how did Noah get in that cell, anyway? Didn't we leave off with him getting a transfusion of Claire's blood?)


Nathan: "I've been asked to fill the seat left by senator Dickinson" (or somesuch), aka, "I've been given a deal by the devil."

Whoa, Evil Peter finally reveals himself.


Nathan, to Tranessica: He wants her on his side, because he wants an ALLY? Did I hear that right? Is he an idiot?

Wow, Tranessica has a new power: freezing people. She's, like, an Ice Queen. (Tee hee, the reporter jokingly called her that earlier in the episode, and it was TRUE but he didn't know it!)


Ew, Mohinder has icky welts on his back.


Poor Matt. :(

Wow, Matt can talk to animals? Cool! ... WHOA! THATS NO TURTLE!

Oh crap, Matt is in AFRICA? ... "Should've gone with Sprint"? Puh-leez. ...

Ahh, someone else who can paint the future.


Nathan: "It's going to be different this time." HA HA HA HA HA.

Wow, Linderman is only visible to Nathan? That reminds me of Baltar seeing his own personal Cylon Six! Does that mean Linderman is a Cylon? OMG! IS LINDERMAN THE 5th CYLON???!?!


Noah is letting Claire's pyromaniac mom watch over her? Is he an idiot?


Mama Petrilli, to Sylar: "I can give you what all boys crave from their mothers." Ewww!

...Is she actually Sylar's biomom?!?!? And they say nerds don't watch soaps!

What is this woman's motivation? Fight chaos with even more chaos? Next week's preview indicates that Sylar is Noah's partner, and presumably they're going to track down the bad people with powers who escaped from section 5. Hasn't it occurred to her that Sylar will just take their powers and become a super evil juggernaut of destruction? Or is that, like, her cunning plan?

I'm wondering how it is possible that Nathan is alive, since he was apparently dead, and Linderman's power seems to be able to only heal living tissue, as opposed to dead tissue. Assuming it really was Linderman's power that "healed" Nathan. Was Nathan only NEARLY dead? Just resting? Pining for the fjords?

Or... has Nathan developed a new power: being a ZOMBIE? This makes perfect sense: Nathan is a zombie. Zombies eat brains. Sylar needs brains. Sylar might be Nathan's half-brother. Therefore, by the transitive power of superpowers, Nathan must have Sylar's power, too! Or, perhaps by the inverse power of superpowers, Nathan is now IMMUNE to Sylar's power: Nathan, as a Zombie, needs brains, which implies something is wrong with his, which implies that Sylar can't use Nathan's brain, which means that Sylar can't kill Nathan! This ALSO means that there will be an epic battle between Sylar and Zombie Nathan, culminating in Sylar starving to death.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Check out this Daily Show Video.

This is a great example of why I hate partisan politics and so-called "news" shows. So, when Jamie Lynn Spears gets pregnant, her parents are pinheads, but when a Republican politican's underage daughter gets pregnant, it is a family matter? And Tim Kaine would've been less qualified to be a vice presidential candidate, given that he has been governor for more time than Palin and was mayor of a town that is larger than the town Palin was mayor of? Riiiiight.

On the drive home... both Rock 105.3 and 91X were playing the world premier of the new Metallica song on the "Metallica radio network" (ugh). I retreated to the Jack FM station, which played Googoo Dolls' "Name" (mmm... 90s angst) followed by Poison's "Unskinny Bop" (mmm... aqua net).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stargate Atlantis: Cancellation and Season 5 so far

I heard last Friday that SciFi has canceled Stargate Atlantis.

I am definitely not going to say that I am glad the show was canceled, but I am not surprised. Season 4 had some good episodes (Adrift, Lifeline, Be All My Sins Remember'd), some real stinkers (Quarantine and Harmony; IMO, Harmony is runner-up to "worst Atlantis episode ever", behind season 3's Irresistible), but overall was bland. Colonel Carter was both underused and misused: she was hardly there, and when she was, rather than being the brilliant scientist we loved from SG1, she was a bureaucrat. Seeing the writers treat the charater this way was very disappointing. The overall quality of the season left me with a feeling of uncertainty at each new episode (would it be good??), rather one of feeling of excitement.

Season 5 didn't get off to a great start. First, the aforementioned Col. Carter is unceremoniously dismissed. Sure, Amanda Tapping's web series Sanctuary got picked up by SciFi, making her unavailable for Atlantis, but that didn't mean the writers had to make the character leave in such a disrespectful manner. Carter's exit from the "Stargateverse" deserved fanfare, trumpets, a ticket-tape parade, a 21-Jaffa-staff-weapon salute...the works.

And then there was also the Weir/Higginson situation.

In short, the past two seasons, the writers have been on cruise control with rehashed and scifi-cliche storylines (e.g. The Seed, discussed below), and they have not treated many of the characters with respect. Cancellation is not a surprise.

Regarding the episodes themselves, Search and Rescue was good, The Seed was cliched and awful (wow, an alien parasite invades a character we've barely met? oh, the drama and originality...), Broken Ties was decent but pointless, and The Daedalus Variations had potential to be interesting but ended up falling flat. Given that there was no concern whether the characters would come back, they should have written something far more interesting than...whether or not the characters would come back. For example, did they do anything interesting while they were lost? Since it was one of the better episodes of the season so far, what does that tell you?

Ghost in the Machine was pretty good, but it definitely had flaws. The Replicators' threat of sinking the city if the humans didn't cooperate was stupid. Surely the Replicators knew that if the humans die, the humans couldn't help them...right? (Right?) I also, in general, dislike the scifi cliche of how entities possessing computers end up displaying text on the screen. Why do the letters show up one by one in a terminal-style font? Do they invoke a text editor and then "type" into it? Why not just manipulate the pixels directly, instantly showing a screenful of information, while, say, displaying their message in a flowing Edwardian script? Nevermind; that is a discussion for another time. The best part of the episode was how Michelle Morgan, who previously played the Replicator character "FRAN", portrayed Repli-Weir. She did an excellent job of imitating Torri Higginson's Weir's body language and vocal style. Also, since Higginson was not going to be back as Weir, the reason for Weir's appearing as Fran made sense and was a clever idea.

I have one major grievance with that episode. I am getting really, really sick of the following conversation template:

*crisis occurs; team is about to meet their doom*
Ronon/Sheppard/Teyla: Rodney, figure out what's wrong or we're all dead!
Rodney: I'm working on it! Just give me a minute!
Ro-Shep-Tey: We don't have a minute! Figure it out now! My yelling at you will force you to think faster!

That behavior was understandable in season 1: after all, the characters were in crises and were panicing, but now, it's just old. And annoying.

The latest episode, The Shrine, obviously brought back memories of season 3's Tao of Rodney, as it pretty much used the same formula: Rodney, the most arrogant and inconsiderate person on the expedition, gets an affliction which, at first, causes a personality change that is amusing but will ultimately kill him, and along the way, everyone realizes how much they care about each other. I went into both episodes not expecting them to be good, and both times, I was pleasantly surprised. Regarding The Shrine, seeing Rodney and Jeannie together is always fun, and Rodney, Jeannie, Sheppard, and Keller did a great job presenting a dramatic and emotional situation. (I was getting a bit misty-eyed towards the end, even though I expected a Star Trek ending.) My only serious complaint is that Zelenka needed to be in the episode more. I mean, if Rodney is going off to have one final day with the important people in his life, Zelenka should be there. And it would've provided a great "Rodney moment" at the Shrine, after he gained lucidity: he could've made a snarky comment about why, out of all the people in Atlantis, they thought they should bring Zelenka? ;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Further proof that Rock 105.3, the hard rock station, and 91X, the alternative rock station, are becoming indistinguishable: 91X recently bragged about playing the new Metallica ever 91 minutes, and Rock 105.3 just played 311 ("All Mixed Up") on the drive home. are indeed all mixed up.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Stargate Atlantis - Season 5 Episode #4 - The Daedalus Variations

This was one of the better episodes of Season 5. Of course, that's not saying much: We're only 4 episodes into the season, and I didn't think #2 (The Seed) and #3 (Broken Ties) were particularly good.

(Broken Ties provided closure for Ronon's previous episode with Tyre, Reunion, which was nice, but when the Season 5 DVD comes out, it's not like I'm going to watch that episode more than once. I didn't think The Seed was very good at all.)

I am a fan of shows that have season-long arcs. For example, I enjoyed how Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a "big bad" each season, and I've enjoyed the long-term stories that have been introduced on Atlantis (such as the Michael story arc). I like the suspense of a long story unfolding, I like watching episodes for clues and tidbits about the arcs, and and I like trying to predict what will happen. I also like episodes that contribute to the overall mythology of a series. (I think what I "really" like is re-watching episodes and realizing that some tidbit actually turned out to be important.) So, when I watch stand-alone episodes[1], I have very high expectations for them: They either need to be interesting or useful.

In order to be interesting, the adventure itself needs to be fun, suspensful, and worthwhile. On a show like Atlantis, unless the doctor is in peril, we know that there's a good chance the heroes are going to survive. (If Joss Whedon ever writes or directs an episode, worry! ;) ) Since there's no threat of death/damage/severe injury, what compels us to watch? Do the characters learn something about each other? Do the characters learn something about themselves? Do we learn something about them? For example, Trio provided the characters with a chance to bond with each other and be resourceful in a non-scifi situation, and Tao of Rodney showed us what kind of person Rodeny is deep down.

In order to be useful, the heroes need to come back with knowledge or technology they can use later on. For example, I thought Inferno was an average episode, but they came back with The Orion, which was important later on.

Getting back to The Dadealus Variations, I found the "interestingness" of the episode fairly average. I was obviously not concerned that the characters might not make it out alive. We knew Rodney would find a way to get them back in the episode's 42(ish) minute timeframe. I don't recall learning much about the characters, other than Ronon's blasé attitude about their alternate selves. Seeing Atlantis' planet in other realities was interesting, although this appears to be of little consequence in the grand scheme of things.

I think it would've been more interesting if the team got stuck in one of the alternate realities, and an alternate "A-team" had to get them back, somewhat of a reversal of what happened in McKay and Mrs. Miller[2]. That way, for once, "our" Atlantis wouldn't be the smartest A-team out there; they'd have to rely on someone else for a change. Imagine if an alternate Zelenka sent them back! Or, what if an alternate Lorne were in charge of Atlantis? Or, look at what happened in the SG-1 episode The Road Not Taken, where Carter got thrown into an alternate universe, and they didn't want to send her back? Imagine an alternate Atlantis deciding they were too useful to give up (perhaps due to the war with the unknown new aliens we saw in the episode), refusing to send them back, and our A-team fighting against alternate versions of themselves, in order to get back into their correct universe?[3]

The most useful thing about this episode is that Rodney comes back with the specs to make an alternate reality drive. Sure, Sheppard forbids him to make one, but as the Gateworld analysis points out, Woolsey or the IOA might have other ideas.

The episode's big mistake was the lack of follow up on the hostile aliens that the team encountered in the alternate reality. I kept expecting Sheppard to at least make a reference to them upon returning, such as, "We need to figure out who those aliens are so we can be ready for them if they show up in our reality."

The thing I disliked most about the episode was the, um, Sheppard-wank at the end (when Sheppard talked to alt-Sheppard). And would it really have hurt him to say, "We're just passing through from an alternate dimension"? I don't see why he had to be so coy about who they were and where they came from. For that matter, ISTR alt-Sheppard said that the Daedalus had been destroyed. Shouldn't he have been demanding to know who they were? (Or, you know, suspected that they were from an alternate reality and said as much?)

Overall, I give it 7/10.

[1] Perhaps this episode is leading into a season-long arc or is contributing to the series' mythology, and I just don't know it yet.

[2] Since Rodney got them back by basically reversing the alternate reality drive's course, obviously getting help from an alternate Atlantis would've been out of the question... unless McKay shut off the drive to buy time to think, and it took an alterante A-team to help him fix it...

[3] If they did something like this, no doubt I'd complain that it was too similar to the SG-1 episode, and why couldn't the writers come up with something original? Some people are just never happy. ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rush on The Colbert Report!

Rush were on The Colbert Report last night! That's right - my favorite band was on one of my favorite shows! It was almost too awesome to stand.

"The band Rush is here! Either that, or a drum factory exploded in my studio." LOL.

Click here for the full episode in the "full episode viewer" (which is nicer than the embedded viewer). I recomend watching the whole episode, rather than skipping to the interview and performance. There are little Rush tidbits scattered throughout the episode.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Outlook hatred #3

You click Reply. You type some stuff. You click Save, to complete your draft another time. You close your unsent message. Outlook labels the original message -- the one you haven't yet sent your reply to -- as, "You replied on [date and time you clicked Save]." But you haven't actually clicked Send yet!

You go into your Drafts folder. You delete the draft. Outlook still labels your message as, "You replied on [date and time you clicked Save]," even though you not only never replied, but you have even deleted your unset response!

I can only imagine the misunderstandings this causes. "You never replied to my message!" "But I did reply! It says I replied!!"

Monday, June 30, 2008

Diablo 3 officially announced!


From Ars Technica: Eight years in the making: Blizzard unveils Diablo III

An excerpt:

So far, two player classes have been revealed: the Barbarian and the Witch Doctor. As in Diablo 2, the Barbarian fills the role of basher, using weapons and might over spells to wade through hordes of enemies. The first new class, Witch Doctor, brings to the table a collection of fire spells, curses, mind-control spells, life-draining abilities, and controllable pets. Though speculation is running wild about which other classes will make the cut, many are looking back at Diablo 2 for hints. The original starting line-up for Diablo II was Amazon, Barbarian, Sorceress, Necromancer, and Paladin.

In addition to a brand-new story and as-yet-unrevealed new player classes, known improvements for Diablo III so far confirmed include a Havok-powered physics engine for object and cloth dynamics, as well as water and ragdoll, more side quests including class-specific quests, improved random dungeon creation, class-specific gear with class-unique art, gendered versions of each class, ...

(emphasis added)

I know it's a little thing, but reading that there'd be gendered versions of each class made me really happy. The Witch Doctor sounds like a cross between the necromancer and the druid. The ability to make a female barbarian makes the amazon -- the token female warrior -- a little less "necessary". However, she was the ranged fighter; I assume that gameplay element will be represented. I also assume they will have some kind of elemental spellcaster.

I love story-driven RPGs, I sometimes roll my eyes at "action" RPGs, and I prefer 3D games. But Diablo 2 has a crack-like quality to it. Mr. Entity and I still play it from time to time. I hope they don't screw up the formula.

The official site has a rather extensive gameplay demo.

Friday, June 27, 2008

How much do I hate Outlook? Let me count the ways.

Hatred #1: CTRL+ENTER: If you press this while editing a message, the message is immediately sent. It appears, based on a Google search, that the only way to get rid of this behavior is through (drumroll please) a registry hack. Srsly?? You know, in Thunderbird, there is an option to disable that. I found other workarounds, some more useful than others, such as setting a 1-2 minute delay on sending messages (so you have time to abort the send), a VB macro prompting you if you're really sure you want to send, and the most helpful one of all, not pressing CTRL+ENTER. Wow! If you don't like the way something works, don't do it? You don't say! I have an even better solution: Don't use Outlook at all! (I'm getting massive eye strain from rolling my eyes.)

Hatred #2: The reading pane. When I first started using Outlook at work, I was extremely irritated that when I would click on a message to read it, it would still be flagged as unread; I had to click on another message to mark it as read (or, right-click on it and select "Mark as Read"). I'm used to Thunderbird's behavior of marking an item as read immediately when I click on it. I finally found an option, buried DEEP in the maze-like settings:

Tools > Options > Other > Reading pane...
Reading pane options:
[ ] Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane
Wait [ ] seconds before marking item as read
[x] Mark item as read when selection changes

"Awesome!", I thought. If I select Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane, then all I have to do is click on a message, and it will (after a few seconds, depending on the Wait # seconds... setting) be marked as read.

Then I found that if I was quickly skimming messages I was uninterested in, I wasn't "viewing" the message long enough for them to being flagged as read. No problem, I thought. I'll enable both reading pane options.

How naïve of me!

Despite the fact that the reading pane options are implemented as checkboxes, they behave like radio buttons: if you select one, the other one is immediately unselected. So, I can't select both "Mark items as read when viewed..." and "Wait # seconds before marking..."!! I mean, if it's too difficult for the code to allow both options (more eye strain), the options should at least be radio buttons.

Speaking of the reading pane, that reminds me of another irritation. (This isn't bad enough to warrent a Hatred, since it's a feature I never use.) If you right-click on an unread message, you see that "Mark as Read" is mapped to 'k'. Yet if you right-click on a read message, "Mark as Unread" is mapped to 'n'. So you can't simply remember that 'k' is a read/unread toggle. I wonder why they did that. My assumption is that they are implemented as separate menu items that are made visible or invisible depending on the message's status (read/unread), rather than a single item that's dynamically renamed depending on the message's status. And if they're separate items, then they can't be mapped to the same key. (I mean, it depends on the toolkit they used to develop Outlook, of course, but in my (admittedly limited) GUI experience, something like that could be changed with a callback/event function.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Belated thoughts: Indy 4

I should've written this when the movie was fresh in my mind, but alas, I didn't. However, I did find an IM convo I had with someone the day I saw the movie, so I dug up the log. ;)

In a nutshell: Too much Lucas, not enough Spielberg.

There are minor spoilers in this review, so I've stuck it in the first comment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Storm of Zehir!

Storm of Zehir, the next NWN2 expansion pack has been announced! YaaaaaAaaaaAAaaay!

RPGWatch linked to three interviews about Storm of Zehir: those at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Strategy Informer, and Action Trip.

I'm interested to find out what story elements they will use to tie in with 4th edition D&D. I have mixed feelings about the new party system. On the one hand, it'll be nice to be able to make a full party yourself: I rather enjoyed making my "Wheel of Time" party in IWD1. ;) (Although character creation did get a bit tedious in the IWD games: by the time I got to the 4th character, I was getting really tired of going through stats). On the other hand, one of the things I enjoyed about the BG and NWN games was not only what adventures my character would have, but whom he/she would meet along the way. The interviews indicate that there will be some NPCs who can join your party, but that they won't be as fleshed out as the MotB companions.

(I was going to say "the OC and MotB companions", but really, were the OC's companions very well developed?? No, I don't think so. ;) With the exception of Sand, of course.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lost S4 Finale...Coming Up!

I'm anxiously awaiting the finale. I usually crave spoilers pretty badly, but I've been in a spoiler blackout period since after Cabin Fever. (This is normal; I usually back off from spoilers close to a finale.)

In preparation for the finale, I have prepared a tome of random thoughts about the episodes up through There's No Place Like Home, Part 1 (the pre-finale episode). However, since they contain spoilers, I have placed the post in the comments.

Friday, May 23, 2008

First Post!

No really, first post.

You were expecting War and Peace?