Saturday, January 14, 2006

I Have Seen Things You Wouldn't Believe

Check out my friend's pictures of her new Tucson home...
Today's Snapple fact (taken from the lid off my bottle of Snapple, obviously):

Giraffes have no vocal chords.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel: "SCI FI Channel announced Jan. 12 that it will air the first season of the BBC's hit SF series Doctor Who, starting in March. The 13 episodes, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, will air as part of SCI FI Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT."

Monday, January 09, 2006

In-N-Out Lawsuit Exposes Family Rift - Los Angeles Times: "In-N-Out Burger Inc., the Irvine company known for its Double-Double and its customers' intense devotion, is embroiled in a family feud, according to a lawsuit.

Richard Boyd, In-N-Out's vice president and a board member, has accused 23-year-old heir Lynsi Martinez and others of trying to accelerate her takeover of the popular family-owned burger chain."

In-N-Out is, like, one of the only fast food restaurants I'll even consider going to any more. I certainly hope this doesn't spell the beginning of the end for them.
BBC - Doctor Who (David Tennant and Billie Piper) - News : "Billie Piper will play feisty young Victorian heroine Sally Lockhart in the BBC's adaptation of multi award-winning writer, Philip Pullman's The Ruby In The Smoke."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

So I went to a Borders bookstore today, looking for the latest issue of Wolverine (all will be explained later) and because I had a coupon for 30% off a book of my choice. And they didn't have the comic book, and the store was such a mess that I couldn't find anything else. Seriously. I had ideas in mind, but I couldn't find the books.

I thought I'd see if they had any graphic novels I wanted, but the section was in absolutely no sort of order whatsoever, so any enthusiasm I might have had was sapped by having to go through the whole section just to see if they had any of the few I was looking for.

Then I thought about looking for the book I'm reading now from the library, It's Superman by Tom DeHaven, because I have a bunch of other Superman prose novels, and thought I might buy this one with the coupon. But they didn't have any of his books in the fiction section (and this is a new one), and the science fiction hardcovers were in no particular order.

And the store was such a mess, with books falling over on the ends of shelves, the comic books all mixed up and in no order, so I had to look behind each and every one to see if the one I was looking for was hiding behind another one, all that. And I just wanted to get out, because if they don't care to keep their store neat, then I don't really want to spend my money there.
Thinking about my last post, I should clarify that a lot of the problems I mentioned with the sci-fi television series formula don't actually hamper my enjoyment of the shows. TV doesn't have to be completely natural to be enjoyable for me. I think a lot of the dialogue on the acclaimed Law & Order shows sounds forced and melodramatic (and don't get me started on Veronica Mars or Joss Whedon's scripts) but that doesn't make me any less a fan.

Having said that, it's nice to see a show like Battlestar Galactica or Doctor Who that proves that a show in a particular genre doesn't have to look and feel like every other show in that genre, but can instead aspire to something greater. ? Hosted By SPEAKEASY.NET : "10 reasons Gay Marriage is wrong:
1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know Americans have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans."
So, this past Friday night brought with it the return of new episodes to SciFi Friday. Stargate SG-1 was a little more enjoyable than I remember it being when it took its mid-season break. Maybe the new characters have all settled comfortably in my mind by now. Maybe it's just that the flaws in the formula, which had seemed so apparent as they approached the mid-season break, have been turned over and over so thoroughly in my head that they don't really bug me so much any more. Whatever. And Stargate Atlantis was pretty much as good as it's been throughout most of the season. Not counting the first half of the mid-season two-hour block, which just felt like a lame episode of Star Trek: Voyager; what's up with that?

And then there's Battlestar Galactica. How is it possible that this show is called Battlestar Galactica, spawned from the loins of the lousy 1970s version? How is it possible that this show is on SciFi? How it it possible that this is a science fiction show, even?

By that, I don't mean that science fiction shows can be good. But I mean that obviously science fiction shows, as in set on a space ship or going to other planets or whatever, so often seem made using the exact same playbook, and they all have a certain stench of cheapness about it. And it doesn't just show in the small casts or limited special effects or whatever, but in the very traditional, unimaginative camerawork, the relatively stiff acting, the humorless writing--and when there is humor, it's because someone has obviously tried very hard to put a joke in--all that. It's like most science fiction shows are afraid to deviate from the template set by Star Trek: The Next Generation almost 20 years ago. And none of it could possibly be confused, stylistically, with contemporary drama on network TV.

But then there's Galactica, which throws the rule book out the window, and dares to be compelling drama that just happens to be about spaceships and robots and stuff. And it sticks out like a sore thumb, because it doesn't have the low-budget feel that so many other shows like that have, and it isn't coy about what it is, like Lost or Invasion, with their real-world settings and focus on human drama and character over the more outre elements. (Not saying that one is better than the other, mind.)

And at the end of the day, the thing I say the most is this: thank goodness it's on.