Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Night of One Thousand Dreams

I had one of those nights when you wake up a billion times for about two minutes each, and every time I fell asleep I had another dream. I don't remember most of them, but two stick out in my mind. One was about these giant, carnivorous plants that would eat people, but could also be eaten by people, and that pretty much summed up their conflict. The second was even more bizarre. I was at a company meeting, which makes the dream bad, but at the meeting I saw Judson Earney Scott which makes the dream weird. Things got even weirder when I approached Judson Earney Scott and found it was not Judson Earney Scott, but a woman who looked alot like him. Then I woke up.

For those of you who don't know him, Judson Earney Scott played an uncredited role in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", as Joachim Singh. He's also one of only 32 actors to appear in both a Star Trek movie and in a spin-off. There are a few actors, however, who were in the original series, a movie, and a spin-off: Majel Barrett, John Colicos (of "Battlestar Galactica" fame) and, of course, Mark Lenard. Mark Lenard was also in "Planet of the Apes", which normally would make him even cooler except it was the TV series and not the movie. Blech.

Monday, January 26, 2004

My Least Favorite People!

Following the previous post, here's a list of people I hate. I don't love to hate them; I just hate them.

Ann Coulter: She is a maniac. I have read her book "Slander" and can say this with some authority. She's not just your run-of-the-mill conservative with whom I disagree. She is a nasty, intellectually dishonest ideologue with views so incredibly partisan it's hard to believe she's sane. She lies about her age, too, which makes her pathetic as well as cuckoo.

Kevin Costner: This man is a Hollywood sweetheart who has ruined more movies than any cell-phone-yaking yoyo could ever dream. He's not a terrible actor, but he's cast with people who are, and looks all the more terrible in contrast. America, wake up! He's as bland as rice cakes with oxygen sauce.

John O'Connor: He's the archbishop of New York, and yet he still finds time to fulfill his duties as Bigot-in-Chief. He hates gays. He hates abortion. He hates women who have abortions. Of course, he would say he doesn't hate anything, but it's clear he holds these things in utter contempt. He once threatened to excommunicate American Catholics who are pro-choice. That's building bridges the Catholic way!

George W. Bush: The first Resident of the United States, His Fraudulency has made an art form out of short-sighted jingoism. Placed in office by a sympathetic Supreme Court, GWB is living proof that anyone with prestigious name, alot of money, and a modicum of cunning can aspire to be president. A Democrat with a similar history of alcoholism and poor college performance would have been savaged by the same conservatives who applaud GWB, but let's not focus on his sordid past. Bush squandered the goodwill lavished on America after the destruction of the World Trade Center just as he squandered the surplus he inherited from the Clinton administration. He used the fear of terrorism to lead the American people to believe that Saddam had something to do with that act of terrorism, all the while maintaining a plausible deniability in case things in Iraq went bad. When the United Nations showed a distressing reluctance to buy into the story, he said we didn't need them and attacked without even having the courage to ask Congress for a declaration of war. When the invasion was over, he went back to the same UN he'd swept aside and asked them to share the responsibility for rebuilding while leaving the US with all of the authority. On the domestic setting, he preaches that all people are God's children while pushing for an amendment that would enshrine anti-gay bigotry into the guiding document of our country. He spouts off about fiscal good sense while spending the nation into the biggest deficit ever. He mouths support for the separation of church and state while he does everything he can to undermine it. The damage this man has done to the United States is amazing in its scope, and will haunt us long after His Fraudulency has retired and had a library named after him.

I think my #4 choice equals two or three, so it's probably best to end this topic.

Friday, January 23, 2004

My Favorite People!

I have many posts about my favorite things, so I thought it was time for one devoted to the famous people I love. Here goes.

George Carlin: Funny, crotchety, and decidedly un-conservative, I could listen to this man all day. And I have.

Jane Wiedlin: This former Go-Go has dropped somewhat in my estimation, but remains in my Top Ten. (In the "Diary" section of her Web site she ranted at a fan who was being admittedly rude in the comments he posted. His abrasiveness didn't justify hers.) I like her voice, which I realize isn't for everyone, and I find her songs catchy and fun. And she was a Go-Go.

Margaret Cho: This woman should be president someday, and I'd vote for her as many times as I could get away with. Not only is she funny, but she has something to say about bigotry and the beauty-obsessed culture in which we live.

Rev. Barry Lynn: You probably have not heard of Lynn, but he heads Americans United for the Separation of Church & State, of which I am literally a card-carrying member. What I admire most about him is that he himself is a member of the clergy, and yet he's as dedicated as Neil the Atheist to keeping religion out of politics.

Harriet Tubman: Harriet is probably my #1 American of all time. She eschewed that "work within the system" stuff to defy a law that was just evil. There are times to take years to change a law, and there are times when you must simply break it, and Harriet unabashedly broke it. She served the Union army in the Civil War as a scout, a position in which she had command over men, which was unheard of at the time. The shameful way she was treated by her own government after the war is a look at America's worst, but her life and accomplishments are shining examples of America's best.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Random Thoughts

This entry will have little cohesiveness. Deal with it.

- It just occurred to me that the Vorlons on B5 think of themselves and act as gods, which they most certainly are not. Arrogant poopyheads!

- I'm thinking of getting certified as a technical writer, but I don't know much about it. Am looking into it.

- Winter bites.

- I had chicken last night, stir-fried with garlic, ground thyme, sage, and broccoli, served over rice. Yum!

- Doesn't it annoy you when People capitalize Words for No apparent Reason?

- Amy is in Paris right now, where it is no doubt warmer and more wonderful. Curses!

- I have a friend who lives in England, in a place called Surrey. I passed a sign announcing it on the motorway.

Monday, January 19, 2004

I used to think I was a good swimmer...

...until today. I went to the 12th Street Gym with Dan this morning, and we used the pool. Dan did 70 laps (yes, that's seven-oh). He is a fantastic swimmer, and he didn't even collapse when he got out of the water. He rinsed off, got dressed, and we left, just like that. I did 3.5 laps, then got tired and used my hand as a makeshift shark fin whilst humming the "Jaws" music. It's just something I have to do when I am in water.

Given that today is MLK Day, I wanted to bring up something. I've heard on several occasions the following remark, or something like it.

"All the black people take off on Martin Luther King's birthday, but are they really out at memorials and marches, or just sleeping late?"

To those who feel this way, I say this: Do you spend Memorial Day remembering the sacrifices of those who died during military service, or are you on your way to the beach? Uh-huh...I thought so. MLK Day is a holiday just like any other. Some people do special stuff to honor it, and some don't, and none of it makes anyone better or worse than anyone else.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Babylon, the review

I finished Season Four, and I have a few things to say. Naturally.

Damn those Vorlons! I knew they were not to be trusted, and they proved me right in spades.

Goodbye, Mr. Morden. He was such sweet, sexy evil, although he was asking for the ole' head-on-a-pike treatment. It was good that Vir got to wave at him, though.

Garabaldi should die. Yeah, I know the telepaths used him, but it strikes me that his will was not totally subverted. I certainly wouldn't trust him anymore.

The new president sucks. She treated Sheridan like some misbehaving rowdy, when she should not have dared raise her voice to him. He stopped the Shadows, scared off the Vorlon, and saved Earth from an evil dictator.That puts him in the "Deserves Gratitude" column in my book.

Lannier is the most unlucky Minbari in the universe. The woman he loves wants a guy who came back from the dead. How can he top that? Of course, Sheridan will be dead in twenty years, so if Lannier wants to wait a few decades, he might have a chance.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Babylon Satisfied DVD's arrived yesterday, and I am content, having watched 12 episodes. I'll say no more about it until I have finished the entire season. Then I shall gab mightily.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Babylon Denied!

Argh! Nobody, but nobody, had Babylon 5, except for Amazon. I'm wary of Amazon, but I gave in and placed an order for overnight delivery. We'll see if it arrives.

While I'm on the topic of things that annoy me, the building in which my doctor (who rocks) is located has a ground floor and a first floor. People, people...since the ground floor is the first floor one sees, most folk think of the ground floor as the first floor. The first day of January is January 1. The first house on the 1400 block of a street is 1401. Why, then, is the first floor of that building the ground floor?!?

This leads to a larger topic. People expect certain things to work certain ways, which is what we call an intuitive approach. When you receive an application, where on the page do you first look? Top left corner, naturally, because we in America write left to right, top to bottom. If you design a form in which applicants must begin in the bottom right, then proceed to the top right, and then to the center, you have designed a form that is counterintuitive. Say that with me class: counterintuitive. That's why the famed butterfly ballot was so bad; sure, it contained directions, but it worked contrary to all expectation. I design forms for a living, and that was a bad design that any normal person would immediately recognize. That's why government worker Theresa LaPore thought it was just fine.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Galactica II...this time it's prettier

I watched part II of the new Battlestar Galactica last night at Ed's, and will now provide my review.

The reimagined version spent much more time on the destruction of the colonies than the original, and I thought that was appropriate. These people have been in a single stroke deprived of most of their friends and family, and even their entire culture. Their existence has forever changed, and the level of social trauma would be incredible. The original glossed this over, but the remake did not. Also, the addition of faster-than-light craft helped make the logistics work better; there's no way the colonial fleet is escaping anyone by traveling at sub-light speeds. Hell, it would take weeks just to get out of our solar system at the speed of light, much less at sub-light speeds. Finally, the characters are much less black and white than their 70's counterparts, which makes them far more believable.

There are some problems, however. The quest for Earth was thrown in hastily at the end, as a ruse by Adama to give the survivors some (false) hope, which sort of vacates the driving purpose of the show, IMO. Speaking of Adama, Edward James Olmos just didn't fill the admittedly big shoes of Lorne Greene. Greene's Adama was a statesman, a scholar, and a man of wisdom; Olmos' Adama seemed merely a hard-bitten warrior. Also, there were too many pretty people on this show. Sure, the original had some cuties (Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Anne Lockhart), but the new one has these Melrose-place types who just don't seem the kind to join the military. Boomer may not have been pretty, but he was easier to take than all these thin-nosed, sculpted-cheekbone people on the new version.

All in all, I enjoyed the new version for what it was, but I doubt it can supplant the original. The original remains unsupplantable.

Monday, January 05, 2004

B-B-Babylon 5!!!

Yes, you heard right. Season 4 is released tomorrow, and I'm even now warming up my credit card. (I'm not sure exactly why a credit card has to be warm as it also works when it's cold, but my blog, my rules.) I've also taken Thursday and Friday off from work with renegade 2003 vacation time, so I am ready to geek out. Don't even bother checking this blog or telephoning me, because I will be incommunicado.

Questions to which I seek answers are:

1) How did Sheridan survive his plunge into the abyss?
2) Did Mr. Morden survive the blast at Z'hadum?
3) What happened to Garabaldi?

That second question is the most important, particularly because I don't want any harm to come to that pretty face of his, at least until someone puts his head on a pike for being evil! Also, I'm not too sure about the Vorlon and their intentions. They certainly seem somewhat more benevolent than the Shadows, but then again pretty much anybody is more benevolent than the Shadows. They're awfully manipulative, and they dispense assistance at their own discretion, not as it's needed. In a time of crisis you use what you're given, true, but if I were Sheridan and company, I'd be wary of the Vorlon.