Monthly Archives: October 2009

The twelve days of Halloween, part five

On the fifth day of Halloween, my true love gave to meeeeeee,

Rooooooobooooooooooooooopumpkiiinnnn,

Robopumpkin

Robopumpkin

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The Twelve Days of Halloween, part four…

On the fourth day of Halloween, my true love gave to meeeeeee,

Four crawling bugs,

Bugs! EEEeeeeww.

Bugs! EEEeeeeww.

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The Twelve Days of Halloween, part three

On the third day of Halloween, my true love gave to meeeeee,

Three chopped heads,

Three chopped heads

Three chopped heads

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Testing.

Just checking out the new twitter connection thingy that I’ve added. Feel free to ignore this post completely. I won’t be offended, I promise.

The Twelve Days of Halloween, part two…

On the second day of Halloween, my true love gave to meeeeeee,

Two Zombie brides

Two Zombie Brides

Two Zombie Brides

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The Twelve Days of Halloween, part one.

On the first day of Halloween my true love gave to meeeeeeeeee,

A Cthulhu who’s soft and furry

Great Cthulhu

Great Cthulhu

More to follow as we count down the days to Halloween, together.

See you tomorrow.

Age inappropriate – 11 things I shouldn’t be doing at 30 years old

I’m thirty years old now. I have been for several months. Now that the shock has worn off, it occurs to me that a certain section of my behavioural patterns are no longer appropriate. I’m posting a list of them here, hoping to publicly shame myself into stopping them before my wife refuses to acknowledge me as her spouse at social gatherings, or my family disown me from sheer embarrassment.

1.) Whenever there’s a clear space in the aisle at the supermarket, pushing off with my feet and riding the trolley down the alley while making “Wheeee” noises. This problem is severe enough that Tracey no longer allows me to have control of the trolley, relegating me to little more than an autonomous fork lift.

2.) Spiking my hair. Remember that gelled, spiky look that was popular for men in 1998? The one that Angel had in the first series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I still have that. Whenever I leave the house, the gel goes on and the hair takes on a certain electrified look. In spite of the fact that the look is no longer stylish, I never suited it anyway and that there’s a HELL of a lot of salt mixed in with the pepper these days, I persist with Sonic the Hedgehog cut.

3.) Indulging in imaginary Lightsaber™ battles, complete with noises, when I think no-one is looking.

4.) Giggling like an eleven year old boy, when I’m in the baked goods section of a supermarket and see a loaf  labelled as a “Crusty Bloomer”.

5.) Wishing my cat was named “Chairman Meow”, instead of “Oscar”.

The feline informally known as Chairman Meow

Oscar

6.) Using the “You know the word ‘Gullible’ isn’t in the dictionary?” trick. Almost all of my social circle are my own age, or older. Anyone who falls for that at this point in their life deserves pity, not scorn and laughter.

7.) Laughing out loud at couples who wear matching t-shirts, jackets or what have you. At this point in my life, I should have better impulse control. These people obviously have enough problems, without the scorn of people in their own marketing demographic to worry about.

8.) Asking people to “Pull my finger”. I still find this deeply amusing, on a level so fundamental it’s almost profound. This unnerves me slightly.

9.) Trying to grow a beard. It doesn’t come in properly, there are bald patches all over my face, my wife won’t kiss me while I have it and it’s unhygienic. I look ridiculous with it; and let’s face it, if I can’t get the full on Billy Gibbons look by now, I’m not going to. It isn’t like there’s a bit more of puberty left to go, or anything.

Billy Gibbons. Owner of the coolest beard in Rock

Billy Gibbons. Owner of the coolest beard in Rock

10.) Thinking of gardening as an unpleasant task, that happens to other people as a punishment for sins in a past life. When you’re twenty-two and the view from your kitchen window is indistinguishable from the view from a tent pitched in the middle of a bramble patch, the neighbours think “typical young ‘un. Too busy having fun to look after the garden.”. When you’re thirty, they think “When will that shiftless bastard tidy up that embarrassment he calls a garden. It’s making the whole street look bad.”.

11.) Blowing spit bubbles, or “silver bells” as I like to think of them. This isn’t dignified at any age and I really must stop. I certainly mustn’t occasionally drink milk, to achieve the correct consistency for longer lasting bubbles. Not that I’ve ever done that of course. Ahem!

There, I’ve declared my secret behaviour for the whole world – or alternately the half a dozen people who view these pages regularly – to see and revile, hopefully forcing myself to stop. These are serious problems, people. I need your help to break the chains of habit. If you catch me doing one of them, point it out to me and deliver a cutting remark to me. It’s for my own good.

Stargate Universe. Pilot episode review.

Tonight was the U.K. premier of the first two episodes of the latest incarnation of the Stargate franchise, Stargate: Universe. Like all pilot episodes, it was a stop and start affair filled with massive infodumps and establishing scenes for characters. Without being too spoilerific for people who Skyplussed it or are waiting for repeats (you know who you are), the show then goes into a flashback explaining how things ended up where they are at the first moment of the show. The current situation is dealt with, intercut with flashbacks that help to establish the characters firmly into their presently defined roles.

Despite a few fan pleasing cameos early on, the show is very quick to distance itself from previous treatments of the Stargate universe (Ooh, check out the meta implications in the title!), most visibly in the camera work. Gone are the shiny, glossy, mid-budget movie visuals, to be replaced with a shaky, often slightly out of focus handicam feel, complete with muted colours and less obvious make up. This works surprisingly well, although it remains to be seen if it will be continued in the long term. I for one hope so, since I think this approach works best for deep space sci-fi, helping to emphasise the claustrophobia inherent in the situation.

What can I say about the special effects? I didn’t notice them, which is the way an effects shot should be. It should convey exactly what the makers want you to see, without making you go “That looks silly.”, which it did admirably considering the size of the budget available to programs made for the U.S. Sci-Fi Channel (No, I won’t use it’s dopey sounding new name).

The most important thing though, is the characters and storylines. This is the case in any drama, but even more so in sci-fi drama. Without believable characters and plot development, the willing suspension of disbelief is that much harder to attain, leading to a greater incidence of people finding a show ridiculous, rather than gripping. It’s far to early to say whether this will be the case with SG:U, however the early signs are good. All the characters are engaging, helped in no small part by the excellent performances from almost everyone involved. The presence of two heavyweights like Robert Carlyle and Ming-Na helps no end on that score, along with some excellent support from Louis Ferreira and Christopher McDonald. The only character who stands out as obviously clichéd is the over the top menacing sergeant. Whether this is the fault of the actor, or the script is yet to be seen. Happily, even the “geek” character is seen to be relatively socially well adjusted, at least by Hollywood interpretations of “geek” characters.

As for the storyline? Workmanlike is the best way to describe it. This is usually the necessity in a pilot episode, before a viewer can really invest in the situation a character finds themselves in, they have to care about a character and how things will affect them. The show does this efficiently for most of the characters, while still putting across all of the information necesary to the premise.

All in all, it’s a promising start, even if it hasn’t yet grabbed the attention and made itself into an absolute must see. I’ll be watching with interest to see if it manages to hold my attention in the way Stargate: Atlantis failed to. (I still have no clue how that show ended.)

Stargate: Universe airs in the U.K. on Sky 1 at 8 p.m. on Tuesday nights.

Wow! That procrastination toolkit really worked…

Hello again, to anyone that happens to stop by. I’ve been busy beavering away writing stuff, not all of it unreadable drivel. (I know! Shocking, isn’t it?) I’ve moved on from my, by now habitually unsuccesful, attempts to write an “adult” story for a little while; working on the assumption that if a story temporarily beats me, I should go and dominate another one while I gird my loins for a rematch. (Yes folks, writing is MACHO.) Also I’ve been reaquainting myself with the delight that is Sugarpuffs™, but that’s an entirely different issue.

During that time, it’s occured to me that I may be neglecting the two or three people who happen to look at my page regularly. I apologise most profusely. I promise to make it up to you by posting a new story at Some Point Very Soon™. If you’re really lucky, this one might not be constructed entirely out of suck. (Yes, Archived fiction #2 – Redcap. I’m looking at you.)

I shall be posting again later, after I’ve watched the UK premier of Stargate: Universe, whereupon I shall be squeeing in the throes of a Nerdgasm/simmering with barely suppressed NerdRage (delete as applicable). See you all later. To keep you all busy until then, go here and COWER IN FEAR, PUNY MORTAL!!/Chuckle at the cute cosmic horror…

Link to a truly awesome page.