Archive for February, 2005

Shrimp Pasta

Monday, February 14th, 2005

I’m behind on my bloglist, so I must wish Rocky a happy but belated birthday, full of fun food but not this wacky shrimp pasta invented by a Manhattan chef. I’ll wait for the carb-free cake, thanks.

I usually disapprove of food-free foods, but these transglutaminase inventions sound interesting in their own right. The scary shrimp thing wasn’t necessary, but chicken pasta made out of Real Chickens™ would be pretty cool.

Fun with the IPA

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

For reasons I like to pretend are writing-related, I’ve been looking at the International Phonetic Alphabet. It’s fun to compare the sounds of various languages. Who knew that Portuguese has almost as many vowels as English? That’s going up against some pretty stiff competition.

My favorite Portuguese letter is /R/, uvular r. I can’t trill an /r/ to save my life, but I can pronounce /R/. We all have our skills…

Check Here First

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

When your radioactive materials go missing, instead of twiddling your thumbs wondering where they are, you really ought to come look for them in the most likely spot: check Boston first.

The Train Wins

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

Two BU students were struck and killed in Allston by a passing commuter rail train late Tuesday night while strolling on the tracks. Headlines to the effect of “Train kills 2 BU students” or any mention of “tragedy” are exaggerated. “Terminal Stupidity Strikes Again” would be more like it.

Let me remind all residents of Eastern Massachusetts one more time: the wooden ties with long steel rods laid across them are train tracks. Trains run on them. If you are on the tracks when the train comes, you get squished. Surly T employees will have to scrape you off the rails, and that only makes them surlier.

Please save my tax dollars and T fare money and keep off the tracks. This public service announcement has been brought to you by the letter T.


Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

I’m ignoring the “Threads” threads, but not the SamAndJack Fanfiction Awards. I have one month to read and vote, and then maybe I’ll skim some ASC categories. Or not.

Lust After iPods

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

iPod of the day: an armored iPod

I went to the Apple Store after work today (it’s within walking distance) and lusted over the iPod Shuffles. They were out of the $100 version, or I might have achieved infinite coolness right then and there. I can’t see paying $150 for something smaller than a pack of gum, though.

Instead I got the boxed version of CandyBar 2, because the only thing prettier than a Mac is a prettier Mac.

So very Boston

Monday, February 7th, 2005

This one is so very Boston I have to blog it: /. on how to take over a train station wirelessly–namely, South Station.


Sunday, February 6th, 2005

iPod of the day: The iPod Stereoscope.

The management apologizes for the lack of blog. I haven’t been up to anything exciting–just fending off the latest rage of trackback spam. It’s all 0n1ine p0ker stuff so far, but because of the way trackback works, the Amazing Anti-Spam Checkbox isn’t stopping it. Instead it goes straight into moderation and I get umpteen notices about it.


Update: Phil Ringnalda is ready to give up on TrackBack altogether.

Moss in Space

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Via GeekPress: experiments show that moss grows funny in space.

The End of the Beginning!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

Thanks to Rocky for sparing me the effort I might have made if I still cared enough to write a post-mortem on Trek. I agree with her and disagree with Kelly Chambliss on most of their points. Since disagreements are always more interesting, I’ll run through those:

The alleged external problems:

  1. UPN was no worse for VOY and ENT than syndication was for TNG and DS9.
  2. Stargate, Atlantis, and BSG have all run on Friday nights without suffering any. Friday is no longer the kiss of death for a show, except by way of heavy competition.
  3. Yes, there are too many choices, but the problem for ENT wasn’t the range of sci-fi per se, but that there were too many better choices.
  4. For a company that doesn’t know its traditional audience, Paramount has certainly managed to recycle the traditional material often enough. The little ratings ploys (Seven Huge Hooters Save the Franchise and her Slinky Vulcan Successor) haven’t done that much to damage the ratings. ENT wasn’t so much misdirected as boring.

The alleged internal problems:

  1. It’s hard for me to comment on a show that proved too boring to watch, but ENT was never enough of a throwback to TOS for me. The humans were whiny and oppressed, not God’s gift to the universe like Kirk or Picard.
  2. Yes, the characters were bland, predictable, and unmemorable, but that doesn’t distinguish ENT from the more memorable TNG.
  3. VOY and SG have thrived on throwback sexuality–I’m thinking J/C and Sam/Jack, especially, but the overall nothing-happens approach to sex works just fine for sf shows. As in #4 above, I don’t think the attempt to add sexual tension hurt (or helped) ENT to any significant degree.

The allegedly good stuff:

  1. Season-long arcs are a bad idea. If anyone had been interested in the occasional ENT episode, this (and the rumor of Nazis) was sure to scare them off. DS9 was a great show, but it was not popular as Trek series go; going the way of DS9 was not going to save ENT, not without writers to support an entirely different approach to plotting. And anyway, it was too late to go from an episodic show to a more arc-based show–they’d just disappoint the fans who’d stuck around without convincing the rest of us who’d fled screaming to come back.
  2. Again, it was too little, too late for ENT to go for continuity. The people who cared were too turned off by the character assassination of the entire Vulcan race. Technically, the last-season push was one to cash in on canon references, rather than to bring ENT in line with Trek continuity. Only the Big Reset Button in the Sky could fix ENT continuity at this stage.

Well, that went on a bit longer than expected. I hope it doesn’t fool anyone into thinking I care…