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May 28, 2005

Not in New York

My original plans were to be away for the holiday weekend, but various events have combined to leave me home instead.

Which is good, because I have plenty of things to catch up on. There's the the new Lois McMaster Bujold novel, several new DVDs, and just time with my cats.

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May 25, 2005

Return Trip

16:45 (CDT) -- Louis Armstrong Airport, New Orleans. It's actually an hour before my flight, but I shared my cab with two co-workers who were ~40 minutes ahead of me for their flights back to Greensboro. I'm scheduled thru Philly, leaving there at 10:55, hopefully reaching New Hampshire just after midnight. What a fun schedule! And Philly, too! Here's hoping it stays on time...

The weekend plus in New Orleans was very enjoyable. The weather tried to make it crumble, with temperatures setting new records (in the low-to-mid 90s!). But I found enough air conditioning to make it, after a bit of a personal energy crisis on Saturday. I managed to get to four of the dining choices Jenn had listed for me, and didn't have a single bad experience with that. It turns out the World Poker Tour was mid-way through a tournament at the casino between the hotel where the Society of Actuaries spring meeting was held and the French Quarter, so I had several chances to wander through (the casino, after all, is air conditioned) and look for familiar faces from watching TV poker. Didn't see many.

The meeting itself was very interesting and informative, with numerous sessions on the current issues facing my profession. And yes, it is possible to be interesting and actuarial at the same time! I also had the chance to meet up with some former co-workers from my days in Cincinnati (including trading some suggestions for reading material with the man who introduced me to Lois McMaster Bujold, a favor well worth returning).

23:20 (EDT) -- Somewhere between Philly and Manchester. I don't know what I managed to do in order to get through Philly's airport with less than 10 total minutes in delays, but I sure wish I did know!

With any luck, I'll be home before 1 AM tomorrow, which will be proven by this having been posted.

Final note: Close... very, very close. If it hadn't been for rain-slicked roads on the drive from the airport, I'd've made it.

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May 21, 2005

Travel Update

07:31 (EDT) -- Washington National Airport, near gate 43, with a 60 minute layover waiting on my connection to New Orleans. The first flight was quick and comfortable, marred only by my very late arrival at the airport. Or can anyone be said to be late when they're there at 5:45 AM? We did leave on time (6:00 AM), but one other passenger and I darted to the gate just as they reached for the mic to announce final boarding.

I forgot my nice magnetic sunglass clip-ons, which I'm sure I'll regret if the weather proves to be sunny, but if that's the only thing I forgot, I've done very well with my unexpectedly rushed packing (I was at work two hours later than I'd hoped to be yesterday, which really cut into my time).

More reports as time and 'net connectivity allows.

10:50 (CDT) -- Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Here with no significant delays. And it's about time to go looking for lunch (and thanks again, Jenn, for the list from which I can start that search!)...

Probably nothing more before Wednesday. Be seeing you!

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May 20, 2005

Better Late than Never

(via the average-bear):

FIREFLY (FOX) - The Sci Fi Channel has landed the repeat rights to all 15 hours of the short-lived FOX series (and basis of the upcoming "Serenity" feature film). The network's July schedule lists the series as joining its Friday lineup on July 22 at 7:00/6:00c where it will precede original episodes of "Stargate SG-1", "Stargate Atlantis", and "Battlestar Galactica".

As I recall, Sci Fi passed on rescuing Firefly back in the day because they were trying to move away from, well, Sci Fi, and toward a schedule of cheaper reality shows (Scare Tactics) and the like. I suppose the success of "Battlestar Galactica" and the utter failure of shows like Scare Tactics has brought them to their senses. And it'll be great to have another way to seed people toward the greatness that is Serenity.

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May 19, 2005


When you tell a great story, it is possible to mess it up far, far more ways than anyone could list. There are many right ways and many, many, many more wrong ones.

You could decide to change everything and make it "better". Then you'd be last year's groan-fest, Troy.

You could decide speed, glitz, and a famous name is all you need, and you'd be the remake of Dawn of the Dead (and extra points for the ultra-bad choices made during those end credits!).

Or you could tell your story in leaden, plodding steps so everyone forgets why they ever even cared before you get to the big scenes.

Then, you would be Revenge of the Sith.

Oh, it has good spots. The action scenes are glitzy and sharp, even if they lack most of the originality seen in the first trilogy and the fluid continuity of the final duel in The Phantom Menace (a sequence which was perhaps the only really good thing about that film). At least Lucas does (mostly) avoid the over-editing, overly-shaky camera work that many directors use to hide their ill-choreographed action. And it mostly lacks the painful juvenile attempts at humor of the prior two prequels, but it's a movie that lacks a heart, told by a writer/director more interested in the colors of the various weapons his protagonists wield than in their characters. Numerous shout-outs to the fans of the original trilogy fall dead, especially the completely meaningless role given to Chewbacca.

There isn't a prize for simply not fumbling, and that's almost all Lucas achieves here. "Not as bad as the last two" isn't the same thing as "good." To be praiseworthy, you have to actually move the ball forward. And I was more thrilled by this story reading it second-hand from interviews Lucas has given over the years than I was watching it. Most of this film, I was just as bored as the actors seemed (with rare exceptions, mostly from those who took the director's effective absence as an excuse to munch the scenery until it was almost gone... so yes, you can chew on digital scenery).

I almost hate to quote this, because I disagree with it so vehemently, but this film pretty much exemplifies the something Laurie Anderson said in her early piece, United States Part One...

In science fiction, the hero just flies in at the very beginning.
He can bend steel with his bare hands.
He can walk in zero gravity.
He can see right through lead doors.
But no one asks how he is able to do these things.
They just say, "Look! He's walking in zero gravity."
So you don't have to deal with human nature at all.

I like my films to deal with human nature, especially my science fiction. Which, I guess, is why I'm so disappointed to be certain this film will make many times the money of, say, a certain other movie that manages that in spades.

Posted by ghoul at 08:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 15, 2005

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well, that pretty much describes the rest of the month.

By the end of this week, I should be in New Orleans, where I'm traveling on business. Almost as soon as I'm back from that, I'm off to NYC for Memorial Day weekend. I suspect the cats will start wondering if I still live here before May's over.

Expect limited posting until June (since it's not like I'm too prolific when I'm not unusually busy).

Posted by ghoul at 08:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2005

Once Is Not Enough!

Interested parties should be watching here for the next few hours (like, NOW!), because word is there's another Serenity sneak coming, this time on May 26 and in 20 cities.

Details not yet availabile, but see more at AICN.

I think I'm going to pass this time, but I know some folk who will take advantage of this for a 2nd viewing...

Update: Seems most all of the new showings sold out as quickly as the first bunch. At least among the fan base, this film is getting all the good word of mouth imaginable.

Posted by ghoul at 03:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A Brief Diversion

A nice little 20 question multiple choice test.

Have fun!

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May 06, 2005

Side Note

Last night, early in the drive back from Serenity, milage slipped back to 44.7 MPG (it was a bit cold and the 45 minutes of driving in Boston proper on either side of the film was not good for milage at all; way too bumper-to-bumper), but it was back to 44.8 (barely) when I parked at home.

Mark this as a slip down at 37,970 and back up at 38,033.

Posted by ghoul at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Believe Unreasonably


It was rough, unfinished. In specific, it was lacking music here and there, poorly color timed, sometimes imperfectly edited, occasionally just a little rough in the special effects department...

And it was nearly everything I could have hoped for.

Oh, there are some characters who do things and experience things I wouldn't wish for them. There are some who grow, some who don't; some who come out better for this experience, some who don't. And there are choices made that aren't easy or cheap.

And that's why it's nearly everything I could have hoped for.

I'll be back in September. You should be there, too. Until then, there are always the DVDs ("Firefly - The Complete Series").

For now, I'll echo Joss's introduction (as I did with the title of this post)... He offered everyone in the audience a bit of the credit for getting the movie made, because movies don't get made based on TV series that don't even finish their first season. And, in saying that, he quoted Mal's words, words I must assume (from the episode credits) that he wrote himself.

"We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."

BTW, the Boston showing was visited by Dr. Tam and Inara (aka Seth Maher and Morena Baccarin)... I couldn't stay any later than the film ended to get a film logo sheet autographed because I need to be up for work in... well, just over 3 hours as I type this. But if anyone wants to drop me a note who "dropped in" at other showings, that'd be cool.

Posted by ghoul at 04:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 05, 2005

TBR Bids

Silly me, I didn't keep a copy...

I think this was what I sent... When I can't recall my later choices, I just put in "???"'s. I try to be good to the schedulers (knowing what it is they're going through) and pick at least a back-up choice, if not the requested two in each slot.

I can't recall which game I starred as top choice.

Slot 1 - GMing "Nine Lives in Amber", which means missing out on Otherkind and Everway goodness. Hmmm.... only one Amber system game that slot.

Slot 2 - "Dogs in the Circle", "More Than You Think You Are", "Equalizer" Yes, that's another two non-ADRP games as top choices.

Slot 3 - "The Mountain of the Sorcerer-King", ??? And another.

Slot 4 - "Monsters!", ??? Oh, wait... this one IS ADRP. There goes the pattern I was creating.

Slot 5 - "The Puppies of Tijuana", ??? And this one isn't again.

Posted by ghoul at 05:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Maybe Definitely!

Okay, so thanks to a nice person out there, I just might have a lead on a ticket tonight...



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May 04, 2005

Good News

Even if I don't manage to get into the theater tomorrow evening, this is some quality tide-me-over-until-September sort of news.

(Seen at ***Dave's)

Posted by ghoul at 07:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack