Monday, March 12, 2007


First word I saw when I looked around my desk.

Funny thing is, it actually has some significance in my day-to-day life. Own a Power Mac G4 Quicksilver, use the excellent QuickSilver UI enhancement for Mac OS X, and have the book "Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson sitting on my desk. Funny, that.

So anyway, this is just a generic update for friends and family (sometimes one and the same in a rather one-sided fashion: friends can feel like family, but family doesn't really feel friendly most of the time. Not in that casual way that's so great for lowering blood pressure).

Journey and I just finished Season 2 of Babylon 5 and Season 6 of the X-Files. In the same day. I'm still reeling from the plot twists. X-Files took a most unexpected turn involving some form of inscribed tablet with self-fusing and magnetic properties as well as a propensity to craft rather large incisions in christian holy scriptures (put simply, bible got pwned). Babylon 5 was more of the same. Huge war breaks out, assassination attempt, mind-blowing revelation about a major character. You know, business as usual. Searska--"Comes the Inquisitor" was fucking fantastic, and "Sebastian" is now among my favourite characters. Alas, I fear we've most likely seen the last of him.

I just figured out how to transcode video for the GP2X. Stargate looks awesome (though still not awesome enough to compensate for Morena Baccarin's completely wooden performance. The empty soda can on my desk has more personality. Adria should've stayed 7 years old, with Jodelle Ferland playing her. At least that kid can be downright creepy.) and it plays with nary a dropped frame in sight. If the DS weren't so quirky and fun, the GP2X would be the only handheld I'd ever care about owning.

Okay, I'm not quite done with my previous mini-rant. God damn you, Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright, for getting a no-talent hack to play what could be the most interesting villain since Replicarter. You could've gotten Virginia Hey (Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, Farscape) or Tricia Helfer (Number Six, Battlestar Galactica) or Alice Krige (Borg Queen, First Contact) or Mira Furlan (Amb. Delenn, Babylon 5) or, hell, even Rachel Luttrell (Teyla Emmagan, Stargate Atlantis) would've been better suited (though I guess that last one really wouldn't make sense since both Stargates take place in the same universe). But no. You had to get an actress from, of all series, Firefly. Firefly. Space Buffy.

God. Damn you.

Okay, that's done and out of the way, my blood pressure is back to normal.

Let's see, what else has been going on...?

I installed Windows Vista on my test system to try it out. Microsoft is hyping Vista with "The WOW starts now!" Really, all it gets is a "meh." There's really nothing new and exciting about it. The composite GUI isn't as great as it's made out to be (transparent windows and a few animations, but nothing to really help you get your work done, nothing like Exposé in Mac OS X or the virtual desktops that X11 has had for 10 years). The improvements to the networking stack are nice, I guess, but they seem more geared toward gamers, not professionals. The User Account Controls really are as bad as the Apple commercial makes them out to be. I would've been furious if I had been using it on a production box and not a dummy system. Being prompted for every control panel change and file read/write to a system folder is insulting and does nothing to solve the problem of people doing stupid things with their computers. All that's going to happen is that power users will turn the safety warnings off, and Joe Sixpack will eventually become conditioned to click "Yes" every time without thinking about what it is he's doing. Classic "boy who cried wolf" scenario.

If MSFT were selling Vista as an add-on pack to XP and charging maybe...$70 for it, I suppose it might be justifiable for those who really want a prettied-up interface. It is NOT, however, worth the $400 they're asking for the top-of-the-line version, nor even the $200 or so for the basic editions.

If you want a slick user interface, try Sabayon Linux. It's a LiveCD that boots into an XGL environment and loads a window manager called Beryl, which animates windows with physics-like effects and can do...well, lots. Here, see for yourself.

Got a couple new peripherals for my various-and-sundry computers. While I like the Apple Mighty Mouse and applaud their ability to integrate 4 distinct click functions into a single button, I felt the need for something a little more versatile, so I picked up Kensington's Expert Mouse trackball and have enjoyed it quite a bit thus far. Surprising, too, since I used to avoid Kensington's peripherals due to less-than-optimal ergonomics that, while solid, were always "almost right." Too many of their mice are boxy and uncomfortable, but the trackball I nabbed is a vast improvement. Pardon me a small moment of ubergeekitude, but it kinda feels like I'm using Goa'uld technology with the way the buttons are placed, the size and orientation of the tracking ball, and the very Stargate-esque scrolling ring that rotates around said ball. Yes, I admit it, I've "dialed" the scroll ring. CHEVRON 7 LOCKED, BEEYOTCH!

Also got Logitech's MX Revolution for my notebook. That is a very nice mouse. First conventional wireless mouse I've used (I have the Gyration wireless keyboard/mouse combo, but that mouse is really something else, and I do mean that in a good way. Closest thing there is to having a Wii without having actually bought one yet) and it is the most impressive of Logitech's offerings yet. The thumb wheel is great for tab-flipping in Firefox, and the weighted flywheel, while it seemed gimmicky at first, is more useful than I initially imagined.

CompUSA in Schaumburg is closing. This sucks astronomically. It was the only place I knew of where I could buy Bawls by the case. I guess Target now carries 4-packs of Bawls cans, but...cans? Just not the same as those awesome blue bottles. And no caffeinated mist to snort so I can pretend to be some kind of junkie despite never having touched a mind-altering substance in my life (I know, I know, I'm pathetic). Damn, this really sucks.

Did I already mention that Therion released a new album? I can never keep track of what I post. Anyway, they did, and I downloaded it and had a listen. It's a little bit too Nightwish/Epica/After Forever for me to adequately enjoy as Therion (mind you, Epica and AF are great in their own right), but it's still a solid production overall. I miss the grandiose, operatic style of "Secret of the Runes" and "Lemuria/Sirius B" though. Gothic femme metal is fine, but that's never been Therion's style. Oh, well, still decent, and I still want to get to Metal Haven at some point and pick it up.

I'm nearing the end of Season 3 of Farscape and I can say without a doubt that it is easily the best sci-fi I've ever had the pleasure of watching. I know Journey will disagree with me, but oh well, she's allowed. Granted, I haven't seen all of B5 yet and it has a reputation for being god-on-a-disc, but the characters, plots, and dialogue of Farscape continue to amaze me beyond my wildest expectations. Stargate? Decent, but admittedly campy and difficult to take seriously. BSG? Haven't seen much of it, so I withhold judgment. TNG? Too stiff and stuffy for me, always was. DS9? Never got into it. Voyager? Ehh, okay, but I lost interest when 7 of 9 came aboard, as the premise of her character seemed really, really gimmicky. Sliders I like, want to see more of that. Firefly? ...Yeah, right. Star Wa...oh, right, not sci-fi.

So yeah, Farscape is amazing. B5 is in 2nd place for having a great story so far (and if S3 is as much an improvement over S2 as S2 was over S1, then damn that's going to be a helluva ride). After B5 would probably come X-Files, though it's a different breed of SF, a bit heavier on the S than the F.

...'kay. That's all. See ya.

"This just in, Energizer bunny robbed! Mugger caught, charged with aggravated assault of a battery."


Blogger Jenny said...

"Space Buffy"?! What the frell?

You wound me sir. It shall be rapiers, at dawn. Name your second.

Note that I am not defending Ms. Baccarin's acting ability. She is terribly pretty, though.

Still, far prefer Jewel Staite.

And, sing with me now: "Jayne... the man they call Jayne..." I mean, come on, the guy has his own SONG :D

"Space Buffy"?!

That gives Buffy far more honor than it deserves. Pah.

Glad you're enjoying Farscape and B5, though!

You moon-faced assassin of joy.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Aidan Novastral said...

Very well. My second shall be General Ka D'Argo of the Luxan Empire.

And rapiers? What the draz is that? Are you fahrbotz? Are you frelling magra-fahrbotz? To hezmana with rapiers, we settle this with Luxan qualta blades. I sure as dren hope you have the mivonks to face up to the challenge.

*luxan hiss*


I find it amusing that Baccarin's acting was better when she was imitating Ba'al than when she was actually playing Adria. That, and Ba'al's "Don't be so sure of that" line was the most squee-inducing moment of the whole episode. Nice to see the Goa'uld reminding the Ori who the original badasses were and still are.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Fair enough - my second shall be Ambassador Kosh of the Vorlons.

"The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebble to vote."

Yeah. what he said.

We shall mysterious you into submission.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Aidan Novastral said...

Playing the mystery game, huh?

Suit yourself. I'll see your Ambassador Kosh and raise you one C.G.B. Spender. Hope that encounter suit can process cigarette smoke! Mwahahahaha.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Ah, but lest ye forget, I have River "I can kill you with my brain" Tam on my side :P

Ain't nothin' in the gorram 'verse that can stop us!

6:07 AM  
Blogger Aidan Novastral said...

You've never heard Jool scream, have you?

You thought River's headaches were bad before? Ain't no frelling aspirin in all the Uncharted Territories that can alleviate that migraine!

8:48 AM  
Blogger Aidan Novastral said...

Tangential yet relevant to our debate, I just read this on Slashdot:

--Firefly has (had, whatever) strong characters, conflict, a little sexual tension, and humor; it lacked muppets...Arguing that Firefly sucked while Farscape rocked just doesn't hold water.

--Au contraire! You said it yourself, it lacked muppets. Therefore, sucked. QED.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I'm not going to argue about Farscape or Firefly as I love them both. (My browncoat is leather of course).

The new Season 8 of BtVS, from Joss Whedon and other Buffy writers, as a comic, does appear to be "Space Buffy" (


7:32 AM  
Blogger Lady J said...

Firefly with muppets = true gloriousness.

On another slightly-tangential note, I watched the mini-series/movie that starts off BSG, all the way through. I didn't want to like it. But I did.

I am now rather conflicted as to what expletive to use when the situation warrants one: frell? frak? gorram? Aw, smeg, I knew I shouldn't have branched out so much ;)

Note to self: do not try to pronounce the "word verification" word below. At least, do not do so out loud. **snort**

1:43 PM  
Blogger Aidan Novastral said...

Hmmm, a perplexing question indeed.

Frell: Rolls quite nicely off the tongue, and you can slip it into conversation easily without the uninitiated realizing you're cursing in an alien language while the initiated revel in the joke.

(F|Ph)rack: Sounds the closest to what you actually mean, and sounds so deliciously vulgar. Definitely the strongest-sounding of the four.

Gorram: Meh.

Smeg: Let's face facts, Britain's molecular structure is rich in complex particles of win. In fact, the human genome project discovered that Brits have a special gene unique to their culture, and one that disappears immediately in the next generation following emigration from the UK. This gene was the homo sapiens winase gene. It codes for the WIn enzyme, which is responsible for the synthesis of win in the British human body. Ergo, it could be said that Brits are, as my friend Corenn so eloquently phrased it, "made of win."

Ultimately, it's a close race, but I'd probably vote for "frell" to win not on its own merits but rather due to the large array of supporting alien profanity created alongside it. e.g. Frell you, you zarking hazmot. Frell you right in the mivonks. Phrack loses out due to an oh-so-slight lack of subtlety, and as awesome as British expressions are, it's very difficult to call someone a smeghead and have them think you're paying them a compliment.

On a side note, what was the captcha you're fighting so hard not to say out loud? You must tell us. Simply as a matter of academic interest, of course, but you must indeed tell us.

4:14 PM  

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