Sunday, December 31, 2006


Top Pages of 2006

I did this list over at Torchwood so I thought I'd do it here as well. Since this blog is more general, and doesn't share the same name as a BBC television series, the traffic is a bit more interesting, and older posts also show up more. And perhaps unsurprisingly, it's a pre-Torchwood Doctor Who post at the top of the list.

  1. Doctor Who Podcasts
  2. Hally Berry Gets Respect
  3. The Torchwood Institute
  4. Menards Man Shares Memories
  5. Upcoming Heroes Casting
  6. Heroes Episode 2
  7. Heroes (label page)
  8. Doctor Who Shooting Scripts
  9. Some Great New Doctor Who Pictures
  10. Midnight Chronicles



2006 Favorites

It's that time of year again....

Favorite Movie in 2006: The Prestige
Favorite Book Read in 2006: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
Favorite US TV Show: Heroes
Favorite Non Fiction TV Show: Mythbusters
Favorite News Show: Countdown with Kieth Olbermann
Favorite new Doctor Who episode: The Girl in the Fireplace
Favorite Comic Book: Fantastic Four: The End
Favorite (new) Song: Code Monkey, Jonathan Coulton
Favorite Feeds: Lifehacker, Boing Boing, The Daily WTF
Favorite New Tech: Google Reader


Friday, December 29, 2006


Apple to Apple

We were trying to play Apples To Apples with only three people today, and it wasn't as interesting judging with only two cards. And the box has a minimum of four players.

So we decided the best way to change it up is to draw additional cards as an additional "random player". At the very least, it was funny, and the additional player would occasionally win a turn. And while the winner was usually still one of the players, it was frequently difficult to determine which of the two losing cards came from the player and which one was added randomly.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006


What I would add to Google Reader

I was thinking about Google Reader a bit after reading about how google reader could turn into the next digg.

I live on Google Reader. I think the sharing can be pretty powerful, and has enormous potential. But there are a few things that'd make sense -- especially if you combine it with tagging. It'd be nice to be able to have it so you could subscribe to a subset of links based on a tag. Most of us have diverse interests and we don't always overlap 100%. You might be interested in the technological items that I share but not the Doctor Who items, for example. It is relatively straight forward to build your own search engine so you can search your regular news sources.

I like the idea that the sharing can turn us all into filters. There's so much more information than any of us can handle -- and the challenge is how can we gather, summarize, and process all of this data all the time.

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Absolute Sandman

I got The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1 and was entranced by the start of Neil Gaiman's epic all over again.

With the high quality presentation, larger pages, and recolored work this is quite the definitive presentation of one of the greatest works in the comic form. And while I've re-read the issues dozens of times over the last decade and a half, this was one time where I was seeing things and understanding things for the first time.

If you've only ever seen Dave McKean's covers as the front of individual issues, you haven't really seen them at all -- they're all individual works of art, and at the larger size, and without the logos, they shine out more than ever.

It's perhaps a pricier approach to The Sandman than just getting the trade paperbacks -- but it's a gorgeous book, and the presentation is so amazing, this is definitely the way to approach this series. It's a series that you can go back to and discover new shades and meanings that you missed -- for whatever reason -- the first time around.

I am anxiously awaiting the next volumes -- the Seasons of Mist storyline blew my mind when I first read it, and I vividly remember when I first read it.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006


iTuned 2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote up a few of my iTunes Smart Playlists. I created another one, just for fun. It's actually a set of lists. The idea is to have one for each letter of the alphabet, picking one song at random (not played in the last week) starting with that particular letter of the alphabet. I put all of those playlists into the same folder, and because of that I have a playlist that contains 26 songs, one song starting with each letter of the alphabet.

You could do the same thing except take a song from different artists instead of songs.

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Friday, December 22, 2006


Code Monkey

My favorite new song of 2006 has a collection of remixes that have just been posted as part of a remix contest done by Quick Stop.

For more information, check out Jonathan Coulton's page out as well..

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Sunday, December 17, 2006


Heroes vs Lost

I'm amused by this Heroes vs Lost article.

I enjoy both series a great deal -- and I think the compare and contrast between the two series is very interesting.

I enjoy both series -- and like the Babylon 5 vs Deep Space Nine battles of a decade ago, two good genre series are better than one. And it's especially nice to see two good genre series on major broadcast networks instead of syndication. That both of these series can be successes is a something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

I'd say we're looking at the comparisons a little early -- but then it looks like we'll get our UK accented person with knowledge about the backstory that joins the series later in Christopher Eccleston's Claude on Heroes (as opposed to Lost's Desmond). So maybe not.

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I signed myself up and am looking around comicspace, a myspace-for-comics fans and professionals.

I'll be interested to see what sorts of features they add -- the "follow your favorite comics" interests me a great deal.


Saturday, December 16, 2006


Adventures in Mating

We're coming to the end of 2006, and the Scrimshaw Brothers productions are mutating again. I've been a regular at their shows for several years, and have already made plans to go to the New Years Eve show -- and if previous experience is any indication, it'll certainly sell out.

One of the exciting things to see is that Joe's show Adventures in Mating is being produced in several locations around the world. It's being relaunched as a weekly production here in Minneapolis, but is also being produced in New York City and the United Kingdom. So if you find yourself in one of those have the chance to see it.

The show is interactive -- much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books of your youth. And as such is really never the same show twice. It could be sweet romantic tale or a cynical disaster -- and you know that really, there are times where either path could be the right one.

I'm looking forward to a chance to see it again.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


iTuned: my iTunes best practices

I followed the suggestions on Lifehacker about iTunes with great interest, and I followed it up with Andy Budd's suggestions and a whole blog about smart playlists.

I use the smart playlists in much the same fashion as described above -- as a way to create lists of songs that haven't been played recently.

I've got four core lists:

a) "Not Recently Played" -- basically, this list contains songs with the oldest last playtime.

b) "Least Played" -- this list contains songs that have been played the least

c) "Favorites Not Recently Played" -- same as (a), but only for songs that have a rating greater than four

d) "Favorites Least Played" -- same as (b), but only for songs that have been played the least

They're all limited by size, so while a song could appear on multiple lists, there isn't a whole lot of overlap. That way I get both songs that I haven't listened to recently as well as songs that I've listened to less.

I also have a couple of lists for seasonal purposes -- for example, I've got a list for "Christmas", which can then be mixed into my iPod during this time of the year.

I also recently added a "New Favorites" list for songs that I've just added to iTunes and have rated highly, as it's not at all unusual that a new favorite is going to be something you'll want to listen to very frequently.

I haven't done much for genre-specific music; but then, that's because I really like strange stylistic switches in my listening, going from a progressive rock song, to a pop song, to a country song, to harder rock song, to something from a soundtrack.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006


Everyone's Favorite Hero

It's great to read interviews like this one with Masi Oka from Heroes. It's great because just like the character he plays, he is One Of Us. Even though his character originates from Japan, he's not a foreign character -- he's much more someone I would know that just about any other character in the series.

And what makes Masi so interesting is that he's not just an actor -- his original "day job" is as a CG special effects day job. And so I imagine that his character comes by his geekiness honestly -- and that's refreshing, because it's much better when it is genuine, and not just a simplistic outsider parody. And as such, I think Hiro Nakamura is one of the best "geeks" to appear on television.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006


80s commercials

I don't know what is more frightening -- that I remember as many of the Greatest Commercials of the 80s as I do, or that there are ones that I don't remember...

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Language Matters

One of the things that's interesting (and sometimes scary) is how language can be used for political purposes. I know that one of the things that annoys me is when you hear one of our two parties called the "Democrat Party" instead of the "Democratic Party". It rubs me the wrong way -- which is perhaps exactly why it is used at times by Republican-leaning types -- but it still bugs me and immediately means I put my "this is a biased source" filter on. It's like when I hear "Homicide Bomber" on FOX News -- it is a redundant phrase, really.

As a part of that, I found this list of politically-loaded phrases that was listed in connection to the following Slate article to be interesting.

I think it's worth being aware of the language choices like this as a part of your general media literacy -- recognizing any sort of biases that are out there.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Heroes Online

If you haven't watched Heroes yet, NBC streams almost every episode on line. And it looks like that the ones that aren't up there yet will be.

The episodes are also available for purchase on iTunes.

I think this is great and a sign of things to come -- the changing nature of television -- and the ability for serialized dramas like Heroes and Lost to take advantage of the modern internet is one of the really interesting stories parts of our current entertainment culture.


Monday, December 04, 2006


Heroes at Midseason

In the half-dozen or so episodes since Heroes started this fall, it has established itself as my favorite new series of the year, and the potential of the series keeps growing. I'm really impressed with how they can keep the serial-treadmill going -- they do enough to move the story forward and to pay off old mysteries and questions, but also set up new additional items. I don't want to spoil things for those of you who haven't started watching it yet -- I think the DVDs for this series will sell like hotcakes when they come out. I know that one already has my name on it.

With Christopher Eccleston and George Takai joining in the new year they've made some casting choices that should work both as event casting as well as getting some very solid actors.

I think they keep on promising bigger and bigger things -- and if Heroes follows the pattern of many series, the next batch should be especially impressive as now they should have even more confidence now that they know that they're doing something that is working with an audience and they have the luxury of knowing that they have at least a full season to work with, and probably more.


Saturday, December 02, 2006


By Your Command

I'm not sure if this makes me want to get a Roomba even more or not...


Friday, December 01, 2006


The Diary of Harold Crick

I went to see Stranger Than Fiction this evening. It's an odd film, and is to Will Ferrell what something like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show are to Jim Carrey. I don't think this is as good as either of those two films -- and I think this is a movie that would fall apart if you poked at it too much, but it's still got some interesting elements and is worth seeing.

But the biggest surprise for me was that I thought there was some Douglas Adams-like influence in the film. There's one point that I think is obvious once you see it -- and I won't mention it for spoiler reasons. And there's an unusual interest in wrist watches, much like Adams. And in one scene, Harold Crick goes to see Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, an obviously similar connection, and Python loved having sequences with auditors and accountants, sometimes making fools of themselves, and other times showing how they want to get out of their desperate life.

I don't think this is a huge influence on the film -- and I really don't see the whole plot of the film as something particularly Douglas Adams (and the whole plot isn't Charlie Kaufman either). It's not quite in that league, in my mind -- but it is a film worth looking at.



Merry Marvel Marching Society

When I saw this entry concerning the original group of Marvel Comics creators back in the 1960s I had to follow through.

For me the original group of creators of Marvel were still a part of my original enjoyment of comics even though I started reading comics a decade and a half or so later -- I spent a fair amount of time paging through Origins of Marvel Comics and its dozens of spin offs as well as reading the latest issues. And that combination probably is what led me to read more Marvel comics than DC comics for a very long time.


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