Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Supergirl pilot is bad and dumb.

These are my observations as I watched it.

Terrible CGI.

Not a great acting start, but I assume these are all temps anyway.

The exposition dump just keeps going.

Dean Cain!

"Earth didn't need another hero." Because no more crimes or disasters happen? What planet is this?

Oh good, the platonic best friend that's in love with the main character. This overused trope shouldn't be a red flag warning sign or anything...

Calista Flockhart! But who was she talking to in the elevator? Nobody?

Her goal is to blend in, but she uses her superhearing so frequently that people have started to notice?

Who talks back to their boss like that?

Oh, it's The Devil Wears Prada. That's never been done before. Sarcasm.

Ms Grant's office is full of televisions that all face her back. Why? They're too close for her to see if she turns around.

Not going to talk about Jimmy Olsen. There's just too much.

Kara doesn't know anything about her own cousin. OK.... The ONLY two kryptonions on the planet, and they never speak? Even though she has memories of their home, and he doesn't. He has years of experience on Earth that he doesn't bother to pass on either? That totally makes perfect sense. Especially since it would take them so long to meet up, living in different cities and all. Oh, nearly instant you say? Also there's the Internet and telephones? Hrmm.

More exposition dump.

She hasn't flown in years? Any reason why not? No? Just ... ok.

WHY did her sister show up only to leave immediately? Why did she show up at all? To dump exposition and leave?


Amazing coincidence with the news broadcast.

I remember this trying-to-fly scene from Kiki's Delivery Service, where it was excellent.


It gets worse as the scene goes on.

It's such good luck that the plane happened to crash directly below a news helicopter.

"Guardian Angel or human wrecking ball?" The backlash isn't supposed to happen until the news has already milked the good feelings from the story. This is completely unrealistic.

"Flying feels amazing!" Why hadn't she flown for so long again? Still no explanation?

"You exposed yourself to the world!" So did her cousin, already. So... why not?

This dialog is so dumb. So completely dumb. I'm getting dumber watching it.

16 minutes in and they're still showing credits. Just saying.

Jumping off the roof is the only thing she could think of to show off her abilities? Not, you know, floating in a closet, or bending metal, or something that doesn't show off her abilities in a public place where people can see? There are other taller buildings nearby. Also, secret identity is supposed to be important, I thought? No? Tell everyone immediately? OK.

"Can you believe it? A female hero!" Oh good, her gender is going to be the focus of the plot.

'Our guns are doing nothing, better stand still and wait for her to come beat us up.'

The DEO has her ship? She didn't know where her ship was? How did she let this happen?

We use transparent plastic with print on it, instead of paper, because this is a high tech secret organization. Ugh.

'I can't believe you didn't tell me you worked for a super secret organization!' That's... uh.... that's how super secret organizations are supposed to work. You're not supposed to talk about them, even with your alien sister.

Who talks to her boss like this?!

"I'm a girl." 50 year old Calista Flockhart delivers this line with a completely straight face. It's amazing. Cat Grant is the highlight of this show. I'm not even joking. It's frustrating that Supergirl isn't remotely as interesting.

The villain broadcasts on a frequency that's painful for supergirl? That's a pretty major weakness that anyone with the proper equipment would be able to exploit.

"On my planet, females bow before males." Oh good, more sexism. That's definitely what I want from my superhero shows. Definitely make gender a major focal point. Sarcasm sarcasm.

These effects are awful. Just.... awful. That is all.

"I'd never felt pain..." She spent her childhood on Krypton though, right? She wasn't super then.

That truck must have a pretty bad steering problem, for him to be turning that wheel back and forth so much. It's like how a child pretends to drive.

His axe lands directly next to him. This show is full of amazing coincidences.

I'm sure that shot where she stands in front of the exploding truck is supposed to look bad ass, but it just reminds me how bad the effects are.

"She's not strong enough." "Why, because she's just a girl?" No, because she fought this guy already and lost because she wasn't strong enough. The gender focus detracts from this show tremendously.

"Because she's just a girl? That's exactly what we're counting on." WHAT DOES THIS LINE EVEN MEAN? How does her being a girl help?

Agent Danvers dumps exposition about the villain's axe, something that really should have been mentioned to her boss way before this.

Supergirl has super speed, right? But didn't grab the axe when she had plenty of time to do so.

Villain keeps hitting her with the axe HANDLE instead of the blade, or punches her, because although he wants to kill her, he doesn't want the fight seen to be too short? Huh?

'Stop I give up, I don't want to die, I'm just a helpless girl' Great role model.

"Kara, do it now!" Supergirl doesn't know when to heat vision the axe. Wait, heat visioning the axe was the plan? Something she could do from a distance at any time? Why did she wait until she's pinned down? Was she really waiting for her sister to tell her when? In which case, why did Agent Danvers wait so long? Nothing in this scene follows logical sense.

He's shown repeatedly that he's strong enough to throw supergirl around, so why didn't he do that at any time in the 20 seconds it took for her to heat vision the axe? It's not like he was focused on anything else at the time. Everything about this is stupid.

Villain commits suicide, because....? Because she can't kill him, but they need to get rid of the character, and the writers aren't very creative.

Olsen's "Meet me on the roof" dubbed voice is so blatantly not part of the original scene. It makes me wonder: How many times was the pilot reworked? Because, it's still not working.

DANG these effects are bad. Just, it's incredible how bad.

How super disappointing. That is all.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Future

Shortly after extolling the virtues of my phone-run life, while updating said phone, it crashed.

But not all the way. While restarting Springboard (the interface), _that_ crashed, but the phone itself was still running. Now, the normal thing to do in this rare situation is a hard-restart; that is, hold the power button until the phone cycles power. However, my phone's power button has long since died (poor 3Gs design, a known flaw. Likely to be my final Apple phone). What was I to do? Wait until the battery died and then plug it in? That's one method, but it takes *quite* a long time for the battery to die, and I had to use the restroom.

Did I mention that the phone itself was still running? I mean, still observable on my network. I went to one of my computers, SSH'd into my phone, and issued the restart command. About a minute later it was back up and running, good as new (well, I _say_ 'new', but you know what I mean).

This is the future we're living in.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Computer Expertise

Recently, I had my 1TB Fantom external drive go belly up. It was my old storage drive, so it was mostly filled with media and installation files, not critical stuff I need every day.

Nevertheless, I figured that it was long past time to set up the barest of redundant systems so that I would stop losing great swathes of stuff every time a drive died (because DRIVES DIE).

I elected to go with a RaidZ system using a tower I picked up from the local recycle shop. I bought the memory and three 2TB hard drives (4 would have been better, but I'm poor). In a RaidZ this will give me 4TB of storage, and there's enough room in the case for another 4 or so IDE drives, of which I have plenty laying around. I have a stack of 300GB drives, but they're full, so FIRST I need to set up the RaidZ, then move the existing contents to it, then set up another with the spare drives. With me so far?

To use ZFS (and RaidZ), BSD is the way to go. You get the latest and greatest ZFS with all the bells and whistles. I considered going with FreeNAS, but it's not as feature-rich as full BSD distributions, and I have the hardware to support more. I ended up selecting OpenIndiana, which is the most direct off-shoot of the now retired OpenSolaris.

One problem I encountered was that my motherboard isn't detecting all 4GB of RAM. This is a problem with the older BIOS that has since been fixed, but MSI currently only distributes BIOS via their Windows-only custom software. I don't have Windows on this box, I don't WANT Windows on this box, but to even *download* the latest BIOS, that's what everyone is forced to use. But this is no problem; once I have OI (OpenIndiana) up and running, I can throw XP into a virtual machine, run MSI's crazy unnecessary software, download the latest BIOS, grab the file and update the motherboard myself through DOS (booted from USB). Easy peasy.

The next problem I ran into was with installing OI. The LiveCD for the latest version doesn't even boot all the way before it starts throwing all kinds of errors and the crashes. Odd. But that's no problem, because I know there is an even more up-to-date development version in beta.

The beta version didn't throw any kinds of errors before crashing, but it was clear that it was the same problem (it was just being quiet about it). So, that didn't work, and I'm burning up DVDs for nothing. BUT, that's NO PROBLEM, because I can always install OpenSolaris and then =upgrade= to OI after everything is working. Right? Yeah! I've heard of this working.

OpenSolaris exhibited the same problem. Further investigation lead me to believe that the source of the problem with with my DVD drive (what?) or at least the way it interacts with the motherboard. Other people had the same symptoms, but could install from USB. Aha!

I happen to have a spare USB stick RIGHT HERE! So, NO PROBLEM! I download the USB image, and the program to load it on to the stick and... the program crashes. Not compatible with the latest .NET (it was built for 2.0). But that's NO PROBLEM either because the source code is available! So I download the source and go to compile it in Visual Studio and...

My Visual Studio install is borked. When did this happen? A while ago, apparently. BUT THAT'S NO PROBLEM! I got VS through Microsoft's Dreamspark program, which means that it's distributed via ISO. I can just mount that ISO, re-install Visual Studio, recompile the USB Image Writer, boot from the LiveUSB thus created, and install OpenIndia! I'll be back in business in no time! Haha! All my computer expertise at work...

Wait, where did I save that disk image again? Oh right.... my 1TB Fantom external drive.

Monday, September 06, 2010


0th, The Fine Brothers. (Mostly about the flak YouTube earners got [due to jealousy], but also this:) How many people truly want to watch short form television style content inside the web? We’ll tell you how many. TONS. Hundreds of thousands, millions, but you know why they don’t watch your show? Because you have not built a connection to them, because you haven’t built a personal brand and experience for them to climb aboard and want to support, because you don’t have a real reason for the show to be distributed online beyond just “making something”, and surprisingly a lot of the time because you haven’t created a very good show not just for the web, but for any platform.

1st, Barrett Garese. Stop making short-TV or short-films and putting it online and calling it "online entertainment". It's derivative, and TV does it better already.

2nd, Barret's followup. We’re going to start having to think of the medium first, and the story second.

3rd, David Nett. Where Barrett is wrong, in my opinion, is in the underlying assumption in his tip: that we want to be pioneers in online entertainment. Rather than whipping ourselves into a frenzy over Barrett’s perfectly sound advice, I believe a creator should ask him or herself plainly, “what am I trying to make? Am I trying to make a TV show, and the web is the best current distribution option for my show?” If the answer is yes, then in my opinion Barrett’s advice simply doesn’t apply.

4th, Marc Hustvedt. There’s a flawed point of logic in the argument that web video should always be something different than what’s on TV or film.

Finally, New Mediacracy (via) which lead me to the others. Barrett Garese, Brett Register, Craig Frank, Jamie Blair, along with NM regulars Chris McCaleb, Zadi Diaz, and Steve Woolf get together. Conversation really needed David and Marc, but what do you want? Your money back?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Adventures in Surgeryland

So, I have sleep apnea, which means that I stop breathing in my sleep.

I went through a sleep study, and got a CPAP. So I won't die in my sleep.

But it wouldn't be a blog post if that's all that happened. ^_^

My nose is all messed up (partly because of genetics, and partly possibly because of the bike accident three years ago). Recently, one side closed up and I can't really breathe through it. At night, the other side closes up as well, meaning I couldn't use the CPAP. So... that's bad.

My ENT recommended surgery to fix my deviated septum and reduce my turbinates (this is after multiple meetings and tests; I really don't like surgery). This should allow me to breathe through both sides again, and if it doesn't fix my apnea it will at least let me use the CPAP. So I won't die in my sleep.

So my surgery was scheduled for yesterday afternoon. Something I didn't really think about beforehand was that I couldn't have any coffee that morning. I've had surgery before, but it was way early in the morning so this wasn't an issue. Oh man, I sure love coffee though.

ANOTHER thing I didn't think of was that I would have all morning to worry about the upcoming operation. So I was probably more nervous for this one than the previous one. And did I mention the lack of coffee? Coffee...

But that wouldn't be enough for a Phoenix story.

I'm at the surgery center, getting interviewed by the anesthesiologist. I'm moments away from being put under.

And the fire alarm goes off.

And it eventually becomes clear that this is not just a drill. The entire building is evacuated into the parking lot.

Luckily no one was in surgery at the time (only because I was a couple minutes behind schedule), but two people were in recovery and their unconscious forms wheeled out on gurneys. How awesome would that be to wake up from surgery in the sunny outdoors? A firetruck came and the firemen went through a quick building inspection. While we were waiting, I lamented that I didn't have a camera with me, but a nurse had her phone on her and snapped a couple photos of me and my IV. UNFORTUNATELY they didn't save properly, so I still ended up with no pictures.

So that's the surgery adventure. I'd write more, but I'm doped up on vicodin right now.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Far Too Clever

I've been working on my thesis again, having slacked off a lot the past few months. But having slacked off for so long, it's only recently that I discovered that I have misplaced one of my notebooks. That's pretty bad. But things get worse.

Yesterday, I needed a bookmark from XP. I upgraded to Windows 7 in January and haven't really used XP much since then. But I use Zotero to manage my references, so I do all my thesis research in Firefox.

So, I browse to my Firefox profile on the XP partition. The directory is empty.


Well, empty except the profile.ini file. Which points to the Firefox directory on the old Vista partition. And that's when I remember...

See, I had been hoping back and forth between XP and Vista. I had used only Vista for about a year, since it came with my lappy, but I had some problems (especially with games and older software). So when I re-formatted my computer last year, I put XP back on and swapped back and forth. Except I really didn't all that often. XP was fine and Vista was a headache, so I really pretty much only used XP> BUT, what I had done was, I had set up the Firefox profile to be the same on both (and in Linux when I booted to that). So, no matter which OS I was in at the time, I'd have all my bookmarks and recent tabs, seamlessly.

Which I FORGOT when I put W7 on. See, by that point I wasn't using Vista at all. So, while I made a careful backup of all my XP stuff (just in case), I didn't back up the Vista stuff (because, there wasn't any). Except, there WAS, because that's where all the Firefox stuff was stored.

So, all I have now is a profile.ini that points to a partition that no longer exists, and my most recent other backup is from 2008 (before I started on this current thesis). All because I was too clever for my own good. Sweet.

I'm having, like, the *BEST* week you guys!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Video Games Can Be Art

So, recently, Roger Ebert (whom, to be clear, I adore) once again declared that video games are not art, and CAN NEVER BE!

Which is absurd. Of COURSE games can be art. Everything about Shadow of the Colossus is art, not just the fantastic visuals, not just the story, but even down to the controller itself! But it's clear that Ebert has never played SotC. (This, despite it being mentioned several times in reader responses the first time he brought this up). His initial argument is "Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control." But, games like SotC has its plot on rails; the player has "choices" but really, the player has to move the plot forward. If the player goes off exploring, the game pretty much just waits. Ebert just appears to be completely unfamiliar with the wide range of games and gametypes available (he also appears to believe that ALL games have winners and losers, which has never been true).

He also never played Braid, although he knows enough about it to discounts its possibility as art. Well, I say he knows about it, but clearly his opinion is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the premise. Ebert's entire article was prompted by Kellee Santiago's TED talk (which you can see here). Here is a quote from his piece:
Her next example is a game named "Braid". This is a game "that explores our own relationship with our encounter enemies and collect puzzle pieces, but there's one key can't die." You can go back in time and correct your mistakes. In chess, this is known as taking back a move, and negates the whole discipline of the game. Nor am I persuaded that I can learn about my own past by taking back my mistakes in a video game. She also admires a story told between the games levels, which exhibits prose on the level of a wordy fortune cookie.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Braid doesn't allow you to go back in time and correct your mistakes, it FORCES you to go back in time and correct your mistakes. That's a fundamental part of the game mechanic, arguably the entire POINT of the game. It's not 'taking back a move' and negating the discipline of the game, it IS the game! And his remark about 'wordy fortune cookies' is another indicator that he never played it. Yes, you are given tiny snippets of a story, but the larger story becomes clear as you play. If he HAD played Braid, he would understand that.

So let's talk about Chess (which he also mentioned). Santiago says that Chess isn't art, and can't be art, because it's just a set of rules. No matter how elegant the set of rules, it's not art. Fine. I'm not going to argue that point. So, let's try this thought experiment:

Imagine there is a PLAY about Chess. The actors dress up like the pieces, you can have fights between the white pawn and the red knight, eventually one king is killed and the play is over. You don't see the chessboard itself, the play is just using a Chess theme.

Can that be art? Of course. A play can be art, even if its theme comes from a game.

So, now imagine that towards the end of the play, the white king can send his knight or his queen to fight the red bishop. OK? Both parts are scripted, but it's up to the audience to shout out their preference for that performance. The play has two different endings, depending on the outcome. Everything else about the play is the same.

Can that still be art? I think so. The presence of a choice by the audience does not negate everything else in the play. The audience's choice isn't the art, it's still the writing/acting/etc.

So, now imagine that the audience has a choice twice during the play. Or three times. Or twenty. Everything else is still true, there are scripted scenes for the players to act out. Eventually, the audience could have enough choices to play an entire game of Chess.

Is that still art? Again, I think so. There doesn't come a point where the fact that the audience has choices negates the art in the rest of the play, because the art is NOT about their choices! The art is always about the play, and what is shown to the audience.

It is the same with video games. The art isn't about the player's choices, it's about everything else.

As the Penny Arcade guys said, Ebert's simply a man determined to be on the wrong side of history. And that makes me sad.

Friends with Lauren Hudson

I was on Facebook today, and noticed that I had a friend request from Lauren Hudson (from April 8th, if that gives you an idea of how often I check Facebook. Which is never, actually, I was only on because I noticed a friend request from Ken). So, who is Lauren Hudson?

I'm not sure.

BUT, I saw that I had 15 mutual friends with her. So, I looked at that list, and they were predominantly people from the CEB, or people associated with people from the CEB. Unfortunately, I couldn't see Lauren's full profile unless we were friends. So I accepted a friend request from someone I didn't know (this is the first time I've intentionally done that).

Well, only the single photo (the profile picture), sparse Info (18 year old bisexual interested in friendship, dating, and networking), and that's pretty much it. She has close to 900 friends though. And the messages on her wall...

Justin Abel eracvm,lorjktgopaejlpvjporjktgv,pckpt5ojkvopaetjkoijolgvji,lijghiovj,wrvojirtwoicvj,oij

Drew Scott
Hey hey, we use Earth languages here!
Justin Abel
Is this girl even an earthling?

Justin Abel Kommunikation ist der Schl├╝ssel! who are you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...

Tyson Cox Has Lauren responded to anyone?? I sent her a message but haven't heard back from her..

Timothy Dane Lawrence
no response at all.

Allie Friese Are you a real person?

Isaac Kuula
i second that...

Michael Fuller What up how are you who are you

Justin Abel Ms. Hudson, have we spoke?

Washington Leifi i dont know you.... but hey thanks for the add..... we should get to know eachother.....

Adam Ovenell WHO YOU!

Daniel Pierce

Phillip Rabideau And you are?

Bryan Dunn
I'm smelling a bot.... 600 friends and no other activity...
And (I assume) so on. Most of the wall posts are like that. So, this is the future we live in, where bots pretend to be 18 year old bisexuals in order to gain our friendship. Oh robot, you know me so well.

Does anyone else remember when Facebook was an actually great, functional site? It's a shame that great, functional, helpful sites don't make as much money as spam-filled social crapfests.