Friday, November 11, 2011

Nethack: the Movie Concept Art



Click above image for higher resolution.

One of the many projects I have bouncing around in my head is to make a movie out of the ASCII classic Nethack. Well, probably not a whole movie, just a trailer. This is how I imagine it would look. The shot from the game I'm emulating is in the upper right hand corner. (Yes I know the dots are the floor and not the wall. Sue me.)

TTFN
-Tony

I've always wondered...

If women are so afraid of the seat being left up, how come men always remember and never fall in?

TTFN
-Tony

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Has anyone's vote ever actually been influenced by the ubiquitous and omnipresent Political Yard Sign? Anybody?

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, October 20, 2011

IF: Scattered



Illustration Friday: Scattered. Click image for higher resolution.

TTFN
-Tony

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm glad outlets other than (dagnasty evil and smelly) Fox News are starting to admit it: LA Times - Obama: A Disaster for Civil Liberties.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Censoring the Arts

I'm watching Rocky Horror on cable, and it's the end of "Planet-Schmanet, Janet!" When Magenta Medusa-fies our heroes, the naked statues are censored - but only the statues of the main characters. So there's a large plaster schlong in the background that's clearly visible, while Barry Bostwick's teeny weenie and Susan Sarandon's naughty bits are blurred. It reminds me of the 90s when Comedy Central used to put black boxes over bits of Terry Gilliam's animations on Monty Python's Flying Circus. You know, the ones made from cut-outs of classic paintings. Just bizarre.

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reality Sucks

I was disappointed today to learn that "The Seeing Eye" of Morristown is, in fact, a respected school for guide-dogs, and NOT a giant eye with lightning shooting out of its pupil hovering over New Jersey. Sigh.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Domestic Ponderings...

Why exactly do driers have a dial that you can set to your "desired level of dryness"? Does anyone really WANT their clothes slightly dry but still damp, instead of just you know... dry? It's not like your cooking a pot roast.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nerd Pondering #3234d

Why do stormtroopers wear armor when it doesn't protect them from lasers, stones, or even Ewok arrows?

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

IF: Hibernate



Illustration Friday: Hibernate. Click image for higher resolution.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, October 03, 2011

I Need a Gumption Pill

About ten years ago, I bought a used 386 laptop off ebay for $25. The idea was to have a cheap word processor. As my friend and very good bearded playwright Craig J. Quack (Clark) pointed out, there could not possibly be any distractions on a 386. He was right. It was, in fact, so obsolete it could not run Windows 95, and don't even think about Word. But still, I wrote, using the 3.1 workhorse "Wordpad."

Flash forward to now. I'm currently a gentleman of leisure. I should be writing. Instead, I'm resisting the urge to watch American Dad on Netflix wilst building a 50' tall walking eye in Minecraft. Why? I have no idea. Why is my mind sometimes so insistent on distractions and procrastinations instead of production and achievement? Aren't I supposed to be an organism evolved for survival of the fittest? If so, why do I have to fight myself all the time to get anything done?

The book God Wants You Dead (which is not anti-religion per se, but rather anti-ideology) suggests that instead of thinking "What would Jesus do," we should imagine ourselves as we wish to be, and ask "what would the perfect me do?" I love this idea... except... well what if the now me convinces future me to sit here and watch American Dad while playing Minecraft? I keep thinking of the scene in Citizen Kane when one character says to another that Mr. Kane will change the acquired newspapermen into "his kind" within a week, and the other character replies, "There's always a chance that, of course, they'll change Mr. Kane, without his knowing it."

I came across a great article about self-sabotage a few days ago (if I find it again I'll link it.) To sum up, it says that we're programmed from birth that for anything (love, achievement, Minecraft) to be worthwhile, we must struggle for it. Therefore, we sabotage ourselves to make our goal -or ourselves - seem more precious. Curious...

Thoughts?

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"I knew the great and the near great!"


A caricature of me by Bill Plympton. I'll never wash this cheek again...

I had an awesome time at the premiere of
Idiots and Angels. When I watched the film, I felt a rush of creative energy and a desire to finish my own languishing projects. After all, I'm currently a man of leisure. The problem is that I have this wonderful ability to work hard creating and planning things, and then give up on them before they're completed. I understand I'm not alone in this.

I talked to Mr. Plympton as he drew me. I told him that I've done some animations myself. He told me that was fantastic, and asked how I'm getting my work out there. I told him I do have some things on youtube. He said I should think about festivals. I think that's an excellent idea.

Some years ago I was working on an animation called
False Idols. I fell away from it for a number of reasons. I was almost done, and realized there were many shots I was unhappy with, either from the quality of the models or the changes in tone. Now I feel inspired to finish it. I've been working with 3dsMax for years, and I recently wanted to make the switch to Blender - a very advanced freeware CGI modeler / renderer. I think that would be the perfect project to get me started.

The only problem is that I have a 416 page novel that I'm editing, and I got up to page 226 of the second draft when I realized I want to make major changes to the second half. I'm determined to finish that first, but that's a post for another day. In the meantime, thank you, Mr. Plympton, for all the inspiring zaniness.

I will leave you with this quote from his autobiography, Independently Animated: Bill Plympton, the Life and Art of the King of Indie Animation: (pg 17)

"Whatever school was tries to prepare a person for, you can only become great at something by having a love and passion for it. Except for royalty, no one was born to be anything! Picasso wasn't born to be a great artist. He worked his butt off. I had a buddy in college who was a fantastic artist; he could draw rings around me (sometimes he'd use hula hoops to save time). People would say he's born to be a great artist. Today he's a check-out guy at Wal-Mart. 'Not that there's anything wrong with that,' as Jerry Seinfeld might add, but what my buddy lacked was passion for his art. I don't care how good you are - if you don't love what you do, you'll never be great at it."

Go forth and be passionate.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Idiots and Angels

Going to see a movie premiere tonight! And not just any movie - a Bill Plympton movie!



I'm meeting some old NJ friends - Heidi, Glen, and the indefatigable webtoonist, Kevin Pease. But wow... Bill Plympton! I hope to meet him, but what can I say? I love your work, Mutant Aliens is one of my favorite movies, Was all the gratuitous sex and violence in I Married a Strange Person in response to critics possibly saying The Tune was too cute and sweet? Your Face really freaked my son out when he was a baby, I like to make animations too, what made you settle on your sketchy style?

Also appearing will be Patrick McDonnell of MUTTS fame, who is, in fact, as nice a human being as his strips.

Well at any rate, I'm at my parents' house. I had an amazingly delicious lunch, and then played pinochle with my father. He beat me by ten points. Time to get revenge.

TTFN
-Tony


Monday, September 26, 2011

Android Fanboy's Unite!



I consider myself an interesting conundrum when it comes to ideologies. I try to keep away from them at all costs, and to balance my views and intakes - but is that in itself an ideology?

Like all Android fanboys, I take joy in poking fun when Apple smugly pats itself on the back for being "innovative" with features that other platforms have had for years. Mr. (or Mrs.) Wigley99, I salute you!

TTFN
-Tony

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I had a dream, I had an awesome dream...

Last night, I dreamt I was a kid at my parents' house, playing in the yard with my friends. Like all good Catholic kids, we played mass. We set up pews and everything. One of the neighborhood girls (ever notice how in dreams you have friends you don't know, but it just feels natural?) had a pet troll. He was 8' tall, fuzzy, fat, round and stupid, but funny. He lumbered around the yard, smashing the altar, pews, shrubs, and my mother's dogwood tree, much to my and the other kids' delight. He sat on the hood of my father's brown (black?) Buick (wow, this is way back) and squished it.

I was afraid my father would be furious. Instead he shrugged and said, "Not to worry." He then turned on a pump and re-inflated the car until it was it's original size, the dents popping back into place with audible pings. I went inside to help him put the groceries away, and he had replaced our refrigerator with a newer model. It had a rotisserie inside, but the contraption meant there was less room to store actual food.

Analysis?

TTFN
-Tony

Decluttering the Internet

The idea of leaving facebook has bounced around in the back of my mind for a while. Then a blog post from my friend Rayne gave me the nudge to jump ship. And why not? It was fun for a while, but it just isn't anymore. It feels more like an overflowing garbage can that no one wants to dump. Does the internet really need hundreds of pictures of me, my friends and family? I deleted everything except a profile picture, past notes, and my artwork. This blog will still be imported, but I deleted all my apps and likes as well.

In my farewell note I mentioned Big-Brother concerns such as facebook's need to integrate everything I ever do on or offline, but it's not that so much as just a need to cut a huge chunk of clutter out of my life.

Now for the rest of it...

TTFN
-Tony

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Illustration Friday: Ferocious


Illustration Friday: Ferocious

(Drawn while waiting for the iTunes store to post the latest Dr. Who episode.)

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's All in the Mind, Y'know!

OK, so here's your bizarre for the day:

Scientists have been able to reconstruct thoughts into images. There is a full article explaining it in technical detail here. To sum up: researchers had subjects watch clips from film trailers while recording blood flow to their visual cortexes with an fMRI. They then used 18 million random seconds of youtube clips to reconstruct what the viewers were seeing:



(on the left are the trailers, on the right are brain images reconstructed with clips from youtube.)

Now this is fascinating, but also frightening. What people think and feel are private unless they feel like sharing them. But I think it would be a wonderful self analysis tool. I log my dreams, and I'm annoyed as hell when the alarm clock shreds all memory of them.

Unfortunately, the way all information today is head-rushing towards the arms of Big Brother, this is how I'm sure the technology will be handled: A requirement will be that your dreams and thoughts will be part of the online "cloud" Of course, your identity will be "random" and your "privacy will be respected." After a year, the makers of the dream-recorder will change their TOS that they can sell your information to 3rd parties - and by low the government can have access... randomly and privately, of course.

All pontificating aside, NOW the plot sickens. Apparently, we can also do this with cats:



The real freaky thing is at the end, they zoom in the still of the man's face - and in the cat's mind, it's a cat-person.

I know we're higher mammals and all, but I think cat's can discern from cats and other prey - for example, I don't think they see mice, birds and bugs as small cats, or they wouldn't eat them (would they?) So.... is it then possible that we see higher life forms as people?

Discuss.

TTFN
-Tony

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two Mornings After


(Me ten years ago, restoring power on the roof of the Trinity Building.)


Two Mornings After


The subway from Queens, unreliable at the best of times, crawled along at ten miles an hour. It grinded to a halt every few hundred yards. Some riders jerked their eyes back and forth. Others hung their heads, swaying with the movement of the tracks. One woman choked back sobs, wiping her eyes every few minutes with a mascara-stained tissue.

I worked at 23rd street, which is about a mile and a half north of “Ground Zero.” When the train from Queens entered Manhattan, a crackling loudspeaker informed me that my connecting train was out of service. I exited into the sunlight, passed a cordon of police and soldiers, and began my thirty-block trek downtown. Even from three miles away I could smell the burning. I tried to ignore the fact that what filled my nostrils included some 2600 people. I failed.

The city seemed deserted, empty. Anything south of West 4th Street had been blocked off with military checkpoints, so only a handful of cars were on the streets. Every few blocks, police and National Guardsmen carrying M16s stood ready, but for what I had no idea. To the south, towering above us all, a swirling pillar of smoke scorched the sky, a giant defacing the clouds with charcoal.

Along Lexington Avenue, bus shelter after bus shelter were wallpapered with photocopies and print outs. Black-ink faces smiled from white paper copies of wedding photos, family gatherings, and yearbook portraits. Each had a plea scrawled in block letters: “HAS ANYONE SEEN _____?” or, “PLEASE CALL IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION!” In time, as the elements eroded these appeals, it became clear that no one would ever call, that these tattered papers would be the victims’ only tombstones. Watching these desperate prayers disintegrate day after day made me feel sick to my stomach and helpless. This, more than anything, is what I think of when anyone asks what I remember.

I reached the New York University Dental School on the East Side, which was under renovation. The kiosk I bought my paper from was draped with American flags. The elderly Middle-Eastern man inside half cowered at the sight of me, a large, pleading smile on his face. He wore a bright, tacky t-shirt with the Statue of Liberty on it. What was his exact nationality? I had no clue. His pleading, darting eyes prayed that I didn’t think it mattered. I bought the Daily News and offered him the best smile I could muster. He bared his teeth in an empty grin, his head bouncing like a bobblehead.

A long line of construction workers waited for me at the gate. As was now the norm throughout the city, everyone had to be checked in with photo IDs. One electrician who had worked there for six months was not allowed to enter, because he did not have his driver’s license with him. “Everyone must have their papers,” he growled as he left. “It’s like fucking Russia.”

On the tenth floor, my coworkers stood at the windows in silence. I joined them, lost in the monstrosity that blotted out the sky to the south, occasional bursts of red and orange flaring up from its base. “How long ‘till they get that out?” I wondered.

“Who knows?” a fellow electrician named Tom said. He took a drag on his Marlboro. “That jet fuel can gel like napalm. It’s all packed in down there in the rubble. Don’t forget that there was the subway, the PATH station, and a little underground mall down there too. They’re all burning. Pockets of air come up and feed the fire, and the fuel seeps further and further down.” The cigarette was just about down to the filter. He tossed it on the floor, crushed it under his heel, and lit another. “Did you watch Dubya’s speech?”

“Yeah,” I said, remembering the standing ovation he had gotten from both sides of the aisle. “Hilary looked royally pissed he was getting so much love.”

“Mmm,” he said. “Bush. Asshole. Just let it happen.”

“How could he have stopped it?” I asked. “You can’t exactly shoot planes down over New York City.”

“How old are you?” he asked.

“Twenty-eight.”

“You’re young,” Tom said. “Never trust the government- especially Republicans. They’ll fuck you any way they can.”

“Ok,” Jeff the foreman interrupted, clapping his hands. It was 7:30, half an hour after we were supposed to start. “I know it’s hard, but we have to get something done.”

Someone turned on the radio. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” blasted from Q104.3, although it couldn’t by any stretch of the imagination be called classic rock. Afterwards, Ray Charles’ version of “America the Beautiful” came on. Better, I thought. I strapped on my tool belt and tried to pretend it was a normal day.

“Listen to that song,” a carpenter said. “I love that song.”

“It’s a great version,” I said.

His face twisted. “We should just bomb them.”

“Who?” I asked.

“The whole Middle East,” he snapped, as if I was an idiot. “Just nuke them right off the map, that’ll teach them. It stopped World War Two, didn’t it?”

“You can’t do that anymore,” his co-worker piped up. “It’s not ‘politically correct.’”

“You know some kids are protesting us going into Afghanistan?” a fellow electrician named Barney joined in. He was a plump man in his mid-fifties. He lit a cigarette, sucking the smoke down like a man gasping for air. “It’s just like Vietnam again.”

“No, it’s like Desert Storm,” the carpenter corrected him. “Everyone has flags out along my block, all over their car radios, yellow ribbons around trees, the works. But in a year, everyone’s going to forget. Or they’ll just be sick of it. Right now, the Republicans are all saying ‘I told you so,’ and they’re having fun doing it. But in a year or two, the liberals will be back with a vengeance.”

“Yep,” I said. I reached into Barney’s pack and took out a cigarette. He held out his lighter to me and I took a long drag. It burned and tasted delicious. “People have short memories."

“You got that right,” Barney muttered.

How long would all this last, I wondered as I gathered up wire reels and arranged them on a pulling rack, this bizarre mixture of patriotism, anger, prayer, suspicion, love, fear, and camaraderie? How long could the government continue its tightrope act, claiming that America is in immediate danger, yet at the same time, implore us that it’s a safe place to “go out and shop?” How long were we going to pat ourselves on the back for our freedom and envious way of life, while at the same time presenting our papers at work while soldiers with automatic weapons patrolled the streets?

The first few lines of John Mellencamp’s “Ain’t that America” came on the radio, and someone cranked up the volume even louder. Across the floor, I could see Jeff raise an eyebrow at me: Was I was just going to stand around all day? I realized that however long it took for things to get back to normal, it would be a lot more than two days. I pushed my cart out onto the floor and went to work.

-TTFN
Tony

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Maybe it just keeps everyone employed?

Catching up with Star Trek the Next Generation and wondering why officers always carry data to their superiors on PDAs instead of just sending it to their consoles.

Ttfn
Tony

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Who knows what evil lurks...


Illustration Friday: Shadows. Please click above for higher resolution. Drawn from the shadows of my dreams.

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, May 13, 2011

Classic Who Favorites

My friend Ezra is a new fan of Doctor Who, and wanted to know which classic episodes to see. So, for your enjoyment and delight, these are my personal favorites of the classic series. Keep in mind that these episodes weren't meant to be watched in one sitting, they were meant to be seen a half hour a week. This is more true with the first and second doctors, as the 3rd Doctor's era began the standard 4 or 6 part format that lasted for most of the series. The cream of the crop have been marked with asterisks before their number.

Many of the 1st and most of the 2nd Doctors' episodes are unfortunately lost. One or two parts still exist of many of these, and there are novelizations of them. I've only listed here the ones that are complete (or restored with animation or narration.)

1st Doctor - William Hartnell.

1) An Unearthly Child
This is the pilot episode, but while part one is a must-see, the rest is a boring story about cavemen and can be skipped.

2) The Daleks
This, along with "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", was remade as a feature film staring Peter Cushing as a human inventor named "Doctor Who." It is officially available for free viewing on YouTube.

* 3) The Keys of Marinus

* 4) The Dalek Invasion of Earth
Like "The Daleks" - this was remade as a feature film. It too used to be available on YouTube, (and is much better than the first movie) but it seems to have been pulled. You can see the trailer here.

2nd Doctor - Patrick Troughton

As I said before, most of his episodes are sadly missing. It should be noted that in interviews, most of the classic Doctors said he was their personal favorite.

5) The Tomb of the Cybermen

6) The Invasion
Although there are missing episodes, the audio for them has been recovered and animated for the DVD (With a "Bad Wolf" thrown in for good measure.)

* 7) The War Games
The first mention that the Doctor is a Timelord, and the first time we see Gallifrey (although it's not called that here.) Last of the black and white episodes.

3rd Doctor - Jon Pertwee

8) Inferno

9) Terror of the Autons
Although there were two villainesque Timelords shown earlier, (the Monk in "The Time Meddler" (missing episode) and the War Chief in "The War Games," this is the first appearance of the Master (Roger Delgado)

10) The Time Monster

* 11) The Three Doctors
The 10th anniversary special, with, as the name suggests, includes all three Doctors. Introduces Omega, one of the three founders of the Timelords.

12) Frontier in Space / Planet of the Daleks
Technically two episodes, but one cliffhangers into the other.

13) Invasion of the Dinosaurs
A personal favorite, because it was the first I ever saw at age 9 or so. Wonderfully horrible sets that shake. Hand-puppet dinosaurs badly green-screened over film and stills. Evil eco-terrorists. What more could you ask for?

4th Doctor - Tom Baker ("my" Doctor.)

* 14) Genesis of the Daleks
While not the first Dalek episode, it - as the name suggests - explains how and why the Daleks came to be, and introduces their insane creator, Davros.

15) Pyramids of Mars

16) The Brain of Morbius

17) The Hand of Fear
"Eldrad MUST live!" (R.I.P. Elisabeth Sladen.)

* 18) The Deadly Assassin
A virtual reality world run by a computer called the Matrix that is constantly rebuilt by its users' minds? Sounds like a 100% original idea for a movie to me! if only Keanu Reeves wasn't in kindergarten at the time... (Insert sarcasm where appropriate.) Also, the first and best appearance of the "zombie Master." Introduces Borusa, the Doctor's teacher, who seems to regenerate quite a lot for a Timelord politician (and for some reason, always into old men.) Also introduces Rassilon, the founder of Timelord Society (cameoed by Timothy Dalton in the new series,) along with Omega and that other guy...

19) The Face of Evil

* 20) The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
This episode has been called racist due to the Charlie Chan-esqe casting of it's main villain by an Englishman in Asian makeup and it's stereotypical Chinese characters, but it's still a great story.

21) The Key of Time
This story arc consists of six episodes: The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones of Blood, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll, and The Armageddon Factor.

* 23) City of Death
Co-written under a pen name by Douglas Adams and guest-starring Julian (he who chose... poorly) Glover. Parts of this story, along with "Shada," were incorporated into the novel Dirk Gentley's Holistic Detective Agency. Filmed on location in Paris.

24) Shada
Written by Douglas Adams, incomplete and never aired due to a BBC strike. It was released on video in the 90s, with Tom Baker narrating the missing parts (which, of course, are the most expensive action shots.) Was re-made as a Big Finish Audio Adventure with the 8th Doctor starring in Tom Baker's place. See "City of Death."

(note) From here until the end, producer Jon Nathan Turner took control of the classic series. While some of the stories were still very good, the style unfortunately took a very "80's" turn. Bright garish lighting and costumes, deliberately unlikable companions (and, in the case of Colin Baker, a deliberately unlikeable Doctor) pastel color themes and (digital) synthesizer music. Blech.

25) Full Circle
*I HATE Adric, but it is a good story.

26) Logopolis.
Tom's regeneration, and first full story of Anthony Ainley as the 3rd (or rather, 14th?) Master.


5th Doctor - Peter Davison

*27) Kinda

28) Arc of Infinity

*29) Snakedance

30) Mawdryn Undead
A nice return episode for the Brigadier. Re-introduces the Black Guardian (See The Key of Time story arc,) but ruins the impact with a very cheesy outfit and a sense of powerlessness.

31) Terminus
A good story. No, seriously - it's not just here because Nyssa strips down to her underwear for no good reason...

* 32) The Five Doctors
20th anniversary special, with all five Doctors. Well... not quite. The late William Hartnell was re-cast with a look alike, and Tom Baker had a bug up his ass, so he refused to do it, (he appears using clips from the unaired episode "Shada" and is "caught in a time bubble") Although the story is interesting, it suffers from too-many-character-itis. As a result, Susan and Turlough are superfluous and spend most of the episode locked in the TARDIS.

Cashing in on the upcoming Star Wars hype, this was unfortunately released as a "Special edition" in the 90s. The 80's special effects were updated, but just like the Star Wars special editions, the new CGI looks out of place with the rest of the episode, and look just as dated fifteen years later as the original effects did when the SE was produced. I'm also not fond of the attempt to digitally deepen Rassilon's voice. On the other hand, the special edition does contain extended shots and some deleted footage, so it's a give and take.

* 33) The Caves of Andriozani
Peter Davison's regeneration episode.


6th Doctor - Colin Baker (no relation to Tom.)
I initially wasn't a fan of the 6th Doctor, but once the BBC realized that "complete unlikable asshole" wasn't a good character choice and they toned him down a bit (if not his clownish outfit) his episodes became much better. He makes such a good Doctor, in fact, that he is my favorite one of the Big Finish Audio Dramas - but that's a list for another post.

* 34) The Two Doctors
Patrick Troughton's last appearance as the Doctor, along with Jamie. The fact that they are both about twenty years older is ignored. (See the Season 6B theory.) Filmed in Spain.

* 35) Revelation of the Daleks
Has one of my favorite characters - Orcini (for those of you who have known me since the AOL days,) and co-stars Eleanor Bron. My favorite Dalek story of the classic series.

36) The Trial of a Timelord.
Sometimes called a 14 part story, sometimes broken into four smaller stories (Three four episodes long, and one two eps. long) It introduces the very important (though never heard from again) character of The Valeyard.


7th Doctor - Sylvester McCoy.
It should be noted that at first the 7th Doctor is portrayed as silly and fun, but later on is transformed into a dark, brooding, manipulative figure. This is aspect much more explored in the Virgin New Adventures novels after the show's cancellation.

37) Delta and the Bannermen

38) Remembrance of the Daleks

* 39) Silver Nemesis
The 25th anniversary story - hence the name. Gives a little hint about that other guy...

40) Ghost Light

41) Survival.
The last episode of the classic series.


8th Doctor - Paul McGann.


Unfortunately, the 8th Doctor had just one episode. It's a TV movie called "Doctor Who" or sometimes, "The Enemy Within." It was the pilot for an American produced continuation of the series in the 90s that was never picked up. Paul McGann is a fine Doctor, Daphne Ashbrook makes a lovely companion. Eric Roberts as the Master... meh. (I had a beard - why didn't they call me?) Good production values, but basically a very long regeneration scene and a lot of chasing. Notable for a blasphemous attempt to ret-con that the Doctor is half human. Paul McGann did an awesome job picking up the character of the Doctor on the Big Finish Audio Adventure series, and in BBC radio dramas (which were also produced by Big Finish.)

***

Notable external media:

Dimensions in Time
A mash-up for the Children in Need charity between Doctor Who and EastEnders for the 30th anniversary of Dr. Who (1993.) Utter, horrible crap, but it's fun for nostalgia's sake. The 3rd - 7th Doctors and most of his companions run around Albert Square and interact with EastEnders characters. The last appearance of Jon Pertwee as the Doctor.

* Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death
Rowan Aktinson and other celebrities star as the Doctor in a spoof for charity. Penned by Stephen Moffatt, who currently helms the new series. Jonathan Price steals the show as the Master.

* Lungbarrow
The last of the 7th Doctor novels, and the final explanation of... that other guy. Although the new series has refuted it in some ways and some people question whether it is canon, this is so far, the only official origin story of the Doctor. It was supposed to be part of the original series ("Remembrance of the Daleks" and "Silver Nemesis" build up to it,) but Jon Nathan Turner got cold feet, and the series was cancelled before it could be made into an episode. Definitely a must-read.

* Zagreus
My list of Big Finish Audio Adventures deserves its own post, but this was Doctor Who's 40th anniversary story. Again, Tom was a bastard and didn't join in, but it reunites the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Doctors. Notable for having actors who played the Doctors and companions from the original series playing other characters rather than trying to clumsily shoe-horn why everyone who ever knew the Doctor is in one place.

* Unbound (series)
A Big Finish Spinoff series, each story asking "What if?" (For example: What if the Doctor never left Gallifrey? What if the Valeyard had won? What if The Doctor was a woman?) Most notable actors playing the Doctor in these are Sir Derek Jacobi (later to cameo as the Master in the new series) and David Warner (who I would love to see as the next Doctor, if the BBC could please just get over the squee factor.)

Anything I forgot?

TTFN
-Tony


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Still Sabbatical.

Yesterday I said I was going on sabbatical. Here I am again. I can't tell you why, or my reasoning for doing the things I do. I think one of my epitaphs could be "It seemed like a good idea at the time." I plan on being cremated and dumped in the ocean. I want there to be a huge book at my funeral though, where people can write their own epitaphs as if I had a tombstone. Could someone please write the Monty Python "Decomposing Composers" joke "Still alive (year before my death) NOT still alive (Y.O.D.) (I'm looking at you, Craig.)

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, May 09, 2011

I had a fun time at my parents' house this weekend, got to play pinochle with Mary. Took the kids for a walk to my old elementary school (Liberty Corner.) The whole playground is changed. There was once a log jungle gym with a tire swing and a nautical steering wheel that everyone wanted to spin, now it's just all the same plastic shit that's everywhere else. Does any one else who went there in the 70s & 80s remember there was an old car in the woods, and we all thought there was a skeleton under it? And our teachers would say "there's no such thing as skeletons!" But obviously, that wasn't true. I tried telling Joe that story, but he wasn't interested.

I need to start eating healthy again. Like red peppers, tuna fish and apples. I can still eat apples all day long.

TTFN
-Tony

PS - did any one catch last week's Dr Who? I just caught the end and there was a little girl regenerating. Guesses?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Nothing exciting today. I woke up, trimmed my beard, and shaved my cheeks (on my face.) My daughter was fascinated by the process. I told her that the blade held a bunch of tiny knives, and it was just for daddy's to do to their faces, and I had to be very careful. Took a shower. Feel clean. Yay Axe.

Going to see my sainted mother in NJ today. I was up late last night, I couldn't sleep. I chatted with some friends while I worked on an animation, re-played some Half Life 2 on the X-Box (come out with 3 already, for Christ's sake!) watched some Kids in the Hall on Netflix, and crawled into bed. Maybe I'll stop at the Dunkin Doughnuts on the corner for some caffeine, but the employees there move slower than dead people. It's fascinating.

Looking forward to playing pinochle with dad and seeing my little sister for a bit. Maybe we can get her into a few games of three-handed.

I feel like re-reading my entire Vonnegut collection. I wonder if I should do it in alphabetical order or if I should start with Player Piano. I think if some Tralfamadorians looked at my life, they'd just put their hands over their eyes. Or stick me in a cage with Miss Tessmacher. (50 nerd points if you can connect those dots, and no, I'm not talking about the wrestler chick.) Hmm... the first one alphabetically is Armageddon in Retrospect, but I feel like a novel. Think I'll go with Cat's Cradle.

So I'm off, breakfast, get the kids in the car, and begin our journey. Everyone have a happy one.

TTFN
-Tony

PS - If you take off the L, you're left with XVIII.
Nothing exciting today. I woke up, trimmed my beard, and shaved my cheeks (on my face.) My daughter was fascinated by the process. I told her that the blade held a bunch of tiny knives, and it was just for daddy's to do to their faces, and I had to be very careful. Took a shower. Feel clean. Yay Axe.

Going to see my sainted mother in NJ today. I was up late last night, I couldn't sleep. I chatted with some friends while I worked on an animation, re-played some Half Life 2 on the X-Box (come out with 3 already, for Christ's sake!) watched some Kids in the Hall on Netflix, and crawled into bed. Maybe I'll stop at the Dunkin Doughnuts on the corner for some caffeine, but the employees there move slower than dead people. It's fascinating.

Looking forward to playing pinochle with dad and seeing my little sister for a bit. Maybe we can get her into a few games of three-handed.

I feel like re-reading my entire Vonnegut collection. I wonder if I should do it in alphabetical order or if I should start with Player Piano. I think if some Tralfamadorians looked at my life, they'd just put their hands over their eyes. Or stick me in a cage with Miss Tessmacher. (50 nerd points if you can connect those dots, and no, I'm not talking about the wrestler chick.) Hmm... the first one alphabetically is Armageddon in Retrospect, but I feel like a novel. Think I'll go with Cat's Cradle.

So I'm off, breakfast, get the kids in the car, and begin our journey. Everyone have a happy one.

TTFN
-Tony

PS - If you take off the L, you're left with XVIII.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Games and Morality - Does It Matter?

Throughout my life, morality in media has been an issue. Well, somebody else's issue, not mine. When I was young, Jack Chick led a morality crusade against Dungeons & Dragons that struck terror into the hearts of parents of nerds everywhere. Later in life, it was heavy metal (the music, not the magazine. The magazine was responsible for something else but was fortunately below most parents' radars.) When I was in the army, Beavis and Butthead supposedly single handedly caused every act of juvinle delinquency in the country. These are just the well known scapegoats.

And then, starting with the Columbine tragedy, videogames stepped up to the plate. The shooters were fond of Doom and Quake, therefore first-person-shooters were responsible. Gamers still giggle over Cooper Lawrence's live tirade over the sexual content in Mass Effect when she was forced to admit that she never actually played the game. When she finally did, she admitted that the sexual content was less than what was seen on late-night television. Grand Theft Auto showed us that society is fine with beating hookers over the head with a two-by-four for cash, but showing puppet-looking sex with them would trigger the Apocalypse.

I recently played Fallout: New Vegas. It's a spin-off (rather than a sequel) of Fallout 3. If you click on the trailer, you can see it's full of limb-dismembering fun, set to toe-tapping tunes of the forties. But during game-play, you make choices. Every choice gives or takes away karma. You can be a hero or a villain. The difference with other games that allow you to play the bad guy (The GTA series for example.) is that characters in the game treat you accordingly. If you help people, Elvis impersonators will run up to you randomly, thank you for being kind, and give you gifts. If you've hurt and killed innocent people, passerbys will tell you to get the fuck out of their faces. As with Fallout 3, I have to admit that the effect works on me. Even though it's just a video game, my natural instinct is to do good. I've played it a second time as bad to see what the difference is, and I found that the guilt takes the fun away.

The same goes for the Bioshock series. There are "Little Sisters" whose bodies contain a life-force called Eve. You can either free them of it which gives you half the Eve, or kill them for the full content. Freeing them of it results in a thank you. Killing them results in agonized screams. It's just a game, but guess which one you're more likely to choose.

Portal
plays a wonderful psychological trick on you with its Weighted Companion Cube. It's just a box with a heart on it. That's all. It doesn't talk, it doesn't move, it's just a box like any other. However, you're told at the beginning of the level that it contains a rudimentary artificial intelligence, and you must protect it. Here's the kicker: At the end of the level, you can't progress unless you incinerate it. No screams of agony when you do, but GlaDOS (the antagonist) congratulates you, that of all the test subjects, you killed your Weighted Companion Cube the quickest. The guilt haunted me for... ok... five minutes, but still, it's just a box in a game. Why care at all?

I guess all in all it's not that hard to understand. People have become emotionally involved with characters in fiction for centuries - why should video games be any different? Portal 2 comes out tomorrow - I'll let you know how it messes with my mind.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"My bugs! My bugs! My bugs!"

As many before me have noted, Skynet will supposedly go online on April 19th, 2011 (according to Terminator 2.) Perhaps not coincidentally, Portal 2 will be released in the U.S. on that date as well. For those who don't know, I've been eagerly anticipating this for years. But although I badly want to run out and get it, part of me is very afraid.

There's a horrible trend in computer gaming to churn out titles without any testing. Players buy a title for $50 or more, and find it's full of bugs. Some of these bugs make the game almost completely unplayable. They go on websites and complain about the bugs. The manufacturers slowly release one or two patches to fix the problems. One example is Civilization V - it's been over six months since the game was released, and the multiplayer-hotseat function that was promised at launch STILL hasn't been patched in yet.

Fallout: New Vegas
is in a category all its own. It's a fun game that takes many many hours of gameplay to complete, it's creative, it's got great voice-talent and it's completely immersive. The only problem is that it's got more bugs than a whorehouse mattress (citation needed.) Some are merely annoying: I've had my companions disappear on me many times. (Go to Vault 22, and they'll magically appear on any floor but the first, no matter where in the game you lost them.) Others are more frustrating. I could not complete at least three quests because the computer simply did not know how to proceed. (I saved the cattle rancher's son from the cannibals, but the game would not acknowledge that, even with them standing next to each other. I saved the president of the NCR from assasination, but because I did not take care of the threats in a certain order, they all just stood around looking at each other. The Brotherhood of Steel attacked me in mid-mission for some reason... the list goes on and on.) It freezes many times - one caused me to get three parts of a red ring on my XBOX, heart thumpingly close to the horrifying Red Ring of Death (which basically turns your XBOX into a large footstool.)

OK, I could go on and on. The thing is, this is something PC users have had to put up with for years. The line was that everybody had different PC hardware (video and audio cards, etc.) therefore, every system was impossible to predict. As reasonable as that sounds, when consoles that could be connected to broadband internet were released, they magically suffered the same issues. For those who don't know, each brand of console has the exact same hardware (possibly different hard drive sizes, but that doesn't count.) To make a long story short, once game publishers realized that consoles too could download half-gig patches, they began releasing their games without any testing either, relying on patching to fix the bugs. I'm sorry, $50 is way too much to pay for me to be employed as your beta-tester.

So while I'm eagerly awaiting Portal 2, I'm afraid. I'm afraid it's going to be full of crashing bugs and glitches. Sort of takes the fun out of the anticipation, but I don't know why I worry. If there are bugs, I'm sure GlaDOS will fix them all. For science.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, April 11, 2011

From the Jokes of Babes

I took a trip down to Washington DC this weekend. I had a great time with Carol and Jodi. We went out to lunch with Julianne. I saw some cherry trees in mid-blossom, and some Japanese people dancing on a stage that was sponsored by McDonald's. That and lots of Hello Kitty rip-off toys.

I also had dinner with two old friends Rick and Mandy, their kids and their two dogs. Anyway, the point of this whole setup is that at dinner, we traded jokes around the table. Their son, who is my daughter's age, told a lot of jokes that he made up himself. If you have kids in early elementary school, you know what I'm talking about. Jokes along the lines of, "Why did the cow cross the road? To talk to the pig!" They're not even "bad" (I love horrible jokes with a passion. What do you get if you cross an apple with a magic marker? An apple with an X on it,) but they're told with an abundance of confidence and enthusiasm. After delivery, the kids then crack up at their own jokes. It doesn't even matter if you laugh or not, they KNOW it's great material, and they got a million of 'em. Does anyone know where I can get me some of that?

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Procratsination, is making me late...

Sometimes I’m a horrible procrastinator. And there are so many ways out there to procrastinate! There’s my X-Box 360 (A good game like Fallout: New Vegas can keep me as entranced as a good book,) TV, books, movies, and now, a plethora of crap on the internet. I can waste so much time it’s not even funny.

The question is, why do we want to procrastinate? What is it in some of our programming that is geared toward wasting time? Does God (or some gestalt entity that we’re a part of, or the Master Control Program if life is all really just a computer simulation,) say “Ok, I don’t need you fornicating with my master plan right now... watch some videos of cats playing with string, kill a few zombies, or argue about things with some troll for a while...” So why aren’t our brains geared for achievement? Why do we fight it? I’ve always been fascinated about how sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. (Well I sure as hell can, at any rate.) I think this, if anything, could be used as an argument against evolution. Are you listening, Sarah Palin?

If anyone has any ideas, feel free to comment. Go on - if you’re going to procrastinate anyway, the least you can do is feed my ego.

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Inception: A review of a review.

Catching up with the human race, I finallywatched Inception. It was fun, but honestly, I was expecting much more imagination from the dream sequences. Something along the lines of a Terry Gilliam (huzzah huzzah) film, or What Dreams May Come.

A friend of mine forwarded an article to me from Psychology Today about how silly the film is. I didn’t even like the film that much versus the hype (I give it a B+) but the article annoyed me. I'm just not sure what it’s trying to say. The guy who wrote it just seems annoyed and angry that people might question reality based on sci-fi / fantasy movies - another one of Us suffering from Arrogant Nerd Syndrome. There's a difference between believing and questioning. I'm surprised the article doesn't really deal with psychology, the writer just sort of lectures everyone else in the world but himself, and he seems to think we're all idiots.

The psychology of escapism is all there in the word escape. People's lives suck, they're overwhelmed, they have stress, they're miserable and unhappy and unfulfilled, and so they want out. They don't care about the science of it, they just want their shitty lives to be different, so they wish there was more than what there is. They want a do-over button. I admit I've felt that way many times myself, it's much easier than the work it takes to change things. I can believe in reality in my day to day life, but use my imagination to wonder what might be. Everything we experience is a model our brains make from our senses, but we know that there is so much more around us than our senses can detect (such as infra-red or radio waves) so why is it so impossible to believe there's more to the world than just what our senses can show us? No, we shouldn't live based on that possibility (I'm not going to deny my children health care because I think it will offend my imagined view of a deity who doesn't want competition in the healing department,) but we can still entertain it.

Let me clarify what I believe. Science is what theory can best be proven in repeatable conditions using the scientific method. If it does not meet those criteria, it is not science, should not be treated as such, and does not belong in a science class. People can believe whatever they like, as long as they don't insist that it is science, or that public school teachers should teach their improvable beliefs because they're "right." or "just a theory (but not a scientific theory) like anyone else's." But if it wasn't for someone trying imagine what might be, we wouldn't even have clubs, fire pits in caves, and tiger skins, we'd be using our fists and fingernails and dying of old age at thirty.

I can see his point that people who question reality are religious - I always found it hysterical that my parents were terrified about me getting too wrapped up in science fiction / horror / fantasy as a kid, but wanted me to believe that priests across the world can change - not represent, but actually change - a cardboard-tasting wafer and wine into the body and blood of God on a weekly basis. Believing in (insert your particular new age belief here) with the power to heal is a stupid and dangerous lie, my son - believe instead in the healing power of Holy Water from Lourdes...

Yes, as a semi-recovering ANS sufferer, I've done my share of annoyed bitching at unbelievable things in TV shows and movies. In the Dr Who episode "The Stolen Earth," the Daleks put twenty-seven planets (including Earth) close to each other. Wouldn't tidal forces cause sudden tidal waves, earthquakes and volcanoes? If Lois Lane fell 2 stories - much less the 20 or so she seems to in the first Superman movie before Superman caught her- especially if he was flying upward - wouldn't she just go splat all over his arms? OK I could go on and on, but you know... they're movies about aliens who can fly because our sun is yellow instead of red, or mutated green blobs in bumpy little tanks. We nerds like to act superior, but if the article writer is "constantly... fighting to suspend (his) disbelief," he needs to realize he's watching a sci-fi / fantasy thriller, not an episode of NOVA. 2001, A Space Odyssey was intended to be the most scientifically accurate sci-fi movie ever made - but it still had wormhole space travel, (off-camera) aliens, and a super-evolved space-fetus at the end. To sum up, I think the writer just needs to get over himself and get laid. Life is too short.

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blindfolded

My friend Caroline recently posted a video on her facebook wall where a woman drew a blind self-portrait. (It's not clear if she's actually blindfolded or not. She says she doesn't look at the paper, uses a white crayon, and then paints over it with watercolor to make it appear.) I decided that would be interesting to try, so I used a face-massage mask:


It seems even in my minds eye, my eyebrows are my most prominent feature. At least they're not up my nose. Give it a try let me know how it works out.

TTFN
-Tony

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Really Want to Know...

Let's settle this once and for all. Are there ANY men out there who find it attractive when women pout their lips for pictures?

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, March 18, 2011

"But seriously, some of my best friends are gay..."

Truth time: Has anyone else ever wondered if the Mail Song from Blues Clues is meant to be homoerotic? (And no I'm not going on a Tinky-Winky / Spongebob witch-hunt here, I'm just curious if it's a hidden-in-plain-sight inside joke.)

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blargh!

I'm a sort of OTC med coma at the moment I want to lay down but it doesn't matter I don't really sleep I just sort of lie there and I guess I probably do sleep but it's not like real sleep. A badly animated cartoon dog on yellow paper is going to tell me I have problems, that I disappointed it. I haven't done any editing in two days I can't concentrate enough. I did however work out a plot-issue that had been bothering me for some time, so maybe it's better that way. My muscles all feel sore. Wah.

So that was my day. I took a nice long nap, I got up, I checked my mail, I took another nap, I farted around a little on my Android, I took another nap, I talked to some friends, I saw some wonderful caring notes from friends, I wrote some other friends, and they told two friends... and they told two friends... (Ask your mom.)

In other news, the Obama Administration wants to make streaming copyrighted video a federal felony, and invoke wiretapping privileges to catch perpetrators. Where are all the watchdogs crying Nazi like when Bush did the same thing to catch terrorists? I disagree with a lot in the Patriot Act, but I think catching terrorists looks a little better on paper as an excuse than protecting Hollywood's interests. (Obligatory Disclaimer: I believe that people should have legal recourse to sue for just compensation when their work is stolen, but isn't this pushing the envelope juuuussst a little bit? Why is it evil for one party to sell out our laws and tax dollars to corporate interests, but ok for another?)

OK friends and neighbors. Going to have one more cup of tea, some Thermaflu, and try to get some more sleep, if you can call it that.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sick and Whiney

I can't sleep. It feels like there's cotton candy in my skull. Lots of drugs in me. "When I was a child, I had a fever, my hands freely just like two balloons..." When I cough it's like there's sand in my lungs and my head hurts from the pressure and my throat burns.

The Japanese situation in a nutshell: It's horribly sad and whoever says it's payback for Pearl Harbor seems to have forgotten two atomic bombs and needs their heads kicked in. Oh wait, I forgot to mention people convinced it's a sign of the apocalypse. Not exactly sure why some people aren't just happy with the idea that they'll die someday, they want to take everyone else worth them in one fell swoop, or why their idea of God is vengeful and punishing. To each his own I guess.

Don't have any uplifting words tonight. That's ok. I don't have to be uplifting. I got to cuddle with my sick Mandy-Pandy and watch Futurama, Blues Clues, & Arrested Development with her. She lost a tooth today, but says she not only doesn't want the tooth fairy to take it, (though she wanted it under her pillow) she still wants her dollar. The kid has a bright future working for the IRS or an insurance company.

I have to go put a dollar under her pillow and try to get some sleep. Goodnight, all.

Ttfn
-Tony

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Internet Jokes I'm Sick of Seeing.

1) Snappy answers to test questions:
You all know what I'm talking about. There's a high-school exam with physics problem showing the Earth orbiting the sun. An equation for velocity is given, and the problem asks how fast the Earth is going. The student draws in a mutant space hamster kicking the Earth and adds something about it to the equation. The teacher writes, "SEE ME AFTER CLASS, JOHN!" in red pen. Mildly humorous the first hundred times I saw it or its ilk. 90% are probably fakes.

2) facebook comments in a historical setting:
Jesus: Ow, these nails hurt
Pilate: Should have listened to me, bro!
Mary Magdalene: What about our baby?
Judas Iscariot: Dude, use some Chapstick!

Ok, wait, that one is actually funny. But most aren't.

3) Mom of the year photos:
Some trampy looking chick with her hands barely covering her naked boobs vamping in front of a webcam, while in the background a baby is smoking on a bong while cleaning out an AK47. Just don't care.

4) Your version of anything:
If I'm looking on YouTube for the scene from Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask where the 50' breast ravages the countryside, it's because I'm too lazy to get off my ass and put my DVD in the laptop - not, I repeat - NOT because I want to see YOUR re-edited version of it with some parts in black and white, new music, and intermittently sped up and slowed down like Zach Snyder during sex. Woody Allen is a comic genius. You are not.

5) Iphone auto-corrected text snafus:
Me: I'm picking up your mom from church later.
You: Thanks! She says she wants you to bring her book of hymens and her favorite vibrator that looks like Magilla Gorilla.
Me: WHAT???
You: Oh, #$@!'ing autocorrect - she said she wants you to bring her book of hymns and her favorite vibrator that looks like Magilla Gorilla.
Me: Whew, you had me scared for a second!

Again, 90% are probably fakes.

6) RickRolling:
Never was funny, never will be.

I'm sure there are more but I can't think of them right now. Please feel free to add your own.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thoughts that Keep Me Awake...

I was watching "The Princess and the Frog" with Mandy, and some firefly just wrote a flaming heart with an arrow through it on a tree with his butt. This means that either

A) The firefly's butt is about 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

B) The firefly tore open its own flesh and scraped its biolunincescent innards out all over the bark, just for the pleasure of its cruel, thankless Disney masters.

Discuss!

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fabricating a Meme?

A few years ago, the word "Zombie" started popping up all over the internet. I have no idea if this was a happenstance trend, or if it was secretly fabricated by the entertainment industry. Along that vein, is it just me, or is the word "Hipster" - probably not seen or heard in fifty years - inexplicably appearing everywhere? If so, can someone please explain? Even better, can someone make it stop?

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sigh...

Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick. Just imagine if instead of over-reacting to pranks like this, the government used the same time, effort and taxpayers' money hunting down REAL internet child pornographers. Wouldn't that be amazing? The only problem is it would take hard work and the results wouldn't be instantaneous and sensational. As the parent of two young children, I say just give the jackass some community service with abuse victims so he realizes his bullshit isn't funny and move on.

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Illusionist

At Kew Gardens Cinema in Queens waiting for The Illusionist to start. Ok, there's commercials, but the SOUND ISN'T OPPRESSIVE like it is at every other theater, and the ticket was only $7 which is like traveling back in time to the '90s for NYC. The employees are all dressed casually, there are classic film posters in old movie frames, and they look OLD, they weren't bought yesterday from a poster mill and put in new frames.

If anyone has ever seen American Beauty, I was like Kevin Spacey, except instead of being happiest in my teenage years flipping burgers, I was happiest projecting at Bernardsville Cinema in NJ before Clearview bought it and ruined it. Friends would come and hang out, we would bring our guitars and play in the lobby on slow days, my friends Greg, Marietta & Jen worked there, we would make fun of the owners, (MORE CORN!) who, to be honest, were always nice to me- she even let me bring a small tv so I wouldn't miss Dr Who on PBS- I would make comic strips about the other people who worked there... all in all good times.

Ok watching these slides... Fergie & Her Black Eyed Peas won three Grammys? Was one for the shittiest, most embarrassing half-time show of all time?

Ok the movie's starting.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Buying Air, Plastic & Cardboard from Nabisco

A brand-new box of "Family Size!" Triscuits: (Yes, the box has obviously been opened, but how would I know what was inside if I hadn't opened it?)



What's inside: 9.25" of box - 4" of air = 57% crackers.



Maybe it's time to buy stocks in cardboard and plastic.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Well what do you suggest?

In a diner in Brooklyn having pancakes & watching the news. CNN wants to know how I'd rate President Obama's "handling" of the protests in Egypt. Not sure exactly what he's expected to do...

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, February 07, 2011

From the 2nd Letter of Fergie to the Corinthians

And yea, the Lord spake, saying "Slash, thou shalt not sell out and mix with the likes of the Black Eyed Pisum Sativum, even if thy bowl not just be merely great, but super." And so was it written, Amen.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, January 31, 2011

Never Give Up, Never Surrender!


Illustration Friday: Surrender. This is a frame from a comic- please click on the above for the full strip on I Can Bend Paperclips!

This week's Illustration Friday word is Surrender. As some of you know, I'm a fan of Sid Meier's Civilization franchise. However, after twenty years and five different versions, it's still pretty much the same, and I've wondered how the game would be if it reflected real life. And when I look at real life, it seems that somehow, without even realizing it, "We the People" have surrendered our civilization.

TTFN
-Tony

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Google is Pissing Me Off...

For years my search engine of choice has been Google, because it is no-frills, simple, fast, and has a supposed mantra of "Don't be evil." Recently, however, I've become disenchanted with it.

First of all is the issue of "Google Neutrality." Lately, no matter what search parameters I use, (exact phrases, advanced search, quotation marks,) the sites that pay Google the most rise to the top of my searches, even if they don't actually contain all the words I'm searching for or are the most relevant. I'm not so bothered by this as I understand Google is a business, just annoyed. However...

The second issue is privacy. I have an Android (Captivate, running Cognition's version of 2.2 as Samsung and AT&T refuse to do right by their customers, but that's a bitch for another day...) I use Dolphin Browser HD because it has a private browsing option that the standard browser doesn't (cleaning out history, cache, forms, passwords and cookies whenever I close it.) Now, you may ask why would I want to do those things? Am I just being paranoid? Well...

No matter what I do, Google Mobile somehow saves my searches.

I have no idea how it does this. I keep background data and sync off unless I'm accessing the Market, and I am not signed in on a Google account. Now - this is where Google gets sneaky, pay attention. Google has it's own preferences, and one of them is remembering your search history. You can turn it off - but as the default is always on - that requires you to KEEP GOOGLE'S COOKIES. Get it? As Google somehow knows how to recognize my phone (for those who don't know, the Android platform is owned by Google) it saves my searches - unless I keep Google's cookies, which means actually giving them permission to track my online doings. Yes, I can manually clear my searches every time I use the Google, but why are they being saved at all? Where are they being saved? At Google central? On my phone? Is there a hidden cache? To make a long story short, as long as I use Google on my Android, there's no way to keep them from collecting information on me. Yes I can use other search engines, but that's not the point. The right to control over my own privacy and transparency over how my information is being stored and collected is.

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dusty


Illustration Friday: Dusty. Please Click above for higher resolution.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Tonight on 'It's the Mind"..."


Illustration Friday: Deja Vu. Click above for more betterer resolution.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Another Day...

So here I sit, at my little laptop. I haven't been for any walks yet today. I went out last night to my New York Cares orientation (I joined a volunteer service so I don't get stir crazy during the day) in the Bronx. Last Thursday I visited an old friend Craig J. Clark (Quack,) a very good bearded playwright who was visiting his mother in New Jersey. I've worked on my game, but I'm coding the inventory buttons and there are so many functions and ifs, thens, and elses for each one that it's making my head spin, and I'm correcting problems that aren't really problems and turning around and saying "shit, why did I do that?" and undoing it. I find myself singing Pink Floyd's line, "And I - can - feeeeeeeeeel... one of my turns coming on..." over and over in my head - is that a sign of something? I find myself reading more and more Manga (because it's so quick to go through) but our library's Manga section is shit - there's a much better library a few miles away but I'm not sure I feel like spending the bus fare. Normally I'd walk but it's just to bitter out.

It's supposed to snow again.

I satisfied my mei-fun with pork jones yesterday, can't do that every day...

Maybe I'll put on a shadow puppet show for myself! I wonder if I can do that without it getting too complicated... I have a tendency to be complicated. If I had written Goldilocks and the three bears, Goldilocks would have been and eco-terrorist and the bears would have been genetically altered with super-intelligence (to live in a furnish house and cook porridge etc) by her right-wing mad scientist parents who abused her as a child...

Well anyhoo, back to distracting myself from life. Everyone take care

TTFN
-Tony