Furst

Jun. 18th, 2017 04:03 am
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
It's hard for me to come to grips with the fact that Babylon 5 ended its run eighteen years ago.

Since then, we've lost Garibaldi, Commander Sinclair, Dr. Franklin, Zack Allan, Ambassador G'Kar, all of Zathras... and now, Vir Cotto. Stephen Furst has died.

Vir was the most lovable of the cast, IMO - bumbling, earnest, clear-sighted, and when push came to shove remarkably effective as a force for good. Perhaps unique among the cast, he got his wish.

Ave atque vale.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Just one token of the greatness of that admittedly cheesy series:

The Villains of Batman

Look at that list of actors, and bow down.

Redshirts

Apr. 13th, 2017 08:43 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
In my GenEd Statistics class, we've finally gotten around to probability. (Yes, it's three weeks until the end of semester. I did not write the textbook or the syllabus.)

I just got a neat example to use in tomorrow's class. Somebody went through all the deaths in Star Trek:TOS, and discovered that, yes, a higher fraction of the deaths were redshirts rather than goldshirts or blueshirts, but a higher fraction of goldshirts died than of redshirts or blueshirts. (See item 14 in this File 770 post.)

Myth. Busted.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I have a vague memory of a comedy sketch on a variety show - I think it was the Carol Burnett Show - in which someone - Tim Conway? - enacted the stages in "The Seven Ages of Man". The first part of the sketch has the actor dressed as a baby in a high chair, and includes a bit where he discovers his hands.

Does this ring a bell with anyone? Was it that show, and that actor?

Mirrors

Nov. 8th, 2015 02:31 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I'm in the middle of a reread of The Dresden Files. Well, actually, I'm close to the end of the series to date - Changes - and something just hit me. I'll put it behind a cut, just in case someone hasn't read the story that far.

Read more... )
stoutfellow: (Winter)
This evening, I scratched a longstanding itch. I went online and ordered e-books of the first three (out of five) of James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small" series.

I originally read the books in their British editions; they were slim volumes with titles like It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet and Vets in Harness. (I bought them during my first trip to UK, back in 1978. They vanished during one of my parents' moves; I had left them there while I was in grad school.) The USAn editions consolidated them into five fat volumes, the first four of which took their titles from a hymn. Every so often, the idea of getting new copies and rereading them has occurred to me, and I finally acted on it.

I also bought a few more e-volumes of the Ring of Fire series, getting caught up (at least as far as the novels are concerned; ain't no catching up with the Gazette volumes). A Vogues album ("Five O'Clock World" was the attractor) and first-season DVDs of "The West Wing" rounded off the order. (I saw a handful of late-season episodes of TWW and enjoyed them, so I'd like to go back to the beginning and see the whole thing. "LA Law" and "The X-Files" are also on the to-get list, although I probably won't get the last few - post-Hamlin - seasons of the former.)

Otherwise, the status is quo. My calculus and advanced geometry courses are proceeding apace; I've got two Senior Project students - one working on the Simson line construction, in triangle geometry, and the other on the Sylow theorems, which are major mid-level tools in understanding the structure of finite groups. (This is group theory, not to be confused with group therapy....;-)) The dogs are well; Buster has rediscovered one of his squeaky-toys, and has been rambuncting, a lot. As the icon suggests, I've begun growing my winter pelt - rather early, but we had a cold snap a couple of weeks ago, and I decided to go ahead with it. The "pork pot roast" has turned out to be good, but not great; the flavors took two or three days to meld, and the Brie doesn't really sit well with the rest of the components.

Meanwhile, the state is still screwing us over; our health insurance provider does not presently have authorization to spend money, and as a result many health providers are asking for cash on the barrelhead from state employees.

Ah, well. I'll survive - as long as I don't, y'know, get sick or anything.

Mana Mana

Jun. 2nd, 2015 07:49 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
For some reason, that song has been brought to my attention twice recently, from different sources, and - natch - I had to go to YouTube to see and hear it again. I found two versions, one the original from 1969, with a proto-Animal and two vaguely froggy accompanists, the other with Animal himself and two long-snouted creatures accompanying. I have a vague memory of another version, featuring an enraged Sweetums and, again, two longsnouts laughingly evading his club-blows. Does anyone else remember that version, or am I fabulating?
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Harris Yulin, who played the odious Quentin Travers in several episodes of Buffy, also played the Cardassian Marritza in "Duet", one of the finest episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

(To be honest, I was never enamored of his performance as Travers, but his Marritza was pure bravura. His taunting confession to war crimes was absolutely horrifying.)
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Someone on another blog alluded to the old time-travel comedy "It's About Time".

Somehow, it seems strange to me that I can remember (without checking) who played the two cavepeople, but not who played the two astronauts (or any of the other modern characters).
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Over at tor.com, they're doing a retrospective on tribbles in the various Star Trek series.

In "The Trouble With Tribbles", Scotty's last line, after revealing that he's beamed all of the tribbles onto the Klingon ship, is justly remembered: "...where there'll be no tribble at all". But is anyone else bothered by the callousness of this? What did Scotty think the Klingons would do, when they found the tribbles on board?

(It was later revealed, in DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations", that the Klingons went so far as to exterminate the furry little menaces. Again, I see the humor in it, but ye gods, does no one feel pity for the fuzzballs?)
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
The Veronica Mars movie has been made, and will be showing next year. tor.com has a trailer here.

Lookin' good.

F/SF Films

Apr. 13th, 2013 10:16 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
In the past week or so, word has come down about film adaptations of topnotch F/SF work. SyFy is talking about doing TV-movies of Niven's Ringworld and Clarke's Childhood's End, and some filmmaker I've never heard of is proposing a series of films based on C. J. Cherryh's Morgaine books.

Ringworld I can see. The real star of the story is the Ringworld itself; the approach to the Ringworld, Fist-Of-God Mountain, and the eye storm make for magnificent spectacle, and if there's anything Hollywood does right, it's spectacle. Even SyFy ought to be able to do this right. Lots of CGI, of course, even at the beginning with Nessus and Speaker. It'll probably wind up as mind candy, but it should be good mind candy.

Childhood's End.... Unh-unh. The story is thoroughly disjointed, as far as characters are concerned; the only character who's present all through is Karellen, who is after all not even remotely human. Still, Karellen's first visible appearance, the visit to the Overlords' home world, and the final destruction of Earth could be done well. I don't really see this not being a fiasco, though.

The Morgaine books might be doable. I wonder whether they'll be able to capture the spectacle of it (any scene with Changeling, but most especially Morgaine's confrontation with the qhalur in Fires of Azeroth) and the subtleties of personality. Morgaine herself is such a complex character; showing why she is the way she is might be difficult. And how well will they catch the nuances of the scene in which she finally tells Vanye to braid his hair, and when he is unable to (because of his arm injury) offers to do it for him. That's a powerful scene, and hard to do. (I've envisioned a flashback to Vanye's childhood, when he learned the importance of the braid....)

I'm interested in all three of these endeavors. I'm not really that hopeful for any of them, though.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
It looks like we might get that Veronica Mars movie after all!

Huzzah!

Wishbone

Oct. 31st, 2012 09:40 am
stoutfellow: (Three)
Just now, someone posted the intro clip from "Wishbone". I never watched the show, and out of curiosity I played the clip.

As it was playing, Buster and Gracie came running in and stood on my knee.

Perfect timing.

Entropy

Nov. 7th, 2011 09:46 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Today is the tenth anniversary of the first airing of BTVS 6.07, "Once More With Feeling".

Ye gods.

Varia

Jul. 16th, 2011 01:39 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I discovered, last night, that I have two copies of Goedel, Escher, Bach. I have no idea how that happened. I guess I'll offer the extra copy to my students, see if anybody wants it. (I have to remember to try to find someone to dogsit while I'm in Reno next month, too.)

Speaking of Reno, I've been pretty slow about reading the Hugo materials. I've read the short stories and the novelettes, and I'm halfway through the novellas. Fortunately, I've already read three of the five novels. A few comments: for short story, it was a close decision for the first three slots, but "Ponies" (yuck!) finished fourth, hands down. For novelette, I had trouble choosing between "The Emperor of Mars" and "The Jaguar House in Shadow", but finally decided to put them in that order. So far on the novellas, I'm going with "The Lifecycle of Software Objects" - just a solid, thoughtful story. I haven't read "The Sultan of the Clouds" or "Troika" yet, so I may change my mind, but I loved "Lifecycle".

The Padres have skidded back into the cellar. The non-waiver trade deadline is the end of the month; I expect Bell, Ludwick, and maybe even Adams to be gone by then. Here's hoping they get some solid prospects - especially a shortstop; Drew Cumberland, who was their Shortstop of the Future, is suffering what may be career-ending health issues, and there's nobody else in the system at that position with that kind of promise. (I'm still holding out hope for Everth Cabrera, but it's increasingly looking like his rookie year was a bit of a fluke.)

I don't seem to have a lot of energy this weekend. Fortunately, I don't have any major tasks that need doing. Gracie continues to improve (and to piddle in the house, two or three times a day). I've been watching my Cagney & Lacey DVDs, and enjoying them. It's the personal interplay between the two of them that I've always liked... The last episode of the season, if I'm not mistaken, features Chris's first encounter with the elegant jewel thief she was to pursue for a couple of years - I loved those episodes, especially the last one, when he "surrenders". ("I can't accept this." "I bought it!")

Varia

Jun. 16th, 2011 08:02 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
1. I've got my new office computer now, and it's much better than the old one - almost as good as my home computer. The tech installed Firefox instead of IE, which is a great relief - but it's Firefox 3, so the "Open in New Tab/Window" menu slots are reversed from how they are on my home computer. I actually have to pause and look at the menu to remember which way to go.

2. I'm well into the Season One "Scarecrow" DVDs. At this point - they just nailed the mole in the agency - Amanda has saved Lee's life half a dozen times. She's also saved Billy, Queen Whatshername of Whozistan, and the entire city of Arlington, VA. So why is everyone except Billy - and that includes Lee - still acting as if she belongs on the short bus?

3. I finally got around to listening to my Who album. I only recognized three of the songs - "Pinball Wizard", "Behind Blue Eyes", "I Can See for Miles"; quite a few of the titles were familiar, but I'd never heard them. (The only reason I recognized "Behind Blue Eyes" is because Giles sang it in the Buffy episode "Where the Wild Things Are".) The consequences of an eclectic musical education, I guess.

4. I'm giving Tim Powers' Expiration Date and Earthquake Weather another try, and they've risen somewhat in my estimation. I'm still bugged by the fate of Fred the dog in the first one, though.

5. So Mitt Romney told a bunch of unemployed people that he's unemployed, too. Somehow I think the experience of unemployment is rather different when you're a fracking millionaire. (Yes, I realize it was a joke. Here's another one: Romney was fired by his last employer after four years of unsatisfactory performance reviews. Funny, huh?)
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Summer Semester begins in earnest tomorrow. I've been meeting with F for almost a month now, but the topology seminar begins tomorrow at noon. (It'll be meeting MTWTh, 12:00-1:00.) I'll be meeting with one of my Senior Project students at 1:00 - this will be a regular Tuesday occurrence - and with F at 2:00, likewise every Tuesday. I also need to set up a schedule for my other Senior Project student and my Master's student.

I spent today lazily; I've been doing some bookkeeping and bill-paying, but more of my time has gone to websurfing (of course), Civ IV (as Napoleon), fixing a batch of fettuccine alla Romana (tasty and filling, if a bit greasy), and nibbling on pistachios. (I picked up a small bag at Shop'n'Save yesterday.) Over the weekend, I started in on my "Scarecrow & Mrs. King" DVDs. (I'm having trouble dealing with Bruce Boxleitner's hair: it's a mop, and parted in the middle. John Sheridan would never have worn his hair that way.... Also, there's no opening trailer - they go into the opening credits immediately. I haven't watched shows of this vintage in a long time; was this normal, then? When did it change?)

I'm reading Middlemarch and Kwame Appiah's Cosmopolitanism both on the bus, alternately, and Williamson's Wonder's Child at home. I do intend to review Animals in Translation soon, but I may not have time before the next weekend. We'll see.

Ah, well. "Once more unto the breach..."
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I wrapped up my Farscape rewatch with the Peacekeeper Wars mini-series. I considered not doing so, because I find it a slightly uncomfortable fit with the rest of the series. For the unspoiled, I'll put the rest under a cut.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down )

Varia

May. 17th, 2011 08:48 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
1. The nosebleed re-erupted about twenty minutes after I posted, and I was still not sure it had been vanquished when I went to bed. It seems to be under fragile control now, but I'm being very careful with my breathing. (It would be very embarrassing if it started up again while I was on the bus to work....)

2. The math problem I was wrestling with, about computer backgrounds, turns out (thanks to one of my colleagues, a statistician) to be a variant on a known problem. There's a simpler expression for the number of days: with k pictures, it's k(1+1/2+1/3+...+1/k). That second factor is well understood; it grows at the same rate as ln k.

3. The Padres have actually won three in a row; Ludwick, Hawpe, and Cantu are finally starting to hit, if only away from Petco Park, and Maybin continues to sparkle.

4. I'm reading Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and wondering if he actually has a coherent alternate history in the background. Some of the little bits he's dropped - the length of WWII and the number of deaths in the Holocaust, for example - don't seem entirely consistent.

5. I'm still struggling with the pictures for the prisms paper; progress is being made, but I'm not entirely happy with it. I'm also rewriting some bits; I just added the proof of a claim that I passed off as obvious in the previous draft. I'm still hopeful that I can send it off by the end of the month.

6. I'm close to finishing my rewatch of Farscape. I find Season Four kind of offputting; there's some excellent storytelling going on, but I have an aversion to Sikozu and Noranti. Neither of them really gells as a character for me; Noranti makes too many mistakes for me to trust her as a font of wisdom (despite the efforts in some episodes to present her as such), and Sikozu... well, for example, I simply can't account for her behavior in "A Prefect Murder" - it just isn't in keeping with how she behaves in any other episode.

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