Spelunking my own blog

One of the odd things about having kept this up for ~15 years is that there is plenty of old stuff I don’t remember it all, like: https://www.cubiclehermit.com/archives/482

For the record.

I do not now, and I have never owned an iPod or Zune.

I’ve owned three MP3 players:
I keep hoping that battery life on my PDA/phones will improve to the point where it will not be necessary to have a separate MP3 player. Sadly, I see little improvement there, and my present phone (a new HTC Touch Pro) is something of a step backwards for music player use as they went from a semi-proprietary small headset plug to an entirely proprietary USB+sound+etc plug.

(Lest the basic reference not make sense)
For the record, I do not now, and have never owned any Apple iDevices, nor any Intel Macs, nor any Microsoft portable consumer electronics (although I’ve had and have had a few keyboards, mice, and 3 generations of XBox [edit late 2021: 4].)

For that worth, it basically be be about another ~2 years before I got a phone that could “just work” as an MP3 player with adequate battery life. The HTC Touch Pro got replaced with a “Sprint Epic” (a 1st-gen Galaxy S with a slider keyboard) which also brought back proper headphone jacks.

(I’ve yet to succumb to a headphone-jack-less phone in the return of such things, but it seems close to inevitable… 🙁 )

Oh, and the dead WSJ link there seems to refer to this: https://www.networkworld.com/article/2270831/zunegate–is-obama-an-ipresident-or-not-.html

Saw this, and thought of Robot Chicken

“Real” Life:
Mitt Romney expects to be ‘beaten but unbowed’ after Evander Holyfield bout

Mitt Romney and Evander Holyfield weighed in for their charity boxing match on Thursday night, with the former Massachusetts governor predicting a similar outcome to that of the 2012 presidential election, which he lost to Barack Obama.

Robot Chicken: The World’s Most One-Sided Fistfights

[Flashback] Star Wars, the Matrix, and a FB rant good enough to save

This guy is dead wrong… ran into this article a year ago, and posted the following comments on FB:
How ‘Star Wars’ ruined sci-fi

The six “Star Wars” films have been enormous successes: they have grossed over $2 billion domestically at the box office, spawned scores of books, comic books and merchandise (how many kids have their own light saber?) and made household names of characters like Darth Vader, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.

They’ve also been the worst thing ever for the science fiction genre.
Instead, I’ll queue up “The Matrix,” and enjoy the most original sci-fi movie of the past 25 years. I recommend “Star Wars” fans do the same. They need to be reminded what real creativity is all about.

Star Wars is, like a great many other SF films before it, a pretty generic adventure story with an SF setting.

Not too different from Forbidden Planet (though cribbed from Kurosawa rather than Shakespeare) just as the Day the Earth Stood Still was a mild thriller with SF elements (and arguably cribbed from Christianity) as well as myriad less well remembered options. Star Wars’ only fault is its enduring success.

Meanwhile, he loses all credibility when he calls The Matrix the most original SF film of the past 25 years… it’s a VISUALLY stunning film, one of the high points of the late 1990s but it makes little sense and has a setting/premise that is a pastiche of William Gibson and the Terminator series. Meanwhile, he ignores a whole lot of really well done recent SF films; given his otherwise apparent highbrow bias, I’d think this guy would have LOVED Gattaca, and more recently while flawed Looper, Source Code, and In Time all had more depth and originality to their plots than the Matrix (let alone the tepid and nonsensical sequels) although none can match the visual spectacle of The Matrix ( or Star Wars. )

Found this via the FB memories feature, which is pretty cool.

And on a lighter note…

Submitted without comment:
LA porn production plummets in wake of mandatory condom law

Number of permits issued for adult films plunges as industry says producers have moved to Las Vegas and eastern Europe

Pornography production in Los Angeles appears to have plunged in the wake of a law which compels performers to use condoms.

The number of permits issued for adult films fell 90% last year to just 40 permits compared with 2012, when the law was introduced, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

“We’ve seen a dramatic drop in permits,” Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, told the paper. “It is a cause for concern that people who are manning the cameras, lights and other things on those sets are not working anymore.”

Another gem from lower in the article:

Most porn production takes place without permits – a film can be shot in a few days in a private house – so it was unclear to what extent the 90% fall in permits represented a wider flight.

Musing on English classes

A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like

JONESBORO, Ga. — For years Lorrie McNeill loved teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Harper Lee classic that many Americans regard as a literary rite of passage.

But last fall, for the first time in 15 years, Ms. McNeill, 42, did not assign “Mockingbird” — or any novel. Instead she turned over all the decisions about which books to read to the students in her seventh- and eighth-grade English classes at Jonesboro Middle School in this south Atlanta suburb.

My recollection of high school English class was long periods of slogging through (or reading the Cliff notes for) novels (and in some cases, plays) I had no interest in, with occasional moments of high interest in the a few with sufficient adventure or science fiction credibility to hold my interest. One of my favorite memories of my whole education was discovering Brave New World and plowing through it in a single evening – something I’ve never done with a whole novel assigned for class, before or since (even in the “Science and Science Fiction” multidisciplinary class I took in high college to fulfil my literature requirement.)

Huxley blew my mind; here was a far, far more evocative dystopia than 1984 – and much more frighteningly believeable as a child of the 1970s and 1980s, compared to Orwell’s vision of a “hard” police state. I had started 1984 on my own at some point in the previous year or two, but unlike Animal Farm, never finished it on my own (although it was one of the more enjoyable books we had to read for class, IIRC, a year later and a couple of years of maturity in between my first attempt and the latter one made a big difference.)

At some point I’ll need to dig into my files to refresh my memory of what I read from 8th grade on (anything from 7th will have been lost to old Commodore disks and handwriting.) Sort of scary, I suppose, that I still have a good bit from 8th grade on. Digital preservation, you’ve got to love it, and I can still read any of the files involved (although if any of them are in the old Wordstar format, that will take a little work.)

WTF? (“What the frak?”)

Saw the final episode. Interesting. A few really cool moments… although the big setpiece battle felt a little rushed, and a case, like Return of the King (something already mentioned on DBA) of the denoument being broken up into too many pieces. I didn’t mind for RoTK, given the source material and what they had to resolve, but for this one they spent a lot of time on things that weren’t that satisfying. The last “twist” was predictable, but the execution of it was surprisingly funny despite it.

All told? Good stuff and a relatively good ending to the series, but without the rewatchability of the first four seasons of Babylon 5.

Upcoming books: “Without Warning”

John Birmingham’s latest, Without Warning has showed up on Amazon. Looks great, although it isn’t out in the US until February. If I make it to Asia again this fall, I may get it early … as I was able to do with Final Impact, since they get the Aussie editions at some of the Kinokuniyas there (can’t, at this point, remember if it was the Singapore one or the then-new Siam Paragon one in Bangkok.)

It does lead to the interesting question of whether to pre-order (then cancel, if I get it in Asia) or whether to wait to see if the fall vacation (A) happens, and (B) if it’s Asia or Buenos Aires… lots of steak plus the 32.5k mile Citi award (*) make for a tempting option, even with hotel and other prices once I’m on the ground so much higher.

(* vs 40k usually, and 70k for Asia… seeing as I’ve made PLT for the year, this is a good chance to burn miles rather than earn them.)

One trippy film

Just watched Wild in the Streets on cable, and thought I’d leave a note here since it’s exactly the sort of film I see once and then a couple of years later think:

What was that 60s film about youth taking over the country?

So by writing about it here, hopefully I’ll find it more easily. It’s sort of like a prequel to Logan’s Run, minus the whole “overpopulation” angle.

Sadly, like two other movies I’d really like to see again(*), it’s not out on DVD.

(* The Dark Secret of Harvest Home[**] and Coming out from the Ice)
(** btw the book of this one is good.)