Category Archives: Rants that will probably put off new readers

I’d tell you the ending to this post but it was cancelled, sorry.

William Hartnell as the First Doctor

Image via Wikipedia

Today is a special day. Today marks the 47th Anniversary of Doctor Who. 47 years ago today William Hartnell abducted two schoolteachers in a time machine with his granddaughter to have a so-so adventure with cavemen before The Daleks aired and everything started to kick off (to be fair, the first episode of An Unearthly Child, i.e. the first episode ever, is a really good piece of science fiction that everyone should see. But just skip to The Daleks, really. The cavemen not so much. Apart from that one bit where The Doctor is about to smash this guys head in with a rock and Ian is like “What THE HELL, Doctor?”. That was awesome.).

 

 

Now 47 years is a long time. It’s older than me, probably you and Michelle Trachtenberg. It’s almost half a century long. Now this anniversary is made especially amazing due to the fact that it’s a mircle these days that most TV shows make it to one year, let alone 47.

I am referring to the recently cancelled Caprica. Caprica, a noirish cyber-punky family drama with hints of Blade Runner (that also happened to be a prequel to the amazing Battlestar Galactica), died before it had a chance to live, and is now being kicked and spat on as it lies on the ground, as SyFy (I hate that name) has decided to blow it’s load and air the remaining episodes one after another so they can replace it with Wrestlers Do The Funniest Things or something.

 

You see it was cancelled mid-season with five episodes left to air. Which they don’t want to air until January for literally no reason. Of course their plans are foiled by Canada who are airing these episodes right now which means that pretty much everyone will have seen them when SyFy throws them out in January. And the real sting in the tail? The remaining episodes have been really good. But according to SyFy the show hasn’t developed the viewership it wanted so they axed it before the good episodes aired (you know, the good episodes being the one that builds the viewership). Of course that also isn’t helped by the giant gaps SyFy would leave between episodes.

 

They release the pilot, it’s good! When’s the show start, SyFy? Not until next year? Oh forget it then!

 

The show starts, hey it’s still pretty good! Oh they’ve stopped it mid season. When does it start again? Several months? Oh, forget it then!

It’s like trying to read a book but when you’ve finished the first few chapters and really are getting into it someone runs up to you and says “AH HA NOW YOU CAN HAVE THIS BACK IN SIX MONTHS!” and you say “Why can’t I read it right now?” and they say “WE JUST DON’T KNOW! Try and remember literally everything that happened in the book in six months, though!”.

 

But of course this seems to be the trend nowdays. If a show isn’t a massive super-wow hit in the first five episodes, it’s gone. It’s dead. The obvious and most famous example is Firefly, which caused such a fan outcry that it made Fox keep Dollhouse on for a whole other season just so they could delay the fan backlash for another year (although I would’ve preferred another year of Firefly than another year of Dollhouse, thanks). But the trouble is, in most cases, a first season isn’t that great. The show needs time to work out exactly what it is, the actors and writers need to figure out the best way to write and portray the characters, and that takes time. Most of the great shows I watched around ten years ago had these bad starter seasons. Remember the first two seasons of Star Trek TNG? A couple of good episodes, mostly a bit bland and boring, but then it hit it’s stride with season 3. Nowadays it would be gone by Where No One Has Gone Before. Same with the so-so first seasons of Deep Space Nine before Ronald D. Moore came in and said “Hey here’s an idea: Make it awesome.” And of course if Buffy’s first season had been made today we never would have seen the amazing season 2 and the amazing show that followed it (and the amazing Michelle Trachtenberg).

 

This is all made the worse now that every show has to be a damn arc show. Thanks to Lost being successful every show needs an arc across the season or series where it turns out that the big CGI thing in the first episode was actually caused by renegade dolphins or something. And while in general this arc trend is good, encouraging character development and such, it does mean that you get a lot of shows that start to build to up things and then get cancelled before they can tell us the ending. If you want arcs, let the shows have the time to tell the story, please. It’s really frustrating.

 

 

So, in summary, happy birthday Doctor Who!

 

 

Oh and don’t even get me started on that Buffy reboot…

This is Still the Worst Blog Ever.

I really need to work out what this blog is.

Is it a “here’s the events of my life presented though a prism of sardonical (it’s a word now) humour and bad science fiction references that will distract from the original point I am trying to make”? Well, ideally, but the trouble is that that nothing actually happens to me that’s worth blogging about. Well, nothing that I can spin into something vaguely entertaining, anyway. I supposed I could just take the mundane elements of life and blow them totally out of proportion:

Hey so I was crossing the street and a lady was wearing a hat that totally sort of looked like an Ewok. AND TO THAT POINT: who brought fireworks to the Battle of Endor? I mean when they were all preparing the the battle near Sullust which rebel pilot was like “Yeah I could take these proton torpedoes but really you know what would be cooler? Fireworks. Just load my X-Wing up with fireworks. It will rule, trust me guys.” and all his friends are like “Um, Fash [the pilot’s name was ‘Fash Bandur’ in my mind], what if we need you to, like, kill some TIE fighters? Couldn’t you just bring a few torpedoes?” and he was all “No way man FIREWORKS!!!” but then at the celebration at the end he was totally laughing at his amazing foresight at bringing some fireworks but it didn’t matter because all his friends were dead. So yeah, it was a cool hat.

OR is this blog just a way to rant about the seemingly insignificant things in my life that, let’s face it, no one really cares about but THEY SHOULD care about it because it’s THE INTERNET, DAMNIT:

Man those charity people on the street are jerks. They sort of scream at you with “PUPPIES ARE DYING!! ONLY YOU CAN SAVE THEM!! DO YOU HATE PUPPIES??” and while no I don’t hate puppies but seriously it’s raining and I don’t actually have any money to give you. And then they go all mean on you by making all the people on the street stupidly cute girls and you’re like “Well any chance to talk to a cute girl and let them know how much I care about puppies!” but in the end they’re not really interested in just how much you like puppies. And then they get greedy. “Oh, well you see, people usually give us notes instead of coins you see, don’t you have any notes?”. Okay, correct me if I’m wrong, but who actually gives notes? Who doesn’t just throw your spare change at them? And I mean this is England, so notes meaning at least £5 and I need that for my train home so, no. Sorry. Wow I sound like an asshole now. Sorry. Sorry.

OR is it just going to be a bizarre stream of consciousness that, in reflection, wont be understandable by anyone except me? For an example of that type of post, just re-read this entire post.

Oh well.

In summary: Blogs, eh? Blogs.

I’m going to end this post witha picture of Nien Nunb because, really now, he’s Nien Nunb. He’s a hero.

It's Nien Nunb

The Lunch-Hour Paradox

The benefit and problem of a lunch hour is that it’s a whole hour. Benefit because, well, it’s an hour not doing any work (and eating), but problem because there’s not actually a lot of things that one can do for a whole hour after you’ve eaten your sandwich.

Well, let me rephrase that. There’s not a lot of things that I can do. Because normal people can just sit in a coffee shop and read a book or use a laptop. But not me. You see, I don’t drink coffee. Like, at all, in any form, and so coffee shops, and the nice sofas they offer, seem somewhat off limits to me what with me not actually wanting anything they sell, just the aforementioned sofas. It seems odd to me as a non-coffeesman how coffee has become the default drink nowadays (or has it always been like that and I’ve been too wrapped up in myself to notice?). So as I peer in from the cold wishing there were coffee shops that didn’t actually serve coffee I have the lunch hour dilemma.

I realized that there’s only so many times a person can look around a Waterstones during a week and not actually buy anything (I think the staff think I’m a little odd) so I’m stuck to just wondering around (at least there’s a semi decent park nearby), and even that’s loosing it’s appeal not that the weather is just cold and wind. Just cold I’m fine with, that’s why hats exist, but cold and wind? No sir.

So what else is there to do? I just want somewhere warm to sit and read a book that isn’t also the place where I work and wont make me feel guilty for not wanting to drink a hot caffeinated liquid. Is that so hard?

 

 

 

In lighter news, I’m currently listening to the recently released Doctor Who Series 5 soundtrack non-stop (on Spotify since Play.com is being unusally slow), and it really is the best thing ever. I don’t know if Steven Moffat just went up to Murray Gold and said “Hey Murray how about this time you make your music really really good?” and Murray went “WHY DID I NEVER THINK OF THIS BEFORE??” because the difference in quality between this and his previous (still good!) work on the show is amazing.

Look if you can use Spotify (if you’re in the right parts of Europe) you can listen to it here which you should be doing and then go out and buy it with actual money because it’s like £10 for TWO DISKS of really good music go go go go: Murray Gold – Doctor Who: Series 5

I can no longer be not-myself on the internet.

The internet has become a strange place over the last few years. I’ve been using the internet for around 13 years now, and while that certainly doesn’t make me one of the old crew who were amazed at things like “colour” and “pictures” on the internet, it does provide me with a good view as to the way it’s been heading.

The first thing that was revolutionary about the internet, something that was widely talked about – and praised – was that you didn’t have to be yourself. The concept of minorities didn’t really exist on the internet, as everyone was the same. Obviously this anonymity was abused by many to pretend to be people they’re not, but for most people it allowed them to express their true selves in ways they couldn’t in the real world. I know it did with me, and I’m still using the same alias that I have been since I started – the divide between my “online life” and “real life” is a clear line, as I think it is with many people. And that’s a good thing in most cases.

Recently, however, it seems that line is being blurred, if not removed altogether. Thanks to the rise of social media, including places such as MySpace and Facebook, we’re now encouraged to put our real selves out there, and tell everyone who we are and what we look like. Which, frankly, I don’t want to do. It’s not because I’m scared or ashamed (mostly), it’s simply because it’s taking away one of the best features of the internet.

The latest in this trend, and possibly the tipping point as far as I’m concerned, is the latest version of Windows Live Messenger that was introduced with Windows Live Essentials 2011. Aside from bombarding you with messages telling you to turn on your webcam so that you can make your display picture a picture of your lovely face and messages begging you to link it up to Facebook because the new UI is basically worthless without it (it’s a terrible UI but thanlfully you can change it back to mostly the way it was mostly), the worst mistake is that you are now forced to use your own name as your contact name.

FACEBOOK FACEBOOK FACEBOOK FACEBOOK also you could talk to people.

In every other version of Messenger you could set it to whatever you wanted, and while this did of course lead to really bad usernames >>><<<>>tHaT lOkEd LiKe ThIs 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!!>>>>>>>><<<, it was great because you could be whatever you felt like being. Now you’re stuck to whatever your Windows Live profile name is, which for the majority will be their real name. Add to that the only way of changing what you appear as on the Messenger is to change that profile name, which also effects emails. Now, 99% of my contacts on Windows Live Messenger I could class as “online friends”, i.e. people who know me as “Tomtrek” instead of my real name. And I don’t want to use my real name with them, it would just feel wrong. It’s been that way for decades, why must this change now?

Microsoft give this ‘reason’:

For some, the move away from a separate display name will be perceived as a loss of functionality. But this change, along with numerous other enhancements, will help curb abuse and scams on our network.

People will ‘perceive’ this as a loss of functionality because it is a loss of functionality.

 
Why is it that everywhere on the internet must be told who and what we are. The large amount of sites that bed you to link them with Facebook, for example. Aside from something like putting Facebook on your phone, which I don’t mind as much as Facebook is for keeping in contact with your real-life friends in the same way your phone is, every other website wants to give me another way to tell me that my friend CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WEEKEND. If I want to use Facebook, I’ll use Facebook. If I want to talk to internet-friends on the internet, I’ll use a messenger. Facebook is for real life. The internet is not. I still want my anonymity, but more and more it seems that your entire online presence will be based on the contents of your Facebook profile. Why can’t they just let me be Tomtrek?