And now it is too late…

Almost two months ago I wrote about the best show on TV that you weren’t watching, Terriers.  You were supposed to start watching, like, immediately.  But apparently, you didn’t.  And now they’ve gone and cancelled the show.

I hate procedurals.  They bore me, mostly because I want to know about the people solving the crimes, not the crimes so much themselves.  If I wanted to see crimes solved I’d read a newspaper or something.  What I want in my television are characters worth caring about, and most procedurals spend too much time on the science (half of which they make up anyway, or at least use in unrealistic budgetarily unconstrained ways) and not enough on the people.

Terriers was about people.  Sure, there were crimes.  Some of them were wrapped up in an episode, and some arced over several episodes.  But most the compelling part of the show was the people who were tangled up in the mess.  And ultimately, the core of the drama on Terriers was that it went to great lengths to illustrate that all actions have consequences.  Nothing in this show was wasted.  By the end of its run of just thirteen episodes, everything bore fruit, every action affected someone or something, every decision had consequences.

At this point, you’ve got a few options to see this gem in its entirety.  Head over to Amazon and buy it from video on demand, or get it from iTunes, or go find some less than legal avenue to download episodes… or wait for the DVD release, of which I hope it gets good treatment of extras and not just episodes on disc.

Of course, one of the biggest letdowns of the cancellation is that I won’t get to hear “Gunfight Epiphany” each week.  (Sadly, the song is only for sale on iTunes, and I hate iTunes.)

Just know… you could have saved this show.  But you didn’t.  And for that, I like you a little bit less today than I did yesterday.  I’ll get over it, but we lost one of the good ones here, and that’s on you.

A Week of Tweets on 2010-11-14

  • When you hear rumors of layoffs, is it poor form to ping people you know to find out if a) it's true and b) they got hit? #
  • There is nothing wrong with being wrong. You make it wrong by pretending you aren't. #
  • This is the beginning of the end of the second half of the fourth quarter of the middle. Now if I can just figure out "of what?" I'll be ok. #
  • I wish people would stop linking that Cracked article about why a zombie apocalypse can't happen. It has so many flaws… #
  • Good bye, Mr. De Laurentiis. You made so many films I love. Thank you. Rest in peace. #
  • 7483. Still way behind, but it feels great to finally have my congestion cleared and to be writing again. #nanowrimo #
  • Friday is upon us! Rejoice! #
  • Rejoice? But I have joiced yet! I am disgruntled. I'm not sure how I got gruntled in the first place, but now must regruntle. #
  • Why am I awake at 2:50am on a Sunday? #

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Dragon*Con 2008: Day Zero

Before one can go to the Con, one must pick up one’s badge.  This is one of those cases where getting there as early as possible is a fantastic idea.  We didn’t get there so early.  Well, we did, sort of, but we checked into our room and unpacked first.  We shouldn’t have unpacked.  It took an hour and a half to get our badges.  But I hear the wait got up to be over two hours.  Saturday morning will be worse.

But, we got checked in, got our badges, and all is right with the world.

In previous years, Thursday night had always been more about getting a head start on Friday.  You got your registration, your room, and you prepared for the weekend.  Some people and groups would meet up for drinks and that sort of thing, but not a whole heck of a lot.  In recent years that has been changing, and this year Thursday night was Fan Party Night.  As I walked around the host hotels, I saw many large gatherings, but nothing beat the fan group from Battlestar Galactica who met up on the 10th floor of the Marriott.  They we big and loud and pounding shots.  Sadly, having to work in the morning I left early.  I hear there were push up contests and other revelry until quite late.

Next year…

Hell to Pay

Just finished up the latest in the Nightside series of books by Simon Green entitled Hell to Pay. Like the rest of the series, the story is about private investigator John Taylor who has a gift for finding things. In this tale, John is hired by Jeremiah Griffin, a man whose immortality is rumored to come from a deal with the devil, to find his missing granddaughter Melissa.

Of course, no tale in the Nightside is ever that simple… and yet, this book, so far, I’d call the weakest in the series. It is, for lack of a better term, a circle. One of those stories that ends where it begins, you meet the kidnapper within the first couple of chapters (to me it was painfully obvious who it was), and after taking a tour around the other suspects our hero returns to save the day in the nick of time.

It wasn’t a bad book… if you enjoy the Nightside books, this certainly keeps in line with the rest in its introduction of well-known places that everyone but you, the reader, has heard of, and characters half of which are interesting and the other half are forgettable. The mystery here is really no mystery at all, Green practically hits you over the head with most of the clues you need right at the beginning. But still, an enjoyable read… and despite it being on my “Currently Reading” box for so long, it really only took maybe a day to read if I’d done so in one sitting (doing it five minutes at a time can drag out any book). Pick it up to complete the set, but if you are looking for an introduction to the Nightside, start with the first book, not this one.

Currently Not Reading

You may have noticed the Currently Reading section over to the right has been empty. Let me tell you, it definately is not from lack of material. I have got a stack of books just waiting. No, I am currently not reading anything because what is usually my reading time, riding the bus to and from work, I have been using as work time.

See, I spend roughly two and a half hours on the bus each day. About an hour going to work, and an hour and a half coming back. Since my work has been so kind as to provide me with a laptop, I have been doing program code while I travel, which in turn allows me to only need to stay in the office about six hours each day.

It is a sweet deal. I mean, if I was driving myself to work, that same amount of time (a little less, the bus takes a longer way, and the transfer from bus to rail can be a time killer) would be just lost. I would be spending is dodging idiots on the highway and trying my best to adhere to an “Arrive Alive” policy.

So anyway… I do have a dozen or so books waiting for me, and there are like another ten or so coming out in the next couple months I plan to pick up, and I’ll get back to reading and reviewing them just as soon as I buy my house. Ha! Yeah, like I’ll have more time once I have a house to work on! I crack me up sometimes.

Wolverine: Weapon X

I actually finished reading Wolverine: Weapon X by Marc Cerasini a while ago… like the other superhero books from Marvel and DC, this one is written very well. The story is that of the creation of Weapon X, meaning the experiment that bonded the adamantium to Logan’s bones. The entire story is being told in two parts, the first is the experiment itself from the doctors’ points of view as they subject Logan to the process and later attempt to mold him into a weapon. The other half of the story is told inside Logan’s head. As the doctors try to destroy Logan’s self for some reason, and one assumes it is related to his healing factor, one memory remains unsuppressed, a mission he once did into Korea, and he relives it while externally they are controlling him.

Like the other books from Marvel and DC, I definately recommend this if you are into superheroes. Maybe even if you aren’t. The story is tight and well crafted, and the references to external comic characters are few and far between so that a non-comic reader will be able to follow it just fine.

Buying a Home

First I want to make a distinction: House versus Home. I do not want to buy a house. A house is the place you reside. I want to buy a home. A home is where you live, raise a family, good times, bad times, life, love, laughter. A home is where your heart is, a house is the physical dwelling that contains it.

I want to buy a home.

However, the current housing market disagrees with me. It has become appearant that I could afford to buy a house only if my plan is to turn around and sell it in a year or two. Every real estate agent and article for the Atlanta area talks about how the market is ripe for investment. But I do not want to invest money into a house, I want to invest into a home. I do not want to buy with the intent to sell. I want to buy with the intent to spend twenty years there, more if I can, less if life turns out that way.

Richard Bartle, a guy whose blog I read because he’s a game designer and often has interesting stuff to say or link to, wrote about the current situation in England (where he lives). I found this extremely interesting because it resembles my own experiences here in the States.

You see, I currently rent a 1,600 square foot townhome apartment for $850 a month. As I have been house hunting, I have not been able to find a 1,600 square foot house (or townhome for that matter) to own for less that $1,200 a month in mortgage payments unless I wish to live so far outside Atlanta that I will spend 5 hours a day in traffic and easily $300 a month in gas and parking (I currently ride public transportation, but the buses only go so far). All in all, its at least $400 a month cheaper for me to continue renting, and more realistically it is about $800 a month cheaper. That is just messed up. By renting and living close to the bus line, I literally cut my living expenses in half.

But its not just that I cut my expenses in half… if I was doing that and pocketting the extra money for savings, that would be awesome. But the truth is that I could not afford (and when I say I, I mean “my wife and I”) to be spending that $1,500+ per month. That $800 I save is being spent paying other bills and expenses. Sure, I could buy the house… as long as I did not want cable, electricity, or to ever do anything other than work and sit at home.

So why not buy a smaller house? I tried that, but Atlanta is infested with McMansions. You know, where they take a nice quarter acre lot barely big enough for a bungalow, tear down the bungalow and build a 3,000 square foot house that will sell for $800,000 and leaves them with a yard that takes two minutes to cut with a pair of safety scissors and where they can touch the neighbors’ McMansions without losing grip of their own house. And when I have found a small house for sale, well, I already live in a ghetto, I do not want to move next door to a crack house. Besides, if the house is too small, it just ups the expenses since you wind up having to go out more often to get away from each other. And really, 1,600 square feet for 2 people and 2 pets really is not all that big.

Essentially, what I see here is an economic state that encourages lack of assets. Its cheaper to rent than to own. Its cheaper to commit a year at a time (standard lease) than to commit to a 15 or 30 year term (standard loans). In fact, the only way to get a loan on a decent house that is lower than my rent is to do an “interest only” loan, meaning that for the first 5 years or so, I’m not actually buying my home, I’m just renting it from the bank since I’m establishing no equity.

And while I do not wish people to lose money, here’s to hoping that in 2006, the bottom falls out of the real estate market and by August I’ll be able to afford to buy a home.

Hollywood and Your Money

People often wonder why Hollywood keeps churning out crappy movies. The answer is simple… because you people keep paying to see them!

This past weekend approximately three and a half million people (3,500,000) went to see “Big Momma’s House 2” making it the number one film of the weekend with its $28 million box office draw. It also happens to be the second largest January opening in movie history.

Look people, we have to work together on this. You can not just go spending hard earned dollars on junk like this. You need to support quality films, and I don’t just mean Oscar winning crap, because lots of those films are garbage too. Sometimes you have to stop and think, and if there are no good movies playing, don’t go to a movie. Go home and watch a DVD or play a board game or go out drinking with some friends. Anything. Anything, that is, except settling for some movie that isn’t really worth your $8 but you don’t see anything better playing.

Support quality entertainment, not garbage. At least not at the theaters. Wait for DVD… or cable… or broadcast television… If you go to the movies and nothing good is playing, vote with your feet and walk away. If you stop paying Hollywood for making crappy movies, they’ll stop making crappy movies.

Recent Movies and My Opinions

I’ve actually been to see a few movies lately, so here is what I thought in no particular order.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This was a good movie. Not being a fanatic, nor actually having read the book, I’d have to say it was slow though. There were a number of things that were in the movie because they were in the book, and had this been a less popular book many of these scenes would have been cut, but they were playing to the fans. No biggie, but it means the movie clocked in at 2 and a half hours long. A bit overboard for someone seeing it for the first time. Still, it was a solid story, good acting and effects, and great for kids.

Serendipity. Fantastic movie! The way that love should be. I laughed and smiled, I hoped and dreamed and I twisted in my seat when things didn’t look so good. A beautiful film worth every cent spent.

Monsters Inc. From the people that brought you Toy Story I and II, and A Bug’s Life. Pixar makes good family films and their animation is sweet. Again, worth the money.

That’s it for now, feel free to give me your opinions on the discussion forums, but I will delete messages with spoilers, so please avoid giving away the secrets of the movies.

15 October 1999

Well, I do have tons to write, but I never seem to have time to write it.
For now, let me just give a quick list of things I’m going to hit in the next week or so.
Women in Prison: The single greatest film genre ever.
It’s Not a Wonderful Life since “It’s a Wonderful Life” doesn’t come on 40,000 times at Christmas.
The Glass isn’t half empty or half full.
If you get angry and there is no one to yell at, did you really get angry at all.
The Freedoms of having your own place.
Swearing: the power of words.
That’s all I’ve got on my things to do list. But for now, I need to go to work.
“Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind.” -Sebastian Bach