Blog of Obscurity

A Very Munchkinly Blog

Monday, May 30, 2005

Fun Conversations at Home

It's really nice when the kids are able to keep up with the grown-ups when it comes to humor:

TheOtherKiddo: What's for dessert?
Me (grinning): Kids!
BroadSword (pinching TheOtherKiddo's arm): I don't know - you're a little scrawny. You need fattening up.
TheOtherKiddo: Then get me some dessert!

Everyone lost it at that point.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Comcast Stuff

After getting more and more overwhelmed by spam at my off-site hosting company, I started trying Comcast's email service. I figured it couldn't hurt - it's free with the cable service after all. After using it for about a couple of weeks, I'm pretty impressed. The spam filters are working better than anything the hosting company or my email programs were coming up with. I've also got access via both web and home client so I can get to them remotely - something I could do before but it wasn't pretty. Most recently, I discovered that Comcast supports pop3s so that at least my passwords and email aren't sent cleartext over the shared wire - that's something I've wanted for a while.

I used to think a cable/phone provider couldn't possibly keep up with a private hosting service. I'm quickly learning that's not necessarily true. Comcast doesn't allow the same flexibility on server access I get from a Unix account, but right now I'm finding the email features far outweigh the loss of web abilities.

I think my hosting service will be out of a job soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

RotS II: The Chosen One

I think RotS finally clears up the whole "Chosen One" theme. We've been discussing "the Prophecy" in our house the last few weeks and came up with a few ideas:

1) Anakin/Vader is the Chosen One. After he destroys the Jedi, it leaves two on each side of the Force, bringing balance
2) Luke is really the Chosen One. He is the one who turns his father back from the Dark Side and brings about the fall of the Empire.

Well, it gets a little clearer in the movie. By putting in the line in RotS: "You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them!" we are pointed directly to the point that it is indeed Anakin who is Chosen. It's Vader that chooses to destroy the Sith by killing the Emperor.

It just took him a long time to get around to it.

On a related note, regarding the whole "Bush==Vader" theme that's running around right now, I think it's pretty laughable. However, let's take this to the logical conclusion:

Vader==The Chosen One
The Chosen One==Detroys the Sith
The Sith==Evil

Therefore, Bush is chosen to destroy evil. Boy, that will drive the anti-Religious Right folks nuts, won't it :)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

Well, I can (almost) forgive Lucas for Episodes I and II now. RotS was just about everything I could have hoped for. Even knowing the ending, the movie still managed to pull at me. Palpatine plays the master-puppeteer - turning Anakin's confusion against everyone and everything he loves. The Republic, the Jedi and his marriage are gone.

I can nitpick at it a bit: Lucas still has a problem with pacing, and I don't totally understand why Yoda would retreat just because he lost his lightsaber. He went there to confront Palpatine and wasn't exactly losing.

On the whole, though, this movie accomplished exactly what it needed to and it brings the saga to a very satisfying end.

(10:15pm: Edited/Corrected)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Don't Blame the Media

John Simpson at the BBC doesn't think we should fault the media for shoddy reporting in the Newsweek scandal:

BBC NEWS | Americas | Reporting the truth:
It is hard to avoid the inference that the people who are really to blame are the men and women who have abused their prisoners, not those who have reported allegations about the ill treatment.

What happened in prisons like Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Ghraib after 2001 has done serious damage to the United States and its allies: not just the dwindling number who still have troops in Iraq, but the new governments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Do not blame the news media for this. Instead, all the effort needs to go into convincing the world that the abuse has stopped, and will never be allowed to start again.

So, when do you blame the media for sloppy reporting then? Newsweek published a provocative, single-source story. Rather than holding their feet to the fire for sensationalism, we're supposed to blame the Bush administration.


Friday, May 13, 2005

That Was.... Disappointing

Well, I tuned in to watch the Enterprise finale tonight. The producers meant it as a some kind of "love letter" to Trek fans and that it was meant to capture the series. Well, if that's a love letter, then they need to study up on romance again. The Riker-Troi plot of (somehow tucked back into the excellent TNG episode "The Pegasus) was more pointless than illuminating. So, here we have Riker struggling to decide whether he should violate orders about the mutiny on board the Pegasus. While struggling, he pulls up records of Enterprise's final mission to study it for lessons. Ooo, the drama and suspense of it all. They would have been better off with a stand-alone episode, rather than this contrived character story. The previous two-parter involving the xenophobic humans was much better as a finale than this.

Paramount, please retire Rick Berman and his staff to some dark corner of the lot where they can no longer touch Star Trek. Wait a few years, then bring someone with vision beyond the technobabble and rehashed time travel stories. JMS gets my vote, if you're interested in this fans opinion.

Monday, May 09, 2005

NY Times Jumps on "Values"

A New York Times committee has recommended several steps to help increase readers’ confidence in the newspaper, including making reporters and editors more accessible through e-mail, reducing errors and increasing coverage of middle America and religion.

I have to wonder what kind of coverage will it offer. The NY media has never gone out of its way to understand middle America or religion. In fact, they seem to prefer insulting it. Everything from Connie Chung asking OKC firefighters how they could possibly deal with the problems associated with the bombing in 1995, to the most recent coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II shows this.

Now, I suppose I should give the NY Times credit for recognizing their limitations, but this is still a committee recommendation, not an action plan. I have my doubts that they will really follow through on it, except to give it some lip service.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Goblet of Fire

The Teaser Trailer for Goblet of Fire is out. A lot about the Tri-Wizard Tournament, but only one brief comment that alludes to the real story of the movie.

Friday, May 06, 2005

ABC News: Student Organizes Time Traveler Conference

I gotta admit, this is a neat idea. Bizarre! but neat.

ABC News: Student Organizes Time Traveler Conference:

"Attention, time travelers: Amal Dorai hopes you enjoyed the party he's throwing this weekend.
Dorai, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is hosting a Time Traveler Convention on campus this Saturday. Make plans now, because it's the last such party.
'You only need one,' he said. 'The chance that anybody shows up is small, but if it happens it will be one of the biggest events in human history.'"

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Weapon of Choice

Desert Eagle
You preferred a weapon with 43% power over speed and 65% range over melee.
You use a Desert Eagle.

One of the most powerful handguns in production, the Desert Eagle is a heavy punch in a small package. Its reliability and speed are remarkable for a gun with such high caliber. Your enemies won't stand a chance as you fell them bullet by bullet.

Link: The What's Your Signature Weapon Test written by inurashii on Ok Cupid

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New Diversion

I found a new diversion a few nights ago: CocoaFIBS. It's a freeware program that connects you to the First Internet Backgammon Server. It's OS X native, simple, but elegant and reasonably stable - though occasionally prone to disconnects during what seems to be high server loads. Interestingly enough, I found myself playing against someone last night that's just a few minutes from here - plus a few international players too.

All in all, a neat way to spend a bit of time.