Archive for November, 2003

The Original and Best

Monday, November 10th, 2003

George Lucas has announced that DVDs of the first Star Wars trilogy (Special Edition versions) are in the works. Unfortunately he also says they’re not going to release the non-“special edition” originals on DVD — ever.

Many people prefer the originals — I personally thought the added footage in the SEs hurt the pacing in spots, the wonderful soundtrack doesn’t fit some of the cuts, and some of the changes were just plain annoying.

If you want to see the originals on DVD, please go sign this petition. Lucas does listen to fans, if enough of them speak up.

The best of course would be if the DVD for each movie included both the original and the Special Edition, as Spielberg did with E.T. The Extraterrestrial.

The New CGI Effect

Monday, November 10th, 2003

The Matrix didn’t have me. I’ve noticed a disturbing and annoying trend in the big blockbuster epics in the last couple years, and it happened again in The Matrix: Revolutions.

The following may contain minor spoilers for the new Matrix movie, but the discussion goes beyond that one movie. It’s a fairly safe read even if you haven’t seen it, as I don’t detail specific turning points in the plot. Oh heck — you die-hards have already seen it. Twice.

A Man with a Plan

Thursday, November 6th, 2003

The other day I was having a conversation with two co-workers when the topic suddenly veered in the direction of politics. I made a statement about the choppy sentence structure in a poorly written novel I had read, when one of them stated, “Yeah, George Bush talks like that. He’s such an idiot.”

I returned with a statement along the lines of, “Whatever else you may think about the guy, he’s not an idiot. I don’t think a genuine idiot can get elected President.” (And I don’t. I cannot stand the sight of Bill Clinton, but the guy’s no moron. Liar? Yep. Thinks with his pecker too much? You bet. Too concerned with his own personal glory to do his job when he was in office? Sure. Stupid? No.)

At this point one of the women with whom I was speaking went into full auto rant mode: “He’s a total moron! He took us into Iraq with no plan whatsoever and now we’re stuck there! He’s an idiot!” and so forth. She continued by decrying the fact that we’re (horrors!) still there, saying that the war is still going, and we didn’t win because we haven’t caught Saddam. I interjected at some point to say that there was most definitely a plan, and that noone at any point had suggested we were going to go in and then turn around and leave; (e.g. the plan involved staying there for a good while).

“There was no plan!” she cried. “His plan was to go in with guns blazing! That was his plan!”

My first impulse is to think of a quote I read sometime in the early part of the Bush II administration. I wish I could remember who said it, but it was, “If he’s so stupid, how does he keep outwitting all these brilliant people?” I somewhat foolishly said this to her, which naturally inspired her to redouble her insistence that he’s “an idiot”, as though she could make it true if she were just emphatic enough.

This got me thinking later about just how well the administration thought things out. Think about it: We’ve been there for five months now. In that time, we’ve trained some 100,000 Iraqis to be police officers and security officers. That doesn’t happen without a plan. There was no mass starvation in Iraq (or Afganistan), as the doomsayers predicted there would be, because before we ever went in we had arranged to get food to the populace. That doesn’t happen without a plan. There are local ruling councils in place throughout the country, and they’re already on the road to self-rule. That doesn’t happen without a plan. (And again taking a look at Afganistan, they’ve just released a draft constitution for their new government). We’ve rebuilt the failed infrastructure to a point where in many areas it’s better than it was before. That doesn’t happen without a plan. Baghdad has bustling marketplaces and the country has 160+ independent newspapers where there was nothing six months ago. That doesn’t happen without a plan. We’ve caught or killed over 40 of the 52 “most wanted” in the former Iraqi regime. That doesn’t happen without a plan.

You can argue that we should not have gone in (if you must), but you have to completely blind yourself to reality to suggest that he didn’t know what he was doing. There is a plan, and so far it has been an extremely successful one.

“Hello World”

Thursday, November 6th, 2003

Hello? Is this thing on? *tap* *tap* *tap*

Greetings and salutations. As this is the first entry, here’s hoping you’re currently looking at an old archive entry right now so there’s lots of better stuff to look at besides this. If not come back later; I’ll have had something to say by then, I promise.

Read on, Macduff.

P.S. — “hello world” is a geek joke of sorts. It’s the semi-traditional First Program in just about every “How to program” book ever written; that is, making your computer display the words “Hello World” on the screen. Whee. Presumably you move on to more interesting things from there.