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So, for my Information Policy class, I'm doing a presentation on Anonymous. This means I've spent the whole week immersed in the bizarre world of hacking, internet anarchy, and lulz. I mean honestly, this stuff is almost too insane to be real.

Then I made the mistake of watching V for Vendetta.

I feel like I've fallen down the rabbit hole between reality and fiction. @_@

Inception

Aug. 23rd, 2010 07:51 pm
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Just saw Inception.

Catharsis.
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1: Saw the A-Team movie on Saturday, and enjoyed the hell out of it. The guys were exactly right; I had forgotten just how maniacal they could be. The plot was...my sister describes it as "Ocean's Eleven meets Counterstrike," which is pretty much exactly right. There was a lot more brutal violence than in the old show, but Hannibal's plans were appropriately insane. I felt myself hit the brick wall of over-stimulation near the end, and the final sequence had its flaws, but there was also Liam Neeson doing a lot of voice-over work, which earned the price of matinee admission right there. I could happily watch it again.

2: As a consequence, I have been revisiting the original series on Hulu. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, good times. I'd forgotten how sophisticated and derpy it could be, often at the same time. The oddest thing is how the quality of the main cast's work was often so far above everyone around them that the difference between the drivel spouted by the villain of the week and Hannibal's wicked commentary could just about make your head spin. I'd also forgotten how adorable it was to see Mr. T with a pack of kids in tow. And Murdock. Yeah. How'd I ever forget Murdock.

3: Justified. Has anybody else been watching this? It's sort of a guilty pleasure of mine, but there's something about it... It's like, the level of homicidal tendency to be found in a 2000-soul town has been dramatized off the charts, but a part of me knows those people. My own one-horse salt-of-the-earth hometown wasn't in the South, but it was in the Appalachians, where people still worked too hard for not much and no matter what you did, you still ended the day with dirt under your fingernails. And I recognize the insistent undercurrent that no matter how far you go or who you try to become, you can never get it out of your blood.

4: So how about that Doctor, eh? Yeah. :) There was much goodness, crack, and pretty well-reasoned timey-wimey, but most importantly it's the first finale for the new run that I've come away feeling good about, like not "Well, there's always next season" but "OMG WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!" My favorite bit may have been the paean to the TARDIS. I got mushy.
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Saw it, loved it. But be aware, if somehow the previews haven't clued you in, this is not your canonical Holmes. Really. At all. Actually, Watson's more out of character than Holmes is, but they're both rather crazier than average. Also there is pretty much nil in Victorian decorum; it's more like a gritty action crime thriller than something written by Conan Doyle. Still, it's fast-paced, they're both fantastic actors, the dialogue is cuttingly witty and frequently hilarious, and watching Holmes and Watson snipe, banter, and sulk at each other like the long-time roommates they are is too much fun for words.

I am a special fan of Watson, and I have to say it's fun to watch a Watson who can more than hold his own in the insane situations Holmes gets them mixed up in. I'm actually not sure how this version of Holmes could function without him.

This is one of those movies I'll need to buy so I can pop it in every now and then when I need a pick-me-up that doesn't require too much brain-power.

No, the plot's not the smartest (convoluted, but not real well-considered), but it's pretty much just a vehicle for everything else anyway. Calling it "good" might be a bit far-fetched, but entertaining? Hell yes!

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] weaver42 linked me to this article about the movie compared to the Canon, which makes some great points. In the stories, Holmes at his craziest is easily in line with RDJ's Holmes. Watson's more hardcore in the movie, but eh, Holmes was always saying he underplayed his contributions to their cases.

Most important, I think, is Conan Doyle's own assertion that he wrote Holmes as mass-consumption adventure schlock. So I see no reason to take it too seriously.
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I had to repost this. BAH hahahahahahahaha!

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Two things about this:  first, this is a really imaginative way of completing Ledger's last movie that could only work in a Terry Gilliam movie; second, this movie looks amazing!

The trailer can be found at the bottom of the article.  I <i>highly</i> recommend you watch it.

Movie Talk: Heath Ledger's Friends Complete His Last Movie
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Has everyone heard of this? They've got the trailer out now. I can't say it looks much like any version of Holmes I've ever imagined, but it's Robert Downey Jr. and it looks like too much fun for me to care much. Also Jude Law does seem to make a fantastic Watson.

Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros. Pictures) - ComingSoon.net
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Ahahaha! I have had the following said to or near me:
"The Sixth Sense is fantastic. You find out the guy's dead at the end."
"Wait till you get to the part where Flint dies."
"When I got to the spot where Dumbledore died, I had to put the book down."
The entire plot of the first Anita Blake book, in an attempt to tell me how good it was so I would read it. It failed.
All the other highlights of the Dragonlance saga, in an attempt to get me to read it (I categorically refuse to ever do so, both on grounds of having been spoiled for it so thoroughly and because frankly it doesn't sound all that fantastic or original).




Things I have spoiled for someone else:
Empire Strikes Back (I'm sorry, but with 95% of the modern world being familiar with it, why'm I supposed to assume you're the 1 out of 50 who doesn't know?)
The ending to Titanic (Me: "The ship sinks." Idiot who won't shut up about Leo:"OMG, how could you spoil it like that?!" Me:" O.o Seriously?")
Pearl Harbor (Person: "I can't wait to see it!" Me: "It looks interesting. (cue me nattering about the actual events at Pearl Harbor)" Person: "Wow, thanks for ruining it." Me:"O.o Seriously?")
Dumbledore dying. Oops.



A book I explicitly asked to have spoiled for me that the other person then lied about:
Deathgate Cycle. Me: "I can't bear to keep going without knowing what happens. Does Haplo die?" Him: "Yep." Me: *sadface* *keeps reading* An hour later, "NO HE DOESN'T WTF WAS THAT ABOUT YOU JACKASS? DID YOU THINK I WOULDN'T FIND OUT?"

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Blood Freak. It's a movie, a really, legendarily bad...I mean, literally legendary, as in, it was a myth to B-movie aficionados for many years. I even heard about it once--and I'm not even into the crap cinema gossip circuit--that there was this crazy flick out there that was said to rival Plan 9 From Outer Space itself in sheer lack of quality. Almost no one had seen it. Only stills existed online of the horrible papier mache turkey head. An urban legend; the holy grail of those who worship at the altar of MST3K.

Until some gentle soul got hold of it, remastered it, and released it to the world at large.

The concept: this chick who's addicted to pot sees this guy she wants, and decides that to have him, she has to get him hooked on drugs (because as any 1960s government agent can tell you, such is the evil of weed). So she gets her friends to feed him heroin-laced turkey (because they live on a farm), which turns him into a WERE-TURKEY yes you read that right a WERE-TURKEY who goes around gorging himself on the blood of those who've recently shot themselves up with the junk.

But that description, while seemingly telling, really doesn't do justice to the purity of this movie's putrescence. Here is a review that captures the essence of the beast. From a man who rates his movies based on how many cans of beer you need to drink to make them seem good (the ratings system is worth a glance in itself). The more booze you need, the more stinkingly glorious they are.

Blood Freak, you may be interested to note, moved him to create a whole new rating.

I looked it up, and the DVD is out of print and going for $78 on Amazon.com. This movie is so craptacular that it is going for close to $100. That, my friends, is the final word on bad.

Or the final word on "fowl," if you will.

That pun is probably as close as anyone can come to communicating the sublime tastelessness that is Blood Freak.
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Decided to throw together a Halloween blog layout. I like it. I'd like to keep it, but unpaid blogs don't allow you to save layouts. :P

This weekend, I had a craving for mindless, embarrassing entertainment, so I rented the Speed Racer movie. I was...pleasantly surprised, actually. I mean, it's ridiculous, don't get me wrong, but it's supposed to be ridiculous. The whole thing exists in a dimension of wild unreality that's emphasized by the insane hyper-saturated color palettes and a re-imagining of gravity as it might exist in Courtney Love's fevered brain. But the races are like demolition derby meets roller coaster on crystal meth, and they're really satisfying in their seizure-inducing pseudo-physics, with more exploding cars per capita than I've ever seen in a movie. The characters (including the little kid and his frigging monkey) are not intolerable, and actually talk like normal people (which might do away with any connection to Speed Racer right there), and the whole thing exudes the sort of cracked-out experimentation you'd expect from the Wachowski brothers or the variety of bored art students who're actually fun to hang out with.

All told, if you're ever on the lookout for something fairly mindless and compellingly weird, you could do worse. No wonder it failed in the box office, though. That's an awful lot of money to put into something deliberately produced as a B movie.
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Some of you might know that Robert Downey Jr. is doing Sherlock Holmes. [livejournal.com profile] coyotegoth linked to the first pictures from the production scene today. I know I've got some Holmes-lovers on my flist, so I figured I'd pass them on.

First pictures from the set

I'm really not sure what to make of it. He doesn't look like Holmes (though Jude Law, playing Watson, could rather pull it off), and yet I have no doubts of his acting ability. That said, the bowler hat throws me. Perhaps he's in disguise? Or maybe he's an odd, slummy Sherlock. I dunno. Either way, Jeremy Brett will forever by My Holmes, but I'm betting that even if it's weird, RDJ as Holmes will not be bad per se. The result should be intriguing, at least.
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It snowed all weekend long. It was awesome! We got 3 or 4 inches on the cars, 1 or 2 on the ground, and none of it quite got around to sticking to roads or sidewalks. Everything's liberally frosted with beautiful white and it makes me happy. Also, it made me sleep really well. For some reason, I sleep wonderfully during snow storms.

Had a completely kick-ass session of our Star Wars game on Saturday (that's the D&D type of RPG, dear new readers, not a video game). Thanks to the work of our Tech, our PCs finally uncovered the Sith who'd been hiding in the Senate (not Palpatine; this is post-movies). While our Jedi dueled her through the skylanes and casinos of Coruscant, my Force-sensitive martial artist discovered that the Jedi who'd turned traitor on us had escaped incarceration (an ex-PC who used to be the Jedi's partner, to make things nice and personal). The two of them proceeded to Matrix-ninja-fight down a series of floating platforms while they fought over a book of Dark Side secrets that everyone was after. Meanwhile, our Tech rescued a starship full of passengers that the Sith had tried to hijack as an escape route, and she and our Noble cleared up the disaster the Sith had left in the Senate building. Something heroic for everyone, with lots of lightsabers and kung-fu action all around, it was the kind of cinematic goodness that leaves you running high for a few days because it all just worked so well.

Watched most of Dragonheart on the SciFi Channel yesterday. It wasn't quite as visually impressive as I remember it being (it's been a few years since I saw it last, long enough for f/x to improve), and the plot was more patchy than I'd recalled, but I loved Draco and Bowen just as much as ever. It's such a sweet movie. I caught the whole thing except the end, which is okay because the end makes me cry.

In college football, I continued to be amused by the inability of anyone to remain in the top 5 for more than two weeks. LSU finally ends up at #1, which I think they deserve (they certainly earned their way to it), and #2 will probably end up being either Kansas or Oklahoma, depending on who wins their game next week. Not as optimal as I'd hoped: I was rooting for some little no-name schools to hit the jackpot so I could watch the collective heads of the sports writers explode on-camera. We've proved the BCS doesn't work, people. Console yourselves with your brand-name teams while you can; sooner or later we'll have a playoff system and your pet schools won't automatically be victorious anymore.

Yes, I'm a Penn State fan. It could be argued that we're a brand-name team. On the other hand, we're a decidedly hated brand-name team that routinely gets cheated. I think if we had a fair shake, we'd earn our victories (though admittedly, not when our guys keep handing the ball to the other team). Maybe I'm wrong, but at least we'd know, yes?

Was awakened at 4 am this morning for a reason I couldn't define. My room looked indefinably strange. Couldn't place it. Looked at my clock to check the time, and the power was out. Looked out my window and realized there wasn't a light to be seen from our hilltop to the next one. The HVAC unit on the hotel that rests not 50 feet from my back door (take note, those of you who may wish to come visit) always whirrs gently in the night, sounding like quiet, stable crickets. It'd gone dead. The fans in my roommates' rooms had shut down, and the almost subliminal house-noises of heating units and hot water pipes were gone. That's what woke me up. Sudden dead silence.

I reveled in the unusual snowy darkness for a little while, then set my watch alarm and went back to sleep while roommates bustled quietly about trying to arrange things so they'd be able to get up and get ready for work if the power didn't come back on by 6 am. It came back on around 7:30, to judge from the time on my clock when I next woke. No idea what happened, but it was neat.
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Got another work project to finish by deadline (that being Wednesday), and only four hours a day to do it in, plus the picture which is also due Wednesday, and my home computer is not reliable enough to trust in (yes, I'm working on it at work, shush).

After those two things are done, I should be back to more-or-less normal operations (except, y'know, only at my desk half the time; God, I <i>love</i> universities and their reluctance to censor or block websites!).  This is mostly a heads-up to those of you who'd otherwise be chatting with me.

The newspaper-counting is going okay.  No more surprises such as the last one so far.  On the other hand, I did open up a package and get a faceful of mold.  Set my head on fire and nearly had me gagging.  You know the kind of thing where your throat doesn't swell closed, but it kind of feels like your sinuses do?  And then you start coughing like you've got a hairball while your eyes tear up like somebody just punched you in the nose...yeah.  That.

 I half-expected to be crippled with allergies the next day, but I seem to have avoided the worst.   That thing was awful, though.  I tapped the pages and clouds of dust rose up from them (not all mold; some of it was just antique dirt).   It'll be hell on whomever ends up actually working on that volume.  Not only will they have to deal with the fungus, but all those pages need to be cleaned before they can be microfilmed...  Boss-lady's looking to borrow a paper vacuum from our conservationist.  We've got to do <i>something<i>, because if more volumes in that series are that kind of mess, we'll be doing this till Doomsday.

And apparently more than one volume is mold-infested, though most of them are marked (I'd avoided another with "mold" written on the wrapping; thought this one would be safe, heh).  Not sure what we'll do about that; I'm allergic to mold (not deathly allergic, don't worry; this is the day or so of bleary-eyed, snuffling, self-pitying misery kind of allergy) and the other guy who usually does the counting is mildly asthmatic.  I'd tackle him to the ground before I let him touch that thing (and he might try, because he's that kind of guy).

Anyway, just another sampling of the fun and creative work we do at an academic library.  I'll admit, it's kind of entertaining.  It's a challenge, at least, to figure out how to deal with things like this.

Took my sister to see Transformers, and she enjoyed it as much as I did.  Giant robots fighting!  Military hardware!  Optimus Prime's voice!  Give us a sequel with less humans and more destruction! 

Yeah.  Her motto:  "A movie doesn't have to be good, so long as it's entertaining." :D

And on the way to work, I heard a bird singing this piercing song:  WooooOOOP!  WooooOOOP!  Werp-werp-werp-werp-werp-werp tew tew!

Do you recognize it?  It's a car alarm!  I couldn't get a look at the bird, but apparently he's a killer mimic
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By this time tomorrow, I'll be in a hotel room in Ohio, attending Origins. I will not have to look work in the face until next week! It'll be sweet. Funny thing: I'm actually more looking forward to just hanging out in a different place than I am anticipating the convention. I want to take my friends to that Japanese steakhouse, try the ice cream place Jess Hartley told me about, and go see Transformers with my discounted movie ticket that, for some reason, the Origins people have arranged for attendees. I don't know why, and I don't care. I finally got to see Pirates 3 on Sunday (oh hell YES! I don't care about questions of quality; I just loved the huge amounts of PIRATES and SHIPS and BATTLES!  And the whole mysticism of the sea angle, because there's always been something mysterious about ships and sailors that made me feel like they must know something we don't), and tomorrow I will get a long frigging road trip (I love road trips), a heaping helping of giant robot action, and then four days of ubergeekery and tourism.

For those of you who're keeping track, I have the plan for my picture sorted out! A far cry from any of my original ideas, isn't it?  I have some fiddling to do with the linework; the door needs to be taller, for example, and I'd like a bit more space on the right side (which is fine, since it means I'll be able to keep it all in proportion).  But this is a good place to leave it for now.  After a week-long break, I'll be able to come back to it with fresh eyes and get the details where they ought to go.

It's just...strangely exciting to do a picture this way.  Usually I just draw stuff when it happens to come to me; I don't work at it, I don't fight with it, any art I do exists for no other reason than because I wanted to do it.  And except for two or three pictures, I've never really futzed with background at all.  So just the process of this so far has expanded my horizons.  It's a good feeling to challenge yourself and find you can rise to the task.







Calendar project working draft


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Saw it last night, and Estelle, my dear, thank you. That is one hell of a movie. I don't really know what I was expecting, but this was better. I mean...holy shit.

Also, a lot of gorgeous people in that movie. You'll know most of the faces, but the costuming and directing and all lift them above the "pretty face" category to the place where they have the kind of beauty that just captures you.

Somewhat related to that, I do my fair share of admiring attractive people, but I've never been one to go in for the celebrity crush. I think, however, that I might decide to waive that for Hugh Jackman. Dear god. o.O;;
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The meme has eaten my soul! Luckily, I apparently taste good. )

Anyway. Yes. Useful things.

I saw Pirates! And it was good. You know, screw all the analysis of acting skills, plot development, whatever people're upset about. Anyone whose criticism amounts to more than, "This movie was stupid, because I didn't like it" is taking it too seriously. Yes, that's the only valid criticism (though personally I disagree with it) because attempting to critique this movie in any meaningful fashion is like applying advanced color theory to your five-year-old's crayon drawings. You're overthinking! Have a couple of beers, and then give it another try.

There are pirates, there's swashbuckling, there are ghost ships and sea monsters and Captain Jack Sparrow. Handsome men and beautiful women--both swordfighting!--and icky awesome creepy things. I walked into the theater expecting hilarity and pirates (and air conditioning*), and walked out feeling that I'd gotten my money's worth plus a bit (now with 30% more pirates! though the air conditioning was slightly lax), along with the promise of more to come. My verdict: it rocked.

PS: Word is, there may be ninjas in the next movie.** Pirates, ghost pirates, and ninjas...possibly pirate ninjas, or maybe even ninja pirates. Can life get any better?!

Edit: courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] cleverusername2: motivational posters. Hooo! Hooo, yeah. :D

* It's been about 95 degrees here for the past week. Or 35 degrees C, if you prefer. The humidity's so high that sunlight is glinting off the AIR. Blargh!

**Or at least Chow Yun Fat, who I'm told has signed on. He's close enough, right?
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The effect/affect question.

Effect is a noun. "The effects of this are yet to be determined."
Affect, when used in the meaning that jives with 'effect,' is a verb. "The man was so affected by this that he had tears in his eyes."
Affect only becomes a noun when used in a TOTALLY different meaning--that is, demeanor or mien. "Her affect went from joy to fury in the blink of an eye."

"The man was so affected by this effect that his affect changed entirely."

Get it straight, people! (This public service announcement brought to you by numerous published texts that have embarrassed themselves.)

Origins was a blast! Some nifty seminars (I especially enjoyed the ones about superhero games), and some great games. I also learned how to fence. *cough cough* Okay, that's a bit grandiose. I learned the five basic parries and attacks, and the basic foot movements. But it was cool, just the same! I've been thinking for a while about joining the fencing club here...

The hotel room was beautiful. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza, and the staff were wonderful, the building was lovely, and everything went very smoothly. Well, other than problems with the elevators one evening. But I'm sure I needed to work off all that food anyway. :)

I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] jesshartley for the first time, and <"lj user="innocent_man"> again, both of whom are at least as awesome as you think they are. In fact, I got to meet them in a Promethean game run by Matt, woohoo! Gorgeous, gorgeous game. I owe them photos when I can finish that roll and get it developed.

I spent far too much money, picked up a number of books at terrific prices, and bought a beautiful gold Egyptian silk scarf, and was heartily entertained by a corset salesman who is certainly a pirate at heart (in the good way). I also got to see the 20 minute preview for the sequel to "The Gamers." God, it's going to be hilarious. Two hours long, undead turkeys, and more character death than you can shake a stick at. Monte Cook is in it, and so are the Wizards of the Coast headquarters.

Oh, oh! And speaking of movies, I got to see a big-screen showing of HP Lovecraft Historical Society's production of "Call of Cthulhu." It's done as an old-fashioned silent movie--crackling film and everything. It looked so good! The production values really were quality, and bits of it were (I'm betting quite intentionally) funny, such as the crotchety old white-maned archaeologist with the eyepatch. If you're interested, you can buy the movie on DVD for $20 from Cthulhu Lives!--the HPLHS website. Likewise can you acquire the hilarious and well-produced "Soggoth on the Roof" musical, written to the tunes of "Fiddler on the Roof." And I finally picked up a cooking apron--"Miskatonic University Culinary School." Har. Fear me.

I belatedly realized that the guy I sat around talking with all night long last year was none other than "Crazy Egor" himself. Okay, so it's not really incredible or anything, but it amused me. Crazy Egor has been a presence in RPGdom since the early days. It's the name of a dealership, actually--"Crazy Egor's Games Warehouse." The Crazy Egor guys have also supported and coordinate conventions and helped the industry along in many other ways. They're nice folks.

Also cool to talk to? Louis Zocchi. He runs GameScience, a dice-making company. What's notable about GameScience is that these are by far the best-made dice around. A long time ago, Mr. Zocchi began crunching numbers and playing engineer to come up with dice that were as perfectly balanced and truly random as he could manage. What's notable about Mr. Zocchi, and the point to my mentioning him, is that he's fun to talk to! He'll explain to anyone who asks what makes his dice special. He's so genuinely excited about it, even after all these years, that you can't help but be fascinated by talk of calculating angles, materials science and the best way to paint and polish dice. And along the way, he'll also show you magic tricks with a matchbox. He's just awesome.

I had a delicious meal at a Japanese steakhouse across the street from the Convention Center (appropriately named "The Japanese Steakhouse"). It's one of those where the table is built around the grill. The chef was very entertaining; he used his spatula to play hackeysack with a raw egg, and flipped shrimp tails into his coat pocket. Small parties get seated together at large tables, so I got to meet a fascinating older couple who'd been recently married (so cute!). They had great stories to tell; they've been all around the world. It's a pity, I think, that Americans are so privacy- and space-obsessed. In some other countries, strangers can be seated together at the same table, and it seems like a great way to meet a diverse array of people you might never think of hanging out with, otherwise.

Geek news!

May. 4th, 2006 01:00 pm
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Two things.

First, if you didn't know, iTunes is now carrying the Final Fantasy albums and related stuffies. I'm doomed. DOOMED.

Second, LucasFilm is releasing the ORIGINAL Star Wars on DVD! Now where do I pre-order this thing...?
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My VCR died on me yesterday. Well. Let's be honest: my VCR got sick yesterday while trying to digest one of my Star Wars tapes, and I killed it to get the movie back. Yes, it's true. I ruined that casing with my anger.

(Yes, I still had a VCR. Shut up. It shall be honored and mourned, for that sucker lasted me ten years, and I bought it second-hand.)

So, after a bit of research, I bought a VCR/DVD recorder. It was (substantially) on sale, so it cost about the same price as anything else in the same general electronic family. Still, it was a lot of money for an unplanned purchase--at least for me. My finances are not in a state where I can casually drop $100 on something I wasn't expecting to get when I woke up that morning. But I like it. It was worth it...except that it won't copy my Star Wars movies (which are the 1996-or-something THX releases, before the silver boxed set where Lucas started changing things, and well before the gold boxed set where he defiled the corpse of his movies. I'm a purist; so sue me). Stupid copy protection. They're my movies, damn it. I bought them fair and square. Fair use allows me to have a copy for my own purposes.

Well, maybe I can find digital copies online, or something. :P

In other news: every house I've ever lived in, I get wasps in the freaking windows. What the hell?! I mean, I'm not allergic (though my roommate is, and I get very concerned for his sake), but it's just irritating! Do you have any idea how many wasps I've killed in my not-substantial lifetime? Probably you haven't met that many people in your life. I swear, someday far in the future, they'll look back and wonder what evolutionary force could possibly have cut off the window-wasp genus before it ever really got started. "It seemed so likely," biologists will say, "and then they just...disappeared." And down through the eons, I'll laugh, knowing that it was me and my shoe. The little bastards never stood a chance.

And yet, some small part of me feels bad. They're just trying to find a place to live, after all, and they only sting me because I put my arm unsuspectingly down on my pillow without expecting one of the little buggers to be lurking there. >:O At ONE A.M. God, I hate wasps. GET OUT OF MY WINDOW, YOU LITTLE BOLLICKERS. Is that a word? Estelle, is that a word?

I'm in a weird mood. Maybe it was the wasp venom.

Oh. Very amusing though thoroughly irrelevant link: Porn 's Next Web Move Spooks Hollywood. Har.  Funny on many levels.

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