Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Conan the Adventurer


Right before I moved, almost three years ago now, Cliff had loaned me the DVD set of the TV series Conan the Adventurer. Conan was a hastily produced series, designed to capitalize on the popularity of Hercules and Xena. It barely made it for one year or 22 episodes. Anyway, I watched about half the episodes and then packed the boxed set away with my other DVDs when I moved and didn't find it again until several months later. I felt bad about keeping it for so long (not that Cliff minded) so I returned the set without having watched all the episodes, and I always figured that I'd pick up my own set, since as we know, I must have all things Conan related.
Sunday I traded in a couple of recent DVD releases at Movie Stop which allowed me to buy the Conan the Adventurer set for eleven bucks. About 50 cents an episode. Seemed like a deal to me. So I watched a couple of episodes and I remembered two things. One, that the series was truly awful. Bad special effects, worse acting, shaky sets, and writing that makes Herc and Xena look like Masterpiece theater. Two, that I really like the series. It's just so cheesy and goofy that I can't help but enjoy it on a 'so bad it's good' level. Everyone seems so earnest, as they try to stumble through the awful dialogue and the hackneyed plots.
In many ways, I think that Ralf Moeller, the guy who plays Conan is actually better in the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger. I know that's not saying much since Conan the Barbarian was one of Arnie's first films, but he was so amazingly stiff in that one and Moeller has much more personality. He even allows Conan to have a sense of humor.
Now much like the Conan movie, this series has very little to do with the actual Robert E. Howard Conan character. (Though the two part first episode did attempt a half hearted adaptation of Howard's 'The Tower of the Elephant'.) REH Purists should run the other way fast. But for an hour's entertainment, something to watch while you eat dinner, Conan isn't bad. The heroes always win and the women are pretty and there's nothing likely to upset or depress you. And it has some of the strangest guest casting I've ever seen. Mariette Hartley is in one show and Mickey Rooney shows up in the first episode. Yes, Andy Hardy meets Conan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Mist

When I was in Movie Stop the other day, they were running the trailers for The Mist, based on the Stephen King novella of the same name. The trailer didn't make me want to see the movie, but it did make me decide to read the novella. Somehow that one had escaped me during my King reading binge of a few years back. I knew I had it at home though, in one of the collections of King's work. Went home and dug it out.
It's a great little monster fest, one of King's tighter and more suspenseful stories. At 153 pages it's really a short book and sometimes I think King does better with that format. His novels tend to ramble at times. The Mist is just right in terms of length and tone.
The basic story is that a storm of biblical proportions tears through a small Maine community. When the storm clears a strange white mist rolls slowly across the town. The hero, Dave Drayton and his son Billy have gone to the local grocery store to pick up some post storm supplies. When the mist arrives they are in the store with about 80 other shoppers. The mist surrounds the store, muffling sound and obscuring the outside world. It soon becomes apparent that there are things in the mist. Terrible, monstrous, HUNGRY things. After that it's pure Stephen King land as the people in the market try to stay alive.
King makes a few small attempts at offering a possible explanation of what has happened. There's a government research project located close to the town and the basic theory is that perhaps the storm affected their equipment and opened a rift into another dimension. It doesn't really matter. King is all about the results and not the causes. I've always kind of liked that 'Twilight Zone' approach to his work. We rarely know why anything occurs in a King story. It just does and you'd better deal with it or be prepared die a messy death.
And speaking of messy, the monsters in this one are particularly frightening. Usually when I read horror novels I figure that if I had a gun or even a sword I could deal with most of the monsters that writers throw out. Not this crowd. There are just too many and they are too fast and have too many horrific abilities. That's all I'll say in case any of you care to read the story.
Anyway, I really enjoyed it. From what the reviews say, the movie is a decent adaptation of the novella. Maybe I'll rent it this Halloween.

Monday, February 25, 2008

And More Reading

S.M. Sterling's The Sky People starts out with a winning concept. In this alternate history novel, when the USA and Russia sent probes to Mars and Venus in the 1960s, they found both planets were inhabited. Jump forward to the late 1980s and America has a small colony on Venus, a world inhabited by bronze age humans, stone age beastmen, and dinosaurs. Sounds like a book meant for me, eh? Well it is, and it isn't.
This affectionate tribute to old fashioned SF has more than a hint of Edgar Rice Burroughs to it, especially with the contemporary earth people running into the beastmen and dinosaurs. There is certainly the stuff of high adventure here. However I ended up having the same problem with The Sky People that I have with most 'hard' science fiction, in that the author just spends too much time explaining everything. See, I know that's what a lot of people want from SF. They want to know how the humans got to Venus and how they used parts of their rockets to build their habitats and how they domesticated the triceratops and how they control it and how the gravity is lighter than earth and how the atmosphere has a higher oxygen content so the pterodactyls can grow larger than they could on earth and, and...
I know that's what many people expect from SF but after a while it just bogs down the plot. I began to find my eyes glazing over whenever someone would start another explanation. Overall I did enjoy the book, but there were times I wanted to bail and go read something that moved a bit faster. Looks like the Sky People is the beginning of a series, so we'll see where it goes from here.
Also read Rogue Angel: Destiny, the first in the Gold Eagle series about Annja Creed, a young woman who's kind of a cross between Lara Croft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's an archeologist, but she also works for a cable TV show that specializes in hunting for mythical monsters. Of course Annja soon learns that some monsters aren't mythical after all. Nothing earthshaking here, but a nice, action packed adventure with a likeable and capable heroine. I'd certainly read another one and probably will.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reading Report


Wasn't a banner reading week, but I did get through Tarzan and the Foreign Legion, which I haven't read since I was a kid, and Karl Edward Wagner's Kane novel, Bloodstone.
Legion is one of the last Tarzan novels Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote. It takes place during World War Two and most of the action occurs in Sumatra, so it's hardly the typical Tarzan novel. In fact for the first third of the book, the other main characters don't even realize that Tarzan is among them. The Lord of the jungle is attached to an American recon and photography mission over Japanese occupied Sumatra in his identity of Colonel John Clayton of the British Air Corps. So he's Col Clayton until the plane is shot down. Once the little band of survivors is lost in the jungle, they find out pretty darn quick that they're traveling with Tarzan of the Apes, especially after the ape-man kills a tiger with his knife. I suspect that Burroughs wrote that scene with quite a bit of relish since he had mistakenly included tigers in Africa in his first Tarzan novel and had taken a lot of ribbing for it over the years.
Bloodstone was actually the first Kane novel Karl Edward Wagner began (In high school study hall no less) but not the first he completed or had published. Like the other Kane book, Darkness Weaves, this one is a mishmash of sword & sorcery, science fiction, horror, and H.P. Lovecraft pastiche. There is much ado about Elder Gods and prehuman races in the Lovecraft manner, plus space ships, alien races, and good old fashion hacking and slashing.
I have long maintained that short stories are the natural medium of true sword & sorcery. It's just hard to hold the sense of menace and brooding darkness for 300 plus pages. Bloodstone bears this out. It's a good book, with many wonderful scenes and Kane is his usual savage yet articulate self, but the novel rambles pretty badly in between the key scenes, almost like a bunch of shorter Kane tales welded together. Also the science fiction elements seem a bit jarring beside the rest of the books setting which is basically bronze age. Still, that's the sort of thing that Wagner enjoyed writing, so he saw his purpose through. How well it works is obviously a matter of subjective opinion.

Game Report

Well I got Lord of the Rings Online installed and up and running last night and I must say I am stunned. The graphics are so good that it looks like I'm playing on my PS2. My PC has a function that tells you how well your system meets the requirements for the game. 3.5 is minimum requirement for video card, memory, etc. 4.0 is recommended requirement. My system is a 5.5. Whoa Nellie...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Computer Report

Well I finally was able to sit down last night and actually interact with my new computer. You know, look at all the programs and settings and the like. See what kind of stuff works differently from the previous version of windows. Something I found sort of interesting is that Windows, the great imitator who made Internet Explorer as much like rival Firefox as they could and whose new Vista interface seems designed to look as much like a Mac system as possible, has now added some things to Microsoft Works that make it as much like Open Office as possible. They still don't give you Microsoft Word with Works anymore, but they have added a word processor that's amazingly like Open Office Writer. I wasn't fooled. I downloaded Open Office and went right back to using Writer.
So far the thing that's the most fun is simply the way everything looks on the screen. Between the super duper giant monitor and the amped up graphics card, it's absolutely amazing. I brought some of my favorite desktop art over from my old machine and the images are so much brighter and sharper that it's almost like I'm looking at new pictures. Can see all the brushstrokes and such.
The other cool thing of course is the speed at which things load. I finally have a system that can keep up with my high speed internet access. I'm hoping that bodes well for the online games I like to play. I plan to load Lord of the Rings Online this weekend and see how that goes. Did I mention the computer even came with a copy of LotR? How cool is that?
Next thing I may look into is a drawing program of some sort and a scanner. I've been thinking I'd like to do more art on the PC and perhaps even some animation.
Anyway, the report on the new PC is good so far. I'll give it a real shakedown this weekend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Next Generation

Dell emailed me last night to tell me that my new PC has shipped. It's the XPS 420 with all the bells and whistles. It will be the most high end computer I've ever owned. For the tech heads among you it has the Intel Core2 processor Q6600 (2.40Ghz,1066FSB) w/QuadCore Technology and 8MB cache, a 750GB Serial ATA 2 Hard Drive, and the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT graphics card. It should play any game I want and have enough power for all kinds of other stuff. The monitor is a 24" flat screen. The PC comes DVD and Blue Ray ready and includes a TV Tuner with a remote, so basically it doubles as a television if I want.
It could arrive as early as today, but I don't know if I'll get it hooked up immediately. I haven't done the prep work to switch from my old machine. I know some people just like to hook a cable to their old machine and download everything into the new one, but I tend to treat getting a new computer like moving to a new place. It's a chance to clean up and get rid of a lot of stuff. I need to check old emails and such and see what I want to keep. I'll want all my email addresses and some of my bookmarks. I've already made copies of my writing files and moved them to a couple of locations so that's covered. I don't keep a lot of pictures and such so that's no problem. Mainly I just need to make sure I have everything I want from the old PC before I power it down and that will take a little while. I plan on doing all that tonight, so if the PC comes today I might take the afternoon off tomorrow (work schedule permitting) and set it up. Barring that it will be Thursday night before I'd have a time to mess with it. Wednesday nights are taken. But with any luck, by the weekend I'll be talking to all you fine folks from my new computer.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm reading the Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It occurs to me that I've probably got the only blog that regularly discusses Austen and Hercules...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Legendary Companion 2


Finally found a copy of Robert Weisbrot's Hercules The Legendary Journeys volume two, which acts as episode guide and companion for the last three season's of the Hercules TV Show. In some ways, this one is more interesting than the first volume because now, not only to we get commentary from Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Michael Hurst (Iolaus) bu there are also comments, interviews, and bios of all the major characters on the show.
A lot of insider information, presented without bias. We get the vastly different versions of the show's famous infighting from Sorbo and from Executive Producer Robert Tapert. We learn how the writers had to scramble in season four when Sorbo was beset with a debilitating illness which almost killed him, causing the show to film about half that season's episodes without the main character. We learn why season five took such a dark tone, and why there were only eight episodes filmed for season six. Fascinating stuff.
The personal comments are the best though. The late Kevin Smith (Ares) gives some of the funniest bits, telling of his typically male reaction to seeing Lucy Lawless (Xena) and Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite) fighting in whipped cream for the episode Stranger in a Strange World and the problems with trying to play two different versions of Ares in the same show.
Kevin Sorbo gets the fanboy award for asking questions that would make any Star Trek geek proud, such as, "If Hercules can bring Iolaus back from the dead like four times, why can't he bring back his wife and children?" and "How come Hercules can knock down a house with one punch in one episode but a regular soldier can fight with him one on one in another episode".
Anyway, this is a tremendously fun book, and a nice send off to the series. If you liked volume one (and I did), you'll like volume two.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Tale of two Cartoons


In sort of an odd coincidence, two new animated movies that I was interested in popped up on the same week. I picked up Turok: Son of Stone on Wednesday and Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight on Friday. Watched the former last night and the latter this morning and enjoyed both.
Of the two I likedTurok best. Its story was more linear and action filled and the animation was better. And of course I was a fan of the Turok comic book when I was a kid. Still am, in fact. The new movie hews pretty closely to the original Gold key/Dell comic of the 50s rather than the updated Valiant version from the 90s, following the Native American Turok into the 'lost land' where dinosaurs still roam and cavemen with nasty tempers still lurk. There are a few differences, but for the most part the new Turok won't be unfamiliar to readers of the original series. Turok is the more bloody of the two cartoons, so I'd be wary watching it around smaller children.
Dragonlance is a pretty decent adaptation of the first novel in the long running D&D series. The plot hits all the major high points of the book, though obviously a lot of subplots and incidents had to be dropped in order to get the story into a movie of less than two hours. The character designs are very true to the original Larry Elmore conceptions of the various characters. The film unfortunately has the same weaknesses I remember from the novel, A: Too many protagonists, and B: too much stuff just thrown in. Within the first twenty minutes we see not only elves, dwarves, goblins, sorcerers, gods, and demi gods, but also centaurs, a unicorn, Pegasuses (Pegusi?) dragons and draconians. It was almost as if the writers had tried to cram in every D&D creature they could just to hedge their bets in a plot that already included an adventuring party of a ranger, a dwarf, a knight, a priestess, two wizards, a halfling thief, and a couple of extra fighters. Jeez. Didn't want to leave anyone out, did we?
The animation in Dragonlance isn't as stylish as that of Turok and it has the somewhat disconcerting effect of all the dragons and draconians being CGI while all the rest of the characters are traditional cell animation, It works okay for the dragons but the draconian soldiers just look weird. The rest of the animation is about on a level with the Marvel X-Men cartoon of a few years back. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Still, as Wizards of the Coast projects go, this one looks pretty good.
All and all, these were both fun cartoon movies. I'm glad to see animation being used to tell some fantasy stories, since it seems a natural medium for that sort of thing. Hopefully the new Conan: Red Nails animated feature will actually get finished. If not, the guys who did Turok could make a pretty mean Conan cartoon as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

As Seen On TV

As some of you may recall, I quit my gym membership at Golds and moved my weightlifting home. That's worked out pretty well so far. I also abandoned barbell bench pressing in favor of lots and lots of pushups, because current views are that the pushups build more useful muscle. I mean how many times in real life are you lying on your back pressing 300 pounds off your chest?
Anyway, several weeks back I was reading an article in Men's Health magazine about The Perfect Pushup handles. These are two discs with bearings inside and handles on top. You use them like old fashion pushup handles except these rotate as you press up or down, relieving the stress on your wrists and elbows. The makers of the system also claim that the handles force you to keep proper form and isolate your muscle groups better than regular pushups. Always interested in new workout routines, I wondered how the handles would work.
Later I was talking to Cliff about the Perfect Pushup and he said that he'd seen them advertised on TV and was also curious about them. I didn't realize there were infomercials out about them until he told me about it. (Remember, I haven't had cable TV in more than 3 years now.)
So one day I walked into Wal-Mart looking for a paperback and I spotted a huge display of the Perfect Pushup handles. They were only $19.95, and they sold on TV for $39.95, so I thought, Hmmm, this is my chance to try these things. So I bought a set.
I gave them a try when I got home just to see if they really made pushups much more difficult as the ads claimed, and the answer was yes. I could only do about half as many pushups at one time as normal. And it really did make me use better form. However I couldn't start the official Perfect Pushup 21 day routine because I wasn't finished with my current routine, so I put the handles aside until last weekend. Friday, I decided to give the Perfect Pushups a real test drive.
I've done three workouts so far, not enough to tell if the handles really do what the makers claim, but I can tell they're doing something. I have pain in my triceps much like I would from a normal triceps workout, and some soreness in my pectorals. So there's some muscle building going on there. The routine gets harder in the second week, so I should know more then. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Remembering Steve Gerber

I learned from Cliff's blog this morning that comics writer Steve Gerber had died Sunday. Gerber was probably best known as the creator of Howard the Duck, but he wrote far more than the adventures of his web-footed alter ego. Steve's somewhat quirky take on the Marvel super team The Defenders made the book much more interesting to me than the more mainstream Avengers title in the 1970s. He also wrote Omega the Unknown, a super hero title which pushed the boundaries of the medium. Actually, I suppose that's a good definition of Gerber's comics work in general. Nothing he did was quite like anything anyone had done before. His work was very personal and if sometimes confusing, never boring.
Probably my favorite bit of Gerber's writing was the Howard the Duck story "What Do You Do the Night After You Save the Universe?" You know how at the end of a book, movie, comic or whatever the heroes just manage to save the world at the last second? Ever wonder what happens after that? I mean, waking up the next morning has to be something of a let down. In Gerber's story, Howard wanders the streets of New York all night, coming down from the high of saving the universe from destruction. I still find that a clever idea.
On a more personal note, I actually met Gerber at one of the first comic book conventions I ever attended. I would have been 13 or 14 at the time. The con was held in the cavernous basement of some downtown Atlanta hotel, and my father and my uncle had dropped my cousin Rick and me off before adjourning to the hotel bar.
I was wandering around the dealers room, marveling at all the amazing things for sale when I happened across the area where the creators were sitting and there was Steve Gerber. I absolutely loved Howard the Duck at the time and I wanted Gerber's autograph, but the only thing I had with me was an old Thor annual that I had purchased because it was cheap and because it had Jack Kirby art that I'd never seen before.
When I got up to the front of the short line at Gerber's table, I said, "I know you didn't have anything to do with this comic but it's all I have with me and I'd really like to have your autograph."
Steve Gerber happily signed my comic, and told me that he remembered that issue very well and was a big fan of Kirby's work. I still have that comic book.
Gerber was another of those creators who blurred the lines between fiction and reality, appearing as himself in one issue of Man-Thing and at least one issue of Howard the Duck. As I've noted before, that sort of early meta-fiction always fascinated me and Gerber certainly influenced my own writing.
Anyway, I was saddened to hear of his death. He was a gifted and original writer in a field that often rewards mediocrity. He'll be missed.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reading Report



Started the weekend off by reading a bunch of essays by Will Murray from the backs of several Doc Savage Omnibuses and other sources. I haven't talked much about The Man of Bronze or his primary writer Lester Dent, but I can feel an essay coming on. Then I went right into Robert E. Howard's The Shadow of the Vulture, the single tale featuring Red Sonya of Rogatino, the character that inspired Marvel Comics writer Roy Thomas to create the far more well know Red Sonja. That of course partially inspired this mornings Red Sonja vignette.
Then I jumped to Gordon R. Dickson's Jamie the Red, a minor fantasy novel from 1983. I came to this one kind of by accident, having read a story by Poul Anderson a while back that teamed his hero Cappen Varra with Jamie. I had enjoyed that story and wondered how Dickson's book would be so when I came across it, I bought it. Currently reading Matthew Polly's memoir, American Shaolin, which chronicles Polly's time at the Shaolin Temple in China, where he studied kung fu with the monks. Pretty entertaining so far. As you may have surmised, I like a good memoir. Wish I could find more of them that actually interested me.

I had lunch at McDonald's today. I can't remember when the last time I actually ate at the Golden Arches was. Before I moved to Kennesaw, so at least three years. Not sure what made me decide to stop there today. I was over on Old Roswell Road at the Marietta Booknook and as I was leaving the book store I was hungry and in a moment of nostalgia just decided to pull into McDonald's. I ordered my childhood favorite, a big Mac and fries. Tasted about the same as I remembered it tasting the last time I had it, which of course is not the way it tasted when I was just a kid because back then they cooked the fries in real grease. Anyway, I can recall when I was small that going to McDonald's was a major treat. For some reason we always seemed to eat in the car, my brother and I kneeling backwards on the back seat so we could use the space under the rear window as a table. Most cars these days don't have enough space that even a child could do that now, come to think of it.
Waffle House and McDonald's on the same day. I think I can hear my arteries hardening...

Sonja at Sunrise


Parts of this story are true.

Red Sonja and I are at Waffle House. The waitresses don't bat an eye. They're used to me bringing fictional characters in for breakfast. Two truck drivers in a corner, however ,are all goggle eyed at my companion in her chain mail bikini. (Technically it's plate mail, I think.)
I say, "Do you want a sweater or something? Chilly this morning."
She gives me a look. "I have crossed the frozen wastes above Hyperborea in this armor."
"Um, okay. Isn't that mail a little cold against your skin though?"
Her eyes glitter wickedly. "It's padded inside. Shall I show you?"
"Not just now. I know that you say you wear it to distract your male opponents. I'm distracted enough, thanks."
Just then a young mother comes in with her little boy. The kid, who looks to be about five, makes a bee-line for my table.
"Hey!" the boy says. "I found it!" He holds up a DVD case which contains some cartoon movie I'm unfamiliar with.
"Cool!" I say. "Glad you found it."
His mother takes him by the shoulders and steers him away. She's pretty with long brown hair and large eyes. She says, "Sorry."
"No problem. Enthusiasm is a good thing."
She smiles and leads the boy to a table. Sonja says, "I like the boy. He is fearless."
"They usually are that age. You ever think of having children?"
"Of course. But it's not the path I chose."
She's quiet for several moments and I say, "So. Seen Conan lately?"
She grins. "Aye, we tried to rob a temple a fortnight ago."
I say, "Let me guess. A statue in the temple came to life and attacked you."
"Three statues."
"I figured it was that or giant spiders. Well tell the big lug I said hello next time you see him."
"I shall."
We chat a bit more and then Sonja tells me she has to get back to Ophir. I pay the bill and we step outside, breaking the truck drivers hearts. The sun is up and the air feels more like fall than winter. I bid Sonja farewell and head for my truck. Looking back I see that she glances through the window at the mother and son. Then she steps back onto the path she has chosen.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Born Standing Up

Finished Steve Martin's memoir 'Born Standing Up' last night before bedtime. While not in the league of Jerry Lewis's 'Dean and Me', this was still a very entertaining and interesting bit of show business autobiography. I remember when Steve Martin first came on the scene, exploding into the public consciousness after his appearances on Saturday Night Live in the mid 1970s. Several of the catch phrases he established in his routines (Well Excuuuuuse Me!, Two words, I Forgot. I'm a wild and crazy guy!) remain in use today, often by people who never saw his stand up comedy and don't know where those phrases come from.
Like most entertainment stories, Martin's 'overnight success' took close to two decades worth of groundwork. The book chronicles Martin's first jobs at Disney Land and Knott's Berry Farm, followed by his stumbling into a writing gig on the Smothers Brothers variety show, which led to a long career as a comedy writer for television. The major breakthrough for Martin as a performer came when he decided to throw out anything in his act that wasn't original. This led to a lot of very lean years early on as a lot of people just didn't get he very personal and offbeat comedy routines, but gradually public perception of comedy caught up to Martin and a couple of successful outings on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson led to Martin being asked to host Saturday Night Live. After that he went from playing small clubs and theaters to stadiums, which paradoxically made him rich and famous, but ultimately led to his walking away from stand up comedy because he felt he had lost touch with what made his act work. Also his movie career was just beginning to take off, (His first film, The Jerk, while panned by critics, made a LOT of money.) and that seemed to be a direction that worked better for his personality.
Anyone who remembers Martin's stand up comedy fondly definitely needs to read this book. You'll learn the origins of those famous catch phrases and see how Martin came to his theory of comedy which basically came down to eliminating punch lines and always acting as if he was wildly successful on stage even if he was bombing. Oh, and you'll learn why he always wore suits on stage and particularly white suits. It makes me want to listen to his old comedy albums again. Of course I'd need the albums. And a record player and stuff.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Birthday


So, the birthday. So far so good. I didn't manage to sleep late, but hey, that's just how I am, but I got up and made breakfast and enjoyed several cups of coffee. Then I answered emails and did the usual net stuff. About 9:00 I headed out to Barnes & Noble, then Borders, then Movie Stop. Had a Starbuck's Cinnamon Dulce Latte in there somewhere.
Didn't buy any books but I got several DVDs. I've been enjoying the new Doctor Who series so much I decided to pick up some of the episodes from the original series. I got Logopolis, which was Tom Baker's final episode and Castrolvalva, which was Peter Davidson's first episode, and coincidentally the first episode of Doctor Who I ever saw. And I got The Mark of the Rani, which features two renegade Time Lords, the Master and the Rani, with Colin Baker as the Doctor. Three different Doctors and two extra Time Lords. Can't beat it.
I also picked up the boxed set of the first season of StarGate Atlantis, which Cliff had recommended as something I might like. Used some of the birthday money I got last night when I was out to dinner with my parents, my brother, and his family.
Then I ran a couple of errands, then came back home and watched Logopolis. I enjoyed it. Probably been twenty years since i actually watched one of the old series of Doctor Who. Then I settled down to read Steve Martin's memoir, Born Standing Up. I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm just up to the point where he talks about writing for Television in the 1960s which should be interesting.
Anyway, Trish is on her way up here to take me to dinner, so I have a bit more Birthday celebrating to do. It's been a good day, though. And I didn't waste it.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday Evening Blues

Well it's another one of those Sunday evenings when I look back at the weekend and see that I've accomplished very little. That never makes me happy. I had hoped to do some writing, but aside from a few posts at a friend's RPG board, I didn't do much. Oddly enough, reading back through those posts, I was reminded how my 'hacked out' writing isn't really much worse than my 'serious' writing. With a little editing there wouldn't be any difference. I have the skill set pretty firmly in place now. Of course that also doesn't make me happy because it means I'm an even worse procrastinator than I thought because I've obviously shown that I always CAN write. The words will come if I force them and they won't be bad. So if I can write and don't it must just mean that I've nothing to say. The drive isn't there as it once was. It's not gone. It's just changed.
See, there's the trouble with a sluggish weekend. Too much time for introspection. I should know better. But I didn't have anything really good to read so I just mucked about, watching the extras on my Torchwood DVDs and mindlessly surfing the internet. And now it's Sunday night and all too soon it will be Monday morning and I'll get up and feel bad because I wasted the weekend.
At least I have Tuesday off. Why? Because it's my birthday and I like to take my birthday off when I can. There's nothing overly pressing at work and I have plenty of vacation and my post-debt bank account looks better than it has in years, so hey, I'm taking the day off. Of course I'll probably waste that one too...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Rainy Night in Georgia

If you've been following the news you're probably aware that Georgia is in the middle of a drought. We're short on water and as we go into the summer there will probably be a lot of restrictions on water use. Thus, I was a little surprised that it rained all night. Been a while since we had a long, soaking sort of rain, but it came down hard all night and it's still raining as I type this. What we need is a few weeks of this kind of weather, but hey, we'll take what we can get.