March 2004 Archives

Time Keeps on Slippin'

I've been befuddled about the date all month long, and I only just now realized it's because my watch is not Y2K4 compliant-- it got flummoxed by the leap day. Really, how much more expensive could it possibly be to make a digital watch aware of the year so that this wouldn't happen? The world went into a panic over the Y2K bug, but nary a peep about this. Where's Brian Stossel's investigative report on the perils of non-self-adjusting wristwatches? I was running around out of phase with the rest of humanity for almost four weeks. Four weeks! And nobody said anything. I'd tell you if you had spinach in your teeth. Harumph. Some friends.

Comment (1) | last by Chris Lemon, Mar 25, 3:04 PM

Busy Busy Busy

There are a number of things I've been meaning to blog about-- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (brilliant), the Microsoft Puzzle Hunt I played in this weekend (seriously flawed but with some very nice components), the Stargate SG-1 season finale (deus ex machina), and more-- but I'm insanely busy with half a dozen irons in the fire all converging on early April, and I'm a wee bit stressed about it. I've got my country's five hundredth anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped.

So apologies if I'm a mite uncommunicative-- I'm trying to keep up my Joementum.

Comments (4) | last by dana, Mar 28, 1:57 PM

Brillig, Schmillig

In preparation for an Alice-themed puzzle hunt this coming weekend, I finally read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. And let me say this: What the f*ck?

It's not just that there's no story to speak of. It's not just that the characters are thin, or that Alice herself is a nattering idiot. What surprised me the most was the poor quality of Carroll's prose. His verse is terrific, but his prose is just awful. Rambling, loose, all over the map, it completely failed to draw me in. Even the wordplay was amateurish. And to top it all off, the brilliant Jabberwocky doesn't even show up until the sequel.

Ugh. I'm crushingly disappointed. Alice in Wonderland! Lewis Carroll! You were supposed to be this colossus; you were this great legendary thing. Only... not so much. Phooey.

Comments (6) | last by George, Apr 4, 8:26 PM

It kills me that the tribe with the most likable players-- Kathy, Lex, Ethan-- is the one that keeps losing, while the unappealing snakes on Chapera roll merrily along.

I thought the immunity challenge this week was pretty lame. A good team challenge involves teamwork, and this was just a series of individual efforts. Burnett can do better.

Meanwhile... what was Jerri thinking? The number one rule of Survivor must be this: never stick your neck out. Volunteering to be the tribe's representative in an immunity challenge is a no-win scenario. If you win the challenge your team avoids tribal council, but the following week your good work is long forgotten. If you lose the challenge, you're the scapegoat. When the tribe asks for volunteers for an immunity challenge, it's time to take a slight step backward. Unless, of course, you feel you have nothing to lose-- in which case you're better off taking your fate into your own hands. Perhaps Jerri thought she was next in line. And clearly, she might have been. But she got lucky-- Lex continued to be stupid, voting off yet another human shield. I don't know what he's thinking. When the tribes finally merge, who the heck does Lex think the former Chaperas are going to think is the biggest threat left on Mogo Mogo? Shii-Ann? Please. I like Lex, but he started playing the individual game far too soon, and it's going to bite him.

Comment (1) | last by Scott Hardie, Mar 18, 7:42 AM

Devil in the Details

I get annoyed when movies and television shows dabble in my areas of expertise and get the details wrong-- especially when getting them right would have been so easy. Case in point: last night's Stargate: SG-1.

The opening shot is of O'Neill shaving in his bathroom mirror. Clipped to the mirror is a cryptic crossword puzzle. We know it's a cryptic for two reasons: the grid is a cryptic-style grid, with words intersecting at every other letter instead of on every letter; and the title of the page is "CRYPTIC CROSSWORD" (aside: because I'm a geek, I freeze-framed to see what the entries in the grid were. The clues were too small to read and the entries were difficult to discern, but it was pretty clear that they made no sense. Most of the filled-in answers weren't even words).

A few minutes later O'Neill triumphantly hands the completed grid to Carter, with whom he had a bet about being able to complete it. From Carter's reaction, it's obvious O'Neill's blown it (explaining the nonsense entries?). Specifically, Carter says, "The clue for 29 across is 'Atomic weight of Boron.' The answer is TEN. You wrote FAT." That's not a cryptic clue, that's a traditional crossword clue. That clue would never have been part of the puzzle we saw.

In England, a "crossword" is a cryptic crossword, while an "American crossword" is the kind with which we're more familiar. Is the same true in Canada? Was this a case of the script-- written by an American-- calling for a "crossword puzzle", not realizing that the term would mean something different to the Vancouver prop team?

Comments (2) | last by greg, Mar 14, 12:45 AM

Fun with Audio

April Winchell is an L.A.(?) radio personality with an impressive collection of funky audio clips. Among my favorites:

Love Me Do by The Brady Bunch.
You're So Vain by... Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. Oh, the exquisite pain!
Mission Impossible / Norwegian Wood. No, not a medley-- they're merged into one. And apparently, it won a Grammy.
Yellow Submarine by Milton Berle. Oh. My. God.
Stairway to Gilligan's Island

and this one, especially for Dana. Who am I kidding, this'll be on my answering machine soon enough too.

Update: Apparently April's host doesn't allow deep-linking, so to visit these links you must copy them into your address bar (for Internet Explorer users, right-click on the link, select Copy Shortcut, then right-click in your address bar and select Paste).

Comments (3) | last by dana, Mar 13, 12:22 PM

Trivia: Have we ever seen a combined immunity/reward team challenge before? I don't remember one off-hand, and as rewards go this one was huge.

I'm not sure I like Lex's betrayal of Colby last night. Colby had a point-- the game's still a team game, and until that changes you want your strongest members to stay. If Colby's a threat to Mogo Mogo, you can be sure Chapera will also see him as a threat. Lex's smarter move was to keep Colby around as a shield, counting on him to take the first bullet from Chapera. All Lex did was move himself a little higher on the hit list once the merge arrives.

Mogo Mogo seems to be imploding, increasing the chances that the final four will come from Chapera. And with the exception of Rupert, there's really nobody there I want to see in the final four. I'll grudgingly admit that Rob is earning his spot, but I still don't like the guy.

My fingers are crossed that Kathy will figure out a way to use this crossover experience to her advantage down the road.

Comment (1) | last by Travis Eberle, Mar 12, 10:00 PM

Mad Mad House

SciFi premiered a new reality show last night. Mad Mad House put a dozen people-- many of whom are devout Christians-- into a gothic mansion occupied by a witch, naturalist, "modern primitive", "vampire", and voodoo priestess. They're asked to participate in the rituals of these "Alts", who vote one guest out of the house each week.

Is this Joe Schmo 2? Because a joke's being played on someone. The guests immediately wondered if the Alts were just actors. If they weren't actors before, they certainly are now-- each is playing their archetype to the hilt. They talk a lot about how open their guests are (or aren't) to new experiences and ideas, but the casting was so obviously canted towards the closed-minded that the whole affair comes off as too carefully contrived.

Just how bad is Mad Mad House? They couldn't even afford a proofreader. In close-captioning the speech of a houseguest, they misspelled "guarantee". I can live with a vampire or a witch, but not an illiterate producer.

Comments (2) | last by TaraDonsBiggestFan, Apr 16, 6:58 AM

Sue Sue Sudio

The camera never gave us a good angle of Hatch's shenanigans, so it's hard to judge Sue's reaction. Not that that'll stop us, naturally. Was Hatch a puerile jackass? Absolutely. Should someone on the production staff have thrown up a red flag on the idea of someone participating in a contact challenge naked? Hell yeah. But Sue was fully clothed. It's doubtful there was any skin-on-skin contact. For someone who peed on a raft in the presence of her tribemates, suddenly she's awfully prickly about privates. And Hatch is gay. He clearly wasn't making any sexual advances. He and Sue have known each other for years. He probably thought he was just taunting her and being cute. He was wrong, and I can see how Sue might have been uncomfortable or disgusted. But violated? Dehumanized?

Hatch was wrong, and had he not been voted out that night there'd be a good case to boot him anyway. But Sue's reaction seems grossly disproportionate to the offense.

On with the game.

Update: I just rewatched last week's challenge on the Survivor web site. When Sue came to the final platform, she had two choices of how to proceed. Her teammates urged her to hurry up and take the lefthand route, but she demurred saying, "No, I want this one"-- meaning the route Richard Hatch was using to come toward her. Not only could she have taken the other path, she should have-- it was vacant. She chose instead to wait for Richard, forcing the two of them to squeeze by each other. Are there legitimate reasons for her to have made that choice? Sure. But it smells fishy. She put herself in Richard's path when she needn't have. She knew he was naked. That sounds like assumption of risk to me. There's lots of blame to spread around here, but some of it is definitely Sue's.

Comment (1) | last by Scott Hardie, Mar 5, 2:07 AM

Marquee Power

How many movie titles can you identify? How about these? Oh, think you're good, eh? Well then... suck on these!

Note: You can fill in multiple boxes and then hit submit once for all of them.

Comments (5) | last by Peter, Mar 8, 1:06 AM

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