Wednesday, March 04, 2015

A Heinlein Film?

     Hollywood's taking on The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress again, after the first two tries melted away in Development Hell.  Jose Molina (late of Firefly) had written a script a few years ago, but his name's nowhere to be seen on this incarnation.

     Will Tinseltown mess it up, if indeed the project moves forward?  It's a big, complicated story with a number of elements that are still mostly Big Science.  Molina's script, a sympathetic treatment by a guy who knew the source material, was drastically simplified and featured an old-fashioned printing press for set dressing and a showdown battle with the Warden, so, yeah, I think we can count on it.  If we're lucky, they'll get the look of the places right and maybe even the HOLMES IV, but I wouldn't expect more than that.  Update: Expect less.

     One of the biggest problems with efforts to put SF books on film is that as a general rule "movie" does not equal "novel."  "Novella," maybe, and a short one at that.  The best TV SF and fantasy programs got this right; many a classic Twilight Zone or Tales Of Tomorrow* episode is based on a short or even short-short story.  The movies aim higher -- and nearly always fall short.  Philip K. Dick's work makes it onscreen well -- changed, but it works.  Past that, I can't think of any SF films-from-SF-stories that are really worth watching outside of Destination Moon -- and it's become a period piece.
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* TOT is not up to TZ's standard. The sets are often hokey; the acting is frequently not of the highest caliber; the old kinescopes are rough.  But it's almost the only other place you'll find classic SF from the likes of Kornbluth and Sturgeon on the screen.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Better!

     Wow, the difference modern meds and a decent night's sleep -- almost a night and a half, in fact -- makes!  But now I gotta git: Mother Nature decided to ice up the roads this morning, making me just one of what the Network TV News tells me is over 125 million in the U.S. under some kind of weather Watch or Warning.  We need to grow thicker skins -- and start settling some other planets.  The domed-over or dug-in cities with central heating, air-conditioning and air renewal are looking better and better.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Yes, I'm Here, Patient 0.1β Of The Zombie Apolocalypso

     Went into work at 0230, went to the doc-inna-box after I got home, and have just now returned from the pharmacy.

     The schedule alone would send most people up the Zombezi at the helm of a padiddle,* or at least wanting to stock up on brains, and being sick on top if it is more than a mere garnish.  Picked up something nasty during my ailment weekend before last and now I've got two weeks of big ol' capsules to take -- and some little pills, to boot.  Ain't modern medicine grand?  Ain't havin' to call on it lousy?
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* I debated leaving you hanging, but okay, grab an eyepatch and off ya go!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

That's Enough Winter, Okay?

     Dishes being swept out:


     Me after the first round of sweeping:

     Followed by getting the half-dozen sat dishes on the roof (fifteen-foot ladder climb!) and another round through the five at ground level a few hours later.
     Sure, sometimes it's kinda pretty.  Don't care.  I'm over winter.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

No DHS Funding? No Problem!

     Here's the solution for the borders, right?
     Right.

Too Many Departures

     My baby brother is back with his most recent girlfriend and they've become extremely serious -- he's leaving town to be with her.  Other than my Mom, that's it for immediate family in the area for me.

     His is the only really happy leave-taking of the past week.  Two radio/TV engineers I had worked with passed away this last week, 93-year-old "Doc" Arnett and Charlie Sears, long the transmitter engineer for WTTV, which for decades was the independent station in central Indiana, a kind of regional "superstation" along with lines of WGN or WTBS.  Charlie was an active electronics hobbyist and in local years, we often crossed paths at hamfests and Indiana Historical Radio Society meetings. He taught me (and a lot of other radio-crazy kids) at least two of the three different ways to coil up a mic cable so it didn't have any kinks, twists or knots in it.   He was 81.   "Doc" Arnett was the epitome of small-market engineers; he was the local two-way radio tech and ran that business from his home in his free time.  He had designed the pleasant, functional studio/transmitter facility for the station that was his main employer, a very clever setup that recovered heat from the transmitter and other equipment to heat the building and used internal hallways to sound-isolate the studios from one another.  He appeared to be pushing 150 when I met him back in 1977, but never acted it; in the short time I worked there, I saw him do everything from fix the transmitter to replace everything in the production studio, from the electronics to installing a new Formica top on the 1940s-vintage studio desk. When radio changed and his station was bought by its across-town competitor, Doc moved with the times and kept right on working.

     And one more, bittersweet departure: Bill "Super" Shirk, longtime presence in Indianapolis radio, will work his last on-air shift today.   Bill is best known for his two daytime-only AM stations, the former WERK in Muncie, IN and WXLW here in Indianapolis.  Both were Top 40 in their heyday and under Bill's management, were outstanding stations that exerted a disproportionately-strong influence on how radio was done in this region.  Bill's retiring, after a long career as owner, DJ -- and escape artist.

     Some days I feel old; I look back across the years and wonder how I ever got so far from such a tiny start.  --'Cos I was helped up by giants, is why.

Friday, February 27, 2015

...And When I Rule The World....

     If I was a zillionaire, I'd buy the little New Hampshire town where the first votes are cast in national elections* and rename it "Rising Gorge."
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* Which is already named "Dixville Notch," a pretty close analogy to the process as it stands.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

You Know What I Hate?

     Self-entitled jerks, for one thing.  Like the guy who walked in front of me on my way home from work last night.

     Indiana law and Indianapolis ordinances are pretty clear: if a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk when traffic approaches, the pedestrian has the right of way.  And if the crossing has signal, a pedestrian is not supposed to start crossing unless the WALK light is on.  Seems pretty clear, right?  Solves the problem of getting caught in the middle when the light changes, even.  Conversely, if you choose to cross against the lights or outside the crosswalk, you're on your own, bub; the law will not shield you from your folly.

     So picture me entering a block in my car on a green light.  There's another light at next intersection and it's green, too.  It's a one-way street four lanes wide and I was one lane in from the farthest left.  Needed to turn left two blocks on, so I looked, signaled, pulled out -- and hit my brakes.  Two or three car-lengths up, a fellow carrying a sandwich was doing an Eliza-crossing-the-ice through traffic and stepped right out in front of me.  He never broke step, but shook a fist at my car and yelled "Heads up!" at me as I came to an abrupt stop.  I'm afraid I may have uttered something less than complimentary in return as I got underway.

     City blocks aren't that big.  Flesh and bone isn't that strong.  Play dodgem with a ton or more of moving steel, or walk to the damn light and wait?  It seems like simple math. 

     Some people don't want to work it out except in person.  Besides, you wouldn't dare hit them, would you?

     Sure wouldn't want to, mister -- but if I'd still been driving my old car, we might've both had a much worse evening, and not for any lack of trying to avoid it on my part.

     Have a nice day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Difficult Mission

     Why modern fads don't always fare well in warfare:

     "Men, today we're going up against the enemy's Very Special Forces.  I don't need to tell you how difficult this is going to be, but remember, we fight them almost just as we would any other of the enemy's troops!  --Now, don't make our victory look too easy, all right?  These lads may not be quick as most on the uptake but remember, they have feelings and they're going to feel just terrible if we round them all up in the first fifteen minutes.  Okay, lets go out there and make them think they're giving us one hell of a fight!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Better now...

    Still not one hundred percent.  Spent most of yesterday in bed; found Facebook is a good fit with feeling poorly: wait five minutes and it's a whole new mess!  Reflects the world, I expect.

     Still don't know what I had -- either food poisoning or some kind of bug.  Whatever it was, Tam didn't get it.  (My main suspects at present are some goofy powdered eggnog mix, chili-lemon rice crackers and "organic" cranberry juice, just about the only things I had Sunday that Tam didn't.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sixteen Hours Of Misery Later

     I don't know what happened.  Yesterday, Tam and I had essentially the same thing for breakfast and supper, give or take her grown-up gin-and-tonic and my noon snack of Reese's Cups.

     About nine -- call it 21-sleepy -- last night, I started getting a tummy ache and in short order, was exhibiting the symptoms of norovirus (you won't mind if I skip the details?) along with chills and localized abdominal pain.  It just got worse and worse.  I tried to lay down and sleep through the worst of it, but I hurt too much.    Standing and walking weren't a whole lot better and I was having to take frequent visits down the hall.  Around midnight I got some relief soaking in a hot bathtub for a little while and managed to fall asleep for nearly a half an hour.  Dried off, wrapped up in a towel and promptly found myself "calling dinosaurs."  They seemed to take a lot of calling.  Tummy pains were bad enough that Tam suggested I'd better go to the hospital.  I would have, too, but if it was norovirus, I would just be delivering a highly contagious and incurable aliment to a building full of sick people, which is a lousy trick.  So I resolved to see if the pain (not a typical noro symptom) and chills were going to get worse.

     From there until about ten this morning, I never got more than 45 minutes rest and never really got warm, despite turning the electric blanket up to "MAX."   I fell asleep at ten a.m., still hurting and feeling wretched.  Tam tried to wake me an hour later and couldn't.  (She was headed to the store.)

     Woke up fifteen minutes ago.  Still a little chilled but not hurting.  What a relief!  Just had a mug of weak tea and a slice of buttered toast.  Hoping it'll stay with me.

     Sheesh.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lazy Person's Snow

     That's what we had, snow for the lazy -- wet enough to stick together, dry enough to not be terribly heavy by the shovel-full, and then temperatures warmed up enough yesterday to melt the snow away where it had been cleared.
     Kind of pretty, too.

     This is a placeholder, prior to shoveling the walks: when there's more  light, I'll snap an "after" to pair with it.
     After:

     Back into the deepfreeze now, so it's good thing I shoveled when I did.  Four below tonight and tomorrow night, single-digit daytime highs, and then a long slow climb that won't get above freezing until next week.