Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Accidental Retourist

Subject: Noir
Well, I can't say that I'm actually going to manage a full Noir marathon, but I'm through disc 2 already and I'm up for a little bit more, at least.

It all started when I decided to see if my new BluRay player would upconvert DVDs any better than my very 'spensive Denon would. The verdict is that it's very close. The audio is definitely lamer, but that's because it's depending on my cheaper amp to decode it, I figure. The picture isn't bad -- it doesn't comb at all, though it seems to lose a little bit of cohesion in the details. I think my 'spensive Denon is probably still the winner (until I get the super-'spensive Denon BluRay player... someday...)

Tech-weenie stuff aside, all I did was sample a couple of scenes from Noir that I knew were troublesome, and here I am about to get 3 discs into the thing. It must mean that it's been waaay too long since I watched it. Go figure.

And go figure that I have some pasta and pasta-related-program-activities on deck for a little more "Le Grande Retour" -ing... not that I'm committing to that course of action, but y'know, a little bit of MADLAX wouldn't hurt right about now either.

UPDATE: Well, go figure, but I started falling asleep right in the middle of Chloe's Big Hello (damn this no-caffiene regimin!), so a full-blown "Le Grande Rewatch" is currently non-operative. I might randomly pick through a few different episodes for old times' sake, but right now, I guess I'm just not up for it. Oh well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ashes on Mars

Subject: TV
I've been watching the American remake of Life On Mars this season, and I guess it's okay. It does a great job with the whole "period detail" like it's BBC predecessor, though it doesn't quite come across as believable. Mainly because the performances, though okay, feel a little to "earnest", like they're smirking at the in-joke themselves instead of letting the material do the smirking for itself.

It's still entertaining enough, and it has it's moments, but I had been feeling a little nostalgic about the original. And coincidentally, I somehow stumbled on a little bit of news I had totally missed: back in March, the BBC aired a sequel to Life On Mars called Ashes to Ashes! No wai!

Thanks to the power of the internets, I've just taken a peek at the first of the 8 episode season. And sure enough, it's 100% sequel. The police psychologist who interviewed Sam at the end of season 2 gets shot and sent back to 1981, with, you guessed it, Gene Hunt and the gang. In full 80's fashion and atmosphere. And music! (I have a crazy soft spot for that, go figure)

I'm travelling again this week (a little business, a little family), so I won't get a chance to watch more just yet, but I'm looking forward to the time that I can. Plus season 2 will be out sometime in 2009, so it won't be too long a wait to keep it going.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Subject: Soapbox
Well, now that the hoopla is over with, and no matter how vague (or symbolic) you feel the campaign sloganeering central tenet of the victor actually is, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be "change" afoot. Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be imperceptible, maybe it will be totally mismatched with any expectations you've projected on to the outcome.

Just understand this: if there's any particular "change" that you want, just sitting back and hoping for it now that the election is done won't actually change anything. Being a lone voice sternly tapping keyboard keys on blogs and messageboards won't actually change anything. To get anything done, you'll have to join coalitions, form movements, inspire and lead others. You know, work at it.

For me right now, I'm a bit focused on personal changes. I'm considering dropping my long-held psuedonym and working future projects under my real name. My "branding" (as much as I loathe the term and it's ramifications) needs an overhaul and a focus. The "Kineska" brand in particular needs to find it's way back to something beyond drunken anime ranting.

Which will probably be easier to achieve, because health changes pretty much dictate that my PWI days are over. Besides this run-in with acid reflux, I've found out that I have likely inherited my father's liver condition. It's sitting there, dormant, like a bomb waiting to go off once I turn 50. Because this disease is so rare, there's no real solid proof that lifestyle and diet changes have any real effect. The damage may already be done. But knowing what I know about what it will be like after that bomb goes off, it seems like a no-brainer to me.

It's also going to focus me on something that has previously been an abstraction for me up to this year: health care. Now I join the legions of people with a "pre-existing condition", and that pretty much ties me to my job and my existing (and deteriorating) health insurance benefits. If I try to go indie, or switch careers, or lose my job otherwise (did I mention my company announced 3000 layoffs the other week?), then the likelihood of finding any kind of affordable coverage is substantially poorer. There are a lot of advantages my current coverage and access probably have over socialized and single-payer systems, but at the rate that's being eroded due to my company cutting it's expenses and commitments, that's not saying much. I'll have to do a lot of work evaluating the comparative risks.

Nothing's going to change overnight. But change must happen, because the alternatives are rather dire.