BLOT: (05 Sep 2010 - 12:49:29 PM)
Discussing canonicity in
I suppose I should put up a !!!SPOILER!!! just in case you are interested in reading the three part comic. It's not too many pages, by the way, and you can find it in a graphic novel of the same name (if you are British) or in IDW's
#6 Jamie's Death Scene: My first complain about the comic is how it resolves Jamie. Now old and wizened, treated as crazy and half-mocked, half-ostracized by his fellow Scots, he rushes forward to protect the Doctor, screaming he never wanted to die in his bed, and destroys a piece of equipment only to be killed. Except, well, by destroying the equipment he apparently helps it to function, and so his sacrifice is in vain (the only extra-canon death in any science fiction series I have found more annoyingly staged was Chewbacca's). While letting Jamie go down swinging is a nice touch, I cannot help but think that the lovable and loyal (and one of the longest running, no matter how you count it) companion deserved a bit more fanfare than "crazy old man...DEAD!" Had "The World Shapers" been a five or six part story, it might have worked, given him some time. As it is, feels cheap.
#5 Season 6b Issues and the Mind Trick: In
#4 Contradicts The Tenth Planet: "The World Shapers" contradicts the original serial involving the Cybermen,
#3 The wrong Cybermen: The Cybermen encountered at the end of "The World Shapers" are the model not seen until
#2 The wrong Time Lords: Even the Time Lords are wrong in this one, meddling deeper and waxing more philosophical about how awesome the Cybermen will be. They can arrogant busy-bodies, for sure, but they don't tweak the cosmos for effect; yet, "The World Shapers" has them colluded with helping the Cybermen along because of a potential "Golden Path" pay out some five million years in the future.
#1 Spare Parts was better: Finally, Big Finish's
So, that's my reasoning. I hinted above that there were some changes that could have been made to make me like it. That's true. The "Cybermen will eventually become forces of good and pure reasoning" plot point could have been kept, but that didn't take Marinus turning into Mondas. The Marinus being changed worked, too, and could have just became Planet 14. Jamie's end could have been tweaked. Him returning should have been an event, not just a clerical checkmark. As a whole, the story didn't have to be the "birth of Cybermen" storyline, it could have just been the ascension of Cybers story. Maybe the Cybermen find a planet and put down a battalion. They then activate the world shaper to speed evolution, bypassing thousands of years of research and development, making a new race? Or, more simply, if they had dropped "Mondas" from the picture, the Cybers from this, and later stories (chronologically) could have been a second race, only similar to the first by coincidence (the new series alt-Cybers suggest that their creation is inherent in the human race, not merely the output of a single event).
* Much like my statement about science fiction and literay merits, don't take my disparaging of Frobisher too seriously. I find him an intriguing character, but as of yet haven't read or heard a story with him in it that really shouts "DOCTOR WHO" to me.
** You can find Spare Parts as an about $10 download from Big Finish (or an about $20 CD). The story was at least part inspiration for the Tenth Doctor's "Rise of the Cybermen", up to and including a fee being paid out to Mark Platt for it. Russel T. Davies apparently felt it was one of the finest
TAGS: [Sixth] Doctor Who
BLOT: (03 Sep 2010 - 12:23:01 PM)
Ok, three weeks into the semester. I have stayed, overall, on top of things. Readings are a bit skewed. They always are. With the exception of LS542 (Instructional Design) class, I have not shunted any reading to the side. I am skimming some, getting the gist, and even skipping ahead in others. That sort of thing. It's not like I am being a bad student. I'm just being...off the beaten syllabus, I guess.
Actual assignments are going ok. I posted about my LS502 (Research Methods) problem statement. I've actually updated it from that, but more a thing of balance than character (reflecting a degree of difference between what was written on the assignment and how she described it in class). If you have, for any reason whatsoever, a burning desire to see the updated version: The Retention Factor of Ebooks in an Academic Library Setting. I hope. I'm still getting the hang of sharing documents directly in the new Google Docs system.
Up next, I need to prepare a presentation on astrophysics resources that can be used by librarians. And I need to write a paper on Youtube in the library, as well as a paper on public libraries and school libraries working together. Then I have to make a presentation for the Youtube one. Maybe for the other one. Then, on Tuesday, I have to meet my lab partner and go through practice sessions of chat reference (which, for me, is a little old hat but fun). I have no class on Wednesday night (which is when I will probably do the astrophysics assignment), and no particular assignment due next Thursday, but the following week has the two presentations and three papers. It appears the density equation of academic assignment scheduling has struck again. I know everyone goes through this, where five papers and two choreographed dances are due on the same afternoon and there hadn't been a thing due for the three weeks prior, but I couldn't begin to fathom why professors inexorably dance to that tune. There has to be a time unit which the collective academe unconscious considers appropriate between major assignments, in an way that both Hegel and Kant would have appreciated. "Four weeks? About a month in the class? Yes, perfect for the first long assignment and a presentation!" Times three.
No complaint, mind you, because with a little forward thinking, I just budget the assignments into earlier weeks as possible, and it tends to work out.
Outside of that, my life continues into that dire strait of boringness that I try and warn friends about but I always fail to describe. "What's up, Doug?" a friend might ask, and my answer tends to be, "Nothing". Now, this sounds like self-denigrating politeness, but what I mean is "Nothing that I can make sound interesting to you.". Outside of being in classes, the five most exciting things to happen to me in the past three weeks are:
That's not hyperbole. Or, I guess, hypobole. For the first two weeks of class, I had only a few hours to do anything not related to school or work. In the third week, my free-time hour content has doubled, maybe even tripled, but part of that is spent just staring into the middle distance. In another couple of weeks, I may risk having a social life again. For now, I'm just a cranky old man.
News continues to depress me. I skim it here or there, and then find out about another off-shore drilling platform exploding, about another group claiming to be about freedom but mostly trying to control others that don't think the same, about another failed bill, another promise dropped from the campaign, more stupid rhetoric passed off as legitimate answers, and—within minutes—have to turn it all off. I am managing to keep up my reading-for-fun more than I thought I would, but less than I like. Looks like this will be a good semester to devour graphic novels. I'm not a big YA-lit fan, but I know many of my class-mates read almost exclusively YA-lit, especially when in the middle of the semester, so through their talks I have a small handful of backlogs to get to (including the
TAGS: Me in 2010
BLOT: (03 Sep 2010 - 10:30:35 AM)
According to The Daily Progress, a reading policy banning "sexually explicit" materials in Virginia Prisons has been overturned. What makes this case a little bit giggle worthy is that, rather than argue that reading about some dude's "voluminous lead pipe" "plundering the depths" of some poor virgin's "welcoming bowels"* is some sort of constitutional right protected by God and Thomas Jefferson; they instead went for common, real-world sense.
The regulation forbids explicit descriptions of sexual acts, including "actual sexual intercourse" and sexual acts that violate state or federal law. "But the number of highly regarded books which include a description of actual sexual intercourse is vast," Turk wrote, "Beyond
Ulyssesand Lady Chatterley's Lover," the Court could list dozens of the highly regarded works of literature which include an explicit description of a sexual act or intercourse..."
[Doug's Note: The article goes on to list books, potentially including the Bible, that would be banned but points out that more soft-core books like Playboy would still be protected and available. At least that heathen Penthouse would presumably be banned.]
Prison officials argued that sexually explicit materials "are considered valuable currency and used in bartering" by inmates, and that the possession of such items can lead to theft and fights. [and now for the best bit...] "Particularly with respect to
Ulyssesit is impossible to even imagine prison inmates fighting for the chance to delve into the incredibly difficult to decipher novel, one metaphor-laden scene of which portrays exhibitionist behavior and masturbation," Turk wrote.
Just think, if they are fighting over
* Before you get all "Eww, Doug" or "WHAT? Doug!", just wanted to let you know what that lead pipe plundering welcome bowels scenario was actually in a book we sold at Waldenbooks**. I picked it up one day after I spotted a customer reading it furiously, kind of over in a corner, and that was the page to which it opened "naturally". The "voluminous" might have been poetic license on my behalf, now that I think about it, though.
** No, I don't remember the title, but maybe if you Google the right keywords you can find it. And this page. Oh, God...the perverts that are going to find this entry, now...
TAGS: News, Reading and Censorship
BLOT: (01 Sep 2010 - 03:17:56 PM)
Apparently someone, possibly with explosives strapped to himself, is holding at least one hostage at Discovery Channel's Maryland headquarters, as reported by MSNBC and by NYTimes.com. In elements to make this something a little bizarre, the hostage-taker is most likely an Asian male who goes by "Lee" and has a website (thanks to @vilay on Twitter for the archive.org tip that I totally would have forgotten about) which, amongst other things, calls out Discovery Channel for placating the masses and not having real content about how to prevent Global Warming and Animal Extinction. There is a treatment for a TV show about bringing different inventor sorts and whatnot in to come up with solutions and attack each other's solutions, perhaps something he submitted to Discovery. If you follow the link through the newsstories, you'll see a list of demands he's recently posted. I'll not link directly.
Ratcheting up the bizarre quotient one more time, he also claims to be the mystery guy who threw the thousands of dollars in the air in the Youtube clip Mad Money Dash in Silver Spring, a 2008 stunt that one commenter claims led to his arrest.
Oh, and he just loves Daniel Quinn's
BLOT: (01 Sep 2010 - 11:36:00 AM)
The Melbourne Writer's Festival, or more precisely—Simon Keck with music by Lada Laika—has put together this cute little "10 facts about books you won't read in a book". And sure, the facts are things like how book readers wear glasses so we can see the amazing 3D fight scenes, but I for one am ok with these deep secrets being released into the wild. (original spotted over at theRumpus.net).
TAGS: Book Culture
BLOT: (01 Sep 2010 - 10:04:28 AM)
This isn't laugh out loud funny or anything, but I stared at the
BLOT: (31 Aug 2010 - 06:59:36 PM)
This was an assignment for one of my classes. LS502, which is a Research Methods class for librarians. We were supposed to write about the background of a problem, how we could study it, and what sort of impact that would have. I wrote out quite a bit, was perfectly satisfied, and then saw a note elsewhere about a larger font than what I used and double spacing, and so had to shed about half of reasoning. After about as long as it took me to write it begin with, I finally came up with the slightly less readable version below. It is not a perfect statement, because I didn't have time to really get into exact numbers or cite much background, and the middle section (where the extra length was lost) feels more like a ramble of thoughts than it originally did. However, I like it well enough and it's something to think about.
I thought I would toss this out there, since a few of my readers are in my class or at least curious about them, and this kind of sums up the actual first thing I want to study in the information science field in a more formal wayI. I have a few ideas about methodology, and might try for this Spring or next Summer with starting the first round. If I do carry this on into legitimate research stage, I'll be sure to let you know.
No one is quite so likely to feel the full punch of the digital revolutions as libraries: ebooks cataloged next to hardbound copies, e-journals replacing yearly volumes, JPG folders becoming archives, PDFs taking over microfiche, tags encroaching on subject headings, and XML getting cozy with MARC standards. While for and against camps argue over the nature of books and the meaning of shiny-new-things, practical questions remain: questions of copyright and budgets and access, as well as questions about the impact to the learning environment.
How does the e-revolution change retention rates? How does it affect leaps of intuition and analysis used to learn and develop? How does it change one's ability to critique a document, to spot gaps in information? The current generation of students grew up with or near computers, but were those devices just a plaything? If so, what impact does that have on continued use? Are digital sources even better for the new student? As universities see class readings digitally distributed, and as online programs expand, how is education altered? How do libraries, the repository of these upstartdigital texts, fit into the new campus? What can they do, and what do they need to know, in order to help students and better prepare faculty for the transition?
Initial studies into retention rates can lay down a foundation. Students of varying groups can be given sets of documents, randomly mixed digital and print collections, and then answer questions and have their responses analyzed. This will set the stage for later studies, more complicated, using similar random groups, all of which can help libraries to understand the difference between e-learning and traditional models.
* For those curious, most of my other questions deal with similar ideas. How does digital reference impact a student's ability to follow the advice? How do students, not just librarians, react to changes in online systems? Etc...
TAGS: SLIS Assignments
BLOT: (30 Aug 2010 - 12:18:24 PM)
This is a first for Dickens of a Blog, I think, a cigar review. As many of you know, I'm a pipe smoker. Not a heavy one, but kind of regular. Like many of my pipe-smoking brothers (and rare sister), cigars have become the temptation next door (and several prominent pipe smokers and writers have been seen over in the cigar camp lately). Strong tobacco, fewer utensils to carry, and the "in" thing in a way that pipes just never seem to be. I prefer pipes to cigars, but I do like cigars, especially on the weekends or after long days, when I can sit back for an hour and a half and read or watch some bad horror movie and get completely relaxed. I thought I would add a few reviews into rotation (and I need to get back to reviewing pipes and pipe tobacco, too, which I stopped after my long list of early reviews got deleted). First up, La Flor Dominicana's Cameroon Cabinet #4.
The LFD Cameroon Cabinet comes into three sizes. The #1 I'm assuming is the 44x6.5 and the #5 is the 50x5. I had the #4, which is the 54x6.25. All of them are an aged Ligero Cameroon wrapper (hence the name) with Dominican Binder and a Dominican and Nicaraguan blended filler. Overall feel and pre-light aesthetic is alright, a slightly darker cigar with a mid-tone smell. Doesn't feel like it would take much of a tumble, but not shoddily made. Just sort of lighter than other similarly sized cigars.
The smoking flavor starts out kind of an earthy sweet, maybe a hint of oak. Not a strong, dominant flavor. As it burns down, though, the flavor keeps shifting into an increasingly peppery blend and its strength picks up. The sweetness of the wrapper remains but it intensifies, at least through the first two-thirds (and I'll get to that). This is a common trait of most long-form tobacco, the way that the heat and char play off the more natural elements to create subtle hues and aftertastes, and one of the things I tend to look for in tobacco. It felt more developed here than most, almost like two cigars back to back. I was well pleased with that effect. Its burn is ok. Ashes alright with only a little bit of flake (and almost all due to the binder). The softness of body was prevalent in the smoke, my straight cut sagged more than usual due to the smoking.
My complaint comes from the somewhat uneven burn. Some sections would burn almost too well, zipping through them with lots of smoke. Then it would get to the next section and barely burn at all. I had to relight it three times to get the first two-thirds smoked. It relit well and quick each time but then it went out a third time and I had about a third to go (maybe less) and figured I would call it a night. It was late, I had had a long day, and I had the gist of the cigar in mind.
I paid about $10 for it at Vintage Wine & Cigars in Huntsville, AL's Bridge Street. Prices online look to be about the $8-$10 range. Box buyers make note that it seems to only come in a 50-count box, and those will run you in the $400-$500 price bracket. I liked the smoke, but factoring in its price would rank it somewhere around Good (+0.8) at best with the changing taste, from something like a Virginia sweetness to a more spiced tobacco, being my favorite bit. I have no intention of saddling myself down with 50 of them, though, and would maybe pick up one or two more before they are gone (and they are limited edition). I think I'm going to look for a #5, which should be a more compact version.
BLOT: (30 Aug 2010 - 12:15:35 AM)
If I were an augur, then tonight might not have happened the way it did; but I am little ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. Sarah and I have been wanting to see
This is where the augur bit comes in, those who study the flights of birds to find the will of the gods. On the way to see the movie, a group of Canadian geese decided to cross the road right in front of us. Sarah eventually came to a full stop before one goose in particular sort of shrugged a little and then flew the rest of the way over, like he was pissed that we were stepping on his leisurely stroll across Holmes Ave. It kind of shook Sarah up, because it was a little too close to hitting an animal by a car, and she really doesn't like that sort of thing. Fast forward to the movie theater, a frustratingly flightless bird omen in hand.
We get there early. Not terribly early but maybe a quarter hour. Time to get concessions and stroll to our seats. Except as we are going in, this sort of loud and blustery nervous guy strikes up an abortive conversation with us about how awesome the movie is going to be and how he loves the comics and all that. We sit down in our designated seats. To explain, for those who need it, Monaco Pictures, where we went, has numbered seats you choose from at the time you buy the ticket. Used to be more optional but I think it's standard now. Blustery and loud sits behind us, and beside him is a lady friend of a like character. Both end up with their feet shoved up against the back of our seats, making lack-of-volume-control jokes. About the time we get to show time, and the first trailer is starting up, the place is still mostly empty. There are maybe a dozen people at the showing. I tell Sarah that we should head on back to the corner seats. I have never sat back there at the Monaco, and it was devoid of people (at the time). We head up and plot down somewhere to the left of the screen (as you face it) in seats that are against the back wall and kind of near to where the steps come up and end.
Sure enough, a group of teens come in and when we hear them say "Oh, but that's OUR seats." It's not for sure we were the only ones in the way. There was another couple about three seats down from us that almost had to be in the way, as well, if that entire crowd of teens had planned on sitting in one row. Still, I was willing to get up and move and was about to do so when another couple of "But OUR seats" remarks were made and they sat down in some seats in front of us. Ok. Screw it. Had they asked, would have moved for sure. They didn't clarify it was definitely us and swung for passive aggressive methods instead. Not playing it. Too old. Too tired. Get off my lawn, kids.
Round two occurs when two guys dressed in black shirts and black shorts come up into the second or third trailer and start making a big deal about counting the rows. One of the girls jumps up and says "but someone was in our seats" and the guys go "Oh, well, we'll sit back here" and then sit down next to us. Note, they are one row behind where they would have been, in a theater that isn't all that big, but they started saying something about "Don't see why they have to take it out on us" and started, just slightly, to glare a little mine and Sarah's way before I returned the favor and they hushed and stared ahead. I'm thinking it's time for us to go back to our original seats and just put up with the seat kicking loud and blustery when that dude, still talking loud enough for us to hear him, gets pushed over because he is sitting in someone else's designated seat. It's a night for it, and by the way, the guy who got him to move was agitated enough for the rest of us to hear.
Then round three occurs, the decisive round. A mom comes in with her two kids and glares at the teens. She first sits down in the lower seats (close to where Sarah and I were originally) and then jumps up and starts stomping up the steps towards the teens, holding her tickets up like a badge and staring straight at a girl in black. The girl jumps up and starts pointing and saying something about them also losing their seats so Sarah goes "Eep, let's move". I'm thinking it's time to get away from what appears to be an increasingly odd and powder-kegged situation, and so we get up. Sarah's first instinct, God bless her, is to walk down the steps right through the fussing crowd. I grab her arm, say "Oh, nope", and snatch her the other way, and without being seen by the tangle, we get out of that Gaza strip of a back-left theater seat corner and return into our original seats.
By the time we have resettled after scooting around the other way away from the contested area, there is another group added in, making three groups standing around in a fuss about the seats. The men-in-black-shorts seem to stick to their refuge camp one row back. The group of teens seem determined to stick to their new arrangement which is a little more organic and actually allows them to talk more anyhow. The mom I don't see again after everyone quiets down, so I'm guessing she found someplace to sit up there. The fourth group, third group standing, which was a small handful men in white polo shirts, end up coming down to sit in the row in front of us.
And wouldn't you know it, well after the movie has started, people who had seemingly chosen those seats would come in, and would glare a second before they went and found a place.
That's how Sarah and I, moving to avoid an annoying guy in a mostly empty theater, ended up causing a dozen people to get their night out of whack without meaning any harm. The most amazing of the night might have been that no one, and I do mean no one dared to take the beef up with us, outside of the teen girl who mentioned someone was in her seat, but not even in our direction. One of the guys from the fuss-tangle walked by Sarah and me during the movie and sort of glared, and I just smiled at him and he looked away. And as we were leaving after the movie, the original teens were sitting around talking about "I don't know what happened, it was happening when I got there!" which I assume, again, was about us because the started to hush up as we walked past.
Sarah and I have been to Monaco and have had people in our seats and we've always just shifted over one or two. Sure we go to see a lot of mid-filled matinees where the chance of being in someone's seat seems kind of low, but we never really thought of it being a big deal. For the mom it was a really big deal.
My biggest regret, really, was assuming that loud-and-bluster was worthy of avoidance just because he was trying to be friendly before the movie started. I feel bad about that. I've seen my brother Danny do that sort of thing, just talk to strangers like they are human being and have people get weirded out by him. And it can be kind of weird and off-putting. I'm not saying he is right to do it like that, it's just...well, from experience I know that he just wanted to connect with someone and I handled it poorly. Had I not made that assumption (feet kicking the back of my chair aside) then the rest wouldn't have happened. In the end, he would randomly talk in an outside voice about something trivial and once or twice kind of killed a joke by commenting on it, but he never did it mean-spiritedly and it seemed to make him really happy to do so. And there you go, augurs-to-be, that's what a goose in the middle of the road means. Obstinance when you are out of place will lead to frustration and quacking, even if the other people aren't really willing to be irate enough about it work up a proper fuss.
To add to the surreality of the event, by the way, one of the neighboring screens was showing some documentary about Nick Saban, and had a large crowd of old people in University of Alabama jerseys and shirts wandering outside of our screen's door. Then, adding crazy to weird pies, another group of Canadian geese were wondering across a different stretch of road on our way home. This time Sarah shouted out of the window, "MOVE YOU STUPID GEESE!" and a couple quacked angrily at her. I'm sure that was goose language for "HEY, I'M WALKING HERE!"
Written by Doug Bolden
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