We got to the hotel along with Billy Tucci. The driver took the slightly scenic route, which gave Caroline a lovely look at London.
We took naps of various length since Peter had been up 36 hours straight, had dinner, walked around a bit and then went back to the hotel to tuck in for the night. Peter and I went downstairs and met up with various people that we know and met a number of people including Jonathan Ross who introduced us to a bunch of other people. We had fun talking about all kinds of subjects. Peter and I then dropped by a convention function and again talked to people that we knew and met new people. So we went back to the room having met a whole bunch of new people.
We got up at a reasonable hour and processed to the convention. Peter spent the day signing autographs and talking to people. Caroline earned money drawing various characters. I had fun with the War Doctor puppet and did some crowd control at Peter’s table so that the other tables could let the customers get to them. It was a long day. Caroline got a little overwhelmed so I took her back to the room for a break. We had dinner with the always wonderful JK Woodward and made a bunch of new friends. Over all a very nice day with lots of people who walked away happy. I got to say thank you to people who helped us out last year in our time of need. The convention has been lovely to us.
I am grateful that the first day went so well.
I doubt somehow that it’s the actual one worn by John Simm, but TBH even if it was all I care about is that it won’t bloody fit *me*.
This is almost as annoying as when I found the exact fucking Eccleston Dr Who jacket a year or two back except that it was a fucking *small*!
We've had warmth and light, then sudden cloudbursts, then back to blue and gold, all in the course of a few hours.
Happy bibliophiles are out for a wander; tourists are dropping in for a minute and staying for hours. I like Saturdays.
Oh well, good thing I don't like the taste of alcohol anyway.
I had this great idea about a week ago: Tired of paying outrageous fees for cable television, I decided it was time to “cut the cord.”
Of course, I still wanted to see all my favorite shows. And be able to record them. But I didn’t want to pay TiVo’s monthly fees — after all, ending monthly fees was to be the whole point of this effort.
I jumped online and did some research. At first, I thought it would be easy. All I’d need would be an amplified digital antenna to pull in HD signals over the air, and a subscription-free DVR to record the content. Then I could cut my cable TV package and ramp up my Internet service, and still come out ahead in a relatively short period of time.
But then I saw the potential of adding AppleTV to the mix, to leverage my house full of Apple hardware. It wouldn’t cost that much more; so, why not?
But now I had a dilemma. With so many worthy peripherals in the living room, to which one would I connect the Ethernet hard line I had planned to run from the router in my office to the entertainment center in the living room?
Easily fixed, I decided. For a small additional cost, I could add an Ethernet switch, and then my Blu-ray player, PS3, AppleTV, and new subscription-free DVR would all have hard-wired cat6a gigabit Ethernet connections. Problem solved, right?
When I started diagramming my planned new data network (because I’m that kind of OCD), I realized that my TV has only two HDMI inputs, both of which are already in use. The new DVR and AppleTV only offer HDMI outputs. What was I to do now?
Obviously, I needed to add a new HD A/V amplifier/receiver. Of course, the new receiver would not be compatible with my 22-year-old speakers (which are currently connected to my 22-year-old stereo receiver). So I’d need new speakers, too.
Did my problems end there? Of course not.
Next, I realized my first-generation Mac Pro desktop computer is too antiquated to run the requisite OS and software to interact with AppleTV. If I were to upgrade just the Macbook Pro laptop, there’s a risk it would no longer be able to “talk” to the desktop tower.
Figuring I was due for a system upgrade after six years, I looked into buying a new Mac Mini with a 2TB Airport Time Capsule, and an external 3TB Thunderbolt array. Pretty snazzy. Despite the expense, I was starting to get excited.
Then I realized that my 30-inch Apple Cinema HD display isn’t compatible with the Mac Mini (or any Mac made since 2009). I would need to add an adapter. A $100 adapter, which might or might not work once linked into a Thunderbolt device chain.
At some point in my diagramming, I remembered that I would need to buy new cables. Lots of cables. Ethernet cables, USB cables, HDMI cables, Thunderbolt cables.
When the dust settled, I crunched the numbers.
By “cutting the cord” on my overpriced cable subscription, and making some much-needed changes to my and my wife’s iPhone plans, we could realize one-year savings of more than $2,500.
Unfortunately, the initial cost outlay in hardware and software (with tax and shipping) for my new data network and computer was just over $3,600. It would take nearly 18 months to amortize the new capital expenses and begin “sticking it to the man.”
So the next time you wonder why more people don’t just “cut the cord” on cable, it might be related to the sticker shock that comes with making the cut.
Mirrored from davidmack.pro/blog.
The last two weeks have been intense and I have been so preoccupied with things that this thing called leisure time feels ephemeral. Still, Deb is out at an event and I actually have an evening to clear the decks a bit and want to ruminate over what has been going on.
Things at school continue to be a never-ending assortment of amusing and maddening, stressful and enlightening. The classes have been chugging along with nary an interruption for a while now which has certainly helped. Our third quarter, already the shortest given the fewest breaks, is even shorter thanks to snow days so it feels compacted and already drawing to a close in two weeks.
My 9th graders have been working with To Kill a Mockingbird and I’ve begun giving quizzes because without them, many seem incapable of making reading the novel a priority. As a result, they are coming every few days as a quick check of understanding. This week it was clear they were reading it lightly, not taking the time to absorb the setting and characters. At their request, I produced a character chart for them to work with.
They continue to be eager to see the film but I am doling it out in chunks after we analyze and explore the prose first. Yesterday, I showed the second section and in many cases, I had to pause the film because they talked through it. One complained it was boring because there was no action to which I suggested he take the film appreciation elective and expand his thinking.
They have a set of 15 thoughtful prompts for journaling because I need them to focus on their writing a bit more. The last set of essays demonstrated a basic weakness in depth and clarity. We’ll see what happens when these flood in as we conclude the novel in the next two weeks.
My 11th graders put Frederick Douglass behind them and we briefly touched on Walt Whitman and Mark Twain before diving into Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. What’s interesting here is that we don’t have a curriculum or it. I am making it up on the fly, taking bits of pieces from online material so this is truly a unique unit. We began it this week and I am already frustrated because I am trying to tie their thinking from 11th grade social
studies to the time of the novel, 1899, and am getting way too many blank looks. Today’s discussion on the role of women at the time was a step in the right direction.
And we’re already looking ahead. This week I made recommendations for summer reading and we tweaked what I will likely be teaching in the fall. With Creative Writing, I need to determine what my material needs will be so they can go into the department budget. I’ve also had the sad duty of compiling the numbers on 9th graders likely to repeat English 9 next year. Mine match those of my fellow 9th grade teacher so I know it’s them and not me so that’s some comfort.
I’ve also continued to gain the trust of students as more confide in me and turn to me for help. In one case, during anti-bullying week, a girl came and showed me a series of nasty texts she was receiving from an anonymous source. We got it taken care of and she was relieved.
Planning from scratch, an abundance of professional development and a ton of tests, essays, and classwork have snowballed into a time-consuming monster that I am only now taming. My goal is to be planned out a unit at a time, then a week’s worth of lessons at a shot complete with handouts, then each day or two, I can refine and modify based on what’s been going on. With that handled, I am slowly taming the monstrous pile of papers so am just now beginning to feel atop of things.
No doubt that will change once I remember PD homework or something new creeps up and surprises me.
by Matthew Kressel.
As most writers know, finding the perfect place to write is almost as challenging as writing itself. Of course, some will say that there is no perfect place to write. That you must write everywhere and anywhere you can. Perhaps that’s true. But for anyone who has ever tried to write in a crowded coffee shop, with babies screaming, people on cell phones, and the guy in the table beside you who keeps sniffling and smells like he put on too much cologne this morning — well, I’d say that some spots are better than others.
I used to write in my living room / office nook, which for most of the day is about as dark as a cave. But since I use the same computer for my day job stuff as a web designer / programmer, I found it was best to separate the two locations. So I wrote in the kitchen, on the hard wooden chairs. That’s where I finished the final draft of “The Sounds of Old Earth,” which is now up for a Nebula Award. You would think that I’d stay put, since the location appears to have worked in my favor.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Sons of Mogh"
And watching this episode again has also revealed something that I never really noticed before. Every time Worf has been forced to swallow shit in order to preserve the empire, he’s the one who’s been the honorable Klingon while others have been less than honorable. Worf has always been the ideal Klingon because he’s never had to live with the day-to-day realities of the Klingon Empire. Safe in the Federation, he can afford to be ideal because he doesn’t have to deal with the compromises of real life.
In this episode, Ronald D. Moore magnificently turns that on its ear. Kurn is the one who is the pure Klingon here. He has served his people with distinction, been a captain, a member of the High Council, part of a noble House—and all it’s gotten him is stuck on a Bajoran space station with a bottle in one hand and a disruptor in the other. He castigates Worf for not fighting off Dax and Odo when they stop the Mauk-to’Vor ritual, for living in comfort (a rerun of their conversation about being at ease on the Enterprise in “Sins of the Father”), for letting his human judgment impair his Klingon honor. It’s Worf who is finally compromised, Worf who finds he can’t maintain the balance between Federation and empire and realizes that the Federation is all he has left. For the first time, those possible futures we saw of Worf serving in the empire seem less and less likely.
- I'm feelin'...: geeky
- I'm listenin' to...:"The Jasmine Corridor" by Ian Anderson
- Thu, 21:16: I'm #reading Star Trek by Stephen Thompson http://t.co/jRpWKZPYzo
- Thu, 21:18: 4 stars to Star Trek: New Frontier (Star Trek (IDW)) by Peter David on LibraryThing http://t.co/Dg7rmZAoIH
- Thu, 21:18: Added Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Western Publishing Years Volume 1 by Paul S. Newman to Currently reading http://t.co/UfUJE6IlQy
Our grins are rueful rictuses.
"At least it's a friendly hostility."
"Not much fun in Stalingrad."
"But it's sunny at McMurdo!"
The private language of metaphor shared by my partner and me, who've been together more than a quarter of a century.
The last decade of constant teetering on a cliff's edge has strained our tolerance of what Life finds amusing to throw at us.
We have moments when our gallows humour fails us. But we brace ourselves with visual puns pulled from webcomics, with Monty Python quotes, and with ironic weather reports.
We get through our days trying to not to shatter.
This is my entry for therealljidol, Season 9, Week 1 - Jayus.
...and thanks to coudal, I spotted this documentary on a now-broken but highly influential typography partnership. You might be interested, too.
You may not have heard of Jonathan Hoefler or Tobias Frere-Jones but you've seen their work. Before their recent split, they collectively ran the most successful and well respected type design studio in the world, creating fonts used by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the President of the United States.
Font Men, gives a peek behind the curtain into the world of Jonathan and Tobias. Tracking the history of their personal trajectories, sharing the forces that brought them together and giving an exclusive look at the successful empire they built together.
Presented by AIGA to celebrate H+FJ's 2013 AIGA Medal, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts
Directed & Produced by: Dress Code
Cinematography by: Andre Andreev
Edited by: Dan Covert
Music & Sound by: YouTooCanWoo
Animation/Design: Evan Anthony, John Custer, Joe Donaldson, Emil Bang Lyngbo, Josh Parker, Eddie Song
Principal Cast: Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones
Shot on a Canon 7D
- I'm feelin'...: nerdy
Originally published June 2, 2000, in Comics Buyer’s Guide #1385
Well, let’s see what’s in the news. Oh, look: In the May 9th issue of the Wall Street Journal, headlined, “Spider-Man Tries New Web Tricks,” there’s an interview with Marvel chief executive Peter Cuneo that’s causing a good deal of consternation among the fans. What most online fans have been reacting to is the reporting of the story in anotheruniverse.com, which states, “Marvel Enterprises will increasingly move into film and video games and away from comics, (Cuneo) told the Wall Street Journal.” This is resulting in a considerable amount of agitas for the fans.
Problem is: It’s not true.
Understand, I’m not privy to Marvel internal decisions. For all I know, that’s exactly what Marvel’s long term plan is. But you can’t discern that from the WSJ article, because the vast majority of the material does not consist of quotes from Cuneo, but rather commentary made by the writer, one Erin White.
Anotheruniverse correctly attributes some of the most discouraging comments to White, including, “Spider-Man’s only chance for survival is to leap right off the page” and “The simple paper medium of comic books just isn’t cutting it in the age of video’s flashy special-effects, explosive audio and interactive action.” But these do-or-die conclusions are solely White’s, and yet the fans are starting to blend it together so that—upon repetition—what’s being spread around is that Marvel is planning to abandon comics entirely.
The following comments are the only ones directly attributed to Marvel personnel:
“Comic-book sales are down and Marvel executives acknowledge that kids just don’t read them as much anymore.” That’s not exactly a shock. Marvel execs would have to be in heavy denial if they claimed that sales weren’t down. Then again, periodical sales have been dropping across the board, so there’s no reason to single out comics. Furthermore, perhaps sales aren’t down because of the “age of video,” but rather as a result of pea-brained distribution-level corporate decisions by those who shall go nameless (* koff * Ron Perelman * koff *) which helped to kill so many comic book retailers that sales couldn’t help but be affected. Indeed, Cuneo finally shows up in direct-quote form saying, “Our characters are more popular than ever. The challenge now is really up to us to execute and build value.”
Hmm. Nothing there about abandoning comics. Let’s see what else.
White says that the movies might “reignite interest in Marvel characters and lift sales of toy tie-ins, particularly among teens and preteen boys.” Perhaps. But there’s nothing to say that they couldn’t also have some impact on the comics as well. When we get back to Cuneo, he says, “All of the merchandising and promotional activities we’re doing with our characters are bound to have a tremendous impact.” Impact on what? The reporter doesn’t clarify. Impact on Marvel’s bottom line? On year-end profits? On the comic line itself? On the viability of the characters? Could be anything.
Cuneo is later mentioned (but not directly quoted) talking about revenue from movie and TV deals and cash-on-hand helping to finance an X-Men TV show.
The only other Marvel exec quoted is Bill Jemas, Marvel’s president of publishing. Does he talk about abandoning comics? No. He talks about the upcoming “Ground Zero” line which basically reconfigures more simplistic versions of the Marvel characters without affecting the mainline titles which Jemas claims, “If you’ve been reading these for forty years, you’re really enjoying this rich, complex storyline. But if you haven’t, you’re saying, ‘Who the heck are all these characters and why do I care about them?’” Not so much a rebooting as a rebutting.
Although, to be candid, I’m not sure what Jemas is talking about. My first Marvel Comic ever was the FF annual featuring the wedding of Reed and Sue. And my reaction was exactly what Jemas claimed was anathema for potential collectors: I had no idea who any of these guys were. Try to make heads or tails of that annual without being familiar with the FF, Avengers, X-Men, the Watcher, Doctor Doom, not to mention Stan and Jack. After a lot less than forty years, there was already enough backstory in place with that annual to sink a fleet of tuna boats. Did it put me off reading Marvel titles? No. Instead it pulled me into a universe that seemed endlessly layered and colorfully populated. Not to mention that “Ground Zero” is a dubious name for a new line. Oh yeah: If I was starting up a new imprint, I’d certainly want to name it after something associated with a bomb. That’s right up there with the marketing genius who though opening Star Trek: The Motion Picture on December 7th was a sharp move. “The biggest bombing since Pearl Harbor!” There’s nothing like making critics’ jobs that much easier.
The only other bit of information attributed to Cuneo is that he “expects licensing to grow to more than 50% of the cash flow, publishing to decline to 10% from 15%, and toys to decline to about 40%.” Still, that doesn’t translate to abandoning the publishing line; it’s just a comment on how lucrative toys are.
So it may be a bit premature to sound the alarms that fans are already sounding. Still, just so we don’t blow sunshine up anybody’s skirts: I still remember when a senior Marvel editor told me years ago that the difference between DC and Marvel was that DC comics existed simply to provide fodder for licensing, whereas Marvel was first and foremost a publisher. To do it any other way became the tail wagging the dog. That is clearly no longer the case. And if Marvel execs do get any bright ideas about diminishing the importance of the publishing line, well… since Marvel has tried (unsuccessfully) to model itself on Disney in the past, it might be instructive to point out that once upon a time, Disney seemed far more interested in concentrating on theme parks than its feature animation line. And Disney became a mere Peter Pan shadow of its former self. It was only when new management revitalized animation that Disney began its climb back to power. One forgets or neglects one’s roots at one’s own peril. Disney learned that. Let us hope that Marvel doesn’t have to be taught it.
* * *
And now, a new occasional feature: K-Lee’s Notebook. My daughter, Gwen, has a friend named Cayley (who for some reason prefers to spell her name K-Lee. Then again, Gwen has taken to spelling her name “Gwen!” a la Scott! Shaw, so I guess I shouldn’t say anything.) Anyway, K-Lee has taken to jotting down some of the more brilliant things her fellow high schoolers, in all seriousness, say. I think they present an interesting picture of the quality of today’s educational system. For instance:
Teacher: During the industrial revolution, children were paid a wage of a penny an hour.
Student: So after five hours, they’d only make, like, a quarter?
Teacher: Who can tell me what “monotheism” is?
Student: That’s the disease you get from kissing.
Student: Are alligators made out of leather?
More installments from K-Lee’s Notebook as the opportunity presents.
* * *
Am I the only person to think that if Ethan Hawke and Russell Crowe joined forces, with their last names they could make a fairly credible superhero team?
Speaking of Crowe, the best thing about the new film Gladiator is seeing Derek Jacobi back in a toga where he belongs, dammit. I, Claudius remains one of my favorite TV series, ever. Only drawback was that I kept waiting for his Gladiator character to limp or stammer. If only they’d gotten John Hurt to play another senator, the movie would have been complete.
Oddly, the only real problem I had with the film was something that turned out to have a basis in historical fact. (Spoiler warning here for those who haven’t seen the film.) I thought it a touch conveeeeenient that emperor Commodus was willing to take the risk of facing Maximus in the Coliseum. “How nuts would that be?” I wondered. Turned out that the movie didn’t come close to depicting how nuts he really was. The historical Commodus apparently decided he was Hercules, and fought in the Coliseum with some regularity. Then again, if my name was that close to a word for toilet, I’d probably have gone a little crazy myself.
(Peter David, writer of stuff, can be written to at Second Age, Inc., PO Box 239, Bayport, NY 11705.)
About the Honour of the House of Commons. This is why I delay watching Agents of SHIELD a day as a rule. Sorry, Agent Coulson, but Rick Mercer's Rants take first priority.
This is part of why that is so.