Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Family Guy Wasted Star Trek

Did anyone see Family Guy last Sunday?* They got the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and they wasted it. It wasn't even the main storyline! They had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and they used it as a B story. I guess a crappy strawman about atheism was more important, eh, Seth McFarlane? Apparently people's faith in religion is so weak that they will be converted if someone calls them ugly. Just terrible writing.

Also, what is their deal with Meg? I know no one likes her, and casually abuse her in ways that are absolutely monstrous, but that does not make a complete character. She is the least fleshed out in a series of cardboard cutouts. The entire "casual cruelty to Meg" joke, like most Family Guy jokes, has run its course a long time ago, and is now just an unfriendly reminder of how unimaginative the show is.

*This is an honest answer, not a rhetorical way to introduce the subject of the post. Does anyone watch Family Guy anymore?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shakespeare Test Podcast

The Complete Shakespeare Podcast is officially in Alpha. You can visit the site, and listen to our test broadcast, Here. It's not anything entertaining, it's just a demonstration that it works.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Teeth Update

The removal of my wisdom teeth went without a hitch, other than minor complaints, (I can't eat solid food, I'm a little sore, and I need to take antibiotics, etc.).

It turns out that all but one of my wisdom teeth were coming in sideways. It was something odd to see on the X-Ray; even an idiot could tell that teeth aren't supposed to grow in that direction.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing

"Much Ado About Nothing lives up to its title"

~Wil Durant

I was going to end with that, but there's a relevant quote for my upcoming tooth removal surgery:

For there was never yet philosopher,
That could endure the tooth-ache patiently.

19 Down, 18 To Go
Next Up: The Merry Wives Of Windsor

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shakespeare: Henry V

Henry V is a good play. It has two of the top 10 Shakespearean speeches: the "Once More Into The Breach" speech and the "Band Of Brothers" speech. Even though some of the words may seem unfamiliar in our modern language, it still stirs the soul to read or hear those speeches.

Shakespeare does an odd thing in this play: each of his acts is introduced by a man describing the scene, specifically telling the audience to use their imaginations to fit the enormous events of history into such a small place as a theater and a small time of only two hours. This sounds very artificial, but the writing of these segments is simply fantastic. Without any acting, just a man speaking on a stage, Shakespeare summons up armies and countries that no play could encompass visually. Some of the writing in this play is Shakespeare at his finest.

So, some guy claims that Bush II could be described in a Henry V context. His basic claim is that Bush was ashamed at his father's performance, and so he resolved to do everything in the opposite way of his father. He wrote a book. If you care, I'm sure you could find it.

I know I haven't mentioned my Space Opera for a while, but the Henriad, as I've heard it called, would be the centerpiece of the entire story, and this would be the first movie. A young King goes to war and woos the sexy foreign lady on the other side? It's a perfect movie for males 18-24, the only demographic that people target seriously, for some reason.

18 Down, 19 To Go
Next Up: Much Ado About Nothing

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shakespeare: Henry IV: Part II

Don't let the name fool you: Henry IV, Part II, is actually about Henry V, then Prince Henry. He transforms from an irresponsible youth to a proud and upstanding King, presumably from the death of his father.

I once heard an author talking about George Bush as a Henry V, trying to expand upon his father's name. I'll explore that in the post on Henry V proper, unless I forget to.

Some good quotes:

Rumour: "They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs."

Falstaff: "I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men" ie. not only am I good at making jokes, but people make good jokes about me too.

King Henry: "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." This line is part of a larger speech in act III, scene I. It and the other speech in the same scene are fantastic.

Prince Henry: "Oh, majesty! When thou dost pinch thy bearer, thou dost sit like a rich armour worn in heat of day, that scalds with safety."

In fact, all of Act IV, Scene IV, is good.

Act III, Scene II has a goofy scene where Falstaff interviews men to serve as soldiers and makes puns on their names. Shakespeare must have had some sort of pun fetish.

17 Down, 20 To Go
Next Up: King Henry V

I've been reading a little of Henry V, and it's good. One speech has two very good quotes. More later.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fertility Clinics

Am I the only one who thinks it odd that people spend tens of thousands of dollars to bear children with the aid of a fertility clinic? It's not as though there's a shortage of human beings on this world.

Until there are no children born into poverty, it is unethical to bear your own children, not to mention wasting a small fortune on it. A person could artificially bear a child, or pull a hundred families out of poverty so extreme that we can't even understand it.

Of course, dog and cat breeding is even more insane than artificial human breeding. With the idea that "breeds" must be preserved, pet breeders spend a fortune and lots of labour to create inbred populations of animals that simply should not be. If an entire breed is unable to reproduce without mechanical assistance, something has gone wrong.

Now playing: Stevie Wonder - Living For The City
via FoxyTunes

Friday, March 13, 2009

500 Posts! New Shakespeare Blog/Podcast!

For my 500th post, I have an announcement.

I'm starting yet another blog, this one will be the companion piece to a new podcast which I also intend to make. I don't know when the podcast will begin, but I hope we can have a test episode up soon. You can check out the website at http://tcspodcast.blogspot.com/

If there's anything you want to tell us about Shakespeare, or you have any requests, please leave a message on the new blog.

Now playing: Peter Schmalfuss - Fantasy No. 3
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watchment Addendum

It surprised me that Watchmen kept almost precisely the same sexual content of the comic. There's an attempted rape, and several instances of regular sexual congress, including a failed start. It's funny that they'd keep Dr. Manhattan's full frontal nudity, and all the sex, not to mention the increased violence, blood and gore, but they completely excised smoking by any sympathetic character. Only the comedian and the crime lord in the prison smoke, and they're both villains. In the comic, Silk's Spectre's smoking leads to some significant dialogue and a decent joke.

Our moral watchmen have deemed extremely gruesome murder is more acceptable than smoking. I'm not in favour of smoking by a long shot, but smoking on your own is far more ethical than rape, murder, and torture.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Watchmen Movie

First of all: I don't mind the big change to Watchmen, and I think anyone that complains about it is wrong.

The problems I have with the movie are the little things. I don't mind taking out the side-stories; the movie can't be 8 hours long. There are two things that I object to: adding things, particularly slow motion fight scenes, and changing things around for no good reason.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the makers of 300 added gore and stylized fighting. It's their way. It just irritates me that they decided to add things when the movie had to make deep cuts to core elements of the movie. When a movie is nearly three hours long, it is not the time to add more action that doesn't advance the plot, especially when it's in slow motion. The gore, particularly with Dr. Manhattan, is just too much, almost to the point of parody.

The small changes are the ones that rankle the most. Moving lines from one character to another, changing scenes to add gore, it's just unnecessary, and other than the big change, I think every change from the original hurts the movie.

Despite the above, I liked the movie. The opening montage was the only addition/change that I felt really added something to the production, and it's very good. It does a fantastic job to give mood and details, and remind the slower members of the audience that this is an alternate history. I'm griping about minor things, but the movie taken as a whole is very good, and surprisingly loyal, despite the changes.

The soundtrack is fantastic, with well picked songs.

Ron Perlman isn't in the movie.

.95/5 Ron Perlmans

Rorschach's Batman voice isn't as bad a Christian Bale's, but it's still bad. He's supposed to speak in a monotone, not a put-on voice.

Now playing: Dean Martin - Somewhere Along The Way
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Shakespeare: King Henry IV, Part I

I liked Henry IV, part I.

Like I said earlier, they do a lot of jokes about Sir John Falstaff being fat. Here we find a phrase that Shakespeare sort of coined: "Discretion is the better part of valour" began as Falstaff saying "The better part of valour is discretion", which I suppose is functionally the same.

There are many good speeches and conversations. Act II, Scene III, where Hotspur leaves his wife without telling her he is going to battle, is almost entirely excellent dialogue.

There's a very good and humourous scene between Falstaff and Prince Henry where they roleplay a conversation between the Prince and the King (Act II, Scene IV). When Falstaff plays the King, the King seems to only be interested in praising Falstaff, and when Prince Henry plays the King, he mocks Falstaff to no end, while Falstaff, acting as the Prince, defends himself against the words of the real Prince. I can imagine that Shakespeare enjoyed writing that scene.

Shakespeare seems to think that battles consist of lords dueling each other after pairing off. Never does a regular soldier enter a fight, and the commanders of each army almost inevitably fight. It's all for drama, of course, but sometimes, it seems rather silly.

Although the play's title is Henry IV, the story is truly about Prince Henry, later Henry V. He changes from a rogue to a warrior for the King to earn his father's respect. He has an excellent line contemplating the corpse of the rebel leader Hotspur:

Prince Henry
When that body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough:-this earth that bears thee dead.

16 Down, 21 To Go
Next Up: King Henry IV, Part II
Now playing: Kajiura Yuki - smallest delight
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, March 07, 2009

King Henry IV, Part One, Part One

Just a little post about King Henry IV, Part One, before my full post:

Sir John Falstaff is fat. Now I've spoiled 90% of the jokes in the play. I have to look up if this story is the first use of "Courage is the better part of valour".

Friday, March 06, 2009

On Banks

I appreciate that people have principled positions. A consistent philosophy is a rare thing in this world. But before anyone says "let these companies fail", please understand that if the big banks were allowed to fail, it'd be the end of the worldwide economy.

It's impossible to predict future economic and social effects, so I can't say it for sure, but if the large banks collapsed, it'd probably lead to the end of civilization, if not the end of the human race. There may be situations where an economic collapse may be OK, but with the environment as it is, an economic collapse would lead to an even more significant environmental collapse, not to mention the likelihood of war and destabilization of countries with nuclear weapons.

I don't object to taking a principled stand, but you must realize the effects of your position.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Internet is Back!

Thanks to a little help from my friends, my Wireless is back and in action. I'm quite excited, and I'll be back blogging about stuff that isn't this soon.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Scout Update

First of all: If you remember the entire Achievement predictions I did a while ago, just forget them. I didn't do to well.

Now, about the Scout Update: It's very good. I absolutely adore the Sandman, and the Force-A-Nature encourages playing the Scout with the "Hit and Run" tactics that you need to use to win in a fight. The Bonk! Energy Drink is a mixed bag, but I'm growing to like it.

People who are making achievements for games, look to Valve as a guide. Especially the Scout update. By encouraging activities that lead to good tactics, the Achievements basically become a de facto tutorial.

Not that this excuses Valve for making a game that's increasingly complex and inscrutable, and still not having anything approaching a real tutorial. I dare someone to pick up this game and ever figure out stuff like the Stab and Sap without referring to an outside guide.

I find it pretty funny that if there was ever a time people would want to use Natascha, it would be during this update, so Valve accidentally broke it. Nothing beats a gun that does 75% damage of the original, and has a 0% chance of slowing the target.

I've also been making a spray. My old one got a bad reception, but this one is much better.

Now playing: Mozart - Elvira Madigan
via FoxyTunes