Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Heinlein Prize

Established to recognize practical accomplishments in commercial space activities by individuals operating without government or corporate funding. [Mission Statement] Nominees?

Fancy A Bit Of Rough?

"Dingo ate my baby!"

I'm puzzled about the concern expressed by Dr. Wilton: "[he] warned that unless steps were taken to protect dingoes from continued cross-breeding with domestic dogs, they could be extinct within 50 years." The concern isn't that the ecosystem will be destroyed because packs of wild dogs will no longer be roaming the Australian wild, it's that the packs of wild dogs won't be pure breed in-breds. Is it really extinction if a species brings in some new bloodlines? And how prevalent are dingo-housedog liasons? Is this guy trying to say Aussie poodles fancy a bit of rough?

In other animal news, I forgot to blog the rogue gorilla update yesterday. Dube-Monkey forwarded me the link. After reading the story, discovering the gorilla had roamed a neighborhood near the zoo, I asked him how he would react if he was sitting out on his back porch after dinner, relaxing with a cup of coffee, gazing at the stars, and suddenly A ROGUE GORILLA JUMPED OUT OF THE BUSHES AT HIM!? I mean, can you imagine? He doesn't miss a beat, "welcome to married life."

Friday, September 26, 2003

Please don't screw this up...

Doctor Who to return to the BBC in 2005!!! Says writer Russell T. Davies (IMDB entry), "Although I'm only in the early stages of development, I'm aiming to write a full-blooded drama which embraces the Doctor Who heritage."

I'm going to be so all over this.

Looks like the official Doctor Who page on the BBC site was as surprised by the announcement as I was.

Speculation on casting is just that at this point -- speculative; however, while rumor chasing, I came across this at computercrowsnest.com: "Other details are sketchy, but a BBC source dropped hints that the all new Who should be back by either the end of 2004 or early 2005, and names in the frame for the new Doctor include Peter Firth [imdb] (recently killed off as the head of the secret service in 'Spooks') or – should budget allow - David ‘Only Fools and Horses’ Jason [imdb]... His assistants may be an American male and female pairing to help series re-sale to the USA, and a heavily updated version of K9 might roll out to complete the team."

Now that we are presented with the reality of a new production, certain questions leap to mind ...

Foremost, obviously, is the casting issue. I don't know either of the guys mentioned above (or Andrew Davies, whose name is also popping up, usually prefaced in message boards by the descriptor "that horrible c-nt,") so have some research to do. I wonder if Paul McGann will get a shot to pick the role back up or if his one shot Fox TV movie from a few years back will drop out of the continuity? Or, will McGann will get a cameo for a regeneration sequence? Folks calling for the return of Sylvester McCoy should, IMO, hush up. I posted on this a while back and still think that with proper dialect coaching, Sammo Hung would make an outstanding Doctor. It won't happen, so I won't waste any more time discussing it. Anthony Stewart Head should, if free and willing, be given strong consideration.

Second, how much continuity will there be from the original run in content, episode format, aesthetic (budget), and target audience? Will this "full-blooded drama" be more adult, teen, or kid focused? Will it be arcs of four half-hour episodes or move to half- or hour long standalones? Any chance of it being a reboot? A reworking of the Whoniverse would actually be my preference. Some terrible mistakes were made in the original run and this would be a great opportunity to draw from the best stories of the past and weave them into a new, consistent continuity. Again, I think I'm probably on the lunatic fringe and should expect we'll be looking at 9th Doctor in the original continuity awith the likelihood that a new team will be selective in which parts of the mythos they incorporate leading to awkward contradictions.

I hope the new production team will recognize the failings of the Davison/C. Baker/McCoy years and give us a Doctor whose personality is more in the vein of Pertwee and Tom Baker's irrepressible comic sensibilities. The third and fourth Doctors are so enjoyable to watch because they were (almost) always having fun. Peter Davison and Colin Baker brought different strengths to the role (I despised McCoy and hope all involved in the new production watch his run as a lesson in what not to do) but neither seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as Tom Baker did.

They should also be willing to genre hop. Do hard sci-fi, historical period pieces, horror, action, martial arts, detective fiction; don't get tied down! One of the great things about the Doctor Who universe is the freedom to genre-hop. We've seen Doctor Who move from the sterile, bright environs of a far future space station, to the dark sewers of turn of the last century London. Sherlock Holmes inspired mysteries are no more out of place than thinly veiled light social commentary dressed up as sci-fi. The Paul McGann one-off was an ill-considered misstep and, if this new version smells anything like that muddled travesty ,it's going to crash and burn.

Monday, September 15, 2003

RIP William Jay "Bill" Busby

My fiancĂ©e and I met a few days ago with the woman who will be officiating our ceremony. Over the course of our long discussion, she asked if either of us had lost anyone we would like specifically mentioned during the ceremony. My mind immediately leapt to the grandparents I’ve lost. Neither Tif, nor I, had ever lost a close friend. She was stunned; virtually every couple she’d ever met with had at least one loss of close high school friend or college buddy. We’d been fortunate.

Late Friday, our friend Bill died in a car accident. We found out Saturday morning while in New Hampshire checking out the site to which our jobs are being moved. I didn’t know how to react to the news. Still don’t.

Bill and I were the late shift at work last summer. We went to Stuffies for a beer almost every night after work. He was in the process of coming out of a long relationship, though he didn’t realize it at first, and we spent hours discussing his situation with Sue. About that time, I started dating Tif and he heard me out as I tried to analyze here every utterance for clues as to whether my feelings would be reciprocated. We were unlikely comrades, I think, our personalities and experience about as different as possible. He was an aggressive self-promoter, a born salesman who was the rising star in our sales driven work environment. He was, like most of us, a bit of an enigma. For all his braggadocio, his insecurities weren’t hard to spot. It was an odd mix. For all his drive to succeed, he didn’t seem to have any idea what he wanted. For all the energy he put into going out and socializing, he was, at times, as miserable a bastard as you’d ever run across. Not sure why, but one of my enduring memories of him is certain to be his softball swing. Kid would stand with his back foot even with the front of the plate and swing at balls chin high or higher, and jerk one after another foul – not just a little foul, but way foul, deep into the woods. Pitch after pitch, never moving back in the box, never laying off a pitch unless totally unreachable with the bat. Eventually he’d either pop out or hit a home run.

I’m not going to go through the list of memories. I’m going to try to stop thinking about the horrible details of what happened to him: he walked/staggered/crawled away from the crash depending on which report you read. Apparently motorists on the other side of the highway stopped and were trying to get to him, calling out for him to stay near his car but he either didn’t hear them, or had already collapsed in the high speed lane. He was struck and killed by a driver who kept right on going and hasn’t been found yet. I almost threw up when I heard that. I could throw up now. I get torn up thinking about his brother and parents trying to cope with this. The services are tomorrow. He and his brother were supposed to come to my bachelor party this weekend. We watched football together last Sunday. I was looking forward to throwing down a shot with him at the bar at my wedding. When a buddy broke his leg playing hockey, he called Bill from the hospital at 2am and even though Bill had an interview early in the morning he’d have to drive two hours to get to, he went and brought him home from the hospital. He was a pain in the ass sometimes. He was a good guy though. No doubt. He will be missed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Get Your Yo La Tengo Boots

Sweet, Sunsquashed went and got all new and improved. Sad that it happened a few months ago and I'm just catching up now.

Also, just now noticed Sly has a Reading Fest Diary at Schizoid Man. Welcome back, boyo!
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