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Archive for the 'Pop Culture' Category


2009.05.11 Star Trek the New Old Generation:

I loved the new Star Trek. Let's just get that out of the way at the beginning, then continue.

I am a huge Trek fan, from way back (not WAY way back, like the 60's way back, but way back, like from the 80's). I used to watch Original Series reruns on TV as a kid (in the 70's), I went to see the first Star Trek movie in the theater (not that I really remember it, but my parents have reminded me), then stopped watching Star Trek altogether when Wrath of Khan came out because the little brain-worm-things scared the shit out of me. I got back into it when Next Gen started, and just went nuts over it. You ask me how dilithium crystals work in a warp drive, and I can probably give you an explanation without doing any research.

There are tons of reasons why I enjoyed the original series (and Next Gen, and DS9, and occasionally Enterprise), and I'd love to tell you that it was because of the hopeful and optimistic vision of the future, and the way it portrayed humanity as having overcome greed and prejudice and having dedicated themselves as a race to bettering themselves and fighting the just and righteous fight for freedom and cooperation. But really, I loved it because of the characters. The sometimes quirky, sometimes absurd, sometimes hyper-real, sometimes bizarrely unrealistic characters and relationships that populated the show. I loved it because of the stories, and the campy humor, and the glorious over-acting. And, I loved it because it sometimes asked deep philosophical questions, and other times it paraded around in front of you wearing a Nazi uniform. I don't think I really grasped the historical, philosophical, and sociological ramifications of the Trek universe until later.

But, we're here to talk about the new Star Trek movie, aren't we?

Taken on its own merits, I think this is a phenomenal movie. There are issues of science and issues of execution of course, but overall it is exciting, and fun, and touching, and very Star Trek in lots of the right ways.

I think Chris Pine made a great Kirk. All the characters were written (and directed, I assume) somewhat… over-the-top, and very earnest. I felt that, though Pine also suffered this, he had a presence and subtlety that really befitted the character, and that I can see serving him very well in subsequent outings. There was at least one scene (and I've been trying to remember exactly where it occurred, but nevertheless) where I remember thinking to myself… "There's Kirk. That's Kirk. That was right on." And I think it was just a single word, or very short line, delivered with a certain mixture of joy and self-awareness that I think captured the spirit of "The Kirk," and channeled a bit of the old Shatner magic. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed this new Kirk.

There were certain Kirk moments from a story/plot perspective and from a characterization perspective that I didn't like, but those would be difficult to elucidate without spoilage.

Quinto's Spock also had a lot to offer. Maybe he played it a little too close to the chest at times, and maybe he played it a little too "smirky" at times, but neither of those are entirely un-Spock-like qualities. I thought the father/son and the mother/son things were well written and well played, but I did feel that this Spock, somewhat interestingly, was representative of the Spock we came to understand over the last ~40 years, rather than the Spock we met in the first Original Series episode. Our Spock started out (well, after Where No Man Has Gone Before, anyway) as an emotionless, purely logical, and imperceptibly conflicted character who had very much chosen his Vulcan side over his Human one. That was not the Spock we got in this movie. In and of itself, that's not a bad thing, and I did really enjoy this Spock, but I also felt that this new Spock didn't represent where our Spock would have been at this point in his life. It didn't kill my enjoyment of the character, but it stood out to me as a point of unnecessary disunity.

Ultimately though, I thought Quinto's Spock was fantastic. He enabled you to become invested in the character very quickly, and he brought you along for the… yes, emotional ride through the rest of the movie.

The supporting cast was also varying degrees of good.

Karl Urban's doctor was good, but I felt that he was trying too hard to imitate the wonderful DeForest Kelley. I also felt that the writers did him a disservice by restricting his dialogue almost exclusively (I felt) to classic "Bones" catch-phrases. Dixon over at Shelfbound considered that this may simply be the way McCoy talks, which is an interesting thought, but one I don't necessarily agree with. McCoy (the "real" McCoy, you might say buh-doom-tsh!) had plenty of aphorisms and metaphors to go around, but his dialogue was never so heavy with catch-phrases. Ultimately, it's forgivable, but it was irksome.

As an aside, I absolutely adored the way they introduced McCoy's nickname. It was a bit awkward, perhaps, but I loved it.

Simon Pegg as Scotty was a real treat. The character was fun, and lively, and seemed to come off as both brilliant and moronic at the same time. I like Pegg, he's fun. Unfortunately, I never believed he was Scotty. Doohan's Scotty was brilliant but subdued, earthy but not offensive, and excitable but responsible. Pegg's Scotty was mystified, frenetic, and frequently out-of-his-depth. Also unfortunately, Scotty didn't get enough good screen-time to further establish the character. Perhaps there's more to him than this situation allowed to come through.

Uhura was good. Her character had strength, conviction, self-confidence, and power. It is a testament to the actress (and the writers as well) that they were able to establish this, because she was woefully lacking many really meaty scenes.

Sulu was also good, and I felt he fared a bit better than Uhura, scene-wise. He didn't try (unlike Urban) to mimic his predecessor, but inhabited the character he was given. I don't think that I ever really felt he was Sulu, but rather that he was some entirely separate character.

The Christopher Pike character was really great. I felt he got shortchanged in the leadership department in a few spots, but that ties into some movie-wide problems and more potential spoilage. Still, I really liked this character.

Finally, we get to Checkov. What to say… I did really enjoy his introductory moments in the movie, but ultimately I found his character to be very annoying. I also felt that this character was the farthest from the original source material. I won't go so far as to say I didn't like the new Checkov—because he was entertaining, to a point—but he's just not Checkov. However, maybe he is just another casualty of the way the characters were generally over-played. If he'd been more subdued, perhaps he would have fit perfectly. Who knows?

Well, I said "finally, we get to Checkov," but really, the Enterprise is the last (or first?) major character in the Original Series, and we should talk about her as well.

I really liked the new Starfleet ship exteriors, and felt they were true enough to the original. The bridge, on the other hand, was a different story. The old bridge was spacious, and austere but powerful, and it felt comfortable and open. This new bridge was bright, flashy, and claustrophobic. So much of the old Star Trek took place on the bridge—perhaps this is an indicator that the bridge will no longer be the central story-telling vantage point. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in future movies.

At last, we get to the story itself. As I mentioned, it was enjoyable and exciting. Unfortunately, I felt it was also, like most of the rest of the movie, a bit over-blown. It was as if they tried to make every single moment just as tense and dramatic as possible—tried to give the story as much weight as it could possibly carry. The good thing is that it delivered. The question is, is that a good thing? Personally, I prefer my Star Trek a little more cerebral, and a little less "wagon train." Maybe that's the Next Gen era initiate in me, I dunno. I just think there's a line between sci-fi action/thriller and sci-fi action/drama that this movie played too often on the wrong side of.

At this point, I'm not sure how much more i can say without really getting into specifics of plot. I definitely have more thoughts on specific aspects of the movie, and also generally about what it means that we now have this New old generation of characters.

As I've mentioned in other venues, to other people, I loved it, but I also hated it.

- 02:30 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Cool Links - Family - Friends - Happy/Love - Movies - Nostalgia - Pop Culture - TV - Upset/Dislike

 

2009.04.24 hold on there:

A couple buddies of mine recently launched their awesome new website—Shelfbound—where they're currently talking mostly about comics (but eventually about books, music, and movies as well, I believe). On Friday of their first week, they posted a discussion about their personal histories relating to comics, which I felt compelled to comment on.

That post, coupled with the call I received from the comic shop I (used to) frequent—asking if I was actually going to come pick up my (7 months worth of) holds, or if he should put them back and delete my holds list— got me started thinking about my own comics history, such as it is.

At some point in the not too distant past, I was an absolute nut with an active holds list of more than 20 titles, and an average of over 33 books purchased per month. I thought it might be entertaining to air out the dirty laundry of my former addiction, by way of some lists comparing then versus now.

Going through my collection (at least, those books that actually made it up to comicbookdb.com before I stopped entering them), I came up with the following list of titles that, at one time or another, was a regular purchase. Mind you, these were not ALL on my list at the same time, but a LOT of them were.

The "long-time" list consists of books that I purchased (usually consecutively) for more than a year.
The "short-time" list consists of long-running titles that I picked up and dropped, or bought off-and-on, or which were longer-running mini-series.

Long-Time Collections
Amazing Spider-Girl
Amazing Spider-Man
Batman
Batman Confidential
Batman: Gotham Knights
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Batman (various mini-series)
Captain America
Captain Marvel
Catwoman
Daredevil
Detective Comics
Harley Quinn
Incredible Hulk
JLA
Marvel Knights Spider-Man
New X-Men (Morrison run + a few)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man
Powers
The Punisher
The Spectre
Spider-Girl
Spider-Man
Spider-Man (various mini-series)
Superman/Batman
Transmetropolitan
Ultimate Fantastic Four
Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate X-Men
The Ultimates (2002 & 2005)
Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man
Wonder Woman
X-Statix (X-Force)
Short-Time collections
All-Star Batman & Robin
All-Star Superman
Army of Darkness
Dark Tower
Elektra
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Green Arrow (kevin smith run + a few)
Marvel Knights
The Pulse
Sensational Spider-Man
Spectacular Spider-Man
Spider-Woman
Superman (off and on)
U.S. War Machine

And finally, after a few years of increasingly sporadic trips to the comic shop, and the cancellation (Spider-Girl) or ruination (Spider-Man) of some favorite titles, I've whittled down my holds list to the following:

Current holds list
Batman
Daredevil
Detective Comics
Powers
Superman/Batman
Ultimate Spider-Man

So, from 30+ titles every month I'm down to 6 (well, five plus Powers, which is apparently not even close to monthly anymore). Depending on the quality of the last 7 months, I may yet drop Superman/Batman, and I was considering dropping Daredevil (though the guy in the store said it'd been pretty good of late, so i dunno… i may just selectively pick up arcs, if they look good).

Of course, I just saw on Diamond's site that Dynamite Ent. is coming out with a new Buck Rogers comic, which I have to at least get the first issue of; and the guy at the store told me there's a rumor my girl (Spider-Girl, that is) may be re-launched. So, I may be back up to 8 titles in the near future… but for now, at least, it's a little more reasonable.

- 11:54 pm - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Cool Links - Friends - Happy/Love - Pop Culture

 

2009.01.27 delivering resistance – a work of flash fiction:

Considering my recently renewed drive to become a productive writer, I decided, tonight, to write this piece of flash fiction—a super-short sub-1000 word complete story. It may not be terribly original, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. Also, i'm pleased I was able to knock out almost 1000 words in one two-hour stretch. Much better than the almost 1000 words I managed over the whole of the past weekend. Lastly, as you may guess from the above, this is probably roughly first-draft quality. I had the idea last night, wrote it between 10-ish pm and 12-ish am tonight, then did a 5 minute read-through and polish pass, and posted it here. I hope you enjoy it.

delivering resistance

My Pop–that's what I call my grandpa–was a mailman. Oh, he'd retired years before I was even born, but from the time I was able to sit up on my own, I'd sit at his feet and listen to him tell stories. It didn't matter what he was saying, of course, I just loved to hear him talk. As I got older, I kept asking him to tell me the same stories. I kept sitting, and he kept talking. It was always summer when we'd visit Pop, and i remember the warm tingly sun on my back as I'd sit there and listen, or lay there, playing with my toys.

About 10 years ago is when it started. I was 14, sitting at Pop's knee, listening to his stories, and Mom came in crying. She could hardly get words out.

"It's just awful!" She'd said, a look on her face like nothing I'd ever seen, like she was stuck, like she was trying to pop her ears at the top of a mountain. That was the day our government had declared martial law in the name of a foreign power. Just like that. No warning. Entire metropolitan police forces either complied and joined up, or were massacred on the spot. 15,000 officers died within 30 minutes on the eastern seaboard alone. Of course there was chaos, but the military and ex-cops detained or executed looters, protesters, and demonstrators by the hundreds, until no one who resisted was left. Or at least, no one who resisted openly.

I think that day was the last time I felt the sun.

My dad was a scientist, apparently a somewhat important one, not that I ever paid much attention. He was hardly around, and when he was, he always had his books or his papers, and a concerned look on his face. But on that day, he yanked me up from Pop's floor, and shuffled me, Mom, Pop, and my sis into our little 4-door, and drove way out in the middle of nowhere to some kind of run-down hunting cabin. There were some men inside, and they took us to a tiny little cave, which led to a series of caves, which lead to a great big cave filled to the stalactites with whirring machines blinking and steaming in the tepid air.

That night was the first night of the resistance, though plans had been in place for decades (scientists love to anticipate problems), and for the next five or six years, we lived right there in that cave. I'm not sure where the food came from, or how any of the rest of that place worked, all I know is that I hated it. Maybe that's a little too strong. I certainly liked the IDEA of living in a cave, and I loved being able to go exploring–especially once i got to go alone–but the only books we had were science books, and the only computers we had were dedicated to their specific tasks. The moms tried to setup a classroom, but we could pretty much only study math, science, and stuff they remembered or made up. There were no video games, very little music except what we could make, and not really even any girls. Well, there were three who were infants when they got there, and two who were a bit older than me, but one died of pneumonia our second year, and the other was just too annoying to be near for long. So there we were with nothing to do but schoolwork and make-believe. But Pop was there, so when he wasn't trying to make himself useful as a guinea pig or a button pusher for the scientists, he'd sit and tell me all those old stories over and over again. Sometimes, he'd make up new ones, just to keep it interesting, but I could always tell.

One day, we got word from the resistance, nothing special really, but it was one of those days I was making an effort to show interest in my dad's work, so I asked how exactly we were getting messages back and forth between groups of people who were trying as hard as we were to stay hidden.

That was when he told me about the mailmen.

I was astonished. Pop's mailmen had been gone since before i was born, a casualty of the new global economy, the internet, and the fact that, in the end, the only things being mailed were things that nobody wanted. There were still a couple major consumer-oriented package shippers, but the day of the mailman was long over. Nobody had paid to deliver something as simple as a paper-stuffed envelope in 20 years! But dad assured me that encrypted messages were being carried back and forth from enclave to enclave every night. There was a clandestine resistance postal service.

Pop's been gone now for 4 years, and the cave was apparently raided a couple years ago leaving no survivors. But since that night when I learned of the mailmen, i have been training and moving, carrying the messages of hope and news of the resistance. I know that my Pop was proud of me, 'cause he told me as much in the last letter he would ever write. And when I set out each night, to my next destination, his stories echo in my head, and I know that I will have the strength to go on, no matter the circumstance or weather–as Pop said "in snow, in rain, in heat, or gloom of night"–but never in sunlight. No, I suppose I won't ever feel that warmth again.

- 01:55 am - PL ::
categories ::  Personal Projects - Pleased/Like - Pop Culture - Writing

 

2008.07.26 except for the bits with the bat, man:

(with apologies to the three or four of you who might read this post, as you're probably the three or four to whom i've already talked about it, and you've probably heard most of this from me already…)

Sara and i finally got out to see The Dark Knight thurs. night, and while it exceeded my expectations, i felt it didn't live up to the hype.

let me say first that this was a fantastic movie. all the major characters felt fully realized and deep, and either had strong arcs or a consistency of character that was gradually exposed during the course of the movie… that is, all the characters but one—the Batman. there was a recurring thought in my head as the movie unfolded: "this is a great movie, except for those pesky bits with the batman." after the movie, i reasoned that this movie would have been perfect as a GCPD movie—with all the batman stuff happening off-screen.

the performances delivered by the entire (non-batsuited) cast were absolutely spot-on. Gordon, Harvey, the Joker, and heck, even Lucius and Rachel were phenomenal at every turn. Such fantastic acting, scripting, and directing that there could be an oscar here (or several).

as bruce wayne, christian bale's performance was on par with his co-stars, an unimpeachable rendition of the nuanced billionaire playboy—dashing, vain, pretentious, and ostentatious, while also calculating, serious, and very aware of himself. a perfect bruce wayne. however, once he's in the suit, we're not so lucky.

i do understand that batman is not the suit, but the man inside and the raging, conflicting emotional and philosophical debates that play inside him. however, i feel that bale's portrayal of batman is weak and contrived.

the main thing I hated about the val kilmer batman (aside from the dreadful story and the rest of that horrible movie), was that stupid, insipid, forced gravelly voice thing he did. well, now, of course we've got christian bale doing the exact same thing. it's well established in the comics that batman does speak with an altered, lower voice than bruce, so it's not like the gravelly thing is completely off-base… it's just that it's so bad, and unnatural, and just simply not right. batman just doesn't talk this way, except maybe in one of those weird surreal one-shot trades by some artist with a fixation on the grotesque.

also, this batman just doesn't feel right to me somehow. in the (hand-to-hand) fight sequences, batman seems slow, plodding, and shortsighted. despite the fact that he's just a man with no superpowers, a man who is supposed to be the single greatest fighter in the world should move with more grace, fluidity, economy, and speed. batman's abilities border on the super-human, but with this batman, i don't feel that at all. it just feels like a guy in a suit. as the bat acolyte says, "what's the difference between you and me?" in this movie, the answer is "nothing."

(let me digress for just a sec by reiterating that in the previous paragraph i'm talking almost exclusively about the physicality of batman—we'll deal with psychological and philosophical concepts in a moment)

also, the suit. the keaton suit always bugged me a little, because, like the current suit, it's a little too bulky, a little too stiff, a little too rubbery. however, i felt like in the keaton movies, tim burton worked fairly well around the limitations of the suit, leaving that batman feeling more like a superhero than a guy in a suit. i almost feel that chris nolan just doesn't care to work around his suit's limitations, like he wants it to be more realistic, and thus it ends up being just a guy in a suit. and what's up with the cowl? keaton's was a bit funky, with that stiff rubber, but seems like it was shaped better. bale's cowl feels too ovular, and like he's just got this tiny pointy little face on this great big egg shaped head. i dunno, but i don't like it.

veering away from the negativity a bit, but continuing with physicality, i have to say that the driving and flying sequences were great. all very well done, and enjoyable to watch. batman on a glider is one of my favorite things, and this movie didn't disappoint in this area. some of his toys were pretty nifty too. however, i do have a beef with the whole "skyhook" thing. it's a fantastic idea, don't get me wrong, it looked pretty awesome, and i know bruce wayne is rich as fuck, but seriously, the way that went down was not batman's style. a charter plane, or involving the U.S. military, either way, it's not his style. i mean, you can pursue realism all you want, but there is a line.

i mentioned earlier that all the characters were deep and well-realized. this is also true of batman (even though i don't care for the portrayal). the concepts dealt with in this movie—duality, sanity, purpose versus principles, and escalation—are indeed quintessentially batman concepts which have been dealt with extensively in the comics and other movies. so, yes, the batman's arc in this movie is also fantastically conceived… if only it was executed as well.

finally, we saw the movie in the IMAX theater, with seats near the middle on the second row about 100 feet or so away from the screen. perhaps i was too close, or perhaps i was too engrossed in the movie, but i can't say that i ever noticed a single bit that was IMAX. i will also say that it was very disappointing that there was at least some component of the projection system—the screen, the booth window, the project, or even the film—that was very dirty. there were black spots all over the screen.

given all the above, and my love of batman (in general), i figure that i will like it much better after a second viewing. now that i have traded expectation for experience, and having already said my peace about bale's bat, perhaps i'll be able to sit back and really watch it, enjoy it, and not let the bad bits color my perception of everything else too much.

anyone willing to give it a second look?

- 04:29 am - PL :: 5 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Indifferent - Movies - Pop Culture - Rants - Raves - Uncategorized

 

2007.04.19 whomp:

i'm not quite ready to talk about the recent tragic events at Tech, where my brother attends college. his story will keep, until i have more time to tell it appropriately.

as occasionally happens, i have been quiet on bipolar, but working busily behind the scenes. in fact, i have gone a little plugin crazy. last week i added the gregarious plugin, which gives us digg buttons on posts that have been dugg, and a "share this" link which now lives at the bottom of each post, and is great on the off chance you might want to bookmark or share us on one of several social link-sharing services. the "share this" page also gives you the opportunity to email a link to a particular post directly to a friend, directly from the page. part of the impetus for this addition was brian's recent lamentation on our lack of social penetration (yeah, knock it off) and his self-referential digging. plus, i have a few major posts in the works that i think might be suited to a digg-type feeding frenzy. we'll see.

with this addition i've also reformatted the post-ending link bonanza just a bit, i think making things a bit nicer. gone is the abbreviated "pl," in favor of the slightly less obfuscated "permalink."

the other obvious thing you might notice, looking down there, is a new starred rating thingy, again for individual posts. apparently, this plugin only allows you to vote once, and doesn't allow yout to change that vote once it's cast. i may have to do something about that, but i'll let it stand for now.

one less obvious addition is a "subcribe to comments" plugin, which allows you to indicate whether you want, when you comment on a post, to have subsequent comments sent to you via email. there's also a subscription management feature, so you can come in and remove yourself from subscribed posts if you like.

a very obscure (to you the viewer, anyway) plugin is one which checks for incoming links to a post (from offsite), and registers any that are found as "pingbacks" without the offsite poster having to actually initiate a formal pingback. if you understand what that means, congratulations, you're an official blog geek.

behind the scenes, i've also added a plugin that counts post views, mainly for the benefit of the last recently added plugin… a bipolar stats page. The plugin lists on that page many various stats from the blog, including the new post ratings and post views. One really fun feature (i thought, anyway) is the ability to see the nicks off all previous commenters, and the ability to go to a page listing all their comments. being that we allow "anonymous" comments (i.e. you don't have to register), many people have visited and used different nicks, so the list is rather longer than the actual number of individuals who've commented.

i still have a short list of plugins left to test and install, but i thought these were the most immediately useful ones.

here's what i've installed:

here's what i'm still considering:

so digg, email, subscribe, rate, view, and link away.

2007.04.04 slow news day:

don't have a lot to talk about today, so it seems like a great time to work in a mention of the puffin's latest blogging co-venture (now with his lovely wife, Allison), wherein he waxes poetic about the latest inspiring (and uninspiring) works in the comic book industry, she waxes poetic about high-falutin' sciency stuff, and they both entreat you with their occasional musings on the music scene and their own interesting undertakings.

appropriately enough, they've called it nerd [heart] geek.

oh, and in other news, i've just switched over from bloglines to our benevolent information overlords' "Reader" thingy. thanks to a conversation i was having with neil this afternoon where i was telling him about the two online feed readers, and where i convinced myself to go ahead and make the google plunge.

like my buddy Charlie has said… i wouldn't bow to our great and glorious overlords, except that they make such darned useful, usable stuff!

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- 11:39 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Computers/Tech - Cool Links - Friends - Local/Louisville - Pleased/Like - Pop Culture

 

2006.12.08 lazy day in old st. lou:

so, i'm up here with my lovely wife, doing her res. interview at WashU. i'm just chillin in the hotel room, shooting at my co-workers with the 2006 Power Treecam—a brilliant idea by yours truly, brilliantly embellished and executed by our boy ben.

i've run over to the St. Louis Bread Co., where I got the skinny on the fact that the national chain Panera Bread (as known to most of us) was actually originally the aforementioned St. Louis Bread Co. I picked up my breakfast there (croissant, cinnamon roll, and coffee) and they gave me a soufflé for free.

I've spent most of the morning upgrading our WordPress installation to 2.0.5, and just installed the wordpressReports plugin, so we can see just how many people aren't coming to visit the site to enjoy the dearth of updates.

and now, i'm going to watch the Special Edition DVD of Star Trek III, which my buddy nate so thoughtfully gave to me on my most recent birthday. thanks again, nate!

2006.09.07 blast from the link-blog past:

not that bipolar was ever really a "link-blog," but I compiled this little list for my best gal earlier today, and thought it wouldn't be totally imprudent to post it here for you guys. i have a couple post ideas brewing, but really i just need to get off my ass and post my usual off-the-cuff b.s. like i used to.

anyway, here's the list o' links:

2006.08.17 cinema noche:

I spent a few minutes today working on the "invitation only" alterations to the movie night site, so I can now officially link to it in a public sphere. Currently, the only thing non-registered users can do is view the listed movies, and some stats for them. Feel free to drop by movie night and see our movie list. If I know you, feel free to drop me an email if you'd be interested in joining us for a movie night sometime. Casual is the rule of the day, as I can't really get more than 15 or so people (at an absolute max) in my living room to watch movies.

For the rest of you, some of the movies have a "Why Should I Watch This" blurb from the person who added the movie, so there's more than just pictures, links, and stats. In the future, i might make the comments on movies (and the as-yet-secret feature) available for viewing by non-registered users.

2006.04.18 another new feature:

this probably has limited intrinsic value, but it's something i've thought was neat for some time, and now that we've got wordpress, it was crazy easy to implement.

you know about avatars, right? as a limited example, they're the little images you choose to personalize your profile on bulletin boards (or forums as the young bucks like to call 'em). well, a guy had an idea that if you wanted, you should be able to use a single avatar, centrally controlled, from any site anywhere on the 'net. and, since we've all got unique email addresses, that could be the peg the hat hangs on. so now, if you login or post to a site that uses these "globally recognized avatars" and give them your email address, whamo-bamo, your personal little pic shows up on their site.

since I tended to use the same avatar (and username) on every site I visit anyway, this seemed like an obvious solution to a problem I hadn't realized I had. so, I signed up.

now, there's a plugin for Thunderbird so you can see gravatars in your address book, and, of course, there's a plugin for wordpress, so you guys can see your pictures when you post comments.

all you need to do to set up your free gravatar is go to http://www.gravatar.com and sign up. The gravatars have to be approved manually, and they are rated, so if you submit porn, someone will see it and rate it appropriately. because of the approval process and the 1-avatar, 1-email address limit of the free account, it could be a chore if you wanted to occasionally swap out your avatars.

i'd love to see all the regular characters set up a gravatar, just 'cause i think it's fun, and y'know, i went to all the trouble of installing the plugin.

oh, and btw, happy birthday to the amazing sharon—officially not a youngster anymore.


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