Thursday, April 30, 2009

So Lost: The Variable



A variable is a value that can change, depending on conditions or on information passed to the program. (Daniel)

The opposite of a variable is a constant. Constants are values that never change. Because of their inflexibility, constants are used less often than variables in programming. (Desmond)

Here is another episode that is full of revelations and questions. Although Daniel states "we are the variables" meaning all of the Losties, it appears given his mother's lifelong manipulation of him and his life and fate that he is at least the Key Variable. And his father! Ha! I knew Widmore was his father, I just knew it!

Questions:

1. Is Daniel really dead or going to die? Jack is a few feet away. Daniel has the book in his shirt, but since he was shot from behind by his furry blue mommy (Sesame Street reference) that probably won't save him like the old book under the shirt does in the movies. Also, Richard who just saved Ben at the Temple can take Daniel there, right?

2. If he is dead, did Widmore send Miles to the Island specifically to talk to Daniel as a dead man and get the information about the bomb and how to blow things up and thus change time, thwarting Eloise?

3. Since future Daniel spent three years at Dharma headquarters, did he sort of infiltrate them and plant the seeds for the Ilanna-led group to go to the island and blow things up in case he was unsuccessful himself?

More after I watch it again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So Lost: Some Like It Hoth



I've watched the episode a second time attempting glean some fascinating meaning from the title of the episode. I got nothing. So let's dig deep into the BS-Vault and try this:

Some like it Hot "The all-time outrageous, satirical, comedy farce favorite, Some Like It Hot (1959) is one of the most hilarious, raucous films ever made. The ribald film is a clever combination of many elements: a spoof of 1920-30's gangster films with period costumes and speakeasies, and romance in a quasi-screwball comedy with one central joke - entangled and deceptive identities, reversed sex roles and cross-dressing. In fact, one of the film's major themes is disguise and masquerade" (wikipedia)

We can surmise that the Losties who have been living a life in the 1970's Dharma Initiative "in disguise" are part of the title inspiration. Their disguise is about to be blown thanks to Kate and her schmoozing Roger the Rabid dad of Ben (the Rat). Also (Kate the guilty is everywhere) the tape of the escape has been brought to Sawyer by that bug eyed little guy and let's face it, the lid is off the pot.

So far so so good.

Let's talk about Hoth. Temporary home to the Rebellion in the Empire Strikes Back (hmm theme city Dharma is temporary refuge to some of the Losties) before the Empire locates them and they have to flee. Run Losties run!

I loved the dialogue between Hurley and Miles about the Empire Strikes Back. Both the first time and the second time I watched the episode I was struck by Hurley and his determination to awkwardly rewrite and improve the Empire Strikes Back, and to get rid of the Ewoks, in particular.

Anyone who has followed the films over time knows that the very vocal fan base for the Star Wars films has fought George Lucas every inch of the way on his own story and vision. They know better how it should play out, and they always did.

Take a look at the Lost fan base, who have also taken a distinct interest in knowing and saying how the storyline should play out. They think they know the last episode in fact already.

So, I posit that in this episode the Lost writers poke fun at their own knowing fans who would write and rewrite the Lost story their own way. The message is, you are as silly and not up to the task as Hurley is not up to the task of writing Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back better than George.

BS Meter set to Stun, see ya after tonight's episode.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Things On a Stick Thing 30: More Ways to Use RSS and Delicious



I have been signed up for but haven't been using Bloglines as my RSS source since the original 23 Things project. My how the feeds have piled up! There is an option to clear them out and begin anew, but I feel a slight guilt at not at least scanning for some gem. The digital packrat lives.

Thing 30 of More Things has us look at Feedrinse. The idea of this is, as far as I can tell, that you can have it filter out the real nuggets from all those piled up feeds. The three step FeedRinse interface looks simple, but I got a bunch of html code that would not reproduce here.

It makes my eyes pop out of my head to think of it. Obviously somewhere in there I blew past the "get OPML source" stuff because, looking in Bloglines, I didn't see anything that looked to be in code. I tried typing in the web site address and nooo it wouldn't accept it. I found the RSS Feed icon on the page and scooped up the URL from there and noooo it didn't accept that either. All this means is that Feed Rinse looks simple but requires more saavy to "simplify" my RSS experience that I am willing to dig through.

Filter My RSS

This had such a reasonable interface and it appeared to be something doable:

RSS URL
Keywords
Filter On /Description /Title /Category

However...

Warning: fopen(http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/books tone/reviews/rss) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found in /homepages/25/d90385819/htdocs/filtermyrss/wp-content/themes/filtermyrss/index.php on line 13
could not receive RSS Feed from server.


Holy encoded nightmare, Batman! I am not interested enough to sort this out.

(Nor, I confess to read the directions when the interface looks like a simple 1,2,3 process. If it is trickier than that, and the common bozoid isn't going to be able to fill in the blanks correctly, then there needs to be explanatory text right up front). I could do it, but when I have so many other ways to view new web site content, and decide for myself what I want to read at any given time, why would I mess with this?

These feed filters have to be useful to people who are responsible for, or who are lunatic enough to want to keep abreast of huge amounts of blogged information and who are looking particularly for specific bits of information.

FeedSifter

I almost didn't look at this one but hey, they are even more bare bones than the first two, but they give examples and explain what is each line is supposed to do.



Agh, doesn't that look like a success at last? Unfortunately when I clicked on "Subscribe to this feed" all I got was an error page. :( :( :(

Yes, even I can deduce I am making a consistent error, but Joan Q. User would do the same. Vindication.




Delicious

I like del.i.cious much more than the RSS feed feeders. It really can be useful to have your favorite web sites bookmarked and accessible from any computer anytime.

Popacular

This lists the most popular sites from del.i.cious from the most recent 8 hours or for all time. If you're looking for sites to browse and bookmark, this will help.

inSuggest

Type in your delicious user name and this suggests more sites like the ones you subscribe to already. Very nice!

I tried following the More Things instruction to search del.i.cious from the brwoser address bar but got page cannot be displayed messages. I copied and pasted their example into the address bar with the same results.

Tag Bundling went much better. Settings/Tags/Edit Tag Bundles allows you to put bookmarked sites together by subject Tag in a group. The more sites and tags you list, the more useful this can be.

I tried looking at the other suggested bookmarking site "FavThumb" but the link goes to "Ebay PicClick". I could not find it via Google either. It appears to have gone *poof*

Tagrolls: A Del.i.cious tool that displays your tags in a cloud.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Susan Boyle Tribute



I really enjoyed the video of Susan when I first saw it (and I've watched it a dozen times since), and I was as surprised as anyone by that remarkable voice and the so fitting song. She presented herself with such knowing humor that I thought she would be just a funny singer.

Instead, her beautiful, confident soul shone out from the first note. She held the audience and judges in her outstretched hand and said "this is what beauty is". She generously invited everyone in.

I'm writing this not just to give her tribute, but to make it easier for me to find her when I'm tired or discouraged or sad. She is luminous and a creature of joy. Here she is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

Friday, April 17, 2009

Harper's Island "Crackle"



I think they cheated a bit here having one of the Victims of the Week be a non-wedding wedding party member. The poor Reverend *sniff*, all he wanted was a nice scone and a little walk in the woods. I wish I could say he was accidental and that the trap was intended for a party member, or that the Killer was just testing the traps, but the fact that Cal didn't get killed belies that possibility.

On the other hand Cal is obviously not the Killer since he was tied up for the bulk of the episode. One suspect off the list.

I guess we have to take the groom off the suspect list too since he had all that deer cleanup to do. The killer really does seem to like to taunt his victims and create an atmosphere of fear so he may be a garden variety ghost who Feeds on Fear.

Did you note all those candles on Wakefield's grave? Somebody has been keeping vigil and perhaps trying to raise his spirit or some such. Always a bad idea.

Maybe because I've been watching the Harper's Globe clips, I am now suspecting Jimmy Mance (the old flame) and Shane Pierce (the townie) of being two of the guys in the "Dangerous Wreck" uploads.

Edit: it came to me as I was vacuuming that the 3rd guy in the Dangerous Wreck clips is Brent, unless he shows up dead shortly. Obviously some Secret Society/Brotherhood deal going on on Harper's Island. Hmm there ya go, they brought ol' John Wakefield to the Island years ago to dispatch people in some good ol' boy sacrifice to the gods dealie, now they're feeding the beastie again with our wedding party. Absolutely brilliant theory, is it not?

Jimmy (the old Flame)is also seeming more sinister as he talks to Henry Dunn (The Groom) and to Abby Mills (the good girl).

The dad still seems a good possibility, note that hard, calculating face as he comforts his daughter over the "surprise" appearance of old boyfriend "Hunter".

Speaking of Hunter (the Other Man), I don't buy his guilt in that last flamey death of the the dog lady, just because he was standing all mopey looking down at the festive bonfire. Nah. Red herring city.

So Lost: Dead is Dead



A little late on this episode but meh.

The title is another of those wry Lost jokes. Dead is certainly not dead when it comes to the Island. Dead people pop out of the foliage every two feet. Its just silly to believe Ben of all people when he says "Dead is Dead". Doh.

I was of course wrong about Kate being the one to have pounded Ben on the docks in L.A. I don't know why I didn't think of Desmond. I knew Penny wasn't up to that sort of stuff, even if she were defending her child. Who knows who her mom is, but somehow Charles hooked up with a sweetie pie lady at some point in his carousing career.

I don't believe Ben at all that he returned to the Island to be "judged". That's just not in his makeup. It was...a SMOKESCREEN! hahahaha! For whatever he was really up to. When he pulled the plug on Smokey's drain and said "I'll be outside" he was not meek but speaking to a companion/cohort/maybe even tool. Nothing humble in him there at all. What a silly show he put on for Sun "I don't know what will come out of the jungle". Yeah right. He did not expect John to come out, he was let down by the fact that he did not control "the monster" after all. I think that shook him up a little bit.

Added to that confusion, John Locke claimed to know just where to go. Clearly this was not in the Ben Plan. Ben was a bit excited to see he was going to the Temple, obviously something there made him think he would be in control, but nope, down into the dark pit beneath.

There, separated from John by a small cave-in he meets "Smokey". Smokey rises from a grill beneath a group of hieroglyphs featuring the ever popular Egyptian God Anubis, guide and friend to the dead. Although we were promised we would know more about Smokey this episode, I think that all we know now is he is a messenger or servant of Anubis, perhaps, and that he can take on the appearance of someone close to the "victim". (Or in Christian's case, an actor they just like having around). Ben wasn't "judged" at all by Alex's manifestation, he was told to shape up and do what Locke told him to do.

I think Ben was so shocked by this. I think he expected a different message and mission from the smoke monster. When he said "it let me live" to Locke in such an awed tone, I think it was because he was still so surprised that he was not welcomed back, but that he was just ordered around, and by Alex's specter no less. I give him a small bit of humanity here and say Alex was as important to him as a person could be to an oily dude.

This whole interlude makes me think again of Charlotte saying, just before she died "this Island is Death". There must be more to that.

The episode ends with Ilana popping Lapidos, our heroic pilot, over the head when he doesn't know the answer to the musical question "what lies in the shadow of the statue?" Obviously Ilana is more than a run of the mill bounty hunter. It appears she managed to come to the island with a nice arsenal of guns in her shiny silver box.

Speaking of guns, a Ben observation. Look at how easily he popped Caesar off with the shotgun. Just a firm no nonsense BOOM! However, when he goes on his mission to kill Danielle, and when he is going to kill Penny, look at the sideways, silly way he holds his gun, like a child or a Don Knotts look alike. Certainly no cold killer confidence there. Ben aka Mr. Conumdrum, eh?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Note to Self: Opening and Printing Tricky Adobe Documents



We're having a rash of problems with people not being able to print Adobe documents. Our techies have no solution since it is "intermittent".

So, we had a man's resume that he had created on an online site, and it was an Adobe doc but showed as a Word doc on his flash drive. It did not open in Word with any of the encoding options. We've seen this before and had no solution, but today, my tiny brain said, "look at the document Properties" why isn't the dang thing recognizing the formatting?

I still don't know the answer but I did see that the file was set to "open with" Microsoft Word but nada happened of use. So I looked to see if it could be opened with another type of program and there was Adobe Acrobat 9 all snuggly and shiny. I changed the doc to "open with" Adobe 9 and voila! a lovely resume.

I'll never remember that if I don't jot it down someplace. *scribble*

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Star Trek Academy Evaluator



Watch a clip from the upcoming Star Trek movie, then take the Academy Evaluator. I got stuck on test two, and could only find three things that were different. No Starfleet career for me :(

http://www.addictinggames.com/spotlight/startrek.html

This comes via @ParamountPics on Twitter.

My "To Read" List Overfloweth



Since all the lovely new fiction comes across my desk before being put on the New Books shelves, I see tons of things that look so intriguing. I also read reviews and find even more possible books! Yikes! I'm sharing part of my To Read list with you so that you can read a few of these and take some of the guilt from me for not being able to get to them all sooner. *I feel better already*


100 Cupboards: Book 1 (100 Cupboards)/N.D. Wilson
100 year old secret/Tracy Barrett
101 Sci-fi movies you must see before you die/Steven Jay Schneider
50 Years from today/Mike Wallace and others
A Beautiful Blue Death/Charles Finch
A dying fall/Sally Spencer DCI Charlie Woodend series
Above suspicion and The Red Dahlia by Lynda LaPlante
Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation)
Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves
Aunt Dimity Vampire Hunter/Nancy Atherton
Bite the moon Diane Fanning
Black book of secrets/F.E. Higgins
Black Tower/Louis Bayard
Blood Ballad/Rett MacPherson
Blood detective/Dan Waddell
Blue Door: a mystery/David Fulmer
Blue Heaven/C.J. Box (audio)
Bonechiller/Graham McNamee
Books a Memoir/Larry McMurtry
Buckinham palace Gardens Anne Perry
by Laura Best
Celtika
City of thieves/David Benioff
City of Time/Eoin McNamee sequel to The navigator: chosen to save the world (look for this on audio) due out June 24th 2008
Conifers for gardens Bitner
Crazy School/Cornelia Read
Creative collage making memories in mixed media/Marie Browning
Crossroads/Chris Grabenstein
Death of a witch/M. C. Beaton
Diamond of Darkhold: The Fourth Book of Ember (Books of Ember)/Jeanne Duprau
Dirty Secrets Club/Meg Gardiner
Dreamers of the day/Mary Doria Russell
Dreaming in Libro Bernikow
Dress Lodger/Sheri Holman
Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-playing Games/Matt Barton
Elf Realm/The Low road/Daniel Kirk
Embroidery on Paper (A Passion for Paper)/Cynthia Rapson
Fablehaven/Brandon Mull
Fablehaven: grip of the shadow plague/Brandon Mull
Fablehaven: rise of the Evening Star/Brandon Mull
Fell/Clement Davies
Final Theory/Mark Alpert
Folly du Jour/Beverly Cleverly
Footfalls/Eddie Gresham
Fun and fabulous pillows to sew/Valerie Shrader
Glass of time: the secret life of Miss Esperanza Gorst By Michael Cox
Goliath Bone/Mickey Spillaine
Heart Shaped Box/Joe Hill
Hold my hand/Serina mackesy
Honestly dearest, you’re dead: a Mystery/Jack Fredrickson
Hound of Rowan: the Tapestry Book one Henry H. Neff
Into the dark (Echo Falls)/Peter Abrahams
Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner (Author), Mini Grey (Illustrator)
Jack London in Paradise/Paul Malmont
January Dancer/Michael Flynn
Kingdom beyond the waves/Hunt Stephen
Lambs of London/Peter Ackroyd
Little book/Selden Edwards
Little giant of Aberdeen County/Tiffany Baker
Mary Engelbreit's Art of Paper Crafting: and Scrapbooking Kit (Paperback)by Mary Engelbreit
Matter/Iain Banks
Meaning of Night by Michael Cox
Middleworld (The Jaguar Stones Book 1)/J & P Voelkel
Mind over ship/David Marusek
Moneypenny Diaries/Kate Westbrook
Moon tunnel/Jim Kelly
Mr Timothy /Louis Bayard
Mousehunter/Alex Milway
Murder in Los Lobos/Sue McGinty
Nick of Time/Ted Bell
Our lady of pain/Elena Forbes
Paths of air/Alys Clare
Poe’s Chilren/edited by Peter Straub
Professor’s daughter/Joanne Sfar
Puddlejumpers’Mark Jean and Christopher C. Carlson
Red sky in morning/Patrick Culhane (Max Allan Collins)
Robert Holdstock
Rules of deception Christopher Reich
Runemarks (Hardcover)by Joanne Harris
Saving Paulo/David J Walker
Scrapbooking Family in Historical Events
SĂ©ance/John Harwood
Secret of the sirens/Julia Golding
Sepulchre/Kate Moss
Shadow of the Past/Judith Cutler
Skullduggery Pleasant/Derek Landy
Successful novelist: lessons from a lifetime of writing, craft, and working with publishers/David Morrell
Tales from the Hood (Sisters Grimm, Book 6)/Michael Buckley
Terror/Dan Simmons
Broken kings
Court of the air/Hunt Stephen
Crossroads/Chris Grabenstein
Iron Grail
Moneypenny diaries/Kate Westbrook
Pale Blue Eye/Louis Bayard
September Society/Charles Finch
Theodosia and the serpents of chaos/ R. L. LaFevers
Things I want my daughters to know/Elizabeth Noble
The 13th Reality, book 2: The Hunt for Dark Infinity/James Dashner
13th Reality: the journal of curious letters (13th Reality#1)/James Dashner
Thirteenth Tale/Diane Setterfield
Time Paradox/Iain Colfer (Artemis Fowl)
Traitor’s gate/Avi
Truth commissioner/David Park
Vengeful longing/ R.N. Morris
Vicious Circle/Mike Carey
Voyage of the Narwhal/Andrea Barrett
Walls of the universe/Paul Melko
Water clock/Jim Kelly
We’ll always have Paris/Ray Bradbury
Wild sight: an Irish Tale of Deadly Deeds and Forbidden Love/Loucinda McGary
Winter of her discontent/Haines, Kathryn Miller
Writing class/Jincy Willett
Year’s best fantasy/horror 2008

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mystery a Month Selections



The local mystery book club selections through November 2009:

May The Devil’s Teardrop/Jeffrey Deaver

June The Woman in White/Wilkie Collins

July Haunted Ground/Erin Hart

August (Any book) by Walter Mosley

September Presumed Innocent/Scott Turow

October The Blessing Way/Tony Hillerman

November Open Season/C. J. Box

Friday, April 10, 2009

Harper's Island: Chop em' up Edition



I've seen the promos for this limited mystery series while watching Survivor (It runs now through July). As a fan of whodunits, I was intrigued. This isn't your momma's whodunit, it is a bit too Beverly Hills 90210 drama queen, a bit too Halloween/Friday the Thirteenth.

Even so! My suspects for who is the KILLER are:

1. Thomas Wellington Father of the bride, hater of the groom, big fan of the bride-to-be's former boyfriend sweetly named "Hunter". We can't say why, at this point, but he was unconcerned enough about "Propeller Magnet" cousin Ben to have arranged his demise and good old "Uncle Marty" certainly met a grisly death after confronting Thomas on his nephew's behalf. Did you hear those crunching noises? See that frayed torso? Yikes. How do you do something like that? Wasn't a chain saw unless they come with Silencers nowadays.

2. Sheriff Charlie Mills Abby's dear old dad. Could have killed his wife then the rest to cover it up and placed the blame on the "murderer" he conveniently shot in self defense 7 years ago.

3. Jimmy Mance (Think this is the right guy) Abby's old fisherman boyfriend. Seems too nice, might be a psycho-up-the-sleeve type.

4. Vague possibility it is some supernatural ghostie/ghoulie, especially since the little girl "Madison" (she was the one torturing the snail with a magnifying glass) has a new "friend", unseen thus far.

Those are my best guesses for now.

Read all about it!

The main CBS site:
http://www.cbs.com/primetime/harpers_island/

Harper's Island Wiki Page with a great "scorecard"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper's_Island

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So Lost: Whatever Happened, Happened



The title of last week's episode and the title of this week's episode of Lost show that the writer's are having a fine time playing with the audience, I think.

"Whatever happened, happened" come on, now, consider the source. Daniel Faraday utters this in a world weary (his usual tone) manner. Because he is a physicist, people take it seriously. I am going to say that he is full of beans and he knows it. Faraday is smart enough to know all about time and paradox so he would know time can be changed by time travellers. It is in the Time Travel Manual on page 101. I believe his frustration comes from the fact that he himself has tried on numerous occasions to alter time (warning the child Charlotte, experimenting with a Rat with his mother's name, experimentation gone terribly awry with Theresa). Because he can't succeed, he puts a damper and a misdirection on the other castaways.

This week's episode is "Dead is Dead". Give me a break. Who stays dead on Lost? Nobody really.

That aside, from the Whatever Happened Happened Episode I see that Kate, who I've assumed was working for Charles or Eloise is more likely working on behalf of Ben. Somehow he got to her (and she beat him up in Los Angeles, not sweet Penny) and just before she potentially killed him off he told her something that must have had to do with Aaron that would make her do anything to save him, even act as Ben's agent on the island to make sure that events occured that would leave Ben as the evil twerp he is.

Ya ya, Jack refused to operate. Kate is the one who comes up with the idea (planted in advance by Ben? hmmm?) to take Ben to the Others---correction it is Juliette, but Kate still is the villain! Kate does not hesitate to give the okay to the supposedly innocent child Ben to be altered forever into the slime bucket we know and kinda appreciate. It seems as you're watching it that she is compassionate for a child but nah, she is really as cold and calculating as ever.

I loved Jack in this episode, coming into his own as a person for probably the first time in his life. He made his own decisions and did not cave in to pressure or manipulation from anyone. Go Jack go!

The transformations of Sawyer and Jack in Dharmaville say much about the rarified air there before the Purge and its gas and all that. Fun stuff. I love this show.

Small spoiler thought: Lots of speculation about who and what is in the Temple. I think this week's show will blow all that out of the water. Hope so anywho.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More Things on a Stick Thing 29: Google Tools



Search Tools

The most useful of these for me is Google News, my favorite aggregate news source. It is easy to see what is going on around the world at a glance, and there hundreds of articles to follow up on topics of interest. I find that a topic of interest might not always appear in the category I expect so I will use the search box at the top of the page to look it up.

Productivity

I signed up for a GMail account and like the many options. I may try the option of having my contacts from Yahoo moved into GMail and it looks like you can get you mail sent to the new GMail box as well so I can migrate over if I wish.

Easy access to Picasa might be good next time I'm traveling and am struggling with slow connection speeds and Flickr's vagaries.

I really like the easy to use calendar. I notoriously am bad about my Outlook calendar which is ponderous but this GMail one, very slick. It has the added advatage of not being something I can leave on my desk or in my car or who knows where.

Google docs looks to have potential uses, I'll have to look into it a bit more. Mobile document storage?

More Things on a Stick Thing 28: Netvibes and iGoogle



iGoogle

I had set up an iGoogle page last time around, but haven't used it. I've tried some added widgets and backgrounds this time around.

For instance, there was a "Magic 8 Ball". I've always loved those things. I asked it if I was bored. NO. I asked if Ben (Lost) would die on tonight's show. "IT IS A GOOD POSSIBILITY" Whoa, how scary is that?

Although many of the add ons are fun, none are indespensible, and I think I will still not bring up my iGoogle page.

NetVibes




Netvibes asked me to pick categories of interest. I chose News, TV Movies, Music, Fun & Games, Tools & Tech

My "suggested partner widgets" came out to be:

Babyzone due date countdown!!!! (Almost 21 years too late!)
Orange Business (I didn't select Business at all)
Shopping.Com (I didn't select interest in Shopping either!)

The graphics layout of Netvibes is somewhat crude looking. It does have handy links to Facebook, your email, and wiki-invest for all the money watchers out there.