This is really shiny, dong ma?

02 Serenity

It took 21 months and 70,000 pieces. It weighs 135 lbs.

Via CmdrTaco. There’s a whole bunch of photos there, including this one of Wash.

48 Serenity

Shatner’s “The Captains”

I watched William Shatner‘s documentary The Captains the other night. The concept is simple: Shatner, the actor who played the captain in the original Star Trek series, goes around interviewing the actors who played captains in the later series. Here’s the trailer:

There’s not a whole lot to the movie, but I thought two things were interesting. First, each of the captains agrees that the star of a television series is overworked. Well-compensated, yes, but also subject to 40 weeks of endless 14, 16, or 18-hour days. I did not know that. It was for each of them a source of great difficulty in their family relationships, and several said it was a major contributor to a divorce.

Second, I was interested to see Shatner asking the other captains about life after death. Of course, he is in his 80s now, and he knows he will eventually follow Scotty, Bones, and the Great Bird of the Galaxy to wherever it is people go when they aren’t here any more.

It's not enough to bash in heads…

I finally saw Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s awesomely wonderful and bizarre and funny.

I don’t know what the best line was, but one of my favorites is from “Everyone’s a Hero,” when Captain Hammer sings about how his girlfriend has taught him to care about the homeless:

She showed me there’s so many
Different muscles I can flex
There’s the deltoids of compassion
There’s the abs of being kind
It’s not enough to bash in heads
You’ve got to bash in minds

I appreciated Whedon’s take on Dr. Horrible as a lonely geek with no social skills rather than a demented monster. But even more, I appreciated that his character arc went from sympathetic-and-humorously evil to tragic but no longer funny evil. There’s a lesson in there, something about about getting burned when you play with fire.

My only complaint is the needless sexual innuendo in a few places means it’s not family-friendly. I’d love to show this to my kids, but it will have to wait a few years.

Star Trek (TOS) Plot Generator

This article nails it.

When I was in college, I was in a team of three people that had to write an operating system. (One of us, Dan, who was clearly the most prolific and talented programmer among us, nearly torpedoed the project by doing something incredibly clever that kept everything else from working. Then he bailed out a couple of days after the semester ended, instead of sticking to his post when the cadets ran, leaving Kevin and I to finish the job in the final hours before grades were due.)

Anyway, I mention this because the name of our Operating System was “Enterprise,” and our terminology was adapted from TOS. (Which, in those days, was The Only Show.) For example, instead of having initializing processes, we “beamed aboard” “ambassadors.” Most of our analogies were equally poor. Something like this chart could have really helped us make clever diagnostic output.

Banning Barbie

Good grief. A legislator from some backwater where people like to elect [name that party]s wants to ban Barbie.

Lileks nails it:

Now and then it seems that banning is all they can do. It’s all they seem to want to do. That’s the problem with a free nation: you can’t make yourself significant by granting freedoms, so you spend your time looking for freedoms to restrict in the name of a greater good, and there’s always a greater good.

Heinlein has a great description of what, for some people, would be the perfect society:

I had seen those luxuries Earthside. Wasn’t worth what they put up with. Don’t mean heavy gravity, that doesn’t bother them; I mean nonsense. All time kukai moa. If chicken guano in one earthworm city were shipped to Luna, fertilizer prolem would be solved for century. Do this. Don’t do that. Stay back of line. Where’s tax receipt? Fill out form. Let’s see license. Submit six copies. Exit only. No left turn. No right turn. Queue up to pay fine. Take back and get stamped. Drop dead — but first get permit.

(The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, chapter six, p. 85)

When the Man Comes Around

Just watched the final episode from season 1 of Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It’s a great show; can’t wait until summer when season 2 comes out.

But what made the ending so excellent was the use of Johnny Cash’s “When the Man Comes Around.” I hadn’t heard it before, but I went to Amazon and got a copy right away.

It’s the perfect song to accompany the events that serve as a revelation to FBI Agent Ellison:

T888 Carnage