Friday, October 29, 2010

BSG Season 4 Episode 16 - Deadlock

Another clunker, I'm afraid, this one seeing such amazing scriptwriting as "Adama looks at the walls and ceiling." What was interesting was Ellen's return - but I'll get to that in a moment.

The underlying theme of the episode is the blending of Cylons and humans, made painfully obvious to us as Cylon work crews work to repair the Galactica (which leads to the aforementioned stare fests from Adama).  The Cylon-Cylon pairing of Saul and Caprica 6, which led to a pregnancy, falls apart as they lose the baby.  The Cylons are posting pictures of models lost during the war, the same as the humans.  It's already started - the Cylons are a part of the fleet.

That was pretty much the important part to this episode.  The other part was Ellen's return.  Presumably we were supposed to get some more answers like last week's episode, but she instead returned to her previously petty form from before she died.  She's apparently the same Ellen as before, but slightly different.  As far as answers are concerned, Anders' brain reactivated or something so we'll probably get more next episode.

From what I understand there are only four more episodes to go, so I hope that the fact that Baltar's followers got big guns leads to something fun.  Well, fun for the viewers, it'll probably not be so good for those on the Galactica.

Final note for this episode: while it was pretty bad, the scenes after Tigh loses his unborn child are VERY well done and acted.  Those scenes were probably the best of the episode.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NaNo Warm-up #1: Halloween

Did you buy Machine of Death yesterday?  I did - and by the way, it reached #1 on the bestseller list!  Good job everyone!

So this is something I handwrote on Monday, October 25th as a practice session for NaNoWrimo.  I'm going to do a few of them this week, though I may not get to posting all of them until next week.  I'm TRYING not to overload anyone who follows the blog (read: the two people who actually subscribe).  In this first excersize, I was trying to determine an average word/page.


What a topical way to start off my writing practice.  Halloween (or as some prefer, Hallowe'en) is coming this Sunday.  I think the optimal trick-or-treat action will start at around 7:30, though there's no reason you can't start celebrating right at midnight.  Celebrate in your dreams, if you insist on sleeping.

One of the best ways to celebrate All Hallow's Eve is to don a scary costume.  This practice of course dates back many years - a lot further than I wish to look into.  Suffice it to say, the idea of the costume has grown from simply "scary" to "creative".  Unfortuantely this is an area where I lack the necessary expertise.

I'm always terrible when it comes to brainstorming costume ideas.  Either I can't come up with an idea at all, or I lack the skills to pull off a decent version of my vision.  When I was younger - elementary school young - I had the luxury of my mother's help when it came to costumes.

During my childhood I've been the following: a ghost, a vampire (complete with glow-in-the-dark teeth and a cape that was far too long), a ghostbuster, a Crayola crayon, and a Ninja Turtle.  I think the Ninja Turtle was my mom's best work, although the felt Ghostbusters patch was pretty good.

I'm enver oen to spend a lot of money on elaborate costumes - a lot of the time, I wing it using what's available.  With Vanessa's help last year, I became a Western bad guy - completed with an older toy gun from my youth.  It turned otu fairly well, and I'm just glad nobody thought I had a real gun at the bar.

This year is slightly problematic: up until last week, we weren't planning on doing anything for halloween.  Then we were invited to a party, where dressing up would be expected.  Now, I've had flashes of trying to figure out hwo to make a Battlestar Galactica uniform (I've been watching that a lot lately), but I don't have the time.  Or the skills.

I could try to be Ron Burgundy (Anchorman), but that hinges on finding the perfect red blazer from Value Village.  And that's not happening at all.  However, I recently remembered a costume I can put together, for which I have all the materials.

Of course I can't reveal the costume now - that will have to wait until after Halloween!


I counted 402 words, 8 paragraphs.  It was actually one and a half pages, so I made my calculations based on how much I wrote in one page.  My average words/paragraph was 50.25, and there were 5 paragraphs on the first page - which gave me an average of 251 words/page.

My daily goal is 2000 words, so that means approximately 8 pages.  I've since done another exercise (which will be posted later) that gave me similar results, so I've determined I need to write 8-10 pages depending on how big I write.

More on my exercise results later!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Machine of Death

I have some posts to type up about my NaNo training but I thought I'd take the time to do some promoting of a book!

I'm not sure how many of you read Dinosaur Comics (if you don't, you should - it is a fantastic comic!), but five years ago the Machine of Death project was kick-started thanks to this comic.

Now, the book is available over at - and right now it's on sale for less than $10!

They're trying to get the book to #1 on the sales chart, so I thought I'd do my part in helping to promote it.  It is a really cool book with an awesome premise, and is very collaborative in nature. I thought I'd share :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Little Narrative Problem

With NaNoWriMo coming up in a week, I thought I would start sharing some behind-the-scenes blog posts to go along with my writing.  This is honestly what's going to occupy most of the blog in the coming weeks, so I hope that I'm entertaining enough for you to keep reading over November (or as beardites will call it, MOvember).

I have a little problem about what kind of narrative to use for my novel (if you don't remember what my novel is going to be about, let me help you remember).  The problem is that I don't know who the narrator is.  Is it Larry, who is the main character for the book (in other words, 1st person narrative)?  Is it an observer closely following Larry's actions (3rd person limited)?  Or is the narrator simply Q (omnicscient 3rd person)?

The reason why I'm in this dilemma is because I am playing a few scenes around in my head (not writing, that would be cheating) and some of them - the opening chapter for instance - is perfect for 1st person, while others require a more sophisticated narrator than a high school kid.  If I go with 1st person, I feel that there will be places in the book where I want to use words and references that would be far outside of the main character's immediate grasp.

I exaggerate a bit - the character probably would know some of the things I'd write, but it's hard to make readers believe that when you're writing from a character's personal voice.  I also don't think I could accurately capture a high school student's mentality to within 90-100%, which means a separate voice would be helpful.  That of course ruins my "perfect" opening scene that I have in my head.

I know I can easily jump between narrative voices as I write, but I don't think that's very practical.  I should stick with one form from the beginning.

So does anyone have any suggestions?  I would love to write a scene both ways prior to November, but I then wouldn't be able to use those words for the story without rewriting them.  Any advice would be extremely helpful! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Battlestar Galactica Season 4 - Episode 15 (No Exit)

No Exit, or my preferred title, Info Dump, is about as boring a show as you can probably imagine.  There is absolutely no drama or tension in this episode.  No, scratch that.  There is a little of both, but it's so hard to find it over the huge information dump that it barely registers.  So let me help you find it.

Anders, who last week was shot in the head, is struggling to survive.  As a fortunate happenstance of getting shot in the brain, he's starting to remember everything about the Final Five's life on Earth.  He gathers the other three together for story time.  So where's the drama in this info dump?  Quite simple: will Anders finish the story before they have to remove the bullet from his brain?  Will he die before he gets to the good part?  We'll never know (until next week)!

We found out at the end of last episode that Galactica is showing a lot of stress from battle damage.  I have to admit, the tension was hard to find - but it's there.  When the Chief offers to use Cylon biotechnology to fix the dying ship, The Old Man flat out refuses and insists on an entirely human crew.  Eventually he relents after seeing how much damage there really is (and after learning construction crews cut corners in the first place), and allows Tyrol to proceed with using whatever methods necessary to repair the ship.

Oh, in case you missed it, the tension was between Admiral Adama and Chief Tyrol about whether or not to use Cylon technology.  See what I mean?

Anyway the episode was satisfactory enough in that it gave us some more information, but nothing really happened.  Hoping next episode is better.

Oh dang, I almost forgot the best part of the episode: John Hodgman as himself playing a brain specialist.  He was awesome.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shameless Cross-Promotion

I run a podcast called Alternative Airwaves - maybe you've heard of it?

Anyway, just last week I put up a new episode, and I finally wrote a blog post for it.  Check it out at

Also there's a link to it above this page if for some reason you don't want to click the link I just typed out.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Battlestar Galactica Season 4: The Oath + Blood on the Scales

I am so happy for these episodes, a two-parter that started with The Oath and ended with Blood on the Scales.  I'd still say that Revelations was the better episode, but these two are so far the best "bottle" episodes (to use the parlance from The Next Generation companion) of the season.  By that I mean that they didn't do a whole lot to advance the story arc, but they had killer action.  They reminded me a lot of the Pegasus arc.

So as at the end of the last episode, Gaeta and Zarek are up to No Good.  Gaeta is angry about the Cylons joining the fleet, and Zarek - well he just wants to take control of the fleet altogether.  They begin a coup, and take over the Galactica with a surprising show of force; Gaeta is disgusted by Zarek's methods, and is trying to keep bloodshed to a minimum.  But, Zarek explains, that's impossible if you want to actually take control.

Some cool things happened in this episode:
- We finally see Zarek for what he is: a monster.  He was introduced as a revolutionary prisoner in season 1, and despite some glimpses of a good person coming through, he's finally revealed himself as the villain.
- Some awesome action sequences for Lee - been a long time coming since he dropped the uniform for the suit.  I doubt he's going to re-enter the military, mainly because...
- Zarek murdered the Quarum, so Lee is the last remaining member.  I think that makes him Vice-President.

And quite possibly the finest moment: Roslin, aboard the Cylon base ship, is under the impression that Adama is dead and the revolutionaries have won.  Desperate and angry, she unleashes everything on Zarek:
Do you hear me? I will use every cannon, every bomb, every bullet, every weapon I have down to my own eyeteeth to end you. I swear it! I'm coming for all of you!

You have to see the clip for yourself if you haven't already - it's awesome and scary.  The episode also marks the end of Zarek and Gaeta - a shame on two counts.  For one, Zarek was a good foil for the President.  I doubt there will be much conflict on that front beyond "what do we do with the government?".  Two, Gaeta was a good character.  Well, that's pretty much the only reason for number two.

Looking forward to the next episodes, which look like "answer" shows.  Previews say that Anders (one of the final five) starts remembering everything, and Ellen is resurrected. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review :: The Social Network

This review is flagged for "Possible Spoilers" - ye be warned.

Finally saw what is likely the most talked-about movie of the Fall film season.  People have been generally saying very good things about it, and I was already fascinated after seeing a short trailer a while back.  Some of the talk about The Social Network has had "Oscar buzz" thrown in there - and honestly I can see it winning some Oscars for acting, but maybe not anything like "Best Picture".  MAYBE best Screenplay Adaptation, or whatever the category is for that one - since this was adapted from a book which was adapted from court depositions.

I found few flaws in this movie, to be frank.  Actually, I found no flaws.  I can't name off any one of them to you without watching it a second time (which I fully intend to do once this is available on DVD).  The relationships in the movie seemed real, despite the fact that virtually no time was spent setting them up.

The thing I liked the best was that this was a movie about the people and about ambition, rather than about "the making of Facebook".  In fact even in the scenes we're shown of them making Facebook (which do not take up very much screen time at all), the focus isn't really on making the website.  This movie is all about what happened to the people while the site was in its infancy.

I could go on quite a bit about the movie, but there is a Filmspotting podcast that really does all the talking for me, at least about the more deeper meanings of the movie.  Some of the other things I really liked were the twins - apparently played Data/Lore style with one actor - and the little touches.  By that I mean the Windows XP screen savers, the old Facebook layout, Livejournal, and so forth.

And lastly, this paragraph is devoted entirely to Jesse Eisenberg.  I'd only seen him previously in Zombieland, in which he gave off a definitively Michael Cera vibe.  I still thought he was good, but he felt too much like a Spider-Man clone of Cera.  He most definitely comes into his own in this film!  And after seeing pictures of the real Mark Zuckerberg, they really lucked out in getting somebody who can really act and also look like the real Zuckerberg.  Oh, and Justin Timberlake looked a lot like Sean Parker, apart from showing how well he can act (Best Supporting Actor, anybody?).

Overall it was a great movie.  Don't miss out on seeing it - though if you're not a "going out to the movies" type of person, it's not really necessary to see it on the big screen.  DVD will do.  Either way, it is a must-see.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Battlestar Galactica Season 4: Episode 12

Here we go for Episode 12, A Disquiet Follows My Soul.

Despite the numerous amount of depressed people, it seemed like the fleet was going to move on from the disaster that is Earth (though you have to admit, it's not as bad as New Caprica) and move on to answering some more questions.

Except it's not that easy.  The government is at a stand-still (though it's being pushed into uproar by a mischievious Tom Zarek), and the President is still in hiding.  Adama shows that he's got more conviction brushing his teeth than half the crew on Galactica and tries to push her back into the public, but she realizes that her life is too short to really give a flying frak about anything.

And Adama is looking seriously cheesed at all the trash laying about the Galactica.  Despite all but giving up at the end of the episode (sort of...that's not entirely accurate but I don't know how to describe it), he looks like he's about to explode into some AdamaRage on the crew in the next episode.  The crew is languishing and I know he wants them to step up their game.  Good to know he still trusts Tigh, despite being a Cylon - I highly doubt he would be so tolerant 4 seasons ago.  More great character growth!

But what I've been trying to get at is that this episode served up some excellent story telling in using the classic plot mover, "if all is well throw in another obstacle!"  There was a small uprising involving the Oil Tanker leaving the fleet, but they got it back by force.  However at the end of the episode Zarek and Gaeta are clearly up to No Good.

Their shenanigans are my benefit, because there will actually be some intrigue in the remaining episodes beyond just answering all the lingering questions.  The fleet is way too comfortable right now - depression and suicides aside - and the season needs some new conflict.  The debate over the Cylon/Human alliance is it, and I'm hoping for some good stories.  They've still gotta top Revelations!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Well THIS is a movie I didn't expect, but I really should have.

And truth be told, I'm interested in seeing more of this movie.  I wasn't a big fan of the 2nd and 3rd Pirates movies, but it's a fun franchise and there are a lot worse movies out there to watch.

When there's another trailer available I'll put up a link.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dexter - Season 5, Episode 1

I finally saw the Season 5 premiere yesterday (I haven't watched episode 2, so I'm probably going to be an episode behind all season long).  My overall impressions were that it felt like a direct continuation of last season.  Considering that it essentially WAS a direct continuation, that means the writers did a good job here.  Alright, after this points be spoilers so turn away while you can.

We pick up from last season's (pretty shocking) finale: Dexter has just come home to find Rita murdered in her bathtub by Trinity, and called 911 to call in the murder.  We learn later that he called it in reporting it almost as a lab report.  This Is Important.  Dexter blurts out to Deb and the responding officers, "It was me".  Meaning of course that it was his actions that ultimately led to Rita's murder, not that he actually murdered her.  But it makes him look pretty bad.

And that's the essential set-up for the episode.  Dexter has no clue how to deal with Rita's death - everyone (well not everyone...Quinn) remarks that next-door neighbour Elliott was more broken up about the death than Dexter.  He's showing absolutely no emotion - he can't even break the news to his step-children without trying to emulate the funeral director.  Even Deb breaks down before Dexter.

But it does all lead to a point where Dexter finally snaps and wails on some hick.  Dexter shows that he is really human, and despite trying to initially run away, realizes he needs to return and face the consequences of Rita's death (which include delivering a pretty moving eulogy and cooperating with an FBI interview).

I feel like the theme of the season (and the corresponding "villain") is going to be that of consequences.  This episode does a really good job of setting up the theme.  I think that this episode is going to act as a microcosm for the rest of the year - Dexter feels the weight of Rita's death, and deals with the consequences and faces them.

What I liked about the episode: The emotions were bang on for every character.  At least, I thought they were bang on for what we've been shown of the characters over 4 years.  I liked that Dexter finally gave in to his emotions and came to his senses.  I liked that we saw Dex and Rita's first date.

What I didn't like: Quinn and Deb's insistence that Dexter wasn't acting normal because he wasn't showing emotion.  To me, it seemed that Dexter was in shock for the first three quarters of the episode.  He didn't know what to do.  Dexter has never dealt with death on precisely this level before; it just hasn't hit him.  And yet neither Deb nor Quinn see that he hasn't fully realized what's happened.

What I'm indifferent about: Quinn.  He's the new Doakes, no doubt about that.  He thinks Dexter is up to no good, and potentially Rita's killer.  I feel like we've been there, done that (re: Doakes), BUT the reason I'm so far indifferent is because Quinn at least seems to have some common decency.  Whereas Doakes would probably bark at him during the funeral, Quinn appears to feel some sympathy for the man in some places. 

It seems like Quinn is going to be a fairly well-developped character, so I'm willing to wait to see how he plays out.  So far this episode, he's in neutral territory.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Battlestar Galactica Episode 11

Continuing on, with Episode 11: Sometimes a Great Notion

The aftermath of finding a dead planet, the survivors of the 12 tribes and the rebel base ship are trying to figure out how to deal with the situation at hand.  Well, I assume the rebel base ship is doing the same - we never see them really.  Morality is at an all-time low - I think that is well-represented by the President's utter depression.  I believe she is representing the entire fleet with her feelings.  The greatest tragedy out of all of this is D, who shoots herself despite appearing to be extremely happy.

Starbuck finds her decaying body and crashed Viper, which leads us initially to think that she is a Cylon.  But that's still not clear, which I appreciate, because I always thought it was too easy for Starbuck to be one of the Final Five.  There's got to be another reason - maybe that's not actually her?  But she burned the body, so I don't know.

In the end of the episode Tigh realizes that Ellen is the fifth - which is what I guessed a few episodes ago.

So I was right - this episode was not as good as the last one, but it is starting to answer some questions (while asking new ones - thanks!).  I can't wait to see more.