Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where I Had Dinner

I had just gone through a drive through for him but Patrick would love
it too.

Plus...sweet potato fries FTW.

Friday, March 21, 2008

More Computer Squeeing

The picture above is from my laptop, where Handbrake has been laboring for four days to convert a total of four hours of video.

Yup, you heard that right.  One hour = one day.

To be fair, that's H.264 encoding...just straight non-ipod-compatible mp4s are about one hour = five hours.

The picture above is from my iMac.  The 29.01 frames per second is how fast it's encoding the video.  Compare that with the 0.14 frames per second above.

One hour = 33 minutes.

Wow.  I knew it'd be faster,

While I Wait

To answer Cat's earlier question, I have not yet decided what to name Sparky Jr.'s successor.  All my other Sparkys have been maybe once I get Windows installed, we can call it Sparky III when booted in Windows mode...but I still need a name for Mac mode.

Anyhow, I'm currently in the process of importing my 90 GB iPhoto library, and rebuilding my 300 GB iTunes library, so while I wait, I thought I'd get around to my Ark of Truth review.

There will be spoilers.

I imagine any of you who continue reading will be familiar with the plot, but since Amie has said she reads everything, here ya go, just to get you up to speed:

Millions of years ago, humans evolved past the need for physical bodies.  There were two camps: Ancients/Alderans and Ori.  The Ancients are generally nice but have a strict policy of non-interference with corporeal beings.  The Ori derive energy from corporeal beings' worship and create a religion, Origin, so that more people worship them.

The Ancients knew the Ori were bad, but did not interfere (the whole Rule thing), except for Myrrdin, who we know as Merlin.  He created a device that would kill Ori, but never got a chance to use it.

That's where the Stargate folks come in -- they searched for Merlin's weapon, and used it.


All those people who follow Origin?  They don't know the Ori are gone, and are bent on domination of the universe.  Their philosophy is join us or die.  So the Stargate folks are looking for a device called the Ark of Truth which will convince people that the Ori are gone, and will stop the Ori's followers from trying to kill all of them.

Meanwhile, long ago, the Alderans created a race called the Replicators.  Think Borg Legos.  They look like an erector set, and devour everything.  They are Very, Very Bad.

So, SG-1 is looking for the Ark.  But a bad guy on the ship plants a Replicator, so that the Replicators will infect the Ori ships.  People get tortured, Cameron gets beat up, the ship nearly gets destroyed.

But it's Stargate, so things work out.

What I Liked
  • Being a fan of Arthurian legend, I loved the Ori storyline.  I liked how it got back to Stargate's origins (though they were using Egyptian legend to begin with).  Given that they'd already looked for and found an Ancient device to win the war with, finding the Ark of Truth didn't strain credulity as much as it might have if they hadn't already gone looking for Merlin's weapon.
  • I adored Vala's rant at the beginning about opening the box they thought was the Ark of Truth, and especially liked Daniel's exasperated, "Why do I even answer?"
  • After arguing with the IOA guy, Cam asks Sam if she's sure she doesn't want "the chair" (that is, to be in command).  "Oh, nooooo," she says, then gives his shoulders a squeeze.  "Got your back, though."  I loved the simultaneous support mixed with the, "No WAY am I subjecting myself to that."
  • Teal'c's conversation with Tomin, who had been a commander for the Ori before he realized they were false gods (something Teal'c has intimate understanding of).  It was awesome...the way he shared his own experiences without directly saying, "I'm saying this to help you through it."  It was a very, very nice moment.
  • Morgan Le Fay, despite Daniel's frustration at how little obvious she was doing to help, is made of win.  (Except that she looks just like the teacher who had Cat's class before Cat had Cat's class.)  The look on her face at the end (Adria -- the only Ori left -- says, "You're no match for me," and Morgan says, with this wicked gleam in her eye, "I am now.")
  • Cam's initial report that the first Replicator has...err...replicated, is also hysterical:  (note that I'm loosely quoting here)  "Sam!  This thing's living up to its name...there are definitely more than one."  Sam:  "How many?"  Cam:  "A lot!"
  • Sam baking Cam macaroons was absolutely awesome.  (Hey, I'm a 'shipper.  Sorry.)  The look on her face as she gives him the bag was great.
  • Daniel and Vala's silent communication during the last stand-off with Adria was also cool, as he realizes what the password to the Ark of Truth is, and silently asks her to distract Adria long enough to put it in.
  • The whole end sequence, as they go off to their next mission, was great -- between Daniel's resigned acknowledgement that you just have to get used to being blamed for stuff, and Vala's delight that their might be "treasures" to find on the next rocked.
What I Was Iffy About
  • The Priors got old.  (They are like the Ori's priests, I guess.  They walk around with a powerful staff and are in charge of all the ships.)  How many times can you hear, "Hallowed are the Ori," before it gets old.  Also, the crying Prior at the end...just wasn't convincing.  However, Cam and the Prior at the beginning were just too cool.
  • Tomin just never...bleh.  As I said before, I liked him and Teal'c...I just -- he never seemed that interesting to me.  He clearly loves Vala, and she cares for him -- and I give him points for knowing that she doesn't love him back.  I dunno...I've just never been a Tomin fan.
  • The bit with the Ancients at the beginning?  No one talks like that.
  • What was with Daniel in the cell?  Did Michael Shanks just have a bad acting day or something?  I get that he was supposed to be frustrated and near the end of his rope -- nearly broken -- but still.
  • I liked that they acknowledged how dangerous the Ark could be, but it's bittersweet because they obviously can't do anything with the idea, with only a couple of direct-to-DVD movies.
What I Didn't Like
  • Replicator-IOA-guy beating the bejeezus out of Mitchell.  Not that it wasn't important to the story, and not that it wasn't good stunt work, but it just went on to freaking long.
  • Speaking of -- when Mitchell was hiding in that little room, and couldn't get back to Sam on the radio...couldn't they hear him anyway?  I would imagine Replicators could hear radio what was the point of freaking her out?
  • The Prior at the SGC.  That just was...old.
  • The footage of Cam getting nearly blown up.
Overall Impressions

I liked Ark of Truth very much.  In fact, it felt like a stronger follow-up than The Peacekeeper Wars was, even though it had more to cover in less time.  For one thing, the characters seemed true to the characters on the show.  For another, it didn't try to introduce new canon (like the origin of the Peacekeepers) that it wouldn't have enough time to explain and explore.

In fact, my main gripe with it is that it really made me miss Stargate.  As I said when it first went off the air, my interest in the show waxed and waned over the years, but it ended on, for me, a very high note that this movie only continued.

Here's hoping the upcoming Continuum will continue in the same vein.

My Geekdom, Let Me Show You It

(Okay, the bundled keyboard is, at best, going to take some getting used to.)

I am in computer love.

It is beautiful.

It is big.

I can see everything.

It's fast.

Did I mention it's beautiful?

Also?  Setting up a computer in five minutes FTW.

Come to Mama

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This Amuses Me

Poor Microsoft.  On the Windows XP page, the first five products listed under "customers who bought this also bought these" are Apple or Apple-related products.

Almost Spring Break

So, the plan was to get most of the stuff for after spring break done over this past week, so that I could clean up the room and leave in time for my 3:30 appointment to get a hepatitis B booster predicated by the bite incident.

That was the plan.

I left around 3:15 or so and headed to the worker's comp doctor's office, where I signed in for my appointment.

And waited.

And waited.

And chatted (yay me with the social skills!) with the lady next to me, who had been there since one freaking o'clock.

At 4:45, I finally go back to an exam room, where they tell me that Bulldozer's parents had never given them the results of his blood test, so I not only get to get a shot, I get to have another blood draw.

Me = needle phobic.

Me = petrified.

Anyhow, I survived the booster -- which hurt a heck of a lot more than the first one did.  The nurse takes a look at my veins (after trying a "nifty new toy" -- a cuff for your upper arm, like when they put the latex band around your arm -- that clearly did not, and would never, fit my upper arm, short of emergency liposuction surgery).


Anyway, she takes a look at my veins and comments at how thin they are.

"Actually," I say, trying to be helpful, "the lady at the lab last time said they were just very deep, but she did go get to get a smaller needle."

The nurse looks at me doubtfully.

Me = petrified x 2.

She looks at my arm one more time, decides that she doesn't want to miss and "blow out [your] vein" and sends me to the lab at the hospital...again.

Where I am met by a different tech, who also has trouble finding veins in the normal place.  So, she takes my right arm, slaps it -- yeah, slaps it -- a few times to make the veins...puff up, I think is the word she used.

She sticks the needle in.



So, at this point, it's 5:15, and I head back to school, turn everything off, and leave it in the disastrous state it was in.  I'll head back tomorrow to finish up agenda books and copy the beginning of Matilda, and then spring break'll start.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Letter R

Patrick has a long and sordid history with the letter R. In most words that involve both Rs and vowels (e.g. birthday, bird, skirt), he reverses the R and the vowel.

Thus, many, many gleefully decorated brithday cards.

So, I'm looking at a wikipedia article for April Fools' Day for the kids' journals (Angel needs two or three sentences to the other kids' one) and I notice a quote from Chaucer in the origins section. Namely, a reference to "thritty dayes."

Now I am consumed with a desire to find out if that's a wikipedia typo or genuine Old English.

'Cause if it is, at least I can tell Patrick he just must be a reincarnated scribe or something. :-)

ETA: The Internet gods must've heard all my whining about boring days, and decided to get back at me with April 4...where the dilemma is which interesting thing to choose.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Human Error

"These kinds of problems have cropped up before, and they have always been due to human error."  -- HAL 9000

I'm not sure Arthur C. Clarke would want to be remembered, or eulogized, by a quote from 2001, but it's the only one I can think of off-hand, and fits that first thought you sometimes have when you hear someone has died:  That can't be right.

For years, despite being an avowed sci-fi fan, I mostly read tie-in novels -- Star Trek, Babylon 5, X-Files, and the like.  The few sci-fi books I'd read just hadn't captured my interest.

Turns out, when it comes to my reading material, I like hard sci-fi.  Science-based stuff.  The probable made possible.

His was some of the first I read, after I'd discovered that Fahrenheit 451 just didn't do it for me (the message was chilling; the book...meh).

I started, amazingly enough, with 2001.  There was an excerpt from it as a training passage for Dragon Naturally Speaking, which came installed on Sparky Junior.   Most of his novels were riveting -- Rendezvous with Rama, for one; some of his sequels were...meh, not so much.  His collaborations with Stephen Baxter were excellent, and led me to Stephen Baxter's solo work -- my favorite of which being The Timeships...which, in turn, led me to read The Time Machine.

It's sad, in a way, that Arthur C. Clarke is mainly being mentioned in reports of his death, as the acclaimed science fiction writer.

He was also a very intelligent man, who is credited with the idea of a space elevator (for which there is now a prize) and with spreading the notion of a communications satellite.  He'd written as many scientific papers as novels.

For the sci-fi community, it's a sad day.  I think I'll start to re-read 2001 over the break.

(Incidentally, for those of you who have seen -- and puzzled over -- the movie, the book makes it make much more sense...the two were written concurrently.)

Unfortunately, the only other quote I can come up with is, "Open the pod bay doors, HAL."

Monday, March 17, 2008


So, I'm typing away at the adapted version of chapter 1 of Matilda, which we're starting after spring break.

I've already made the kids' book reports for Swiss Family, and am feeling rather pleased with myself.

Then, Sparky Junior, my poor, in-critical-condition computer, flashes what looks like a BIOS screen -- note...not the blue screen of death, and not a simple freeze -- and reboots itself.

So quickly that I couldn't read what the screen said (and I read fast).

All by itself.

As in, not even my Windows Me computer ever did that.

Sure, it froze if you looked at it wrong...but....

There's only one solution:  Buy nothing for the next two months and pray to the computer gods.


Meanwhile, I comfort myself with images of macho guys hugging cookies.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Ark of Truth

If the title doesn't ring a bell, don't worry about spoilers herein.

If it does...well, there really aren't any.  Well, I guess there could be if you remember my 'shipping preferences and have a really good ear for quotes.


It's very, very wrong that my first thought was, "hey, that scar's gonna be on the wrong side!"

It's even more wrong that macaroons make me squee.

It's even more wrong that the words "cheek okay?" are romantic.



(And, yes, I watched the end first.  After reading about special effects and certain people getting to be blown up, I had to make sure those certain people survived.  So...maybe there's more squeeing.)

When the OTs Need an IEP Goal

So, I'm typing up the stuff for Mr. Voice's 30 day IEP. I'm freaked, but at least his IEP will not now be a gigantic block of contradictory and unreable text.

Anyway, I'm typing up one of his goals. The annual goal is to do something 3/5 attempts.

For the record, 3/5 = 60%.

The last objective is to do something 3/4 attempts.

For the record, the last objective should be completed before the goal is due.

Also for the record, 3/4 = 75%.

So, Mr. Voice is supposed to exceed the goal before meeting it.


Also, and totally unrelated, I've gone through at least a box of Kleenex since Friday. Don't know what I'm so allergic to right now, but I haven't had an allergy attack this bad in nearly 5 years. I even had to buy Primatene tablets. Blech.