Home > Movies & Television > Entry 11/25/2009 10:31:08 PM – Mentat 543

Entry 11/25/2009 10:31:08 PM – Mentat 543

11/26/2009
 

     Staycations can be a fabulous time in getting caught up with everything.  I mean here I am sitting at the computer, coffee in hand — halfway through to the midnight in the garden of good and evil, caught up with most of my deviations and messages in DA…  Checked in with my routine status on FB, halfway through the second DVD of Farscape Season 1, with my cat happily drooling on her couch, while listening to iTunes borderline on the psychotic side (from DJ Icey the last song to The Cranberries this song) and not a care in the world. 

     I got to finish Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four which was what I was more traditionally used to when it came to a Sherlock Holmes story.  I did so because Lindsay’s Trip to Arcturus was definitely on the wrong side of weird for the likes of me, and I found myself not wanting to track the story too much given that the entire first chapter was nothing more than fluff.  Needless to say though The Sign of Four did make more sense and followed the elements of deductive reasoning a hell of a lot better than the first book.  Although I admit that there had been times when I thought that Holmes was more a walking Deus ex Machina, given that throughout the entire book, you get the impression that he had the thing solved from the beginning and Doyle was just stringing us along through him in order to get the mystery solved.  The bottom line on this is that this is the sort of mystery story that I like reading, and while the elements aren’t my familiar science-fiction or fantasy elements, it was still a good read from beginning to end. 

     I’m not sure which book I want to read next.  I might cut into something from Jules Verne, as I can’t seem to find it within me to want to continue Lindsay’s book in the least.  Or maybe for giggles, I’ll try to tackle something from Burroughs.  At least I know that it’ll be cheap, tawdry pulp from Burroughs. 

     Also got to see JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and liked it enough that once my aunt and uncle are done with it I’m going to re-watch it to see if I can catch all the production gaffs.  While the elements are a good way to revitalize the franchise, I admit that I wasn’t too keen as the plot points that were being established…  For example, I didn’t like that Christine Chapel was completely written out of the story, and in her place Spock was having a relationship with Uhura.  The instant that I saw the hug in the turbo-elevator between the two of them I felt like I was watching someone else’s fanfic (slash more like it) put up on the silver screen.  Ugh…  But then again I remember the three years of TOS where Nurse Chapel was chasing Spock which felt like putting on a pair of old jeans. 

     I was completely put off with the information provided on McCoy, although I did appreciate and approve Karl Urban’s performance of McCoy.  You see, McCoy was a :simple country doctor" as he had routinely said and was from Georgia having gone to Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) for his medical degree.  I couldn’t for the life of me imagine that he’d wind up in Iowa and joining the shuttle to Starfleet Command and hooking up with Kirk as he was joining.  Further, I had always been under the impression that McCoy was drafted because of his knowledge on medicine (and re-drafted as it was mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and I wasn’t too keen that the introduction of his nickname completely misses the old High Seas reference of Sawbones.  Still though, Urban did a good job capturing the crotchety nature of McCoy and occasionally

     I give kudos to Chris Pine’s performance as James Tiberius Kirk, having caught the essence of Shatner’s swagger, more than occasional over-acting, and the essence of Kirk’s womanizing (right down to him and the Orion cadet) and wanting to hound dog Uhura (although this once again seemed more like a fanfic/slash writer’s dream of having someone from the main crew turn down Kirk’s flirtations). Although I did have some problem with the runaway bad boy attitude that he sported during the Kobayashi Maru Scenario and how he got disciplined and then grounded for it, instead of being given the commendation.  Sure this is an "alternative timeline" Trek, but still I didn’t and couldn’t approve of this, as it felt a cheat in the same way that Beavis & Butthead (Berman & Braga) did with Vulcans in Enterprise by making them cardboard cutouts of their established and accepted nature. 

     I also give applauds to Simon Peg (playing Montgomery Scott) and Anton Yelchin (playing Pavel Chekov) for surprising me in a good way with their performances.  When I saw their entrance, I was under the impression they were going to be nothing more than the butts of numerous jokes, and while this was in fact true they did play somewhat competent parts in performing their duties. 

     I give thumbs down to Zoe Saldana (playing Uhura), John Cho (playing Sulu) who seemed filler character that they filled out in all the wrong ways and again feel like a fanfic was written in a way that demonstrated the writer(s) disinterest in those characters.  A huge thumbs down to the cardboard cut-out of a villain Nero (played by Eric Bana) as well as the bullshit technobabble surrounding Red Matter. Please.  Anyone that watched Alias would readily recognize the reference of the red globe of Red Matter comes from…  Yes, the Rambaldi artifact that was created in Asia during the end of the first season. 

     Another big thumbs down was the planet of Vulcan and billions of inhabitants being wiped out during the movie.  This felt like a continued kick in the teeth from the way the Vulcans had been poorly portrayed in Enterprise and nothing more than a punching bag for the writers and Hollywood removing a race sci-fi and Trek fans look up to with an almost reverent devotion.  Although the jury’s still out on Spock.  Zachary Quinto put in an outstanding performance as Spock, enough that when my aunt stopped by while I was watching it, commented that [Quinto] reminded her of the spitting image of [Nimoy’s] Spock." My opinion might change of him in a second running, but presently, I find myself put off by him ejecting Kirk from the ship, instead of putting him in the brig.  After all, ships have brigs as well, you don’t eject someone because you’re pissed with them and they’re interfering with your command.  Further, brigs were in place in all shows, why is it suddenly not in this movie? 

 

     And Farscape  Wow, what fun this is returning to this universe and watching the first season.  Seems I’ve either missed one or two episodes or I had completely forgotten about them because of the stress I had been going through at the time that Sci-Fi Channel (long before it became SyFryed) decided on showing them back to back from the beginning in order to kick off the new season.  At about that time I was going through one form of hell with the ex.  Like Babylon 5, Farscape is considered for me one of the better building blocks of my understanding and appreciation of Science Fiction, even If Farscape definitely crosses the line often into the realm of fantasy. 

 

     Oh, and I was able to get Canonical’s Ubuntu Karmic Koala (9.10) loaded up, but not without significant problems.  Strange.  When I originally tried to perform the upgrade, the first thing that I noticed was that it had completely disabled the Third Party and Restricted programs and drivers which is a great big wrong in my book.  Then it was going to take the better part of 2 hours to complete the upgrade.  Thought against this and tried to load it up from disc that I had downloaded and burned from an ISO file.  Hah, what a joke that was.  The ISO passed the checksum, and the disc even passed the CD Check, but when I tried to run it, I got all sorts of crashes when trying to install it.  The fun part about that was, while grub was able to successfully load and allow me to get to my Windows Partition it kept giving me errors every time I attempted to boot to the Linux Partition. 

     Well this is just fine! I thought, let me grab the 9.04 and go through the painful couple of hour upgrade to get to it…  Which I did.  And though it took an hour less time because it was a fresh install of 9.04, it still was an hour longer than it should have been.  First thing that I notice they replaced the Gnome Add/Remove with this piece of fluff called the "Ubuntu Software Center". 

     Not liking it, I was fortunate to find how to get the Gnome Add/Remove back into the Administrator Menu, but not without me making comments about the POS "…Software Center" which can be read here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8370815#post8370815 and while I was able to get a majority of the programs that I wanted to install — I still have to perform a little more tweaking when I get the chance. 

     I’ve also noticed that for some reason, while 9.10 has been able to get Dolby 5.1 surround to work properly with both Rhythmbox and the OS itself, I’ve noticed that when trying to swap out from Linux to Windows, my Soundcard is completely locked in some sort of mode that prevents it from recognizing Windows API commands.  So far, the only fix for this is a complete shut down and cold start after 10 or more seconds.  I think I’ll look into seeing if this has been fixed or not after tomorrow.  Right now though I’ll keep to the Windows Partition for the moment as I like listening to music and watching DVDs without having to cold start the Workhorse. 

     An acquaintance of mine had suggested loading up Kubuntu or Xubuntu on the system, and while I’ve had the pleasure of getting Kubuntu running on my system once or twice, the glitches with the Add/Remove in Kubuntu is frightfully painful!  Seems that they still haven’t worked out the problem with mass laundry lists of adding/removing programs in Kubuntu that causes the whole package manager to come to a grinding halt causing it to take upward to 5 – 10 minutes per click to add the next program if one has already queued up more than 7 programs already, and not the sort of thing that I want to experience.  And the Adept Package Manager is like Synaptic which can be more than a little overwhelming for an intermediate Linux user.    Not to mention that I don’t like the KDE desktop as it’s worse than XP’s 3-year old with a coloring book experience, particularly with the taskbar. 

     And as an afterthought I was able to try out Xubuntu once, but couldn’t for the life of me get it to recognize the sound card, so I’ve scrapped it since.

     It is still in my not even remotely humble opinion that Linux is still not ready for the average user to use, and at the rate that it’s going, will continue to have less than 1% market-share.  This is because of the manner for which developers and coders continue to act snobby and condescending toward anyone that offers any negative criticism for a package or product.  Further, I’m still of the opinion that a cut down of the million and a half-flavors of Linux to say 3 – 5 varieties that would greatly assist being attractive to the casual user.  Particularly when they’re trying to find the solution to a problem and not swamped with having to cut through all sorts of Linux solutions that won’t work in the particular version they’re running (like the time I found a problem that someone was suffering from in Fedora which required an RPM package to be installed, and I was running Debian/Gnome that would require extra steps to get the RPM package running).  And finally, I continue to maintain the opinion that Linux users on the whole need to STFU if they cannot contribute to the solution of a problem..  I continue to see, "this didn’t happen to me" or "it’s working fine for me" tacked on to a thread and doesn’t inspire users to trudge on to try to find the solution to their problem. 

     Ultimately though I will continue to trudge on to learning it, as I seem to be getting better at finding the solutions on my own, rather than trying to find others to help me with a solution. 

 

     Well that’s about it for the time being.  Off for lunch, play a game or two and continue watching Farscape.  Until the next time.

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