Archive: March 2005

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Mar 31 05: hello, I must be going

Wow, that was quick. I haven’t even had the opportunity to post a review of the first episode of the new Doctor Who series (if I never get around to it, the short form is “love it! wheee!”). And already the new Doctor has quit the show. That’s a real pity, it is. He was great in the role—and perhaps he knew it, because he feared being thought of as “the Doctor” for the rest of his life. Oh, come on, Chris. That sort of thing never happens.

EDITED: The first episode is the only one that has aired, but apparently Eccleston did get all the way through filming his first season. So there’s that, at least.

Mar 25 05: big big world

This just in: we continue to live in a world abundant in mystery and delight. Take the recent discovery of octopi engaged in bipedal locomotion across the sea floor, for instance. Walking octopi! How cool is that? Don’t miss the little QuickTime clips. (Thanks, BoingBoing!)

And if you need even better proof, consider the 13 things that do not make sense, a New Scientist article pointed out by Neil Gaiman.

The universe—it’s a cool place to be.

Mar 21 05: gamelust

I’ve deliberately stayed away from World of Warcraft because, well, I know a brain-sucking obsession waiting to happen when I see one. I mean, I got the Sims a while back for Christmas, and after several consecutive days of going to bed after 3AM I bricked it behind the wall in a lead box sealed with the names of seven angels, for my own protection. WoW would also require a new computer, which is a not inconsiderable expense. But a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference, Will Wright—the genius game designer who made SimCity and The Sims—showcased what his team is working on now. Its working title is Spore.

Oooh. SimSpecies. Okay, for this I would upgrade my machine.

ADDENDUM: It really bugs me that Developers is unapostrophized. There, I said it.

Mar 14 05: table for one

So here I am in Boston. Well, Cambridge, actually; as I understand it, Cambridge:Boston::Brooklyn:Manhattan. I’m here with a number of my coworkers for a one-day seminar on Innovation in the Workplace. Yeah, ugh. Rumor has it that tomorrow we will learn that ‘thinking inside the box’ is this year’s ‘thinking outside the box.’ Whether or not the rumor is true, I am trying to withhold my cynicism about the whole enterprise until no earlier than lunchtime tomorrow. The travel and housing and drinks are free, so who am I to complain?

Most of us are staying at the Hotel Marlowe, which is at the end of Cambridge that (evidently) becomes a complete ghost town once the sun sets. We’re out behind a shopping mall with a name that is at once tony and utterly, soullessly generic—The Galleria at Cambridge, or some such. I got here around dinnertime, and I was hungry, and I had an hour and a half before the gang from NYC was supposed to gather in the hotel bar for drinks. Furthermore, I hadn’t been to Boston since my a capella days, and the idea of wandering around a strange city appealed; so I wandered off in the direction of the North End. I don’t know the North End from Peoria, but the concierges assured me that it would be an interesting place to go. It was also convenient to the hotel. I think that was part of the concierges’ secret agenda. When I told them I was looking for a place I could walk to, they looked at me funny. Does nobody walk in this town? Or was I just taking my life in my hands traversing the hotel’s neighborhood at night and nobody could bring themselves to tell me? Whatever the motivation, the North End was a great place for a stroll: I passed low 18th/19th-century brick buildings that screamed ‘you can’t afford the rent for this place,’ and bars and more bars (this is a drinker’s town), and especially a long long series of achingly romantic little Italian restaurants. To have asked for a table for one at any one of them would have been too tragic to be borne. Note to self: when come back, bring Paul.

I walked for a while, looking in windows (best business name, florists’ division: Ka-Bloom) and watching the people stream past me on the sidewalks. There were a great many young whippersnappers with faces painted green, radiating outward from the Fleet Center. (Judging by appearances, I’d say the Celtics won tonight.) But in the end, I abandoned my search for a glimpse of the soul of Boston. Such an undertaking requires more than ninety minutes, and it certainly requires the assistance of a local. (Confidential to Maggie R.: Much too late, I realized I should have dropped you a line before coming up. I thought a lot about Spiral Hunt while I was wandering around. Looking forward to reading more of it.) I came back to the hotel. I had a burger in the bar and had drinks with the gang. Carolyn’s birthday is tomorrow, so there was tequila.

I’m going to bed now.

ps: I’m typing this from a free terminal at the Marlowe’s 24-hour Executive Center. One of the last people to use this terminal apparently Googled the phrase “boston call girls” and then forgot to clear his cache. Amateur.

Mar 10 05: thursday humor corner

Why can’t the Buddha vacuum underneath his couch?

Because he has no attachments.

Har har har!

(courtesy Ian Osmond at Making Light)

Mar 6 05: hey, Safari users—

Has anybody else noticed that Safari’s pop-up blocker has become a little porous lately? Over the last week or two I’ve started to get pop-up ads during my random meanderings around the net. Has some loathsome individual found a new way to get around pop-up filters? Or is my computer b0rked?

snip! snip!

Well, Shockheaded Peter sure as hell ain’t for everybody. Some of us in tonight’s audience loved it. Some people clearly didn’t know what the hell to make of it, and their laughter was as often as not of the nervous sort. And some people hated it: one audience member—some obnoxious teenager, it seemed at the time—got up and loudly announced “Well, I’m sorry folks, but I’m abandoning ship…this is fucking boring” as he stomped down the stairs. Others followed him, in twos and threes at irregular intervals, albeit without the signs of poor upbringing.

For my part? I loved it. It had its uneven moments, but when it was good, it was very very good. It could negotiate the turn from funny to seriously unsettling without blinking. And the music was always delicious. I bought myself a couple of Tiger Lillies albums in the lobby after the show, because you can’t get them in the States and I figured I should jump at the chance whilst I had it. The Tiger Lillies themselves helped me decide which ones to buy—because their catalog is voluminous—and then signed them both. You sort of expect that when you meet them they’ll be, like, seriously freaky, but they seemed very nice indeed. Even Martin Jacques, the to-watch-him-perform-you-think-he-must-be-a-total-whack-job countertenor, who is officially a member of my Pantheon of Heroes.1

And then we had beers with Bobbó, and now I’m off to bed. Huzzah!

1 Other prominent members, in case you were wondering: Lynda Barry, Neil Gaiman, Larry Marder, Jonatha Brooke, Rufus Wainwright.

Mar 3 05: the doctor returns

The most seriously geeky of you out there—and you know who you are—may be interested to know that has been running a daily series of oblique-and-thoroughly-nonspoilery photographs shot during the filming of the new Doctor Who series. Enjoy. Oh, and they have other stuff, like images of the cool new logo. Not that I would ever add same to my queue of desktop pictures at the office, or anything, because I’m far too dignified for such behavior.

No word as yet on an American broadcaster, but if all else fails we’ll have BitTorrent parties.