Don't want to jinx it but...

I've started working on a new script again. Hopefully this will fit in 15 minutes when it's all said and done. Sci-fi, two actors, actual dialogue unlike the short I produced, edited and did the sfx for last year, and could be shot on a budget. Actually has a couple of "messages" in it too - which is unusual for my writing. I generally just let other people worry about the "message" part of it, and I try to get on with the script.

We'll see how it goes, but hopefully I'll get around to shooting it in June. All I need is three shorts, and then I'll be ready to direct and shoot a feature. Fingers crossed...

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America The Insane

The Second District Court has this to say regarding Terry Schiavo:
Since 1990, Theresa has lived in nursing homes with constant care. She is fed and hydrated by tubes. The staff changes her diapers regularly. She has had numerous health problems, but none have been life threatening.

Over the span of this last decade, Theresa's brain has deteriorated because of the lack of oxygen it suffered at the time of the heart attack. By mid 1996, the CAT scans of her brain showed a severely abnormal structure. At this point, much of her cerebral cortex is simply gone and has been replaced by cerebral spinal fluid. Medicine cannot cure this condition. Unless an act of God, a true miracle, were to recreate her brain, Theresa will always remain in an unconscious, reflexive state, totally dependent upon others to feed her and care for her most private needs.
...
Although the physicians are not in complete agreement concerning the extent of Mrs. Schiavo's brain damage, they all agree that the brain scans show extensive permanent damage to her brain. The only debate between the doctors is whether she has a small amount of isolated living tissue in her cerebral cortex or whether she has no living tissue in her cerebral cortex.

... so why is there any debate about this?
People, she doesn't have a brain any more. It's not that she doesn't have a particularly well working one, she simply doesn't have one. It has gone away.
Frankly, the whole debacle sickens me. People should have more respect for the dead.
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The New Doctor Who (Spoiler Free)

The new series of Doctor Who was posted to the web yesterday, well ahead of its intended release date in the UK.

So I downloaded it. Now, before you start screaming, hear me out on this. I'm a huge proponent of copyright law. I believe in it wholeheartedly. I buy all my music. I spend thousands of dollars on DVDs and CDs and movie tickets every year. So why did I do this?

Because it's looking unlikely that I'll be able to see this in the USA any time in the near future. SciFi channel apparently dropped out of the running, so I'm not holding my breath. Besides, it could be months. It'd drive me insane.

I still intend to go out and buy DVDs of this show when they come out. And I definitely will watch it on television when it's finally shown here. (Hopefully in HD).

Anyway... on to the mini-review...

It's great.

No, I mean it, it's really good. Okay, sure, it could do with finding its footing a little... but these are early days. Once it has chance to stretch its legs and find the level, I've got no doubt that it'll be a pretty damn cool show. It's a little too slapstick right now. When it gets a little more serious, it'll be better.

Special effects? Mostly excellent. Some of them are a little obviously low budget (low budget CGI being really obvious most of the time).

Theme Music? Gimme the full on fairlight synth version any day. Going back to what sounds a lot like the 3rd doctor's theme just doesn't do it for me. I need my twinkling notes of cascading arpeggio electronica.

Christopher Eccleston? Hearing the Doctor with a Mancunian accent is... well... a little jarring. And I come from Manchester. But hey, I'll get used to that.

The biggest problem it has right now is that it's missing ... well... time. 45 minute episodes? Bravo! Give me more of them! Single episode storylines? Arrrrrrgh. No! Please, no!

The US version of Touching Evil was eminently better than its UK predecessor in all but one respect - the stories were too short. They crammed 2 even 3 episode stories into one short 45 minute long block. This just doesn't work for anything but American television like Star Trek, where there's no real character driven elements at all - you need to give the stories the time they need to grow. Cracker is a primer example of this done right - 3 episode stories? No problem!

Final Verdict?

Give it some time to mature a little. And hope to God that they don't have many 1 episode stories, or that'll be the death of the show.

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Hint for the day...

Don't eat at the Waimea Brewing Company in Kirkland. Food is lousy, possibly bordering on criminally negligent. The papaya ginger salsa on my Ono tasted like - I honestly kid you not - it had been marinated in some kind of cheap aftershave. The Ono itself was soaked in grease, which for the kind of fish it is, is also criminally negligent (Ono should be treated like a steak - and you wouldn't deep fry a steak). My wife's prawn combo had some kind of weird beer-based salsa served with it, the smell of which combined with the other ingredients, managed to set off every single "Don't eat this food it will kill you" vibe that my nose had, nearly immediately killing my appetite entirely. For the first time in my life, I wasn't able to grin and bear it in that polite British way that you do when you're eating bad food - I actually went through the whole process of explaining why the meal was patently inedible. If you've been around many Brits and seen the tortured way they will avoid complaining about anything in a restaurant ever (thus culminating over the years in the legendary culinary experience that most Americans call British 'food'), you can probably understand what a huge deal this must have been. My stomach is still doing flip-flops - and that's no exaggeration.

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Hybrids aren't the solution. At least not yet.

This article from Newsweek (also reprinted by MSNBC) - Imagine: 500 Miles Per Gallon - unfortunately misses a number of key important points.

Firstly, hybrid cars are currently worse performing than diesel cars. They burn more fuel. They cost more. Their batteries are expensive and wear out after 4 years - at a large cost to the environment. They pollute more even if you don't take into account the batteries - modern diesels from Europe put out less waste products than modern gasoline engines seen in the US.

Secondly, battery technology isn't accelerating that fast. It hasn't accelerated anywhere near where we'd like it to. Look at laptops for proof of this - they're having trouble keeping up. Because of this, fuel technologies will need to get better - and they're not keeping up all that fast. The biggest advance in the last 50 years was the new design, impressively efficient - yes, you guessed it -
diesel engine.

Will a hybrid diesel work? Maybe. Will we get around the battery issues? No time soon. Besides, Buzz Aldrin already tried to point out that improving battery life would be an important step forward as a political campaign platform in the 70s. No-one bought it. Sure, the climate might have changed, but has it changed that much?

All in all... don't go for a hybrid yet. Even with the latest models, diesels are better for the environment. If you really care about that kind of thing, buy a diesel. You'll spend less on gas than for a hybrid too...

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