Friday, February 26, 2010

Horribly Gleeful

Do you here that? That's the sound of everyone who enjoys both Dr. Horrible and Glee going "squee!" They're singing it, naturally. The reason for all this enthusiasm? It's being reported that Doctor Horrible himself, Neil Patrick Harris, will be appearing on the high-school-set musical series.

Now if we could just get that Dr. Horrible sequel...

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Guess this Works Out to Zoom to the 8th Power

As some of you know, for some time, Alison has been contemplating replacing Zippy, her 12-year-old Saturn SC2, with a 5-door hatchback. Well, yesterday, we brought home a 2010 Mazda3 s Sport in Celestial Blue.

We considered the Honda Fit and the Toyota Matrix before settling on the 3. We know 3 people---Ashley, my mom, and Amy---who've purchased 1st- and 2nd-generation Fits in the past year and a half, and they are quite happy with them. And certainly, the Fit is clearly the best subcompact currently available. However, we decided that we wanted more rear-seat and cargo room than the Honda offered. Meanwhile, Lisa is quite pleased with her Matrix, but Alison preferred the styling of the 3 as well as all the features on the base---for the 5-door, anyway---Sport trim. I also liked the independent rear suspension on the 3, as well as the slight advantage in power and torque over the Matrix. So, we bought our 4th Mazda.

Yes, we now have 4 Mazdas. That's 300% more zoom-zoom than any other household in our neighborhood. I can't even begin estimate how many M/seagull/owl/tulip badges we own. We have a more than a few toilet seats, too.

Oh, and we still have Zippy. Yes, 5 cars is far too many for 2 humans and a 16-pound dog. Zippy will be going to live with Alison's mom, and Mia will get sold as soon as convertible-selling weather arrives.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Meets Chocolate and Vanilla

My recent post about SyFy's latest theatrical abomination, Sharktopus, prompted Nick and Ken to post several excellent SyFy-worthy movie pitches in their comments. My contribution is called Dinoshark, and it's about...well, you can guess. Sadly, I can't claim to have invented the concept, because the man behind Sharktopus is also bringing Dinoshark to SyFy in March. Oh boy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Whedon Geeks it Up with Spurlock

According to E!, Joss Whedon and Supersize Me director Morgan Spurlock are looking for three geeks---I mean, people---to follow at Comic-Con and during the the months leading up to the convention as part of a Comic-Con documentary they are preparing. This "news" naturally provokes a few questions:
  • Is this true?
  • Could this be the next project that Whedon recently mentioned he would announce before Dollhouse finished its run?
  • What's not to love about the idea of combining the documentary-making talents of Spurlock with the geeky awesomeness of Whedon?
  • How can I be one of the lucky three?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rapid-Fire Reviews

(None of these reviews contain significant spoilers.)

I have some music, movies, and books that I'd like to review for you, but I don't want to take the time to do my normal thorough job with each one. So, it's time for another installment of my rapid-fire reviews.

Movies and TV
  • Up. Touching, funny, and pretty. 8.5 out of 10.
  • Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest. Steampunk, zombies, dirigibles, toxic vapors, and well-written characters. What's not to like? 8.0 out of 10.
  • Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld. OK, so this is a young-adult book. So what? It takes place in a steampunked alternate-reality 1914, and it features mecha, genetically engineered abominations, transvestism, and my favorite recently extinct marsupial, the thylacine. Plus, it moves along very quickly and is gobs of fun to read. 8.0 out of 10, at least for, you know, a kid's book.
Meanwhile, I just started working on Scalzi's The God Engines and will follow that with The Sagan Diary. I'm also listening merrily* to Flyleaf's Memento Mori. So, I hope to put reviews of those up soon.

* Can one listen merrily to such angst-ridden music?

One of These Things

I'm sure that you, gentle reader, have been asking yourself, "When will Michael update us about the music he's been listening to?" Well, your wait is over. Here's a small sampler of songs I've been playing frequently recently:
Once again, I will ask you to identify which one is different from the others. This should be easy.

* Why is it I keep finding songs by Christian bands and bands that happen to be Christian? I mean, really. I'm not sure how to explain this trend.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sharktopus? Really?

The SyFy Channel, formerly known as SciFi, will be bringing us another D-grade monster flick. This one's called Sharktopus. No, seriously. Chocolate, meet peanut butter.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Having just watched Top Gear's amazing adventure across Bolivia and Peru, I'm now fighting the urge to buy an old Wrangler.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zel, Duh.

Zome of you may have felt that the first photo of Zelda that I posted was not sufficiently revealing. So, here's another:

It's her key. Once I accept that the car came with more luxuries---such as keyless entry---than I really wanted, I'm quite happy with the design of the key. The folding "blade" keeps the overall length in check and prevents holes from developing in my pockets. The total volume would be awkward if I carried it on my key ring, but since I carry my car keys separately* from my house keys, work keys, and multi-tool, the size is not a problem.

* I do this for two reasons: (a) Since I have two cars---three in the short term---it seems foolish to carry all their keys all the time. (b) I like to minimize the amount of material dangling from the ignition, because it bothers me to have keys brushing my right knee, and I suspect it's damaging to the ignition switch to hang a lot of mass from it.


Today's xkcd was extra-funny to me, perhaps because of my affinity for...well, you'll see.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Today, after 4 significant Friday/Saturday snowfalls, I finally received a snow day. Woo hoo, as they say.

Zelda is Ready for Her Close-Up

A few folks have asked for photos of the new car, so here you go:

This shot was taken during the "light" snow we had last week. If I'd tried to take a picture of the car after Saturdays near-blizzard, you would only have seen a white bump.

PR: Vest Fest

On Sunday, I set a personal record in one of my favorite made-up WODs: the Vest Fest. My new best time was 17:18, over a minute faster than my previous best. So yay me, I guess.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Today's WOD

Today's WOD:
For time, move 20 cubic meters of snow.
My time? About 2 hours.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


The answer to my recently asked meteorological question was, apparently, "No." However, by the time I went into work, the ambient temperature was up to around 40 degrees F, and the it felt warmer in the sun. So, I put Zelda's top down for my commute through the snow. It was a strange, dichotomous experience.

Name Game

I received a few intelligent and well-thought-out suggestions for names form my latest automotive acquisition. Thanks, gentle readers. However, I'm not going to use any of them. Instead, I'm going with "Zelda" for the following reasons:
I'm afraid I can't offer even a tenuous connection to Legend of Zelda franchise, since I'm probably the only person in America under 40 who has never played any of those games.

Thank you again for your suggestions.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Mikies, Dollhouse Ed

(This post contains enormous spoilers for Dollhouse.)

Having recently seen the series finale of Joss Whedon's programmable-humans-for-rent series, Dollhouse, I believe another edition of The Mikies is due. That's right, it's time for the Michael Awards for Excellence in Whatever He Darn Well Feels Like, Dollhouse Edition.

  • Best actor, regular: Enver Gjokaj. Gjokaj showed himself to be the most versatile actor on the show, and thus made Victor the most believable doll on the series. In particular, his portrayal of Victor-imprinted-with-Topher was uncannily accurate.
  • Best actor, guest or recurring: Alan Tudyk. Tudyk has an amazing ability to follow creepiness or pathos almost instantly with hilarity. This skill is especially useful in Whedon's projects, which frequently juxtapose drama and comedy. Honorable mention goes to Amy Acker, whose Whiskey would have made a much more multi-faceted and convincing central character than Eliza Dusku's Echo.
  • Creepiest villain: Alpha.
  • Dollhouse discovery most likely to appear in 50% of Whedon's following projects: Enver Gjokaj.
  • Most unexpected death: Bennett Halverson.
  • Most surprising escape from seemingly certain death: Mellie.
  • Most unexpected revelation of dollhood: November.
  • Cheapest and least justified death: November/Mellie/Madeline.
  • Funniest character: Topher Brink. Even when imprinted on Victor, Dr Brink had all the best lines.
  • Recurring character whose story I would most like to see elaborated upon: Whiskey.
  • Most sympathetic client: Joel Mynor.
  • Battlestar Galactica cast member whose acting improved the most since Galactica: Tamoh Penikett. Maybe it was just that Karl Agathon was only called on to express one or two emotions, but I never found Helo that interesting. Paul Ballard, however, seemed to be at least a couple-fold more nuanced. Oh, and this category wasn't as much of a cake walk as you might think; 3 other Battlestar alumni also appeared in the show: Jamie Bamber, Michael Hogan, and Mark Sheppard.
  • Total number of Whedon alumni in the cast: 8. (I'm counting Amy Acker, Felicia Day, Alexis Denisof, Eliza Dushku, Summer Glau, Mark Sheppard, Maurissa Tancheroen, and Alan Tudyk. Let me know if I missed any.) OK, this isn't an really award, but I thought I should point out that, once you work for Joss Whedon, you likely have a gig for life. (I'm only counting cast here, by the way, there was certainly a lot of re-use of crew as well.)
  • Brilliant-but-insane character most like the brilliant-but-insane character played by the same actor in another Whedon series: Bennett Halverson. Between these two roles and Cameron in the Terminator series, I'm really starting to worry that Summer Glau must have a rather severe psychological disorder.
  • Actor who has been beaten up by another actor in the cast in the largest number of Whedon series: Alexis Denisof (by Eliza Dushku).
  • Best couple: Topher Brink and Bennet Halverson. Nope, I'm not going for the overly sappy choice of Victor and Sierra/Tony and Priya.
  • Law offices most closely resembling the Dollhouse, architecturally: Wolfram & Hart.
  • Skinniest character who was supposed to be fat: Mellie/November/Madeline. Seriously, she was described as "heavy" in the casting sheets.
  • Best episode, aired: "Man on the Street." This was the episode that showed where Whedon and company were going to go with this concept. It was the first episode that really surprised me, and the episode that hooked me on the series.
  • Best episode, unaired: "Epitaph One." This ep, tagged on at the end of Season One for contractual reasons, was designed to give the fans some closer in the very likely event that the series would not be renewed. It achieved its goal, and more, by showing how imprinting technology could bring about the thoughtpocalypse. Plus, it introduced Felicia Day to the series. (OK, there were only two unaired eps, this one and the pilot, wo there's no real justification for this category. However, I couldn't decide where I like this episode or MotS better, so I created categories that each of them could win.)
  • Most interesting character: Topher Brink. Over the show's two seasons, Topher evolved from childish and amoral, to nascently ethical, to insane and remorseful. Plus, he somehow managed to be funny the whole time.
  • Most attractive character: Mellie.
As always, I'm happy to hear your opinions on this extremely important topic. So set aside whatever productive, useful thing you were about to do, and opine in the comments.

Snow? Please?

So far this winter, we've gotten three significant snows. All of them have come on Friday night or Saturday, allowing plenty of time for the roads to be cleared before the next workday. Can we please just have a snow day, already?