Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Life in I.T.

Curses!  Those ninjas have released a photo of me back when computers were beige.  Well, turning it off and back on again will fix 75% of all problems...

Dwayne's Wednesday Robot Romper Room

Conky 2000: This was the robot that doled out the "secret word" on Pee-Wee's Playhouse.  No word on its attempts at world domination or military functions.  Perhaps it was its stutter or its common breakdowns that prevented us from having to kneel before Conky.

(Image courtesy of Pee-Wee's Playhouse Wiki)

Daily Rock Band Name: Pope Tweets

For that righteous sound, you cannot beat the band Pope Tweets!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Prometheus - a review

With some friends, I watched the prequel to the Alien stories on Christmas eve. There is a Christmas Tree in it, so it must be a Christmas movie. Ooops! Spoiler Alert! Without further ado, here is my mildly spoilered review of Prometheus.

Filmmakers make prequels generally to answer questions raised in their previous movies. For instance, the Star Wars prequels answer the question as to where Darth Vader comes from, how the Empire got started, and all of this Clone War business.

So, Prometheus attempts to answer the big question that many people complained about the monsters in the Alien movies. The aliens from these movie spent all that time in space waiting for humans to come and discover them. Now that they are discovered, these aliens could now reproduce by implanting themselves inside a human. It seems like a very inefficient reproductive strategy. So, what is the deal

The one problem with prequels is that you have to end the movie at such a place to be consistent with the originals. So, this is one of the ways the Star Wars prequels go astray. They simply do not line up seamlessly with the original trilogy.

How did Prometheus fair? Well, the movie makers do quick work of that alien reproduction question. Namely, there is human DNA all over the place. You see, we were planted on Earth by an unknown and unnamed alien race. Presumably, these aliens also did this to other planets. Thus, human and human-like DNA is all over the place. There you go, end of story. Of course, that raises another question. What was the intent of these aliens? What is the deal with these uber-monster aliens? Where did they come from?

Okay fine, it is fiction, and humans were planted on Earth. I can live with that. However, the rest of the movie just goes right off the rails. It doesn't make any sense. I can think of dozens of ways to make a plot with these later questions and still have it make sense. I wish the makers of this movie used one of them.

I won't go into specifics, but at the end, we have as many questions as we have answers. For instance, why would you ever take your helmet off on another planet. I do not care if the air is exactly like Earth's, you would never ever catch me taking off my helmet. There is all kinds of microbial life in our air. What kind of microbes would you find on another world? Let's find out by taking our helmets off.

If I were the captain of the ship, as soon as they took their helmets off, they are living on that planet for the rest of their lives. I would not take them back to Earth. I would not even let them back into the ship. However, all of this human interacting directly with the environment is a plot point. They should have worked harder at this one. Leaky suit? Non-away crew member sneezed one of the suits? Be creative, don't be stupid!

Speaking of dumb plot points. Why did the guy who made the map of the structure get lost? Ummm... There were lots of crewmembers who could get lost, why the geologist guy? Why the guy who mapped the thing? I realize he was supposed to be hated, and you were supposed to cheer when he got his comeuppance, and all. You couldn't have another character map the structure? You couldn't think of another reason to leave them behind? Again, be creative, don't be stupid.

There were some good points about the movie. It very much had a similar look and feel to the original Alien movie. You could tell it was in the same universe. For the most part, it was well acted. (The unlikable geologist was a bit over the top.) The cinematography was also excellent. Many of the tropes from the Alien universe were there. It is just that all of this was for nothing in this train wreck of a screenplay.

If you turn off your brain, you might be able to enjoy it. But for me, the stupid burns too greatly. There is some tension, but I was constantly taken out of it by stupid plot points that screamed "Hey! I am an obvious plot point! Look at me!" So, if you like your scifi to be smart, you will avoid this one. It is too dumb.

Daily Rock Band Name: Mechanized St. Bernard

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mechanized St. Bernard!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Iguana

Do you suppose this Marine Iguana knows it's Christmas? Definitely a festive looking guy! Happy Holidays and Happy Friday everyone!

(Image courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund)

Daily Rock Band Name: The Chameleon of Quantum Culture

I think I saw The Chameleon of Quantum Culture open for Boy George back in the day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dwayne's Wednesday Robot Romper Room

Chip (aka Chip Carson).  A scientist creates an android that looks like a human.  This robot is in the most horrifying image imaginable -- a teenager.  Instead of giving this invention to the evil military complex, Dr. Carson takes the robot and enrolls it in high school (as you do.)  Dr. Carson's former boss comes looking for Chip, and so on.

(Image courtesy of Ugo)

Daily Rock Band Name: Foggy Foot Bridge

They play both kinds of music -- Country and Western! Let's hear it for Foggy Foot Bridge!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dwayne's Wednesday Robot Romper Room

D.A.R.Y.L. (aka Data-Analysing Robot Youth Lifeform): As the acronym might suggest, Daryl is a robot in the form of a kid.  Of course, it is the government's idea of a super soldier. His creator has a change of heart, and releases Daryl from his military service. Naturally, this researcher dies in this process. Daryl ends up with a foster family, but the government has ways of finding their errant equipment. They bring Daryl in and then mark him as a failed experiment. He escapes termination, although another on the research team is not so lucky. Eventually, Daryl makes it back to his family and does not destroy the earth.

(Image courtesy of IMDB)

Daily Rock Band Name: Mechanical Mother

I remember when my dad told me about the time that Mechanical Mother opened for Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dwayne's Wednesday Robot Romper Room

David Swinton (aka Mecha David).  In the movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, the Swinton's son is diagnosed with a rare disease.  The family did what we all would do.  They put their son in suspended animation until a cure is found and purchased a mechanical replacement named David.  Once everything gets settled, the cure for the disease is found.  Hence, the family is forced to choose between their living son and a robot.  In other words, David is abandoned and must fend for himself with a friendly gigolo mecha.  Surprisingly, the world is not destroyed by a child robot who must forget about love.

(Image courtesy of IMDB)

Daily Rock Band Name: Whispering Magic

I think I saw Whispering Magic open for ELO.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dwayne's Computers That Byte

Agnes: From the 1964 episode of the Twilight Zone: "From Agnes--With Love" a computer programmer asks for love advice from a supercomputer that he is working on. Unfortunately the supercomputer, Agnes, is in love with the programmer and therefore gives him bad advice. It does not end well for the programmer or Agnes.

(Image courtesy of Vanity Fair

Daily Rock Band Name: Scarecrow Laser Tanks

Scarecrow Laser Tanks' debut album called As Awesome As They Are Overkill hits stores soon.