Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Belated Review: "The Expanse" (TV series)

A ridiculously-horrible head cold, likely derived from a sinus infection coming from my hellish week of allergies had me laid up most of yesterday and all of today.

So what to do?

Well, I have a DVD set of the SyFy Channel's "The Expanse" series, so that takes care of that question.

I'll be honest with you: after the train wreck that was the last season and a half of "Battlestar Galactica" and the ridiculous downward spiral of SciFi Channel turned SyFy Channel (what a stupid name), I was loathe to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I read the first four books of the series by James S.A. Corey and loved it. I wasn't super-interested in letting the TV series poison what I enjoyed.

Then I watched the first episode on YouTube.

I ate my words a bit and eventually got the series on DVD to gorge on at my leisure.

When your head is pounding from sinuses, you pretty much don't want to move, and kind of want to die, there's nothing better than some space opera.

And I have to admit, the TV series delivers.

I'm pretty happy with the casting and the continuity tweaks, overall.

Steven Strait is a solid James Holden. I have to say that Thomas Jane does a pretty good job as Miller. Dominique Tipper is pretty much dead-on as how I envisioned Naomi Nagata. Cas Anvar is an excellent Alex and Wes Chatham is growing on me as Amos. Shohreh Aghdashloo is a little warm-and-fuzzy for how I picture Chrisjen Avasarala (who doesn't even appear in the books until "Caliban's War"), but I get there are certain realities of having profanity-using characters on television.

There were surprisingly-mild changes to the story of "Leviathan Wakes", but I can't say they damaged the overall story at all.

And I love the Rocinante. I just love it with an unhealthy passion.

I can't wait for season two. Assuming these goddamn allergies don't kill me first.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

An outrage

Did you know that the United States, home to the founding of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (aka Pastafarianism) does not officially recognize our creed as a true religion?

According to Atlas Obscura, a U.S. judge ruled our faith to not qualify for Constitutional protection.

Given some of the bullshit out there that's managed to get protections in this country, I consider this to be an unforgivable outrage.

Seriously. What do we have to do to overcome this persecution and lack of recognition? I ask for your guidance, oh Great FSM! May we be touched by Your Noodly Appendage. RAmen!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Huh

My stats say, as of writing this post, this blog has had 109,109 page views since it started back when the whim struck me.

What an odd number.

Review: "The Far Stars" trilogy by Jay Allan

I saw a review on io9 recommending a space opera series by Jay Allan. The series consists of three books: Enemy in the Dark, Shadow of Empire, and Funeral Games.

Starving for reading material amidst the shit-storm that has been the first three months of 2016, I rolled the dice and got all three books from Amazon.

Good lord.

So the review (linked above) does this series justice. The hero's name is "Arkarin Blackhawk". In the first chapter, he's wearing a loincloth on an alien planet and fighting a guy in a dinosaur. Blackhawk, a genetically-engineered superman who - the author will repeatedly tell you - is haunted by a dark past. Blackhawk is pretty much what you'd get if you took Doc Savage, Han Solo, and Aragorn, then put them in a blender and poured the result into a spaceship.

Blackhawk's crew are all similar cliches: the loud-mouthed second-in-command, the beautiful assassin, the lumbering ass-kickers, the hyper-skilled mechanic, the hyper-skilled pilot, etc. etc.

These misfits are united only in their love for Blackhawk and vice-versa as they blow up everything and everyone they come across. Blackhawk has a love interest in the form of Astra Lucerne, who is beautiful, spunky, stubborn, blah-blah-blah and loves Blackhawk despite his terrible darkness.

Seriously. This is repeated nearly every chapter in all three books.

So, I'm snarking on this series a bit, but I have to say it's a fun read. It's classic, trashy pulp story with evil, scheming villains, an evil empire, and tropes galore. Jay Allan does a great job writing up cheese while making it engaging and fun.

It's been a welcome distraction on BART and good, clean fun.

If you're looking for a "Battlestar Galactica"-meets-Star Wars story, I'd suggest giving the series a try.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

An open letter to Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

Please take your plant bukakke and stick it somewhere. Somewhere else! I'm getting a bit tired of your plant sperm making me feel as though I've got a recurring case of the flu.

Yes, I realize the human race is doing terrible things to heat up the planet and all that.

That's no excuse for letting your plant life get all orgy-porno.

Miserably yours,

Me

Monday, March 28, 2016

Never rains, it pours

  • Family drama/crisis. Still ongoing. Decidedly un-fun.
  • Work drama bordering on crisis. Concurrent with the family crisis, making everything just so much fun.
  • BART drama. Because BART.
  • A goddamn recall on my car's airbags.
  • Notification from the dealer that the replacement parts for said recall won't be in for another month. At least.
  • Allergies. So. Many. Fucking. Allergies.
  • The joy of realizing I still have so far yet to go in so many parts of my life.
  • And finally, ants. Goddamn. Fucking. Ants.
That's been my last couple of weeks. I figure if I can get through the next two weeks with my health and sanity intact, I stand a 50-50 chance of making it through the month without completely losing my mind. This year is a clusterfuck and I'm barely through the first quarter.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review: Baubax Travel Jacket(s)

Another of my waning list of outstanding Kickstarters delivered on Saturday. I think the remaining four or five Kickstarters will never actually come up with anything for the investment, but that's a topic I've whined enough about.

Where was I? Oh yes, Baubax.

So I backed their Kickstarter some time back. They offer a "travel jacket" complete with a crap-ton of pockets of varying sizes, an inflatable neck pillow, gloves, a pen/stylus attached to the zipper, a glasses cleaning cloth, a blindfold on the built-in hood, and... um... I think that about covers it. Lots of pockets.

So they offer four "styles" of jacket: a bomber jacket, a windbreaker, a hoodie, and a blazer. I've got no shortage of jackets in my possession, and I found choosing to be a bit tough. I wound up going with the hoodie (I can always use an extra hoodie) and with a blazer (as my attire tends to run very... um... casual).

First reactions: damn good. They both fit well. I wound up going a bit larger than I usually order and it turned out I guessed correctly.

Or I've grown. Either way...

The material seems well-constructed. The blazer has removable thumb-hole hand-covers as well as a removable hood and zipper-lining. The hoodie's got the thumb-hole hand-covers, but they're not removable. Nor is the hood, though I wouldn't be inclined to remove that from a hoodie. Just sayin'.

The pockets are well-constructed and well-placed. Both are comfortable enough. The hoodie's not too heavy, but is nice on a cool, rainy day (like today). The blazer is lighter (thank the FSM) and should be a nice go-to-work or out-on-the-town jacket.

The neck pillows are removable (and are now dwelling on a shelf in my apartment, as I won't need them unless I travel) and seem well-made. I haven't tried to inflate them as neck pillows rarely work well for me.

The little pen/stylus tool on the zipper is a nice touch. I'm a sucker for little things like that.

Overall, I'm pleased with the end-product. These were worth the wait. I may, one day, be curious enough to try to pick up a windbreaker or bomber jacket but with summer coming, I'm disinclined to add to the wardrobe in that way.