So I’ve succumbed to (and since mostly recovered from) a Betelgeusian throat virus, which has kept me away from the comms panel for some while. Actually, since saving the first draft of this post, I’ve been suckerpunched by a bug brought home by the tiny mammal’s daycare, lengthening my sojourn.

Unlike most bloggers, being holed up for five days (or more, now – thanks, mystery bowel-emptying virus!) with a throat-crippling infection does not in me inspire the urge to write four articles a day.  In fact, I just sort of moped about silently, watching video-things, reading Neal Stephenson and painting a Berserker.

And now, some random thoughts on various things scientific, scifi, and music I observed during my respite.

Batman: The Dark Knight

I did it again – I have a terribly habit of waiting too long to see kickass movies and end up finding that all the hype has left me expecting something far in excess of what I receive.  Maybe it was the horrid burny-scratchy sensation in the back of my throat for five days, but I’m pretty sure it was just that nothing was going to match what everyone had told me The Dark Knight would be.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty solid film, but I liked the last one more. I suppose I was expecting Heath Ledger to be the second coming of Christ, and he was good, but not otherworldly. I think Speed Racer did a better job of providing comic-book villains – more on that later.

I rather did like the f/x for Two-Face, though.

People Who Cry When Told to Go Home From Idol / So You Think You Can Dance Auditions

Oh, poor you!  You’ll have to go to an arts academy or go to university or, you know, like, work to get to where you want to be. Boo-hoo!

Here’s a life plan for you: go to the hardware store, buy some quick-set cement, and harden the fuck up.

Odyssey 5

Okay, so I leave Canada, and then no-one back home tells me that we somehow made a science fiction show that doesn’t suck the year after I move? Thanks, guys.

Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver

Neal Stephenson is a literary genius. Quicksilver, book one of his Baroque Cycle, is set against the backdrop of the birth of modern science. The story weaves in and around the historical events and characters of the 17th century, and Stephenson makes it all retardedly interesting. Not only do you get a hell of a ride with the story, but he’s splattered language into both the narrative and the dialogue that’s since phased of out usage in its original form or been stolen from other languages – a must read for any etymology nerds.

I can’t do the book justice. I think you can read an excerpt at his website. Go do that.

Space Tourism

Russia’s said no more space tourists after 2009. Well, fuck. I guess I’m screwed, then.

Speed Racer

I’m not entirely certain why this film copped such a bad rap. It’s very clearly a movie for young adults and if you try to judge it as something other than that of course you’re going to say it suffers from an attention-deficit problem.

Speed Racer is a lot like a young-adult science fiction novel – it takes something ordinary (car racing) and takes it to a ‘what if?’ extreme. It stuck to a very simple core theme of family / good vs corporate / evil, and ran with it. What’s wrong with that? Not everything has to be complicated. Plus, it was really pretty, even on my shitty standard-def TV.

There were nods to the older kids (me) in the audience – when Royalton talks about his youth spent programming on a Commodore 64, it creates a link between the world of the film and the world we live in now. Suddenly, this film might be an alternate-future film instead of set in some nebulous and ill-defined fictional universe – barring the liberties taken with the laws of physics, that is (but they were such AWESOME liberties, so that’s okay, too).

Also, the villains were styled incredibly well. They were meant to be cartoony pop figures, like walking-talking action toys. The snakeskin dude, the negroviking, the geishapunks – them and all the other bad guys were exceedingly groovy full-colour action villains.