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Month: August 2006

Talk talk talk about it

Sorkin D20.

Classes: Leader, Advisor, Star, Writer, and Technician.

Toby Ziegler is a dual class Advisor/Writer. Sam Seaborn was a Writer, but in season 4 he decided to multi-class to Leader. The control room guys in Sports Night and Studio 60 are Technicians. Nancy McNally (the National Security Advisor) is dual class Technician/Advisor.

Danny Tripp is a director, which I think means he’s a dual class Advisor/Writer, emphasis on the Advisor. Hard to say, though.

File under myths

Opinions: do vampires (specifically, Vampire: the Requiem vampires) leave fingerprints?

Also, what are the odds of rolling 25 ten-sided dice and not getting anything above a 7?


If you look around a little on the Internet, you can find copies of the pilot episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorkin’s new one hour TV drama. It’s about a weekly sketch comedy show unsurprisingly like Saturday Night Live, with the expected Sorkin-load of interpersonal drama and principles and so on. No Joshua Malina yet, although I expect him to show up in the second season as the remarkably bright yet socially slightly inept wunderkind. (It’s a fair prediction. Come on.)

Anyway, me and S. watched the pilot the other night. Try and avoid the download that claims to be for an iPod; the sound is not quite synced perfectly with the video. Y’know, it’s Sorkin — there are principled monologues and two of the cast members used to be in a relationship with each other but now have to work together. I don’t think, one show in, you can really know if he’s breaking new ground, but the same old ground is still pretty good.

In particular I like that Sarah Paulson plays a devout fundamentalist Christian who happens to be one of the big three cast members on the show within the show. Sorkin likes discussing religion, and President Bartlet’s Catholicism was always taken seriously. If he can keep that up here, I’ll be intrigued.

The cast has the chance to grow on me. Matthew Perry was really good; Bradley Whitford was pretty good. Timothy Busfield has a regular role as the guy who runs the control room, and he easily distinguishes it from his West Wing role — Whitford had more trouble doing that, which may wind up being a minus. Steven Weber was good as the network chairman, but he’s playing the role a little too young. I kept forgetting he’s supposed to be as important as he is. Amanda Peet has the potential to be the weak link in the cast. Maybe she’ll surprise me.

But yeah, it’s Sorkin, it’s fun. I’ll watch it.


Seoul’s defeated me. Ten San Franciscos, a dozen Bostons, the third largest urban sprawl in the world. I’m in the megacity, and it has no reason to bother speaking my language.

Coming in from the airport, driving at sixty miles per hour, it wasn’t more than half an hour before the apartment buildings began. Buildings? High-rises: concrete masses rising fifteen or twenty stories into the sky, with three story high logos painted on one side. Samsung, Hyundai, others I don’t recognize. We pass high-rise after high-rise in rows along the highway, stacked close together and stretching far back from the road. It’s another twenty minutes before we get off the highway and enter the district where my hotel is. The apartment buildings continue the entire way.

New cities delight me. I want to smell the streets and eat the food and touch the landscape. Seoul hasn’t blunted that, but I fear that my senses would slip off the skin of the city without so much as a glimpse of its heart. I’m jetlagged and overwhelmed.

The hotel sits at a junction of roads. There’s a bridge crossing the Han River, and a ten lane surface street spearing into the middle of one fashionable shopping district, and another ten lane surface street paralleling the river. There may or may not be wider streets in Seoul, but there are many as wide. Surface streets, not highways.

Behind the facades of the main streets, there are tangles of tiny byways, barely big enough for two cars to pass. There aren’t blocks; there are turns and curves and angles intersecting unexpectedly, with business signs hanging overhead. Cars park where possible.

Is this Seoul? I have no way of knowing. It’s the tiny piece I’ve seen in a few days of transit from hotel to office to other office to restaurant and back again.

And I’m jetlagged, and I have no time for anything but business and sleep. I want a month with no responsibilities to wander around Seoul. I want more time to research.

I’m leaving tomorrow, and I haven’t got the faintest idea where I’d begin again.

Idle note

Blah blah blah, Joe Lieberman’s web site went down. Lieberman said it was a DoS attack. Maybe it was something else. The quick Daily Kos response was that it was due to cheap hosting.

Now, that response makes no sense. On the one hand, Kos says the server was overcrowded. But, which Kos says was hosted on the same servers, was up. So OK, not an overcrowded server. The hosting provider’s own site is down. Obviously some kind of technical screw up, probably not a DoS attack, but the blithe snarky “this could be fixed in an hour by a competent sysadmin” crap… nah. Kos doesn’t know what’s going on and there’s no obvious explanation.

Meanwhile, Jamie at Firedoglake goes nuts with glee when he finds out Lieberman moved his site to GoDaddy. Which, OK, is kinda funny considering Lieberman’s got the whole anti-smut thing going, but…

“When I was hosted with GoDaddy, it cost me $3.99 a month and is still that price today.”

Dedicated servers starting at $87.18 a month and going up from there. I mean… do some research.

Wait, who?

I’m blithely reading Daily Kos, and there’s another post on a Congress race that’s looking like it might be competitive for the Dems. Not unusual this year. Huh, that name rings a bell for some reason. Wait. Darcy Burner?

That’d be the same Darcy who I knew at Harvard; who filled the co-chair spot at HRSFA after I stepped down; and who was one of my four roomates at the House on the Borderlands back in whatever year that was. (And then I bumped into her again while I was working at Alexa, which is not a very interesting company unless you know that the non-profit side of Alexa was the Internet Archive before Alexa was bought by Amazon.) Well, cool. She’s an awesome person and I have a huge amount of respect for her.

Fantasia 2006: Breaking it down

Let’s go to the tape, Chumley. I amended two grades; in retrospect, Wilderness was a touch better than I gave it credit for, and Samurai Commando 1549, while excellent, was not quite “I’d want to own it on DVD.”

Which is the requirement for an A grade. B grades I’d recommend seeing. C grades, well. And D grades I’d recommend avoiding.

Grade A

The Great Yokai War (A+)
Isolation (A+)
Train Man (A+)
All Out High (A)
Evil Aliens (A)
Reincarnation (A)
Widerness (A, improved grade)
The Echo (A-)
Pusher 3 (A-)

Grade B

Five Deadly Venoms (B+)
Samurai Commando 1549 (B+, dropped a notch)
Shinobi (B+)
Three Mighty Men (B)
Ultraman Max (B)
Vampire Cop Ricky (B)
Aziris Nuna (B-)
The Descendant (B-)
The Order of One (B-)
Storm (B-)

Didn’t Make the Grade

Red Shoes (C+)
The Gravedancers (C-)
Subject Two (C-)

Junk (D)
Hell (incomplete/D)
Resonnances (D)


DJ XL5’s Zappin’ Party Cavalcade