Rain and Music

Yesterday afternoon there was a huge thunderstorm that brought along quite a bit of hail. I decided to hang around the office to make sure all the servers made it through the storm. We took to a couple of small power hits, neither outage lasted over 5 minutes, and the UPS’ saved the day again. (732 days uptime on our main server and counting…)

Susan left early in an attempt to get home before the storm hit but didn’t make it. Her car took a pounding from the hail but suprisingly there was no visible damage this morning. On the other hand, she inadvertently hit some pretty high water on one of the roads and this morning her car was acting like it had water in the gas tank. We dropped it off at the Acura dealer and are waiting for news. Luckily for me, my RSX was safely tucked away in the covered parking at our office the whole time. :-)

Meanwhile, I’ve been plugging away in my spare time on the mod_virgule merging project. Gary has a done a great job of getting things rolling again and I look forward to the day when my own version of the code is completely merged back in and I can run robots.net on the main codebase.

The only other event of interest that’s happened lately is that Susan and I went to see a performance of the Dallas Symphony on the 13th. The guest performers were violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and cellist Lynn Harrell. We also went to hear a couple of smaller works performed by just the two guest artists and Andrew Litton on piano on the 14th.

Glowing Devil Monkeys in Pope Hats

Last weekend, a new friend and I visited the John Alexander exhibit at The MAC. If you like glowing devil-monkeys in pope hats, suprised crustaceans, and nuclear fusion, this is the art exhibit for you. Me? I enjoyed it immensely.

Later, Susan and I went to see The Time Machine. As many of the reviews indicated, this was a truly awful movie. It’s not based on the Book by H. G. Wells but rather loosely on the George Pal movie (which was based loosely on the book), The Time Machine from 1960. The Pal version was far better. The new version is full of unnecessary plot holes that weren’t in either the Pal movie or the book. For example, we are told at great length about how the Morlocks and Eloi have evolved into two distinct species and then a few minutes later, we’re told the Morlocks need the Eloi to breed more of their race (apparently the writer wasn’t clear on what “distinct species” meant). As in prior versions of the story, we’re told the Morlocks have evolved a sensitivity to light that prevents them from coming above ground except at night but the scene where the Morlocks attack the Eloi is shot in broad daylight for no apparent reason. The Eloi are described as initiative-deficient sheep bred as food by the Morlocks but they are shown maintaining a pretty elaborate culture with basic technology.

Some of the changes seem to have been made for no reason. In the Pal movie, the Earth was destroyed through war (which fit with Well’s original anti-war sentiment) but in the remake, a small nuclear blast on the moon, intended to create a cavity for a new moonbase, breaks up the moon and “pushes it out of orbit” (okay, so the writer didn’t pay attention in his high-school physics class either). Even the inventor’s motivation to build a time machine was changed. In both the book and the Pal movie, the inventor had been obsessed all his life with traveling to a future where humans weren’t quite as stupid as they are today. In the new movie, the time machine is just something a math teacher whips up in a couple of years because he wants to prevent the death of his insipid girlfriend. I could go on but what’s the point? Lousy movie. Rent the 1960 George Pal version instead or, even better, read the book.

R. A. Lafferty RIP

I haven’t seen this mentioned on any of the geek news sites that I frequent so perhaps it got missed while everyone was busy thinking of April Fools jokes to post. One more of the great science fiction writers has died. R. A. Lafferty is dead at the age of 87. Obituaries showed up in the LA Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Most of his novels and short stories are out of print these days. Amazon lists a very few still available such as the short story collection, Nine Hundred Grandmothers. Oddly, it looks like his one Hugo winner, Eurema’s Dam, doesn’t appear in any of the collections still in print. Good thing there’s eBay.