Sunday, May 19, 2019

Quick Takes: John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Given all the lethal headshots in this film, they should have called it John Wick: Chapter 3 - Cerebellum

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Just Something I Want to Remember

Last night, I woke in the middle of the night to discover Sylvia had wrapped herself in the covers.

I did my best to tug some back to my side of the bed without disturbing her, but even so she declared "I'm sleeping!", eyes still closed.

Then, an instant later: "I'm not doing anything!" I suppressed laughter and kissed her on the shoulder, whispering "I love you more than anything."

"HUH?" she said, sounding truly bewildered. I had to fight even harder not to burst out laughing, but I managed.

According to Sylvia, I say much crazier things while I'm sleeping. I should ask her to record it one of these nights. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Earl Woods on Mars

If you've ever wanted to hear me talk about Edgar Rice Burroughs, his creation John Carter of Mars, and roleplaying game systems, you can do so right now by listening to the latest episode of the Massive Damage Adventures podcast. Click on this link for a list of listening choices (Apple, Spotify, or Google Play) and then choose "Bonus Episode 1: John Carter of Mars."

My friend and Stantec colleague Meric Moir invited me to play a round of the John Carter of Mars roleplaying game and then interviewed me for my thoughts on the game and, more specifically, how well it captures the feel of Burroughs' original Mars books. The podcast is almost three hours long, but the interview starts at the beginning if you don't want to listen to the whole play session.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Dat Other Dominion

One day, I wondered what Canada would look like if each American state bordering Canada joined Canada as new provinces. Here's what that would look like: weird. I'm betting we'd almost double our population, though, given we'd be getting Seattle, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Not to mention Detroit and Cleveland and Minneapolis...

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Quick Take: Unstoppable

Unstoppable (Tony Scott, 2010). Hits you like a runaway train. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Dream for Droids

Previously on Jedi/Superman...
Last Son of the Republic
Growing Up Under Twin Suns
Chariot of the Gods
The Emperor's New Genocide
The Quality of Mercy
A Job for Supermen
The Green, Green Glow of Homicide

Medical Bay, Defiance

“…these are important matters, to be sure, but still matters of…mere fact. You have great powers…only some of which…you have as yet discovered. It is forbidden for you to interfere in human history…rather, let your leadership stir others to…For this reason, among others, we have chosen Tatooine for you…you must serve its collective humanity, both on Tatooine and on all the worlds beyond…live as one of them, but always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage…They can be a great people, Kal-El, if they choose to be…they need only cast aside the dark side to see the way. For this reason, above all, their capacity for good…we have sent them you…our only son.”

Clark Kenobi’s eyes snapped open wide as he woke from a dream of his long lost parents. Through a liquid blue haze, he saw a medical droid and a protocol droid staring back at him. The golden-hued protocol droid took a fearful step backward, but the medical droid was unperturbed. In fact, it reached out with a metal pincer and twisted a dial that started to empty the bacta tank Clark was floating in. A moment later, the tank emptied and Clark stepped out.

“An excellent recovery, sir,” the medical droid said. “Really quite remarkable, especially for a human. I was certain your condition was terminal.”

“Thank you for helping me,” Clark said. Then he hesitated, pointing at the stubby, cylindrical projection on the droid’s metal torso. “Is that…is that a restraining bolt?” Clark asked in disbelief. His eyes darted to the protocol droid; he, too, sported a restraining bolt.

“Of course, sir,” the medical droid said. “All droids are fitted with them.”

Clark felt sick. He knew that the Empire, of course, fitted their droids with restraining bolts, but he’d never imagined that the freedom-fighting Rebel Alliance would enslave clearly sapient beings.

With a furious grimace, Clark reached out and wrenched the restraining bolts free of both droids. It took far more effort than he had expected; clearly, he was still weak from whatever radiation had poured into him outside.

“Oh, my!” shrieked the protocol droid. “Sir, you really mustn’t…we’re not programmed for…I, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without my restraining bolt!”

The medical droid’s reaction was much quieter. “Thank you,” he said, and trundled off to care for other patients before Clark could even ask his name. He turned to the protocol droid.

“What’s your name?”

“I am See Threepio, human/cyborg relations.”

“Pleased to meet you. See Threepio, can you take me to Ben Kenobi?”

“Certainly, sir, but—”

The ship lurched suddenly, and Threepio would have toppled over if Clark hadn’t caught him. “Oh, my!” the droid cried as Clark instinctively tried to scan the area with his x-ray vision…but nothing came into focus. He could only see the medical bay’s walls and ceiling.

“Please take me to Ben,” Clark said. “And quickly.”

Bridge, Defiance

Kenobi, Leia, Dodonna and the bridge crew watched helplessly as a Star Destroyer loomed ever larger, its tractor beam dragging them into its dorsal docking bay. The ship shuddered as the huge manual grappling anchors took hold of the frigate, the tractor beam winking out an instant later.

Ben Kenobi turned to his comrades. “We cannot let them have the boy. General, Princess, I’ll be back.”

Moving with grace and speed that belied his age, the Jedi Master sprinted toward the medical bay, only to encounter Clark running right at him, followed by See Threepio, the droid’s arms flailing overhead in fright.

“We’re doomed!” Threepio exclaimed.

Old Ben couldn’t hide the shock from his face. “You’re virtually healed,” he said in wonder.

“I feel so...exhausted, Ben. My powers…they’re gone.”

Grimly, Ben led Clark down an adjoining corridor. Threepio, directionless, couldn’t decide whether to follow or not, and trundled off in the direction of the bridge, fretting all the way.

“These Imperial ships aren’t designed to hide illicit cargo, but if I use the Force to mask your life signs, perhaps we can give you time to recover your gifts,” Ben said.

“I’m not going to leave you to the mercy of the Empire,” Clark said.

“Don’t argue. Here—this storage closet will do. Wait here until your powers return. I’ll hide you as long as I can.”

“And then what?” Clark asked. He already knew the answer, and he already bridled at it.

“And then you free yourself and rejoin what remains of the fleet at the rendezvous point.”

Clark only stared. Ben met his gaze for a long moment, then looked away and sighed.

“You must do what you think is right, of course. But please, Clark…whatever you do…consider the greater good. It isn’t always easy.”

“I want to go with you,” Clark pleaded. He felt tears welling up in his eyes. If he stayed here to recuperate, Ben was doomed. He knew it. He felt it.

Ben reached out to hold the boy he’d mentored for so many years. “I’m sorry, my bright boy, my lost son of Krypton. Yours is a more difficult destiny. I’ve seen it. Please obey me one final time.”

Clark nodded and turned away. He knew that if he had to look at Ben in the face one more time, his resolve would shatter.

A moment later, Ben was gone, marching to his own inevitable fate.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mom’s Daffodils

Sean and I enjoyed a very pleasant stroll through the garden with Mom today, followed by a delicious brunch at Kosmos. It was the perfect day to celebrate all Mom's meant to us - 24 degrees and sunny. Mere thanks will never be enough, Mom. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Technology Connections on Trinitron (Video)

Technology Connections is an excellent YouTube channel with always interesting and in-depth discussions on (usually old) tech. It's smart, funny, and fascinating. This episode is about Sony's venerable Trinitron picture tube. Does anyone remember picture tubes? 

Friday, May 10, 2019

My Machines Keep Speaking

Tonight I travelled to an unfamiliar location, so I used my smartphone's navigation application to guide me to my destination. While gradually rounding the northwest portion of Anthony Henday Drive, the app suddenly blurted, "There is a speed camera ahead."

Like Pavlov's dog reacting to the dinner bell, I instinctively tapped my brakes and looked down at my speedometer, even though I already knew I'd used cruise control to set it to 100 km/h, the speed limit on that road. I was in no danger of being ticketed, even without the warning.

For a moment, I wondered if Apple had started building photo radar into their phones, but then I realized that there are probably fixed speed cameras that wind up in the navigational data of the app. Until tonight, I hadn't imagined that fixed speed cameras were a thing, but there are fixed red light cameras, so why not? 

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

The Empty Chair

Ce n'est pas un chaise
Lounging without burden
Ce n'est pas un photographier
But it is an image
Vide de sens
And empty of people