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We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

More new TV: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Details?0348913">Dead Like Me</a> 2003.06.28.10:18

I'm kind of a sucker for anything with a dark or death-related theme. And with a cast that includes Mandy Patinkin and Rebecca Gayheart, I couldn't let myself miss it.

The premiere episode sets up the main character, George (short for Georgia, played by Ellen Muth), a listless 18-year-old who has no idea what she wants to do with her life. After pissing off a placement worker at a temp agency, she gets a crappy filing-clerk job. Returning from lunch on her first day, she's struck and killed by a falling piece of the Mir space-station (I won't say what type of piece, it's better to see it yourself). Much to her surprise (and dismay), she isn't headed for Heaven. Nor Hell, it would seem. Instead, she's chosen to join a group of "grim reapers" under the management of Patinkin. Once she's filled her quota of retrieved souls, she'll be allowed to move on. They're responsible for grabbing the souls of people about to die violent deaths (preferably moments before the fact, to lessen the shock to the soul), and none of them know what their quota is, only that when they reach it they can finally move on.

The first episode was not as strong as the starter for Out of Order, but it is funny. Jasmine Guy adds a little sullenness (but a humorous sullennous) in a supporting role, as do several others. Some of the developments are pretty easy to see coming, but some parts are still fresh. And it has the obligatory return-to-the-family bits, that were handled a lot better than many directors would have. Definately worth watching the next few episodes to see how it goes. The previews for the second episode look much more promising.

This is another Showtime original series, so look for it there.

# [/entertainment/tv]

Movie Review: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Details?0289043">28 Days Later...</a> 2003.06.28.09:59

This movie kicks the asses of mankind.

I'd been hearing buzz about this for months (it was out in Britain back in October), though the title threw me at first– "28 Days Later" sounds like a sequel to a bland Sandra Bullock vehicle. But it isn't; it's a horror film from the same directory who did two of my favorite films, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. And then there was the buzz...

I don't know how best to describe the film... equal parts 12 Monkeys, Blair Witch Project and Resident Evil. Of those, I'd only really recommend "12 Monkeys" to a friend. But this film works. It's suspenseful, it's scary and it gets under your skin. It isn't heavy on visual special effects, but it really needs to be seen in the theater to appreciate all the imagery on the screen at once.

The thumbnail overview is this– animal-rights activists break into a lab in Cambridge to free test monkeys. Only, the monkeys are infected with a highly-contagious pathogen that turns the infected into a bile-spewing, mindless, rage-filled killer within minutes. After the chaos, noise and blood of the lab scene, the screen suddenly cuts to black and displays the words, "28 days later...". We're shown a hospital room where a man wakes up to find the hospital, and the whole of London, deserted. After wandering the streets, he sees newspaper headlines and posted notices about evacuations and missing persons. Finally, he finds two other people who explain what has happened to the entirety of England in the last 4 weeks.

See this film. This is everything Blair Witch tried to hype itself as, but failed. It is more original than the Summer of Sequels we're currently in. And I can (almost) promise that you'll jump at least once or twice.

(I happened upon a midnight showing here in Campbell, that was apparently sponsored by KSCU, the campus-run radio station for Santa Clara University. 28 was the kick-off of a summer midnight-movie series they're running which will include a lot more great movies. They did some trivia-questions for prizes before the movie, and handed out cool stickers afterwards, with the catch-phrase "The end is really fucking nigh." I got two, but I'm still deciding where to put them.)

# [/entertainment/movies]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


Buy my book!

Programming Web Services with Perl

I've also contributed three chapters to:

Computer Science & Perl Programming

Category quick-links:


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Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep
Oct Nov Dec

Reading and Re-reading
· The Annotated Thursday: G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Would Be Thursday, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Gardner
· The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns
· Organizing From the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
· XML Schema, Eric Van Der Vlist
· BEEP: The Definitive Guide, Marshall T. Rose

High in the queue
· Silk, Caitlin R. Kiernan
· Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker
· Idoru, William Gibson
· Shared Source CLI Essentials, David Stutz, Ted Neward, Geoff Shilling

Recently finished
· Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis, et al

Recommended favorites
· The Cowboy Wally Show, Kyle Baker
· Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
· The Alienist, Caleb Carr
· Quarantine, Greg Egan
· The Authority: Relentless, Warren Ellis et al.
· Planetary: All Over the World and Other..., Warren Ellis et al.
· American Gods, Neil Gaiman
· Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
· Neuromancer, William Gibson
· A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr
· Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles, Book 1), Grant Morrison et al
· You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of..., Oswald T. Pratt and Scott Dickers
· Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson
· Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), J. Michael Straczynski

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