Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Wrinkle in Time in 90 Seconds

I found this gem on the internet.  If you’re a Madeleine L'Engle fan, this is to die for.

Think of some movie you saw in a theater that turned out to be a dud, then see how much more entertaining this short piece is.  Some years ago, a couple of famous film reviewers in Chicago lamented that nowadays all sorts of people will try to make movies.  Well, yes.  And this is an example of that.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Knives on a Plane

Recently, the TSA decide we can carry knives on planes again. 

My new knife 

I’m going to enjoy this, because a while after the 9/11 attack, I accidentally had a pocketknife with me in an airport.  The X-ray people were all in a flurry when they detected it, and the woman who confronted me acted like I was a menace to society.  So I lost that one. 

More recently, I forgot again.  This time, the TSA acted much more routinely about it, and the young man who pointed it out asked me in a friendly manner if I had anyone out in the lobby I could give it to.  Since I didn’t, I also lost that one. 

Now the TSA has said we can carry knives on planes again!  (Be careful to make sure your knife falls within their guidelines, like the new one pictured above that I bought a couple weeks ago.)  In fact, the former TSA chief gave this statement: 

“They ought to let everything on that is sharp and pointy. Battle axes, machetes ... bring anything you want that is pointy and sharp because while you may be able to commit an act of violence, you will not be able to take over the plane. It is as simple as that.” 

So as long as the pilots are protected, it doesn’t matter if some hypothetical individual terrorizes the passengers, according to this man I quoted.  (My careful language is in case Homeland Security looks at my blog.) 

But I’m looking forward to the next easing of the rules. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I strongly recommend the TV series Continuum, starring Rachel Nichols as a police agent from the future. 

photo by Tabercil 

In 2077, police officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) gets sucked into a time vortex used by terrorists to escape into the past—our present.  The terrorists have the advantage of their futuristic perspective on our present time, and some of them have enhanced muscular strength.  Kiera has the advantage of cybernetic implants in her eyes and a suit that is pretty much a walking computer, while being fairly bulletproof. 

She is aided by the young Alec, a computer genius who can communicate with an implant in her brain.  How?  In the future, he will invent that system. 

Continuum is a smart, well-scripted show with believable action scenes.  The show is an intriguing mix of police procedural and science fiction.  But Kiera is not all brains and brawn—she has a strong emotional core, which shows as she longs to return to her family in 2077.  I cannot recommend this show enough.  It's already run successfully in Canada, and here in America it's on Monday nights on the SyFy channel at 8:00.  Sometimes they show a rerun of the previous episode right before.   

While looking up Rachel Nichols, who does a superb acting job, I found out she was in the 2009 Star Trek movie.  I thought about it for maybe ten seconds, then I realized whom she played.  Can you guess it? 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Harry Potter Alternate Endings

My dream last night had alternate endings for the Harry Potter series.  I have never read the books, and I only saw two of the movies—one that I was delighted and overjoyed at seeing, the other that I despised so much, I had no interest in seeing the rest.   And no, I won’t say which was which. 

In my dream it was nearing midnight, and Harry, Hermione, and Ron had fled to an elevator at the top of a dark castle.  There, they awaited the final battle with ultimate evil—tense, wordless, with no real hope of victory. 

They were joined by the twins, who suddenly entered the elevator, and who had become powerful wizards in their own right.  This cheered the original trio, improving their odds.  One of the twins took some time to lean over to Hermione and ask if she was all right, obviously concerned she might have been physically injured.  That done, the five of them waited in silence for the showdown with ultimate evil. 

My dream skipped the final battle. 

It now went to one of two alternate endings.  In the Potter series, Harry and his friends are going to their academy in real time, and the people who know them are aware they are growing up.  But in my dream they were spending time in a realm where time passes differently, much as in the old fairy stories where people spend time in Faerie and come back startled at the difference in time. 

In the first alternate ending, Harry, Hermione, and Ron have reverted to their ages at the start of the series.  They are running across an open-air stone structure, high above a grassy field and with a body of water in the distance.  They are concerned about getting back to our realm, and Hermione leads the way.  She remembers they have to crawl through a semicircular opening in the low stone wall on the edge of the structure—obviously designed to allow water to drain out.  Hermione is the first one through, followed by the two boys. 

They drop down to the field without injury, then look back up at the stone structure.  Drops fall on their faces from the opening, and they realize in disgust that the drops are sewage. 

The three of them turn and run through the field with great difficulty because of their small size and the high grass, often having to hop as they run.  They wonder how much time has passed here, and whether their families have been looking for them. 

This part of the dream ended.  Obviously, this is similar to the end of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where the four children come out of the wardrobe at their original ages. 

photo by Zaheer12a

Now the dream turned to the other alternate ending.  The trio return to our realm with their ages intact, but hardly any time has passed here.  Hermione returns to a job she had, taking in people’s wash.  With a basket of laundry tucked under one arm, she approaches an elderly woman sitting on some outside steps at night. 

Hermione is not sure how many hours have passed, or if it is the same day.  Trying to act normal, she hands a large ticket back to the elderly woman, to see if the laundry is due.  (I know the customer hands the ticked to the launderer, but this is how my dream went.) 

The elderly woman hands the ticket back, saying, “It’s not due.”  Then she looks Hermione up and down.  Finally, she says, “Child, why is your face is so wan?  Why don’t you come inside?” 

Hermione is puzzled at the elderly woman’s refusal to acknowledge reality:  Hermione is not only taller, but she has gone from being a child to being a woman. But she smells the scent of hot soup coming from the woman’s apartment, and she relaxes and agrees to go inside. 

photo by John Griffiths

Meanwhile, Ron is sitting in the middle of a dark living room.  He is staring at a framed photograph in his hands of himself, taken at the start of his adventures.  The picture shows him as a young child.  Done with his contemplation, he looks up and says to his parents (who are outside the range of my dream), “Obviously, I’m older.”  This is the revelation moment, after his parents have accepted him back but have awkwardly not shown any notice of the change in him.  The dream shifts. 

photo by DavidDjJohnson  

Harry is standing in a grocery store at night.  He is startled to find the cheese crackers he was looking for—the boxes are on hangers which can be swung back and forth, the way movie posters used to be displayed in music stores.  He is obviously not used to seeing crackers displayed like this and wonders at the differences brought by the passage of years.  (This contradicts the premise that practically no time has passed in our realm, but that is the nature of dreams.) 

Harry’s mother comes walking down an aisle towards him, muttering out loud the items they need to buy.  (Yes, I know Harry is an orphan.  It’s a dream.)  She comes up to him without looking at him, still talking. 

He interrupts her.  “Look at me.” 

She does.  What she has been avoiding after accepting him back and going to the store with him becomes undeniable as they stare each other in the eyes:  Harry has grown up. 

Harry continues to stare at her, wondering what will come of this.  The dream ends. 

That second ending was more the Rip Van Winkle sort of ending, but with people oddly wanting to avoid the unexplainable aging of the three former children. 

This is not fan fiction.  The dream really happened, so in a way it’s a form of non-fiction.  It may seem suspiciously literary and detailed, but I have added nothing to it.  All the scenes were dark, except for the ending where they are running across the stone structure and the grassy field, which was in filtered sunlight—presumably that part of my dream was lit so I could see the action.  Also, The grown version of Harry Potter did not look like Daniel Radcliffe.  He looked like Stephen Kreiger, who used to hold the world record for the longest paper airplane throw.  See my entry on him. 

If you want to have dreams this literary and this detailed, I suggest you read and write a lot.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Terrible Day

On a Monday morning:   My car keeps sputtering out on me as I try to make it to work.  But it worked fine yesterday.  I try to make it to a shop I normally use, but it conks out on me a half mile short.  So I get it towed in, and my father drives me back to my place.

Now to look up the bus routes:  The Metro online planner is frustrating, as usual. (If you’re in the Seattle area, do not use the Metro link.  Use the Google transit planner they offer from the same site.) 
  photo by Ardfern

I make good time towards the Park & Ride, so I stop for a fast food breakfast.  The Muzak is playing Secret Agent Man, much to the delight of the woman behind the counter.  But partway through, the words sounds like “Secret Asian Man.”  I listen carefully, but the words are normal the next round through.  Hard to account for. 

 Hotel Portmeirion, where The Prisoner was filmed
public domain

Now to wash up (I did mention it was fast food, right?).  Hands sopping wet, I discover the men’s room is out of paper towels.  Not to worry.  I’ve done the grab-the-toilet-paper-when-they’re-out-of-paper-towels routine before. 

They’re out of toilet paper.  Eek. 

So I catch the bus to work without event, but it’s a twenty-five minute walk to my workplace from there.  I arrive looking suitably sweaty and tired. 

 photo by Wouterhagens

I try not to drink too much caffeine, but I decide to treat myself to a Cherry Coke. 

The machine is out of those. 

Okay, Diet Coke instead.  But I press the buttons incorrectly, and get Orange Fanta instead.  Orange Fanta?  I think of mindless women dancing in one of their commercials.  

 photo by M. Disdero

I timed  the walk so I could estimate my time for the walk back.  During the 2:00 afternoon break, someone points out the window because of the pattering sound. 
 It’s hailing.    
photo by Darkone

So I get a ride from someone to the bus stop.  The bill for my car repair is rather hefty.  And that was my terrible Monday.  

public domain


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