Thursday, October 28, 2010

What You Should Do RIGHT NOW.

What are you doing right now?  No, seriously--what are you doing?  Do you really need to do that?  Right at this minute, especially.  I mean, surely it could wait, right?

Fine. Then I will wait until you are finished.

Okay, NOW--stop everything and go watch "Sherlock" from the brilliant minds of Stephen Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, running Sundays on PBS.

It's Sherlock Holmes in 21st century London, but still the same prickly, irritatingly brilliant, self-absorbed charcter who used to stalk the foggy streets of Victoria's age. And amazingly, the more things change, the more they stay exactly the same: John Watson, former Army doctor, wounded in Afghanistan.  He still writes about Holmes's adventures, but on a blog.  And what Holmes can tell about a man from his cell phone rivals anything the 19th century version could tell from a bowler.

It's fast, it's sharp, but still it has all the flavor of Conan Doyle's aggravating hero.  Kudos to the design team who found ways to use modern editing techniques to illustrate the Great Man's ratiocination (and isn't THAT a Victorian word!)  Moffatt is currently Much Beloved for his masterly work on the rebooted Doctor Who series, and obsessives fans like me can see a great deal of similarity between the first episode of "Sherlock" and the first episode of Matt Smith's tenure as the Eleventh Doctor.  In fact, Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock could easily be transplanted into the Tardis and be completely believable as the Doctor.

I have great respect and affection for Martin Freeman's Doctor Watson here as well: he's dazzled by Sherlock, but not such a fool as many Watson's have been.  Freeman makes a wonderful foil--he is more human, if a bit PTSD, but every bit Holmes equal in heart.  Which I wouldn't necessarily have expected, given that I know Freeman solely from his roles as the porn star stand-in in "Love Actually" and as Arthur Dent in the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" movie.  In both of those roles, he was rather bumbling and overwhelmed by events.  Here, however, he dives into Holmes's life and immediately fits in.

Sadly, there are only three episodes of this series--damn you, you wily Brits, and your insistence on quality over quantity!  However, there have been promises of new episodes in 2011, which will have to be filmed around Martin Freeman's starring role as Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming "Hobbit" movie.

Yes.  I am a geek.  But just watch, and tell me you aren't glad that I am, so I could point you to this!

Bryan Ferry's Latest

Yes, the man who gave us "More Than This" still has it.  Sadly, the video director seems to have spent too much time perusing "Hot Russian Women Seeking Husbands" sites and three color processing effects from the 1960s.

So maybe it's not an accident that the album cover looks like a live action Vargas drawing?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tarot For the Day

Just for kicks, I downloaded a Tarot app to my DroidX phone.  Yes, it's an upgrade--previously, all my fortune-telling chores were handled by a virtual Magic 8 Ball on my iPod.  But tarot--that's like having TEN Magic 8 Balls all at once, or something.  At any rate, even with a completely random, free app, tarot card reading, at least you get more than a mere yes-or-no answer.

So, offered for entertainment purposes only, here's my tarot reading for the day:
  1. Your Position: Temperance.  Keep emotions in balance.  Synthesis.  Create something new.
  2. Cross/Opposition: Nine of Swords.  Sense of despair or dread hangs over you.  Temporary.
  3. Immediate Future: Ace of Pentacles.  Luck.  Financial propositions, business opportunities.
  4. Recent Past; Eight of Swords.  Fear, doubt and anxiety.  You can escape, but with some bruises.
  5. Distant Past: Judgment.  Recurring illness or problem.  Old debts, old scars come back.
  6. Long Term Future: King of Swords.  Calm and self-assured, with a deep sense of inner strength and conviction.
  7. Position You Will Soon Be In: Seven of Wands.  Deep purpose and valor.  Stiff competition and opposition.
  8. External Influences: Six of Swords.  Moving away from strife/difficult times to calmer waters.
  9. Hopes/Fears/Concerns: Two of Pentacles.  Success is achieved through skillful manipulation of goals and objectives.
  10. Final Outcome: The Devil.  Temptations.  Addictions.  Raw, primitive instinct.

As I was reading these, I went through the five stages of fortune-telling:
  1. Hope that it would tell me something; 
  2. Skepticism that these things ever mean anything; 
  3. Consideration that maybe there was something in what the cards mean that I could at least take as ideas about things to do in my life; 
  4. Critical skepticism, trying to figure out how often a mix of "working toward calm" and "escaping old bad habits" would come up and be applicable to how many millions of people; 
  5. Total WTF?!?!?!  The Devil?  After all these cards saying that I am temperate, escaping doubt and anxiety and old scars and moving away from strife to calmer waters--and I end up with Addiction and Temptation?

 Who knew that calm and inner strength, deep purpose and valor were the harbingers of addiction?  Does that mean that the Buddha got Nirvana and heroin addiction confused? 

Well, Kurt Cobain seemed to have, so maybe that's not a hard mistake to make.

 [Drum hit here: Ba dum shish!  I'm here all week!  Try the veal!  Watch for me on HBO!]

But seriously, if you think of people with whom you associate the terms "temperance" and "inner strength" and "conviction," don't you think of --well--the Dali Lama, or Gandhi.  Not so much "raw, primitive instinct."

Oh yeah, right.  "Entertainment purposes only."  Well, I guess that was fun.

Let's Do Word Problems!

Stick with it--I know you can do this!

A thirsty person has a lovely 22 oz. glass with some ice cubes in it.  She has one-quarter of a 24 fl. oz. bottle of Diet Pepsi

and an unopened 12 oz. can of Diet Coke.

If she pours all the Diet Pepsi into the glass, and then fills the remainder of the glass with Diet Coke, does the resulting class of trademarked brands interact like matter and anti-matter and bring about the end of time and space as we know it?  Or does the presence of the ice cubes operate as dilithium crystals, making faster-than-light speeds possible?

You know that Starfleet Academy gives this test to incoming cadets--I think it was originally posited by Montgomery Scott, who was perhaps enjoying his own lovely beverage at the time.