November 9th, 2003

Dark Tower

Conspicuous Consumption

I've been resisting making an inventory of our various books, DVDs and things for ages, in part because I tend to be the sort who takes these things far too far. Back when we were doing Tabula Rasa on paper I started indexing our horror magazines, of which we had quite a few (including over a 100 issues of the ever-charming Fangoria -- a magazine I can never quite believe is still going). I don't want to go there again.

But, nonetheless, for insurance purposes, and to avoid little accidents of impulse buying, I've started tackling the problem, hopefully in a calm and measured fashion. It's revealed some useful things, too -- such as precisely which of my Stephen Kings are Book Club editions (yes, it's true... the horror! Though the British Book Club editions (Guild Publishing) seem a lot better put together than the US versions). Also, which of my Tomorrow series is a reprint (The Third Day, The Frost).

Anyway, since it seems traditional, it's probably the most interesting to people, and it's the most compact, here be the DVDs as they currently stand.

Title</font> Region</font> Discs</font> Notes</font>
2001: A Space Odyssey</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Angel (Season 3, part 1)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Angel (Season 3, part 2)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Barry Lyndon</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Blade Runner</font> 4</font> 1</font> Director's Cut</font>
Brotherhood of the Wolf</font> 4</font> 2</font>  </font>
Bruce Campbell vs. the Army of Darkness</font> 1</font> 1</font> Official bootleg edition</font>
Buffy (Season 1)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Buffy (Season 2, part 1)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Buffy (Season 2, part 2)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Buffy (Season 3, part 1)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Buffy (Season 3, part 2)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Buffy (Season 6, part 1)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Buffy (Season 6, part 2)</font> 4</font> 3</font>  </font>
Carrie</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Cat's Eye</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Cherry Falls</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Chopper</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Clockwork Orange, A</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Conan the Barbarian</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Conan box set</font>
Conan the Destroyer</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Conan box set</font>
Dark Crystal, The</font> 1</font> 1</font> In box with Labyrinth</font>
Day of the Dead</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Dead Ringers</font> 0</font> 1</font> Criterion</font>
Dead Zone, The</font> 4</font> 1</font> In box with Maximum Overdrive</font>
Dolores Claiborne</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Dune</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Dune (3 hour edition)</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Envy</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Eyes Wide Shut</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Fight Club</font> 4</font> 2</font>  </font>
From Hell</font> 4</font> 2</font>  </font>
Full Metal Jacket</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Ghosts... of the Civil Dead</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Golden Years</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Grosse Pointe Blank</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets</font> 4</font> 1</font> Promotional DVD</font>
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets</font> 4</font> 2</font> Widescreen</font>
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone</font> 1</font> 2</font> Canadian widescreen</font>
Hellraiser</font> 1</font> 1</font> Anchor Bay</font>
Hidden Fortress, The</font> 0</font> 1</font> In Kurosawa box set (Criterion)</font>
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The</font> 4</font> 2</font>  </font>
Interview with the Vampire</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Interview, The</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
It</font> 4</font> 1</font> Flipper disc</font>
Kiss or Kill</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
La Femme Nikita (Season 1)</font> 1</font> 6</font>  </font>
Labyrinth</font> 1</font> 1</font> In box with The Dark Crystal</font>
Langoliers, The</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Lolita</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring</font> 4</font> 4</font>  </font>
Mad Max</font> 1</font> 1</font> Flipper disc</font>
Martin</font> 1</font> 1</font> Anchor Bay</font>
Maximum Overdrive</font> 4</font> 1</font> In box with The Dead Zone</font>
Monty Python and the Holy Grail</font> 1</font> 2</font>  </font>
Natural Born Killers</font> 4</font> 1</font> Director's Cut</font>
Nick Cave: God is in the House</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Night of the Living Dead</font> 1</font> 1</font> Millennium Edition</font>
Nightmare on Elm Street, A</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Nikita</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
On the Beach</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Patrick</font> 4</font> 1</font> Full frame</font>
Princess Mononoke</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Queen of the Damned</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Requiem for a Dream</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Rose Red</font> 1</font> 2</font>  </font>
Sanjuro</font> 0</font> 1</font> In Kurosawa box set (Criterion)</font>
Serpent and the Rainbow, The</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Seven Samurai</font> 0</font> 1</font> In Kurosawa box set (Criterion)</font>
Shining, The</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Silence of the Lambs, The</font> 0</font> 1</font> Criterion</font>
Silver Bullet</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Siouxsie and the Banshees: The Seven Year Itch live</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Sopranos, The (Season 2)</font> 4</font> 6</font>  </font>
Sopranos, The (Season 3)</font> 1</font> 6</font>  </font>
Stand, The</font> 1</font> 2</font>  </font>
Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures</font> 4</font> 1</font> In Kubrick box set</font>
Stone</font> 9</font> 1</font> Region 9?</font>
Suspiria</font> 1</font> 3</font> Anchor Bay, one disc is a CD, copy 13,674 of 60,000!</font>
Twin Peaks (Season 1)</font> 4</font> 4</font>  </font>
Two Hands</font> 4</font> 1</font>  </font>
Videodrome</font> 2, 4</font> 1</font> Universal (uncut)</font>
Walkabout</font> 0</font> 1</font> Madman</font>
Wes Craven's New Nightmare</font> 1</font> 1</font>  </font>
Yojimbo</font> 0</font> 1</font> In Kurosawa box set (Criterion)</font>
Dark Tower

Matrix Revolutions

Yes, I said we didn't care... but we went to see it anyway. And it was even pretty good.

Kyla said she enjoyed it much better than the second one (despite them both having highly dodgy dialogue), in part because of all the set-up that was done during #2.

I was the other way around. I'd actually managed to forget most of the set-up (and still don't really know who that other guy on the table was), but found that Reloaded had more interesting bits in it. I thought the first half of Revolutions was somewhat tedious, and the battle scenes weren't particularly involving, but it all came together well enough, and even made a fair amount of sense in the end. I'm sure those impressed by large scale graphics won't complain either.

It seems to me that the series has been made with the same sort of logic that propels fantasy trilogies and the like. People seem to want a large and fairly stable world to lose themselves in, with characters they can follow over a long distance. I suspect if you watch all the Animatrix stories, and are the sort who will see the movies more than once, and play the games to boot, The Matrix delivers. I can't really complain about that, even if I'm approaching it from a less dedicated vantage point.

But I do think the dialogue could have been improved -- some humanity amongst all the arty bits would have helped. There was a little, but not enough.

Anyway, a couple of things came to mind: One, I'm wondering if the name Sati is a reference to anything. I immediately thought of Christopher Pike's novel Sati, about a girl who claimed to be God (and had a thing for cookies). But I suspect there's an older precident. It's a great novel (novella?), BTW, from an author generally over-looked because he was swept up on the YA splurge.

Secondly, Kyla successfully spotted her sister in the movie -- or at least her lower torso. The picture hidden behind the cut is a rather better shot (no, not Monica Bellucci, the girl behind Lambert Wilson).

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Dark Tower

Bucking Microsoft

That's Buck with a B -- American Gothic

It seems it's about time to get a new computer. We were hoping to put it off till next year, but my current configuration is starting to bug me, and the other computer on our LAN is about 6 years old and getting wobbly. Since I'm more or less between my Dark Ages material and ramping up Angel rewrites and the giants game, and have my backups properly sorted, it seems a good moment of transistion.

I was, of course, considering just buying another PC, and have a package worked out. But then it struck me there may be options, and none of them seem particularly good.

I guess the first thing to consider is what we use a computer for anyway.

  • Office type stuff: word processing, with the occasional use of databases and even (shudder) spreadsheets.
  • Mail/Surfing: I have no need or desire for broadband, but nonetheless we use the internet quite a bit (getting a second phone line for it would be polite, but not inexpensive). Without this, our freelance writing would be kaput, and it's useful for occasional ANSTO work too.
  • Applications: I've played a couple of games on my PC in the past (Warcraft II, Torment, Thief, Neverwinter Nights...), but have basically given up. I've been using the Britannica quite a bit this week and have the Dragon magazine archive and Stephen King Guide on the desktop, neither of which are getting strong use at the moment. Also the Campaign Cartograher demo, and Dragon Naturally Speaking if my hands go kaput again. That's about it.

So, what's good for that, then?

  • PC: I use Windows 98 at home, and one of the reasons I'm getting annoyed is because it is playing up, which seems to date back to me applying security patches from Microsoft. Upgrading to a different version of a Microsoft OS seems a bad way to respond to such behaviour. Still, it's what most of my apps are written for, it's familiar (I must remember one user of this system is not a programmer), it does the job, and it's the best way to continue talking to my existing hardware (I'd probably replace Win98 with XP, if I got XP on the new one). But... Microsoft.
  • Mac. Like many programmers, it seems, I developed a dislike for Macs early and strong. You just couldn't do anything with them, and they had allegedly charming habits that were hard to turn off. These days they are built on Unix, which is nice, and undoubtedly can handle all the office and internet stuff, even if they do still look, well, sort-of stupid. But... the expense (I've been checking Australian mac shops on-line). And that's not even without having to buy brand new apps, some of which will likely be Microsoft anyway, thanks to the ubiquity of Word.
  • Linux: Which will make me popular at work (relatively speaking), and is a cheapish option. But I've tried it before, and just aren't convinced. The permissions model didn't seem to work too well for sharing manuscripts between users, and my experiences with StarOffice were very offputting. Maybe I should have tried harder, but it nonetheless seems that the strengths of Linux are not what I need a computer for, and time spent configuring things is spent away from reading and writing.

So, is it back to the Evil Empire? Nothing else is looking promising.