Monday, January 24, 2011


Cinema, just like books, music, video games, the spoken word, the whispered word, etc., is a medium. It is a mere clay in the hands of a potter. Sometimes, it is mishandled. The results are devastating and catastrophic.
Having seen the critically acclaimed, massively beloved, and as fate would have it, most highest grossing film ever (it's currently January 2011), that being Avatar, by James Cameron, I can honestly say that it deserves that title.
This film is one I can definitely consider a masterpiece. I must remain truthful- the story is one I've heard in various places. Essentially, there are squatters from a faraway place. They seek something extremely valuable, and they're willing to lose something else in order to obtain it- namely, their humanity. These squatters are likely thousands of times more powerful than the natives they are stealing from, and will stop at nothing to get what they want. One of them, though, will somehow realize that what they're doing is morally reprehensible, join forces with the natives, and work against the squatters.
The execution of this film was pure genius. I have absolutely no gripes with regard to the visuals- I thought it was ingenious his use of what appeared to be fan worms for one scene, and this is one film that would have been amazing even if it had no dialogue. In fact, if it were nightmarishly written, if the actors were wooden, if the music was replaced a capella death metal (no offense to death fans- I just find your music incomprehensible- try listening to light jazz and you just might understand me) and if Sigourney Weaver wasn't in it, the film would have been amazing simply on account of its incredible visuals. Fortunately, this wasn't the case- it was very well written; the story, though common, made sense, and the acting was very good. The music was excellent, and while it's not exactly what I would have chosen, it was still very good, and then to top it all off, Sigourney Weaver was in this movie! This woman has slain aliens and portrayed Diane Fossey. One of those is more than sufficient for a lifetime.
So in addition to being well cast, written, etc., what else can I say about it? Ah yes, execution. Essentially, all these brilliant elements were carefully, dare I say lovingly assembled into a piece of art that defies the boundaries of age, culture, language, and hatred of science fiction. Yes, those who hate sci-fi (AKA Blaspheming Heretics!) enjoyed this film.
In all, it was well put together, and after many years of hard work (it all began in 1994, my birth year) Mr. Cameron has accomplished something truly epic. So awesome, in fact, that the (presumably) unbiased Wikipedia calls it an 'epic' film.
If you haven't guessed already, I absolutely loved this movie, and can recommend it to just about anybody.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Recovering a Palm handheld from a crash

As I have shown you in my behind the scenes of this blog, I use a Palm handheld to write some of my reviews on the go. Once, though, I unwittingly crashed it when I installed an application that needed some sort of framework installed first. It was in the readme.txt the consequences, unfortunately, I don't usually read the readme.txt quite as often as I ought (shame on me!). This was a warning, however, that needed more than a humble readme. It should have been a file that said "WARNING, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, READ THIS FIRST!" That would have been a lot more helpful.
Image showing Reset button on a Palm Tungsten T|5
My device would crash whenever I turned it on, and I couldn't access any of the files I had on the device. It was a waking nightmare. With some Googling, I came across a support page that told me just what to do if I installed something that crashed my device: a warm reset. To do this, hold the 'up' button on your Palm and hit 'reset' on the back of your device. Depending on your stylus, the top may screw off to reveal a small rod just for this purpose. If not, use a toothpick. Be careful none of it splinters off inside your device.
Keep holding the up button until the progress bar crosses the bottom of the screen, and you see "Palm Powered". Now watch. If your device boots normally, go into your applications and find the app you installed most recently that you suspect is the culprit. Delete it immediately, and don't re-install it unless you know how to use it!
Now, do a soft reset on your by simply pressing the 'reset' button on the back. If your device crashes, perform another warm reset, and try to figure out the problem. If not, you've likely fixed your device.
If none of this works, however, there's the chance that you need a hard reset. WARNING!!!!! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, READ THIS FIRST! A hard reset will erase all your data! Thus, your Palm will be wiped clean of any information on it you put. Your precious applications, contacts, memos, and anything you haven't backed up will be gone forever. Where to? No mortal knows.
To perform a hard reset, hold on to the power button and press 'reset'. Keep holding the power until the progress bar loads all the way to the other side of the screen. Your Palm will then offer you the opportunity to erase everything. Press 'up' to say yes, press anything else for no.
I assume NO RESPONSIBILITY for anything that happens to your device with this info. If something goes hidously wrong, contact your manufacturer.


The article that saved my Palm:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld, is the sequel to his 2009 novel Leviathan, an alternative history in which Charles Darwin was a genetic engineer, and now the British are using fabricated beasts for war. On the other end of the spectrum are the Germans and their allies, known as the "Clankers", and they're using, as one might guess, massive machines to do their bidding.
The story centers on two people, namely Deryn Sharp, a girl masquerading as a young man in the Royal Air Force, serving aboard the Leviathan (a gigantic whale airship), and Alek Ferdinand, the son of the famous Archduke of Austria, who is in grave danger from his own country, seeing as a letter from the Pope names him the next emperor of Austria. He must avoid capture at all costs.

In Leviathan, the earlier book, Sharp and Ferdinand became allies under rather difficult circumstances, and in this sequel, they've reached Istanbul, and now Alek seeks to hide somewhere within the vast continent, seeking asylum through obscurity. He has little option, seeing as Austria and England are now at war, and among the Darwinists, he's essentially their prisoner, and will probably be shipped off to a jail as soon as the Leviathan lands.
Sharp, meanwhile, is working hard as ever to conceal her identity (poor Mr. Sharp!), and has run into the problem of what to do with Alek, seeing as he is responsible for helping save the ship, and certainly she doesn't want to betray a friend. At the same time she'd hate to be found guilty of treason, hanged and quartered.
I certainly enjoyed Westerfeld's unique alternative history. His characters are well thought out, the plot turned at all the right times, and it was beautifully illustrated by Keith Thompson. In all, if you enjoy Steampunk, historical fiction, political fiction, war novels, genetic engineering, and gigantic fighting machines, you'll probably love Behemoth as much as Leviathan.