Watching TV Chronologically (Cont.)

It’s spring in 1995 in TV Land now. We’ve seen the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation (best series final lines ever), all of Jeeves and Wooster (as good as I remember) and the first season of Batman the Animated Series (which is harder to watch as an adult).

More importantly, Mad About You has started and it’s still as much fun to watch as ever. I really like Reiser and Hunt and I’m sort of struck by the decision to tell so much of the story in a non-linear format. You learn about the characters over time, but don’t actually follow the story from beginning to end in a straight line. It’s smart for a sitcom.

And Animaniacs is going full swing as well. If there are two TV shows that have formed my sense of humor, it’s Animaniacs and Mad About You. And unlike most children’s television, The Warner Siblings are even better as an adult. The shit they got past the network censors is amazing. I must say, however, that what really shines is the music. The brains behind the songs of the Animaniacs (Tom Ruegger and the late Richard Stone) were fantastic. The music is still imminently listenable catchy and clever. And they were smart enough to hire Bernadette Peters as Rita; that speaks volumes.

Spotting voice actors is a good pivot to say a few words about Gargoyles. Gargoyles was one of those shows that really proved the idea that kids shows can be literate, serious and involve expansive storylines. But I will admit that it’s principal appeal to me now is to play find the voice. The main cast boasts Keith David, Jonathan Frakes, Salli Richardson, Marina Sirtis, Ed Asner. When they introduce guest stars I’ve already heard Clancy Brown, Jim Cummings (of course), Tim Curry, Michael Dorn (all the TNG principals except Wheaton and Stewart show up at some point), John Rhys-Davies, Tony Jay, Nichelle Nichols, and David Warner. Those are just off the top of my head (OK, with a touch of wiki) and I’ve got a couple of seasons left to watch. The story is still fun and engaging, but damn if I don’t love trying to recognize people.

Technically Babylon 5 is running as well, but I just finished watching that series again for the first time since I was a kid and I just couldn’t stomach it again so soon. Finally, Reboot has only just started, but the first 2 Seasons of that show don’t really count so I’ll talk about them later.

Oh, and The Critic is just finishing up it’s short lived run. I love that show but I really really can’t recommend it. It is little more than an attempt to cram as many pop culture references into a 22 minute show as possible and it ages terribly.

I’m looking forward to the September start of Freakizoid! Although I suspect that it doesn’t hold as well as Animaniacs does, do to its lack of music.

The Name of the Wind

Originally this report was supposed to be something like four thousand words long; which was a ridiculous idea from the start. Disregarding the fact that at the time of that goal making, I had less than two weeks to finish reading the book and write this up: the idea that I might be able to report to anyone ever at such length about a third of a book is practically non-sensical.

I don’t mean for this to sound like excuses but The Name of the Wind is not really a whole book, at least no more so than Act 1 of Hamlet is a an entire play, despite the great length of both. By the end of the novel the stage has been set and most, if not all, of the important relevant characters have been introduced, but the story hasn’t really moved anywhere. The characters don’t develope so much as settle into the places they’ll need to be in, so they can develop later.

Which means that not really enough happens in this Act 1 for much to have paid off yet. There are some symbols being set up: Denna’s nature and the wind and the parallel between Kvothe and Taborlin the great and Kvothe’s versus his own legend. But since the story hasn’t even really hit it’s rising action yet, none of these are explored, merely set out.

I will also have to admit that what passes for a climax is rather a let down. It sounds great when you summarize it: hero saves a town and slays a dragon, but in the actual text it isn’t tied in well. It’s tangential. Perhaps this will be better connected to the plot later, but as it stands, it feels as though Rothfuss was seeing a two hundred and fifty thousand word count looming and realized that he didn’t have a big thing happening in the novel. So he just shoved in a thing about a dragon. I have trouble caring.

I could go on a bit more about the characters, specifically about how annoying Denna is for the entirety of the book, but that’s more than a little unfair. These characters haven’t done anything yet, not personally. It would be wrong to judge Hamlet for his actions in Act 1 and it isn’t very useful to judge characters now either.

So I’m reading Wise Man’s Fear, though that’s not going to count for February, and hopefully when The Doors of Stone comes out I’ll finally get to read the full book.

Project

I’m really not one for new year resolutions. I don’t think that attempts at self improvement are best tied to calendar dates but instead should be entered to based on your own level of commitment. Else you are only finding ways to disappoint your future, less improved, self.

But if you have something you want to start, and you happen to be starting it in January. Then it’s probably fairly pointless to try to argue that it is not a new year resolution. I won’t even try.

Once a month for the next twelve months, I’m taking myself back to English Lit, but this time hopefully I’ll actually pay attention to the assigned reading, because I’m going to the be the one picking them. (This is also an opportunity to clear my “to read” list of some stuff that’s been there far to long.) On the last day of each month, I’ve got a four thousand word book report due and it has to be on something I’ve never read before.

First one is due in ten days, I better get cracking.

Successful Brony Drinks

If I’d been smart, I’d have planned last weekend’s Brony Booze-up because it was the premier of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic season two, but to be honest, I wasn’t paying attention and it was all just a coincidence. At any rate, the wife and I spent some time preparing some cocktails in the theme of characters from the show. These were auditioned before a thirsty crowd.  A couple of the drinks (The Rainbow Dash and the Twilight Sparkle) didn’t fare so well in public opinion, but there were a couple of hits of the evening.

Applejack

  • 1.5 oz of Applejack
  • Easiest drink in the world to pour; just put it into a glass.

How surprised was I that our local supplier had actual applejack. We gave some consideration to coming up with an actual cocktail, but if the character is named after a hard liquor, then who am I to mess with that. Applejack turns out to be a pleasant drink, with a definite taste of… well… apples. What did you think it would taste like? It’s good; I’d probably get another bottle when this one is finished ((Should be a while, we did some major damage to it at the party, but a large part of that is that it’s also part of the Big McIntosh.)) .

 

The Big McIntosh

  • 3 oz of applejack
  • 18-24 oz of apple cider
  • 1 apple half
  • Put 3 oz of applejack into the biggest glass you can find. Then put in half an apple. Then fill the rest up with cider.
Short warning: DO NOT FUCK WITH BIG MAC. There’re two shots of hard liquor in this and nearly two bottles of cider. A Big Mac will mess you up something awful if you’re not ready for it. There is no shame in sharing on this one. Both being apple based, the cider and applejack go really well together. By far the most surprising thing about this drink is how much everyone seems to like having half an apple to eat at the end. I’d thought this, when test drinking, but we served 4 McIntoshes at the party and everyone agreed that eating what was supposed to just be a garnish was nearly the best part.

The Fluttershy

  • 1 part lemon liqueur
  • 2 parts sweetened ice tea
  • Chill both ingredients before serving, mix in a tumbler
You’ve probably figured out by now that we don’t go in much for complicated drinks around here. This was part of the downfall of the Twilight Sparkle and the Rainbow Dash. The Fluttershy is very drinkable, with no rough edges around the corners. Almost retiring. Generally well received by those who partook. It also has the advantage of being very easy to premix if you were planning a large get together. It would be the very drink to have on a porch on a warm summer evening.

 

The Rarity

  • 1 oz Goldschlager
  • 1.5 oz Bailey’s
  • Garnish with a large marshmallow

The…. ahem… dark horse of this whole thing was this little drink. I normally won’t touch goldschlager with a ten foot drinking straw and irish creme is even less drinkable. Surprisingly enough though, if you put the two together it’s delicious. The peppery heat from the goldschlager and the smooth texture of the irish creme meet somewhere in the middle and the result is great. Opinions varied about whether the marshmallow garnish should be eaten or not. Some say it was tasty and some say it was gross. This decision is ultimately left to the drinker.

The Pinkie Pie

I can’t give you a precise recipe on this one because I didn’t actually have a hand in its creation. A fellow brony proposed the idea, brought the ingredients, and did the mixing. The short hand is that it’s cake flavored vodka and strawberry milk. The taste testers weren’t really able to give me a good description of the taste of this drink, which probably says something for what cake vodka does to the brain, but they all agreed it was good. In the future, this needs to be garnished with a gummy alligator.

 

 

 

The Twilight Sparkle was intended to be a rum/grape/champagne layered concoction and needs to be reworked. The Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, was a gatorade based thing with Skittles. I’m gonna keep working on these but neither are ready for prime time yet. We also did a test run of a Scootaloo which was pronounced awful. Once I get my hands on some more apfelvin, we’ll test out an Apple Bloom. And finally there is a plan for a Spike, but we need to learn to make jello shots for that one.

 

Final note: Many apologies for the formatting, wordpress can go suck a donkey’s bollocks.

Another Boring Car Post (Dream Garage)

We nerds love to make lists. Top 5 Comedians. Top 10 Western RPGs. Worst Sci-fi movies. Top 10 Best Fight Scenes. We’ll even fantasy cast remakes of old movies or our favorite books ((the temptation to fantasy cast Mistborn is palpable, for example)) . So here’s my latest version of the Dream Garage.

Parameters

If I was just naming my favorite cars, I’d run out of slots before I ran out of muscle cars. Unless I was feeling a bit sporty, then it’d be roadsters and track cars from here until the day is long. So let’s set some parameters before we start.

First: Five vehicles. I could easily do ten or twenty but I fear that would wear a bit thin. You, my loving audience, can and I suspect shall, listen to be pontificate on this subject again, so we’ll keep this entry from rambling on forever.

Second: Five different kinds of vehicles. If this really is a dream garage, there’s no sense having 5 supercars and nothing you can stick the dogs in when you’re on your way to the park. I don’t think one vehicle can do it all, but between five we should be able to get pretty close. We’ll say “Daily Driver”, “Track Day Special”, “Luxury Occasion”, “Classic” and leave one wild card. At the end of the day having a sixth slot for “tow vehicle” would be nice to, but that sort of service can be rented if need be.

Third: Despite my protestations at our current political climate, I live in the US of A, and so I’ll restrict my choices to what’s available here ((mostly, that’s what wild cards are for)). I love the Australian Ford Falcons but I can’t drive one here; so what’s the point?

Fourth: I’m not going to talk engine swaps or suspension upgrades here. I’ve got a whole other list of “Crazy ass project cars I want”. For the purposes of this list, factory spec only.

Daily Driver / Grand Tourer

Isn't this just the best looking thing ever?

What kind of a world do you live in if your daily driver is an Aston Martin DBS? An awesome world, that’s what.

There are a lot of good choices for this category, from Jaguar’s XKR, the Ferrari 599, or the Bentley GT, but there is no real competition for the DBS. It’s not the fastest Grand Tourer ((the Italians make it around the Nüburgring faster, the Bentley has more horsepower)) ,  and it might not even be the most luxurious, but it definitely has the most charisma.

There are practical considerations if you plan on driving an Aston everywhere. The V12 does guzzle down more fuel then the little four banger in my car, but I’m surprised to learn that you can get 18 mpg out of it. Which means puts it one better then my old Taurus. Don’t worry though, I’m sure you can make that savings up and more on insurance ((and quite possibly tickets as well. Though if I were a cop, I’d only ever pull one of these over to gawk at it)) . You won’t have a back seat of course, but that just gives you an excuse to leave the dogs at home, or not to pick your in-laws up at the airport. Most importantly though, you’ll probably be late nearly everywhere you go, having pushed your way through hordes of slack jawed onlookers, stunned into quiet revelry by the sheer beauty of it ((By the by, don’t think I didn’t think about the original DBS. I like the look of that one almost as much, but I’ll opt for modern comfort for this slot)) .

Something for the Sunny Track Day

Everything you need and nothing you don;t.

I wracked my brain on this one and I’m ever so slightly disappoint that the best I could come up with the “easy” answer of the Ariel Atom. Anyone who’s ever seen one trying to rip Jeremy Clarkson’s face off ((and then set a blistering track time)) knows about this car and probably lusts after it. I considered the offerings form Lotus, and the Lotus remakes offered by Westfield. I even considered giving this slot to the DP1 from Palatov Motorsport but that’s still in development ((and you won’t be able to take that on the street)) . There’s a whole lineup of performance Porsches more at home on the track then the street. But at the end of the day, the Atom is exactly what you want and, moreover, it’s nothing more.

A Porsche Boxter Spyder would be a blast around a track, but it’s still offered with AC and a radio. On the other end of the spectrum, you could buy a Radical Racer and outclass anything that’s not a pure bred track machine, but you’ll need someone to help you split the car in half every time you want to get in or out. The Ariel is the perfect balance between the two. You can drive it to the track, if you’d like, and you won’t even need to swerve around the speed bumps as you do. At the track, you won’t have to feel guilty for lugging anything spare around every corner. Unless you count the passenger seat, but I’ll let that slide so long as I get to scare the pants off the occasional ride along.

Addendum: I went with the original Atom here,  not the one with V8 because the idea of a vehicle with 550bhp going to the rear wheels and a curb weight that makes my Miata look like it’s been ordering too many Big Gulps scares the pants off me. If I could learn not to kill myself with only 300bhp, I could upgrade later.

Luxury People Mover

I like a company that lets you order their limousine with the hottest engine. Is there a reason to have 503bhp in this kind of car? I honestly can’t think of one, but I still want it. Jaguar XJ LWB Supersport, in black, tan leather, piano wood trim and then pile on the optional extras until the order form outweighs the table. Except, there’s an option to remove the privacy glass, and I’m honestly not sure if I want that. I’d quite like privacy glass; can I get a second divider to run length-wise through the cabin too? Everyone could be totally alone.

Owning a long wheel base car seems to imply that you’re going to hire a driver all the time, but I don’t see why that has to be. I’d quite like to have a car I could fill with slightly drunk ladies and drive them from restaurant to bar to club and so forth ((especially if I’ve got that privacy glass)) . Then I’d hire a driver when I wanted to be the one slightly drunk in the back. I can’t seem to find out if it’s got a tow rating, but with 503bhp it could probably haul the Atom to the track. Heck, I’d take it on the track too if I could. I’d wear my peaked cap, and we’d pull up alongside Lotuses and offer them Grey Poupon. I’ve taken the joke too far, haven’t I?

There are other options for the luxury limo. The Rolls Royce Phantom is quite a car and Maybach has a range of cars. But neither has the clean lines of the Jag, which went from one of the ugliest cars ever in its previous gen to a stunning peak of beauty with its current one.  And although both have the restrained opulence of a true limousine, the XJ has the roguishness of a Jag.

Something to Wax Nostalgic

I said I wracked my brain over the Ariel Atom, but that was nothing compared to the amount of mental hand wringing I did over what to include for my classic. There are ten million dollar Ferrari’s out there, and certainly no one would fault me for trying to taut the virtues of the Shelby Cobra. But my insidious need for at least a hint of originality pushes me off the beaten path. So we arrive at the 1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 with Cobra Jet 429 engine. I’ve always liked the Cougar ((the original at any rate)) ; I’ve always liked Mercury for that matter, and found the company’s lack of clear vision and ultimate fall into disgrace annoying.

The original Cougar seemed like a good idea to me. You take the wildly popular Mustang, give it a slight push up market with some new sheet metal and accessories ((Headlights that disappear behind the grill! How could you not love that?)) and try to sell it to the people who found the Mustang too lowest common denominator. That plan ultimately proved unsuccessful of course; proving yet again why I don’t get to make decisions for car companies.

The Cougar hasn’t been latched onto by nostalgia the way the Mustang has and since it had less then stellar sales numbers to begin with, there aren’t too many left on the road today. So you’ve got a car which is as cool as its more popular sibling, but that nobody knows it. It’s the hipster of blue oval muscle cars!

Wild Card

I know I said I was going to limit myself to North American cars only, but this is the wildcard! How could I resist the siren song of the world’s most powerful station wagon ((which sounds better in the Anglo version “estate car”)) ? Who even put’s a twin turbo V10 engine into a car like this? Thank god it’s got all wheel drive. Look at that rear end; this will certainly carry the dogs if I need it to and a full load of passengers, and probably a full bedroom set as well. Then you can drive all that home at a million miles an hour, in the wet.

I know I can’t technically have the thing here, but I’d be willing to jump through hoops to get it or replicate it over here ((Certainly you could start with an S6 or A6 and replicate from there)) . Not in red though, because the beauty of a bonkers station wagon is that it shouldn’t be bonkers. Give it to me in silver or white; I’ll fill it full of dog hair and the urine of terrified passengers.