Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jericho

The one, and I do mean only, show that I watch on network TV is CBS' Jericho. For those who don't indulge, the basic story is "What happens in the town of Jericho, KS after a nuclear detonation."

The good point of the show is that it's fast-paced--you don't get bored with it. The bad point is that a lot of things are inaccurately portrayed, such as radiation effects. Of course, as an example, if the radiation in the story line had worked as it would in the real world, it would have been a really short series. (Episode 1, bombs go off. Episode 2, a fallout-laden rain hits a pretty much defenseless Jericho. Episode 3, everyone is dying to radiation poisoning.)

Still, for someone with my, shall we say, particular outlook on life, the show is like a really good roller coaster ride--it keeps you wound with adrenaline. Of course, it also gives me a case of the screamin' willies every week, along with the near unstopable urge to go stock up on something else.

If you're not watching it, or have missed it, you can go to Innertube and catch up.

Don't forget

You can get more information here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Biting the hand that feeds you

(Via The Smallest Minority -- his post)

I've made a few posts here about Firefly and Serenity. Firefly was a Fox TV series by Joss Whedon (of dubious Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame--I never liked those shows) that could best be summed up as a repeat of Reconstruction set 500 years in the future in another solar system. Firefly was the best TV show I never watched. I got it on DVD after reading so many great things about it. From there, I went to Firefly Talk, The Signal and various fan fiction writings. Eventually, and amazingly, there came Serenity, the Universal Studios movie that continues the Firefly story.

The only reason that Firefly didn't fade into obscurity, and one of the primary reasons Serenity was made, is a rabid fan base. I've been around SF fandom since the 70s, and I've never seen a group with such loyalty to a show--especially one that was canceled after 13 episodes. These fans, known as Browncoats, have made viral and guerrilla marketing into something approaching an art form. In some part, they are responsible for Serenity being made, and being profitable.

So Universal, proving that Hollywood still doesn't get it (remember what happened to all the Star Trek fan sites a number of years ago), has decided to threaten 11th Hour Art, who runs a small CafePress shop that has merchandise using the Chinese characters for "serenity", among other things. The demands made are simply overboard, including demands for a retroactive license, customer lists, turnover of all remaining merchandise, cessation of business and a firstborn male child and the obligatory threat of a lawsuit.Other vendors are pulling their wares out of fear of a similar letter.

Now, we can sit here and argue about copyrightand whether these people were in the wrong. That's all fine and good, but the fact of the matter is that Universal has relied on the Browncoats and the vendors they support to tote the note for the advertising of Firefly and Serenity. These folks worked and continue to work their whatevers off because they love this story, and they want more. The fans have proven that they will part with a lot of money to buy not only the DVDs, but merchandise as well.

The only problem was that Fox never licensed anything, and the word is that getting Universal to license it is akin to pulling teeth, and rather expensive to boot. However, in fairness, I will note that it has been done (a year after the movie came out, ahem), and there are now some licensed products coming into being.

So I'm going to issue a big "Way to go, Buttheads" award to Universal studios and their lawyers, who are now being the recipients of way more viral marketing than they probably anticipated.

Clueless morons. You'd have never gotten this much flack if you'd simply written a nice letter offering some generous licensing terms--and you'd have made more money to boot.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nothing much to say

Maybe I'm just tired and busy trying to catch up from my recent trip, but I find myself with little of substance to say. So since I have little of substance, how about some selected short subjects?

First, if you aren't using the Firefox browser, why? It's far safer than Internet Explorer, it works as well (unless you got to Microsoft's website often) and it has, in general, better features. Go download the latest version, 2.0, today at www.mozilla.com. I've been using Firefox for the last year or so, and the 2.0 version for the last several days. I'm really in love with the built in spell checker. Great stuff.

Second, the Iraq war/War on Terror in general. While the war in general may be going well, I'm not so convinced we have Iraq well in hand. My personal feeling is that there are many causes, but two really stand out in my mind. One, we're not willing to do what it takes to win. If we are, why is Muqtada al-Sadr still alive? Two, we're wasting time trying to push democracy on people who have no history or concept of democracy. No solution to offer for number two, but for number one--START KILLING THE BAD GUYS AND HANG WHAT THE WORLD IN GENERAL HAS TO SAY!

Third, the one year anniversary of the Islamic rioting in France. They're at it again, and this time they've progressed to burning people as well as cars.. Surprised? Last year, they rioted, and we're going to have milk, warm cookies and more social programs. Catch a clue--they don't want jobs, they want us dead. We're an anathema to them, and they can't handle it.

Fourth, the November elections. They're important. They're always important. Yeah, the Republicans are nearly as odious as the Democrats. Yeah, a vote for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Sure, you can "send a message", but you may not like the answer that comes back. Hold your nose and vote Republican. Then send your messages to them.

Fifth, the economy. Yeah, all the numbers say it's doing better, but the thing feels a mile broad and an inch deep. Be ready for bad times--the yield curve has been inverted for two months, and that usually portends no good. While some economists argue that the historical inverted yield curve wisdom may not work in the "new economy", bad times will come again at some point. Depend on it.

Sixth, we broke Camp Freehold down this weekend and brought it all back to the new place. It's now sitting on it's new gravel pad in the new backyard. Looks sort of funny back there--smaller, somehow, than it ever did at the old place.

Hopefully, I'll have time and inclination to blog more in coming weeks.