This is some amazing stuff. I haven’t quite dared look at the prices yet, but if it works nearly as well as the demo, holy moley.
Day: October 12, 2010
Day 17 – Favorite mini series
While lots of mini-series have been made in recent years, they always seem to be an artifact of the past to me. Back in the 1970s and early 1980s, a number of Big Event™ mini-series captured the public imagination. Roots, The Winds of War, Shogun, The Thorn Birds, The Blue and the Grey, the list was endless and unrelenting. Without watching a single frame of these, you knew two things for certain: everyone was going to be talking about them, and sooner or later Richard Chamberlain was likely to show up.
Of course, these epic “TV Events” aren’t the only mini-series. Cable has used the format to great effect to tell stories too large do in a single movie. HBO recently spent over $200 million on The Pacific, a sprawling World War II historical drama, and before that produced the award-winning Band of Brothers to tell the story of that war’s European theatre. Back in 2000, the Sci-Fi channel did what David Lynch wasn’t allowed to do 15 years previously: take six hours to bring Frank Herbert’s Dune to the screen.
But this is a post about favourites, and if I had to choose a favourite mini-series of all time, I’m going to go with the 1994 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. The Stand is my favourite of King’s novels, and it really needed the broad canvas of a mini-series to do it justice. The cast is stellar, including Gary Sinese, one of my favourite actors, along with Molly Ringwald, Ruby Dee, Matt Frewer, Ray Walston, and other notables. Up to this point, most adaptations of King’s work were somewhat regrettable, with a couple of odd exceptions, but The Stand was a truly stunning piece of work, and still holds up as a quality production 15 years later. You can get it on DVD. I recommend it.
Honourable mention: Neverwhere, produced for the BBC from a script by Neil Gaiman. It took forever for this to come out on DVD, but it was worth the wait. A great deal of Gaiman’s vision didn’t make it to the screen (and can be found restored in the subsequent novel), but the potential can be seen, and it still feels like a Gaiman story brought to life. Again, recommended.
The weekend was largely quiet, for one reason or another. Which isn’t do say it wasn’t filled with good social time.
Friday night, I learned that City of Heroes was having a free reactivation weekend. Games like CoH do this periodically, where they turn on all the accounts of people who left the game and stopped paying for access, hoping to lure some of them back to look at the cool new things they’ve done in the mean time. The last time I’d logged into CoH was about 3 years ago, so I figured “What the heck”, let’s see what’s new in Paragon City. It took me a while to get used to the controls, mostly because WoW and CoH have the Y axis of the mouse reversed. Once I adjusted for that, I bounced around on my old scrapper, Magic Librarian, and poked around the crafting system that has been added since I left, and ran some missions on the new alignment system, which looks cool. I’m tempted to start up my subscription again, just to have a fun little time-wasting game for days I’m especially bored. CoH is a superb “casual” game that you can dart in and out of, especially with some of the chances they’ve made. I’m particularly interested in exploring the new alignment system the recent expansion added.
Saturday, I had plans farther afield. Dina (onmeadmountain) was visiting her mom and dad for a week, including the weekend, and by the weekend her husband Don and their two oldest kids should also have arrived from their camping trip, making it an ideal time to see them. (Her parents live about 3 hours away, whereas they live between 6 and 7 hours away by car.) I got away from the house at about 10am, which was about an hour later than I’d hoped, but it was a soft clear day, and I had several long podcasts to listen to, so I was looking forward to taking my Prius out on its first proper road trip. (kitanzi elected to stay home and unwind, rather than take the trip.)
It was a reasonably uneventful trip until I got to Chattanooga, where I decided I wanted a beverage. I stopped at a gas station, and started to go inside, when I realized that I didn’t have my wallet. I quickly checked the car, and in the jacket I had tossed in the back seat, but it was in neither. I had obviously left it at home, which meant I had no ID, no credit cards, and $2.50 in quarters to my name. Not an ideal circumstance, but since I was already well over halfway to my destination, I elected to skip the beverage and go on up to the house.
I next had one of those lovely “I rely on technology too much” moments that are always interesting. When I approached Spring City, my GPS cheerfully informs me: “You are entering an uncharted area. Turn-by-turn directions will no longer be available.” Um, okay. No worries, right? I have a mobile phone, i’ll just call t hem and get the directions from here to the house. So I picked up my phone, and saw the words ‘No Service’. Well, isn’t that grand?
I figured that in the worst case scenario, I could stop and borrow a phone from the fast food place on Main Street, but I drove back and forth a couple of times first, looking for a clue. “Hrm, that street looks familiar”, I said, spotting a school about a block down from the main strip. So I turned down that side street and past the school, I found a road with a similar name to the road my destination was on, so I turned down it, and found the road I was looking for. I feel pretty impressed with myself for this bit of geographical memory; the last time I’d been to Dina’s parents house was for her baby shower for Kailyn. Kailyn is now 12 years old. 🙂
Having located my destination, I went inside to visit. I got to see the sailing ship Conner made out of tinkertoys, and Briana practice her rushing tackle. She packs quite a wallop for a not-yet-two year old. Kailyn was in the high energy whirlwind of someone who is just getting over being sick, which left her a bit wiped out and cranky by days end, and I’m afraid I may have spent some of the Good Uncle points I have accumulated when I brightly suggested she could practice her flute, a task I knew she was procrastinating on, when she complained of being bored. But she did in fact go and do that thing, and I heard her from up the stairs. She’s getting pretty good on that thing. I hope she sticks with it.
Most of the visit was just hanging out in quiet conversation, though. I geeked about sound reenforcement with Dina’s father, looked at all the gemstones that Don and the kids had collected during their camping trip to North Carolina, and we talked a bit about the house in Kentucky that I have yet to go and see. Eventually came a delightful spaghetti dinner with homemade banana bread for dessert.
Of course, no visit with Don & Dina and the children would be complete without some out of context quotes from the day:
The only down moment of the visit came when it was time to go. Walking down the stairs to say goodbye to Conner, who was watching TV in the basement, I felt something twinge in my calf and my leg buckled slightly. It was very painful to walk on, but I figured it was just a cramp and didn’t think much of it. I put ice on it briefly, tried to walk it off a bit, and figured it would work itself out. Since it wasn’t terribly painful unless I put weight on it, I collected hugs and drove home, using the cruise control to make sure I didn’t go too fast and attract any official attention, since I still didn’t have any ID on me. I got home a little after 11 and fell into bed.
Sunday, my leg still hurt, so I spent a very quiet day split between more City of Heroes and a four hour block of Leverage. Monday, I called my doctor and was lucky enough to get an immediate appointment, so I hobbled in to get it checked out.
After being poked and prodded (and scolded for not following up on something I was instructed to follow up on last time I was in), I was sent to the facility next door to undergo a procedure that would determine if there was a blood clot causing the pain. This was the one possibility that could have serious consequences, so they wanted to make sure and rule it out. Fortunately, that came up clear, so I was sent on my way with a prescription for diclofenac and orders to rest my leg as much as possible.
So that’s all the news from Jefferson Creek. How was your weekend?