Flocking Ducks

   28 March 2006, mid-afternoon

Flocking Ducks, an online address book, is one of those online services that I really wanted to work. The website itself is excellent; it has a solid design, and is very easy to use. I think H&H Labs online address book have done a really great job with the program. Unfortunately, for the service to be worthwhile, more of my friends need to be using it as well. The idea is simple enough; everyone keeps their own info up-to-date. Everyone else just subscribes to your up-to-date information. To this date, Ju-lian is the only person I know who has their info up on Flocking Ducks. I suspect I am the only person Ju-Lian knows with their info up on the site. The problem with sites like this is that they require a large user-base before they are interesting.

Update: I know have 4 more contacts in my address book. One problem i’ve noticed is the vCards Flocking Ducks spits out aren’t compatible with Apple’s Address Book application.

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Lost Season 2: Episodes 10 ~ 16

   27 March 2006, early evening

1 episode down, 6 more to go. I had fallen behind in Lost recently. There was a period of time when downloading files through Bit Torrent was incredibly slow, and because of this I had stopped downloading the show. Today, I queued up all the episodes I was missing and headed off to work. I just finished watching episode 10, which provides some of the back story for Mr. Echo. Damn. This show never lets up.

Update: Episode 10: Damn. Update: Episode 11: Damn. Update: Episode 12: Damn. Update: Episode 13: Damn. Sawyer you dirt-dog. Update: Episode 14: Damn. Update: Episode 15: Damn. The fact that the episode was in high-res was a nice bonus as well. This seems like a pretty pivotal episode. I wonder what they’ll bust out in Episode 16. Update: Episode 16: Damn.

It seems like the show is taking a more sinister turn in the later half of the series. Several of the characters are far more dark now than at the beginning. There is nothing more awesome then binging on Lost.

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"I can kill you with my brain."

   31 January 2006, early morning

I’m three episodes shy of having seen the entire Firefly series. My cousin had been trying to get me to watch it for a while now, and after both my brothers watched the show they joined in on the act. Dave has the series on DVD; he got is as a gift for Christmas. During the Christmas holidays the two of us started watching the series, and over the past few weeks I’ve been heading to his house to watch a few episodes when I have time.

The series is really quite good, which makes it such a shame it was canceled. The premise is simple: the show is basically a sci-fi western, which sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. The show follows this motley crew around on a space ship called Serenity as they go around smuggling goods and doing other nefarious things. There are several things that make the show worthwhile. First off, the characters are all really interesting; by what should be the mid-season for the series you start to feel a real connection with them. Several of the characters clearly have back stories that I am guessing won’t get fleshed out in the last three episodes—damn it. The show is also very funny. I’ve watched ten episodes and have yet to see an episode I didn’t enjoy. Like Battlestar Galactica, the show doesn’t really feel like other sci-fi shows. It is really incidental to the plot that they flying around on a spaceship.

Thank the lord Battlestar Galactica is still on the air and going strong. I think if Firefly was on Space, it would still be on today, which is a real shame. Hopefully a second season will get made. The DVD sales for the series and the movie were really strong.

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Lost Season 2

    5 December 2005, early evening

I finally saw the first two episodes for Lost season 2. The people behind this show are amazing. Just when you think the show is going in one direction, they throw something new at you totally out of left field. The very first episode of the second season doesn’t even resolve any of the Micheal-Jin-Sawyer story; they aren’t even mentioned! It’s only in the second episode that we get to see what is going on with them. Am I being to vague in my season two discussion? Damn right. I hate stumbling on sites that feel compelled to be any more specific about the show than I just have been. A lot of the fun of the show is learning about the back story for yourself, and noticing all the strange coincidences and interconnections. I think people need to maintain total radio silence when it comes to watching Lost. Episode 3 of Lost looks like it will be hot. I think this season is going to be as solid as the last.

Update Dec 5th 2005: Holy Shit! So I’m not midway through episode 8 of season 2. I have episode 9 all ready to go. This show is brilliant. 1 hour later: Damn, so episode 9 was also good, though episode 7, where they explain what happened to the other survivors, was probably the best of the bunch.

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Battlestar Galactica

   21 October 2005, lunch time

During some quite trying times over the summer, I spent some time in my cousins basement watching random episodes of Battlestar Galactica. My cousin Jana had downloaded much of the first season. I had heard the show was supposed to be good, but thought to myself, “how good can a Sci-Fi show be?” After all, how many years of crap Star Trek have we had to put up with? Well, Battlestar Galactica is really good—surprisingly good. It’s not like any other Sci-Fi show I’ve seen. The special-effects are top-notch; the show is well written; it’s exciting; it’s violent; it’s funny. I bought the DVDs (so letting people pirate television isn’t all bad), and watched the mini-series that started this new series yesterday with my friends. The mini-series is a pretty self contained story, and sets up a lot of stuff for the first season. If you are looking for another good television series to watch, I say you check it out. I don’t think you need to be a big fan of science fiction to enjoy the series.

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Lost Season 1: Finale

   30 May 2005, early evening

Damn—Lost is so damn good. I just finished watching the finale. What a way to end the season. If you want to discuss the season, and the finale in particular, do so in the comments below.

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In A Mirror, Darkly

    4 May 2005, early morning

“Did you see the new Enterprise? It puts the Ho back in Hoshi,” said Dave some time last week.

Ho? Hoshi? I haven’t watched Enterprise in quite some time, but if they managed to slut up Hoshi I thought why not give the show another chance. I could only imagine what they’ve done to T’Pol.

In a Mirror, Darkly (part 1 and part 2 ) is another look at the Star Trek mirror universe. The mirror universe was featured on Deep Space Nine and in the original Star Trek. Basically, it’s like our universe, only everyone is evil. There was no interaction between the real characters from Enterprise and their mirror counterparts in these episodes, so the writers had a lot of freedom with what they could do on the show. Basically, the two episodes don’t effect anything whatsoever in terms of continuity. The plot basically follows enterprise as they track down a ship from our future that has wandered back in time into the mirror universe. Evil Archer wants to use the ship to put down a rebellion being waged against the evil Federation (called the Terran Empire in the mirror universe).

They definitely put the Ho back in Hoshi. She’s looking quite good on the show. T’Pol is as always looking good. That said, It’s a shame they let Enterprise get so bad. I thought the first season was quite good. They shouldn’t need to resort to such blatant attempts at getting ratings through overt sexuality. Though to be fair, the first season did have the decontamination room.

If you haven’t watched Enterprise before, the two parts of In a Mirror, Darkly are probably worth watching since they are independent of the rest of the series.

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Our Dreams Don't Fit On Your Ballot

   24 March 2005, evening time

I watched the Take, a documentary by former counterSpin host Avi Lewis, on the CBC today. The documentary examines what happened to Argentina after the west grabbed all the cash and ran. It’s amazing to see all these unemployed workers expropriate their closed factories and get them up and running again. This is communism from the bottom up. Fuck yeah.

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Mitsou on the CBC

   13 March 2005, lunch time

I was watching Au Courant with Shima this afternoon, a television show on the CBC about current events in Quebec. I’ve seen the show a few times and thought the host looked familiar, but couldn’t figure out where I recognized her from till today. The host is Mitsou GĂ©linas. When I was a younger boy she was a pop star, somewhat like Madonna in that her music videos were usually a little bit racy. She had earned some notoriety for a music video she made called Dis Moi, Dis Moi, in which she, and most everyone else in the video, appeared nude — yummy. It’s a little bit strange seeing her hosting a current events show on CBC Newsworld.

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Smooth Korean Man

    1 March 2005, early evening

I’m on episode 17 of Lost now. This episode is about the Korean couple, or so I would assume judging from the flash back. I haven’t actually watched the show yet, because a conversation in the opening forced to stopped to write this.

Old Korean Man: What would you do for my daughter?
Jin: Anything
OKM: Even work for me?
Jin: Of course.
OKM: Why should I give my daughter to a man who sells his dreams so easily?
Jin: Because … she is my dream.

Damn—Jin is smooth. I’ll have to figure out how to work that line in to every conversation I have with Shima’s dad.

Also, Jin’s wife is hot.

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The Following Takes Place Between 5:00 and 9:00 AM.

   19 January 2005, late at night

I have been watching 24 Season 3 over the past week. I’d have to say the first 12 episodes were a bit weak; I wasn’t that impressed. However, starting at 5:00 AM, events start to get pretty insane. I think the last 10 minutes of 6:00 to 7:00 AM is probably the best scene of the show has ever done. This season is really dark, and really intense. More so then the previous seasons if that is possible. There is so much moral ambiguity—I love it. Now, I obviously can’t talk about any of this in any detail, because it’d ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen the show. So, this post really haw no point. It serves simply as a tribute to the greatness that is 24 Season 3.

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Lost

    5 January 2005, evening time

Two episodes in to the new television series Lost and I am pretty impressed. The production values seem awfully high for a television show. The cast is also pretty impressive, featuring plenty of people you have seen all over the place, from the oldest brother in Party of Five to Lana’s Zombie boyfriend on Smallville. I’ve been told the show takes a bit of a dip as the level of tension seen in the first two shows is a bit hard to maintain. I’m curious as to how long they intend to keep the show running. Right now it is really good, but I mean, I’d hate to see it turn into Gilligan’s Island.

update: And episodes 3 and 4 were equally good. The plot twist with the character Locke was great. If you haven’t been watching Lost you really should.

update: And now at episode 9 I still think this show is good, though I hate how some of the episodes end in lame ass montages. The back stories for some of the characters is quite interesting.

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Free Love On the Free Love Freeway

   21 November 2004, late morning

I watched the conclusion to the Office last night. I bought the first series on a lark several months ago, and the second series shortly after. The show is absolutely brilliant. The second series ended on a seriously low note; it was quite bleak. The Christmas special is two parts long, and follows the cast of the show 3 years later, as the documentary team that was filming them goes back to see how they are doing. Funnily enough, not much has changed, which is what I think one of the themes of the show was. People are still stuck in the same ruts they were in when the second series ended, regardless of the ‘changes’ they have forced on themselves or have had forced upon them. The show ends in a very satisfying manner which was apparently very well received when the show was run in England. Shima was on the edge of her seat. I’m not sure if this last special is as funny as some of the previous episodes in the series, but it was definitely a good conclusion to the show. I’ve said it plenty of times before, but this show is too good not to watch.

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She Said No, By the Way

    1 October 2004, early afternoon

I just finished watching series 2 of the Office, a thoroughly brilliant comedy by the BBC. Series 2 picks up where Series 1 left off, with the other branch merging with David Brent’s branch, and Tim and Dawn’s almost-a-relationship still in limbo. The infusion of new characters into the mix is really great, and livens the show up. The new head manager Neil Godwin is basically everything David is not, professional, funny and charming. This season seems to really focus on David’s inability to cope with the various changes that have taken place at the office; David is a lot more coarse and angry this season then in the last. The show ends on a very bleak note, and I can see why many people would be upset if the show ended with this series. I need to track down the Christmas Special and that will be that.

I don’t want to rehash what I said about the show earlier, but if you haven’t seen this series, you should definitely watch it. The show is so funny, the cast are absolutely amazing, and the writing is top-notch. I think this has to be one of the best series I have ever stumbled upon.

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Smallville Season 3 Is Awesome

   23 September 2004, early afternoon

Ahilan bitches to no end about the sorry state Smallville is in. I’m mid way through season 3 now. In fact, I am midway through episode 11, Delete, of season 3. In this episode some sexy yet geeky computer hacker chick is controlling people via email. If that wasn’t good enough, Lana and Chloe get in a cat fight that ends up in the girls locker room shower. I can’t make this shit up people. I actually paused the episode at the end of the fight to write this post. I kid you not.

On a more serious side note, the story arc that involves Lex going to the insane asylum was actually really good. Episode 8, Shattered, ended with a version of Hurt I haven’t heard before and was an all around great episode. Episode 9, Asylum, opens with Future Proof by Massive Attack. The episode featured a lot of the bad guys from the past that have ended up locked up in Belle Reve as well.

Just incase there is any confusion though, I am seriously enjoying episode 11. Smallville seems to be how I get my soap opera fix now.

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The Office

    1 August 2004, terribly early in the morning

The first series of The Office, a BBC comedy, was absolutely brilliant. The Office is a mock documentary following the lives of the people working at Wernham Hogg, a company that sells paper. The show is a comedy, though not in the traditional sense. There are no laugh tracks there to let you know something funny happened—the show doesn’t need them. The humour is subtle, but so wicked, you will end up laughing at the absurdity of it all.

David Brent, the boss, is the central figure in the whole series, played to perfection by Ricky Gervais. Brent is walking hypocrisy, a character you will laugh at from the first episode on. The other central figure in the show is Tim, played by Martin Freeman, the character I imagine the audience is supposed to relate to. During the course of the series you watch in utter frustration at what Tim puts up with in the day to day goings on of his job. The fact that he is in love with the secretary in the office, who happens to be engaged, doesn’t help his situation.

Make sure you watch this series, it puts North American television to shame.

The official The Office web site.

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Opinions on Smallville Season 2

   13 July 2004, early afternoon

I basically stopped watching Smallville when I went back to Waterloo last year. I missed all of season 3. I also missed the second half of season 2 for the same reason. When I was in Waterloo living with Lien and Cathy I would end up watching reality television instead. I’ve been watching the DVDs for season 2, and have now reached the first episode I missed.

The first new episode I watched was the episode where Whitney returns from the war. The episode ends with Lex telling Helen, the drop kicking doctor, that he doesn’t want to become his father. I think it’s the first point in the show that you see Lex truly vulnerable. The scene plays out quite well. I think the actor who plays Lex does an excellent job with the character. He is definitely the most interesting person on the show.

I have about 13 more episodes left to watch for this season. I haven’t decided whether to wait for season 3 to come out on DVD, or to download them. I’m torn.

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Smallville: Season 2

   27 June 2004, the wee hours

Ahilan got me the second season of Smallville on DVD today. I actually started watching the show during the second season. My friend Carvill also seemed to get hooked on the show during the second season. My friends bought me season one of Smallville for my birthday last year, which I managed to watch over the course of a few days in Waterloo. Gary watched the show with me at this time, and so he ended up getting hooked on the show as well. He promptly downloaded the second season, and started downloading the third season as the episodes came out. The show is about Superman as a teenager. I don’t know what it is about the show that makes people like it so much. I mean, really, it’s the kind of show I should hate. It’s like a Dawsons Creek or an O.C. or any other stupid teen drama. But, there’s just something about it that I think is brilliant.

I can’t wait to watch this season again. I’ve just finished all of Mezan’s CSI DVDs, so Ahilan’s timing couldn’t be more perfect.

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Clark, You Fool!

   28 May 2004, the wee hours

I have begun my quest to get caught up in Smallville. I missed all of season 3, which sucks. I spent the past couple hours watching the first 4 episodes of the season, and have to say they were all pretty good. I love the show, it’s the best thing on television. Smallville has all the guilty pleasure of a soap opera, but with better looking people and Superman. What’s not to love?

One thing I remembered after watching the show again is how likeable Lex Luthor is. The audience knows he is Superman’s future nemesis, but by the way he is presented to us in Smallville you can’t help but like him. He is a sort of tragic hero, trying to escape the darker side of his character, but generally failing to do so. Now, if George Lucas wasn’t such an omega-hack, he would have been able to accomplish something similar with Darth Vadar / Anakin Skywalker. After watching Star Wars II, Anakin comes off as a goober-weirdo-pervert. You don’t feel sorry for him or the path he is being led down. The prequels to Star Wars could have been great, but so far have managed to be pretty mediocre—Episode I was downright bad. It is a real shame.

One thing I noticed was the shift they took with Chloe’s character. At the end of season two she joined the darkside, so to speak, but at the start of this season she seems to have had an unexplained change of heart. With the way he treats her in Metropolis, during the season premiere, it really doesn’t make any sense. Her character is more or less back to the way it was last season, and for no good reason.

I need to start downloading more episodes. Gary gave me the first 8 of the seasons, but I imagine I will be able to get through those fairly quickly. I want to get Season 2 on DVD so I can put it next to my Season 1 box. I think it will be one of the first things I buy when I get a damn job.

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