Friday, September 30, 2011

Roger Ebert still loves Netflix...

Roger Ebert writes in Businessweek, of all things, about his continued--sometimes ambivalent--love of Netflix.
Netflix is woefully short on silent films and weak on foreign films. It offers all of three operas on film. It should work on those areas. Its website is a disaster. A more searchable front end would dramatize the depth of its selection. But it remains a service I treasure and use often.
In the article, Ebert also mentions that, at 50% off its high, he thinks that Netflix's stock is a BUY!

It's possible he didn't use exclamation points. Or all-caps. You know how I am with these things.

I wonder who approached who for the writing of the article. Curious. Fascinating.

ttfn, readers.


Murakami once wrote a book in which there were unicorn skulls and talking shadows. His new book, 1Q84, arrives in English on October 25th. I am experiencing some amount of anticipation.

Amazon Interest in Netflix

From the wild, wouldn't it be funny if, speculation department known as analyst chatter:

"We believe the tablet launch and the integration of Amazon's e-books, digital music, and digital movie offerings with the tablet indicate accelerating pace of innovation at Amazon to stay ahead of the secular shift to digital format. We believe there is a high likelihood that Amazon will: 1) launch a 10-inch tablet priced below $300 in early 2012, and 2) purchase the streaming business of Netflix," the analyst said.
Fun to ponder, in light of the Kindle Fire, but somehow doesn't seem right. Why? Don't know. Just a feeling. Maybe it's just that it doesn't seem Netflix would throw in the towel just yet, and Amazon seems to be doing fine gathering its own content.

 Motley Fool thinks Microsoft or Apple would be more likely suitors.

If I were in the U.S., I'd be using Netflix and hoping Netflix stays Netflix. They were always good to me.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Browncoats Mixtape

A Firefly rap album exists. That is all.

via io9.

Happy tightpants, readers.


Girls and The DC New 52

DC recently rebooted their superheroes back to square issue one.

Some of these reboots, particularly that of Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws, engendered (pun!) some discussion of the blatant display of fan-fiction-esque fan-service*.

From Comics Alliance:
And that is the whole problem with this false notion of "sexually liberated" female characters: These aren't those women. They're how dudes want to imagine those women would be -- what Wire creator David Simon called writing "men with t*ts." They read like men's voices coming out of women's faces. Or worse, they read like the straight girls who make out with each other at clubs, not because they enjoy making out with women but because they desperately want guys to pay attention to them.
Also, Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress: "Should Feminists Give Up On Comics?" And, a response at the Atlantic: "Don't Worry, Not All Comics Are This Sexist", which seems to me to go without saying, but there is a nice list of small-press comics and Asian imports worth perusing.

Here are two pretty pictures of such.

ttfn, readers.

*This being that ubiquitous euphemism from manga and anime wherein fan, generally, means boy who wants to see girl bits.

More Kindle Thoughts

John Gruber on Amazon & Apple:
Back in June, Harry McCracken laid out the key question to ask of any tablet: “Why should somebody buy this instead of an iPad?” The Kindle Fire is interesting because it’s the first one with a good answer: it’s much cheaper, Amazon offers a digital content ecosystem that rivals Apple’s (fewer apps, more books), and millions of people already use and enjoy Kindle hardware. The e-ink Kindles are to the Kindle Fire what the music-playing iPods were to the iPhone, and what the iPhone was to the iPad — traction in the mass market based on trust and loyalty.
The iPod certainly halo-ed me. It feels right when you use it. It's what makes me think if and when I buy a new laptop, I'd want a MacBook Air. As for the tablet, that's more of a toss-up--as, really, it's not really all that necessary. Most of the reason I want a tablet at the moment, is because it would be a more cost-effective way to subscribe to magazines when traveling abroad.
Apple and Amazon are approaching this tablet territory from opposing sides. The iPad takes it on from the high end. It’s the best possible device in that price range from the world’s best maker of devices. The Kindle Fire takes it on from the low end. The iPad is a credible laptop replacement for many people — and with iCloud and another year or two of hardware improvements, that’s going to be true for more and more people. The Kindle Fire is a laptop replacement for almost no one. It’s a peripheral, not a second computer — and it’s priced accordingly. You can get a Kindle Fire and a new top-of-the-line e-ink Kindle Touch for less than the price of an iPad. It’s a very different take. 
Very true. If I was in the U.S., I'd be tempted to go for the dual Amazon set-up over the one iPad. It would be like having that fabled e-ink/back-lit dual display machine. Except, you know, one of the screens goes in your back-pocket and the other screen goes in your jacket pocket.

In any case, I would wait on the tablet. Many have said Amazon rushed it out for the holiday season, and another, more awesome--more Amazon designed--tablet will be forthcoming early next year. Maybe January.

In other news, some people are freaked by letting all of their browser's browsing be processed by Amazon--privacy and such.


If only I had a flowchart...

A few months back, NPR compiled a list of the 100 best science fiction and fantasy books. There were, of course, no arguments. Everyone agreed precisely on what was included and what was excluded, and what placement each book/series received.

I mean, who doesn't think the Wheel of Time series is the 12th best thing ever to come out of the world of SF/F? Or, for that matter, that the number of women in the top 50 should be able to be counted on one hand?

If you meant to dive into this list, but were waiting for someone to produce a flowchart that might help you navigate your way to a starting point by way of pithy questions, well, you can relax.

Sf Signal has made such a flowchart, and everything makes sense now. Follow the link for the embiggened one.


Amazon Silk

Amazon debuted the many old and new varieties of Kindle this morning: a non-touch, ad-loaded, e-ink Kindle ($79), an e-ink Kindle Touch ($99/$149 for Wi-Fi/3G), and the tablet, Kindle Fire, for $199.

So, in theory, if one wanted, they could buy an e-ink Kindle and a Kindle Fire and still come in for nearly half the cost of an iPad. That's not to say that any of these things will function as well, or be as beautiful to look at, as Apple products, of course. My eyes do adore e-ink, though.

Most interesting to the techie part of my brain was the new cloud-based web-browser that comes on the Fire, called "Amazon Silk".

Watch. Learn.

Somewhere out there, I can hear the distant voice of a friend cursing the "evil" Amazon. She knows who she is.

ttfn, readers.

p.s. Apparently all of the e-readers at $79, $99, and $149, come with ads. So. There's that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Portrait of a Sentence

"It doesn't matter if there's a ghost, or a robot, or a detective in a book, the question that should still preoccupy you is: Are the sentences worthy of hanging on the wall, one by one?"
~Benjamin Percy is profiled, along with his sister, at Salon.


World's Best Tzatziki

Some days ago, a friend asked me for suggestions of salads which are not so BORING AS TO BE INEDIBLE. It's possible he didn't speak in all-caps. Sometimes I exaggerate for effect.

Among my thoughts of roasted red peppers, fresh olives, thinly sliced cucumber, arrays of fruit and walnuts, and what have you, it occurred to me that one of the greatest things you can do for a salad (or anything for that matter), is to dress it with tzatziki.

Kalyn's Kitchen posted one of the better recipe's I've encountered. She called it the world's best. I have no idea if that's scientifically accurate. It tastes good, though, so go ahead and make it. Grab fresh dill if it's handy. Use greek yogurt (or, better, strain your own). If you have a salad or old shoe that needs eating, this will do you fine.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kindle Fire

So, Amazon's tablet, set to debut on Wednesday, will possibly be called the "Kindle Fire." All word-play jokes aside, at the very least, it avoids confusion with certain feminine products. Price is said to be anywhere from $199 to $300. It doesn't matter terribly much to me. I don't want a backlit Kindle anything. I'm excited about the new Kindle Kindle, what is good for reading. Below, see a graphic from AppleInsider. The nicknames for the Kindles disturb me.


Habibi by Craig Thompson

Blankets by Craig Thompson was a magical and painful thing. I also remember there being a lot of snow. His new book is Habibi, and it looks more magical, and possibly more painful. In her description, Laura Miller throws around words like semi-fantastical, skyscrapers, Dumas, calligraphy, and camels. Other graphic novels are also talked about. They look amazing. But I don't know as much about them. Except for The Arctic Marauder which I reviewed for Strange Horizons.

An image from Habibi by Craig Thompson


Monday, September 26, 2011


Obsession x Voice (Failed Writer #6) from Yuvi Zalkow on Vimeo.



Hello, readers. I am experimenting with things. I don't know what will happen. Possibly light is the second fastest thing in the universe. Science happens. Watch out.