Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan

The Angels Take Manhattan is about endings. Not the end of the world, or the universe, or time, like past epic stories have been about. It is about regular human endings, about saying goodbye and the things in life that keep us from the people we love. It is about leaving Neverland, finding that Peter won’t be coming back for you after all, even though he might want to.The theme of endings is played with from the opening on: the Doctor tearing out the last page of his book and declaring “I hate endings” is paid off at the end of the story with Amy’s line “You and me, on the last page”.
Read more

An adventure in transliteration

So, Denny’s new Middle Earth-themed menu / Hobbit tie-in has resulted in the following billboard:It is written in Cirth, Tolkien’s version of runes. It is a bit hard to read, and seems to mix and match a bit between the Angerthas Daeron and the Angerthas Moria.My first attempt at a rough transcription rendered this:dh* brekfast richū ov mid*l erth awökwLooking at this, that second character (the first one I’ve marked with an asterisk) may have been intended as an ‘e’.
Read more

Doctor Who: The Power of Three

What The Power of Three is trying to do is clever - hide a drama about the relationship between the Ponds and the Doctor inside a straightforward episode of Doctor Who (in this case, it happens to be in the ‘aliens invade earth’ genre of Doctor Who stories). Unfortunately, that drama never really gets time to find itself; instead, the episode spends a bit too long developing the alien invasion story, and not long enough exploring the drama.
Read more

Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy

This post is spoiler free! Just kidding. Spoiler Warning.One of the stock modes of operation of Doctor Who is, of course, the collision of genres and genre elements. Sometimes this simply takes the form of colliding Doctor Who itself into another genre. Other times, the Doctor wanders in on two genres in the act of colliding.A Town Called Mercy is, of course, a Western. It is also a space opera. The two are blended fantastically, with the warring aliens taking on roles out of a traditional Western, with the outlaw and the target of his anger.
Read more

Doctor Who: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

Customary Spoiler Warning.It was pretty clear going in that this episode was going to be a fairly light-hearted comedy romp. The episode title is a Snakes on a Plane parody. The trailers made it clear we were in for ‘fun’ and not ‘epic storytelling’. I mean, more broadly, there are dinosaurs. It is hard not to just sit back and smile when there are dinosaurs.And we got that light-hearted whimsical story, but we also got a lot of interesting complexity - there’s a lot packed into this episode both structurally and narratively.
Read more

Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks

Spoiler Warning, though I should really stop giving these on Doctor Who posts. Really, you should know better anyway.Shortly after I heard the title of Asylum of the Daleks, it occurred to me that ‘Asylum’ could mean two different things: a place to keep those deemed unfit, or a request for aid and protection. Since the first definition is more common, I assumed the reference would actually be to the latter.
Read more

Languages of Skyrim

Can we still talk about Skyrim? I mean, I know it’s been out for a while now, and a lot of people have moved on. But I’m still playing it, and enjoying the vast explorable terrain, hundreds of quests, and terrible, hilarious bugs.As I’ve been playing, I’ve noticed that they’ve really tried to turn the production values up to eleven. The terrain feels a lot more detailed, the voice acting is improved (and there are more voice actors), the quests are more detailed and varied, and the game is sprinkled with non-human languages.
Read more

Concerto for a Rainy Day - 2012 Carolina Spring Go Tournament report

The day begins early - much earlier than most Sundays. I’m out the door at 8:15, for a tournament that starts at 9:00. I usually sleep in on the weekends; I didn’t even know Sundays had a 9 o’clock.The day is rainy and grey, but bright in that clean Spring way where the contrast between everything is sharpened and it feels like you can see forever. I drive in the rain to NC State campus, a twenty minute drive through the odd combination of semi-urban and rural landscape that makes up Raleigh.
Read more

pygo - a go game client

If I have anything like ‘regular readers’ (I’m not certain from the traffic patterns on the blog whether or not that’s true), you’re probably wondering where I’ve been. The answer is, basically, the same as it ever is: writing code.I’ve also been playing a lot of Go, and doing some tabletop roleplaying. My latest programming projects are related to those hobbies. Today I want to talk about pygo, my new Go game client.
Read more

Wandering Son Reflections: Episode 7 - "Barairo no Hoho"

You can watch the episode here.Spoiler WarningThis episode deals mostly with Shūichi forming a romantic relationship with Anna (and the resulting fallout). It is told in an interesting nonlinear fashion; we see the two of them interacting, but not the beginning of the relationship. The story then cuts to someone teasing Anna (who is older than Shūichi) for dating him, which causes the other characters present to react with surprise. This is clever, because it aligns the character reactions with the audience reaction - it is as much a surprise to us as it is to them.
Read more