Summer TV Viewing

As some of you may know, I've been contributing a little bit to the science fiction television site Television Zombies. They do a weekly podcast with news and discussion covering the world of science fiction in visual entertainment. It's mostly TV, but I know they've done a little about movies and one regular is a wrestling fan. I've been covering the 3am summer filler Charlie Jade. Unfortunately, CJ was made three years ago and never had a second season. Hopefully when the fall starts I'll be able to pick up a show that won't get shoved into a drawer. Still, I'm helping out by providing summer content, and that's cool in itself.

By the way, TVZ is having it's one year anniversary show this coming weekend and all the contributors will be on the podcast. So come Sunday night/Monday morning, make sure to check it out.

Which brought up the idea for this post. I started thinking about the shows that I watch and I realized it's a bit eclectic. See, I only have a few staples in my viewing diet. The rest of the time I'm surfing Discovery or History or Discovery Science for something concerning string theory or quantum mechanics or space travel or the history of ancient civilizations. I don't watch reality shows, I don't even watch shows mocking reality shows. To me that's like watching scientists experiment on rats and that's not much fun. The last reality show I watched with any frequency was the second season of The Real World on MTV.

So here are my current viewing choices. Keep in mind I have kids.

First and foremost, Doctor Who. This has been my favorite show of the past decade, easily. And it's a personal, inner AND outer geek love for this show. Other shows may be better written and produced but Doctor Who has been around longer than any other science fiction show and nearly every other TV show in history. It started in 1963 and ran until 1989. In 1996 there was a movie and then the series was revived in 2005 and is currently in its forth season. Doctor Who is campy, mysterious, funny, dramatic, action packed - it's just fun.

Another science fiction show, Battlestar: Galactica. Now I was a big fan of the original show as a child and it's held up moderately well, but nothing compared to the production value, dramatic tension and grown up writing that is the new run. Galactica is easily one of the best dramas on cable. Take out the vipers and Cylons and you really do have a well put together hour long drama. On sheer pathos alone I'd stack it up to any other prime time network show. Sadly the show is in the midst of its last season, a graceful four tours of high caliber entertainment.

Lost has always been a household favorite. Since its inception, Lost has grabbed our attention and never let up. There have been lags with characters and people will agree that some characters should have never been put on screen, but I think it's safe to say this show did to TV what The Matrix did to movies. Everyone wants to make a show like Lost now.

While Heroes has had its problems, I know I'll continue to watch the show until someone figures out how to properly do a super hero show for prime time network TV. Heroes always leaves me wanting more, but not in a cliffhanging, well written kind of way. It leaves me wanting more in the middle of the shows. More acting, more writing, more displays of awesome super powers. There's a lot of posturing and posing, not a lot of doing.

Charlie Jade makes me sad to think about. If you ever watched shows like Nowhere Man you'll appreciate the sense of dismay. This is a show that was set to fill in for Galactica during the summer and was instantly moved from the wonderful Friday night slot to Tuesday at 3am. It's a product of several international production companies, notably Canada and South Africa, and if nothing else, shows us what a decent show could be like without having to be handled by American studios. Charlie Jade is very noir, very slow and thoughtful and I believe that's why it never got a second season picked up. So, like Firefly, it'll have to live as an unfulfilled single season.

Rounding out the sci-fi stuff, Torchwood is a bit of a guilty pleasure to me. It catches a lot of flak for being both too serious and not serious enough. No one seems to like the characters but they also want more character interaction. They don't like the science fiction aspect but they want more plausible science. Personally, I like the characters immensely more than the idea of a time rift in Cardiff, England. It follows the same pattern as X-Files used to; some monster stories, some big story arc episodes. Plus its tie-in to Doctor Who makes it infinitely enjoyable to me.

The Closer is probably the only non-science fiction drama I've watched regularly. After so many Law & Order's, I couldn't see getting into another crime drama, but Sedgewick's performances and the rest of the cast's interactions are very human and very real without being forced. It's a pleasant show usually about very unpleasant situations.

If you haven't seen Psych, you're missing out. I don't know of many other hour long comedies and I actually wonder if they're really out there. Psych's two main characters are absolutely wonderful and completely make the show worth watching. It's charming and sweet and comical, all wrapped up in an old time WhoDunnit style mystery.

Staying with comedy for a second, Scrubs used to be my absolute favorite show. Over the years it got a little repetitive, but it's definitely a very unique show filled with fantastic characters and really well written stories. Hell, even the music they pick is good.

I honestly know people who have seen Futurama and have not liked it. I don't talk to those people any more. There are two kinds of people in this world; smart, funny people who love Futurama and stupid idiots that don't. It's that simple. You can have your Family Guy and Simpsons all you want. Neither holds a candle to the genius that is Futurama.

Moving now to unscripted and non-fiction, Mythbusters ranks among the top of my reality science shows. I'll watch any documentary at the drop of a hat, but how often do you get a show where they just blow stuff up if it doesn't work. However, the explosions aren't my favorite part of the show but rather it's the unexpected result that always gets me. An exploding beer keg, bulls not knocking over china, being able to see better at night by wearing an eye-patch. As long as they keep doing what they're doing, I'll watch for a long, long time.

Dirty Jobs has the best host in television history. Mike Rowe is the most personable, charming men I've ever seen. He makes the show what it is and I know that if they had any other host, the show would have been canceled already. My first viewing of Dirty Jobs was probably right as it started several years ago when Mike was sexing a baby chick. You have to squeeze it, make it poop, then check for the boy or girl parts. I was instantly addicted to the humor he brought to the show and the noble portrayal displayed toward these unheralded jobs.

Ok, I'm a fighter jet nut. Top Gun is one of my favorites, but just for the planes dammit! I have a poster of fighter jets that has traveled to many homes. I have a book about them that I read semi seriously. I can usually tell the type of fighter jet even from several thousand feet. So when I found Dogfights on the History Channel, I about wet myself. CG reconstructions of actual historical dogfights with narration and interviews by the pilots who flew them. I knew all the outcomes but it didn't keep me from holding my breath.

I sort of missed out on the big push by Discovery Channel for The NASA Missions: When We Left Earth. I haven't seen all (four?) of them, but I've seen a couple and I'm honestly considering a DVD purchase. I love our beleaguered space agency and this miniseries reminded me of why. Buzz Aldren may be off his trolley blaming science fiction entertainment for the failings NASA, but I know he's not talking to me. I love this shit.

Both Brian Greene and Michio Kaku have a few things in common; they're both theoretical physicists, they've both hosted television shows and I've read books by both of them. Kaku turned me onto the theory of superstrings with his book "Hyperspace" which is more about wormholes but touches briefly on the topic. He also hosted two of my favorite science shows, 2057 and Time. Brian Greene's "Elegant Universe" is one of my favorite science books ever AND one of my favorite PBS documentaries.

But hey, you're a dad. Don't you have watch any good kids shows? To tell you the truth, I don't. Most kid shows are just painfully banal or so beyond any semblance of normalcy that it hurts a couple of my cortices to watch them. I try to keep the kids on either Noggin or Discovery Kids, but lately LMA has been drifting to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network - the later I don't want a 4 or 7 year old anywhere near. That said, I have my favorites among the clutter.

Chowder is a truly odd show. It has no real endearing plots or moral tales and it usually follows the general sitcom rule of people trying to clean up a mess and not interacting like regular people would so the tension just builds until something explodes. The reason I like the show is because John Dimaggio is in it as the voice of Schnitzle, a character that speaks like the Hamburglar. I was listen to Dimaggio read the instructions on a Pop-Tart box.

The perennial favorite is of course Spongebob Squarepants and I'll tell you why it's gone on this long. The writing is genius. I don't mean Tolstoy genius, but if you can recall anything about comedy, cartoons, farce or variety shows of the last half century, you'll appreciate this show more and more. This is the current youth's Looney Toons. Where Bugs Bunny always seemed like worldly and wise-cracking, you got the sense that most of the jokes were only for adults who lived in New York. Spongebob really does broaden that horizon and fills the show with so many references that you'd be hard pressed not to find something worth watching. Plus, anything that uses the voice talents of Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway has got to be watched.

The Mighty B is a new show and Ms. A isn't too fond of it, but I love it. I like it more than the kids to I think. Amy Poehler voices the main character who has a hellacious lisp but also a depth of character you can't really find in other cartoons. For a 10 year old girl, she's smart and funny but more than a little off center. Poehler alone makes the show worth watching.

And finally, a show even Ms. A likes, Peep and the Big Wide World. Joan Cusack narrates this adorable little show about three friends; Peep, Chirp and Quack. They do the typical innocent exploration of the world around them discovering things like their reflections and shadows. Quack, the duck, is the highlight of the show. He's a know-it-all blow-hard but brings a level of humor to those traits I wouldn't think possible.

I'm sure all this will change once fall starts. There are a host of new shows coming out I'd like to at least give a chance. I mean, had I written this last year, I'd have included Grey's Anatomy which now makes me want to punch people when I see it.


The Dark Knight (Returns)

I'm not going to write a review, no point. Everyone loved it.

What I'd like to do is get out an idea I had for what will likely be a third movie. Christian Bale has signed for three so there's at least going to be one more.

And in order to do this, I have to ruin some things for you, so don't read if you haven't seen the movie yet. Come back after you have.

Nolan isn't going to bring the Joker back. Ledger's death has pretty much sewn up the fact that the character will not be returning during Nolan's rebooting run on the franchise. Later directors, fine, but not now. Rachel Dawes is dead and even though Hollywood demands love and sex, I believe the third one should be devoid of that. There have been many runs of the comic where Batman doesn't have to worry about his heart-strings.

Also dead in the movie was Harvey Dent a.k.a Two-Face. Now, I'd be ok with him not being dead, in fact I'm counting on it. Eckhart played him so well and the effects on his face were so good that it'd be a shame not to see them again. Plus, Two-Face/Harvey Dent is still freshly tied to the Gotham mythos, the idea of someone taking a stand on crime. With him gone and the cops using Batman as a scapegoat, it's going to be the perfect time for the mob to step in. Now in The Dark Knight, Harvey is in the car with the mob boss Salvatore Mironi (Eric Roberts) when it wrecks. Dent survived; no reason Mironi didn't. It was assumed he's dead, but I don't know if it was ever actually confirmed.

So, here's where part three comes in.

One of Batman's oldest enemies is Clayface, so much so that there have been several incarnations and retoolings of the character including two of them getting married and having an offspring who would become Claything. For the purposes of this exercise I'm going to take the idea of the Clayface from the animated series, Matt Hagen; an out of work actor desperately trying to recreate his career. He ends up in an accident that horribly disfigures his face and is approached by a chemical manufacturing magnate who offers an experimental new skin cream that allows you to reshape your face like putty. Hagen owes money to the mob and when he doesn't pay, they subject him to dangerously copious amounts of the cream, changing his look to that of a monstrous lump of clay. He's able to use this to turn himself into anyone he sees but also turn himself into weapons.

All these things add up to what I believe would be a good part three of the series.

Harvey Dent goes into hiding. He disappears after his last encounter with Gordon and Batman. His wake in Gotham eulogizes him as a hero and the citizens lock in the memory of him as one of a good man and strong character. No one knows who Two-Face is publically. The Joker is locked in Arkham Asylum. The cops were able to get him safely put away without Batman. Rachel Dawes is dead, but Bruce is tortured by the memory of her and how he was unable to stop her death. Bruce makes the excuse of shoring up business ties with the firm in Hong Kong that was shown to be doing dirty bookkeeping but lost its CEO to get away from Gotham. He feels he's lost his focus and with the city wanting Batman's blood, he sees no reason to stick around. He uses the time to seek solace in a Buddhist monastery.

Meanwhile in Gotham, we meet an out of work actor. He's used loan money from the mob to invest in myriad plastic surgeries to keep his appearance up to Hollywood standards. However, while he isn't past his prime, he's definitely no longer action hero material. The surgeries have had the reverse affect and he's both without prospects and in debt to the mob. He's approached by a Wayne Enterprises representative to be a test subject for an experimental new rejuvenation therapy called Radical. It's based off current DNA/aging studies that claim free radicals destroying DNA is the reason we age the way we do. This therapy eliminates this natural cellular devastation and keeps people looking and actually BEING young for much longer as the body is allowed to regenerate itself. Hagen accepts and the transformation is incredible. He looks and feels young again.

However, the mob doesn't want to wait Hagen's career to pick up again and they money he makes from the testing isn't enough to pay them, so he's attacked in his home and in a cruel show, given too much of the medication that helps his cells heal. The overdose doesn't kill him, but it changes his DNA from merely regenerative to synaptically malleable; he can change his appearance at will. He becomes Clayface.

Of course Clayface is now pissed and the change not only affects his body but affects his mind. He blames Wayne Enterprises (and thusly Bruce Wayne) for his ordeal and the mob for making him go through it. The mob in this case is the Chechen (whose leader we see prominently in The Dark Knight.) After Hagen discovers his ability to change shape, he uses his powers at first to avoid the Chechen. Later he plots to get back at them by assuming the mantle of the Mironi family leader Salvatore. We find out Savlatore is not dead, but critically wounded from the car crash. He's in no shape to run the family, but is revered enough not to be killed. Hagen assumes the identity of a caretaker, kills Mironi, and then assumes his likeness - the family thinks he's miraculously cured. Running the Mironi family, Clayface wages war on the Chechens to get back at them, and he's very successful in killing their top man. But he also does something quite unexpected. He knows (somehow) that Rachel Dawes and Bruce Wayne were an item. To get back at Wayne, he changes shape to be Rachel and shows up at Wayne Manor, shocking Alfred and prompting Bruce to return home. However, Clayface doesn't realize that Harvey Dent/Two-Face is not dead. Two-Face sees Rachel and Bruce (news? paparazzi?) and comes out of hiding to exact revenge. In his rage he doesn't understand that it could be a trick.

A mob war is raging across Gotham and Batman is asked by now Commissioner Gordon to help fight it. At first Batman refuses as he's still trying to figure out how Rachel and Harvey could be alive. But then a tragic accident/mob killing at a carnival on the outskirts of town brings him back to his old ways. (The incident leaves two dead and an orphaned boy, and that's as close to Robin as you're going to get.) Batman figures out it's not Rachel with some scientific help from Lucius but he uses it to his advantage in getting to both Harvey and the Mironi family. Clayface drops his guise and assumes his "relaxed" state which is that of a pretty heinous monster with the ability to change his shape into anything, including blunt weapons. Harvey flips his coin and decides he's got to die, but Clayface has the upper hand and Two-Face is killed. Now Batman is forced to fight this nearly indestructible creature. Another nod to the animated series, he'll beat him using water and dissolve Clayface's body.

With the both mob leaders dead and the other mobs not strong enough since the Joker's incarceration to put up much of a fight, the police are able to gain some control in Gotham and Bruce is able to go back to regular patrols, now the hero that helped clean up the city when the city didn't want him. His last act is to ask Alfred what happened to that boy at the carnival.

That's it. That's my idea. And I'll bet you even money Nolan and the producers will instead bring in a new love interest (Talia al Ghul maybe?) and bring in either Catwoman or the Riddler or both. Batman will open up to Catwoman and she'll use it against him and side with the Riddler as he hatches some dastardly plan to drown Gotham by blowing up a levy system or something equally mundane. But I'm sticking to this story. It works in terms of a reboot. It keeps characters similar but not over used. It gives the three movies a complete arc. It gives the story enough time to have growing pains and resolve into enough open ends that another retelling could be done.

Carry on.


The Hammer


And for those that DON'T know, you better act quick. It's only going to be up for a short time.

Carry on.


Living With Vegetarians

Originally uploaded by Cheryl Rollman.
Storm clouds, the smell of ozone from fireworks, sunlight that finally fades at 9 o'clock and a veggie dog hot off the grill.


My life with these vegetarians goes back to right at the turn of the century. (Still feels weird to say that.) You see, when I moved from Colorado to Texas, I never thought that the change of eating habits I'd be making was going to be toward the non-meat side of the Force. And it wasn't at first. Thanksgivings were much the same as with my family up north wherein we ate turkey and ham. BBQ still had the same choices of brisket, chicken or sausage (though admittedly it's MUCH better in Texas.) Fajitas still had chicken or steak and pizza still had peperoni.

What changed is about two years later, after Ms. A and I had moved farther into Houston and she stops eating meat. She doesn't make an announcement about it, coming out of the freezer - if you will, and I don't remember noticing it at first. I just thought it was a typical chick thing to eat a lot of salad.

Now, she says she's always been vegetarian - this is a point of contention - but it was truly hammered home after a carcass cleaning incident with a turkey. That was apparently before my time. However, I remember her eating peperoni, chicken fajitas, lasagna with sausage, bacon and eggs.

Regardless, in the here and now I'm surrounded by hippies. Recycling, non-meat eating hippies. But, to her credit, she never stopped buying chicken or hamburgers or real bacon. Our shopping trips have always been one pure white 2% milk for me, one slightly yellow soy milk for her. One package of delicious maple flavored breakfast sausage for me, one package of (to her) delicious Morning Star sausage patties for her.

And yes, the children are vegetarian as well. Aside from the occasional fish stick or popcorn shrimp or accidental mistaken Subway sandwich incident, G-man and LMA are total vegetarians. Techincally, they are pesca-vegetarians, meaning they'll eat fish. They don't like it, but they'll eat it. They eat all Morning Star products, bacon, sausage, chicken nuggets and patties, ground "beef." Those alone are enough to make a large variety of meals. Add that to the childhood staples of PB&Js, Mac n Cheese and cereal, it's not like they're going hungry.

We're also fully aware that at a certain age, they'll be able to make the choice as to what they eat. For LMA that's coming very soon. She seems curious as to my basket of chicken tenders with honey mustard, but once she finds out it's really chicken she has a Pavlovian reaction that only slightly edges out the mouth watering curiosity.

Ms. A, however, is starting to have food problems. Since G-man was born 4 years ago, she's dropped something like 4,000lbs. She's not yet to the "Hey, eat a frickin sandwich" phase. She is however running out of things she can eat without making herself sick. She may even start eating real meat again. Why? After all this time and all the available substitutes?

Well, she's got a thyroid issue the prohibits her from eating "white things." What that means is anything with starch or gluten. No pastas, no breads. She also has an aversion to milk, and while not completely lactose intolerant, I don't know what else to call it. So, no cheese, yogurts or milks. Soy milk even makes her sick.

A peperoni pizza at this point would probably kill her.

She's also developed a reaction to citrus fruits. No orange or tomato juice. Bananas maker her mouth and ears itch. Melons make her skin break out into a rash. She can't do artificial sugars because they make her gassy and she can't do too much real sugar because of her thyroid.

This means she can eat the following.

Hemp bread
Lima beans
Most vegetables

That's about it. At least that's all I see her eat. She never has a bowl of oatmeal, or a BLT. She loves smelling the food I eat (BBQ, Schlotzsky's sandwiches, chicken fajita burritos.) She's not a terribly big eater anyway, but the limited choices I do believe are going to kill her eventually. Either than or she'll live in the low calorie starvation zone and out live all of us.

I just can't wait for the day I take G-man out for a cheeseburger and not have to ask for the bean patty.


It's Not Irony, It's Coincidence

Today I was trying to think of a way to write about how wearing it is to live constantly feeling that the other shoe is about to drop; that at any moment your life could fall apart. There's a certain cathartic recognition when something bad happens - you stop worrying and start acting. It's the waiting and fretting about all the possibilities that make you go gray, bite your nails and drink.

The company Ms. A and her girlfriend work for today told everyone they were going out of business. Costs were too high, debt was too insurmountable. In the next three weeks all the current orders will be met and at that point they're going to stop business. Ms. A wasn't making a killing working there, but it was good income for someone who could do the work from home. WE didn't have to worry about daycare and only one of us was paying for gas with any regularity. It was complicated, but it worked.

Now we have to go back to being DINKs. G-man will have to go into daycare and LMA will have to find something until school starts.

But it's a good thing in the long run. A steady income will help us with our financial problems, allow us to grocery shop more regularly, etc. G-man will get some exposure to other kids, something he desperately needs. And Ms. A will be able to work until 5 and then stop - no more working for 20 hours a day. It'll be good.

As Ms. A says, "We're cats, we'll land on our feet."

So if you get an email or text message from one of us asking if your company is hiring, that's what's going on.

Makes my server issues at work seem paltry. Nothing like a little perspective.

Carry on.

The Rabbit Hole

I've been appointed the task of setting up a new server at work. Not a big deal, mind you. It's part of the job and I've done it before.

(Tech talk to follow, feel free to surf on if this kind of things puts you into a stupor.)

However, this time I'll be working with an x64 machine. For those not in the know, most machines you work with are 32bit (x32) processors. For those not REALLY in the know, that's the computer's brain. 32bit is what most PCs run. Lately (and by that I mean the last five years) there have been some new processors. Among them is the x64.

The problem with x64 processors is the same problem all new computing technology has, it's not compatible with many things. At least not yet.

Thus begins my journey into ever descending levels of sysadmin hell.

New server is a Dell machine. I don't think we should immediately hold that against it. The machine can't help who builds it, nor can it make any reparations. It comes with Windows Server 2008. That's all well and good, but we don't want that. It's unproven in our environment and we have other users that will be connecting to this server, so we want to reinstall with 2003.

Being that the machine is x64, I have to hunt down the exact installation disk from Microsoft. It has to be Server 2003 R2 x64 Enterprise Edition. I have it, but there's a problem. Microsoft doesn't like sending things in order or with any meaning. We also have two different licensing contracts so we end up with duplicate disks, or half of a two disk set. I have three disks I can pick from, one is newer but has no "disk 2" the other is older but both disks are included. Let's go with two disks.

Installation goes ok, but the server is also RAID (it's actually SAS but that's technical) which means it has several drives in it and data is split across them. If you lose one drive, you don't lose all your data. The drives are controlled by a RAID controller, this version is a SAS, PERC 6/i integrated. I have to get that into the OS installation. There's a catch, the machine has no floppy. I can't get the controller software on there. I have to "trick" the machine into thinking that its USB port is in fact its A: drive (traditionally a floppy disk drive.) There used to be a way to do this from the BIOS, but apparently the BIOS is now smart enough to see the USB/Floppy drive I stuck on so I don't have to do anything. However I did waste a good couple hours trying to find that command. On top of that, the USB Floppy kept shutting off. It would detect it long enough to know it was there, but when the software was needed, the drive was off. After many attempts, I did it FAST ENOUGH for the stupid thing's attention span.


Operating system installed (yes two disks.) Now comes the parts where I join the machine to the domain, give it all the updates it needs, make sure I can remote into it and-

Well wait a minute, the NICs aren't working. There's a conflict in the Device Manager. (BTW, "NIC" = network interface card. People do say NIC Card all the time. It's like ATM Machine or PIN Number or SCUBA Apparatus. It makes no sense to say it like that. If you are one of those who do, stop it now.) Ah yes, the NIC drivers need to be updated. No sweat. It's kind of hard to get drivers from the internet when your machine has no internet connection but luckily I have my trusty USB stick.

Dell's site shows no less than 20 entries for drivers for my machine. You would think the asset tag would be tied to that exact machine and the network devices on that machine would only need one driver. Oh heck no, silly pleb. My tag pulls up drivers, firmware updates, and integration packages from three different brands. I'll just try all of them. They don't work. I don't get it. I get the files, point the update wizard to the .inf file and nothing. So online to Dell Chat we go. Nope, you didn't get the right one, here's the right one. Ok thanks Dell Dude. Download to USB stick, hustle into server room, plug in, run wizard, point to inf file. Nope, still a conflict. Dell dude, are you running an x64 machine? Yes I am, can't you see that from the information I gave you? You need a different driver, try this one. Ugh, I tried that one already. All I get is the the driver is installed, but the device won't start.

Oh you know what, this machine has TOE on it. (No kidding, TOE = TCP/IP Offload Engine. It lets traffic flow processing go through it rather than the main processor. Faster machine and faster traffic.) It needs its own software package, not just a driver. Ah, gotcha, I say. Ok thanks. I get the right one, back on the USB stick, back into the server room. Run installer.

Now comes the second part of my journey.

This installation package needs the .Net Framework to run. I don't know much about .Net or its work with frames. I know it's a development tool and more than a few programs won't run without it, expecially programs written to run on x64 machines. Hmm, I think, that's usually included when you install Windows, or at the very least you get it from Windows Updates. Seeing as I have no network connection, I wouldn't get an update. So I go looking for .Net Framework 2.0.

Hey, I found it. That was easy. Hey, not so fast, Showboat. Just because you have the right installation package for the right machine, doesn't mean it'll work.

The installer gives me an error. You can't write or access these files. Most sysadmins love this. I may make a shirt out of it. It's one of those wonderfully cryptic errors that doesn't tell you what file or directory it's trying to access, it just gives you the error. It's like getting a moving violation ticket while you're sitting at home and there's no description as to what you did wrong. Included in the message is the penultimate helpful suggestion, "Please contact your administrator." Well, bugger. So I ask myself what the problem is and I don't like the answer.

"I have no fucking idea," I say to myself.

I check all the directories I think it needs. I'm logged in locally as the administrator, I can't imagine there's a place I can't go on this machine. Back to Dell Support. Yes I know it's a windows problem now, but you know what, they put the freaking TOE on the NIC of an x64 machine. They should support it when it doesn't work. Third guy I work with, now. "What version of windows installer do you have?" "I don't know, let me check." Hey, would you look at that, there's nothing listed. I guess I don't have one. Ok here, put this on there. Um, does it work with x64. Oh, no it doesn't. You need a hotfix for it instead. A hotfix for software I don't have on there yet? Too late, he's logged off. Thanks helpful Dell dude. I put the hotfix on the server anyway, and it's sort of like walk up to a gas station, paying for $20 in gas, and then pumping it directly onto the concrete.

Ok, no worries. The Windows Installer must be available somewhere. Well it is, but 3.0 came out before x64. 3.1 came out because of x64. So wait, to get the version of the installing component I need, I have to have the one built before that doesn't work on the machine I have. But there's a hotfix for it when I get it installed, which I can't. Right? Yes that's right.

So that's where I am now. My current thinking is I need to get the Service Pack 1 on the machine as all the articles I've read lead me to believe that the right installer is on that. Hopefully .Net Framework will also be included.

I'd keep you posted, but frankly I just don't care. I want to throw this stupid machine out the window. But HEY, at least I'm learning.

Carry on.


TVZ Review: Charlie Jade 1.4

Some questions were answered and some plots were advanced, but the latest episode of Charlie Jade felt a little flat. It could be that watching it while trying to put kids to bed had an impact on it but watching it a second time did not help.

A memorial is taking place in each of the three Verses. Julius Galt is injecting his multipersonal eulogy with much vitriol and scowling. The terrorists responsible will be brought to justice. Ms. Rompkin is giving her Alpha version of the same speech complete with make-up department tears.

For the rest as well as episode 47 of the podcast, please visit Television Zombies.


More Charlie Jade

Two more reviews up at Television Zombies and number 4 on the way. For all you Sci-Fi fans out there, you should give this show a good watching. Set up your DVRs for Monday at 2am or whatever the schedule is, and watch it. It's something Sci-Fi doesn't have right now, a unique show that isn't Stargate or Star Trek related. They need something to help Doctor Who and Battlestar: Galactica along and barring a Farscape or Firefly renewal, this is about as good as it gets for that channel.


Thirty Five

The face of 35
Originally uploaded by Cheryl Rollman.

Yesterday I turned 35. My mom asked if I knew how old that made her feel. I thought to myself, "I'm 35, I already feel old."

Truth is I don't feel that old. Oh sure my mortal coil rebels once in a while, taking me on week long trips through minor aches and pains, and each morning my joints sound like bags of stale Cheetos, but it's not how I feel inside. I don't know if it's denial or genuine youthful outlook. I would still rather play games, watch cartoons and buy Lego than study investment trends, watch artsy movies and buy real estate.

And it's not about being a "grown up." I've had more than a few people tell me it's immaturity - I disagree. I've been an adult for 17 years now and I can honestly say I don't like doing traditional adult things. And it's not about shirking your responsibilities, it's just the difference in what you do in between. You can pay your bills, fix your car, renew your car tags and shop for better insurance without having to lose that desire to watch Spongebob or play Guitar Hero. The only downside to believing you're a child at heart is the constant feeling you're doing something wrong. Every day I feel I'm forgetting something or I'm not doing something I should be, like a haze of guilt just beyond imagination.

But not yesterday. Yesterday I took a half a day off work, played my newly gifted Rock Band with my little girl, ate a calzone and drank ciders. Ms. A and I worked on moving the kids into one room and then her into another. We played cards and made cupcakes. It was a nice day.

And now I'm back at work. One thing I will say about birthdays as you get older, they lose their spectacle. Unless you get that once in every couple years surprise party or your SO sends you to a spa or sky diving, most of us will spend our birthday's getting lollipops from HR or phone calls from family. I'd like to be rolling in the disposable cash for one year so I could take myself on one of those trips where spontaneity is the only rule and money is no object. Where you don't pack because you'll buy all your clothes wherever you land.

Sorry tangent.

Finally, have a read. I found this quite amusing...because it's true.

Carry on.