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Showing posts from June, 2013

Monsters University

I'm a big fan of Pixar films generally and Monsters, Inc. really left an impression with me. I loved the way the pastel hues and big googly eyes somehow found a way to make sly statements about the oil economy. Perhaps even more importantly, the movie respected its audience enough to go on wild, unpredictable tangents, trusting viewers to keep up. It's hard not think back to how great Monsters, Inc was while watching its prequel Monsters University. For the most part this movie keeps the spirit of the original, kept afloat by superior voice acting, intermittent wit, and a superior art direction. As  +Peter Maranci  pointed out, even a mediocre Pixar movie is better than 90% of the movies out there. The plot is basically what you'd expect if I told you this movie was the prequel for Monsters, Inc. You have the obligatory awkward first meeting of the main characters, a mismatched rivalry evolving into a grudging respect mixed with scattered 'oh-so-that's-why-h

Fallout Boston?

I've been hearing rumors that during the E3 convention last week, during a press-only preview, Fallout 4 was announced. The game, which is 55% done, would center around Boston and the surrounding communities. If this is true it would be a mixed blessing. On one hand, it would obviously be completely awesome but on the other hand, at least for me, I could envision the part of my brain deriving enjoyment from video games being utterly burnt out forever. This game would prevent me from ever needing to buy another video game again. It's a risk I'm willing to take. Considering just how great both Fallout three and New Vegas were at translating locales and atmosphere to a post-apocalyptic universe, I could imagine some amazing places in Fallout Boston: MIT, the T, Boston Harbor, Fenway, the Big Dig, the list goes on.

Retirement Party

Of all of the various rituals and ceremonies the end of the year brings to someone involved with public education, perhaps none is more bitter sweet than the retirement party. In schools, retirement parties always happen in June and represent one of the few occasions when the old and the young stand elbow to elbow, obliged to consider the same ancient fact: people grow old, change, and leave behind legacies in the memories of their friends. This year was an unusually big retirement party, four veteran teachers leaving us, and so the party was larger, longer, and more diverse. As I was standing in the company of teachers that I could barely recognize hailing from decades before I came to my school, I struck by two conversations. The first, quickly paraphrased, erupted when four teachers roughly my age realized that we all enjoy Game of Thrones, having read the books, and actively followed the HBO series. So for the next twenty minutes everyone shared their favorite character

Arrested Development Season 4

I've been on a bit of a television watching binge lately and after burning my way across 14 seasons of Star Trek, the 15 episodes of Arrested Development's newest season (available through Netflix) offered the grand luxury of a succinct story fully told. For those with exposure to this show, the adjective 'succinct' might seem a bit of stretch. Afterall, the interweaving, interposed, constantly self-referential hyper-linked narrative following 10 main characters is, in a word, exhausting. But it also carries with it the sense of a the shortest possible route between two points. Each of the episodes follows one of the main characters as they trace the bleak wreckage of their lives from the moments immediately after the Bluth matriarch Lucille (hilariously venomous Jessica Walters) hijacked a cruise ship in order to escape arrest. What makes the season interesting (and hard to review without spoilers) is that each of these narratives flows in and out of the others.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine review

At some point you just have to write what you feel. After finishing The Next Generation, I felt that the logical first step was moving on to the TNG movies. I just couldn't. I've already seen First Contact, which my friends inform me is the pick of a very motley litter, and I was tempted by more quality television. Firstly, I was surprised to discover how much of DS9 I had actually watched when it first aired. I remembered the season finale in the second season mostly because who wouldn't remember a Galaxy-class starship blow up by a kamikaze space wasp (these things tend to stick in the mind) but figured I had moved on when I got to college. I had completely forgotten had also seen the third and most of the fourth season. Not a big deal, but like I said, it was a surprise. Much of the seven seasons really clicked for me. I loved almost all of the characters, thought that the villains were uniformly excellent, and really appreciated DS9's luxury of carefully d

Good summary

Check out this article for a good summary of all of the pressures on employment coming from technology and automation. I particularly appreciated Jon Evans' efforts here to connect the dots between the loss of employment with the first wave of efforts to deal with the problem: Basic Income or Negative Income Tax. Some writers have taken a dystopian view of this trend, others a utopian, but Evans suggests that the future has already happened. Only instead of happening in America and other developed countries, he suggests post-work societies exist in Brazil, Russia, and India. Also great is the list of links which is a veritable who's who on this topic. Enjoy!