Don't let the short, cold, grey days get you down, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Who Watches? Tonight was the premiere of HBO's new Watchmen series, which is a continuation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I enjoyed the first episode quite a lot, despite many, many. misgivings. Primary of which is using extreme violence against Black persons and the Tulsa Race Riots as entertainment fodder. I always worry that there are people watching not because they find the horror in it all, but because that's what they get off on watching. Anyway... the original comic book series was an epic work of storytelling genius, and having somebody like Damon Lindelhof (who helped turn Lost from a promising television show into a steaming pile of idiocy) was worrisome. But, if this first episode is any indication, we're in for a wild, action-packed ride. But, even better, it seems to be building to... something...
The new series constructs its story around racism and our ever-escalating conflict with white supremacy. While admirable, I'm going to have to reserve judgement on whether it's an effective take until the end. As for the show itself, HBO put some serious money into it, and it shows. On top of getting top-shelf talent like Regina King, Jean Smart (who was oddly absent the first episode), Louis Gossett Jr., Don Johnson, and Jeremy Irons(!)... it looks gorgeous, and the weird world that Moore and Gibbons created feels fully realized. If you have HBO, it's kinda a no-brainer to tune in. But if that's not incentive enough, here's Dave Gibbons drawing Regina King's character, Sister Night...
Eight weeks to go until we find out where this is all going. Hopefully somewhere worthwhile. All we need is for Lindelof to drop the ball at the end like he did with Lost.
• A Mystery. After watching the premiere of the new Nancy Drew I cannot fathom how in the hell the conversation went at the initial meeting. But I'm guessing it went something like this...
NANCY DREW SHOWRUNNER: My plan is to get some of the best talent available to write compelling mysteries with a modern slant. Really push boundaries on excellent storytelling and give viewers some best-of-class television to sink their teeth into.
NETWORK EXECUTIVES: Or you could just put a bunch of nonsensical drama in it with some gratuitous sex and not give a flying fuck about the quality of the mysteries and stories. Would be cheaper that way.
NANCY DREW SHOWRUNNER: And a pile of worthless, forgettable shit it will be then.
NETWORK EXECUTIVES: Put Scott Wolf in there. That'll fix everything!
NANCY DREW SHOWRUNNER: And a pile of worthless, forgettable shit with an appearance by Scott Wolf it will be then.
NETWORK EXECUTIVES: Start the first episode with Nancy really getting pounded... we're talking shaking a cup of coffee off the nightstand kind of sex pounding. But put her on top so we don't get complaints about having a weak female lead.
Nancy Drew is an iconic character who deserves far better than this crap. How it got greenlit is a mystery.
• Shoot Your Shot. I love this series anyway... but this episode with Mindhunter's Holt McCallany is one of my favorites to date...
What a cool guy!
• Nest, Take Two. I have two sets of security cameras... one is hardwired with local storage and the other is a cloud-cam system by Nest (now owned by Google). The Nest cams are really great, but frustrating because their per-camera pricing for cloud storage is way too expensive. Amazon's cloud storage has a far more reasonable single fee which covers all your cameras. I was going to switch in February when my current Nest contract runs out because the cost to buy all-new Amazon cameras would be offset after just one year. And this week I found out I no longer have to do that. Somebody at Google Nest decided to get serious about being competitive and announced all new cloud storage pricing which will cover all my cameras for one fee like Amazon. So that's refreshing.
• Eyeroll Territory. Not content to let their legacy as some of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema speak for itself... two legends insist on criticizing modern filmmaking, and come across as entitled egomaniacs. Just fuck off already. Nobody who loves what Marvel is doing gives a single fuck about your opinions. I mean, holy shit... Coppola acts like he never made Supernova, one of the biggest pile of shit movies I've ever seen. And what about Captain Eo?. I mean, holy shit! I understand the concern that venues for "art house cinema" are waning because theaters have to show the movies that keep them in business and there's not much room left for anything else, but that's the way it goes (and a lot of the blame comes from THE STUDIOS who insist on taking massive amounts of their box-office, leaving them little choice in the matter... you have to fill those seats). Which means it's time to adapt or die. Because there's still room for non-popcorn-flicks, you just have to make them in a way to appeal to modern audiences. There are breakthrough films which do this all the time. If you can't do that, then work with a streaming outlet to find a home for what you want to do. It boggles my mind that this even needs to be said.
• Programming. And, lastly, because I just can't help myself... something to read if you're a code-geek like me: The Lines of Code That Changed Everything. It's pretty fascinating. Even moreso if you've ever programmed before.
And... scene. Have a good week!
Odds are, this post isn't going to be of any interest to you.
But the math geek in me feels that it should, so I am pushing onward.
Wolfram Research is a company that's been evolving the language of mathematics for over 25 years now. Initially, this was via a program called Mathematica, which I used back in the late 90's to map out data for a shareholder newsletter I was responsible for. It's an elegant and easy solution to creating visuals out of complex sets of information. Eventually Mathematica lead to Wolfram Alpha, a "computational knowledge engine." It's a really cool tool that anybody can use for free on the Wolfram Alpha website (click on the "examples" link to get some idea of the amazing things it can do). If you have an iPhone and ask Siri something which requires calculation, you're already familiar with Wolfram Alpha, because that's where Siri goes for answers.
Fast forward to today, and we get the Wolfram Language... a programming language leveraging the power of Mathematica. Mind-blowing stuff.
Galileo Galilei is noted for saying "Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe." If this is true, here's your chance to play God...
I think of myself as a kid learning how to program code using crude computer languages like BASIC and PASCAL, and I can't help but wonder what I might have created if tools like the Wolfram Language were around.
Oh the interesting times we live in.