Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Buffy, Angel, and Foundation novels

I did some work on an internet project that lets people log into applications from their browsers so that we can move most people off of the VPN here at work. There's a three meg client piece that has to download before you can run any of the applications. The intranet piece worked fine but the client wouldn't download from the internet. After some testing I figured out that it was a website configuration problem. I spent part of the afternoon comparing the settings for the websites for the intranet and the internet versions of the applications portal. I did find one setting that was different. With that changed the problem went away. Yippee!

Back on the home front it was a good night for TV. There was a new Buffy and a new Angel. The storylines they're doing on Buffy now involve her mother dying and an epic battle with a minor god. This last episode had Dawn, Buffy's little sister who is really the key to some cosmic gate the minor god wants, tries to use magic to bring their mother back from the grave. This is really not a good idea but Spike helps her get the stuff she needs from a kindly old man whose mind wanders -- not to mention the lizard tail that sneaks out from under his robe and the evil black stare he gives her at the end of the conversation. As in most TV it all turns out for the best. Dawn raises the dead and her and Buffy have this blow up and cry and hug conversation as the unseen creature makes its way to the Buffy house. At the end of the episode "mom" pounds on the door and Buffy runs to answer it. At about this time Dawn realizes what a bad idea this all is and destroys the photo of her mom that is the key to sending the undead back. No mom is seen.

Angel was pretty funny with a visit from the vampire Harmony, an old high-school buddy of Corelia (the office manager at Angel Investigations). In the end the vampire Harmony is just too evil to hang with the good guys. The episode had some very good lines in that Harmony is a clueless, shallow person that has the ability to get on everyone's nerves without even trying. Another good plot line involved a vampire pyramid scheme (that ensnared Harmony so she could reach her full potential as a vampire and nearly got the rest of the group - including Cordelia - killed). In the end all the vampires either ran away or were dusted. Cordelia almost dusted Harmony but in the end gave her a break telling her to get out of town or she'd kill her the next time she saw her. So much for those high school buddies.

On a more personal note, I'm learning "Venus" by the Shocking Blue for my guitar lesson. Last week I was working on an acoustic version of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus." I'm not perfect but it sounds like the CD. I'm still not quite at the point where I can play and sing with a song. I should probably practice that more.

I also finished the last book in the second Foundation Trilogy (Foundation's Triumph). Overall the series moves the Foundation and Robot stories of Isaac Asimov into some very disturbing directions. Since these novels are bracketed by Asimov novels that happen before and after there's no dramatic turn around of events that would affect these later novels. But the degradation of the human condition and the options for its further development are kind of disheartening. I also found it kind of disturbing that the concept of no alien life in the galaxy was addressed with legions of giant terraforming robots sweeping the galaxy clean for humans prior to colonization. The obvious problem here would be if there were already established galactic empires (like in Brin's galactic alien novels). These advanced races could probably have stopped the teraformers and punished humanity as a whole for the hubrus of a few radicals. But it does give me some ideas for stories. I mean there's the one I just mentioned and also the viewpoint of being on a planet that is being approached by a terraformer robot (or fleet of them).

That's enough for today. Tonight is Robotica on TLC so if I think of it I'll write about that tomorrow. If I don't it could be months before there's another entry.

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