Archive for January, 2012

15
Jan
12

Lewis, Tolkien, Whedon?

I’ve had time to sit around lately, and thanks to netflix streaming, I managed to watch the Firefly series and the follow-up movie Serenity.

Apart from being being completely engrossed in the series and movie, when I finished Serenity, I got a real C. S. Lewis vibe. Without giving too much away (hopefully), the series centers around a universe dominated by “the Alliance”, a technocracy that seeks to make life safe by controlling all aspects of it. This brought to mind Lewis’s description of free will in “The Problem of Pain”. To grossly oversimplify, what I remember of Lewis’s premise is that to create a world without pain necessarily means a world without free will. That’s and the “really scientific era” of Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength” seem to capture the nature of the Alliance, and the loss of free will seems to drive Malcolm Reynolds.

There’s also a clear parallel with Tolkien in the Serenity movie, and a small group forging ahead against an implacable and overwhelming enemy to attempt to fix a horrible wrong.

Finally (speaking only for me, that is), Whedon shares their skill in compelling story telling. If it’s not clear yet, I highly recommend the series.

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05
Jan
12

red barchetta – a little too realistic?

Fantastic song, but too much a far-fetched dystopian sci-fi story to really happen, right?

And yet here we are, with our dear leader telling us to buy the government motors Volt (while former government officials drive the $100,000, made-possible-by-YOUR-tax-dollars Fisker Karmas to their dachas). The other “correct” cars to drive while you’re pining for high speed rail to relieve you of the onerous duty of deciding for yourself where to go and how to get there? The Prius, Insight, and Leaf – all as underpowered and soul-sucking to drive as they are affronts to the eye. As a bonus with the Leaf, its range is limited so that the proletariat can’t roam far enough from home to get ideas of independence. At least its power doesn’t come from some filthy source like coal … oh. Guess our government betters didn’t really think that whole “electricity – it’s clean energy” thing through.

Ah well – I’ll see if I can’t come up with some lighter thoughts tomorrow. In the mean time, they can have my keys when they pry them from my grease-and-brake-dust-blackened fingers!

02
Jan
12

So, it’s 2012

It had been on my mind anyway, but I ran across this (ht instapundit), so my goal is to post something every day this year.

Today was an adventure in DIY – I changed the front brake rotors and pads, and also changed the spark plugs in my hemi-powered station wagon. Surprisingly, the brake work went really well, although I had the same reaction when I changed the fronts on the Cobra – it’s not until I’m done that I remember that brakes are a service item, and therefore have been engineered for ease of replacement. The spark plug swap was a little more involved – 2 plugs per cylinder, and the hemi center-of-the-chamber design made for a deep hole to reach them. It went slowly but well up until the last one, and in my haste to start the car and see if everything was working, I forgot to plug in the coil pack (no so-last-century distributor here), so I got a check engine light. Spotted the problem quickly, but even though the idle definitely smoothed out with all 8 cylinders firing, the light stayed on. Thanks to lxforums (where I also found excellent how-tos on brakes and plugs), it looks like the light should sort itself out with a couple of trips, so here’s hoping.