Watching The Fringe on Hulu

or: WTFH

Email received on January 26th:

On the morning of January 26th, I watched about 15 minutes of Episode 9 of Season 4 of Fringe, entitled: Enemy of My Enemy on the El Train to work. After work, I returned home, excited to watch Fringe for the first time ever on my Roku.

But it had already been removed from Hulu Plus.

Did I missing something? Am I the only one affected by this? Perhaps I am because evidently Fringe’s ratings are so horrible that it will probably be canceled after this season. Maybe I really am the only person who watches it on Hulu.

Backing Up Scrivener With Dropbox

At first, I wondered if this was too obvious to even be worth posting, but the first time I tried to use Scrivener with Dropbox as a backup, I ended up losing over 1,000 words. Evidently, the way that Scrivener saves automatically using a bunch of different files confuses Dropbox’s syncing. Luckily I was able to recreate the stuff I’d written. I’ve heard in podcast interviews and whatnot that sometimes people rewrite scenes from scratch to try to make them better, but my attempt at that didn’t work out so well. I don’t have the original content to know for sure, but that was my gut feel, and it was enough to turn me off of using Scrivener for a while, especially since I had a lot of work in MS Word already.

After hearing Neal Stephenson speak at Unity Temple a few weeks ago and learning that he uses Scrivener, well, that was enough to get me to try it again.

So I got back on the horse and put my Scrivenings (?) in a folder that wasn’t synced to Dropbox. I decided to go with a manual back up. Under the File menu, you go to “Back Up To…” which let’s you select a location to which to save your back up file (select “Backup as ZIP file” so that Dropbox only has to sync one file, and since it has a timestamp in the file it won’t overwrite previous backups). That worked well, but I had to remember to actually do the backups.

After a few weeks, I was exploring the options instead of actually writing, and I noticed that you can set Scrivener to back up a project whenever it is closed (or opened if you want a copy to revert to in case you don’t like anything wrote). Brilliant!

The automatic backup option is under: Tools -> Options and then on the box that comes up, on the Backup tab. Select “Turn on automatic backups” then select which options you want below that. I have mine compressed as zip files (again, so it only backs up a single file into the Dropbox folder), as well using the date in the file name (again, just to make it easy on the Dropbox syncing mechanism). I keep the five most recent backup files (there are probably reasons to keep more or less, but 5 seems like a good starting point).

Finally I set the backup location to a special folder I created in Dropbox to store all my Scrivener backups. Done!

H Comes After G

So, I was working on a post about Person of Interest and despite the credits for JJ Abrahms and Jonathan Nolan, the fact that it’s on CBS just kept hanging around the back of mind… and then I saw this tweet from HardScifiLass about the new web series H+.



The post linked from Twitter also mentioned that it’s produced by Bryan Singer (to which I said “Who?”) who produced and directed The Usual Suspects (to which I said “Holy shxt!”). The Usual Suspects was my favorite movie for at least 4 years, and even now, the only movies I can think of that I like more are all Christopher Nolan’s. Anyway, Singer also wrote and produced X-Men: First Class (which I will watch as soon as they get it on Netflix), wrote, produced, and directed Superman Returns (overrated but good), and wrote, produced, and directed X2 (awesome).

The fact that H+ is a web series gives me hope that unlike TV shows with streaming episodes, they’ll actually leave the entire series up so that people can start watching it any time and go all the way up to the current episode.

It doesn’t hurt that they have Caitriona Balfe (once again, “Who?”) playing someone in the show ’cause…

It doesn’t look like there’s a release date yet (and they could have picked a more Googleable name, particularly for a web-only show), but I Liked them on Facebook, so hopefully that’ll let me know when it starts. Also of note, the Facebook page calls it H+: The Digital Series so as to distinguish it from a “web series” and to try to avoid the stigma that comes with being labeled as such. That said, the preview above does make it look like a much higher quality production than your typical web series, and I would say it looks like it has better production values than most regular broadcast/cable/satellite-delivered TV shows, as well as many big budget movies.

Top 100 SFF Books from NPR

Here’s an annotated version of the list of the Top 100 SFF Books as voted by NPR listeners. Bold for the ones I’ve read, and because I’m a bit concerned about how pathetic that’s going to look, I’m going to put Italics for ones that I actually have a copy of on my shelf, just waiting to be read. There’s a summary at the bottom for anyone who wants some analysis and introspection.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin (I’ve only read the first one, but at 900 pages, that’s no small accomplishment)
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov (started reading it and just couldn’t get into it…)
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

I’ve read 13. Though #1 is a Trilogy, and #23 The Dark Tower Series is actually 7 books, so I could say I’ve ready 22 of the Top 110, which gives me slightly better percentage (20% vs 13%). Of course, if you do that, then you probably have to expand A Song of Ice and Fire and all the other Trilogies or Serieses (Wheel of Time is at least 10 books) and then my percentage would probably end up lower than the original 13%. So, I guess I’ll just have to increase my number the hard way: actually reading.

Have copies ready to be read: 13. I’ve managed to up my monthly word intake to (a very roughly estimated) 100,000 words. So, if I say that each of the 13 books is about 150,000 words, then I’ll be through those 13 in a little over a year and a half. Not bad considering it took me 30 years to get through the first 13.

Neal Stephenson talks about new book Reamde

It took me a couple days after seeing it recommended on Amazon to realize that the title had the ‘m’ before the ‘d’. Whatever the case, it sounds like a good cyberthriller… though I’m a little put off by the subtitle “A Novel” which I thought was usually reserved for literary novels. I’m not trying to knock on Stephenson at all when say that because when I say “literary novels” I really mean “pretentious novels.” Because really, who had to say their book is a novel? People won’t know? They won’t be able to figure it out?

And the UK cover, which is not quite as “literary” and also probably a lot more informative:

Creating A Collectible

So, I sell DVDs on Amazon after I watch them (unless I think I’m going to want to watch them again, but even then sometimes I sell them anyway since I’m paying for Netflix every month). I got Agent 5: A Night in the Last Life Of for Christmas (I think because it was recommended on Netflix and then taken off).

After watching it, I put it up on Amazon. It took a while but if finally sold. Why is this important? Well, it’s not so much important as interesting, because the buyer just happened to have the same name as the director. And lives in LA (where all movies are made). So, the conclusion I draw is that the buyer and the director are one and the same.

Then, the question becomes, why? Did The Director not keep a copy of the movie for himself? (Perhaps not a final release version?) This seems highly unlikely, though not impossible. Perhaps he wanted to buy a copy for a friend and decided that it was somehow better to buy a used copy than whatever he would have to pay to have a new one put into circulation. Or, my most unlikely but favorite theory, Mr. Desotell is trying to turn his work into a collectible item by buying up all the copies in existence and destroying them. He is driving up the value of his work by increasing it’s rarity. Perhaps Matthew Desotell has a Google Alert set up with his name or that of his film in it and will be informed of this post and leave his comments. Or if his plot is as devious as I imagine, then he will not.

Americanized Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

(Please note this is a red band trailer and should only be viewed by people who are allowed to view that sort of thing)

While it may seem simplistic or thick-headed to say “This preview looks awesome” when compared to the (perhaps) more high-brow Swedish version (I don’t know if it’s necessarily more high-brow since the book was not compelling enough to make me want to see the movie). But when I watch the preview I realize how much I could have liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo if it had filtered some of the historical back story while simultaneously sharpening the action and tension. Perhaps there is something to be said for drawing things out – I’m sure some people would refer to it as ‘pacing’ – and I probably don’t read enough mysteries to have a great feel for how long they take to build the requisite amount of tension. But, I usually grade a book in a series on whether or not it makes me want to read the next one in the series, and I wanted nothing to do with the other two books in the Millenium series after finishing The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. When the movie comes out (after building hype for another 7 months), I will judge it by the same criteria and see if I want to see the next movie. If it lives up to the promise of the trailer, I think I will.