Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I got Pandora to play Simple Man

Screenshot proof!

Pandora is one of those things that I can really get into. On the surface, it's an ad-supported way to discover new music. Beneath the surface, it's a way to explore how songs relate to each other, and to learn something about your musical tastes in the process. I tend to prune all of my Pandora stations carefully, thinking carefully about how giving a certain song the "thumbs-up" or another the "thumbs-down" might change the type of music that station plays.

I've got several stations, and the one I'm probably proudest of is my classic rock station, Rock of Marble and Gold. I created it several months ago, after my previous classic rock station skewed too far into heavy metal. When I created the new station, I decided, just for fun, to see if I could start with a single "seed," and get the station to play a specific song by another band only by giving songs "thumbs up" and "thumbs down," without adding any more "seeds." The "seed" I began with was the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and the song I was trying to get the station to play was "Simple Man," by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Friday, January 23, 2015

When did we become too cool for Batman?

Evolution of Batman, from Comic Book Movie
I like Batman. I like reading Batman comics, watching Batman movies and cartoons, and playing Batman video games. Yes, he dresses like a bat. Yes, he fights criminals who all have some sort of gimmick. And, yes, his parents are dead, and he will brood about it.

And I love it.

But lately I've noticed a backlash against Batman. People seem to think either that Batman is a silly children's character, or that he's a joyless sociopath. What happened?

Monday, January 12, 2015

One in a million: Why you'd rather be Luke Skywalker than Han Solo

 Taken from starwars.com

As my colleague Baron von Chop pointed out, it's hard to pick between being Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Maybe it's because they each exemplify so much of what makes for a good hero. One of them is the classic farm-boy-turned-hero, who undergoes the Hero's Journey to find not only glory but himself. The other is the Scoundrel with a Heart of Gold, who discovers that there are depths to himself that even he didn't know about (and gets the princess, too). But we have to look beyond some of the obvious things, too. These characters aren't just archetypes, and there is plenty to recommend them both beyond the roles they play. But let's start with the obvious.

Monday, January 5, 2015

He does have his moments: Reasons why it's better to be Han than Luke

There are many ways to describe Han Solo: heroic, sarcastic, charming, skillful, and cocky all come to mind, but perhaps the word that best sums up the Corellian smuggler is "scoundrel." While Luke pursues his destiny and Leia fights for galactic freedom, Han is in it for the reward (or so he claims). Of course, we always knew there was more to him than money, but it's that devil-may-care swagger that makes Han so likable.

Personally, I can't say for sure whether I would rather be Luke or Han, but for the purposes of this post, Luke can keep his hokey religions and ancient weapons: here are the reasons why it's better to be Han Solo.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Would you rather be Han or Luke?

I know that nerds are supposed to debate whether they like Kirk or Picard more, but that's never been a hard question for me. Kirk is fine, but I like Picard better as a captain and I find him to be a more interesting character.

There is another question that has long plagued me, though, and I have never felt sure about my answer: would I rather be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker? I can argue for both sides, but to make things more interesting, I talked my to my co-blogger bluefish, and he will argue for Luke while I take Han's side. We'll post our thoughts in separate blog posts to keep things more manageable.

If you have an opinion one way or the other, feel free to share it as a comment!