It Is The Legend

Of all the things to bring me back to blogging…it’s a Lolcat photo! But he’s right; the Spice MUST flow.

Dune_cat

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The BG Weekly Digest

Do You Want The Geek News First_GIMP

Saturdays! For us Mon-Fri, 9-to-5ers it’s the the day where we collapse into a shambolic heap, our minds aching from a week of hard, back-supported brain labour. Lots happened this week, defying any attempt to speak my creaky brains on any given topic. I’d start writing then something else would happen, distracting me like the proverbial magpie. Shiiiiiiiiny! Caww! Caww!

So yes. “Digest”. A good word, smelling strongly of stomach acids and putrescent biochemical processes. But also: News presented in manageable, ‘bite-size’ chunks to aid your cerebral stomach! Without further ado…

Because Geek - Bullet PointI hope y’all noticed I have a Twitter feed now (Look right)——>. An experiment. Good for updating the blog when I don’t have time to update the blog, but proving too much to process as a form of entertainment. How does anyone cope with the flood of information? Not sure it’s ‘me’ yet. Time will tell, as he always does, the chatty sod.

Because Geek - Bullet PointSo how are you all today? Hopefully excelling at whatever you do, like this guy? (Okay, crap pun. What do you want from me? It’s Saturday and I’m only just up!)

Because Geek - Bullet Point

E3 was a thing that happened, where Sony and Microsoft got up on stage and prostituted themselves for their rabid fans. “NEW CONSOLES!!!1!”, they screamed, in their best smooth marketing voices. Microsoft, as long feared, marched up to their audience, took away ALL the toys, whacked a few knuckles with a wooden ruler, and laid down some harsh new ground-rules. Because #SCREWYOU is the new black in console gaming (PC owners have been getting this particular shaft for years). BUT THEN…! In swaggered Samuel L Sony, who pimped their new Italic console like absolute muthafucka’s, yo, and just basked in the waves of other-than-MS love by simply leaving everything as it had always been (Mostly), to the delight of just about the entire global population. Fandom, predictably, went nuts. You can probably feel the raging e-peen touching you from where you are. Enjoy.

In summary, in the wake of E3 seemingly everyone now wants a PS4 and only uneducated Mums/Dads will ever knowingly buy an Xbox One.

Matt Lees summed up Sony’s appearance best.

BUT. (I like big BUT’s, I do not have the capacity to dissemble) Gaikai. Sony bought Gaikai. Backwards compatibility through Gaikai is not what I call backwards compatibility. It’s re-presenting old titles through a new streaming server-thin client service. NOT the same. And deeply worrying for if GaiKai were to take off Sony would have MORE control over their content than even Microsoft want. And you’d have LESS. Watch that space like a fucking hawk, people. Trust Sony at your peril.

Because Geek - Bullet Point

Plucky Scandinavian Web-Browser also-rans, Opera, recently revealed their bold new browser for desktops. We knew they were switching browser engines from their own long-developed ‘Presto’ to the open-source ‘webkit’ (and then followed Google towards webkit fork, Blink) but few could have predicted this would mean basically skinning Chrome with the Opera logo and some Opera design sensibilities. Long-time fans went nuclear. Every subsequent development release of Opera Next on their Desktop Team blog has been met with hundreds of aggrieved fans baying for blood and howling at the removal of, well, just about everything they ever liked about the Opera Browser. Opera themselves remain tight lipped about the browser’s future, to the frustration of just about everyone.

Personally, I quite like it. Opera 12.15 was, in my opinion, quite bloated. The browser had also long suffered from poor website compatibility, struggling to keep abreast of even the big sites like Facebook. Suddenly, all that is gone. But then, so have many of the things I actually loved about the browser. I jotted down some first impressions:

  • Clean
  • Quick
  • Smart design elements
  • Reassuringly site-compatible
  • Occasionally impressive
  • Mail client removed, thank god! Cause of waaay too many delays and crashes on my system.
  • Stash is a good idea. Me like.
  • No bookmarks? Freedom!
  • Where are all the features??? So much is missing!
  • Scrolling is terribly jerky
  • Chrome by any other name…yecch
  • No ‘Paste and Go’! ‘Tis the Dark ages once more!
  • Combine the search box with the address box but provide another HUGE search box on the Speed Dial page? Madness!
  • Discover tab is very conservative at present, not very many sources. Daily News Digest might be a better name.
  • No Bookmarks? Madness! Might cause trouble later, but they are working on some form of implementation, apparently.

Again, time will tell. I’ll be interested to see what makes it back in for the version 15 full release but I suspect we’re in for the long haul on this one now that Opera are basically starting from the drawing board again.

Because Geek - Bullet PointSuperman returns (lol) to our cinemas after Superman Returns failed to excite anyone except your mom. I have not yet seen “Man of Steel” so if anyone spoils it for me I will kill you. I know where you live…

Because Geek - Bullet Point

Everyone loves a big bang, especially when they go multiple.

Earth Rings. I’ve spent waaay too much time thinking abut stuff like this.

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…Is anyone else seeing the Opera logo? Tell me it’s not just me.

Because Geek - Bullet Point

I’d forgotten they were doing another 300 movie. Hunh. Not sure it needed a sequel…judge for yourself. Good to see Xerxes again, though. Although can it hold together without Gerard Butler?

Until Next Time…

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The Next Doctor Who Should Be Female

So, like millions of other bloggers around the world today I bring you news of Matt Smith’s announcement that he is to leave Doctor Who at the end of this year. I will be sad to see Matt go; I feel his potential was never quite achieved, for a variety of curmudgeonly reasons that I might harrumph at you in more detail at some point soon. Today, however, I want to twang my tuppence into the pot regarding the choice of actor to fill Matt’s shoes (size eleven? ho ho!). The bubble and froth over this issue has already started – in fact, these days it hardly ever seems to go completely away, simmering beneath most conversations about Who like molten magma. Personally, I tend to ignore these discussions beyond basic agreement/non-agreement – in almost all cases the BBC has historically chosen someone no-one else has considered, rendering these debates rather pointless – but in this instance I sense an opportunity for something new and potentially quite exciting to happen. What if the Doctor was to become female?

female-doctor-whoOkay, so this is not a new thought by any stretch of the imagination. In the game of “Who will play the next Doctor?” Bingo, this one occurs every time, along with calls for Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Laurie…etc, etc, ad nauseum. But I think the time is finally right for a change of this magnitude to happen. I honestly think the BBC should be giving serious thought to changing the gender of their Time Lord. Women are awesome and have always been capable of taking the lead in a flagship show like Doctor Who, but now I think the world is finally ready to see it happen.

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I have to admit I myself am a little prejudiced in this regard, and prejudiced against his changing ethnicity, but I believe only out of sheer inertia. After 50 years it’s very difficult to see the Doctor as anything other than a white male. He is so familiar to me, an old friend. A really old friend, haha. I’m used to him changing faces but he’s never changed pronoun. I’m trying not to use the phrase “It’s just who he is” because if there’s any character about whom that’s not true, it’s our  hero from Gallifrey, whose race seemingly has the power to become almost anything they so desire.

ku-xlargeSince the series’ return in 2005 it has worked quite hard to broaden people’s expectations and break with convention. It challenged established lore in terms of what regeneration can do; in The Doctor’s Wife, for instance, the Doctor reveals that “The Corsair” was a Time Lord who had swapped genders at least once during regeneration. A few episodes later, in Let’s Kill Hitler, we actually see Amy’s friend Mels swap her original ethnicity for a completely different one, regenerating into the fabulous Alex Kingston. In wider media, we’ve even had Time Lords change species (although these things aren’t usually canonical until seen on TV). Taking these facts into account it seems that our friend The Doctor has in fact been rather conservative in his approach to his own bodily metamorphoses.

Joanna Lumley, of course, played The Doctor in a spoof rendition of Doctor Who for BBC’s Comic Relief. Unfunny ‘jokes’ about breasts predictably ensued but lots of things about The Curse of Fatal Death were terrible so don’t let it spoil the idea of a female Doctor.

After a disappointing season of episodes, and a growing sense that the show is losing touch with its soul, I’m of the firm opinion that Doctor Who needs a serious ‘ground-up’ revamp, a return to the basics of storytelling that Moffat’s stewardship has seemingly chosen to ignore in favour of breathless action sequences and Hollywood style gloss.  In fact, there’s now scope to address some of the issues that “Nu-Who” introduced in 2005, things that have left many fans of the original series struggling to enjoy the show. Having a female Doctor would fit beautifully into that revamp, literally embodying the change. And think what this would mean for the legion of writers out there suddenly having such a fresh perspective to play with! Not to mention what it would mean for female fans of The Doctor to think that they could not just dress up like their favourite character but actually have a woman play the character on screen! After decades of being relegated to the Companion role, the eye-candy, the one who asks the stupid questions to make the Doctor seem more intelligent, how empowering to finally be able to BE The Doctor! In a world where women are standing up for themselves like never before I feel the time is finally right for a female Time Lord to take centre stage.

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The Doctor vs Bullying

Every now and then among the constant noise and chatter on Facebook you find something that really speaks to you. I just found this:

http://imgur.com/gallery/plJcF

I know, I know. It’s another Doctor Who themed post (sorry, I get stuck in happy fantasy ruts for a while – perfectly normal) but this one isn’t about the Doctor at all. It merely uses the show to emphasise sentiments expressed by this most wonderful of teachers as she confronts a bully in her class.

I was bullied at school, for quite a few years. I’m not unique in this, sadly. So this moved me in a very personal way. I wish I’d had someone like this who acted like this on my behalf when I was small and hurting and felt very alone in the world.  I have a friend who is a teacher now, who suffered some of the same bullying I did. He stops it wherever he sees it now. Because it stays with you. You adapt to it, of course. Time heals the wounds but the sensitivity remains. The lessons you learned remain. The pain and sadness you felt are only ever one amazing photo gallery away.

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield sings David Bowie

Somehow I missed this. Mr Hadfield, sir? You are a legend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KaOC9danxNo

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Disney, stop denigrating women

Disney’s portrayal of women is generally abysmal. Victorian values and reductionist gender concepts abound, smothered with saccharine sentiment all forcefully marketed at impressionable minds. It’s long past time women were represented as 3-dimensional beings, something Disney’s own movie, Brave, seemed to finally, finally, understand.

But no, when it comes to making money it seems the old sexist Disney is still very much alive. In the image below: to the left we have the Merida from the film. But on the Right is the new version of Merida that has been created for Disney’s ‘Princess’ line of merchandise.

Princess Merida before and after

Gone are Merida’s realism, pride and independent spirit. Now she’s just a doe-eyed, red-headed bimbo in the classical Disney Princess mould. As Guardian reporter, Ben Child,  wrote: “She now appears slimmer, older and somewhat sexualised, in comparison to the teenage tomboy from last year’s Oscar-winning animation.”

Just look at her waist. The dropped neckline. Even her hair has been subtly coiffed to appear flowing and perfect, not wild as it was in the film. And removing her bow? Of course. Ladies aren’t allowed to be defined by anything so uncouth.

 I dislike sexism intensely. I dislike Disney intensely. I dislike sexist Disney with the burning intensity of a thousand supernovae.

These crappy, out-dated attitudes have to die, Disney. Women in the 21st century should no longer have to endure being told that prettiness is their prime virtue, or that they should aspire to lives of refined indolence, mere adjuncts to male power fantasies. I don’t have children myself but were I blessed with girls they would definitely not be fed such inane tripe as you believe suitable. Change or die, basically.

A petition has been started to remind Disney that girls and women everywhere are growing tired of such damaging role models. Please consider signing it.

For a couple of examples of how women want to define themselves, look no further than this brilliant album of photographs by Jaime Moore, and the following fabulous image of a little girl playing at Voltron…

Voltron Girl

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Doctor Who Finale Leaked!

spoilers

Oh Dear God, the spoilers! Don’t worry – they’re not in this post! Read on without fear…(you’ll be given a free bag of fear to take out with you when you leave)

If you’re as sensitive to information flow as Doctor Who showrunner, Stephen Moffat – the man who last year successfully begged the UK media not to reveal new Companion Clara’s involvement in Asylum of the Daleks prior to the episode airing – then news that the Blu-Ray editions of Part Two of the still airing Series 7 have already been sent out to customers will probably have you making a face something like this one…

Rassilon dalton End of Timel

Thanks, Rassilon. Thrassilon.

As is being widely reported someone in the distribution chain over in America got a tiny wee bit ahead of themselves, sending the box-sets out before the last episode, The Name of the Doctor, has even premiered! (It’s due this Saturday, 18th May)

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Word is that the final episode has hit the Torrent sites out there but the BBC are apparently working hard to have them removed before any fans get slapped in the face by surprise pieces of plot lurking in their favourite social news sites. As an incentive to keep schtum, Mr Moffat has very generously offered up a piece of footage of Matt Smith and David Tennant from the anniversary special (to be shown later this year) to be shown directly after the episode when it airs. Whether that will be enough to stop nefarious types ruining it for everyone else remains to be seen…all I know is I’ll be sealing myself in a cardboard box and mailing myself to a remote Scottish Island. It’s the only way to be sure.

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