This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

"Walking Dead" - Good, or Great? (Good.)

Posted by: James Lileks under Outstate, Praise, Technology Updated: March 4, 2013 - 12:36 PM

Holding up well during the horrors of the March blizzard, I hope. Forecasts show that the snow will continue to fall, until it stops.

TV ”The Walking Dead” is beating network shows. Why? It’s good; it has characters whose fates seem important; the premise is simple and stark. It’s not great television, though. It’s gripping; it’s addictive. As much as I’ve enjoyed this season, I think Season 2 was better. You can’t deny it’s settled into a pattern: Unexpected death of favorite character! Other characters have left. Some new characters come in. Other characters return. Then another character leaves. Meanwhile, the Governor is crazy, but in a quiet fashion, unlike Rick’s bug-eyed decline.

In the NYT, David Carr writes about the show’s success, and notes:

In fairness, “The Walking Dead” would have never made it to network prime time in all of its gory glory because of broadcast standards. Not long ago, I was wedged in the back of an airplane and took solace by catching up on Season 3 on my iPad. The guy next to me was sawing into some meat of unknown agency and looked over at my screen, where a pack of zombies were lustily feasting on human innards. “Really, dude?” he asked. “Zombies?”

I don’t know what that means. Was the other guy's remark about the propriety of watching a zombie movie during mealtime? Maybe. Is someone who sys “really, dude?” unaware of “The Walking Dead”? Unlikely. And I don’t know what “meat of unknown agency” means. Meat cannot have agency. Origin, provenance, yes, but agency?

 

 

 

SCIENCE! I love headlines like this. They make up for the lack of huge spinning space stations with Howard Johnson restaurants and moon bases: NASA's Dawn spacecraft to leave giant asteroid Vesta for dwarf planet.

Back in the private sector, Space X had a successful dock with the ISS.

 

  

Look at the control room:

 

No computers. Just screens.

It has four dislikes, by the way. Who would dislike this? I mean, who takes the time and effort to indicate disapproval of a video of a privately-owned spacecraft soaring above the planet and docking with a space station? There’s only one excuse, and that’s envy, and Zefram Cochrane hasn’t been born yet. 

ART Spielberg + Kubrick - Burgess = TV. Grantland says:

Having recently been denied a third Oscar for Best Director, Steven Spielberg may instead be focusing on racking up a perhaps-less-prestigious fourth Outstanding Miniseries Emmy (after Band of Brothers, The Pacific, and, um, Taken). To do so, he's once again partnering with the late Stanley Kubrick, whose 1961 script for a film about Napoleon will be the basis for an upcoming Spielberg adaptation.

Odd. Just a week ago Letters of Note printed the letter Kubrick wrote to Burgess, telling him that his script was unusable. (Wouldn't be the last time; Burgess was also asked to write the script for a remake of - yes - "When Worlds Collide." As with his Napoleon script, he recycled it into a novel.) Kubrick had written his own version, but tossed it; here’s the 1969 revision.

The Russian disaster, foreshadowed? 

 

DESIGN Not an Onion headline: The Vatican Commits Design Cardinal Sin, Releases Photo Book In ‘Comic Sans. ' That they did.

And I saw something else, too. Anyone with a glancing interest in fonts and design sees it. Comic Sans and Papyrus. Sigh.

 

WEB If that complaint seems too petty and meaningless, well, consider that there are too many birds on the wall for John Hodgman.

 

GEEK Uh oh. This doesn’t sound good. Two guys chatting about the new SimCity:

People are abandoning my city. I got hit by a meteor. It burned down a ton of buildings. Game over man. Game over.

WTF, a zombie attack. How the **** do I solve that? My population just got halved by a ******* zombie attack.

And because there's no save games, I can't go back in time to try a different route.

It’s depressing. That’s right, no save games. It’s online all the time, syncing with the cloud. Great detail. Tiny cities. Tiny. I’ve been with this game from the start. Since this:

 

 

I didn’t play the last one much, for reasons I can’t recall. Probably because cheating was discouraged. See, I don’t want to play the game. I want to design cities. I don’t want to have my plans thwarted by the algorithms that determine success or failure. I just want to build a city. In the second version of the game, you could cheat like crazy, and build great cities with free money. The only peculiar aspect of the game: when an area declined, residents and property owners apparently tore down the good-looking buildings and erected structures that were smaller, and falling apart.

Probably won’t happen in the new one, and yes, I’ll play it; already pre-ordered. However: the idea that I might build a nice city, only to have it struck by a meteor, and I can’t reload a saved version? This isn’t how people want to play the game.

But it’s never been about how you want to play it, really. It’s about how they want you to play it. So there. Take it or leave it.

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