Predictions 2010: How I Met Your Mother

Thursday, Sep 23, 2010 11:45 am
William Barnes

[Warning: mild spoiler for season six premiere follows]

Season six opens with a wedding. We are meant, at the beginning of the episode, to think that it is Ted’s wedding. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Ted is merely the best man. The obvious inference is that this is Barney’s wedding; probably with Robin. This is far too simple.

I believe there are two possible solutions.

(1) Over the course of the season, we will be introduced to a new character and that character will become friends with Ted and get married; probably to Robin. This would be a let-down which is why I much prefer solution (2) This is Marshall and Lily’s wedding. Wait, what? But Marshall and Lily are already married, you say? You forget, they were married by Barney before the ceremony. I predict that Barney will learn that he was not actually authorized to perform the marriage or for some other reason, their marriage is void. This will happen shortly after Lily learns she is pregnant. Therefore, Marshall and Lily will have to have a second wedding before the baby is born out-of-wedlock.

What bothers me about Justin Bieber

Friday, Jul 23, 2010 11:41 am
William Barnes

It’s not the fact that he’s constantly a trending topic on Twitter or that half my followers have Bieber in their name (how do they find me?). Neither do I care that he beat Lady Gaga on YouTube. What bothers me is what I learned when I asked Google “who is justin bieber?” (I don’t capitalize my Google searches). This led me to Wikipedia and then to this:

In early 2007, when he was twelve, Bieber sang Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” for a local singing competition in Stratford and placed second. [Bieber’s mother,] Mallette posted a video of the performance on YouTube for their family and friends to see. She continued to upload videos of Bieber singing covers of various R&B songs, and Bieber’s popularity on the site grew. While searching for videos of a different singer, Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive of So So Def, clicked on one of Bieber’s videos by accident.12 Impressed, Braun tracked down the theater Bieber was performing in, located Bieber’s school, and finally contacted Mallette.

Presumably, the Stratford singing competition was held in a venue that was paying its licensing fees. But every YouTube video posted by Bieber’s mom was copyright infringement. Bieber should have been sued, instead he gets a record deal. This is a horrible mixed message in an era where parents are sued for posting videos of their kids at talent shows and videos of kids dancing to or singing popular songs are (at best) subject to DMCA takedowns.

Mixed messages like that are everywhere. Glee is particularly bad. Those kids are massive copyright infringers. Beyond all their performances of copyrighted material (including public performances) there is also the little issue of them posting a video of Sue singing “Let’s Get Physical” on YouTube. Instead of getting sued, Sue (heh) gets rewarded Bieber-style.

So that’s what bothers me about Bieber. He’s promoted as an example of how anybody, even you, can be discovered and become a star. But if you’re not star material, you’ll be sued.

So this physicist walks into a bar…

Thursday, Apr 8, 2010 5:29 pm
William Barnes

A physicist goes into a bar every week and orders himself a drink and also one for the empty stool beside him.

Eventually the bartender gets curious and asks why.

The physicist replies that quantum mechanics tells us that there is an infinitesimal possibility that the molecules in the air beside him will spontaneously turn into a beautiful woman who will accept the drink and fall in love with him.

The bartender says there are plenty of beautiful women in the bar, why doesn’t he just buy one of them a drink and maybe they’ll fall for him.

The physicist replies, “Sure, but what are the odds of that?”

(stolen from The Big Bang Theory, Season 2 which I totally recommend)

Making it easier to pirate

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 9:22 am
William Barnes

I stick by my belief that the business, legal, and ethical issues of piracy are all separate. But it truly is insane how companies insist on making it easier to pirate their product than pay for it (this would be the business issue). Last week, Activision released their newest game with “state-of-the-art” access controls. You are not able to play the (single player!) game unless you are logged into their authentication servers at all times. So, if your cable goes out: no offline gaming for you. You’re on a train or plane: no offline gaming for you. On the bright side, the pirates don’t get to play at all. Of course, within 24 hours this was broken (I am led to believe that the crack simply involved copying a file or folder from the DVD onto your hard drive…somebody’s getting fired) and within a week, the authentication servers had crashed leaving the people who bought the game unable to play it (while the pirates and people who broke the law and cracked the game could). All this access control, copy control, DRM stuff is simply bad business. Whether people are right to pirate or not, these practices are just going to drive more people to do it.

Anyhoo, I wrote all that to introduce this graphic that I stole from Geekologie:

[Disclaimer: I do not think piracy is legal or right, I just think that many media companies demonstrate what can only be called contempt for their paying customers.]

How Twilight will kill us all

Thursday, Oct 22, 2009 9:04 am
William Barnes

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There’s a nice post on Gawker dealing with the threat posed by masses of teenage girls kept in a constant state of anticipation and anxiety by the producers of Twilight. What will happen after the movie comes out and there is nothing to focus this energy or—and pray this doesn’t happen—what if the movie disappoints them?

A surprisingly tough question: what’s scarier, zombie horde or rioting teenage girls?

What Harry Potter stole from Twilight

Saturday, Jul 11, 2009 12:03 pm
William Barnes

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The complete lack of emotion or believable attraction. Harry’s not doing too bad (aside from looking like he was just punched in the stomach) but Ginny looks like she’s trying to win a staring contest or trying out for a role as a mannequin. In fact, I’d be ready to accept it if I were told that the real actress was busy the day of the photoshoot and they had to borrow a wax statue. Please, please, let the Harry and Ginny thing be more authentic than Bella and Edward. Honestly, had I not read the book, I never would have guessed that they liked each other. Bella just seemed bored.

Star Trek

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 3:10 pm
William Barnes

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I’m bothered by this poster. Something has always seemed off about it and I just realized what it is. Why isn’t Uhura (which apparently isn’t a word, what kind of geeks programmed my spell check?) facing the same way as everybody else? Perhaps it’s some sort of sex appeal thing. Maybe girls are more attractive or mysterious or something if they look over their shoulders. Or maybe she’s just not really into Star Trek and was about to run away when they took the picture (it’s actually a bunch of separate pictures that have been overlaid). While I’m on the topic, why does Shaun of the Dead look like he’s trying to set me on fire with his mind?

I saw the movie on Thursday. I didn’t know there were Thursday shows, but when I looked up the times for Wolverine (which was enjoyable but forgettable) I was shocked to see four shows on Thursday night. Yay! I was first in line… Really. Megan and I beat the two people who showed up in uniform. Thanks to the unadvertisedness (which also isn’t a word, darn you spell check) of the showing, the theatre was half full and I got my favourite seat. And I’m glad I did because the movie was spectacular.

I’ve given it a few days to sink in, because immediately afterwards I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about. It was exciting and funny and full of in-jokes (red shirt guy!). I liked all of the characters except maybe Uhura, she seemed kinda mean. That said, it didn’t really feel like a Star Trek movie and I still can’t quite figure out the reason. I think that partially it’s due to all the new actors playing characters I used to be familiar with. Also, in all the other movies the crew is already established. The dynamic is really different when they’re all just cadets and people think they’re better than Kirk. But I really did enjoy the movie, I don’t think it could have been any better (well, McCoy could have been played down a little bit). If they had tried to reboot the series with a movie that felt more Star Trek-y, I don’t think they would have succeeded. It would have felt forced.

I admit that at times I thought it was too convenient how the characters just bumped into each other, but then I realized: they must have met at some point. It only feels convenient because we already know it’s going to happen. We know Uhura is some kind of communications expert and that Chekhov is good at whatever it is that he does (which is not pronunciation, of course). Would we prefer it if the movie had devoted time to random throw-away characters to make it seem less convenient? I’m sure Kirk made plenty of friends at the Academy, but all I care about is how he met the bridge crew of the Enterprise.

I though the movie was very good. I’m seeing it again tonight. I have high hopes for the next instalment. Now that they’ve established the new characters and tricked some new people into liking Star Trek, they can sneak in some actual plot.