Monday various

  • Fringe wasn’t originally meant to have alternate universes. I am not even a little surprised by this. It’s only when the show settled on the alternate universe storyline, when it started having an ongoing plot that wasn’t based in creatures-of-the-week, that it went from being one of the worst science fiction shows on the air to being one of the best. (I highly recommend io9’s primer to anyone looking to get into the show for the first time. There’s a lot early on you can, and will probably want to, miss.)
  • In case you missed it, the best New York Times correction ever. [via]
  • Genevieve Valentine on suspension of disbelief (particularly in the movie In Time:

    If your movie is super high concept, and I decide to see it, I have probably, to some degree, already accepted the concept, you know? “Everyone in the future has a puppy surgically grafted to their chests.” Okay, fine, I promise not to spend a lot of the movie going, “Surgically grafting a puppy to your chest is a weird thing for a person to do.” I will, however, question every piece of outerwear that does not have a dog-head flap in it, or any moment in your movie where a character is like, “Well, now my dog has grown too big for my chest cavity and medical science didn’t allow for that in the many generations we have been living with these grafted puppies, so now it’s too late for me, you go on!” Because that is worldbuilding, and that you need to do. And the higher the concept is, the more work you need to do. (Moon, for example, requires little. Dark City requires more.

  • See also: Why fiction’s freest genres need its most rigid rules:

    In these genres, the fundamental realities of a world can be anything imaginable: There can be wizards, or dragons, or intergalactic spaceships, or time travel, or dragon-wizards in time-traveling intergalactic spaceships. Nothing can be assumed. Which makes it mighty easy for authors to cheat by changing the rules whenever it’s convenient to the plot: “Oh, did I not mention that dragon-wizard time-travel spaceships are sentient and can crossbreed to produce baby spaceships? Well, they can.”

  • And finally, Writers are Like Porn Stars. There, that ought to bring in some more comment spam. (SFW — it’s another io9 link — though the image is maybe a little risque for the workplace.)

Wednesday various

The sword of self-knowledge

“Sever the ignorant doubt in your heart with the sword of self-knowledge.”

That’s what my fortune cookie said this evening, anyway. A quick search suggests it’s from the Bhagavad Gita, which seems an odd and unexpected source of fortune-cookie wisdom, but it is a nice sentiment nevertheless.

It ties in a little weirdly with a movie I watched this evening, the Korean film Mother, where the title character twice suggests acupuncture to “loosen the knots in your heart and clear all the horrible memories from your mind.” It was a weirder movie overall than I expected…though, having seen Joon-ho Bong’s previous film, The Host, maybe I should have expected that. They’re very different movies — Mother has no giant monsters crawling from the Seoul River and attacking people, for instance — but they’re both a little off-kilter. It’s an interesting movie, about the lengths a mother will go to prove her son’s innocence, but it was ultimately a lot stranger than I bargained for.

Other than that, the day was spent not doing too much. We had a redo of last Saturday‘s attempt to get the car inspected. This morning, my father and I encountered no strange traffic, no police cars blocking roads, nobody else at the garage to get the last of the inspection stickers. It went off without a hitch.

I can’t say the same for my attempt to buy eyeglasses this afternoon. Two weeks ago, I went with my mother to a discount frames warehouse her boss had recommended, and I made an appointment with their optometrist. The appointment itself went well, and my prescription hasn’t really changed. It hasn’t changed at all in the right eye in over a decade, which is where I have the astigmatism. (The left eye changes, mostly, just as it tries to compensate.) The optometrist asked me how long I’ve been wearing glasses, and she wasn’t at all surprised when I told her it’s been since I was about two or three. She said that, usually, when she sees an astigmatism like mine, the person with it has a lazy eye. Which, if my mother hadn’t thought to take me to the eye doctor when I was young — mostly because I was her first child and she worried, not because I had any symptoms — is something I’d probably have.

Something I definitely don’t have — and check out that seamless segue there — are new eyeglasses. Unfortunately, my prescription is beyond their capabilities, too thick or too high or too something to be done by them. So unfortunately I’ll need to have it filled elsewhere. I don’t desperately need new glasses, so I’m going to hold off until I can find somewhere with relatively low prices. The last time I bought new frames was a year or two ago, and both of them snapped in less than a year. Then one of the replacement pairs snapped. So I’m looking to find something that’s a cross between decent quality and decent price.

I’ll just have to keep my eyes open, no pun intended.

I read a little more slush for Kaleidotrope, though stories keep coming in. I was really glad to re-open to submissions in January, but I’m just as happy to be closing to them again tomorrow. I’ll re-open again in January of 2011, and I think I’ll keep the same reading period, more or less, going forward.

And I’ve been using the kneeling chair a little more. The padding on this one isn’t all that great — I guess you get what you pay for — so it’s a little unforgiving on my shins. I don’t know that my back feels any better for it overall, but sitting in it does seem to cause less discomfort than sitting in a regular chair. At least in my lower back. My shins, as I said, are kind of taking a beating.

And that’s it, really, for Saturday.