No Enemies In Science

Snarky remarks have been made about my recent cat-related blog postings. Awfully sorry to whine about friends dying around me. And on my own personal blog. How selfish of me.

Here’s a little change of pace. Let’s talk about global warming.

A few months ago, I worked on a radio adaptation of John Campbell’s classic short story “Who Goes There?” Most people remember it as The Thing From Another World and The Thing. I set the script in the modern day, which referred to a frozen island that was now a mile further away from the coast of Antarctica than it had been a year before the story began.

I was never sure how controversial that little snippet of backstory was — within the cast or the audience. There were questions about some other science bits, but not that.

This afternoon I stumbled on a news item. Here are three articles:

Antarctic ice shelf ‘hanging by thread’: European scientists

Antarctica’s Wilkins Ice Shelf eroding at an unforeseen pace

Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration Underscores a Warming World

Here in the fact-based world, the Wilkins Ice Shelf didn’t lose one or two measly square miles. It lost 160 square miles.

And the audience at the live show thought we were scary. Sleep tight, kiddies.


Yeah, I know. It’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to get back to the dreaded blog thing, only to be undermined by circumstance. The modem is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Anyway, I’ve been saving up several things to post here. I might rush through ’em a bit, so keep up:

We’ve made a lot of progress since we last met; some of it, of a dubious nature. (Ooh! Cryptic. That’ll keep him in their seats for another second….)

All the roles were cast at the end of April, and we’ve had two rehearsal sessions. And at each one, we were short one actor. The first time, I guess one guy got tied up with work and schedules and things. I don’t think he deliberately flaked. He was sufficiently apologetic when he joined the second rehearsal, so I didn’t glare at him too hard. On that rehearsal, I knew we were going to be short one actress, so I was ready for that.

Either way, all our local actors haven’t had a single rehearsal together, as a unit. A moment while I mumble and get the frustration out of my system….

On the bright side, the performances have been fantastic. The actors we got are wonderful. On the second rehearsal, we got yet another actress sign on to play a bit part and fill in, basically a glorified understudy and utility infielder. But the minute I heard her, I really wished I had a bigger role for her. She ran some lines for our missing Assistant DA who goes mad in this ep, and delivered an impish, bloodthirsty psychopathy. Man, she knocked everyone’s socks off.

Frankly I was tempted to sack the lady I’d originally cast. But that actress put up with some of my rantings on things almost totally unrelated to AH during her audition, even as her allergies were kicking. If nothing else, I keep her in the role by way of thanks and politeness. I couldn’t live with myself if I screwed someone over for my own profit.

Screwing someone over because they’re jerks, I can do….

Anyway, AH now enters an awkward phase. Our studio date has gotten pushed back to June 28, so we have to sweat through the next five or six weeks. Jamie and I are trying to put together a few pick-up rehearsal sessions for any castmembers. She’s combing through dates and e-mails, looking for times where more than two actors are going to be at the same place at the same time. It’ll keep them focused and it’ll give our sound engineer a chance to get a feel for the voices and performances.

Oh great, now he shows up. He never made it to any of the other rehearsals. We made damn sure he was in the loop for those, too.

I suppose now I’ll have to show how adaptable and quick-thinking we are. If I knew there was gonna be a pop-quiz, I’d have cut to the chase and just flunked.

Monkey’s Audio
Goofy name, amazing tech. Monkey’s Audio is audio compression freeware. I tried it a while ago, wasn’t thrilled with the results, but I think it’s improved a lot.

It doesn’t always compress audio as tightly as MP3 or Ogg Vorbis, but it has one advantage over them. It’s loss-free compression. It doesn’t shave data off the original sound to conserve space. You lose neither quality nor data. Not only is it great for archiving, but it sounds exactly the same compressed as uncompressed. You can save hard drive space and keep the original sound quality.

Anyone who knows me for more than a few days knows I’m a music junkie. I listen to MP3’s made from my CD collection while I work, but if I know a certain song by heart, it doesn’t sound right in that format. The music’s been changed. That little bass thump at the start of the third chorus feels wrong. Stuff like that. Monkey’s Audio has provided a handy compromise.

I just hope iPods can read it….

Beware of Trojans Bearing Crap
Lastly, I’ve had the ignominous pleasure of working all day yesterday to get a stupid virus off my computer. This time, there was no pimply-faced sex-starved script kiddie behind it. It was from a corporate entity. Yahoo/Geocities. You can find a brief description of it here: Boycott Yahoo/Geocities

On the bright side, I was able to beat the little bugger and get it off my system. I’d downloaded five or six different anti-trojan programs that day. Only one did the trick: The Cleaner by MooSoft.

Blogging tools
Well, can’t get much more self-referential than that. For the last month or so, I’ve been using a blogging client that lets me access my hideous manifestation of net-presence with a double-click and nothing more. It’s called w.bloggar. Very nice. And freeware.

Frequent readers of this blog (all four of you) will notice the changes I’ve made to the look of the ol’ blog here. w.bloggar made it easier, but what made this change a real breeze was StrangeBanana. It’s a webpage that randomly generates new styles suitable for any blog. Refresh the page and you get a whole new look. If you like it, copy it.

Hence, Dark Karma get a face lift and my lazy little teeny-weeny brain didn’t have to crunch nearly as much code as it first a-feared. As for whether the new look sucks….