Archive for April, 2006

“Smallville” – S is for Stale

You sir, are no Bertha Mason!*sigh* Why do I watch this show?

I can't even remember when it first started airing, but I must've been able to smell the high crap factor and stayed far away. Yet another WB show overflowing with white people, overage actors playing teens and Top 40 music edited in with a hammer, bleating out clumsy commentary for a derivative script. The few times I tuned in, it seemed to be striving for some mix of Buffy and X-Files: weird phenomena and taut young flesh. Just another day in high school.

It's too bad. I'm a sucker for well-known stories/mythologies told from unexpected and alternate points of view: reading about Bertha Mason, Jane Eyre's mad woman in the attic, in Wide Sargasso Sea was the first time I realized how this approach can illuminate subterranean veins of meaning. Even the dimmest critical analysis (hi!) could begin to unearth it. Couple this with the fact that the most memorable scenes for me from the Superman movie were Clark discovering his powers as an adolescent, racing to beat the train on his way to school. This is exactly the period of his life that "Smallville" is set in.

But it had to take previews of Clark flying (season 4?), or appearances by Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg to finally pull me in. I began watching, hoping the writers had worked out the kinks in character development; that the new mythology they were constructing was beginning to connect more intricately and intelligently with what was already there.

Sort of. Not really. So far this season, in just about every episode, Clark has been whimpering about "his secret" being discovered. It's his excuse for cowardice, fear and celibacy. A clear connection is being drawn between this tragic teenage fate and the reality the Clark Kent we all know must live with: a failed romance with Lana Lang, Lex Luthor his nemesis, and Lois Lane his future love interest. (What's with all the L names? I just noticed that.) But it's all so, well, lame.

I've ceased to care about any of the characters, and find myself wishing for those moments from the movie, when I was in the place of that kid, watching a young man through the window pace and outstrip the train I was on. Running so fast, my parents missed him by the time I called them over to see. That same exhilaration that another superhero movie, Spiderman, didn't tap into until the very last scene: webslinging gracefully across the skyline, heart in throat, the camera swooping behind and around to catch up. I just hope the writers for "Smallville" don't wait until the last scenes of the series to get us there.

The theme song has it right: "Somebody save me."

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Map – Vegan Seattle

I just learned about this tool yesterday: Wayfaring.com. Very similar to Frappr, which seems to be more well-known/more used in the blogs I read.

I've been trying to figure out how to use Frappr at work, but had some reservations about the UI, how it asked you to sign up with your email before you could add anything to a map and other stuff. Though I love the concept of collaborative mapping and tools that help to visualize and build communities online.

Wayfaring, for whatever reason, seemed more appealing to me after only a brief glimpse. I jumped in immediately to create a map for my sister, who's coming for a month long visit in May. All the points of interest within walking distance.

Below is a map I found of vegan places in Seattle. Once you create a free account with Wayfaring, you can add your own sites. [I just noticed, how is this account requirement different from Frappr? Hmmm, interesting how my adoption of certain tools has just as much to do with a certain inscrutable threshold of resistence as it does with my intitial evaluation of usefulness. I.e. sometimes I'm just not ready, for no real reason, to start using a new tool.]

Anyway, I'll take a closer look at Frappr and Wayfaring more closely now. Both seem to have neat features the other lacks, so it'll be an online mapping community smackdown.

Vegan Seattle

Apparently iframes are evil and WordPress.com doesn't allow them. The above is just a screenshot of the actual map.

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Time Saving Keystroke: Cmd-`

OK, so just about all of us know that hitting Cmd-Tab allows us to cycle through all of our open applications in OSX, right class? Great way to jump back and forth between applications without having to move your hand away from the keyboard, in addition to quitting and hiding them too.

Well get this. I recently learned an even cooler keystroke from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (get thee to the sidebar for this and more cool links). How did I manage to use my computer for four years without knowing this?

Hitting Cmd-` (the key right above Tab on most keyboards) allows you to cycle through documents within the current application. 

So having a bunch docs in Word is no longer such a bother to sift through, even with Exposé. This is one of those deceptively simple timesavers that makes all the difference in my workflow now, and that I have a hard time imagining living without. 

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