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Monthly Archives: November 2006


Vaccinated-SnipGot my travel immunizations taken care of. I made sure to get immunized for Cambodia and Laos, as well as Thailand, since I’m still not sure where I’ll be going and I don’t want to limit my options. I am now resistant to Polio, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B. Malaria will follow. For a healthy person like myself, nothing quite brings home the power of modern medicine like laying down a hundred bucks and getting vaccinated against an array of the last century’s most virulent killers.

For some reason, it makes me think of a video game powerup. Finally, with my Typhoid shield, I can get past the Cambodia level!

The doctor also told me I didn’t need to get treated for rabies, but helpfully suggested that I avoid getting scratched or bitten by any rabid animals in southeast Asia. I was relieved to find out I didn’t need that one — death by rabies is very high up on my list of desirable deaths. It may sound morbid to rate causes of death, but I feel if you don’t make an effort to plan these things, you’ll just end up dying anyway, but from some lame disease like cancer. And let’s face it, “Eric… isn’t he the one that died of rabies?” is actually a pretty great way to be remembered. Plus, Edgar Allen Poe died that way.

self-portraits, as halloween

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“And They Have a Plan…”

Bsg-SnipSo I’ve started watching the “re-imagined” (and made-in-Vancouver) Battlestar Galactica the past couple of weekends, after having it recommended to me so many times that I was starting to feel like the last geek on the planet to get hooked on it. And I have to say, based on the miniseries/pilot and the first half-dozen episodes on the first season, it is not just good, but shockingly good.

I was kind of expecting a science-fiction series that was good in the way Firefly was — an original universe with interesting characters and strong writing. And sure, it has all those. But the really interesting thing — the thing that really impressed me — isn’t that. It’s that the show lives up to the oft-claimed, seldom-witnessed ability of science fiction to act as social commentary.

Once day, there will be a TV series that deals directly with 9/11 and its aftermath, but by the time it happens, our perceptions will be colored by history, like all those Vietnam War movies made in the 1980s. Battlestar Galactica is about the anxieties of living in the aughts, albeit given a lot of sci-fi twists and shakes. In 10 years it will seem dated and perhaps ridiculous, but right now, when a possibly-commandeered passenger ship seems set on a collision course with the Galactica, or the Cylons talk about God with the earnestness of Christian fundamentalists, or when Apollo holds his gun to a rebel’s head and offers him his choice of democracy or a bullet — it has real power. And it doesn’t hurt that the acting, photography and special effects are all more cinematic than small-screen.

Not to mention, the very second episode opens with the near-complete annihilation of humanity, and ends with the death of most of the survivors. Now, putting something that dark on TV is bold. Making that your very first story arc, instead of the backstory — that takes balls.

Now, that’s not to say it’s perfect — I mean, it’s TV. It’s pretty unsubtle, and halfway through the first season, some episodes have already felt filler-ish. And the weird mixture of c. 2005 technology and politics, and technofantasy space opera makes the world seem jarringly schizoid sometimes.

But still: you can count me among the hooked.