New Voyages

OK, so apparently some major Star Trek fans have gotten together and started continuing the original series, picking up “Season 4” where NBC left off in the 60’s. They’ve got two episodes out, and plan to continue releasing one episode per year.

I watched the first two episodes today. (You can download them for free). As you’d imagine, they’re not exactly the same caliber as the original series, but the second was better than the first, and the third episode is supposed to be excellent. (The original Sulu is coming back for that episode, which is coming out this Spring, and it’s going to be all about him.)

I think the biggest problem is the pacing/timing. It doesn’t quite feel right. Things seem to jump around or linger too long. The sets, costumes, and general aura are excellent, though. I’m sure the acting will improve as the actors get more used to their roles. The special effects could be better, but I’d rather have a good story and good acting than good special effects.

All in all, I want to love it, but I have to hold back a little bit, because it needs some time to work out the kinks. That said, I’m still excited, because this captures the spirit of the original series.

I’m ready to see the next episode.

UB Yesterday

Yesterday’s UB was excellent. It was a contemplative prayer service based somewhat on the Taize tradition. We sang a few songs (1 2 3) repetitively and had some prayer, responsive readings, and silence. The songs were very simple, and yet at the same time very deep and reverent. It was really nice to see the combination of the simple and yet profound, not like “La la la, I love Jesus.”

Come and fill our hearts with your peace. You alone O Lord are holy. Come and fill our hearts with your peace. Alleluia.

In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful, in the Lord, I will rejoice! Look to God, do not be afraid; lift up your voices, the Lord is near. Lift up your voices, the Lord is near.

The Lord is my light, my light and salvation; in God I trust, in God I trust.

Since that seems to be an indication of good things yet to come, I’ve decided to start recording the UB sessions. Here is my shell script:

#!/bin/bash
echo GetUB Script Go! Run Script Run!
cd /home/Justin/mplayer
echo Beginning capture
./mplayer -quiet -noframedrop -dumpfile ./UB`date –iso-8601`.rm -dumpstream rtsp://a1707.l1271037706.c12710.n.lr.akamaistream.net/live/D/1707/12710/v0001/reflector:37706 &
JOB=$!
bash -c “sleep 2700 ; kill $JOB && echo Capture timeout” &
wait $JOB
echo Capture complete
echo Beginning First Layer encoding
./mencoder -quiet -ffourcc DX50 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vpass=1 -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=32 -o ./UB`date –iso-8601`.avi ./UB`date –iso-8601`.rm
echo Beginning Second Layer encoding
./mencoder -quiet -ffourcc DX50 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vpass=2 -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=32 -o ./UB`date –iso-8601`.avi ./UB`date –iso-8601`.rm
echo Moving new file
mv UB`date –iso-8601`.avi ~/Desktop/University\ Bible/
echo All done!

The script is run by Windows Task Scheduler in Cygwin every Tue and Thur at 9:28, and seems to be working, but for some reason the sound tends to get scrambled after a while. It’s not as prominent when playing the original .rm through mplayer, but after encoding it’s horrible on any player. Oh well. Luckily, it usually doesn’t happen till about 35 minutes into the recording.

One More Thing

I forgot to mention the other really big thing over the break: I had my wisdom teeth pulled.

Yes, it’s true. The great and wise gourd you once knew is now long gone. Alas, his wisdom is no more.

The surgery wasn’t bad, and neither was the recovery. I didn’t swell up, and wasn’t in too much pain, although I have these huge sockets in my jaw that are taking forever to heal up. Anyways, that’s all. We go back to school tomorrow, and classes begin Monday.

Yay for Updates!

Welcome to 2006.

A Happy New Year to you all! What has the Gourd been up to, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Since Christmas I’ve mostly been sitting around reading book 11 of tWoT, but that’s finally done, so now I can have a life again. I’ve also been recording wedding music to be played while guests are seating and during the ceremony. For Christmas, I got some cool stuff including a soldering iron that heats and cool instantly, a nice sweater, a ton of gift cards, and some candies and other sundry items. Oh, and Ms. Grady and I got CatchPhrase as a wedding gift, and we’ve been having fun with that.

Honestly, my life hasn’t been too exciting since Christmas, but I felt like I owed a true update. I’m getting a private room next semester. My last roommate was a good guy, and we got along pretty well, but I really feel like I need a room to myself now, since it’s my last semester and I’ll probably be really busy with lab reports and other stuff like that. Not to mention that the 2nd floor was a nightmare. I’ll be back in good ol’ Club 303.

Since finishing Knife of Dreams — Which is very good, BTW. He tied off three major story lines at the end, which makes me think that he may actually finish the series in one more book… Nahhh. — I’ve been reading Brother Lawrence, who is also very good. I’ve also been studying the Japanese book Placke got me.

As far as new movies, I’ve seen The Island (good) and Serenity (GREAT). Kind of makes me wish I had seen Firefly. Serenity’s dialogue wasn’t always that great (it is Josh Whedon, after all), but everything else was excellent.

I think I’ve about run out of topics. Except that I’m EXTREMELY curious about GSM’s new Apple computer, and that he’s being EXTREMELY evil by not divulging information. Grrr…

Bye everybody!