Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Odds and Ends

Because I am a Sucker I purchased the first issue of J. Michael Straczynski's new Silver Surfer book. I won't be buying another. I mean, it's not necessarily a bad story, unless by chance you've ever read another Silver Surfer comic book. The plot hinges on the kind of revelation that seems dramatic until you realize that it flies in the face of forty years of established history. I mean, sure, the Surfer can get sick under his skin, yeah, that makes sense, except that, no, it doesn't, not in the least. The Surfer can't get sick under his skin. He is his skin. He can change his skin or alter his body as he sees fit, as he's done any number of times. He can even remove the skin so that it looks like he's flesh-and-blood (he's done that a few times over the years). He's even been chopped up into little bitty bits and pieces, only to be put back together again, a la Humpty Dumpty. I mean, the whole concept hinges on the idea that there is something ineffably mortal underneath the Surfers silver exterior - and it's been established time and again that there just isn't, not unless he chooses there to be. The whole business makes about as much as sense as, say, revealing that Spider-Man got his powers from an eons-old Spider-Spirit or that the Fantastic Fours powers were not the result of a random accident but deliberate extraterrestrial interference or that Doctor Strange is really just Neo from The Matrix...

Oh, wait.

How about telling a story that doesn't involve directly contradicting essential elements of characters' origins? Maybe have, I don't know, the Silver Surfer fight Mephisto, or Spider-Man foil Kraven the Hunter's latest scheme. I know, what a concept.

I had the chance this weekend to spend some time toying with one of the new Apple TV devices at a friend's house. I have to say that it is probably the least competent computer peripheral I have ever seen in my entire life. As much as my iPod and my five-year-old iMac laptop are streamlined, accessable and well-conceived, the Apple TV is not... It's hard to start, hard to use, incapable of doing a number of tasks which the device is probably expected to do, it doesn't have an off switch, it only plays iTunes friendly media (unless you want to crack the case and solder some shit). Yeah, it's a pitiful piece of crap wrapped in an attractive iCase. Makes me wonder if the iPhone will live up to the hype, or whether it too will be dogged by poor design and ill-functioning applications.

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