Treat? Anybody?
Posted in General
First watch, 5 bells (10:39 pm)

We had all of five knocks on our door this evening, despite having all the lights on, carved punkins lit up on the steps, and a big bowl of candy ready to hand out. What a disappointment.

On the fun side, we watched the first six episodes of Soul Eater, a Japanese anime. It was pretty good.

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Cinematic Titanic News!
Forenoon watch, 3 bells (9:44 am)

Joel Hodgson of Cinematic Titanic (and MST3K) fame just posted news about a redo of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (see the IMDB entry here). This is the first "re-riff" of a movie since the local-access only Season 0 of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Promising totally new jokes and an in-time-for-the-holidays release (Nov 20 2008), this one is gonna be great!

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The Rebel Set
Posted in Reviews
Last dog watch, 3 bells (7:59 pm)

I had a really bad night's sleep last night—my brain just wouldn't shut off and I spent most of the night awake in bed. So I took the day off work (I've been a serious code monkey lately), and napped most of the day. I did, however, have time to watch The Rebel Set. I recognized the main bad guy immediately as the chief from "Get Smart", a show I saw a lot on television when I was young.

Anyway, this was probably one of the most coherent movies MST3K had done up to this point. The script wasn't terrible, the acting semi-okay, and the filming wasn't terrible. The story was good, the plot moved well. All in all, I was a bit surprised it made it into the MST3K bucket.

Basically it's about some beatniks that are approached by "Mr. T" (no, not the A-Team Mr. T) for a one-time job in Chicago, which will net them $200k each. Back in 1959, when this movie was made, I'm sure that would be over a million in today's money. So they board a train to New York from Los Angeles, where they live. The train has a three-hour layover in Chicago, where they meet Mr. T, who apparently drove to Chicago, do the job, then hop back on the train at the last moment. Mr. T also boards the train this time, and begins killing off the beatniks until the last guy catches on to what's happening and rats everything to the police.

I give this movie 136 empty seats one for each episode of Get Smart that Mr. T played the Chief.

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Attack of the The Eye Creatures
Posted in Reviews
First watch, 2 bells (9:05 pm)

No, it's not a typo: Attack of the the Eye Creatures was titled on screen with two the's. This was certainly a very bad scifi movie. You could see the zipper on the alien eye creature costume. They didn't have a big enough budget for the creature suits, so some of the creatures had black clothes and sneakers on with just alien head and hands. The night scenes kept switching between day and night, it was really distracting.

When two teenagers accidentally hit a creature while driving with their lights off, they try to tell the police that there's an alien running around. Meanwhile, the military was already tracking the UFO (when it's goofball radar guys weren't using the technology to spy on teen make-out sessions, anyway), and when they try to open up the saucer it self-destructs. The rest of the aliens are killed by bright lights.

I give this movie dozens of empty seats for the poor continuity and the fact that "they just didn't care."

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Crash of Moons
Posted in Reviews
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:47 pm)

I just finished Crash of Moons, the "long-awaited" sequel to Manhunt in Space. Full of more "space" things, (like a space anchor, this movie wasn't very good. It certainly had a lot of take-off and landing scenes where little model rockets spat out sparks from their engines. This one also had space lighting when two moons came closer and closer together. And there was a lot of smoky clouds in space around the moons, too. Apparently this is another one of those scifi movies that was stitched together from an even older TV show, which I guess explains some of the broken-up feeling of the movie. Anyway, I give this movie one class first-name seat, for Hollingsworth Morse, the Director of both films.

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The Beatniks
Posted in Reviews
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:46 pm)

I've really got some catching up to do. Yesterday I watched The Beatniks, another 1960's teen idol singing movie about a "beatnik" that makes it good when his singing talent is discovered. The problem is he just can't seem to leave his old life and friends behind. This movie stank, and I'll probably never watch it again because of how bad it sucked, not to mention how utterly boring it was. If it wasn't for Joel and the 'bots, I'd have never made it through. I give this movie all empty seats, because nobody should have to watch it.

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Happy Birthday, Lorien!
Posted in Warm and Fuzzy
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:25 am)

Today is my wife's birthday. I have to backdate this post because I forgot to post it 🙁 I'll be better about it next time, I swear!

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Tormented
Posted in Reviews
Morning watch, 7 bells (7:52 am)

I watched Tormented the other day, but neglected to write my review right away, so here goes.

Tormented is a black and white Bert I. Gordon movie about a jazz musician that is getting married to a girl on an island, but is visited by an old girlfriend. While talking to her, she falls off the top of the lighthouse, and he withholds his help that would have saved her life because she threatened to reveal his past to the "new girl" or something along those lines. I'm not sure which island they're supposed to be on, but it seemed like it was off the East coast of the US. Anyway, the old girlfriend starts to haunt the jazz musician, but nobody else sees or hears her. The haunting drives him crazy enough that eventually he dies as well, at which point the movie ends. Sure there's a lot more plot to it, and this is probably the darkest MST3K show so far, but that's enough to get the point across.

I give this movie one haunted empty seat for being so dark.

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What’s For Breakfast?
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:14 am)

The ultimate breakfast item:

Voodoo Doughnuts' Maple Bacon Bar

Incidentally, this is also why I have scurvy 🙂

Seriously, though, my brother and sister drove up from Portland last night and they brought me some Voodoo Doughnut goodness. Apparently Voodoo's NyQuil and Aspirin doughnuts are "on hold" due to some stupid health code somewhere…

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Manhunt in Space
Posted in Reviews
First watch, 6 bells (11:08 pm)

I just finished Manhunt in Space, a terrifically terrible 50's space movie. Specifically, I don't know what the "manhunt" part is about! Aside from a group of "space pirates" hiding on an unknown planet, there isn't much of a manhunt going on. Basically, the pirates are raiding cargo ships and leaving them derelict, so a ship is sent out to find out what's going on. The special effects may have been good in the 1950s, but I doubt it. The airlock handle clearly doesn't turn when they "open" the door, they just move their hands around it.

Anyway, the good guys come up with "cold light", the opposite of a mirage on a hot day, which causes items it surrounds (like a space ship) to disappear from the visible light spectrum. The pirates want this technology, but are thwarted despite having an inside man.

I give this movie twelve empty seats—one for each year it will take me to forget this movie.

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No RenFair
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:07 pm)

Lorien left for Houston this morning. She'll be down there until Monday night. She was going to hit some RenFair down there, but apparently that's canceled now. I was hoping she'd get to go (so was she—it was one of the main reasons she wanted to go in the first place), I wanted her to get me a picture of a wench on a cell phone to go with my ninja on a cell phone and pirate on a cell phone pictures.

Anachronism. Ha!

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Linking Error
Posted in Code
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:31 pm)

I just solved an annoying linking error in Linux. I have a program I'm writing that has two subdirectories in its source directory, and inside those two directories, two static libraries are built. In the parent directory, all objects are built fine, and everything's shiny until it tries to link the final binary, when I get all these undefined reference to `class::class()`, etc. The constructor, destructor, and other functions seem to have disappeared when I link the library to the main application!

Using nm I can see that the library has those symbols defined! What's going on?

Turns out it was a problem with my Makefile where I set up the linking. I was adding the link path and libraries before the object files of the parent directory. I didn't think there was a problem with this as long as everything was on the same command line. Well it looks like I was wrong. When I changed my linking from

g++ -o program_name -Lpath1 -Lpath2 -lstaticlib1 -lstaticlib2 object1.o object2.o ...

to

g++ -o program_name object1.o object2.o ... -Lpath1 -Lpath2 -lstaticlib1 -lstaticlib2

everything worked perfectly! Sheesh, picky linker!

PS Technically I'm using Makefile variables, so it's easier to read. The actual line looks like this:
$(CC) -o program_name $(OBJ) $(LINK)
but I expanded them for clarity.

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Happy Birthday, MUD! And Mom!
Posted in Warm and Fuzzy
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:28 am)

According to Richard Bartle, today is MUD's 30th birthday! Today is also my mom's birthday!

I started playing different MUDs years ago, and they took up way too much of my time. But I really did love playing, and my time on various servers inspired me to start writing my own. And someday I'll finish that project, but for now I pay homage to the ancestor of online, virtual worlds that has inspired so many other projects as well as my own. You should read the whole post about MUD's birthday, it has interesting history and lots of Richard's own observations about why such a thing isn't really celebrated, or really even talked about very much.

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Hercules and the Captive Women
Posted in Reviews
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:13 pm)

Last night I watched Hercules and the Captive Women, the promised last of the MST3K Hercules movies. This movie was disturbingly bad, but it did have a midget in it. Despite its title, this movie only has one captive woman, whom Hercules rescues from an evil, shape-changing wizard that embedded her into a rock. He takes her back to her home island of Atlantis, where her mother decrees her death once more and attempts to seduce Herc.

In the end, Hercules destroys the evil rock that give Atlantis its power, which causes it to erupt lava, explode, and sink into the sea. The murdering of the entire population doesn't seem to bother him in the least. The best lines were when they referred to the blood of Uranus—hehe.

I give this movie thousands of empty seats for the civilian casualties of Hercules' destruction of an entire island civilization.

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The Magic Sword
Posted in Reviews
First watch, 6 bells (11:19 pm)

I just finished watching The Magic Sword, starring Basil Rathbone in what I'm sure must have been one of his more embarassing movies.

Anyway, it's about an orphan prince raised by an immortal witch foster-mother who falls in love with a princess because he's been using a magic pond to spy on her while she bathed. A wizard kidnaps her, and the king promises her rescuer her hand in marriage and half his kingdom. The young hero tricks his foster mother and seals her in a trap while he steals his birthday presents (a magic horse, a magic sword and armor, and six magic knights) she prepared for his 21st birthday. He uses these items to help pass the six curses protecting the wizard's castle from intruders, but on threat from the wizard, his foster mother dispels the magic from his presents. When he arrives he is caught in a trap, but escapes with the help of miniature people that have no other part in the plot, then he attempts to face a large, two-headed fire-breathing dragon, but its tentacle slaps his horse over and it leaves. Just as he's about to succumb to the dragon's tentacle, his foster mother returns the magic to his sword, he walks up to the dragon and stabs it once, it dies, he rescues the princess, and lives happily ever after. Even his six knights are brought back from the dead for the wedding ceremony.

I give this movie four empty seats, to represent the two two-headed monsters in the movie, plus a bonus, fifth empty seat for co-starring a chimpanzee. Monkeys FTW!

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