Podcast: Volcanicast for the week ending 06 October 2007

VolcanicastIf you’ve ever gazed into the night sky pondering the mysteries of the universe and wondering whether man’s presence in that great expansive void is due to sheer chance and lucky scientific coincidence or the guiding hand of an all-seeing, all-knowing overbeing, the Volcanicast isn’t going to do jack to help you. On the other hand, if you’ve ever gazed into the liquid crystal display of your laptop and wondered what the hell people are searching for on The Google, Volcanicast is right up your shallow alley!

This week’s topics: The Cleveland Indians ally with Canada to defeat the damn Yankees, Big Moe is a Big Jerk, Sputnik is golden, when backslashes roamed the Earth, fun with fifth graders and uh-oh! Friday is your day in the barrel!

TVstuff: Return of Fall Season 2007

It’s been a couple of weeks and I have (in theory) had a chance to watch many of the shows I was looking forward to in early September.

Doctor Who. I think the season may have wrapped up, but I could be wrong. There are a couple of episodes waiting for me on the TiVo but I haven’t gotten around to watching them yet.

Who Wants to Be a Superhero? Hoo, boy. Five episodes on the TiVo and watching them is feeling more and more like a chore, so I think I’m just going to delete them and move on. The first episode of the second season was way too much like the latter half of the first season for me, so I’m inclined to ditch this turkey.

Eureka continues to be the best show on SciFi. Excellent premise, awesome cast, decent special effects and consistently entertaining scientific blunders make it an enjoyable experience all around.

Torchwood. Yeah. I watched the first episode and it totally failed to grab me, so I didn’t even bother setting up a season pass. Sorry, John Wheelbarrow fans, I’m not joining your ranks anytime soon.

iCarly. I haven’t watched any more of this show. Really.

Journeyman started off with an excellent premiere; maybe a bit slow right at the beginning, but sticking through the entire episode was well worth it. There was a very nice twist in the last third of the show that goes a long way to distancing Journeyman from Quantum Leap, a comparison that everyone (including me) was making in advance of the premiere.

Bionic Woman wasn’t too bad. I’m still a little worried about whether Michelle Ryan has enough presence to carry the show and the first fight sequence felt a bit herky-jerky to me—not to mention way off balance; Sarah (Katee Sackhoff) should have handily kicked Jamie’s (Michelle Ryan) ass up and down those rooftops—but I’ll stick with it a couple more episodes to see what happens.

Moonlight. I haven’t watched the premiere yet, and as of last night there should be a second episode waiting for me. More to come.

Reaper was pretty good. The interplay between Sam (Andrew Airlie) and Sock (Tyler Labine) is a little too Kevin Smith for my taste (it felt an awful lot like Dante and Randall in Clerks) but I did enjoy Ray Wise as the devil and there was a nice Ghostbusters flavor to the final battle with the arsonist whose soul had escaped from Hell.

Heroes. I should really watch this; I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off.

Podcast: Volcanicast for the week ending 29 September 2007

VolcanicastAh, yes, it’s another episode of the show that delves into the murky depths of Google trends and presents the hottest search terms for the past seven days. This week: reality TV, reality TV and more reality TV, Kenya again, Brazilian models without freckles, and your nose (it always knows!).

Volcanicast is for mature audiences, and I mean it this time. Seriously, it’s the most offensive episode ever.

Sitestuff: Theme work in progress.

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I spent a good deal of time this weekend fiddling around with the Sandbox theme from plaintxt.org. Plaintxt.org is the brainchild of Scott Wallick, and he describes it as “[m]inimalism in blogging: an experiment out of control”. In the two and a half years since I installed WordPress, I’ve used at least three of Scott’s plaintxt.org themes: Barthelme, plaintxtBlog and now Sandbox.

Where Barthelme and plaintxtBlog are both fully developed from a visual standpoint, Sandbox is more like a blank slate upon which a design can be built; think of it as an unfrosted cake ready for anything your imagination (and your skill with a tube of colored frosting) can throw at it.

If you’re familiar with the old look of the site, it might appear that all I’ve done is shift the left sidebar over to the right, and there’s good reason for that: my goal was to, in essence, recreate the basic look of Brian Gardner’s Blue Zinfandel theme, but with two right-hand sidebars instead of one on either side of the main column. Ultimately, the changes to the design will be significant enough to fully distinguish it from Brian’sI’ll start by designing my own post-separator graphic., but I thought it would be interesting to see if I could mimic at least part of his crisp, clean look using Sandbox as a base.

I’m pretty pleased with the outcome so far. There are areas that still need work (the far right sidebar has a tendency to drop out of place when viewing a single post with Internet Explorer, for example), but the basic look is coming together nicely. I’ve had one person tell me they’re not a fan of the dual sidebars on the right-hand side, but I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon.

As always, I encourage anyone with an opinion on the design to share it with me in the comments. I know that the archives and library pages are a mess right now, and I’ll post an update when I’ve fixed them, but if you see anything else that seems out of place, needs improvement, or is just plain ugly, let me know.