Wednesday, December 30, 2015

SyFy New Years Marathon, 2015

Hold onto your hats, kids, as I reel off a post that has nothing whatsoever to do with my long-suffering attempts to launch my Twilight Zone podcast. Don't believe me? Read on...

I told myself I wasn't going to post about SyFy marathons anymore. It was getting redundant, and all I was really doing was bitching about the syndication edits, commercial breaks, and substandard (read sub-HD) image quality. I've had the Blu-ray sets for years, and before those, the wonderful Definitive DVD sets. Marathons on TV held no appeal for me.

And then this happened:

First of all, it's nice to see TZ represented on SyFy's main splash screen. Second of all--- EVERY. EPISODE. EVER. Wait, what?  Okay, I've gotta admit, that's pretty awesome. There's been some murmurs online that all 156 episodes will be presented in high definition for the first time. I can neither confirm nor deny this, as it hasn't started yet. It seems to me that anything airing on SyFy would be HD, since it's been an HD channel for several years now, but I dunno. Anyway---- here's the schedule:

Wednesday, December 30th

7:00 PM: Where is Everybody?
7:30 PM: One For The Angels
8:00 PM: Mr. Denton on Doomsday
8:30 PM: The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine
9:00 PM: Walking Distance
9:30 PM: Escape Clause
10:00 PM: The Lonely
10:30 PM: Time Enough at Last
11:00 PM: Perchance to Dream
11:30 PM: Judgment Night

Thursday, December 31st

12:00 AM: And When the Sky Was Opened
12:30 AM: What You Need
1:00 AM: The Four of Us are Dying
1:30 AM: Third From The Sun
2:00 AM: I Shot an Arrow Into the Air
2:30 AM: The Hitch-Hiker
3:00 AM: The Fever
3:30 AM: The Last Flight
4:00 AM: The Purple Testament
4:30 AM: Elegy
5:00 AM: Mirror Image
5:30 AM: The Monsters are Due on Maple Street
6:00 AM: A World of Difference
6:30 AM: Long Live Walter Jameson
7:00 AM People Are Alike All Over
7:30: AM: Execution
8:00 AM: The Big Tall Wish
8:30 AM: A Nice Place to Visit
9:00 AM: Nightmare as a Child
9:30 AM: A Stop at Willoughby
10:00 AM: The Chaser
10:30 AM: A Passage for Trumpet
11:00 AM: Mr. Bevis
11:30 AM: The After Hours
12:00 PM: The Mighty Casey
12:30 PM: A World Of His Own
1:00 PM: King Nine Will Not Return
1:30 PM: The Man in the Bottle
2:00 PM: Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room
2:30 PM: A Thing About Machines
3:00 PM: The Howling Man
3:30 PM: Eye of the Beholder
4:00 PM: Nick of Time
4:30 PM: The Lateness of the Hour
5:00 PM: The Trouble with Templeton
5:30 PM: A Most Unusual Camera
6:00 PM: The Night of the Meek
6:30 PM: Dust
7:00 PM: Back There
7:30 PM: The Whole Truth

8:00pm - 10:00PM WWE Smackdown
               (I knew televised wrestling was fiction, but science fiction?)

10:00 PM: The Invaders
10:30 PM: A Penny for Your Thoughts
11:00 PM: Twenty Two
11:30 PM: The Odyssey of Flight 33

Friday, January 1st

12:00 AM: Mr Dingle, the Strong
12:30 AM: Static
1:00 AM: The Prime Mover
1:30 AM: Long Distance Call
2:00 AM: A Hundred Yards Over The Rim
2:30 AM: The Rip Van Winkle Caper
3:00 AM: The Silence
3:30 AM: Shadow Play
4:00 AM: The Mind and the Matter
4:30 AM: Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
5:00 AM: The Obsolete Man
5:30 AM: Two
6:00 AM: The Arrival
6:30 AM: The Shelter
7:00 AM: The Passersby
7:30 AM: A Game of Pool
8:00 AM: The Mirror
8:30 AM: The Grave
9:00 AM: It’s a Good Life
9:30 AM: Death’s Head Revisited
10:00 AM: The Midnight Sun
10:30 AM: Still Valley
11:00 AM: The Jungle
11:30 AM: Once Upon a Time
12:00 PM: Five Characters In Search of an Exit
12:30 PM: A Quality of Mercy
1:00 PM: Nothing In The Dark
1:30 PM: One More Pallbearer
2:00 PM: Dead Man’s Shoes
2:30 PM: The Hunt
3:00 PM: Showdown With Rance McGrew
3:30 PM: Kick the Can
4:00 PM: A Piano In The House
4:30 PM: The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank
5:00 PM: To Serve Man
5:30 PM: The Fugitive
6:00 PM: Little Girl Lost
6:30 PM: Person or Persons Unknown
7:00 PM: The Little People
7:30 PM: Four O'Clock
8:00 PM: Hocus-Pocus and Frisby
8:30 PM: The Trade-Ins
9:00 PM: The Gift
9:30 PM: The Dummy
10:00 PM: Young Man’s Fancy
10:30 PM: I Sing the Body Electric
11:00 PM: Cavender Is Coming
11:30 PM: The Changing of the Guard

Saturday, January 2nd

12:00 AM: In His Image
1:00 AM: The Thirty-Fathom Grave
2:00 AM: Valley of the Shadow
3:00 AM: He’s Alive
4:00 AM: Mute
5:00 AM: Death Ship
6:00 AM: Jess-Belle
7:00 AM: Miniature
8:00 AM: Printer’s Devil
9:00 AM: No Time Like the Past
10:00 AM: The Parallel
11:00 AM: I Dream of Genie
12:00 PM: The New Exhibit
1:00 PM: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville
2:00 PM: The Incredible World of Horace Ford
3:00 PM: On Thursday We Leave for Home
4:00 PM: Passage on the Lady Anne
5:00 PM: The Bard
6:00 PM: In Praise of Pip
6:30 PM: Steel
7:00 PM: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
7:30 PM: A Kind of Stopwatch
8:00 PM: The Last Night of a Jockey
8:30 PM: Living Doll
9:00 PM: The Old Man in the Cave
9:30 PM: Uncle Simon
10:00 PM: Probe 7, Over and Out
10:30 PM: The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms
11:00 PM: A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain
11:30 PM: Ninety Years Without Slumbering

Sunday, January 3rd

12:00 AM: Ring-a-Ding Girl
12:30 AM: You Drive
1:00 AM: The Long Morrow
1:30 AM: The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross
2:00 AM: Number 12 Looks Just Like You
2:30 AM: Black Leather Jackets
3:00 AM: Night Call
3:30 AM: From Agnes With Love
4:00 AM: Spur of the Moment
4:30 AM: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
5:00 AM: Queen of the Nile
5:30 AM: What’s in the Box
6:00 AM: The Masks
6:30 AM: I Am the Night, Color Me Black
7:00 AM: Sounds and Silences
7:30 AM: Caesar and Me
8:00 AM: The Jeopardy Room
8:30 AM: Stopover in a Quiet Town
9:00 AM: The Encounter
9:30 AM: Mr. Garrity and the Graves
10:00 AM: The Brain Center at Whipple’s
10:30 AM: Come Wander With Me
11:00 AM: The Fear
11:30 PM: The Bewitchin’ Pool

I could've linked each episode to its corresponding blog entry, but Jesus, that's a lot of work... especially when the entire series is being aired. So... well, I didn't. Look over at the right edge and you'll find every single episode in (more or less) alphabetical order if you wanna dig deeper.

So this is pretty goddamned historic. Has the entire series' run (even the rare "lost" episodes) ever been aired in one big sequential chunk like this? All my misgivings about TZ on TV remain, but I can't deny the coolness on display here. Well played, SyFy, well played.  Now if only this were happening on a premium (i.e. commercial-free) channel... but hey, for $7.99 a month you can subscribe to Netflix, which currently streams all but the fourth season in commercial-free HD. Okay, maybe I'm being a bit snarky. The Facebook fans have been counting down the days until the marathon kicks off, so clearly there's an audience for this, even among owners of the DVD and Blu-ray sets. I must admit, I've set my DVR to record a few episodes to see how good they look and how complete they are.

The marathon is immediately followed by an airing of Star Trek: Generations, which I've always enjoyed despite the haters out there. You know who you are. Twilight Zone: The Movie might've made more sense, but alas. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Hey gang.

So the original plan was to launch the podcast in late September or early October. For a variety of reasons, this was pushed back to early January. My intent was to record lots of content in advance, so I’d never miss deadlines and therefore always get a weekly show out. After many delays (some of them admittedly my fault), my plan was to spend most of December banging out episodes for a three-day multi-episode January 2nd launch. Emphasis on was.

Long-time followers of my blog may remember that my laptop died a couple of years ago, a traumatic loss that threatened my ability to continue the blog. Workflow adjustments and the sprucing up of my old desktop PC resolved those issues. I’ve never replaced the laptop, mostly because I can’t afford to, but also because I haven’t really needed to: my tablet/Bluetooth keyboard combo works well enough for most of my usual laptop tasks, save for three: image editing (Photoshop), video editing (Adobe Premiere) and multi-track recording/editing (Adobe Audition). These processor-intensive applications were relegated to the aforementioned spruced-up desktop PC which handled the tasks (and more) effectively and reliably. Her name was MainBrain. Emphasis on was.

Three nights ago she basically imploded. I don’t know how else to put it. I pretty religiously use antivirus and anti-malware tools, so I don’t think anything nefarious happened… the old girl was just… well, old. I’ve had her for 10 years, and she was heavily used for most of that time (she became the general-purpose family PC when I switched to the laptop). That’s not a bad run for an electronic device in an age in which things aren’t designed to last. I was actually hoping to replace her in the next year or so, but I didn’t think she’d die on me before I got the chance.

It may sound silly, but that computer meant a great deal to me. I got her when we finished building my home office in 2005. I launched my blog with her. I edited hours and hours of videos of my kids with her. I captured countless screenshots and created countless memes with her. When I refurbished her in 2013, it was like being reunited with an old friend. Laugh if you want, but losing her hurts. A lot. I feel like I’ve lost a limb.

But… she’s just a thing, right? A tool. And broken tools can be replaced, right? Of course they can. I’ll have another computer, newer and faster and more powerful, at some point when money isn’t so tight (it’s Christmastime, after all, plus we’ve had some unexpected expenses come up that will affect us for the next several months). So I know this isn’t a permanent setback… but it’s most definitely a setback. I don’t have a computer now, which means I have no way to record and edit the podcast.
Like I said, I can’t afford a new computer, nor can I afford to have MainBrain fixed (and given her age and relatively modest specs by 2015 standards, that money would probably be better spent on a replacement anyway). This means that the early January launch isn’t happening, and right now I have no idea whatsoever when it will.

I tried to figure out a way to pull it off using other equipment in my arsenal. The aforementioned tablet seemed like the best possibility, but I haven’t found an app that does what I need it to do. My MainBrain setup could produce near-studio quality audio, and quality is something that’s really important to me (I refuse to put out a subpar podcast). It’s ironic--- bitterly so--- that I have all this great recording equipment thanks to the Kickstarter campaign… but it’s all useless without a computer at the center.

Ugh. Just ugh. I’m at a loss as I write this. I had such high hopes for this project, and despite the various setbacks I’ve experienced, I was still determined to get this thing launched….but it appears the universe has other ideas.