Posted by: Mark | October 10, 2017

Old Betta Report

Here’s the numbers from Saturday night’s betta report:

7 male crowntail
5 female veiltail
5 male doubletail
5 male deltatail
4 baby girl
4 male butterfly
3 baby boy
3 male bumblebee
3 male halfmoon
3 male halfmoon plakat
3 male koi
3 male rose petal
2 male king
2 female crowntail
2 male dragonscale
2 male halfmoon doubletail
2 male halfmoon doubletail plakat
2 male paradise
1 female koi
1 male veiltail

62 tubs and no deaths.

Posted by: Mark | October 9, 2017

Hills Like White Elephants

The second class was rough. During the discussion of Hemingway’s “Hills like White Elephants,” a student said, “It was about an abortion? I thought it was a boob job.”

In fairness, the title would make a lot more sense.

Posted by: Mark | October 8, 2017


A while back I saw this worm dangling from a tree. It was partially covered with leaves and twigs. I’d seen worms like this but never knew what they were.

Apparently they are bagworms, caterpillars that make their cocoons from outside material. Not as pretty as butterflies and moths but it must work.

Posted by: Mark | October 7, 2017

Betta Report (Sort Of)

I cleaned 62 betta tubs tonight with the most common demographic being seven male crowntails. Nine died. I wrote down the rest but left it at the store.

I guess no great loss.

Posted by: Mark | October 7, 2017

Resolution Update 42

Another bad week but it looks like things are getting better.

1. Run 730 miles – Nothing this week – 454.4 miles overall.

2. 5,000 push ups and 8,000 leg lifts –1,729 push ups and 1,877 leg lifts. Nothing again.

3. Lose weight – Didn’t weigh in.

4. Support 24 local artists – still two. Nothing.

5. 42 manuscript submissions – 30 submissions.

6. Write 40,000 words and five new stories – 37,068 words and six completed stories.

7. Read all the New Testament – Complete.

8. Read The Nature of Things — Complete.

9. Finish Finnegan’s Wake – Complete.

10. 300 blog posts – this is 212. 88 to go.

11. Read The Song of Roland — Complete.

12. Read The Poem of El Cid – Complete.

13. Read Dante’s Paradise – Complete.

14. Read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym – Complete.

15. Read 100 Years of Solitude – Complete.

16. Read The Odyssey – Book 15 of 24.

Posted by: Mark | October 6, 2017

Top 100 Science Fiction Movies, Part 3

The final entry on IGN’s 100 Top science fiction films.


Starship Troopers. I know it’s been branded as satire but it never really clicked with me. Roger Ebert felt the same way. It did have the shower scene in its favor.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Devilboy watches this every few weeks. Maybe it’s the endless repetition but it doesn’t hold up like it used to.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This one is even worse after 800 viewings. “Double dumbass on you” never gets old but the rest suffers. (The first movie is just painful and the sixth comes off as more of a parody than Galaxy Quest. I can’t be in the room with the fifth. For some reason, he never watches the third.)

Star Wars. Nerds rage that this should be “A New Hope.” I saw it when it was just Star Wars. Needless to say, there was no question of who shot first.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What no Rogue One? 


Terminator. This was the first rated R movie that I bought the ticket for myself. The movie was pretty good too.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The sequel was as good as the original. The subsequent sequels not so much.

The Abyss. Good effects, not a whole lot else that I remember.

The Andromeda Strain.  This had the priest from Cheers. The story was like a rejected script from the original Star Trek. Not bad but I wouldn’t put it in a top 100 list.

The Day the Earth Stood. I  guess I saw this too late in life. It was good but I never saw it as the classic that others do.

The Empire Strikes Back. I didn’t like it so much at the time (my cousins gave away all the spoilers) but it’s aged well.

The Fifth Element. Weird but I liked it.

The Fly. Both the original and the remake work for me. I saw the two original sequels and the remake sequel. The second original sequel had guinea pigs with human feet.

The Fountain

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I know it was on when I was in the room but I never paid much attention.

The Iron Giant. This is one of my favorites. I have always meant to read the book but never have.

The Last Starfighter. I saw this in a double feature with Conan the Destroyer.  It was one of the first movies I saw that used CGI. That took a while to catch on.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Martian.

The Matrix. I only saw the first sequel. That kinda killed it for me.

The Omega Man.  All of Charlton Heston’s science fiction movies run together for me. I read the book I am Legend and this adaptation wasn’t as good as the Vincent Price version but better than the one with Will Smith.

The Thing.  I liked both versions but the remake sticks with me more. The effects and the ending set it apart.

The War of the Worlds. I hated the remake but the original was good. It gave the world the name “Dr. Clayton Forrester.” It wasn’t close to the book but it reflects the 50s mindset.

THX 1138. I have the DVD. It’s weird but gave the world “VHX” and “1138.”

Time After Time. At first I thought this was Somewhere in Time which I liked but it’s the H.G.Wells vs. Jack the Ripper. I actually read the novel which I liked more than the movie. Would not have made my top 100.

Total Recall.  Fun and goofy but again I wouldn’t put it in the top 100. Of the Philip K. Dick films on the list, this is the weakest. I read the Piers Anthony novelization of the adaptation of PKD’s original story.

Videodrome. From what I remember, this is straight horror. Sure, it dealt with electronics but so did Wes Craven’s Shocker. Granted it’s been over 30 years since I saw it. I remember the nudity, the gore, and a guy named Harlan.

Wall-E. Why isn’t Up considered science fiction? It’s got the dog collar translators. That’s as SF as Videodrome. I liked Wall-E  but it’s not the best of Pixar.

WarGames. I didn’t dislike this but wouldn’t classify it as science fiction.

Westworld. I  just watched this again this weekend. It holds up well despite being very 70s in narrative structure, hair style, and sound effects. In the 70s, bullets sounded like they ricocheted against metal even if shot straight in the air.

When Worlds Collide. I saw the Mystery Science Theater version but not this one.

Posted by: Mark | October 5, 2017

The Most Beautiful Movie

Devilboy described Batman : Mask of the Phantasm as “The most beautiful movie I ever seen.”

Well, it did have Abe Vigoda.

Posted by: Mark | October 3, 2017

Betta Report

Betta reports are never very important and this one is even less so than usual. Still I want a record of the Bettas health so here it is:

7 female veiltail
7 male crowntail
6 male doubletail
5 male deltatail
4 baby girl
4 male butterfly
3 baby boy
3 male bumblebee
3 male veiltail
3 male halfmoon
3 male halfmoon plakat
3 male king
3 male rose petal
2 female crowntail
2 male dragonscale
2 male halfmoon doubletail
2 male halfmoon doubletail plakat
2 male koi
2 male paradise
1 female koi

67 in all. No change since the last report except for one male king. At least none died.

Posted by: Mark | October 2, 2017

First Class

I’m back teaching literature and composition. It’s easier than philosophy but I notice more when I mess up. I forgot to bring Finnegans Wake to class tonight like I usually do. I finally read the damn thing and I’m too dumb to remember it.

I did remember to show the Danny Boy scene from Miller’s Crossing. Once again, I think I enjoyed it more than they did.

Posted by: Mark | October 1, 2017

Top 100 Science Fiction Movies, Part 2

Second part of the IGN’s list of the 100 best science fiction movies.

Flight of the Navigator. Man, this was a goofy movie. I liked it but wouldn’t put it on this list.

Forbidden Planet. Leslie Nielson before he got silly. This always seemed like Star Trek 0.

Frankenstein.  I saw this my freshman year of college and have rewatched it a few times since. I would classify it as horror but it’s got the elements of science fiction.

Galaxy Quest. I have a hard time sitting through any of the Star trek movies but this still holds up.

Gattaca I only saw it once but enjoyed it. Probably should watch it again.

Ghost in the Shell.

Godzilla. Like Rocky movies, the sequels make the original seem sillier.

Gravity. Devilboy begged for this for Christmas and watched it once. I wouldn’t put it in the top 100.




Independence Day. Things blew up good.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The original was good and the first remake was better. The ones since haven’t looked worth watching.

Jurassic Park.  I like the dinosaurs. I hated the truck in the tree.

Logan’s Run. Very disco. Of the pre-Star Wars, at least  this was memorable. Some parts were goofy but I still see its influence today.


Metropolis. It has been years since I’ve seen it. My kids have watched a goofy anime version that I can’t block from my memory.

Minority Report.  The cars seem even more unlikely than the flying cars in a Blade Runner. I liked the movie and I think I saw the complete run of the TV spinoff.

Modern Times. I’ve seen more silent movies than 99%of the population but I wouldn’t consider it science fiction.

Moon.  Another movie that I liked more than I expected. Unlike most movies, it never slacked off from beginning to end.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. I love the series, new and old, but the movie was the weakest part of the franchise. I liked it but it was no Manos.

Never Let Me Go.

Pi. I’m not sure if I’d classify this as science fiction but I don’t know what would be more appropriate. Good movie.

Pitch Black

Planet of the Apes. The original definitely beats the remake. I saw all the sequels of the original but not the newer than new version.

Predator. I saw this in the theater and about a thousand times on HBO. Not the greatest movie but fun.

Primer This was like the cinematic equivalent of a math word problem. Some people might hate it but it gave a sense of accomplishment to figure it out.

Robocop. Again, the original beats the remake. I probably saw this a hundred times but not since college.

Scanners. When I was in high school, I saw part of it. Them heads blew up good.

Serenity. The tv show was better but this gave the show a sense of closure.

Silent Running. The robots were goofy and a lot of it was corny but I liked it.

Sleeper. I was never a big fan of Woody Allen but this was pretty funny.


Soylent Green. Another of the pre-Star Wars science fiction movies. Not very realistic but memorable.


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