Archive for the ‘FYI’ Category

After abandoning broadcast television in favor of re-watching DVDs of beloved shows from the past, spoilers became a non-issue for many years.

When I began to want variety and branched out to DVDs of series I hadn’t seen, I found myself in uncharted territory. My previous experience following a new show on the Internet involved waiting after each airing for some industrious fan to write and post recaps, reviews, etc. Now, extensive episode guides are already available online… and I need them more than ever, because I usually watch with my family, and we tend to miss critical exposition because one of us is talking.

The big disadvantage — as you may have guessed from the theme of this entry — is spoilers. Of course, I know to avoid common sources, such as summaries and commentary for episodes I haven’t seen. But I’ve found spoilers lurking where I never suspected, to the extent that viewing an entire series unspoiled is proving to be quite a challenge.

If you, too, are discovering a show after its original run, be aware that spoilers can pop up in seemingly innocuous places:

  • Fanfiction. When I’m concerned about spoilage, I diligently avoid fanfiction for the topic in question. Fanfic writers are often inspired by key events, and synopses of the fics can be very revealing: “This scene takes place after Jojo’s death at the hands of Zulu.”
  • Fan videos. The montage could contain pivotal scenes, such as the main guy character proposing to the main girl character.
  • Facebook. A double threat, not only from friends’ comments, but also since Facebook might recognize the series as one of my interests and supply commercials for the current season — even though I’m several seasons behind.
  • Overambitious “wiki” episode recaps. In an effort to be thorough, they cross reference to future events: “We see Susie again in season four when we learn she has a long-lost sister.” Even their link designations can share too much. For example, I knew a character’s amnesia wouldn’t last long when my options included, “For the character briefly known as Jezebel, click here.”
  • Google image search. I was looking for a screencap of a fight between three characters, and displayed among the search results was a fan-made graphic of one of them, captioned with “R.I.P.” and the year.
  • Actor biographies. The dossier could reveal the character’s exit or return by providing appearances by year, season, or specific episodes.
  • Articles about the stars. A photo of a smiling couple is captioned “Sylvia out on the town with her TV husband.” But — d’oh! — their characters’ marriage is a very recent development. Hope all of that website’s viewers are caught up on their TiVo!
  • The main page of major news websites. If I watched Game of Thrones, it would be maddening that so many “news headlines” rehash the happenings of the latest episode. (No doubt those sites aim to up their link count using GoT‘s popularity.) Even if they warn of plot talk, very often there’s a telling screencap with the headline.
  • Amazon product reviews. I was about to place an order, and the featured review began with, “This was my least favorite of all the seasons.” Maybe that’s not a true spoiler, but such a verdict might predispose me to dislike it before even I’ve seen the first episode.
  • DVD covers for later seasons. When a would-be cliffhanger has a main character in jeopardy, I’m anything but on edge: “No worries. They’re still pictured with the cast for the final season.” (Okay, I confess. I actually like this bit of foreknowledge. My life’s hard enough without having to fear for the safety of my fave characters!)
  • Episode descriptions on DVD packages. Having written similar summaries myself, I understand how tough it can be to strike a balance between providing details for those who are looking for a specific scene, and ruining key surprises for the rest of us. As a public service to DVD Blurb Writers, here are two examples that, IMHO, land solidly in the latter category:
    (1) “After a failed battle with Xolor…” If the opening scene is a battle, we know how that will end. :thumbsdown:
    (2) “The team falls victim to a smooth-talking con man, and Sam must save the day.” … manages to give away the entire episode in one sentence! :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
  • Forums about other shows. Curious to know what fans of Program A had to say, I ventured to read one short thread, and I spent the next several seasons dreading the series finale of Program B because of one of the comments. Happily, in said finale, the plot twist that commenter condemned played out extremely well, in my opinion. Even more happily, I learned that exposure to TMI doesn’t necessarily negate any future enjoyment… although I’d still prefer not to take any chances.

With my eyes now opened to the plight of the “spoiler-phobic,” I realize that I need to post warnings with the episode information at my various websites. In the meantime, remember that, when it comes to having your viewing surprises spoiled, the only safe search is NO search!

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website plans for 2017

Posted: February 4, 2017 in FYI, review, siteupdates

Another February, another so-called maintenance weekend!

Actually, since I accomplished the re-do of the eclectic website layout last year, I’ve already been doing a bit of “maintenance,” such as:
* assessing my real-life belongings, decluttering, and rearranging to optimize storage options
* restructuring my computer files to better outline upcoming projects
* going through the contents of my work computer, purging my personal items in anticipation of finding another job 😉

As part of the aforementioned restructuring, I tried to realistically plan and prioritize my ever-growing list of to do’s, including defining my website goals for this year:
1) Add photos from missing years (2014 thru 2016) to the photolog.
http://www.neloo.com/chezanne/index.html

2) Write and then add information for the next episode (“Gunz ‘N Boyz”) to the MacGyver episode guide.
http://www.rusted-crush.com/macgyver/maceps.html

3) Continue to watch and then type my comments about season two of The Young Riders episodes. Although I generally keep these write-ups simple (a list of points instead of working my thoughts into whole paragraphs), I’m still not specifying a number of episodes to complete this year. I don’t need that kind of pressure. 😛
http://www.neloo.com/fannesite/yr1s2.html

4) Do links checks at the fan websites. Usually I do this as part of changing the layout, but since each layout is now years in the making, with many links checks long overdue, my aim is to put a dent in that this year.

That may seem like a short list for a year’s worth of projects, but as I said, I’m being realistic. My free time is very limited, plus there are always other distractions, as I’ve described here:
http://www.rusted-crush.com/eclectic/todos.html

P.S. As of this year, my on-going maintenance has been made slightly easier, because I no longer run the “official” Jack Bristow fanlisting. In late 2016, while I was involved in finishing the eclectic redo, I neglected to update the JB fl, and TheFanlistings.org happened to check and found “inactivity.” I’m sure they emailed to warn me, but the address they have for me is one I no longer use (whoopsie!), and so I never got the message. Ah, well. :shrug: The last fan joined in July of 2012; for that reason, I did not reapply to be reinstated. Plus, while I have been glad for it to be the Jack Bristow fanlisting … for the last 15(!) years…  it will *awesome* to not have to update that site every two months to keep some “signs of life.”

how to play all music on your computer

Posted: January 21, 2017 in FYI, Music

Previously, while using Windows Media Player, I’ve noticed that after I play a CD, it gives me the option to play all music.

I have a lot of music, and so this has proven to be a nice feature: it keeps playing (instead of me having to select a new set when the current set finishes), and since it picks from different folders, I get to hear an assortment of genres. It’s kind of like commercial-free radio that plays songs I know like. 😀

But recently, when my CD drive was broken, I searched on-line for a way to replicate this Play All feature. Alas, I couldn’t find one that didn’t involve categorizing each song, etc.

Also, in the search results, I didn’t see the Play-a-CD option, so I thought I’d post this FYI here:

1) I play a CD.
2) I have Windows Media Player on “Now Playing” (not “Library”).
3) I leave that WMP box open as the CD finishes. When I eject the CD, WMP offers the Play All Music option.

And I usually take it. 😉

new layout for eclectic – done!

Posted: November 26, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

The website re-do that I mentioned way back in April is – finally – done!

http://www.rusted-crush.com/eclectic/index.html

new layout for eclectic

Posted: April 16, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

I have accomplished much on the new eclectic layout, but applying it to the site will not be finished (or, um, started) by April 18, as I ambitiously planned. However, if I am correctly estimating the amount of work left to be done, I believe a more realistic goal is to finalize and post the layout by the end of this year.

Barring any sudden need/inspiration to redesign, the layout is 95% complete. Below is a sneak peek, with the banner I started with plus the final (?) result.

zyecl2016

 

a “normal” plot bunny

Posted: July 11, 2015 in etcetera, FYI
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In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Normal Again,” Buffy wakes up in a mental institution. All of the monsters and fighting the undead? It was all in her head, merely part of a delusion she was trapped in for months, while she was really just a normal young woman with a normal life. Of course, the delusion was a delusion orchestrated by her enemies in an effort to defeat her.

For a while, I’ve been thinking this premise would make a great fanfiction, and it would work for fics based on a variety of TV shows, especially for a spy or an action-adventurer.

I’ve thought of it specifically for MacGyver: on some sort of mission, he is knocked unconscious, wakes up in the hospital. After the preliminary letting-him-know-what-happened, someone says, “Your wife has been waiting for you.” Of course, he’s all, “My wha…?” They proceed to fill in all the details of his so-called Real Life, but – as with Buffy – it’s just a ruse by his enemies to try to trick him into revealing some information.

bean bag toss game

Posted: November 25, 2014 in etcetera, FYI

Materials used:
* a square wood board that I found in our barn, approx. 3feet x 3feet x 1inch thick for stability (in case the wind was strong)
* thin plastic plates from the Dollar Tree (1 pack of 8 plates (9″, I think))
* tacks
* an old tablecloth, cut to cover the board (without too much extra material)

I took the general idea for this bean bag toss game from this blog:
http://helenjane.com/2014/08/19/make-a-lego-bean-bag-toss-game/

To simplify my life, I only put three targets (doubled, so two plates each), and I didn’t spray paint anything. I just covered the wood board with a sheet and tacked it generously on the bottom. Then I just tacked the plates on.

bean bag toss game

bean bag toss game

I bought a box of 4 “regulation” bean bags: if I’d seen the above blog post first, I would’ve used rolled-up socks.

While playing the game at our community festival, I told older players that the object was to put one bean bag on each plate. For the younger ones, the object was to put a bean bag on any plate. One mom of a three-year-old told me she was glad I had a game that little ones could do.

The front plate did start to crack after about an hour of play, but it will be easy enough to fix for next year.