Someone, please, make a good Nightfall movie.


If you’re not familiar with Nightfall, it was first a short story by Isaac Asimov later developed into a novel by Asimov & Robert Silverberg.  It’s one of my favorite pieces of fiction.  Handled well, it could be like Indiana Jones meets Star Trek or Avatar and The Da Vinci Code.

Overall the movie could have an Apocalyptic kind of feel… with new beginnings and a b’ak’tun-like cycle.  It would be great if the movie were released this year, with the 2012 hype reaching full fervor soon.  Tie into that some epic sci-fi stuff, archeological mystery, journalism, psychology experiments, a little humor, religious and government conspiracies, disproving long-standing scientific theories (like “hey, we revolve around the sun!”) and blowing peoples’ minds, and even a great philosophical message.  I’d say you can’t go wrong with it as long as you try to stick to the original story as much as possible.

Nightfall (Asimov short story and novel)

Nightfall

It has apparently been made into a movie twice.  I have seen one of them, and I just remember it not only betraying the story but just being crap.  One was made in 1988 and one in 2000.  I looked on Netflix and can only see the one from 2000 and it can only be “saved”, it’s apparently not on DVD in their collection.  So maybe I watched this way back, from a video store or even on a VHS tape.  The 1988 one, I can only find used VHS copies on Amazon, so perhaps it doesn’t exist on DVD.  I just remember it being an inexplicably different planet & having different characters, or perhaps being another “cycle” than the one depicted in the book.  I may have to track them both down for the fun of it.

The book starts out with a little preface saying basically that it’s an alien world, with alien things … but in order to convey the story well, they were going to use the word “boot” instead of making up an alien word to cover whatever appendage the alien did the equivalent of its walking on.  So, while it would need to be an alien world… it wouldn’t need to be too alien.  It would have to be easily related to.

A successful movie would really need to make use of the suns & colors at the times of day & days of the week.  Much like The Crow had bleached overall look or 300 looked like a painting in every frame, the colors of the sky would need to change ever so subtly from red hues to yellow hues as noted in the book.  They could certainly relate to the mood of each scene.

Dr. Isaac Asimov, head-and-shoulders portrait,...

Asimov wrote a great story. Don't screw it up.

Also… don’t alter the damn story.  It’s great how everything’s revealed.  Don’t rename the characters.  Don’t rename the planet.  Don’t get rid of their numbers.  Don’t change their occupations.  Don’t add any characters.  Don’t take the premise & build another story around it.

In a time where Hollywood is making movies that are remakes or reboots of movies only  a few years old… why not tap into some other sources, especially ones from (arguably) one of the best science fiction writers of all time?  From Wikipedia:

The Science Fiction Writers of America voted “Nightfall” the best science fiction short story written prior to the 1965 establishment of the Nebula Awards, in 1968, and included it in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.

Do you really need any more proof that this would make a great film if handled properly?  I mean, even this would make a great poster tagline if condensed somehow:

According to Asimov’s autobiography, Campbell asked Asimov to write the story after discussing with him a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!

Campbell’s opinion to the contrary was: “I think men would go mad.”

So studio execs, casting directors, effects teams, directors, & producers… get on this.  Please?

American Community Survey?


OK, so you may have read my earlier rant about the census.  This is a continuation of that.  I think.

As a follow up to that…  We filled out & mailed tn the census, then someone came knocking on our door informing us that we didn’t in fact fill out the census and return it in time.  My wife ended up answering all their questions a second time.

As to why I think this a continuation of this census malarkey… the pattern of insanity is the same.  A week or so ago, we got a letter in the mail warning us that a follow up survey to the census was coming, and that we’re obligated by law to fill out this survey.  We received the American Community Survey.  The FAQ pamphlet accompanying the survey evokes Title 13, U.S Code, Sections 141 and 193 – and it goes on to say “Title 13, as changed by Title 18, imposes a penalty for not responding”.  How “land of the free” does that sound?

The scary part is that the pamphlet later says “We may combine your answers with information that you gave other agencies to enhance the statistical use of these data.”  Other agencies? Like the IRS?  Are you going to make sure all my numbers match up?  Is this a lead-in to an audit?

The survey itself actually contains the word “Negro” in the race section.  It says “Black, African Am., Negro” and it only says “White” not caucasian or European or aryan or any other dumb name.  I thought “Negro” was offensive as of the 80’s.  Why doe sit matter if I’m of Hispanic origin?  Why doesn’t it ask then & there if I’m Swedish, or French, or Irish, or Indian, or Hungarian,  or Italian, or Arabic?

Why does it matter how I get to work?  Why do they need to know how many people are in my car on the way to work?  Am I going to be forced to carpool, or pay a “driving alone to work” tax?  Why do they need my work address, or my wife’s work address, or how much we make a year?  Shouldn’t the government already know that?

Did my neighbors get this?  The data for everyone on this street would be totally and wholly different from ours.  I’m not a great representation of the overall neighborhood.

Next time, will we include fingerprints and a hair follicle or cheek swab for DNA cataloging?

I call shenanigans on the whole thing.  It’s a ludicrous waste of money and resources.  In addition to the plethora of  reminders and follow-ups to the original census…  I got the warning letter for this survey, and accompanying the survey itself was a letter (that mentioned that we already should have received a letter about the letter we are reading), a 16-page “guide” on how to fill out the survey, a glossy “FAQ” brochure, and the return envelope.

In case I went over it too fast just now… I’d like to just focus on this one thing for a moment.

We got a letter (we’ll call it letter 1) telling us that a survey was coming and that we were obligated by law to fill it out.  Then, we got the survey along with another letter (we’ll call it letter 2) telling us that we should have gotten a letter telling us that the survey was coming, and explaining that the big fold-over in the envelope that says “American Community Survey” is a survey that we need to fill out, expressing that it’s required by law.

I’m sure well get  a follow up letter (if I get it, I’ll call it letter 3) saying that we should have received a survey and by now filled it out, as required by law.  This just sounds like something that belongs in a Monty Python sketch.

Through the magic of the internet, I have found all of the pieces…

arrow Materials Included in ACS Mailings

Ah, I may also get a reminder card.  I forgot about the reminder card.

I have a hard time believing that I’m going to benefit in any way from this survey, but I’m guessing only time will tell.

I didn’t forget.  There was a guide that accompanied the survey.  I’m guessing that if I couldn’t understand the questions in the survey… the guide’s not going to help me out all that much.  I’d love to meet the think-tank that comes up with this brilliance.  You know it’s a committee or group… no one person would or could be responsible for this kind of crap on their own.  Poking around their website, it appears that a shocking amount of time and research has been dedicated to this task.

How are the tree-huggers not all over this wasteful paper usage?  I mean, the waste here offends me… and I’m still not convinced that recycling is all that efficient in the first place.  I mean, there is a reason to conserve what resources we have, and make sure that when they’re used  it’s somewhat necessary.  (A letter telling you that you’re going to get a survey, a letter saying you should have already received a letter and that you now have in your possession a survey, and a letter saying that you’ve already received a survey that you should have filled out would all be unnecessary in my book.)

Is this all just a ploy to keep the Post Office in business?

I just may have to write to some politicians and ask about all the waste associated with this whole thing.  In the past I’ve heard from Gov. Ed. Rendell and Senator Wayne Fontana.  Maybe I’ll have to reach out to them again with my concerns.

I need to collect my thoughts & start sending letters to people in the government to let them know what I think.  Will it do any good?  Probably not, using the redundancy and bureaucracy of the census surveys as an example.  At the end of the day it may make me feel better if nothing else, as I’m still able to speak my mind.

The more I see/read the word census, the more it sounds like senseless.

Cut out the paper waste for a second, and think just about the time wasted.  If you did this kind of crap at work, can you imagine what your superiors would have to say about your productivity and efficiency?  Yet, we accept this from the government.

Hey Gilligan,

This is an email to say that I’m going to send you an email to ask you a question.

Hello again Gilligan,

This is the email where I’m going to ask the question.  You should have already received the email where I told you that I was going to ask you a question.

The question is: Do you like coconuts?

The Skipper wants an answer, he’ll be mad if you don’t tell us.  If we knew if you liked coconuts, it might help Mary Ann in preparing dinner.  We know you’ve already talked to the Professor about island cuisine, so we may factor that into our decision.

Dear Gilligan,

I have sent you an email asking about your thoughts on coconuts, the Skipper wanted us to remind you that you were already supposed to have answered the coconut question.

Now.  How ridiculous is that?

Oh well, it’s late… I’ve jumped all over the map and page with this as I’ve searched the internet for these documents and more questions and what not, and feel that I’m losing coherence… not that I definitely have any in the first place.  I’m lost in all the letters about other letters about other letters about other letters  Maybe I need to write blogs telling you that I’m going to write blogs, then write a reminder blog that I wrote a blog.

Episode II: Crapplebee’s Writes Back


Did you read my Crapplebee’s post, and the AllergyEats blog post that it referred you to?  (Really, check out all the comments, especially from AEPaul about the posts at aceliaconthemove.blogspot.com!) Okay, then you’re ready to read this.

Well, maybe read one more thing… the latest blog from AllergyEats with the response from Applebee’s.  It’s awesome to know that there are others out there that share my affinity for writing letters/emails to companies and getting stupid responses.  I encourage you to let AllergyEats know that you want to see it pursued further.  I want to encourage you to pursue it yourself.  Write emails, write letters, write blogs, make phone calls, blog, tweet,  Digg it, post on Facebook or to the 3 people left on MySpace that aren’t bands, Tumblr, re-blog, re-tweet, re-Tumblr this until it gets out an annoys everyone and not just Applebee’s.

While Paul at AllergyEats dissects the message in his own way, I would like to translate the response as I read it:

Dear AllergyEats Subscribers,

“Dear people that we could really care less about,”

We recognize the importance of making sure our food-allergic guests have safe options they can enjoy at their neighborhood Applebee’s.

“We’re saying that we recognize that the food-allergic need to have safe options, but we don’t feel the need to mention any specific allergies or options.  While we recognize the importance, we’re also not saying that we’re doing anything about it.”

Food allergies are a serious concern, and we are working to improve how we accommodate the needs of our FA-guests.

“We’re telling you that food allergies are a serious concern, even though they’re clearly not because it hasn’t yet affected our profits.  We’re also telling you we’re ‘working to improve’, and again failing to mention any specifics”

Depending on the food allergy, we do offer different menu items that are appropriate options, or that can be prepared without the allergic food.

“We obviously didn’t read your blog, because you were told something quite different by your server and manager, about how there was butter all over the grill & absolutely no way to accommodate you.”

We recommend that you talk with your server or restaurant manager about the allergy, and how your meal is prepared, to help ensure your dining experience is safe.

“This is another way of letting you know that we didn’t read or comprehend your blog… or don’t have all that great of a grasp on the English language, because you already tried what we just recommended, and it most certainly did not work out for you.”

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention — we value the safety and enjoyment of all our guests.

“We’re not going to follow up with the server & manager from that store who are obviously unaware of our apparent policies, because we really really really don’t care.”

Sincerely,

Applebee’s

“Full of Shit, Applebee’s (The newly sentient restaurant chain, now capable of writing letters.)”  –  Seriously.  They couldn’t even sign their name or provide some contact information for a follow up?

I think I may just have to write to Applebee’s myself.

Crapplebee’s


So, I read an infuriating post yesterday on The AllergyEats Blog.  It was a post from someone who has an allergy quite unsuccessfully trying to find a meal that won’t kill them at Applebee’s.  The poster is much more adventurous than I am.  I do as much research as possible before setting foot into a place, even down to emailing or calling ahead to can see what I can eat that hasn’t touched any death-fish.  I wouldn’t even go into an Applebee’s because they cook shrimp on the grill & in the fryer in there.  A sample of the text…

I ordered a hamburger, but explained my dairy allergy and politely went through my usual requests – no butter on the bun, no cheese on the burger, make sure the burger is cooked with no dairy, etc.  The waitress immediately told me that they “couldn’t do that.”

What?  You can’t stop yourself from slathering butter on the roll?  All of the burgers come pre-packaged with cheese on top?

I was actually shocked because the staff had always cheerfully prepared my dairy-free food in the past.  Did they change their attitude along with their menu?

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you may have seen this link.  I felt it was worth posting again, as my W(aL)D instincts took over and I ended up tweeting a link to the blog to the people at Applebee’s

@Applebees Wow – “#foodallergy F-you: http://bit.ly/9UeUvz (via @AiXeLsyD13)” –  What do you have to say for yourself?

&

@Applebees Check out @AllergyEats, they’re the ones who blogged the situation: http://twitter.com/AllergyEats/status/21397851915

Apparently I got their attention, and they’ve contacted Paul at the Allergy Eats blog. Hopefully they can offer up some sort of formal apology, but more importantly start the steps to put a process in place where they not only recognize people with food allergies (and their families) who might want to dine out and need a safe place to eat, but implement training and procedures to become that dining safe haven.

At any rate, the comments on their blog have blown up, and get more & more interesting with each posting.  (Apparently the AllergyEats Facebook page is kickin’ with comments too.) Some of the stories share are appalling (& remind me of my original Subway-related rant and the recent “dog turd” one).  Thankfully AEPaul doesn’t seem to mind me sticking my proverbial nose into this Applebee’s mess, but apparently I just can’t help myself.  The internet makes it so easy to be crazy and so easy to contact people.  But really, this kind of stuff can’t go unaddressed.  Applebee’s has a responsibility to make it right.

I keep pounding on this, but for next year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, we need to concentrate less on legislation and government and more on the people who are in a better position to actually do something about it.  I really feel that better accommodations can be made to those with food allergies when it’s consumer driven, versus having to make those accommodations because of government regulations.  Regulations provide no incentive to exceed the guidelines passed along.  Beating the chain restaurant across the street is incentive.  Word of mouth (or free viral social media  advertising) from people with food allergies and their families would be a hell of a boon to any business, and would most certainly generate some positive press.

Please post, re-post, tweet, re-tweet, tumblr, or Vulcan-mind meld this blog or the original blog (or both) to everyone that you can.  Let Applebee’s and other chain restaurants know that this is not cool.

W_a_L_D

  1. @Applebees Check out @AllergyEats, they’re the ones who blogged the situation: http://twitter.com/AllergyEats/status/21397851915
  2. @Applebees Thanks, it wasn’t my experience. I just read about it here: http://bit.ly/9UeUvz
  3. @Applebees Wow – “#foodallergy F-you: http://bit.ly/9UeUvz (via @AiXeLsyD13)” – What do you have to say for yourself?
  4. @negative13 Tuesday is the day for war & law.
  5. @BrandiCarter @subway @subwayfreshbuzz… did the egg whites have any “seafood sub” filling splashed on them?
  6. Amusing McStory from “braincell” who commented about the West Liberty Ave. @McDonalds: http://bit.ly/bQuCWC #McDonalds @Kty_McD @Kim_McD
  7. What kind of sauce would you like to see bottled & sold? http://wp.me/pwqzc-k6 @Arbys @Wendys
  8. @ChickfilA Those little mini sandwiches drive me crazy. If I passed CFA on the way to work, I’d be a much fatter man.
  9. @FoodNetwork any taco without fish or shrimp in it…
  10. @kevinpollak Which one did you get? Cheese Steak, Cappacola, Corned Beef…?
  11. @Bathroom_Reader …are all the noses in the same place?
  12. @SSSUBWAY What do you think re #foodallergies, cross-contamination, & lack of good responses from your CS people? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH
  13. What do you think re #foodallergies, cross-contamination, & lack of good responses from your CS people? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH
  14. @FredSubwayCEO What do you think re #foodallergies, cross-contamination, & lack of good responses from your CS people? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH
  15. )xxxxx[;;;;;;;;;>
  16. @subwaytechtweet @Subwaydeals What do you guys think about #foodallergies & cross-contamination? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH #subway
  17. @TheRealSubman @springfieldsub What do you guys think about #foodallergies & cross-contamination? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH #subway
  18. @JohnstownSubway What do you guys think about #foodallergies & cross-contamination? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH #subway
  19. @SubwayEatFresh … so, do you Tweet at all, or what? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH