June 17th, 2014


HBO 11 -- The Core

Eleventh session: The Core (conclusion)
Stanley Tucci, Hilary Swank... what are you doing in this awful movie?

We finally get the Big Plot Plan -- taking a very special vehicle to the Earth's core and use a handful of nukes to restart its rotation and restore the Earth's magnetic field. Oh wait, you didn't know about that? Don't worry, they didn't seem to know what they were doing either.

Now it IS true that the magnetic field does change and even flip poles every now and then. Indeed, there is some evidence, such as the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomoly which suggests that we may be heading towards such a flip. And a complete loss of the magnetic field would be bad. It has been suggested that when Mars lost its magnetic field, the undeflected solar wind eroded away most of its atmosphere. But restarting the molten core rotation with a couple of puny nukes? Phfffbt!

Of course we have the feuding scientists, especially Stanley Tucci doing yet another great over-the-top role as a Big Name scientist full of himself, but with just enough collegial humility to make a worthwhile Big Name blowhard.

And then there's the ship, Virgil -- a suitable classical reference -- sort of a high speed laser rock chewing drill train. Okay, they explain that damaged segments can be jetissoned in a big Checkhov's gun moment, so you know it'll be important. But isn't it handy that it's always the LAST segment that needs to be jettisined? We won't even talk about going EVA to fix things.

Oh, and let's not forget our Central Casting hacker kid. When brought in, he takes our hero's phone, and uses a folded chewing gum foil to blow a tone so "you now have free long distance... for life." That's old school hacking, from the Blue Box era and long before cellphones. With current plans and Internet alternatives, does anybody do this anymore? And would it even work on a cell phone? All the hacker things are cliches, like the scriptwriters once leafed through a copy of Wired magazine.

And his stated goal is to kill all the internet rumors and talking associated with the impending disaster. Really? Because given the massive surface effects, including the destrustion of Rome, how well is that gonna work for you?

There are a couple of nice moments, in and around killing the crew one by one, but otherwise, the science and engineering is totally laughable. The guy who designed Virgil? He actually named the hull material that can survive the temperature and pressure as unobtainium. Unobtainium! Yeesh! But the timeline is all screwy. Think about how far apart those nukes are, based on the maps shown. Unworkable.

And the writers know nothing about plutonium. Our hero should be dead. And the harebrained scheme to boost the yield on the last nuke? Forgetaboutit.

Still haven't decided which is more exciting -- sound on or off. (wicked-grin)

Next up, going out of alphabetical order to go to Robocop 2.


Monday was the official debut of my new hat from Zazzle: in honor of my summer hyperbaric oxygen chamber and movie tour, a cap with the Oxygen entry from the period table. Chose green, since that's the color of medical oxygen. Yes, I do amuse myself. (grin)

It was a race in tanks A and B, as a older gentleman on a gurney arrived just about the same time as I did. This is first time that someone has been loaded and unloaded at the same time as Dr. Phil.

Lovely day with puffy white clouds in a warm summer day. Over 83°F highs. Traffic on Michigan Street back to College Avenue and I-196 was jammed in both directions. They are repaving Michigan -- it desperately needs it -- so one lane the other way was closed for a short way. But part of the I-196 and Fuller Street interchange was closed, and so some of the westbound surge had to be people detouring from a mile away. But turning north on College was backed up, so that eastbound traffic trying to turn left couldn't make the turn over several traffic light cyclese, backing up eastbound as well.

Usually it's clear sailing at 3:20pm. Oh well.

An Aeromed chopper came in while I was being detanked. Even being in a basement level, you could hear it. Stuck in traffic, another Aeromed unit was coming in. I thought about using the D100, but it was too close overheed to get any decent shot from where I was. Still pining for that perfect shot I missed the other day when I didn't have a camera. Oh well II.

Dr. Phil


I wake up. Clock says 5:30am. Beyond the noise of the fan, phone rings. Well, I suppose I have to get up to pee anyway. But I am slow these days, let the greeting start on the answering machine. But there never was a message.

I can only assume that if it was a dire 5:30am call, either they would've left a message, or they'll call back. Either way, it's back to bed for 1½ hours. Meanwhile, I can hear the rumbling of the next storm.

Later in the more daylight hours of the morning, I saw there was an email from Grand Valley State University.
GVSU Alert Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 5:39 AM

There is a Severe Thunderstorm Warning occurring within Ottawa County until 6:15 A.M. Take the appropriate action to make yourself safe.
Mystery solved. Other than that inability to leave a message sort of thing. Too bad the warning part never was translated.

Across the lake, a friend of mine revisiting Wisconsin watched actual funnel clouds pass by -- the tornado strike was in a different town. This is (almost) summer severe weather. It does have to be treated with some respect.

Debbie is out of town. We're having the Spectrum Home Nurses come by in the morning for my daily bandage change, as well as getting shoes over the bulky AFO. But given the weather this week, I'm parking on the left side of the garage, so if the backup generator fails to start, I can get to the control panel. The transfer switch sometimes gives error codes after the weekly self test -- today's test remained double green, however. Haven't yet budgeted the $800 for a new board.

Meals have been easy. I've had a slice of Chicago deep dish pizza from Crust 54 in downtown Holland and a salad Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday -- it never gets old. (grin)

Dr. Phil