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Well, I got a good five or six hours of sleep, but now, I am not tired enough to overcome the congested feeling and go back to sleep. Oh well. Maybe I can wear myself out with house stuff and take a nap later.

Dance is really iffy tonight. As much as I want to go, I don't want to just sit there because I'm too congested to dance or anything. Then there's the whole contagion issue. Grr, I say, GRR!

Oh, and I still feel like I've been hit by a truck. And my abdominals are making their presence known, what with constantly blowing my nose and evacuating snot from my sinuses.

Fortunately, I don't have much left to get done this weekend.

More later. Maybe.

Reading Update: Books read so far this year )

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] dungeonwriter, [profile] brainlesswonder, AND [profile] hmpinky!!



So, weird dream last night where some teenagers stole my car for a chop shop, and the local teen heroes were total douchebags about it. But my car was saved from the chop shop and returned to me by the A Team, because they had a soft spot for cars from the 1980s.

Rocky is behind me, snoring. Every time I fart, I figure I'm giving him a Dutch Toaster Oven.

So, with regards to JJ Abrams and Star Trek and Star Wars... I understand I'm in the minority in Not Liking Abrams, much less the stuff he did with Star Trek. An alternate timeline, I can handle. I can even accept some changes in Trek technology, or even "Treknology," as it were, but total disregard of physics (building a starship on a planetary surface, besides being rather unsafe, is too difficult for 22nd-23rd technology; transporters with no range limit; red matter; Spock, who was all about preserving original timelines as far back as "The City on the Edge of Forever" deciding to alter/interfere with his own past, alternate timeline or no...) It's just...too much. I think good storytelling was sacrificed for the eye candy that makes the masses happy. And I think Star Wars now has the same problem looming ahead. Or, actually, more of the same problem; I think this is what tripped Lucas up with the prequels. I think this is what tripped up Ron Moore in the last half of BSG. I think this is what tripped up Abrams with Lost.

Maybe I read too much. I've read too much of James Luceno, David Mack, Dayton Ward, Peter David, Keith DeCandido, Michael Stackpole, Allan Allston, Steve Perry, Michael Reaves, Timothy Zahn, and others... Others who have taken some of the crappy things from movies and turned them into halfway arcs in novel form. They tell a story and shock people with the quality of the story itself, the ability to transport us to another time and space, and make us forget about believability, rather than using Michael Bay-esque explosions and M. Shyamalan-esque twists. We have the frugal deaths warned against in Scalzi's Redshirts.

Unfortunately, this is what the masses want. Because no one has the time or patience to sit down and read a book. Even if they can do so on their phone.

Interestingly, some of the above can be said of the late 90s debacle known as Batman and Robin. Maybe Joel Schumacker was simply before his time...

If people like the new Trek and such, hey, glad you enjoyed it. But when you start saying it's the best thing ever or better than what came before? I'll need to beat you with my empty wrapping paper tube lightsaber. I will then throw bound pieces of paper at you as I throw the Vanguard series at you, or James Luceno's Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, or even Steve Perry and Michael Reeve's Death Star. No, no, these things are books. You might want to look into them...

Hi, my name is David, and I'm a tie-in bibliophile. As well as regular bibliophile. And comicphile (really glad Gail Simone is sticking around for Batgirl, and I hope they keep Geoff Johns for Green Lantern).

I guess, having read enough, I have a different standard by which I judge a story to be good or not. I mean, it's all subjective anyway. I guess I just get tired of people looking at me funny and saying, "You don't like the new Star Trek? What is wrong with you?"

Then again, these people can understand the problems I had with I, Robot and why I've no interest in seeing World War Z. Sorry, folks, but Susan Calvin was an older, asexual scientist, not a young cute thing that would wet her panties at the sight of Wil Smith. Furthermore, the movie had nothing to do with the novel, aside from Robots based on Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, and in fact was originally under a different title until the producer, at the last moment, trying to capitalize on Asimov's name, changed the title at the last minute. Likewise, World War Z is not a single narrative. You want to film it? Make it a miniseries. Kind of like Tom Hanks and HBO with the From the Earth to the Moon series.

Of course, this is all just my $0.02, which is worth less than even that. Your mileage may vary. Just...stop treating me like a freak when I say, "Actually, I don't like Abrams' Trek and don't plan to spend money I don't have on World War Z and so on.

Meh.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] annietopia!!



Just have a little laundry to finish up, and then the weekend chores are done.

Mom and Rich may have a solution to the wedding flower woes: Costco. In short, they can order flowers from there, then create the centerpieces and such themselves. With help, of course. Good thing I'm already looking ahead and figuring of taking some vacation time around then.

Today has been a lazy day for me. I woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache and esophagitis, coupled with an obligatory panic attack. Took stuff for it, then zonked out. Until noon. Then I took a nap. So, yeah, brain no worky today...

The cloudy/rainy/drizzly/foggy weather doesn't help, either. Though I do get a sense of happiness, or maybe just smugness, that I did get the outdoor Christmas decorations and lights taken down and put away yesterday.

I'm also in a weird headspace to begin with... One of the books I'm reading, My Enemy, My Ally... It's an original series Trek novel by Diane Duane. I've read it twice before, and both times, it was during a rather nasty life-changing crisis. The first time was when Dad had his heart attack back in July of 1989. The second time was when I had to change schools in 1991. I know it's entirely irrational, but since then, I've considered the book to be "cursed" somehow, and even though I enjoyed the story, I've avoided re-reading it. But now, I have a copy on my Kindle. I feel like I need to hurry up and finish reading it before something bad happens rather than to just...enjoy the story.

Again, I know it's entirely irrational. But the events mentioned happened in my early-to-mid teens, and have stuck with me since. One of those irrational childhood things that carry over to adulthood, you know?

Anyway, not much else. Dental cleaning and night guard fitting tomorrow. Mom's birfday next weekend and a three-day weekend. Other than that, it looks to be a fairly quiet week. And since I get paid this week, that also means a trip to CBH. Woot?

Though, when all is said and done, I'll be happy to be a non-sick, normal-ish-feeling human bean.

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Happy New Year, Everyone!

So, here we are, at the obligatory January 1, New Year's Day post where we gush about all the wonderful and amazing things we're going to do this year before Life smacks some reality upside our head...

Oops... That was a little cynical, wasn't it?

Seriously, folks, 2013 will be a great year not if I win the lotto or find love or even get a job offer from Ron Jeremy to be his replacement. It will be a good year, nay, a great year if, simply, no major disasters happen! No engines dying or computers exploding or major illnesses or pet losses or pet illnesses or job losses or accidents or house damage or mafia hits or wormholes or Cybermen or zombie outbreaks or warp core breaches or Cthulu sightings or Zuul-infested refrigerators or alien invasions or machine (Terminator, Cylon) uprisings or apocalypse predictions...

Anyway, I'm still planning on going dancing this weekend. I plan to make my "writing tracker" file where I can see how often I'm writing, how much I'm writing, and help me start setting daily word goals. I will continue to read quite a lot, continue to blog and, hopefully, by the end of the year, I will have at least noticeably, if not significantly, less debt than I have now.

In the meantime...Books I read in 2012! )

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Damn, only two more days of the holiday break. I had hoped for a few days where I'd wake up around 8 or 9, get breakfast, then work on writing until 2 or 3, then read for a bit, then maybe a little more writing, then gaming. Unfortunately, the break turned out to be a little busier than I anticipated with house stuff and errands. And sleep.

I'm almost done John Scalzi's Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas. I've been highly amused by the main narrative, and I still have two codas to go. After I read the main narrative, I was ready to make a vow to not kill any characters in my novels, and I'm glad I read that first coda before making any such vow. That first coda also has given me a lot to think about with regards to writing in general, as well as writer's block and so on. I need to stop being so lazy and start pushing myself.

Tying some things together... I think I may be anemic. I mean, since September, I've been denied at the blood bank for my hemoglobin being too low. And my energy level has been down, too. Hence the extra sleeping over the break. And having a hard time getting myself motivated to work on stuff around the house, and even writing. Now, given my esophageal issues and GERD, there's a link there with anemia in that nutrients aren't being properly absorbed into my body. And then there's the Nexium, which may be hitting my bones and affecting my marrow in that red blood cells aren't being manufactured in the right numbers or in the right way. Lastly, there's an infinitesimal chance that kidney stone back at the beginning of the year did something to my kidney and my erythropoietin is down. Yeah, I kind of doubt that last one. Now, since work is kind of shitty about allowing me to use time I've earned, and since I have a backlog of things to take care of as a result, it may be February or March before I go to the doctor to get this addressed. In the meantime, I'm taking B-complex vitamin supplements and switching to a Flintstones chewables vitamin with iron for my multi-vitamin.

In any event, I'm hoping this is something that can be addressed with vitamin supplements and not require shots or anything. Still, I'm...annoyed. First, there was the whole sleep apnea and sleep disorder thing, and now this. I'm tired of this damn meat sack conspiring against me to where I'm just existing instead of living. Anyway, we'll see. Oh, and all this might be a significant contributor to the whole weight-loss thing. If my body's having a hard time absorbing nutrients from food, this might explain extra hunger and such, and might explain metabolic issues causing me to store fat instead of burning it.

But, I am determined to, eventually, get this all figured out and dealt with. Who knows? Maybe by March, the vitamins and such will have given me the boost I need, and the trip to the doctor will just result in some tests to make sure there's not some underlying major thing going on and I'll already be bouncing back by then.

In sucktacular news, Trek author and comic book writer Peter David had a stroke. Please keep him and his family in your prayers or thoughts.

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Last night, I finally carried through on a plan to go dancing for the first time in two and a half years. I'm back, kids!

As I was on my way to Take the Lead, I came to the realization that the more time elapsed, the more I was becoming afraid that when I finally did go dancing, I'd be disappointed with how crappy I've gotten and probably decide to hang up the dance shoes for good. I was afraid the "magic" of dance for me would be gone, and I would just have to move on or something.

I'm glad I went on a "quiet" night. It gave me a chance to...re-acclimate. A chance to talk with a few people. Especially Lydia. Lydia's husband is having memory problems, possibly Alzheimer's. But, he still remembered me. I asked her if anyone knew anything about Pete, and the last she'd heard, he'd "let himself go" and does nothing but sleep and watch TV these days. He's basically a depressed version of Jabba the Hutt.

There were several people who actually remembered me and said it was good to see me again. In addition to Lydia, of course. Lydia says I haven't lost any of my dance abilities and that I made her night. Some of the other ladies there were somewhat beginners and remarked on how good I was, wondering if I was new to the area and so on. No one seemed to believe that this was the first time I'd danced in over two years. With the exception of dancing with my sister at Ryan's wedding.

I have to say, the thing that saved me was muscle memory. The more I disengaged my brain, the more I was actually able to dance. Though my leading is a little rusty, more complicated figures are forgotten, and my footwork is atrocious.

I'm also seriously out of shape. I need to fix that by...dancing more. Somehow.

So...last night was a good night for me. I'm thinking January 5th will be my next dance outing.

In other news... I'm about a third of the way through John Scalzi's Redshirts. I'm loving it! I haven't laughed that much, that hard at a book in a long time!

Anyway, a lot of Christmas prep is done. Still waiting for Mom to put up the last of the decorations and such so I can put the rest of the storage containers away and do some light vacuuming of the downstairs. And I still need to wrap gifts. But at least everything's here, and I have all the supplies I need.

I'm really glad I don't have much left to do for Christmas. Thanks to last night, and, don;t get me wrong, I regret nothing, but, I am exhausted and rather sore. Surprisingly, my feet have stopped hurting, but my knees and my back are complaining. Not going to push myself too hard today.

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Ugh.

Woke up with a nasty headache and sinus congestion. I blame the weather, the impending heat wave, and everyone cutting their grass over the past few days. Including myself. And tonight, I've had some esophagitis issues and resultant anxiety. I am Not Happy. To round all this out, I had some anxiety this morning, since I had nightmares all last night and woke up several times. So, I didn't sleep well. Despite that, I couldn't seem to sleep for more than an hour at a time during the day. So, in addition to the anxiety, I have a decidedly disconnected feeling today.

Rocky pretty much stayed with me all day, whether I was napping or downstairs watching TV. He, Yoda, Bonnie, and I finished watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day and started watching season two, volume one of the original Transformers. You know, the introduction of Spike's girlfriend, Carlie, has Carlie as a rather strong female character. She's not only a grad student at MIT, but she also manages to hang out with the Autobots and even plants a bomb on Decepticon HQ. And her grasp of particle physics allows her to sabotage Wheeljack's stolen invention - the Immobilizer (which sounds like a knee brace used right after surgery to me). She's just shy of a Mary Sue character, which makes her a welcome addition instead of annoying.

I still say T2 is an awesome movie and not only my favorite Terminator movie, but also one of my all-time favorites. Sadly, it's depressing on how, in the same way no one listens to Sarah Connor, our defense department doesn't listen to many people about programming machines to do our killing for us. Terminators, Cylons... We're screwed because human hubris makes those people think they'll stay in control. Then again, because we can't value other human lives, we're pretty much boned in any event.

To be clear: I'm not against artificial intelligence. In fact, done right, AI can be more human than human intelligence. And when you program a machine to not kill, but rather to protect life, as Asimov does, then we get Data, KITT, and Emergency Medical Holograms. It's creating machines that can learn to kill that bothers me. It's bad enough that we kill, but, and apologies if this seems a bit cavalier, but, have we gotten so lazy that we need machines to kill for us? If that's the case, then maybe we deserve what we've got coming to us.

But then, I lose faith in humanity a little bit every day...

Books read so far in 2012... )

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Well, I was a bit ill this morning. I woke up with a particularly nasty headache, the result of the drastic change in weather around here. I managed to take some ibuprofen, then ate something so as to not anger the esophagus monster, then went back to bed. Anyway, I haven't gotten too much done today, but I did try out my new hair clippers and gave myself a hair cut! It came out not too bad. The only thing I'm not entirely happy with was how I did around my ears, but that was with my regular razor. Yes, the kit I got has ear tapering blade-combs, but, I needed a little more. I also had to use a regular razor for my neck. But for the bulk of my head? Yup, it turned out okay! Took a little longer than I thought it would, but that's because I was a bit timid at first. I mean, I knew already that I was going to use the 2 blade for the sides and the three for the top, but still... Once I got over my fear of, "Oh gods I'm gonna screw this up and look like an idiot and have to go to a barber to have my head shorn correctly and people are going to laugh..." I was good.

The Onion has America pegged with respect to the fallout from yesterday's tragedy in Colorado.

Real quick, with regards to the whole thing about how many people are killed by guns and safety and such... You know, I have one and am licensed and so on. I try to be safe with it. Yet so many people are killed by them every day. Sometimes, they're nuts, under the influence, or just plain angry, and they then use it to kill someone, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. People obtain them legally and illegally. They use them with and without a license. I personally think it should be much harder to get one, or get a license for one, considering all the accidents and lost lives that could have been prevented if we had tougher laws. Yes, people, I'm talking about my car.

People break laws all the time. Hell, we elect people who break laws all the time. We revere sports heroes who break laws all the time.

More importantly, the guy, Holmes, was nuts. Sadly, people think that means he must have been stupid. This reminds me of a tale Papa Cardillo once told me. A guy driving along hits a nail and gets a flat just outside the insane asylum. In the process of changing the tire, he manages to trip and drop all the lug nuts from the wheel down the storm sewer. Stymied, he just stares, wondering how he's going to attach the spare tire without any lug nuts, when he hears a voice calling him from the asylum. He looks up and sees one of the inmates looking down, watching him.
"Little bit of trouble there, huh?" the inmate asks.
Scared, the guy says, "Uh, yeah."
"Take a lug nut off the other three tires, and you'll have three lug nuts for the spare tire. That should work to get you to a service station."
Amazed, the motorist says, "That's a really good idea! Thanks."
"Of course it's a good idea," the inmate says. "I'm crazy, not stupid."

This, I think, is one of several major flaws made by so-called profilers and, indeed, the public in general. They underestimate the intelligence of the perpetrator.

But I've been seeing more and more cases of police profilers saying, in press conferences, that Holmes was a special case in that he had no online presence, didn't live in his mom's basement, and didn't engage in other behaviors of antisocial geeky outcasts. You know, it's a bit upsetting to me that what these profilers describe as being the type to just up and snap...describe me. I live with my mother, don't have a girlfriend, don't really have many friends, and kind of keep to myself. Oh, and I'm weird and actively non-conformist. The only thing not quite fitting their profiles is that I have a stable job. I've worked at the UD library for almost 13 years, with more than five and a half of those as a full-time employee. And I'm president of the Library Staff Association. I ballroom dance, but have been on hiatus for about two years now. Oh, and I'm not much of a gamer, and suck at gaming when I do game.

The only other thing I have that separates me from the psychos is...pets. A soft spot for cats down on their luck. Still missing and mourning TomTom. Playing with Rocky and Minerva, watching DVDs and cartoons with Yoda. Alas, it still falls into "weird and non-conforming, especially with what society says for guys not liking cats" and other crap.

However, despite how weird I am, how deranged my sense of humor is, I know I'm not going to go ballistic. Because I have this whole compassion thing. As much as I loathe elements of society and have lost faith in humanity, I haven't gotten to the point where I feel like decreeing that society is too sick to survive (Ghostbusters reference). I still smile at little kids, make sure old people don't trip and fall, and share my Boston Market chicken with the cats. The only caveat is that if you hurt me an mine, I swear by my pretty little bonnet, I will end you. I almost typed that that would be the case of most people, but, sadly, looking at the state of the world, I feel that such protectiveness is becoming more of an exception than the rule. Of course, "me an mine" includes the furkids since, well, they're my kids. Thankfully, I know several of you on here are of like mind on this issue.

Of the fans they interviewed on the way to see The Dark Knight Rises yesterday, there was one I happened to catch, and it happened to be a guy with some sense. The reporter incredulously asked him why he wasn't scared or uneasy to be going to a late night show. The guy replied that if he worried about dying all the time, he'd never leave the house and live. I think the only reason that aired is because the news agency in question was hoping to show how "out of touch with reality" us nerds are. Oh well.

I also have to say that over the last few days, starting even before the tragedy happened, and perhaps slightly influenced by reading William Gibson's "Blue Ant" books, I've been more aware of certain undercurrents of shows for what is supposed to be "normal." I've seen more of how advertising tries to target people. I've seen how the news has become more and more biased and become a tool in encouraging conformity. Although, this is more for mainstream media (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC). When we get to Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and Cartoon Network/adult_swim, it's not nearly so bad. Unfortunately, those are all "nerd" channels, so...yeah.

Wow...this entry has turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be...

Anyway, because I'd prefer to end on a positive note...




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Thus far, it's been a lazy Caturday. After taking care of Lily and Loki, and feeling overwhelmed from the heat, I just lazed around and napped. I figured I'd just do the desert animal survival thing and sleep/take it easy during the day and be active in the cooler hours of the night.

So now, I'm making this entry, and then will get to work. Woot?

Reading Update: Books Read in 2012 )

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] awallens!!!



Feeling a little drained at the moment. Today was my appointment at the blood bank. Alas, I wasn't able to do the ALYX donation, since my hemoglobin was too low. It was great for whole blood donation, but not for them taking twice as many RBCs away. It could be allergies, or it could be asthma. In any event, I may try ALYX later. Maybe even over winter. In the meantime, whole blood donation is still pretty damn good, and I'll be donating again in July.

Since then, I've been getting some weekend chore stuff done and napping. Really feeling drained this time around. Probably still a little out of it from the severe GERD bout the other night. On the bright side, this is a lite chore weekend, so, hopefully, it'll be a nice, relaxing, recharging, restful weekend for me. Then again, the stepgoggies are here.

On a semi-related note... I'm reading Jackson Galaxy's book Cat Daddy. I've tried the "I Love You" blink with TomTom, but, so far, there's no reaction. Then again, he's pretty secure anyway, so... Yeah. Last night, he was sleeping on my head, as usual, and I touched his paw. In response, the purring went from "idling lawnmower" to "Saturn V rocket" and he insisted on licking my face. Not really a problem, except for the really bad fishy cat food breath. Oh well. Both Rocky and TomTom like that contact thing... Many times, I wake up and one of them has a paw resting lightly on my face or my hand.

My sister's cat, MiMi, used to crawl under the covers so she could snuggle under my chin. I still miss her, but, at least she opened a place in my sister's life for Lily.

You know... I really think the side project memoir of all the furkids I've had might stand a good chance for publication, all things considered. Gods know I have enough amusing stories of all the cats, dogs, and parrots, not to mention stories of their interactions together, from Yoda liking to ride on Boomer's head, to Nemo making Sugar psychotic with respect to squeaky toys, and back to Yoda for trying to teach the cats to say his name. Then I think about the times I lay on the couch and Yoda asks, "You okay there, bud?" Like he's going to do anything if I'm not okay. And the time TomTom and Rocky got me when Mom couldn't get up after her hip replacement. Or Rocky waking me up earlier this week when the house had no power, I had no alarm clock, and I needed to get to work.

When I hear stories of other peoples' pets performing similar intelligent acts of helpfulness and loyalty, I have to wonder if Human arrogance isn't actually a hindrance in our evaluation of these creatures' intelligence and awareness. One popular test they do on animals in general to disprove their self-awareness is to put them in front of a mirror and watch the animal either react to the image as a threat or whatever, but to not give any evidence that they recognize the image as themselves. And yet...four weeks ago, Bridgett and Brandon were on the steps, which have a mirror at the bottom, and they were at eye level of the mirror. They saw me coming in the mirror, then looked at me. Then they saw other movement and turned around to see TomTom at the top of the steps. In short, they were reacting to the reflection and understood that they saw the reflections of other actions and looked at the appropriate areas. I'm not sure if this has been replicated in a laboratory setting. Now, this doesn't quite go with the whole "mark them with lipstick and see if they try to wipe it off" thing, though (1) I see humans at Rocky Horror who don't remove the lipstick... Maybe these animals think that they're being marked in some sort of initiation like the kids going to RHPS. Maybe (2), given their lesser acuity, they don't really see the lipstick or they aren't familiar enough with their own reflection to know that something's different. I mean, honestly, we tend not to see certain zits right away or notice the formation of certain scars. In conclusion, I think the animals are fucking with us. Intentionally. So that they get spoiled with toys, food, and have the supposedly superior race fetch food for them, clean up their poop, pay for their food and health care, and show them off to their friends. A bit of an oversimplification? Perhaps. But the intelligence of cooperation, adaptability, routine, and so on is still there and higher than what people in general are aware of. Then again, I'm still convinced that the average person is an idiot.

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As posted on Facebook...

[profile] infinitydog, [profile] daytonward, and Kevin Dilmore did with Star Trek: Vanguard what, in my opinion, J.J. Abrams' reboot failed to do: Bring in new adventures in the Original Series Trek era without mucking up continuity. Unlike the Abrams reboot, they did not need to create an alternate Universe as a cop-out to avoiding continuity, they did not piss on "treknology" (my biggest gripe with Abrams' reboot), and the eye candy was all in the readers' minds with top-notch wordsmithing and eloquence. Though, Doug Drexler's CGI covers did indeed inspire some very good visual aids, allowing an exception on the old "you can't judge a book by its cover" rule. The characters are as real and developed as the original Trek characters, yet the series has a darker, grittier, more visceral (and less clich├ęd) tone, with TONS of the social commentary Trek is known for, presenting conflicts that make the reader truly think about things. I highly recommend these books to any Trek fan as well as to any science fiction fan who may not have previously been a fan of Star Trek.

I've just barely started reading the last book in the series, Storming Heaven, so I can't yet say that it has a satisfying ending. Yes, David Mack has a penchant for killing off characters and radically altering the Trek universe in general, as evidenced in his equally well-written Destiny trilogy, however, since he has to line things up with original series continuity, he can only do so much. And there are only two characters who are "safe," since they're meeting a few years after the end of the series, so, we know they, at least, survive.

I know most fans think the Abrams' reboot is a wonderful thing. While I'm not going to sit here and rail on how I really didn't care for it, on how Abrams may have created an alternate timeline to cover his lack of respect for the established canon of the property, yet has completely ignored any of the technological principles established, such as limitless transporter range and why starships are built in space, or Spock severely pissing on any kind of temporal directives, I'll settle for saying that others are free to enjoy Abrams' reboot, but I could take it or leave it, preferably leaving it.

Vanguard, while having Kirk and others more as "guest stars," still puts Trek back on the map. Rockne O'Bannon, when creating Farscape, wanted something that was antithetical to Star Trek, and thus we got limited technobabble with Crichton at one point saying, "Einstein, Newton, Hawking... We prove them wrong every time we pop out for groceries. I can't explain it, I just use it." We had a ship without a captain for a little more than half the series. We had escaped prisoners instead of military-trained professionals. Then we got Ron Moore's re-imaging of Battlestar Galactica, which was initially awesome, with it's social messages for a post-9/11 America and easily recognizable, morally ambiguous characters. Now, Next Gen and DS9 slowly crossed that threshold from "lite sci-fi" to "getting a little darker," especially when DS9 dealt with the Dominion War. But Ron Moore, who also worked on DS9 with Ira Steven Behr, succeeded, at least initially, with his BSG reboot. Now, we have "reboot craze" where everyone tries to take stuff from the past and "modernize it and do it right." Most of the time, this is failing horribly (lookin' at Michael Bay, his extrasplodey Transformers and his alien turtles...). Hell, even Moore managed to screw up BSG. Like he just stopped even trying in the third season, and rather than tell a good story, he went for shock and awe. I think that's what Abrams did in his Trek reboot as well, and while that may appeal to the masses, I think I'd rather have a good story.

That is why Mack, Ward, Dilmore, Michael Martin, Andy Mangels, Kirsten Beyer, William Bennett, Geoffrey Thorne, and all the others whom I may not remember off the top of my head, have succeeded in constantly reinventing Trek without losing any of Roddenberry's core values for the property. Characters face dilemmas, ambiguous situations, and they grow, and we grow a little bit with them. The Vanguard series, as well as Titan, Typhon Pact, and the marvelous job Kirsten Beyer has done with Voyager (making it, in my opinion, better than what we ever saw on screen), has all kept Trek alive and well, keeping the characters relevant and the speculations going. If a character dies, then the death had a purpose, if only to show that there are casualties and not everyone makes it out alive.

What's more... When disaster strikes, as it often does with Mr. Mack, we don't see the frantic soldier, screaming and cursing, and just feel nothing but shock. Instead, we see a soldier, swearing like a sailor, but actually retaining some sort of professionalism. He sees who else is still with him, prioritizes his group's objectives, and then works with others to survive. There's an optimism there that, even though shit happened and people made mistakes, we still see these characters trying to do the right thing, not giving up, analyzing a problem, and working to solve it until the bitter end. In short, we get heroes not because they're overly talented and save the day, but because at the end, they try to do the right thing, despite obstacles, and even if one of those obstacles is himself.

Thanks, guys. Keep up the good work, and though Vanguard has ended, I hope you'll all continue to expand the Trek universe.

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HAPPY BELATED BIRFDAY[profile] thumpermarni!!!



HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] lurkitty, [profile] layered_deep, [profile] jonbonjewvi, AND [personal profile] berthablue!!!



AND A SPECIAL HAPPY BIRFDAY TO MY SEESTER [profile] anaidiana!!!



Anyway, it's been a busy weekend. Mandie's birfday get-together last night was nice. Good food and all. I'm grateful my sister and I are getting along much better these days. Between last night and today, I've been productive, what with laundry, lunch prep for the week, figuring things out, and so on. I think I know how to rearrange my computer area for better computer spill protection. Ultimately, it may also lead to a more spacious and comfortable work area.

Today (yesterday, actually), I put up what little of the outdoor lights we have and brought up the Christmas decorations. The outdoor lights are set up, but not plugged in. If we want to expand, that's great. But the initial bulk, such as it is, is done, and if it's dark and snowing and freezing, it's just a matter of pulling off the plastic bag and plugging in the setup. And the rest of the stuff is up, so, hopefully, with working on just a little bit here, a little bit there, I can actually enjoy the Christmas season rather than throwing everything up at the last minute, as has been the case for about the last decade. It would be nice to have the tree up and decorated for a week before Christmas and actually enjoy the lights and such.

Alas, my back is quite sore at the moment, though. Fortunately, I have a chiro appointment at the end of the week.

Got LOTS of reading done, too. I'm hoping to get my reading projects down to something a little more manageable. But I have lots of good books that have been on my shelves for a decade, plus trying to get some of the current/contemporary stuff read, plus all the stuff I've already bought for Kindle, plus holiday reading. I'm almost done Jim Butcher's Ghost Story (Dresden Files), and... It's great! I actually gave my sister the first three books of the series for her birfday and hope my anticipation of her enjoying the series, too, is on the mark. I love the pop cult references throughout, especially the Star Wars references. And the Princess Bride reference in Ghost Story was...great! I really hope Mr. Butcher plans more for this series...

I'm also reading Christopher L. Bennett's Star Trek: Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within. It's an e-novella, and it came out last month, but... Some of the stuff with the Unificationists and non-violent protests on the Kinshaya homeworld... Wow! This was written, I'm fairly certain, before the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the parallels aren't perfect, but, can we say, "socially relevant?" I'm only on chapter four, but, given the clashes between police and such, and the scene I just read in the story, I can't help but wonder if police presence and indeed police brutality are intentional to rouse the protesters to where they have to choose between well-being and self-defense, or defending the elderly or handicapped who may be being beaten, in order to make the non-violent civil disobedience into violent rebellion, which then allows the State to 1) use violent and eventually deadly force against protesters and 2) discourage assembly to protest with the excuse that it turns violent and hence turning free speech into something that is a danger to public safety, allowing an argument to exist that the right of peaceable assembly is not safe for democracy. Flawed, I know, and I'm perhaps expressing this inadequately and clumsily, but, something worth thinking about. And this bit (along with wishing my sister natal day felicitations) is why this entry is in the clear and hence able to show up on Networked Blogs on Facebook.

I still need to write my essay on Paine's "Common Sense" and applying it to events going on these days as I see it. I have my notes (thank gods), and when I glance at them, I can remember rather clearly what I intend to write about.

Of course, your mileage may vary (YMMV), and that's okay. If there's anything erupting here or on FB, just...keep it civil, no personal attacks, and agree to disagree.

Back to Mandie's birfday gathering... I have to say, I have party animals here. By that, I mean that TomTom was happy to see my sister and was very present throughout the evening, even settling down next to her while she opened presents and such. He seems to really like it when she visits. Rocky, of course, gets attention from everyone and has a tendency to try to beg food from Scott. And Yoda? Before dinner, he was acting up, so, he ended up in Time Out (cage covered, TV and lights off). Note: avians tend to be quiet when in the dark, thus not giving away their position to predators. Both with the Grey we had before, Nemo, and with the one we have now, Yoda, well, we have to throw that one out the window. While eating dinner, and later, while chatting in the living room, Yoda insisted on being part of the group, even though he was in Time Out in another room, by interjecting into conversations, making noises we had referred to, laughing, and so on. Like Nemo, Yoda gives very situationally-appropriate responses.

And people wonder why I'm unsurprised at animal intelligence. Fascinated, but unsurprised.

Anyway, time for a shower and then bed. I'm hoping my computer will be done tomorrow and I can get it back here and back up and running. That is, done later today. Whatever.

Posted at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth.

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