Posts Tagged Star Trek

My Desk

I’ve been meaning to post this picture for a while. This is just a quick shot I took tonight. It’s how you can tell just by looking at my desk that I’m a total nerd. All of these items have been gifts from my staff over the last year and a half, and they make me pretty happy. I just need a TARDIS to round out the scene…hmmmm

Clash of the franchises

Clash of the Franchises

I’m also going to try to put up a picture of me at work in my Halloween costume this year, because it was just so deliciously nerdy. I just have to slightly disguise some details. Anyone who actually knows me and reads this blog could figure out it’s mine, but I don’t want to make it too easy for strangers to be able to recognizes faces and places that’s why I don’t post many pictures that I take myself.

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This Week in Nerd…

I’m reading the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics on my Xoom and absolutely loving it. I was up for 2 hours last night as the fiance slept reading. Joss Whedon is just one of my favorite story tellers. Let’s sum this up in a nut shell….the Buffy series finale on TV was world shattering, and the Angel series finale was a massive cliff hanger because they weren’t expecting to have the show cancelled. Angel still has one of my favorite final lines/scenes from a TV Series, all of our battered heroes gathered in an alley while literal hell consumes LA, Angel standing at the forefront with a sword and he says “I get the dragon” END OF SHOW! The Buffy and Angel comics essentially pick up where the TV series’ left us hanging. Sunnydale has been destroyed, but now there are not just one (err…I mean two) Slayers, there are hundreds of them around the world, and army of hot chicks with super powers for Buffy to lead against the forces of evil. LA has been sucked into some hell dimension and the heroes of Angel struggle to survive, even though some of them are dead and ghosts. Yeah…if you weren’t a fan of Buffy & Angel, this just isn’t the read for you. But if you were a fan, these books are just delightful because Joss is still essentially the “show runner” like he was on the TV show, overseeing the story arch and much of the dialogue (which I think Joss Whedon is a master of) still has his distinctive word play, rhythm, and humor. Add to that, there’s no budget constraining the creative process as far as special effects, and we get a globe spanning epic adventure that the TV series probably couldn’t have pulled off at the time. It’s what I wish they would do with the Serenity/Firefly comics, but the graphic novels of that series I’ve picked up have mostly been disappointing from a “continuing the storyline” standpoint. These comics have also been out for a while, so they might not be news to anyone, but I’ve been plowing through them lately, and I wanted to share that.

Also, in recent Nerd World news, Star Trek TOS, TNG, Voyager, and Enterprise are all available on Netflix streaming! NERDGASM OOOOOOOOOOOH! It’s one of the shows I’ve been wishing for Netflix to carry since I got my account. I already own almost all of TNG (I didn’t bother buying the 2nd season) and most of DS9 on DVD. I went out and bought them before I had things like credit card debt, car insurance, rent, utilities, and so forth. And over all the DVD sets just aren’t worth money they charge. At a price point of nearly $100 a season ($110 when I bought most of them actually), that’s nearly double what you pay for most TV show DVD sets. And for what? The special features are woefully inadequate (no episode commentary from cast, crew & creators is my biggest complaint for the price point), the packaging isn’t all that unique, collectible, or awesome, and there’s just nothing special about them really. Having them all a few clicks away on Netflix is just totally awesome. Even for the ones I have on DVD, because they’ll be far more accessible to me this way then in my massive binders of DVDs. DS9 as usual got the shaft and isn’t available. Which is disappointing for me. Not everyone liked DS9, especially since it and Babylon 5 were on TV as about the same time and they were very similar series. DS9 was darker than TNG and TOS, and had a very different story telling technique. Namely, instead of just the occasional 2 part episode, or an episode that referenced back to a previous episode event, we had truly serialized story telling with story arcs that spanned an entire season or more. The Dominion War put out some of my favorite Trek episodes. I still credit a lot of that to Ronald D Moore, because you can see the similarities between DS9’s narrative and Battlestar Galactica’s, and then the horrible disparities in the disappointment that was Star Trek Voyager. Voyager that the potential to be dark, and gritty and show an entirely different side to Trek. A singular Federation starship, thrown across the galaxy and making its way back home 70,000 light years had so much more potential. They occasionally scratched on it, but not nearly enough. There should have been a constant struggle for basic supplies and resources, even with replicator technology. It frankly should have been a lot more like Stargate Universe and Battlestar Galactica then Gilligan’s Island.

I finally saw X-Men First Class last week. I deemed it a good addition to the franchise, a far better contribution then X-Men 3: Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I really enjoyed that it tried very hard to stick to the essential back story of Magneto and Professor X as two friends that turned into violent enemies. It took some liberties with the cannon that I didn’t appreciate, like reinventing Angel, a character we already saw on-screen correctly, into a stripper with bug wings and exploding spit. I don’t mind them inventing new cannon and new characters as necessary, and oddly I didn’t mind the reinvented Moria McTaggert, but it’s a fine line for them to walk between appeasing the masses of the movie going population and pleasing the die-hard comic fans. I realized that despite January Jones being an astoundingly beautiful women, and damn did I appreciate her in the canonically appropriate skimpy White Queen outfits, she’s not a great actress. Which Mad Men has fooled me into believing, but look at January as White Queen and Betty Draper, she’s not really doing that much different, it’s just enough that she’s gorgeous really. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing as Mystique/Raven though, and I didn’t mind that they replaced Juggernaut with Mystique for Professor X’s adopted sibling that turns villain. Jennifer Lawrence brought a humanity and sympathy to the character that just wasn’t there in the earlier movies where she was just Rebecca Romijn in nothing but some scales and blue body paint making my pants a few sizes too small whenever she was on-screen. And Jennifer Lawrence did this great job while looking hot too. Over all I wouldn’t be opposed to there being another X-Men movie set with this team in the past. I think they could do some really great stuff with it as a period piece that would speak to the core themes that X-Men were originally about. Hell it’s set in the time period when X-Men first started being published. Let’s use the X-Men movies more like the original comics tried to occasionally, and great Sci-Fi should let’s use it to start a discussion through metaphor about social topics and issues that are controversial or uncomfortable to talk about. X-Men has always been a great platform to explore civil rights.

My plans to play a Gamma World campaign are moving along nicely. At least for our table play testing we’ll be using some slightly illegal proxy cards to see if we want to invest in the game fully. It’s a topic we’ll be discussing tomorrow night at our every-other-week game session of traditional D&D. I’m still really excited to give it a chance, my favorite part of being a DM is world building, and I love finding new sandboxes to play in.

Lastly, I’ve become a huge fan of the Philip DeFranco Show on the YouTubes. It’s like John Stewart on the Daily Show, but with someone more my age, and coming out of the internet in a way that only the internet can provide. A glimpse of entertainment in the future? Perhaps…. Check out a couple of episodes, they’re short, but fun.

Well, I wish everyone a Happy 4th of July. I’m working tonight, just like last 4th of July, but if I’m not too busy, I should still be able to see the fireworks on property. Everyone else, go drink some beer for me and have some barbeque! It’s a’mur’ick’an!

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It’s a thin line…

For anyone who cares about the distinction, this will probably be a very nerdy rant type post this time.

I want to talk today about the thin line Nerds often walk between love and hate for the things they nerd-out about, and the possibilities for them to wildly shift with very little provocation. Nerdom (my word for when nerds obsessively love something) has at least contributed to the success of franchises like The X-Men, Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Buffy, The Matrix movies (yeah we messed up on that one, the first movie had such promise!), and let’s face it, it pretty much gives George Lucas a license to print money. It also displays itself in the fanatical way we’ll try to save something, like Firefly (we came so close…), Jericho, Roswell, and Farscape, or any number of comic books (just for example). This brings us to the dark side (pun slightly intended), Nerd Rage and let me say, you wouldn’t like us when we’re angry! It leads to the great divide between fans of Star Trek and Star Wars arguing as to which one’s better (quite heatedly). It leads to page long rants on a forum about Lost and the finale that could never have satisfied us. The boiling fury I feel when I see Hayden Christensen digitally implanted at the end of Return of the Jedi, because as I’m concerned THERE WERE NO PREQUELS! Because who wants to live in a Post-Phantom Menace world? I certainly don’t.

The two can rapidly shift though. Like the valiant, but hopelessly futile efforts to revive Star Trek: Enterprise after 4 years of nerds complaining and whining about the series, only to almost collectively turn a 180 when with a gasp of horror as we realize “What have we done?!? They can’t take Star Trek off the air! KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!” Or the gradual festering hatred that some developed for Heroes as it strove to bore us all into an early grave after blowing our minds the first season. I experienced that flip personally with the Stargate franchise, a franchise that for years I categorically ruled as “sucks” until I watched the original film again for the first time in years and thought to myself, I should try out that Stargate SG-1 and other shows. Now it’s over a year later, I’ve watched all three TV series from beginning to end (I’ll miss you most SG:U) and have started back in on Stargate Atlantis as my show that I just randomly watch when there’s nothing else on.  Also the nearly debilitating apprehension I felt when contemplating the new Star Trek film, and it’s reboot of the franchise, something that boiled into Nerd Rage while watching it the first time and gradually reduced itself down to excited Nerdom over the exciting potential of the new timeline (time travel makes my head hurt). It’s been enough to make me reconsider some of my previously drawn conclusions about TV shows and movies.

It is from years of observing this pattern amongst my people, and from experiencing the highs and lows of Nerdom and Nerd Rage myself that I’ve drawn the conclusion that these two forces are the cornerstones of being a Nerd. Sure there are other defining characteristics to the lifestyle, but none of them so universally found in every nerd as these two traits. Whatever it is that you nerd-out about, Nerdom and Nerd Rage are likely somehow essential to your enjoyment of them, because they fuel or are the ultimate expression of the passion you feel for the subject matter. The best thing is when nerds can find a way to channel one or both of these passionate forces into creative endeavors, or even better, use them to be more successful and creative in their daily lives. I first learned to use Excel in school and it was kinda “blah” for me, that is until I realized all the neat things I could use it for in my nerdly interests, especially Dungeons and Dragons. I tweaked and played with Excel endlessly to make the statistics and numbers of the game reveal themselves to me in new and interesting ways. Now I use Excel continuously in my professional life to be more efficient and effective at my job and organizing my own personal finances. Sure, what I self taught myself using it recreationally, I could have learned in a class or learned when I needed it on the job, but I didn’t have to. Not only that but because I “played” with a system that most people think is a boring spreadsheeting program I look at it through a creative lens and think of new and interesting things to do with it, that a lot of people around me with a much different perspective don’t even consider. In my own brain I often relate the day to day operations of a Hotel to life on the Starship Enterprise, an analogy that many find silly. It works for me though, and as a result I find myself looking to my favorite Captains for inspiration on leadership and crisis management. Other people do similar things, and some people have found an even better world, one where they are able to use the actual nerdy things they love to make a living at. Like the guy who is a life long Dungeon Master for his friends that get’s a job a Wizard’s of the Coast to actual work on D&D  source material. How cool would that be? Because when you do what you love, it feels a lot less like work.

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