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Guys, Guys, Guys…

24 Dec

Holy

Guys, guys, guys, it’s Christmas Eve.

Go donate to a Kickstarter campaign or something, like Tell Me A Story…, that one looks promising. Or maybe, if you’re feeling holy, try the Philippine Typhoon relief projects on GoFundMe. Go help, trust me, it’ll make you feel better.

Merry Christmas Eve!

~D.

Wow

21 Dec

Cross Current

Well, it has been some time, hasn’t it? Two weeks, at least. Gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been gone this long. There’s so much I have to tell you! But I shouldn’t tell, I should show, yeah? Sorry if this isn’t filled with the cynicism you’re looking for, but I go back and forth between that and, well, this.

So, first off, it’s Christmastime, my absolute favorite time of the year. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, yule tide carols being sung by a choir, all that great, great, great stuff. I don’t think any will understand how much I love Christmas. initiate most of the decorating in my family, I devour cookies and milk throughout the week, I volunteer at any local holiday shows I have the time for (I played the Grinch this year for a bunch of kids; it was splendid). I have a Christmas music station on Pandora, which, from my pocketed iPhone, plays aloud while I shop for friends and family. Every time I go to Starbucks I buy that little snowman cookie, unless it’s unavailable. Then I jut harass the manager for being a moron. My favorite song of all time is a Christmas song you may have heard of (I usually like it best played on a piano). Although, it’s funny, on a strangely placed side note, the aforementioned song is actually being challenge right this second by a song I’m listening to on Pandora called The Planets. Fantastic music, but still just a challenger.

So yeah, lovin’ the winter. What else to talk about? I’m now the Editor of Sci-Fi Bloggers. Long story–which means it’s really a short story I don’t feel like telling. Needless to say I’m having a blast doing that as well. If any of you want to contribute to the site, head over there and click the “contact” button. Throw us an email (or just leave a comment here and I can talk to the people upstairs)!

What? I’m a fiction writer? Oh, here you go.

I guess that’s everything, really. I want to get back to writing Fight Club style metaphors about the world, but it’s been really tough getting around to it. Also, there’s not much more to write about Earth: it’s great, but it sucks, it’s light, but it’s darkness, it’s depressing, but it’s Christmas. Y’know? That’s pretty much the simplicity of it. Go start a business that helps people in some way and you’ll make a difference. Go die, and you won’t. Simple. Everything’s really simple, guys. To add complexity is to distort fact. Just go out, say, “I’m going to help,” and do it.

Merry Christhanawanza, folks!

~D.

Working Together (That Took Something Out of Me)

4 Dec

Unity Again

The title I mean. I don’t know why, but it just felt really strange, writing that. It’s not that I’m against the idea, as I’ve clearly demonstrated otherwise. It’s just that, I hate it when my titles are trite. For example, the title of my 9/11 article you didn’t click the link to just now is “Type It.” You probably weren’t expecting something like that on the day it was written and published. You were probably expecting “Never Forget,” or perhaps “Remembering the Fallen,” something like that. I don’t like those titles. Everyone uses them. So, I guess I’ll keep the one I have up there the way it is, but only so that the paragraph I’ve written here makes something along the lines of sense.

Oh, and the reason I called this “Working Together” is because of this thing you should read. Did you read it? Nope? Okay, I’ll stop doing that, just in case you actually did. Anyway, yeah, help people out, say no to drugs, and smell the roses, because if you don’t, they’ll wilt before you can come back to them.

~D.

Okay, So…

3 Dec

Evil?

…a lot’s been going on in my world lately. I’m sure a lot’s been happening on your end as well. Things are shifting, changing. People are calling this a “very exciting time.” I think every time is that way. Think about it, when has there been a time in history that wasn’t reallyokay, maybe there were a few years that weren’t so great. But we pushed on because we new something would come out of it, we knew our strength would be rewarded. Oh, crap, not another speech. All right, let me give you a little something for being a good listener/reader. I’ve been writing a lot for this website and I’ve got an article coming out on it soon. It’s about Star Trek: The Next Generation. I know the crowd over there will enjoy it, but…

…YOU GET TO READ IT, FIRST!

So, I won’t keep you any longer. The piece is just below. Read, and enjoy. Unless you hate The Next Generation, in which case…

…nope. Nothing clever.

(Beware, this isn’t fully edited, so it may contain mispalliegnerignerigniaengs.)

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The First Year

“Space, the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

                                          —Captain Jean-Luc Picard

I avoided watching this show for far too long. After finishing the first season, two words come to mind: no regrets.

Right away, I was hooked. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m just telling you how I felt, and how I currently feel. I knew there would be “Talky and Techy” stuff, the warp core discussions and dilithium crystals, some political intrigue and conspiracies, the Prime Directive being tested, probably broken even, and a little action. What came out of left field, for me at least, was the spirituality, the love (not romance, love), and even the series’ fascinating sense of life. Every character is well crafted and valuable, and every episode—every episode—is not only entertaining, but memorable. It’s something you have to see to experience, so, for those who haven’t, head over to Netflix (as of December, 2013) and start watching.

I’ve got more to say, but this is mostly for those who’ve already seen it. And remember, I’ve only watched Season One, so don’t post a bunch of spoilers in the comments.

A New Beginning

Immediately, one of the biggest things that caught me off guard, in terms of character development, was that Captain Picard wasn’t just some calm, precise, flawless leader who had all the answers when problems came his way. Picard made mistakes, was often too forceful, too aggressive even and, most notably, wasn’t very good with children and more  “lax” adults. He had to evolve over time, and I saw his evolution occur in a natural, believable way. This process was simultaneous with the growth of Wesley Crusher, who I personally feel is a severely under-appreciated character. Yeah, he isn’t perfect, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve seen the first episode of Season Two, and there’s this scene with Wesley in it that had me absolutely riveted (a conversation he has with Guinan). It’s great, and it might change a few people’s minds about him, if viewed a second time.

(I honestly think a lot of the “Wesley hate” comes from the fact that he isn’t cynical, aggresive and rude, as teenage boys often are, and some people think that’s unrealistic. I personally think he’s an ideal to be looked upon, right, curious and creative. If that annoys some people, I guess they just don’t like that sort of character.)

Riker is great, especially after having played the Mass Effect series as much as I have (male Shepard’s personality seems to be based loosely on Riker and Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek series). He’s the one with the sharpest eyes, the cleanest hits and the boldest tactics, acting often as a model for Picard. I expected it to be the other way around, the young first officer learning from his captain. And, while that does happen, it’s definitely very balanced, having the captain and Riker acting as both teacher and student, back and forth. I like that, as it shows that everyone can learn and change from one another, and not just the many from the few.

Us, the Crew

The entire cast has this amazing synergy, and the writing doesn’t hurt. Yeah, in the beginning some characters were a little melodramatic, even forced at times emotionally, but by last two thirds of the season, they all stick with you, since they all have moments that make you go, “Damn, they even—*sniff*—got me to—*sniff*—TASHA!” (For anyone who cares, I’m among the few who think Natasha Yar’s death was perfectly appropriate. Not everyone has a glamorous demise. In real life, some people just get offed and that’s that, no slow motion, no sad piano music, nothing. The briefness of Tasha’s death is offset by her touching funeral, which got me right in the gut. This scene’s impact was only helped, not hurt by the fact that she died so quickly and in such a non-romantic fashion.)

Of all the crew, I think my favorites have got to be Data and Worf. They’re just so funny, and yet have some of the more dramatic episodes dedicated to them (“Datalore” and “Heart of Glory” are great episodes; do not skip them). They’re attitudes match and contrast their physical/species personas very well. Data is just as much a calculator (match) as he is a curious youth (contrast), and Worf is just as much a beast (match) as he is disciplined, loyal member of Starfleet (contrast). Again, it all comes back to the writing. The characters have received such praise, as well as the cast that brought them to life, but someone had to conceive them, someone had to have the idea, “Let’s have him see in a way we can’t, a way that may be even better than our normal vision,” and give birth to Geordi, and Dr. Crusher, and Troi.

The writer creates the foundation. Without a story, there is no show.

Beware What Awaits You!

The Next Generation doesn’t just have great characters. it also has intriguing worlds to visit. From a planet where the mildest of crimes can mean the death penalty, to one where the physical manifestation of Evil waits for its next victim, there’s plenty to see and plenty to do. The governments and societies vary widely and, because of this, have to be interacted with carefully. When dealing with a civilization that’s women are superior to its men, who will be selected to discuss diplomacy? A woman, for her strength, or a man, for his ability to seduce the alien race’s leaders? How about species so close to extinction they need to steal the children of your ship’s crew? Do you give them what they want? Is there a substitute? Why do they need the children so badly? What’s causing them to die out as they do? These are the situations that make this show so interesting.

One in particular, “Coming of Age,” was one of the better character related episodes, addressing the overall growth of the crew, as well as their loyalty to Picard, who has improved as a leader. It examines the danger of witch-hunts and how easy it is to simply say, “Something must be wrong here, because it’s bad everywhere else.” And this seems like a “simple” lesson, but complexity isn’t necessarily depth. See, we can have a uncomplicated idea with many levels. Isn’t that how life works? “All men can do great things.” Really? Can they? Why? What gives them this ability? Is it innate? Is it given to them by those around them? Is it necessary? Are these questions even necessary? Do they matter? Does any of this matter? Do “great things” matter? See, that’s a simple concept with depth, and Star Trek: The Next Generation appears to have mastered this in its clever writing (again, it all starts with the pen).

The slow introduction to the universe gives new people like myself time to adjust to everything that’s going on, while also giving veteran fans something to chew on as they look back at old episodes (I know, I watched the show with someone who has seen every episode of it multiple times). It didn’t take me long to understand the relationship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, the importance of the Romulans, the reason for the Prime Directive, etc. Everything was accessible, without sacrificing the attention to detail that Star Trek as a franchise is known for. Great work on the part of the writers and directors, the latter having a just as difficult job, if not more difficult, than the writers (bringing all this to life must have been a daunting task).

Q

One thing I’m really glad about is that the Q aren’t overused as a race. Their power would be way too much of a deus ex machina in some of Season One’s scenarios. If you’re going to make God (or something very close) one of your characters, better not have him abuse His powers in a story about human beings. He might take away some of the fun if he appears too many times. Now, that is not to say I’m against the use of spirituality in writing, quite the contrary. The spiritual side of Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of the things that kept me going. The creative use of the soul and other incorporeal forms as storytelling tools and devices blew me away, and I can’t wait to see what they do next with it.

All in all, Star Trek: The Next Generation was a blast to watch. It’s something I think every up and coming writer/director of science fiction, or even an actor in sci-fi television and movies, should take a look at, if only to see where many concepts in the genre came from. It’s fun, original, intelligent, thought-provoking, and powerful. It has a few rough spots, but get through them, because every geode has a pile of crystals.

Until next time, this is D. Alexander wishing you a happy It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Day!

Trek Holiday

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That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading, and thanks for giving me good things to read, too! I love you guys, really.

~D.

Next Time, I’ll Post Something That Isn’t So Brief, I Swear

2 Dec

Anti-Spam

This is a message to everyone who is doing so: STOP SENDING ME YOUR SPAM COMMENTS. I’m never going to post them, no one is. If you’re just going to come by all our blogs and leave your potentially virus-ridden links, do us all a favor a go die, you non-contributing pieces of Mercury.

Incidentally, I don’t actually hate you guys, I just don’t like it when you make me thing I have twenty comments when I really only have four, and then I find out the other four was you again.

~D.

A New Chapter

1 Nov

It's down.

Okay, we’re here, the start of the next bit. A lot’s coming up, so I’ll keep you posted, you’ll keep me posted, and we’ll do great and all.

Firstly, I’ve been featured on Sci-Fi Bloggers twice! This is really exciting, and you should check out not only my articles, but those of the other writers (one, and another) as well. It’s great stuff!

Secondly, I recently saw Ender’s Game, and I’m here to tell you, as a reader of the book, the director did a great job with the film’s second half. While the first part was rushed, the games and the simulation section worked very well, creating an intense, dark atmosphere that I enjoyed immersing myself in. It wasn’t as good as the book, but that’s no surprise. Honestly, I think if had been an hour longer, maybe even three hours long, it would’ve been perfect, maybe even a T.V. series. I’ll have a full review up at some point.

Okay, that’s everything for now. Keep thing moving on your end, and remember, the enemy’s gate is down.

 

~D.

C

23 Oct

I am that I tiger.

Wow. It’s crazy how far we’ve come, isn’t it? I mean, take a look.

We started with that review of that one movie with the dolls. Then, I said something I’d like to take back, and got lazy, and didn’t post for some time. After that, I came back and told a story, turned into more of a weirdo than usual. Then there was this poorly edited version of something I wrote, followed by another poorly edited version of something I wrote that is now way different, even in terms of plot, time periods, character development, dialogue, etc. So much stuff!

Man, what else did we do? Ah, that’s right! We went on a journey together, and you heard my voice and it was awkward. I wrote a bad ending, and watched an adequate show so you didn’t have to. We followed a goat, examined terrorism, false advertised, discussed knowledge, stayed up late, talked about you, got pissed about abortion, started, got pissed about each other (or I guess it was just me being a bitch or whatever), got pissed about some superhero movie, analyzed characters. Hell, we even got you to want to follow me on Twitter less than you already did! Oh, and something about 9/11, and loving you.

I think the last thing we discussed was racism, and I’ve been away a while. Don’t worry, I’m not disappearing. I just wanted to make sure I did something special for our hundredth time together. I couldn’t come up with much, honestly. Just remembering the good times with the Legendary Heroes and whatnot.

Okay, I guess that’s everything. Here’s something to read before you go to bed, or when you wake up, or whenever. Oh, and here’s a list.

Goodnight/good morning/good evening/good space/you all need to play Beyond: Two Souls.

 

~D.

C

P.S. – I think I left out something, but I feel like I shouldn’t talk about it for some reason.

 

P.P.S. – Look at this tiger.