Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DVD Survivor, Baseball, + Other Creative Stuff

Today's post isn't really meant to be thought-provoking, unless it provokes the thought of "why does he think we care?"  Anyway it's another "update" post of things I'm working on / will be working on.  Or you may want to call it, "Things I'm Writing That Aren't Actually Stories".  Or "This is What I Write Instead of Fiction".

DVD Survivor
I'm not actually working on this yet, but it's an idea I had while (of course) on my lunch time stroll around the block at work.  The basic premise is this: I have a bunch of DVDs that I bought a long time ago; in most cases these were movies I hadn't seen before, and rather than rent them, I bought them.  In most cases, I probably ended up liking the movie; but in some, I haven't watched since.

We recently got an HDTV; even more recently, a Blu-Ray player.  I'm going to want to be buying some new movies - some as replacements for movies I already own on DVD (Star Wars, Back to the Future, and a few others).  Obviously those DVD copies will be out the door once they're replaced.  But we'll also be picking up new copies of Blu-Ray movies we don't own, and we really don't want to run out of space.  This is where we get to "DVD Survivor".

This isn't going to be something where I pit inanimate objects on Britannia Beach or something.  "Survivor" is just a catchy name to me.  I will watch each movie that is on the chopping block, and decide on each viewing whether to keep or toss said movie.  I don't have a full list of what movies I'll be watching, but I can tell you it includes Hero(2002), The Last Samurai(2003), Lost in Translation(2003), Taxi Driver(1976), Good Night and Good Luck(2005), and Syriana(2005).  I can tell you I can picture myself keeping at least three of those movies (I won't tell you which!).  And of that list, there is only ONE which I haven't even watched yet.

I don't know when I'm starting this, but I do know these things: 1) It will be soon 2) I will be watching the movies in alphabetical order.

Oh, baseball.  The pre-season matchups kick off next month as teams across the league try to figure out how their roster will shape up for the 2012 season while pretending that they're really not enjoying the beautiful weather in Arizona and Florida.

I am a "regular" writer at my brother's Blue Jays blog, Blue Jays Luddite.  Well, I was "regular" last year, but I think I'm going to make an effort to give him some more contributions.  So if you like baseball, or at the very least want to read about the Blue Jays, be sure to keep an eye out next month for what's sure to be exciting training camp stories.

Other Creative Stuff
I think I've been letting all of this stuff take over my work on Alternative Airwaves, but I feel like it's okay.  At the moment I don't feel overwhelmed, so I'm going to take that as a good thing.  You see, it wasn't too long ago I was complaining about wanting to do something creative but not knowing what to do.  I won't take it as a bad thing that now I have tons of ideas and they're all flowing.

I think the favourite thing I'm doing right now is my page-by-page review of Planet X, a Star Trek: The Next Generation / X-Men crossover novel written in 1998.  I found it in Value Village, and I had to buy it.  You can read it over at  I have a friend, Xyloart, who is doing the illustrations.  And they are awesome; probably way better than my writing.

Speaking of Alternative Airwaves, as I said I've been stagnating a little.  I'm coming up to the 50th episode (that'll be in May), and I'd like to put a bit more work into it to get it sounding really great.  We'll see what I can come up with, but mostly the work will involve putting more time into finding music than anything else.  Too often lately I've been picking music last-minute and only from 1 or 2 sources.  Something I need to work on.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Dark Mirror

I finished this book a week ago (just in time to get Win Tie or Wrangle from the library), and I meant to write a review immediately after.  But then I forgot.  Woopsie!

Here are the basics: the USS Enterprise D, while exploring a really boring area of space in the outer reaches of the galaxy, gets pulled (sucked?) into the Mirror Universe.  If you're unfamiliar with the Mirror Universe at all, it would behoove you to do some reading before continuing on with this review.

To be honest, if you want to enjoy this book, be prepared to do a lot of waiting.  The beginning of the book takes a long time to get going, talking about nigh-uncomprehensible things like "hyperstrings" and some dolphin-like alien which makes very little sense whatsoever.  Seriously, Diane Duane, why not pick an alien species we're more familiar with?  All I could picture from the descriptions was a super-happy dolphin floating around in a space suit with robotic arms.  The scenes without him were much better.

Once we get into the meat of the story - which, to me, is when Picard beams over to the Mirror!Enterprise and help LaForge and Troi with their mission (which is to get them out of the mirror universe).  Once we get to this point, the plot moves around at a very good pace and the action is fun.  And then, where the novel should have ended, we get a chapter of the crew enjoying some sort of opera on the holodeck.  Uh...maybe that would work as a coda in the TV show, but it is utterly boring here (and I skipped it outright).

I only have two main beefs with this book.
1) The characterization seems a little off.  They talk completely different from how they would in the TV series.  This brought me out of the story a couple of times.*
2) The Mirror Universe is the same as we saw in the TOS episode Mirror, Mirror.  This is a beef for me, because the extrapolation of the MU's history seen in the Deep Space Nine episode Crossover is much more believable than what we get here.**

Other than that, I felt that the characters' actions were much more realistic than what we see on the TV show.  It feels like they're actually military officers (sorry, explorers) operating aboard a very complex starship.  I don't know how to describe it, but I guess it doesn't really feel like these guys are on the bridge 100% of the time.  Don't you find it odd in the TV show that we see the same bridge crew every episode?***

Anyway, it was an interesting enough read.  Three out of Five stars.  ALSO!  This ties in directly to a new creative project I'm working on.  Head over to for more details!

* - Granted, their personalities were almost bang-on for all the characters.  They just didn't talk properly.
** - I will grant that perhaps the mirror universe we see in this novel is a branch of the mirror universe we've seen on TV - where in this particular universe, Spock's efforts to bring civility to humans doesn't work and they remain as they were.  I think I'll take that explanation over the fact that they're the same universe as on TV.
*** - I think both TNG and Voyager have attempted to address this; the only episode that comes in mind is Data's Day and I think there's one episode on Voyager that puts Ensign Kim in command of the night watch or something. 

Friday, February 3, 2012


You may or may not have heard of this new show on Fox from producer J.J. Abrahms called "Alcatraz"; if not, here's the premise: in March 1963, 300+ inmates and guards disappeared without a trace; now, in 2012, they're coming back.  And committing their original crimes on top of doing some mysterious dirty work for some higher power.

I've watched three episodes now (well, technically four since the pilot episode was really the first two episodes back-to-back), and I think that's enough to form an initial opinion.  I think I need to wait until I've absorbed the entire first season before putting together any official "review" of some kind, but here are some brief thoughts about the show so far:
  • It's essentially a police procedural show, except it's got paranormal overtones and is funny
  • Sam Neill
  • I like fiction that takes historical events and puts a new spin on them, and I am a little excited for something as cool as Alcatraz
  • No really, Alcatraz was this prison on an island that was next to impossible to escape from.  Can you think of a cooler premise for a TV show of this nature?
  • Sam Neill
  • They're spending equal time in 1960 and 2012.  They're giving us a lot of backstory on the criminals that the team is chasing down, and there has to be a reason for that - but what's the reason?
  • This show has paranormal overtones - or does it?  Maybe time travel is involved?  That's not paranormal in my books.
  • Sam Neill
I highly recommend this show - and I never watched Lost, so I'm not saying that you should watch this show based on that last show.  I hear though that the guy who plays Doctor Soto played a guy named Hurley in Lost, and maybe some people might like that?

You can watch Alcatraz Monday nights at 9PM EST on Fox, or be like me and watch it on CITY TV in Canada.