Turning Out the Lights

I’m staying up too long again tonight, but I really want to write down my weekend impressions while they are fresh.

The clock read quarter-to-eleven before I could drag my carcass out of bed, which meant that Closing Ceremonies were only three hours away. No panels, no costuming, just time spent with friends today. I wandered the halls, trading hugs and saying hellos and goodbyes, until noon when the con auctions were to begin. My interest this year remained solely academic, as I’d vowed to spend no money at the con: the budget this spring wouldn’t support it.

The White Elephant auction at 1:00 contained many fascinating items, including Shadowrun gaming materials that almost tempted me. (I looked carefully, finding none of the books that my group has specifically mentioned searching for.) Soon enough, though, the Closing Ceremonies began, dragging on for almost three hours before everyone could tear themselves away. I joined jsciv and candidevoltaire for an evening of gaming that lasted until 11 with a dinner break; we played the new Battlestar Galactica board game for two hours, and I judged it worth playing but not one I’ll be purchasing soon, if for no other reason that it plays best with exactly five players. Now, I’m back in my hotel room, bleary and typing away.

Was the con a success? Indeed so, from my perspective. Rumor has it that attendance numbers reached average Technicon levels, which must be a good thing. I had a lovely time, as did anyone else I got to ask. Should there be one next year? I’m not as sure. I think this must be the last Technicon in its current form: future versions with or without the same name will need much new blood, and perhaps new ways of doing things, to attract college students jaded by DVD players and online gaming. I’ll always be available for the panels and performances I’m good at, but I have no interest in a strenuous staff position, and I doubt many other of the con’s veterans do either anymore.

I’d like there to be another T-Con; but I feel that forcing the issue would cause more harm than good. I’m comfortable biding my time and letting things take their natural course. And until I learn what that course is, staff members of SheVaCon expressed strong interest in having me present my late-night insanity at their event, which will give me something to do while waiting for Technicon 27 or Technicon Next Generation #1.

Brief updates

  • 07:49 @starstryder That’s right! you need Katamari Damacy instead: tinyurl.com/iPrince #
  • 07:51 Wow. Absolutely exhausted yesterday, nearly wrecked on the way home. Think I’m feeling better this morning. #
  • 13:33 @queenofpith If a Richmond Dave & Busters installs the VWE MechWarrior simulation pods, I am so there! #
  • 14:56 Job perk: had lengthy hallway discussion with boss this morning about Dollhouse, Dr. Who, and BSG. Local PBS may be showing 4th Doctor eps! #
  • 17:30 Just watched Blizzard’s Uldar preview video. Holy smoke! For the first time ever, I’m really sorry that I’ve never done endgame raiding. #
  • 18:42 OMG, this History Channel program on the secrets of the art on the dollar bill is complete bunk. #
  • 19:42 Microsoft will ban you for XBox Live for being out as gay. Not that my money matters, but they won’t get a gaming dime from me now. #
  • 20:55 This History Channel program on Atlantis is also bunk, but at least I expected that going in. #

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There’s a Bun in the Toaster

Just so no one accuses me of never having anything good to say about the new Galactica, this 8-minute “What the Frak Is Up With BSG?” video from the SciFi Channel is awesome. I hope it’s the brainchild of the production team, and not the SciFi Channel marketing department.

And the BSG cast doing a Letterman Top 10 List:

Thank goodness for a franchise with a sense of humor!

Information High

Questions from rattrap have activated the cloaking device

Reboot! -whap-

It’s pretty easy now to find copies of the J. Michael Straczynski and Bryce Zabel proposal for re-booting Classic Trek. This series would not have had to deal with 40 years worth of continuity unless it wanted to from time to time, and would have had technology more believable to the 21st century viewer; as well, it could have been interesting to see new actors and scriptwriters putting their spin on Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. (The authors even throw out the idea of a female Scotty or Sulu, just to cut down on the sexism a bit.)

But would it have been Star Trek?

I don’t actually have a problem with a single revision they suggest – lots of it would have been quite interesting, and I think their season arcs had much more potential than Enterprise‘s. No; what I’m worried about is the current angst-ridden quality of Sci-Fi right now, and the idea that this show would bring that to Star Trek. That simply doesn’t work right.

Star Trek‘s main message was: “If we ever get a grip on ourselves, the future’s gonna be great.”

TNG: “In fact, with a little more time, it’ll be even shinier and comfier. Though we will talk a lot.”

DS9: “And once in a while, we’ll have to make nasty decisions and put ourselves on the line to keep what we’ve worked for. Worth it, though.”

(Then things came apart a bit)

VOY: “Of course, this future society will produce a few spoiled brats who, in a crisis situation, will manage to be smug and whiny simultaneously. Hell, let’s look at boobs and funky alien tech for a while.”

ENT: “And for a while there, we were just whiny, and everyone in the universe hated us and had cooler toys. Wow, we sucked.”


While the main message of B5 and the current BSG seems to boil down to, “Humans (and the aliens who are like us) suck. We’ll muddle through somehow, but we suck now and forever. Deal with it.” Perhaps, a more realistic message, but I’d prefer to fight for the great shiny future, myself. Would this Star Trek be a gritty, realistic, angst-ridden examination of the flaws of humanity? If so, I don’t think I’d want any part of it.

Return of the Doctor to these shores

The SciFi Channel doesn’t have a history of showing quality first-run material, though there are exceptions: “Farscape” and the Stargates come to mind. In a nice change of affairs, they have recently been broadcasting the new “Battlestar Galactica”, which despite initial doubts, soon won over large chunks of the geek populace. Heck, even though the new BSG is not really my thing, I’d watch it in a second over “Low-Budget CGI Monster Movie CLXI”.

Tomorrow night at 9 Eastern, they are showing the first two episodes of the new Doctor Who series. If you’re a Who fan, it’s probably already on the DVR, but if you aren’t, I strongly suggest you give it a try. You may have heard of “that weird British show with the scarf guy in the phone booth”, but this show bears the same resemblance to that as “Star Trek: The Next Generation” bears to the original “Star Trek” series. (Intentional comparison, as I have quite a soft spot for the ‘classic’ versions.) Now the stories come in one or two episodes each, not six half-hours of padding. The characters are much more fleshed out and three-dimensional, and even develop over the season. There’s even a late-season character who’s less discriminate than Riker about his bed buddies! And there’s a two-parter near the end of the season which may be the best 90 minutes of the Doctor we’ve seen since the show’s 1962 beginning.

Whovians: please watch or record it tomorrow. Many of us have seen bootlegs on the ‘Net, but the cable companies will read our DVRs and report back to SciFi – and the BBC is gearing up for season two.

Who is this guy?

Harry Potter and the World of Dysfunctional Cylons

From the wonderful mollyringwraith, who brought us the condensed versions of the Lord of the Rings movies, comes Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (condensed) Parts One and Two. If you are a Potter fan, read these. You may even wish to if you aren’t a fan 🙂

This weekend while playing WoW, I got into my first 4-person party, and I admit that this was probably the most fun I’ve yet had with the game. But the Schwartz has an up side and a down side.

Generic “Fan Complaint Form”

Stolen from Slashdot

and placed behind a cut

Chilling out and hanging around

Happy belated birthday to southernsinger!

Almost done with the project that’s been breaking my back for the last month; a small measure of my sanity should return when it’s finally done. It’s not helping that the server room has moved to my floor, so everyone’s office is chilly all day. I may have some good story news in the next several days (hope hope).

I’m finally catching up on my Enterprise episodes. I’ve now seen the first three of the season, and I’ve been satisfied with them – nothing yet to go in my “favorite Trek episodes ever” file, but I’ve had fun and haven’t felt insulted. The mention that the NX-01 class was designed by “Captain Jeffries” was a nice nod. I’m going to try the first non-pilot Battlestar Galactica episode this week – I’ve heard that the individual episodes are much more appealing to my kind of fan than the pilot was, so I’m crossing my fingers.

Oh, yeah, Lloyd Eldred has made it into one of Decipher’s card games. (This is a old VTSFFC Halloween in-joke.)

Declaring a vent order

Just read an article yubbie posted elsewhere on the impending return of Battlestar Galactica… it’s a somewhat annoying article, full of smug talk like “we’re taking the opera out of space opera”, and “our spaceships won’t go woosh”, and “we’ll never do a time-travel story”, and “no bumpy-headed aliens”.

It makes me want to grab them by the throat and say, “Look – you morons!” Since the days when our hide-clad ancestors squatted around a fire and told stories of the gods to avoid thinking about how cold and hungry they were, storytelling has only needed two elements: engaging characters, and a stong plot (in fact, if you’ve done one of those elements extremely well, you can often skimp on the other).

If you’ve got those elements, you can do anything else you want. Technobabble? Fine, the fen will compose dictionaries for their own amusement. Bumpy-headed aliens? Makes it easier to tell ’em apart. Time travel? I’ll just point out that time travel is at the core of much of the favorite science-fiction and fantasy of the last 40 years.

Stop telling us what you won’t do, and show us some damn good writing. Do that, and all else will be forgiven.

While I’m in the mood to rant… yesterday, I was once again informed by a younger fan how lame classic Star Trek was, which is something I’m so sick of hearing. Kid, maybe the show isn’t to your taste, which is your right as a language-using primate. But I challenge you to find me a better science-fiction show with a continuing set of characters on late 1960’s American network television. Can’t think of one? Fine, then don’t blame a Ford Model T because it couldn’t break 100 miles per hour and didn’t have a CD player.

Aaaaahhhhh… that felt good.