Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stargate: Universe Off to Good Start

I'd like to say I called it, but that always sounds so silly when you only mention this after the formal announcement. But, dude, my Spidey Sense did tingle every so slightly yesterday when Scalzi mentioned he was in Vancouver and a commenter noted that Mallozzi of Stargate fame had indicated Scalzi was there at Mallozzi's invite. I remember a half-formed thought to the effect of "I wonder if this has to do with Stargate: Universe?" And, indeed, Scalzi has announced he will be a Creative Consultant for the show.

As others have noted, this is the best news I've heard about this show yet. It improves the chances of my liking this show considerably and being willing to watch it regularly even through the usual new show jitters. That's saying something after Stargate: Atlantis seemed to go out with a fizzle and no clear direction for the supposedly green-lit movies. It'll be interesting to watch for his influence if nothing else.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Reality of Office Politics

(This is yet another interpretation of Murphy's Law. I think scientists need to seriously start considering Murphy's Law as the Grand Unified Theory of Everything in Nature.)

In any given office setting, no matter how well you perform your job, there will always be someone who sees only your mistakes. Events and timelines will conspire to ensure that your superiors are present when this coworker decides to draw attention to your mistakes. The situation will also be such that your defense would either seem silly in the context (as it would sound defensive and defeat the purpose) or would take up too much time and, well, see the first part of this paragraph.

Usually I can shake this off: I'm good at my job and the folks that need to know it, know it, and they know it well. I'm not perfect and welcome the opportunity to see where I can improve my performance. Also, some people will just never like you.

When I encountered this reality last week, I did shrug it away. But when it showed up again this week early in the morning before the caffiene had kicked in to shore me up after a terrible night's sleep...I let it get to me. Just enough to make me vent to Mark on the drive home.

I have a feeling I'll be over it tomorrow. Futile office politics just aren't worth the mental energy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Drew's Comfort Food

Tonight's been rough for the Drew Monster. First he kept waking up because his nose is too plugged up to let him breathe right. Then he had to sleepily suffer through Momma trying to unplug said nose. Finally, a nightmare spooked him fully awake and he just couldn't manage to go back to bed without some parental assistance.

We tried cradling him between the two of us in our bed, but he didn't seem to want that and opted to sleep on top of me. That option didn't fare much better and he landed next to me on the edge of the bed. Finally he decided he need to get up and get some Cheerios and pretend the day was starting.

Momma humored him for about twenty minutes (long enough to watch a view Pixar shorts), and then he insisted we try our bed again. A few minutes of shifting and he wanted back in his room. Off Momma and Drewbie went. He got himself situated in bed, curled around his bowl of Cheerios. Then he instructed me to turn on his music and the awesome moon night light Mark's parents got him for Christmas, and requested I spoon with him for a while. Little guy even fed me a Cheerio to make sure I was in on his comforting regime.

A few minutes of that and he turned his head to me and said, "Thank you." I kissed him on the cheek and gratefully accepted my marching orders--only to remember I had forgotten some computer work that needed to get done tonight. But, hey, at least I got a chance to post the memory for everyone to share.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Undermining the Genre

I've often bemoaned Battlestar Galactica's modern-to-us medicine in the midst of far-advanced science and technology clearly evident week after week. Seems a bit ridiculous and a bit of a conceit that works against the underpinnings of the genre itself. Almost as if the show wanted to create something science fictional but grabbed at the obvious trappings instead of building a world from the ground up.

I encountered the same thing in a most unexpected source yesterday: a YellowBook commercial. We see a futuristic setting in which a woman is discovering (through an embarrasing video phonecall) that her man is cheating on her. She disconnects and starts doing a neat physically interactive search through the YellowBook to find a pawn shop. She brings in a very tricked out futuristic guitar (clearly her ex's) to the pawn shop to get her revenge and walks away with a huge smile on her face and...a stack of dollar bills? In one sense, I get that it's clearly short hand to show us that YellowBook can find what you need for both financial gains and emotional satisfaction. But it just took the wind out of their futuristic setting's sails.

I have the same problem with romance novels that, in the denouement or the big climax when the hero and heroine finally reveal to each other their love, the hero goes all possessive of the heroine and says, "Mine." It comes off as undermining the entire concept of what romance is (to me): loving another person as a person, not as a possession or object. But, given that "Mine" is often something romance heroes say of their lady loves, I think I might be in the minority of women in my interpretation of the genre (or, in my interpretation of what love is).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Backstory Like Shifting Sands

We've been watching Sanctuary, and, as with all new shows, we're still not sure about it but keep tuning in to see if this episode will be the one to win us over or scratch it off our DVR's To Do list. Now that its first season is done, I've figured out my biggest problem with this show: the backstory seems remarkably fluid.

With every revelation of how abnormals work or how Magnus came to be where she is today or what the Cabal is or how the Five interacted, it seems as if the details don't quite mesh together or have shifted to meet the needs of the current story rather than evolved from what we already knew of the characters and the world. In short: it feels like they're making it up as they go.

For example, first we learn about the Five, a group Magnus was part of that studied abnormals and injected themselves with pure vampire blood in order to make themselves abnormal, to varying degrees of success. OK, fine, neat concept. I can work with this. Then halfway through the season (maybe more?), suddenly we meet Magnus's father, and he's also turned himself abnormal (I think) and HE was the one who got Magnus interested in abnormals, and HE was a huge guiding, mentoring, interactive part of the Five. That felt a bit like a left turn.

Another example: a couple of episodes in, we meet the Cabal, some darkly secret group who wants to exploit abnormals for their own ends and will mow over anyone who gets in their way. This organization seems an unknown to Magnus, as if she's just hearing about it, but as the rest of the season unfolded, the entire cast (including the Five) seems to have some basic working knowledge and understanding of the Cabal as if they've been known enemies for decades at the least. Another left turn.

It makes this viewer frustrated because I never know which detail they give me will actually remain true to the context and manner in which it is given. So one week I might get excited about a hint they've given me, only to be disappointed the very next week when they twist that hint into something almost entirely unexpected.

Yet I'll be tuning in for the next season at the start. Mostly because the Five seems to bring out the best in the writing and acting (which is why I'm thoroughly bummed they killed off Watson; watching him interact with everyone--except Will; man do they need to do something with that character--was pure joy). And, if nothing else, this show is teaching me the flaws in revealing worldbuilding and backstory that I can avoid in my own writing. I'd prefer to be learning how to do something right, of course, but I'll take my education where I can get it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

#1 Rule for Reading Romance

Always be prepared for any interruption during the sensual scenes.

If you are reading your book in a public place, one such scene will arrive just as someone sits down next to you or tries to engage you in conversation about the book you're reading. If you are reading at home while family is around, one such scene will be in progress when your child crawls into your lap or your significant other decides to chat you up. If you are building towards one such scene in your reading and have to set the book aside for a responsibility, you will never be able to get back to the book as quickly as you would like, sometimes even to the extreme of losing the book, leaving it behind at home when you go on a trip, and so on.

This rule is inviolable.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Geek Status Revoked

A few weeks ago, a friend got me to try out World of Warcraft. As far as the game content itself goes, I loved it. Character creation. Quests. Killing monsters. Running around a fantasy world. Everything I love about RPGs. The online element was fun when it was just me and my friend tag-teaming the beasties and chatting with each other. Then random people wanted to jump in with us and things got decidedly less fun. So I let my trial period run out and didn't sign up for the full package.

When you don't like the MMO portion of an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game for those non-geeks following along at home), do you even get to qualify as a geek? It's not like my geek status was much beyond the Level 14 night elf I abandoned at any rate (my status among the geeks, that is; to the non-geeks, I'm already hopelessly mired in the culture just for having played the game), but I swear I could feel the experience points getting sucked out of me the moment I made my choice not to sign up for the reasons I did. I got a few back when I bought Final Fantasy XII to satisfy my RPG urge, but somehow I don't think it's enough to keep this Geek Membership badge.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Commuter Truth #14

When a firetruck with sirens blaring weaves its way through a half-mile of traffic behind you and continues on through highway congestion already moving slower than usual, it's time to bail to the surface streets.

Friday, January 02, 2009

2008: The Blog in Review

Wow, so a grand total of 24 posts from September through to the end of 2008. Made putting together a Best Of list easier, I guess. (Except that I'm still a couple of days behind the curve there as well. Sigh.) I think I've turned a corner in juggling family, full-time work, writing, and RWA responsibilities so blogging might actually make something of a comeback this month.

But, in case you've been pining away for quality blogging in this space, here's a list of Oldies but Goodies from 2008 to satisfy you.

Previously on Me, My Muse & I (being an explanation of the recent silence for those who are just tuning in or have not bothered with the reruns)
Welcome to the Nuthouse

Tales of the Drew Monster
The Drewbie's New Clothes
Mister Independent (Mostly)
The Night Watch
Adventures in Commuting

Reading, Writing & Ruminating
Process Exampination for Dummies
Tools of the Trade
The Things We Do for (Genre) Lore
Satire Safari
So Can Mary Sue Transcend Too?
I Have a Plan. Honest.

I doubt I'll ever get into the swing of daily blogging in 2009, but I do hope to avoid posting only a handful of times in any given month. I'd like to manage two to three posts a week to keep the faithul regular readers updated on Drew's latest antics, on my writing progress, and on the various and sundry insanities and amusements that crop up. Consider it a New Year's resolution.