Star Trek

I had an opportunity to see the new Star Trek movie on Thursday evening.

Going in, I had some misgivings about the movie. I knew it was going to be the original Enterprise crew, I’d heard it would be the story of the TOS crew first coming together, and I’d heard Leonard Nimoy would be reprising the role of Spock. The concern with this is that over the past 43 years, Star Trek has a lot of established continuity. Throwing that to the wind would upset a lot of fans. (Putting new actors in familiar roles was a concern as well, though I think Star Trek: Phase II – formerly New Voyages – has demonstrated that this can work.)

J.J. Abrams managed to have his cake and eat it too. Hardcore TOS fans may very well be disappointed by the way the plot is resolved; but by doing the unthinkable this movie does open the door for new adventures in the TOS timeframe without breaking continuity. What’s more, new and casual fans may become interested in both new stories and the existing ones.

Among the things that struck me about the movie:

  • This is a much grittier universe than we’ve ever see. The newly launched Enterprise is all shiny, but what we see of other ships and Federation facilities look a lot more lived in.
  • In the past, all we ever saw of any starship was a room with four walls, a floor and a ceiling. The ships in this movie have actual superstructure.
  • This was a much different style of film making with tight close-ups of faces and shaking cameras. Even the shots of the Enterprise were all close-ups.

Hello Sarah Jane

Probably one of my favorite scenes from the new Doctor Who came in the second series when Sarah Jane Smith was investigating some unusual aspects of a school.

Looking for anything out of the ordinary, Sarah Jane walked into a storage closet where she discovered a large blue Police Box. Looking very much like someone who’s just seen a ghost, she flees the room and immediately encounters The Doctor who greets her, “Hello Sarah Jane.”

Elisabeth Sladen’s performance in that scene was nothing less than brilliant. Completely believable.

I’m taking some time to savor the fourth series instead of just rushing straight through to the conclusion. Since Sarah Jane appears in the final episodes, I’ve decided that in addition to Torchwood, I also want to watch the first series of The Sarah Jane Adventures. This way I’ll hopefully understand what it is that each character brings to the table.

I’ve known all along that I’m not the target audience (wrong age, wrong gender). But I’m quite impressed by the richness of the Doctor Who universe.

What Happened to Starbuck?

Last night I finally got a chance to watch the final episode of Battlestar Galactica. I’d been wondering how they were going to wrap up all the loose ends (such as “How did Starbuck get to Earth and back?” “Is Baltar a cylon?”), and wanted to watch it when I wouldn’t be distracted by the 70 million other thing going on in my life.

I was pleasantly surprised by it. They wrapped up the storyline in such a way that it was OK to have loose ends. It’s rare to see Science Fiction explaining miracles as miracles and just letting it go at that. Trying to wrap up all the loose ends and explain everything in a two-hour episode would have seem forced. I liked this.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to watch the credits for the final cartoon. Ronald Moore and David Eick finally end up on even terms.

Amusing Irony

I’m somewhat amused by this: One area con has an ad on their home page, advertising one of my competitors. The ad isn’t served up dynamically, and I have no reason to believe it’s a paid ad. (To be fair, the competitor’s site is a darn site prettier than mine and has content beyond the list of events.)

Not knowing the thought process involved, I won’t debate the wisdom of using your home page to serve up an ad that’s going to take people to another site.

But I can’t help thinking, if Convention X is going to put a link to a convention list on their home page (potentially sending people to other conventions), wouldn’t it make sense to link to a convention list that actually includes Convention X?

So what can you do if your favorite convention doesn’t appear on my list? Tell me the event details and there’s a good chance I’ll add it. (I’m rather pleased by my site’s reputation for listing smaller, local events in addition to the bigger name cons that everyone already knows about it. I’ll probably draw the line at My Little Pony events, though to be fair, I do list G.I. Joe cons, so you never know…)

And what if your event is already listed but some of the details have changed or incorrect? (The latter of course, that never happens. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Drop me a line with the details of what’s changed and I’ll update it.

That way, maybe some of the traffic your site sends away will come back. 🙂

Come With Me If You Want to Live

Over the past few weeks, people have been growing increasingly nervous about the Conficker worm. All anyone’s knew about it until now is that it was going to start looking for a message on April 1.

It appears that Conficker has received its message, and it doesn’t look good for us.

Google has announced their new Artificial Intelligence, CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity).

I’ve already taken a look at CADIE’s homepage and YouTube channel and as far as I can tell, it’s indistinguishable from what most humans put on line. And if you can’t reliably tell an A.I. apart from a human, then the A.I. has passed the Turing Test.

Now we know what the Conficker worm is: It’s Google’s A.I. Or rather, it’s Skynet.

If you need me for anything, I’ll be hanging out with Sarah Conner.