Geek Things of 2010

This was possibly one of the best years that I’ve had in a long time. There were geek things abound, in all facets of life: in literature, film, current events, science, music and people. 2010 was a fantastic year for me. In roughly chronological order, here are the notable geek moments of the year:

This year seems to have been the year for newly-published authors. Nora Jemisin exploded out of the gate with her book The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first of a trilogy in an excellently conceived of world, one where gods and humans interact and where there are consequences for those who were chained, and those who held the chains. I was particularly blown away by this book, and look forward to diving into book two: The Broken Kingdoms sometime in 2011.

Canadian Science Fiction author Peter Watts became a bit of a martyr in the eyes of many in the science fictional world when he was thrown into jail for resisting arrest at a border crossing earlier this spring. News of his imprisonment and the details of his predicament spread like wildfire, spurring outrage. Watts has since been convicted and released, and won't be able to travel into the U.S..

I trooped in February with the 501st in New York City to support a product launch. What a surreal day: who would have thought of the combination of Star Wars, Snoop Dogg and Adidas?

The long-running UK show Dr. Who saw its latest rejuvenation in the form of Matthew Smith this year, along with show runner Steven Moffat, who's penned some of the best Dr. Who episodes that I've seen in the latest run. I only was able to catch a couple of the new episodes, but what I saw, I really liked.

One of the films that was a sure train wreck from the trailers was Clash of the Titans. It's decent, mindless monster porn with action and special effects, but for a regular movie? It was pretty bad, and the slapped together 3D helped show audiences that it's a stunt on the part of movie studios to rake in more money per ticket. Where 2009 saw Avatar as the big bright moment for 3D, 2010 saw that it was only good when natively filmed with the extra dimension, rather than slapped on with additional CGI.

Another new author broke into the ranks of the published, author Blake Charlton, with his first novel, Spellwright. While the novel wasn't perfect, it was enjoyable, and I've had the good fortune to talk extensively with him over the course of the year (while he splits writing time with his medical education). This book in particular draws upon Charlton's own experiences with Dyslexia, which allows the book a unique feel when it comes to the mechanics of world building and magic. Bring on book two, Spellbound, due out this year. !

One of my favorite authors from high school / camp, Karin Lowachee, returned from several years of absence for a new book titled The Gaslight Dogs, one of the better Steampunk books that I've read thus far. Set in an unconventional world to the North, Lowachee weaves together some interesting characters and settings in an entertaining novel. I eagerly await the sequels for this planned trilogy.

Earlier this year marked a major uproar when attempted to flex its muscles against Macmillan publishers, who had been pushing for higher prices for its new hardcover books. Amazon pulled the books from the publisher, which outraged a lot of people - authors who found that their books weren't being sold for a couple of days before they were all put back into place.

April 20th saw a massive explosion on the Deep Water Horizon oil rig when a plume of natural gas came up the well that they were drilling. The resulting oil spill lasted for three months and involved a major engineering and environmental effort to cap and contain the oil spill. Undoubtedly, the effects will be seen for years to come in the environmental and economic health of the region. The containment of the well itself is an achievement in and of itself, with an apt description of the process as similar to the Apollo 13 rescue.

Vermont singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell gained quite a lot of attention with her concept album Hadestown, a post-apocalyptic folk opera retelling of the legend of Orpheus. It's a mouthful, but an extensive cast of notable singers (such as Bon Iver and Ani DeFranco) join her in an impeccable work of music, story and art. This album was absolute perfection.

In July, at the urging of a former college professor, I drove down to ReaderCon, a regional science fiction convention that boasted an impressive list of authors and fans. Unlike most of the conventions that I've been to, this was devoted extensively to literature, and while there, I was able to meet a number of authors that I've long admired (and learned of there) such as Charles Stross, Allen M. Steele, Elizabeth Hand, Blake Charlton, Paolo Bacigalupi, David Forbes, N.K. Jemisin, and quite a few others. I had an absolute blast this year, and I'm eagerly awaiting the trip next year. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit some other similar cons this year.

I didn't catch this until later in the year, but Predators was a film that was released that had been one that I'd wanted to see in theaters. Where the first film was an 80s action film with too much brawn and no brains, this film was a smart, dynamic science fiction thriller, one that vastly improved the franchise. As io9 said, it's the perfect B movie. I'm inclined to agree.

While it was a sparse year for good genre films, one stood easily out amongst the others: Inception. It was a fantastic balance between action and story, with a thought-provoking storyline that dips its feet into the science fiction pool just as much as needed to push the story forward, exploring the mind and the possibilities of imagination. It’s on my slowly growing list of top science fiction films ever.

1B1T proved that Twitter could be more than mindless, as Wired Magazine ran a poll to see if they could get all of twitter reading the same book. The result? Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, broken down into an easy reading schedule – it made for a great excuse to re-read the book and talk to a number of people on a global scale.

Another new author, Charles Yu impressed me with his short story collection, Third Class Superhero this past spring and doubly so over the summer with his book, How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe, a brilliant time travel story that stands out from most books that I read this year. Yu's book becomes part of the story itself, and can easily be compared to the works of Douglas Adams with its dry humor.

Last year, Paolo Bacigalupi blew me away with his novel The Windup Girl, and this year, his follow-up YA novel Ship Breaker could easily fit into the same post-oil world. Global warming is rampant, people are exploited, and with that in the background, there's a very basic and interesting story that pulls the reader through. Bacigalupi's a guy to watch, and this book demonstrated that he's no one hit wonder.

Apple launched their new device and product category this year, the iPad, and when a really good deal came through earlier this year, I bought one, something that I wasn't expecting to do. So far, it's easily the best thing that I've bought all year long. It's an amazingly good computer, and it works very well with what I've long used a computer for, while being more convenient than a laptop. It's a multi-purpose device that I've been able to use extensively over the course of the year, for writing, reading, web work, music and games. For my first Apple early adoption, it's come off far better than my first iPod.

This year's Hugo Awards presented a rare event: a tie for Best Novel: Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl and China Mieville's The City and The City (more on that in a moment) both received the award in addition to every other award that they scooped up along the way. (Quite a few!). Moon also picked up the movie award.

The animated Star Wars Clone Wars TV show has been popular, but for me, up and down in quality. The opening episode was impressive, but from everything that I've seen beyond that, it's become an exceedingly boring show. When the ads point to the passage of an arms bill in the Republic senate as the exciting bits, you should probably reevaluate. Hopefully, it'll get a bit better soon.

When it came to television shows that disappoint, LOST came to an end is year with a finale that ended the show, but one that didn't wow me like it should have. There was too much lost when it came to possibilities, and it felt more like an ending and an epilogue that wasn't needed.

Masked is a superhero anthology, featuring a number of authors taking on the super powered and the caped. I've yet to finish it, and while I've been enjoying most of it, there are only so many stories of a Batman clone before I have to question the need for the story to be included.

One of the better anthologies that I read all year, Stories: All New Tales, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio is an impressive book that looks to the idea that stories should be things that demand that you turn the page to find out what happens next. This collection of stories, which boasts an impressive list of contributors, is one that I really enjoyed reading through - there's a bit of every genre here, from science fiction to fantasy to horror to crime fiction. Worth picking through and reading for all of the excellent stories.

Military science fiction stories are fascinating reads - I've read a number of them this year, and by far, the most thought-provoking was Adam Robert's New Model Army. The premise is one that's very modern: what happens when the wiki-culture moves into warfare? While I think that a lot of what would have happened in the book would never come to pass, it does have some interesting ideas behind it, and by far, was one of the better books that I read all year.

Iron Man 2 would have done well to capitalize on the military science fiction stories that the first was known for: a tight, interesting and well conducted special effects spectacular. The trailers looked awesome, but the film just fell flat: it was overblown, nonsensical at times, and not nearly as good as the first one. It did have its good parts, such as Sam Rockwell's zany character, and some fun action scenes.

Kirby Krackle completely rocked my world this year. Their sound is pretty basic when it comes to the actual music, but they rocked it pretty well. In a world where there a few songs that are so passionate about Green Lantern or zombies, their album E for Everyone really stood out for me, and it's an awesome bit of music to bounce around to. These guys are the new voice of fandom.

The first big cancellation from SyFy earlier this year was Caprica, which launched with a great cast of characters and a whole lot of potential, this precursor to Battlestar Galactica was a show that really needed to be trimmed down and to find its focus a bit. Numerous storylines, characters and themes all running together worked well, but the writing was on the wall early on: the show could have been just as good or better than BSG, (and was, at points), but its ratings couldn't sustain it. It's a real shame: the show could have been better than BSG.

In it's second season, Stargate Universe continued to impress me, and it's recent cancellation has me far more upset than the axing of any other television show that I've watched (even Firefly, although I saw that post-cancellation). A step up for the franchise as a whole, this season of Universe was brilliant, well acted and had a lot going for it, and I hope that the next ten episodes will see some good closure and storytelling. Still, maybe it'll be one of those shows that was awesome and never had a chance to get bad, much like Firefly.

One of the absolute best books that I read this year was China Miéville’s The City and The City, which was up for a number of awards this year, including the Hugo. I picked this up after the hype started to go, and it lived up to, and exceeded my expectations by a long margin. Wonderfully plotted in a well thought-out world, Miéville crafts a murder mystery with a fantastic background, and puts to paper one of the best books of the year.

The mathematician who was responsible for some major advances in mathematics and theory died earlier this year, Benoit Mandelbrot. Also the subject of a Jonathan Coulton song: Mandelbrot Set.

Stephen Moffat ruled the Dr. Who universe for a while now, but I liked his take on Sherlock Holmes far more. Set in the modern day, Sherlock is a retelling of the story, with Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. A far better take on the character than Robert Downey Jr.'s in the film adaptation (which was also quite fun), Sherlock was fantastic from start to cliff-hanger. I already can't wait for Series 2.

In the wake of Sherlock, Martin Freeman was selected to play Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, which is finally moving forward, along with what looks like a great cast. It’s still a shame that Guillermo del Toro isn’t directing though.

Zombies have been all the rage for a while now, and (no pun intended) have been done to death. The Walking Dead falls into a couple of categories with me. The pilot episode was fantastic - one of the better takes on a man waking up to find civilization gone, but it's a story that really doesn't add much to the canon, and while it had its interesting points, it's something that I'm more or less indifferent to. We'll see how Season 2 goes.

While Zombies have been very popular, 2010 saw a bit of a decline in the hysteria over Vampires, while Steampunk came in as a solid genre. The Steampunk craze has gotten some major attention: Sherlock Holmes took on a couple of Steampunkish elements, while Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) in the show Castle became a convert as publishers such as Pyr and Tor have published a number of books in the genre. It's something that's here to stay, that's for sure.

When it comes to Pyr books, one of their offerings for the year that I read earlier this was Ian McDonald's River of Gods, which took place in a futuristic India. The Dervish House is his latest book, taking place in a futuristic Turkey. I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm loving its rich attention to culture and interconnected storyline.

Going back to geek music, a friend of mine, John Anealio, turned me towards Marian Call earlier this year at ReaderCon, and when she came through Vermont on her 49 state tour this year (an impressive feat in and of itself), I was able to catch her at Montpelier's Langdon Street Cafe for a geeky set of music and a couple of quick words with Marian. She's a lovely singer, one who's popular for all of the right reasons. Geek music was something that I focused on quite a bit this year, putting together a playlist that's almost 700 songs long, and while doing so, came across a strange trend with some of the more higher-profile stuff that trends more towards Geek Pop music. Songs like G33ks and G4m3r Girls by Team Unicorn were almost unlistenable earworms, laundry-lists of popular geek things without the real soul of "geek" stuff to begin with. It'll be interesting to see if there's more of it as geek stuff gets more and more popular.

Speaking of John Anealio, he's someone to keep an eye on, and someone that I befriended earlier this year at ReaderCon. John's an excellent geek musician, with some fantastic songs released earlier this year, such as 'Stormtrooper for Halloween' and 'I Should Be Writing'. Kirby Krackle might speak for fandom, but Anealio speaks for the fans themselves. I can't wait to see what he comes up next.

Another outfit to keep an eye out for is Symphony of Science, which continued to release a number of tracks of auto tuned scientists (namely Carl Sagan) with a wonderful collection of music that speaks to science and the wonders of the universe.

One of the films that I'm practically drooling over in anticipation for is Battle: Los Angeles, which can best be described as Independence Day meets Black Hawk Down. The early buzz from San Diego Comic Con was good, and the trailer showed that there was going to be some excellent looking action. The film is due out in March of 2011, and I really hope that it'll live up to my expectations.

While I panned iFringe when it first came out, but I've grown to love it and really rued my words: with Stargate Universe off the air, it's easily the best science fiction show on TV right now, and while its ratings have dropped and it's been moved to Friday nights, I'm hoping that the show will continue onwards. This season has seen less of the blood and gore, but has an excellent alternate universe storyline that's heating up. I can't wait for new episodes starting up later this week!

One of the coolest things to happen in the realm of space exploration happened was the Deep Impact Probe, launched on 2005 to take a look at the 9P/Tempel comet. The probe released an impactor earlier this year and took a number of high resolution pictures as it passed by and analyzed the impact to see what it was made of.

The other top book of the year was easily Joe Hill's second novel, Horns, mixing popular culture, horror iconology and religious allegory together in a story that absolutely gripped me and blew me away while I was reading it.

It was a sad day in December when Leslie Nielsen passed away. Airplane is one of my favorite comedies, while Forbidden Planet is easily one of my favorite science fiction films. He will certainly be missed. Right on the heels of Nielsen was Irvin Kershner, who directed the greatest of the Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back. It's a shame that his work was never quite matched with the franchise. Ironically, his film was one of 25 preserved by the Library of Congress's National Film Registry.

On December 9th, the private space firm SpaceX made history when it launched it's Falcon 9 rocket into orbit carrying a dragon capsule. It became the first private firm to orbit the earth and safely return, joining a small number of countries who have accomplished the same thing.

When it comes to dragons, a film released this year that I only just caught was How To Train Your Dragon, a great kids film with a fun story and some good graphics. At the same time, I can also recommend Toy Story 3 for many of the same reasons - excellent storytelling and a positive end for that franchise.

Wikileaks occupied most of the news coverage for the last part of the year as they released thousands of diplomatic cables in addition to their leak of classified military dispatches written over the course of the Iraq / Afghanistan war. The leaks demonstrated the power of the internet: and the necessity to keep secrets a bit more secure. Given the lack of ability of the British government to keep track of their own files, I'm surprised that they haven't been the target of more leaks.

I first saw the original Tron earlier this year in anticipation for Tron: Legacy, and I came out of the theaters with a film that met my expectations. It was a blockbuster that was fun, but it could have been so much more than it was. With Disney working on sequels and a television series, I'm not sure that the franchise is going anywhere, but box office results have been somewhat lax, given all the advanced hype and marketing for the film.

That ends out the year. It’s been an impressive one, and one that marked a couple of milestones for me: I’ve written, talked to, read and watched so much in the speculative fiction genre, and I’m loving the immersion. There’s a long list of people to thank for it: Annalee Newitz, Charlie Jane Anders, John DeNardo, John Anelio, Patrick Hester, Aiden Moher, Blake Charlton, Charles Yu, Paolo Bacigalupi, David Forbes, Jim Ehrman, N.K. Jemisin, John Scalzi, David J. Williams, Christie Yant, John Joseph Adams, Karin Lowachee, Megan Messinger, Bridget McGovern, Brit Mandelo, Scott Eldeman, Blastr, everybody at io9, SF Signal and, people who commented and e-mailed me because of what I wrote and everyone who encouraged my writing and reasoning over the year. Most of all, Megan, for everything. It’s been the best year for me to date, and I’m looking forward to an even better 2011.

It's Not The Destination That Matters, It's the Journey: The Finale of Lost

After six years, Lost has finally come to an end. What started out as a surprising beginning, ABC's surprise hit was a show that defied tradition, genre and storytelling to create what is possibly one of the better television shows to have ever been released. After a hundred and twenty one episodes, the show has long remained a favorite, even when it was having its off moments, because of the detailed storytelling, characters and references within the show. Lost is a novel, simply put, and no singular part really takes away from that as a whole. Because of this, the lackluster finale that finished off the show really doesn't ruin anything for me.

Since the beginning of the show, when Jack awakens in a field, it's been fairly clear that there's quite a bit more to this show than most others out there. The large ensemble cast, the strange events and discoveries and obscure references to mythology, literature, religion and free thought have grown significantly over the drama's run on television. One moment stood out for me in the first season, when John Locke, teaches Walt how to play backgammon, holding up a white and a black stone.

This has long been a cornerstone of the show, opposites, balance, good vs. evil and chaos vs. order, and it has been embodied in a number of different elements throughout the show, in the personalities of the characters, the actions that they take, and the events that have occurred on the island. Within this larger theme and storyline, the survivors of Oceanic 815 wage their own stories and struggles, which in turn fits into the story of the island, and all that it embodies. Lost is a very literary show, one that is both intelligent and well structured, only hampered in its execution.

The finale, The End, was underwhelming at best. There was no great reveal that helped to tie up storylines, and nothing that fundamentally changed the characters beyond what had happened in the show already. Essentially, the last two hours was the combined momentum from the show coming to a halt. While this was to be expected, it did so in a lackluster and uninspiring way. Throughout the show, a conflict has arisen between Jack Shepherd and John Locke, who respectively represented empirical science over emotional religion (or something similar), with an eye towards logic over chaos and presumably, good over evil. There has been some absolutely terrific storytelling, and a very cool reversal of roles between the two characters over the course of the season. While an ultimate conflict was building over the entire show, the end, with a quick fight, and with Locke being shot in the back by Kate Austen, there was little significance or even forward movement for any of the characters.

Furthermore, a big answer for one of the more pertinent questions regarding the nature of the island was discovered much earlier on, when Jacob explained that the island was essentially a cork, holding back a great evil, and his job, as a gatekeeper, helped keep the world in balance. Indeed, the visual symbolism between he and his brother is marked by the clothing that they wear, and the personalities that they have, which mirrors what Jack and Locke exhibit. In a very cool way, the characters fill roles that are much larger than themselves, fitting into fates that are beyond their control, and with plenty of literary significance to have continued discussion over for years to come.

What the finale did do was put a couple of the show’s elements at odds with one another. On one hand, it becomes clear that the story is somewhat preordained, that everybody will end up where they end up because of an afterlife or fate, or some invisible hand, while on the other hand, the show is one that is largely driven by the actions that the characters take throughout the show, which allows for one side to be disappointed – which may very well be the point – when fate wins out, or the characters beat their fates. Lost does bounce between the two, but ultimately comes down on the side of fate, which is more disappointing, because ultimately, the characters, while they might have improved themselves, they ultimately don’t affect any change on the world that makes their struggles worthwhile.

However, it is the character’s journeys that make the show worthwhile, and in the end, it’s not the end that matters, but the way in which they got there. Every character present in the show has changed somewhat – they arrived at the island broken people, and ultimately, the island healed them, allowed them to find closure, all the while providing them, and the viewer with a series of complicated, interesting stories that range from alternative history, philosophy, science fiction and quite a lot more. Lost has been quite a ride from beginning to end, and the lackluster finale to the show serves as more of an epilogue, rather than anything that is directly related to the story, and is something that provides a bit of an ambiguous, thought provoking ending, which is probably the best thing the show could have hoped for in the first place.

Best Television of 2008

My top TV episodes of 2008: 10 - Fringe: Pilot / Leverage: The Nigerian Job

This was a bit of a tie, because both these shows aren't all that great, but they are fun to watch. Fringe was one that I was really looking forwards to, and I've been somewhat disappointed by how it's been handled over the season that I've watched thus far. Hopefully I'll get to marathon the entire thing at some point. That being said, the pilot for the show was very fun to watch - it was interesting, had a fun concept and was so over the top that it's laughable, but again, fun. Leverage is a show that I've started watching because I like Heist shows, and this one is certainly one of the better ones that I've seen, ever since the show Smith a couple years ago. There's a fun cast dynamic and some good hooks in this episode for future episodes.

9 - Big Bang Theory: The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis I've been wary of this show until this season, and now, I've really gotten into it for some reason. The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis really takes the show away from some of the easy jabs at the characters and makes some room for some real character development at the end. Plus, the following quote from Leonard is just plain gold:

Do you know what this means? If I can get a healthy ovum, I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!

8 - Barack Obama 30 Minute TV Spot No matter what side of the aisle you support, this TV spot was a brilliant move on the part of the Obama administration. It consumed a news cycle of talk show, talking heads and really outlined the priorities of the incoming administration and helped put Pres/Elect Obama into the lead, furthering his momentum. I personally was a supported of the Democratic Ticket, and while this TV spot showed us nothing terribly new to supporters, and essentially reiterated his position, it was a good introduction to people who still weren't sure who to support.

7 - John Adams: Join or Die The John Adams miniseries was a very well done series based off of the book by David McCullough by the same title. This pilot episode demonstrated fantastic production values and is an outstanding adaptation of history, from the characters and casting to the look and feel of the sets. These first episodes showed the American War for Independence, a crucial time in our history, in a way that has largely been glossed over in a few short lessons in school.

6 - Lost: The Constant This was possibly one of my favorite episodes of the entire series, where Desmond begins his own time jumps back and forth through. While Lost has overdone the lifes of some of the other characters like Jack and Kate, this episode really got into Desmond's head and proved that the writers could still write compelling and interesting characters, while advancing the story forward while doing so, rather than just exploition on why the characters are the way they are.

5 - Battlestar Galactica: Revelations Episode 410 of Battlestar Galactica brings the show to a point that we've been looking for for the past four years on the show : Earth. Four of the last unknown Cylons come forward to their friends, and Kara finally leads the fleet to the people, only to find a devastated landscape. There was a lot of emotion and storylines caught up here. Characters were not what their friends thought they were, and the episode represents a culmination of a number of storylines, and ends on a killer cliffhanger.

4 - Pushing Daisies: Comfort Food I'm very sad to see this show go - it's one of my absolute favorites. Comfort Food follows Ned and Olive during a cooking contest, while Chuck has brought her father back to life, at the cost of Dwight Dixon. This was the end/middle of a mini-arc, and it really does a fantastic job with both Ned and Chuck - Chuck with seeing her father return, and Ned for having his trust betrayed. And there's a Colonel who's been deep fried.

3 - When We Left Earth: Landing the Eagle / The Explorers This year was the 50th Anniversary of NASA, and to celebrate, Discovery released a documentary on NASA's human exploration of the solar system. This episode, Landing the Eagle, details the Apollo program through to Apollo 11, while The Explorers follows the remaining five moon landings. The footage here is absolutely stunning, and even includes interviews with Neil Armstrong. I get chills watching the landing.

2 - Life on Mars: Out Here in the Fields I was very skeptical about the remake, and the first pilot didn't leave me with any confidence here at all. But Out Here in the Fields, the second pilot to the UK remake, helped to allay my fears that this would be a poorly done show and showed not only could this re-make be a good one, but one that would stand on its own, with its own qualities. I can't wait for its return later on.

1 - House, MD : Wilson's Heart Season 4 of House was pretty lackluster. The change up with new staff only marginally worked, and while we saw some new characters, they're not quite to the point of Chase, Cameron and Foreman. The newcomers are interesting, but too similar, except for the fanatic character Amber, whom I can't stand. This episode made me entirely rethink her character, but also saw an incredible amount into the characters of House and Wilson. These episodes of House are the best ones, when we see real development, and it's happening fewer and further between episodes now. The last ten or so minutes of this episode are possibly the best minutes of the show that I've seen yet.

Top Geek Things of 2008

It's coming up to the end of the year, and looking back, 2008 has been a very fun year for geeks everywhere - in books, television programs and films, among other things. Over the past couple of days, I've been thinking back over the year to see what was the best and worst of 2008.

The Best:

Starbuck returned from the Grave; The Fleet reaches Earth. (Battlestar Galactica Season 4)

The third season of Battlestar Galactica was a little rocky in the middle, but the last episodes set up a real bang. Starbuck was presumably killed, only to turn up during a major confrontation of the Human and Cylon fleets. Season 4 opens even bigger, with one of the best space battles that I've ever seen. Our four new cylons are freaking out, Starbuck's back and everything culminates in the discovery of Earth in episode 10.Galactica has long been one of my favorite shows, and with a certain end point in mind, Season four was where Galactica got somewhat back onto the tracks, with a fairly tight story arc, only to get to another long wait for the final ten episodes. It's been well worth it though.

Pushing Daisies... back from the Grave, and back to it

After a long hiatus due to the writer's strike (more about that in a bit) my favorite show of 2007-2008 came back with a new set of episodes. There are not enough good things that I can say about this show. We left off last year with Chuck learning that it was Ned that killed her father, only to end up at the end of this season with him being awoken. It was another season of fantastic storytelling, character development and extremely fantastic dialog. Unfortunately, the show has been axed due to low ratings. Fortunately, Bryan Fuller will be going to Heroes for the latter half of Season 3.

Lost Gets Better - Again.

Here's the situation. LOST season 1 blew everyone away. Season 2 drove them away. Season 3 brought some people back, and Season 4, everything got interesting again. This season was the best since Season 1, in my opinion. We had several new characters (my favorite was Daniel Faraday, the physicist), and a couple people killed off. We started seeing flash-forwards, where Jack has a beard and addicted to pain pills, Hurley's in a mental institution and Sayid is channeling Abram's Alias. Oh, and they get off the island. Then the island vanishes.

I have Leonard Nemoy's DNA? (The Big Bang Theory)

This show started in 2007, where I was annoyed by its laugh track and annoying characters. But this year, I started watching it and enjoying it. While it's certainly a very stereotypical portrayal of nerds and geeks, it's fun, because the creators have put in place a series of fun characters, and the writers make some jokes that are actually funny. This week's episode was absolutely priceless, when Sheldon gets a napkin signed by Leonard Nimoy. Now, if they'll just ditch the laugh track. This show's likely to be around for a while longer - it's been getting better and better ratings as the year goes on.

Back in a Nick of Time (Life on Mars)

One of my absolute favorite shows of all time was Life on Mars. Up until this year, it was only a BBC drama, until ABC picked it up and made a pilot. That pilot sucked, horribly, so the cast was ditched, except for Jason O'Mara, and the show was redone, set in New York City, given a good cast and started up. The result? A solid TV series that's mirrored the original (but it's starting to diverge a bit now), a wonderful soundtrack of classic rock and a story that's actually interesting. I can't wait for its return in 2009.

The Joker raises worldwide GDP. (The Dark Knight)

First, there was excitement when it was announced that the Joker was going to be the villain. Then Heath Ledger signed up for the role. Then he died earlier this year after filming was completed, leaving some people to wonder if the film would be released on schedule. Then Warner Brothers covered every surface they could find with Dark Knight ads. When the film was released, it went on to gross $996,680,514 in theaters. The film was a huge success, and a fantastic film at that. It was a comic book movie with true darkness, some real symbolism and good storytelling throughout. It's a pity that we won't see Heath Ledger reprise his role of The Joker, because he's done the best portrayal of a villain in recent film memory.

I am Iron Man (Iron Man)

Before The Dark Knight blew the doors off the box office, there was Iron Man. Iron Man has long been a favorite marvel superhero of mine, and everything fell into place for this film. Good story, well directed, fantastic casting (Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was brilliant) and of course, the Mark II set of armor. Marvel proved that they could make a good superhero movie, one that was relevant and not stuck in the low-humor that characterized other comic book adaptations. Already, I can't wait for Iron Man 2. And Iron Man 3. And The Avengers.

Eeeeevvvvvaaaaaa (Wall-E)

Pixar has released what is possibly their best film to date. (Except maybe Toy Story and The Incredibles). Following a robot far from home, Andrew Stanton has presented a film with a cute, romantic science fiction story with some social commentary (said to be unintentional) woven into the CGI. Wall-E is easily the most appealing robot since R2-D2 hit the big screen in 1977, and his antics as he's pulled along for the ride (literally) are cute, heartbreaking and funny.And with very little real dialog.

Roar. Crunch. Repeat. (Cloverfield)

Monster movies meets social networking video and America gets its own monster. This film was brilliantly shot with an extremely fun concept. A monster comes and plays t-ball with the statue of liberty, and it's caught on camera by a bunch of twenty-somethings as they escape. The project was conceived of by LOST creator J.J. Abrams, and his fingerprints are all over it. From the lack of explanation of everything to the weird stuff, this is a very fun film to watch. Rumors are that there's a Cloverfield 2 being talked about.

With My Freeze Ray I Will Stop... The World (Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog)

This project was a huge success for Joss Whedon & Co. Conceived of during the Writer's strike, Whedon presents an aspiring supervillian, Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris), his buddies and his quest to finish his freeze ray, avoid Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) and win over Penny (Felicia Day). We're treated to musical numbers, crazy plots and a fantastic venture to prove that the internet is a viable place to release content.Take a look here.

Up, up and away! (When We Left Earth/NASA)

This year was NASA's 50th year in operation, and the Discovery channel released a fantastic documentary entitled When We Left Earth that touted its major achievements and failures throughout the years, bringing viewers some of the most incredible footage of space that I've ever seen, and telling a fantastic story of how NASA has come to be, with interviews with astronauts and support personnel. I get chills when I watch it, and wonder when we'll return to the moon and beyond.

Hobbit's Labyrinth (The Hobbit)

After long rumors, production problems and drama with Peter Jackson (who directed Lord of the Rings), Guillermo del Toro signed on to direct the upcoming Hobbit film and prequel. (Or two Hobbit films?) This is extremely good news, because the people who can adequately fill Jackson's shoes after LOTR are few and far between. del Toro is the perfect director for this project, and has already proven that he can do fantasy brilliantly, with his masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth. Plus, he can play in other people's universes, as per his work with the Hellboy films. (Which weren't as good, but fun)

Watchman Trailer (Watchman)

What's called the greatest graphic novel ever is coming to the big screen, much to the annoyance of its creator, and to FOX, apparently. A trailer for Watchman aired with The Dark Knight, and it made fanboys everywhere sit up and take notice. There's still complaints about how it's unfilmable and that it'll be too short or too long, but from my eyes? This looks like it'll be THE comic book film to see next year. It looks like it captured the feel of the comic book pretty well, and it's embellished a bit to look badass. Plus, Rorschach looks dead on. Just like I thought he'd be like.

Large Hadron Collider (Science)

The Large Hadron Collider was turned on on September 10th, to many worries about the world ending. Contrary to popular opinion, the earth didn't vanish in a tiny black hole. It was set to uncover the mysteries of the universe, but then it broke down again nine days later and won't be up online until 2009. But, it's still cool!

Geeks in Politics (Obama [spiderman, conan, superman] Patrick Leahy [Batman Cameo])

There's been a lot of geekiness in politics this year. No lightsaber waving from McCain this time around, but President Elect Obama has claimed to be a big Spiderman and Conan fan, and did a superman pose in Metropolis, IL. In addition to him, VT senator Patrick Leahy, a huge batman fan, had a cameo in The Dark Knight. He's also the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ironic.

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (Costumes)

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted an exhibit earlier this year (it's since closed) called Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy. It featured a number of costumes from a number of classic films, such as the original Superman and Wonder Woman films, but also things as recently released as The Dark Knight and Iron Man. The fashion section was a bit of a miss for me, but the exhibit as a whole was just outstanding. Plus, they had several original copies of Superman and Batman, Spiderman and Iron Man on display. Covered in a plastic shield of course...

Star Wars Encyclopedia (Star Wars)

Del Rey released a new and expanded Star Wars Encyclopedia this year, one that is not only complete, but still remarkably up to date. That's not likely to last as long, given how fast LFL churns out canon material, but it's a beautiful repository of information in the universe. I can spend hours just paging through reading things.

"Anathem" By Neal Stephenson

I actually have yet to read this book, but it's caught my eye, and it's made a splash when it comes to the sci-fi literary world. All I really know about it is that it takes place on an earth-like world, and doubles as a philosophical text for knowledge and religion. I'll have to pick it up, and only expand my to-read list further.

A Game of Thrones picked up by HBO (Song of Fire & Ice)

Another book that I have yet to read, but I actually own this one. HBO has picked up the book for a series. If there's one thing that HBO does well, it's TV shows, because they can pour money into them and get a good result. And, they have a good track record with adaptations, with things such as Band of Brothers and John Adams. I'll watch this when it's released.

We'ss Har Wars End (Karen Traviss)

Several years in the making, Karen Traviss has finally finished her Wess'Har Wars series with book 6, Judge. Starting back in 2003, she introduced readers to a fantastic story of first contacts filled with alien races, political commentary and expert storytelling. Judge didn't deliver quite as well as I'd have liked (It certainly wasn't the strongest of the series), it carried the momentum well, and proved to be a good read, one that finished up one of my favorite series satisfactorily. Hopefully, Karen will be back to writing hard scifi again, because she's incredible at it.

Trooping (501st)

This year I got back into trooping with the 501st Legion. All in all, I did a total of 30 or so events, ranging from small affairs here in VT to much larger ones. The most memorable ones were the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade, Burlington Kid's Day, the Weird Al ConcertSt-Jean-sur-Richelieu Balloon Festival, Walk for Autisms, and the 2008 Woburn Halloween Parade. All my events are listed here.

With all the good things that have happened this year, there's the other side of the coin, and some letdowns, disappointments and pure flops.


Writer's Strike

Okay, this started in 2007, but it messed up television for the foreseeable future, by ending some shows and putting others on a long hiatus that has really hurt ratings. Pushing Daisies was one casualty, Terminator was almost one, LOST was put off for a year, as was 24, and already, we're on the eve of another major strike over pretty much the same issues - internet distribution. Hopefully, some lessons will be learned.

Surviving a Nuclear Detonation (Indiana Jones)

Indiana Jones came back, and he came back bland. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull was an impossible undertaking to fill the hopes of fans for the past twenty years. While it's not a horrible film, it's nowhere near as high quality as Raiders or Crusade (although I did like it better than Doom). There was no passion, a crazy storyline and some annoying characters. It does have its moments, but they are few and far between.

Skyguy/Snips/Roger Roger (The Clone Wars)

Star Wars was another big LFL franchise that came back this year, and while The Clone Wars certainly had its moments, even high points, this film just extends the image of money grubbing that LFL is involved with, which is a shame. There's too much bad dialog, characters and situations to make this a good part of the Star Wars universe, but the TV show has been making some improvements. The animation is stunningly good, some of the stories are actually good, but every time the battle droids start talking, I want to throw something at my TV.

Michael Crichton Eaten by Cyborg T-Rex and Flesh eating Space Bacteria from the Past.

While my interest in Michael Crichton has waned over the years as he began to write crappy books (Such as Prey and State of Fear), there's no doubt that he's shaped my reading. I'm still a huge fan of Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man and a number of his older novels. He's one of the most popular scifi authors (although he's resisted the genre title) out there with his works, most of which were made into films. It's a shame that he's passed - I was always hoping for another good story from him.

Gary Gygax failed his saving throw

Geek-God Gary Gygax likewise passed away this year, leaving behind a legacy that has shaped nerd-culture in the US forever. His creation, Dungeons and Dragons, along with co-creator Dave Arneson, was one of the defining features of geeks everywhere, something that I got into back in 2001. Along with giving geeks something to do in groups, it helped define a generation's activities, reading materials and conceptions of fantasy through to this day.

Arthur C Clarke becomes the Space Child

Arguably one of the greatest science fiction authors ever, Clarke's death hit the world hard. He helped to define the literary genre, and the actual science behind it, and was responsible for such classics as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rama, Childhood's End, and numerous others, as well as the telecommunications satellite. He will be sorely missed, and is one of the last of the golden age of science fiction to be with us.(Today would have been his 91st birthday)

CNN Hologram technology

On election nigh, CNN touted their new thing in news casting, a hologram of Will.I.Am. Looked cool, and it looked like a hologram, but it was nothing more than a lot of cameras and empty space plus some CGI. Blah. Let's see some real technology in action please.

Close the Iris! (Stargate Atlantis)

I was a huge fan of Stargate SG-1, and same with Atlantis for the first couple of seasons. This season has just plain sucked. It's a shame, because there's a good concept there, amidst the horrible characters, stories and situations. Not long now, because Atlantis has been canceled, and will be replaced with Stargate Universe next year.

Even more Confusing and Confounding! (Heroes Season 3)

Heroes Season 1 was brilliant. It introduced a new spin on superheroes, only to fall to its own success and have a fairly slow and boring second season. (To be sure, the writer's strike had something to do with it, because it got better). Season 3 was promised to be bigger and better. And it was certainly bigger, with heroes coming back from the grave, more time travel and action, but none of it really made the same impression that season 1 did. I'm still behind episodes, but apparently it's been getting better. Now that Bryan Fuller's returning to the show, can we PLEASE start off really good and get better? Please?

Weird Science (Fringe)

I was really excited for Fringe, the latest show by JJ Abrams. It was a fun concept, and had a good couple episodes at first, but just became so dull that I stopped following it. I might pick it up again at some point, but only when I can marathon the entire thing at once.

Forrest J. Ackerman Dies

Forrest J. Ackerman, one of the first science fiction fans out there recently passed away. He was a key element of the spread of science fiction fandom, and he helped to found the LA Science Fantasy Society, among other numerous achivements, as well as influencing numerous authors over his long life.

Borders Downsizes SciFi Sections

I ranted about this earlier, as did a number of authors. Borders has been downsizing their sci-fi sections. While it's understandable that they have to sell items, and that they can't put everything on the shelf, you can't predict what the next big hit will be, and you can't know that until you actually start selling things.

That's it for this year. Next year, there's already quite a bit coming up. Should be a fun year.

Finally! Someone notices!

The New York Times just did their review of The Nine, which starts this week, and included an interesting paragraph:

This year, suspense is the new forensics: instead of grisly crimes that are neatly wrapped up by episode’s end, many of the new dramas stretch the plot through an entire season, holding viewers’ attention by withholding a denouement and ending each episode with a cliffhanger.

Anyone with their eyes open could have told you that - it's nice to see some bigger recognition of this though. TV has gone from standalonish episodes to longer story arcs. LOST is commonly assosiated with this, but it goes further back, to Babylon 5 and to the new Battlestar Galactica. LOST, Smith, Veronica Mars, Battlestar and numerous others are taking this on. It's a good change.

In other random happenings: I found my camera, got my iPod to work, turned into a zombie at work and am now back on my bike. Wee!

Internet TV: New Season

Last year, and earlier this year, I posted up a series of essays on television's increase in quality, as well as the changing role of television programmes and the internet. iTunes has increased it's number of television shows from just a couple of ABC shows to two-hundred twenty. They've also picked up shows such as Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Prison Break, Law and Order, CSI, The Office, and have added a feature called a Season Pass, which will allow you to purchase the entire season ahead of time, all that you have to do is download the episode when it's put online. In addition to the huge number of shows that have been added online, Apple Corp. has just revamped the iPod and iTunes. The new iPods have a better screen and longer battery life, aimed specifically at being able to watch videos on the devices. They're not the full screen iPods as had been rumoured, but iTunes has become more visual. CD Cover art is more prominant, and the video quality has gone up. Towards the end of the typical TV seasons earlier this spring, where ABC put several of their shows online free, streaming, with limited ads. FOX and CBS have followed suit with some of their shows thus far. Fox put up four of the first episodes of Prison Break, Vanished, and has followed with a couple of other shows. CBS has placed their new show Smith, CSI: Miami, and the Unit online. I'm sure that several other networks (Please, please, please, CW, put up Supernatural and Veronica Mars online).
So what does this mean? Television is breaking further into the internet. NBC, SciFi, ABC, CW, and CBS have all added online video hubs. These hubs offer a number of different options, ranging from the full episodes of television episodes to behind the scenes and promos for upcoming episodes. I don't think that it needs to be said, but TV is here on the internet to stay.
There's a couple of reasons for content being provided online. The technology is here, with broadband connections becoming ever more powerful. I, for the first time, have Cable internet, and as a result, I've been watching Prison Break, Battlestar Galactica, and currently, Smith, streaming. It's a cool thing.
I'm also extremely pleased with it because I can now watch the episode a day or so after it airs, which is very nice because my job will be taking me away from the tube, and for shows with content that relied heavily on the story aspect, it's nice to have the option to be able to catch up without waiting half the year for a re-run.
There are, with all good thing, some drawbacks. iTunes music files are fairly large, ranging from 396 megabytes to 912 megabytes. These are huge files, and they have the potential to really eat up your hard drive in huge bites. No pun intended. But currently, I'm down to about 7 free gigabytes on my own hard drive. In addition, the streaming shows are just that, streaming. The quality level on the full screen settings are pretty weak, and if your connection is spotty, you're likely to have trouble.
Security is another drawback. with sites like Youtube, Google Video and Myspace videos gaining in popularity, it'll be a matter of time before there will be some news about television networks and their programs ending up on these sites. I know that House has made an appearance as a six part upload, as I'm sure that several other shows have done. Warner Brothers has signed a deal with Youtube for their content, while another has condemned the site.
Finally, not all shows are online. Fox, much to my annoyance, hasn't put up House for download on iTunes, nor streaming. So, if there's really one show that you have your heart set on, it might be hit or miss whether it'll be online for viewing or not. Well, there's always the DVDs, or you know, making sure that you'll be able to make the TV date.
I generally get around that little problem by watching the episodes while I'm doing other things, like writing, talking with other people, and with it in a small corner of my screen.
Things are likely to improve. Image quality has a little ways to go, but I'm betting that we'll see some slower progress, as with higher quality episodes, we'll have bigger megabyte sizes. Bigger sizes mean longer download times and more space taken up on your computer.

Next up: Lost Clones, the TV/Movie Barrier and high quality storylines.

What To Watch

In recent years, I've become a big fan of a lot of the TV shows that have come out on television, mainly because of the recent rise in quality in a lot of the storytelling that's been coming through. LOST has been one of the biggest movers and shakers thus far, causing a bit of a change among a number of stations and a number of new shows coming out with a much different focus than before.

So, as a friend described, I did something incredibly geeky over the summer, and set up a table comparing the shows, times, days and what they go up against. Thus, I've come up with a list of shows that I suspect will do well, and which ones I'm recommending for the upcoming season.

Returning Shows:

Prison Break (FOX) - This was one of the best scripted and arched series that came out last year. Now, the inmates of Fox River Penitentrary are all on the run, and now that the show's in it's third episode, it looks like they're keeping up the intelligent storytelling and scripting. Can't wait to see what happens next.

House, M.D. (FOX) - Doctor House and the doctors are back, and they're picking up where they left off, after House was shot last season. This show has some of the more interesting characters in TV, although they don't have the tight storylines that Prison Break has. However, the sarcasm makes up for it nicely.

Veronica Mars (CW) - Remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Now imagine it without the vampires, supernatural elements and keep the cute blond girl, who's father is a Private Investigator and the various problems that she solves over the year, and you've got Veronica Mars. It's highly and tightly scripted and has some of the best dialogue and characters to date.

LOST (ABC) - I don't think that I really need to talk too much about LOST, do I? 48 or so survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 land on an island with a mysterious creature that eats people and a couple of hatches with computers and other things like that. Oh yeah, and everyone's connected somehow. And, after last Season's cliffhanger, the next six episodes are supposed to be a sort of miniseries to clear everything up. Can't wait to see what happens next. Season 2 comes out today on DVD.

Supernatural (CW)- Last season, the two brothers lost their parents, their mother (and one of their girlfriends to a monster) and the father who vanished. They hit the road and work on taking out monster after monster. It's a little formulaic, but it's got great camera work and some very fun stories. Season 1 comes out today on DVD. Great watching for Halloween.

Battlestar Galactica (SciFi)- Coming up in October, this is the show that I'm waiting the most for. Season 2 left us with a year long jump ahead in the story that left the remains of the human race under the control of the Cylons and the Galactica and Pegasus jumping away to who knows where. The SciFi channel is leading up to the show with a small series of webisodes that'll lead people into the 3rd season, as that there's another gap in time. This season is going to be darker, deeper and better than the last two. The DVD for Season 2.5 will be released on September 19th.

And now that the shows from last year have been looked at, there's several new shows coming that also look very promising:

Heroes (NBC) - Around the globe, a number of people start finding that they have powers. A girl can heal quickly. A cop can read minds. A painter can paint the future and another man can fly. And, it's not based on a comic book, but it's rooted in the tradition. Reports are that this show's got potential and interest, although a little formulaic to start, but it's going to be launching into a full blown story arc. I'm excited for this. Also airing on the SciFi channel.

Jericho (CBS) - In a small, midwestern town called Jericho, one character comes in mysteriously. As people start asking him questions, a nuclear bomb blast is seen on the horizon and communications are cut off from the town. As the season goes on, we learn why. I'm not sure that this is going to do terribly well, but it should be interesting if it does.

Six Degrees (ABC) - The Six Degrees of Seperation states that anyone knows anyone six people down the line. One person knows another, who knows another, etc. Small world, right? This show's about six random people in New York City, who's lives are impacting each other's in some way. The really interesting part of this? J.J. Abrams has some hand in this. He also did LOST and Alias.

The Nine (ABC) - Nine people are caught in a bank robbery. As it goes bad, they're held for 52 hours. These nine people are linked together somehow, and that's all that I know. It's an interesting concept, but I can't see it lasting for very long.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC) - This one looks amusing. It's about back stage life behind a sketch comedy show, and it's been getting some of the biggest buzz than almost all of the other new shows. It's created by the guys who did The West Wing, and from the previews that I've seen online, it looks interesting.

Vanished (Fox) - Comes on just after Prison Break, so it's got some of the audience from there. The wife of a senator goes missing, and there's a wider conspiracy that will be uncovered. I haven't seen any of it yet, but it's getting decent ratings. I've heard that it's a little predictable.

Those are the ones that I suspect will do well, although there's several others, such as Shark, Justice, Kidnapped, The Unit, Smith, and maybe a couple others that might do okay during the season. It should be interesting to see where this will be taking TV and the storytelling that it tells.

Now, just to end, a couple of the shows that I'm going to be missing in the upcoming Season:

Alias (ABC) - Going from being a double agent to missing a year of her life to various other drama in the spy world, but also great action and a very tight storyline, Alias was a very fun show. The first two or three seasons were really good, especially 1 and 2. While it dragged a little 3 to 4, the show did leave on a good ending. Despite that, I do wish that it was still going. Season 5 will be released shortly.

Surface (NBC) - This was very short-lived, but it was very interesting. A new life form appeared in the oceans. Big new life forms. They trashed a nuclear submarine, one small one was raised by a small kid and the government got really paranoid. Had a lot of potential, but I guess it didn't really appeal to the audiences. Complete series was just released on DVD.

Arrested Development (Fox) - Quirky, deadpan and hysterical. This is probably the one show that I'll miss the most, especially after watching all of last season, which only lasted 13 episodes. The writing and characters were the best and funniest. If only Fox listened to the fans again. Season 3 was just released on DVD.

Theshold (CBS) - An alien spacecraft lands in the ocean and the government enacts a plan to contain the situation. Too scifi for CBS apparently, as this was killed off in just 13 or so episodes. I only caught a couple episodes of this, but it seemed interesting. Now out on DVD.

The West Wing (NBC) - I heard that this was really well done, well acted and well written, and the awards that it won certainly means that it has some of those. I personally haven't seen it, but given what some people have said about it, I might give it a short somewhere down the road.

And that's it. I doubt that I'll be able to see most of the ones that I'd like to see, but given the fact that a lot of the shows are making their way onto the internet on the show's network's official sites, I'll probably be able to get an episode in here and there.

Indy Day

Hope that everyone had a good 4th of July. Camp traditionally marches in the 4th of July parade in South Hero, and we did again this year. The two British guys working for us were a little worried coming into the day, but we had some fun the night before, raising the British Union flag over the camp for the morning. It got some funny reactions that morning. Our camp director, who's Australian, told us to keep it up. Another counselor was really mad. I think that it served a good purpose though, representing what the 4th really means. Americans are terrible at history, so a reminder's always good.

The parade was hot, and we had to park several miles away (counselors with no kids) and walk to the parade route. Afterwards, we went to Hochelaga, the girls camp, where we usually do some events with them, before weather got bad and we returned home. I then went on day off, where I was able to sleep in this morning.

Got most of LOST season 2 on my computer, and have been catching up. Great show. Can't wait to finish it up.

Geeking Out

I've spent the couple days up in Burlington to save money on gas. Many geek things have been going on. First, I saw the season finale for LOST, which was intriguing, fantastic, and still didn't answer enough questions, but still really good.
Second, I met up with my friend Blackwell, one of the members of camp's Geek Squad. He gave me the entire series of Dr. Who, the new incarnation, high quality and commercial free - AMAZING show. British humour mixed with science fiction - absolutely thrilling and original. As the good doctor says - Fantastic! I also got the entire Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, which I'm really looking forwards to seeing.
While I was with Beep, (Blackwell's nickname), we went to Borders - ran into Sam, our other member of the Geek Squad, whom we thought wasn't in the state. While we were talking with him, Billy, another member of Camp came in, and we wandered around. We ended up running into three more members of Camp - a regular reunion on Church Street. Fun times.
Lastly, I found that I'll probably be able to attend Celebration 4, next year, because they bumped the date back to late May. Previously, I'd thought that it'd be right before or during exams of my senior year, something that I couldn't miss. wOOt!


So, it's been a busy couple of days this week at KAS. I've been up in the area for a couple days now, having spent the night over at my friend Sam's house, mainly to get a couple extra hours of sleep, avoiding the 4-4:30 wake up that my dad had planned, for he was getting to work really early. I got up, drove to work, promptly dropped the car off at the wrong car dealership to get looked at for an inspection. The people at Berlin City were kind of confused about this...
Work for the past two days has seemed a bit long. I've had three reports that I've been working on at the same time, in two different states. That's pretty interesting, but it's hard to juggle them at different times while I wait for maps. I was just able to finish two projects, because Doug just handed me the maps.
The LOST finale is on tonight, as I've found and confirmed with two co-workers who are fairly big fans of the show. I probably won't see it, unless I happen to get a tape, which might happen, but dammit, I want to see what's in the hatch and what that monster looks like. I guess we'll see in a couple hours. I'll defininently check out the official site later tonight to see if they posted up a new summary. It's awesome having several people in the office who are really into SciFi shows and movies.

Just found this off of Karen Traviss's weblog: She's been contracted to write three more City of Pearl Novels, bringing the total up to six. I must say, I think that she's my favorite author at this point, and I've very excited for this.
And, Coldplay's got a new album coming in a couple weeks. Can't wait to listen to that.