Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chaos on the Bridge

I watched this new Star Trek documentary earlier this week. It's a recent add to Netflix - that's where I found it, anyway -  and thought it was interesting so I am sharing.

Chaos on the Bridge is a look at the first 3 years of the making of Star Trek the Next Generation. This is mainly done through a series of interviews with some of the major players from that time - cast, writers, studio executives, producers, etc. I think we all know those first couple of seasons are pretty hit and miss but I've never really dug into any of the "why" before. Now I have some insight.

A lot of those major players, including everyone from Gene Roddenberry to the various lawyers and writers and actors and executives, come out of it with some of their less-than-finest-moments recalled, but it does bring home that this was business, show business, and that for the people doing it is a job, not just a visionary creative exercise.

Now I admit there were times when it felt a little bit ... gossipy ... but it wasn't really venomous, just more insider talk than we usually hear openly discussed.

Also, it's hosted and narrated by William Shatner. I felt like he was probably smirking offscreen during most of the show but I didn't mind. I expect it's nice for him to be on the other side of some "expose" type talk about Star Trek that doesn't involve recalling how Captain Kirk really treated his crew.

Overall I thought it was pretty informative as to what was going on, how people felt about it at the time, and what they were trying to do. I liked it. If you have Netflix and you're interested in Star Trek, especially if you were interested in this show, I'd say check it out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Week of Finishing

I took a week off last week - from work, from the blog, from as much as possible. We had all of the kids(they were all out of school), so I didn't get to stop being a grown up, but they are old enough now to make being off even more fun.

It's amazing how much you can get done when you have a nice block of mostly unscheduled time, some goals, and some determination.

  • In a manner of speaking we "finished off" my own personal miniatures and boardgame drought that's been on for a few months by playing a couple of rounds of King of Tokyo, getting in our first game of Relic (40K Talisman), and starting and finishing a game of 40K. We also worked in a session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying for the first time in two years, breaking that drought as well! Its a lot easier to justify the shelf space these things take up when we're actually playing them and doing that made me pretty damn happy.

  • Early in the week we finished up the Hunger Games movies. Since this was the last one, I took a crash course in the story by watching the first 3 movies with Apprentice Twilight over the last couple of weeks and then the whole family went and saw the finale together. Nice. I feel that much more informed on a pop culture thing and something all of my kids have enjoyed. This month ... it's my turn (cue John  Williams theme).

  • Later I managed to finish reading the Star Trek Vanguard series. It took my quite a while as I worked in a few other books (and a lot of other rule books) in between. I really liked it, and it's by far the best set of Trek books I've read in maybe ... ever. I like the setting, I like many of the characters, I like the plot, and I like the authors (there are several) approach to the whole thing. I read a lot of trek books in the 80's and then got out of it for a long time. I tried getting back in a few years ago with some of the better-regarded book series but none of them grabbed me. This one did and I was very happy to discover there is a sort of sequel series set in the same area with some of the same characters - that's next year's read. 
Still an awesome episode
  • I have been watching Battlestar Galactica (the newer series) with Apprentice Blaster for much of this year and we were down to the "final season" of about 10 episodes at the beginning of the break and I asked him if he wanted to try and finish it up while we were off - "sure!"- so off we went with most days ending late at night with an episode or two knocked out. We finally finished up the finale about 2am one night and then talked about it for another hour. It was a lot of fun and we're already talking about what show to do next - Deep Space Nine has been mentioned.
    As far as BSG ... after watching it a second time much closer together than the 5 or 6 years it took to watch it live, I still like it a lot and hate the finale less - though it is still terribly flawed. It's easier to see the groundwork for some of the mystical stuff being laid if you know to look for it. Of course it's also easier to see the jump the shark moment which for me is when a certain Viper explodes somewhat unexpectedly. Those last few episodes are still really good though and the first half of the finale is just awesome. It does say something about the type of show it is when Gaius Baltar finally gets the girl he's been after since the very first episode while loyal Lee Adama ends up abandoned by his dad, his wife, and the girl he's loved all along. For all of its flaws I still really like the show. Now to convince Lady Blacksteel to give it a try ...

  • After 31 sessions, 18 of them in this book alone, we have finally finished The Sword of Valor, adventure #2 of Wrath of the Righteous! The campaign started in September of 2013 and we started Book 2 in June 2014. We had a lot of gaps, sometimes for months as life intervened, and it has taken way longer than it should have considering we aim for 2 sessions a month. We should be hitting session 50 or so, instead we just hit the 30's - but I can't complain too much. Having 3 consistent players running two mythic characters each (and with occasional guest appearances by other players) it's already pretty ridiculous when it comes to their ability to break the game - but we're all having a blast with it, so we will continue. I hope to achieve a more consistent pattern of playing next year and maybe we can crack 50 by this time next year, because at a year per book it's going to take 4 more years to finish this one up and Apprentice Blaster will be close to finishing college ...

  • Finally, the biggest wrap-up was Apprentice Twilight, my daughter, turning 18. The kid that originally moved me to "Dad" status is now a legal adult, is about to graduate and is headed off to college in less than a year. My kid can vote in that election next year. Time is a funny thing - some days I think about it and I can feel every single day since the day she arrived. Other days it feels like it has been a blur and I wonder when she stopped liking Barbies and where all of this, uh, "silver" hair came from. She had a happy birthday with the whole family around, and the rest of us were pretty happy too.
It was a very good week! More to come!

Bonus Finish: I also managed to finish up Season One of Agents of Shield last week and I finally like that show again. On to Season Two!

Monday, November 30, 2015


Gundalf the Grey welcomes you ...

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the shutdown of City of Heroes. That's not a good thing - well, other than that I am here to remember it.

Since the shutdown I've spent a fair amount of time in Federation Space with Star Trek Online and some in The Old Republic as well.

Captain Shamrock after a particularly exotic night out.
They are both fine, good-looking games and can be a lot of fun to play but there's still nothing out right now quite like the ridiculous versatility of City of Heroes and City of Villains.

Blue Aluminum Man - prepare to put it back in deep freeze!

One of these days something very close to it will come along I don't expect anything to perfectly capture the combination of fun, quality, atmosphere, and general good-natured-ness and awesome that was this game.

All good things ...