Sunday, May 31, 2009

Around the world and home again...

Well, it wasn't exactly "around the world" but the feeling of distance from my ordinary, everyday routine was quite large. I've had a week back now, and despite my predictions earlier in the week to my Everlasting SoulMate, I do NOT feel a need for a vacation again. Give me another week or two, and I'm sure I will. [grin!]

We took lots of digital images and video during the trip, and I have them all on the network now for my ESM and I to enjoy. (Hi honey!) I was somewhat disappointed to find out that some of the video I took with my new-to-me MiniDV camcorder did not work. It's like the tracking is off, or the tape wasn't tensioned properly before shooting. Bummer. Some of it does work, so I'll salvage what I can and hopefully come up with enough to make a decent 30-45 minute DVD of the trip for consumption by the parental units and anyone else foolish enough to ask about my trip. Heh.

During our first weekend back, my ESM took me to a movie. We saw "Star Trek" at the Movie Tavern in Aurora. First things first, I am a dyed-in-the-wool, true-blue, stark, raving lunatic of a Trekker. I must say, I had many reservations about how this movie and it's "alternate universe" storyline, would treat the canon I hold so dear. But, I decided by seeing it at the Movie Tavern, at least I would get a good lunch from the deal, even if the movie reeked.

I am glad to say, the movie was fairly enjoyable. However, there were some trouble spots. I'll get to those in a minute. Let's talk good points first.

Beware, Movie Spoilers Ahead!!! Find the matching double-line below and read on from there if you don't want to spoil parts of the film.


Still here?  Good, here we go.

The casting for this film was probably the most successful I have seen in a while. I bought almost all of the characters, with McCoy, Scotty and Chekov as the best three. Karl Urban as Bones was awesome! He had me hooked after the first scene he was in. Kirk and alternate Spock are decent, but are not without some issues. Chris Pine as Kirk has the swagger, the mannerisms and the characteristic dry wit down...but his attempts at romantic encounters are not as smooth and sophisticated (if you can call it that!) as Jim Kirk's were in Star Trek:TOS. Some would argue that is because he is young...yes I suppose you could say that. But it still didn't sit right with me.

Spock is indeed both human and Vulcan, but his human side is a bit too pronounced for me in this film. I know, I know...he saw his mother and most of the Vulcan race wiped out. But IMHO, Spock would not have lashed out at anyone like he did at Kirk, even when provoked. Some might argue that with me, but there it is.

Ok, now some bad points. First, does ANYONE like the Kobyashi Maru scene??? I sure didn't. Too much lackadaisical attitude, especially from Kirk. Eating an apple during the test? Come on! And just having the simulation shut down momentarily, then start up with the changes? No way! Kirk would have been more dramatic! That scene alone just about ruined the movie for me.

The "villian."  Nero is way too 2D. No depth at all, no real motivation, no quirks, no energy, almost no life at all. And wash that crap off your face already! (see the movie, you'll understand.)

And, finally, the Enterprise. TNG and DS9 both recreated portions of the old NCC-1701 for the small screen, and were pretty successful at it. Then Paramount started reissuing TOS with new computer-generated graphics, and the new-old ship was very nice to see. True to the original 1960s version, but updated nicely and looking sharp! I was hoping J.J. Abrams would just carry over some of those graphics to the big screen, but flesh out the inside some more. You know, the old transporter room, sick bay, engineering...all redone with care and reverence for the originals. Well, that's a big negatory, good buddy! The new version of the ship is well executed, but it would be much more appropriate for replacing the NCC-1701A from "Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home", not the original great bird of the galaxy. Where are the blinking lights, the push-buttons, the gray-colored bridge with the red railing? I would have believed the film a lot more if they had been more true to the original designs of the ship, instead of taking the typical Hollywood path of "updating" it to be in line with modern technology. It looks a bit too much like a warp-capable iPod for me. Alternate universe, bah.


End of Spoilers.

Anyway, the film is an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. But don't expect too much from it.

Next week is going to be interesting. We purchased some new intranet software at work to replace an in-house programmed intranet site. The company we purchased it from included a week's worth of on-site training for our IT staff. The training begins on Monday, hosted by a very nice gentleman who has a German accent thick enough to cut with a knife and spread on toast. I know I shouldn't go goose-stepping around the room or anything like that, but it's hard not to imagine that kind of thing in my mind's eye. More information will be forthcoming as the week progresses.

Sundown, Out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Last Few Days of Freedom

Vacation-time is winding down, and while we've had a great time...I am starting to look forward to a few things about being home.

The kitties, for instance. It is always nice to have some time away from the 'constant companionship.' Don't get me wrong, I love them a lot. But being away from them, and knowing they are being well cared for, helps me relax even more. However, I have begun to miss them and look forward to petting and playing with them.

My own bed is also calling to me. I love traveling, but sleeping in my own bed sounds very nice right now. The house here used to have a good bed...but sometime in the last 20 months, the owner replaced it. The new one is...let's just say it has more in common with a morgue slab than a mattress. We even went so far as to put blankets and the duvee cover on top and sleep on top of all of that. It helped a bit, but not enough. Maybe by the time we come back it will have broken down some and be more comfortable. My own bed is definitely sounding good right now.

My techie toys are also on my mind. Unplugging for two weeks sounds great sometimes, especially after a hard work week. I do great for the first week, generally. It is nice to just be in the moment and enjoy my time with my ESM, without all the other stuff intruding. However, after that, the jonesing starts for my Internet fix. The house here is right on the ocean, and has a spectacular view (pictures will be forthcoming). There is NO high-speed Internet and very little cell service. But, there is a land-line phone and the house does have cable TV. The latter is starting to give me a weird guilt-trip.

Here I am, sitting in front of this wonderful view 24x7, and what I really want to sit in front of is the TV??? What kind of sicko am I?!? After some thought, I have begun to understand, or maybe I'm just justifying to be the judge.

I live in Colorado, right? Lots of beautiful mountains around. To a flat-lander, coming to and being in the mountains must seem wondrous. I'm sure those folks do the same thing I've done last week...sit and just stare at the scenery for hours. But, after living in Colorado all my life, seeing the mountains constantly, you begin to take for granted they are there. Complacency sets in. And we, as humans, starting looking for something new and shiny to focus on. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I will be sorry to leave this place. The ocean offers a calming influence I really appreciate. Unfortunately, reality is about to intrude again.

Sundown, Out --

Sent from my trusty Blackberry

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oceans and Such

These posts while I am on vacation will be mercifully short, since I am writing on my Blackberry.

There is a quote, and I do not know who said it or if it was a line in a song or what. I'll worry about looking it up later. It says to, "Give your troubles to the sea." I think I am beginning to understand what that means. Sitting here beside the ocean on the coast of Oregon, it seems very easy to relinquish my worries, stresses and fears to the waves. The sights and sounds of them have the seemingly unique ability to make me forget about my working world back in Colorado, and fully decompress and relax.

My Everlasting SoulMate and I took a drive north up highway 101 yesterday. She said she needed to get out, since we got cooped up in the house the day before with a huge rainstorm that lasted all day. We went all the way to Seaside and stopped for lunch at the Bigfoot Steakhouse on the south side of town. If you're ever there it's worth the stop...kitschy Bigfoot statues, footprints and all. My ESM had the "triple S", which was a soup, salad and slab of cheese-bread. I went with the clam strips, which were the size of chicken tenders back home. Huge!

We then stopped in at one of our favorite places, the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Again, if you're in the area, I highly recommend it! We took the tour again (self-guided), bought some cheese to bring back and had cream!

Watching the sunset from the deck last night, with a cold adult beverage, was a fitting way to end a wonderful day.

I can't wait to find out what adventures lay ahead of us during our stay! I'll keep y'all posted.

-- Sundown, Out

Sent from my trusty Blackberry

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vacation Better Hurry!

Isn't it funny how when you're getting ready to go on vacation, the time leading up to your departure ramps your stress up enough that if you didn't need a vacation before, you sure need one now!  Been there this week.

My Everlasting SoulMate and I are leaving soon on a trip to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Thank you, thank you [polite golf clapping]. While I am very much looking forward to spending the time with her, trying to get my work and co-workers ready for me to be gone is proving somewhat more stressful than in the past.

Could it be the two large facility construction projects going on simultaneously, demanding much of my attention to keep their proverbial plates on sticks continually spinning? Could it also be that since the last time I went on vacation in 2007, I lost my boss who was also my technical backup? My current boss is very good, as I may have eluded to in the past, but he is definitely not as technical as either myself or my former boss. Have you ever had that dream where you show up to school only to find there's a big test and you haven't studied?  This is that dream in reverse...everyone else didn't study and they expect you to know all the answers!

I just have to keep telling myself..."just a few more days, then you can sit and veg and no one will care." Unfortunately, another part of my brain answers, "Yes, but how many times will they call/email looking for you?"

My ESM has a reasonable-sounding plan in place for that. First, she forbade me to bring my laptop along. Then, she said she will take my CrackBerry away from me after our arrival and only let me see it for a few minutes a day. Now if I can just carve my brain out of my skull and leave it in her charge, maybe that'll keep me from worrying about work!

I plan to continue to post during my trip, as I have set my CrackBerry up to allow me to post to the blog and Twitter remotely. I'll have some pictures and hopefully some video when I get back that I can share. Keep your eyes on this space for more info.

With all the other stuff going on, I have not had time to post regularly, let alone work on my interactive fiction or other projects. And I'm sure I won't do anything with any of it between now and departure. Maybe, just maybe...I'll relax enough while I'm gone to do something crazy like pull out a pen and some paper, and actually hand-write some notes and ideas for my IF. In a weird, crazy kind of way...I'm kind of looking forward to that.