Friday, October 26, 2007

Dispatches from the Abyss - Friday, Oct. 26th

Well I have been a naughty boy this week and gotten exactly ZERO writing done since my last post. On the plus side I have managed to get more sleep this week than I usually manage to clock AND made it to work early every day this week except for Monday. This week was an excellent week! I slept well every night and despite my lack of posting I do not feel like I wasted too much time. Chatted with Kat for an hour or so on Wednesday night and it was good. I still feel a little weird talking to her and I am unsure what jokes might come off as being passive-aggressive bitchiness and which ones are actually funny, but we're talking and it is nice. I also have had a HUGE weight lifted from my shoulders as the one paralegal whom everyone in the office hates has been reassigned. For close to two years I have been handling her case load and it sucks. She is, to put it nicely, a bitch. She does not know how to treat people with a modicum of professional respect and spends all of her time telling everyone how busy she is. I could go on for days but lets just leave it at I don't have to work on her projects anymore and this change does not reflect poorly on me and move on, shall we? Good.

I spent part of this week reading through the scripts from Star Trek Reborn. Intended to reimagine Star Trek as a occupational drama rather than a straight science fiction piece, Star Trek Reborn was conceived of in 2005 and is a rather interesting take on the Star Trek context.* Rather than being a fan film series or a straight fan fiction series, Star Trek Reborn combines elements of both. There is a reimagined Enterprise courtesy of one Gabriel C. Koerner, who some of you might remember from Trekkies, redesigned uniforms, which actually look pretty tight, and a dream cast of Sean Patrick Flanery (H-town represent!) as Kirk, James Marsters as Spock, and Gary Sinise as Dr. McCoy. The creators of this series then present scripts for our reading pleasure. While I have only completed the first five episodes, so far I am intrigued. I have to say that this certainly feels like Star Trek written for the Smallville set, with more modern and soap opera-esque sensibilities, and it is most assuredly not for those fans who go into spasms over cannon. Other than that it has been a very interesting read and I suggest it to any of you nutjobs out there that need something to do. It is an interesting project and a unique take on the Star Trek mythos.

Since we're on the subject of Star Trek I would like to delve into the Star Trek comics for just a bit. I have been buying all of IDW's recent Star Trek output even though I have yet to really be grabbed by them. Most of them have felt like outlines of Star Trek stories rather than actual Star Trek stories and with the existence of Star Trek New Voyages I find IDW's recent foray into Star Trek Year Four as somewhat giggle-inducing. To being with these books are suffering from the same problems which plagued IDW's previous Star Trek output. To being with the characters are barely recognizable as themselves and this is an art issue rather than a writing issue. If you are going to be telling stories with Kirk et al. then we should be seeing Kirk et al. rather than something that might be them. Artistic license I am willing to let slide, this crap has got to end and fortunately it did in issue #4. On the writing front my only real complaint is that the comics do not feel like complete Star Trek episodes. On the whole episodes issue, I believe this series is intended to be a limited series. From the title one can assume that this is intended to be the fourth season of TOS (The Original Series) and if that is the case then one would think that this series would contain somewhere between twenty and twenty-four "episodes" or issues.

It's funny that I managed to wring a whole paragraph out of that because all of those points, while clearly of some import to me, are peripheral to what I really want to discuss which is that I am tired of metacomentary in my entertainment. We get it already, guys. We can all have a good giggle when Kirk says, "No on threatens my ship - not even the president of the network," as he did in this most recent issue of Star Trek Year Four, but I think in geek centric circles some creators are allowing their desire to inject a little metastory commentary to interfere with delivering interesting stories. This week's episode of Smallville suffered from a bit of the same in that they used the framework of a Warrior Angel movie filming in Smallville to threaten Lana's life and Clark's secret. In the Smallville mythology, the Warrior Angel comic takes the place of our real-world Superman comic and is used as a plot device to provide commentary on Clark's path. The comic has featured prominently in two other episodes and Lex Luthor was a huge fan of the comic during his days of innocence. In the case of Smallville the Warrior Angel metacommentary is generally used fairly well as a device rather than a crutch, but overall I am tired of these sorts of things going on. I think my problem with the Star Trek issue is that the commentary is not even given a somewhat clever veneer and my problem with Smallville is that to a certain extent I am tired of Clark sitting around on his butt in Smallville. It is time to get to work saving the world. I think we are going to see that towards the end of this season as I have a feeling that this is going to be the final season of the show.

And now for something completely different.

I guess it was about two weeks ago that Stephen Colbert announced that he was going to run for President in his home state of South Carolina. The reaction to this has been mixed and I am interested to see what actually comes of his shenanigans, but what made me laugh/cry is this quote in the New York Times poliblog** The Caucus:

However dismissive Mr. Dawson [Katon Dawson, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party] may be about Mr. Colbert's plans, he said that he did not believe the Republicans could stop him from seeking both Republican and Democratic delegates.

"There is nothing in our filing that would prohibit him from running on both ballots, if he chose to pay the filing fees," Mr. Dawson said.

And what is that fee? A steep $35,000, said Mr. Dawson.

"The great thing about America," Mr. Dawson said, "is if you can meet the constitutional requirements to run for president of the United States, you can do so. In Mr. Colbert's case, we look forward to his paying the filing fee before Nov. 1."

Is it just me or can you just see Mr. Dawson leaning back in his fat-cat suit, twisting his moustache, and smiling in a very self-satisfied way as he delivers the last quote? I think what he means to say is that the opportunity is there for those able and willing to pay for it, and quite frankly I find that disgusting. By comparison the fee to be on the Democratic ballot is $2,500 which can be waived if you can collect 3,000 signatures. I do not want to turn this into a Democrat versus Republican thing because I believe it is a more fundamental issue than that, but holy smokes $35,000 is a lot of money.

Oh well, my hour is the Abyss is just about up. We shall see if I can dig anything up to write about on Saturday besides how not awesome my Halloween costume is going to be and all of the TV watching I did today. Till next time, take care!

* For more on Star Trek as a context see this post.

** Its like a poliwog that has no future as a potential prince.

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