Monday, July 21, 2014

When Your Klingonness Is Just Too Much

I've mentioned here before that if I belonged to any Star Trek species, I'd be half-Klingon, half-Vulcan. This has nothing to do with my parents' actual species (Betazoid/B'joran) but more just how I turned out.

Part of my Klingon-ness comes from how stubborn I am, how I tend to get frustrated easily, and how I tend to like to spend kind of a lot of time in the gym. I like lifting heavy weight and I like getting stronger and I like being a woman who can push around heavy weight.

The Vulcan part of me uses the gym as a sort of meditation. When I bench, all I'm thinking about is the weight. Everything else goes still and quiet. It's the only time in my day that that happens. It's like shoving earplugs in my brain and I love it.

Anyway, as in the rest of my life, I tend to inadvertently stick out at the gym. I'm pale in Southern California. I don't wear trendy, neon tops. I can't begin to get my shoulder-length hair into one of those sexy top knot things. I don't even kind of glisten. I drip buckets of gross, Klingon-smelling sweat all over the place--which I then wipe up because I'm not a damn heathen. I don't have earbuds or whatever in my ears and I turn REALLY red when I'm exerting myself. (see the note about paleness above.) I also have vasovagal syncope which makes me pass out and then I need some kind of sugar so I carry around these individually packaged prunes which... I mean, honestly, how opposite-of-cool are prunes? What am I, ninety? (I wish! Then I'd have a million cats!)

Whatever, I lift like a Klingon but I don't have the Klingon redundancies in my body so sometimes I suffer little injuries that nag me for a few days. But, about two weeks ago, I did something to my biceps tendon and it hasn't been right since. At first I tried to just work through it. But, that ended up exacerbating the problem.

Now, I'm relegated to leg work. I've done so many squats lately. You don't even know. The thing is, I can't do heavy leg stuff every single day. That means time in the cardio room. Cardio? Uggh. I run sprints and intervals but anything more than twenty minutes and I just want to go eat ice cream and watch TV. But the last 10 days? I've had to make friends with the stationary bike, treadmill, and elliptical. If I know I'm doing more than half an hour, I take my kindle and read.
Anyway, right now I have my shoulder/bicep wrapped. If it's not iced, it burns. When I wake up it hurts. When I lay down it hurts. I can't open jars or twist my own water bottle shut because my grip can't take any torque. This. Is. Ridiculous.

My Vulcan-self has had time (on a stationary bike) to reflect and I'm pretty sure I got into this position pushing myself too hard. ie- Being a little too Klingon in the gym. This reminds me a lot of Worf/B'elanna so here are a few times where their Klingonness was just too much:

1- When Worf gets super hurt:
TNG: Ethics
Worf is Worfing around and a big barrel falls on him and breaks his back. Dude is all messed up and Crusher is the model of compassion but compassion isn't exactly what Worf is all about. He's more about getting back to Worfing around as much as possible. So, another Doc steps in with some questionable ethics and presents an interesting but dangerous new treatment option.

2- When Worf has a fancy party:
TNG: The Icarus Factor
Worf is being all moody (aka- Worfing Around in 2nd Gear) because it's time for him to celebrate the Rite of Ascension and there aren't any other Klingons around to help him out. Thankfully, Wesley gets a plan together A-Team style and they round up some pain sticks for his special day.

3- When Worf goes on vacation:
DS9: Let He Who Is Without Sin
Worf's girlfriend gets him to FINALLY take a vacation and he is 100% miserable the entire time. When Jadzia finally confronts him about how he isn't at all like all the other, fun-loving Klingons she knows, we get one of the best Worf scenes in all of Star Trek. It's quiet. It's understated. And it's really, really Klingon.

4- When B'Elanna is way too into living dangerously:
VOY: Extreme Risk
B'Elanna starts Worfing around and runs all kinds of super hardcore holodeck programs with the safety off and nearly gets herself killed a bunch of times. When Chakotay confronts her, it comes out that B'Elanna is attempting to deal with her depression about the massacre of her Maquis friends by basically Klingon-ing the days away.

5- When B'Elanna takes a Klingon cruise to Klingon Hell:
VOY: Barge of the Dead
When B'Elanna dies in a shuttle accident, she makes a quick trip to the Klingon afterlife but finds that she's headed for dishonor--and so is her mom. She negotiates with her Ship-Mom to be put back into the same, death-like state she had been in when she fell onto the deck of a Klingon boat. Janeway surprisingly lets her go through this mess and she spends the rest of the episode with a bunch of other Klingons talking about the finer points of honor.

BONUS- When a bunch of tribbles hated Arn Darvin:
TOS: The Trouble With Tribbles
You guys know this one right? Sure, you do. Well, here goes anyway. The Enterprise answers a distress call and they're pretty pissed to learn that they (a super nice starship) were only invited over to guard some dang wheat. Anyway, some Klingons also show up. Hijinks ensue. Tribbles abound. And a bar fight breaks out. Lots of fun.

Ok, even typing hurts my arm so you can imagine how terrible I feel after such an over-long blog post. I'm going to take some Aleve and try to be more Vulcan for the remainder of the night.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

There's A Jerk In My Brain Sometimes

Almost ten years ago my husband and I drove from where we were living in northern Kentucky to the bottom of the state to visit my dad. As soon as we got in the door we were inundated with all the stuff he'd recently discovered. Movies. TV shows. Art books. Camera gear. Computer stuff. Video games. Whatever. It's like a taking a tour of the room of a twelve-year-old boy. This is just his way. It's better not to fight it because he might introduce you to something completely amazing.

That day, he wanted to show us an insane show he'd found on G4 Network. Sasuke, or Ninja Warrior as it's known in the States, is a Japanese obstacle course tournament that had been running on the other side of the world since 1997. My dad had like six tournaments worth of episodes recorded and we sat on the couch, completely entranced, and watched every single one of them. I still remember the names of some of those guys--Akiyama, Nagano, Yamamoto.

We didn't have cable and couldn't watch it on our own so every time we went back, he gave us some more. Then, a couple of years later, we got G4. And then, G4 started sending over a bunch of yanks to run the course. I remember those guys too--Meeuwenberg, Orosco, and later Campbell.

We watched the show as we moved from place to place and have viewed it in four different apartments and two houses. And, even though we aren't 100% behind the recent Esquire/NBC changes, we're always happy to see new episodes. We followed Kacy Catanzaro last year and loved her. So, this year, we FREAKED OUT when she made it up the warped wall for the first time. When she made history for the second time by being the first ever woman to make it to the Ninja Warrior finals in Vegas, we were literally crying. Crying. And screaming. And also jumping up and down. It was intense, folks.

Imagine my surprise when, the next day, I heard people talking about this event in the gym. And then on Facebook. And then Twitter. And Pinterest. And... just... everywhere.

And you know what my first reaction was? What my first, knee-jerk thought happened to be?

"What the hell?! This is MINE! This is my show! You people don't know Kacy OR Ninja Warrior!"
I know, Captain. I'm ashamed of me too.
And then, immediately, I realized what an awful fan I was being. I've talked about this terrible attitude right here on this very blog. I've talked about how elitism has crept into Geekdom and become a poisonous part of a culture that's supposed to be all about what we love. I've also talked about how, yeah, I understand it--I know that you feel like you've suffered through all kinds of private nerd hell only to have your special thing invaded by people who you think probably don't "get it." I understand it because I'm guilty of it. The problem comes when you start spreading those feelings around instead of dealing with them in any kind of real, grown up way. (I guess my way is being super ashamed of that feeling and then writing a really long blog post about all my feels.) Anyway, the problem comes when you don't realize what a great thing it is that everyone else likes your thing.

I guess the point of all this is to say that, as a geek, I get why you want to protect your special thing. But, you have to remind yourself (and so do I) that your special thing isn't going anywhere. No one's coming along and tearing it down or stealing it from you. They're not burning your DVDs or comic books or whatever. And it isn't being made any less special just because some ass hat at the gym knows who Kacy Catanzaro is. I'm glad the ass hat (he's an ass hat for other reasons, people) knows who she is and what Ninja Warrior is and whatever. Because that means it'll stay on longer. And, hopefully, the videos and articles will get to more people--not fewer.

Hopefully girls who are interested in sports, or who maybe didn't know they could be interested in sports, or girls who'd already decided they were bad at sports will find videos of Kacy. And hopefully they'll be inspired. Hopefully what Kacy can do, and how popular this thing has become, will help open people's eyes about what women can do in sports. I hope it goes on for another million-bajillion years and I hope they have to rock climb and play freaking pareses squares at the end of that future course.

Anyway, I caught myself being really lame and I feel bad about it. I want to be a good geek and not part of the problem. So, here's that video. Show it to every single person you know.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Because Holodecks Don't Exist: Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth & Frankenstein

So, my computer apparently exploded on June 29th. I've been reading and watching all kind of mess and I'd intended to write a post about like nineteen things but that's ridiculous. I'm not doing that right now. Do you know how tired I am right at this moment? Maybe I'll talk later this week about Iron Fist and Dorian Gray and Bob's Burgers and Fellowship of the Rings but, right now, I've only got it in me to shout at the world (like five people, am I right? How many of you are left in the post-computer explosion apocalypse?) about two things and they are:

Deadly Class, Volume 1: Reagan Youth
by Rick Remender, art by Wes Craig
This is a comic that I've been aware of for some time but I figured it would be pretty serialized so I decided (somewhere around issue #3) to wait for the trade paperback... this happens a lot, as you'll soon learn. I ended up buying it through Comixology because I'm way into panel by panel comic reading. Anyway, this series is about a bunch of teenagers (mostly the sons and daughters of crime syndicate bigwigs) all going to King's Dominion School which is pretty much Hogwarts for contract killers.
Settle down, Malfoy.

I got this trade because I was interested in the high concept idea of teenagers learning to waste baddies La Femme Nikita style.

In the end, though, what I really appreciated about Remender's story was his ability to tap into his own authentic, past high-school self. As I read, I found the emotional beats of Marcus' (oh yeah, that's the protagonist, btw) journey really similar to my own and, when I read Remender's letter at the end, I realized why. Like Remender, I moved around A LOT (and I've written about that here A LOT) I went to four different middle schools--wait, was it five? The last was an inner-city school in which I basically washed up on the shore of crazy town with no idea what to do or how to manage. I spent almost an entire school year there. In the end, I loved it. I'd finally made friends. I'd finally met some people who were into the same stuff I was into, like weird books and anime. Yeah, people got beat up. Including me. People got shot. Not including me. And people did and didn't want to get the hell out of there. In the end, I didn't want to leave. But I did. I moved in with my dad and spent the next four years in a small, rural school in Kentucky. We didn't learn how to be contract killers--at least I didn't--I can't speak to what was going on in all those Future Business Leaders of America meetings. But I did go through a lot of the same emotional stuff Marcus does. I did wish for friends and then both relish and regret them. I did get involved with the wrong person (a couple of times.) I did question every single conversation I had (and still do) and I did, eventually (after I left) become thankful for my experiences in that little fishbowl town. Basically, I felt a lot of ways about things and, because I was such a weirdo, everyone knew it.

Man, this got long. I meant for this thing to be like... a paragraph. Tops. Anyway, if you moved around, if you didn't fit in, if you were a weirdo or an outcast or that kid who sat in the library at lunch and now you have some emotional distance on that time--then I highly recommend this one. The art is gorgeous. The colors (by Lee Loughridge) are perfectly moody yet intense. The story is just familiar enough to stir up your emotions while shooting enough comic book craziness at your eyeballs to make you turn pages like a fanatic.
*Bonus Points if you listen to the Breakfast Club soundtrack whilst reading

by Mary Shelley
I've been way into Gothic Literature lately. I don't know why. I read Jane Eyre last year and Wuthering Heights in January and since then I've done Dorian Gray and Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde. So, I figured, why not a book about a guy putting another guy together and then several hundred pages of their lives unwinding simultaneously to an ultimately futile and depressing conclusion?

I love Mary Shelley's prose. Let me just put that out there. It's beautiful.

Also, this woman can write a weasley scientist AND a forlorn monster AND a homesick sea captain pretty much better than anyone. But, man, this book just depressed the hell out of me. And, maybe it's just the cherry on the gothic novel sundae. Maybe I've just had too much of that this year. Did I mention I've also been watching Penny Dreadful? Still, I get that Frankenstein is supposed to be a frustrating character but I found him so unbearably passive that I just wanted to grab him and smack him over and over and shake him until he got his crap together. But, again, I feel that maybe if I'd read this before Dorian Gray and Jeckyll & Hyde, I wouldn't have been so exhausted with him so quickly.
I still recommend it, though. It's a perfect example of gothic literature and basically the first science fiction novel. Over and over, I found myself enjoying the foundation of some classic sci fi tropes. I could and probably should write a whole paragraph here comparing Dr. Soong with Dr. Frankenstein and Data with Frankenstein's monster. At the very least I should mention the classic, black and white X-Files episode, "Post-Modern Prometheus." But, man, I already wrote all that stuff about Deadly Class and this is all coming after nine hours of working on the second Awesome Jones novel so... I think I'm just going to stop.

What I'm saying here is...

Go read this:
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
And watch this:
TNG: SSN 2 Ep 9: The Measure of a Man
And also this:
The X-Files, SSN 5 Ep 5: The Post-Modern Prometheus

Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm BACK, baby! But where have I been, really?

So, for the last couple of weeks, I was in computer jail. On an otherwise lovely Sunday afternoon I went off to get some nachos and when I came back my laptop wouldn't start. Gray screen. Restart. Gray screen. Restart. Gray screen.
All I could think was:

There was nothing anyone could have done. We'd repolarize one pathway and another would collapse. And then another. His... hands were moving faster than I could see, trying to stay ahead of each breakdown.--TNG: The Offspring

I ended up in a seemingly endless apple service loop before I finally, yesterday, got my baby back. Unfortunately, by that time, I was already exhausted from writing all day and just couldn't bring myself to come over her and do a post. But, today, I couldn't hold back. I've missed this blog! I've missed you!

In any case, you haven't missed much. I was recently talking to the husband about how I technically could write about my every day experiences but after about three days it would get SUPER boring. Because, at times like this, when I'm completely focused on a new novel my day looks like this:

1- Get up.
2- Write some here, if you have time.
3- Put your dang clothes on (considering that this involves a heavy duty sports bra this step isn't nothing)
4-Go to the gym.
5- This process takes about two hours for me right now so... GYM!
6- Go home. Eat Lunch.
7- Write for several hours. Try not to binge eat Cheez-its during this step.
8- Eat dinner that you probably put in the crockpot at lunch time because you knew you'd be too busy writing to make dinner.
9- Write for three or four more hours.
10- When you can't write anymore, do some editing or research.<<Right here is where blogging should go, come to think of it.
11- Close your computer because you have a headache and watch TV or read comic books. (Tonight it's Korra. Eeeee!)
12- Take your medicine and 9,000 supplements. Brush your teeth. Make protein shakes for the next day.
13- Lay in bed and read something old and British until you fall asleep.

*Steps not listed may include but aren't limited to:
-Messing around on Pinterest/Facebook/GoodReads
-Gchatting with my mom/sister/friends
-Second Breakfast
-Mess around in container garden/obsessively check baby tomatoes
-Grocery Store (bane of my existence)

Anyway, in all of this really boring yet somehow intense lifestyle, I did manage to halfway watch a Star Trek in the last three weeks.  A TNG episode was just starting up BBCA (isn't it always, really?) and I thought it'd be fun (with the TV on mute, because I was writing) to see how long it would take before I figured out which episode it was.

Turns out, it wasn't long. Because, pretty quickly, I saw this goober:
That's right, people-- it's "The Masterpiece Society" wherein these chumps think they have a good thing going on until The Enterprise comes along and makes everyone start second guessing their perfect world. These people were classic victims of "Lets All Ignore The Prime Directive" and they wind up all the better for it, even though Picard doesn't think so.

Of course, what I remembered most about this episode was Deanna's awful boyfriend. I just... man she became such a better character once she took her command test and got a real uniform. Have I written a post yet about Deanna's terrible boyfriends? If not, I should. That should be a post.

Sometimes soon, while I'm sitting here with a writing headache, I'll write that post. Promise! Unless I have to go back to computer jail.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Separate the Saucer Section!

So, today, this happened:

Well, kind of.  I've been working working, working.  New novel. New commission. Graphic novel. New project. And, in the middle of all that, my computer crashed. It was basically ok. And then it wasn't. 

I'd been planning to write another post about what I'm reading/watching and have been excited to talk about that stuff but I put it off until my computer exploded and now I'm writing this on my phone and it sucks. 

I super don't want to deal with this right now so I'm going to go watch Bob's Burgers instead. Hopefully I'll be back soon. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Because Holodecks Don't Exist #1

I haven't been watching much Trek this year. Between the burnout I had going on, the book tour stuff, and all the stuff Scott and I are both working on, we just haven't had time to do a lot of re-watching.

But I am still reading and watching a whole lot of stuff and I figured, why not write about that. If you're into Star Trek or reading about my hermit lifestyle or Bunny's antics or whatever, you might also be into whatever I'm watching or reading. So, this is the first post in a new (hopefully) weekly segment called, "Because Holodecks Don't Exist."

Anyway, here's a little of what I've been up to:

Penny Dreadful (Showtime):
I'm a few episodes behind but I tend to enjoy Victorian fiction and Gothic fiction and I'm really loving Timothy Dalton and Eva Green waltzing around doing creepy stuff in top hats and corsets and the like.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde and you can get the ebook for free):
See Above.
I'm about halfway through this one because I keep falling asleep. I love old Brit Lit but if I combine the reading of it with a somewhat horizontal position, it has roughly the same effect on me as Z-Quil. Anyway, I've previously only known Gray via his appearance in the fiction and comics of others so it's pretty nice to see him here in all of his original Oscar Wilde glory.

Bob's Burgers (FOX) :
A friend recommended this one and I can't seem to get enough. I've watched two a night lately. I can't stop. I see Louise and it's like I'm watching myself. If, as a child, my parents had stayed together and had two other kids and we lived above our burger shop, next to a theme park and the ocean.

Pretty Deadly (Kelly Sue Deconnick with art by Emma Rios):
I didn't find out about this comic until it was about four episodes in and my comic book store doesn't carry back issues. So, I tore my hair out until it finally came out patiently awaited its release. I wasn't let down. The storytelling here is stunning and the haunting art is a perfect match for DeConnick's prose.

The Wicked + The Divine #1 (Kieron Gillen with art by Jamie McKelvie):
This is another one from Image Comics. I've actually had its release date on my calendar for over a month and couldn't wait. I wasn't let down. This comic is off to a smart, sexy, tough start.

Alright, well those are the highlights. I'll be back next week and hopefully by then I'll be finished with Dorian Gray. Have a recommendation for me? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TNG: Lonely Among Us

 I have this friend who's pretty much a media sponge. Whatever she watches, movies or TV, she retains dialogue with apparently no effort whatsoever and will then repeat those lines to you days, weeks, or years later with absolutely zero warning. It's like movie lines are just part of her language and pop culture is an immersion course.

Anyway, I'm not a sponge. At least not in that way. I tend to be rather visual so I tend to retain images better than words. Still, yesterday, it's like my brain was broken.

I woke up sick. I assume this was just some kind of ridiculous allergy attack. I ran out of Zyrtec about three days ago and my aversion to the store supersedes my aversion to pollen--but only for so long. Apparently, my sinuses had had enough. My equilibrium was all wrong. Everything was throbbing. My chest was rustling. My throat alternated between scratchy and closed up. Around noon I began to  wonder whether I might be dying.

I resigned myself to my fate and stretched out on the sofa and just freaking left it on BBC America.

Top Gear I've seen.
Another Top Gear I've seen.
And then Star Trek: TNG which... wait what is this?

It was "Lonely Among Us" and it was very clearly first season--Riker's beard was missing but Tasha was there. I knew I'd seen the episode within the last year. I remembered the dog guys and I remembered the snake guys but this whole cloud thing and the lightning and people getting all possessed and dead and driving the ship around--no I didn't remember any of that biz.

I wondered whether my obviously fatal infection had crept into my brain and eaten all my Star Trek knowledge. I began to panic. "Why don't I remember this?" "Why can't I retain stuff like this?" "I wish I was like K and could just remember more of this stuff." "Maybe watching 700 episodes of a thing in one year isn't the best way to... wait, is that Gul Dukat?"

Yeah. It was. Marc Alaimo (aka one of the top five Trek baddies probably) made his first ever Star Trek appearance in this episode.

He's this one. Probably.
Anyway, once I got over my initial freakout, recognized Marc Alaimo, and stared at Riker's chin for a while, I calmed down. I drank some tea and ate some crackers and settled in with Bunny until I began to doze, waking up whenever Picard barked, "Mr. Data!"

I'm still not 100% clear on exactly what goes on in this episode but that's ok. I needed that nap--that specifically Star Trek nap--in a bad way. It's been a while since I got to just stretch out and watch Trek and let it calm me down. It was nice. It was comforting. I loved it. Isn't that kind of why I did this whole project to begin with?