Truth be told, I’m a Star Wars man. I never was one for fleet captains and military designations and diplomacies, I’m much more a fan of the rough rider, rebel forces (and let’s be honest, racist) wild west in space kind of universe that Star Wars depicts. Of course, in the newer movies, it got deeper into the mythology and midichlorians and the Jedi Council, but let’s be honest, the real star of Star Wars is Han Solo. Sure, the Jedi and their Force are a big draw, but you can’t have an elegant weapon like the lightsaber without a universe full of clumsy blaster-wielding roughnecks on the run from Jabba the Hutt.
So yes, when it comes to sci-fi universes, Star Wars has my heart. But there’s no denying that Star Trek has some solid mythology, and for all of Star Wars’ sound and fury, it’s never been able to delve into the big questions like Star Trek has (and when Lucas has dared to try, he’s usually failed). I’d never wear a Starfleet uniform, even ironically (though I’ve owned toy Startroopers, a Darth Vader pez, and many, if not dozens of, lightsabers of various sizes and coolness), and I think the Vulcan ears are just cheesy (yes, even in the new movie’s trailer), but there’s no denying that the universe has some heft to it.
And never is it felt more than in the DS9 series. Gedeon’s post has lots of good points — Avery Brooks is extremely underrated as the main lead of a Star Trek series, as are all of the memorable (if not necessarily likeable) characters of the series, and the central theme of Star Trek as “man and his universe” has never been more apparent in every single scene as in DS9.
I once read (and I’m sorry that I don’t remember where) that there are two kinds of science fiction. One kind is like the original Star Trek series — the technologies dreamed of in the fiction are cutting-edge and used only by a select few. They’re experimental, and it’s the experimental fantasy that keeps us interested: movies like Alien, Back to the Future, and every other sci-fi movie where there’s a whole world of people who have no idea that these fantastic things are real. That kind of fiction is interesting, I guess: it’s a dream of the future, based on a premise of “so if we can do that now, will we be able to do this soon?”
But the second type is infinitely more fascinating to me. It’s where all of the technology dreamed about in the first kind is no longer experimental, it’s commonplace. Blade Runner, Fifth Element, and yes, Star Wars. Instead of a desperate spaceship captain activating an alien warp drive that might bend time, the alien warp drives are in every household coffeemaker, and instead our hero is a coffeemaker repairman. Instead of, say, an elite crew navigating the vast regions of space to boldly go, etc. etc., humanity lives and breathes out in space, and alien races that were once, ahem, alien to us, are instead working and living and fighting shoulder to shoulder with us.
Which also makes DS9 a series more relevant than ever these days, when our world is more “global” (whatever that means) than it has ever been, and we must learn either the hard way (or any way, really) that everyone we once as a culture thought alien, from homosexuals to terrorists, are really not that different from us at all. Star Trek’s other shows are about exploring outward, searching the stars, and going to new places. But DS9 is, in a much more interesting way, about searching inward, and figuring out just who we are and why we do the things we do.
Plus, Deep Space Nine and America are similar in another way now: we’ve both got a black guy in charge.
That there’s my new avatar on Xbox Live, which doesn’t really look like me, unless you count it as a much more cute and attractive version of me (and that’s not just me being humble — looking around my friends list, they’ve basically designed the avatar system with so few options that it’s kind of tough to make an un-cute and un-attractive avatar, so everyone ends up looking much better than they actually do in real life). In the NXE, which is the brand new firmware on the Xbox 360 — the little system that runs on the console when you’re not actually playing the games — that little avatar of mine runs around playing Uno, checking out the games my friends are in, and picking games for me to play next. It’s interesting — an obvious ripoff of Nintendo’s Mii system, although Microsoft has even upped it a notch by extending the metaphor not just in games, but in the system itself. Nintendo’s Miis never left their little Mii parade to join the rest of the UI, but Microsoft’s avatars are everywhere on the Xbox 360.
I would like more options, not necessarily in the way the avatar looks, but in terms of clothing. I hear they’re on the way — Microsoft says they’re aiming to double the amount of clothing available by next year, but I want special stuff — a Gears of War 2 t-shirt for beating that game, or a Master Chief helmet for finishing Halo 3 on Legendary. I want accessories — a Zune for my avatar to listen to (even though, sure, I’d want an iPod, but this is Microsoft we’re talking about), or an Xbox headset to wear when I’m in a game or chatting. I’d even love to see Microsoft get really crazy — a Kazooie pet to sit on my shoulder when I beat Banjo Kazooie 3, or a Zombie version of me from Left 4 Dead. Of course, this is only the beginning, but I hope they take this places it was never meant to go.
As for the rest of the UI, it’s a UI — it moves faster than the old one, which is definitely welcome, and I also like that rather than having to go back to the dashboard from the games, you can simply pull up the UI and read messages or dive into another game right away. I haven’t tried the Netflix features yet, but I plan to: I quit my subscription to Blockbuster just yesterday, because even the hint of streaming HD movies from my Xbox as part of a subscription has me drooling.
So yeah, I’m digging the update — there wasn’t really anything to miss about the old one, and it’s basically like getting a new console for free. Can’t argue with that. Can I get a different pose for my avatar’s picture, though? Who stands like that?
Changing things yet again. Having just my Twitter updates on the site kept things moving here (the site, I think, was updated more often than ever), but I am fairly sure that most people who read them had already read them on my Twitter feed or on Facebook, which is where most of my friends found them in the first place. And that doesn’t give a lot of reason to come back here.
(Not to mention that when I did write something here, Twitter pushed it off the front page so fast that no one got to read it.)
So I’m dropping Twitter back down to its own little section (or you can follow me over there), and instead of depending on my Twitter updates to run my blog, I’ll go back to doing it myself.
My latest obsession is getting an HD video camera and making some short films. Time will tell whether this all passes before I shell out a few hundred bucks on a gadget I’ll probably never use again, but trust me when I say that just like you, I’m waiting with bated breath to see what might happen. In the meantime, I tried to be happy with the camera I have, and the video above is the result. Enjoy?
tweaking some things on mikeschramm.com
Beautiful. Fleet Foxes do a takeaway show http://vimeo.com/2143576
Someone told me there was a cheap laundromat around Clark & Diversey, but I can't find it on yelp. Guess my building's expensive room is it.
Bush is only going to look worse as more history gets uncovered, I think: http://tinyurl.com/6jmrxy
Forgot that I had posted about Bat Boy over the weekend on WI. But nice of the WWN to show up and say hi.
Digging out from under the pile of weekend email.
Eh, was kind of fun. Think I might need to try it again sometime. http://www.vimeo.com/2264663
Checking out iMovie. If the results are worth posting, you might see them later tonight.
Was just watching Simpsons and spotted a production still note that accidentally slipped out onto broadcast. Interesting.
On the TUAW talkcast right now http://tinyurl.com/2h8gtu
Heading out to see Too Much Light tonight. Hoping I'll get in -- I really want to see that bubble machine in action.
Joe Buck just said "I think you have to think about putting Rex Grossman in this game." Not a good sign.
Anub'arak down, Bears not doing quite as well.
Kyle Orton is starting for sure today. Going to run Azjol-Nerub while I watch the Bears/Packers.
To be frank, wouldn't mind a hug.
Strangely excited to try out Questhelper after all the crazy recommendations from the podcast audience.
Streaming some tunes at http://tinyurl.com/6fkz9h show itself starts up at 3:30 EST in about an hour
That ding dong daddy -- he did sixteen women wrong.
71, and going a little slowly. But it's ok -- I'm taking in as many quests as I can. And getting a head start on Kalu'ak rep.
Some dude just flipped me off while I was waiting for the bus. No idea why.
I am in the neofuturists office and there is a machine here that makes bubbles. I am awestruck. If I had an HD camera, I'd document it.
Thinking about buying a flip mino hd -- seems like a good, cheap, HD camera. Any insights, tribe o' mine?
Just watched Burn-E. Liked it better than Wall-E I think.
Annnnnnnnnd there it is: http://tinyurl.com/6omkoj
Finished Utgarde earlier without a single death but the Nexus is giving us a little trouble now.
Here's my NPR story. http://is.gd/7o2K She didn't use anything I said about how normal gamers are but otherwise sounded good.
I'm awake again. Did I not mention that? Number one goal today: finish work, get back to playing Wrath.
tired. long day. bed.
Couldn't just stand around gamestop-- went across the street to a diner
Waiting in line at Gamestop, hope this goes fast
Hanging out with wi fans at duffy's
All righty, off to the meetup and then down to the launch. Here's hoping I can grab my game and get home for the stream posthaste.
Just did an interview with NPR about Wrath. No idea when it'll be on. If you're in the media and want to chat, just let me know.
FINALLY worked out my email issues. Back up to speed, only have about 400 emails to read through.
Today be the day!! If you're in Chicago, it's Duffy's at 8.
My email is still stuck back at 4:45pm -- if you sent me anything since then I haven't seen it.
Christmas is coming, and if you're looking for a gift for me, look no further: http://is.gd/761f
This is where the things in cloverfield happen okay http://is.gd/72Ex
What a night. And the week is only starting. Wrath here we come.
I have a story about how I feel about Prop 8 but it's too long for Twitter. Maybe I'll write up something about it if I have a chance.
Jealous of anyone with the NXE. Not that I'd have time to enjoy this week, but still.
my mini is going nuts calculating something and it's got me all out of whack. Time for a restart.
I would have gladly voted against prop 8 and I think it'll be overturned eventually, but remember, it's the people's vote. Can't deny that.
just made some cookies while waiting for the lich king to attack
I find this incredibly interesting. http://tinyurl.com/4bxawg
Doesn't it kind of defeat the purpose of *code*names to give them out to the press?
One of my favorite poems just leapt to mind again today: http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar2.htm