Like sands in an hourglass! A blast from the past?

Hello!

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted thanks to a busy summer schedule that included a move as well as a return to an old creative team that recently rediscovered how much fun writing together can be.  After nearly eight years of solitary tinkering with ideas and re-imagining the basic plot of a fun space-opera developed for wont of frat parties in college, most of the old crew have re-emerged from their life-travels with…experience!

You see, one of my writing partners from college had a short story published a few years back and I had been meaning to check it out, but if you knew how many moves, job changes and shadowfades I’ve accomplished in the last eight years, you’d begin to understand the backlog I’ve created.  It is staggering until you forget.  Thank the maker I sat down and read that short story back in May.  My enthusiasm for the story, which shared elements and nuances of the original work from back in the day, prompted me to get everyone back together for a weekend.  Within an hour of arrival, we knew we had something in the way of a re-write/reboot of the college space opera!

That weekend rekindled the passion for ideacraft that made everything seem possible and accessible back in those days.  Yes adulthood has been very much all about the pragmatic and I get it, but creativity and pragmatism are their own biggest competitor.  I’ve spent nearly the last decade honing my pragmatism to a “sufficiently practical” blade that manages to cut through most of the nonsense.  I think it’s about time new pragmatism meets old creativity and assist with some power-leveling.

Keep an eye out for more postings as summer wears itself out and my schedule re-settles.  Also, TV got real depressing didn’t it?  I mean, a whole televised event that goes on for millenia showcasing physical prowess to medal the best of the best on the planet at the most non-essential of tasks?  You couldn’t pay me to watch synchronized swimming, commercials, diving, ping pong, commercials, Guitar Hero, Luge, Hopscotch, spin-around-real-fast-and-throw-a-rock, or anything else shown on the [commercials] Olympics.  Olympic fever my ass!  Summer replacement shows are typically terrible, but every four years they get so much worse.

Check out Iron Sun Fiction Forge [commercial] on Facebook to get an idea of the writing group I mentioned!  Like us on Facebook or we will synchronize dive off of a Luge and perform some really beautifully choreographed pool dances!  

Hmm, that sounded way more bad-ass in my head.

Synchronized Swimming?  It is literally a Brittney Spears music video with water resistance.

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Incoming: Sci-Fi series ‘Incursion’ on Starz

Almost Perfection.

First: Battlestar Galactica (the 2004-09 remake) has to be the best show of the century so far.  I know, you thought I was going to say it was Viva Laughlin.  That was the best show of the Millenium!

But seriously, strike the sing-song, so-so ending BSG had due to Ronald D. Moore’s sudden love of giant mysteries and Bob Dillon (as opposed to character-driven stories) in the big season three reveal, and you have a science fiction work of art that diverges so far from the original material, you might as well call it something else.  I’m thinking “Battlecar Orgasmatica,” but when am I not?  As the final notes of Bear McCreary’s Dillon-tribute, “All Along the Watchtower” faded and the end-credits wrapped, TV-land was left with very few options for good sci-fi.  If you could even call it that.

Skip to 1:12.  This song still makes me want to shoot a Cylon in the face.  Love it.

To illustrate, here are the first five “sci-fi” series since 2009 that pop into my head: Chuck, Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles, Kings, Fringe and Dollhouse.  Fringe is the only show that can lay claim to a spot on the Fall 2012 schedule and it’s only going to be 13 wrap up episodes to keep me from doing something insane with outrage.

Chuck was barely sci-fi, and mostly terrible.  Yet I watched the entire first season due to unemployment.  Terminator had its moments, but sort of forgot what it was supposed to be doing mid-second season and was terminated.  Kings was kinda cool, I gotta give it to NBC on this one.  I adore Ian McShane.  I would have stuck around for another season or two of that.

Cheers, mate.

Dollhouse made it to the ripe age of 27 episodes, but only held my interest for two of them.  I’m formulating an idea here.

These shows, save the one that is still on the air, were small-idea Sci-Fi.  Their scope was limited to the predicament of whatever zany phenomena or interpersonal conflict that was in the script for the week.  Sure, there was a big idea behind every one of them, but who cares, it never attempted development of said idea!  It was all: “Chuck’s gonna wear a tuxedo, learn Kung Fu from a computer AND get promoted to Best Buy manager!  Tune in!”

Fringe on the other hand managed to weave the characters into a big idea that was given legs and developed over several seasons.  The characters literally walk to other realities like it’s nothing, explore theories of “self” and consciousness through interaction with parallel universe dopplegangers and manages to present a love story that I can care about.

Battlestar Galactica proposed an entire mythos that ties directly into humanity’s origin story and did it well…with robots…in SPACE!.   Now THAT’S some quality sci-fi!

At best, I think the Sci-Fi genre needs to seek answers to the big questions, and not get too bogged down with  fantasy/supernatural as well as offer predictions of what life’s going to be like in the future, or what it could be.

Anything less should be cancelled, or left in a Hollywood notebook.

Now that Fringe is 13 hours away from completion sometime in 2013, what will be the next big-idea Sci-Fi show?  Is it Falling Sky?  I have the entire first season, but I’ve never made it through an episode without nodding out (admittedly, I’ve been watching them just before bed, so it’s not boredom zonking me out…I think.)

Maybe Incursion.  There’s not much to say about this series other than what Variety released  on Wednesday:

“Incursion” comes as part of Starz’s overall deal with “Spartacus” creator Steven S. DeKnight. Project, which is a sci-fi action-thriller that centers around soldiers battling an alien race on exotic planets, comes after the announcement that “Spartacus” will be shuttered following its upcoming third season. Decision to end the show was made by the pay cabler in tandem with DeKnight.

via Variety.

Richard O’Dwyer: Upholding Copyright or Maintaining Civil Liberties

“Hello Cyan.”

Copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose. But that does not mean that copyright can or should be unlimited. It does not mean that we should abandon time-honoured moral and legal principles to allow endless encroachments on our civil liberties in the interests of the moguls of Hollywood.

– Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder

When not undressing me with his eyes, Jimmy Wales promotes Wikipedia and its causes.  You might have heard of this website  This week one of the causes front and center is 22-year old Richard O’Dwyer, a Sheffield resident who is being extradited to the U.S. for the crime of posting a link to a website.  Yeah, it’s getting that bad.  Tread lightly, people.  We’re in dangerous territory in which a multi-billion dollar industry is going to throw its weight around with the help of both the U.S. and U.K. to make an example out of a kid who hasn’t finished college.

A video interview with O’Dwyer can be seen here because WordPress is picky about its embedding.

Check out the links previous and if you choose civil liberties over copyright, sign this change.org petition and maybe we can get some traction before you yourself wake up one day with a subpoena from Walt Disney Company to see your online activities.  You know what I’m talking about.

“You disgust me. Now get over here and kiss me.”

The Newsroom

“Not the best country.  But it can be.”

This show is absolutely brilliant. If you watched West Wing and loved it, and was a little confused about what happened to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (it tanked five episodes in), you’re going to get chills watching this show.  I think HBO’s got a news show I wouldn’t mind replacing all cable news shows with.  Aaron Sorkin is turning his attention to what’s wrong with infotainment and how dangerously misdirected its fans and viewers are and he’s taking no prisoners.

The last 45 seconds of the show was…so emotional.  I felt like singing –

But it was 2 am in a cramped loft with neighbors nearby and I came to my senses.

A must watch to anyone that’s actually been in a newsroom and knows what shennanigans take place to make the news entertaining, light and easily digestible; in other words fluff.  A must-watch for those reasoned individuals that are sick and tired of being stupid, happy and catered to.  It’s an invitation to get informed and concerned.  It’s just a show, I know.  But it makes me want to believe that on some level, people are bored with nonsense sports commentary, panty-shots and Kardashians masquerading as news.

I know what it looks like for a human to catch, throw, kick or run with a ball.  I don’t care who does it best.  [Next.]

I know where I can get panty-shots.  Don’t try to scandalize me in the checkout aisle, I can do it myself anytime. [Next.]

Go to hell, Kardashians. [Full stop.]

My god, if I hear another group of grown men talking about how well adults can or cannot play a children’s recreational game, I’ll go mental.

What am I, the crazy one?

What the fuck are you still doing here?  Go watch this show.

…or I’ll send my newsroom after your ass.  The one sitting on the floor bites.

Mass Effect 3 Extended

We’re Back.

The Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut is a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of Mass Effect 3. Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Extended Cut will include deeper insight to Commander Shepard’s journey based on player choices during the war against the Reapers. The Extended Cut will be available to download at no additional charge for Mass Effect 3 game owners starting on June 26 for PC and Xbox 360 customers worldwide. Playstation 3 customers in North America will be able to download the Extended Cut DLC on June 26 and the rest of the world on July 4.

– source[Mass Effect Blog]

This action by an established game studio is unprecedented.  Yes, other cross-platform games have been modified after the fact thanks to the always on connections consoles can have to the internet, but to rewrite and modify end-game material for Mass Effect 3 is a huge admission for a company that raised the bar so high with ME 1 and 2.  What prompted the re-write?

Badvertising

According to the FTC’s rules of the road for advertising and marketing on the Web, “advertising must tell the truth and not mislead consumers.”  A strong case was made to the BBB and after months of complaints the outraged fans have end-game DLC to show for it.  Below is a compilation of advertising misleads assembled by one disgruntled youtuber.

Bioware’s Reaction

From ME Facebook Page: March 19 at 12:12am

We are aware that there are concerns about a recent post from this account regarding the ending of the game. In this post it was stated that at this time we do not have plans to change the ending.

We would like to clarify that we are actively and seriously taking all player feedback into consideration and have ruled nothing out. At this time we are still collecting and considering your feedback and have not made a decision regarding requests to change the ending.

Your feedback and opinions are of the utmost importance to us. We apologize for any confusion this has caused. Our top priority regarding this discussion is to keep communication with you, our loyal fans, open and productive.

Additionally in a subsequent Facebook fan page posting:

Bioware will keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be. This is not the last you’ll hear of Commander Shepard.

– Mass Effect 3 director Casey Hudson

Looks like Mr. Hudson made good on his promise but the official ME FAQ wants to make some distinctions beforehand:

The Extended Cut is an expansion of the original endings to Mass Effect 3. It does not fundamentally change the endings, but rather it expands on the meaning of the original endings, and reveals greater detail on the impact of player decisions.

[Origin update here.]

Oh how I love the internet!

“Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who contacted their MEPs, either directly or via email. It does make a difference – indeed, several politicians have admitted that it was the unprecedented scale and force of the protests that convinced them to take another look at ACTA, which otherwise would have passed without difficulty.”

-Glyn Moody, ComputerworldUK Writer

“ACTA contains some troublesome provisions for policy areas such as internet freedom and access to medicines. By regulating several policy areas in one document, ACTA enforces laws in an undesirable and dangerous way.”

-MEP & INTA Committee Member, Marietje Schaake

“The way is now paved for a quick and total rejection of ACTA by the European Parliament! With a political symbol of such a global scale, the way will be open for copyright to be reformed in a positive way, in order to encourage our cultural practices instead of blindly repressing them,”

-Jeremie Zimmermann, La Quadrature du Net