Mon, Mar
18
2013

Goodbye

Well, this came a bit later than I thought it would…

The necessity of a new laptop, combined with disappearing to Italy for March Break, resulted in this extra-long pause…but it did cement my decision to wind up my corner of the internet.

I don’t know what cyberspace endeavour eventually will replace this nine-year corner of my life, but I think I might be back, in some new regenerated form. In the mean time, like my hero the Doctor, I hate goodbyes…so I’ll just slip away quietly. In any event, I said all I had to say in the previous post.

I’ll arrange with my friend and webmaster James to somehow archive this collection of mine…until then, you are free to go back through the multitude of posts, and enjoy the triumphs & tragedies of years past. Thank you for reading my rants…and thank you for your patronage.

Hailing frequencies are now closed.

…for I am trying to decide whether or not it’s time to wind up the blog.

I’ve been writing for nine years. I’ve ranted and raged about politics across the country, the continent, and the world.

I’ve written about my triumphs, and my tribulations. My happiest moments, such as the birth of my little niece Micaela…and my lowest ever point, when my father died.

I’ve traveled the world…and have filled these pages with the pictures to prove it. I’ve strolled along the South Bank of the Thames, up the hills of Montmartre, passed under the Brandenburg Gates, stood shoulder to shoulder with Mount Fuji…and I’ve waxed lyrically (or so I hope) about all these adventures.

I’ve reviewed movies that run across the spectrum of drama, comedy, and fantasy & science fiction. I’ve seen through the end of The West Wing, I’ve covered Battlestar Galactica from start to tear-stained finish, and I’ve cherished the return of my wonderful Doctor Who, right into the start of its 50th anniversary year.

But…I think I’ve said all I have to said…at least, for now.

It’s becoming harder and harder to force myself to write entries. The enthusiasm has turned into ennui…the rush of creativity has transformed into a slog…and my one-time boundless optimism is laced with cynicism.

It’s been 9 years…so many entries that I’ve lost count. A record of virtually my entire life & my thoughts through my 30s…

…but it might be time to bid farewell to my active corner of the internet, and move on. I’ll sleep on it a bit more…but I think I can see the final station on the line.

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Thu, Feb
28
2013

Tired of February

My brain just doesn’t want to blog at the moment. So many things have distracted me this week:

  • Marking 24 essays — of a thousand words each — in 2 days, and almost two dozen presentation projects in the two days before that…

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  • Delivering 3 lectures in one day without losing my voice…and one of those lectures delivered twice

  • Stressing out over next week’s trip to Italy…

  • Stressing out over my mother’s stress over next week’s trip to Italy…there’s no fatalism like Polish fatalism…

  • Stressing out over the extortion I’ll be forced to endure when I pay the parking bill that will result from leaving my car at the airport for 9 days, as we head off on next week’s trip to Italy…

  • Fate exchanging my desire to NOT have a second, schedule-destroying snow day…with the need to shovel a water-soaked, snow laced driveway for my mother & sister…

  • Managing to end today with my after-school Doctor Who Club, dropping off documents at the School Board office before closing time, fitting in my gym workout before a haircut…all in the span of 2.5 dizzying hours, driving from Cambridge to Kitchener to Waterloo at warp speed…

February has been mentally, visually, and spiritually dull as ditchwater — I won’t miss it. I’m think I’m going to take a bath. I will try to relax, and try to dismiss February from my thoughts…

…but I’ll take my Lonely Planet guide Italy as bath time reading material!

…that would be my niece, Micaela.

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Sat, Feb
23
2013

Recent Bookish Adventures

ALEXANDER THE GREAT

Written by Philip Freeman

Another search for well researched yet concise works of history lead me to Philip Freeman’s work — the most recent bio of Alexander the Great I’ve encountered.

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I was not disappointed in choosing this book. This is less a biography of Alexander the Great and more of a sweeping story of conquest, cultural transformation, adventure & astonishment. This is the story of a group of back country & mountainous warriors, whose skill and ambition are distilled into the psyche of one extraordinary man. A man with superhuman endurance, ambition, and yes…vision. This a man who wasn’t simply interested in conquest and control (but make no mistake, he was) — this is a man who craved the next horizon. A man who luxuriated in new ideas, new thoughts, new literature, new cultures & religions…everything new and fresh delighted him to no end. A man who was centuries ahead of his time in looking at a melting pot world. A man who inspired unsurpassed loyalty…and a man who left behind the greatest “what if” questions in history when he died at age 33. Philip Freeman desires to tell this story…and tell it he does.

In 300 plus pages, we cover a campaign, an exploratory journey, and a spiritual quest with deft skill. Just like my other favoured literary historian — Norman Cantor — Mr. Freeman manages not to waste a single word when it isn’t necessary. He encompasses decades and miles with effortless grace, and leaves the reader breathless at the exploits of history’s greatest warrior king & general.

Between this and Mr. Cantor’s own work on Alexander, you have all you need to understand this titan of the human experience. It is definitely worth the effort.


STAR TREK - MY ENEMY, MY ALLY

Written by Diane Duane

Diane Duane has always been a solid Star Trek writer, especially in the early days of the novel series. Her weakest novels are still full of fascinating characters and problems to solve (Dark Mirror), and her best novels are sweeping epics that never forget the human component of Star Trek’s glory (Spock’s World).

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With My Enemy, My Ally, I find myself moving slightly backwards through her canon of Romulan influenced books. I had already read her magnum opus on the Romulan homeworld (The Romulan Way) — a book that, in spite of later TV contradictions, definitely fueled the imagination of many future Star Trek writers. In that novel, a character name Ael was introduced — from her appearance, she was obviously a freelance adventurer, who had disavowed the Romulan government and operated as both a free agent and occasional friend to the Federation in general, and the Enterprise crew in particular. My Enemy, My Ally is the book that properly introduces her…and what a book it is.

In many ways, it’s a prequel to Spock’s World — introducing many of the Enterprise crew members that would appear in that later epic, and reveling in the creation of a truly alien, multicultural crew that wasn’t limited to hominid, humanoid forms…or film & television budgets. Just like Spock’s World, it has a glorious command of both the Original Series regular characters, and all the newcomers — no one is neglected, down to the smallest cameo. Into this mix Ael is introduced, and she is crafted into the most wonderful, passionate, ultimate Romulan character in the entire novel series. Ms. Duane credits Star Trek script writer D.C. Fontana for the inspiration…and I must say, Ms. Fontana would definitely approve of this novel.

Part action-adventure, part riveting character drama, part culture-clash comedy, only a slightly awkward & slow opening pair of chapters keeps My Enemy, My Ally from total perfection. But if there’s one Star Trek novel you want to read, in order to gain the full benefit of a singular Trekkie experience, then this is the novel to choose.

And to top it all off, there’s even a Doctor Who cameo! You can’t top that.