Best Day of Television

A meme has been making the rounds on Facebook about getting children into nature, claiming that kids “don’t remember their best day of television.” Thankfully, many of the people in my geeky circles have torn it apart with their best life-changing television memories.

Photo originally posted by the Children & Nature Network page on Facebook
Photo originally posted by the
Children & Nature Network Facebook page

 

Mine was May 23, 1994. The episode was “All Good Things…”, the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the first time I had ever seen a television show do what is now considered a proper wrap-up of story lines from the series, and it still ranks up there with “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” from M*A*S*H as one of my favorites farewells in television history.

While the Children & Nature Network has a point in unplugging kids and getting them into the world around them – I spent a great deal of time in nature and away from tech in my youth over many years working on my Eagle Scout award and as a volunteer Trail Patrol member at Antelope Island State Park – this meme easily glosses over the effect that good television has on people. Good stories, regardless of medium, transport your imagination away from the burdens of reality and allow you to dream and hope, and fosters creativity.

Yes, even kids can understand the burdens of the real world and create imaginative wonders to solve them. Anecdotally, I know a successful filmmaker and writer who escaped abuse at home through the wonders of Star Wars. A more concrete example is the duo of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the high school teens who created Superman to battle the social injustices of the 1930s.

My love of speculative fiction stems from being introduced to Star Trek and Lost in Space by my father, and the plethora of action, adventure, and science fiction that dominated the 1980s television landscape. My imagination is still fueled by those memories to this day.

In the end, kids will remember their best days so long as those days are spent seeking their bliss. The trick is finding out what fuels their passions while guiding them into the world at large. All things in moderation.

 

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The Light in Fandom and Social Media

As much as I grouse about fandom negativity on the internet, there are times when social media makes a difference and gives me hope. This time, it started with a re-tweet of a Star Wars/Marvel mash-up created by Andrew Yayzus Hunter, an artist in Nottingham UK.

 

What followed began with a question from Annalee, a sci-fi writer and blogger with Geek Feminism.

 

In the words of the Ninth Doctor:

9th Doctor

 

 

The Vreenak Report: Volume 1 – Jar Jar Binks

The Vreenak Report
Volume 1 – Jar Jar Binks

Named in honor of the under-rated Romulan senator from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, I present the inauguarl Vreenak Report. If you need a refresher on Senator Vreenak, watch the DS9 episode “In the Pale Moonlight” with particular attention to the scene where he challenges the authenticity of a data rod.

 

This volume’s internet rage bait: Disney Confirms Jar Jar Binks for Star Wars 7

Why is it on the senator’s desk? Because it’s from the National Report.

 

Fanboys of the internet bought this one hook, line, and sinker.

 

It's a fake!
It’s a fake!

Earworm: Hardware Store

I have a small earworm that is making this week’s commutes a little easier. It shuffled up on my iPod during Monday evening’s drive, and I’ve used it for the last couple of days.

 

 

“Hardware Store” by Weird Al Yankovic, from the album “Poodle Hat” (2003)

 

The video above was created by YouTube user Dav3C. There is no official music video, and Weird Al refuses to play this song in concert due to the rapid-fire description of “all that stuff” in the store. Nevertheless, it’s a fun song.

They’ve got allen wrenches, gerbil feeders, toilet seats, electric heaters
Trash compactors, juice extractors, shower rods and water meters
Walkie-talkies, copper wires, safety goggles, radial tires
BB pellets, rubber mallets, fans and dehumidifiers
Picture hangers, paper cutters, waffle irons, window shutters
Paint removers, window louvers, masking tape and plastic gutters
Kitchen faucets, folding tables, weather stripping, jumper cables
Hooks and tackle, grout and Spackle, power foggers, spoons and ladles
Pesticides for fumigation, high-performance lubrication
Metal roofing, waterproofing, multi-purpose insulation
Air compressors, brass connectors, wrecking chisels, smoke detectors
Tire gauges, hamster cages, thermostats and bug deflectors
Trailer hitch demagnetizers, automatic circumcisers
Tennis rackets, angle brackets, Duracells and Energizers
Soffit panels, circuit breakers, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers
Calculators, generators, matching salt and pepper shakers

Resurrections and Introductions

Creative Criticality’s blog is back!

I’m resurrecting the WordPress site because I wanted a place for long form blogging, and also because I’ve decided to embark on an exciting journey. More to follow on the adventure in time and space in a minute, but first, the blog.

 

Creative Criticality has been around for a while, but in multiple formats. It was on LiveJournal for a while – that’s where a lot of the prior posts you’ll see in the Archives section come from – and has been on Tumblr and Facebook as well. The latter two still remain open, but LiveJournal will not. Between you, me, and the rest of the internet, I will not miss the DDOS attacks from Russia or the spam comments trying to sell me sex and drugs through shady websites.

As far as WordPress goes, I’m still learning. I appreciate any comments, tips, and tricks to make this thing sing a little better. Feel free to tell me to kill it with fire, but I can’t guarantee that I will.

Anything older than one year, including the old LiveJournal stuff, has had the comments locked. Anything older than 2013 is in the Archives.

Big thanks to Kevin Bachelder for gently nudging me in this direction. You’re right, it is better living in the future.

Next order of business: That adventure thing.

 

I’ve decided to finally watch Doctor Who from the beginning and document the journey. I’ve mentioned in certain circles that I came to the series in the later years starting with Christopher Eccleston’s run. I have watched certain episodes from the past, but the vast majority of the franchise is fresh territory for me. I find the concept quite exciting.

My reviews will be short, probably ranging from 50-200 words unless I really get on a roll. The episodes have been reviewed in-depth across various platforms by numerous people – including by Nathan Laws, one of the people who really inspired me to take a deeper look at the mythology of the Doctor – so I don’t plan on offering deep thematic musings and analysis. It might happen down the road at some point, but not right now.

I also credit John Drew and Gary Mitchel for the little nudges here and there. You’re good folk, and I appreciate it.

I plan to offer a link to each serial’s article on the TARDIS Data Core wiki, and I’ll also offer a “from the gut” rating of each serial.

1/5: “EXTERMINATE!”
2/5: “Mm? What’s that, my boy?”
3/5: “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”
4/5: “Would you care for a jelly baby?”
5/5: “Fantastic!”

The one thing to note about the ratings is that a regeneration episode will have a star added to it. Regeneration episodes have the impossible task of trying to make you like a new main character right away while still trying to carry the story, and I felt it was necessary to compensate for that handicap.

I’ve decided to call it the Timestamps Project. Thanks to Gary for that name.

 

That’s it for now. Please feel free to leave any feedback in the comments. I’ll have the Timestamp for the first Doctor Who serial, An Unearthly Child, on the feed soon.

Geography Failure

I don’t really follow soccer – or football as my international friends call it – but it was pretty big news today to hear that Russia and Qatar won the hosting privileges for the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 respectively.

As it is with most breaking news, Twitter was ablaze within minutes, although there was something strange about how people were talking about it.

That’s right. The spelling of Qatar, the only country in the world starting with the letter Q, was wrong. Moments after the screen capture, “Katar” started trending as well. Where are these people learning geography?