Monday, October 29, 2012

Not a Ghost Story, a Gross Story

I chose RPI because of its Aeronautical Engineering Program.  However, before we had to declare our majors, I had already switched focus to Mechanical Engineering, because I liked the armaments more than the planes they were mounted on.  I worked two summer internships in the small caliber R&D group of a local arsenal, and almost every resume I sent out as graduation approached was to defense contractors.

How I ended up at a medical device company is still a mystery to me.  Originally it was, “temporarily, until a weapons designer job comes up.” Nineteen years later, and it’s been some fortunately long lasting temporariness.  When describing previous experience, I explained that I worked on a seventeen French dilator…it just happened to dilate at eight hundred rounds a minute.

(Slight pause while those who work for medical device manufacturers giggle a bit, and everyone else stares blankly.)
This is a life saving device.
However, it does depend which end of the device you are on.

There were many aspects of the medical device world where I was unceremoniously thrown into the deep end.  None of them were anywhere near as shock inducing as the trips to the medical school Teaching Hospital basement.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Son of Re-Animator

Once again, this is not my fault. (I wonder if anyone believes that anymore.) 
An old writing class assignment was to describe characters completely, using a single sentence.

__is the kind of person who__

Since there was nothing else to do with it and Halloween was coming, I limited myself to characters from bad horror movies.   Much to my surprise, the instructor later said she forgot to give us the rest of the assignment. 

We had to pick one of our sentences and write a short story about that character, hence the opening line below. The only way to go was a sequel.  Because I haven’t written anything about movie monsters for Halloween this year, I’ll revive this one.  However, since I first wrote it time has passed, another film sequel was made, But I’m not changing the title, because “The Third Cousin once Removed of Re-animator” is a tad clunky.


"Herbert was the kind of person who ignored all laws and morals in the pursuit of the power of life over death." 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bad Geek Confessions: Battlestar Galactica

In 1977 Star Wars opened and blew the minds of we who were at the right age.  This may be hard to believe for the media and Expanded Universe drowned children of today, but minus the toys, one novel and some embarrassing TV appearances (the infamous Holiday Special that George Lucas vowed to smash every VCR tape of with a hammer, and Donnie and Marie which oddly predicted Luke and Leia's relationship on a variety show), there was no new Star Wars for a while.

As hyperactive boys under ten, after having a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away change our lives, this could have been a giant problem.

The saving grace was a TV series that brought “pseudo Star Wars” regularly into our homes:
Battlestar Galactica.

It was like throwing some stale Twinkies to a starving man.
It wasn’t great.
It wasn’t healthy.
Who knows what went into it.

But it was there, and it gave us the science fiction equivalent of occasional creamy filling goodness.

There was no Jedi or Force, but the focus on a bunch of viper pilots on the carrier like Galactica served as a prehistoric version of Rogue Squadron stories.

The Empire Strikes Back finally gave us the return of true Star Wars in 1980, acting as the final nail in the coffin for the already limping follow up series Galactica 1980.

But in 2003 what has been praised by fans and critics alike as the height of the art of reworking and restarting an old concept brought Battlestar Galactica back to the airwaves.

The question is:
How can one rate the purely emotional ties that developed for a show that served an important purpose in childhood to the far more complex, higher quality and more intricate efforts to create an engaging story and build the franchise anew.

What follows are the complete details of my intellectual, technical and emotional analysis to compare and contrast the impact of the original series to the reimagining of Battlestar Galactica:

Thursday, October 18, 2012


When we knew our child was on her way, we decided to create a personalized magnetic alphabet to go on her metal closet doors. It has moved with us, and now resides on the freezer.

We started with a set of brightly colored magnetic letters, and a collection of odd magnets already in our possession.  Then the hunt began for the proper picture magnet for each missing letter.

However, there was to be no boring" A is for Apple"  "Z is for Zebra" refernces for our girl.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Who Views: ReGENDERation

This simple question spins off the last New Who View about Regeneration and has a simple answer:

Question:         Could the Doctor regenerate into a woman?

Answer:           Yes.

Apologies to traditionalists who view this as an abomination, (Hi, Mom!) but in the revived show, it’s cannon.

The Doctor mentions the Corsair, a Time Lord that has had both male and female regenerations, in “The Doctor’s Wife” - “Oh, she was a bad girl!’

Also, The Eleventh Doctor’s FIRST reaction to having long hair was not:
“I need a trim,”
“Hope the sonic screwdriver works as a comb.” 

It was:
“Blimey! I’m a girl!”

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ballad of the Former Other Superboy

A little background:

In the Superman comics I wasted most of my energy on (the semi consistant DC Universe between the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint  reboots for the geekly saavy) Before the reboot), Clark was never Superboy, his powers mostly only manifested fully as an adult.

However in 1993 when superman died (A little, he got better, don’t ask.), some folks at a place called Cadmus tried to clone Superman, resulting in a new Superboy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

New Who Views: Regeneration

While the T.A.R.D.I.S. is the reason for the near infinite variety of stories, settings and characters available to Doctor Who, the concept of regeneration is likely most responsible for its longevity.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Up the Lake: Closing Time

A Not so Grand Finale
When Good Kids Do Bad Things For Good Reasons

Labor Day generally acted as the official close of the Up the Lake season.  The place stopped being open during the week after that, but remained accessible on weekends for the rest of September. There was much more finality to it in the years where more people spent the entire stretch from Fourth of July to Labor Day at the cabins.  As the crowd shifted to be mostly weekend based anyway, the holiday weekend became less of a hard stop.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Stinky Pit of Liberty

My daughter had passed through second grade where the introduction to American History began.  The next year, as she was showing some interest in the topic in general and these locations specifically, we planned to take her to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for her birthday.

The day coincided with a school holiday, allowing a mid-week trip to the islands lying just off of our state’s shore.

The nearby location suggested that we would have an easily accessible, fun and educational day journey.

And we certainly did…