Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's the story about?

I've been watching some of the original Star Trek series with my kids lately. My sons love it and my daughter enjoys some aspects as well. For example, she likes that girls can run starships too.
Anyway, I think one of the great things about The Original Series (TOS) was how each story was metaphorical or based on some social commentary. Some of these themes were even timeless, but we loved seeing Kirk, Spock and McCoy tackle them each week.
What are some good themes to base stories on?
  • Racism is bad and dangerous.
  • Unregulated Medical experimentation is bad
  • There is no shortcut to beauty
  • Beauty is only skin deep
  • Bad guys are often misunderstood
  • Power corrupts
  • Even a luxurious prison is still a prison
  • Lands can be conquered by force, but ideas cannot
  • People need other people
  • Even a well-intentioned corrupt government is not a good thing
  • Immortality is unachievable and sometimes dangerous to chase
  • Exploration and travel is a good way to learn how to accept others
  • People should be given a second chance, but sometimes not a third
  • Sometimes people change
  • Sometimes people give the appearance of change, but are still just as rotten
  • Vengeance is not healthy
  • Sometimes we define ourselves by who our enemies are and we'll do anything to make sure they stay enemies
Just some ideas to start a story. Most of the great ones, if you boiled them down to "what is it about" can be summarized in a quick sentence like this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come on Irene!

So, we spent today hosting a small hurricane party (one of the great things we learned living in North Carolina) and waiting or Hurricane Irene. Irene showed up weakened, bedraggled and exhausted and sporting the title of "Tropical Storm" rather than hurricane, but the party must go on. Thought I would update the blogosphere with some random goings on...

Back to school tomorrow! I am still slogging through my Master's degree. It is not easy going back after having left college some decade or two before.
One thing I am looking forward to is fall/winter. I LOVE summer and all of the fun it brings, but fall and winter brings snow and cold weather and early darkness so I am not tempted outside by the sand, sun, surf and scantily clad denizens of summer.
Of course, for now, it also means significant studying, but it also forces me to spend the keyboard time that is necessary to create.
On a TOTALLY separate note, I spent the last couple of weekends touring the Boston/Salem area. I am blown away by the history of the area, but also the creative people who have lived here. Poe, Hawthorne, Alcott, Emerson, Thoreau. I hope I am able to glean a fraction of their creative energies and channel it into my own writing. I can definitely see why New England fuels creativity. Such a historic and picturesque region.

OK...back to my "Not a Hurricane" party.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Captain America

So my two sons and I went out on a beautiful summer day to see "Captain America: First Avenger" and I have to say that I absolutely loved it!
So did my boys. It was really well done and a really cool origin story. The action scenes were fantastic and it had great characters. It had just the right mix of tragic and it led us right up to the upcoming "Avengers" movie.
I can't wait to see Cap at the head of the Avengers now and I am really anxious to see the interplay between he and Tony Stark.
I was so happy with this movie. It gives me a lot of hope for SuperHero movies. We went straight from the movie to Newbury Comics in downtown Boston and spent a fortune on comic book knick knacks.
Great day. Great movie.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I need someone to make this game

So as many of you will not be surprised, I am a trekkie from WAY back. I am also a big fan of Mass Effect (the video game series). I love the story, look, mechanics, cut scenes, everything about Mass Effect. I love the way you have a main character, but tons of peripheral supporting characters who are really cool.
I loved the JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek, but as I was watching some TOS (The Original Series) the other day, it occured to me how cool it would be to make a Star Trek Video Game using the Mass Effect Engine.
Players would play, for the most part, Kirk, but Away missions would allow Kirk to select Spock, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Uhuru, Lt. Leslie (there's a piece of trivia for you other trekkies).
We could even see Kelso and Gary Mitchell before they were killed.
It would be so much fun to explore the Enterprise the way I have explored The Normandy in Mass Effect and I would love to see Kirk kicking butt in the cut scenes.
I have no way to make this happen other than wishing...but I thought I would launch my wish out into the ether and see what happens!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Madden Franchise wish list

So I have been known to play some Madden on my Xbox.
In fact, it's probably the game I play most, with the possible exception of The Mass Effect series. I don't think I play like other people do though. I basically play Franchise mode all the time. I think I use it as a sort of football role-playing game. I think other people might like to do the same thing. Having said that, here is my Madden Franchise wish list:
1. The ability to carry my team from Madden 2011 to Madden 2011
2. More pictures for the computer generated dudes. After awhile, they all look related
3. For computer generated players only, some off-the-field headlines like drugs, suspensions, opening hospitals, getting married so you would have team "bad boys" and league paragons
4. The ability to quickly edit computer player's appearance and numbers
5. Tattoos on players and other customization
6. Some cut scenes like Blitz: The League
7. Occasional career ending injuries
8. Post retirement updates on players. Some go into coaching. Someone commercials.
9. Endorsements for computer players. You could have player commercials during loading scenes (using real sponsors like Snickers)
10. Better advancement for players who are used a lot. I want to take a player ranked at like a 31 and develop him into a Tom Brady.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer selections

So, this month during my relocation, I read:
  • The Eye of the World - Robert Jordan (Such a great series)
  • Knight Errant - Anthony Reynolds (A great Warhammer series about Knights in the Old World. Very inspirational for my Arthurian saga)
  • True Grit - Charles Portis (I love this book SO much. The dialogue is unbelievable)

I watched:
  • The Eagle (I liked it, but most of my friends did not)
  • Just Go With It (I thought this just sucked)
  • Horrible Bosses (Hilarious)
  • True Grit (2011) (I love both versions of this movie)

Friday, August 5, 2011


A lot has happened since my last post! Relocated to New England. Now, happily living in Boston surrounded by history and the spirits of quite a few successful writers (I am less than 5 miles from Walden Pond right now). I saw the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote "Little Women". Just a great environment. Of course, the winter snows are on there way, but nothing like grabbing a seat in a Boston pub and watching the Pats play.
So, my online presence is back (it took awhile to get all the logistics worked out) and life returns to normal, which sees me at the kyboard again only instead of an ocean out the window, I see a century old hospital-turned apartment complex, and just a ten minute drive to Boston harbor!