31 January 2011

Wil Wheaton talks about Librarians

I visit the science fiction website SF Signal quite often and have a link to them on the side of my blog, but what I want to talk about is a story they linked to the blog of Wil Wheaton, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a lovely story he wrote about librarians. He described that as a youngster, he discovered how helpful and knowledgeable librarians are, and how wonderful libraries are. I, too, since youth have loved libraries ranging from the local city library to the university library. I loved going through the card catalog to look for a science fiction book, non-fiction book, or sometimes just to sit at a desk in some corner, by a window, behind the book stacks, to study. That was the best and most memorable studying because the idea of being surrounded by so many books seemed to infuse in me knowledge and the desire for more of it.
Anyway, HERE is a link to Wil Wheaton and his wonderful post about librarians.

28 January 2011

Food Prices, Riots, and Soylent Green

This morning I awoke to the riots in Egypt which have been in progress for over four days now, as well as in Tunisia, there have been social protests in many other countries, and I have watched Spaniards tell their stories of being unemployed for up to two years and some of the women look like they are starving due to high food prices and little or no money to purchase it with. A large portion if not all of these riots have to do with lack of jobs, lack of food or high prices, and deplorable living conditions. Here is a quote from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the 2011 Davos conference regarding rising population and lack of food:

"Violent demonstrations over recent weeks in several countries -- including Tunisia and Algeria -- have been provoked in part by escalating food prices.

Noting that the world population is already approaching seven billion this year and expected to reach nine billion by twenty-forty-five, he warned that a failure to manage resources including food could spark the next conflict.

"The next economic war or conflict can be over the scarce resources if we do not manage it together," Yudhoyono said."

Food is the concern, not oil, not drugs, not terrorism, but FOOD!
If you have not seen the movie Soylent Green, I suggest it because it deals with just this issue and the solution is horrific. Note that people still rely on the government or a company in the movie to get fed these lovely wafers instead of learning how to garden and grow their own food! Unless you want to eat processed people, I suggest you try to grow your own food, it can be done indoors and outdoors and in cold climates and warm climates. When I think of how people in Leningrad during WW2 were eating human flesh and even baked dirt, I get very motivated to learn to grow fruit and vegetables and have a few chickens and roosters. People will do horrific things, and are easily manipulated when facing the prospect of not having food.

24 January 2011

Good Boy (Dogs from Outer Space)

Good Boy is a science fiction film made in 2003 and based on the novel "Dogs from Outer Space" written by Zeke Richardson who also helped to write the screenplay. I watched the movie in December with my family, but I had a very difficult time enjoying the story and probably not for the usual reasons: bad story, horrible acting, rotten filming, no, I have a personal reason for not enjoying the movie. The story is unique, the voices of the dogs cute, and I wish there were some dogs from outer space who would return to Earth to see what has been happening to their species, at least where I live. The movie is about dogs who came to Earth thousands of years ago to rule the world but ended up being pets to human beings. The dogs from outer space decide to recall all dogs from Earth back to whence they came because this was not the original plan. Well, I wish that could happen because it just breaks my heart to see people dumping their dogs ( and cats) in the street because they can no longer feed them during this financial depression. Daily, I see dogs with collars and even a leash, disoriented and lost in the street with no street smarts because they were house pets. On a bike ride, I personally witnessed a large older dog being pushed out of a car, with the children crying in the back seat and the parents in the front driving off while the dog followed the car running at top speed for SIX blocks, trying to jump in the car at each red light, until the car was able to lose the dog. I cannot repeat here in my blog what I yelled at the people, but myself and my cycling mate stopped to help the elderly dog because she was tired, lost, and confused and at risk of getting hit by a car. Fortunately, a man in front of his house saw what had happened and between the three of us got her and he decided to keep her, and believe me, he did not have a rich house and looked very poor but was willing to share his food with her and take care of her.
I know times are tough but it is painful to see animals being dumped in the street and makes me wonder when I will start seeing dead babies in the trash, oh wait, that has happened, umbilical cord and all!
I hope people in the future will think 2, 3, or 4 times before taking in a pet, pets have feelings, needs, and when we care for them, they get used to the care. Dumping them in the street is no guarantee they will survive, I have seen them get hit, dogs on three legs with no tail, and looking like skeletons from starvation, I have seen one dog eating a dead dog because of lack of food. As I said before, I wish dogs and cats would come from outer space and recall pets that are left in the street because they are suffering on a daily basis.

20 January 2011

Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bete)

Once in a while I take a break from science fiction and delve into other genre such as comedy, horror, or believe it or not, fairy tales, which can at times be horrific in and of themselves in terms of the content of the story. Some of the early work (around the early 1800's) of the Grimm brothers, for example, was not seen as appropriate for young readers but revised editions more suitable for children were praised and inspired future writers and the stories have probably touched our lives in one form or another. Walt Disney was particularly fond of fairy tales as evident in many movies made by Disney and the original conception of Disneyland.
Since the title of the post is La Belle et la Bete, I must say, this mid 1700 French fairy tale as been retold many times in many languages in many forms such as prose, film, television, and opera. The most famous film version of the tale is probably the 1946 French version directed by Jean Cocteau, and there is also a modern day version entitled Spike(2008), sort of a horror version of the tale, but I like the television version with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton (1987 - 1990) set in New York in the world above and the world below. I know, this version is a little bit of a corny, chick-flick style of show but I do like it, the story is well adapted to modern times: instead of a castle, the beast lives under the city of New York in a labyrinth of tunnels and secret passages and the story contains what I believe to be the essential moral of the story in that inner beauty and strength of character is what is most important in life, more than material things or false pretense. Whichever version you choose to read or watch, even modern day adaptations, it is like looking through a time machine to the past and how people thought and lived. I think that is the sci fi lover in me, and time travel through great writing turns me on every time.

16 January 2011

George Orwell and Star Trek

I finally saw the 1984 version of the movie "1984" by George Orwell, since I had only read the novel and never seen any of the movies. While I did enjoy the film, I still enjoyed the novel better, but the movie got me to thinking about the novel and torture specifically in regards to trying to convince the character Winston Smith that he saw 5 fingers when only four were being held up. Well, I have to say, this reminded me of the two part episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled Chain of Command in which Captain Picard is abducted and tortured by the Cardassians. Gul Madred drugs and tortures Picard by various methods and tries to get the Captain to admit that there are five lights when there are only four. I read that this aspect of the episode was meant to be an homage to the novel 1984! Both "1984" and the episode Chain of Command are worth the time to read and watch. I enjoy the stories because they show us how little human nature has changed and the need to manipulate and control others exists within us all and that is why it is important to be educated, aware, and learn to use critical thinking skills to think for yourself no matter the circumstance.

10 January 2011

Science Fiction Television Shows for 2011

I enjoy having a science fiction television show to look forward to each week so I perused the io9 blog that has a very complete list of the shows for this year 2011.
As I have stated before, I was sad to notice that Stargate Universe will be ending this year when they show the remaining episodes of season two sometime this spring. The show was dark and never really had an outside enemy, instead, the enemies were within the group stranded on the Ancient ship and the politics of military vs. civilian vs. science. I thought the characters were interesting and the theme a reflection on our times, it also seems that the budget for the show was small and without the large audience watching, well that was the kiss of death.
The television series V is back and I find this show fun and the alien Anna deliciously evil. In fact, I remember this actress from season 10 of Stargate SG1 as the character Adria when the Ori were the main enemies of Earth. On a side note, I did not care that much for Season 9 or 10 of SG1, there were some good episodes but it just wasn't the same, however I digress. I enjoyed season 1 of V and I have mentioned before that I like this show more than I liked the mini series. I cannot wait to see what unfolds this season!
The Big Bang Theory is the other show I adore. It is funny and smart and a treat to watch each week.
If you want to check out all the science fiction shows for this year I suggest you beam over to io9 and review their complete list. Meanwhile, here is a video of V.

06 January 2011

A New Year Filled with Science Fiction

I cannot believe it is already the year 2011!!! It has been a while since I have blogged because December was a crazy, busy month for me, but now I will have some more time to make note of science fiction stuff I enjoy be it in print form, movies, or television.
I was waiting in November and December for the Space Shuttle Discovery to launch but it looks like it may be some time this year, a possible February take off.
I am still enjoying Stargate Universe and especially the food they are growing on the ship because I have my own garden now and have been toiling away to grow vegetables and fruits, currently I have root veggies because of the cold cold weather but I am looking forward to spring! However, Stargate Universe has been canceled, I guess it is too dark but to me it is just a reflection of the times we are living in ( even though I know quite a few folks in denial and think the world and economy are just fine and without problems, maybe where they are but not where I live!)
Lastly, I found a funny interview at GateWorld with Amanda Tapping and William Shatner, how cool is that! The video is poor quality and the sound cuts out around the 6 minute mark into the video, but the first 6 minutes are worth it. Enjoy the video and happy new year!