I’m back! Did you miss me? Bah, you didn’t even really notice I was gone.
A few days out in the country turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Having said that, it wasn’t without incident. Something about there needing to be a balance to the universe. In a nutshell, I had to jury rig a repair on my car to the passenger side headlight because I lost a 10 cent clamp somewhere. Easy enough to do thanks to the odds and ends in Dad’s workshop. Instead of dropping $60 for a headlight assembly, I cobbled together 85 cents worth of wire, zip ties, and super glue. I guarantee my repair is stronger than the original specifications. As a bonus, the headlights are even perfectly aligned. I just hated that I had to bother with it at all. Also, the parents were sick all weekend. There was some 24-hour bug going around, and they kept giving it to one another, back and forth. Me? I got slightly light-headed for about half an hour, this morning. Then I drank some more coffee and got over it. It seems that the ability to actually sleep due to the amazing amounts of peace and quiet to be had kept me quite healthy. Go me!
As it turns out, I didn’t get a lot of writing or reading accomplished in all the time I was gone. More on that in a bit. I loaned Dad my Babylon 5 DVDs last time I was down there, and he’d sort of piddled his way through the first season. And then he hit season 2 just before I got there. Mr. “I don’t get this idea of binge watching TV” found his binge quota. Between being under the weather and it being way too hot during daylight hours to do anything anyway, he decided these were good excuses to watch TV. And he got hooked as the Shadow War ramped up. About the time I left after lunch today, Sheridan was declaring, “Get the hell out of our galaxy!” So much for the theory that Dad doesn’t watch TV. Ye gods, I’ve missed this series.
Having gone back through The Lord of the Rings recently, I made a lot of connections between that classic book and Babylon 5 that I don’t think I’d really paid attention to before. It’s like Tolkien’s book informed the TV series, and B5 informed Peter Jackson’s films. For instance, the sound of the Ringwraiths is virtually the same sound made by the Shadow vessels. Mostly, though, it was book to series kinds of things. The thing that really stood out was the first of the First Ones is called Lorien. Gee… And then he fired off this rather amazing quote:
“Words have meaning and names have power. The universe begun with a word, you know. But which came first: the word or the thought behind the word? You can’t create language without thought… and you can’t conceive a thought without language. So which created the other and, thus, created the universe?”
— Lorien, Babylon 5: “Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?”
See what I mean? Tolkien’s fingerprints are all over this series. Watching B5 through the lens of Middle-Earth really connected up a great many themes in ways I’d not considered before. Dad, of course, missed all of this because he doesn’t “get” fantasy of any kind. He kept saying B5 was too weird for him (despite burning through several episodes a day), until I cited specific examples of how everything “weird” in this series was at least introduced in the original Star Trek. He gets so hung up on things sometimes that drawing the lines of obvious parallel are necessary. Heaven forbid he should ever watch LOTR.
As to the writing and reading I said I was going to do… I suppose you could say it ended up being a TV “novel” instead, which propelled a great deal of geek level discussion. Keeping in mind, this is the guy who introduced me to the likes of Asimov and Clarke, but apparently nothing stuck. By the time it was over, he was writing down Harlan Ellison’s name on my recommendation, so we’ll see what comes of that down the road. When B5 wasn’t commencing due to “optional retiree nap time” or whatever else, I spent some of my downtime jotting down more notes on the monster project, and a great deal more time simply getting my affairs in order. I don’t really get a lot of time to think and reflect on a level that means anything. Usually it’s avoidance of noise. Aside from a handful of fireworks, less than normal, there wasn’t much noise to be had. It was a chance to hear what’s rattling around in my head, beyond the superficial and angry. I think I even found some possible answers to bigger questions. More inspiration from B5, most likely. A series like that really triggers my creative centers in ways few things can.
I’ve learned that my plan to do an early NaNoWriMo of sorts in September is already shot in the foot. One of life’s little tests to see if you’re serious about things. Well, I’m serious. I’ve decided to hell with scheduling the writing. Once I get the story outlines in place, I’m just going to hit the ground running. Might as well, right?
In the meantime, it’s back to the daily grind tomorrow, including implementation of some little things that will hopefully pay big dividends on my overall well being. Hopefully in the days to come, you’ll have better things to read on this blog too.