April 2018 Overview and Assessments

What a month!  The winds of change blow strong, my friends, and I’m pretty certain they’re powered by coffee and rocket fuel right now.  Where do I even begin?

As difficult as it may be to imagine, this month started in hiatus, carried over from the end of March.  Too much weighing on me and threatening me in hostile ways required me to step back from the site and deal with it.  The idea was that I’d pull some monkeys off my back and shoot them in the face.  [For those who intentionally choose to misread that, I’m not talking literal monkeys.  I do not advocate cruelty to animals, and honestly I’d rather hang out with monkeys than most people.  Also, I don’t own a gun.  I don’t personally like firearms.  I put this sort of disclaimer in because this is how pathetically jacked up our world has become.  Everyone’s so damned righteous now about every little precious word and the need to appear to be politically correct while doing very little to actually make positive change in the world other than whining.  Freaking snowflakes.  *puts away soapbox*  So, anyway… monkey hunting.  It’s was going to be a thing.]  But I quickly realized that most of what I was tackling wasn’t going to be a hard and fast solution.  I needed real solutions to real problems before they buried me in the very literal sense.  I started the month in progress of trying to find a therapist.  Unlike with any other kind of medical professional, therapists don’t answer the phone.  They don’t have a staff to make appointments.  They call you back… eventually.  Then one therapist called me back within 10 minutes on the morning of Easter Sunday, surprising the hell out of me.  She’s been rewarded with my business, and I’ve since been rewarded with the knowledge that she’s awesome on all counts.  So the month is off to a good start.

To counterbalance that, I had to buy new tires.

This month has seen me score a victory in a longtime battle against Amazon, and it has made me realize that when it comes to computers, Microsoft is as futile as Apple.  Resistance, however, is not futile.  I’m learning Linux.  Wish me lots of luck.  I’ll need it.  They say it’s good to have a challenging goal…

That said, as this drops on the morning of April 30, Microsoft sent through an update yesterday evening for the very same Creators Update that crippled my desktop system.  It’s like they read my blog or something (I’m not even going to entertain the notion that they did, but it gives me a grin all the same because timing is everything).  This new update has revitalized my desktop computer, so it’s now functional once more.  Or so it seems.  Before I get all excited and start reinstalling everything I had before, I’m going to let this ride and see if it really does work out on the long haul not just for speed, but also for stability.  Provided that this does work out, this gives me some further breathing room.  Two things will happen.  First, I’ll be reinstalling everything and putting my life back in order as it was before.  Second, I’ll continue learning Linux and make my computer a dual-boot machine.  No matter what happens from here, Microsoft has still shit all over its customers, and I will not be upgrading past Windows 10.  Period.  It’s too much money for too much too much worry.  It’s too much time and energy wasted trying to bring my system back from the dead.  I’m done.  Linux has too many advantages — for free — for me to waste my time with that yoke around my neck.  The good news is that, assuming this whole thing really did work as I think, Linux is seemingly no longer an immediate priority, so I can take my time with it and learn it properly instead of trying a crash course approach.  It’s still a priority, make no mistake.  For Microsoft, it’s too little, too late.

John Cleese came to town!  I’ve already blogged the details of the movie screening and Q&A.  You can find that here.  So much awesome.

I didn’t blog about it (except maybe in passing?) like I normally do, but I attended my final Dallas Symphony Orchestra concert for this season, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2.  It’s so hard to wait for next season, but we’ve got some really good shows coming.

Regardless of anything else that happened in April, the world did stop for a weekend or two as money permitted for my personal favorite event of the season: Scarborough Renaissance Festival.  You can find those posts here and here if you want the details.

In the midst of dealing with everything, I only read a couple of books, but they were both excellent reads, and they were both historical fiction involving art.  Curious, that.  You can find those reviews here and here if you’re so inclined.  Actually, this isn’t quite true.  These are the books I finished.  I’ve been chipping away at other things here and there that I’ve not blogged about, and the Sherlock Holmes buddy read is underway once more.  Holmes has returned from the dead, and the irony of how “The Great Hiatus” timed with my own blogging hiatus is not lost on me.  This also marks the return of my various other blog projects… sort of.  Slowly.  As I get to them and figure out how to implement them again while juggling everything else.  Did I mention life’s a bit weird right now?  Lots of semi-important personal issue type stuff going on with a lot more little things flying around.  I’m sure you understand.  I’m restructuring.  Please pardon my progress.

I’ve started a new project blog series, Life: Rediscovered.  This is basically going to chronicle the things I’m doing to overcome all the nastiness and stupidity in my life that claimed what should have been the best years of my life.  The first couple of posts are linked on that landing page for those who want to play along.  Some of the changes I’ve recently implemented that I could detail out here have either been documented there or will be at some point.  As this project is new, most of this hasn’t yet been covered at all.  Here’s the short list so far: purchased cheaper auto and home insurance (I blogged about that elsewhere), consolidated all credit card debt and eliminated the credit cards (I blogged about that elsewhere too), created a budget I can stick with complete with line-item edits and wiggle room for entertainments, reinstated regular meditation time, tweaked my diet a little, have begun re-evaluating all things, people, situations, and ideas in my life based on personal values and cost / benefit ratios, and have started trying to look at any and all of this from a perspective of personal compassion.  After all, there’s no sense beating myself up further about all that back there.  The road ahead is difficult enough without continuing to be my own worst enemy.

Music of many genres, meditation and nature sounds albums, audiobooks, and podcasts continue to provide the necessary input to keep me as sane as possible.

It’s been a crazy month, and there’s a lot of work ahead of me as the dust settles.  In the words of Han Solo:

Speaking of Star Wars, I’ve been negligent of posting some pop culture updates that sort of concern me.

Star Wars: Resistance has been announced.  It’s the new animated series created by Dave Filoni.  I have mixed feelings already, as much as I trust Dave.  First is, Dave doesn’t seem to be working on the project.  There are other names I trust working on it, but now I’m wondering what else is brewing.  Second, this is anime-inspired.  I really do not like anime.  Never have.  It’s a personal preference.  But I recognize that anime is a driving force in animation and pop culture, and given much of the Japanese influence in Star Wars, it has a place.  And third, I just really have next to zero interest in the post-Jedi era now thanks to The Force Awakens and especially The Last Jedi.  That’s not to say I won’t watch it.  I’ll give it a shot all the same, and hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Star Trek: Discovery has been ramping up production for season 2.  If you’ve not seen season 1, this is going to get a little spoilery.  First, Anson Mount, whom I really got to respect on Hell on Wheels, has been cast as Captain Christopher Pike.  In my book, that’s not only a good fit, that’s some seriously solid casting.  I can’t wait to see his performance.  Second, and not so good, is that Alex Kurtzman has taken it upon himself to direct the season 2 opener.  I guess he’s trying to learn how to direct in the wake of that craptastic version of The Mummy.  What’s good there is that there are enough episodes after that to make up for whatever he shoots in the foot.  We still have Jonathan Frakes on board to direct at least one later episode, hopefully more.  Which brings us to the third thing: Frakes has confirmed we’ll be seeing a young Spock in a flashback sequence.  Are we to see the older Spock who serves aboard Enterprise under Pike’s command?  It’s logical to assume so just based on video evidence because…  last but not least… there’s a one minute production video out there now that teases a lot.  In the first Discovery novel, I mentioned there was some retconning going on where it is revealed the classic era uniforms are the “new” uniforms while the new Discovery uniforms are the “old” style uniforms.  It appears this is to be honored.  Take a look:

What’s interesting is that these vintage uniforms have been retooled again.  Based on what I’m seeing here, they don’t look like the reboot uniforms from the last three films, which I totally expected they would.  And if they did, I’d be fine with that.  Of all the problems I had with those films, the uniforms weren’t on that list.  These uniforms, however, look like potentially more durable versions of the classics, with design elements from the Discovery uniforms carried over, such as shoulder joint ribbing and a front zipper-type seam.  There are some subtleties that are different, but the authenticity is there.  It should also be noted the uniforms are based more on the classic 5-year mission era uniforms and not the earlier pilot uniforms used by Pike and crew in “The Cage.”  Those uniforms had a turtleneck style to them, and instead of gold, those were more tan colored.  Much like with the Enterprise herself, the crew is getting an update that hearkens back to classic but still realigns to the whole of Trekdom a bit more seamlessly.  The split logo design has been replaced with the classic logo, perhaps an unconscious symbol of unity on a number of levels.  Makes me happy to see it.  Still annoys me that every ship in Starfleet uses it, but I can’t argue the power of marketing.  Also, a blink and you miss it nerdy moment: there’s a corridor that Burnham is walking through with a deck plate marked 3F-125, with the 1701 designation of Enterprise.  3F-125 is Spock’s quarters in the original series.  Seriously deep geeking on the Easter eggs here.  There’s a lot of those in there regarding some new aliens (including a Saurian, seen only once previously in the background of Star Trek: The Motion Picture), a Section 31 bridge, and some sets on the Klingon homeworld.  All good stuff, but it’s all things Enterprise that’s drawing me in right now.

And I have to say… it’s really interesting to hear Jeffrey Hunter and Leonard Nimoy voiceovers here.  They’re pushing Pike and Spock.  I’m going to be especially curious to see if they can find someone who’s even closer to Nimoy’s performance than Zachary Quinto, and whether or not we’ll get the semi-emotional Spock from those early days.  I’m also curious to see who they’ll cast as Number One, whom we now know in novels as Una.  Season 1 was a rough start, but after the second half of that season in the mirror universe, I’m far more excited for season 2 than anything else right now.

There was rumor of a convention-released scene that was dropped from the season 1 finale but teased as a season 2 promo.  That video has made its way out there.  OMG.

I’m ready.  It’s a long wait ahead, but I’m ready.


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