Monday, June 16, 2014

Tom Cruise: Career on the Edge of Tomorrow

So Edge of Tomorrow came out last week and I'd recommend seeing it. I probably won't get the chance, but you should.

In case you didn't know, Edge of Tomorrow is Groundhogs Day meets Starship Troopers. Groundhogs Day is one of the best movies made by a human and Starship Troopers is a campy, Verhoevensque action romp that's indisputably fun.

Those unquestionable facts aren't a hard sell on Edge of Tomorrow though. Tom Cruise is. Most people think of him Maverick. Fair enough. His dramatic roles from '86 to '96 are his most iconic. A glance back at the last fifteen years shows a different trend though: Tom Cruise is one of the most essential science fiction actor of our time. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Deep Space Dance with the Devil, Part 03

So I've been wanting to talk about the morality of Deep Space Nine for a while now. I'm finally launching into it, but before I get started, I wanted to take a few moments to establish some fundamentals of Star Trek morality. 

The thing about Star Trek is that right makes right. They run into so many primitive species is because we need to see that even though the crew of the Enterprise can do a thing, it does not necessarily follow that they must do that thing.

In fact, let us redefine that quote to clarify that just because we can do a thing, we desire to do that thing, and there are no consequences for doing that thing, it does not necessarily mean that we should do that thing. Principle is restraint in the absence of law and The Federation is a government of principle.

The reason we see so many omnipotent energy beings in Star Trek (Jesus Christ, someone tell me there were omnipotent energy beings in Star Trek: Enterprise.) is because they represent something that cannot be overcome by brute force. It's up to the intelligence and integrity of the crew to "overcome" them. They're sort of like the Mr. Mxyzptlk of Star Trek.

I mean, has anyone noticed that despite how angry he acts, most of Q's interactions with Picard are focused around pushing or revealing his integrity?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Rules of Life: #02

Rule #2 A fallen object cannot fall.

Have you ever taken a pen and instead of laying it on its side, stood it up on its end? I have. It's not terribly efficient. It usually ends up on its side somewhere else and you can't be sure in advance which one or where.

Energy suffuses every system. If it doesn't, it's not much of a system. If that energy can be released, you should be aware of where and how.

If your system is deenergized, you'd also want to know.

It applies to folks too. I mean, a person's life can always sink a little bit lower, but generally speaking, you can only fall so far. After a certain point, there's simply nothing left to lose, materially, physically, personally. There comes a point at which people and systems hit rock bottom.

There's a lot of space above that too, and it can be a long, hard fall.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Rules of Life: #01

The Rules of Life are something I've had since before I was at the Academy. I don't know when I started them or when I committed them to paper, but I do know that they've been a source of wisdom and amusement to me over many years.

I had originally thought I'd lost all copies of them, but when I was moving away from San Antonio I found some hard copies. It wasn't the full list I wrote in the inside of a textbook cover I gave to some friends over some long-forgotten leave, but it was rather comprehensive. I spent a few minutes in Los Angeles typing them up for posterity and I eventually sent the hard copies to a friend of mine.

I've always wanted to do a blog series on The Rules of Life--now, they're really more of guidelines, but marketing. No one's going to pay money for a blog series named "Some Guidelines of Life."

Rule #1: Plans relying on faith, luck, hope, and divine intervention aren't good plans.

You'll have to excuse me if most of these sound really obvious. Then again, it is alarming the number of plans that the average person will jump into, assuming that good fortune will carry them out.

I consider myself, despite everything else, to be a pretty lucky guy. That said, I tend to make plans that don't rely on what would be a plot contrivance in any other context to work.

Sure, I can take chances. I can even take calculated risks. Sometimes, the variables you need to shift around to preserve the rest of your operational parameters don't allow for absolute certainty. Those aren't good plans, but they're usually the best plans you have. Let their shittiness serve as proper inducement to explore other options before you proceed. At the very least, let it help you weight your planning for failure.