Monthly Archives: July 2013

Trek Week, Part 2

Trek week continues on Jones central for the whole week of my birthday. Regularly scheduled posts will resume next week. Be warned: if you’re not a fan of the original show, your eyes may glaze over.

I’ve spilled any number of kilobytes of data about how much I’ve been influenced by writers like Leigh Brackett, Harold Lamb, Robert E. Howard, Roger Zelazny, Fritz Leiber, C.S. Forrester, Saki… the list could go on. Yet I’ve seldom discussed the influence of my first great fictional love, the original Star Trek.

Star Trek Continues

I’d like to buy Vic Mignogna a drink.

I’m not a drinking man myself, and for all I know, he might not be either. But he deserves that drink, be it scotch or root beer. Not just because Mignogna brought to life my favorite anime character (Edward Elric, from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood –for which Mignogna received a best actor award) but because he got Kirk right.

If you’re not a fan of the original Star Trek series you can probably stop reading here.

Mignogna didn’t just get Captain Kirk right, he was one of the executive producers, not to mention the director, of an excellent fan produced Star Trek episode, Pilgrim of Eternity, written by  Steve Fratt and Jack Trevino. (Everyone involved deserves a round of drinks.) He also was responsible for scoring some additional music for the episode.

Of Blackhearts, Laptops, and Turkeys

First, a link I thought a lot of my visitors might find of interest. My friend Nathan Long, vastly underappreciated master of sword-and-sorcery adventure, penned a really neat look at the underdog in sword-and-sorcery over at his own site. If you haven’t already, you should swing by and take a look. Here’s the link.

Nathan’s written some fabulous s&s stuff, but if you’re not a reader of Warhammer novels you probably haven’t heard of him. Whatever you might think of tie-in work, you must realize that with so much of it out there some is head and shoulders above the others. And some towers not just above its peers, but stands with the truly great giants of sword-and-sorcery. (Yes, I think that highly of Nathan’s stuff.) Nathan’s Long Blackhearts books (along with C.L. Werner’s Brunner stories, some of William King’s Gotrek & Felix novels, and more work by Long) should really be widely read and praised by any lovers of adventure fantasy.

Man At Work

All morning I’ve been transferring files from my Asus laptop to my brand new MacBook Pro.

The old one isn’t dead and had served me well except for the partly broken hinge and the annoying way that lightly brushing against the touch pad sets the cursor jumping around. The main reason I updated was so that my son, now in high school, would have a computer he could primarily call his own. More and more often I was having to loan it out to him to work on school projects or, this summer, to work on the music composition program Finale.

I wasn’t actually planning on a Mac. I’d sold off several hundred dollars worth of old books and games and the like in preparation for picking up a new PC. Then I became a little overwhelmed with reviews of various PC laptops — perhaps you know the routine. One site would say great things about a particular model, another wouldn’t, and, not being a regular browser of PC computer reviews I always wondered if the review site was legit, or secretly a commercial for one of the brands.

On top of that, after I’d get my list of laptops  I was most interested  in together, I’d discover the local stores didn’t have those models. Meanwhile, my wife was using her MacBook Pro, as she’s been doing for some years now, and as she was doing on another Mac for years prior. And suddenly it dawned on me that maybe the extra money would be worth the sense that A. I would be getting something good B. It would last for a very long time.

So here I am.



Jones Adventures on the 4th of July

It’s been a relaxing weekend here at Jones central. On Thursday afternoon we saddled up the horses and rode around the pasture for a while. Some family friends came by and the thought was we might pull out Martian Rails, but the weather was so nice we just remained outside after the pitch-in dinner.

We could see some fairground fireworks going off over the hill, and the new neighbors, atop said hill, seemed to have sunk a chunk of change into fireworks themselves, because some pretty big stuff was launched into the sky. Our own fireworks display was much more subdued, although our old friend Bruce brought some pretty cool ones.

Some of the most delightful moments came when something went slightly awry. For instance, I discovered I’d purchased a box of cardboard tanks a few years back, and we set them rolling on the drive way. Anyone who has lit up those tanks knows they generally don’t roll very far, which was true for most of these. One, though, worked exactly as must have been intended by the designer, except for the sudden ninety degree turn. Not only did it zoom ten feet at a pretty good clip, when it launched its fireworks it wasn’t a bright fizzle, but a projectile that went halfway to one of the cars!


For the last week or so my son’s been playing an old Sega adventure game called Landstalker, aided by my wife. I bought it for my wife years ago when she couldn’t find anything to satisfy her Zelda fix (anyone who plays the Zelda-style adventure games knows that there are long gaps between releases of new games). I think it might have been a used game when I picked it up for her, because when I looked it up the other day on the interwebs I discovered it was more than a quarter century old!

I’ve since made two deductions. First, it’s pretty neat that an older style game can still prove completely entertaining and immersive to someone from the new generation. Second, when did I get so old that a game I saw played as an adult is now 25 years old?


The Emerald Forest

The Jones family summer movie viewing continues. My wife and I have been introducing our children, both teenagers, to features we remembered enjoying when we were about their same age.

Some of the movies I enjoyed in the ’80s don’t stand up well. Alright, a lot of them don’t. I remember thinking that Sixteen Candles was hilarious, and when I sat down with the wife and kids to re-watch it there were plenty of moments of humor… until I was suddenly aware how unconscious I’d been about all the sexism. That the love interest, Jake Ryan, passes over his girlfriend to the geeky character played by Anthony Michael Hall to do whatever he likes with is awful. I vaguely recall being uncomfortable with the moment before, but not so much so that I’d remembered it in detail. Now it struck me as incredibly icky. THIS same guy is the one we’re supposed to be pleased Samantha ends up with? I could no longer shrug the moment off and say, “oh, it’s just a comedy, Howard. It’s supposed to be light.” How could any father, brother, or son have written those scenes? Blech.

The Emerald Forest is a very different animal from Sixteen Candles. But it was an ’80s flick, and I’m a lot older, and I wondered if the messages about deforestation I thought subtle would now be like hammers on a gong.