Enterprise NX-01

Why I Didn’t Follow Enterprise

Warning: my reason could and probably should be construed as superficial.

I never watched UPN’s Enterprise (You know, the Star Trek prequel with Scott Bakula), despite being a long time and rabid Trek fan. I’ve watched almost all of The Original Series, definitely all of The Next Generation, and a good chunk of Voyager. The franchise has always seemed like it would be a great one to be like America’s response to Doctor Who, because in the same way as every Who fan knows exactly which Who is “their” Doctor, every Trekkie can respond quickly to “So, who’s your captain?”

You may have guessed; Mine is Jean-Luc Picard. But really, if you put the words “Star Trek” on the screen, get me ready to accept a wholly optimistic future, and have some strong figure who knows right from wrong in the captain’s chair, I’ll watch it. I know I’m not the only one.

So why didn’t I watch Enterprise? After all, I was already a Scott Bakula fan from Quantum Leap, and I’m a sucker for a pretty ship (and yes, the NX-01 is *very* pretty). It’s because they were ashamed of the franchise. I didn’t watch DS9 because I was never as interested in politics and that sort of thing as exploration and contrasting the human condition, but at least it was positioned as part of the grander whole. I didn’t watch Enterprise because for three seasons, they didn’t even put the “Star Trek” label in the title with it. They made the opening inspiring, but ultimately too “today”–rather than timeless instrumental themes we we expect from the series. They were ashamed of the show’s heritage.

Star Trek is an unabashedly optimistic view of the future. It’s a world where people have resolved almost all of their differences on Earth, fixed our political troubles, and decided between us that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding is worth more effort than any petty squabble. And then we met other species who hadn’t decided this, and learned we had much left to do in order to live amongst them. That’s what those instrumental themes mean to me. As an example, here’s the Deep Space 9 opening, and the opening for Voyager. I didn’t watch as much of Voyager as I could have, but the Voyager intro really stands out as one of the best in the series. Everyone remembers that retro-futuristic warble over The Original Series, and The Next Generation‘s intro is pretty much the standard by which all others are measured for me.

Contrast with this.

The visuals are excellent. But the music does *not* feel like trek. It feels like I’m ten years old and I’m going on a school trip and the teacher turned on the radio to some music she thought we’d like so we’d settle down and let her read her paper. Not good. I’m just not prepared after hearing that song to really be in the Star Trek future. I might be ready for an optimistic sing-along, but my suspension of disbelieve that the world actually *could* be that good ends as soon as you bring some element of what the world *is* into it. Guitars and raspy singing voices just entirely break me from that feeling.

Ultimately, that optimistic belief is what I come to Trek for. To never get me set up to believe it is to have me approach your show as a cynic, which is *really* going to hurt any show in Star Trek‘s universe.

Anyway, here’s an opening for Enterprise that would have kept me watching beyond the first two episodes.

Anyway, since I don’t know much about the actual show… was it good? worth picking up for after I’ve exhausted what I’m currently watching?

A Little Trip

This week in the War on Sloth:

So I didn’t do as much productive hobbies this week, though I did learn the chords to the main theme from Legend of the Seeker (the show somewhat loosely based on the Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind) on the guitar, and later on piano.

Really, I spent my time here:
Harper's Ferry WV

This year, since leaving taking a 10 day vacation out of the country isn’t an option given the craziness going on at work, Mikah and I decided to take a jaunt out to West Virginia to celebrate Valentine’s day with a weekend at a nice B&B. Mikah found us the Hillbrook Inn in Charles Town, a place which is exactly as it looks in the photos–remote, secluded, gorgeous. We spent most of Saturday wandering around Harper’s Ferry, even exploring a Flea Market.

We were there only two nights, and I wish we could have been there longer, but I feel greatly refreshed, and am glad to have had the time to reset myself.

I did briefly stop at Micro Center and took a look at books for getting myself into a new development skill. I’ve been talking and talking about several things, including 3d game development, and mobile app development, specifically for webOS. Game development is very different from my actual development path, and it would almost certainly take a long time to learn to use the tools of that particular trade; therefore I decided a few weeks back to work on making an app for webOS. Now I’m running into some rough patches with that, because, while I can easily get through the various tutorials I’ve found and get some pretty pictures displaying on the screen, I don’t actually know certain best practices for code organization and, well, mainly, how to fetch new information from an outside server.

This is certainly something that, with a little more time and patience, I could learn from the documentation and from reading through more examples, but to assist me on the path, I was thinking of buying a book on webOS development. Unfortunately, Micro Center only had one which had very low ratings online, so I left it. I’ll just have to keep looking, and reading.

The War on Sloth Begins

I think I had a pretty successful first week in the War on Sloth–despite having a particularly rough week at work (60 hours!) I managed to get in some music, a bit of drawing, and a personal coding project that I think is rather nifty. As I said, I’m going to be scatter-shot for a while as I figure it all out. If things at work calm down, maybe I’ll keep it diverse and start doing a post per pursuit, but for now each one is relatively small.

For music, I sat down at the piano long enough to learn the introduction to Ben Folds’ “Still Fighting It”. It will take a bit more time to commit the whole song to memory, but the song is fairly simple, short, and calm–which is a good recipe for a song I can pick up fast and feel good about playing for others. Didn’t spend any appreciable time on the guitar, but this is a good start.

I also spent a bit of time playing with Inkscape and drew a new pig. Here’s the old one for comparison:

The Old Pig

Phlox, the Phlying Pig

And here’s the new one:

The New Pig

Phlox, the Phlying Pig

I still like the old one better (it’s just a better drawing to start), but I like the new one’s open eyes and more comic-like lines. I need a sharper version of Phlox for an icon anyway, for upcoming projects.

This is the biggest thing I’ve started: I’m making a Palm webOS app. There’s a few of them that I have in mind, so my plan is to start with a very simple app and work my way up to more awesome ones after I get the gist of how webOS development really works. So I pulled down the Palm SDK and started tinkering. So far, I’ve got very little that I want to show off, but I’ve learned a lot! So we’ll see what I can come up with for next week.

Until then, what’s your free time like?
Adrian