Apr 19

Friday Five: The small screen

Set your TiVo to record the Friday Five, because this week it’s all about television.
1. What’s your favorite TV show and why? I don’t have one at the moment, because I’ve been watching very little TV in recent months. It’s not that I’m not interested, just that I don’t have time. There are several shows that I’m interested in and that could become my favorite, if I get a chance to see more of them: Enterprise, Jeremiah, and Justice League are contenders. I really enjoyed the first season of Dark Angel, but I haven’t seen much of the second. And I used to like Buffy a lot, but it’s become a very strange show this season and I’m not sure I want to watch it any more.
Actually, I don’t think I like the question, because it requires me to pick a single best show out of all the ones I like, and I don’t want to do that. I mean, how can I choose between Law & Order and Powerpuff Girls? It is not possible to compare those shows in any meaningful way.
2. Who is your favorite television star? Sorry, but I don’t have one at the moment.
3. What was your favorite TV show as a child? I could name several shows, depending on which part of my childhood you’re interested in, but I was a big fan of Lassie when I was a preschooler. (My obsession with Star Trek actually dates from the ’70s, when I was a teenager. I saw the show during its original network run in the ’60s, but I wasn’t impressed; I preferred Lost in Space. Hey, I was only seven years old!)
4. What show do you think should have been cancelled by now? That’s a stupid question. If I don’t care for a show, I won’t watch it. But who am I to say that it ought to be cancelled? Isn’t it the height of arrogance for me to decree that because I dislike a show, nobody should be allowed to see it? I don’t expect the entire TV industry to be ruled by my personal tastes and preferences.
I will say that I gave up on ER this year. I used to love that show, but my enjoyment of it was eroded by three things: (1) departure of most of the original cast and their replacement by less capable actors, (2) steady deterioration of the writing, to the point that the show was no longer plausible, and (3) the fact that, due to (1) and (2), I found that I no longer cared what happened to the characters.
5. What new show do you hope escapes the axe this season? Too late — The Tick is already gone.

Apr 05

Friday Five: Day after day

This week’s Friday Five is about daily routines.
1. What are the first things that you do in the morning to start your day? Well, that’s changed in recent weeks. During my recent deadline crunch, I really needed to put in longer hours, and getting to work earlier seemed like a good idea. So I attempted to speed up my morning routine by resequencing it. I am not a morning person, and I tend to be very bleary and slow-moving until I’ve had my shower. After that I’m wide awake. My previous tendency was to put off the shower until after breakfast, which I did not eat quickly because it’s hard to prepare and eat food that you can’t see because your eyes are not, technically, open. As a result, I was often late for work.
The obvious solution: shower first thing in the morning. Once I’ve done that, I’m “over the hump” of my morning routine and ready to face the day. So now, when I hear Marie taking her shower, instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, I get up, make use of the other bathroom facilities, and step into the shower the moment she steps out, without the water ever being turned off. I know what you’re thinking: seeing as how we’re married and all, why don’t I save time and water by getting in the shower with her? Because my agonized screaming tends to upset the children. Marie takes HOT showers. If you could somehow convince her to take a live lobster in there with her, it would be ready to serve when she got out. (And very clean.)
2. What are the last things that you do at night before going to bed? Reading, typically. Even if I have no time for leisure reading during the rest of the day (which, sadly, is the case lately), I always pick up my current book-in-progress for at least a few minutes before turning off the bedside lamp.
3. What daily routine have you recently added to your day? Actually, I’ve been trying to make posting something to this blog (even if it’s only an interesting quote I’ve stumbled across) a daily occurrence. I haven’t perfectly achieved that goal, but I’m getting closer.
4. What routine do you wish you get rid of? Staying up too late surfing the Web. I really need to get more sleep.
5. What’s the one thing that makes you feel like something is missing if you don’t do it some point within your day? Breathing.

Mar 29

Friday Five: Famous people

This week’s Friday Five is about fame.
1. If you could eat dinner with and “get to know” one famous person (living or dead), who would you choose? J. Michael Straczynski.
2. Has the death of a famous person ever had an effect on you? Who was it and how did you feel? Sure, many times. I remember being particularly bummed in 1989 because Graham Chapman and Mel Blanc both died that year. But the death that probably affected me the most was that of my favorite science fiction author, Isaac Asimov, in 1992. I was sitting in my office at IBM when I read the news on the company’s internal network. Asimov had been very ill for months, too ill to write, so I had known this was coming, but I was still saddened to hear the news.
3. If you could BE a famous person for 24 hours, who would you choose? At this point, I think I would have to say President Bush, because there are some people I’d like to drop daisy cutters on.
4. Do people ever tell you that you look like someone famous? A few years ago, when I had much more hair and a longer beard, someone told me I looked like Abraham Lincoln. Personally, I think she was nuts.
5. Have you ever met anyone famous? I go to science fiction conventions, so I’ve met a number of well-known authors, actors, and artists. (I’ve met most of the original Star Trek cast, for example.) I even had dinner with Forrest J. Ackerman once. He invited me to join him because I had recognized him and greeted him in Esperanto.

Mar 11

Friday Five: Home

A combination of Blogger outages and an insane workload prevented me from tackling the Friday Five last week, and although I kept meaning to do it over the weekend, somehow I never did. Rather than let it slide completely, I’m going to pretend it’s still Friday and do it anyway.
1. What makes you homesick? As I mentioned last week, I haven’t been on an extended trip in a very long time, so I really haven’t had the opportunity to experience homesickness.
2. Where is “home” for you? Is it where you are living now, or somewhere else (ie: Mom & Dad’s house, particular state/city)? Home is the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Marie and I lived in Columbia for most of a decade, but it never felt permanent; as students living in dorms, and then as a married couple living in various apartments, it always had a transient feeling, as if we were just passing through. After we moved here in 1987, I finally started to feel that I had put down roots.
Home used to be Rock Hill, but that town has changed so much since I left for college that I barely recognize it any more. The Triangle has changed just as much, of course, but I’ve watched it happen. Rock Hill transformed while I wasn’t looking, and on some unconscious level I still expect it to look the way it did in 1981.
3. What makes it home for you? People? Things? People. Specifically, GNO. Moving to North Carolina was made much easier by the fact that Virgil and Denise were already here. And gradually, over the next decade or so, the four of us managed to accumulate a group of like-minded people that defies description, except to say that I never get tired of spending time with them. This place is home because they are here. (Although, in point of fact, some of them aren’t physically here any more.)
4. Where is the furthest you’ve been from home, miles-wise? In 1968, my family (which lived in Monroe, Louisiana at the time) set out on a summer vacation across the southwestern USA. We got as far as Nevada before turning back. That’s definitely as far as I’ve ever been from my current home, and probably farther from Monroe than I ever get from Holly Springs these days.
5. What are your plans for this weekend? Well, the weekend in question is already over, but most of it was taken up with the final installment of Ben’s 13th birthday celebration. (When I was a kid, you got one party, on the actual anniversary of your birth. When did birthday celebrations become multipart affairs than last in excess of a week? Somewhere along the line, I got cheated.) We took Ben and a bunch of his friends bowling on Saturday, and they stayed at our house overnight and well into Sunday, playing video and computer games and trying out Ben’s new paintball equipment. (Now you know why I didn’t post anything over the weekend: I couldn’t get near the computer!)