It is no secret that I'm a big Star Trek fan. I mean, I host a podcast devoted to Star Trek for goodness sake!
It follows that one of my favorite (if not the favorite) movies is Star Trek II: The Wraith of Khan. I can watch this movie over and over again.
One of the pivotal ships in the movie is the U.S.S. Reliant (which seems to have a B Team crew, as discussed in this episode of the Incomparable). Khan manages to takeover the ship rather easily and hijinks ensue.
The people at QMx have put together an amazing model (or as they're calling it "artisan replica") of the ship. Here are just a few pictures:
Of course such high levels of detail and high quality build construction translates to a $9,995 price tag. A little too rich for my blood (though honestly, I'd probably buy one if I were single. I don't think Marisa would agree that this is a good use of the money, and it isn't really).
Though if you have $10,000 you don't need and an unusual amount of like for me you now know what to get me for my birthday.
I have an interesting (and fun) job. This year I was tasked with organizing our Staff Retreat. Brainstorming with some colleagues of mine we came up with a great idea: building model rockets.
It was lots of fun (though I must admit I forgot just how high those damn rockets go, and how sometimes they don't go up but rather go towards a large group of people).
I was busy attending to details of the event so I didn't remember to take any pictures of rockets! Here's some of the aftermath though.
"Is that why you dropped out of 1993’s RoboCop 3?
I didn’t even want to do RoboCop 2. When I was doing RoboCop 1, I knew what a brilliant movie this was going to be. I did RoboCop 2 for a paycheck. It was a pretty good film, but I was done with it. And I really wanted to do Naked Lunch. That was a seminal book to me."
I don't know much about Darla Xavier's crossmorphic sensors, but color me intrigued.
Self configuring sensors sound like something out of science fiction, but it sounds like it is going to become a reality sooner or later. I can't wait!
I was on vacation, and so I bought some books. Well, I bought about 28 books or so. Hey, most of them were used (and the new ones were from independent bookstores, so that's cool.. right?).
10 of those books cost me $2. Marisa and I went into Bull Moose Music and saw a bunch of mystery bags filled with themed books. I had to pick up a sci-fi and Star Trek bag because I'm me!
The Star Trek bag had:
If you'd like to buy them for yourself here are some links to Amazon:
And here's the sci-fi haul (which included a bonus Star Trek novel!):
I've read a few of these (noted with asterisks) still, $1:
And here's a picture of all the books I bought in my travels. I'm not going to bother linking to all these books because I'm a lazy, lazy man.
Over the last two weeks I've been on vacation (hurrah for working at a University!). Since Marisa had some book events scheduled in Vermont and Maine she suggested I come along, and a vacation was born!
Sadly, over those two weeks I also had to finish the draft of my latest book (details, details). However, it worked out well since while Marisa was out being famous I could write, write, write (also, thanks to my trusty laptop I could write and edit while we were driving).
Our first stop was the Ben and Jerry's Factory tour:
I like this motto:
The Flavor Graveyard is where late lamented flavors go to die.
The spoils of the tour! Honestly, the tour was fun but it lasts about 15 minutes and you don't see much. But they do give you a free sample.
Morning ice cream! pic.twitter.com/LjBV8N0oG2— Scott McNulty (@blankbaby) August 20, 2014
Then it was off to Montpellier to visit the Vermont State House:
Ethan Allen, famed for his fine furniture.
Lincoln. Our tour was lead by a Vermont State representative. Who knew?
Every governor gets his portrait on the wall of the State House. When this one of Howard Dean was unveiled it was dubbed "L.L. Dean":
Back to the Bed and Breakfast which was right on the water:
Then we scoped out Brunswick, ME and visited an indie bookstore:
And Bull Moose where I bought two mystery packages of books (one marked Sci-Fi and the other marked Star Trek) and got 10 books for $2:
Returned to the Bed and Breakfast. This place was great, and we had lovely conversations at breakfast. Two old ladies who have been friends for over 50 years have vacationed together here for the last 12 years. Crazy!
Our dinner views:
I could have gotten a lobster roll here, or two full lobsters but I opted for the lazy lobster tails. They were great:
I couldn't resist:
The next morning included delicious donuts from Frosty's:
Then it was off to Portland. As we drove to our hotel we passed this place:
I thought to myself, I wouldn't want to eat there! But Yelp told me that Three Buoys had a great lobster roll so we went there for lunch. Yelp was not wrong:
When in Maine. pic.twitter.com/PgIHLqg8YV— Scott McNulty (@blankbaby) August 23, 2014
We went to Eventide Oyster Company for a much more upscale dinner:
Fancy lobster roll is fancy. pic.twitter.com/aI2mggkzx3— Scott McNulty (@blankbaby) August 24, 2014
The lobster roll was fine, but this ice cream sandwich was really good:
When in Portland you're super close to L.L. Bean's flagship store which is gigantic and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We decided to check it out around 10pm:
I purchased both of these items.
I did not purchase this:
When in Portland you have to see a lighthouse. On our way to the lighthouse I had my first Tim Horton's doughnut. It was fine.
My first Tim Hortons doughnut ever. pic.twitter.com/PP8rXgCKd9— Scott McNulty (@blankbaby) August 25, 2014
This is Fort Williams Park:
A great time was had by all, and I kind of want to move to a cove in Maine or anywhere in Vermont.
When you host your own podcast (Random Trek, you should listen!) a funny thing happens: people start inviting you onto their podcasts.
I suppose it makes sense, really. When I think about inviting someone onto Random Trek I skew towards people I know will be able to hold up a conversation, so having podcasting experience is a good thing. Now, some might say, "But, Scott, you've been on the Incomparable forever! Shouldn't people have invited you onto their podcasts based on that?"
No. Why not? Well, I don't talk a whole heck of a lot on most Incomparable episodes that I am on. So, as a host looking for potential guests I wouldn't consider me either based on those appearances.
Anyway, a couple of people have been foolish enough to invite me on their podcasts as of late:
- TDB - Jordan had me on his 12 step program themed tech/culture interview podcast and it was a lot of fun. I figured we'd talk about my Kindles, and we did, though we spoke more about my unhealthy need to acquire more books. Also Star Trek. Check out the episode (and give the older shows a listen too, Jordan is both funny and a good interviewer).
- The Committed: Based on my appearance on TDB I was invited onto the Committed podcast to talk about Kindles, the future of books, and Amazon's taco delivery service. Ian, Kirk, and Rob produce a fine show (despite having me on), so you should give it a listen.
- The Incomparable: Speaking of podcasts I'm on, the lasted episode of the Incomparable is dedicated to the best/worst of Star Trek and I'm a panelist.
The other funny thing about having a podcast is that people ASK to be on it. This is something that has never even occurred to me, to be honest. I listen to a fair number of podcasts and I don't think I've ever emailed/contacted the host and suggested I be on (well, other than Your Daily Lex, but that suggestion was a joke which came true. I'm on episode 3!).
I don't think there's anything wrong with it; it just isn't something I would do. Maybe I should be emailing people asking to be on their shows!
So much gray hair. So much handsomeness.
I had this crazy idea: I should do a podcast in which I would be joined by a guest (a single guest) and discuss a random episode of Star Trek.
I know what you're thinking, "That doesn't sound too crazy." Well, here's the thing, if I'm best known for anything in the world of podcasts it is my silence. I'm not a naturally chatty person and since most of my podcasting appearances involve panel discussions I can sometimes fade into the background. The idea that I should host a podcast and be joined by only one other person seemed daunting to me (I thought the random Star Trek part was a pretty good idea right from the start).
I did what I do whenever I have a crazy idea: I told Marisa about. Since she has had at least three non-consecutive successful conversations with me about a variety of subjects she didn't think the idea was crazy. In fact, she encouraged me to do something about it.
That's the other thing about my crazy ideas: they usually stay ideas. I don't think I'm alone in this tendency. Sadly, for me, I'm also a classic over-thinker. I think about stuff for a long time before doing anything (you can ask Marisa about this too!).
Emboldened by Marisa's support of the idea I thought about it some more. I pondered who would be a good first guest for awhile and the answer became clear: Jason Snell.
Jason, in addition to being a huge Star Trek fan, is a doer. I figured if he was into the idea the likelihood of it actually becoming a thing would be greatly increased.
Jason did, in fact, like the idea and in turn motivated me to actually do something about it. I registered a domain, I got a Twitter account, and then I thought about it some more.
Now you can listen to the first episode (you totally should) and I'm very excited about the whole thing.
Look for new episodes of Random Trek every Thursday for the next 680 weeks or so (assuming there isn't a new Star Trek series released over the coming 13 years).
As in past years, Jason Snell is forcing me to read all the Hugo nominated novels (ok, he isn't forcing me but we have entered into a strange pact wherein we both read all of them and talk about them on the Incomparable with others who generally lack the fortitude to read all the works. Listen to 2013, 2012, and 2011. Also, I can't believe this will be the fourth time we're doing this!).
This year is an odd year for the Hugos (my friend Barry points out that I say that every year, but this year I mean it). Since the Hugo nominations are open to anyone with a WorldCon membership, wacky things can get nominated given an author's popularity.
Now, I should say that given this is how the Hugos are set up I have nothing against any author for rallying the troops and getting themselves on the ballot. Kudos to them, I say! However, it doesn't mean I'm going to read everything that's nominated (more on that in a moment).
The other oddity this year is the nomination of an entire series as best novel. That's wacky, and I won't be reading all 14,000 Wheel of Times books.
Here are the nominated novels, some thoughts about them and if I am going to actually read them:
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie - Not only did I read this book already, but I was one of the people who nominated it. Given that this is the only book on the list I've read thus far I can't say I will definitely vote for it, but I'm probably going to vote for it. I spoke about it on an episode of the Incomparable if you'd like to hear some learned opinions about the book from my fellow panelists.
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross - Mr. Stross is an author whose books I've purchased but I don't think I've ever actually read. I didn't even know this book existed, so I don't have an opinion about it. I am glad to see I was wrong in thinking it is a sequel. It seems as though it is a standalone book in a loose series, so I'll be reading it and probably voting for Ancillary Justice.
Parasite by Mira Grant - Oh, Mira Grant. I actually figured that this book would be nominated because Grant's audience REALLY likes her work. I REALLY disliked her Newsflesh series but hope springs eternal. I might like this version of her one voiced characters facing zombies better. But if someone drinks a Coke and pokes something with a stick I might just stop reading and walk away.
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia - This is a controversial nomination because Larry posted a list of works on his website and suggested that his readers vote for them. I have nothing against that tactic given what the Hugos are, though I do find it a bit ingenious that Larry spins it as an experiment to see if the voting was rigged to keep politically conservative authors off the ballot. Anyway, I don't really care about that but I do care that this book is the 3rd in a series and I haven't read book 1 or 2. I am probably going to skip reading this book because of that (and not because of the so called controversy surrounding it, I have no trouble separating the author from the work).
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson - If I were a betting man I'd put my money on this series to win. That being said I attempted to read the first book in this series long ago and couldn't get through it. It won't get my vote, and I have no plans on attempting to read it.
There you have it, since absolutely no one asked me about the Hugos but NOW YOU KNOW!
This Oral History of Mystery Science Theater is great. I was introduced to MST3K in college by my friend Dan Langevin.
The stand out quote from the whole piece for me was this:
What the hell do you want with a story arc? This is a puppet show.
I like to read, though I seem to acquire books at a far faster rate than I can ever hope to read. The Kindle hasn't helped this at all, though now the books take up less space (I still buy physical books too, though).
Anyway, here is a list of the last 15 books I've purchased for my Kindle. I'll include a quick thought about the book if I have read it:
- Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
- The Race Underground by Doug Most
- The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow
- Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
- A Stranger in Olondia by Sofia Samatar
- The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata
- Hild by Nicola Griffith
- Fire with Fire by Charles Gannon
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
- Dominion by C.J. Sansom
- The Martian by Andy Weir - I read this for The Incomparable. Quick, fun read which shows its work and its roots as a serial story.
- Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach - I'm reading this right now!
- Once in a Blue Moon by Simon R. Green - This book was longer than it needed to be, but as with most Green it was fun (though not especially well written).
- Empress of the Sun by Ian McDonald - I really like Ian McDonald's "adult" novels. This is the 3rd in his YA series. I thought it was the concluding volume, but it wasn't so I was disappointed. However, it is the best in the series so far (not a great starting point for new readers).
- Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell
And I'm wearing a Hawiian shirt to work for the first time this year. Sadly, it is supposed to be 38 degrees (Kelvin) tomorrow.
The invention of the browser tab radically changed the way I browse the Internet, mostly for the better. I now often have two or two browser windows open with upwards of 25 sites open.
One of the downsides of having multiple windows with multiple tabs open is that sometimes one of those sites starting playing music/sound and you have no idea which one is responsilble.
Chrome, my browser of choice, has recently added a little speaker icon to any tab that is currently playing audio. This makes me so happy that I should probably take a good look at my life. A small, small feature which has made my browsing much, much better.
Thanks, Google. You're still kinda creepy, but your Chrome team is doing good work!