Weird, Wrinkled and Wordy

January 30, 2008

Star Trek diversions

Filed under: Movies,science fiction,Star Trek — Valorie Hoye @ 12:50 pm

Star Trek XIThere seems to be a lot of Star Trek goodness out there these days, with Star Trek: The Tour coming to a city near me in the next while and the buzz starting for Star Trek XI.

It’s the movie buzz that has me intrigued. The man behind Star Trek XI is none other than J J Abrams, who is mainly known for creating such television hits as Lost, Alias and Felicity, but who recently revealed a degree of marketing genius in the promotional campaign for monster flick Cloverfield. And since the buzz created for that movie had so many intriguing viral elements, I thought I would point out what seems to be an interesting yet odd bit of Star Trek viral marketing.

Check out this site, which appears to feature live webcams of the dockyard building a certain new (er…old) spaceship. If you tweak the frequency on each camera, you can bring in a clear picture. Not much there yet, but I’m curious as to why there is a separate site, when the official movie site featuring even more welding footage, is here. Is it just a tease? Or should we be watching this site in the months to come?

We’ll have months to figure it out. Star Trek XI won’t hit theatres until the end of the year.

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January 15, 2008

My BSG club turns 1 year old

Filed under: 13th Colony,Battlestar Galactica,BSG,science fiction,Vancouver — Valorie Hoye @ 2:22 pm

One Year LaterIt was one year ago today that I screwed up my courage and started a sci-fi fan club. I’ve been a die-hard science fiction fan since I was very young. I watched Star Trek re-runs on our black & white TV every day they were on. I was enthralled by Star Wars right from that summer in 1977. I read every Asimov book I could find. In the early 90s, I was on the executive of a Star Trek club, holding the post of XO. I’m a Browncoat. But until this date one year ago, I didn’t consider myself truly hard core. But I knew there had to be other fans of Battlestar Galactica in Vancouver (this is where they make the show, for frak’s sake!) and if I was going to find them, I had to start my own club. The 13th Colony was born.

In the last year, the club has accumulated 95 members in 5 countries. We’ve had 14 events. We’ve shot and almost finished editing one “mini-movie.” Through the club and our blog, I’ve met lots of other fans, from all over the world. My little cylon mini-mates (and a couple of ringers) have travelled through Canada, the US, the UK, Europe and Mexico.

Kinda glad I was feeling brave that day one year ago. It’s been a blast. Can’t wait to see what new adventures lie ahead.

December 7, 2007

Pondering 40

Filed under: Family,LIFE — Valorie Hoye @ 11:47 am

FortyI’ve really enjoyed being thirty-something. Much more than I enjoyed my twenties. But in a couple of days I get to move into a new set of numbers and I say “Bring it On!” Cliched, yes. But I’m glad to finally get there.

I’m not someone who would lie about my age or be coy and not answer when asked how old I am. I know I don’t look forty, and I’ve been told both encouragingly and disparagingly that I don’t act it. But I feel forty. I feel confident and happy. I know without a doubt who I am, even into the darkest shadows of my reluctant psyche. I like that person, flaws and all. I have enthusiasm but I now also have enough experience to feel prepared for whatever Life throws at me.

Forty is good.

Then, of course, my knees just creaked when I sat down and I’ll probably grunt when I get up out of the chair to go and colour my hair so my sister won’t bug me when I see her over Christmas about how much more gray I have than she does.

Getting older sucks, but the numbers are cool.

November 19, 2007

Juno = Oscar?

Filed under: Movies,Writing — Valorie Hoye @ 12:18 pm

JunoCanadians will probably find that title confusing since Juno is the name of our award for achievement in Canadian music and Oscar is what the American film awards are called. In this case, Juno is also the name of a small film that deserves recognition for many reasons. Juno tells the story of a pregnant sixteen year old girl who looks for the perfect adoptive parents for her unborn child, only to find that perfection may require altering your point of view.

The screenplay by Diablo Cody is sharply funny, yet realistic and touching. The audience is afraid to laugh too hard only because the sound will drown out the next line of dialogue, which could be even funnier. Cody has a distinctive voice as a writer and it needs to be heard over the formulaic fodder we so often see at the movies these days. She’s already won one award for Juno and I would not be surprised to see her with an arm full of them by the end of awards season.

Ellen Page is another reason to find this film. She has amazing range an honestly in her performance. Talent in spades and she’s just getting started. A lot of people have called her edge and her performance in this film (and others such as Hard Candy) is truly that, but so much more. Her Juno has both edge and innocence and no one but Ellen Page could pull off the whole range in between.

November 14, 2007

Time to cut my hair?

Filed under: LIFE — Valorie Hoye @ 11:37 am

I have long hair.  It’s healthy, shiny, kinda curly and red.  It goes down to the middle of my back.  But a few days ago when I was standing in a lineup at a cafe, waiting for my food order, someone behind me ran their fingers through my hair.  When I turned around to glare at him, he quickly walked out the door.

Did he think I wouldn’t notice?   Just because it is there, doesn’t mean you can touch it.  If you haven’t been invited to touch any other part of my body, chances are I don’t want you stroking my hair.

I haven’t had my hair this long in more than a decade and the last time I cut it off was for exactly the same reason.  I just haven’t decided if cutting it gives the slimeballs of the world one more victory they don’t deserve.

October 31, 2007

My favourite memories of Halloween

Filed under: Art,Family,Writing — Valorie Hoye @ 1:38 pm

Halloween has always been my favourite holiday, and as I’ve tried to come up with reasons that don’t have anything to do with chocolate, I’ve settled on the notion that it must be about creativity. Halloween is one occasion where a greater than normal portion of the population does something creative, from decorating a home or choosing a costume to just indulging in their own imagination. So, as I ponder the vampire I just saw striding along in the financial district of downtown Vancouver, I thought I would reminisce, just a little. Here are some of my favourite memories of Halloween:

  • The black paper silhouettes of flying witches, cats and bats my mother cut out to put on our picture window. Every year we would beg her to let us put them up earlier and earlier. They looked spectacular against the white backing of the curtains.
  • A silver/blue cocktail dress of my mother’s that my sister and I fought over wearing for several years. Eventually, we wore it to shreds.
  • Going to my Grade Five Halloween dance as Princess Leia, wearing one of my mother’s slips and a silver cord belt from one of her dresses. And yes, I had dual buns.
  • So many years of walking through a back alley with my friends, scaring our selves silly by just imagining what kinds of creatures were lurking in the shadows.
  • Being too sick one year to go out with my friends, but my father taking me around the block and stopping at a dark house with a scary old woman sitting on the porch, rocking back and forth in a squeaky chair. Turns out, the “old woman” was one of my father’s male colleagues. He was very kind.
  • Being so proud after the Halloween when I was finally allowed to keep my candy in my own room and trusted to ration it out carefully until the Christmas treats arrived.
  • Dressing up for Halloween at GM Place in 2000, watching the Vancouver Grizzlies beat the Seattle Supersonics and snagging myself a free T-shirt and a ticket to another game.
  • Having friends show up for a party at our place with him dressed as Saint George, and her as the dragon.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

October 29, 2007

A new Jekyll and a brilliant Hyde

Filed under: Movies,science fiction — Valorie Hoye @ 3:25 pm

Nesbitt as HydeEvery year at Halloween, I make up my mind to watch something scary on TV. Some years I’m only brave enough to watch Linus wait for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. This year I took a bold step, but I may already have hit my fright limit and we’re still two days out.

Spent six hours watching the very worthwhile Jekyll on Showcase this past weekend, starring James Nesbitt. Originally shown on BBC1 this summer, the miniseries is a delightful new take on the old tale of the curious Dr. Jekyll and his evil counterpart, Mr. Hyde. Nesbitt does a fine job with both characters, but once you’ve seen Hyde, drenched in lion blood and belting out “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight” as if he were on Broadway, you can’t help but cheer for the bad guy. He is deliciously over the top when indulging his Hyde side, capturing both the menace and the charisma of the original literary character.

The modern twist is that Jekyll is set in 2006, and Dr. Tom Jackman is the reluctant inheritor of his ancestor’s curse. There is a conspiracy with plenty of layers, enough shocks to satisfy and just enough gore to be atmospheric. Through it all, a solid dose of black humour keeps the audience in line.

Besides Nesbitt’s tour de force performance, Gina Bellman is full of substance as the hero/villain’s great love and Denis Lawson (familiar to sci-fi fans as Wedge from the Star Wars movies) is excellent as Peter Syme, a man who could be both a villain and a friend at the same time. Michelle Ryan makes a pre-Bionic Woman appearance as the assistant to both Jekyll and Hyde, helping both keep secrets from each other.

It’s a worthwhile way to spend six hours of your time, and though it may not give you nightmares, it’ll give you pause. Are we supposed to cheer so enthusiastically for the bad guy?

October 11, 2007

Getting Ready to Geek Out

Filed under: 13th Colony,BIFF,Firefly,science fiction,Vancouver — Valorie Hoye @ 2:11 pm

VCON 32I don’t go to science fiction conventions very often, perhaps one a year for a few years in a row, and then nothing for several years. I’ve been to fan-run ‘cons’ and huge, highly commercial ones. I definitely prefer the smaller ones. I think my favourite had to be a Norwescon in Seattle back in the early 1990s when I got to hear Robert Silverberg talk to two dozen eager fans about writing and where I first saw the artwork from James Gurney’s then upcoming book “Dinotopia.”

VCON, Vancouver’s annual sci-fi convention is just over a week away and for the second year in a row I’ll be there promoting one of my various clubs. Last year I ran a table in the Dealer’s Room on behalf of BIFF, the Burrard Inlet Fan Fellowship. Our stuff sold very well and I got to meet and chat with some very cool people, including authors Robert J. Sawyer and Kathy Tyers. But honestly, it was a lot of work and I never even managed to get to any of the panels. I plan to pace myself better this year, but so far it is looking even busier.

I’m hosting a Room Party on the Friday night on behalf of The 13th Colony, Vancouver’s Battlestar Galactica Fan Club. I’ll also be running a Fan Club table to promote that club, as well as the local Firefly/Serenity club and BIFF. I would love to check out the art show, some of the science programming and the filk concert.

It’s not like I don’t indulge my inner geek on a regular basis anyway, but this feels a bit like binge geeking.

October 2, 2007

Pedestrian Adventures on the Drip Line

Filed under: LIFE,Vancouver — Valorie Hoye @ 9:57 am

West Coasters know what the drip line is. Even during the dry season, the telltale signs remain, etched into the pavement. Look down and you will see a line in the pavement where the power of many raindrops has eaten away at the concrete below. Where the overhang of a roof or an awning ends and the rain pours off in anything from a slow trickle to a waterfall. The drip line is the worst place to walk on a sidewalk. The drops are bigger than anywhere else, usually dirtier, and they can fall for hours after the rain itself stops.

Of course, the drip line is almost always in the middle of the sidewalk. Only rarely is it a straight line, as each building has a different overhang. In the busy downtown core, people huddle under the shelter, out of the rain. If you’re moving, you have no choice but to walk in the danger zone. Whatever you do, don’t look up. You might make it a few feet without getting dripped on. Or when you get caught, it might be a small drip, barely distinguishable from a regular raindrop. But, if the wind catches the awning just right, you might get a dousing comparable to football’s traditional touchdown celebration.

Welcome to wet season.

September 26, 2007

Should Art Last Forever?

Filed under: Art,Travel — Valorie Hoye @ 5:06 pm

Public ArtThe Seattle Art Museum has something to learn about creating a satisfying artistic experience. I am not an accomplished artist, art critic, or an influential art patron. But I am a member of “the public” and therefore feel quite justified in commenting on Public Art.The Olympic Sculpture park in downtown Seattle is filled with a number of very interesting large-scale pieces of outdoor art. They use a variety of materials, shapes and themes. They are all interesting. And nearly every one of them has a sign nearby that says, “Please do not touch. You could harm the art.”

This is public, outdoor art. It is giant metal structures that get battered by the elements and pooped on by seagulls. Just how long do they expect it to last?

Yes, the oil and dirt on human skin could conceivably shorten the length of time these pieces are enjoyed, but the present enjoyment of these works is dramatically lessened by the “don’t touch” signs, at least one of which is on a hideous blue sandwich board and mars the overall display. A small sign is not going to deter someone intent on vandalizing the piece; it will only discourage someone who wants to get closer to enhance their own experience.

It seems like the SAM is more concerned about amortizing the cost of these pieces over a longer period than of the actual enjoyment the public gets out of them. I would be curious to know if any of the artists who created the pieces ever intended for them not to be touched.

If a piece of art is too fragile or too historically important to risk contamination, put it in a glass case in a controlled environment. If you want to bring art to the masses and therefore increase your audience, don’t put limits on the experience. You will turn more people off that way.

To answer the question — no, I don’t think art should last forever. Nothing else does. Humans age and the earth beneath our feet erodes constantly. The changes we see in us and around us give us wisdom. Knowing something will fade or crumble one day makes it precious and worth the time out of our day to pause and appreciate it. A permanent fixture is easy to ignore.

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