Filling the BSG Gap

Ever since Battlestar Gallactica ended Steve and I have been trying to find something to fill that gap. A daunting task, true. How do you replace a sci fi show that comes with excellent social commentary, complete characters, the fun and excitement of confused identities and robots? So far no luck.

We tried Caprica, and well… that was a miserable failure of a show. The pilot episode that they released last year on dvd had a lot of potential, but after a few episodes it was clear they weren’t going to do anything exciting with the show. Sure, it was nice to see Adama as a kid and get more of an idea of the religious and cultural heritages that BSG touched on, but that was where the appeal ended for me.

The other show we’ve been trying out is Stargate Universe. And honestly… I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It’s predictable, has a severe lack of interesting space battles and characters, and it just doesn’t fill that gap! I’ve never watched any of the other Stargates, so I had no prior knowledge going into the show.  It is enjoyable, and when I found it on tv tonight I got pathetically excited about it. To be fair, my other options were shows about weddings and bad stand up comedy, so I probably would have been excited about anything.

Basically, SGU is about a group of people who end up stranded on an ancient alien spaceship. They have a stargate on the ship, so they can hook up with whatever planets happen to have them. Of course, none of these planets are inhabited by people. Recently they’ve introduced aliens, which led to a rather average space battle. Some of the people on the Destiny (the ship they’re on) are military, others are civilians. They clash, and they get upset a lot about the crappy food and possibility of spending the rest of their lives in space. Oh, and then there’s the bizarre space rocks that allow them to switch bodies with someone on Earth in order to file reports and say their last goodbyes.

Let’s talk about two of the characters.

There’s Dr. Rush aka the less awesome Gaius Baltar. The other characters find him annoying and too smart, and the show doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind if he’s a hero or a villain. And not in the fun way like with the awesome Gaius Baltar. The episode I’m currently watching shows him trying to cope with the loss of his long dead wife while trying to solve the mystery of Destiny. Generally he’s surly and annoying. To make him even more fun, I just found out he was totally the guy from The Full Monty. Oh, the laughter.

and Eli Wallace aka the chubby relatable nerd. Eli is the most likable character on the show, but he’s also a complete stereotype. I feel like SyFy took a look at their average viewer and said “oh, let’s just put him in there. It will make them feel like they’re in the show!” Now, I like Eli. I really do. If he were a real person I would probably be friends with him. And I do really appreciate that they went a little out of the pretty people box and got someone a little overweight. But when you boil it down, he really is only the chubby, relatable nerd.

I’m watching the most recent episode as it airs, so here are some of my thoughts on it. If you don’t care, feel free to stop reading.

Blonde doctor woman is trying to tell Colonel Young that hey, that time he cheated on his wife with her? Yeah, that’s turning into a baby. I guess the SGU writers saw the success of all the baby-drama on Glee and wanted to jump on board.

Some of the characters, 3 or 4 of them I would consider main characters, are trapped on a planet in an underground labyrinth full of giant spiders. Because there are so many of the main characters there I really don’t expect them to kill them off, although it looks like they’re going to leave one of them behind.  Steve made a comment last time they had a similar situation about how he would have so much more respect for the show if they did kill off a main character here or there, and I have to agree.

(One of the characters is having a flashback to building a brick wall. Thanks to Library Buildings I now know that he arranged the bricks correctly! Hooray!)

Ok, this has nothing to do with Stargate… but they the weirdest commercial on and I need to tell you all about it. It’s for a bed/device that helps you sleep better, but in the creepiest way possible. You wear a headband that keeps track of your brainwaves and—-Holy crap, it’s a dinosaur!

Stargate has now introduced dinosaurs into the equation. Well, I was just thinking about how much I wanted to watch Jurassic Park… Sadly, it looks like they decided they didn’t want to take that story line and went on somewhere else, like into more flashbacks and wandering around through random stargates.

Surprisingly, it seems that three of the main characters have been left behind, including relatable Eli. I expect that they’ll get back to the ship somehow, but maybe they’ll surprise us all and start a lovely little three person colony on the dinosaur planet.

There ends my blogging for the night. I hope you all enjoyed (or happily skipped over?) my Stargate musings.

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His Dark Materials

Last week I finished rereading the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. I first read the trilogy in eighth grade, and I must have reread ten times or more since then. It really is one of my favorite book trilogies, and I love everything about it. I have an incredibly clear memory of laying on my bed next to the window and marveling at these books. I think the books you read as a teenager as the ones that really stick with you for the rest of your life, and that really is the case when it comes to His Dark Materials!

For those of you who don’t know, His Dark Materials is a trilogy by Philip Pullman consisting of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. There has been some controversy over the book for the critical way it portrays the Church and religion. Even during the phases of my life where I considered myself a good Catholic, I was never offended by the books, maybe because I tend to be pretty open minded. I think criticism of the Church is completely justified, especially in light of recent scandals, and having that criticism in the form of a novel is certainly the most entertaining way to be exposed to it!

SPOILERS

Probably my favorite part of all three books is the last few chapters of The Amber Spyglass. Whenever I start reading them, I always look forward to getting to the end because I know it’s going to be so incredibly satisfying. I adore sad endings. They’re so much more memorable and moving than when everyone lives happily ever after. It’s hard to get much sadder than when Will and Lyra are forced to part. I cry every time I read it, and as I get older and understand more about love and relationships, it only gets sadder. It is the perfect ending.

END SPOILERS

A few years ago they made the first book into a movie. My short review is I didn’t like it, to see a longer review go here.

And now for something completely different!

I started this blog mainly as an outlet to talk about books because after reviewing them for 7 years, I really missed it. However, if you take a look at my posts you’ll notice an odd lack of book reviews. Lately I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would have liked to read, and when I do read I’ve been rereading the old, comforting favorites. Hence, the lack of book reviews. Hopefully over the summer that will change! I’m also hoping to resolve all my computer problems and be able to upload pictures here again! My computer and Safari don’t seem to like to cooperate with me, so let’s cross our fingers that that will change!

Some of you may have noticed that I added a new page to my blog! It’s going to be a list of the books I read and the movies I watch. I’ve always wanted to keep a list, so starting May 1 I’ll be keeping it here. I also want to start keeping an official list of books I want to read, and I’m always looking for recommendations! So why don’t you leave a comment with some good book advice?

Love Letter to my iPod

I love my iPod Touch. I have never been more satisfied with a purchase. Like I mentioned in a post earlier today, I really do feel like it has changed the way I connect with the world.

Originally, I wasn’t going to get an iPod Touch. I thought they were an interesting gadget, but nothing a poor college student like me should be spending money on! And then Steve got one. He was so enthralled with it, and I borrowed it constantly to check things online or play games… I had to change my mind and think about getting one. So one fateful day last June with a fresh paycheck burning in my pocket, I got one. The Radio Shack guy tried so hard to talk me out of it, but I was set in my ways.  I haven’t looked back since.

How can a silly gadget change your life, you might ask. Well dear readers, if you’ve ever listened to me before… well, now would also be a good time.* Let me tell you how my iPod has changed my life.

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who keeps up with the news. Since middle school I’ve gone through periods where I’m very in tune with what is going on, and periods where I ignore everything news related. I think my main problem was always that I couldn’t find a way of getting the news that I really enjoyed. Television news is a joke, newspapers are large and at times physically uncomfortable to read, and reading the news on the computer always felt more like work than anything else. None of these problems exist with my iPod. I can pick the news sources I read (I have apps for USA Today, Time, and The Huffington Post and I also usually see what’s on Google News) and the format is very comfortable. Now checking up on the news is the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning, and the second to last thing I do before I go to sleep. I don’t have to have my glasses on to read it, and I only need one hand. I also love reading comics on my iPod. Most, like my favorite, are the perfect size for the iPod. Overall, it is just so much nicer than using the computer.

Let’s talk about my computer for a moment, shall we? I have a serious love/hate relationship with my computer. Lately it has had all kinds of problems, but even beyond that, using my computer too often feels like work. It’s hard for me to separate work from play when I do it on the same screen, often in the same window! So if I can avoid turning on my computer, I want to avoid it. Thanks to my iPod I have that option.  I can keep the computer off while still staying in touch with the world! Living here, it’s rare that I go a day without my computer, but at home it’s pretty common for me to only use the computer for work and to go days without touching it.

The games are fun, and I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent playing Scrabble (ahem, Words With Friends). Lately I’ve been trying to teach myself chess using a few different apps, and who doesn’t love a good puzzle game? My iPod is my calculator, my back up alarm,  and my weatherman. My iPod is fun and really, that’s why I like it so much. I don’t get bored with it because it’s always changing.

I have not tried reading any e-books on my iPod, although I may try it over the summer. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about e-books and what their role will be in the libraries of the future. In high school I read a few books online using my computer, and I hated it. After a while it hurt my eyes and it did not have the same relaxing feel of holding a book. I’m interested to see if my negative feelings towards e-books are still true, or if technology has caught up. One day I would love to try a Kindle (or some such device) but I don’t think a machine could ever completely replace a physical book for me. I love books. I love how they smell, how they feel, how they look… Picking up a book is so comforting. Opening up a familiar old book is like going home. The way the text looks on the page, the little imperfections that you have memorized after reading a book 10 times… These are aspects of reading that I don’t think an e-book could ever replicate. Like I said, over the summer I’ll probably try reading a book on my iPod, so I’ll let you know what I think of that, and hopefully at some point in the future I’ll have the opportunity to try out another kind if e-reader to form a solid opinion on them.

So dear readers, that is why I love my iPod.

*”dear readers” quote stolen from Brad Neely’s Wizard People Dear Readers

The Cylons Look Like Us Now.

We watched this video in class last night, and I thought it was worth sharing with you all. I’m interested in what you think of it, especially those of you who are older or younger than me! I’ve been around technology my whole life, and I can’t imagine life without computers. Writing a paper without a computer would be a daunting task for me. So much of my life is tied to computers, especially now. I wake up in the morning and check Facebook, the news, and my email on my iPod Touch. Then I usually turn on my computer and do some reading for class, or catch up comics and blogs. All of my classes have online components, and there are plenty of days I don’t look at anything that is physically printed.

Even as I write this, I’m reminded of how easily things on the computer can be lost. I had just finished writing this post when Safari decided it didn’t like WordPress, so it closed the window. Although it autosaves the draft every few minutes, I guess something went wrong and my draft disappeared. So here I am, writing it again. That post might be out there somewhere on the internet, but it isn’t somewhere I know how to get to!

In the video, the idea of “the machine is using us/is us” fills me with a strange mix of fear and thrill. The future is here. Being a Sci Fi fan, the first thing I think about when seeing that is Cylons and Replicants. Where is this technology going to take us? I don’t think remains of the human race will be fleeing a radical group of humaniod robots across space, but who knows? Or will we one day have an Ender’s Game situation where the internet becomes “alive” and starts having feelings (Jane? Anyone remember Jane? Cmon, there’s gotta be some Orson Scott Card fans out there!) When will we reach the technological singularity, and will humans become obsolete? It’s scary/exciting to think about!

I’ve always had something of a love/hate relationship with technology. I fear it, and what it does to our society and social connections, but at this same time it’s just… so cool! There’s so much you can do with computers or iPods or whatever your gadget of choice is. My iPod Touch was one of the best things I ever bought, and I’m not joking when I say it changed the way I get the news and stay connected to the world. But that’s a post for another day.

My friend Jess did a great post about our class last night and technology education (or lack of, in our case). Like her, I’m focusing on Special Collections, so most of my classes won’t give me any kind of technological skills. I know a few basic things, but I don’t have any kind of web design skills beyond filling out WordPress’ easy to use template. I am willing to learn, though. It’s really just a matter of only being here for a year, and having so many other classes that I need/want to take. Sometimes I wish Library School would last longer, and then other times I just want it to be over with so I can get a job and start getting some practical experience!

Vampire Darcy’s Desires

That’s right, it’s a real book. Regina Jeffers apparently woke up one day and thought “you know what the world needs? More Pride and Prejudice adaptations! Especially ones involving vampires.” And so Vampire Darcy’s Desires was born.

In all honesty, it is a horrible, horrible book. I’m pretty sure Ms. Jeffers either didn’t actually read Pride and Prejudice or completely missed the part where Lizzie has a personality. Imagine Twilight, but with Pride and Prejudice characters, and you’ll understand what Vampire Darcy’s Desires is all about. Lizzie spends all her time swooning over Darcy and wishing he would consummate their marriage (which oddly enough, happens pretty early on in the book). Occasionally she’ll do something shockingly unladylike, such as pick up a sword or have a thought of her own, but soon after she’ll be thinking about her great passion for Darcy, and how much she wants him to ravish her.  Darcy spends all his time thinking about how much it sucks to be a vampire, and how much he wants to ravish Lizzie and never have any children for fear of passing on “the curse”. Really, it’s some great, prize winning stuff. Ahem.

I’m not really in to P+P adaptations, I usually think they’re a pretty unoriginal and boring idea. However, if for some reason you do want to read one, check out Pride, Prejudice and Zombies before you pick up Vampire Darcy’s Desires. It’s a lot more fun, it has pictures, and it includes some good ass-kicking!

I probably would not have been able to finish Vampire Darcy’s Desires without my friend Kelly’s comments. She (hilariously) decided that the book needed some commentary, and supplied it. Her ingenious idea has led to the creation of a little group we like to call “Sisterhood of the Traveling Book” so if you have any ideas of terrible, hilarious books please recommend them!

Hello my name is Emily Stamm, and I like Glee.

Phew, it feels good to admit that! For some reason I never saw Glee as a show that was up my alley, since I’m not really a fan of high school dramas. Now that I’m out of high school (and college!) I usually find shows set in high schools boring, or they bring back high school memories that I prefer to forget! Glee somehow manages to avoid that high schooly feeling.

Glee certainly has its faults, I’m not going to deny that. But it is a fun show, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need! There’s singing, and dancing, and baby drama. There are characters that are fun to hate (Terri) and the ones you just have to root for (Emma). If you’re  not a musical hater and you get bored some afternoon, go check out Glee, and you probably won’t be disappointed!

Sorry for the short post, folks, but I’ve got some Evangelion to watch and some homework assignments to avoid!

Library School

My first semester of Library School is quickly coming to a close, and I can’t believe that I’ve been living here for a full three months. There are a lot of things I love about going to school here, but there are also a lot of things that frustrate me. I don’t like living so far from home, and so far from Steve.

I love most of my classes. Library Buildings is one of the best, most entertaining and useful classes I’ve ever taken! The professor is funny, passionate about his subject, and really interesting. It’s forced me to think about things that never would have occurred to me. I never would have thought about lighting, outlets, north light or water features. So yay for that! We have a field trip to Chicago tomorrow, and I am super super excited about it!

My Reference class on the other hand…. I have never been so disappointed in a class. Enough said.

I’m really excited for my summer and fall classes and then… graduation! It seems that I’ve resolved all of my registration problems, and I really will be done with graduate school in December! I can’t wait to be done and out in the field, but at the same time I wish  I could take more classes and learn more. For those of you who are interested here are the classes I’m taking in Summer/Fall.

I’m taking 501, one of the two required courses that deals with librarianship in general and indexing Indexing for most of the summer. I’m also taking two two week intensive Special Collections classes: Paper in the Scholarly World and Letterpress Printing.

In the fall I’m transferring to LEEP (the online program) and moving… somewhere. I’m taking History of Children’s Literature, Bookbinding, Electronic Publishing, and Digital Publishing. I am super excited for all of them!

And then I’ll be done. It’s scary how soon I’ll be done with graduate school, and how fast it’s going. I can’t believe that before I’m 23 I’ll have my BA in English and my Masters in Library Science. A lot of the time I feel way too young for… everything. I am excited to see where things go though, and see what kind of library I end up in!