Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

Archive for the category “Reflections”

Beware the Ninja!

I’ve occasionally been overheard to say that I have no artistic talent whatsoever, usually adding that I have problems with stick people.  But that’s not quite true.  In fact, it’s all a lie.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Ahem.  Well, not all, but mostly.  I’m not much of an artist, but I do okay with stick people.  Witness the Renaissance Ninja:

He’s part of a larger work that I’m trying to find a way to squeeze into the header of the new blog/website.  I started sketching the RN when I first picked the title.  I’ve got him sitting at a computer (as above), playing a saxophone, looking through a telescope, trying to clip a Guinea Pig’s toenails… not the easiest thing to draw with my level of talent, I promise you.

But the point is that I drew him myself.

Which is kind of the point of the new blog, or at least part of the point.  It’s a major goal for me to continually try new things and to make sure they add some fun to my life and my family’s.  The kids all find my ninja amusing and even my wife (who’s actually an artist, with talent and stuff) said the larger picture is pretty good.  Made me all warm and tingly.

So the ninja will hang around for a while, but mainly at the new website, where you can see the entire picture the ninja is part of.  Speaking of which, the new sight is where new posts are going to go from now on.  I will crosspost here for a while, but that won’t last forever.

Hope all is well with everyone.

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RIP, Anne McCaffrey

It’s fairly common knowledge by now, I think, but Anne McCaffrey died on Monday, November 21st.  I learned this on Twitter yesterday, had it reinforced on Facebook, and by now, I’m fairly certain that anyone with an internet connection and a passing familiarity with genre fiction is aware.

Ms. McCaffrey’s books were an important part of my formative genre reading. I discovered the early Pern books in my school library in September of grade 6 at the tender age of 10 (my birthday is very late in the year).  During that school year, I read Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon several times each.

I’ve continued to read her work for a little over three decades now, buying just about every book as it comes out and slowly filling in earlier titles.  A quick check of my shelves shows nearly sixty books with her name on the spine, and something close to half of them in hard cover (when I was younger, had no children, and got a 30% discount at bookstores owned by the company I worked for, I could afford to buy my favourite authors in hard cover).

Of all the books I have paper versions of, only the Heinlein and Foster sections come near the same size, but neither of them quite match the McCaffrey shelf.

I’ve never written her a fan letter or sent an e-mail and I missed a chance to see her at a signing many years ago due to my work schedule at the time, but I’ve certainly read her books, many of them more than once, and some of them more times than I can easily count.  Anne McCaffrey had a huge influence on my reading for a long time.  Through her collaborations, I discovered other authors as well.  And while 85 is a good age, I wish she could go on writing new stories for me to read forever.

The dragons have all gone quiet for the moment and it might take them a while to recover.

Rest in peace, Anne McCaffrey.

Shatner of the Mind

Maybe it’s just a symptom of being forty, but I find myself growing more introspective as I grow older.  And maybe more than introspective.  I spend more time thinking about myself as a person, a human being, and about different aspects of my life and personality and place in the world.  About how people and events affect me and how I affect other people and things.

When I discovered that it might be possible to attend FanExpo this year (up until a few days ago it didn’t look like my work schedule would allow it), I immediately checked for the schedule.  Not posted yet, but there are a bunch of press releases including that William Shatner will be in attendance.

Now, you can say what you like about his acting ability or his hair (and I’ll probably argue one of those, at least), but I love William Shatner.  I’ve enjoyed his work, yes most of it as Captain Kirk, for my entire life.  Let me repeat that: my entire life.  He’s having fun and doing what he enjoys, or at least that’s the perception I get.

I love the rest of the original crew, too, and I’ve watched all the series, so when I read the microscopic press release about Shatner coming to Toronto and bringing his film, “The Captains” with him for a screening, it only took a quick Google for me to find out it was a documentary with Shatner interviewing and interacting with the other actors who had played the Captains of the various series and the recent cinematic reboot.  Why hadn’t I heard about this?

Obviously, I haven’t been paying attention.  My head’s been down a lot this year.  And last year, if I’m honest.  But I am paying attention now, at least a bit.  However, if I don’t get to go to FanExpo and stand in line to see that screening, my best hope is for Space to play it, which would be nice.  (And how long will that line be, anyway?  It’s William Shatner, after all.)

But the same Google search also showed me a few hints about the so-called “Star Trek Summit”, a 2009 documentary/interview hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and featuring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, and Jonathan Frakes.  I do remember hearing about this one, but never saw it.  Seems to be available on YouTube and I watched the first two parts (of seven) almost before I even realized I’d clicked on the link.  Funny that.

Funnier still is that the documentaries surrounding the still-growing Star Trek universe (and Google showed me where to find an awful lot more than I knew about) are just as interesting to me as the shows themselves.

So what’s the point?  Well, Star Trek and me, I guess.  I grew up on the original series, watched all the others, and have been to see every movie so far in the theatre.  I don’t worship the original, or any subsequent, cast but I mourned when first Deforest Kelley and then James Doohan died, and it gives me a bit of a sad, wistful feeling that the youngest of the original crew is currently 74.

I believe in a positive future where people learn to talk to each other, figure things out, and put the human race on a course with the stars.  Is it a Star Trek future?  Well, probably not, at least not complete with dozens of humanoid aliens and warp drive, but is it the dark, dystopic wasteland that seems so popular in recent years?  No.  Firmly, and defiantly no.

I’m a Trekkie, yes, but not fanatic about it.  The show is a part of who I am and has definitely been an influence on my personality and outlook.  I am, and always shall be, its friend, and it will always take a place of SF prominence in my heart.  So if I can get to FanExpo, I’ll be standing in line to try for that screening of The Captains, but I’ll be happy for a glimpse of Captain Kirk

To an active and positive future.  Live long and prosper.

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