Tag Archives: nerd

Reading “Preacher” by Garth Ennis

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Last month, I received an email in my inbox from AMC promoting their new television series Preacher.  As a graphic novels librarian and a major fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead, I knew that the new AMC series was based on a graphic novel series by Garth Ennis.  So, despite it not being my genre of interest, I decided to read the first volume of the series before watching the television series*.

Like when looking forward to seeing upcoming films, I went in completely blind.  I didn’t read any reviews, I didn’t flip through the pages to decide whether to read it.  I didn’t even read a synopsis.  I just jumped right in!

*MILD SPOILER WARNING*

After reading the first few pages, I’m sure I looked something like this: o_O

The premise started off interesting – A preacher, Jesse Custer, in Texas who lost his cool with his flawed and unchanging flock whose hypocrisy made him question everything he believed.  An unknown being, called Genesis, travels towards Earth and enters the body of Custer and in the process, kills Custer’s whole flock.  On the journey ahead, he meets up with an Irish Vampire (Cassidy) and an ex-lover (Tulip) as they search for God who, we learn, has abandoned his post and is somewhere on Earth.

As I said, interesting premise.  Despite being raised Agnostic, even I cringed at some of the blasphemy in this graphic novel.  Add to that, the crude and profane language, and I was immediately sure Mother Theresa wouldn’t have approved.  I personally found it a bit too dark and profane for my personal taste and I was a bit shocked to find not a single character that wasn’t a bit…too disturbing for me.  Having said that, I realize that no human is perfect and that we are all battling inner demons, and maybe that’s one of Ennis’s points.  While I believe that Ennis is clearly a good writer and it making interesting social commentary, I think he relies a little too much on shock value.  My personal grade: B-

However, don’t make your final decision based on my review alone.  As I said, not exactly my genre.  There were numerous positive reviews, including those who were offended by so interested to see what happened next, they simply couldn’t put it down.  Which is definitely the mark of a well-written graphic novel.  It also made Rolling Stone’s 50 best non-superhero graphic novels!

If you don’t mind more than mild spoilers, visit these sites for reviews or more info:

CG Magazine

EE Times

Goodreads

Wikipedia

*You can watch the first season of Preacher here.

If you’re already read it, or you read it after reading this review, respond to this blog post and let me know your thoughts!

-TheMcNabbist

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Reminder: Essential Star Trek Novels Book Club for 50th Anniversary!

In honor of one of my favorite franchises, I’d like to announce the Essential Star Trek Novels Reading Club Fall 2016-Spring 2017 which I’m launching in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.  You may have missed the September 28th online book discussion, but no worries, we have many more novels left – you can still join in!

The selections for this book club reading list are based on the io9 article “Essential Star Trek Novels That Even Non-Trekkers Should Read“.  Since I’d not read most of them despite being an avid Trekkie, I decided this was a challenge I should accept.  Who will join me on this accursed mission?  The meetings will take place online via Google Hangouts, so send an email to themcnabbist@gmail.com with your deets!

Some of these titles will be available as either print and/or ebooks from your local library, but not all of them.  Plan time to stalk used offline and online bookstores for copies of some of these titles.

September 28, 2016 @ 9pm: Planet of Judgement by Joe Haldeman

October 29, 2016 @ 1pm EST: The Entropy Effect by Vonda M. McIntyre

November: The Final Reflection by John M. Ford

December 2016: My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane

January 2017: Prime Directive by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

February 2017: Enterprise: The First Adventure by Vonda M. McIntyre

March 2017: Imzadi by Peter David

April 2017: The Captain’s Daughter by Peter David

If you’re interested in participating, reply to this blog post and I’ll give you deets closer to the date!

Live Long and Prosper, Friends

-The McNabbist

 

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Star Trek Mission Chicago – 50th Anniversary Report, Part 2 (Saturday)

I began my Saturday by taking it easy, sleeping in, and watching Netflix.  Once I walked across the street to the convention, I inquired as to whether the line for the Gates McFadden photo op had started and it had not.  I went to get a drink at the Starbucks where I found a TNG Starfleet Operations Division officer complaining to a barista that they ought to have ordered more cheese danishes knowing their was a convention this weekend.  The poor officer is used to the replicators aboard the Enterprise, no doubt.

I then went to meet Gates McFadden at her booth.  She told me that I was the third librarian she’d met this morning.  Librarian Trekkies for the win! I then did a bit of shopping, buying some action figures that my collection lacked.

I went back to the line to discover it had already formed and gone through – in a matter of thirty minutes – fasting moving line ever!  So, I was placed at the rear of the Marina Sirtis/Gates McFadden duo photo op.  When I made my way for the photo op with Gates McFadden, they asked Marina Sirtis (who I’d have numerous photo ops with in the past) to step aside, Marina jokingly chastised me for being late to the photo op.

I was so excited about this photo op.  I’d never been able to attend a convention that Gates McFadden was at.  As a child, I remembered watching her as the very serious, professional, strong Dr. Crusher and always considered her a positive role model.  In my excitement, I cheesed (smiled) too hard and gave myself a double chin.  That’s what I get for my excitement, no?

After the photo op, I went back to my seat to await the arrival for William Shatner.  In the meantime, I watched the No-Minimum Auction and realized many of my fellow Trekkies must be rolling in dough.  At 1:50pm, William Shatner came on stage.  In introducing himself, he related a lengthy but comical tale of his last time in Chicago, the previous year when he was supposed to begin a motorcycle ride across the United States to benefit the American Legion. There were all sorts of issues that came up, the bike not being ready, then when it did arrive late, it didn’t work, and then finally having to rent a Harley instead.   He also said it was amazing to be standing there on Saturday to discuss work he’d done 50 years earlier, but it was also a bit embarrassing as he was so handsome back then and now people don’t even recognize him.  Surely he must’ve been joking.  Who didn’t recognize William Shatner?

Afterwards, he took questions from the audience, some of which I don’t remember but there were some funny highlights such as when someone asked him whether he’d ever asked any of his co-stars what they thought on a certain topic, he replied, “If I was going to ask my co-stars anything it would be why do you hate me.”  At the age of 85, he still doesn’t know? That gave us all a good laugh.

He was also asked about whether his career with Star Trek had afforded him the opportunity to meet and interact with the greatest minds in science.  In response, he told us about a meeting he’d had with Stephen Hawking, who had to use a special machinery to speak.  Mr. Hawking’s favorite Star Trek episodes were those that featured black holes.  Despite the length of time necessary to speak through the machinery, Shatner said they had an interesting conversation about physics and Star Trek.

Towards the end of Mr. Shatner’s time on stage, an attendee asked William Shatner what makes him feel young.  His answer was his busy schedule and then (jokingly) his wife.  He has book that will be released in October (Zero-G), he’s on the TV show Better Late Than Never, is working on a documentary, and making appearances outside of the US on a regular basis.  He has a busier schedule than I do at the age of 39!

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After his panel discussion was over, he sang the winning entry of the lyric contest along with a live band … and Supernatural actor Misha Collins!  The Supernatural convention was happening just a few blocks away and either Creation Entertainment set this up, or Misha Collins is a Trekkie and/or friend of Shatner’s. I realized later that Collins was the last person to ask him a question from the audience – no wonder the question sounded so bogus and confused Star Trek and Star Wars!!!!

Immediately following this musical performance, was the costume contest!  One of my favorite parts of any convention.  My favorite costumes are below:

 

The children were, of course, my favorite.  Look at that little Klingon and little Deanna Troi!  All of the children were winners.  Nautical Data won first place, as the female cosplayer portraying him should have!  The Gorn and the Vulcan High Priestess were among my favorites, as well.  But, all those I photographed did a great job with their costume and makeup!

After a lunch break, I visited Marina Sirti’s booth where I learned that Pride and Prejudice is her favorite novel and that Harry Potter isn’t a good answer for your best novel. After complaining that I was making her feel old, I pointed out her skin looked fabulous and that at 39 I had sun damage all across my face.  She had none!  She then told me how to reverse the damage.  I’M NOT GOING TO SHARE THE SECRET. I SHALL BE HAWT AND SEXY LIKE MARINA AND YOU WON’T.  Anyway then, I returned to the convention to see Gates McFadden on stage.  The live band started playing ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana and to my delight (and most everyone else’s) Gates entered the stage and rocked out to the entire song!  I’d already known Gates was a huge Rage Against the Machine fan but it appears she’s also a big Nirvana fan.  This made me smile beyond comprehension, really.

As she took the microphone, she seemed to remember smartphone technology and admonished everyone that she hoped not to see this on Twitter should she come to regret it so I will not post any of the still photos of her dancing.  However, here are some other images of her below for you to enjoy.

Is it just me or is she still a stunning lady?

Gates had a bevvy of questions from the audience and I learned some quite interesting things.  She was the choreographer of the movie Labyrinth and Henson had quite a long and chaotic interview process for her before she got that position.  She jokingly said that she got to meet Kermit the Frog and really like him as he was a good listener. She spoke briefly about David Bowie and her impressions of him from working with him on that film.

When she was cast on Star Trek: The Next Generation, they tried to make her look older for the part of Dr. Crusher so that she would look closer to the same age as Patrick Stewart.  She was adamant that Dr. Crusher should be portrayed as a full character, not just a two dimensional supporting role.  She had nothing to say but wonderful things about her fake son, Wil Wheaton and how amazed she was at his talent, even having seen Stand By Me, prior to his being cast in the role of Wesley Crusher.

While on stage, she also referenced those she had met, including librarians and I was so pleased because I knew I was one of them.  She said it’s an amazing feeling to have served as a role model to young women and to have them come here to visit here and tell her that.

When asked what her favorite episodes were, she mentioned The Host, because it really questioned what it means to love another person and how we need to break barriers in our acceptance of other’s love.  This was one of the highlight moments of her time on stage for me personally, as TNG on numerous occasions had broached the topic of bisexuality, homosexuality, and transgender issues and this episode was definitely one of those.  As a major LGBTQ ally, hearing her speak on this issue, even obliquely was giving a nod to all those in the audience who valued the message of Star Trek and felt it was a safe place for them.

After she left the stage, I waited for my autograph by William Shatner.  I’d brought the book Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man for him to sign.  And, here is my confession, I’ve not been a big fan of William Shatner’s.  I’ve always thought his post-Star Trek work was quite funny and while he was on stage, he definitely knew how to get laughs.  However, I’ve heard a couple of his co-stars say the things he did on set and it always bothered me.  That’s why I decided to have him sign that book.  You see, I dearly love Leonard Nimoy and since he’s written this book about his friendship with Leonard, I thought it a wonderful homage to both of them that he should sign it.  I was very pleased when I got my autograph and the genuine smile that Mr. Shatner gave me may have slightly lessened my opinions of him.  Thank you, Mr. Shatner.

The last event of the night was Klingon Karaoke.  I ran to dinner so that I could make it back in time.  There isn’t much to say about Klingon Karaoke other than it was a hoot to see people in costumes dancing to others singing – especially the Klingons.  I got up for only one song – Stand By Me – with a couple of con friends.   By the time I got back to the hotel room, I was exhausted.

Coming Soon….the convention report for the final day.

-The McNabbist

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Star Trek Mission Chicago – 50th Anniversary Report, Part 1 (Thursday and Friday)

From Thursday evening through Sunday late afternoon, I was in Chicago to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of my favorite franchise – Star Trek.  To see the full lineup, visit here.  This report isn’t meant to challenge anyone else’s views of the franchise, the actors, or politics; it is simply an honest report of my experience and the things that I enjoyed.

I bought my Silver Weekend Package months in advance.  I shouldn’t have gone as I had a trip planned to Peru for May-June 2016 and really couldn’t afford both.  But, after viewing the list of special guests, I had to go!

I arrived in Chicago at 7:30pm on Thursday evening.  I organized my hotel room and rested for a bit before I visited convention registration to got my badges.  The vendors that had arrived were open for a preview and purchasing.  I went ahead and purchased images for those whose my Silver Weekend Package gave me for free, as I didn’t have images of them already to sign (except William Shatner).  Those are Nana Visitor (Kira, DS9), Casey Biggs, Vaughn Armstrong (Admiral Forrest, Enterprise), and Jeffrey Combs (Shran of Enterprise and Wayoun and Brunt of DS9).  I also picked up an event schedule.  I returned to my hotel room and planned out my coming days at the convention; which panels to see, when to get my photo ops, and when to eat meals.  While doing so, I watched Star Trek: First Contact, a TNG movie I’d not seen in quite some time.  And, to celebrate International Literacy Day, I began reading The Entropy Effect by McIntyre*.

Friday is when the convention action really got underway.  It is no surprise to those that know me that I slept in too late.  I arrived just in time to see the Armin Shimerman (Quark, DS9) panel.  A live band opened for Armin Shimerman, playing a Tears for Fears song, which was really unexpected.  This was the first Star Trek convention that opened for all of their major guests with a live band performing.  Most of his discussion was crowd-led since he took questions from almost the beginning.  Among the things I learned during his talk were that he was a fan of Star Trek: The Original Series so landing a role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was like a dream for him; he felt he’d won the lottery.

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He recounted when he and his and his DS9 cast mates went to the theater together to see the Star Trek parody film Galaxy Quest.  Many of the other people in the theater recognized the cast and he and other cast mates noticed regularly that many people looked at them throughout the movie to see their reactions.   He says this is one of his most favorite films!

The most interesting tidbits I learned in his discussion, are that the Ferengi were meant to replace the Klingons for the TNG universe as the evil, warrior-like foes.  He starred in an episode of TNG that first introduced us to this alien race.  He blames a low budget and his own representation of the Ferengi for the redefining of the Ferengi culture as we knew it in Deep Space Nine.  The second interesting tidbit was that Deep Space Nine was based on the contemporary Serbian/Bosnian conflict, which is why it has a darker tone than the previous Star Trek series.

He spoke at length about his love of Shakespeare and his stage work.  These comments  sparked my favorite audience question throughout the whole weekend: “As a theater actor would you agree that Shakespeare is better in the original Klingon?”  This got a really big laugh from everyone in the audience.  He admits, he’s never read Shakespeare in Klingon.

After Shimerman left the stage, Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong took the stage.  They clearly are on stage together quite often as they had a natural rapport and played off each other’s jokes quite well.  There was a little less content to this particular panel; however, they did play some parody Star Trek songs they’d created together.  Photos below!

After their panel, I walked around and did a bit of browsing in the vendors’ area trying to determine which items to purchase.  Always a tough task as almost everything was awesome.  I came prepared and had brought with me an organized list of all of the collectibles and comic books that I already owned so I’d not accidentally buy dupes.

Afterwards, I went to on Friday was the Yes/No Trivia Game.  I was too scared to go up knowing that there were people here that knew way more about Star Trek than me.  While I am quite a Trekkie, I don’t bother to memorize episode names and minute details.  However, while there, I found my favorite cosplayer of the weekend – Nautical Data from Star Trek Generations.

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After lunch, I went to the Nana Visitor (Kira, DS9) and Rene Auberjonois (Odo, DS9) panel. A favorite questions by the audience were questions about the relationship between their characters.  They began discussing romantic scenes between the two of them and she was commenting on how talented Rene was and ended with this following comment:

(To Rene Auberjonois) “You had this romance scene where you were a mist and we made love. You were great.”

One of my favorite comments by Nana was that she felt it was very important to show non-romantic relationships between men and women on television.  As a tomboy, I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment!

Rene reminisced about being cast in The Patriot along with Mel Gibson and spoke briefly about Heath Ledger and how his death was such a loss.  He also talked about his support of Doctors Without Borders after a question from the audience, saying he thinks they do great work and a lot of the convention money he gets goes to them.

Is it just me or is Nana still stunning?

The last discussion that I attended was the Leonard Nimoy Presentation by Richard Arnold, a personal assistant to Gene Roddenberry and who starred in minor roles in various movies and series.  It was a photographic history of Leonard throughout his life with brief commentary.  I’m including what I feel are the best photos from that presentation for your enjoyment.

Among the information that I learned about Leonard Nimoy in this presentation is that he received numerous death threats while filming TOS because he was Jewish and it was for this reason, that he delayed so long in going to Germany for conventions.  He eventually overcame this fear and had a great time at Star Trek conventions in Germany.  Also, in the first season, he only made 1/4 the salary that William Shatner did and he refused to return for the second season unless his salary was increased.

After getting autographs from Vaughn Armstrong, Casey Biggs, Jeffrey Combs, and Nana Visitor, I returned to my room and watched 50 Years of Star Trek, a special on the History Channel, and read Planet of the Apes (Boom Studios), Volume 1.

– The McNabbist

Coming soon, Part 2 of this report (covering Saturday of the convention).

*See a previous post on this blog’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary, which includes an online reading club!

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Essential Star Trek Novels Reading Club for 50th Anniversary!

 

In honor of one of my favorite franchises, I’d like to announce the Essential Star Trek Novels Reading Club Fall 2016-Spring 2017 which I’m launching in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.

The selections for this book club reading list are based on the io9 article “Essential Star Trek Novels That Even Non-Trekkers Should Read“.  Since I’d not read most of them despite being an avid Trekkie, I decided this was a challenge I should accept.  Who will join me on this accursed mission?  The meetings will take place online via Google Hangouts, so respond with your user name :).

Some of these titles will be available as either print and/or ebooks from your local library, but not all of them.  Plan time to stalk Half Price Books and other used bookstores for copies of some of these titles.

September 28, 2016 @ 9pm: Planet of Judgement by Joe Haldeman 

October 2016: The Entropy Effect by Vonda M. McIntyre

November: The Final Reflection by John M. Ford

December 2016: My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane

January 2017: Prime Directive by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

February 2017: Enterprise: The First Adventure by Vonda M. McIntyre

March 2017: Imzadi by Peter David

April 2017: The Captain’s Daughter by Peter David

If you’re interested in participating, reply to this blog post and I’ll give you deets closer to the date!

Live Long and Prosper, Friends

-The McNabbist

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