Tuesday, 30 April 2013

My Trekkie Experience

Since I was little I have seen and heard Star Trek referenced in a lot of books and movies. It has also been mentioned quite a lot in The Big Bang Theory. I understand a few of the mentions, like "Live Long and Prosper" the Vulcan greeting. I had also watched a few random shows when the show was airing on Star World a while back. I've always wanted to watch the complete series as I am a Sci-Fi junkie.

The first Star Trek I watched was Star Trek : Voyager. This show aired after Star Trek : The Next Generation had already been off air for a few years, even though they were from the same timelines. I still remember that this was aired on the Hallmark Channel in India. I absolutely LOVED the show.

The idea that a Starship that has been flung to the other side of the galaxy along with a smaller vessel full of rebels and has to work together to get back home, was great to me. I mean the potential of the story was amazing. And in my eyes Voyager lived up to it. I was unable to finish watching Voyager as the Hallmark Channel was discontinued by my cable operator. I have always wanted to obtain a copy of the series and finish it. Because by then I had come to love the characters (Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, B'lenna, Tom Paris, Harry and of course Neelix and the Doctor).

Just last month a very good friend of mine, Aashith forwarded a link to me. Hulu was streaming the whole Star Trek Franchise for free for a whole week. As you may already know Hulu cannot be accessed from India. But Aashith also found me a way to circumvent the problem. So I started watching Star Trek : The Next Generation. I also started to download the series simultaneously as there was no way a week was enough time to watch it on Hulu in a week. This also prompted me to do the same with Voyager. So now I have all episodes of both The Next Generation and Voyager.

I set out to watch The Next Generation (TNG) & Voyager. There are a few similarities between the two in the sense that TNG has an Android Data who is trying to learn to be more human and Voyager has the Doctor. TNG has Guinan and Voyager, Neelix. Deanna Troi in TNG and Kes in the first few seasons of Voyager. Even though they are the same they were quite different. In case of Data, he could still not achieve the level of humanity he yearned for, couldn't feel emotion. In the Doctor's case he was perfectly happy being the Emergency Medical Hologram in the beginning. But unlike Data the Doctor could add different personalities to his Holo Program and was even able to fall in love. There are similar divergences from the basic stock of characters in the 2 series. That is what makes these series so great to watch.

There might be people (some of them my own friends) who might think this show is just about people flying in spaceships encountering aliens. These shows are so much more than that. If only people would let go of that misconceptions. Ironically this show helps us in that. The show handles a lot of hard hitting issues.

I still haven't finished watching the complete seasons of both Voyager and TNG. Once I do I plan on watching Deep Space 9 next and maybe even watch the original with Shatner in it.i can finally understand the jokes, quotes and obscure references made in many movies/books/series. And I am also evolving in to a pretty good nerd even though I say so myself. But my Trekkie fandom is a fandom of one. At least when it comes to LOTR I have a few friends who love it as much as I do, but there is no one (so far) with whom I can share my love of Star Trek with.

Now that I am watching so much Star Trek I might start making references to it in my conversations with my friends which they might not understand. This leaves me with no choice. Even though I do not like the Borg I would have to take a page from their book and assimilate my friends so that they enjoy Star trek as much as I do. All that's left to say is "Live long and Prosper"

Friday, 26 April 2013

Random Thoughts

If anyone ever reads my blogs (which I doubt) you will know that I love to read and also watch movies and TV series. Though at this point in my life I watch a lot of movies and series, I still love reading books more than anything else. I do not read non-fiction much (actually none at all). Though I have read the biography of Che Guevara and Mein Kampf (this was when I was very young so I never finished reading Mein Kampf). I just cannot bring myself to read non-fiction. It doesn't excite my imagination as much. And that is what I read for. The images that a book conjures up in my mind.

When I read a book, not only do I imagine the world in my mind but also picture myself in the world created by the author. There are those that say that one day we'll have technology that will make us live through the stories in the books, like the Holo-Novels in Star Trek. But I already experience that now with my mind. I am sometimes just a spectator in the world of the book or I am sometimes one of the characters in the book. It could be the lead or even one of the secondary characters if I think their personality is like what I'd like to think of my own. I mean what is the point in choosing to be a character that you already are? Doesn't it just defeat the purpose of our imagination? Also who would even know when it's all in your mind...

The only way I curb my reading is by differentiating between Fiction & Non-Fiction. Which still leaves me with an unlimited number of books that could catch my fancy. I read almost every sub-genre of Fiction, be it, Crime, Thriller, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, and many more. I don't know if everybody does this or if it's only me but I start to wonder what would happen if the characters or story-lines of a few books got crossed or mixed. I start making up my own story in my head. It isn't all made up by me. I use elements of both or more worlds that I take the characters from.

My favorite book is Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. I love almost all of the characters in that book. So it is painful for me to let go of the characters after a series is done. So I keep them alive in my mind by bringing them into the world of another book that I love or am finding interesting at any given time. Another magic system that I found had a lot of potential was that created by Paolini. I was fascinated by the relationship dynamics between a Rider and his/her dragon. So I imagine what it would be like if the worlds of Paolini, Tolkien, Robert Jordan (most fantasy novels based in a world or time different than our own) collided with our own world? I could never find a good example to explain to people but I imagine these characters as something like the Q from the Star Trek Franchise. They travel through time and space and dimensions. So do these characters. Though they are better people than the Q we know from Star Trek. I imagine them as the "Q-Jedi" of all dimensions. They uphold justice.

You could call it Fan fiction on a bigger scale as it doesn't just encompass one story or two. But I guess I will not be able to pen it down for 2 major reasons. 1) It would probably be plagiarism as I would be taking elements from a lot of books from different authors. 2) This is the most important reason - I suck at writing. I wouldn't even know where to start. or the technicalities of writing. So all of this will remain a product of my imagination and never get translated into any writings. I will still enjoy my musings on what would happen if Aragorn were alive in this day and age. What if the world of Wizards and Witches  as portrayed in Harry Potter were combined with the world created in Twilight?

I know I sound like a loon. And a little weird (OK maybe a lot weird). But sometimes when I'm sad or even bored I just go in to these worlds that I have created for myself and when I get back to reality, reality is that much easier to handle. Don't misunderstand, I have friends. Goofy friends who are weird, though maybe not as weird as me. But sometimes it's just not possible to dump on a friend. So I think what would Legolas have done? Or Arya? Or Vin? And that just gives me the courage to face whatever it is life throws at me.

All I'm saying is I love books and I'm weird in a way that I create worlds in my head to keep enjoying the books that I love. If there is anyone out there who does the same thing or at least something similar please drop a line to me. I'd like to know I'm not alone or the only one who is like this.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Movie Review : The Croods

I went to watch The Croods over the weekend with a friend. I went in to the movie thinking of just relaxing and enjoying the movie. I was pleasantly surprised when I started actively having fun. I haven't enjoyed an animated movie like this since the "Ice Age" series.

It was the same old spiel of the baby leaving the nest and the father feeling insecure about it but t was shown in a slightly different way. My favorite character in the movie was "Belt". Even though he had no dialogues he was such a great character.

This is a great movie to watch with friends & family. I would give this movie a 3.5/5.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

My Birthday Haul This Year

I have great friends. They know that the best gifts that I could ever get are books. I want to thank all of them.

These are the books that they have given me.
This was gifted to me by my colleagues. They know my love of books but did not know that I have not read the first part of this series or have the books. But it has turned out to be a good thing as it gives me an excuse to get the rest of the books.

I have already read this book but I didn't have a physical copy. For this I thank Vikrant.

My father is as avid a reader as I am. He has a huge collection of Books & Comics. One of them is the Calvin & Hobbes collection. My friend Ankur was lucky to have xhosen the 2 that we didn't have back home :)

I love the LOTR series and connected books. I tend to read LOTR at least once a year (if not more). I already have the 3 books along with The Hobbit and Silmarillion. The person who got this should have known that. But he still got this for me because this is the 75th Anniversary special of The Hobbit. So he has made a proper LOTR Geek out of me with a copy to read and another to Keep on the shelf :P Thank You Aashith.

I recently discovered the works of Brandon Sanderson. I really loved the Final Empire, and have said so in an entry on this blog. I also went on to read The Emperor's Soul and Legion. I like the worlds he has created. So this is a great gift from my sister Babbi. I get to read it in a book form and not online.

I discovered Manga quite accidentally. But I have been reading a lot of it in recent times. And Akira is one of my favorite Mangas. I gifted myself the 1st volume. The rest were given to be by Ashish and and my best friend Chaitra. Because of them I now have the whole Akira collection. I now plan on acquiring another Manga collection. Probably Monster.

This years birthday was the best in terms of my gifts. I want to thank all my friends for the love they have shown.