Regeneration

Welcome! My site was due for an update, and, finally, here it is. Many of my older posts did not survive the move, but this was by design. Life depends on change and renewal, and as time marches on, it was time to clear the deck.

A ship called Enterprise

USS Enterprise-A

Inspired by a post on io9, I decided to do my own ranking of the ships bearing the name Enterprise.

Read more…

Doctor Who theme on Pi Zero

This is hands down one of the coolest things I’ve ever been privileged enough to be (very peripherally) involved in the creation of.

Doctor Who and TV culture

This post was written by Josef Kenny. I just made minor alterations for clarity.

Doctor Who is a reflection of the culture in programme-making and showrunning that it originates from. It’s just that the current TV culture is not conducive to good Doctor Who. It can be done, but not with people like Moffat and the current BBC board of directors.

TV now is heavily invested in essentially just making a very long movie that never properly ends. It used to be more like an old-fashioned radio serial, but now it’s like a Hollywood movie. That’s just how TV is. Doctor Who isn’t emotionally-driven, so it suffers, because that’s all people know how to make, and even worse, it’s all people know how to market.

I like Doctor Who because it’s an enigmatic guy who nobody knows anything about, taking people from one time and place to another, and having to solve problems and deal with situations by casting them in either a historical light, or taking current ideas and extrapolating them either into the future or into an alien society different from ours. That’s why I like Doctor Who.

Sure, I like the TARDIS and I love seeing the proper TARDIS prop and howlarounds and Sid Sutton’s rainbow stars, but that’s not what defines Doctor Who, those things are just symbols of it. I like them because of what they suggest and what they represent.

Doctor Who isn’t a bunch of memes sandwiched together with contrived plots and unrealistic peril. It’s an educational TV show where you take people (frequently from Earth) to other places. It’s an adventure, not a drama.

giant shellfish

Developing characters isn’t wrong. It’s not a problem. Most great TV shows and movies are based on it. But Doctor Who isn’t focused on that. The point of it is to expose ideas, not to develop characters over a lasting, overbearing arc.

The point of Doctor Who is that sometimes you get attacked by a giant shellfish.

Why I’m not on Facebook

A friend recently relayed to me something that occurred on Facebook, in which a small argument occurred publicly over something minor. The whole thing was rather trivial, but incidents like this remind me that I have absolutely no interest in reactivating my Facebook profile, and I thought I would take this opportunity to write out why so that I would have something to point people to if they were curious as to why I’m not there.

I was on Facebook from 2006 through 2008, and then again briefly in 2010. Even in 2010 I hardly ever used or checked it, and since closing it again I have had no desire to return. My reasons for disliking the service go beyond the simple privacy concerns inherent with maintaining a Facebook account. The real reason I have no desire to be on there is that I just don’t like having that kind of window into other people’s lives. Going years without Facebook in my life has made me infinitely prefer that my electronic interactions be one-on-one, through more neutral and direct means like email or IM chat, and that’s something I consider to be a very good thing.

I dislike what Facebook represents, and the value that has been placed on it by society. There is an intense social scrutiny attached to Facebook, and I want no part of that. The very foundation of the service involves publicly broadcasting information about your personal life. I dislike that kind of soapbox broadcasting. I love sharing experiences with friends; in fact, I thrive on it more than many people I know. But the value of all of my interactions is drastically reduced the minute they become public knowledge to everyone simultaneously. The value I derive from personal interaction comes from sharing news or experiences one-on-one, and allowing a whole new experience to bloom from that single point of interaction.

I also put a high degree of emphasis on making sure there is a positive experience when I share something with my friends. I put a great deal of thought into where and when we should do something or have a conversation, the form it should take, and how best to maximize the value and enjoyment of that interaction for both parties. I want it to be both fun and meaningful. Broadcasting via Facebook, in my opinion, is neither of those.

I know that I miss out on a lot of things because of this and my circle of “friends” is likely significantly smaller because I’m not on there, but none of that changes the fact that being on Facebook is a compromise I am not willing to make. If people want to know what’s going on with me, I want have a conversation about it. Likewise, I feel incredibly awkward observing the little details that others choose to broadcast. As far as I am concerned, it is an unpleasant and undesirable environment for human interaction, and it’s a world I have no desire to be on either the sending or receiving end of. I feel that the standard of my friendships and the quality of their interactions is higher because they are not part of some larger public pool.

The bottom line is that I would rather have a small group of awesome friends who I can make sure to keep on the same page individually than a large quantity of pseudo-friends whose caring about my experiences extends to a comment on my wall. It is an issue of division of attention, loyalty, and dependability. Without Facebook, I know much better where I stand with people, and that’s not something I want to give up.