Flight of the V-Wing

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The Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighter, often simply known as the V-wing starfighter or Nimbus fighter, was a short-ranged starfighter deployed late in the Clone Wars by the Galactic Republic. V-wings were later succeeded by the Imperial TIE Fighter and the Rebel A-wing interceptor, all of which incorporated aspects of the V-wing into their designs.

When I was a child, the A-Wing starfighter was my favourite. No real idea why - the X-Wing was more central to the heroes of the trilogy, and the B-Wing, let’s face it, is far and away the more badass design. But A-Wings just made a kind of weird sense to me - squat, purposeful, and an A-Wing kamikaze strike took out the Super Star Destroyer - and in the prequel era I spent a lot of time (and money, of course) tracing the A-Wing design back down through its design DNA, to the Republic era.

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Untitled

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8:49 a.m. The air cooled significantly overnight and I woke to a morning grey and placid. Last night I killed a monstrous spider who had made the verandah his home and was systematically coating it in thick, stringy webs; webs so thick they pulled against you, and made their crinkling noise, and snapped in your hand like birthday ribbons. I doused the spider – fat, arrogant, bottle-brown – in RAID and watched him scurry away before tearing down all his cathedrals. This morning, I climbed the steps to the cottage to find the verandah overrun – by mayflies, mosquitoes, and all other things. The king of the spiders was dead. A new king had set up shop on the tent house, as I found when I emerged, entombing the door in his traps, and shrinkwrapping the rest in arch after arch of his finest filigree. I haven’t found him yet.

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Watched: The batshit insanity of Hemlock Grove, Season 1

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OK, so define a “good” show. I know, I know, we don’t truck with that kind of talk around here. But even in the annals of subjectivity and whimsical pleasures and not needing movies to be good, Hemlock Grove is a bad fucking show. Like, really bad. Like super awful holy-shit-was-this-written-by-12-year-olds bad.

And yet. And yet.

I guess I don’t need TV shows to be good, either. Hemlock Grove's first season really does feel like it was written in crayon on the back of an 8th-grader's paper bag lunch, and is so slapdash in its execution that if you told me a bunch of film students made it on a weekend in Thunder Bay with whatever they had lying around, I'd believe you. (There is a key wig in the last three episodes that looks, without hyperbole, like it was bought at Shoppers Drug Mart four days after Hallowe'en.)

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The Terror of Titles

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Everything begins with a title, or at least, it does for me; while I certainly can draft something without a title in place, it never feels right, like climbing through the kitchen window when I’ve locked my keys in the house. Sometimes the practice gets away from me. I’ve thought up some hum-dinger titles for Destroy All Monsters over the past year and have discovered (usually about exactly an hour past too-late on the night before the column is due) that there’s no “there” there, when I’ve gone to try and write the thing. (And this, probably, after a week or two of thinking to myself, “don’t worry about the column, I’ve got the column,” thanks to my too-clever title.)

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Blogging the Next Generation returns! ST:TNG:6x01: Time’s Arrow, Part II

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“MISTER PICKERD. I’ll be reminding you that it’s one o’clock.”

[Majel Barrett Computer Voice] Last time, on Blogging the Next Generation… I was working my way through the complete Star Trek: The Next Generation on blu-ray when the braintrust at CBS Home Video gummed up the works completely by delaying the release of the series’ sixth season by about half a year. Now, at last, they’ve got on with it (though no sign, yet, of a release date for Season Seven, so who knows when we’ll finally be given the opportunity to complete this trek through the stars) and our rewatch continues as we rejoin our heroes in mid-cliffhanger, lost in the 19th century…[/Majel Barrett Computer Voice]

So – let’s see if I still remember how to do this. What began as a thrilling and nostalgic trip back into just how sharp Star Trek: The Next Generation actually was in its early years, has long since become a process of caretaking a descent into blandness that overcame not just Next Gen, but all of Star Trek following (approximately) the start of TNG’s fifth season.

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The King of Dreams

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The very first thing I did, ever, was read Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, issues 1-75, in my grandfather’s rocking chair at the cottage, without ever getting up, sometime around about the end of 2002. This isn’t actually true of course; it wasn’t the first thing I did (by a longshot), and I’m fairly sure I’d read at least the first dozen issues before I got to the cottage, and I have no frickin’ idea what year this happened in. But longtime tederick.com readers may recall that, at some point in my funnybook apprenticeship shortly after the turn of the century, Matty Price handed me a stack of Sandman and said: “Yes boy, you’re ready.”

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Watched: Monster’s Ball; Hannah and Her Sisters; The Fall

There are actors for whom one simply has no use, and for me Halle Berry has always been one; these performers can usually be identified because there’s always one performance that I absolutely adore, an exception that proves the rule. With Berry, Cloud Atlas seemed to fulfill that requirement, but having now watched Monster’s Ball I have to re-examine the whole set of assumptions, because there’s no denying that she is bloody phenomenal in that movie, and as is often the case when an actor really impresses me, I sort of want to watch everything they’ve done all of a sudden. If 2014 has been calling upon me to consider the function of empathy in cinema (and television, per last week’s DAM), Monster’s Ball functions almost entirely because of the sophistication of its empathetic interplay between Berry and Billy Bob Thornton, both of whom have complete, independent story arcs which only – as if by pure happenstance – intersect.

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Watched: Game of Thrones Season 4

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Game of Thrones continues to vault upwards, season by season, and its fourth (just completed) has been its best yet. If the season’s ninth episode (traditionally the placeholder slot for the major fireworks) was a bit of a dud thanks to the visual boredom of a nighttime fight at the Wall, the season’s finale – “The Children” – was a clockwork perfection of bloody payoff to all the capital the season, and the series, has accumulated so far.

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Watched: Remember that time I wrote Edge of Tomorrow?

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Well, I didn’t really; but I kind of did. At least, for about the last seven or ten years I’ve been kicking around an idea for a screenplay (the working title was Again, which would have been changed, All You Need Is Kill style, to Edge of Tomorrow) which was also based on a man in a recurring time loop. More importantly, it was based around the basic video game concept of iterative learning - each time through the loop, the man in question would get better at it, evolving towards superhumanity. By the final act he’d basically be at a MatrixInception level of prowess, and the action set piece (not killing a Brain Bug in my case, but shutting down the time loop itself) was really something. At least, in my head.

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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Patton Oswalt recently announced that he is taking a short-term twitter vacation, and I have to admit, it’s an attractive idea. Part of this is due to simple exhaustion – I’ve taken on two additional twitter accounts beyond my own in the past six months, both work-related, and the gynecologist problem applies (re: I just don’t find them as interesting any more). In addition, spreading social thinking across this many outlets has watered down my own engagement across the board, a situation not helped by the fact that while I’m having increasing trouble pumping content into my regular streams, my two joke accounts seem to be all I can think of these days. The balance feels off. And as I won’t be walking away from my professional commitments anytime soon, it might be a good time to focus on them exclusively, and leave the personal accounts (and the joke accounts) fallow for the summer months.

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