May/June 2021 Activity.

Here is a bit of the activities for the past few months:

Book:

Finished reading Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files #17: Battle Ground. – 8/10

Film:

Joker (Netflix) – good origin story. 8/10

TV/streaming:

Finished Upload, season 1. Good fun – 7/10

Finished The 100, season 6 – 7/10

Up-to date (end of June) with:

Legends of Tomorrow(Netflix), S6, Batwoman(HBO), S02, Superman & Lois (HBO) S01

Other activities, especially outdoor (summer) activities have taken precedence, and will do for a while yet.

March Activity.

March has been a scifi-low month. Other activities have had higher priority.

One book read: Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Peace Talks.

Since the vaccination has reached maximum protection I may re-start some video meetings soon. That depends on the vaccination status of the few people I intend to meet.

COVID-19 Vaccine.

3 weeks ago I got the first dose of the Pfizer/Biontek vaccine. Very little of “side” effects, in the form of some fatigue and a bit of fever the first few days, nothing unexpected.

Today I received the second dose. No adverse effects detected till now, but there is a day or two to see if it arises.

So in about two weeks I should be fairly well protected from getting seriously ill with COVID, for the original version, that is. With the mutated strains there is less protection, but I should be mostly OK.

Science has created this in record time, that last vaccine before this was 5 years under way. This one was done and approved in less than a year, I consider it a little scientific miracle.

I am well aware that, if not for my own protection, then for the protection of others, I should not change behaviour much in the coming time, and at least follow the guidelines/rules.

In essence I have been sheltering at home for over a year, and even though I do fine alone (more than enough to do), I miss the social interactions I have done. But patience will get me through this, too. I know that many people are much worse off than I am, and I wish to do my part in avoiding the spread of the virus.

So physical distance, face mask when indoors with other people, especially unvaccinated, hand hygiene is the order of the day. Meeting others outdoors whenever possible, either for a “garden meeting” or for a “walk and talk”.

With this I wish you all good health, and may we soon return to a semblance of normal (looks a bit difficult in mainland Europe right now, Very low vaccination rates and new variants of concern).

 

Update. 3 days have passed, and nothing to write home about regarding side effects of the vaccine. “Smooth sailing”.

Watched January – February 2021.

Not a massive amount watched , but here we go.

TV/Streaming series:
Sense8, season 2 (Netflix) (re-watch)
The Expanse (Amazon Prime Video) (re-started due to not remembering enough):
Season 1 – 5, very good 8/10 overall, this may change on a re-watch.
Cobra Kai, seasons 1, 2, 3. Good fun and some very good moments, 7/10

Films:
Jupiter Ascending (Wachowskis) – 8/10

Interstellar 9/10 – I like the philosophical aspects. Also the use of family communication made me think of Contact, and also a bit of Babylon 5.

Starting (part re-watch of) Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Iron Man 7/10

 

The Expanse TV Series

A few years ago I started watching The Expanse on Netflix, then it was moved to Amazon. Unfortunately Amazon (Prime/Video) was not available in Denmark at that time, so I only got to watch a bit of the series.

Now I do have access to Amazon Prime, so it is time to revisit The Expanse.

Because I had forgotten large parts of the story, I started all over again. That is a good move, I think, because even if I recall some stuff, I can enjoy what I (re-)discover in the series.

Another reason is that at the latest Fedcon in 2019 we had a string of star guests from The expanse, whetting the appetite for the series when it became available.

Many have compared The Expanse to my favourite story on TV, Babylon 5, so I am looking forward to diving deeper into the story. It just might have the same re-watchability.

Until now I have watched seasons 1 to 5, and I am enjoying it very much. Excellent story telling and beautiful visuals.

A final season 6 has been announced, here is to hoping that it will be up to expectations.

Memories: Early Science Fiction I Was Exposed To. Tintin.

Some of the first science fiction I read was actually a set of comic books: The series of “Adventures of Tintin”.

OK, some of it is just general earthly adventures of a young journalist man in different parts of the world. Hergé (real name George Remi) started creating the stories of Tintin in 1929 as a strip in the conservative Catholic newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle.

Later he had a series of albums, or graphic novels, as we now call them, beginning in black-and-white with the story “Tintin in the Land of the Soviets”. This exists, as far as I know in an album, but I have not found that one.

Some stories, like The Seven Crystal Balls/Prisoners of the Sun (1943 – 1949) have a more fantasy/mythical theme, but the solution to their last problem is quite scientific.

The Destination Moon/Explorers on the Moon (1950 – 1956) is actually science fiction, well, it was written before the space age started in October 1957, and long before the first moon landing in 1969.

Let’s face it. The stories are not complex, but fun adventures with some humour interspersed. Especially, some of the names of the characters are quite funny.

A fun little story I experienced. In 1991 a group of Hergé fans made a rather large exhibition of Hergé’s work, in the town of Welkenraedt in the Western part of Belgium, including building some models from some Tintin stories. The first one I recall very well was a model of the top of the rocket used to go to the moon, with quarters etc.

The second one was quite ingenious. You could walk in the cave in where Tintin found his friend Chang (Tintin in Tibet), but when you followed it to the end of the tunnel you were suddenly standing in the same place as Tintin in the drawings of another story, and just like Tintin in the story, I just stood there saying “The Blue Lotus!” Going there was, of course, a bit like going to a convention, meeting lots of other fans of Hergé.

One more thing: When I moved to The Netherlands to live for some years, I wanted to learn the language as fast as possible. Given that most Dutch people speak English quite well, and are proud of it, that way proved more tricky. Fortunately, I did find a Dutch colleague with one of the same interests, and we agreed that after a year we would speak Dutch only. I did. The other thing I did was finding some comic books (yes also Tintin) to read in Dutch. Yes, I will use every trick in the book, or sometimes outside the book if I want to learn a new language.

This is one of my first adventures in science fiction, I think there will be more.

Watched May – December 2020.

Even while being in isolation, more or less, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not a great amount of TV series or films have been watched. Other activities, such as some electronics building projects, have taken some of the time, so here is the list:

TV/streaming series:
Better Than Us (Netflix), season 1, 8/10
Star Trek: Picard (Netflix), season 1, 8/10
Agents of SHIELD, season 2, 7/10
Good Omens, season 1 (Amazon), 8/10
The Umbrella Academy, season 2, 7/10
Agents of SHIELD, season 3, 8/10
Dark, seasons 1,2,3 (Netflix) 8/10
Star Trek: Discovery, season 3 8/10
The Flash, season 6 up to episode 19 Season finale?
Sense8, season 1 re-watch

Films:
All the Harry potter movies, from
– Philosopher’s Stone – to – Deathly Hallows. I had seen most of them, but not Deathly Hallows It was good to revisit this universe.

At Christmas I got 2 books in the Dresden Files series, and I should find time to read them, too.
The graphic novel “The Resistance”, vol. 1 written by Straczynski came in. I had seen the separate issues online, but still need to read the story as a whole some time soon. There is a second series on the way, and I am looking forward to see that.

I just started watching “The Expanse”. I had seen a few seasons on Netflix when it was available there, but because Amazon Prime was not yet available until lately, I had not seen recent seasons. Also, I did not have the story present in memory, therefore starting all over again. What I have now (re-)watched is better than I remembered, so I am looking forward to watching more.

Not too much news, but I expect to be a bit more active on the blog this year.

Watching Activity January to April, 2020

This year has been crazy.

I managed to go to a single convention before our lives were turned upside-down by the COVID-19 pandemic. I expect to be more or less isolated, at least until the end of this year, as I am in the group with higher risk of complications if I catch the virus.

During the isolation I had expected to watch more films and TV series, but following the news and building some electronics projects has taken more time than I expected. Here is the list for January to April 2020:

TV series:

Re-watch of Sense8. As always, excellent.

DC: Arrow, seasons 6 and 7. Pretty good. 8/10

DC: Titans, season 2. 7/10

Forbrydelsen (English title: The Killing, Danish crime drama) Season 1. 8/10

DC: Crisis on Infinite Earths, This year’s cross over mini series. I liked it. 8/10

Matador (Danish drama series from the late 70s, early 80s) (English title: Monopoly (as the board game)) Very good. 9/10

DC: Black Lightning, Season 3. I like it a lot. 8/10

Kingdom (Korean SF/Netflix) season 2. Good story. 8/10

Re-watch of Babylon 5, seasons 1, 2 and 3. As always excellent. 9/10

Film:

Marvel: Venom

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. 8/10

That’s it. Maybe I will get to read/watch etc some Hugo Award nominees.

I am glad that J. Michael Straczynski’s autobiography “Becoming Superman” was nominated. It was a stunning read, even if I knew some details.

Scifi and the Corona Virus.

The western world is closing down, for a while.

The Corona virus crisis has hit us all.

As someone in the rather vulnerable group I have, essentially been in isolation for a week now. Not quite, because this week I had appointments at the hospital for a blood test and subsequent CT-scan, as part of the follow-up on a cancer I had treated – successfully – in 2018.

Since I was out, I did go to the pharmacy, too, just to get supplies of medicine I have been using regularly, especially a means to reduce the effects of pollen allergies.

This crisis may take longer than we might expect. For me, at least, I will hesitate to venture much out into the world (or even in my own country), until we have seen and tested a successful treatment or a vaccine is available.

What does that mean to me? I am fortunate enough to have retired, so there is no **need** to go out much. I can get food supplies and other necessities delivered to my door. Even then, I should be careful not to be infected from the delivery people. The most essential company has already made more cautious procedures in that respect.

Here is the thing for me. I am generally used to living on my own, and have not gone out among people a lot. Yes, sometimes I have gone for a larger event, but that is all on hold now.

Well, there is enough to keep me occupied. I have a large collection of books, audios and videos, that are unread/un-watched/un-listened-to.

With a garden that needs at least a minimum of tending there is more to do.

One other interest that is good in my isolated situation is access to social media and other information on the Internet, and my interest in building electronic circuits. Yes, I am into amateur radio, have been for over 50 years, and that also gives some nice social contacts. Even before this crisis I have had more than enough to do.

So if I can avoid getting infected I will get through that crisis. Others may not be so fortunate.

To everyone in doubt: If you are an essential part of health care and other necessary functions, take all possible precautions to stay healthy. Many others should be working from home, if at all possible, and so help reducing the spread of the virus. Those of us who are vulnerable due to age or previous sickness, stay home if at all possible, and help in any way you can, those who need it.

We will all need to stand together (with a distance) to get through this. If we do, most of us will be there on the other side, if not, we will see much fewer people succeeding.

Further, after some days with only bad news, I am now starting to see some better news on this situation. Sometimes simple things like people assisting as possible, up to the first human tests of possible treatments or vaccines. One example was that someone had made an open-source version of a simple ventilator for the worst hit patients, capable of being made with a 3D printer. We will need everyone who has skills to alleviate the problems ahead of us.

I am therefore cautiously optimistic.

Next post will hopefully be more related to the main theme of this blog, but I am sure there will be updates in between posts.

 

So now I wish you all good health and hope you will get over this crisis in a good way, and thank you for your patience.