Archive for April, 2009

Kindling

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Timely Persuasion is now available on the Amazon Kindle for the low price of $1.99.  (I figure if you shelled out $359 for a Kindle you like to read and deserve cheap content.)

Don’t have a Kindle?  Kindle books can also be read on the iPhone & iPod Touch.

No new bonus lyrical references this time around, though I am kicking myself for not quoting “I never did like it all that much and one day the axe just fell” when the narrator refers to his recent layoff from a dead-end job in Chapter 1.

Even if you already own the paperback it’s still worth checking out to show off to your friends while out and about.  There’s a slick image of the LBDG 8 Track in Chapter 18.  Plus it might help me justify the way too many hours I spent on Kindle specific formatting.  (Props to KreelanWarrior.com for the helpful post on adding a cover image and table of contents.)

And since I don’t like watching anybody make the same mistakes I made, here’s a little tip:  Images resized using the “Preview” application in Mac OS X 10.5 won’t render at all on a Kindle for some reason.  You need to reopen and re-save the file using a different image editing program (I eventually used Seashore) for it to work.  Only took me 3 days to figure that out…

141 Parentheticals

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

(Me, myself, and I actually, but what’s the difference?)

(Thank god their union never resulted in kids!)

(Or knowing I wouldn’t see them but hoping better?)

(I realize now that just because he was old wouldn’t necessarily mean he was handicapped, but that was the first thought that came to mind at the time. Ageism isn’t a quality I’m proud of, but unfortunately it’s there.)

(I was at 158, he at 161)

(And considering my lack of employment, a lot of good that did me.)

(I don’t even know what that means)

(or lack thereof)

(from an acoustic set my roommate had done on my college radio show)

(give or take)

(Driving math and bowling math are closely related.)

(let alone fire)

(The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, The Clash, and The Ramones)

(meeting Huey on the street in 1986)

(Bowlingus and his 270 game)

(Not surprisingly, as I had just walked through yet another wall.)

(Juice boxes? What’s wrong with juice boxes?)

(Including the similar shades of mediocrity post Vs….)

(and to fuel my internal Mr. Fusion)

(Well, obviously I could, but you know what I’m trying to say.)

(finalized on the second leg of the drive, from Eugene to Seattle)

(I should have figured, since that could have been any day.)

(or more accurately not taking control)

(If a tree falls…)

(and the world, for that matter)

(and wanting to verify I still had the power)

(days)

(a known fact counting the old man)

(maybe even me, I still wasn’t certain on the history)

(no effort at all in this case)

(for lack of a better term)

(the elusive better term)

(more…)

15 Years

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Couldn’t let today pass by without at least some sort of acknowledgment.  15 years.  Wow.

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain: Still Missed, By Kurt Loder

Also, here is my related post from 1 year ago today:

Pretending I’m Like Kurt Cobain

Leap Back Convention Recap

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Last weekend I attended The Leap Back 20th Anniversary Quantum Leap Convention.  Having never been to any type of fan convention before I didn’t really know what to expect.  Here are some thoughts:

Highlights:

“A Leap To Di For”
A brand new fan-made episode of the show.  I admit I was a little skeptical about this going in, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.  The story did a good job of following the blueprint of a Season 5 “historical” leap while serving as a potential reboot or revival.  There’s a great scene featuring a blue screen of death that toys with QL mythology quite nicely.  And the guy who played Sam really nailed it right down to speech patterns and mannerisms.  I give it a strong B+ overall.

Time Child
A work in progress Quantum Leap novel by executive producer and head writer Deborah Pratt.  She read 3 or 4 chapters that told the backstory of how Sammy Jo Fuller (Sam’s daughter from the 3 part “Trilogy” episode in the final season) realizes her lineage and strives to restart Project Quantum Leap and bring her father home.  Can’t wait for this to come out as a canonical story right from a primary source.

Somewhere In The Night
The first thing Scott Bakula did upon his arrival was perform this song live on stage with Velton Ray Bunch.  Bakula wrote it for the episode “Piano Man” in the third season.  It was probably the last thing I expected from this convention and thus a pretty cool surprise.  And I’m still kicking myself for not making this a Local Boy tune in TP…

Fan Fiction Contest
I wrote a story for this while taking a break from my new novel Duty Calls.  Came at a perfect time as I wasn’t really feeling the jury story so this gave me a new focus with a deadline.  My submission was shortlisted as a top-10 finalist, but I didn’t win. (Seems I came in at #5 if this list ranks them in order, but I’m not sure.)  Re-reading it a few months later I’m still proud of it which says something, thought I did notice a couple of annoying verb tense errors leftover from a last minute rewrite 🙁

All of the finalists will be published in an e-zine in a few weeks that I’ll link to when it becomes available.

Video Tribute to Dean Stockwell
Sadly, Al had to back out of the convention about a week beforehand for personal reasons.  He did phone in during one of the panels which was nice, but the half hour compilation of his best scenes they put together might have been my favorite part of the whole weekend.  Which is a nice segue into…

Disappointments:

No episode screenings & minimal clips
When the preliminary schedule came out only 3 episode showings were listed.  I was a little surprised since I was expecting a bit of a marathon, but these were 3 good choices (“The Pilot,” “The Leap Back,” and “Mirror Image”) and it made sense to go with the first, the last, and the convention’s namesake.  Throw in some clips with commentary by the wealth of guest stars in attendance (over 50 of them) and it would be a great QL fix.

But for some reason all of these episode screenings ended up being scrapped, presumably for time when panels or auctions ran long.  Aside from the aforementioned “A Leap To Di For” we didn’t see a single episode all weekend.

Clips were also few and far between.  There was a nice tribute to the late Dennis Wolfberg (aka Gooshie) that compiled all of his scenes.  Before each of the 6 guest star panels clips were shown from each actor’s appearance, but these clips were short and on some of the later panels they were not shown at all.  A few times I had to Google actor names on my phone and share the results with people around me when we couldn’t figure out who someone was.

Perhaps my expectations were out of line, but there seemed to be a missed opportunity for more.  For example there were 4 or 5 guests from the episode “Lee Harvey Oswald” present.  Showing that classic ep either in its entirety or as a sequence of highlights interspersed with discussion would have been great!

Even the Stockwell tribute time-traveled around the schedule until fans (especially the ones in my row) were practically begging for it in the closing minutes of the last day.  On one hand I can see how the majority of attendees probably own the DVDs and can watch the episodes whenever they want.  But there’s something to be said about the camaraderie of watching your favorite show amidst hundreds of like-minded fans in one place.  We got that in part during Al’s highlights, but it could have been so much more.

Too Much Non-QL Content
This was probably the part that annoyed me the most, primarily because it underscored the fact that we could have been watching episodes instead.

Sometimes it felt like I was at a Scott Bakula convention rather than a pure Quantum Leap Convention.  Stories and anecdotes often meandered into Star Trek a bit too much for my liking.  (I love Quantum Leap, but I loathe Trek in almost all of its incarnations.)  Even the auction items were at least 40% related to other Bakula projects.

More off-topic content included a presentation on how TV shows are made that revolved around Enterprise (to be fair the guy presenting worked on both shows), a magic show (amusing at times, but the relevency is still a little lost on me aside from a season 3 episode called “The Great Spontini”), and a lengthy video presentation on Deborah Pratt’s new Vision Quest book trilogy (but I’ll give her a pass for her other contributions to the convention).

Nothing was particularly wrong or bad about any of these side events in and of themselves, but because they seemed to take away from time that could have been spent showing episodes or clips they became disappointments.  I wish that the display room had a TV in it showing episodes the whole time as a compromise to my two objections.

Closing Thoughts:

But these quibbles aside, for the most part I enjoyed myself and was glad to have taken the time to reminisce about what was once my favorite show.  It also lead me to have my own Quantum Leap screenings at home to re-watch some of the episodes the panelists starred in for the first time in years.

What has really stuck with me over the last week was something an audience member said before presenting a question to Bakula & Bellisario.  Paraphrasing:

“Quantum Leap was my favorite show when I was 13, and to this day when I find myself in a tough situation I always ask myself ‘What would Sam Beckett do?'”

I hadn’t ever really given it much thought before, but I wonder if subconsciously I’ve done the same thing.  I know Quantum Leap was directly responsible for fueling my time travel obsession and thus was a big factor in the path that brought me to Timely Persuasion.  But was there more to it than that?  Did watching this show religiously at an impressionable age help make me who I am today?  In the words of Al the Bartender:

“The lives you’ve touched, touched others. And those lives, others! You’ve done a lot of good Sam Beckett. And you can do a lot more.”

Maybe there is a little Sam Beckett in me.

And maybe there’s a little Sam Beckett in all of us.