Battlestar Galactica

When Sci Fi channel announced in early 2003 that they would be releasing a new Battlestar Galactica miniseries later that year, I was at first quite excited by the idea.

The original Battlestar Galactica was based on a fantastic idea but was horribly implemented — a cheesy B series that seemed to desperately and unsuccessfully chase the success of Star Wars.  The characters were all a bit too perfect, each series episode contained a lot of rehashed footage from the pilot (how often did we see the same Cylon fighters blowing up in the same way?), and the sets were terrible and cheap.

Despite its shortcomings, however, the premise of the series was a great idea, so I was endeared to it.  That made the idea of a reincarnated Galactica series sound wonderful to me.  Then I heard some of the changes that were to be made and immediately became suspect that this wasn't such a good idea.

Starbuck was to be female, as was Boomer.  Adama and Apollo were not going to have a very good father-son relationship.  The Cylons were to be a rebellious creation of man rather than an alien race bent on the destruction of humanity.  Cylons now came in multiple flavors, including several models which were as yet indistinguishable from humans.  There was a president rather than a council of twelve.

I decided to give it a try anyway since I'm such a sci-fi nut.  Besides, to not watch it seemed like a betrayal of my passion for the story itself.

I was not disappointed.

The Battlestar Galactica miniseries was spectacular.  The Cylons had evolved and continued to do so.  The characters were real.  The story was gritty and dark.  This was fantastic stuff.

By the end of the miniseries I was hooked and desperately hoping Sci Fi would create a new series (which everyone knew they were eyeballing when creating the miniseries given their unreasonable and inexcusable cancellation of Farscape, quite possibly the best and most enjoyable original program Sci Fi has ever offered).  Luckily, with the exceptional ratings the miniseries received, Sci Fi saw an opportunity to capitalize on its success by introducing the new series.

The new Battlestar Galactica series finally debuted in January of 2005.


This is not your daddy's Battlestar Galactica.  This is dark, dramatic, gritty, real science fiction programming.  Intensely suspenseful, this is a story about a genocidal chase by the Cylons and a journey of survival by the humans.

The miniseries left us with just 50,000 humans in the fleet — that's all that was left of the original twelve colonies and would be the only hope of their survival.  By the end of the first episode, we had fallen dramatically below that original 50,000 (by perhaps 3,000 heads) due to constant Cylon attacks.  The fleeing human refugees were exhausted and dwindling.

Because the Cylons had evolved and created 12 different Cylon models (some of which look just like humans and as yet can't be differentiated except by their actions), part of the excitement is the impact of knowing what some Cylons look like while not knowing about others.  We know Number Six who haunts and excites Baltar.  We've seen two male versions of the human model.  The new raiders (fighters) appear to be a model unto themselves (there are no pilots, so the ships actually seem to be autonomous robots like the humanoid versions).  The original Cylon model (yes, the same as that from the original series) are the precursors to all modern Cylons.  The new warrior class (replacing the original model) is deadly and wonderfully designed.

Even more disturbing is that we know one Cylon model, Boomer, is programmed to act just like a human until activated for certain duties (she is otherwise unaware albeit suspicious of her own true nature).  How many others are aboard the Galactica, let alone the rest of the fleet?  We simply don't know.

Sci Fi has done a fantastic job of creating a very well produced series with exceptional special effects.  It's gripping and scary and sexy.  There is a sense of fatalism that pervades every story.  It's an allegory of our own times by touching on torture, war, genocide and terrorism, all while not losing sight of the humanity in this desperate flight from certain death.

If you haven't already checked this new series out, you should.  It's strong stuff, but I believe it's the most provocative sci-fi adventure on television.  It's certainly the best thing to come along since Farscape.

That’s something I rarely see

Just after I moved, I was able to capture a rare and seldom seen phenomenon — all four of The Kids resting together.  There are certain combinations I've come to expect, but it's very rare to see all four of them resting in close proximity to each other.  That's just not their style except when it's time to go to bed, in which case they all join me.

I've added the picture to The Kids gallery as well as below.

All four of The Kids together (138_3874)

[left to right: Kazon, Kako, Grendel and Loki]

Be a son or be gone

Where are you, my brother?  I fear you have lost your way.

In the second week of June our mother fell ill and was hospitalized for approximately a week.  Her condition was quite serious, but, thankfully, it turned out to be something treatable and she was, after several days in the hospital and much pain and discomfort later, on her way back home to recover.

Where were you?  Did you call?  Did you come to visit her while she was hospitalized?  Did you come to visit her at home when she was finally discharged from the hospital?  Did you assist our father with the numerous tasks he had to tend to around the farm, tasks which were normally quite enough for two people to handle?  Did you call either of them to check on them?  Have you called either of them since her hospitalization to, if nothing more, touch base with your parents?

You intentionally avoided them for Christmas and have caused much unneeded pain, anguish and worry.  Do you care?

Our parents have both been ill recently.  Were you aware of that?  Would it have made a difference if you had known that?

I do not ask these questions to attack you.  On the contrary, I ask these questions because I would sincerely appreciate knowing the answers.

I contacted you on October 8th about helping cover some of our parents’ prescription medication expenses.  You may remember telling our father many months ago that you would pick up the monthly costs of their prescriptions.  You wanted to help.  You did not want them to worry about covering those costs.  When I contacted you, I offered to help defray the costs by paying for a part of that monthly expense.  I specifically said that Dad was declining to seek treatment (for something that he desperately needs to address) because of the costs.  By cutting the monthly expense in half, we could have helped them tremendously without overly burdening either of our financial states.

Did you respond?  Did you ever intend to keep your word to our father, the statement of fact, an inherent promise, about paying their monthly prescription bills?  I told you then, several months ago, that we needed to move quickly on this in view of their financial situation, so I’m asking whether you even care?

I understand from many conversations with Mom & Dad that you and your wife travel extensively and are both quite tied up with your respective careers.  How wonderful for the two of you.  I do wonder, however, how wonderful that is for your children.  How do you think they would rate you as a father right now if they could communicate that information clearly and without the overshadowing emotional immaturity of childhood?  Is your career truly more important than your children?

I also understand that you are continuing to pursue the lead pastoral position at a church.  It must be nice to see an opportunity to help guide people in their relationship with your god.  It’s nice to see someone who would like to set the example for so many others.

Do you ever see your own hypocrisy?  How dare you assume you could lead others in their quest for a moral compass when you are too lost to maintain the most important relationship you will ever have — your relationship with your parents.  I could care less whether you keep in touch with me as your moral bankruptcy in acceptance has always been evident.  If your god is real, you can blame him for who I am.  I sure as hell didn’t wake up one morning and decide I wanted to be persecuted and despised by so many, including my own family.  Your apparent bigotry in your dislike for me is of no regard in this matter.

I find it offensive, however, that you dare to believe yourself capable of setting any kind of superior moral example for others when you ignore those who gave you birth, when you show contempt for their very existence by making promises you have no intention of keeping and thereby raising false hopes of easier economic times, when you intentionally wield your holiday plans like a weapon with the clear intention to do emotional harm, and when your odium of them becomes so detestably perceptible that your utter disregard for their welfare becomes a significant concern for both of them.

Your hypocrisy offends me to the core.  You believe yourself to be a religious man capable of being a pastor; therein lies perhaps the most disheartening of all realizations — you truly are blinded to the reality of your own life and existence.

You find yourself so wrapped up in your own career and your unquenchable thirst for a position of religious power that you find it acceptable to turn your back on our parents, to wound them time and again by ignoring them at all turns.  You dare to presume yourself so morally centered that you are capable of helping others to become more moral, yet your disregard and contempt for your own parents is a palpable fog that encircles and follows you with the stench of death.

Doesn’t Matthew 23:26 say something about cleaning up the inside before bothering with the outside?  Do you really feel as though you lead such a clean and proper life in the eyes of your god that you are capable of assisting others?  According to Exodus 20:12, one of the 10 Commandments is actually something about honoring your father and mother.  Do you truly believe you can lead others in fulfilling this directive when you’ve shown such disdain for your own parents?

I am forced to wonder if you have read the entire bible and fully understand what you are claiming by seeking to lead a church.  I am forced to question your heart and motives.  I am forced to question whether you even feel anything anymore.  I see the pain in our parents’ eyes and wonder what they could have done to deserve this kind of treatment from you.  I hear them speak in terms of pain and anguish concerning your absence and your apparent abhorrence of your own family.

I am writing this letter not because I wish to stand in judgment of you.  I am writing this letter to ask questions.  It is my hope that you will answer those questions for yourself and will act accordingly.  I believe your quests for secular success and for a position of religious prestige are blinding you to the reality of life.

According to The Dhammapada, the Buddha once said, "There is happiness in life, happiness in friendship, happiness of a family, happiness in a healthy body and mind, …but when one loses them, there is suffering."

Can’t you see the suffering you’re causing your family by being such a pitiful, selfish, mean-spirited shell of a man?

Offer your excuses to someone else.  Either be a son or change your last name and be forever more nothing but a bad memory.

That was a ‘no’ on the snow

After all the hype and the dire warnings of much snow yesterday, we got absolutely nothing but rain.  It rained all day long with the temperature hovering around 40° F.  The promises of snow were empty, though, because it never got cold enough.

It amazes me how poorly we understand the weather.  It's 2005 and we still can't accurately predict it within 24 hours — not even 12 hours.  Meteorologists and atmospheric physicists are lucky to get it right for the right now, something we can all do by looking outside.  It makes me laugh uproariously when they try to go out even a few days or a week, let alone months in advance (hear that, Farmer's Almanac?).

But I understand the plight they find themselves in.  Weather is a chaotic system with a vast amount of variable input and factors that are near impossible to accurately model, let alone successfully predict.

Still, don't promise me snow if you're not going to deliver.  This is Texas and snow is a big deal, especially for people like me who love winter and the weather it has to offer.

More snow?

We're under a Winter Weather Advisory right now and are expecting 1-3 inches of snow before tomorrow morning.  This will be the second bit of snow we've gotten this winter.  I'm excited about it.  There probably won't be any weather-related problems from this since we should be above freezing by noon tomorrow and will be in the fifties on Thursday.  Still, snow is snow.  If it actually happens, I'll try to grab some pictures.