Fits of Boredom

Greetings, y’all! ‘Tis I, the Scarecrow, coming at you in print once again. Now, a lot of people, myself included, are wondering what is the point of me writing this column. Since I no longer have a respected outlet (such as a student paper) to print these, then chances are that readership on this column will be next to nothing. So, why do I write it? Simple: I am a college graduate, unemployed, and sitting in my parents’ basement wondering what my next move should be. When you wonder what your next move should be, you begin to get incredibly bored. And I mean bored! Many a sibling (well, just my sister) wonders how I can sit at home all day and watch TV. Easy. I’m bored! There’s not much more I can do by myself than watch TV. Sure, I’m starting to think of doing other things. I’m wondering if I should take advantage of all this free time to see if I can finally read The Lord of the Rings. I’ve tried many times before to read it, but I usually give up because, for being one of the most respected works of literature on the planet, it’s boring! Sure, there are other things I could do. Since I have the entire first season of Batman Beyond on tape, I think it would be neat to compile a comprehensive episode guide. For the first season, at least. I’m not even sure if I’m going to be getting the second season. So, when I’m not watching TV, I’m finding other ways to occupy my time.

Recently, my sister’s boyfriend left an old copy of Popular Mechanics here, because it has some woodworking plans he thought my Dad would like. This magazine hails from April, 1985, and I find it fascinating. I don’t know why, but I have a bit of a fascination for history. Flipping through this magazine, I find articles with titles like Preparing for Stereo TV and Cellular Phones for your car, briefcase, and even your pocket! One my computer science friends might get a kick out of is the article Good-bye floppies? Make way for low-cost hard drives, in which a computer expert is quoted as saying “In the near future, all computers will come with hard drives.” These things, which were technological innovations 14 years ago, are now commonplace. Just think, everything old was once new. This reminds me of a similar situation I was plagued with in 1997. Having quit my job at the gravel pit two weeks before the end of summer so I could have some vacation time before I went back to school, I was helping my Dad clear out some old newspapers from my neighbor’s place. Hauling them out to the truck, I took a look at one near the top of pile to find it was dated August 20, 1981. I took a look at the date on my watch to discover that this newspaper was from exactly 16 years ago! Being the person I am, I thought “I wonder what movies were playing 16 years ago?” so I flipped to the movie listings. I was first confronted with an ad stating that Raiders of the Lost Ark was beginning its eighth great week in Edmonton. Disney’s animated blockbuster was The Fox and the Hound. Opening that weekend was Superman II and Escape From New York. And, returning to theaters for a special repeat performance was The Empire Strikes Back. Everything old was new again.

Speaking of movies, I am currently saddened because I am a Star Wars junkie, and my sister doesn’t give a damn about George Lucas’ universe. But, she has seen Episode I, twice, and I have only seen it once. I’m hoping within two days of me writing this column I’ll be seeing it at Edmonton’s spectacular new Silver City theater. I’ve already seen a movie there, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and on that trip to Edmonton I had to stop in at Toys R Us. I’m currently holding off on buying more Episode I action figures, because I’m waiting for the second assortment which should be hitting stores in August. So, I wandered over to the Lego section. Now, I’ll admit, I’ve never been a big fan Lego. As a kid, it seemed that the only thing that I could build out of Lego blocks was bigger blocks. I’d slap some wheels on a bigger block, and get a car. I’d slap some wings on a bigger block, and I’d get a jet. But no matter how hard I tried, it would just look like a big block with some wheels and wings sticking out of it. So, the few Lego sets that I got were the kinds where they built something, and came with instructions. Then, I’d know that I could build something cool. I know what you’re thinking: when using Lego like that, you may as well skip Lego and just get a model kit. But, Lego was more fun model kits. The very last Lego set I ever got was the Lego Space Shuttle, circa 1990. It was the complete launch complex, orbiter vehicle, satellite, car to take astronaut to shuttle, and 3 Lego people (1 little Lego astronaut, 2 little Lego mechanics). Now, most Lego models usually gets torn apart, and used to build other things. I never tore apart the Lego Space Shuttle, and in fact it is still fully assembled, and immediately to my right as I write this. Immediately to my left is the G.I. Joe space shuttle, the Crusader, but I digress. Wandering through the Lego section of Toys R Us, I saw the next Lego set I’d like to get. As part of this Adventure Lego that’s currently on the market, there’s this little Lego biplane that looks kind of cool. It comes with one Lego man, the pilot, and he looks kind of like a little Lego Indiana Jones. I’ll probably end up getting it on my next city trip.

But speaking of all this Lego reminds me of a really cool idea I had laying on the couch. A friend of mine once told me this tale, and now I tell it to you. His brother is a big Lego nut. Even though he’s like 25 years old, he still buys new Lego sets and puts them together. One day, he was at the Bay in Camrose, looking through the toy section for his next Lego set. And, to his shock and dis-belief, he came across a Lego set, in pristine condition, from 1981! By his reasoning, this set was probably sitting in the stock room since 1981, continuously being passed over, until a week or so before, when a stock boy finally noticed it and put it on the shelf. So, he snatched up this 1981 Lego set, took it home, and put it together. He put it right next to its older counterpart. That’s right, he got the exact same Lego set when he was a kid in 1981 and never tore it apart. I’ve been told that when you see the two side-by-side, it’s amazing to see how dirty Lego can get when it’s just sitting on a shelf. But, this leads into my cool idea: why doesn’t Lego release a set of Lego Classics? You know, they can delve into their records, find these really cool Lego sets from late 70’s/early 80’s, and re-release them. I mean, the way I understand it, a cool toy never goes out of style. G.I. Joe and Barbie have been big hits since the 60’s. Transformers (as Beast Wars) is still going strong. So why not give us some classic Lego sets?

While we’re talking about my great ideas, here’s another one I had recently. I’ll admit, this one is a little more surreal. For Father’s Day, I went with my parents to Airfest ’99 at the Alberta Aviation Museum. It’s located at the old Edmonton Municipal Airport, and they had an actual CF-18 Hornet from Cold Lake there, and it put on a little bit of a show for the people. But, in their main museum, they had all these vintage aircraft on display. I mean, full sized aircraft! There was the deHavland Vampire, a Canadian built fighter plane used extensively by the British and Canadian Air Forces in WWII. There was an F-86 Saber, the first jet fighter used by the Canadian Air Force, and a CF-100 Canuck, a 100% Canadian jet fighter built by the same people who gave us the ill-fated CF-105 Arrow. So, this is where my great idea came to me. A museum dedicated to science fiction, and the main display would be full-scale models of fighter ships from movies and TV! There would be a complete Star Wars room, with full-scale X-Wings, Y-Wings, TIE Fighters, Naboo Fighters, you name it! There would be fighter ships from Babylon 5, Battlestar Gallactica, Stargate, Wing Commander: The Movie, you name it, we’ll have a ship from it. And, of course, from Star Trek, we’d have full-scale runabouts and shuttle craft. (A full scale starship would be kind of big.)

Speaking of Star Trek, one thing I love about my current situation is everyday at 9 am, there is a re-run of Star Trek: The Next Generation on. This morning there was a Q episode. It had been a long time since I had seen a Q episode, and I was starting to forget what a cool character he was. This one particular Q episode was the one where the Continuum stripped him of his powers, made him mortal, and dumped him on the Enterprise. My all-time favorite Q episode is the one where he makes the Enterprise crew re-enact the story of Robin Hood, with Picard as Robin Hood, and Vash (Picard’s girlfriend from a previous episode) as Maid Marion. Riker was Little John, Data was Friar Tuck, and the NextGen crew filled out the Merrie Men. Q himself was the Sheriff of Nottingham. It’s just a fun episode. That reminds me, there’s this series of books on the market now called Star Trek Script Books, where it is the actual scripts from Star Trek episodes, made public for the first time! I’d love to get my hands on Volume 1, which is entitled The Q Chronicles, and contains the script for every Q episode! All his appearances on The Next Generation, from Encounter at Farpoint, to All Good Things. . . . His one appearance on Deep Space Nine and his two on Voyager are also included. I would love to get my hands on that book!

Speaking of scripts, this is my second option to conquering boredom in the basement: I’ve had inspiration to make a movie in my basement. Think South Park enacted with old G.I. Joe action figures. The plot would be a spoof of Armageddon. I just have to sit down and write a script. Then I have to find a video camera. Then I could film. But first I have to write that script. And writing a comedy by yourself is hard. If there’s two people, you can always bounce ideas of the other person, and the other one could say “That’s not funny. Cut it.” But, I’m on my own. I’m just in the basement watching TV. But who knows? As you can tell from this column, it was mostly a stream-of-consciousness thing. Maybe this is the warm-up I need to finally start writing my novel. Or that script. All I know is it’s time for Rosie O’Donnell, so I’ve had enough of being creative for today.

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