Friday, June 20, 2008

Missing: The Bermuda Triangle

I wrote almost an entire synopsis for the Wacky New Idea yesterday. I just need an ending and to figure out what the big, climactic event leading to the end will be. Some books, I have to work really hard to come up with a plot that works, but then there are situations like this one where it mostly just all comes together, and then I realize that I've instinctively structured it the way I usually struggle to structure plots, with turning points and climaxes at all the right places. And then I wrote more than 4,000 words of The New Project. I need to do some tinkering and a little research before I plunge ahead, as I didn't stop while I was working to do minor things like name characters who appeared without warning. I just typed XXX and went on. I think this book is working, so it may actually go somewhere.

WGN has started showing WKRP in Cincinnati from the beginning on Sunday nights, and it's amazing how well that show holds up. It's very much a product of its time, but now it works as a period piece, I think because there's something universal about the characters and the humor that transcends the situation. You could almost imagine that it was made in the present and was only about a radio station in the 1970s making the transition to rock-and-roll, except then it would probably be more obnoxiously "period" and self-conscious about being so very 70s than it is. It's also slightly revived my girlhood crush on Gary Sandy/Andy Travis (and I saw Gary Sandy on stage a few years ago playing the sheriff in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and he hasn't aged too badly. He can still wear those really tight jeans).

A line in of the episodes they showed Sunday reminded me of something I've been wondering for a while: Whatever happened to the Bermuda Triangle? Did it disappear into the Bermuda Triangle?

I don't know if it was just something I was personally fascinated with as a kid, so I noticed everything about it, but in the 1970s, the Bermuda Triangle was a staple of entertainment. There were theatrical movies about it. There seemed to be a TV Movie of the Week about it at least once a month. There were TV series about people who ended up in some mystical world when they got lost in the Bermuda Triangle. Almost any TV series involving science fiction or the supernatural had at least one episode involving the Bermuda Triangle, and if I'm not mistaken, some of the origin stories for superheroes in TV versions were adjusted so that the Bermuda Triangle played a role (like the hero's mysterious home was hidden in the Bermuda Triangle). Even non-supernatural shows (like WKRP) made references to it. Naturally, it was a staple of the tabloid press, which was full of theories about alien activity, alien abductions and even the lost continent of Atlantis being in the Triangle. It was a major part of the public consciousness, and anything that went missing might be said to have vanished into the Bermuda Triangle.

But how long as it been since we've heard about the Bermuda Triangle (other than in reruns of a 1970s TV series)? With all the truly awful monster-type movies on the Sci Fi Channel on Saturday night, have they done a Bermuda Triangle one? (It's possible that they have and I missed it, as I'm not strong enough to survive those movies.) I guess the Supernatural boys haven't had to investigate it, as you can't get there in an Impala, but I don't recall it being mentioned anywhere. The tabloid press is now more celebrity focused, so I guess we wouldn't hear about the Bermuda Triangle unless Britney, Lindsay or Paris disappeared there (pretty please?). You'd think with the popularity of stories about paranoia and government cover-ups, the Triangle would make good material. Maybe I'll have to come up with a story to revive it.

I guess it's a mystery about a mystery. If you've seen the Bermuda Triangle (or a recent reference to it), please report.

In other news, Sci Fi has adjusted its Friday line-up. After two episodes, Charlie Jade has been moved to 3 a.m. on Mondays (not sure what time zone -- I'll have to check the digital cable guide). I wasn't madly in love, but I was intrigued. I can work the VCR, but my concern is that this isn't something that would be good for someone who's awake at 3 a.m. on a Monday to happen to stumble across. That could have some serious impact on the brain. Instead, they'll be repeating the previous week's episode of Doctor Who in that slot. Normally, I wouldn't think that's such a great idea, but since I'll be out of town on Fridays a few times, it's a bit of a relief because even in the event of VCR failure, I'll still get to see the episode the following week.

In book news, I saw in the paper this morning that Tasha Tudor has died. I think she illustrated half the books I read as a kid. I had no idea she was such a fascinating person. It seems she rather earnestly lived a 19th century lifestyle for much of her life. Now I want to go flip through my copy of The Secret Garden.

There's also a new book blog in town, one that seems like it will have some pretty in-depth stuff from authors in a variety of genres. I'm all for anything that leads to more talking about books, so if you're into that sort of thing too, it's The Book Roast.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do with The Stealth Geek. I've got the FAQ up as a placeholder, but I need to come up with a mission statement and plan, whether to do it as a site for geek news (like the Internet needs another one), a place to discuss sf/f books, movies and TV, or maybe try to put together a group blog for sf/f authors.

This weekend's big event: the Can't Stop the Serenity screening, which I'm finally in town for. Yay! And Tim Minear will be there. I used to occasionally chat with him on the Angel newsgroup back in the day. We'll see if I get the opportunity or the nerve to speak to him in person.

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