Monday, April 15, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 13: The Letter M

Note: today's letter should not be confused with the movie called M or the James Bond character named M.

Jacques Mendez
The Dark Side of Space
Space Corps Book 1

In case my last name isn't a dead giveaway, I've got a French heritage (by way of French Canadians).  On my writer's blog, I've written a little about what that means to me, which is a little more complicated than you might imagine.  At the time I named Jacques Mendez, I wasn't really thinking about that, but it's a little hard not to believe now that it must have been rattling around somewhere in my subconscious, at least with that first name.  The surname comes from my childhood family doctor.  I just always liked it.  Anyway, as I've discussed previously, Mendez came to the notes in the very first Space Corps adventure after a revision that placed him as the sole captain in the story, because previously there had been two others.  The funny part is the only plot I remember from the original version was originally assigned to one of the other captains.  Mendez was originally named Martin Rodzaski (spelling may no longer be accurate, but I tended to be pretty crude one way or another when I was coming up with names for other nationalities, so it hardly matters).  He was very much a Kirk figure, but minus the womanizing and the bravado.  He was simply a competent officer.  His part of the Space Corps saga involves the heating up of tensions with the Danab Empire, where the Danab are constantly manipulating events, sometimes overtly and sometimes by subterfuge, very much a blend of Star Trek's Romulans and Klingons.  Mendez has a powerful alien ally much like Kirk had Spock, who also went through an endless series of revisions in his name.  You'll meet him on U Day.

Seleste Millan
Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 1

Seleste is a crucial figure in warrior orphan Yoshimi's formative development in her new life.  When a fictional character discovers that they're destined for great things, sometimes everyone around them can no longer approach them on a human scale.  Famously in Harry Potter's world most of the magical community treated him like he was some kind of hero before he'd even done anything, merely because he was the Boy Who Lived.  There were some who saw him differently, and funny enough a lot more characters started tending in that direction as the story progressed.  Yet for Yoshimi, this impulse is condensed to Seleste, who appears at Peers Point, the first of the dojos Yoshimi attends in the trilogy.  She also happens to be a member of the Shadow Clan, but she's the only member of Bill's club who might be considered an actual enemy.  She isn't impressed by Yoshimi.  In fact, she gives our orphan a warning that she shouldn't let everyone else's expectations go to her head.  (Although the person you meet on W Day is good about that, too.)  Through Seleste the reader is reminded that Yoshimi does in fact have more than revenge to worry about, especially those pesky little complications we call emotions.


The Red Sox won both games over the weekend, including a third win in as many tries for pitcher Clay Buchholz.  Manager John Farrell meanwhile has tipped his cap to former Sox skipper Terry Francona, who led the team to its two recent World Series victories, and is currently managing the Cleveland Indians, whom Boston plays starting tomorrow.  They also won today, by the way, keeping themselves atop their division, if only by a slim margin.

The Angels won both their games over the weekend as well.  Mike Trout got his first homer of the season yesterday.  He's dragged his batting average to .269.  Albert Pujols is at .293.

The A's lost both games over the weekend, but remain precariously perched atop their division.  Same wording as the Red Sox, but very different meaning given the weekend...

The Cardinals had a toss-up over the weekend.  They won on Saturday but lost on Sunday.


Still talking about baseball, but I figured I'd separate the chatter anyway.  Across the MLB today the number 42 is being celebrated.  It was celebrated at the box office this weekend, too.  The love is going out to Jackie Robinson, of course, the ballplayer who broke the modern color barrier in the game.  A few years back, though, I read an authorized biography of Willie Mays, and I'd argue that the "Say Hey Kid" deserves as much credit for shattering the divisions that existed, and he did it without ever really giving thought to what he was doing.  In some ways he might have been accused of fitting the stereotype that had kept those divisions up, but he was also surprised that Robinson went out of his way to talk about the problem rather than merely transcend it, which was exactly what he'd done simply by joining the lineup.  I think history will agree that the Civil Right movement benefited more from Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks, but for every one of them there was also someone like Willie Mays quietly integrating and proving that as sensational as he could be, it was more sensational that he was in the end very humble.  He just wanted to play baseball.  Sometimes it's enough to have the opportunity and prove you're a good fit (and he was a very good fit), and that'll make its own kind of history, a part of the fabric that unites us all.


Spacerguy said...

The cats out of the bag now, Tony.

Tony Laplume said...

If you're referring to my being French, I could always say that I was lying, and that Laplume is only my pen name. And it wouldn't be far from the truth!

Sandy Campbell said...

Very interesting!! Thanks for sharing!


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