NVIDIA R382.33 WHQL Graphics Drivers Released        
NVIDIA has published a new set of Windows certified graphics driver for all GeForce graphics cards. R382.33 brings support and optimizations for Tekken 7 and Star Trek Bridge Crew. R382.33 Desktop...

          My kid asked me to go play with her b4 school. Yesterday 756 steps today 1,541! Woohoo        
So I guess I'm gonna be getting in some excersize then I'm gonna walk Sophia to school.
Had a "decaf" coffee after seeing Star Trek into darkness (awesome movie by the way. And it wasn't decaf I had 28 seizures in less than 3 hours, none this morning but don't feel safe to drive for another day. So I'm pretty sure ill pass my 756 steps taken yesterday but I'm not sure by how much.
1,541 yahoo 249
          Ups and downs too many lately        
Upside gonna watch Star Trek into darkness by myself for less than $4 in playas Tijuana,
Downside putting flowers on my moms grave (first Mother's Day that a she's been dead hadn't seen her since I was 17 but still, I'm one of her two daughters and only one living near her . Other one lives in Idaho)
Upside going to Shakespeare bar and grill a 2 pm for Mother's Day with mil and her mom.
Upside my 22 month old said please for the first time today
Downside going thru a bunc...
          Star Trek Classic Ncc 1701 Vehicle        

          Taking a Break from Albany; Assembly Speaker Takes Life Lessons From Star Trek        
The often reticent New York Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, showed a different side of himself when the lifelong Star Trek fan visited a museum in New York’s North Country that replicates the fictional Starship Enterprise. It’s a Trekkie’s dream- to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair, stand on a transporter pod, hold an actual communicator prop from the television show. New York’s Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie got to do all of that when he visited the Star Trek Set Tour museum in Ticonderoga, as part of a tour of New York’s North Country. “I feel like I’m 10 years old again,” said Heastie. “ This is amazing.” Heastie, who is 49, wasn’t yet born when the original version of the series premiered in 1966. But the reruns in the late 1970’s certainly captured his imagination. “ I was always into science and technology,” said Heastie, who said many of the gadgets on the show were precursors of modern devices, including Lieutenant Uhura’s early “Bluetooth”, and Captain Jean Luc Picard’s “I-Pad”.
          [news] Cognizant & the "Intelligent Internet" + a Peek at 2005 IT Budgets (Part 2 of 2)        
Sunday, August 1, 2004
Dateline: China
 
Ah, the World Future Society.  Much to say about the WFS, but I'll save it for the end of this post.  An article which appears in the March-April 2004 issue of The Futurist was reprinted in a recent issue of Government Computer News (see http://tinyurl.com/yrp2w ); the original paper which was the basis for The Futurist article is also available (see http://tinyurl.com/5ymos ).  The article focuses heavily on findings from the TechCast Project at George Washington University (see http://www.techcast.org ; BTW, they're seeking beta testers).
 
The article acknowledges hype during the bubble, but goes on to indicate that 20 commercial aspects of Internet use should reach 30% "take-off" adoption levels over the next several years -- and will rejuvenate the (American) economy.  One area of particular interest is a "conversational" human-computer interface, called "TeleLiving," based on advances in speech recognition, AI, hardware/grid computing, virtual environments and flat wall monitors.  (Sounds like stuff out of PARC and Microsoft Research.)
 
Their Project results "portray a striking scenario in which the dominate forms of e-commerce - broadband, business-to-business (B2B), online finance, entertainment-on-demand, wireless, e-training, knowledge-on-demand, electronic public services, online publishing, e-tailing - grow from their present 5%-20% adoption levels to 30% between 2004 and 2010.  TechCast considers the 30% penetration level significant because this roughly marks the 'take-off point' when technologies move from their early-adopter phase into the mainstream, where they permeate economic and social life."  (Think of chasm crossing.  Also think of expeditionary marketing within the context of broadband.  BTW, bolded and colored items are MY emphasis.)
 
The authors discuss the notion that many think that the Internet is already mainstream, yet challenge that notion by stating that this is true only for nonpaying use, citing surfing for free information as one example.  "As of 2003, commercial operations involving monetary exchange were limited to about 23% for broadband, 10% for e-tailing, 12% for B2B, 10% for distance learning, and 5% for music.  And these are the most popular Internet applications.  Others hardly register in adoption levels at all."  Bottom line:  It's all about e-commerce, I guess.  Jerry Maguire said it best. 
 
A Look at 2005 IT Spending
 
Not as much as I had originally hoped for in the Forrester glimpse at 2005 IT budgets, but some things to note.  (See http://tinyurl.com/67pse .)  Example:  52% of finance and insurance firms -- led by insurers -- will spend more on IT in 2005.  Okay, sounds like an opportunity for SIs (systems integrators) building .NET solutions.  (For those who don't know, Microsoft has fairly strong solutions for the insurance vertical.)  At the subvertical level, media and nongovernment public sector plays look good, whereas the utilities and transportation sectors look weak.  Also, Siebel and PeopleSoft customers are planning to spend more on IT relative to customers of other key vendors, most notably SAP.  (I don't see this, but I don't dispute their data.  Frankly, I think we'll see a lot of activity for SAP SIs in 2005.  P'Soft is too hard to tell, especially with the confusion caused by Oracle.  Oracle benefits whether the acquisition goes through or not!!  It's the FUD factor.)
 
Not to be outdone, AMR came out with their peek at 2005 budgets for SMEs (small and medium enterprises).  (See http://tinyurl.com/5vlvo .  I got a lot more out of the AMR report.)  Something that is rather common knowledge among IT analysts, but may not be known by those not involved in the IT budgeting process, is that a typical large U.S. manufacturer spends 2% of its annual revs (i.e., revenues) on IT and a large service firm spends 5%.  However, the average for U.S. SMEs is 6.4% of revs, although a good chunk is for basic IT infrastructure.
 
CRM looks like a hot item for U.S. SMEs and the AMR report makes an interesting comment about the perceived need for other countries to implement a "keeping up with the Joneses" strategy.  This being said, then domestic firms in China may follow suit.  As far as operating systems are concerned, there is only one:  Windows.  And U.S. SMEs spend about 20% of their IT budget on software and software maintenance, with discrete manufacturers outspending process manufacturers or retailers.  Typical apps are for financial management and customer management, although expensive CRM suites (think Siebel or Oracle) are rare.  Sounds like an opportunity for utility computing vendorsBottom line:  If the SMEs market is your key market (by size), then go with Microsoft CRM solutions!
 
Fast Forward Over Three Decades
 
At this point, I'm going to get a bit personal.  If you're not interested, simply skip the remainder of this message:  It briefly covers three decades and my so-called "futurist" origins.
 
The first "adult" organization I ever joined was the World Future Society.  (Remember, the basis for the first section of this posting was an article published in their flagship publication, The Futurist.)  The year was 1971.  I had been an adolescent "futurist" since March 1968, the month that my father bought me a copy of Sky & Telescope magazine.  Although the Vietnam War was on the news each night, I was simply too young for it to really matter.  Both the war and protests against the war were merely uninspiring TV images.
 
But something caught my imagination and that "something" was the space program.  I can still recall the liftoff of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969 at 6:32 am PDT.  Believe it or not, I can still recite the countdown.  I can also recite part of the landing sequence of the Eagle -- the Lunar Excursion Module housing Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin.  And, of course, I can remember Neil Armstrong stepping off the foot of the LEM on July 20th, probably around 7 or 7:30 pm.  Two movies also inspired me toward a "tech" future:  The obvious, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the not-so-obvious, The Andromeda Strain.  (My parents didn't let me stay up to watch Star Trek, so Star Trek didn't have any impact on my life during my early adolescence.)  Although I have been a member of the L-5 Society and the British Interplanetary Society (anyone remember Project Daedalus?), the World Future Society was the most influential organization in my life during my high school years.  Well, a wee bit of personal history.  Those were the good 'ol days ...
 
Cheers,
 
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
 
http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
http://tinyurl.com/2azkh (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW)
http://tinyurl.com/2hg2e (AvantGo channel)
 
 
To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
 

          [news] IT Spending Trends        
Tuesday, July 6, 2004
Dateline: China
 
A quick recap on IT spending trends from three recently published Smith Barney surveys.  The three reports are the May and June editions of their CIO Vendor Preference Survey and the 6 June issue of softwareWEEK.  Tom Berquist, my favorite i-banking analyst, was the lead for all three reports.  I have a backlog of blogs to write, so I'll use as many quotes as possible and add context where necessary.  (I'm mostly extracting from my smartphone bookmarks for these reports.  Warning:  I may have coded the May and June issues incorrectly, but the quotes are correct.)  NOTE:  Highlighted items (e.g., items in bold, like this sentence) are MY emphasis.  Items in red are my commentary.
 
Starting with the Survey editions, "(t)he strongest areas of spending appear to be software (apps, security, storage, and database) and network equipment/apps (Gigabit Ethernet, WLAN, VPNs)" and regarding software, "larger and more well known vendors continue to dominate the list in each category with vendors such as Microsoft, SAP, IBM, Veritas, Symantec and Computer Associates getting significantly more mentions in each of their groups than the remaining vendors did."  However, the report admits that their sample group might be biased.  Yes, vendors matter -- and so do vendor partnering strategies.  However, I'm a bit skeptical about CA and I don't particular care very much for Veritas or Symantec.  Not my part of the universe.
 
"Applications again stand out as a clear area of strength."  "Within applications, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI) all showed extremely well ..."  Well, this is the first sign that a recovery may be in the making for SCM.  However, I'd emphasize BI and ERP, followed by CRM; don't count on a lot happening in the SCM space just yet.  Some other key surveys do NOT validate that SCM is in recovery.  "In terms of specific vendors, Microsoft, Symantec, Veritas, SAP, and Adobe were the top beneficiaries of CIOs intentions to increase spending."  The report continues that only SAP showed statistically significant results, both in ERP and SCM.  "Results were more mixed for best-of-breed vendors in this area, suggesting that horizontal applications vendors are having a tough time competing with the large ERP vendors even as vertically-focused vendors continue to have some measure of success on this front."  For the more adventurous SIs in China, SAP presents a lot of opportunities.  Tread carefully, though.  And "Adobe's enterprise strategy appears to be gaining momentum.  Adobe was a clear standout in content management ..."  "Survey results were also positive (though somewhat less so) for other leading content management players, notably Microsoft and IBM."  Another "win" for Microsoft.  Funny that none of the traditionally leading content management players were mentioned.  A take on Linux:  "Linux continues to garner mind share, but large enterprises remain the main adopter.  Interestingly, nearly 83% of our respondents stated that they were not currently moving any applications to Linux.  Of the 17% that said they were moving applications to Linux, only one company under $1.0 billion in revenue was making the transition to Linux confirming our views that Linux is primarily being used by large companies to shift Unix applications to Linux on Intel."
 
"Among CIOs who indicated a higher level of consulting spend, IBM was the clear winner, followed by Accenture as a distant second.  Unisys was also mentioned as a vendor being considered, but it was a distant third.  However, we note that Unisys being mentioned ahead of a pure-play consultant like BearingPoint (a low number of mentions, which included mentions of decreased spending) or EDS is positive, given that Unisys chooses to focus in 2 specific verticals, including one-public sector-that was not in the survey."  "Over two-thirds of CIOs indicated that they do not use IT outsourcers.  Most of the rest said they were unlikely to change the level of outsourcing spend.  IBM, ACS and CSC were the only vendors explicitly mentioned as likely to get more outsourcing business."  The "two-thirds" figure will likely change in favor of outsourcing.  This trend is fairly clear.  See a BCG report at http://tinyurl.com/2muy8 , although the report takes a relatively broad perspective.
 
From softwareWEEK, "(t)he CIOs were also very focused on rapid 'time to market' with purchases.  None were interested in starting projects that would take greater than 2 quarters to complete."  "This requirement was not a 'payback' requirement, but rather an implementation time frame requirement.  The CIOs did recognize that payback times could be longer, though the payback times on IT utility spending were much shorter than on applications or emerging area spending."
 
"In terms of spending, the CIOs all used a similar methodology for making decisions that essentially divides their IT spending into one of three categories: 1) sustained spending on their 'IT utility' (i.e., infrastructure such as network equipment, servers, storage, databases, etc.); 2) new project spending on applications (business intelligence, portals, CRM, etc.); and 3) investment spending on select emerging areas (grid/utility computing, identity management, collaboration, etc.)  It was pretty obvious that the CIOs recognized that business unit managers were more interested in spending on new applications/emerging areas than on the IT utility ..."  "(S)ome of the CIOs were experimenting with grid/utility computing initiatives to try to increase their utilization of storage/servers and reduce the amount of new equipment to be purchased.  In one example, a CIO showed their storage/server utilization around the world and many regions were in the 50% or worse bucket for average utilization.  Their goal was to use grid computing architectures and storage area networks (along with faster communication links) to better share the pool of resources."  Yes, this is it!!  Take this to heart!!  If you think grid and utility computing are Star Trek stuff, think again.
 
"In terms of new projects, the CIOs mentioned they were spending on business intelligence, portal/self-service applications, CRM, and collaboration.  Collaboration was a heated discussion, with all CIOs commenting that this was a big problem for them and there was no clear solution on the market.  While it wasn't completely clear to the audience what the CIOs were looking for in a collaboration solution, the elements that were described included: more intelligent email, corporate instant messaging, web conferencing, integrated voice over IP with instant messaging (so that a conversation could quickly shift from typing to talking), and collaborative document editing (spreadsheets, presentations, publications, etc.).  Within the business intelligence arena, business activity monitoring was discussed as was building of enterprise data warehouses/data marts.  The portal/self-service applications being built or deployed were primarily for customer and employee self-service (remote access to email, applications, and files was a big deal for all of the companies).  On the CRM front, the discussion from one CIO was around their need to increase revenues and manage channel conflict better."  [I'll be posting to this blog a bit more about collaboration opportunities over the next week.]
 
"While vendors were not discussed in any detail during the panel, the CIOs did say that they remain open to working with smaller vendors (public and private) as long as they have plenty of relevant references (in their industry, particularly with close competitors) and they offer a compelling value proposition versus larger vendors.  One CIO stated that they get called by 20 startups a week to sell products to them, but most of them cannot articulate the value proposition of their product.  Nonetheless, the CIO does take 5 meetings a month from startups because some of them are working on things that are interesting to the business."
 
Whew ...  Lots of good materials.  To reiterate, all highlighted items are my emphasis.  Bottom line:  The market is heating up.  Get your ISV relationships in place.  Pick your verticals (see the "Tidbit on Microsoft" which follows).  Pick your apps -- and the apps I like the best are content management and BI, although ERP is looking good, too.  Collaboration can be a major source of revenue if the SI can provide a truly effective solution.
 
Tidbits on Microsoft
 
A quick update on some happenings in the Redmond universe.  (See http://tinyurl.com/36xgu ; the article is titled, "Microsoft focuses on its enterprise-applications business".)  First, app areas that are of particular interest to MS include those for manufacturing and life sciences.  So, how about a MS build-to-their-stack strategy focused on either of these two verticals?  Second, MS is moving beyond purely horizontal offerings to very specific functionality.  Their Encore acquisition is an example of MS moving in this direction.  Finally, new releases of all four of Microsoft's ERP product lines are due for this year.  Not surprisingly, MBS marketing is up 20% from FY04.  Hmmm ... ERP spending intentions are strong and MS is a key player in this space -- with several updated offerings scheduled for release this year.  Another opportunity?
 
Tidbits on Infosys
 
Infosys formally enters the IT strategy consulting biz.  (See http://tinyurl.com/2xxlo .)  Yes, it was inevitable.  In April Infosys Consulting, Inc. was formed and, "(i)t's no secret that the winning model will be high-end business consulting combined with high-quality, low-cost technology delivery done offshore," according to Stephen Pratt, the head of Infosys' consulting unit.  The Infosys Consulting unit now has 150 employees in the States and plans to expand to 500 within three years.  Note to SIs in China:  You need more -- a lot more -- IT strategy types  And you need people in the States (at least on an "as needed" basis) in order to capture -- and serve -- new accounts.
 
Cheers,
 
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
http://tinyurl.com/2azkh (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW)
http://tinyurl.com/2hg2e (AvantGo channel)
 
To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
 

          Star Trek: Discovery’s Main Character Is Related to Spock        
Boy, I want to like STD (another unfortunate Star Trek: Discovery choice is its abbreviation) but they are making it hard at every turn. As it turns out, lead character Commander Michael Burnham is the half-sister of…
          Star Trek Spock 1:12 Collective Action Figure        
This is possibly the best TOS era Spock action figure I have ever seen. Mezco’s first Star Trek figure in their ONE:12 Collective range of super-detailed actions figures is a highly logical addition to your collection. Because…
          The Good of the One: A Musical Spock Tribute        
This will give Star Trek fans all of the feels. This superbly well done video is a musical tribute to both Leonard Nimoy and Spock by Melodysheep. It is titled The Good of the One. It…
          Star Trek Spock Oven Mitt        
This Star Trek Spock oven mitt is the logical accessory for any chef or baker. Hey, baking is a science, so that sciences blue cuff is totally appropriate. This cool mitt will protect your hand while showing…
          1960s Spock Uniform Could Go for Big Bucks        
Iconic sci-fi actor Leonard Nimoy passed away about 5 months ago at 83, so you know that rare memorabilia associated with his most famous role as Spock on the original Star Trek TV series has exploded in…
          Star Trek Online Making In-game Memorial to Leonard Nimoy        
By now we have all heard the sad news about Leonard Nimoy’s passing late last week. Over 1,000 players in the Star Trek Online MMORPG videogame made the trek to the in-game version of Vulcan to pay…
          Star Trek Kirk and Spock Drink Coolers        
These Star Trek drink coolers turn your canned beverage into either Captain Kirk or Spock. These are “cooler” than your average can cooler because they make your drink into a squishy sculpted Star Trek figure. Naturally, Kirk…
          Spock You Stained Glass Mirror        
What’s the point of living long and prospering if you don’t look good doing it? This fun Star Trek mirror will help you check yourself before you head out on any away missions. As an added bonus,…
          Star Trek Mirror Mirror Spock Pop! Vinyl Figure        
Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the cutest Spock of all? This guy! Even with his evil goatee and mirror universe uniform with sash, this Spock doesn’t look so scary in Pop Vinyl form. In fact, he…
          Spock “Cuddle Wrap” Coming Soon        
If you are looking for some new Star Trek wear, a Canadian company called Lady Sandra has launched a new range of blankets and other products. The coolest/weirdest of which is this Spock “cuddle wrap” blanket with…
          Imperial Spocktrooper Action Figure        
This Imperial Spocktrooper action figure by Junk Fed is all kinds of awesome. It is the first figure from the “Space Madness” line and it will be released on June 20th. It is the Star Wars/Star Trek
          Comment on Can economists forecast technological progress? by Digitopoly | Energy fuels the Star Trek Economy        
[…] all of the fun. Moreover, I don’t want to pretend to forecast technological progress, otherwise I might end up saying stuff like Paul Krugman did in 1998: “By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no […]
          Comment on That Star Trek economy thing by Canada +150: Energy fuels Star Trek economy | Em News        
[…] that people work to make their children better off. In other words, I continue to place weight on a Star Trek-like economy of the future even if 150 years only takes us to the beginning of the Final Frontier — and I am far from alone […]
          Comment on Can economists forecast technological progress? by Canada +150: Energy fuels Star Trek economy | Em News        
[…] all of the fun. Moreover, I don’t want to pretend to forecast technological progress, otherwise I might end up saying stuff like Paul Krugman did in 1998: “By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no […]
          Episode 41 - Prototrek        
itunes pic
Well we're back (and we made pretty decent time too!) and we're here to complete our review of Prototype. (sadly we forgot to put in the actual scores after an hour of ranting-find it on RantaboutGames.ning.com) Tell us what you think about the opening, it's been a while since we've done one. As for the comic and the "Trek" part- I went through the whole thing geeked out, wearing the uniform and everything... for no particular reason at all... The comic is one I made when the Star Trek movie came out, decided to take advantage. I've got some Prototype comics in mind so keep an eye on the ning we got, I'll be posting them there.
          Imprimanta 3D - noua tehnologie, din Star Trek, la tine in sufragerie!        

Pentru cei dintre dvs care mai cred ca am ajuns prea departe cu tehnologia, ca avem prea multe gadgeturi si device-uri futuriste, imprimanta 3D e tot ce va lipsea ca sa va mai faceti inca o data cruce. Desi tehnologia a fost descoperita cu mai bine de 20 de ani in urma, aceste imprimante au ajuns, in sfarsit, sa fie disponibile si pentru populatia cu dare de mana. Daca la tara obiectele cu pricina ar fi duse la biserica penru a li se aplica o exorcizare ca la carte, sau ar fi arse pe rug cu explicatia ca e "lucru' dracului", strainii se dau in vant dupa ele si companii producatoare de aceste masinarii complicate apar ca ciupercile dupa ploaie.

Inventatorii sustin ca acestea functioneaza asemanator imprimantelor obisnuite, doar ca in loc de cerneala, folosesc alte materiale (ce variaza de la argint, plastic sau titaniu) pe care le imprima in straturi succesie pana la finalizarea obiectului... Nu va puteti imagina mai exact cum functioneaza? Nicio problema, in afara de geniile care au inventat-o mai mult de 1% din populatia lumii nu pricepe cum functioneaza nici imprimantele normale, daramite aceste ciudatenii... Deci nu suferiti de nicio problema.

Avantajul acestor imprimante, spun cercetatorii, este acela ca permit producerea unui prototip intr-un timp foarte scurt, astfel ca acesta poate fi imbunatatit rapid, iar procesul efectiv de fabricatie dureaza mult mai putin, scutind astfel multe resurse si energie. Nu-i rau daca ne gandim ca mereu ratacim fie cheile, fie pixurile, fie cine stie ce alte obiecte trebuincioase omului. Dar ce te faci dupa ce ti-ai printat vreo 30 de chei, prietenii care au venit in vizita au mai lasat si ei cateva si tu vii acasa cu inca vreo 5 de la birou? Cum sa le mai tii evidenta? Poate o sa te ajute vreun alt localnic sa scapi si de excesul de chei si de obiecte de valoare din casa...

In alta ordine de idei avem un nou dispoziv care poate produce o gramada de lucruri si poate genera cel putin tot atatea batai de cap. Cum ii explicii unui manelist ghiortaitor, spre exemplu, ca nu e indicat sa printezi mai multe pistoale pe care sa le testezi pe cei care te injura pe strada cand mergi cu volumul la maxim, cu geamul deschis, si cu pitipoancele sunculinde in spate? 

Nu contest avantajele imprimantei 3D insa cred ca e putin cam devreme sa le lansam la vanzare atata vreme cat noi inca nu avem o legislatie bine pusa la punct nici pentru onorabilii hakeri, care intre noi fie vorba, deja au incaruntit. S-au imprietenit si cu FBI-ul dupa atea vizite si poate intre timp s-au mai si inrudit. Chiar producatorii controversatelor imprimante declara ca "ceva" probleme pot aparea aunci cand vorbim de replicarea unor obiecte de arta sau tipuri de documente, intrucat copiile sunt atat de fidele, incat cu foarte mare greutate se deosebesc originalele de copii, iar lucratorii din cadrul muzeelor nu sunt tocmai incantati de situatie... 



Também "There's UFO's over New York, and I aint too surprised... [Há UFOs em Nova York, e eu não estou muito surpreso ...]" - Nobody Told Me, do álbum Milk and Honey.



Muito se fala no avistamento de OVNIs, muitas testemunhas acabaram desacreditadas mas quando se trata de uma personalidade a coisa muda e se a personalidade é do tamanho do ex-Beatles os detratores guardam silêncio, talvez por respeito.

Mas o caso do John Lennon não é o único caso de um famoso que afirma ter visto ou ter tido uma experiência com OVNI. Por exemplo o mesmíssimo Jimmy Carter, ex-presidente dos Estados Unidos, disse ter visto um OVNI, a historia dele aparece inclusive num programa do History, que obviamente não quer dizer muito mas tem valor pelo fato de admitir isso publicamente. Outros famosos que avistaram OVNI foram o Leonard Nemoy (o famoso Spock da série Star Trek) e o famoso diretor Steven Spielberg.

Outros grandes nomes da ciência já falaram em vida extraterrestre e até na possibilidade de existência de vida inteligente, um deles é o próprio Stephen Hawking meus amigos.

"Lennon sempre foi fascinado com o inusitado", explicou May, entregando seu exemplar outrora estimado do I Ching que ainda tinha em sua prateleira da biblioteca. "Ele era apegado em seu destino, tentando entender sua grandeza e do impacto que teve sobre milhões crescendo em uma geração muito confusa, quase perdida"Ela estava bem ali ao seu lado durante o incidente. "Tínhamos acabado de pedir pizza e, uma vez que a noite estava quente, decidimos sair no terraço. Não havia janelas de frente para nós do outro lado da rua, então John acabava de sair sem nada, a fim de pegar uma brisa. Eu me lembro que estava dentro do quarto me vestindo quando começou a gritar para eu sair ao terraço. Eu gritei de volta que estaria ali, mas ele continuou gritando para ir naquele instante. Quando saí, meu olho captou este objeto circular grande vindo em nossa direção. Tinha a forma de um cone achatado e ainda por cima era enorme, brilhante, tinha luz vermelha, não pulsava como uma das aeronaves convencionais". 

May disse que ela e John ficaram ali hipnotizados, incapazes de acreditar que estavam no processo de observação. "Quando se aproximou um pouco mais, poderíamos fazer uma linha ou círculo de luzes brancas que corriam ao redor da borda inteira, era deslumbrante". O casal assistiu a passagem do UFO diretamente sobre o prédio ao lado onde residiam. "Eu estimo que era aproximadamente do tamanho de um jatinho e estava tão perto que se tivéssemos alguma coisa para jogar nele, provavelmente teria batido com bastante facilidade".

Durante o tempo que o objeto ficou diretamente sobre eles, May disse que não ouviu qualquer ruído. "Muitas vezes helicópteros passavam voando acima de nós, mas este foi tão silencioso como a noite, 17 andares acima do nível da rua". Finalmente, o objeto sumiu de vista, deixando-os fortemente comovidos, mas a emoção foi maior ainda logo após. 
Da forma como desapareceu, o UFO voltou. A luminosidade era tão intensa que May recordou que nenhum detalhe adicional pode ser visto. "Nós fizemos exame de um par de fotos, mas elas apareceram superexpostas". Imediatamente, Lennon e May telefonaram para o jornal Daily News e foram informados que pelo menos sete outros relatórios tinham sido recebidos. 

"Nós ainda chamamos a polícia e disseram-nos para manter a calma, que outros tinham visto isso também". Segundo ela, durante toda a noite, ele ficava dizendo não conseguir acreditar. "Eu não posso acreditar nisso ... eu vi um disco voador!". Com a confirmação de seu avistamento, escreveu o que viu e usou como parte da arte da capa de seu álbum Walls and Bridges. 

"John sempre teve interesse em UFOs", ressaltou May. "Ele até assinou a revista britânica Flying Saucer Review. Mas depois de ver o que vimos naquela noite, se tornou ainda mais, trazendo à tona o assunto o tempo todo."


O álbum Walls and Bridges, de John Lennon, foi lançado em 1974 (26 de setembro nos EUA e 4 de outubro na Inglaterra). Trazia, entre outros atrativos, um livreto com as letras das músicas.


No final da primeira página desse livreto estava escrito:

Ou seja, John afirmava que tinha visto um Objeto Voador Não Identificado, às nove horas da noite de 23 de agosto de 1974.

Abaixo uma parte da entrevista com Lennon:


“Se não existe vida fora da Terra, então o universo é um grande desperdício de espaço.”

“O que é mais assustador? A ideia de extraterrestres em mundos estranhos, ou a ideia de que, em todo este imenso universo, nós estamos sozinhos?”

          OCLC Symposium ALA MW 2010        
It's taken me longer than expected to get this post up...busy day today with lots of interesting conversations going on. But these are the scattered notes (along with tweets from @itgirl and @alicesneary) from the Symposium speaker on Friday, Michael Brown:

Loretta Parham
kicks of the OCLC Symposium. We all do PT *physical training*!

Michael Brown
, CEO of CityYear
His first library—Belmont, Massachusetts. He remembers his early experiences with the public libraries.
Boston loves its libraries (source of pride for the community).
Widener Library, his introduction to philanthropy. (The appeal is around something to do with leaving a legacy and personal concerns.)

--We’re in the same business, CityYear and libraries: Citizenship and democracy. Libraries help underscore what it means to be human.
“Getting my library card was like citizenship; it was like American citizenship.” –Oprah Winfrey

Why did he start CityYear?

Born in 1960—the civil rights movement, the moon landing, Star Trek—feeling of intense engagement
He became Passion-Struck. He worked on Capitol Hill for Leon Panetta,
HR2500—Study the commission of volunteer national service: tapping the civic power of youth.
• Life changing benefits (access to college, fulfilling the American dream)
• Needed Services
• Civil Rights
• Rite of Passage
• Inspire to Action

Action Tank – “National Service or Bust”
--Most Americans get excited about the idea of national service, once you explain it
--This isn’t a voting issue

Every meeting had to be inspirational.
Core member handbook: every member of CityYear has to register to vote, pay taxes, and have a library card.
Entrepreneurship: Timberland supplied the boots: boots, brands and beliefs. Timberland outfits the corps. Timberland provides 40 paid hours of volunteer service for employees.
Had to have uniforms—Promoting the concept. This is about service and idealism.
We did calisthenics in front of Boston Public Library every morning.

We had to engage the public sector. Wrote to all Presidential candidates.
Clinton said it was his trip to CityYear that inspired the development of Americorps.

Time magazine wanted to do a cover story on national service. (You never know who is going to be your next champion.)

Edward M Kennedy Serve America Act
. Idealism of Young People, showing they can make a difference.

Now they’re focusing on the High school dropout crisis. Every 26 seconds a child drops out of school. Goal is to reach 50% of the potential drop outs.

6 Major lessons learned along the way:
1. Mantra: COME VISIT! All commitments are experiential.
2. Find a sponsor for it: Get a sponsor for everything (Timberland for Boots)
3. Build partnerships on Reciprocity and Engagement—even when it doesn’t seem like there’s a fit. (CareForce One: CSX has a truck full of rakes, shovels, etc. and it goes to small communities where CSX drives through and helps them clean communities, graffiti, etc.)
4. Every institution has unique assets. (CityYear has young people’s energy)
5. Give a role for citizens in your institution. Serve-A-Thon (One-day where everyone else gets to do what CityYear does.) Create alumni—make people feel like a part of your institution
6. Build a Movement. Be part of something larger than yourself.


Carnegie completed 1,689 libraries. He did challenge grants—the communities had to support the library, once built. Women’s organizations took up the challenge and gave us America’s libraries. A great example of movement building and democracies. (All of this was done before Women had the right to vote!)

Connect your needs to other institutions’ needs. Then you can really get some interesting things going.

Then Loretta Parham gives some examples from her library system about how she engaged members of the community outside the library to try and get some momentum around projects, and what successes emerged.

Some really interesting questions came out for both Loretta and Michael. It's clear that we're all still grappling with how to partner with our civic and campus organizations in the best way possible--some good ideas and questions.

Then we all adjourned and had Boston cream pie. Great ending to a good Symposium. It made me wish I was 22 years old again and full of heady ideals about how to Make The World A Better Place. Has that 22 year old spirit been stamped out completely? I don't think so--seeing the CityYear participants and knowing their passion, I am inspired to give some of my personal time to a national service project, too.
          Fractured        

Artist: Ola Podrida

Plug Research recording stars LANGUIS are all set to have their own summer of love. Hailing from the fra from sunny climes of Los Angeles, California, LANGUIS produce an invigorating, electric, acidic pop rush that startles the senses and broadens the mind.

FRACTURED is their sixth LP, a spicy amalgam of 3 LANGUIS singles in fifteen songs

Inspirations range from Star Trek, the waft of sag aloo, a dash of pretension, sex, eight years of righteous rule and the odd nod to twenty years ago.

In their ten years of existence, LANGUIS have released a whole bag of brill records, studied levitation, sampled humous kebab in almost every U.S. city, done some radio sessions, had a van and all their equipment ripped off, while recording extra tracks for all sorts of groovy compilations and flexis.

Their music has def beats, raw power, mysterious melodies, eastern scales, vocal harmonies, the occasional mental reverb, not to mention ripping guitar. LANGUIS are the happening sound of skinhead acid rock.

LANGUIS are a band that immediately bring back the happenings of 20 years past as well as what is going on today. The foursome formed in the aurora borealic regions of Los Angeles, California in 1997. They initially signed with Simballrec for the release of their first EP, "Homesick"

The past 18 months have seen a dramatic rise in the international profile of LANGUIS. They successfully toured the U.S., all while releasing a new single every four months and appearing on a stream of sampler records.

Now North American infiltration is at hand with FRACTURED, 15 mescal flavored tracks including the first three singles, some b sides and extra tracks all demonstrating the LANGUIS sound, a carefully measured brew, cultivated in the mushroom and poppy fields outside Los Angeles.

MP3: $9.99

          10 Teknologi Masa Depan.!!        
Manusia akan segera memasuki masa depan.
Teknologi bergerak sedemikian cepatnya sehingga dalam waktu tidak lama lagi seluruh dunia akan berubah besar-besaran. Teknologi-teknologi baru yang sedang dikembangkan benar-benar revolusioner, hal-hal yang nyaris tidak pernah terbayangkan sebelumnya oleh para ilmuwan dan hanya ada dalam khayalan-khayalan manusia.

Di suatu hari nanti, manusia mungkin bisa hidup ratusan tahun tanpa mengenal penyakit, memiliki kecerdasan yang genius, dan pergi bertamasya ke luar angkasa.

Ini adalah beberapa teknologi revolusioner yang diperkirakan akan merubah seluruh dunia :
1. Mesin-mesin Cerdas Seukuran Atom, Nanoteknologi
2. Zaman Manusia-manusia Super, Rekayasa Genetika
3. Energi terdahsyat di Alam Semesta, Fusi Nuklir
4. Regenerasi Wolverine, Stem Cell
5. Komputer Kuantum
6. Baju Menghilang Harry Potter, Metamaterial
7. Space Elevator, Tangga Menuju Bintang-bintang
8. Scramjet
9. Hidup Ratusan Tahun, Resveratrol.
10. Penyatuan Manusia dan Mesin, Singularitas.

1. Mesin-mesin Cerdas Seukuran Atom, Nanoteknologi
“Coal and diamonds, sand and computer chips, cancer and healthy tissue: throughout history, variations in the arrangement of atoms have distinguished the cheap from the cherished, the diseased from the healthy. Arranged one way, atoms make up soil, air, and water. Arranged another, they make up ripe strawberries. Arranged one way, they make up homes and fresh air; arranged another, they make up ash and smoke”.Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation


Nanoteknologi adalah segala teknologi masa depan yang memungkinan manusia memanipulasi partikel-partikel super kecil yang besarnya nyaris seukuran atom! Nanometer sendiri adalah ukuran 1/semilyar meter, atau nyaris ketebalan rambut dibelah 50.000. Itulah kedahsyatan teknologi nano.

Tujuannya adalah menciptakan material-material baru masa depan, bahkan mesin-mesin dan robot-robot seukuran partikel. Material-material itu akan bisa lebih kuat dari intan, super ringan, tahan panas dan dingin dengan skala yang ekstrim, mampu menghantarkan listrik lebih baik, lebih tahan lama, ramah lingkungan dan seterusnya.

Kemungkinan aplikasinya benar-benar dahsyat dan akan merubah seluruh dunia. Bayangkan bila kita bisa menciptakan berbagai material baru yang lebih keras dari intan, dan jauh lebih ringan dari baja. (Carbon nanotubes, sp2 bond). Kita bisa menciptakan kerangka super kuat untuk mobil, pesawat terbang, atau bangunan dan jembatan. Dengan bobotnya yang lebih ringan, semua mobil dan pesawat juga akan lebih hemat energi.

Kita bisa menciptakan baju anti kusut dan tahan noda. Kita juga bisa menciptakan robot berukuran bakteria, nanobots, dan memasukanya ke dalam tubuh manusia. Fungsinya bisa dari menyembuhkan penyakit, menghancurkan sel-sel kanker, bahkan memperkuat tubuh manusia (Feynman, ”Swallowing the Doctor”). Nanobots ataupun nanoparticles bahkan nantinya diperkirakan juga akan bisa kembali menutup lubang ozon.

Dengan komponen seukuran nano, kita bisa membuat supercomputer sebesar kotak korek api, dan media penyimpanan data yang menyimpan jutaan gigabyte informasi tentang umat manusia dan seluruh alam semesta, sebesar seujung kuku.
Bagaimana teknologi ini bisa dilakukan? Karena mikroskop super-canggih yang dapat melihat atom sudah ada sejak 1981, Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), dan Atomic Force Microscope (AFM, 1986).
2. Era Manusia-manusia Super, Rekayasa Genetika

“Human genetic engineering has the potential to change human beings' appearance, adaptability, intelligence, character, and behaviour. It may potentially be used in creating more dramatic changes in humans”.
Wikipedia Genetic Engineering.

Manusia telah berhasil memetakan gennya dalam proyek raksasa “The Human Genome Project”. Dengan data ini manusia mempunyai peta informasi untuk mengeksplorasi fungsi dan potensi dari tiap gen dalam tubuh manusia. Mulai dari gen yang menentukan bentuk fisik manusia, gen penyebab kanker, gen yang membentuk ingatan, gen yang menciptakan kecerdasan, bahkan gen khusus yang mengatur proses penuaan.

Ini nantinya akan memungkinkan dilakukannya rekayasa genetika untuk menciptakan manusia-manusia masa depan yang sangat unggul. Manusia dengan kesehatan sempurna, terbebas dari penyakit, berumur lebih dari 100 tahun dan mempunyai kecerdasan mendekati genius.

Bayangkan bila manusia menemukan gen spesial yang membuat Einstein menjadi genius. Lalu gen itu bisa ditransfer ke seluruh umat manusia. Atau keunggulan fisik David Beckham, atau bahkan kharisma John F. Kennedy.

Tapi rekayasa genetika tidak hanya untuk manusia, tapi juga bisa untuk tumbuhan dan hewan ternak. Rekayasa genetika bisa menciptakan padi dan gandum jenis baru dengan hasil panen yang berkali-kali lipat. Kita juga bisa menciptakan daging sapi yang lebih empuk dan gurih. Kita bahkan juga bisa menciptakan tanaman dan hewan konsumsi dengan nilai gizi yang unggul.

3. Energi Terdahsyat di seluruh Alam Semesta, The Power of the Stars

“What would fusion mean? Endless, cheap energy. Amazing Star Trek, space travel possibilities. Fame, fortune, and undoubtedly a Nobel or two for the lucky scientist”.

The Observer, Desember 2000

Matahari, setiap detiknya, mengeluarkan energi sebesar seluruh energi yang digunakan seluruh umat manusia sepanjang sejarahnya. Energi plasma hidrogen raksasa sebesar 380 Milyar-milyar Mega-Watt (380^26 MW), per detiknya. Inilah energi yang dikenal sebagai energi Fusi Nuklir (Nuclear Fusion), The power of the Sun. Dan para ilmuwan dunia sedang berusaha mendapatkannya.
Dan ini adalah energi yang membuat bintang-bintang raksasa di alam semesta terbakar selama milyaran tahun. Energi terdahsyat, di seluruh alam semesta.

Sebuah percobaan besar sedang dilakukan di kota kecil Cadarache di ujung selatan Perancis dalam sebuah proyek bernama ITER. Disini atom Deuterium dan Tritium dilebur dengan panas mencapai 150 juta derajat Celcius, nyaris 10 kali panas inti Matahari. Wadah peleburannya dilindungi oleh medan magnet Tokamak sehingga tidak meleleh.

Hebatnya adalah bahwa Deuterium bisa dihasilkan dari air laut biasa, dan Tritium dibentuk dari Lithium yang bisa didapat dari batu alam. Energi terdahsyat di seluruh alam semesta dari Air dan Batu alam.

Kalau para ilmuwan ini berhasil menciptakannya, maka seluruh dunia akan mempunyai sumber energi baru yang dahsyat menggantikan minyak bumi. Energi ini akan begitu besar dan efisien, tidak terbatas, sangat murah, serta ramah lingkungan.

(Note : penggunaan nanoteknologi dalam sel photovoltaic tenaga surya, nanocrystal, juga dikatakan memiliki potensi energi super besar yang mampu menggantikan minyak bumi).

4. Regenerasi Wolverine, Stem Cell
Bayangkan bila penyakit jantung dan diabetes bisa disembuhkan secara sempurna, orang lumpuh bisa berjalan, dan orang buta, bisa melihat kembali.

Anda pernah melihat seekor cecak, yang bisa menumbuhkan kembali ekornya yang putus dengan sempurna? Atau jika anda penggemar komik ”X-Men”, anda pasti tahu tokoh superhero bernama Wolverine. Saat tubuhnya tertusuk pisau atau tertembus peluru, dia dapat menyembuhkan lukanya dengan nyaris seketika. Ia dapat meregenerasi seluruh sel-sel tubuhnya dengan sempurna, secara instan.
Tapi itu cuma khayalan. Ada sejenis cacing bernama “planarian worm”, yang banyak hidup di laut maupun sungai, yang mampu menumbuhkan ulang bahkan nyaris seluruh tubuhnya.

Planaria, terutama spesies Schmidtea mediterranea, mampu meregenerasi utuh tubuhnya, bahkan bila tinggal sepotong kecil saja tubuhnya yang tersisa, sampai 1/300 bagian. Dan bila kepalanya dihilangkanpun, dia akan menumbuhkan kembali kepalanya dengan sempurna.

Bagaimana jika manusia bisa melakukan itu nantinya? Jika kita dapat secara langsung mengganti semua sel-sel tubuh kita yang rusak dengan sempurna dan tanpa cacat. Para ilmuwan telah nyaris mencapai keajaiban itu. Teknologi biologi molekular bernama Stem Cell, atau Sel Induk. Ini adalah sel paling dasar dari tubuh manusia, yang bisa berubah, atau dirubah, menjadi sel atau organ apapun di tubuh manusia.

Bila anda memiliki penyakit jantung, maka sel jantung itu bisa diganti dengan stem sel dan jantung anda akan berfungsi normal kembali. Bila anda mengalami kebutaan, sel retina anda bisa diganti dengan sel baru dari sel induk dan anda akan bisa melihat kembali.

Jika anda menderita penyakit yang berhubungan dengan fungsi otak seperti stroke, alzheimer atau parkinson, maka sel otak anda yang rusak, bahkan jaringan pusat otak cerebral cortex, bisa diganti dengan stem cell. Dan kalau anda menderita diabetes, maka stem cell akan menyelamatkan anda dengan meregenerasi sel pankreas penghasil hormon insulin.

Stem Cell benar-benar membawa revolusi besar dalam kesehatan umat manusia.

5. Komputer Kuantum

Bayangkan sebuah komputer masa depan, yang kecepatannya ribuan kali lebih cepat dari supercomputer tercepat sekarang. Ribuan kali lebih cepat dan efisien dari IBM ”Roadrunner” di Los Alamos yang kecepatannya mencapai 1.7 petaflops (1 petaflop = 10^15 operasi per detik).

Inilah kedahsyatan komputer kuantum. Komputer ini begitu dahsyat karena diciptakan memakai fenomena keajaiban dunia kuantum, Superposition dan Quantum Entanglement.

Dalam pemecahan kode misalnya (kriptografi), untuk memecahkan kode yang digitnya sampai 140, komputer biasa akan memerlukan waktu milyaran tahun untuk memecahkannya. Tapi dengan komputer kuantum, ini bisa dipecahkan hanya dalam waktu beberapa puluh menit saja.
Dengan komputer ini manusia juga akan bisa memprediksikan cuaca di bumi dan gejala-gejala alam lain yang sangat kompleks dengan sangat akurat berbulan-bulan sebelumnya, seperti gempa bumi dan tornado. Dan tentu saja ini akan makin merevolusikan lagi kecepatan pengembangan seluruh teknologi canggih yang ada sekarang.

6. Jubah Menghilang Harry Potter, Metamaterial
“The announcement last November of an "invisibility shield," created by David R. Smith of Duke University and colleagues, inevitably set the media buzzing with talk of H. G. Wells's invisible man and Star Trek's Romulans”.
MIT Technology Review

Hanya beberapa tahun yang lalu, seluruh ilmuwan ternama dunia masih yakin bahwa tidak ada satupun material di dunia ini yang bisa membuat manusia menghilang. Itu benar-benar tidak mungkin, karena itu melanggar semua hukum alam yang diketahui manusia. Tapi mereka semua salah..
Metamaterial, menjadi salahsatu bahan yang ramai dibicarakan. Bahan ini bisa membuat sesuatu, menjadi tidak terlihat. Sebuah baju yang menggunakan teknologi ini bisa membuat pemakainya ”menghilang”, seperti jubah ajaib dalam ”Harry Potter”.

Sebuah pesawat tempur dengan bahan metamaterial akan jadi tidak terlihat, bukan sekedar tidak terlihat radar seperti teknologi ”Stealth”, tapi benar-benar tidak terlihat mata seperti alat cloaking device dalam Star Trek.

Ini bisa dilakukan misalnya dengan menciptakan material artifisial yang mampu membelokkan radiasi elektromagnetik, demikian pula dengan cahaya, yang pada dasarnya adalah radiasi elektromagnetik. Bahannya bisa seperti timah dan plastik yang diatur dalam struktur pola tertentu.

Metamaterial akan membelokkan cahaya, mengelilingi obyek yang diselimutinya dan berkumpul kembali di ujungnya, seperti air sungai mengelilingi sebuah batu. Dalam penelitian terakhir di Perdue University mereka menggunakan jarum-jarum khusus yang akan membelokkan cahaya melampaui obyek yang diselubungi sementara obyek di belakangnya akan terlihat.

Material ini sedang diteliti di seluruh dunia termasuk di MIT, University of California Berkeley, Duke University, dan Caltech di LA.

7. Space Elevator, Tangga Menuju Bintang-bintang
Space elevator atau Tangga Luar angkasa adalah seperti lift yang sangat tinggi dari bumi menuju ke orbit bumi di luar angkasa, 35.000 kilometer tingginya. Dengan lift ini perjalanan ke orbit bumi akan menjadi lebih mudah, dan murah.
Banyak orang berharap, bahwa program ruang angkasa yang tadinya berhenti sampai di bulan karena sangat mahal, akan bisa dimulai lagi. Dan mungkin impian manusia untuk pergi ke Mars, akan terwujud.

Lift ini awalnya hanya berupa khayalan, tapi ternyata dengan ditemukannya sebuah teknologi baru, hal ini menjadi sangat memungkinkan diwujudkan. Teknologi itu adalah Carbon nanotube, material baru yang dikatakan lebih kuat dari intan dan lebih ringan dari baja.

Hal ini nantinya akan memungkinkan dimulainya era baru dalam penjelahajan ruang angkasa.

8. Memasuki Era Hiper-Sonik, Scramjet
Scramjet akan menjadi salahsatu revolusi terbesar dalam sejarah transportasi dunia. Pesawat tempur tercanggih di dunia sekarang, F/A-22 Raptor milik Amerika berkecepatan maksimal Mach 2, atau 2 kali kecepatan suara. Pesawat penumpang Scramjet, akan membawa anda terbang dengan kecepatan 10 kali kecepatan suara, Mach 10.
Penerbangan dari New York ke Tokyo yang sekarang ditempuh dalam waktu 18 jam yang panjang dan melelahkan, akan ditempuh Scramjet, hanya dalam 120 menit.

Scramjet tidak perlu memakai bahan bakar roket biasa yang mahal dan berat, bahan bakarnya menggunakan hidrogen cair yang dicampur penyedotan oksigen langsung dari atmosfer (air-breathing scramjet engine). Pembakaran hidrogen dan oksigen pada kecepatan supersonik inilah yang akan mengakselerasikan kecepatannya.

Ini akan membuat penerbangan dari satu tempat ke tempat lain di seluruh dunia menjadi super cepat.

9. Fountain Of Youth, Resveratrol
Mungkin, nantinya kita bisa menemukan sesuatu yang memungkinkan kita hidup ratusan tahun. Tapi para ilmuwan mungkin telah menemukannya, sesuatu yang dinamakan “Sirtuin”, Silent Information Regulator 2 (Sir2) proteins dan resveratrol, zat antioxidan yang ternyata banyak ditemukan dalam buah anggur merah (Jadi sering-seringlah makan buah anggur.)

Tapi para ilmuwan juga telah menciptakan sesuatu yang bahkan lebih kuat dari resveratrol yaitu sebuah obat dengan kode, SRT1720.

“SRT1720 is a thousand times more potent than resveratrol, meaning that it could be taken in smaller doses. A person would have to drink hundreds of glasses of wine to get the same health benefits from resveratrol. Resveratrol will pretty soon look like ancient technology,"
David Sinclair, a biologist at Harvard Medical School

10. Singularitas.

Suatu hari nanti, akan datang suatu masa dimana melalui rekayasa genetika seluruh manusia akan mempunyai fisik dan kecerdasan yang nyaris sempurna.
Lalu dengan kemajuan teknologi komputer, komputer kuantum dan nanoteknologi memungkinkan manusia memasukkan Quantum Computer berukuran partikel ke dalam otaknya dan menggunakan partikel-partikel nano untuk makin memperkuat tubuhnya. Ini adalah hal yang dinamakan Singularitas. Penyatuan antara biologi manusia dengan teknologi.

          How-to Make Excellent Marketing Literature 37% More Readable        

Overview

For our first installment of Copywriting Tune-ups, we focus on a product called Halo from Hewlett Packard (HP). Why choose HP? They're #1 on the Silicon Valley 150. Why Halo ? When software helps people overcome barriers of time, distance and culture, I get excited and writing about it is irresistible.

We look at the white paper explaining how Halo marks a major advance in business collaboration technology but first, let's answer the question, "What is Halo?" To quote HP:

The Halo studio—designed by DreamWorks Animation in partnership with HP—provides life-size, real-time, eye-to-eye conferencing with outstanding audio and no delay. Halo gives the sense of being in the same room together...

When you buy Halo studios from HP you connect your organization in a way that's never been possible before. Halo can transform how your business works by bringing people together frequently and spontaneously to collaborate in the most natural way.

This white paper is obviously top notch. The challenge is how to make it even better.

Scanning it the first time, I felt something subtle could be improved but wasn't sure what. Then, it hit me – the paper uses the passive voice. Giving the paper an active voice makes it more readable, as demonstrated below.

Finally, if you like irony, you might find the Wrap-up to this post a touch humorous.

Copywriting Tune-up

The passive voice subtly mutes the original as if a Plexiglas wall was shielding us from the full force of what the writer wants us to feel:

Before
After

Though in most cases, Halo is purchased initially for senior management, businesses also report cultural changes across the company, its customers, vendors and strategic partners.

Human Resources staff use the Halo studio to interview applicants instead of flying them in for interviews. Managers eliminate travel by conducting performance appraisals and contract negotiations in Halo rooms. Projects with vendors can be completed quickly with no in-person meetings at all.

At the same time, relationships develop, as if all of the project work were done in the same location. Companies that have gone through mergers or acquisitions report that Halo has
brought the organizational cultures together because, even though not everyone affected by mergers can travel to establish new work
relationships, they can do so using the Halo suites.

Usually, companies purchase Halo for senior management. A short time later, cultural changes spread across the company, its customers, vendors and key partners.

Human Resources staff use the Halo studio to interview applicants instead of flying them in for interviews. To eliminate travel, managers conduct performance appraisals and contract negotiations in Halo rooms. Projects with vendors finish quickly with no in-person meetings.

At the same time, new social networks form. The quality of work from these teams reaches parity with that of teams in a single location.

Companies recently merged or acquired report Halo has brought their cultures together because people unable to travel as a way of establishing new relationships achieve the same thing using Halo suites.

Get the Scoop on Readability Statistics

Before we take a closer look at the Readability Statistics pictured above, let's explain the last two measures. Throughout the 20th Century, Rudolf Flesch championed clarity in writing by simplifying sentence structures, selecting more common words, and emphasizing flow. The Flesch Reading Ease index runs from 1-100: the higher the number, the easier to read. The Flesch Kincaid Grade Level specifies the minimum reading level needed to follow a passage comfortably.

Need a Fast Grammar Lesson on Passive Voice?

The after passage removes the Plexiglas wall by eliminating the passive voice. If your grammar is a little rusty regarding the passive voice, English Grammar Online offers a simple definition with lots of examples. The passive voice creates a barrier to understanding because it leaves the subject of a sentence unknown.

Boost Readability - Make the Passive Voice Active

The screenshots above tell the story. Our reward for making the passive voice active - Flesch Reading Ease index improves by 37%.

You'll find the passive voice in scholarly writing. It makes sense the writer would choose the passive voice as white papers are meant to appear objective and free from sales hype.

Still, I contend it's okay to write white papers with an active voice.

First, in a world where everyone is starved for time and attention spans are short, we want readers to absorb the spirit of our writing without anything to impede their understanding.

Second, it's no secret white papers in the technology sector are meant to generate interest and are therefore "non-sales sales tools." We can use an active voice while remaining mindful of white paper etiquette.

So, do you consider your marketing materials to be excellent? Whether they are or not, picture what a 37% spike in readability could do for your business.

Wrap-up

OK, I promised irony.

Doesn't It seem ironic a technology capable of creating this sense of intimacy would have its literature written in the passive voice?

Someday, the ability to beam people from place to place as envisioned by Star Trek will arrive. They'll need a white paper. Will they write it in the passive voice?




To your marketing success,

Eric Rosen
Clear Crisp Communications
Tel: 408.506.0719
Fax: 814.253.5142
Email: eric.rosen AT clearcrisp.com
Web: http://www.clearcrisp.com
Blog: http://copywritingtuneup.blogspot.com
Easier to Read Means More Sales and Leads


          GameCritics.com Podast Episode 154: Pokemon Go, No Man's Sky, and Star Trek        

We're back, a mere 12 years after our last show. No Man's Sky, Inside, Pokemon Go, Mighty Number Nine, The Fall, and We Happy Few, plus Star Trek Beyond, social media malaise, and a deep dive into Richard's digestive system. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Richard Naik, Corey Motley, and Tim Spaeth.


          GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 147: Firewatch and Star Trek Captains        

Firewatch! It's a thing. To tell you any more would enter spoiler territory. However! There is a special spoiler segment from about 0:26 to 0:53 if you're into that. Also we dive again in Felipe's Mailbag, and come away with the one nerd question to rule them all-who is the best Star Trek Captain? Featuring Tim Speath, Chi Kong Lui, Richard Naik, and Corey Motley.


          The W80 By Westone Audio        
8.5Our Score$1499Westone WebsiteI remember reading a few times the concept of the Westone Audio product numbers being akin to the Star Trek movie franchise with the odd numbered ones never being as good as the even numbers. Certainly, I was not a fan of the W50 nor even the UM10 but I absolutely adored the […]
          Winona Laura Horowitz professional name Winona Ryder        
Winona Laura Horowitz born October 29, 1971 , better known under her professional name Winona Ryder, is an American actress. She made her film debut in the 1986 film Lucas. Ryder's first significant role came in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988) as a goth teenager, which won her critical and commercial recognition. After making various appearances in film and television, Ryder continued her career with the cult film Heathers (1989), a controversial satire of teenage suicide and high school life, which drew Ryder further critical and commercial attention.
Having played diverse roles in many well-received films, Ryder won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and an Academy Award nomination in the same category for her role in The Age of Innocence in 1993, as well as another Academy Award nomination for Little Women the following year for Best Actress. In 2000, Ryder received a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California.
Ryder's personal life has been widely reported by the media. Her relationship with actor Johnny Depp in the early 1990s was highly publicized and received much scrutiny by the media and tabloid press. A much talked about 2001 shoplifting incident led to a four-year hiatus from acting. She has also revealed her personal struggle with anxiety and depression, briefly checking into a clinic. In 2006, Ryder returned to the screen, and some media outlets called her performance "a remarkable comeback" to acting, having appeared in high-profile films such as Star Trek.In 2010, she was nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards, as the lead actress of When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story, and as part of the cast of Black Swan.
Contents
* 1 Early life and education
* 2 Career
o 2.1 Early works, 1985–1990
o 2.2 1991–1995
o 2.3 1996–2000
o 2.4 Hiatus, 2001–2005
o 2.5 2006–present
* 3 Personal life
o 3.1 Relationships
o 3.2 Polly Klaas
o 3.3 2001 arrest
* 4 Filmography
o 4.1 Television series
* 5 Awards and nominations
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Early life and education
Born Winona Laura Horowitz in Olmsted County, Minnesota, she was named after the nearby city of Winona. She was given her middle name, Laura, because of her parents' friendship with Aldous Huxley's wife, Laura Huxley. Her mother, Cynthia Palmer (née Istas), is an author, as well as a video producer and editor. Her father, Michael Horowitz, is an author, editor, publisher, and antiquarian bookseller. Ryder is Jewish on her father's side, and has described herself as Jewish. Her paternal grandparents were immigrants from Russia and Romania; her father's family was originally named "Tomchin", but was wrongly assigned the surname "Horowitz" by U.S. immigration officials at Ellis Island. Ryder's mother is a Buddhist and her father is an atheist. Ryder has one full sibling, a younger brother, Uri (named in honor of the first Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin), an older half-brother, Jubal, and an older half-sister, Sunyata. Ryder's family friends included her godfather, LSD guru Timothy Leary, as well as the beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick.
In 1978, when Ryder was seven years old, she and her family relocated to Rainbow, a commune near Elk, Mendocino County, California, where they lived with seven other families on a 300-acre (120 ha) plot of land. As the remote property had no electricity or television sets, Ryder began to devote her time to reading, and became an avid fan of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.She developed an interest in acting after her mother showed her a few movies on a screen in the family barn. At age 10, Ryder and her family moved on again, this time to Petaluma, California. During her first week at the Kenilworth Junior High, she was bullied by a group of her peers who mistook her for an effeminate, scrawny boy. As a result, she ended up being homeschooled that year. In 1983, when Ryder was 12, she enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater in nearby San Francisco, where she took her first acting lessons. Ryder graduated from Petaluma High School with a 4.0 GPA in 1989. She suffers from aquaphobia because of a traumatic near-drowning at age 12. This caused problems with the underwater scenes in Alien Resurrection (1997), some of which had to be reshot numerous times.

Winona Ryder
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          Beam Me Up, Scotty: Star Trek Memorabilia Goes for Galactic Prices        
By Debbie Schlussel In honor of the recent 40th anniversary of “Star Trek,” Christie’s auction house began the bidding and sale of items from the set of the hit show that has spawned geeky Trekkies worldwide and a gazillion silly spin-offs. A burgundy captain’s chair that belonged to Jean Luc Picard went for $52,000. And […]
          Part II of Take Teddy Bear to Work        
I entered the house after work (about midnight) knowing Hubby was out of town overnight.
"It is really going to be lonely tonight" I said as I turned on the bedroom light.
But NO. I found....
Star Trek Bear complete with oxygen tubing (just like Hubby)

So when Hubby returned the next afternoon, he found....
Star Trek Bear with c...
          About me....A - Z        
A. Are you artistic?
yes, crafts, sewing NOT drawing, music, dance

B. What is your favorite band?
-?-

C. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Light orchid....fancy name for purple

D. If you were not a nurse, what would your dream job be?
Retired Grandma!

E. What exotic pet would you like to have?
? Husband ?

F. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Latest Star Trek movie....next one...
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 06-09-2016 with Joel Davis        
Playlist:

Wanderla- Ginga Da Mandinga - Feito Gente
Skinshape- Summer - Oracolo
The Marvells- Rock Steady - 100 Dynamite
Foxy Brown- Oh Yeah - Broken Silence
Yoav- Yeah The End - Charmed And Strange
The Peronists- Baby Its Over feat Yodashe - Periferia Ep
- voicebreak -
RvdaTaCaT- Deep Down - Dd Beat Tape Vol 1 Astral Ocean
The Cars- Got A Lot On My Head - CandyO
Astronautalis- Attila Ambrus - Cut The Body Loose
Fanfare Ciocrlia- Out To Lounge - Onwards To Mars Bonus Track Version
Natacha Atlas- Visions - Myriad Road
Idris Ackamoor The Pyramids- We Be All Africans - We Be All Africans
- voicebreak -
Elite Beat- Budget - Casual Rhythms Vol 2
Projeto Mujique- Alma Da Terra - Voodoohop Entropia Coletiva 1
Soul Coughing- Screenwriters Blues - Ruby Vroom
Mateo Kingman- Lluvia - Respira
Madlib- Star Trek The Vulcans - Blunted In The Bomb Shelter
Four Tet- A Lost Track That Ive Been Playing On The Radio And Stuff Seemed Like A Nice Thing To Put Out There Because Of Smashing It On The Internet Etc - A Lost Track
George Clinton- Atomic Dog Qdup Remix - Icons Vol 2 The Ghetto Funk Remixes
Jimi Hendrix- Some Dreams You Never Forget Pt 1 - Some Dreams You Never Forget mixed By F Olding Munny
- voicebreak -
Boredoms- 77777 - Vision Recreation Newsun
Tin Hat- Black Thursday - The Sad Machinery Of Spring
Tu Fawning- Battle Of Evermore - From The Land Of Ice And Snow The Songs Of Led Zeppelin
Zoom Soon Bao- Dos Minutos De Silencio - Acido Folklorico
Kraak Smaak- Lake Eerie - Juicy Fruit
Pink Hawks- Taste Your Medicine - Taste Your Medicine Kuku Single
Various Artists- Muhammad Ali - Hits And Misses Muhammad Ali
Family Atlantica- La Humanidad - Cosmic Unity
Various Artists- Kimya Dawson Tire Swing - Juno
Cornelius- Music Petra Haden Japanglish Version Edited By Joel Davis - Gum EP
Homeboy Sandman- Heart Sings - Kindness For Weakness
Cut Chemist- Adidas To Addis - Sound Of The Police
- voicebreak -
Various Artists- Augustus Pablo East Of The River Nile - DJ Spooky Creation RebelTrojan Records UnMixed
David Holmes- What R We Stealing - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind
Nicola Conte Stefania Dipierro- Open The Door - Natural
Little Annie- I Think Of You - Pay It All Back Vol 3
The Feelies- Its Only Life - Only Life
- voicebreak -
DJ Drez- Into Space feat Marti Nikko - Alpine Swift
Goodhertz- All The Bob Marley The Wailers Drum Intros In Chronological Order - All The Bob Marley The Wailers Drum Intros In Chronological Order
Culture- Psalm Of Bob Marley - Reggae Anthology Natty Dread Taking Over
- voicebreak -
The Spy From Cairo- I Sleep Under The Sand - I Sleep Under The Sand
Buck 65- Kennedy Killed The Hat - Secret House Against The World
Dosh- Subtractions - Tommy
Oren Bloedow- What Kind Of Love - Live At The Knitting Factory Vol 5
King Ghazi Presents Abu Sayah- Houran ICube Remix - Houran Shamaleh
Calexico- Heavy With The Bass - The Book And The Canal
- voicebreak -
Hu Vibrational- Hikuli - The Epic Botanical Beat Suite


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/50/playlistDate/2016-06-09
          13.11.17 20:00 Uhr - Fürth - Carl Verheyen - Essential Blues- Support: Bettina Schelker        
Tickets erhältlich unter: http://www.frankentipps.de/veranstaltung214419-tickets

Carl Verheyen, vom GUITAR Magazine als „One of the World’s Top 10 Guitarists_ und vom CLASSIC ROCK Magazine als „One of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time_ bezeichnet, hat angekündigt, mit seiner drei¬köpfi¬gen Band im Herbst nach Europa zu kommen. Zuvor wird er in den USA auf Ostküstentour und anschließend auf Festivaltour gehen.
Mit im Gepäck: sein neues Album „The Grand Design_.
Die Carl Verheyen Band Tour wird eine der seltenen Gelegenheiten sein, einen großartigen Mix aus Blues, Rock, Jazz und eventuell sogar Country live zu erleben – und das von drei Weltklasse-Musikern in eher intimen Clubs. Der GRAMMY-nominierte Verheyen bringt den renommierten Bassisten Dave Marotta mit, der schon für Phil Collins, Neil Diamond, Bruce Hornsby, Gino Vanelli, Manhattan Transfer, Kenny Loggins und unzählige andere gespielt hat. Marotta hat seinen Bass auch bei etlichen Filmen und TV Shows eingesetzt, angefangen bei American Idol bis hin zu CSI Episoden. Das Ass an den Drums ist John Mader, der bereits mit Booker T. Jones, Steve Miller, Pat Benatar, Patti Austin, Albert King, Randy Newman und Bonnie Raitt gespielt hat, entweder live oder im Studio. Er hat darüber hinaus für mehrere mit einem TONY Award prämierte Musicals gespielt, darun¬ter Disney’s „The Lion King“, „Rent“, „Mamma Mia“ und bei der Weltpremiere von „Wicked“.
Carl Verheyen hat mehr als 40 Jahre entweder solo, mit Band oder als Studiogitarrist gearbeitet. Es vergeht sicher kaum ein Tag, wo man nicht seine Gitarre in irgendeinem Song, einem Film oder im Fernsehen hört, ohne dass es einem bewusst ist. Er ist derjenige, den man anruft, wenn man einen erstklassigen Studio¬gitarristen benötigt. So hört man Verheyens Gitarre in vielen populären TV Serien (Seinfeld, Frazier, Cheers, Happy Days, LA Law, Eine schrecklich nette Familie, u.v.a.) und Kinofilmen (Star Trek, Die üblichen Verdächtigen, Ratatouille, Verhandlungssache und hunderte mehr). Neben seiner Arbeit als Gitarrist von Supertramp hat er noch für viele Größen der Musik live oder im Studio gespielt, u.a. für BB King, Joe Bona¬massa, Cher, Brad Paisley, Christina Aguilera, The Bee Gees und etliche mehr!
Verheyen hat One-on-one Gitarrenstunden für John Fogerty geliefert und war Sologitarrist bei den Academy Awards (OSCAR), wo er vor mehr als 67 Mio. Zuschauern zu sehen war. In den letzten 30 Jahren hat er mit Supertramp in Arenen mit einere Kapazität von 20.000 gespielt. Von ihm gibt es allein 13 Alben unter eigenem Namen. 2015 hat er unter dem Titel „Alone“ ein feines akustisches Improvisationsalbum herausgebracht. Dieses Jahr erscheint im April mit „The Grand Design“ ein weiteres Solowerk.
Über seine neuesten Tourpläne verrät Carl: „Dies ist das erste Mal seit 2014, dass ich wieder mit meiner eige-nen Band auf Europatour komme. Letztes Jahr haben wir nur eine Reihe von Festivals im Sommer gespielt. Wir drei freuen uns sehr, wieder auf unser Publikum zu treffen. Dave, John und ich lieben es sehr, in intimen Rahmen zu spielen und unsere Musik unseren treuen Fans und neuen Fans vorzustellen.“
          Roundtable with Peter Tolan, Brannon Braga, Y. Shireen Razack and Adam Nussdorf        

Peter Tolan (co-creator/showrunner, Outsiders, Rescue Me); Brannon Braga (co-creator/showrunner, Salem; Star Trek: Next Generation); Y. Shireen Razack (Shadowhunters); Adam Nussdorf (creator, Beyond).


          Nerdist TV: The Boundary Pushers Live from SDCC 2016        

Steven Moffat (Doctor Who; Sherlock), Bryan Fuller (American Gods; Star Trek; Hannibal), and Michael Green (American Gods) join Alicia Lutes (co-host/creator, Fangirling) at the “Nerdist TV: The Boundary Pushers” panel. Recorded at San Diego Comic Con on July 21, 2016


          Chris Black        

The showrunner of Cinemax's Outcast (based on the Robert Kirkman comics) talks about his start in syndicated shows like Weird Science, Cleopatra 2525, and Xena, his work on Star Trek: Enterprise, moving out of genre with Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, rooms he learned in, pitching, and more. If you're in LA, join Chris, Robert Kirkman, and cast members to watch the first two episodes of Outcast at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on June 1st! Outcast premieres on Cinemax on June 3rd.


          Claudia Lonow        

The creator of Rude Awakening, Accidentally on Purpose, and How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) discusses starting out as a teen actor on Knots Landing, transitioning to stand-up comedy and then writing, heartbreaks and joys of the shows she's worked on, and lots more. Plus: hear Claudia cry when she recounts the plot of Star Trek 2.


          Meme of the Week        

It was close, but Liberals and the Military just managed to edge Moderate Arrow.

  1. 29.3% Liberals and the Military
  2. 28.8% Moderate Arrow
  3. 15.8% Star Trek: Disaster
  4. 14.1% Third Colossus
  5. 12.0% Alt Lite and Alt Right

To get a vote and receive fresh daily memes in your email, sign up for the Daily Meme Wars.
          Brannon Braga        

Brannon Braga, the co-creator of WGN America's Salem discusses his 15 years in the Star Trek franchise, starting as an intern on The Next Generation, running Voyager, and creating Enterprise, as well as talking candidly about Fox's Terra Nova, getting energized on 24, and lots more. 


          The Children of Tendu/Nerdist Writers Panel crossover part 2!        

Ben Blacker sits down with Children of Tendu hosts Javier Grillo-Marxuatch (Helix; creator, The Middleman) and Jose Molina (Sleepy Hollow; Terra Nova) and their mentors Rene Echevarria (Star Trek: TNG/DS9; Dark Angel; Medium; Terra Nova) and Naren Shankar (Star Trek: TNG/DS9; CSI; Almost Human) to talk about room behavior, good bosses and great bosses, first scripts, and lots more.

For part 1 of the CoT/NWP crossover, go to childrenoftendu.com


          Bryan Fuller        

The creator of Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, and Dead Like Me discusses his work habits, putting a philosophy in every scene, death, collaboration, Star Trek, and lots more.

Recorded January 19, 2014.


          Damon Lindelof        

An in depth chat with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof about comics, Star Wars, sequels, Star Trek,  JJ Abrams, fandom... everything you want a Damon Lindelof to talk about.


          Naren Shankar, Bradley Thompson and David Weddle & Meredith Stiehm        

Naren Shankar (Star Trek DS9; CSI; Grimm); Bradley Thompson and David Weddle (Battlestar Galactica; Falling Skies); Meredith Stiehm (creator, Cold Case). Recorded July 31, 2011.


          Would You Vote for an Atheist or Agnostic?        

Would you vote for an atheist or agnostic for President of the United States? If you would, you're a member of a distinct minority, particularly if you are religious.
This is the message sent by a recent study which appeared in the American Sociological Review. (1) This study reports the attitudes of religious people in the United States toward non-religious people. Based on a telephone survey of 2,000 households and in-depth interviews with 140 people, the study concludes that believers do not trust non-believers, view them as selfish and uncaring, and oppose their children marrying them. Religious faith, believers say, is central to being a good American and a good person. (2)
These views are worrisome, to put it mildly.
In the first place, they fly in the face of these facts:
1. Article VI of the Constitution says that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
2. Our political system is built upon the separation of church and state.
3. The word "God" does not appear in the Constitution even once.
4. Many of our founders, including Jefferson, repudiated traditional religion.
5. Some 30,000,000 or more Americans profess no religion. (3)
In the second place, these views denigrate the many atheists and agnostics who compare favorably on the virtue scale with believers and who have made important contributions to our civilization.
On this point, let me drop the names of a few infidels.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, the two richest people in the world, are arguably the world's two greatest living philanthropists. Ted Turner, founder of CNN, gave $1,000,000,000 to the United Nations. Actor Angelina Jolie, a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, has invested her time and treasure in refugees and children in Africa and Asia. Many other respected actors who have entertained us, past and present, are also non-believers. They include Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Jodie Foster, Jack Nicholson, Margot Kidder, John Malkovich, Christopher Reeve, and Katherine Hepburn. Musicians Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, and James Taylor are non-believers, as are Las Vegas headliners Penn and Teller, comedians Julia Sweeney and George Carlin, humor columnist Dave Barry, 60 Minutes curmudgeon Andy Rooney, and golfer Annika Sorenstam. Non-believers also include Nobel laureates Francis Crick and James Watson, co-discoverers of DNA, economist Milton Friedman, and chemist Linus Pauling. Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, was a non-believer. Cancer-survivor and cyclist extraordinaire, Lance Armstrong, and former Minnesota Vikings running back Robert Smith, are non-believers. Hall-of-Fame baseball player, Ted Williams, who gave up several years of baseball during his prime to serve his country as a fighter pilot in two wars, was a non-believer. Hundreds more names could be added to these.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that all atheists and agnostics are pillars of virtue. Shock-jock Howard Stern, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, and Karl Rove, the President's alter ego, come to mind. (That"s right, friends, Karl Rove is an agnostic.) (4) I am saying that whether a person does or does not profess religion tells us nothing about his or her character or whether he or she enhances the lives of others. It's high time for people on both sides of the religious divide to recognize this.
____________________
1. April 2006
2. mndaily.com, March 24, 2006
3. American Religion Identification Survey
4. Interview with Wayne Slater on "Fresh Air," NPR September 5, 2006. Slater, with James Moore, wrote The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power.

Copyright
Tom Shipka 2007


          Star Trek RPG Operations Manual from The Other Side blog        
I am working on my limited run Trek game to start in October.  I have decided on my base system(s).  I am going with my "Black Star" idea with Starships & Spacemen as my main set of rules and adding in "Basic Era" ideas when and wher...

[...]
          The Best Holiday Home Entertainment Gifts of 2016        
Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection
The best of the best home video box sets for you and your loved nerd ones, from the latest Star Trek and Star Wars to Walking Dead sets.
          The Abraham Lincoln Logs #135        
Abe needs YOU: to vote.
In blue ribbon episode #135 Abe talks about the candidates, their endorsements, their agendas and detractors. Quoting Ann Coulter in-show makes the podcast explicit (which doesn't go to waste) with plenty of Superman, Star Trek, Golden Compass and CIA gulfstream jet Cocaine references to round out the discourse...

Links


Six tons of CIA cocaine.

Ann Coulter will campaign for Hillary.

Super Tuesday - teh day we mourn the death of Superman.

Ron Paul

Barack Obama


          The Rat Race Is Calling        
I hope everyone is enjoying their own version of a Happy Holidays. It has been stated many times in the past by many people that we are all in the rat race of life. We all trudge along on our own personal hamster wheels spending our days and nights trying to maintain our balance. If you happen to change jobs, in reality, you are just jumping onto a new hamster wheel. I suppose the best that we can hope for is to find that particular wheel that suits each of our own personalities and desires with the best fit. In a more perfect world, we would all be happy with our positions in life but too many people are never happy with were they are. Advertizers have convinced most of us that we all need the newest widgit for us to have a happy and fulfilling life. In most cases, this is bullshit. All you really need is yourself and enough clothing and money to be protected from the elements and starvation. If you are fortunate to have a family around you then in most cases you really do have all you need. Don't let the rat race and technology run your life.


I was at work last night and had a group of six women come in and spent the better part of several hours in my busines. During this time, even though there were more than enough people present to have several rounds of rousing conversation, these six women never let more than a four or five minute period of time go by without the necessity of text messaging someone or calling someone, usually with no other purpose than to see what they were doing. Are people really that fucking nosey or are they so insecure that they can not stand the thought of someone doing something or being somewhere that might be more exciting than what they themselves are currently doing. At one point they even joked about how did they ever get by before the advent of cellphones and text messaging. Do we really need to stay in this tight of a correspondence loop with everyone we know. I doubt it. The existence of the free world really does not hang in the balance. Later in the evening, after 1 AM, to be exact, three other customers all came in wearing their Star Trek-like Blue Tooth cell phones in their ears because apartently they are all so important that they need to be in constant contact with fan base but still need both hands free for drinking. At least they have their drinking priorities straight. I can appreciate that.



I predict that within the next couple years that there will be another back to the earth revolution. I think that some people will hopefully realize that they still control their own lives, technology does't. They will discover that they have become captives of a technological world and retake control of their own lives. Heaven to me has become the time when I go out to the country and walk for hours with no phone calls or text messages. No one to bother me and my wife in our all too brief commune with nature. Maybe my wife and I are the strange ones but neither of us desire to be in constant communication with the rest of the world. As the author of this blog, it is obvious that I enjoy technology but I hopefully keep it in its' place and I control it rather than it controlling me. Try regaining your life. Try turning off your cell phone for fifteen minutes once a day. I know it will be hard to do at first but it is a good starting point, and by the way, when you are out with your friends, try paying a little more attention to them and less to your cell phone, it is the polite thing to do. Have a great year filled with peace and love.

          Scrapbook 2013        
Photobucket

Think about the year that has passed. All the memories, the entries and posts that made the year special. Think about all your past layouts, default icons, mood themes. How about all those conversations you had via comments, or the huge post in ONTD that you spent all night commenting on. The 2013 Scrapbook Post is a way to help you remember all of that, in a single post.




❤ Headers

• From ColourLovers: here




❤ Blog Titles

• We end up dreaming instead of sleeping (LJ)
• Oh, who am I to beg for difference? (Tumblr)
• Darkness is a harsh term, don't you think? (LJ)




❤ Layouts

Blue Swirls by daemon
Iso by fruitstyle




❤ Mood Themes

• Donna Noble animated mood by wickedgrdn




❤ Default Icons

Photobucket by dark_jackal32





❤ Desktops

Photobucket not mine
 photo 426782_10150571679892001_92809692000_9533598_1295167402_n_zps7c7a7548.jpgnot mine
 photo tyler_hoechlin_wallpaper_01_by_iheartbellamy-d5mmcr9_zps3406b75b.jpg not mine
 photo io_zps08dc3c59.jpg by me




❤ University

Techniques of Computational Physics: 30
Nuclear and Subnuclear Physics: 26
Lab of Astrophysics: 30
Physics of the Magnetosphere II: 30+
Space Physics Lab: 30+





❤ Events

• Lunch @ Aunt Ginevra's with the whole family (1/01/2013)
• Candy Shopping with Mama (4/01/2013)
• Watching Merlin finale T___T (7/01/2013)
Soundcloud account (11/01/2013)
• Starting MyFitnessPal (17/01/2013)
• 13,70€ for six makeup items (instahaul) (/01/2013)
• Sick with fever & nausea (29/01/2013)
• IBS package ordered 02/02/2013 (18/02/2013)
Winning a giveaway for the first time! (22/02/2013)
• Red Karaoke album dowloaded (24/02/2013)
• @ Rome with Marta - not the day I wanted and expected, could have been better (2/03/2013)
• Dinner @ Marta&Paolo's with Fife&Giuanni (3/03/2013)
• Chiara (&Eleonora&Paolo) gets her PhD in Physics. Congrats, girl! (20/03/2013)
• Various people (Alessia, Simone, Pietro, Danila, Dante) get a degree(27/03/2013)
• Ottavio's birthday dinner with Giuliani, Otto, Svale, Ruggi, Cecchini, Fede, Mariangela, Zufi, ? @ Oro Rosso (30/03/2013)
• Dream about Taylor Swift (31/03/2013)
• Easter lunch at Marta&Paolo's (31/03/2013)
• Dinner with Jessica @ Porca Vacca (3/04/2013)
• Singing constest @ Onna singin "Notturno" (7/04/2013)
• Officially started my thesis (10/04/2013)
• @ home with Marta&Paolo for roasted chicken and gelato (18/04/2013)
• Giuliani's bday dinner (27/04/2013)
• My sis trims my hair (12/05/2013)
• Robs is back from Dublin (27/05/2013)
• Last day of lectures ever!!! (12/06/2013)
• My very first dessert: microwaved brownies - not a success (14/06/2013)
• In Gagliano Aterno for the TOEFL study program (3/07-2/08 2013)
• @Luigi's for dinner with the american pals (24/01/2013)
• Birthday dinner with Otto, Vale, Zufi, Giuliani & (Jessica & Cch) (7/08/2013)
• Visiting for the first time the new homeplace of my Uncle Felix (8/08/2013)
• 30th birthday of my sis @ her place with the whole family (11/08/2013)
• Maquillalia order (8-14/08/2013)
• @Pescocostanzo with the whole family: take out lunch @ home (15/08/2013)
• Second attempt of microwave brownies (25/08/2013)
Winning a giveaway and Nicole's blog! (22/08/2013)
• TOEFL @ Rome with Mom and sis 115/120: R29, L29, S27, W30 (7/09/2013)
• Cooking & eating pizza at my sister's (8/09/2013)
• Uncle Carlo's 50th birthday celebration @ Passaparola (10/09/2013)
• GRE Physics @ John Cabot University in Rome (27-28/09/2013)
• Flu's worst timing ever (15/10/2013)
• GRE General test @ Rome (18/10/2013)
• GRE Subject in Physics @ Rome (19/10/2013)
• Receiving the BellezaKisses giveaway prize (28/10/2013)
• Romina's graduation dinner @ Mordi&Fuggi (05/12/2013)
• Moving furniture to the new old house (05-06/12/2013)
• Christmas Eve dinner @ home with Marta & Paolo + watching the Vicotria's Sectret fashion show (24/12/2013)
• Christmas lunch with Sciarretta&Colangelo + playing&winning at Pictionary @ Marta's (25/15/2013)
• New kitchen (30/12/2013)
• NY's Eve @ Otto's (31/12/2013)






❤ Quotes

• "They say that people teach what they need to learn." (The Happiness Project)
• "All these thoughts flooded through my mind, and as I sat on that crowded bus, I grasped two things: I wasn’t as happy as I could be, and my life wasn’t going to change unless I made it change. In that single moment, with that realization, I decided to dedicate a year to trying to be happier." (The Happiness Project)
• "If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough." (The Happiness Project)
• "No! Try not! Do, or do not. There is no try!" (Yoda from "Star Wars")
• Mary Margareth: "I'm the worst person in the world" Emma: "Really, the whole world?" (from Once Upon a Time)
• "That's a relief." (Kili from The Hobbit)
• "You're a musician, so it's important that you suffer." (Lanny from Rock of Ages)
• "Pipe the fuck down!" (Jenna Marbles)
• "I'd watch your back. Just to make sure there's no target drawn on it" (from Smash)
• " “You are the piece of the puzzle of someone else’s life. You may never know where you fit, but others will fill the holes in their lives with pieces of you. So if you run out of reasons to live, remember that someone else’s life may never be complete without you in it." (Bonnie Arbon)
• "I talk, therefore I am." (Michelle from Bunheads)
• "This is what I believe to be true: You have to do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining." (Pat from Silver Linings Playbook)
• "I didn’t believe in love at first sight till I met Ginnifer." (Josh Dallas)
• "You guys need to stop being such asses and start being bad asses." (Jesse St. James from Glee)
• "There comes a time when you have to see what life looks like from the dance floor" (Charlie in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky)
• "Either you say too much or you don't say enough and they're gone" (Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill)
• "And all you want is to always feel happy for them because you know that if you do, then it means that you're happy too" (Charlie in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky)
• "There’s a special place in hell for women that don’t help other women." (Katie Couric)
• "That's why they had plagues, you know. To kill dumb guys like Ben." (Milly Stone from Bunheads)
• "Dreaming about being an actress is more exciting than being one." (Marilyn Monroe)
• "Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know." (Pema Chodron)
• "Life sucks when you are ordinary" (Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries)
• "I don't trust fish! They breathe water, that's crazy!" (Nick Miller from New Girl)
• "I do not respond to threats. I make them." (Jessica Pearson from Suits)
• "It portrays death truthfully. You die in the middle of your life, in the middle of a sentence." (Hazel from "The Fault in Our Stars")
• "If something was wrong, I'd find out soon enough. Nothing to be gained by worriyng between now and then." (Hazel from "The Fault in Our Stars")
• "That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt." (Augustus from "The Fault in Our Stars")
• "I was thinking about the word handle, and all the unholdable things that get handled" (Hazel from "The Fault in Our Stars")
• "I take quite a lot of pride in not knowing what's cool." (Hazel from "The Fault in Our Stars")
• "The existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate." (Hazel from "The Fault in Our Stars")
• "Please believe that things are good with me, and even when they're not, they will be soon enough." (Charlie from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower")
• "And how different her facelooked the first time she really liked a boy who was not on a poster on her wall." (Charlie from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower")
• "And all you want is to always feel happy for them because you know that if you do, then it means that you're happy,too." (Charlie from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower")
• "I decided then that when I meet someone I though was as beautiful as the song, I should give it to that person." (Charlie from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower")
• "I just thought to myself that in the palm of my hand, there was this one tape that had all of these memories and feelings and great joy and sadness." (Charlie from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower")
• "You're a wallflower. You see things. You keep quite about them. And you understand." (Patrick from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower")
• "Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve." (Bill from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower")
• "Life is one fucking beauty contest after another." (from Little Miss Sunshine)
• "Are you really that dumb, or just naturally blonde?" (Katherine Pierce from The Vampire Diaries)
• "What a slut time it. She screws everybody." (Peter Van Houten from The Fault In Our Stars)
• "I fell in love the way you fell asleep: slowly, and then all at once" (Hazel Grace from The Fault In Our Stars)
• "To become a god, you must first become a man. When a man is a man, the man will become a god, and then the goddess will reveal herself." (Kvasir from The Almighty Johnsons)
• "Man up to god up." (Colin/Loki from The Almighty Johnsons)
• "All men must die. But we are not men." (Daenerys from Game fo Thrones)
• "Everyday may not be good, bet there's something good in everyday day." (Ingrid - missglamorazzi)
• "Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing." (Hunter S. Thompson)
• "'Yes' can mean 'no'." (Dean in Gagliano Aterno)
• "What difference could two people make? - You were one person, and you changed the world" (Dor & the Old Man from The Time Keeper)
• "But a man who can take anything will find most things unsatisfying. And a man without memories is just a shell." (from The Time Keeper)
• "He wonderer how it was fair that your dying should depend so much on when you were born." (from The Time Keeper)
• "Sitting high above the city, Father Time realized that knowing something and understanding it were not the same thing." (from The Time Keeper)
• "And when hope is gone, time is punishment" (from The Time Keeper)
• "Ends are for yesterdays, not tomorrows" (from The Time Keeper)
• "With endless time, nothing is special. With no loss or sacrifice, we can't appreciate what we have." (from The Time Keeper)
• "There is a reason God limits our days - To make each one precious." (from The Time Keeper)
• "The trick is to not see the bars, but rather what lies beyond them." (Cyrus from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland)




❤ Books read

• "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin (02/01/2012- suspended)
• "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky (20/02/2012 - 13/03/2013)
• "The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green (19/03/2013 - 19/08/2013)
• "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom (22/08/2013 - 11/09/2013)
• "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flyn (16/09/2013 - )




❤ Songs loved

• "Cry" - Cassadee Pope's cover (Faith Hill)
• "Over You" - Cassadee Pope's cover (Miranda Lambert)
• "Stupid Boy" - Cassadee Pope's cover (Keith Urban)
• "Just a fool" - Christina Aguilera & Blake Shelton
• "Good in Goodbye" - Carrie Underwood
• "Blank Page" - Christina Aguilera
• "La notte" - Arisa
• "Everything has changed" - Taylor Swift & Ed Sheeran
• "Give me love" - Ed Sheeran
• "Kiss Me" - Ed Sheeran
• "Done." - The Band Perry
• "Good Girl" - Carrie Underwood
• "Poison & Wine" - The Civil Wars
• "Shouldn't Come Back" - Demi Lovato
• "In Case" - Demi Lovato
• "Really don't care" - Demi Lovato (ft. Cher Lloyd)
• "Wrecking Ball" - Miley Cyrus
• "Love like mine" - Hayden Panettiere
• "When the right one comes along" - Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen
• "Faultline" - Katharine McPhee
• "Almost is never enough" - Ariana Grande & Nathan Skykes
• "Tatooed Heart" - Ariana Grande
• "Counting Stars" - One Republic
• "I see fire" - Ed Sheeran




❤ Movies seen

Lo Hobbit 3D: Un Viaggio Inaspettato | 9/10 *
Rock of Ages | 8/10 (ENG)
The Words | 8/10 (ENG)
Premium Rush | 7/10 (ENG)
Nights in Rodanthe | 6/10 (ENG)
Tanner Hall | 8/10 (ENG)
Wild Child | 6/10 (ENG)
Silver Linings Playbook | 7/10 (ENG)
The Impossible | 8/10 (ENG)
The Dark Knight Rises | 9/10 (ENG)
10 Things I Hate About You | 10/10 (ENG)
Argo | 9/10 (ENG)
Notre-Dame de Paris Ballet by Roland Petit | 7.5/10 (First Act)
Iron Man 2 | 4/10
Zodiac | 10/10
Anna Karenina | 7/10 (ENG)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower | 8/10 (ENG)
The Avengers | 6/10 (ENG)
Pitch Perfect | 7/10 (ENG)
The Oranges | 7/10 (ENG)
Oz: the Great and Powerful | 7/10 (ENG)
Back to the Future | 10/10 (ENG)
La finestra di fronte | 7.5/10
Remember Sunday | 8/10 (ENG)
The Big Wedding | 8/10 (ENG)
Safe Haven | 7/10 (ENG)
Les Miserables | 6/10 (ENG)
Star Trek | 8/10 (ENG)
The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey | 9/10 (ENG)
Now is good | 7/10 (ENG)
The Heat | 10/10 (ENG)
The Bling Ring | 7/10 (ENG)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 3D | 8/10 *
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters | 7/10 (ENG)
21 Jump Street | 6/10 (ENG)


*at the cinema




❤ TV Shows

The Big Bang Theory (Season 6)
Glee (Season 4 | Season 5)
Friends (Season 7)
Supernatural (Season 8 | Season 9)
The Vampire Diaries (Season 4 | Season 5)
C.S.I.: NY (Season 8 | Season 9)
White Collar (Season 4 | Season 5)
Gilmore Girls (Season 5 | Season 6)
New Girl (Season 2 | Season 3)
Revenge (Season 2 | Season 3)
Once Upon a Time (Season 2 | Season 3)
Merlin (Season 5)
Grey's Anatomy (Season 8 | Season 9)
C.S.I.: Miami (Season 10)
Smash (Season 2)
Bunheads (Season 1)
Suits (Season 2 | Season 3)
The Almighty Johnsons (Season 1 | Season 2)
Un Medico in Famiglia (Serie 8)
The Voice (Season 4 | Season 5)
Doctor Who (Season 7)
Game of Thrones (Season 3)
Nashville (Season 1 | Season 2)
Teen Wolf (Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3)
The Originals (Season 1)
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Season 1)
The Voice (Season 4 | Season 5)
The X Factor USA (Season 3)
People's Choice Awards (2013)
Amici (11th edition)
Golden Globe Awards Arrivals and Main Show (2013)
Sanremo (2013)
Grammy Awards (2013)
Oscars - Academy Awards (Red Carpet & Main Show) (2013)
The Voice of Italy (Season 1)
American Country Music Awards (ACMs) (2013)
Billboard Music Awards (2013)
MTV Movie Awards (2013) Pre-Show & Main Event
CMT Music Awards (2013)
MTV Video Music Awards (2013)
Emmy Awards (2013)
The X Factor ITA (2013)
American Music Awards (2013)




❤ Best Episodes

New Girl 2x14 "Pepperwood"
Gilmore Girls 5x10 "But not as cute as Pushkin"
Bunheads 1x14 "The Astronaut and the Ballerina"
The Big Bang Theory 6x14 "The Cooper/Kripke Inversion"
Suits 2x14 He's Back""
Bunheads 1x16 "There's nothing worse than a pantsuit"
New Girl 2x17 "Parking Spot"
The Big Bang Theory 6x21 "The Closure Alternative"
New Girl 2x23 "Virgins"
Smash 2x12 "Opening Night"
Smash 2x16 "The Nominations"
Smash 2x17 "The Tonys"
Supernatural 8x08 "Hunteri Heroici"
Supernatural 8x11 "LARP and the Real Girl"
Supernatural 8x20 "PacMan Fever"
Nashville 1x14 "Dear Brother"
The Big Bang Theory 7x03 "The Scavenger Vortex"
The Big Bang Theory 7x06 "The Romance Resonance"
Glee 5x05 "The end of twerk"




❤ Ships

Gilmore Girls | Lorelai/Luke
YouTube | Carrie/Alex Day
The Hobbit | Kili/Fili/Thorin *iz ashamed*
RL | Aidan Turner/Dean O'Gorman
The Voice | Blake/Adam
Game of Thrones | Dany/Jorah Mormont
Smash | Karen/Derek
Game of Thrones | Brienne of Tarth/Jamie Lannister
The Vampire Diaries | Caroline/Klaus
Nashville | Scarlett/Gunnar
Grey's Anatomy | April Kepner/Jackson Avery
Once Upon a Time | Emma/Hook




❤ Random Crushes

• Sir Leon the Great | Merlin
Danisnotonfire | YouTube
• Aidan Turner
• Dean O'Gorman
• Honey, honey with everything
• Twinings Blackcurrant tea
• Louis Litt | Suits
• Emily Thorne | Revenge
• Margaery Tyrell | Game of Thrones
• Chocolate Milkshakes
• Jaime Lannister | Game of Thrones
• James Franco
• Scarlett O'Connor | Nashville
• Zoella | YouTube
• Essiebutton | YouTube
• Derek Hale | Teen Wolf
• Tyler Hoechlin
• Styles Stilinski | Teen Wolf




❤ Fashion loved

Jackets
Tops
Bottoms
Accessories
Dresses
Shoes
Bags
Beauty





❤ Shopping

Kate Moss for Rimmel Lipstick in #010
Supercolour Mascara by Kiko (Sabbia #10)
Supercolor Mascara by Kiko (Fucsia #09)
Lipstick Rouge A' Levres by Kiko (#11)
Nail Polish Sense Tech 100% Mat by Deborah (#10)
Magnetic Nail Polish Shine Tech by Deborah (#65)
Bottega Verde eyeshadow (Beige)
NYC Lipstain 16H (#498 Berry Long Time)
Polka dots blue shirt by Terranova
Blouse by H&M
Maybelline Super Stay Lipstick 14h (#180 Ultimate Blush)
Rimmel Apocalips Lip Laquer (#303 Apocaliptic)
"The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
"The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin
"Looking for Alaska" by John Green
"Before I Fall" by Lauren Olivier
"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green
Essie nail polish in Mint Candy Apple
Benefit TropiCoral kit
Ownl necklace by Tally Weijl
MAC Face & Body foundation in White
Acqua di Sole by Lush
Nonsimangia! by Lush
Brufolo Bill by Lush
Radici sample by Lush
Conosci la Terra sample by Lush
Chartreuse Pigment sample by MAC
Jar 10ml by Kiko
Mirror Lacquer (Nail polish) in #624 Azzurro by Kiko
Mirror Lacquer (Nail polish) in #627 Verde Lime by Kiko
Natural Concealer in #01 by Kiko
Natural Concealer in #04 by Kiko
Nail Polish Corrector Pen by Kiko
Nail Polish Remover Fast&Easy by Kiko
White purse by Marina Galanti
Essence MySkin Deeply Moisturizing Paper Mask
Essence Peel-off base coat
Essence MySkin Tinted Moisturizer in Light
Essence PureSkin Anti-spot 4in1 Cream Wash
Beige Loafers
Kiko nail polish #355
Perfume L'Eau D'Issey Florale by Issey Miyake
Essie Nail Polish in Laquered Up (#62)
Essie Nail Polish in Lilacism (#37)
Essie Nail Polish Top Coat
Lace Oxfords by H&M
• "Il grand Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Newton Compton Editori)
• "Racconti del Terrore" by E.A. Poe (Newton Compton Editori)
Gel tint by Essence (#01 Hot Red)
Stay Matt Lip Cream by Essence (#01 Velvet Rose)
Mid-lenghts blue navy pants by OVS
Top with lace details by Terranova
Light blue sweater by Terranova
Coconut Oil by Khadì
Makeup sponge by H&M
Mint sheer shirt by H&M
Black dress by H&M
Peach dress by H&M
Light blue cardigan by H&M
White cardigan by H&M
Running shoes by Decathlon
• Magnetic Board with markers
• NYC nail polish in Pinstripe White #134
Blending brush #200 by Kiko
Body Splash - Sunny Island by Kiko
Glow Touch (lips&cheeks) #01 Biller Margarita by Kiko
Dark jeans by H&M
White dress with lace details by H&M
Black shorts by H&M
Expert Face Brush by Real Techniques
Undress Me Too palette by MUA
Montagne Jeunesse various masks
Sleek blush trio in Flame
Sleek blush trio in Lace
Lipstick by MUA in shade 16 Nectar
Lipstick by MUA in shade 15 Juicy
Essence nail polish from the limited edition Snow Jam in #04 Top of the Ice Stream
Soft Matte Lip Cream in Istanbul by NYX
Babyliss rotating brush
Mary Lou Manizer (highlighter) by The Balm
Batiste Dry Shampoo XXL volumen
Powder blush in Angel by NYX
Sleek lipstick in Smother
Nail Polish from the collection "On Safari" by Cgina Glaze in Purr-fect Plum
• Roots by Lush
Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me
Omia body cream with Jojoba Oil
Black Ballerina flats by Bata
Brown booties by H&M
• Jogging pants by Decathlon
Long sleeved t-shirt by H&M
Striped sweater by H&M
Green sweater by H&M
Lasting Color Gel Nail Polish by Pupa (#18)
Stay with me in #08 Deep Rose by Essence
Stay all day concealer in #20 Soft Beige by Essence
Nail art magnetic nail polish in #06 Spell Bound! by Essence
Extra moisturizing nail balm by Essence
Cleansing wipes in Fresh Cotton by Shaka
Body Wash in Strawberry by Shaka
• Sweater by H&M
• Long sleeved blue t-shirt by H&M
• Three quarted sleeved black t-shirt by H&M
Intensive softening Hand Cream by Yes To Carrots
Moisturizing Eye Cream by Yes To Carrots
Repairing Night Cream by Yes To Carrots
Instant moisturizer by Sephora
Hair elastics by Sephora
Nourishing Kit (gel exfoliator & body butter) by Yes To Carrots
Mini eyelash curler by e.l.f.
HD blush in Headliner by e.l.f.
HD blush in Superstar by e.l.f.
Lipstick in Charming by e.l.f.
Lipstick in Gypsy by e.l.f.
Eyelash & brow wand by e.l.f.
Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Movie Stare by e.l.f.
Studio Matte Lip Colour in Natural by e.l.f.
Lip exfoliator by e.l.f.
Daily brush cleaner by e.l.f.
Custom eyes eyeshadow in Ivory by e.l.f.
Powder puffs by e.l.f.
Lip Balm SPF 15 in Plum by e.l.f.
Powder brush by e.l.f.
Kiko Smart Lipstick in #912
Kiko Smart Lipstick in #903
Invisible Lipliner by Kiko
Nail art magnet by Kiko
• Cien cleanser
• Cien Toner




❤ Presents

Ireland gifts by Robs
Flowy music scarf by my sis
• Birthday money
Poland necklace by my sis
Kiko Strawberry Kiss Lipbalm by my parents (birthday gift)
• Ardell Lashes, MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick and Storm Sleek Palette (Nicholea giveaway)
• Jack Black lip balm and Lorac PRO palette (BellezaKisses giveaway)
Creme de Rose lip balm by Dior (birthday present from my friends)
• Christmas money from family members




❤ Links

Some of The Hobbit cast videobombing a music video (video)
Quizzing The Hobbit Dwarves (video)
Interviewing dwarves (video)
The Hobbit crak vid 2 (video)
ModCloth (online shopping website)
My First Kiss Story by HelloKatyxo (video)
Taylor Swift - Live on the Seine (video)
iSnuggle with Matt Bomer & Tim DeKay (video)
7 ways of using MAC pigments (video)
Finn Jonest interview about his role on Game of Thrones (video)
KissFM TSwift interview (video)
Taylor Swift met Richard Gere at the Golden Globes (video)
The Grunchies Awards 2013 (video)
The red carpet of the "Amazings" (video)
Guillermo at the Oscars (video)
Colin Farrel, horses & thongs (video)
How to have easier life (video)
Bride & Bridesmaid dresses (Online shop)
Richard Feynman, you are awesome (video)
What Makes You Beautiful (5Guys and 1 Piano) (video)
Viggo & the horses of The Lord of the Rings (video)
Leaping into the Unknown of Life (video)
Prakns @ The Ellen Show (video)
Aidan&Dean&Sarah (video)
Melanie&Adam on The Voice (video)
Meghan's How NOT to hit on a girl (video)
Most funny moments of filming/interviews The Hobbit (video)
Dean O'Gorman and the Mail Box Story (video)
The Band Perry live with "Done." @ ACMs 2013 (video)
Celebrity Tweets - A music video by Shane Dawson (video)
Dan's "Draw my life" (video)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (official trailer)
Two fans watch The Hobbit trailer (video)
Elves reaction to the two girls' reaction (video)
Picking up girls with One Direction lyrics (video)
Red acoustic version by Fifth Harmony (video)
Dean O'Gorman & Aidan Turner's panel @ Boston Comic Con (video)
Lip Sync Battle @ Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (video)
Thanksgiving in songs @ Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (video)
I knew Victoria's Secret models were trouble (video)
Virginio's Hallelujah (video)




          Anniversary Celebration        
This year Jarom and I celebrated our 6th year anniversary.  Yes, I said 6 years.  I can't believe how fast the time went by.  We have definitely had our ups and downs, but I wouldn't want to go through my trials, accomplishments, learning experiences, pains, laughs,...with anyone else.  We have two of the cutest kids in the world.  They have one Dad, and one Mom and we are going to keep it that way.  I love knowing that Jarom is my forever partner, friend, companion... it says a lot these days.  Staying married to the same person doesn't necessarily mean you married the 'right' person.  It means you were dedicated to one another and to the concept that families really can be together forever.  Marriage is hard.  It is how you work through the trials and troubles that makes a marriage worth it.

I honestly believe that anyone could marry a complete stranger and with enough effort, forgiveness, compassion, and communication, those two people could make a HAPPY marriage.  The Savior lived his life teaching us that we have the capability of loving everyone and anyone.  If we look at others the way he looks at us, we can love anyone.  If you are struggling with your spouse, start looking for their strengths.  Start recognizing them for their good.  Love unconditionally.  We are all human, which means we will all make mistakes.  Be forgiving and encouraging.  How many times do you judge a person before you know them?  How many times to you hear something about a struggling individual and it changes your complete view of them?  Take the time to see the good in people, listen to their story, walk in their shoes.  You can learn to love the hardest of people once you know what they went through to make them who they are today.

Back to celebrating our anniversary...Jarom and I had a great time in Logan, UT where we tied the knot 6 years ago in the LDS Temple. We stayed at the Anniversary Inn, in the Hawaiin Paradise room...and it was definitely a Paradise.  My parents watched the kids for the evening, and Jarom and I had an amazing time together.  We watched the new Star Trek movie and then went back to the room and had a huge Jacuzzi bath to soak in.  We ate pizza and cheesecake and partied it up.  I love anniversaries!
My handsome man 2013!

Me in all my craziness 2013

          In the NO Podcast Episode 48: Looking for a Favorite Player        

Michael and I talk about the week of games, the week to come, more draft, and more thinking towards the future.  Oh, and I fail to ambush Michael not once, as "Mikestrodamus" proves unflappable.  Whatever.

Next time I'll ask him about Star Trek.  Dude probably doesn't know the difference between a Betazoid and a Bajoran.  Loser.


          Robin Wright and Chris Pine Wonder Woman film costumes on display...        
Wonder Woman finally makes her solo big screen debut in a origin film that sees the Amazonian warrior princess leave her sheltered paradise to use her battle skills, bullet-deflecting bracelets and golden Lasso of Truth on the battlefields of World War I Europe.
Wonder Woman movie costume and prop exhibit
Antiope Steve Trevor Wonder Woman movie costumes
Wonder Woman film costume exhibit
Steve Trevor Wonder Woman movie costumes
Wonder Woman movie costumes
This cool movie costume and props exhibit was photographed on display in ArcLight Hollywood's cinema foyer on May 31, 2017.

Plus be sure to check out Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Connie Nielsen's Queen Hippolyta costumes in more detail.

Wonder Woman movie billboard
Wonder Woman movie billboard
Lindy Hemming is Costume Designer on the superhero movie directed by Patty Jenkins and she also designed the costumes for The Dark Knight movies.

Antiope costume worn by Robin Wright
in Wonder Woman
Robin Wright Antiope costume Wonder Woman
Antiope costume headpiece Wonder Woman
Antiope Wonder Woman costume
Antiope Wonder Woman film costume
Antiope Wonder Woman movie costume
Robin Wright Wonder Woman Antiope film costume
Antiope costume headpiece Wonder Woman
Antiope Wonder Woman costume detail
Antiope Wonder Woman costume
Wonder Woman Antiope costume detail
Wonder Woman Antiope costume
Antiope costume detail Wonder Woman
Antiope bracelet detail Wonder Woman costume
Antiope wrist guard detail Wonder Woman costume
Wonder Woman Antiope costume boots
Antiope boot detail Wonder Woman
Robin Wright Wonder Woman Antiope movie costume
In the movie Robin Wright plays 'Antiope', the warrior general who leads the Amazonian military forces on the isolated island paradise of Themyscira. I can't wait to see the usually reserved House of Cards actress in action in this costume.

Steve Trevor costume worn by Chris Pine
in Wonder Woman
Chris Pine Steve Trevor Wonder Woman film costume
Steve Trevor Wonder Woman movie costume
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Chris Pine Steve Trevor Wonder Woman movie costume
Chris Pine plays the dashing American World War I pilot who crashes on Diana's island and enlightens the warrior about the war raging around the world.

Fans of the actor can also check out his Captain Kirk Star Trek: Beyond movie costumes and his Prince Charming costume from Into the Woods.

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Go further behind-the-scenes with this book: Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film
          Alex Guarnaschelli on Food        

chef%20kitchen.jpg Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Channel star and chef at Butter in midtown Manhattan, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what it's like to run a restaurant, the challenges of a career in cooking, her favorite dishes, her least favorite dishes, and what she cooked to beat Bobby Flay.

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0:33

Intro. [Recording date: June 30, 2017.]

Russ Roberts: So, most of us have never worked in a restaurant, although I did wait tables at HoJo's--which is a blast from the past--about 1969 or 1970. Most people don't even know what HoJo's is: Howard Johnson's. But I'd never been in a serious restaurant except via movies. And so, one thing I'd like to hear from you is--I want to start with a sous chef. Tell us what a sous chef does, and what is the life of a sous chef in a day-to-day way in a restaurant.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Well, I think a chef, to sort of describe the scenario--it's sort of like an episode of Star Trek, you know? So, you have the chef, which is kind of Captain Kirk; and then you have a sous chef or a number of sous chefs, like Spock and McCoy, that really are boots on the ground and are all around the space ship. And that's kind of how most sous chefs function. Which means you are dealing with going through the line cooks, prep the things that have been done in advance for dinner service, lunch service, breakfast, to make sure that everything's on point, fresh, on par, cut properly, cooked properly if things are pre-cooked. You are probably participating in the purchasing, meaning you are going in the refrigerator and making sure there's a lot of everything that's needed to make the food. And then you are also probably participating in putting together the specials for the day, if there are any, or just the mechanics of the menu: any seasonal changes, any adjustments you make for changes you make when an ingredient becomes too expensive. You know, if you--and of course, because of the nature of your podcast, I'm thinking money. When in fact, a chef always is thinking about money and how to spend as little of it as possible. You know--to have a lot of[?] strawberries on your menu in New York City in February is not the same as to have them in August. And so, a sous chef would more than likely be tracking some of those costs, and certainly participating with the chef in curating a menu that's good but that also, obviously, is as cost-effective as possible. And, I mean--cooking. I forgot that part. A sous chef also cooks. Notice how long it took me to get to the word 'cooking.'

Russ Roberts: So, what's a line chef, compared to a chef or sous chef? What's a line chef doing?

Alex Guarnaschelli: A line chef is really coming in and is responsible for a certain section of the kitchen, and therefore a certain group of dishes on the menu. Kitchens are most commonly divided by a section of the menu, quite honestly. There is traditionally, say, a garde manger--which is cold dishes--and in an American-style kitchen could also include desserts. There is a hot appetizer section--those are the hot apps: spaghetti, what have you, that have to be heated up. There is a fish section; there is a meat section. Obviously, there are so many vegetarians now, the fish section or the meat section might very well also have a dish or two that's just purely vegetarian. And so a line chef comes in, say, to the garde manger and makes sure that all the ingredients and all the salads and all the cold appetizers are set up and ready. So, when that first ticket rolls to the printer, when the first guest sits down, they are ready to make it.

Russ Roberts: The image you get of a sous chef on a TV show or in a movie is a serf--someone who is typically abused verbally by an egotistical maniac chef who throws temper tantrums, screams at them; and then they dutifully say, 'Yes, Chef. Sorry, Chef. No, Chef.' Is that true? Is that somewhat accurate?

Alex Guarnaschelli: That's a very loaded question you've asked me. It can be true. I think obviously television loves to exaggerate for effect. I think we all know that if our jobs are sensationalized on television, that we'd love to share how far less compelling and how much redundancy actually goes on in everyone's day-to-day at the office, whether it's a desk or a cutting board. There's certainly tension. You know, the problem with cooking is, I can't say to you, 'I'll get that on your desk in half an hour.' Or, 'I'm not ready to give it to you.' Or, 'Gee, I'm 10 minutes late with that email.' That doesn't work in a restaurant. It just doesn't work. Someone's sitting there, waiting; and they have to go to the theater--which is the classic, pre-theater table that has to, comes at 5:30, wants to leave by 6:30 and have 3 or 4 courses. You don't have the luxury of saying, 'Hey, could you go tell the guests I'm just not ready to give them their food?' And that creates a problem. That creates friction. The person who is responsible to make all the parts grind and work [?] to get that plate of food in front of the consumer--it really all falls on them. And, I don't know--how would you feel if you had to push, and you know, really drive people and make sure everything was ready, and, say, 40, 50 times a night you are saying, 'Where is that?' I mean, how would you be, on the 40th time you were looking for something that wasn't ready? And you can't do it all yourself. I think there is also a fantasy that there is just one chef in every kitchen--just one person making everything. I know that was my original fantasy, growing up: There's one person; he probably looks like Santa Claus in my head; and he's cooking and prepping and doing everything. And the actuality of the situation is, regardless of how simple or complex the operation, there's a team of people that are theoretically collaborating to get you want you asked for. And then you pay for it. And then they get their paychecks. And so on, and so on.

7:00

Russ Roberts: So, you described--I heard you describe working in a big-league restaurant as 'athletic.'

Alex Guarnaschelli: Oh, yeah.

Russ Roberts: It also strikes me as balletic--ballet-like. That, there's a certain dance that I guess is also part of the athleticism. So, what did you mean by that?

Alex Guarnaschelli: I mean it's unbelievable what can go on in a small space--how much can get done. It's just kind of--it still sort of astounds me. I walk into the restaurant and there are 200, 300 people eating; if we have private events in our two events, basically in a full dining room, we can talk about feeding upwards of 200, 250 people in an hour and a half, two-hour period. And there are 8-10 people cooking, including the desserts. There are two different dish washers. There are 3 or 4 food runners. That's a lot of people. That's at least 12 people that you counted on them all getting the work, getting all their stuff done; you counted on all the deliveries being made, everything being prepped. That's a lot of what-ifs. And it's beautiful: When it happens nicely and you see it all come together, it's absolutely beautiful to watch. When it's awful, oh, boy is it awful. But, when it's beautiful, *ptsssiouh*--you just kind of feel it's a high that you get addicted to. And you know how that can go--

Russ Roberts: I interviewed Adam Davidson about the movie The Big Short. He was one of the advisers to the movie. I think it was Adam Davidson: I know he was the adviser to the movie; I'm hoping I got the right episode. But, he was talking about how in a movie production there are all these people who are credibly specialized who do pieces of the production, and it just kind of happens because they know their job. And there's a huge premium put on, and value, of somebody you can count on to do it perfectly. And that must be true in your world true.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Oh, yeah.

Russ Roberts: There must be lots of stuff that you don't tell people that you don't tell people what to do. They know what they are supposed to do; they know what's supposed to be where and when. Is that true?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yeah. There are--actually, this is true of any field. There are different types of skill sets that you look for. You want people that can--you want someone who can beautifully butcher 30 chickens in half an hour. You want someone who goes into the refrigerator and sees 3 or 4 things that aren't really being used that need to be used and combines them into a Special for that night. You want someone who can cook 20 steaks perfectly in 10 minutes. So, you want different types of skills. It's not just one [?]. And that's true of anything, right? On a movie set I might have someone who is brilliant at lighting, someone who is brilliant at sound; make-up, costumes, furniture, special effects--it's the same, a kitchen is the same, you know? And I think one of the most important things I've always tried to stick by is if someone is good at something, chances are they like it. Generally speaking. They like it because they are good at it; and they are good at it because they like it. And so, when I find someone and I see that they like to do something, I have them do that. And I periodically say, 'Hey, do you still love that? Because, if you don't, let's have you try something else so that you don't get bored, you don't fall in a rut, or whatever else.' But that's really been--that's really what makes the ballet great. Because, when you say to the dancers, 'How do your feet feel? You still feel like dancing to this song? Should we change this song? You want to change your shoes?' The things that we can change which benefit incidentally the business, diversifying it and having a solid core of things people can come for but also maybe always having something a little bit new and exciting, it benefits everyone to do that. I think.

Russ Roberts: There's really few things more beautiful in human achievement than mastery. And it's really what you are talking about, right?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Absolutely.

Russ Roberts: It's just, when you have somebody who does their job with excellence, it takes your breath away.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yes. That's a brilliant way to put it. There's a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Windhover," and I'm trying to find it. He's talking about a bird--and I'll find it in a minute. But it's--it takes his breath away.

11:47

Russ Roberts: But, what I was going to ask you is: Are there some skills that frustrate you? That are particularly hard to find and you have to fire someone, or they let you down because it's just so hard; and when you get that person who knows how to do it, you are just so ecstatic? What are, what might some of those skills be in an intense environment like you are talking about?

Alex Guarnaschelli: The micro-skills you are talking about--what are they for me?

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Key.

Alex Guarnaschelli: What's a list of the micro-skills?

Russ Roberts: What are the most important ones?

Alex Guarnaschelli: For me, I think, I'm going to say, cooking meat and fish accurately. If someone wants a medium-rare salmon, if someone wants a well-done steak, if someone wants a rare bass[?], if someone wants a medium-rare pork chop--those are a lot of nuances. Not only to know how to do them, but to do them under pressure multiple times and get it right every time. That's a big one. And the larger, more overarching thing is that meat and fish cost a ton of money. And so, if you don't cook it right and you screw it up and you've got to scrap it, do it again, that's a lot of money. A couple of steaks lost every night over a year--I think I did the math on that once, and the tens of thousands of dollars it lost in revenue was alarming. My friend had a restaurant--he had, deliberately put a table of 4 by the door where people would sit and answer the phone, and take reservations. It was a way of showing how much people wanted to eat there; and it was a very effective little tool until he calculated that he was losing about $60-70,000 in annual revenue, having a table of 4 that no one was sitting and eating at. So, every steak, every piece of fish is really critical to your bottom line, because it's so expensive. So, that's the first one. The second one is a good pastry chef. Which I think really fell out of fashion for a number of years. I think there was a lot of, 'Hey, let's cut that department; as a chef, I'll just do it.' You know what? Chefs and pastry chefs are not the same animals. It's like saying, 'You know what, I don't have a horse to ride at the Kentucky Derby, so I'll just ride a zebra.' It's not the same type of thinking; it's not the same mindset; it's not the same approach. That's just my opinion; and I don't need anybody to agree with me. But a good pastry chef who is taking care of bread; if you are serving breakfast; other such things, and there are pastries involved, and then there are desserts on the lunch, the dinner menu--those are a lot of nuances. Also, you can have a crappy meal and have a great dessert and walk away saying, 'I feel really great.' We don't have the power to trump all, in my opinion. That's the ace in the hole.

Russ Roberts: But, has dessert fallen off in recent years, as a menu item, as something people order.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Well, that's a separate question you are asking. So, I'll get to that. I'll tell you what people are eating at the restaurant, because actually, we print a product mix of everything and we look at what people are eating. We look at trends. We--what do people like that we are doing, what do people don't like? It's a great way to take a restaurant's temperature all the time. Which I think is important: Take your own temperature. It's not pretty. That's the time you probably have a fever. But at least you know where you are at. So, other micro-skills? A really good dish washer is so underrated. It's a skill to wash things, clean[?] them, not have residual soap. Let me understand that if you have the greatest cook in the world and you have the best cut of steak in the world, and you've got the most beautiful stove: But if the pan, stove is soapy[?] or it's dirty, what does all that other stuff matter? What directly touches the meat, no matter how good it or the cook is, is going to ruin it. And the other thing is just keeping the place clean. That's a big part of making food taste good. Um, what other micro-skills? Putting away food--

15:41

Russ Roberts: I want to go back to the empty table. One of the things that, as an economist that always fascinates me--and I heard this from Earl Thompson, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) economist who argued that the markup on food is related to how long it takes to eat it. Not just the cost of the ingredients but basically what you are doing as you are sitting in a restaurant is you are renting the table. And you can't--it's not so nice to sit at a table with a meter running. So, restaurants, through a variety of, maybe not even realizing it, but tend to charge more for things that take longer to eat. Obviously, take longer to prep, as well. Because there's more labor time. But the key point is that turnover of the table--how long you sit there--if a restaurant turns over 3 times a night versus 5, it's an enormously expensive thing to have a leisurely meal. So, I'm curious how you deal with that, with your staff, with your wait staff. You want people to have a great time. You want them to linger over a great wine and great desserts. You also want to get that table for the next person. So, how do you--that's an art.

Alex Guarnaschelli: I mean, you are talking--you really are managing to touch on the very unromantic underbelly of restaurant dining. Um, you know, I do find that in New York City there are so many other factors that go into this specific aspect of a restaurant. My restaurant is in mid-town Manhattan. People are either going to the theater, so they have their own built-in timer and they are going to get up; and they are also going to eat early in the evening--which you obviously love. You love that 5-o'clock seating. Right?

Russ Roberts: Yeah.

Alex Guarnaschelli: You have people that, in Midtown are getting off work and they are having a business dinner: they are having some drinks and steak and they want to go home. They don't want to sit there with their--even if they like their colleagues. It's neither here nor there. They just don't want to be out, particularly on a weeknight, really, really late. So, in midtown Manhattan you have a lot of things that--sorry for the fire engine--

Russ Roberts: It's all right; makes it a little real.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yeah, makes it authentic. Um, in Midtown Manhattan, you have a lot of built-in constraints. Which are actually kind of a blessing in disguise, when all is said and done. I, my restaurant in--I've had work--Butter is 16 years old. When I started out at Butter, it was a year-plus old. And it was a big nightlife[?] spot. So, our first customer--our first customer--was often not until 8 o'clock at night. And we would serve dinner. My rule with the kitchen was: It closes when the last person who would like to eat here finishes ordering. You know? That's when my kitchen closes. And that would be very late. So, the cooks would come later. It would stagger in later. And, it would go later. Tell me how bizarre it was, when I took that exact kitchen staff--we moved the restaurant to mid-town. Our biggest dinner rush was at 6 o'clock. Those same cooks were used to rolling in at 6 and not having to serve food till 8--or 9 even, sometimes. So, it was like we had to retrain ourselves, first of all. But second of all, with the night-life stuff, I also had a speakeasy with my partners where someone would be onstage singing. And no one would get up. And you had a ton of celebrities. So, you'd be sitting in a room with a bunch of actors or musicians or whatever else; you'd order another $15 or $20 drink; and that just wasn't going to pay the rent on the fact that would often lose half of the seating, because people just wouldn't get up. Now, so, yeah. There's an art to it. And then sometimes there's nothing you can do about it. You also have people that just come in, they don't order a lot, and then they linger over their food. You have people that order an enormous steak, eat it in 5 minutes, and leave. Or, we try to do the best we can to make guests feel, 'Hey, look, this is yours. Relax, enjoy yourselves.' We think about how things are eaten, how much food to give, how long is it going to take to eat it. I mean--Butter is just not the kind of place where you take a stop watch to a bowl of grits, you know? And you know what? The way we cover that really is more diners that wants[?]. In other words, our events business. Which is really critical to, you know, surmounting the rent and all the other costs. I don't think it's any newsflash to you. Opening a restaurant in New York City just isn't what it used to be. It's unbelievable.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. I want to talk about that. Before we go on, I want to give you the line from Gerard Manley Hopkins'--it's hard to believe; this was written in the 19th century. It's so beautiful. He's talking about seeing a falcon in flight. He says, "My heart in hiding stirred for a bird the achieve of the mastery of the thing." I just love that line.

20:52

Russ Roberts: I want to talk about--so your restaurant is called 'Butter,' which is one of the greatest names of all time for a restaurant. It makes you hunger just thinking about it.

Alex Guarnaschelli: It really is great.

Russ Roberts: How much time do you spend worrying about your competitors? If a new restaurant opens around the corner, do you drop in to see what they are doing? What their prices are?

Alex Guarnaschelli: No.

Russ Roberts: You can't really drop in anyway, because you are recognizable. So you don't worry about that. You just try to--

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yeah--

Russ Roberts: You just try to get Butter right.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Well, yeah. Honestly, I spend so much time worrying about the restaurant itself. I've found that if I'm spending a lot of time worrying about my competitors, it probably means I'm procrastinating on something about the actual restaurant I'm a part of, and that I should probably face reality and face whatever it is that I'm trying to avoid by worrying how much for that on the street is charging for his sea bass.

Russ Roberts: What's the hardest part of that experience, of running Butter? You say your work should[?] be worrying about that--what would be a worry that's keeping you up at night?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Keeping the staff satisfied and happy with their work makes the food taste good. I don't need anybody to agree with me. It's just what I feel. And that's what I spend a lot of my energy and time doing. Making sure [?], cooks in particular, are stimulated, that they feel a part of the conversation, sounds a little kumbaya in the face of so much math. But it works. And, you know, I think an employee who feels as satisfied as is possible, is going to give more to the business. And that trickles down to how much money you make. It really does. You know, for example, I'll go to a bakery and I'll buy a dozen cookies; and the person gives me 14 instead of 12, and says, 'Don't worry about it.' I think to myself, 'Either they like me and they want me to have more cookies because they are good people, or they feel underpaid and they think if they give a little of that extra pride, they're going to get an extra tip.' You know, there's a number of nuances as to why something like that goes on. And you have all those varying degrees in a restaurant: You have a waiter who tries to tack on an extra side-dish, or tries to add cheese, and add this and add that, that costs the restaurant; but the waiter doesn't charge the consumer. You know, like, 'Oh, no problem. I'll add that on.' Well, what are they not getting, that they are trying to, you know, make up for?

Russ Roberts: Yeah. I turn those down: As a customer I often say, 'No, thank you,' because it's stealing. I get it, but it's--

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yeah. It isn't stealing: it's like cab drivers in New York City. You get in a cab and they drive around like there are no other cars; they drive around like it's the Indy 500. It can really--it really comes down to being so deep in a context that you lose a sense of it, I think, to a large extent. And I think when you are doing--when you have a lot of guests every single night, over and over and over again, you are like, '[?] a slice of cheese.' So, what I did--I want to believe it's innocent and just good will, because Butter is really a sort of good-will place. It would not be open without the staff and all the people who are so dedicated to making it work every day. It just wouldn't. It wouldn't exist. So, I have to believe in that kind of greater good. I really do. I don't mean to sound hokey--

Russ Roberts: No, no. That's what it's all about--

Alex Guarnaschelli: but those kumbaya things work. It's the[?] human.

Russ Roberts: That's what it's all about. Two people on a date in your restaurant, a nice meal--so, they're going to have wine, they're going to have dessert, they're going to have an appetizer. What's the tab going to run, roughly?

Alex Guarnaschelli: My guess is going to be, if they each have a couple of glasses of wine or a bottle of wine, and a steak--I don't know-- $250?

Russ Roberts: So, it's upscale.

Alex Guarnaschelli: $200? Could get to $300. Depends on your choices. But there is also a varying degree of choices, for that very reason. I don't like the concept of a restaurant that you literally walk in and you just put your wallet down. You know, no matter what. I feel trapped and strangled by that concept.

Russ Roberts: You mean, I just give you my credit card when I walk by the Maitre d' and say, 'Enjoy.'

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yes. Yeah. 'I'm just going to actually give you the deed--I'm going to give you the deed to my car, and I'm going to have dinner.' There should be some bandwidth.

25:30

Russ Roberts: How do you worry about that number? Do you think about--how often do you think about changing your prices? How often do you think about changing your menu? Are there rules of thumb in the business?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Um, the rules of thumb in the business pertain to the type of restaurant you are running. Obviously, a Japanese restaurant that's serving sushi, a Mexican restaurant that's serving barbacoa, an Italian restaurant that's serving lasagne and spaghetti--it's not going to be the same across the board. So, I think a number of factors come into play. What are sort of the building blocks of your cooking style that you need and how much do those cost? What role does seasonality play in what you are doing? I think seasonality plays a role in all cuisines, but I think you can structure a restaurant. For example, if you have a store and you are selling Banh Mi sandwiches, I don't think the seasonality of chicken livers is as critical as the seasonality of something like asparagus. So, Butter is a green-market-driven restaurant. It's French fundamentally. I call it French-American: French techniques, American ingredients. It definitely has a splash of Italian in there, and that definitely has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up--I'm Italian/American. Both my parents are Italian. But I trained for many years in France, and I spent a lot of time working with fresh produce and markets. So, it's sort of makes sense. So, for my rule of thumb: We change the menu, I would say we change 20-30% of the menu 8-10 times a year, on average. We will in addition put something else on here and there as well. Desserts change with similar frequency. The lunch menu pretty much similarly; although, lunch is probably more stable, because I do find lunch is a different animal. People come in and they want to have a salad. They want to go back to their desk. They are thinking about the fact that they've got another meal on their hands--which is dinner--and if they have a really long day of work, I generally think they want to regard dinner as a recreational part of their day--calorically. So, those are my rules of thumb, generally. Seasonality is really important. I think. And keeping up with that can be hard.

28:01

Russ Roberts: Let's shift gears. I have a lot of trouble going to movies, because if there's any economics in it, it drives me crazy. When you watch food movies--restaurant movies, food movies--is there something that drives you crazy when you watch them, and someone says, 'Wasn't that great?' And you said, 'I couldn't enjoy it, because that part about the whatever was so unrealistic I was offended.'

Alex Guarnaschelli: I don't like when chefs are off on weekends to go on dates and participate in the romantic thread of the movie. I think that's just crazy to me. You know: What really good chef has Saturday night off to have a hot date and isn't worried that 18 things are going wrong. I didn't have a Saturday night off for years. And when I did get one, it felt so odd I couldn't enjoy it. I don't think any chef truly enjoys a Saturday night. They are either in the restaurant angry that they don't have the night off; or, they have the night off and they are outside the restaurant drinking and worrying because they are not there. That's the plight of a chef. And we all--every profession has their moment in the week or their nuance that someone never enjoys. I would say that's totally unrealistic. I think, I think everybody sort of goes along and just sort of seamlessly--and just seeing that framing[frying?] pan, that sprinkle of powdered sugar that we so often see in movies as a representation of a kitchen kind of amuses me. You know, it's very hard work. It's very physical. There's a beauty to it, but maybe not a cinematic beauty in the classical sense that necessarily--so that's something that I kind of resent. I like movies like Big Night, where, you know, a fight just ratchets itself to a complete standstill inside a restaurant. I think a movie like No Reservations where someone gorgeous like Catherine Zeta-Jones magically gets an Aaron Eckhart, stunning sous chef, and they fall in love and everything works out. She also somehow [?] a chef's salad lives on a gorgeous corner on Bleecker Street, and she lives down the block with her poodle and her Porsche, which is also kind of perplexing to me, considering the economics of being a chef. When I chose to be a chef--or a cook, I should really say--when I just graduated college and I said to my dad, 'I think I want to be a chef,' and he said, 'I have two comments for you.' He said, 'The first is: Do you want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with your family on Thanksgiving? Or do you want to cook it for total strangers?' And that was, by the way, brilliant and true. I have spent many a Thanksgiving cooking for strangers instead of at the table with my family. And the second thing he said is, 'You've chosen an interesting field, because it's still somewhat the wild, wild West,' he said, 'and you can make very little, or an awful lot of money.' He said, 'and that isn't necessarily true of a lot of other fields of work.' And he was right. All of that was really right. I was a little too young--and irreverent--obviously; and they go hand in hand--to hear him. But I did think of that many times. And he was right. Really right. Parents are always right.

Russ Roberts: Yeah, I certainly agree with that, as a father of four. There must be some satisfaction, though, often, in making strangers delighted by your work, on Thanksgiving. That's something.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Um, the satisfaction--I'll just give you my opinions; and then do with them what you will. I truly think, after all this experience, that the satisfaction has to be for you. It has to come from within you, and this, you know, all the boomerang, you throw it and it comes right back to you. I really think it has to--you have to go in and work really hard and try to get everything as right as you can each day: consistently, steadily, time and time again, [?], and be satisfied with that. The satisfaction is in consistency and hitting your mark as frequently as you possibly can. [?] And then the guests follow suit. That doesn't mean I'm not constantly thinking about the guests. I am. [?] in a restaurant, good or bad, have always been intended for the guests. Sort of--the drive to do it only comes from inside of you. The drive to do that, the desire.

Russ Roberts: That's one of the, I think, deepest parts of the nature of work. Which is, we often forget the ultimate effects of our work. I mean, right now I'm working really hard to do a nice job interviewing you. Which is challenging. I'm not a--I had to--I did a little bit a research, and a little bit of thought; and a lot more thought than I do for most of my interviews because this is off the beaten track a little bit. And I don't spend a lot of time thinking about whether people enjoy it or not. I assume that there's that connection. Like you do: You nailed the steak, and you know the customer is happy; but you are really focused on the steak. But ultimately you have to focus on the customer, because you won't do a good job with the steak. And so, that's a complicated back-and-forth for me. And, when I get emails from listeners about what they've learned, it's like, 'Oh, yeah! Right. I'm not just talking to Alex Guarnaschelli on a Friday morning. We're actually being listened to by a lot of people. Thankfully.' And it's hard to keep that in mind sometimes. It's an interesting back and forth.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yes. And then, when you talk with people--it all boils down to a steak. You are often talking about your idea of medium-rare; and the general idea of medium-rare. And all of those varying degrees of medium-rare. You know? I'm making it for myself the way I want it, the way I know it's good; and then, there's, 'Hey, this is how most people actually like it--a little less salt, a little less vinegar.' A chef's palate is the amount of salt that I have to use. I can't be in the morning I have to have an English muffin on a Saturday [?]--I put salt on my toast with butter. Because I want that. That's what my palate is asking, 'I wish there was a little more salt than this.' I ate dinner in [?] restaurant last night, and I thought the food was too salty. And I said to my dining companions, 'If I think it's too salty, it's too salty.' So, there's that other thing to reconcile at the end of the day, which is a chef who [?]--

Russ Roberts: Say that again? Say that again? I lost you there.

Alex Guarnaschelli: A chef--there is a nuance there, which is there is a chef who is always theoretically anyway and always to a division, sees things a certain way, who seasons the ingredients in a particular way, and then there's the sort of reception of that by the general public, 'Oh, the food's too salty there.' Or, 'the food's too heavy there.' Or, 'the food's too dietetic there.' 'I don't like the desserts.' And sort of paying attention to those trends. And then sometimes you don't feel like such an artist. How about that? You go into the refrigerator and you have 10 cases of cauliflower, because you over-ordered or because you thought you needed it for that party of 300 that ordered cauliflower soup; and now the special is cauliflower for 3 days. And people say to me, 'How do you come up with those ideas?' Hey, sometimes I don't come up with them in such a romantic way. Sometimes I do, by the way. When I see that the 'fridge is humming along and that everything is good and that there's nothing kind of hanging on that I'm worried about--yeah. I go into the 'fridge, I look around and I say, 'Wow, this is really fun. Is this really what I earn a living doing?' And there there's some times when I say, 'Hey, you know what? I've got 30 courses' of bass in there leftover from a lunch party. That's the special tonight. How can we make it great?' Now, I'm operating on the premise that the bass I bought is wonderful--so, it's not like, from China, a [?] something bad. But the idea that we just freely go in and choose the way one might do at home with their refrigerator, I think people might assume somewhat like that: Well, we always have leftovers at home, right? You're always worrying about that quart of milk or the rest of that bag of celery at the bottom of your crisper drawer. Or that weird ingredient that you bought on a whim at the supermarket that's sitting in the 'fridge looking at you like, 'What are you going to do with me now?' We have the same challenges in a restaurant, only whether we do or don't make money depends on how artfully--and methodically, really--how we use all those things. Or not.

37:01

Russ Roberts: So, tell me something you are proud of like that, where you created something magical out of--a purse out of a sow's ear.

Alex Guarnaschelli: I think chefs do a lot of that. I said just the other day that I feel one of a chef's many responsibilities--two of the biggest are philanthropy and also you know, finding the nobility in ingredients that are less-prized and more affordable. It's not just the scoop of caviar or the lobster or the langoustine that needs to be treated by the most skilled hands. Yes, that's true. But it's also things like oxtails, pig ears, rutabaga--the less sexy foods of the bunch. What do you do when you have a mushy batch of peaches? What do you do when apples are mealy? That's really where technique can trump an ingredient. I always say: If the ingredient isn't coming to you, you've got to go to it. And there's got to be that constant push-pull. So, let me think: What am I particularly proud of? Hmmm. I mean, I would say, one of the things that we do periodically at the restaurant that I'm most proud of is we buy a whole animal and we make a commitment to cooking and using all of it. I know "nose-to-tail" is over-used as a concept. But, we got a whole pig and we just served a series of dishes: we cured some of it, we brined some of it, we smoked some of it. And we served it until we really made our way through the whole animal, served it all. And then what I discovered is that you could then turn an experience like that into somewhat of one of the many threads that goes into the philosophy of a restaurant. So, when we get a head of broccoli--hey, let's make a little salad with the pretty little florets, and all the [?] of the broccoli, let's make soup from the middle part; let's peel the stems and make a pesto. And you end up with this note[?] that's half philosophy with something like broccoli. Which is absurd, right? Because broccoli obviously doesn't have noses and tails. But that sensibility, that's something that I'm really proud of. And something that I think is useful in this day and age when chefs have to, first of all, minimize waste, and second of all, maximize profitability off everything.

39:27

Russ Roberts: Let's talk about your own eating habits for a minute, and your daily life. You said you were out at a restaurant last night. How often do you eat at a restaurant versus cook for yourself?

Alex Guarnaschelli: I try to eat out as little as possible. How about that? I probably cook for myself 30% of the time--30, n'yeah, 30. It varies. And some weeks not at all; and some weeks it's 50-60%. So, it varies. My own eating habits are a disaster. They always have been. The reason I agreed to participate in this podcast is because of your deranged relationship with potato chips. And, I was really drawn to you by how piercingly intelligent you are and how connected you are to your emotions, and how despite all of that you will lose yourself at a bodega in a bag of potato chips. That is me to a 't.' You and I share that common thread. I can see certain trigger foods in a supermarket and there's no getting at me--there's just no way anything, no amount of intelligence, restraint, therapy, or anything else will do. So, I have probably struggled all along with just eating 3 square meals. I don't understand that concept. I think a lot of chefs are grazers and nibblers and tasters. That's just how we go through it. You know, I'm having to let go of this fantasy that no matter what I do I get to three meals. Or, if you eat all day and you still give yourself 3 meals, we know where that goes.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. I like when my wife says, when I say something like, 'Gee, I wish I could have some x,' and she says--I'm being whimsical; I'm not really longing for it--and she says, 'Are you hungry?' And I say, 'Of course not! I want to eat.' Why are those related?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yeah. I didn't understand that that was a prerequisite. The other thing is this idea that dessert--you are never hungry. You know, I turn to my [?] chef all the time and say, 'Here's something no one ever says: I'm starving; let's have dessert.'

Russ Roberts: Yeah.

Alex Guarnaschelli: So, there's a whole other set of sort of buttons on the keyboard to push to put a successful dessert in front of a consumer. And I'm often thinking about that; also because I just--I love dessert. I love a great dessert. So, I have a sweet tooth. I'm erratic. I'm unreliable. I drink way too much coffee. I drink a lot of tea. I grew up in a house--my father always makes tea. Very strong, distinctive teas--a lot of lapsang souchong, Poulier, Earl Grey, jasmine--just a lot. I think those really contributed to my passion or sense of smell and how--it's just one sensory experience to me, smelling a really nicely brewed cup of tea and then having hot liquid, just so comforting, and then taste. That's a lot, you know? So, I drink a lot of coffee and a lot of tea. I love the aroma therapy, and the temperature: I like hot things. I like hot food.

Russ Roberts: I should tell listeners that the potato chip aspect of my life that Alex is alluding to--

Alex Guarnaschelli: Yes, you should. I didn't know you were willing to share--

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Well, we both were on a podcast called "Tell Me Something I Don't Know." It's scheduled to air this Fall; and if you follow me on Twitter, folks, I'll tell you when that comes out. But, I talked about potato chips drawing on my Brendan O'Donohoe episode, which many of you still listen to and still love; and we'll put a link up to that, in this episode. I want to ask you a question, again about your eating habits. Do people cook for you? And do they--because if you came to my house, it would be a frightening thing. Right? I mean, there are a couple of things I know how to make. And I like to think 20 things my wife makes that are first-rate. But, cooking for a chef is very intimidating. Does anyone cook for you who isn't a chef?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Um, people do. I don't know--I think they think they are going to enjoy it, and then when I arrive, they are less--some people love the challenge; some people make a hundred things and ask me how it tastes and if they should be a chef. It all depends on where that person is coming from. I will say[?] the most relaxing thing is when a chef invites me over, and just makes something super-simple like a roast chicken. I am a friend of Michael Symon; he's a chef on The Chew. He's from Cleveland. He has a number of restaurants. When he invites me over for lunch, dinner, whatever, and he just makes a bunch of stuff; and we eat. And it's always so delicious. I mean, above and beyond. So, we're just, 'Hey, we're both off duty.' You know? I always joke: Do you think a cab driver drives around his neighborhood on his day off? You know? Chefs just love to be cooked for. They deserve it. And we're not getting that. But I don't know--I think people like it in their mind, but I don't get many invitations about that. I should get more, shouldn't I?

Russ Roberts: I think you should.

Alex Guarnaschelli: I'm a good person.

Russ Roberts: Next time you'll in Washington, D.C., you let me know and I'll cook for you. I have a big green egg. So, it's hard to ruin--there are many things I can not ruin on a big green egg. And one of them is, like, a roast chicken. I butterfly it; I think you'd like it.

Russ Roberts: So, you mention Big Night, which is one of my favorite food movies. And that movie centers around two things: risotto and hot dogs. But the hot dogs are just a throw-away line. I heard you say, when we talked before, that you can never cook risotto again. And why is that?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Well, I don't think people realize how many times we potentially do something. Right? So, I've made risotto so many thousands of times. I've batch-cooked it. I've served it all night, and had to taste it and taste it all night long, serving it. I've ended up making risotto in two different very high-end restaurants: one 3-Star Michelin in Paris and one [?] in New York City. I ended up, by a series of unfortunate events, making risotto pretty much steadily for about 5 and a half years. And that's every night, general service. And I just can't: when I see that box of Arborio rice in a supermarket--you know, it didn't do anything wrong; it's just a sweet little box of very delicious rice--I just run in the other direction. Run for the hills. Coiling. Right into the cookie aisle. For comfort.

Russ Roberts: What's your go-to dish, if you want to amaze me? What is the biggest wow that has the least chance of failure, that's going to just blow me away? What would you make?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Well, yeah. I'm a big fan of, um--I'm really a big fan of the aw-shucks school of thought on that. I would probably skip the caviar and the lobsters and go straight for a roast chicken or a whole roasted duck that's glazed with honey and vinegar, probably. I'd like a lot of really earthy ingredients. I love potatoes and onions and shallots and garlic. I mean, you give me [?] and lock me in [?] and [?] and I'm really happy. So, I would probably go in that direction. And if, maybe, I think impressing people with more everyday ingredients and a little bit of extra technique is definitely the best.

47:11

Russ Roberts: So, now, I'm at your house: I'm a weekend guest. And I don't feel so well. I'm sad; I'm a little bit depressed, having a tough time at work, say, or with a family issue. And you're going to make me some comfort food. And you've got a comfort food cookbook. What are you going to make me?

Alex Guarnaschelli: Well, I mean, I have to tell you that was very comfort--that's a case-by-case basis. You can't as a chef give a blanket, comfort answer. So, what you are telling this person, I mean, first of all, lasagna cures everything. Strangely so does eggplant parmesan. So, I'm really a fan of Italian-American as being number 1 go-to source of comfort. The other thing is, when all else fails, is: Just bake a giant cake. And frost it with many layers of butter cream. If the person doesn't like chocolate, go vanilla. Otherwise, it's vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. And it's several layers. And it sits out on the counter frosted, and gets nice and goopy and room-temperature-y. And then you have a big slice of it with either ice-cold milk, coffee, a small glass of dark rum, or possibly all three.

Russ Roberts: And what do you make for your daughter when you want to cheer her up?

Alex Guarnaschelli: I actually am trying to teach my daughter not to associate emotion with food so much--

Russ Roberts: Good luck with that.

Alex Guarnaschelli: I'm failing miserably. The things my daughter really loves are prosciutto, and poached eggs. So, I would say, always--and my daughter--I'm much more of a person who gets lost in a love of garlic salt[?] than I would a steak. She loves steak and potatoes. So, I would say, if I [?] a lot and she had poached eggs and prosciutto and maybe some sushi for lunch and steak and maybe some crusted potatoes for dinner, I won't hear from her--in a good sense of not hearing from her.

Russ Roberts: I think it's in the movie Chef--I think he makes his kid a grilled cheese sandwich. I think it's interesting--in the food movies, the chef always makes something unbelievably basic, like scrambled eggs, and then we as the viewer start to imagine that these are the greatest scrambled eggs or the greatest grilled cheese sandwich in the history of the world. Which reminds me that your world of Chopped and Iron Chef, how crazy it is that we live in a time where you can watch people cook. You don't get to taste the food, and you still watch.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Well, I always say, 'You can see it. You can witness the emotion and witness the technique and the cooking and the food.' And you can hear it. The sound of it cooking, the sound of the kitchen. The play-by-play commentary. You can't smell it and you can't taste it. And so, when I am either judging, I am attempting to fill in those blanks for people watching. This is like, it's like, 'This is what it smells like.' And I realize those two senses are deeply intertwined. Or, I am trying to illustrate with what I'm doing. Because I don't think there is any point in those shows if most of you feel brought in [?]. Well, yeah, it's crazy. You are right. It's literally like, you know, you go to the movies but the screen is blank, in a sense, because there's so little--you're not living in it, in actuality. But, come on: I mean, watching it--what's really the difference between watching a soccer match and watching an episode of Iron Chef, America? What's the difference? Is there much--isn't an athlete running around? Yeah, I mean it's nice, and an occasional wild salmon floating by. But isn't it the ability, fundamentally that same feeling? Don't you have somebody that for whatever set of reasons with the layer of emotion and food and your personal history, there's someone you feel in [?], there's someone you identify with. There's someone you don't like. It just becomes like a Star Wars Soccer Match. There's a Darth Vader. There's a Luke Skywalker. It's all the same.

Russ Roberts: Who are your heroes? Do you have any? Do you like Jacques Pepin? You like Julia Child?

Alex Guarnaschelli: I really love Bobby Flay. I really love Bobby Flay. He's fantastic. And it's nice to admire somebody who is living, vibrant, and, you know, almost the same age--well, we're of a similar age. So, I like--I love him. I think he is tremendous[?]. He is committed; when he says he is going to do something, he does it. I like that. He's got a lot of kind of--I call him 'Captain America.' And I think that's about right.

Russ Roberts: It's a very high compliment.

Alex Guarnaschelli: I love Julia Child, of course. I grew up watching my mother watch her shows on TV, write down what she did, and go in the kitchen and cook it. I mean, my mother was one of those people. Still is. And I love that. So, yes: I love Julia Child. I love James Beard, Craig Claiborne, Pierre Fernet[?]--this whole school of people that were sort of documenting French cooking in America and how to go about it. And I watched my mother cook all that food. So, that's really near and dear to my heart. But I have a little--I have a lot of different people that I like. So many different reasons to be drawn to people. I like Anne-Sophie Pic. She's a great chef who took over a 3-Star Michelin in France for her father and for her legacy, for her family. And she's running a staff of, you know, 35 men, and she's got 3 Michelin stars: I mean, she's amazing.

Russ Roberts: So, have you ever eaten at a 3-Star Michelin restaurant where you went, 'Ehh'? You don't have to name it.

Alex Guarnaschelli: You know--no, I hear you. Definitely. You know? Sure. I've had the privilege--I lived in France for 7 years, and I made very little money, but what money I did make at that time, I saved it. If you work 100 hours a week, the upside is you don't spend your paycheck--because you can't. There's no way to spend it. It's really funny, right? I know it's funny, but it's actually totally true. You never [?] make so little and save so much. So ironic to me. It's like Shakespearean. So, what money I did have, I spent. Every few months I would go somewhere [?] fancy and just eat, in an effort to learn, and whatever else. And, sure, definitely been underwhelmed. But more underwhelmed by a dish, and not so much by a whole meal or a whole experience.

54:03

Russ Roberts: Let's talk about Bobby Flay for a second. Bobby Flay has a show where you try to--it's a brilliant conceit: You pick your best dish and he's got to compete by matching it. What would you make to beat Bobby Flay?

Alex Guarnaschelli: I've actually beaten Bobby Flay. Twice. And I've made Lobster Newburg, which is an old-school lobster classic; and I made Sole Almondine, which is another old-school classic. I definitely go for those kind of French-y classics. But, make no mistake about it: He's such an unbelievable cook. He really is. I mean, people say to me, 'How can he always win as much as he does?' He just does. He's that good. Even when he's making something that he's not familiar with, somehow he pulls it off. He's a flavor master. And that's one of the reasons I admire him so much. He's also just a good dude. You know what I mean? On top of all the skill, he's a good guy.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. That's rare.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Pretty enviable.

Russ Roberts: Have you lost to him?

Alex Guarnaschelli: I have. On Iron Chef America I've competed against him. Jeffrey Zakarian competed against him and Michael Symon. And we lost. And Jeffrey and I were pissed, and it took a couple of martinis to get past.

Russ Roberts: That's pretty impressive. That's a low--it's a bar to get over it. But you still like him, too. That's very nice.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Hmmm. Yeah--

Russ Roberts: But you got those two victories--

Alex Guarnaschelli: That's right. There's something--yes. I love Michael Symon; I love Bobby. I love a lot of people that I work with. Really, I like everybody. It's a privilege to be on television. So, I'll take it.

Russ Roberts: Yeah, it's cool.

55:56

Russ Roberts: Let's talk about something a little serious for a minute. Not that this hasn't been serious. But something a little more, big picture-y. You mention that you keep track of what people eat and you look at trends, of course, in your own restaurant. And you are in a particular environment: you are in New York City, which is very specialized for all kinds of reasons. But, are there things going on in the food world that are dramatically different today than, say, 3, 5, obviously 20 years ago? Eating in America has changed so much in the last 50 years; but even the last 20. I think obviously from your perspective it's changed a lot. Talk about what some of those trends are, in terms of what people like to eat, what they care about emotionally. I recently had Tamar Haspel on the program and we talked about people's concerns about animals and animal welfare. What are some of the issues that you see, both in your restaurant and outside it, that interest you.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Whew. I mean, that's a big question. I definitely think people are eating more healthfully. I definitely think people care more about the food chain: where did the food begin and how did it get on my plate; and what does that mean? And I don't just mean in terms of taste, but, you know: Is it organic? How was it raised? How was it grown? Were there pesticides? There's so many different factors, I don't think that we really consider so many nuances when biting into a piece of cheese or a bread with a smear of butter at the beginning of a meal. Or a salad. I do think that people like what they like. And that, I sort of relish in the fact that people still eat French fries. People still eat steak. People still want mac and cheese. People still want those foods, a lot of the time. I think there's definitely a call for more diversity. I don't think you can get away with the menu that's so simple or that doesn't offer more choice. I don't [?] done, more complex and more choice both. The middle ground is less popular. I'd say it's either a slice of tomato with a sprinkle of small, [?] sweetened with the blessings from a chef from Denmark that has burnt rugma[?] on top of it, versus a dish that's like a 10,000 layer lasagna and that's, you know, the size of half of Texas. At the [?] we sensationalize it; I think that's part of our culture. And I love that, by the way. I think people will pay more for something of quality, more so than in the past. I like to believe that. I think that we have our national treasures, our junk food. And I think people also accept that. I think there's just more of a--I don't think people feel so much like they have to eat the same exact thing every day. One day they may have this. The next day they may have that. Sometimes I think that goes too far. When I see, for example, a Chinese restaurant that offer [?] sushi and banh mi, and [?], I'm thinking, 'They're mashing 18 cultures into one.' You know, so, like, 'Oh, we're just going to go out and have an Asian dinner.' And those kind of nuances of the different countries, including China, get pushed off; and it all becomes this hodgepodge. That, I think, is a shame. Because I think that, first of all, street food is so exciting. And second of all, the foods and ingredients and flavors are unique to each culture--just such a great way to celebrate their uniqueness. I don't like when that gets all mashed together. A lot of mash-ups. You know, your laundry detergent has to have your air freshener in it. You know? Everything has got to be 2 for the price of 1. And, a la carte, with food, I don't always love.

Russ Roberts: What are some of your other pet peeves about restaurants or food.

Alex Guarnaschelli: I don't think bacon on everything is a solution. I think it actually degrades and demeans bacon. There are 18 ways to make bacon, and so each one, again, is nuanced and belongs, I think, in a certain context. I think there are c

          The Recaps: Breaking Bad - "Blood Money"        

Hey, this is a recap so there are spoilers for last night's episode and past seasons of "Breaking Bad" so if you haven't seen every episode, catch-up and come back. This came from my blog where you can find my posts before anywhere else.

With season premiere's, particularly in the post-golden age of the medium, shows often hit the reset button which is frustrating with a show like "Breaking Bad" particularly after the last finale. "Nothing's probably going to happen in this episode," someone in our viewing party said with a disappointing realization. She was wrong. Vince Gilligan managed to fit everything we wanted from the season in one episode which can only make us more excited as we poke and prod at any minute detail to guess at what's to come in the remaining seven episodes.

breaking-bad-premiere-photos-blood-money-separates-walt-and-jesse12

Flash-forward aside, it was nice to see the episode open right where the last season dropped-off, very much in the vein of early season premieres. The tension was thick when Hank came out of the bathroom. By shooting his first interaction with Walt with the camera in on Walt's back set the tone that we are going to spend even more time with Hank, almost to the point where Walt might only be a vehicle to fill us in on other characters - primarily, Jesse.

Jesse being back in a funk (Mo' money, Mo' problems) is the result of the addition of story time given to Hank, who is the new audience surrogate. It's a bold choice considering he's the character we want to see make it through this at the end. His decision to drop the money might be the only way for anyone to come out alive at this point, i.e. winning by not playing. This probably means he's Chekov in Badger's "Star Trek," spec script (Personally, I'd be fine if this is all just one of Badger's drug induces TV pitches). Walt and now Hank are obsessed with winning but by giving up everything entirely, he puts himself in the best position to get out - maybe not in one piece but at least they will all be there. From what we've seen from the big showdown at the end of the episode and the flash-forward at the beginning, Hank and Walt might not be so lucky.

While Walt has been over the edge for a while now, it looks like Hank is well on his way. It might be just the shock but if my guesses about this week's flash-forward are correct he's getting there. The face-off was fantastic especially since it nailed the balance of giving us what we wanted right away while still leaving plenty of room to get excited for all that's too come.

As far as the flash-forward, there only seems to be a few options for how Walt plans to use the ricin. Hank is the obvious choice at this point but Gilligan has shown us that he never goes the easy route. That only leaves him to either fulfill the original season one trajectory for Jesse and thus cement him as being television's new personification of evil or maybe on himself.

It's pretty much the consensus that Walt will meet some type of end this season. Judging by his "I'm in the empire business," speech last season and now all of that seems to be gone it looks to be the most likely outcome. Maybe Skylar's planned trip to Europe that baffled Marie in her ill-fated ride home with Hank becomes an extended stay with Walt Jr. and Holly and any overseas travels would be a drastic change for the show. Gilligan has earned too much audience goodwill to make that change. It's safe to say we're in good hands with no sign of final season troubles on the horizon.

One down. Seven to go. Have an A1 Day.


          Why no one can direct Star Wars VII        

The below post can also be read on my website here.

When discussing the new Star Wars trilogy with friends my opinion was always something in line with the following:

I'm excited for VII, VIII and VIV. They've always been in some form of development and when they come out it will be  really special. After that, who knows. The thing that excites me most is that filmmakers who were inspired by the original trilogy, will finally get to add to that universe, something Lucas' stranglehold on the prequels lacked. 

Now that JJ Abrams is confirmed to direct the newest movie, I'm forced to eat that last statement. No other filmmaker has shown his love for the Spielberg/Lucas era than Abrams (although thus far his tributes have been Spielberg focused) so it makes sense that he would continue the definitive blockbuster movie saga.

But is he the best choice? Sure, he took the other big science fiction franchise and turned it into a "fun and watchable action-packed thrill ride,"  film with an upcoming sequel that's the biggest summer blockbuster of the year. It stands to reason he will do the same after the disappointing prequels only had a bout 1 hour's (a generous amount) worth of exciting action sequences.

So wherein lies the problem? It isn't that the new trilogy won't be a "true Star Wars film." That idea died with the prequels and Disney avoided that issue by choosing the science fiction community's second favorite filmmaker from the current generation, the first being relegated to an Avengers only schedule. The problem lies in the probability that Abrams may have used up his best space opera visions on the new Star Trek franchise.

I'm in no way saying that Star Wars and Star Trek are in any way similar outside of their title. The differences are the reasons why I have only seen two Star Trek films ( only enjoyed the latest) and why I have failed to get through the show's pilot on multiple occasions. Now the franchises are open to even more unnecessary comparisons, despite the script being already underway from a different writer.

The true essence of a decision like this  is that for every choice there has to be at least one (in this case many) non-choice. Abrams was the choice over Whedon, the non-choice, since he is being incubated in the Marvel universe and another franchise would keep him from other passion projects. Duncan Jones and Rian Johnson were also non-choices, likely because they haven't helmed a large franchise and Disney couldn't afford to take a risk. Hopefully they'll contribute somewhere down the line. Finally, the other rumored favorite, Brad Bird, was knocked out - despite his more than adequate success with the latest Mission Impossible - due to fellow Pixar alum, John Lasseter Andrew Stanton directing the bomb John Carter.

So here we have a list of non-choices each with a reason for being so and for every reason there are just as many for why they would have been the perfect choice and just as boring and potentially as unsatisfying and that's the true issue. Myself and other fans could never be pleased with whomever they chose just as its impossible for all to be pleased with the end result. Hopefully most of us will.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. You can follow me on Twitter at @TylerLyon or by clicking the “follow” button below. Feel free to shoot me an email at tylerlyonblog@gmail.com. Finally if you like what you read, like it on WordPress, share it on social media and tell your friends. Thanks for reading!


          "Star Trek Beyond" Movie Review        

Review of STAR TREK BEYOND

Reviewed by: Kevin Carr

Rated: PG-13


          Watch Star Trek movie free online        
Star Trek...Star Trek 11 Prequel - The Future Begins...From the first scene the Star Trek universe as we knew it has changed forever. Kirk is now an angry wayward young man looking for trouble. He fights with Starfleet cadets in Iowa when a Capt. Pike takes an interest in him, finding out he's the only 'genius level repeat offender in the Midwest'. Pike dares Kirk to join Starfleet, goading him with the legacy of his father. A young Spock is tortured over his mixed heritage, the emotions he fights to control and the very different paths he has before him. He must choose between the Vulcan world which will never accept him as anything other than 'half human' and Starfleet Academy, worlds away from everything he has ever known. We meet Dr 'Bones' McCoy and a young linguist Uhura at the Academy and watch as a headstrong Kirk wreaks havoc on Starfleet's rules and regulations. Kirk's antics culminate in his reprogramming the famous Kobayashi Maru test and consequent disciplinary hearing. He comes face to face with the scenario creator, Mr Spock. As this unfolds; a vicious Romulan from the future is hell bent on vengeance upon 'Ambassador' Spock and nothing will get in his way. The fleet is called to arms as peril aims at the heart of the Federation and Kirk and Spock are irrevocably pulled together to save the galaxy - for the first time. The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals. One, James Kirk, is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy. The other, Spock, was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before. Also Known As: Star Trek 11 Star Trek Prequel Star Trek XI Star Trek: Corporate Headquarters Star Trek: Starfleet Academy See also

          Xbox Repair Service        
Xbox Repair Service


What's Up With Xbox 360?
A Guide of What's Available for Microsoft's XBox 360 System

The XBox 360 System. The new Xbox 360 console ($399.99) brings Microsoft technology to the gaming industry like never before. This new toy sports new Internet connections to social communities and puts the gamer in ultimate control with goo-gobs of fun accessories.

This article describes some of those accessories and the games available that (almost) everyone can enjoy.

XBox 360 Accessories. For such a powerful system, it should be no surprise that this system takes full advantage of accessorizing. We can start by saving games on the $19.99 512MB memory unit or with the $29.99 64MB memory unit.  To keep the power going, we can look at the $29.99 Quick Charge Kit or the smaller $19.99 Play & Charge Kit. On the go, you can carry and use the $11.99 Rechargeable Batter Pack while re-powering you controller with the $29.99 charge Station.

Increase connectivity with the $99.99 Wireless Network Adapter and keep your system "kewl" with the $19.99 Intercooler. But that's enough about maintenance. Let's look at the fun.

Get a $39.99 Wired controller or $49.99 Wireless Controller to play your games. Unless you want feel like getting behind the wheel. In that case, you can try on the $149.99 Wireless Racing Wheel for size.

Want a little multimedia action? Get a $199.99 HD-DVD player (don't forget the $19.99 remote) - a $39.99 Live Vision Camera or a $59.99 Wireless Headset (wired headset available for $19.99). Then jam your way onto the $89.99 Guitar Hero II.

Of course if you want to get down with your PC, check out Xbox's $19.99 Wireless Gaming Receiver and user your Xbox 360 controller on the computer!

XBox 360 Games. Looking for games? We've separated this part of our guide into two sections: one for children and one for adults. Use caution when purchasing XBox 360 games for players under 18 years of age.

FOR CHILDREN:

Xbox's UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 $59.99
Xbox's Viva Pinata $29.99
Xbox's Fuzion Frenzy 2 $29.99
Meet the Robinsons $49.99 (by Disney Interactive Studios)
Xbox's Star Trek Legacy $39.99
Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Universe $49.99

COMING SOON:
Forza MotorSport 2

FOR ADULTS:
Xbox's Halo 2 $29.99 (rated 10 by GameInformer)
Xbox's Gears of War $59.99 (rated 9.5 by GameInformer)
Xbox's Crackdown $59.99 (rated 8.5 by GameInformer)
Capcom's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition $59.99
Bethesda Softworks' Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion $59.99
Xbox's Rainbow Six: Vegas $59.99 (rated 9.5 by GameInformer)
D3 Publishers' Earth Defense Force 2017 $39.99
Activision's Cabela's African Safari $29.99
Activision's Marvel: Ultimate Alliance $59.99 (rated 9.25 by GameInformer)
Activision's History Channel: Civil War $39.99
Ubisoft's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 $59.99 (rated 8.75 by GameInformer)
Sega's Armored Core 4 $59.99

NOTE: A lot of Xbox 360 games exhibit the RP warning. Please remember to follow the guidelines set by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) when buying games for children under the age of 18. Here's a handy reference to what the ratings mean:

C = Appropriate for Early childhood
E = Appropriate for Everyone
E 10+ = Appropriate for Everyone aged 10 and older
T = Appropriate for Teens
M = Appropriate for Mature Adults
RP  = Rating Pending (NOT appropriate for children)

The following games sport ESRB's RP rating:

Mass Effect
Shadowrun
Blue Dragon
Tenchu Z
The Drakness
Bioshock
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Hour of Victory

          Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance…        

Actually, now is the time on Life, the Universe and Everything when I drool over the Comic Con schedule and renew my promise to myself to go one day. In what will either be one of the blogverse's most boring posts or the most saliva-inducing depending on your Comic Con orientation, here are the panels that caught my eye:

Thursday

Who wouldn't want to get the scoop on the science fiction you should be reading:

10:30-11:30 Science Fiction That Will Change Your Life— The staff of io9.com, Eisner Award–winning author Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics), and others talk about science fiction from the last year that does more than blow things up. It might also blow your mind. What science fiction should you be reading and watching if you want your brain to grow so big it pops out of the top of your skull and starts throbbing and shooting lasers? The panelists have some tips. Room 8

Terry Gilliam. Need I say more?

4:30-5:15 Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus— Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of both Comic-Con and Monty Python, we welcome the sole American Python, the great animator and director Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, 12 Monkeys) to introduce you to his new film starring Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, and Lily Cole. Dr. Parnassus is a fabulous anachronism, touring the streets of modern-day London in a horse-drawn carnival wagon accompanied by his beautiful daughter, devoted dwarf, and neophyte barker. On stage Parnassus plays a holy man whose Imaginarium can realize the innermost fantasies of all who dare to enter. Backstage, he is a drunkard, a gambler who centuries ago lost a wager with the Devil and must now pony up with his daughter once she turns sixteen. Tomorrow. Yet, there may still be hope for the Doctor and Valentina in the person of Tony, a well-dressed amnesic they rescue from a perilous fate and invite into their world of unrelenting magic and possibility. Hall H

Friday

Bones! David Boreanaz! Emily Deschanel! If Sweets were going to be there, I just might have to sneak my way in.

3:00-3:45 Bones— Showrunner Hart Hanson and stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel are on hand for a discussion of what's on deck for Booth and Brennan, hot on the heels of this year's much talked-about season finale in which the pair finally wound up between the sheets. Ballroom 20

Anything w/Joss Whedon involved. Any. Thing.

4:00-5:15 Dollhouse— Join Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon and star/producer Eliza Dushku for a no-holds-barred Q & A about what they have planned for season 2, after they unveil a special screening of the never-before-seen "Epitaph One" episode of the Fox hit, which releases on DVD just four days later. Ballroom 20

5:15-6:00 Joss Whedon— After the Dollhouse presentation, stick around for 45 minutes of information and Q&A with Joss Whedon about his upcoming Dark Horse Comics projects! Ballroom 20

Okay, this was just too much to resist. My one time attendance at a Star Trek convention notwithstanding, this is a show I would love to see.

7:45-8:45 Klingon Lifestyles Presentation— This latest mission of the IKV Stranglehold finds the crew giving assistance to the IKRV Hurgh Hap on a First Contact Mission, but problems from the planet's inhabitants and an agent from Klingon Imperial Intelligence complicate matters. How will the crew handle this situation and still keep their honor? All species are welcome to experience the ongoing voyage and adventure of life aboard a Klingon vessel. Room 6A

Saturday

This one ought to be interesting given that Fox has just announced that they are recasting most of these actors in the new episodes.

1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!— Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20

Discussion of Bram Stoker AND Joss Whedon? Oh yeah, baby.

1:30-2:30 Bram Stoker: The Joss Whedon of His Day?— Moderator Leslie Klinger (The New Annotated Dracula), an authority on the influence on generations of storytellers of Stoker's work, discusses Stoker's impact with panelists Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt (Dracula: The Un-Dead), Jeanne Stein (The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles), Chris Marie Green (The Path of Razors), Tony Lee (From the Pages of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula': Harker), J. F. Lewis (Staked), and Steve Niles (30 Days of Night).  Room 5AB

Sunday

She is an icon.

2:30-3:30 Spotlight on June Foray— She's the first lady of cartoon voices! Comic-Con special guest June Foray, known for her memorable work with a certain moose and squirrel (Bullwinkle and Rocky, the Flying Squirrel, that is), returns to Comic-Con for the 40th show. Mark Evanier and Earl Kress interview June about her career as a voice actress, author, and Hollywood legend. Room 5AB

I first started reading science fiction in junior high & a lot of it was Ray Bradbury.

3:30-4:30 Spotlight on Ray Bradbury— The legendary fantasy and science fiction writer is once again a Comic-Con special guest, as he was for the very first show in 1970. Ray Bradbury will discuss his new books, plays, and other projects with his long-time friend, writer and producer Arnold Kunert, and biographer Sam Weller. Room 6BCF

It's Dr. Who! You HAVE to go to this one.

10:00-11:00 Dr. Who— Actor David Tennant, writer/executive producer Russell T Davies, director Euros Lyn, and executive producer Julie Gardner discuss their creative process and experiences working on BBC America's Doctor Who—television's longest-running sci-fi series—with exclusive clips and a Q&A session. Ballroom 20

I don't read Christian comics & to be honest, a lot of Christian media sends me right 'round the bend. Still, listening in on this discussion could be very interesting or very infuriating.

10:00-11:00 Christian Comics Meeting— What are the different ways that Christian creators express their faith through their art? How can "new media" best be used to communicate timeless truths? Discuss the latest trends of the Christian comics movement with moderator Buzz Dixon (Serenity, Goofyfoot Gurl) and panelists Eric Jansen (Foursquare Missions Press), Leo Partible (Behind the Screen: Insiders on Faith, Film & Culture), and others. A short sermon and worship music will precede the panel discussion. Room 24A

Well, Duh! Reading is my thing. I've not spent almost two years in grad school for nothing! (Actually, this just sounds very intriguing.)

11:00-12:30 Secret Origin of Good Readers— AKA "Evil Plots to Get Kids Reading." The 9th annual Secret Origin of Good Readers panel consists of Dr. Robyn A. Hill (National University, San Diego), Mimi Cruz (Night Flight Comics, Salt Lake City), Bill Galvan (creator/artist The Scrapyard Detectives, artist for Archie Comics), Dr. Bill McGrath (National University), and Jim Valentino (creator/publisher Silverline Books/Image Comics). The panelists will discuss how teachers, librarians, retailers, authors, artists, and publishers can work together to bring comic books into the classroom for use as an innovative and motivating cross-curricular teaching tool and a vehicle for promoting reading and literacy. Through a multimedia presentation, personal remarks, and a question-and-answer session, the speakers will present an overview of the medium and highlight specific ways that comic books and graphic novels can be used to engage a variety of learners. Breakout sessions will follow the main presentation. The 70-page resource book The Secret Origin of Good Readers is available for free download by clicking here courtesy of XMission.com. Room 3


 


 


          [US] Wal-Mart details Black Friday deals        



Black Friday, the Friday after American Thanksgiving, begins the traditional Christmas shopping season. In recent years, the unofficial holiday has been one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year with many of the larger retailers opening their doors as early as midnight on the start of Black Friday.

This year, Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is boasting many solid electronic deals in hopes of drawing many consumers into the store.

The following are some of the key offerings, courtesy of Destructoid.

Gaming hardware:


Video games:

  • Rock Band Special Edition (PS3 or Xbox 360) - $50
  • Midnight Club LA - $10
  • Grand Theft Auto IV - $10
  • The Godfather (PS3) - $10
  • NFS: Undercover (PS3) - $10
  • Command and Conquer: Red alert 3 (360) - $7

At Walmart.com, starting Thanksgiving:

  • Philips Noise Canceling Headphones – under $20
  • Sanyo 8-MP digital camera – under $60
  • Garmin Nuvi 205 GPS – under $100
  • RCA 42" LCD HDTV (42" diagonal viewing area) – under $600

In store, starting Friday:

  • Emerson 32-inch LCD HDTV (31.5" diagonal viewing area) for $248
  • 42-inch Plasma (42.3" diagonal viewing area) for $448
  • HP Laptop Computer 3 GB memory, 250 GB hard drive – $298
  • Magnavox Blu-ray Disc Player – $78
  • Sony Bravia 40-inch LCD HDTV (40" diagonal viewing area) – $598
  • Sony Blu-ray Disc Player, Model BDP-S360 – $118
  • $9 DVD movies, with titles including Star Trek and GI Joe
Source: http://www.neowin.net/news/main/09/11/23/us-wal-mart-details-black-friday-deals
          Nerds, Outcasts, Bullies and Beauty Queens        
Does the new Miss USA deserve her self-declared "nerd" title? And is nerd-bullying as bad as being bullied for being a nerd? For many of us nerds, and I suspect this might be stronger in those of us in our mid-30s and older (though that’s just a suspicion), there’s a fair amount of upset over the labeling of Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, as a “nerd” or “geek.” Not every one of us chooses to express it, but some have done so loudly and angrily. Those loud objectors have been admonished by a lot of our fellow nerds, especially the younger ones (this is where my suspicion above comes from, by the way), for engaging in geek-bullying and geek-gatekeeping; who are they to decide who is and isn’t a geek or a nerd? And those brighter-side geeks are right. None of us have been appointed gatekeepers of nerd-dom. None of us are the guardians of geekhood. And if Alyssa wants to declare herself a geek, who are we to stop her? Is she really a geek in her heart? Or is she just a casual fan of Star Wars? In the end, who cares? She’s the recently crowned Miss USA, she’s the symbol of an old-fashioned idea of what is desirable in womanhood, and she’s turning that idea on its head and using her platform to encourage anyone who listens to her to embrace Sci-Fi and Fantasy and, more importantly, History and Science. That’s a win, no matter how you look at it. On the other hand… For many of us self-described nerds and geeks, that label is sort of a badge of honor. It was the label of the Outsider, the Oddball, and often the Despised. For many of us, “nerd!” was the last thing we heard before receiving a bully’s fist in our face, or feeling the sticky chill of a milkshake poured over our head in the lunchroom. Many of us spent our skinny (or fat), awkward childhoods trying to shed the label by trying out for sports or pretending to know who Larry Bird was or purposefully taking a dive on a math test so that we’d not be thrown into a locker for ruining the curve. Again. Many of us fought a frustrating, demoralizing battle against ourselves and that Outsider label, trying desperately to fit in, before finally accepting and embracing who we were, who we are. For those of us who spent our formative years crying “I am not a nerd!” or sobbing in our bedrooms at night wishing we were not such nerds, that we were strong or good looking or charismatic or stupid or just not so weird, it’s hard to look at the beautiful, beaming young winner that is Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011, and not think, “you are no nerd.” When I was a kid, “nerd” was an insult. While it generally meant something we should have seen as good, that we were smart and capable, at least where academics were concerned, it was interchangeable with “gay” and “retard” in the schoolyard (this was the 1980s, folks - these were the words we used). It meant that we were socially awkward, that we were physically inferior, that we’d never get the girl (or guy). It was a label we fought, even while we watched Star Trek re-runs and read pulpy sci-fi and played Dungeons & Dragons with our nerd friends. No one, or at least no one I knew, embraced “nerd” as a matter of pride, at least not in public. I was lucky. I grew up in a very small town, the son of two very smart parents (my Dad was a science teacher and later a chemist at a coal gasification facility, my mom had been a journalism major and was an amazing writer), the brother of three probably smarter siblings (don’t tell them I said so). By junior high I had a close group of friends who, all of us nerds, outcasts, created a support system. Also, because our town and school were so small, even we nerds could play varsity sports (and a couple of us, myself included, did) as well as compete in the Academic Olympics, Science Olympics and Math Challenge (we had all three). At school, class sizes were small and we mostly avoided very serious physical abuse because teachers were ever-present (though getting punched, stuffed in lockers, doused with milkshakes, pushed down the stairs, pantsed, wedgied and other more disturbing humiliations, such as returning to your locker after gym class to find someone had peed through the vents onto your clothes, were still common). We even had girlfriends, some of us, for at least part of our time in High School. I dated a varsity cheerleader for almost a year - not a very nerdy thing to do, unless it’s in secret and you are the lead in “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Of course, that same year, when coming out of the locker room after gym, I was kicked in the stomach so hard I puked, and then admonished to tell no one or I’d be getting it every day. I was sixteen years old. I told no one. That year had its ups and downs. But, because I had strong support in my home life, from my family and teachers and friends, I eventually wore my nerdiness as a badge of honor. I was the Outsider and, though I suffered for it, it was clear to me this is who I was, and who I would be, and I was able to see that, once I got the hell out of high school, what made me a nerd would likely serve me well in life. And it did. At some point in our society, “nerd” and “geek” stopped being insults and started being desirable labels. I usually point to it starting with the dot-com boom, when the proliferation of powerful and newly-wealthy nerds made starkly visible the advantages of being the smart one in class. As it became clear to everyone that nerds would be the players in our internet society, the trappings of nerdiness began to become cool. Others have speculated the nerd-to-cool drift began with Star Wars and the science fiction boom of the late 1970s and 1980s. There are lots of theories. But it remains that having “nerd” screamed at you in the hallway at school now no longer carries the same painful humiliation it once did. “Nerd” is no longer automatically something to hide. “Nerd” no longer automatically gets you punched in the lunch line. And that’s a good thing. If kids can read comic books in public and not get wedgied, if skinny guys can quote Star Wars without worrying that it will lose them the girl, if a girl doesn’t have to pretend to be bad at math to be popular, if collecting replica Sonic Screwdrivers does not automatically make you a social outcast - this is all a step forward for society. But none of that changes the fact that, for many of us, our Outsider label means we suffered through humiliation and pain and survived. That the same label is applied to the beautiful and the popular, even such a symbol of an outdated, conformist social ideal as Miss USA, causes a visceral negative reaction in many of us. It’s not fair to Alyssa for us to feel that way, but many of us do. My friend Jessica Mills, creator of the amazing geek show ”Awkward Embraces,” recently wrote, in an essay against geek-gatekeeping, “...being a geek means that we let a part of ourselves believe in magic, heroism and the best of humanity.” I’m not sure I agree. For me, being a nerd had little to do with that. It always meant I was an Outsider, that society said I should be ashamed of the things I loved and the person I was, even if I refused to do so. It didn’t mean believing in heroes, it meant pleading in the principle’s office for permission to go home and change my pee-soaked clothes. And I can’t help but think that probably never happened to our newly crowned Miss USA. But I could well be wrong - I don’t know her, and I don’t know what she faced growing-up. And that kind of thinking is not the least bit constructive. No one benefits from my left-over childhood anger. I’ve not had to experience the recent “nerd pandering” backlash so many of my LadyGeek friends (who happened to grow up to be attractive women) are currently facing, which would almost certainly soften my gut reaction to all this. So I agree, intellectually, with the cheerier geeks who say that if Alyssa Campanella declares herself a nerd, she’s a nerd, and that’s a positive thing. I may not have much in common with her, but if her statements help one kid feel like less of an outcast, I’m all for it. I’m for raising the portcullis of the castle of nerdhood so many of us have jealously guarded and letting in whoever wants to watch a full Star Trek original cast movie marathon with me (except we’ll skip Star Trek V, because holy zod how was that disaster even allowed to happen?). But I think those cheerier geeks should understand why some of us are upset. That frustration may be irrational, but it’s not illegitimate. It’s the anger of the Outsider who feels his/her hard-won identity devalued somehow, even if that’s not really true. It’s not constructive and it’s not permanent. But it’s also not malicious. It’s just human. - David Nett, Nerd
          Pax Stellarum 2.0 - Released        
I've finally finished the revision of Pax Stellarum version 2.0. This has been a major endeavor, which took me the best part of 2016 to complete, but I'm definitely satisfied with this version of the rules.

For those of you readers of this blog that don't know of, Pax Stellarum is my own homebrew set of rules to play spaceship wargames. 

Starships are one of my greatest passions in this hobby, but I've never found a set of rules I was completely happy with. Every ruleset out there had some elements I liked, but lacked others. Additionally, none of them felt universal enough to allow me to play on several different scifi settings (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Battlestar Gallactica, Stargate, etc.), and having to learn a number of different rulesets in order to play each universe with a different one was out of question for me.

Because of that, I started working on my own rules a few years ago, came up with a first version of the system, which felt good enough, and since then I've been taking notes of things I could improve, which culminates with this thoroughly revised version we have here.

You can find a link to the Pax Stellarum GoogleDrive files on the left column of this blog, half way down.




From the start, the guiding directives behind Pax Stellarum were clearly set in my head: 

 - To confortly accomodate about a dozen or more ships per side
 - Fast gameplay
 - No book-keeping required (few things to keep track of, and even this could be done with tokens on the table)
 - Universal rules to play any scifi setting, including a broad range of weapon and special abilities options
 - Design Rules with a point system, so that I could create stats for all ships I'd like to play with
 - Options of actions in play (beyond just move ahead and shoot)

These objectives have always guided my efforts and tweaking of the rules. Still, what I usually lack is the time to playtest all the inovations I had in mind to better address those topics. This has been duly dealt with this last december, though. I had several weeks of vacation and used most of my time to test over and over again the rules I'd like to add/change, and see what worked and what didn't.

This version of the rules presents the result of this recent playtesting. For those already acquainted with the previous version of the rules, here are the fundamental changes you'll find in this edition:

- New Shields mechanics
- New Fighter and torpedo mechanics
- Detailed Rules for several different types of terrain
- Additional weapon and ship traits, allowing further customization


A brief introduction to PAX STELLARUM

A fundamental aspect of the game is Technology. Players must select a Tech level for their ships (usually the same for their entire fleet). This will determine what systems are available for it in the design spreadsheet.




As you can see, a number of examples are provided for each Tech level, to help players better categorize their own chosen faction in order to design their ships. These examples are obviously suggestions, and players are free to choose the tech level they feel better represents their race of choice. 
Tech determines everything on a spaceship. How much it can purchase on Engines Rating, how powerful their weapons are, what traits those weapons may have, what special systems the ship may install, how powerful are its Shields, Sensors, etc.

Everything is costed in points (including Tech!), and a .xls spreadsheet has been develop to do all the math automatically. You just need to select what options you'd like to add, and the spreadsheet will calculate cost/mass requisite and tell you if any of your selections violate a design rule (usually related to tech requisites).

The design spreadsheet also has a number of ready-to-use ship stat displays, from Star Trek, Star Wars and Babylon 5, so players willing to give the game a try may do so without needing to first go through the design rules. Over the months, I'll be adding more and more ship designs of my own, and will be uploading the new ones here on the blog as I go.




In terms of gameplay, players can expect to find in Pax a ruleset aimed at larger engagements, as I mentioned, but that still does well on small skirmishing actions. The game turn is divided in a number of phases, with both players acting on each of them, in alternated activations:

- Initiative Phase
- Movement Phase
- Shooting Phase
- Ordnance Phase
- End Phase

Initiative determines who gets to choose which player acts first on each phase. Usually, players will prefer to let the opponent start activating on the movement phase, and start themselves activating on the shooting phase. The number and level of Command ships on each fleet has a major impact on the rolls to determine initiave each turn.

Movement is based on a ship's chosen level of thrust (adrift, low or High), and this can only be changed at the end of a ship's activating, which means it'll only impact next turn's movement. Thus, players are required to plan in advance how they intend to move on the following turn.
During a ship's activation on this Phase, it also has the opportunity of trying to take on a special order. There are 11 Special Orders available, and they involve pushing your engines harder to move farther, diverting power to shields, improving you accuracy by locking weapons on a target, etc.

Shooting involves the use of D10, and the concept of Quality. This is a ship stat that determines not only how well a ship shoots, but also how likely it is to pass a command check to take on a special order, among other things. 

The ordnance phase is where fighters and torpedoes move and attack, and this has been one of the areas where I've implemented the greatest number of changes, aiming at simpliying and speeding up game play.

On the end phase, players get the chance to repair critical damage, as well as restore their Shields Rating a bit. Additionally, at this stage, a fleet that has already lost half their total of hull points need to take a Morale Check to remain in battle.

Failing a fleet morale check is the standard condition of ending a game. That means that the fleet will leave the battlefield, with the opposite fleet claiming the victory. However, rules for calculating victory points are also provided, so that players may use them in their own scenarios, if they so will.

The rulebook is divided in two main chapters: Basic and Advanced Rules. I encourage any of you readers that enjoy a good ol' space battle to take a read at the basic rules, have a game or two with the ship designs provided in the design spreadsheet and see if this is a ruleset for you.

Pax Stellarum is and will always be a ruleset free-of-charge, it has been developed to suit my own taste for space wargames, but I'm glad to share it with any fellow gamer, as I know that, like myself, there are a lot of other ruleset-enthusiasts out there.

As always, feedback is deeply appreciated, since this is a system at constant evolution, and we could say that the release of version 2.0 coincides with the beginning of the work on version 3.0 (!)





          Federation Fleet        
I've finally finished my Federation fleet. A project I've been working on for quite some time now. This is the last fleet I needed to complete my project of the Dominion War, and now I have fleets for all powers involved in the conflict.

SAM_0770

The ships in this collection come from a couple sources. The defiant-class ships are Studio Bergstrom's, the first models I purchased for this fleet. The Galaxy-class, Akira-Class and Excelsior Class are Attack Wing's, while the Sovereign Class is actually a key ring accessory, a gift from a friend that happened to match the scale of the rest of the fleet perfectly!

Speaking of scale, this is the reason this fleet took so long to complete. My entire collection of star trek ships are in scale to each other. Exact scale in most cases, close enough in others. When it comes to the Federation, I had to wait for Wizkids to release some classes of ships that were in scale with the fleets I already had (something around 1/9000), particularly the Galaxy-class, which I definitely wanted in the fleet.

They had already released a Galaxy, the Enterprise itself, in the Starter Set, but I needed at least 3 or 4, and wasn't going to purchase that many starter sets, when the only thing I needed on each was a single ship. So I had to wait for Wizkids to make the Galaxy available by itself, and it happened recently, in the form of the USS Venture. Together with the Akiras and the Excelsiors, I then had enough variation of classes to come up with a proper fleet. (their Nebula-class is also in scale, but I figured 4-5 classes of ships was enough, without being too much).

Once I had all models I wanted to build the fleet, I gave them a paint job to make them look uniform enough, a proper fleet (even though in-universe, different classes of Federation ships have all kinds of shades of grey).

SAM_0771

SAM_0772

SAM_0774

The Peregrin-class attack ships above are an example of close-enough scale. They should actually be considerably smaller than the Defiants next to them, but there are no such models available for these ships that I'm aware of, so these will have to do. They're sufficiently small to represent the fact that they are tiny attack ships, so that's good enough, I suppose.

SAM_0775

SAM_0776

SAM_0777

SAM_0778


          A battle on the Klingon-Cardassian War        
Here's a brief Battle Report of a game of Pax Stellarum we recently played at our club, featuring some of the main races of the Star Trek universe.


The Klingons invaded Cardassian territory on 2372, under the assumption that the Dominion was infiltrating the Alpha Quadrant with the support of the Cardassian Union.

By the beginning of year 2373, the Klingons had advanced far into enemy territory, putting the Cardassian military into complete disarray. Just when ultimate victory seemed to be only months away, the invaders were suprised by the disclosure of the Dominion-Cardassian Alliance, and the major power of the Gama Quadrant quickly joined in the war effort, pushing back the all-conquering fleets of the Klingon Empire.

This game we played represent one of those battles where the combined Cardassian-Dominion forces engage the Klingons, currently occupying large portions of cardassian space.

I controlled the cardassians/jem'hadar, while my friend Rafael Soar, also a Star Trek enthusiast, controlled the klingons.


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A view of the battlefield from the dominion/cardassian deployment (there is another squadron of Galors, on the far right of the table, visible on the pic below)



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The Klingon Deployment


The Klingon flagship Negh' Var, commanded by Chancellor Gowron, was present to this battle, giving this ship a Command Rating 7.

I also had a command ship - one of the jem'hadar battlecruisers - but mine had a Command Rating 6, only (we can assume it had a high-ranking Vorta aboard). Still, good rolls granted me Initiative on most turns, including the Initiative of Deployment.

That being, I chose my opponent to deploy first, and seeing that his klingon fleet was somewhat concentrating in the centre of their deployment zone, I chose to attempt to flank his forces with my galor squadrons, leaving the jem'hadar to deal with the bulk of the enemy forces in the middle.

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The Galor squadrons quickly advanced to flank the enemy on both sides. On the right of the klingon deployment, a squadron of Vorchas engaged the cardassians, but were overran after a couple turns. On their left, the klingons had no elements selected to intercept the cardassians, so they made their way to the rear of their formations without trouble.

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In the middle of the battlefield, the fleets exchanged fire at close range, inflicting severe damage on each other. My flagship was blown apart, and the klingon flagship almost had the same fate.

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The sole Vorcha still left on the right flank of the klingon formation, severely damaged and with a number of systems down, tries to turn away from the onslaught of the enemy advance. Such dishonored ship wouldn't last much longer, though.


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The battered jem'hadar battlecruisers accelerate past the klingon lines, to avoid their powerful forward arcs of fire, leaving the fighting to the flanking Galors to their right, while they attempt to maneuver into position to fire at the enemy from their rear.

The agile Birds of Prey quickly pivot to face the jem'hadar, putting the enemy Shields under constant pressure.


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The flanking tactics pay off, and the confused klingon ships find themselves surrounded and engaged on several fronts, what forces them to maneuver to face one flank, turning their back to the other.

After 6 turns, played over 3h, we agreeded that the klingon forces were in no shape to continue fighting, and in order to preserve their crippled flagship, they chose to jump into warp and release their hold on yet another cardassian system!

          East Meets West 350 – F-F-F-F-Fashion        
Car guys, status symbols, fashion, men vs. dudes, unfortunate last names, Star Trek Discovery, our hopes and fears. MP3
          East Meets West 349 – The Khan Fakeout        
The Olympics? Rio and Ryan Lochte, Tokyo Olympics, Star Trek: Beyond, Risks of rebooting, comic book effect on movies. MP3
          TV NEWS AUGUST 2        
http://blog.sitcomsonline.com/2017/08/tca-summer-2017-press-tour-cbs-tv-lands.html

CBS was the first broadcast network to go at the TCA Summer 2017 press tour yesterday. Most of the announcements came from CBS All Access, though. CBS All Access, the CBS Television Network's digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, announced three new additions to its original programming slate: Strange Angel, No Activity, and $1. The series join CBS All Access' existing slate, which includes the critically acclaimed drama The Good Fight and the highly anticipated new Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery. All these are dramas besides No Activity, which is a comedy! No Activity, a comedy series from Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Funny Or Die, marks CBS All Access' first original comedy. In what should be a high stakes sting operation, No Activity celebrates the mundane. Set against the world of a major drug cartel bust, the series follows two low-level cops who have spent far too much time in a car together; two criminals who are largely kept in the dark; two dispatch workers who haven't really clicked; and two Mexican tunnelers who are in way too small a space considering they've only just met. No Activity will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Gary Sanchez and Funny Or Die and is based on the Australian series produced by Jungle and broadcast by Stan. Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Patrick Brammall, Trent O'Donnell, Jason Burrows and Joe Farrell will serve as executive producers. No Activity will debut before year's end between the two chapters of Star Trek: Discovery.


          J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Sequel to launch in IMAX 3D and feature key sequences filmed with IMAX cameras        

IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Paramount Pictures Corporation, a unit of Viacom Inc., today announced that the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 blockbuster Star Trek, will be released in the immersive IMAX® 3D format on May 17, 2013. The film represents the second feature in the ground-breaking franchise to be released [...]

          68 - Sean Hughes (Live)        

Sean Hughes is a thoughtful, reflective performer, with a passion for self-expressive and profound comedy.  A pioneer of the themed, narrative standup show, after the 90s he quit the fishbowl of comedy celebrity to become a novelist, poet and actor.  We discuss his feelings on “outliving” his life experience; the amazing drug of comedy; and the challenges of attracting an audience other than the one you were aiming for… Richard Pryor, TV, Star Trek, Ben Elton, Steve Frost, Perrier, Fosters Comedy Award, Drinking, Mental Health, Tour, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Fame, Alexei Sayle, Irish, Micky Flanagan, Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper


          Michael Giacchino        

Michael Giacchino is the hottest—and arguably the nicest—composer in Hollywood. He got his start scoring video games and went on to earn an Oscar for Pixar’s Up. He’s provided the music for The Incredibles, Star Wars: Rogue One, Star Trek, Jurassic World, Zootopia and countless other movies (including the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes and Spiderman: Homecoming). But as Leonard and Jessie can affirm, his talent is matched only by his enthusiasm and sense of humor. And you’ll never guess what he listens to when he’s driving around L.A.!


          It often all boils down to:        
Another thought blog by Visual Mapper

It often all boils down to:

Do you recall the now embedded line captain Kirk states at the beginning of every star trek episode? Of course you do: “Space the final frontier”. No I'm not a Trekkie, but that statement always strikes me with a flood of thoughts that cause me to dwell on the significance of what Kirk says.

If we may: let's replace the word Space with Mind and the context immediately changes and we have a challenging suggestion. Space? Nope I'm not much of a space buff or fan, and if we are not alone in the universe; well I want to ask God about that when i get to meet her.

Whereas space is something “out there” beyond our normal perception, other than glaring at the skies at night to view the splendor of the creative big bang. But Mind; is not mind the universe within us, that repository of innumerable potentials?

At Visual Mapper, including all of my mind/visual mapping colleagues I associate and work with; we all seem to agree, understand, value and believe in the power of the human mind. We humans have the capacity to create, on one hand, most amazingly beautiful benevolence, yet on the other hand, we have the capacity to create grotesquely ugly malevolence too. A testament and condemnation of the condition of the human mind and its mental representations.

I keep this in mind, when I'm creating graphical representations of what a client, colleague or friend may need or request. And in the process of doing this; the result are pretty consistent.

Using the tools and methods of mind, visual, knowledge mapping, I often become far removed from objectivity and become wrapped up in the subjective thought processes my client projects to me. This is difficult to handle in most cases, as I am in no way feeling the thoughts of my client, but am trying to tune into the intentions of their thought processes.

Nope I don't assume the lotus position, start chanting or even wear my old hippy headband, and yes I have inhaled; I use mind mapping at the base level, the multiple formats of visual mapping as a graphical enhancement and knowledge mapping as my database management repository.

And another “nope” to the notion or suggestion that there's any kind of esoteric or occult happenstance in what I have said in relation to mind and the use of mind, visual, knowledge mapping.

There is though; a certain truth to the reality of experience of mind maps often being encountered as tools for expressing outwardly that which has originated inwardly; in our minds via thought. Yes we start all of this mapping stuff with the spark of thought. And indeed the mind does work only one way. We generate thoughts, and what better a tool such as mind mapping to tap-into our thought processes.

I believe many of my colleagues will agree with me when I say: after all these years of involvement within the mind/visual/knowledge mapping arenas; It all boils down to Personal development. And we consultants inevitably become some sort of coach to our clients, colleagues and friends via the use of these tools.

Whilst we consultant: may be constrained by NDA's not to speak directly of the work we do with specific clients. We are free however to speak openly; giving scenarios of how the tools and methods of mind mapping has indeed assisted our clients to develop a personal development mindset. And this mindset causes exponential improvements in the way they create, manage and share their own experiential connections with mind and thought.

But regardless of the ways in which we use the tools and techniques of visual mapping; in many cases it all boils down to personal development for numerous clients. I've started off with a very in depth assessment of either process management and/or a quality system. And in the process of my activities and the use of visual mapping I eventually have that one on one special moment of clarity with my clients.

Those clarity moments are very common, and that's where we may have to stop and ask our client if this is where they wish to take the direction of our skill sets. Of course that is after we've accomplished the commitments of our contractual terms of agreement.

But again; often more than not; I must say I end up almost being a coach to many of my clients via their personal series of epiphanies and insights offered by their my use and their understanding of the tools and techniques of visual mapping.

The development of an overarching mindset seems to be of importance to this insight process, and I am so interested in finding out if this has been a common or uncommon experience of my fellow colleagues while they take their clients through an understanding of the power of visual knowledge management.

Has it boiled down to personal development for you and your clients? I'd love to know.

          9 Major Reasons Why Star Wars The Force Awakens Sucks         
Face It, Star Wars Sucks
I’m not going to sit here and type that I’m a revered critic. I’m not. This page is not even on the radar. Even though I did manage to win 2 Golden Popcorn Awards, this page gets less views than an old Vicca VHS tape. The new Star Wars movie is here, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t know that. I for one am so sick and tired of the marketing. I don’t need Star Wars branded TACO shells! I’m so tired of getting hit with the super marketing push that has nothing to do with the movie, the franchise, or anything at all with cinema. I don’t need “dark side” oranges, or Yoda branded grapes!

Ok, I’ll digress.

There are a LOT of people praising the latest in the Star Wars movies. But I am not so quick to say that this is a great movie. Just like the Dark Knight Returns, I am calling it for what it is, a lackluster, crap shoot of a film. Simply put, this movie sucks.

I’m not that eloquent in writing sometimes, so instead of hashing out a diatribe, I’ll just give you 9 reviews that highlight what I’ve been saying since this movie started and it’s now on our proverbial tables. This movie sucks, and the franchise sucks. It’s overrated, and I’m tired of getting lambasted when I speak my opinion about it.

Here are 9 major reasons or rather reviews that showcase how much Stars Wars The Force Awakens sucks, and how the marketing can go to hell. I’m tired of it.


9 - It's The Same Movie?!


Whether Abrams’ obsessive-compulsive relationship to George Lucas’ 1977 original works for you is a subjective question, of course. You can choose to understand “The Force Awakens” as an embrace of the mythological tradition, in which the same stories recur over and over with minor variations. Or you can see it as the ultimate retreat into formula: “Let’s just make the same damn movie they loved so much the first time!” There are moments when it feels like both of those things, profound and cynical, deeply satisfying and oddly empty. This is the work of a talented mimic or ventriloquist who can just about cover for the fact that he has nothing much to say. He has made an adoring copy of “Star Wars,” seeking to correct its perceived flaws, without understanding that nothing about that movie’s context or meaning or enormous cultural impact can be duplicated.

- Salon.com 

8 - JJ Abrams Sucks As An Action Director (DUH!)


As in his other movies (including Super 8 and Star Trek films), Abrams doesn’t seem to know how to frame the action, dramatically or visually, to maximize the good and minimize the bad. The setup for the climactic set piece, which echoes the three friends in The Wizard of Oz sneaking into the witch’s castle to rescue Dorothy, is almost embarrassingly perfunctory, and the security for all First Order facilities appears set at pre-9/11 levels. The film’s strokes of visual panache include the funereal throne room of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), who looks like an enormous version of Edward Munch’s “Scream.” But Abrams can’t pull off a Triumph of the Will extravaganza, whether with his sub–Albert Speer architecture or Domhnall Gleeson’s glazed face and frozen rabble-rousing as General Hax.

- Filmcomment.com

7 - It Is Just Paying Fan Service (Nostalgia)


But The Force Awakens is still more or less a fetish object, a film that exists to inspire phrases like “It feels like Star Wars again” ad nauseam from a fanbase that equates the lasting impact of Lucas's prequels as something akin to PTSD. Its analog grain, practical effects work (shrewdly augmented with CGI), and the impression, at least, of a new story in this universe being told, rather than the predetermined one we were subjected to last time, lend Abrams's effort a baseline rejuvenation, one he and returning screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan stoke throughout with the kind of nostalgia this series has been exploiting since it first co-opted John Fordian vistas and plot points from Akira Kurosawa films.

- Slantmagazine.com

6 - It's Just The Same Movie (and the same as #9 on this list)


He hasn’t made a terrible picture—just a safe one, where the farthest reaches of fantasy feel merely routine. Every crisis or moment of drama turns out to be a rehash of one that has gone before. Even Luke’s pivotal discovery from The Empire Strikes Back, in which he finds out that his greatest enemy is also his closest relative, is repeated here in a different form, with two characters unexpectedly occupying branches of the same family tree. 

- Newstatesman.com

5 - People Are Willing To Pay Money No Matter What The Movie Is Like (lame)


Some things are the same but updated, an orphan in the desert with a mysterious heritage, a swashbuckling pilot, a plucky droid. And some things are simply the same: C-3PO and R2-D2, the Millennium Falcon, and oh yes, the Force. The unkind view — the cynical view, the greedminded view — is that there is no need for new ideas when people will line up to pay for old ones. 2015.

- Sandiegoreader.com

4 - Either Abrams Doesn't Know How To Pace Himself Or He Doesn't Know The Audience


And yet The Force Awakens adds up to something less than the sum of its parts. The early scenes have a relaxed, assured pace. But as the story moves forward, Abrams becomes more mired in the task of keeping the plot mechanics in gear. There’s the expected climactic battle between X-wing starfighters and TIE fighters, which is mildly exciting and nothing more—the fact that it’s punctuated with dumb dialogue like “General! Their shields are down!” “Prepare to fire!” and even the classic, “It would take a miracle to save us now,” surely doesn’t help. And the movie’s big twist, clearly intended to be a moment of Shakespearean grandeur, is handled clumsily: Instead of allowing a significant figure to have his grand moment, Abrams cuts to other characters expressing shock and dismay, as if he didn’t trust the audience to know what to feel.

- Time.com

3 - It's A Boring Rehash of The Same Ideas As The Original, emphasis on BORING. 


 Pero me fui deshinchando progresivamente, me aburría el más de lo mismo y me resultó francamente pesarosa la segunda parte de la saga.

- Cultura.elpais.com

2 - We Have Already Seen The Same Gags and Tricks For 30 Years! 


But we have had 30+ years of movies aping A New Hope, with some (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl) being better than others (Pan, Lucas’s own Willow). So it is a little disheartening to see the former champion playing the same game as would-be pretenders.

You can make the case that I was hoping to get “the Star Wars movie,” promised in the grandly mythic trailers but instead got merely “a Star Wars movie.” 

- Forbes.com

1 - It's Not Well Made, It's Clunky, and Abrams Doesn't Know How To Handle Visual Style


The picture feels a bit clunky, as if on stilts, until the action takes place. Roger Ebert had a cynical observation about whom the Oscars rewards, to paraphrase, “He who acts most acts best.”  Though not as acrimonious as Lucas’ prequels, which aren’t even worth consideration if we’re to be serious about any kind of analysis, Abrams feels off balance when he’s not running.  I can relate, but I have poor motor coordination because of my cerebral palsy. What’s J.J.’s excuse?

THE FORCE AWAKENS also suffers from Abrams’ lack of a visual style.  It’s not due to technology.  He insisted on real locations and a film medium as opposed to digital cinematography. RAIDERS’ cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, like Peter Suschitzky on EMPIRE, had an easily deconstructed style that was consistent and appropriate for the tone Spielberg wanted for his homage to b-movie serials.

- Cinemalogue.com

There you have 9 reasons why Star Wars: The Force Awakens sucks. I used these sites as quotes because they didn't just go for nostalgia and say this was a great opus. It's not. It's another pull to make money, and while I don't care if people make money in a business, I do find that some things aren't worth their salt, and this again is not worthwhile. I'll save my 30 bucks and pay some bills, get a coffee, and go back to whatever it is I do. But if you're honest with yourself, and you read these things, as well as see the movie, you will see that it's nothing grand. Heck, it's about as exciting as a 70 year old man kicking an up and coming WWE superstar. I suck at writing, which is why I linked you to 9 good writers. I'm done. This sucks. 

          IDG Contributor Network: Diversity. #altogether        

In the Star Trek universe, Captain Picard faces a crisis regularly. The diverse viewpoints of his crew are his secret weapon: an empathic view, an emotionless "data" view, or a more forceful approach from his Klingon crew member. As the captain, he can tap into the diversity of his crew and knit together a large variety of responses to any situation he faces.

Businesses faces new challenges every day, boldly going where no one has gone before. We all need a diverse team to advance, because we all win together.

Diversity comes in many flavors – gender, race, even life experiences. At Synchrony Financial, we have seven different affinity networks:  African American, Asian Pacific, Hispanic, LGBT, People with Disabilities, Veterans, and Women. One of Synchrony’s best events is when we bring all of these groups together for our annual diversity symposium. The diversity at the forum also extends to include every job level, every one of our locations and a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives. We bring together board members, executives, managers and associates, introverts, extroverts, millennials, baby boomers, etc. The reality is that we are a very diverse team, and it shines through at our diversity forum.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


          One Man Star Wars Trilogy        
How does Charles Ross represent the Death Star being blown up? Just throw his hands up and go "boom"?

Science fiction stars don't seem to enjoy their show's catchphrases being quoted back at them.

Star Trek actor Jonathan Frakes flinched when I told him, "Live long and prosper." X-Files icon David Duchovny was nonplussed when I asked him if the "truth was out there". However, Charles Ross, star of the One Man Star Wars Trilogy, remains calm when I say to him: "May the Force be with you."

"You can say that if you want to," he says. "It sounds like a sermon or something like that."

But the Force is with Ross. The stage-trained actor was as surprised as anyone when a Star Wars sketch condensing the 1977 movie into 20 minutes charmed audiences. He was able to parlay this success into the One Man Star Wars Trilogy in 2001 and take it from his native Canada to around the world.

"Writing something that was a bit more one-man-orientated seemed to make sense just because I wanted to do theatre," Ross says. "When it took off it was a bit of a surprise to me. This is one of those things that struck a chord."

Fortunately, it also struck a chord with Star Wars director George Lucas's company Lucasfilm, which didn't shut Ross down. "By the time I got contacted by them, I'd already had enough positive press behind me."

Ross describes the show as a retelling of the original bad-hair trilogy. "I've got the script down to one hour. I don't use costumes or sets or props."

Does he use lightsabres onstage?

"No, I don't. Don't own toys, don't have any costumes. It really is the trilogy condensed down to its bare-bones story, which, when you think about the story, is a pretty simple story."

No C-3PO or Chewbacca suits?

"No, man, this has to be portable. I could yank a bunch of costumes around with me but - correct me if I'm wrong - I think, no matter how much money you put into it, it would look kinda lame. I figured if you can't tell the story with your own faculties maybe you shouldn't be telling it. Why bother?"

Ross obviously doesn't dress up like Princess Leia on Jabba the Hutt's slave barge. "I only wish I could do that. I couldn't find enough gold to fit my physique."

Does he do some of the great lines such as "[Luke], I am your father"?

"Oh, absolutely."

Does Ross quote Yoda? "Try not. Do ... or do not. There is no try"?

"It's a classic line. If you don't use those, what are you doing?"

Were C-3PO and R2-D2 gay lovers?

          LOST IN SPACE: Unaired Pilot Episode / Irwin Allen Productions - 1965        
Here's an interesting item to check out... The original pilot episode, which never aired on TV, did not feature either the Robot or Dr. Smith, and were added later by 20th Century Fox, Dr. Smith as an antagonist. And, much of this original footage was reused in the first four televised episodes! In this story, the Robinsons, Earth's first family of outer space, head out to colonize Alpha Centauri in their flying saucer, Gemini 12, but crash land on an uncharted planet where they deal with its challenges and dangers.

This was quite an elaborate production with lots of workers and action in the command center before the Robinson family and Dr. West head off into the old deep, dark void.

Like in THIS ISLAND EARTH, the Robinsons are sealed in large glass (or, plastic) tubes to manage their trip through space, computers are in charge of running the ship, instead of the Robot.

In deep space, meteors pummel the ship, causing the electrical system to short circuit as the crew are still in hibernation. Luckily, the computer finally deploys the fire extinguishers, saving the day for the gang!

Still on automatic guidance, the Gemini 12 crash lands on a planet. The crew members all survive but the ship will not function now...

John and Don go exploring the hills and discover some giant footprints! It isn't long before the cyclops monster that left the prints shows up and starts causing a few tons of problems!

Will has just fixed the radio telescope and asks mom to check it out. She looks around and sees the giant monster near the location where John and Don are working on a weather device.

The men are stuck in in a cave and the thing wants them bad. Will runs to help his dad and Don, and they all escape before being stomped by the mighty beast!!

The gang take the Chariot, their all-terrain, amphibious tracked vehicle, out and encounter the monster yet again. This time though, Don uses his laser blaster to put and end to the creature!

They drive past the dead monster and catch a glimpse of its big ugly puss!

Later, the crew hides in a cave during an electrical storm. Once inside they discover an ancient underground maze of corridors. Everyone gets separated and Will is looking for Penny.

Will finds Penny but they get locked in a room that has dead alien bodies inside!..

In their last adventure, they take the Chariot into an ocean, looking for a more tropical area on the planet... Locations were filmed at the amazing Trona Pinnacles, in Ridgecrest, California.

Anyway, they get caught in a whirlpool and Don is almost lost before they escape the vortex and finally make their way to solid ground again.

The gang find a tropical area and stop to have a ceremony to thank the lord for their safe arrival... Only thing is, there are two STAR TREK type aliens watching them, a set up for the next episode. So, tune in on Wednesday for another cool post, here, at The Dungeon!!

          Star Trek: Deep Space Nin 5x16 tr        
Star Trek: Deep Space Nin
Language: turkish turkish
Rip: HDTV
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - 5x16 - Doctor Bashir I Presume .HDTV.tr.srt
          Could We Ever Colonise Mars?        
In episode three of our series Destination Mars, we finally arrive at the Red Planet - but what is waiting for us when we get there? We examine possible solutions to the challenges of building a home on an alien planet, including a Star Trek-inspired health scanner and bacteria that can be engineered to grow rocket fuel. Plus, the science headlines from around the world: a brain scan for epilepsy, the bees that are addicted to caffeine and the science behind hallucinations.
          Harold In Christmas…        

Christmas-Duck-Pond-ShortStory 1

*sigh*

“Just spitting rain, on and on. No sunny sun, just heavy, sullen clouds…and no snow. I love living here but sometimes Christmas-Duck-Pond-ShortStory 2a “White Christmas”, you know, the ones you hear the humans talk about, the ones you see on pictures or postcards, just once, just one time, I’d love to be in one. The Pond isn’t even frozen and there is nothing white, save for the odd piece of paper that is discarded by a human strolling along these shores. I’m young, I know, but just once I’d love to be in this “winter wonderland” people speak of with such fondness in their hearts. My other duck friends are sleepy, some almost hibernating, but I’m adventurous, my name – Harold – bespeaks that. I am the Village’s Pond Crier, their Wetland Explorer, the only duck here who has ever had a hankering for grapes and yet all I want for Christmas is some snow”, Harold whispers to himself, his long beak downcast, as he huddles in some damp reeds at the far end of the Pond.

Deep in thought, Harold doesn’t sense right away that he is no longer alone. Another, far more special duck, is standing before him, all white, so sparkly, big filament wings on either side and a lovely kind of circular, sparkling tiara-like object on her head. She was like no other duck he had ever seen before.Christmas-Duck-Pond-ShortStory 3

“Harold, it’s Harold, right? My name is Bessie and I have been sent here to grant you your wish. The Duck Gods heard Christmas-Duck-Pond-ShortStory 4your plea and because you have been such a good duck this year, your wish will be my command”, squawked this most beautiful duck in her gossamer glory and glowing orange webbed feet.

“Oh, Boy! Really?! How?! I mean, when? Why?…I mean how?!”, was all Harold could spit out, knowing surely that if anyone could grant his wish, Bessie The Magical Duck could.

“When I click my webbed feet together you will be transported to a place I know has white, fluffy snow, but because it’s so cold there and you will literally be a duck out of water, you will have to - well, as they say, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ - become One with the landscape there. Are you prepared for that, Harold? To go and “Be” and live your dream?”, Bessie asks of Harold, a sincere and serious look on her angelic beak.

“I am! I am! I can “Be” like the rest of them, sure I can! I’ll do anything to just have this Christmas be a white one, to see fluffy snow on the ground, to hear the crunch of footsteps and the quietness of a snowy day and night. Yes, of course, anything you need of me, just for a moment in a frozen fantasy world”, Harold pleaded his case to Bessie, loud and strong.

“Okay, Harold, you will spend this afternoon and night and tomorrow –Christmas Day – ‘Being’, living your dream. Once it is over, you will magically appear back here, back at the Pond, but the memory of your time “there” will never lapse, the Duck Gods’ everlasting Gift to you, your experience felt and cherished forevermore”, replied Bessie.

“Oh Boy! Oh Boy! I can’t wait! What do I do now? How do you want me? Should I be standing, like *this*? Sitting like *that*? I’m so nervous, so excited, I don’t know what to think!”, Harold squawked out, his webbed feet doing a jig on the nearby water-logged shore grass.

“Stand over by that path, you know, the one that rings this Pond, cross your webbed feet, jump up and down, pat your head with your right wing and rub your tummy with your left and say these magic words with me,

“Lickety split, lickety split, I’m off, I’m off, a snowy place, I shall hit! No stay, no stay, for here I go, to a place and a time with just tons of SNOW!”

And as soon as Harold repeated the magical phrase,

*POOF*Christmas-Duck-Pond-ShortStory 5 went his wee feathered body, disappearing as in a Star Trek episode, a transporter beam, his image at the Pond, no more.

And just as quick, he found himself atop a planter, a frozen one, his body transfixed but his now coal-eyed gaze ever active. He was a snowman, a special kind of snowman, all glittery and white, with a lovely red scarf and kick-butt blue ear-muffs, in a place and a time he knew not, but which was just covered with fresh-fallen snow, the ground all crunchy-white, the air all crispy clean, the stars just beginning to peek out from under a clear, sunny-blue late-afternoon sky. Bessie had done what she said she would do and Harold was living his wintry dream.Christmas-Duck-Pond-ShortStory 6

He could not jump up and down with joy as he was frozen stiff, as Bessie said he would be, but his heart was so warm with sheer contentment that he knew he surely was the happiest duck on the face of the earth.

“It’s as wonderful as I thought it would be, exactly as I thought it would be. The best Christmas ever!, I can’t wait to tell everyone back at the Pond. But for now, let it snow, let it snow, LE IT SNOW, I say!”

And with that, Harold smiled and smiled wide, his new button nose and snowy cheeks rosy with the cold but the brisk weather was affecting him none as he was just so plain excited and proud to “Be” a northern snowman, for even just a wee moment in time.

Anyone who wishes hard enough always has their dreams come true, webbed feet or not. Though, living near a Pond helps…*smile*

Christmas, Duck, Pond, Short Story


          Schickt uns eine Postkarte und gewinnt!        
Woche 5: Der Gewinner in dieser Woche ist unser Neverwinter-Spieler @selbond#2910 aus Belgien! Hier ist seine Postkarte! Woche 4: Diese besondere Star Trek Online Postkarte erreichte uns von STO-Spieler @Duke67! Herzlichen Glückwunsch, hier ist seine Postkarte! Woche 3: Der Gewinner in dieser Woche ist unser französischer Neverwinter-Spieler @raiito0! Hier ist seine Postkarte!   Woche 2: Der Gewinner in dieser Woche ist unser russischer Neverwinter-Spieler @fiertan! Hier ist seine Postkarte!   Woche 1: Wir haben unseren ersten Gewinner gezogen! Diese Karte vom "Lake Manapouri" in Neuseeland haben wir vom französischen Neverwinter-Spieler @Gulgutozore#6297 erhalten. Wir hoffen, dass er einen schönen Urlaub hat und werden ihm den Gewinn bald zukommen lassen. Hier ist seine Postkarte!   Der Sommer ist endlich da – auch wenn es an eurem Wohnort vielleicht noch nicht ganz sommerlich ist, werdet ihr eventuell eure Ferien an einem Ort verbringen, der den Sommer ganz besonders machen wird. Doch wo auch immer ihr eure Sommerferien verbringen werdet, wir würden uns über eine altmodische Postkarte aus eurem Urlaub sehr freuen! Unser Team aus dem Perfect World Hauptquartier in Amsterdam freut sich auf eure Urlaubsgrüße, egal ob ihr den Sommer auf Balkonien oder am Ballermann verbringt. Dies könnte eine Postkarte aus eurer Heimatstadt sein oder aus einem exotischen Ort, an dem ihr Sommerferien macht. Schreibt uns, und mit etwas Glück zählt ihr zu den Gewinnern dieser Aktion!   Überblick: Schickt uns eine Postkarte an unser Büro (die Adresse findet ihr weiter unten) Zeitraum: 01.07.2017 – 31.08.2017 Achtung: Bitte schreibt euren Forumnamen und das Spiel auf die Postkarte Jede Woche werden wir einen glücklichen Gewinner ziehen (seht euch unten die Liste der Preise an) Keine Sorge! Eure Postkarte bleibt bis zum Ende des Ereignisses im Rennen! Wir werden diesen Blog wöchentlich aktualisieren und dabei die Gewinner bekannt geben.   Liste der Preise: Neverwinter: 1.000 ZEN Star Trek Online: 1.125 ZEN (Paket mit 10 Schlüsseln auf Konsole und PC) Gigantic: Held eurer Wahl (Name muss auf der Postkarte stehen) Forsaken World: Geschenk der Ehre, [Titel] Zeuge der Wunder Perfect World International: Reittier „Nien Biest“ oder Reittier „Verfluchter Tigerdämon“ oder Flammendes Gewitter Coupon Swordsman: Höllenspinne   Schickt eure Postkarte an diese Adresse: Perfect World Europe B.V.  Joan Muyskenweg 22 (4th floor)  1096CJ Amsterdam  Niederlande   Wir sind schon sehr gespannt auf eure Urlaubsgrüße und wünschen euch einen fantastischen Sommer!
          HASTA SIEMPRE        

Me voy de Marca.com. Ha sido un viaje Star Trek. Un abrazo a todos


          SDCC ’17 Trailerfest: Stranger Things, Justice League, Ready Player One, Westworld, Thor: Ragnarok, Jigsaw, Star Trek: Discovery, Bright, Preacher, LEGO Ninjago, Jigsaw        
Comic-Con! In der berühmt-berüchtigten Hall H des San Diego Convention Centers gab es übers Wochenende wieder viel Hype um neue Filme und Serien. Hier ein kleiner Überblick über das, was ich grundlegend interessant finde. Fangen wir doch mit Stranger Things an. Ich habe zu der Serie ein wohl dokumentiertes, eher gespaltenes Verhältnis und will sie […]
          Best of Decade - Top 50 movies of the 2000's        

It has been a great decade. Life in one decade is quite different from another but the 00's or noughties as some would like to say it. It goes with movies too. The decade which just ended had a huge diversity in the way it unfolded. The word blockbuster was redefined and the BO expectations were re adjusted to a level way up north. A major part of this was the re emergence of the superhero movies. Superheroes never really had it good outside the comics and on kids' channels but the emergence and success of Spiderman paved way for a decade full of heroes. Then there were the animation flicks which laughed their way to box office and critical success at the expense of all those people who thought they were just for kids. They have an amazing potential and next decade will be even better. And finally I should also call upon the Independent film circuit to honour them for being so brave and resilient in the face of the studio moguls spending hundreds of millions on every other flick. As like in any other decade it is the independent small budget (comparably) ones which actually deliver on the potential of cinema but this time round they had help from digital technology which has become affordable and thrown the fencing between producers and consumers in to the recycle bin. The youtube generation can deliver the punch as well as the studios. You have heard of
Paranormal Activity, haven't you? 15000$ budget & 100 million$+ gross. It was good film making coupled with brilliant marketing. This is just the beginning to all such breakout movies.
We do not know how next decade is going to pan out. What will the movie watching experience be? Will theaters still hold their pull or are we going to just be addicted to Netflix? Will Avatar truly revolutionize the industry and will 3D reach our homes and be a part of it as they predict? But we do know how the last one has panned out for movies. Here in this article I try and capture the 50 best movies of the last decade ie 2000 to 2009. These lists are tough, especially when they spread across such a long time and across the world. So
though inherently flawed I try my best to keep a level head and chalk out the decade's finest.

(update: highlighting and minor sentence and position changes)
 How did I make this list? After perusal of extensive ratings on my vote history on IMDB, reading of various lists all over the web, I took into consideration the quality of film making, my personal favourites, cultural and overall impact of the movies. Then the movies were microscopically weighed against each other and rankings in this list were determined. Ask me after a couple of years and it might be different. Such is the case with all lists.

There are more blockbusters than I expected. Of course there might be many more movies out there definitely deserving a place in this but I havent seen them yet. Sure will do someday and maybe a decade down the line I can make this list really, really comprehensive.

50. Love Actually(2003)
This is a tie between two very different romantic movies. One is an outrageous mix of several stories, some sweet, some bitter but all wonderful. One of the best ensembles cast of the decade.

Once(2006)
 Undoubtedly the contender for the sweetest movies of the decade. The latter is quaint independent movie capturing the life of two lost musicians who aren't exactly romancing each other. This movie took the industry by storm showcasing the power of the small movie.

49. Persepolis (2007)
Marjane Satrapi's digs into her own life and puts out a bildungsroman graphic novel of a young girl from Iran. The movie is unabashed story telling which has compelling visuals which seem pretty straight and simple.

48. High Fidelity (2000)
This movie should be hung on the walls of every rom com writer and shown how much character depth one can create in any movie regardless of its target audience. John Cusack and the music talk form the core of this movie.

47. Seabiscuit (2003) / Last Samurai (2003)
These two demonstrate the power, a legend can hold on screen. Brilliant captivating tales of 'beings' rather than just persons out of their element striving to achieve and make that difference for themselves and others. Get me every damn time.
The ideal recipe for a blockbuster. Take a Disney ride, wrap it in a brilliant story, get Johnny Depp to do the swagger and take the audience on a thrilling ride. You earn a ton of money. Redo it to earn billions!

Technically it is a simple bollywood film made with good film making values. But it changed the whole industry and influenced a new generation of filmmakers, paving way for a new Bollywood.



45. Casino Royale (2006)
Roger Moore almost killed Bond. Brosnan though made a really good Bond was part of some bad movies. Daniel Craig who is a brilliant actor steps and gives Bond a 21st century's typical makeover. Grim, troubled and flawed is the way to go.

Depp again this time with Kate Winslet delivers a magical movie about the making of a magical play, Peter Pan.
Maqbool (2003)
Vishal Bharadwaj’s take on Macbeth with a mafia twist surprised me beyond belief. Seldom have I seen a movie from the subcontinent being so majestic, dark and uncompromisingly intense and not once stooping down to please every man in the hall.

43. Sunshine (2007)
Sci Fi had been relegated to anonymity till the end of the decade after the disastrous Star War prequels. Among Danny Boyle's finest work this movie works wonders for a scifi geek.
42. Iron Man (2008)
When everyone is going dark and gloomy, Iron Man takes a comicbookish lighthearted yet somber at times approach to what is the most exciting new franchise. It had the Wow factor.

41. Cidade de Deus (2002) ie City of God
Loved by almost everyone and topped several lists like these. It is a compelling tale of 2 boys growing up in violent Rio but I dint find it jaw droppingly or devastatingly great.


Mr. & Mrs. Iyer (2002) 
A beautiful movie capturing a story of two very different individuals thrown together during a journey amidst communal strife. Several years since I have seen it but can  still vividly remember its finesse and intensity. One of my favourite Indian movies of all time.

40. Monster's Inc (2001)
Toy Story and Bug's Life were good but this movie marks the beginning of Pixar's imaginative genius coupled with compelling story telling. And of course it had Mike!

39. La science des rêves (2006) ie The Science of Sleep
How far and well can you capture all those weird and fascinating things in your mind? It is one of the toughest things to capture it on screen and Michel Gondry with such panache that for me it is truly enviable!!

38. In Bruges (2008)
Simple Premise, good plot, very good location, great cast and one fantastic movie. In Bruges has got everything a good movie needs and it makes you laugh, think and pulls your heartstrings effortlessly.
One of the most underrated movies of this decade. George Clooney directs this masterful piece of work capturing the battle between Edward R Murrow and Senator McCarthy. Among the best lead performances on this list or this decade if I may say by David Strathairn.

36. Ying xiong (2002)
Hero Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon paved way for movies like this but Hero was the gamechanger personally because it showcased the brilliance the Chinese harboured. Arguably the most beautiful film on this list!


35. Crash (2004)
Paul Haggis does a Innaritu but only better. It showcases the life of an average American and his/her insecurities magnificently. It is so good in doing so it should be preserved as a snapshot of personality of a post 9/11 American in the history archives.

This is here on this list because of Internet and shows yet again that movies aren't stars, sets and sauce. Fantastic plot in a minimalist setting with a tight screenplay is all one needs! Must must see!

33. Lucía y el sexo (2001) ie Sex and Lucia
Love, sex and more sex. That's all you see if you flip through. But it is a gut wrenching evocative tale of love, relationships, loneliness, guilt, regret, desire and of course lust.

32. Children of Men (2006)
Though not a new concept, 2009 was the year of dystopian future for man. But this did it much earlier and so much better. Clive Owens and Julianne Moore add that good acting touch in this vivid Alfonso Cuaron movie which most Sci-Fi flicks usually fall short on.


31. Star Trek (2009)
In a decade of blockbusters, Star Trek is the defining one. It is fun, it is smart, it is tight and it is well executed. JJ Abrams reboots a franchise almost deemed dead and makes it so good it is unbelievable.

30. Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Though the Identity launched this remarkable anti-bond spy and Ultimatum sealed him as one of the best heroes of our generation, for me Supremacy as the name loudly suggests is where he prevails. And also it has my fav movie car chase of ALL TIME.

29. United 93 (2006)
Paul Greengrass again! Just after wowing the world with his shaky cam in Bourne Supremacy takes up a very ambitious project and delivers undoubtedly the best 9/11 movie. It is good on so many levels!

28. Moon (2009)
Sci-Fi generally equates high costs, loud backdrops and operatic sequences. Moon takes the manual, shoves it in the trash and shows the world what truly sci fi is: An exploration of humanity in a world different from ours!

27. Prestige (2006)
When not making Batman movies, Christopher Nolan makes heady, heavy and hammering movies of struggle and ambition. Prestige is a classic thriller, Mr Hitchcock would be proud of.


26. V for Vendetta (2005)
Wachowski driven Alan Moore hero who inspires the rebel in everyone of us. This movie has brought a strong icon into mainstream popular culture who has given a voice to millions of people while entertaining and wowing them. Few have done this so far!


25. Waking Life (2001)
Richard Linklater goes on a tizzy trip exploring so many issues in life and their meaning. This dreamy affair is a cerebral overload and visual delight and exploits the medium in a uniquely new way.

24. Donnie Darko (2001)
Another very cerebral movie which has sunk into pop culture and largely derives from it to. A multi dimensional premise with the focus on the protagonist's psyche. 'American Beauty' in Sci-Fi if I may.

23. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Africa is raged by civil War and it's as good as a hell hole but some acts of courage stand out as one man becomes the Oskar Schindler to his people taking mammoth risks on his own life and family.
 
22. El laberinto del fauno (2006) ie Pan's labyrinth
Guillermo Del Toro makes an astonishing tale of fantasy set in Fascist Spain. It is a beautiful, innocent and at the same time cruel. What you get is a mixed bag of reactions!


21. Le scaphandre et le papillon (2007) ie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The protagonist is paralysed and can move nothing but his left eye! He lets his mind do the living and writes a book and. It is a beautiful essay of imagination and courage.


20. The Dark Knight (2008)
Heath Ledger of course played a great part as a Joker but the reason this movie stands apart is because of the almost unconquerable levels of darkness and brooding it achieves. Nolan finishes rewriting the tone for Superhero movies with what he set out to do in Batman Begins.

Charlie Kaufman and his introspective, self deprecating and worldly life reflecting genius! This movie is a grand painting of words and ideas on celluloid.


18. Amelie (2001)
This is a delightful French movie everyone adores because it is simple, beautiful and yet very enigmatic.


17. Das Leben der Anderen (2006) ie The Lives of Others
This best foreign language film Oscar winner set in communist East Berlin. It is a shocking and stirring tale for which I don't have enough words for.


16. Before Sunset(2004)
A sequel to Before Sunrise is bound to have expectations! This movie maintains the spirit of its predecessor and takes it up a notch in the way it has been made. If you observe the whole movie is one sweeping capture of conversation!

15. Atonement (2007)
Ian McEwan's novel is wonderfully brought to screen. This is a gem lost in a year of heavyweights. The super long shot at the beach and the unsettling typewriter soundtrack are just two examples of its brilliance.


14. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
A movie which can leave one scarred or corrected. It explores the lives of 4 drug addicts and physically, mentally and socially captures their pain and makes you feel it!
Paul Thomas Anderson's grand tale of an Oil Man his ambition, life and battle with faith is a masterpiece. You know it when you watch it, it shouts so at you. Daniel Day Lewis is my best actor of the decade for his grand role.


12. Gladiator (2000)
Ridley Scott's magnum opus of Maximus Decimus Meridius has been a defining movie of my generation. Tale of a powerful leader yet a simple man who has been wronged told well doesn't go wrong, it becomes a cult!


11. Shrek (2001)
Along with Monster's Inc Shrek moved animation to the next level. What made Shrek so special was its wittiness and smart story telling. The combination of oh so many fairy tale characters to weave one to rule them all was a masterstroke. The pop cultural references including that of Matrix were epic!

10. Old Boy (2003)
This was one of my early foreign language films and I was left astounded. Not only does it leaves a bitter taste, It is a violent and revolting story one cant place themselves in brilliantly told.
9. Man on Wire (2008)
My fav documentary of all time ceases to be one and becomes a compelling tale of a marvelous feat. Couple with a brilliant Michael Nyman soundtrack you are damped with anticipation though you already know the result. Just Wow!
8. Kill Bill Vol 1 (2003)
The Bride is on a roaring rampage. She roars and rampaged and got bloody satisfaction. That about sums up Tarantino's blood and gore filled, style driven action extravaganza.
7. Fa yeung nin wa (2000) ie In the Mood for Love
Set in Hong kong of the 60's this beautiful tale is an exploration of love, loneliness and the longing. Amazing score and brilliant cinematography make this movie an instant classic.
Michel Gondry meets Kaufman with Kate Winslet at hand and Jim Carrey gives what maybe the best performance of his career. It is a story about inseparable love wrapped with imagination!

5. Vals Im Bashir (2008) ie Waltz with Bashir
It is a psychedelic trip down the memory lane of an Israeli ex-serviceman in the Lebanese war. It is so fantastic that I was tripping on it and waltzing to its tunes!

4. LOTR Two Towers (2002)
LOTR, the whole trilogy as one would stand here but it is the second movie where it truly achieves greatness. The battle at Helmsdeep and Isengard just shook me away.
3. The Fountain (2006)
Arronofsky said his first movie Pi was an exploration of mind, Requiem was of body and Fountain of soul. Watching this movie was a spiritual experience. The soundtrack was so powerful I can recollect the visuals! It is a movie par excellence.
2. Wall E (2008)
The first 40 min of the movie changed it all. When animation movies had set into a fantasy stereotype with animals and objects doing extraordinary things, along came Wall E. With his adorable traits and mighty heart he awakens a world unknown to animators and humans!

1. Memento (2000)
A great movie is an enigma. A mastery over your story, its characters and the way they unfold to your audience. For the audience it is a challenge and Nolan brings out the greatest one among all. Arguably the greatest screenplays ever this movie set out to be emulated a million times by story tellers in their own petty way.

Do chip into let me know what you thought should have made it to the list and what shouldn't have.

p.s:This article first appeared in the magazine I write for called Avant Garde Life. I have made a few additions here.

          My 2009 in Movies        
The year has been ordinary one in terms of movies. Some of the best ones were sci fi and that is the only consolation. However I am not going to make a best of 2009 list quite simply because unlike the professional critics at Uncle Sam’s place I havent been able to watch all the movies that have been released yet and anyhow in a month or so we will be counting down to the Oscars and doing a list then is best. By then most movies will be available for consumption. Since the Oscars are so prestigious, we movie people should simply give up calendar years and do our lists around it. The movies featured during Oscars often get forgotten and end up in neither lists not this year and not the year before. So i am going to take a different path. We critics are innocent folk with everyone living in their own glass doors. We can  celebrate Christmas whenever we feel like.
When it comes to me personally this hasnt been a stellar year like the year before where I Mad Men Teams Up With Banana Republic could clock 240 movies (inspite of the TV shows). This year I could only clock 192 but its ok ‘cos life has changed in many ways and TV shows like Mad Men and Friends (yep it was my first time) made life richer in their own ways. The first two months were spent watching and writing about the Oscar nominees of 2009 and I was exposed to some really fine movies like Rachel Getting Married, Waltz with Bashir etc. There were a lot of classics, foreign language films and rom coms. There were a lot of indie films too. This was also the year I fell in love with Spanish movies and this was partly aided by the Spanish Film festival which happened in Hyderabad. So really as a movie buff what matters to me more than the best I have seen of this year is the best I have seen in this year. So I have compiled a list of must watch films I have seen for the first time this year and believe you too should sometime. So something like a 3rd time of Casablanca or Wall E wont count. There wasnt a single 10 this year I could see. Star Wars was the last one in October 2008. The 9’s were rare too but there were a plenty of 8’s. Here it goes!
Best films I have seen in 2009
user624_1146450241 star_trek_xi_ver16_xlg
The 9/10 ‘s

1. Waltz with Bashir
2. La Vita E Bella ie Life is Beautiful
3. Star Trek (2009)
5. The Blues Brothers


Technically 8 (but they are better than that)

moon_movie6. Moon (2009)
7. Full Metal Jacket
8. My Fair Lady
9. Sex and Lucia
10. Rachel Getting Married
11. Synecdoche New York
12. Waking Life
13. Suspicion
The 8/10’s
14. Cool Hand Luke
15. In the Loop (2009)
16. Revolutionary Road

17. The Hurt Locker (2009)
18. 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days
19. About Love
20. 500 Days of Summer (2009)
21. Milk
22. Mary and Max (2009)
23. Siete mesas de billar francés or 7 Billiard Tables
26. Slumdog Millionaire
27. Up (2009)
28. Away We Go (2009)
29. District 9 (2009)
30. Taken (2009)
31. Where the Wild Things are (2009))
32. Julie and Julia (2009)
julie-and-julia
33. The Hangover (2009)
34. Bullitt
35. Doubt
36. The Blind Side (2009)
37. Rushmore
38. The Wrestler
39. Invictus(2009)
40. Hunger
41.
Or should I say best Indian movie I have seen this year:
Rocket Singh:Salesman of the Year (2009)


That was a long list! But these were the better ones among the roster I had seen. So another year ends and a new year begins soon. Looking back this wasnt a great one from a personal viewing perspective either. However it had some great beginnings from this blog’s perspective, it’s initiation in the current form, the very gratifying Oscar  road, the distinct URL and uncharacteristically me writing. I want to make the next year much better! Julie and Julia inspired me in this respect. So here is what I have set as the goal:

200 Movies & 100 Reviews

This site will get more time and more features too. It wont be easy like the previous years, because now I have a full time job and am juggling many things but for the love of good Cinema this has to happen!
Wish you all a very Happy and Cinematic New Year as i hope for a merry and filmi new year.

          Feature: Summer 2009 Roundup, Part 2        
The Summer in question here starts in may and ends by mid September with the beginning of fall which brought out releases like Surrogates and Inglourious Basterds. So this roundup does come almost a month late but this situation is due to the place I live in most movies including some big ones like Up and Star Trek come several months late. There are some others like District 9, Sam Raimi's Drag me to Hell, 500 Days of Summer, Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs, Bruno, Time Traveler's Wife etc I couldnt get to see at all. Maybe I soon will when they are out on DVD's. Sometimes I feel like moving away to greener(read where movies release the earliest) pastures. Also I have intentionally skipped talking about movie like Aliens in the Attic, I love you Beth Cooper etc which have been said to be ranging from uncomfortable, nauseating to vomit inducing. So here are the rest of the movies which I got to see and are worth talking about. For here in 'Too Much Cinema' good cinema is everything.

So continuing the serial reviews from the last post:


This is the best 'chick-flick' or romantic comedy if you wish of this year. It stars Ryan Reynolds who has a knack of picking simple small budgeted yet refreshing films and Sandra Bullock who I havent seen act so well in a long long time. Well I have never seen her act well before. This movie has the usual romantic plot and twists but it has refreshingly new and bold (read adult) stuff in the comedy department. Just like The Hangover you are entertained through out the movie with one liners and sketches. By doing so this movie ends up pleasing the views who are non chalant to the chic-flicks, which is quite a big thing for such films. It has paid off well too by landing the 10th spot in the highest grossers of the year so far.




I like rom-coms as much as I like non stop action popcorn movies which the summers are characterized by. This movie stars Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl and revolves around ONLY them as any other movie of this genre. Yet these two very beautiful and talented actors havent been given much to do. Ugly Truth is like a rehash of The Proposal with all the workplace settings, hate you but end up loving you plot and more importantly the adult humour. So it is boring sometimes but gives you good laughs and fun overall. Did you seriously expect anything more out of it?



This was easily the one to pick among the big starrer blockbusters of this summer. It was like a ticking bomb where there is action right from the beginning to end, you just dont stop and rest even when the characters are contemplating. Much like Salvation and Transformers 2 this movie doesnt have much character depth but they make up for it by giving you tons of flashback. But the true star of the movie and what separates this from the other two is Hugh Jackman. He is a brilliant actor and he makes most of whatever little scope he has been given to act. This must have been easy but by keeping him in focus and not losing track like McG did in Salvation this movie fares pretty reasonably.


Most would say 6/10 is a lot for this movie, but I beg to differ. 2 simple reasons: 1) It was pure unadulterated corny fun. 2)I dint get anything more or less than what I expected from a movies with B list stars based on a 80's Cartoon series. This movie is the best example for the non stop action popcorn summer blockbuster everyone yearns to make. They were all like this before intense characterization and Dark Knight levels of glood and depth came in. Insane technology, breathtaking action sequences, Rachel Nichol and Sienna Miller in deep cleavages and padded bra's gave the movie wholesomeness. But at the end it was just another stupid action popcorn movie with a plotline your 10 year old cousin can think of. Hence it just a 6/10.

Harry Potter movies have been huge letdowns. They are visually and directionally inconsistent and confused. They shouldnt have gone with so many directors. But on the bright side it is not Chris Columbus making all of them. However Prisoner of Azkaban was an aberration with a unique style and strong story telling which almost recreated the complete book experience. And The Half Blood Prince comes close to it. Yes, a lot of plot elements have been distorted and altogether removed. Even the explanation of the title was inexistent and out of sheer formality but this movie dint make me curse the sacrilege of the books or bore me to death either. It was stable storytelling and my attention wasnt let gone at any moment. That is a lot for the HP movies.


Johnny Depp! Christian Bale! Michael Mann! Marion Cotillard! This movie was one of the highly anticipated movies of the year and many were even whispering Oscar. But it turned out to be a dud, it dint even entertain properly forget about drawing you in and binding you with the characters and their lives like great movies do. It wasnt even the expectations that did it for me, since like always the movie came late and I heard of the luke warmed reviews. This movie was plain boring. Having seen all this before, I thought American Gangsters was just alright and this takes mediocrity with aspirations to a new level. The silence during gun fights, they failed attempts to make the viewer emotionally connect with Dillinger and the confused character sketches were yawn inducing. Though Depp performed well with whatever he was given, Bale was totally wasted. Again reminds me of American Gangsters which ran solely due to Denzel Washington's performance but here even Johnny Depp wasnt enough to save this movie. Will the real Michael Mann please stand up?


Tony Scott is the master at what he does. Find gripping, on the edge of your seat thrillers and cast Denzel Washington as the hero and give you a jolly good ride. They are usually tales with some novelty and depth. This is not. You have a tick mark by every point in the "How to make an action thriller like Die Hard?" book. Psycho Killer with hostages. Check. Common Man with troubled past stuck co incidentally. Check. Proper crew with a plan. Check. It is just about the money(more money than the psycho killer wants you to believe). Check. These go on, but I cant. It was a nice lazy afternoon watch and though not something I would recommend cinematically it is something I would see to unwind just like I watch those rom-coms.



J.J Abrams. Take a bow. Though MI3 wasnt that great, you wow'ed us by producing Cloverfield and Lost. Here you show us how a perfect Summer blockbuster has to be done: Take a immensely successful franchise of the past. Strip the story, keep the outline, forget what happened and start from the beginning. Cast talented and promising new actors in iconic roles and let them be. Provide strong characterization and personality to your leads and put them in adrenaline rush situations with emotional challenge. Create a powerful imbalanced villain who is set on revenge and not just money. Get a cameo by an icon who will please the previous generation. Weave a story around all this with spell binding effects and geek worthy science. Voila! And I just understated it.

Star Trek is much more. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto  are fantastic in their roles and are well flanked by an equally admirable support cast. They arent intimidated by the legacy and synergize well. I had a brilliant ride watching this movie and it made me cheer like a little boy like I last did while watching Iron Man and Dark Knight. This movie is in their league and stands strong. It does have its flaws but lets not bother because when you have the best movie of the summer in your hands you dont really care for the bad pennies. I watched this movie thrice on the big screen(including once in IMAX) and not only that is a record, each repeat was as good as the first. Hands Down, the best movie of the summer and the year so far!



          Feature: Summer 2009 Roundup, Part 1        


Every year in May, the biggest of movies are released by Hollywood. These movies are fitted with the hottest of stars, tried and tested formulae like superheroes, end of the world scenarios and established franchises in spectacularly explosive circumstances made possible by the embarrassingly huge budgets allocated to them. Why this specific time of the year? It is the beginning of summer in the western world (upper parts of northern hemisphere) and the attendance rates in theatres skyrocket as a result of the holiday season. The kids are free, lets give them a movie and then create merchandise based on the same lines for them to play with. That is their philosophy and usually it works. Year after year such movies come out and they make oodles of money, for a good reason too. The movies are visual treats couple with good film making. But this year they didnt do so well and again for a really good reason. No! It is not the recession, it is the sorry state of films.



2009 has been the year of impending or post apocalyptic future. Terminator, Transformers, 9, GI Joe and Star Trek all were either dealing with saving the planet or dealing with whats left after the worst has happened. This theme business isnt unique for this year as I am pretty sure all of you remember the Superhero Summer last year with Iron Man, Hancock and Dark Knight. Indiana Jones and James Bond arent any less than your average superheroes either as they have been still kicking some good amount of evil ass even after decades of existence. 2007 was the year of threequels, with Spidy 3, Bourne Ultimatum, Shrek the Third and Pirates of Carribean's third part too. Also the forgettable Rush Hour 3. Far too many 3's I say!

Back to disappointing 2009, I not only see many movie marvels coming out this year(oscar types) I have also been through the most boo..(yawn)...oring of so called blockbuster movies. They did not create any cinematic road blocks with showstopping marvel and they definitely dint bust any chops. JAWS would turn in its grave or maybe come back for the 20th part and still do better like in the back to the future movies. So with so many movies to cover I better get started.

1. Terminator Salvation:


Talking about bores; I start with the biggest one of the season. I dont know why Christian Bale signed up for this and he is still doing the sequel when he can earn as much as he wants doing other projects. This movie was made with a budget close to 200 million $ and earned only 125 million $ in US and 320 million$ worldwide and that means it has been an epic flop inspite of the "terminator" and Bale brand name. Except for a couple of pretty cool explosions sequences and the performance of Sam Worthington the movie had nothing. I almost fell asleep. I always though John Connor was a dud not THE Dude who was going to be leader of human resistance and this movie sets out to prove that despite the pain they take to portray his alleged heroism. Worthington's character Marcus was the star of the movie not some brainless punk Connor.


2.Angels and Demons



This movie was fun to watch as it was based on interesting source material (the book of same name) and according to many it was better than The Da Vinci Code. I beg to differ not in saying that it wasnt better but in saying that Da Vinci Code itself was a decent movie considering the material it was based on. Da Vinci

Code, the book is not as good as Angels and Demons and however people put it the movie wasnt a let down unless you are a fan. I had fun then and better fun here but at the end of the day it was just another treasure hunting save the world/city/civilization story where you follow a couple of very witty people. National Treasure took up Dan Brown's game and beat him at it considerably. Even the last Indiana Jones was a dud. But this movie does as much as can be expected from it. A lazy afternoon well spent.



This is another movie which was better than its previous installment. We all know what Michael Bay can do and expecting the moon out of him is stupid. So go in for the sickest of explosions and the coolest of graphics with IMAX sized 100% oomph called Megan Fox and you are a happy man. Michael Bay gives what every man wants and this time without the vomit inducing editing or shallower than paper characterization. Not that Martin Scorsese has possessed him but this time he does better. But yeah if you could stand the wince inducing one liners you are good to go and its a marvellous feat of human achievement, both in terms of seduction and graphics.




Leaving aside the mammoth movies for a while and dealing with the one which made the greatest waves this year for its unadulterated pure fun. The Hangover is the most hilarious fare of the year so far and was far removed from the studios bullshit. Thank Apatow for that and I must say its my favourite work from his production house. Though 40 year old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad were fun they were not as spectacular as this insane journey. The gag reel substitute at the credits is as hilarious and the very feeling that it makes you beg for more shows its Awesomeness. It was a Legendaaaary Vegas night Barney Stinson would be proud of.






Speaking of laugh riots reminds of this movie. I love the first two installments to bits and have had the time of my life actually rofling for them. Yet with all the warnings I go to this movie with not so high hopes and I am not disappointed with those who warned. The first half an hour of the film all that was

coming out the mouth was 'cliche', Cliche this and cliche that. They used everyone in the book. A heavy ode to almost every popular movie too. However things pick up with the introduction of a marvellous character called Buck. Voiced by my idol Hugh Laurie the always awesome Simon Pegg(updated), this character single handedly saves the film from mediocrity. Its get better with Scratte Scrat (update) and his two love interests. Yes there is competition to the nut. Truly brilliant score during this love triangle is one screen.

6. 9


No not a 69. Just a 9. Not even a ninth as interesting. Tim Burton picked up a short film of the same name and gave its director Shane Acker a free hand at making a movie out of it. I am pretty sure he will think now that it wasnt such a wise decision after all. Not only did it not make much money it was a drab of a movie. The 6/10 I gave it was because it was animation and it was good. Good, mind you not great like the next one. A good animation movie exploits its strength to make a compelling movie going experience. This on the other hand was just like Terminator Salvation in animation. Yes it rhymed and the movie is as cornily predictable. Not only did I know where everything was going from the beginning till the middle. The ending I couldnt predict. Sorry, because it was so bafflingly stupid or nonsensical.

7. Up


And finally one of my favourite films of the summer: Up. Pixar never fails to deliver. With this movie they have a perfect 10. 10 movies, 10 superhits. Can you believe that?! After the daringly refreshing WALL-E, Pixar is back doing what it does best. Tell a wonderfully human story touching the deep emotions with such innocence and wild fantasy that you say "choo chweet". The balloon powered house, talking dogs, hidden nature's wonders are few of the fantasy elements in this movie and it leaves you with warmth and fuzziness. But this movie wasnt perfect. The story was predictable and took the usual animation direction and dint wow me in ingenuity of plot as it did in storytelling. However as I mentioned before the character were very cute, especially the kid and the adorable couple. Must must see!



So this was one half of the summer round up of 2009 and there are many more movies to cover including the best movie of the season. So come back in a couple of days for the rest. Meanwhile leave a comment on what you thought of the above mentioned movies and the reviews.

          The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood        
The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood
author: Nicholas Meyer
name: Nathan
average rating: 3.76
book published: 2009
rating: 4
read at: 2014/06/10
date added: 2014/06/10
shelves:
review:


          Forum Değişikliği        
  Herkese merhaba, 4 Mayıs tarihinde tüm forumları tek bir konuma taşıyarak işinizi çok daha kolay hale getireceğiz. Her oyun hala kendi alt-forumuna sahip olacak ama ortak bir merkezleri olacak. Bu mevcut forumların bazılarının kaldırılacağı ama bu adresteki yeni konumlarına taşınacakları anlamına geliyor: http://www.arcgames.com/tr/forums. Arc girişi yaparken kullandığınız aynı hesap bilgilerini kullanarak forumlara giriş yapabilirsiniz. Aşağıdaki forumlar taşınmadan etkilenecekler: Neverwinter Star Trek Online PWI Forsaken World Battle of the Immortals War of the Immortals Blacklight: Retribution Champions Online Ether Saga Odyssey Jade Dynasty RaiderZ   Swordsman, Elsword, Stronghold Kingdoms, APB: Reloaded ve Star Conflict zaten yeni forum yapısını kullandıkları için etlikenmeyecekler. Taşınmadan sonra tek yapmanız gereken Arc Games'i ziyaret etmek olacak, tüm forumları aynı yerde bulacaksınız. Birden fazla oyunumuzu oynuyorsanız farklı sekmeler arasında ileri geri geçiş yapmanıza artık gerek yok. Sadece tek bir oyunumuzu oynuyor da olsanız bu taşınma sizi olumlu olarak etkileyecek. Eskiden forumlarımızı sunmak için vBulletin kullanıyorduk ama bundan sonra Vanilla kullanacağız  – dondurması olan ne olsa bize uyar değil mi? Vanilla'nın ana avantajları uyarlama seçenekleri ve erişim kolaylığı. Uyarlama: Kolaylıkla profil resminizi, mini resminizi, imzanızı değiştirebilir, forum sayfasının üstündeki Arc isminize tıklayarak durumunuz ve etkinlikleriniz hakkında güncellemeler paylaşabilirsiniz. Vanilla forumları profil resminiz ve mini resim olarak GIF kullanmaya bile imkan veriyor! Mini resminiz tüm mesajlarınızda ve ek olarak birçok başka yerde görünür, bu yüzden mükemmel göründüğüne emin olun. Hepimiz imzaların tüm oyuncuların profilinde aşırı önemli olduğunu biliyoruz, bu yüzden çekinmeyin, buradan düzenleyebilir ve değiştirebilirsiniz.   http://www.arcgames.com/tr/forums#/profile/signature       Erişim Kolaylığı: Daha önce belirtildiği gibi bu adrese giderek tüm oyunlarımızın forumlarına erişebileceksiniz: http://www.arcgames.com/tr/forums#. Sol üstteki bağlantıya tıklayarak Arc Games forumunun ana merkezine dönebilirsiniz. Yıldız sembolüne tıklayarak bir başlığı yer imlerinize kaydedebilirsiniz. Yer imlerine eklenen bir başlık, bağlantısı solda olan "Yer İmlerim"e eklenir. Buradan izlemek istediğiniz tüm başlıkları kolaylıkla takip edebilirsiniz. Kullanıcılar mesajları HTML, Markdown ya da BBcode ile biçimlendirebilir. Resimler otomatikman yeniden boyutlandırılır ve YouTube videoları otomatikman gömülür.  Tweetler ve Vinelar bile tanınıyor! Son olarak, isminin önüne “@” yazarak birinin dikkatini çekebilirsiniz. “@” bir otomatik tamamlama listesi oluşturarak doğru kullanıcıyı seçmenizi sağlar. O kullanıcı, ismi geçince bir bildiri alır.     Vanilla forumlarında keşfedilecek daha pek çok yeni özellik var, boş zamanlarınızda göz atmayı unutmayın. Ne kadar düzgün bir tasarımı olduğunu da söylemiş miydik? Çok düzgün bir tasarımı var. Bu taşınmadan ötürü çok heyecanlıyız ve onu tüm görkemiyle görmek için sabırsızlanıyoruz! Sorunuz varsa ya da oyunlarımız hakkında sohbet etmeye devam etmek istiyorsanız, bizimle Twitter ya da Facebook aracılığıyla temas kurabilirsiniz.
          Star Trek fyller 50 Ã¥r        
Star Trek firar 50 år i veckan. P1 Kultur firar med en rapport från helgens Star Trek-konvent i New York. Dessutom har Roger Wilson intervjuat Fred Bronson som skrivit flera Star Trek-avsnitt.
          Star Trek - The Next Generation - Echoes from the Past        
Manual
          Intergalactic Trading Company        
Welcome to the galaxy's greatest collection of science fiction collectibles and memorabilia. In our online store, you will find hundreds of catagories including Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Doctor Who and much more. We have in stock thousands of books, magazines, toys, posters, uniforms, jewelery, patches, collectibles and much, much more.
          Most Bananas Outfits From Star Trek: The Next Generation        

Star Trek is ingrained in our brains and culture, no matter what version of it you prefer (except Enterprise, we all try to forget that part of the Star Trek canon). And, despite the current Star Wars mania storming our ... Read More

The post Most Bananas Outfits From Star Trek: The Next Generation appeared first on Everybody Loves Coupons.


          Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor not a...oh! Right!        
Seeker.com: "Two Star Trek 'Tricorders' Have Made It to the Final Round of XPRIZE. This week, Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE officials announced that two teams of finalists have made it to the last round of the competition, having designed tricorder-style medical devices that are actually pretty space-age in look and function. Weighing in at less that five pounds each, the devices can diagnose and interpret 13 different health conditions within minutes, while continuously monitoring five different vital sign metrics." Wikipedia: "In the fictional Star Trek universe, a tricorder is a multifunction hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and recording data."
          Holding Out An Olive Branch to Homophobes        


Well, George Takei (a.k.a. Sulu on Star Trek) may have waited til later in life to come out, but he certainly is enjoying the freedom now! He was the grand marshal at the Gay Pride Parade here in Chicago last summer and was obviously enjoying all the attention. The clip above is hilarious....Takei recorded a "public service announcement" in response to NBA player Tim Hardaway's recent homophobic comments. I try not to use YouTube clips too often on the blog, since they can easily become a substitute for originality, but this one made me chuckle, and we could all use an extra laugh today, so enjoy!



And, of course, pictures for you (isn't this guy in the red shirt the most adorable guy ever?)....






























          TV Bottlenecking… Dumb or Idiot Savant?        
You know those nights when you can’t wait for your favorite TV show to come on? There’s excitement in the air, and you’ve told everyone else in the house to shut up or die. You’ve parked your butt on the most comfy sofa in the house, and you have firm control of the remote just in case someone tries to hijack the TV because possession is 9/10ths of the law. Then your show comes on… The theme music is incredible! A warm happy sensation flows over your body as you slip into the world of your favorite show. But something is wrong… Then you notice that they are recapping last week’s episode. Fear sets in as you think, oh no it’s a re-run! But no, your favorite character is there and this is definitely new. But why are they talking about everything that happened so far this season? That my friends is a Bottle Neck Episode! Join Brian and Shane as they explain the reasoning behind what caused you to throw your remote threw your TV! Learn all about television’s use of Bottle Necking, Bottling, Recap episodes and clip shows. In this episode of the Popcast … Star Trek, Doctor Who and Star Gate! Brian watches too much TV Shane doesn’t like being manipulated TV is becoming long form movies? What’s the suicide rate after Lost’s final episode? What the heck is the name of the Time traveling red headed guy? Chevy Chase is an A-hole? Is it Babylon 5 or 9? Does the Navy have Jeffery Tubes? Star Trek tried to Humanize Kirk? Send us an email: popcast@mixedtees.com Join the fun at https://www.facebook.com/MixedTees| Contact us on twitter at https://twitter.com/mixedtees
          AFMW: George Takei        
FOX News Radio's Jane Metzler spends "A Few Moments With..." actor George Takei. Everyone knows him best as Mr. Sulu in the original TV series "Star Trek," but now the multi-talented George Takei sits down to spend "A Few Moments With..." FOX News Radio's Jane Metzler to talk about his latest endeavor - onto Broadway starring in "Allegiance: A New Musical Inspired by a True Story." Listen to the interview HERE:
          AFMW: William Shatner        
FOX News Radio's Michelle Pollino spends "A Few Moments With..." William Shatner. Famed actor William Shatner is best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in the legendary TV series "Star Trek." This year marks 50 years since Star Trek debuted on NBC... and in honor of that anniversary Shatner sits down to talk about "The Ultimate Voyage," a live concert tour - which is playing in select theaters now! In addition to that, Shatner has written a book called "Leonard: My Fifty Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man," to commemorate his longtime friendship with fellow "Star Trek" actor Leonard Nemoy. All that, and much more! Listen to the interview HERE:
          Woman Up! Podcast #39 - 2016 Holiday Gift Guide        
Gift Guide Time! OhCatrina, MisfitsTamara & SarahTheRebel talk Capcom Cup, PlayStation Experience, the new Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer and our picks for geeky gifts! Chick Picks:- Go follow https://twitter.com/HelloKittyRicki- The Walker Papers series - first book called Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy - half Native American/Irish female protagonist- Please support Standing Rock http://www.commondreams.org/views/201... GIFT GUIDEGeneral Tips:- ThinkGeek for nerdy home goods- Video game official stores (BioWare, Capcom, 2K etc)- Loot Crate for mystery subscriptions- Game bundles- Amazon- Homemade- Etsy Catrina's Picks: - In-game gifts- DC’s Young Animal Comics (Mother Panic, Shade the Changing Girl) http://amzn.to/2ghfyic- Netflix Subscription! With recommendations- Phone photography add-ons (lenses, etc) http://amzn.to/2henYZF- Going fancy? Musterbrand’s Rogue One jackets https://us.musterbrand.com/collection... Sarah's Picks:- Start them off on a comic series: Saga Volume 1, WicDiv or Rat Queens! http://amzn.to/2g6t2Pw- Bluray: Star Trek Beyond or Captain America: Civil War http://amzn.to/2g6tzB5- ThinkGeek Portal Aperture Sports Bra and work out shorts http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/jihi/- Geeky Holiday Sweater (examples: http://www.hottopic.com/her-universe)- Elhoffer Design now has gift cards! https://elhofferdesign.com/products/g... Tamara's Picks:- DC Comics Converse https://www.journeys.com/product/407095- Wonder Woman tiara ring https://www.etsy.com/listing/25313684...- TNG Uniform Hoodie - http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/118a...- Spider-Gwen purse by Bioworld http://www.fun.com/marvel-spider-gwen...- Fancy Dice sets http://amzn.to/2g6snO8 Prefer to listen to WUP? http://Allgames.com/WUP or http://bit.ly/WUPiTunes Twitter: http://twitter.com/WomanUpShow SarahTheRebel, MisfitsTamara and ohCatrina join forces to form Woman Up! Podcast the gaming, comics and all things geeky podcast run by crazy cat ladies. Personal Twitters:@SarahTheRebel@MisfitsTamara@ohcatrina Watch Woman Up! live once a month on www.twitch.tv/sarahtherebel
          Woman Up! Podcast #38 - Mental Health feat. Dr. Andrea Letamendi        
MisfitsTamara and SarahTheRebel discuss Mental Health with Dr. Andrea Letamendi, host of The Arkham Sessions podcast. We also talk Star Trek and Star Wars news! Drea: https://twitter.com/ArkhamAsylumDocUnder the Mask: http://www.underthemaskonline.comLattes with Leia: https://twitter.com/LatteswithLeia Chick Picks:Motor Crush: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releas...Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn: http://amzn.to/2gAF6p3 Prefer to listen to WUP? http://Allgames.com/WUP or http://bit.ly/WUPiTunes Twitter: http://twitter.com/WomanUpShow SarahTheRebel, MisfitsTamara and ohCatrina join forces to form Woman Up! Podcast the gaming, comics and all things geeky podcast run by crazy cat ladies. Personal Twitters:@SarahTheRebel@MisfitsTamara@ohcatrina Watch Woman Up! live once a month on www.twitch.tv/sarahtherebel
          Woman Up! Podcast #29 - SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS        
Cohosts SarahTheRebel and OhCatrina talk best and worst summer blockbusters plus play a trivia game with the chat! They also run down the latest news including the new director for Lumberjanes and what Sarah thought of Star Trek Beyond! Prefer to listen to WUP? http://Allgames.com/WUP or http://bit.ly/WUPiTunes Watch Woman Up! live every other Wednesday at 8pm PST here or on www.twitch.tv/sarahtherebel Twitter: http://twitter.com/WomanUpShowTumblr: http://womanuppodcast.tumblr.com SarahTheRebel and ohCatrina join forces to form Woman Up! Podcast the gaming, comics and all things geeky podcast run by two crazy cat ladies. Personal Twitters:@SarahTheRebel@OhCatrina Chick Picks:SarahDryad Tea https://twitter.com/DryadTea Hijabi Hooligan: https://www.facebook.com/HijabiHooligan/ Sarah was on UpUpDownDown https://youtu.be/UpP-ziDyfkQ CatrinaSummer reading: Lightless (pt 2, supernova, out now) by c.a. HigginsI’m publishing my short story, Isadora and the Serpent Prince, starting this Monday! Check out ohcatrina.com for more
          33 Fun Activities in Singapore for Families on Last Weekend of June Holidays        
WHAT? Is the last weekend of the June School Holidays really upon us???

Time truly flies, huh? Fortunately, it is also the Hari Raya Puasa long weekend which softens the blow... somewhat. At least school (and work) starts on Tuesday! So what are you waiting for? Make the best use of this weekend for one last round of fun with the kiddos!




 GET PHYSICAL!

Dreamworks Day
24 Jun 2017; 4pm - 8pm
Gardens by the Bay, Bay East Gardens
$25 Carnival Ticket | $45 800M Kids Dash | $55 5KM Fun Run


For the first time in Singapore, be part of the first ever DreamWorks Run! Come meet the colourful cast of Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon and Madagascar at DreamWorks Day. There will be a DreamWorks themed carnival filled with games, activities, food and beverages, and also a Fun Run which will see participants cover a 800 meters (Kids Dash) or 5 kilometers route along some of Singapore’s iconic landmarks. For more information, visit www.dreamworksday.sg.


MEGA FUN at Sentosa 2017
Now until 25 Jun 2017
Island admission applies


Fun at Palawan Beach
22 – 25 Jun 2017; 10am – 7pm 
Palawan Beach 
FREE


Take a plunge down the Mega Ball Pool, dip into a pool of overflowing foam, or simply relax and bond with your loved ones by the beach. Also check out the iconic Palawan Pirate Ship play area, which has gushing fountains, slides and a pirate-head which sends huge bucket of water down.

Mega play area includes, Discovery Box, Bounce House, Ultimate Slide, Ninja Run, Horizontal Slide, Kids Maze, Balancing Beam, Cliff Jump, Traversing Wall, Foam Pool, Mega Ball Pool and more!

Bubble Performance
22 – 25 Jun 2017; 3pm & 5pm
Palawan Beach
FREE

Delight in a bubble performance made up of lights, colours and bubble art. Be wowed as the bubbleologist brings you into the wonderful world of bubbles!

Movies by the Beach
22 - 25 Jun 2017; 7.30pm
Palawan Green
FREE

22 June – Star Trek Beyond
23 June – Fast and Furious 6
24 June – Transformers: Age of Extinction
25 June - Everest


 FESTIVALS!

Children's Season Singapore 2017
Now until 25 Jun 2017
Various Dates & Various Timings
Various National Heritage Board and Museum Roundtable museums
FREE


The National Heritage Board’s annual Children’s Season Singapore returns in 2017, presenting cultural and educational experiences that will inspire, engage and educate our young audience. This year’s edition goes beyond museums and will encompass all aspects of art, culture, heritage and education. With a wide range of programmes, exhibitions and engaging family activities for children of all ages, Singapore will be the place to be for children and families to create special memories together this June! For more details, visit www.museums.com.sg/cs17.

Children's Biennale 2017
Now until 8 Oct 2017
National Gallery Singapore
FREE for Singaporeans & PRs


Themed “Dreams & Stories,” the first edition of Gallery Children’s Biennale invites the inner child in each of us to embark on a creative journey. Explore the world through the eyes of nine artists from Singapore and beyond: Chng Seok Tin, Mark Justiniani, Yayoi Kusama, Vincent Leow, Lynn Lu, teamLab, Tran Trong Vu, Ian Woo and Robert Zhao. For more details, visit HERE.

 OUTDOOR FUN!

Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar 2017
Now until 24 Jun 2017; 3pm to late
Geylang Serai market, Joo Chiat Complex and along Haig Road

Flock to the annual food market to binge on Ramly burgers, otah-otah and other sinful street snacks like colourful concoctions of rainbow ice cream and drinks! There are also plenty of activities held in conjunction with the market, such as free movie screenings, gigs, a pop-up museum and kiddy rides.

Weekends in the Park @ Parkland Green
24 Jun 2017; 8am - 8pm
East Coast Park, Parkland Green
FREE

Chalk & Win Contest on 24 June 2017
Time: 8am- 8pm 
Ready to unleash your creativity? Grab some free chalk from any Parkland Green outlet and doodle on any of the corridor pavements. The most creative or original chalk art pieces can stand to win a HvperSport Scooter (worth $229) and a Kebab Station Voucher (worth $50)!

Simply:
- Grab some chalk from any Parkland Green outlets
- Draw on any of the corridor pavements
- Share a photo of your chalk art piece on Facebook or Instagram between 8am to 8 pm on 24 June (Remember to make your account public)
- Hashtag #ParklandGreen

Active Games (By PlaystreetsSg)
Time: 4pm - 7pm 
Calling all families! For three hours only, try your hand at many interactive and unique games at Parkland Green.

Outdoor Movie Drive-in
24 Jun 2017
2pm onwards; Movie starts after 7pm
Field outside White Sands
$10 per vehicle
Picnic area: $6 per adult & $4 per child

Always wished you could live the old, nostalgic days of movie drive-ins? Wish no more, and join in for an evening with Kong: Skull Island displayed on windscreen in the fresh air at Whire Sands, with free-flow popcorn and candy floss. Pets are welcome too!

Go earlier for a series of sporting fun - bouncy castles, inflatable rock climbing stations and mini games before the movie starts.

Istana Open House
25 Jun 2017; 8.30am - 6pm
Istana (Entrance to the Istana grounds is via the main gate at Orchard Road)
FREE for Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents. 
Other visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $2 per person.

There will be a variety of performances on the grounds during the Open House. For an entrance fee of $2, visitors could tour selected function rooms in the Istana building and view a special display of gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister. There are also guided tours of the Istana building, conducted by the Preservation of Sites and Monuments (PSM) volunteers. Istana souvenirs are also sold at the Open House. All proceeds from the sale of the souvenirs and the entrance fees collected are donated to charity.

Uncle Ringo Carnival
Now until 25 Jun 2017; 6pm - 10.30pm daily
Punggol MRT Exit D (Opposite Waterway Point)


RepTopia 2017
Now until 26 Jun 2017; Various Timings
Singapore Zoo
Admission charges apply


An array of remarkable reptiles is set to make their debut at Singapore Zoo this June, with the launch of the aptly-named new reptile exhibit – RepTopia. Over the weekends of 27 May – 26 June, guests are in for a reptile revolution with a spectrum of engaging activities. Discover and appreciate reptiles through a diverse range of activities, including enlightening animal enrichment sessions, reptile-inspired craft activities and costumed charm-eleon meet and greet sessions. For details on activities, visit www.zoo.com.sg/reptopia/.

So Wow Time Flies!
Now until 26 Jun 2017 (Weekends & 26 Jun only)
Various Timings
Jurong Bird Park
Admission charges apply


BE A PARROT KEEPER
Time: 9am – 12pm (3 hours per session)
Venue: Around the Park

Step into the role of a keeper: prepare food for the lories, make enrichment toys, and set up brooders for our baby parrots! This activity is exclusive to Friends of Bird Park and Friends of Wildlife members. Activity fee applies and only for children aged 5 – 8 years old. *Registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for more details.

CHIRPY CRAFTS
Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: Penguin Coast

Kids, get creative and make your own bird-themed crafts to bring home as mementos.

SNAP A SHOT WITH SUNNY & FRIENDS
Time: 9am, 11.30am & 1pm
Venue: Penguin Coast

Meet-and-greet with Sunny the mascot and his friends, and pose for pictures with them.

PUPPET SHOWTIME
Time: 10.30am & 12.30pm 
Venue: Birdz of Play

Be entertained as you let your imagination fly at our bird-themed puppet show.

Let’s Blaze! Carnival 
Now until 26 June 2017, daily
1pm - 10pm
City Square Mall, Level 1 City Green (Outdoor Park)

Get up to blazing speed with carnival fun and games with Blaze & The Monster Machines! Look out for super fun Truck Rides, Blaze Bouncer, Tyre Playground and more! Let’s blaaaze! Also, don’t miss the special Shimmer & Shine photo area!

Singapore Street Festival 2017
Now until 2 Jul 2017
Various events & timings

The annual Singapore Street Festival (SSF) returns on the 4th of June with an exciting bonanza of activities lined up till the 2nd of July. Themed ‘UNCHARTED But Known’, its 16th anniversary boasts exhilarating acts and impressive art that celebrate the talents of Singapore youth. For more information, visit HERE.

 NATURE!

FREE Admission to National Orchid Garden
Now until 25 Jun 2017; 8.30am - 7pm
National Orchid Garden

Enjoy free admission to National Orchid Garden from 21 May to 26 June 2016 for students, local residents and work permit holders.

Blue Beauties @ Gardens by the Bay
Now until 30 Jun 2017; 9am - 9pm
Gardens by the Bay
Admission charges apply


In the year that Gardens by the Bay celebrates its 5th anniversary, a special colour in the Plant Kingdom takes centrestage in Flower Dome. Blue may seem ubiquitous in everyday life, but true spectrum blue is one of the most uncommon colours in plants.

In the “Blue Beauties” floral display, the special quality of blue blooms is celebrated as the flower field is awash in the splendour of this well-loved shade. Flowers cherished for their vivid blue hues like agapanthus, hydrangeas and delphiniums flourish in a French-inspired garden. Set amidst a landscape dotted with a wall trellis, topiaries, a fountain and gazebo, these blue blooms will be complemented by the purple and pink tones of gladiolus, lupins and foxgloves.

Pesta Ubin 2017
Now until 16 July 2017, Various  Dates & Timings
Pulau Ubin


Pesta Ubin is Ubin Open House! Once a year, people who love Ubin step up to share with the public their special slice of Pulau Ubin. Pesta Ubin activities are heartfelt, organic and led by the community. Passionately highlighting Ubin's unique charms, get a taste of the kinder, gentler way of life on Ubin during Pesta Ubin. Many Pesta Ubin activities are free of charge. Some do NOT require registration. Simply come to Pulau Ubin and join the fun! Find a Pesta Ubin activity that suits your schedule and interest at pestaubin2017.blogspot.sg.

For this weekend's activities, visit https://pestaubin2017.blogspot.sg/2017/06/19-25-jun-week-7-of-pesta-ubin.html.

 MEET & GREETS!

Meet Pororo
23 & 24 Jun 2017
Fri: 1pm | Sat & Sun: 1pm, 3pm & 5pm
Marina Square, Central Atrium


Get your cameras ready for that long-awaited selfie with Pororo! Limited to the first 50 families per session. Meet & Greet passes will be distributed 20 minutes prior to each session at the atrium.

Minions Meet & Greet
McDonald's Restaurants

23 Jun 2017: 5.30pm - 7pm - Bedok Mall
24 Jun 2017: 10am - 11.3oam - Jurong Central Park
24 Jun 2017: 2pm - 3.30pm - iFly Sentosa
25 Jun 2017: 10am - 11.30am - Causeway Point

Pac-Man Meet & Greet
Now until 25 June 2017; 6pm to 6.30pm
YewTee Point, Level 1 Atrium


Nordic Adventures with Sanrio Characters
Now until 26 Jun 2017
Changi Aiport, T3 Public Area


Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 will be filled with extreme kawaii-ness this June holidays as supercute life-sized Hello Kitty & Friends will be the stars in the month-long showcase, which will feature games, activities, shopping and great prizes to be won.

Fans can also enjoy a taste of the Nordic lifestyle at Terminal 3, where a specially curated showcase will feature famous highlights such as: the Northern Lights in a video display, a Viking ship-inspired gallery and even an indoor snow luge at the Snow Funhouse by Snow City. The Snow Funhouse will be the very first indoor snow experience in the east of Singapore!

Nordic Snow Funhouse by Snow City
Dates: 26 May – 26 June 2017
Opening Times: 12pm – 10pm daily (approx. 30 min timeslots; last admission at 9.30pm)
Location: Opposite Check-in Row 11
Entry Requirements: $60 in max 2 sameday receipts (S$80 for supermarket purchases) entitles 1 pass admitting two ticket-holders to Snow Fun House

Sanrio Weekend Meet & Greet Sessions
Dates: Every weekend (Sat and Sun) from 26 May to 26 June 2017
Opening Times: 2pm and 7pm
Location: Terminal 3, Public, Departure Hall Level 2 (Near Skytrain platform to Terminal 1)
Entry Requirements: spend a total of $60 at Changi Airport on the same day (with a maximum of 2 receipts), or spend $80 at the supermarket to redeem a Meet & Greet pass. Each Meet & Greet pass admits up to 4 persons for 1 photography shoot. Limited to first 40 redemptions per session.

Meet & Greet Schedule:
24-25 Jun: Hello Kitty

Meet & Greet Spider-Man
23 - 26 Jun 2017: 1pm & 3pm (Timings updated!)
NEX Mall, Atrium L1


 SHOPPING MALLS!

Play-Doh Adventure Trails
Now until 25 Jun 2017
Tanglin Mall


School's Out! Go Wild! Unleash your imagination as you get creative with your favourite animal friends and Play-Doh this June Holiday at  Tanglin Mall! Highlights of the event include the wilderness inflatable, Play-Doh animal sculptures workshops, Dohs-Dohs meet & greet, storytelling by award-winning storyteller Roger Jenkins as well as fringe activities like balloon sculpting workshops. Bring your family down for a day of fun and shopping!

Meet the Doh-Dohs
Tanglin Mall: 17, 18, 24 & 25 Jun 2017 - 3pm


KidZPop PlayFest
United Square Shopping Mall: 23-25 Jun 2017; 11am - 9pm
FREE


Paddle Pop, KidZania Singapore and the Health Promotion Board will be hosting KidZPop PlayFest, a three-week long series of roadshows for parents and kids to learn about healthier snacking habits through fun games and activities.

Take part in larger-than-life games such as ‘Snacks and Ladder’, ‘Calorie Tag’ and make your own Paddle Pop ice-cream at the KidZania Singapore booth. There will also be stage games to win limited edition merchandise, Meet & Greet opportunities with the Paddle Pop lion and KidZania RightZKeeper Urbano, song-and-dance segments, and sampling of Paddle Pop’s latest Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) certified Twister Fruity ice cream so there’s something for everyone!

Play Mania!
19 - 25 Jun 2017: Sembawang Shopping Centre, Atrium L1
11am - 9pm


With a variety of virtual reality and old school carnival games, there is definitely something for everyone!

Westgate Summer Camp 2017
23, 24, 25, 26 Jun 2017
12pm - 8pm
Westgate Mall


Put on your safari hat and get ready for an outdoor adventure at The Courtyard where exciting activities like a mini obstacle course, arcade games and craft workshops await you. Complete all stations to collect our limited edition badges. Spend a min. of $80 (or $60 for American Express CapitaCard) to redeem a Westgate Summer Camp ticket. For more details, visit HERE.

Double Up the Fun
1 Jun - 2 July 2017
Parkway Parade




Enter into LEGO Cities of Wonders, where families can immerse themselves into a world of bricks to Catch a Crook, find hidden Treasure in the jungle and many more! LEGO fun continues as shoppers are rewarded with exclusive LEGO toys.  Visit HERE for more details.

 SHOWS!

Pluck and the Magical Banyan Tree - Harp Musical
25 Jun 2017; 3pm & 7.30pm
Sota Drama Theatre
$38 & $48


Pluck the fairy protector of music returns for another exciting  adventure. Something is amiss in the Harp Kingdom of Enchantia - people are forgetting how to make music, and Pluck must find out why. Helped by her fairy friends – MEL, BEATBOX & HARMONIA, Pluck embarks on a journey through time to find the Magical Banyan Tree.  Come help her rescue Music before it is completely forgotten. For tickets, visit HERE.

Merlion Magic Lights
Now until 9 July 2017
7.45pm, 8.15pm, 8.45pm & 9.15pm (2 additional shows at 9.45pm & 10.15pm on Weekends, PH, & eve of PH)
Merlion Plaza
FREE

Be amazed by artistic installations and be dazzled by the awesome display of lights and sounds as the island transforms into a world of wondrous fun. Don't miss out on the chance to catch our thematic light shows, set against Sentosa’s majestic and dazzling icon, the 37-m tall Sentosa Merlion!

CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab
Now until 22 July 2017
8pm (2pm show available on select Sat & Sun)
Resorts World Theatre, RWS
$38, $48, $78, $98, $118


“CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab” is a non-verbal performance using live beatboxing and b-boying to tell the story of Green and Red Chefs locked in a riotous competition – with generous servings of humour and fun! Singaporean celebrities Jayley and Hayley Woo will take turns to play the Cutie Chef, in a local adaption of a new brand of “Bibap” that is set to bowl you over.

Directed and produced by Choi Chul Ki, the name behind all-beatboxing, all-b-boying extravaganzas like “NANTA”, “Jump” and “Beat”, “CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab” will pack more choreography, music and madcap antics into the original “Bibap”, which premiered to rapturous reception in 2009. For tickets, visit HERE.

 EXHIBITIONS!

Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life
Now until 23 July 2017
10am - 7pm daily (Fri: 10am - 9pm)
Asian Civilisations Museum
S'poreans & PRs (Adults) $10 | S'porean & PRs (Concession: Seniors, Students, NSF) FREE | Non-Residents (Adults) $15 | Non-Residents (Concession: Seniors, Students) $10 | Non-Residents (Family of 5) $45


Intrigued by sets and costumes from Korean historical dramas and films? Then you will want to see actual furniture, fashion, and decorative arts from Korea’s Joseon era (1392–1897). Spanning some 500 years, Joseon was Korea’s last dynasty, and the legacy of its courtly culture and vibrant city life lives on in South Korea today. Treasures from the National Museum of Korea, the National Palace Museum of Korea, and the Deagu National Museum will be displayed for the first time in Singapore.

The exhibition will be accompanied by programmes and talks relating to Joseon Korea and contemporary Korean culture; as well as a work by South Korean contemporary artist Ran Hwang, best known for using pins, buttons, and thread to create large-scale installations.

Dino Robot Factory
Now until 27 Aug 2017
Hall 2, Annex, Science Centre
Adult & Senior Citizen $5 | Child $7


A travelling exhibition direct from Japan especially curated for young children. The Dino Robot Factory walks children through and allows them to experience the process of creating a robot dinosaur. Along the way, they learn about the basics of design, automation, assembly and mechanics in a fun and exciting manner. For more details on activities, visit HERE.

Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth
Now until 27 Aug 2017
Mon - Sun 10am - 7pm | Fri 10am - 9pm
Singapore Art Musuem
FREE for Singaporeans & PRs | Adults $6 | Senior Citizens (above 60) & Kids $3 | Kids below 6 FREE


Explorers of the land! How much do you know about the planet we inhabit? Singapore Art Museum welcomes you back to the seventh edition of our family-focused exhibition, Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth. Taking a closer look at the surroundings and environments we reside in, we see how people, flora, and fauna, adapt to their ever-changing surroundings. With the technological progress we have made, we now have better insight into far-flung locations, and are better connected than before, but are we really any closer to appreciating earth’s many marvels?

Through inspiring and engaging artworks, Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth introduces explorers to new ways of seeing and experiencing the world around us. For more details, visit HERE.

Precious Eggs: Of Art, Beauty and Culture
Now until 8 Oct 2017 | 10am - 7pm
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Free admission for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents | Other visitors: Adults $8 & Child $6


The egg’s unique form and life-giving symbol have inspired artists and craftsmen, resulting in historical pieces like the Russian Imperial porcelain eggs, Fabergé egg pendants and other works using materials ranging from crystal to horn.

Besides colourfully decorated quail, chicken, duck, goose, swan and ostrich eggs, there are also eggs crafted of precious and enamelled metals, glass, porcelain, wax, crystal, marble, stone, wood, reindeer horn, cardboard, and papier-mâché.  Also on show is a series of artists’ eggs, a set of commissioned sculptures to showcase the works of Liechtenstein’s leading artists. From Singapore, 24K gold plated ostrich, emu, goose, chicken and quail eggs from RISIS are on display.


          Star Trek: Voyager Was Good For Something        
none
          A Case of the Not Gays: Hollywood's Subtle Othering        


On a rainy Sunday afternoon, my partner, idly browsing Netflix, chose to rewatch TROY. It had been over a decade for her, and nearly as long for me. After a few minutes, I decided to stay put and follow along: the broad acting, telegraphing all emotions for the peanut gallery by (mostly) expert thesps proved too tempting a pide bread to lie uneaten.

Any Hollywood movie set in Ancient Greece (or featuring Greeks) always comes with a bit of a disclaimer: it would be a long shot to ask modern audiences to empathize with characters who engage in educational (!) pederasty, or to face the disconnect that the FOUNDERS OF DEMOCRACY were guys who locked their wives up in the house never to be allowed out.

It's not just the Greeks this happens to: any culture from the past sufficiently alien to ours will experience a moral adaptation. Consider the inspiring Aragorn speech Elizabeth Swann gave to an assembled army of pirates regarding FREEDOM in the third PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN film. Mel Gibson in THE PATRIOT and his salary-receivin' black employees. KINGDOM OF HEAVEN features a 12th century Christian proclaiming on his deathbed that he repented all his sins but one... his illegitimate son who is also the film's protagonist. My friends, I hope you also howl at the idea of a 12th century man saying "I don't regret all my sins" on his deathbed!

On the one hand, I understand. Hollywood blockbusters aren't history lessons, and people just show up to be entertained. Asking someone to experience a -- to our modern eyes -- morally abhorrent culture and empathize with its people is perhaps a mental exercise too great for a relaxing date night.

However, what shouldn't be too out there for a modern day movie is to reflect the diversity of modern day society. It's hard, it's hard, we know. You gotta sell your movie to the fly-over states, to Russia, to China, to India, ... not exactly the most progressive territories. So ya gotta play it safe!

One of the most insidiously abhorrent ways modern movies "play it safe" is establishing a Case of the Not Gays for its male leads. "A Case of the Not Gays" is a term coined by Red Letter Media in their video review of JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboot. In it, they claim the romance between Spock and Uhura is shoehorned into this new continuity so as to dispel any notions that the logical, soft-spoken, page-boy sportin' Spock could possibly be a homosexual. With Kirk, they simply showed him mackin' on a green lady et voilà. Bones? Introduced complaining about his ex-wife! Do not worry my Iowan/Russian/Chinese central government friends... no debauchery here...

JACK REACHER introduces its Reddit fedora hero waking up next to a thong lady. She is an unnamed character who does not appear in the movie further. Reacher is kind of an asexual throughout the rest of it, even refusing sex at some point. But don't worry, he's not, you know...

TROY has Achilles waking up covered in wenches, to reassure everyone that although he's one of them Old Greeks and we're going to lovingly film his semi-naked waxed and oiled torso. But don't worry...

Establishing a Case of the Not Gays is especially evil in my opinion, as it manages the double whammy of objectification of women to serve the purpose of gay erasure. This movie may not feature this character in any sex or romance but believe us buddy he is nothing but straight! Look! A hot chick he just banged that will have no further bearing on the plot!

DR. STRANGE did it masterfully, as all relationships with any story-weight the main character has, are with men. Whoops, better toss in a chick cuz this guy already sorta looks like Liberace!

Like all things patriarchal, Establishing Notgays doesn't just hurt women and queer people, it's bad for cishet young lads as well. By making absolutely sure that every male protagonist in every mainstream movie is not only straight, but also a ladies man, but also monogamous when it "counts" aka when they are with the female lead, perpetuating the bullshit myth that there are "good" women and disposable ones.

Rare is the case where a female character is introduced having sex with an unimportant male character to establish her seduction/libido bonafides (one that comes to mind is Anya Amasova in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME -- that's right, James Bond, of all franchises) without having her be demonized somehow.

The solution? As ever, more women and queer people in decisions of creative power, producing stories where such folk have agency in the plot. But ayyy y'all probably already knew that.

Establishing Notgays: not just funny, actively evil! Please keep this in mind next time you see a movie. Bring it up in conversation. Be obnoxious about it when someone jokes that you're "overanalyzing" things, or you're being politically correct.

Don't back down, my friends.


 



          Kaiju Kavalcade: GODZILLA (2014) Hype-Free Viewing        

TRAVIS:

When we first reviewed Gareth Edwards' GODZILLA upon its release in 2014, I wrote that it was foolish to argue Godzilla's relevance with this triumphant return to US cinema. One year later, the aftermath of the movie's success can still be felt. IDW Comics has been continuing to support their various G titles, and Bandai recently released a brand new video game featuring G, Mothra, Ghidorah, and the rest of the gang. Right now in Tokyo, Japan, you can spend a night in the recently opened Godzilla hotel featuring themed suites and a towering statue of G peering into the windows! Of course, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are developing GODZILLA 2 for summer 2018, but Toho will also be relaunching G for their own new franchise in his Japanese homeland in 2016. And yet despite all of these accomplishments, the American film itself remains divisive among critics and fans. Some proclaim it a victory for kaiju worldwide while others find it lacking in spite of a few spectacular moments. On the movie's first anniversary, we'll muster our courage and take on GODZILLA to see if it's still the King of the Monsters.

Of all the things that hold up on repeat viewing, the fantastic opening credit sequence is definitely one of the highlights. Those worried that we'd see another long origin story for G should be pleased by the rapid fire montage of images that trace his roots from cave paintings of dinosaurs to tales of mythical sea monsters to classified government footage of G appearing in the 20th century. It's a wonderful encapsulation of his history done in a broad, exciting style. It's also great that even though G is no longer a metaphor for nuclear annihilation in the Legendary franchise that the atomic testing performed by the US is still tied to his past (this time explained as a cover up by the government to kill him). So what is Godzilla if he's been shed of the bomb in this new iteration? Though he's not the gravity defying Showa superhero anymore, he's certainly someone needed for our protection when a threat becomes too large. I think he's more akin to an old samurai, someone who's seen battles and confrontations for most of his life and only takes action when he's direly needed by the powerless. I like that even though he can still put up a good fight that he seems worn out and tired afterwards from years acting as a dominant predator. There may be a lot of mileage behind this version of G, but he's one that I want to follow for more films to come!

Though this current rendition of the character may not have been a problem for audiences, his seemingly short appearance time definitely was! One of the main criticisms against GODZILLA is that Godzilla himself doesn't show up in the majority of the film. In fact, one of the most popular YouTube videos related to GODZILLA actually collects all of G's scenes together and runs a mere eleven minutes compared to the movie's two hour running time. The point seems to be that there's nothing wrong with G; it's just that there's too little of him! However, I think this criticism doesn't actually derive from counting the minutes but from plot focus. In the pre-release marketing, we were being sold a movie that promised apocalyptic disaster from a gigantic monstrosity. Naturally, we assumed that G would be the harbinger of death, and we could guess that those MUTOs we heard about might be tangling up with ol' G. Yet when you examine the plot, it's really the MUTOs that drive most of the action. They cause the nuclear plant accident that widows Bryan Cranston's character and causes him to become a solitary lunatic. They're the threat that the government secretly monitors for years. They're the things that will (as Cranston puts it) “send us right back to the Stone Age” because of their destruction. Pretty much all of the characters except for Ken Watanabe concentrate on how to deal with the MUTOs while Watanabe rambles about G as the one to restore balance to nature (i.e. killing the shit outta some kaiju bugs). In this sense, G really is only a deus ex machina in the story since the humans continually fail to destroy them. Perhaps if G was more integrated into the story (maybe causing the plant meltdown himself) then the criticism of his diminished screen time could've been alleviated. Luca, how was your revisit of big G's return to America?

LUCA:

Well Travis, I’m glad to say that, free from the initial hype, GODZILLA manages to be a thoroughly entertaining movie on its own merits. As you’ve already mentioned, the opening credits are a masterclass in building up hype, be it in production design (oh man, who doesn’t like sinister medieval etchings?), editing and Alexandre Desplat’s wonderful throwback score. Having them end with a literal blast as Godzilla is supposedly defeated by the Bikini Atoll bomb keeps the sense of awe and wonder going apace. The film then segues to 1999, and brings us to the Filipino quarry with its strange finds, followed by the Janjira power plant being attacked – the mystery and tension here are still kept at pretty consistent levels. But alas! Juliette Binoche dies, Bryan Cranston makes that memeface and the movie takes a step back as we jump ahead fifteen years to witness the trials and tribulations of their son, now played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. We talked about the boringness of Taylor-Johnson and his in-movie wife Elizabeth Olsen even a year ago, but now as then they didn’t bother me. I mean we can talk about Juliette Binoche getting killed early on and Olsen getting absolutely nothing to do than stare in awe at some monsters sometimes, but this is a problem the movie had a year ago as well.

The death of Bryan Cranston’s character early on (reminiscent of Captain Kirk’s falling off another walkway in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS) is yet another waste of good actors in nothing parts, but at least his absence is somewhat compensated for by Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins joining the main story. While the Ford family is inoffensive, their beigeness is only highlighted by Watanabe and Hawkins, the kaiju otaku squad. I don’t know how I could have forgotten the hilarious extent to which these rational scientists praise our man G (“For all intents and purposes… he’s a god…”) and the completely logical solution to all our woes is to let the big radioactive dinosaur fight the flying bug monsters in San Francisco. Again I hope that the sequel focuses on a G-Force team of kooky scientists and military with these two in charge, rather than a bland audience identification character.

Easter egg I didn’t notice the first time: when the 1999 version of blandman goes to show Cranston the lovely banner he made for his birthday, he passes an old-timey Japanese monster movie poster in the style of Showa-Toho… featuring the two MUTOs from this very film! Most kaiju nerds probably noticed the little “Mothra” nametag on the terrarium at the abandoned elementary school, but I feel like this one may have sailed over the heads of many. I mean hell, how meta is that? A movie made about “real-life” monsters that nobody knows about yet. Or is this some clever worldbuilding on the part of Edwards and his screenwriters? Was a certain Japanese movie studio IN ON the existence of these atomic monsters that mess up everything we know about the food chain? Probably not, but hey, let me have this headcanon that nobody will ever bother to counter. Anything that struck you now that didn’t last year, Travis?

TRAVIS:

Watching it on Blu-ray a year later, what struck me most that I hadn't noticed before was Edwards' orchestration of the score and sound effects. No doubt what makes GODZILLA memorable are the monster set pieces, but Edwards is very masterful in what moments need to be underscored with music and when the foley should stand on its own. From what I could observe, Desplat's score is pulled back during moments of discovery and awe. As we search for and await the monsters we take in the silence and perk up when we suddenly hear a noise. Typically the music kicks in when the action gets, yet it still doesn't become more overwhelming than the imagery. The scenes where the music becomes more present than complimentary are the HALO jump (which mixes Ford's breathing with Gyorgy Ligeti's “Requiem”) and Godzilla's triumphant fanfare after his fire breath fatality on the female MUTO.

To talk further about the set pieces, even when viewed at home on TV they remain incredibly exciting to watch. On the Blu-ray special features, Edwards explained that he tried to ground his SFX shots in reality, as though they've been filmed at ground level, on top of a building, or up in a helicopter. To make it even more authentic, he always tried to fit in humans on the screen in those shots so that we understand the immense size and scale of G and the MUTOs. It can be pretentious to call any filmmaker “Spielbergian”, yet I think Edwards really does have that artistic eye for understanding how incredible it can be to watch the fantastic enter our reality in the way that makes Spielberg's work so distinct among popcorn films. As we've said before, the fact this movie still made Godzilla so wondrous and awe-inspiring to see after years of sequels is definitely a credit to Edwards' talent.

What can we expect in the future? Surprisingly, GODZILLA 2 will double down on the returning kaiju by introducing Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah into the mix. The Heisei and Millennium eras slowly integrated those characters into their continuities, so it's kinda funny to see Legendary go DESTROY--I MEAN--INCLUDE ALL MONSTERS and stuff the sequel with them. Heck, if they can recreate the scene from the original GHIDORAH movie where G, Rodan, and Mothra have a civil discussion about friendship, I'm sold. And considering how much Showa adventure there was in the 2014 film, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some modern day equivalent of Toho monster talk. Even if there isn't, with GODZILLA 2 and Toho's reboot coming soon, I'm definitely looking forward to the future of G. Any other thoughts before we dive back into the San Francisco bay, Luca?

LUCA:

I agree that Edwards' doling out of spectacle and monster madness is judiciously done, even though some have come to criticize the Welsh director's reluctance to get to the fireworks factory. In particular, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) running away from the MUTO and Godzilla into a shelter in the nick of time before an unholy kaiju rumble happens outside. As the doors close, we see G and the MUTO run into each other, but as the camera remains with the refugees, we the audience are denied the spectacle. After cutting away from the first MUTO/Zilla fight in Honolulu (admittedly serving the movie's greatest visual gag as little Sam Brody watches it on TV but is told to shut it off by an inattentive Elle), this seems like monster-hiding overkill. It's not an unfair criticism, to be honest! During this rewatch, however, I noticed that the cut away from the monster fight takes us to the cargo plane that is about to drop Ford and the bomb squad into the ruins San Francisco... right amid the fighting monsters. If Edwards had chosen to intercut Elle fleeing with Ford suiting up for the HALO jump, the shelter doors closing wouldn't have felt so anticlimactic. Instead of "aww man, no monster fight AGAIN" maybe we would have felt "phew, Elle is safe, now to plant that bomb!" -- and it all could have been fixed at no additional cost in the editing room using footage that was already shot!

Regarding the Showa stuff, I wouldn't be surprised! I mean, the movie shows us that at after the fight American news stations dub Godzilla KING OF THE MONSTERS and we hear an entire football stadium cheering like crazy for this big fat lizard monster. I guess America loves an underdog! It's funny how everyone cheering for the Godzilla that just destroyed the city comes across as cute and silly in this, whereas everyone cheering for Superman making out with Lois amid the ashes of ten 9/11s in the background has everyone pulling at their collars in discomfort. I guess we cut big G a lotta slack cuz he's just an ole atomic dinosaur that doesn't know any better.

Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah being confirmed makes me very happy, as you might already guess, and I certainly hope that he relationships they had in the old Showa movies will be kept -- Rodan the rowdy brother, Mothra the caring sister, and King Ghidorah the big bully. Hell, I hope they throw in some good ole "guys with sunglasses who are really aliens or maybe ape men" for good measure. C'mon, Legendary, the public will have had three phases of Marvel by that point, they can take it! All in all, GODZILLA '14 pretty much holds up after a year, or at least its flaws have not become so magnified that I had any more problems with it than I had upon initial viewing. You know what they say in Project Monarch, the foremost kaiju experts of all: "Nature has a way... of restoring balance..." What do you mean, that makes no sense in context? Okay yeah I actually meant LET DEM FITEUHHHH

Free movie right here!

          It Breaks The Heart        
Last week, my husband and I were thrown for a loop.
A revelation that rocked us to our cores.
And we have come to the heart breaking conclusion that we have failed as parents.
While my husband was playing his newest acquisition, Star Trek Online, Bubba Dude, as is his wont, was perched nearby. I was elsewhere, as is my wont.
All of a sudden, I hear Paul yell.
"What?!"
"NO! Shana! We have failed as parents!"
What the deuce?
I go to investigate. I see my son giggling while my husband is sitting at his desk, with a stricken look on his face.
What happened?
"Our son does not know what a Klingon is."
...
...
...
Excuse me. It's still hard to talk about...
I...*sob* I can't talk about this yet.
Talk amongst yourselves.
          The Riddle of Teleportation        


The Riddle of Teleportation
By Scott Corrales - © 2017 Inexplicata

An interesting news item passed unnoticed among the never-ending news about terrorism, celebrity outrage or virtue-signaling. A Chinese satellite, the Micius, broke the 100 kilometer quantum teleportation record set two years ago.

Micius - launched in 2016 as part of the QUESS program - was designed as an initial step at establishing a "global quantum communication network", sending photons at a distance of 1200 kilometers. A small step for a satellite, a giant leap for a new era in communications.

But the concept of "teleportation" evokes unfortunate memories, such as the haunting 1950's film The Fly and the hideous commingling of scientist and insect. Even Star Trek's transporter room - one of the crown jewels of that beloved franchise - wasn't free of awful moments, such as the transporter accident in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) early on in the feature. Fantasy has taught us that moving objects through space, and sometimes through time, is fraught with peril. Random teleportation is even more frightening: who would want to take a casual step forward on a city street, a country field, or in the safety of a school or office building, only to find themselves transported to a remote jungle, desert or the middle of the ocean? Suddenly appearing in medieval times wouldn't be a picnic, either. In an earlier article on the subject of bizarre relocations in space, we mentioned Isaac Asimov's "Pebble in the Sky", whose protagonist, Joseph Schwartz, suddenly finds himself on a future planet Earth where people are condemned to die at the age of sixty. The retired tailor avoids "stepping over a Raggedy Ann" doll to find himself in an empty field, looking nowhere like his native Chicago.

In more recent times, the U.S. Air Force has commissioned the Teleportation Research Study (AFRL-PR-ED-TR-2003-0034) that includes a very interesting paragraph. "Very early investigations of, and experiments on, p-Teleportation occurred during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many cases that were studied, and the experiments that were performed, were undoubtedly due to fraud, and few experiments have occurred under controlled conditions during that period [...] Psychics Uri Geller (1975) and Ray Stanford (1974) claimed to have been teleported on several occasions. Most claimed instances of human teleportation of the body from one place to another have been unwitnessed. There are also a small number of credible reports of individuals who reported being teleported to/from UFOs during a UFO close encounter, which were scientifically investigated (Vallée, 1988, 1990, 1997). But a larger number of such reports are anecdotal, whereby the witness data tends to be unreliable." It is nonetheless fascinating to look back at some of these early accounts of teleportation.

The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology gives us the intriguing case of Ofelia Corrales (no relation) and her siblings, who were seen to suddenly vanish from the living room of their early 20th century home in San Jose, Costa Rica only to reappear in the back yard. To their delight, without a scrap of fear, they were returned to the living room in the same manner. The bizarre claims were investigated by law professor Alberto Brenes, who wrote that children had been placed the greenhouse as part of a test. A loud report was heard, and when the living room doors were unlocked, they found the youngsters, whose ages ranged from seven to ten - standing single-file inside, laughing and discussing the experience. When Brenes asked them the manner in which they had been spirited away, the children described feeling a kind of "pressure under their arms" and then finding themselves in the place to which they had been taken. "Spirits" were deemed to be responsible for this activity, and researchers interacted with them.

These were the years of spiritualism and the investigation of forces unseen to humans, conducted earnestly by persons of unimpeachable reputation. Frauds were unmasked, as could be expected, but other cases presented a challenge, such as the 1901 case involving Italy's Pansini family, where the teleportation phenomenon appeared to center around their son Alfredo. The youngster was possessed by "angelic forces" who instilled with mediumistic abilities and the less desirable attribute of being able to vanish suddenly from his home in Ruvo di Puglia, reappearing elsewhere in the town or in adjacent communities - in one instance, the boy found himself aboard a fishing vessel at sea. The case was the subject of research by Dr. Joseph Lapponi, a physician with ties to the Vatican, who included it in his book L'Hypnotisme et le spiritisme, étude médico-critique (Perrin, 1907). Teleportation bedeviled not only poor Alfredo, but his sibling as well. "Very often in a few minutes and in various ways, writes Lapponi, "the boys have found themselves successively at Biscelglie, Giovinazzo, Mariotta, and Terlizzi, from whence they returned to Ruvo either by the help of friends of the family or the public Authorities. One day the two boys were in the Piazza di Ruvo at 1:35 in the afternoon and at 1:45 were at Trani, before the door of the house of one of their uncles, Signor Girolamo Maggiore." The author adds: "It was concluded to useless to fight against the supernatural forces" and the boys were allowed to remain paranormal shuttlecocks, at the mercy of the unknown "angels." (The reader will allow a brief note at this point - the Alfredo Pansini of this disturbing paranormal case is not the Alfredo Panzini who went on to write the screenplay for the 1926 version of The Last Days of Pompeii, and who was a distinguished lexicographer as well).

Spanish researcher Marcelino Requejo looked into a high-strangeness event that took place in Galicia, Spain’s northwestern corner. On May 7, 2007, Juan M.L. and Bernardo D.G. became the protagonists of a bizarre incident in the vicinity of Lugo. The events took place around 15:00 hours as they traveled in their car toward a saw mill located near the city. Apparently they were barely one kilometer from their destination at a location known as Piugos da Pena, and had just left behind a well-known automotive dealership, when the witnesses noticed a dense fog that appeared to emerge from their vehicle.

They pulled over on the shoulder to see what was going on. The smoke vanished. Only seconds after continuing their journey, they realized that they were in a completely different location from the one they had been before.

"We had no idea where we were," said Juan. "We were only meters away from the sawmill and we suddenly found ourselves next to a road sign that read: "Santa Eulalia de Bóveda". So, completely astonished, we decided to continue driving to Santa Eulalia to see if we could get to the saw mill from there."

In the wink of an eye, they had traversed the 6 kilometers that separate the environs of the saw mill and the detour to Santa Eulalia de Bóveda. While they looked for the way back, both men witnessed an odd phenomenon: the Sun appeared to be right in the middle of a gigantic, smoky triangle.

Aside from the notorious “Vidal Case” and its fictional trappings, one of the most interesting teleportation experiences on record is that of Carlos Acevedo and Miguel Angel Moya which occurred in Argentina in 1978. Both men were participating in the first stage of the Rally de America del Sur, an event involving a number of drivers and sponsored by major organizations. Much like the better known Paris-Dakar competition, the rally sought to test the limits of both man and machine by asking drivers to go from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to Buenos Aires.
By the time Acevedo’s vehicle – a Citroen GS – reached the Andean resort city of Bariloche, he had lost his co-pilot, Hugo Prambs, and replaced him with Miguel Angel Moya. During the last leg of the rally, the drivers stopped for fuel in Viedma, Province of Rio Negro, and much needed coffee. At 2 o’clock in the morning on September 23rd, the race car was on the road again, heading toward Bahía Blanca (notorious in UFO and teleportation chronicles). At around 3 in the morning, Acevedo and Moya had reached the salt flats located to the north of Carmen de Patagones with Acevedo at the wheel.

They were about to enter the pages of the history of the unknown.

An overwhelmingly bright light became visible in the car’s rear view mirror. It was subsequently described as a “dense yellow light” which appeared at first as small dot, yet increased in size at it approached.

The Citroen’s crew was not in the least bit alarmed, thinking the light represented the headlights of one of the other vehicles involved in the rally. Acevedo slowed down and moved over to the shoulder to allow the competitor to “pass”. The light had other intentions.

According to the driver, the passenger compartment was bathed in light, blinding the occupants. Acevedo felt he had lost control of the Citroen, which was now six feet above the ground. In a split second of confusion, the driver thought the vehicle must have hit a bump on the road and become airborne, waiting for the inevitable crash as the car hit the paved road again. But the car kept rising into the air.

In subsequent interviews, the racer would say that it took him a number of seconds to realize he was caught in an abnormal situation, unable to see his dashboard or even the car’s hood on account of the dense yellow light with a “slightly violet cast” to it. Turning to his co-pilot, he was stunned to see that Moya was “no longer there” or had become invisible.
Moya, on his part, would later say that Acevedo looked rigid, with outstretched arms clutching the steering wheel, staring straight ahead. The driver appeared to be screaming, but nothing was coming out. The overpowering yellow fog had them in its clutches, causing enough fear in the co-pilot that Moya thought to bail, reaching for the car door handle. The door appeared to be welded shut as the temperature inside the passenger compartment increased. “Suddenly,” he told interviewers, “the light enveloped everything and I could see nothing whatsoever. I don’t think I could even see my own hands.”

There was a shudder and Acevedo realized the car was on the road surface once more. The light dimmed and normal visibility was restored as the “object” – a cone of yellowish light – departed in a westward direction. Driver and co-pilot exchanged stunned looks, remaining silent. What unknown force had overtaken their car, and what was it after?
Realizing that his first duty was to the car, Acevedo stepped outside to inspect the vehicle before getting back in and resuming the drive. Upon reaching a filling station in the town of Pedro Luro, north of Carmen de Patagones, they had a shocking realization: the distance between these communities was seventy-eight miles (127 km) and the odometer showed they had only covered thirty-two miles (52 km). However, the clock showed that it had taken them a little under two and half hours to cover a journey that should have taken an hour and fifteen minutes. Worse yet: the Citroen’s fuel tank – filled to capacity during their stop in Viedma – was now completely empty.

An article appeared at www.Hoy.com in 2010 featuring corroborating testimony by two other drivers:

“Race car drivers Edmundo Carvajal and German-born Lothar Ranft were the only Ecuadoran team to participate in the Rally Sudamericano held in September 1978.

“Carvajal and Ranft finished the race, which was an accomplishment in itself for an unserviced vehicle. But aside from participating in the race, both shared an experience involving an alleged UFO witnessed by a pair of Chilean drivers. The unusual situation took place in the penultimate lap of the Rally, organized by the Automovil Club de Argentina.

“We were leaving the Comodoro Rivadavia to Bahía Blanca leg,” explains the former tricolor driver, stating that the incident occurred during a normal stage of the competition. “A Citroen vehicle belonging to a Chilean businessman by the surname of Acevedo passed us before a curve, and this was followed by a very long straight segment, typical of the Pampas, some 80 to 100 kilometers long. I never saw him again after the curve. This drew our attention, because the vehicle wasn’t going that fast, to point that we couldn’t even see its lights.”

“In the early morning hours, Carvajal and Ranft reached a filling station. They found Carlos Acevedo standing outside his car; co-pilot Miguel Angel Moya sitting inside, and many people surrounding them.

“When we got there, we asked them what had happened, because we noticed they were extremely nervous. He told us that after the long straight segment, they saw a very bright light come up behind them; they thought it was one of the Mercedes Benz units that were winning the rally. They were about to pull aside to allow them to pass, but the light became more intense and didn’t pass them by – it placed itself above them.”

“The light lifted our car,” Acevedo allegedly told Carvajal.

“The light carried the car through the air for a few seconds, and at the end, they were deposited without a drop of gasoline in their tank near a filling station. Acevedo recovered from the fright, but his co-pilot was pale and in shock.

“Skeptically, Carvajal noted that “it could have been a well-contrived ruse” but three things impressed him: “[Acevedo and Moya] arrived at the filling station nearly an hour and fifteen minutes before we did. This means an average speed of 4000 kilometers per hour. This was confirmed, because they took time to report the case to the local police. Their odometer showed that the vehicle had covered less than 70 kilometers. Add to that the co-pilot’s state of shock. One can make up stories, but it must be very hard to get into such a state on purpose.”

“Once they reached Buenos Aires, the drivers of the Rally Sudamericano received their awards from Juan Manuel Fangio, the five-time World Formula One champion. There was a celebration later that evening. “We were in a group of friends talking to Acevedo. A lady approached and jokingly asked why they had made up the story about the UFO. They became annoyed with this person and decided to leave the party. Acevedo said that he was a serious businessman in his country and that discussing his experience could be harmful. But what they had experienced was indeed true.” (INEXPLICATA, March 10, 2010).

Interest in abrupt teleportation was rekindled in 2017 as a result of news stories concerning the “Hermandarias Event” – an incident during which a teenager vanished within his own home, only to reappear miles away at a taxi stand, having contacted his worried relatives from that location.

The incident occurred on Monday, 22 May, around 22:30 hours in the small and pleasant town of Hernandarias, Province of Entre Rios, Argentina. The situation: a family gathered together for dinner. A 13-year-old had been sent to another part of the property to fetch certain items. An adult gave him a hand in opening a door that presented certain difficulties and was in fact stuck, causing the boy to be delayed. The man struggled with the stuck door for two or three minutes, and upon turning around to look, he noticed that the teen was no longer there. Supposing he'd returned to the rest of the family, the man did the same. Confusion reigned: no one had seen the boy.

Concerned, they took to the street as a group to find him, something that took the family less than ten minutes to accomplish when a cellphone rang. It was the teenager, saying he had no idea how he suddenly found himself at a "taxi stand". He described the location. Meanwhile, the police - which had already been alerted - identified the location and went to collect him. The youth did not understand what had happened. All he knows is that he was standing behind he was "blinded by a powerful light" and heard "a snapping noise", finding himself next at the place where he was ultimately found.

Researcher Gustavo Fernández – whose investigative team has been granted exclusive access to the family – describes the main experiencer, identified only as “R.”, as a quiet, introverted fellow who interacts with a limited number of relatives and acquaintances, never leaving his home unless escorted by a family member, hardly the type of fellow who would pull a prank. Fernandez also dismissed suggestions that the experiencer “had run at top speed” from his home to the taxi stand in order to stage the deception.

“No satisfactory theory exists to explain the mechanism of such events,” wrote Stuart Gordon in his compilation The Paranormal-An Illustrated Encyclopedia (London: Headline, 1992). “If indeed it is possible to take apart the billions of constituent atoms in any one body, then somehow transport them, or the information as to their organisation, to a distant point, there to reassemble them exactly in their former arrangement, this is a science unknown…or forgotten.”



          How Many Words?        
The following is a compendium of my thoughts on writing four years ago. It is a baseline check on what I still retain:


The Anchoress has gotten very angry about a rude and obscene t-shirt directed at the Pope. He certainly doesn't deserve such treatment, and her anger is quite understandable. Of course, she has her own inimitable take on what the whole business really means:



"What I am wondering about is the strange fascination the left seems to have with the F-word....Gad, I can't stand boomers. I am one, technically, but I have never liked this generation. Even back then, when I was 13, I hated this pre-occupation with "self" that is so much a part of that crowd. Even back then, at 13, I thought the Woodstock Chant was lame.


The F-word is so done, SO overplayed. But the boomers and their limited progeny can't let it go. The F-word is their calling card, their banner, their meaningless creed.


I bet if you asked the marketer of the F*** Benedict XVI shirts if he is a liberal, he would say he is, or that he is "progressive," or something. When I was growing up, raised by classically liberal parents, I was taught that being liberal meant being open-minded, allowing others to live and let live - giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, and most of all, engaging in real, meaningful discussion, not flippant blow-offs...."


Well, gee.


PROSPERO: When thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes
With words that made them known.



CALIBAN: You taught me language; and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse.



The Tempest, I, ii


To know how to curse. It is the Big Secret that no one in America really talks about, so no one learns. I learned. And learning it was one of my triumphs of literary control over my mother tongue.
I learned it from literary masters like Jonathan Swift.


Most Americans are left in the dark about it because we are taught from the cradle, and in school, that we really all ought to be "making nice" to everybody whether we believe it or not.


Where does that leave all of us, boomers or others? In exactly the same place where George Orwell found so much that was compelling in the style of Henry Miller:


"For the truth is that many ordinary people, perhaps an actual majority, do speak and behave in just the way that is recorded here. The callous coarseness with which the characters in Tropic of Cancer talk is very rare in fiction, but it is extremely common in real life; again and again I have heard just such conversations from people who were not even aware that they were talking coarsely."


But I really learned how to curse. I learned to hoard the words miserly, like gold nuggets, and not waste them on silly things that meant nothing. Strong words are for real emotions, not mere pique or startlement, and, particularly, not mere pique about something purely entertaining.


They should be used sparingly, and for maximum rhetorical effect. When you say them or write them, you should really mean every syllable of them, tasting every drop of bile in them, and building a full emotional head of steam before you let them explode.


A properly articulated obscenity requires a beautiful literary setting. The target of one's hatred should be built up artfully, in a baroque fantasia of language like an elaborate white wedding cake.


Then the single salty word can have the effect of blasting the white wedding cake with a sawed-off shotgun.


I was born in the 1950's. I call myself "liberal" or "progressive" interchangeably, and I mean something very precise by those words. What I mean by them is not a synonym for "making nice" to everybody. How much that makes me a part of the Anchoress' "they" on the left--who are so self-absorbed and adolescent--I'll leave to your good judgment.


But I have never lost touch with the fact that there are many places where some people have no "happily ever after" and have no future to "make nice" about anything.


Americans, generally, are not very well acquainted with the fact that such places exist, and they are usually too busy "making nice" to understand them.


One thing is certain, and it will never be learned by merely "making nice".


There are things in this world that deserve to be treated with language like the blasting of a wedding cake with a shotgun.


Why do we who write on this marvelous invention of the weblog soil our common tongue with ugly and inappropriate words about what we do here?


Blog.


We seem to be totally indifferent to the emotional resonance and overtones of English which has made it the glory of its poets and the constant but cruel love of its prose writers. They keep the flame of this alive in the entertainment arts. In the Star Trek mythos, for example, "Borg" is the epitome of inhuman unfreedom, a beehive where the bees are burdened with all the mechanical ironmongery of an opthomologist's consulting room.


"Blog" is equally as ugly, but we, certainly, are not. We are merely the same fallible and tragic human beings, writing in English, as Donne, Swift, Keats, or Henry James. Why turn our back on that heritage with a label on our form so ugly?


It is now in common usage, so, of course, I must endure the copyblot of it in my writing as in others. To do elsewise is to be too precious and persnickity for a direct writer of the English tongue. So I blog with the rest of us. But I don't have to like it, and I don't.


Meme.


In more specific terms, a meme is a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution having some resemblance to the gene (the unit of genetics). The difference lies in the replicative potential and minimally required resources to replicate. Memes can represent parts of ideas, languages, elemental particles, tunes, designs, skills, moral and aesthetic values and anything else that is commonly learned and passed on to others as a unit. The study of evolutionary models of information transfer is called memetics.....In casual use, the term meme is sometimes used to mean any piece of information that is passed from one mind to another. (Wickipedia)


This neologism is not ugly, particularly. It would be wonderful delineating a fur pattern on a slithy tove or a mome rath, as we call a cat calico, tabby, or tortiseshell. But both the real definition and the derivation (from "memory" in Greek) are simply a lie. "Daffodils that come before the swallow dare," did not do itself. A particular man named Shakespeare did it. It has not propagated itself. Particular human beings have read it, referred to it, and quoted it, directly or indirectly.


"Meme" is a metaphor, which, in its proper place of a specific scientific field of study can function intelligibly as a model, because, in its proper context, responsible and intelligent scientists remain fully aware that you cannot ride in the elevator of a model of the Empire State Building.


In causal use it is a metaphor run wild, as so many do in English, and a dangerous one at that. Note that this last sentence is also a metaphor, but one under my intellectual control. The implication that our ideas somehow do themselves is an early step toward the inhuman unfreedom of the Borg.


Now I know why it is so tempting. The actual relation of language to the writer is a great and not wholly describable mystery; we can hint at only by describing it as like breeding of horses--Daffodils Which Come Before The Swallow Dare, sired by Shakespeare, out of English. Meme, in its casual use is a way of both acknowledging, and glossing over this mystery with pseudoscience.


It has also become an ugly term of abuse, in a blogosphere which resembles nothing so much as a continuous political pie fight where the custard cream has been replaced by chickenshit. I am, by the way, a seasoned writer of English and I claim the same right as Swift to use vulgarity and ugliness to describe vulgarity and ugliness, keeping is very rare for maximum literary effect, and, unlike its use in the writing of so many out there, it also is tightly under my control.


Any idea that you don't like is a "meme" which someone bad and bent (Democrats, Republicans, the Religious Right, the Bush-hating Left, whatever) has propagated and needs to be stamped out.


"Meme" itself deserves to be stamped out. It is a lie, it is not a legitimate part of the common tongue, it is destructive to the notion of freedom of ideas, and it terminally offends my taste. So you have not seen it in posts prior to this, and you will never see it here again without the prophylactic of inverted commas.


Would that my fellow bloggers were so choosy as I.


More often than not I write these reflections directly on the screen. Occasionally, however, I have both the time and opportunity to work longhand and in ink, with a nib pen by preference.


There are deep memories associated with this for me; myself in the third grade making the letters using a Schafer pen with a ball nib, conscious all the while of the physical pleasure of writing with a real pen, instead of an ink stick. It has much the same feeling, resonating in the fingers all the way up past the elbow and beyond, of the satisfyingly exact scratching of an itch with the hard pointed corner of a square clipped fingernail.


These days, I prefer a square calligraphy nib. It slows you down to prose period speed as you draw each thick black stroke definitively. Phrase follows phrase and clause follows clause with a pace like slowly rolling thunder.


A square nib keeps an old hand honest, for it will write neither crabbed nor scratchy. The letter forming technique must remain both precise and fluid for the ink to even stain the paper. Another thing that keeps both an old hand and old eyes honest is quad ruled paper. The blue lines of N-S, E-W naturally correct variations in line levelness and letter slant.


I say writing, but I actually print, in a style with a flat nib that wavers from italic to half uncial. I abandoned cursive at the age of twenty-one, due to a complaint from a snotty supervisor, deputized to "help" my regular supervisor, about how my writing looked on a carbon paper form. It was all hand work in those pre-personal computer days. Info from the forms was keyed in by specialists to a mainframe with far less capacity than any CPU sitting under a desk today.


I could print as fast as I could write cursive (this was a rare accomplishment); I disliked the style of cursive that I was taught in school, the same one, I believe, still taught in Columbus today; and I was always impressed by the high degree of legibility possible with printing in a young and flexible hand wielding a ball nib pen.


My father had a beautiful cursive that I envied greatly. He was taught the Palmer Method cursive in Chicago catholic schools, in the dim and comfortable years before the Great Depression. It required more time, practice, and training than my cursive, which is undoubtedly why the schools abandoned it. We must remember that in the 1920's a personal typewriter in the home was perhaps no more common than a collating copier there today. When it did exist there, it was likely to be the prized possession of a professional writer, but not very many other people.


Back then, you received typewritten letters from businesses, but you commonly wrote handwritten letters to them. Portable personal typewriters were commonplace when I learned to write, and it was becoming more "businesslike" to use them in home to business correspondence. Which is why schools had ceased to care about anything but expediency and ease of teaching in the matter of penmanship.


My father's initials, WM, were spectacular in Palmer Method capitals. They looked like species tulips nodding in the wind, since each sharp turn of the pen in a letter was executed with a graceful and narrow oval loop, and the flow of the letter slant was an elegant 25 degrees or so NNE. My script was pedestrian and ugly beyond belief beside this, even when you wrote it well, and I doubt I could even write it today, except for my check signature, which is as spiky as the track of a seismograph, the flat nib turned almost due north/south, and the ink shredding in an irascable temper. I hope never to have to try to write anything else in it.


When I look at the business letter formats built into Word and Works today, it is amusing to see how they still derive from those old, handwritten, business letters of eighty and more years ago. It is like the nose, cheekbones, and jawline of my maternal grandfather staring back at me in the mirror, married incongruously to the paternal forehead of both my father and his father.


There are layers in such designs, for eyes to see than care to and can, of penmanship, of feathery carbon copies in unevenly worn typewritten pica, and of the rough rasters and pixels of the early personal computers--a ghostly trace of each in every hopeful resume and cover letter destined today for the paper shredder with nary a reply back, as was once the courtesy of businesses, now long lost, even when I was growing up.


I recently had lots of contact with the handwriting of American students. I won't give details because the people who let me do this are as touchy about such things as if they were fighting terrorists. One thing that struck me was the persistence of a cursive style (in my day confined to girls, and probably still so) that has no name as far as I know, but which I always called "cutesy round curliques". When I do so, I suspect almost everybody knows what I mean. It is an ink stick (a.k.a. ballpoint pen) style and, from my mature perspective, deserves far more respect than I gave it forty years ago.


It is not an official style. It seems to have been an underground tradition passed on among schoolgirls as the years have passed, probably by example in letters and notes between them. As a man dedicated to the pen, it gives me hope. For people who exercise their own private taste in the matter of handwriting, as opposed to the majority, who let it deteriorate anyhow as they age, are the people who will keep pens, ink, and paper alive.


They are worth keeping alive.


Putting a good pen to responsive paper makes ideas come. The pleasure of the nib dragging; the sight of regular black marks appearing out of nowhere, row upon row; and the magic thing that happens in the head when 4 or 5 or 6 of those black marks make a mental picture of things or relations--all of these support a visceral craving for the process to continue and they bestir the brain to make this happen.


The magic gets even more incredible as you age because whole letters in words can (and unfortunately do) disappear into hyperspace as you write. But, despite this, the pictures in the mind generally remain the same. Real ink, smoothly flowing and richly sustaining in its satisfying blackness of thin stroke next to thick, has what they call in wine-tasting mouth-feel, only a better term would be mind-feel.


I think the difference between being a writer and merely being someone who writes is an emotional relation to prose periods. Does anyone even use that word anymore to describe the components of a sentence rather than merely for the little dot at the end? A writer strives not only to make the words mean what he wants to say, but also to make the sentences fit the shape and speed of his mind like a well made suit of clothes fits the body. We call this prose style.


My mind, I think, is slower than some, shrewder than many, and chronically self-reflective. It needs space and a stately pace. Which is why any who read this blog regularly should expect a style with long running sentences, of many phrases and clauses, and constant parenthetical remarks to develop the premises of my thought. These are then contrasted with short, simple, and biting declarative sentences to hammer home the conclusions.


I know this makes for a prose not to everyone's taste, since it requires to be read with concentration to be understood. But, then, my premises and conclusions are not to everyone's taste, either.


In my random junk drawer of more than 45 years of extensive reading, I once came across the remark that English doesn't have grammar, it has manners. That may be slightly exaggerated, but, in some sense, it is profoundly true. English is more than the sum of its grammatical parts. Conventions of grammar and usage in English are a particularly arbitrary imposition on a language which is not only living, but rather prone to wild living, fast living, and high living.


Sometimes, to make the sense you need to make in the way you need to make it, you have to return grammar and usage conventions suddenly and without notice. The sentence fragment, the comma splice, the split infinitive, the starting of a sentence with a conjunction, the (very occasional) rude, salty, and vulgar word, and the extension of the meaning of a word beyond its dictionary definition or its derivation, are all resources to be used, with discretion, as long as you preserve good English manners. Of course, we can't tell the schoolchildren this, but when they are out of earshot, we can admit it to ourselves.


The longer sentences necessary for the fit to the peculiar shape of my mind require a more antique punctuation than contemporary style manuals encourage--far more commas to differentiate distinct segments of thought, as well as more liberal use of parenthesis and em-dash.


Finding effective punctuation is one of my greatest writing challenges, which I sometimes do not wholly meet. The difference, for example, in choosing to use the semi-colon in the first paragraph above, and to avoid it for commas two paragraphs back, is superficially inconsistent, but expresses a need to keep the two different lists of things stylistically distinct, with the first list requiring more definite separation of the members than the second.


Also, for the sake of blogging, which is a pioneering virtual prose form where on-screen reading is distinctly more difficult than in the hard copy forms of book or magazine, a different approach to paragraph breaks, closer to newspaper style than book style, is required for maximum clarity. This is particularly true for a style like mine.


Conventionally, paragraphs are supposed to delineate complete thoughts, no matter how long a block of text this requires or how many different aspects of the same thought are being explored.


But, onscreen, such a long and heavy basket weave of text makes very difficult reading, which, as a reader, I find destructive to comprehension; and the scrolling function is no substitute for the ease of re-reading in books or periodicals where the pages move but the paragraphs don't.


Consequently, I insert paragraph breaks liberally almost anywhere that significant variation in the focus of the thought can excuse them.


In a like manner, I find one of the most useful functions in my blog engine is the electronic fold for most posts further down the blogroll. It saves the reader's time in scrolling and presents the very worthy writing challenge of making enough sense on the front end of an essay so the reader can discern, without having to be told, that it continues below the fold, as well as provide enough information to make an intelligent decision whether or not to continue reading. Of course, I don't always meet these challenges either.


But challenges you are not sure of being up to are one of the things that make writing fun. And if it's not fun, why do it?


Finally, there is the matter of gender and number of indefinite personal pronouns. This is, of course, a political correctness minefield. When I write a sentence such as the one above:


...not only to make the words mean what he wants to say, but also to make the sentences fit the shape of his mind...


I am taking a calculated risk that my reader will know, in context, that I am largely, though not exclusively, talking about me, and I use the masculine gender because it is my gender. Thus he or she will not be offended.


The entire issue is one of the most delicate and difficult in the prose graces of contemporary English. Giving offense when you don't intend to is a major breach of manners, thus political correctness, whatever its abstract merits, has a reasonable claim here.


But most of the alternatives are equally suspect as breaches of mannerly prose. Use of the pronoun "one" more than once in a sentence has a pedantic, snobbish, pseudo-British sound. "He/she", or sometimes "he/she/it" is a barbaric American violation of the relations of spoken English to written English. For the only sensible pronunciations of he/she/it, given English vowel length and vowel color, would be "heesheet" in America, "hishit" in Britain, and "heeSHEit" in pretentious American academese, the pronunciation generally favored by the most extreme partisans of political correctness.


"He or she" is also not a politically correct alternative which wears well over the long haul. With the ghost of spoken language always in the ear when the pictures of written language are in the mind, overusing "he or she" makes the writer sound like a braying donkey: heORshe, heORshe, heORshe...


Thus the only sensible and mannerly alternative to meet the problem that I can see is to sacrifice number to gender, substituting the vagueness of number of "you" (since we no longer use "thou" and, if we had it available, we would use the "familiar" form of "thou" in most such contexts) or the inconsistency of number agreement created using "they". Thus:


...not only to make the words mean what you want to say, but also to make the sentences fit the shape of your mind...


or


...not only to make the words mean what they want to say, but also to make the sentences fit the shape of their mind...


Not the best of choices, but the ones, I think, which are the best mannered.


One thing is certain. I feel very lucky to read and write English, for all its challenges and difficulties, and to see English prose emerge so flowingly for me from my fountain pen.


I hope that he, she, it, one, you, and they do too.


I write now as clearly as I ever have, but the sentences are flat, without the emotional sparkle that my old blogging sustained. There are fewer metaphors, less vivid and varied language, and truly fewer ideas. Perhaps I wrote myself out, for after a certain point the original writing just dried up. I tried to restart several times, but the bipolarity stopped me like a brick wall.

But I did not take it on directly. I am now.
          Star Trek        


Plot:
A chronicle of the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.




http://rapidshare.com/files/238993577/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238994704/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238994862/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part2.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238993830/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part2.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238995032/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part3.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238994055/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part3.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238995272/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part4.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238995509/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part5.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238995702/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part6.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238995882/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part7.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/238995900/_RS.com__Star_Trek__2009.part8.rar


          CBL016: What’s in the Box?        
After alienating the listeners we jump into some comic and book talk focusing on DC’s Third Army and Throne of Atlantis. Harold talks about a real book with words and no pictures that he read and Mike tells us about Doctor Who / Star Trek and some Marvel books. They … Continue reading
          ã€ŒSTAR TREK ONLINE」の51        
「STAR TREK ONLINE」のご紹介の続きです。

MISSION 57: OF BAJOR(続き)
ベイジョーのルテナント・ジレル・カフから少し離れたところにいるコロネル・カブス・ポールのところに行って話しかけます。
噴水の前で演説しているベイジョランプロテスターに話しかけ、彼の機嫌を損ねないように話を進めていきます。コロネル・カブス・ポールのところに報告に戻ります。
オーブ・オブ・プロフェシー・アンド・チェンジにアクセスし、彼らがベイジョーをあきらめていないという言質を得ます。
コマンダー・メシ・アチェーブに報告します。サブスペースフリクェンシーを使って周波数を合わせて3度通信し、ハドランから情報を得たら、コマンダー・メシ・アチェーブに報告します。
ディープスペース9にコンタクトし、キャプテン・カーランドと通信し、キャプテン・カーランド、カルカン、ロリスが会話するカットシーンを見ます。
キャプテン・カーランドにビデオを見せてもらいます。ロリスに、ヒストリカルレコードを見せます。コマンダー・メシ・アチェーブに報告し、リワードを受け取ります。
          ã€ŒSTAR TREK ONLINE」の50        
「STAR TREK ONLINE」のご紹介の続きです。

MISSION 56: OF BAJOR
ベイジョーに行き、コマンダー・メシ・アチェーブに話しかけてから、ルテナント・ジレル・カフに話しかけます。街中のコンピューターコアにファイアーウォールセキュリティプロトコルをアップデートし、ルテナント・ジレル・カフに報告します。
次に、グラウンドコンバットトレーニングを行います。ホロデッキに行き、荷物の中からライフサインを探します。チェンジリングが現れるので、倒してから捕まえます。シミュレーションを終え、ホロデッキから出ます。ルテナント・ジレル・カフに報告に戻ります。
ホロデッキに行き、コンバットトレーニング「スモールクラフト」を行います。次々に現れるジェムハダー船を倒していきます。シミュレーションを終え、ホロデッキから出ます。ルテナント・ジレル・カフに報告に戻ります。
          Geek Trivia: Which Star Trek Character Was Added Specifically To Appeal To Teenage Viewers?        
Think you know the answer? Click through to see if you're right!
          Desktops: Dell Studio XPS 8000 Intel Core i5-750 Desktop with 6GB RAM, 750GB HDD, 20" LCD $999        

Specs: Intel Core i5-750 2.66GHz, 6GB DDR3, 750GB, 16x DVD+/-RW + 16x DVD-ROM Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, 512MB GC, 2Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, 15-Months McAfee SecurityCenter, Star Trek Movie and Game Flash Drive Included!

          MyIGN Secret Santa: Thank You ShinjiTakeyama You're AWESOME!!!        

Hello and Happy Holiday's my fellow nerds and nerdettes!!! Hiro here with my thank you post to ShinjiTakeyama! This is my second year taking part in giving and receiving Christmas cheer and mad Shinji didn't disappoint. Now I'm not a hard man to shop for, I stick to three things: comic books, nerd swag and my go to gift choice gift cards. So to kick things off, let's but on some mood music, shall we?

Such pretty wrapping

Such pretty wrapping

When UPS dropped off the package I thought WHOA!!! It's heavy! Then when I open the box each of the presents and little notes:

Red Package: Numbah One! Second Package: Go Back For 2nd!(s) and the third package: Witty pun for three on third! Oh Shinji you kidder you!

MINE!!! ALL MINE!!!

MINE!!! ALL MINE!!!

The gifts are a Star Trek "Command" badge, I now have to find something to go with it. Personal pizza pans, now I don't have to burn my dinner for on pizzas on the racks anymore. Finally I consider this a gem beyond gems; The comic book I received is called Leaving Megaloplis, by Gail Simone (She's my favorite writer) The basic premise is superheroes going batshit insane and killing all the citizen they have swore to protect! It's bloody, gory and dare I say it....even sexy.

No you don't!

No you don't!

This is the post card that was inside the comic.

Thanks again Shinji and a HUGE thanks to Isabel and Jose for doing this again for another year.

 

 


          Coffee Video Thursday #17: Star Trek for Colombian Coffee        




I must admit I was never a Star Trek fan that's why I never knew that they were endorsing Colombian coffee. It's just funny how their captain, Sulu, just had to get his coffee since there were no more coffee left in the ship after the last cup broke because of the turbulence. They had to go back home which was light years away just to get coffee. Needing his coffee, Sulu couldn't wait any longer and when he was told that they should fly apart, then he said:

FLY APART THEN!!!

LOL! What a funny line! I just love these kinds of commercials. Hope I could find more like this especially related to coffee. Until our next Coffee Video Thursday...

          Check Out The Trailer For ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Straight From Comic-Con!!!        
Hey guys, Jana here, Many of the members of the newest iteration of the ‘Star Trek‘ TV series were present when Comic-Con opened their doors to the series. Rainn Wilson stepped in as moderator and will also play Harry Mudd in the series. He was joined on stage by Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, […]
          50 things to love through 50 years of ‘Star Trek'        

The original sci-fi series marks its 50th anniversary this autum

Fans continue to obsess over the pop-culture touchstone

Click to Continue »
          Please Welcome Gates McFadden to Salt Lake Comic Con 2017!        
  Welcome, Salt Lake Comic Con 2017 guest…Gates McFadden!! Cheryl Gates McFadden is an American actress and choreographer and is best known for playing Dr. Beverly Crusher in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and four successive films. Learn more about Gates here! Join the conversation on Facebook here!
          DVD Verdict 1568 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (Cliff Eidelman)        

This week, Clark spotlights the music of composer Cliff Eidelman, with selections from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Triumph of the Spirit, Magdalene, A Simple Twist of Fate, The Meteor Man, Free Willy 3: The Rescue, Meteor Man, One True Thing, An American Rhapsody, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.


          DVD Verdict 1508 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (Time Travel)        

This week, Clark offers up music from time travel movies! You'll hear selections from Back to the Future, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Timecop, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Time Machine, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Source Code, Peggy Sue Got Married, Planet of the Apes, Time After Time, The Final Countdown, and Somewhere in Time.


          Por el amor de Spock        

PeliculaOnline.Org

Adam Nimoy le preguntó a su padre, Leonard, si querría participar en un documental sobre Spock. El actor aceptó, y poco después empezó una campaña para financiar el proyecto que batió récords. El resultado es un documento exhaustivo y entrañable que, coincidiendo con el 50 aniversario de Star Trek, homenajea al actor que le puso […]

The post Por el amor de Spock appeared first on PeliculaOnline.Org.


          DVD Verdict 1395 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (Star Trek: TOS)        

This week, Clark continues his exploration of classic television by spotlighting music from Star Trek: The Original Series. Alexander Courage, Gerald Fried, and Sol Kaplan provide music for classic episodes like "Amok Time," "Where No Man Has Gone Before," "The Doomsday Machine," and more!


          DVD Verdict 1342 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (New and Recent Releases)        

This week, Clark spotlights another batch of new and recent releases, offering selections from Iron Man 3, Pain and Gain, Da Vinci's Demons, Star Trek Into Darkness, After Earth, and Defiance.


          DVD Verdict 570 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (1982)        

This week, Clark jumps in his time machine and travels back to the year 1982, spotlighting film music selections from The Thing, Poltergeist, E.T., First Blood, Butterfly, Blade Runner, Author! Author!, I Ought to Be in Pictures, The Dark Crystal, A Little Sex and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In addition, he reviews the animated film Shrek: The Final Chapter. Enjoy!

Submit your comments, questions, and suggestions to the Sounds and Sights Discussion Forum.


          DVD Verdict 414 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (New and Recent Releases)        

It's another exciting New and Recent Releases episode as Clark spotlights the latest in the world of film music. You'll hear new music from Drag Me to Hell, Orphan, Pour Elle, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Torchwood: Children of Earth. In addition, you'll hear recently unearthed music from the likes of Good Morning, Miss Dove, Black Widow, Cain's Hundred, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and a bonus track from Silver Streak. To wrap things up, Clark offers a glowing review of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

Clark welcomes your comments, questions, and suggestions in Sounds and Sights Discussion Forum.


          DVD Verdict 350 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (Star Trek)        

Join Judge Clark Douglas as he boldly traverses the musical universe of Star Trek, from the original series to today, featuring selections from Star Trek: The Original Series (1966), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), Star Trek: Voyager (1995), Star Trek: Enterprise (2001), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), Star Trek (2009) -- which is also his movie review of the week -- plus a bonus track from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). Enjoy!

Clark welcomes your comments, questions, and suggestions in The Jury Room.


          DVD Verdict 281 - Sounds and Sights of Cinema (The 1970s)        

Judge Clark Douglas continues his exploration of soundtracks through the decades, by focusing on the polyester and velour sheathed films of the 1970s, featuring selections from Airport (1970), The French Connection (1971), The Godfather (1972), Enter the Dragon (1973), Chinatown (1974), Bite the Bullet (1975), Taxi Driver (1976), Star Wars (1977), Days of Heaven (1978), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), and a bonus track from The Fury (1978). He also includes reviews for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, and The Spirit. Enjoy!

Email your comments, questions, or suggestions to Clark.


          Comment on Review: Tales From The Loop by Stargazer        
I actually prefer the d6 pool system used in Tales, Mutant, and Coriolis since it's way lighter. 2d20 is definitely not a bad system, and I enjoyed its implementation in Modiphius' Star Trek game a lot. But as you may well know I am a sucker for rules-light games, and the Mutant engine definitely fits the bill.
          Comment on Review: Tales From The Loop by Johnkzin        
I kinda wish MYZ (because it's the game-development predecessor to MC, though they diverged quite a bit between the original MYZ and the original Mutant Chronicles), and thus Coriolis and Tales from the Loop, were all using the same "2d20" system that MC, Conan, and Star Trek are using. Do you have any thoughts about comparison/contrast between the two systems?
          Comment on 5 Reasons Why You Should Get The New Star Trek Adventures RPG by Bill        
That's a great price, especially for a licensed game.
          Star Trek : La performance de Karl Urban a ému Leonard Nimoy aux larmes        
Il y a quelques jours, le comédien Karl Urban a raconté lors d'un panel comment il avait appris que son interprétation du Docteur McCoy dans le reboot de la franchise "Star Trek" avait ému Leonard Nimoy aux larmes.

>> Lire l'article | sur AlloCiné - jeudi 10 août 2017




          Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home        
Plot synopsis: In the 23rd century, a mysterious (and strangely phallic) probe is headed towards Earth, destorying everything in its path. Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew time travel back to 1986 to rescue two humpback whales, which are the only living beings capable of communicating with the probe. Wackiness and adventure ensue.

Voices behind the commentary curtain: Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner

Summary: Hands down, one of my favorite commentary tracks of all time. The voices of Kirk and Spock treat us to a delightful mix of Trek trivia, behind the scenes tidbits and general wackiness. Among the highlights on this track is a segment where Shatner quotes D.H. Lawrence while croning whale songs. Yeah… if that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.

Commentary: Full disclosure here – I’m a Star Trek fan. Not the insane Trekkie type per se (I don’t own my own uniform, I don’t live in my parents’ basement, etc), but I’ve seen all 6 of the original series movies and I’ve watched episodes from all of the various series. And Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is my favorite movie in the Trek movie series. So I was certainly inclined to give this movie a good rating if the commentary was halfway decent.

Anyhoo, the commentary track on this DVD (the special Collector’s Edition, woo!) is provided by William Shatner (a.k.a. Captain Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (a.k.a. Spock). Nimoy not only served as an actor in this movie, but also as the director and story co-creator.

Rumors have abounded over the years about the alleged conflict between the Trek stars, especially between Shatner and Nimoy. However, the tone of this commentary is that of two old buddies (or, if that is too strong a word, at least former comrades-in-arms). Both men have a really nice chemistry and they contribute equally to the talking.

I like how they discuss things that fans would – continuity, Trek trivia, etc. Trek fans out there will particularly enjoy the moments where Nimoy and Shatner seem to be commenting not as actors or as a director, but as regular viewers/fans – chuckling at classic character moments such as Bones delivering one of this trademark sarcastic quips. Their knowledge of the history of their show/movie series is solid and they provide a lot of insight into the crafting of the series as a whole, not just this movie. I particularly enjoyed the moments where they reminisce about working with the late DeForest Kelley, affectionately referring to him as “D” and laughing over good old times.

Overall, the commentary is well paced and there is little dead air. The topics run the gamut from highly technical matters such as special effects to more artistic matters such as story telling techniques and acting methods. Nimoy’s age does show now and then with his comments about special effects. He raves about how nifty some of the effects are and how far along they’ve come in the past few decades. It’s sort of like listening to your grandpa talk about technology. Still, he and Shatner do provide a lot of good comments about the history of film making, the process of film making, and the process of acting. You’ll even learn a little something about history and science, as both men discuss the real world plight of whales, the efforts of Greenpeace to protect them and so forth.

As a director, Nimoy is refeshingly frank about what he thinks does and does not work about the movie. For example, he comments that he drops the ball a little on the time travel sequence, admitting that it doesn’t have the impact that he would have liked. There is some discussion about the various special effects and little tricks they used to create different illusions. Mostly Nimoy talks about that – Shatner just raves about how cool it all is. They talk about how budget limited some of the shots they were trying to accomplish, and some of the work-arounds they came up with.

Shatner contributes his own special brand of rambling insanity as well, and it’s his commentary that really makes this track the delicious morsal that it is. He’s a nice mix of pompous, humble and totally delusional. I do appreciate his sense of humor about himself (he admits he hated the idea of time travel, and said so, and was glad that no one listened to him). His moments of self-deprecation are both hilarious and touching. Shockingly enough, every now and then he says something fairly perceptive and/or intelligent. There are some real nuggests of goodness amongst the rambling. His comments about how being on film grants a certain level of immortality to the actors are actually fairly deep and interesting. But such serious moments are balanced out by Shatner’s rambling descriptions of his one man poetry shows (which he re-enacts for listeners, quoting D.H. Lawrence and croning whale songs) and other artistic endeavours.

The Verdict: An almost-perfect commentary track, with something for everyone, from casual fans to the most hardcore Trekkies. If only all commentary tracks were this amusing. Final grade: A


          In the beginning....        
Welcome to "Commentary Commentary"!

mission statement: to review DVD commentary tracks

rating system: A+ to F, just like high school, only without all the atomic wedgies

next movie to be reviewed: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

other planned movies: (in no particular order) Aliens, The Office (U.S. version), Sideways, Kissing Jessica Stein, The 40 Year Old Virgin

how it will work: The plan is to rate the commentary based on the following criteria:
  1. informative - Does the commentary teach you anything interesting? Does it further your understanding of the movie making process at all? Do they have nifty facts to share?
  2. entertaining - Pretty self-explanatory. Will it keep you on the edge of your seat or will it put you to sleep?
  3. awesome-icity level - Is it worth listening to? Is it for fanboys only or for the general public?

Okay, that's all. Look for the Star Trek IV review by next week, hopefully. Yes, I do take requests, so if there's a commentary track out there that you're dying to see reviewed, let me know. Mind you, the score of the DVD will be independent of the actual quality of the movie the commentary accompanies. For example, Dungeons and Dragons was a steaming pile of crap that deserves an F rating. However, if the commentary is amusing and/or informative, I might give the DVD an A-. See ya all later.
          NY Assembly Speaker Takes Life Lessons From Star Trek        
The often reticent New York state Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, showed a different side of himself when the lifelong Star Trek fan visited a museum in New York’s North Country that replicates the fictional Starship Enterprise.
          Jaylah from Star Trek Beyond ~ Movie Rule 34 Compilation [12 Pics]        
...
          BandAid 30 – #CHRISTmas2014 – buy the song…stop the virus #ebola #doinggood        
much good here…great words from Bono…this is like Star Trek the Next Generation…”I’d be happy to stand in the background.” fun video of all the celebrities arriving…wait for Bono at the end.
          Metatropolis: Cascadia Available for Purchase!        

As you've all heard, I was fortunate enough to be included in the Metatropolis sequel that the fine folks at Audible put together with the mighty editorial and storytelling muscles Jay Lake and stories by Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, Mary Robinette Kowal, Karl Schroeder and a certain Trailer Boy.

In addition to the amazing writerly talent my little novella gets to keep company with, we also have the added Yowza! of each story being narrated by a different actor from the Star Trek universe.  (I'm still squeeing over LeVar Burton reading mine.)  I've sampled the audio and video clips about the project over at Audible and this book is made of Awesome and Wow.

And today is the day!  You can download your copy of Metratropolis: Cascadia at Audible and through the i-Tunes Store. 

Go on...what are you waiting for?

(Squee.)



          Woohoo! Exciting Announcement Time!        

So I've already revealed SOME of the details of the sekrit projekt I was working on last spring.  As I announced previously, my novella A SYMMETRY OF SERPENTS AND DOVES will be appearing in Aubible's METATROPOLIS:  CASCADIA -- sequel to the wildly popular METATROPOLIS published originally in audio and later in print.

This audio book, edited by the wildly talented Jay Lake, goes on sale November 16, 2010.

Now I'm back with more and this is the news I've been dying to share.  But first, let's get a look at the cover....


 
Pretty nifty, eh?

But wait.  There's more.

Remember how the first METATROPOLIS had a mostly Battlestar Galactica cast to narrate the novellas?  Well, I can now tell you that the folks at Audible went all out this time and pulled together (drumroll please)....

AN ALL STAR-TREK CAST!!!!!

Go.  Change your underpants.  I had to when I found out, too.

So here's the line-up -- in order of appearance -- and I couldn't be more pleased.

THE BULL DANCERS by Jay Lake
Narrated By: Rene Auberjonois (“Odo”)

 WATER TO WINE by Mary Robinette Kowal
Narrated By: Kate Mulgrew (“Capt. Kathryn Janeway”)

 BYWAYS by Tobias S. Buckell
Narrated By: Wil Wheaton  (“Wesley Crusher”)

 CONFESSOR by Elizabeth Bear
Narrated By: Gates McFadden (“Dr. Beverly Crusher”)

 DEODAND by Karl Schroeder
Narrated By: Jonathan Frakes (“Cmdr. William Riker”)

 A SYMMETRY OF SERPENTS AND DOVES by Ken Scholes
Narrated By: LeVar Burton (“Geordi La Forge”)

Yes, Dear Reader, Geordi La Forge is narrating my novella.  How cool is that?  I've followed Star Trek through all of its incarnations since I was a kid.  I can't even begin to express my wonderment at learning LeVar Burton -- also known for the Reading Rainbow -- is narrating my story.  Pretty amazing stuff.

I love this job.  Big thanks to everyone involved in the project and to Jay for extending the invite.



          Episode 68 - Kaitlin Fontana        
Improvisor/Sketch Performer/Writer Kaitlin Fontana joins us to talk ghosts, Star Trek conventions, and apathetic audiences.


          Episode 38 - Emmett Hall        
Musician/animator/cartoonist Emmett Hall joins us to talk armored men and unlikely pranks. We also unveil two new segment songs, stuntcast Star Trek - The Next Generation, and get everybody's name wrong.
          Star Trek Into Darkness : Bande-annonce 3 - cinetvbuzz        
Star Trek Into Darkness : Bande-annonce 3

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          STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS - Paramount_Pictures_France        
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Au cinéma le 12 juin http://www.startrek-lefilm.fr/ Alors qu'il rentre à sa base, l'équipage de l'Enterprise doit faire face à des forces terroristes implacables au sein même de son organisation. L'ennemi a fait exploser la flotte et tout ce qu'elle représentait, plongeant notre monde dans le chaos... Dans un monde en guerre, le Capitaine Kirk, animé par la vengeance, se lance dans une véritable chasse à l'homme, pour neutraliser celui qui représente à lui seul une arme de destruction massive. Nos héros entrent dans un jeu d'échecs mortel. L'amour sera menacé, des amitiés seront brisées et des sacrifices devront être faits dans la seule famille qu'il reste à Kirk : son équipe. AU CINÉMA LE 12 JUIN, en 3D

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          Die Raumschiffe aus „Star Trek“ im Grössenvergleich        
Wer will da meckern, wenn man sich auch einfach ein paar tolle Raumschiffe anschauen kann? Klar sind nicht alles Raumschiffe (Deep Space Nine) und es stammen auch nicht alle aus „Star Trek“ (die Andromeda), aber mit dabei sind natürlich auch so wundervolle Raumschiffe, wie die Defiant, die Excelsior und die Prometheus, aber auch so eigenartige […]
          GonnaGeek.com Show #198 – Star Trek Discovery, Han Solo Movie, ESA Update and SNES Classic.        
In this week’s show we discuss how Star Trek Discovery is breaking a classic Star Trek rule, how Han Solo has had a crazy director shakeup, the ESA Moving forward on Gravitational Wave and Expoplanet Missions and how it’s possible to make your Echo an intercom. Finally, we’ll discuss the announcement of the Nintendo SNES […]
          GonnaGeek.com Show #194 – Podcaster Pro        
GFQ Network’s Sunkast joins us this episode to discuss Google Play Music changes, new details on how we bombed Mars, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Box Office numbers and the Star Trek Discovery trailer. We’ll also discuss our first thoughts on the Podcaster Pro by Adam Curry – including the incentives that are available. Want […]
          Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan        
40
          GonnaGeek.com Show – #172 – Pebble Is Dead        
GonnaGeek.com’s Michelle Ealey joins us again this week to discuss a dying Disney property, more Star Trek: Discovery casting information, the death of the Pebble Watch, and how Baby Groot is not a marketing gimmick (allegedly). Finally, in this week’s SP’s Space Symposium SP tells you all about XXM Newton! Want to chime in for […]
          GonnaGeek.com Show – #170 – O Captain, My Captain        
In this episode the crew discuss the news that Star Wars: Rogue One won’t have an opening crawl, we discuss Mark Hamill’s latest geeky project, we discuss the news of a casting for Star Trek Discovery (who may or may not be a captain) and GFQ Network’s Sunkast tells you all about how the government […]
          GonnaGeek.com Show – #162 – SP, The Resident Virgin Expert        
During this episode we discuss the latest news in the Samsung Note 7 Fire-Feature, including an official recall and why Chris thinks you’re a moron. We’ll discuss the delay of Star Trek Discovery (with a bonus consolation prize) and we get news from our resident Virgin expert. During Chris Taps That App, Chris reviews the […]
          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #155 – Stephen Defends Apple        
During this episode we discuss a new teaser for the upcoming Star Trek TV Series, the probability that the iPhone 7 won’t have a headphone port and we discuss how the French are studying Spaceport feasibility. Finally in SP’s Space Symposium he enlightens you on Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Want to chime in for a future […]
          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #147 – Not Even A Sperm Yet        
During this show GFQ Network’s Sunkast joins the crew to discuss Android apps coming to Chrome OS, the Marvel Cinematic Universe passing 10 Billion Dollars at the Box Office and Mars Tsunamis. In Geekback we take your feedback (and share our thoughts) on the Star Trek: Beyond Trailer and the Star|Trek teaser video. Want to […]
          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #125 – Registration for Procreation        
While Big Papa is away, the rest of the crew shall play. This show the crew discuss both the Star Trek Beyond and Independence Day 2 trailers, and the 12 Days of Deadpool Trailer. Moving in to flight talk comes the topics of drone registration SpaceX attempting to land at Cape Canaveral. JS floats the […]
          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #124 – Delicious Norman Reedus        
This show the crew discuss how one Walking Dead fan decided to taste Norman Reedus, how Star Trek and Star Wars are finally crossing the streams, and developments in Space Law. Lastly SP finally puts his SNASA Rocket Scientist degree to good use as he debuts a brand new segment about Space. Want to chime […]
          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #121 – 2015-2016 Television Review… To Date        
In this news this episode, the crew discuss Comcast’s streaming service, JJ Abrams Admits Issues with Star Trek Into Darkness, and finally porn… or at least lack thereof because of Fallout 4. In the main segment the crew discuss their impressions of 2015-2016 TV to date, and then you chime in via #geekback. Want to […]
          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #119 – GonnaGleek: The Star Trek Musical        
This show the guys discuss Supergirl being the Fall’s Biggest Debut, the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the ISS and how the iPhone 6S is now $37… or at least a cheap knock off. Of course it’s suitable for the bulk of the show this week to be talking the new Star Trek […]
          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #113 – Collecting Classic Geek Toys        
This show the crew discuss how you could save Star Trek history, future rumors about Star Wars (possibly Hayden Christensen related) and how a certain political party in Canada used Twitter creatively to debate topics. After this Joe Burke joins to discuss his crazy toy collection room, including some very vintage pristine memorabilia. Finally, there’s […]
          Comment on Star Trek inspired mansion for sale by 94808        
this is awesome
          Sustainable reading        
E-book reader, digital reader, portable book reader, whatever you choose to call it, it's portable, (preferably small and mobile) and should be able to handle at least raw text, PDF files , HTML and some type of e-book format.

I finally bought one, (I've been drooling over them since I first saw Star Trek where they have plenty of portable digital book readers to go around) and I'm still waiting for it to arrive.

I'll give a detailed description of how this device turns out, and also write a bit about the current state of affairs of books and sustainability.

/Gf
                  

Klingon Style: ‘Gangnam Style’ in Klingon (VIDEO)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

It was bound to happen eventually.
Yes, there is now a version of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” that’s been done completely in Klingon to commemorate the 25th anniversary of STAR TREK: The Next Generation.
They even went so far as to consult with “Klingon language expert” Felix Malmanbeck.
 






          Star Trek Enterprise Box Set – Staffel 1-4 (Blu-ray) zu 35,81€ inkl. VSK        
Das Star Trek: Enterprise Box Set mit Staffel 1-4 (Blu-ray) jetzt günstig im Ausland shoppen und sparen.
          Elevator Control Switch        
Chip and Dan Heath, professors, researchers, authors, entrepreneurs, and contributors to Fast Company magazine, have recently released a second book called Switch that claims to help folks manage or initiate change in their lives, businesses, etc. Dan recorded a video about the book for a group of VA Senior Executives to be played during last year’s Senior Management Conference, and his speech is available via VA’s Training Management System (TMS), but no one can find it there because the system’s search engine is about as useful as the following procedure:
1. Set up a manual typewriter next to a cactus in the desert

2. Type the question “what is Switch”

3. Swing the carriage return

4. Stare at the cactus

(but that’s another post)
Dan’s video boils down the message in the book which is essentially: people don’t actually resist change, they resist ambiguity, vagary, lack of direction. Dan points out that folks regularly go willingly toward some of the most massive changes a person can experience by simply breaking them down into manageable next steps. We voluntarily join the military, get married, have kids. Those are some pretty massive changes and humans seem to embrace them, not run from them.

He tells that story to explain this one: we like to think change is hard because we’re all schizophrenic. We have a rational side that fully understands why we shouldn’t spend so much time blogging or Facebooking, why we should drop 10 pounds, or why we should get up early tomorrow. Humans also have an emotional side that ignores the rational side and tells us things like one more drink before last call won’t hurt, or we deserve that donut, or hitting snooze one more time is the right decision. The Heath brothers describe this situation (actually they cite the psychologist who described it) as a rational human rider on the back of an emotional elephant. In a battle, the elephant will obviously win. So, the Heath brothers explain, any call for, or attempt to change anything must come with a rational appeal for the rider and an emotional appeal for the elephant. The rider must break down what it wants the elephant to do into easily manageable key steps and then provide the motivation to make those steps appealing to the elephant. Read the book, or, if by some miracle you can find it in TMS, watch the videos. They’re way better at explaining it than I am.

I told you that story to tell you this one: I was in New Orleans last week for the program in which I played that Switch video for a small group of VHA employees in a leadership training program. The hotel where I stayed, gorgeous though it was, had the strangest elevator control system I’ve ever encountered. Before I go on to describe it I should emphasize that I’m one of the folks who don’t need to read Switch in order to be convinced that humans embrace change. I’ve always enjoyed change. I get bored easily. I’d much rather be involved with creating or implementing or revising the new than with maintaining old. It’s just the way I’m wired. I tell you this so you’ll better understand, and perhaps better be able to help with my dilemma.

Back to the elevator control system. I vaguely recall as I checked in to this hotel, the clerk mentioning that I had to go up two floors (via escalators) to the main elevators in order to get to the guest rooms. Like most big city hotels, the first few floors were conference space, public areas, bars, restaurants, Starbucks, and FedEx store. The clerk also said something about swiping my room keycard in order to use the elevator. That seemed odd from a main floor. As a regular traveler, I belong to several of the major chain’s “preferred customer” groups and so I assumed she referred to those floors or areas reserved for card carrying preferred customers, like a top floor lounge, or the floor with just suites or something like that. I was too busy trying to remember her directions for how to even get up to the elevators to think much more about how my key card might be necessary to operate them. It was a good concern to have cuz it turns out I could have walked to another hotel (with my luggage) in less time than it took to get to these damned elevators.

As I approached them, I realized I should have paid more attention to what she said about how to operate them. Unlike every elevator I’ve ever been in, this bank of four cars had a touch screen on the wall between each pair of cars right where you normally find the simple “up/down” buttons you usually associate with elevator operation. I watched as another guest swiped a key card under the touch screen and walked into the car that opened behind us. My past experience with elevators told me to just follow her rather than fish through pockets for my keycard, and so I dragged my roller suitcase into her car, smiled politely, and then turned to press the button for the 7th floor.

“First day here?” she said from behind me as I began to realize the mistake I’d made. This elevator had no buttons inside it save for the alarm bell, and door open/close buttons.
“You’ll have to ride with me to 15, get out, and swipe your card again to get to your floor. Watch the touchscreen to see which car will take you to 7.”

Her instructions seemed about as clear as the ones I’d already ignored at the front desk – they in no way meshed with my four decades of elevator riding experience - but I smiled and thanked her and then rode quietly to 15 with her. I was silently debating whether I would actually get off at 15 until it dawned on me that staying in an elevator with no buttons on the inside was not a useful activity, so when we arrived at 15, I followed her out. I dug my keycard out of my pocket and swiped it under the touch screen. A keypad similar to the one on my iPhone appeared with the “3” and the “7” “keys” highlighted and flashing. I was a tad confused, but I intuitively tapped the “7” and the screen changed to instructions that said something like “take car A to the 7th floor.” And right about then, the door I’d just exited – car A as it turned out – opened. I stepped in and was whisked back down to the 7th floor.

I felt fairly confident with my success. I had passed the first lesson even if, you might argue, I had failed on my first try ending up on the 15th floor. I was now on floor 7 and could now go back to a more familiar process: searching for an indication of which of the four hallways I should follow to find room 725. I pulled my suitcase along while scanning the walls ahead of me and had far less difficulty finding my room than I had controlling the elevators. But the entire time I walked to my room, entered it, hung up my clothes, drank a glass of water, and headed back out to meet with our conference hosts in the building next door, my thoughts were on that elevator control experience.

Was this touchscreen thing that automatically offered me options a better system than the ones I was used to? It didn’t seem like it. It seemed overly complicated, but did I only think that because it was so new and different from well-established prior experience? More importantly, would I be able to work the system to get myself to the second floor – a floor I previously only set foot on between escalators on my way to the guest room elevators on the third floor – in order to meet with my host? I was about to find out. The elevator bank on the 7th floor was rapidly approaching. I had my keycard out and was ready to scan, but I paused to observe for a moment before I jumped right back into this new game. There were two sets of four elevators. Cars A-D were on the far end of the crossing hallway, and cars E-H; on the end nearest the hallway to my room. I had stopped at the E-H touch pad.

I swiped my card and a message on the touchscreen offered the iPhone-looking keypad again, this time with the “3” highlighted, but right below the keypad grid was another box that said, “lower floors.” I tapped it. At that point a new, less complicated grid popped up that offered “2,” “lobby,” and ”upper floors.” I tapped “2.” The screen then flashed “take car A to the 2nd floor.” I headed over from the E-F bank to the A-D bank, and as you can probably guess by now, got to car A just as the doors were closing. I swiped my keycard again, calling up the increasingly familiar iPhone keypad with the “3” highlighted again and the “lower floors” box below the grid. (Apparently, everyone from every upper floor rides to three and then hikes or escalates to 1 or 2??) I tapped the “lower floors” button again, selected “2” again and read “take car B to the 2nd floor.” I glanced up at the two cars I was facing: A & C. I turned around in time to see the doors to car B closing. (did I mention I had an ear infection, and couldn’t hear the doors opening - or jets taking off, or small arms fire - since my plane landed at Louis Armstrong Airport?) I swiped my card again. Tapped “lower floors” again. Tapped “2” again, and braced myself to launch at the first open door. The screen read “take car B to the 2nd floor.”

I tried that once! I thought, loudly.

This time I was ready though, and I managed to enter car B as the doors were closing. Out of habit, I still looked for buttons to push as the car descended to the 2nd floor. I got out, located the skybridge to the connected federal building next door, and made my way over to my host’s office building’s second floor lobby. I passed a bank of elevators marked “Levels 1-4,” a security desk where a friendly guard told me to have a good afternoon, another bank of elevators marked “Levels 5-9,” and finally, just as I was beginning to wonder what problems folks in New Orleans must have had with just plain old elevators in the past, a bank of elevators marked “Levels 9-15.” To my great relief, the elevators to floors 9-15 were operated by the old standard “up arrow/down arrow” buttons. I pushed the up arrow button and climbed on the first car that opened up. Inside, I found the standard panel of buttons (and in answer to the newly forming question in my head, I could actually choose any floor from 1 through 15 in spite of the signage that forced me to walk all the way past two other banks of perfectly good elevators to get to this one. I guessed that the others would have provided the same selection of floors no matter what the signs said!)

I arrived at floor 10, and in typical government fashion, saw absolutely no signage that would confirm nor deny that I was in the right place. To my left was an opening to a hallway. To my right was a set of decorative glass doors with an empty reception desk behind them bearing a Department of Veterans Affairs seal, but no further hierarchical identification indicating it was in the fact the Human Resources and Recruiting Office headquarters. (there are actually a LOT of Department of Veterans Affairs offices)
I walked through the glass doors until I found someone who instantly recognized me as someone who didn’t really belong. I introduced myself, explained why I was intruding, who I was looking for, and discovered I was in fact in the right place. The meeting (and the entire trip) went well from that point on (except for the cabin pressurization/depressurization effects on my ears on the flight home) but the issue of the hotel elevator controls either nagged or intrigued me, and continues to do so.

Each trip I made to and from my room reminded me that I had yet to decide whether or not this change was an improvement. The elevator touch pad was definitely a cool, Star Trek-like, high tech, futuristic kind of toy, and its inconspicuous, brushed stainless steel frame surrounding the glowing blue screen fit nicely with the newly redecorated hotel interior. There was no doubt that the hardware involved was sexy. These touchpads were sleek, slim, cool looking.
There is also no doubt that they worked, once a new user got the hang of them. No doubt that the inside of the elevator was “cleaner,” sleeker looking without all those buttons cluttering it up. No doubt there are fewer moving parts without a button for each floor plus the buttons outside, etc. I can certainly come up with a list of positive things to say about this new elevator GUI, if I may. But the question remains, is it better. If I could become used to it, does it make my elevator experience better than it was in the past?
I’m not sure I’m ready to make that Switch.

So, my dilemma: Do I suspect this new system is not better only because it is so new? Will I grow to love it once it becomes second nature? Or is it sufficiently overly complex and just the latest failure in a line of attempts to replace what is actually a solid existing system that will require more time and effort (and something WAY better than this) to replace it? And how do you ever know?
          EFM Past & Future, Innovation & Star Trek: An Interview With Jeffrey Henning        
Wrapping up my "newsmaker" interview series is a discussion with Jeffrey Henning, CMO of Affinnova. Jeffrey made news a while back when he left Vovici for Affinnova, and then again when it was announced that Text Analytics firm Verint had acquired EFM provider Vovici, the company that he had helped lead for so many years. Enterprise Feedback Management is a great example of the convergence of the market research and business intelligence industries so it's a topic that I and other industry observers follow closely; the recent wave of consolidation in that space is indicative of what we may see happening in other segments in the future. Since Jeffrey is arguably one of the most respected thought leaders in the industry on EFM, I feel pretty lucky that I had a chance to talk with him in-depth about it.
          Forgotten History (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations, #2)        
Forgotten History (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations, #2)
author: Christopher L. Bennett
name: Mark
average rating: 3.89
book published: 2012
rating: 4
read at: 2017/03/23
date added: 2017/03/23
shelves:
review:
Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History
Author: Christopher L Bennet
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published In: New York City, NY
Date: 2012
Pgs: 352
_________________________________________________

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
The Department of Temporal Investigations tell each other horror stories about Jim Kirk and the Enterprise NCC-1701. The files regarding the Enterprise and her Captain are the largest in the DTI. Shock joined those horror stories when a temporal anomaly with an inactive vessel at it’s heart appears deep in Federation territory, a ship that appears to be a Constitution class starship, registry NCC-1701. Inspection shows hull markings identifying the ship as Timeship Two, belonging to the DTI itself. Agents of the DTI must delve back into Kirk and the Enterprise’s many time travel encounters and immediately, because there’s not record of Timeship Two or this particular adventure of Kirk’s. Fears emerge that this could tie directly into the creation of the DTI itself.
_________________________________________________
Genre:
Science Fiction
Fantasy
TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptions
Star Trek
Literature
Fiction
Genre Fiction
Movie Tie-Ins
Time Travel

Why this book:
Star Trek, Captain Kirk, Time Travel, no whales.
_________________________________________________

Favorite Character:
Kirk’s reticence to ever travel in time again comes to the fore after the Edith Keeler events. Leading to when Dr Grey is doing her interviews on the subject of time travel when the Committee is trying to determine if time travel should go forward as more than a theoretical occurrence.
GREY: So in your best judgment, the experiments should stop?
KIRK: I know that once a thing is discovered, it can’t be undiscovered. Our descendants will travel in time--that’s a reality we can’t avoid. But as for us, here and now...we’re not ready. We’re children playing with fire. And we’ve seen how little it takes for that fire to burn out of control. Someday we will master this, but now is not the time. We need to stop before we burn ourselves away.
Put that in context with how every DTI appearance talks about Kirk. Also, take in the context of the Krenim and what they did to themselves and their local area of space with their timeships.
The juxtaposition of Kirk’s reputation about time travel and his actual feelings about it plays well to the reader.

I like the idea and execution of Sulu as First Officer in the period immediately after Star Trek: The Motion Picture while Spock was otherwise occupied, ie: Saavik.

Least Favorite Character:
Lucsly. He’s too stiff, too hidebound. And he let the Kirk myth stand. Not cool. Liked the book anyway.

Character I Most Identified With:
McCoy when his attitude toward time and values is revealed as more than Luddism and curmudgeonliness. He is much more pragmatic than shown, but it comes through.

The Feel:
This felt like Star Trek.

Favorite Scene / Quote:
In contrast to the Eugenics Wars books, the use of TOS episodes as framing elements/Easter eggs is well done here. There were more Easter eggs in this than I even noticed. The tapestry is thick with them. Very well done interweaving. Reading the afterword where the author walked us through where the Easter eggs were all from was fascinating. There were way more than I even realized. And in instances where there were Easter eggs they weren’t beaten over the readers head.

GREY: I’m surprised, Doctor. The impression I’ve gotten is that you consider yourself an old fashioned type, suspicious of progress.
MCCOY: Oh, I’m suspicious of all sorts of things, Doctor Grey. Too much focus on the past or the future can keep people from making the right choices in the present. I don’t appreciate old fashioned values because they’re old, but because they’ve stood the test of time and still have value today. You wouldn’t want to drink a fine wine before it matured. No, Doctor--the value of time is that it moves forward.

Pacing:
The pace when it catches is great. The pages and chapters flow well.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
Two people sitting at a table talking in the prologue. Then a third person, sitting between them, talks. The whole making the reader have the “oh I didn’t see you there” moment is a peeve of mine. Why not just say that there were three people at the table.

Another deus ex conversation happens in the lava tube cell on Pelos. In the previous scene, Kirk was sent to die with his compatriots. He fights to escape, but is recaptured. He is to be taken to the lava tube and executed with the rest of his party, already there. Switch to the lava tube cell, where Spock and Mccoy are talking about how Spock is trying to get them out. Two pages later, with no indication that he has arrived, Spock tells the Captain that he’s ready to try communicating with the ship. I’m liking this book, but it could have stood a little closer to the editor’s pen.

The idea of Vulcan memory suppression seems counterintuitive. A Vulcan employing logic would compartmentalize their knowledge of certain events inimical to the culture, time, place and not use certain events and/or data until such time as it was needed again. Not by suppressing the memory.

Hmm Moments:
Love the way that the agents of the DTI state that when starting from the beginning in investigating a temporal incident too often the starting point when reconstructing what is/has/will happen you start with Captain James T Kirk.

The Christopher Family have played a role in the last 2 ST books that I’ve read. Odd that bit players in a trivial role should reoccur coincidentally back to back like that. And Gary Seven appears offpage.

Commodore Delgado seems driven. Is he going to be the first head of the DTI or the first problem that the DTI need to fix.

Chronologically, this, in Delgado’s perspective, takes place after The Menagerie.

Delgado’s time bug vs the stiff disciplinarian that he was presented as in The Menagerie. Though, I guess we don’t know how much of the way he was presented in The Menagerie was actually Delgado’s personality and how much was the Talosian’s use of his persona as a foil.

With the time frames covered, didn’t we wonder what happened every 7 years with Spock? Amok Time was one ep in the 2nd season of TOS. The time would have come upon him many more times over the years between then and his jumping into the Kelvin Timeline.

WTF Moments:
I begin to wonder, as I move through this story, is Delgado the villain. His motivation to drive the exploration of time forward seems very like zealotry. He’s playing the politics game with all those involved trying to get his way. Makes me wonder if there is something very specific that he wants to do with time travel. Is it just hubris, an almost Khan-ian megalomania, that time travel will make his name writ large in the stars and across history?

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
This is way too thick and crunchy to work as a movie or television series.

Missed Opportunity:
Seems to me that the Verity’s failure to return to where it belonged in the timestream would be a major disruption in and of itself.
_________________________________________________

Last Page Sound:
This gave me that “I could read another two hundred pages of this” feeling.

Author Assessment:
I will read more by this author.

Editorial Assessment:
The two instances of deus ex conversation are the only real quibbles I have with this book.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
instant classic

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library
Irving, TX
South Campus

Dewey Decimal System:
PBK
F
BEN

Would recommend to:
friends, family, kids, colleagues, everyone, genre fans, no one
_________________________________________________



          The Eugenics Wars, Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars, #2)        
The Eugenics Wars, Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars, #2)
author: Greg Cox
name: Mark
average rating: 3.94
book published: 2002
rating: 1
read at: 2017/03/13
date added: 2017/03/13
shelves:
review:
Star Trek: The Eugenics War
The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh
Author: Greg Cox
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published In: New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Singapore
Date: 2002
Pgs: 338
_________________________________________________

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
20 years ago, Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, undercover operatives for an unknown alien civilization, failed to prevent the Chrysalis Project. A genereation of genetically engineered advanced humans were loosed upon the world. They’ve spent those 20 years tracking the children of Chrysalis. Those children, now adults, are showing the world their abilities and their ambitions in all fields and endeavors. They know that they are superior and they are going to lead the world over the bodies of the inferiors, if necessary. The Children of Chrysalis vs the normal humans vs each other with the Earth and the leadership of humanity as the prize. The future is theirs...unless Seven and Lincoln can do something about it.

The secret history of Khan on Earth continues...before Kirk...before Botany Bay...a world in flames. _________________________________________________
Genre:
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Science Fiction
TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations
Star Trek
Hard Science Fiction


Why this book:
Khhhhhhaaaaannnnnnn!!!
Plus Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln.
_________________________________________________

The Feel:
Strike One: Roberta referring to herself as a “alien sponsored secret agent babe.” The Meh is strong at that point. A few of those screeching moments like that cropped up through the book.

Word Choice / Usage:
The mirroring where Khan is attacked by Hunyadi with his earthquake/reservoir bomb. When Khan sees the damage wrought on the villages and all the devastation and loss of life, he ponders on Hunyadi’s attempt and failure to kill him and the weight of it falling on all those around him, ostensibly under his protection. This put me in mind of in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when Kirk on the communicator said to Khan, “...old friend! You've managed to kill just about everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!”

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
It doesn’t make sense in this book that Roberta won’t use lethal force. I mean she’s fighting Khan and he doesn’t have any compunction against killing those who are opposed to him and neither do his soldiers and assassins. I seem to remember her and Seven being much more willing to use the deadly force option in Part One of this book. Seems OOC for someone caught in a war with a genetically advanced super being and his equally as adavnced minions to not fight fire with fire, as it were.

And then, she makes her daring escape with Khan’s assassins still in the building and uses the servo to detonate the building causing an implosion. She was worried about not using lethal force on them inside the building and then explodes the building with them inside of it, out of character.

Gary Seven is a ghost, barely there in the early parts of this book, with the excuse that in this timeframe, age is starting to catch up with him. In fairness, 30 years have passed in storytime since the last book. But Gary is the product of selective breeding, slowed aging, etc, etc. In his own way, he too is a modified superhuman.

Seven and his alien employers being aware of Landru doesn’t jibe. If they are so concerned with the continued prosperity of humanoids, why wouldn’t they be concerned with an society dominated by a computer like Landru? Doesn’t wash.

Trapped in militia bunker where the leader has herded his followers for a Kool Aid party or asphyxia, Roberta manages to contact Seven for a last minute rescue and the first thing she does is ask how things are going with him and the mission to stop a sarin attack. She’s in a bunker with a bunch of militiamen who have been sent there to die as a message to the Great Beast and, when she makes contact with possible rescue, her first words aren’t get me the hell out of here.

Would Khan accept the same offer from Kirk that he received from Gary Seven? I doubt it. He would rather burn than effectively send himself and his followers into exile twice. A bit too on the nose, even down to the dialogue, between the two offers.

Meh / PFFT Moments:
Not sure if the Suez Canal is deep enough for a submarine capable of carrying a Tomahawk missile to slip through without someone noticing it was there.

Relating every historical happening to Khan in some way is a bit overblown. Some would be alright, but not every one.

This novel, unlike Part One, is done more in the mold of a long Star Trek episode. It suffers from the A-story, B-story, C-story format, interrelated though they may be. The 3rd quarter of the book is more The Rise and Fall of Hawkeye Morrisson than Khan Noonien Singh.

This hit the too many easter eggs level a while back. But the Chateau Picard wine was a tipping point for me.
_________________________________________________

Last Page Sound:
The framing elements of Kirk’s visit to Sycorax don’t really work. And provided a heavy anticlimax on the nadir of the story. This one doesn’t stand up to the first. The first is a much better book.

Author Assessment:
Trying to shoehorn every Star Trek cookie possible into the story doesn’t do the story a service.

Editorial Assessment:
Seems that an editor could have, should have paid more attention to this.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
not as good as I was lead to believe

Disposition of Book:
Half Price Books stack

Would recommend to:
no one
_________________________________________________



          Redshirts        
Redshirts
author: John Scalzi
name: Mark
average rating: 3.82
book published: 2012
rating: 4
read at: 2016/05/24
date added: 2016/05/24
shelves:
review:
Redshirts
Author: John Scalzi
Publisher: Tor
Published In: New York
Date: 2012
Pgs: 317

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
Away missions are lethal. At least if you are nondescript, low ranking, crew member A or B who always dies on them. Most crew members avoid away missions with all their might. Then, Engisn Andrew Dahl finds some information that transforms the crews understanding of what their ship’s mission really is. Information that just may save all the redshirts lives. Well...at least some of them. Possibly not many. But some.

Genre:
Fiction
Military
Science fiction
Space opera

Why this book:
The redshirts joke and Scalzi’s rep. Match made in heaven.
______________________________________________________________________________

Favorite Character:
Dahl and Kerrensky

The Feel:
I’ve known the “bad to be a redshirt on Star Trek” trope for a long time. This makes me look at Star Trek in a new way...not necesarily a good way, but a new way.

Kerensky when they are trying to find out about the actors who play them on the television show. This Wikipedia database is compiled by idiots. Greatness.

The Writer feeling guilty about killing off characters is very meta.

The scene in the Writer’s dream in Redshirt limbo.

Favorite Scene:
So much goodness here. Too many.

Pacing:
Well paced.

Hmm Moments:
The 4th wall appears to be swiss cheese. Wonder if this is what these redshirts will discover. The poor bastards deaths do appear to be for captain-pain, to bastardize a trope of books, comic books, and cinema. Effectively refrigerating the redshirts.

Put this in context alongside Galaxy Quest and Night of the Living Trekkies as one of my favorite non Star Trek, Star Trek novels.

The idea that the crew of the Intrepid are real, but that they are aware that they are the extras on a bad TV show because their casualty rates mimic the Enterprise is...odd. And a bit jarring. I’m all for shattering the 4th wall, but this is odd.

What if we’re all just characters in someone else’s story?

The guilt that Scalzi has the Writer express over his killing off of characters on the show which resulted in the deaths of the alternate dimension “actual” persons is good stuff.

Nerd giggles galore in this. Laugh out loud moments too. Great one when teh Chekov has been brought into the conspiracy and is flying the shuttle. Dahl tells him not to fly into the missiles and he responds with a don’t blame me, blame the writer.

And then, we start not just breaking the 4th wall, but the 5th...and the 6th. Wonder if Scalzi had all this planned or if he when he broke the 5th he realized that he could go even deeper as the characters started to live their lives in his mind.
______________________________________________________________________________

Last Page Sound:
Okay, the last two paragraphs in the anticlimax are just cruel...and hilarious.

The end of the Coda left me with a smirk. Not a laugh out loud smirk, but a that’s sweet smirk.

Well done.

Author Assessment:
This made me fall in love a little bit with John Scalzi.

In the Coda, where Scalzi takes us back to check on some of the characters, when the Writer talks about writer’s block. I’m thinking of printing this out and sticking it on my dry erase board and re-reading it whenever I think i have writer’s block.

“You know, I never understood writer’s block before this. You’re a writer and you suddenly can’t write because your girlfriend broke up with you? Shit, dude, that’s the perfect time to writer. It’s not like you’re doing anything else with your nights. Having a hard time coming up with your next scene? Have something explode. You’re done. Filled with existential ennui about your place in the universe? Get over yourself. Yes, you’re an inconsequential worm in the grand scope of history. But you’re an inconsequential work who makes shit up for a living, which means that you don’t have to lift heavy boxes or ask people if they want fries with that. Grow up and get back to work.

That is greatness right there. Thanks Scalzi.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
instant classic

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library
South Campus
Irving, TX

Dewey Decimal System:
F
SCA

Would recommend to:
genre fans
______________________________________________________________________________


          Comment on Star Trek Turns 50 by Pops        
And what is that place?
          I'm a Doctor, Jim, not a Horse Lord of Rohan!        
I was reading an interview with JJ Abrams on aintitcool.com and had my mind blown. I knew the guy who played Bones in the fantastic new Star Trek film looked familiar, but I hadn't bothered to look him up.
However, this quote from JJ certainly opened my eyes:
"When Karl Urban came in, quite frankly I felt that it would be unlikely that that guy from BOURNE or the hunk from LORD OF THE RINGS was going to be Bones. I knew he was from New Zealand. I just didn’t see the connection, even though I liked his work very much, but I thought “Well, he doesn’t seem right for this, but I’m a fan.” He came in and blew my mind so fast. It was one of those great things where it’s a great lesson to not be so closed minded, but God he was amazing. He just channeled DeForest Kelley, it was eerie."
The "hunk" from LoTR? Bones?
Holy crap. Eomer from The Two Towers is Bones? What a performance by Karl Urban.

          Comment on Giveaway: Win Star Trek Online Heavy Dreadnoughts and Mirror Universe Runabouts! by TheWillock        
Good luck everyone!
          El logo de Star Trek en el cielo de Londres        
Me ha parecido genial la acción de marketing con causa llevada a cabo para promocionar la última película de Star Trek. Aprovechando la celebración de la Earth Hour y gracias a una ingeniosa técnica de artilugios voladores se ha conseguido … Sigue leyendo
          Google, Personal Information, and Star Trek        
Rarely does a day go by when I don’t get an email from some outraged soul who has seen on some wacky site — or perhaps heard on a right-wing radio program somewhere — the lie that Google sells users’ personal information to advertisers. I got a phone call from one such person very recently … Continue reading "Google, Personal Information, and Star Trek"
          AMERICAN TV PROMOS FROM 1966: "BATMAN", "STAR TREK", "WILD, WILD WEST"        
none
          FTL: Faster than Light        

spaceship simulation and exploration game

Version: 1.0

FTL is a spaceship simulation roguelike-like. Its aim is to recreate the atmosphere of running a spaceship exploring the galaxy (like Firefly/Star Trek/BSG etc.) In any given episode of those classic shows, the captain is always yelling “Reroute power to shields!” or giving commands to the engineer now that their Warp Core is on fire. We wanted that experience, as opposed to the “dog fighting in space” that most videogames focus on. We wanted a game where we had to manage the crew, fix the engines, reroute power to shields, target the enemy life support, and then figure out how to repel the boarders that just transported over!
          The Hard Facts        
I believe it's good to have expectations of a particular outcome. I expect to experience infinite wonder and magic. However, I have no interest in how the wonder unfolds; I simply believe all things are possible and let it happen.

In last night's episode of "Star Trek Voyager" called Sacred Ground part of the crew are on an away mission. The group find a shrine of the Nechisti Order which seems to be surrounded by a "biogenic field." Out of curiosity, Kes touches the field and is sent into a coma. When she's taken back to the ship, the doctor can't help her because he needs to understand what the cause was. The only way he can do so is by getting energy readings near the shrine but the Nechisti monks won't allow that to happen. Captain Janeway asks the Nechisti government for help but is advised that the government doesn't get involved in religious affairs. Kes' partner, Neelix, is desperate for her to be healed. He suggests to Janeway that he does some research on the religion. Neelix discovers a story about a king whose son had been rendered unconscious just like Kes and had to go through an initiation to awaken his son. Janeway asks the monks for her to be put through the same initiation so she can help Kes. The monks agree. Before she leaves, the doctor puts a probe inside her to detect the science behind the ritual.

Now Captain Janeway is a scientist through and through. She measures everything and needs things proven to her. She also presumes the initiation will involve some kind of mental and physical endurance that she has to pass that would enable her to go through the field and meet with the Spirits. Her guide warns her that the tests are meaningless and she needs to simply contact Spirit. After the first "test", Janeway tells her guide she is ready to meet Spirit. She puts her hand in a basket and is bitten by some creature and falls unconscious. She then has "dreams" of herself in another reality where she meets her guide who tells her she already has within her all that she needs to help Kes.

While Janeway has been going through the rituals, the doctor has been receiving constant feedback from the probe he'd inserted in her, which he's analysing. He believes he can use the information to treat Kes. When the doctor tries to treat Kes, her condition deteriorates. The doctor realises Janeway's experience is useless and he can't help Kes.

Janeway asks the spiritual guide for her assistance. The guide makes Janeway realise that she had brought certain expectations to the ritual that had nothing to do with how Spirit works. However, Janeway's expectations had been met perfectly. Janeway also realises that if she's going to help Kes, she's going to have to let go of all her pre-conceived scientific ideas and expectations and admit that she doesn't have the answers. The monks advise her to take Kes back to the energy field and touch it. They warn Janeway that she has to believe that she can help Kes otherwise she and Kes will die when they contact the field. Janeway decides to let go of her rational side and trust in herself. She carries Kes to the field. When both of them touch the field, Kes is restored back to full health.

The final scene shows Kes asking the doctor how she'd been healed. The doctor comes up with scientific theories to explain how; while Janeway knows her healing can't be explained.

The hard facts are that some things cannot be measured or understood by Science or human knowledge. It's simply a matter of trusting in the unknown.

I believe in Spirit.

Enocia

Related articles: Why Is the Illusion So Bloody Painful?; Why I Believe in Belief; Make Room for Magic and Wonder; More Things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio; Why am I?; Stop Trying So Hard!
          BBFC Podcast Episode 34 - Sci-Fi - Part 2        
Listen to the second installment of a two-part series about classifying science fiction films. In this episode we discuss Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Star Trek Into Darkness and Oblivion.
          Star Trek Lives!        
And now, for something completely different...

If at any time in your life you have enjoyed Star Trek: The Original Series, you have to go to the Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga, NY

http://startrektour.com/



Cynthia and I took a foliage drive over that way yesterday (the colors were spectacular) and it was more fun than I have had in a long time.



The first thing we did was try to beam out of here. Cynthia made it. I got left behind. Figures.




Sick Bay was one of the most complex parts of the ship. Cynthia was hoping someone could look at her back, but the doctor was elsewhere:



Here I am sitting at Captain Kirk's private table, writing on a Star Trek era tablet. 1966 or 2266? 



Beaming off the ship didn't work so I tried climbing. That didn't work either.



This is one big ship, let me tell you. Crewman Deer and I weren't paying attention and almost got sucked into the warp core. They need to get the safety grill in place asap.


A dream come true: we arrive on the bridge. 



Space, The Final Frontier. 



I can't explain it. Sitting in the Captain's chair, looking out the forward view screen into the vastness of space was a very emotional experience. 



Captain Minke with Crewman Crockett (it takes all kinds to make a universe).



Checking out a space anomaly at Mr. Spock's science station was pretty exciting as well.



Crewman Crockett, Captain Minke (in pocket), Admiral James Cawley and Crewman Deer. James Cawley is the mastermind behind this whole thing. He played Captain Kirk in the fan films he produced on these sets. He has done a marvelous thing here.



It was hard to leave the Enterprise bridge and the 20th or 23rd century, whichever it was. I admit I find the 21st century mostly pretty trying. But it is also a little hard to tell which era you are occupying in downtown Ticonderoga. That's a good thing. It's a perfect place to host the Star Trek Set Tour.



And back to the timeless beauty of the fall foliage.


 The wonders of Earth are many and varied!






          About the Gallifreyan Embassy        

Gallifreyan Embassy LogoThe Gallifreyan Embassy is a Doctor Who fan organization founded in June 1985 originally serving the Long Island, New York area in the United States. Over the years it had expanded across the country. Today we are international.

In 2005 we celebrated two decades with a new revamped interactive web site (our previous website) and an international podcast, Doctor Who: Podshock reaching all over the world!

Join us for a trip of a lifetime as we celebrate Doctor Who past, present, and future as well as other British science fiction and fantasy.

In the mid 1980s, Doctor Who was reaching the peak of its popularity during its run on local PBS stations across the US at that time. It was a time before we would see the first return of Star Trek on television, the Star Wars saga had concluded itself which left many science fiction and fantasy fans looking for something new and different. For many of them, that was Doctor Who. More and more PBS stations started showing the series on a regular basis and were being introduced to new Doctors both the then current Doctor, Colin Baker as well as past Doctors they had never seen before such as William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee. Conventions took notice by booking more Doctor Who guests and dedicated Doctor Who conventions started to take hold in the US.

Without the internet being in our homes like today, it left many fans no release or connection with other fans in between conventions. This is where local Doctor Who clubs really excelled. Clubs such as the Gallifreyan Embassy held monthly meetings, published newsletters in which we interviewed various members of the cast and crew of the series, volunteered at PBS pledge drives, participated at conventions and other Doctor Who special events, as well as a host of other special activities that made fans, friends.

read more


          Films of the Year 2016        

We are drawing closer to the end of 2016, one of the worst years in living memory: the year of Trumpian fascism, Europe-wide xenophobia and the deaths of so many inspirational figures in music and cinema.

In cinematic terms, however, this hasn't been a bad year for watching films and so, in keeping with the close of every year since 2003, it's time to review the ones I've seen over the last twelve months.

In 2016, I made it to the cinema on 96 occasions - up from 81 in 2015. Overwhelmingly, these visits were to my local Stratford Picturehouse and according to the stats on Letterboxd, this amounted to 177.8 hours of cinema.

As always, this does not include anything watched on DVD or BluRay and as in previous years, I've arbitrarily rated the films I've seen. You can find ratings for the last decade here. Since I started going to the cinema regularly and keeping track of the numbers, I now make this 743 visits since 2003.

I know. That's a lot.

Film of the year: Arrival

Worst film of 2016: The Legend of Tarzan

Great documentaries in 2016: 
The Eagle Huntress,
Life, Animated
Bobby Sands: 66 Days
Tickled
Notes on Blindness
Speed Sisters
The Fear of 13

Ratings:

★★★★★: Unmissable!
★★★★☆: Definitely worth seeing
★★★☆☆: Decent film
★★☆☆☆: Disappointing
★☆☆☆☆: Pants
☆☆☆☆☆: Why was this released?

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ★★★★☆
Life, Animated ★★★★☆
The Eagle Huntress ★★★★☆
The Birth of a Nation ★★☆☆☆
Snowden ★★★☆☆
Paterson ★★★☆☆
Sully ★★★☆☆
A United Kingdom ★★★★☆
Arrival ★★★★★ (and even better on second viewing)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ★★★☆☆
Arrival ★★★★★
Nocturnal Animals ★★★☆☆
The Accountant ★★★☆☆
In Pursuit of Silence ★★★☆☆
Doctor Strange ★★★☆☆
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back ★★★☆☆
Queen of Katwe ★★★★☆
American Honey ★★★★☆
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World ★★★☆☆
Swiss Army Man ★★☆☆☆
The Magnificent Seven ★★★☆☆
I, Daniel Blake ★★★★☆
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ★★★☆☆
Deepwater Horizon ★★★☆☆
The Girl with All the Gifts ★★★★☆
Hunt for the Wilderpeople ★★★★☆
Hell or High Water ★★★★☆
Things to Come ★★★★☆
The Confession ★★★☆☆
Captain Fantastic ★★★★☆
Café Society ★★☆☆☆
Tickled ★★★★☆
Julieta ★★★☆☆
Wiener-Dog ★★★★☆
The Shallows ★★★☆☆
Bobby Sands: 66 Days ★★★★☆
Embrace of the Serpent ★★★★☆
Suicide Squad ★★☆☆☆
Maggie's Plan ★★★☆☆
Jason Bourne ★★★★☆
Couple in a Hole ★★★★☆
Star Trek Beyond ★★★★☆
The Legend of Tarzan ★☆☆☆☆
The Hard Stop ★★★☆☆
Notes on Blindness ★★★★☆
Elvis & Nixon ★★★☆☆
Independence Day: Resurgence ★★☆☆☆
Mile End ★★★☆☆
Adult Life Skills ★★★★☆
Tale of Tales ★★☆☆☆
The Keeping Room ★★★☆☆
Sing Street ★★★★☆
The Club ★★★☆☆
The Nice Guys ★★★☆☆
X-Men: Apocalypse ★★★☆☆
Money Monster ★★★☆☆
A Hologram for the King ★★★☆☆
Everybody Wants Some! ★★★☆☆
Mustang ★★★★☆
Son of Saul ★★★★☆
Arabian Nights: Volume 1, The Restless One ★☆☆☆☆
Demolition ★★★☆☆
Green Room ★★★★☆
Captain America: Civil War ★★★★☆
Jane Got a Gun ★★★☆☆
Miles Ahead ★★★☆☆
Eye in the Sky ★★★☆☆
The Absent One ★★★☆☆
Dheepan ★★★★☆
Midnight Special ★★★★☆
Speed Sisters ★★★★☆
Victoria ★★★☆☆
The Here After ★★★☆☆
10 Cloverfield Lane ★★★★☆
Disorder ★★★☆☆
High-Rise ★★☆☆☆
Allegiant ★★☆☆☆
Chronic ★★★☆☆
Hail, Caesar! ★★★★☆
Bone Tomahawk ★★★★☆
Triple 9 ★★★☆☆
The Survivalist ★★★★☆
Deadpool ★★★★☆
Trumbo ★★★★☆
The 33 ★★☆☆☆
Spotlight ★★★★☆
Creed ★★★☆☆
The Assassin ★★☆☆☆
The Revenant ★★★★☆
The Big Short ★★★★☆
Black Souls ★★★☆☆
Room ★★★★☆
The Hateful Eight ★★☆☆☆
Joy ★★★☆☆
The Fear of 13 ★★★★☆
In the Heart of the Sea ★★★☆☆

          A Year in Film 2013        
The close of 2013 approaches and, in keeping with previous years, it is time to review the films I've seen over the last twelve months.

As you can see, I let things get a little out of hand... I blame the unexpected free time provided by redundancy and part-time work, along with the gift by former colleagues of BFI membership that meant access to the London Film Festival.

This is an anniversary – the tenth year I've been posting an annual list after successfully completing the challenge to watch and review one film a week back in 2003 (see onefilmaweek.blogspot.com). Last year's total of 74 films, up from 47 in 2011, looked like a tough target to beat – but this year I went to the cinema a staggering 98 times.

Incidentally, over the last decade I've paid to see 473 films. Blimey.

According to the wonderful Letterboxd, this year's film-going represents 182.6 hours of screen time, an average of 1.9 films a week (and believe me, around 14 this year were rather less than the full integer). This doesn't include the adverts and, for the record, if I never have to see that teeth-gratingly awful Volkswagon 'Silence of the Lambs' ad ever again, it will still be soon. Seventy four of the films I saw were at my local Stratford Picturehouse, which does insist on showing this ad all the time – please, you guys are brilliant, but just stop now.

In keeping with previous years, I only count actual trips to a cinema - not films on DVD or BluRay - and as usual I've arbitrarily rated the films I've seen. You can find ratings for the last decade here. Here's the 2013 list:

Ratings:
5 stars: Unmissable!
4 stars: Definitely worth seeing
3 stars: Decent film
2 stars: Disappointing
1 star: Pants
No stars: Why was this released?

The Impossible (***)
Gangster Squad (**)
Django Unchained (****)
False Trail (***)
Lincoln (*****)
Zero Dark Thirty (****)
Beautiful Creatures (**)
Warm Bodies (****)
No (***)
Fire In The Blood (***)
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D (*)
Stoker (****)
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House or God (****)
Under the Cranes (**)
Robot & Frank (***)
Welcome to the Punch (***)
Trance (***)
Good Vibrations (*****)
Cloud Atlas (****)
Oblivion (***)
The Place Beyond The Pines (***)
Promised Land (***)
Olympus Has Fallen (**)
Iron Man 3 (****)
Byzantium (****)
Best Friends Forever (**)
Star Trek Into Darkness (****)
The Great Gatsby 3D (***)
Mud (****)
The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (****)
The Purge (***)
Village at the End of the World (****)
Behind the Candelabra (****)
The Iceman (***)
Man of Steel (*)
World War Z (***)
Much Ado About Nothing (***)
Now You See Me (***)
The Act of Killing (****)
In The Fog (***)
The Bling Ring (***)
Pacific Rim (***)
The World's End (***)
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (***)
Leave to Remain (***)
Wadjda (****)
The Wolverine (***)
Stories We Tell (*****)
Only God Forgives (**)
Frances Ha (****)
Before Midnight (***)
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa ((****)
The Night of the Hunter [1955] (*****)
Elysium (***)
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (**)
Lovelace (***)
The Kings of Summer (*****)
The Way Way Back (*****)
Riddick (**)
About Time (**)
Rush (****)
Hawking (****)
InRealLife (***)
What Maisie Knew (*****)
Prisoners (****)
Nothing But a Man [1964] (****)
In a World... (****)
Blue Jasmine (***)
How I Live Now (***)
Philomena (****)
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
[part of the London Film Festival] (**)
The Fifth Estate (***)
Kon-Tiki [part of the London Film Festival] (****)
Let The Fire Burn [part of the London Film Festival] (****)
11.6 [part of the London Film Festival] (***)
Trap Street [part of the London Film Festival] (****)
Drones [part of the London Film Festival] (***)
Drinking Buddies [part of the London Film Festival] (**)
Captain Philips (****)
Enders Game (***)
Nosferatu {1922] (***)
Thor: The Dark World (***)
Short Term 12 (*****)
Gravity (****)
Filth (***)
The Counsellor (**)
The Butler (**)
Utopia (***)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (****)
Parkland (***)
Computer Chess (*)
Nebraska (****)
Saving Mr Banks (****)
Inside Llewyn Davis (****)
Kill Your Darlings (***)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (***)
Blue is the Warmest Colour (***)
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (***)


          Been a while...        
...but I've got a new project to work on. I'm really going to force myself to do the comic I've always wanted, so here are the posts I just made on tumblr, in one giant post here.



I’ve mentioned that I’m making a comic, and possibly a rpg related to that world, but I’ve kinda got to force myself to actually do it now. I have a lot of pent up creativity as most of my day is caught up by work, so it should actually be easier to make it now that I don’t have as much free time. It sounds counter intuitive, but well, there it is.

I’ve decided to introduce the world and its concepts by having a “meet the cast” wave of posting, where I post artwork/sketches and describe the characters’ backgrounds, classes, abilities, etc. I’ll post something once a week, or more if people like what’s posted.

For the record, the project is currently titled “Fantasy Punk”, which I’m fairly certain hasn’t been used yet, but can always be changed later.

So, let’s jump into it…

This is Beonarri. I’ve posted him a whole lot over the blog/tumblog career I’ve had. Here’s his official introduction on the tumblog.

Beonarri is a Technomancer. A Technomancer is a type of mage that is only available to Elves, they focus on supporting allies while undermining enemies with status and control. Technomancers have three areas of focus; gathering information, combing items with magic, and using magic to “hack” reality. The “hacking” of reality isn’t what I’m going to call it in the book, I’ll probably make it more vague so it can be bent a bit for story’s sake.

Beonarri’s occupation is as a freelancer. He does odd jobs around the city based on his expertise, but he also has a couple other people working for/with him to shore up the skills he doesn’t really have (i.e., melee combat or stealth).

The artwork above are a couple of his costumes. The “warlock” costume, a “spring/summer” costume, and his standard coat with the side plating. Each of these coats has an extradimensional property like a bag of holding, so the pockets can hold lots of stuff, which is a pretty common Technomancer trick in the “combing items and magic” category.



Facial expressions; confidence, laughter, rage, WTFing.



Poses, including one with his love interest, who I’ll introduce later. I doubt he’ll carry around staves or wands or things like that, but it works here.



Last one for now, some misc stuff. The staves, rods, and wands here are to show a Technomancer’s styled items, again, I don’t think they’d appear as actual spell casting tools in the comic. His character is almost entirely Intelligence-based, so knowledges, study, meditation, and other mental exercises are a key focus for him. It also means he’s a super problem solver. If he knew what Star Trek was, he’d definitely prefer Picard to Kirk.

To prove he’s not some sort of Mary-sue, he’s not that good in melee combat (I’ve taken away the sword fighting he used to have, so he’s not great at everything), he’s can’t really stealth or sneak, he can do some Charisma-based things, but they’re a secondary element to his character, and so he can actually land his spells, he has a bit of Agility, but he is by no means the fastest character. His primary weakness is his lack of physical strength, which come up as either a plot device or for comedic value.

I forgot to mention style notes for his costumes. He mostly wears long coats made of a leather that elves are really good at producing, it’s their primary export. Elves also have slow growing hair, so long hair is common amongst all of them. His “theme”, I guess you could call it, is of a “heavy metal magician”, so the hair and leather robes/coats are made to fit that concept.

Speaking of which, if metal existed on his world, he’d totally listen to it. His theme song would most likely be “The Magician” by Bruce Dickenson.

Next time, I’ve got four characters I could do: the beauty, the ex-thief, the ex-soldier, or the villain. If anyone has a preference, drop a line in my ask hole, otherwise I’ll decide.
          Why I Love... The Walking Dead        
Up until recently, I have never really been fascinated by the "genre" of zombie movies. As often as it is hailed as a classic bit of cinema, akin to a zombie apocalypse version of Citizen Kane, George Romero's seminal work Night of the Living Dead never really had a chance to form a lasting impact on me. As a young fan of horror, the old tropes borne out of what I saw were extensions of the old Universal monster movie franchises, The Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein just did not instill me with fear. I had more of a genuine fear of ghosts, unspeakable things, and horrors beyond comprehension... Shambling undead creatures just didn't seem scary to me.

But, eventually, I saw the remake of the Night of the Living Dead, with Babylon 5's Patricia Tallman (which I've written about before). And then I started to get it.
The zombies might have been slow and lumbering, but the film just builds this excellent sense of dread, and the zombies are this ever present threat, a hallmark of humanity's impending doom, as the rising tide of undead looms ever higher. And, even just a lone zombie, catching you vulnerable at just the wrong moment, might be like the terminator... inexorably reaching closer and closer to you until you become... one of them.

Unless you stove its head in, of course.

Zombies have become another member in the great lexicon that is pop culture. Like Bram Stoker's "invention" of the vampire for modern audiences, we understand most of the rules, even if the origins of each individual epidemic are left to mystery.
And now we have AMC's superb The Walking Dead. I managed to avoid the comics and, like eschewing the reading of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire in favour of watching the TV series, I have continued to avoid them, for no other reason save that it keeps me from spoiling the show.

And speaking of spoilers, I'll do my best to speak in largely vague terms and try and avoid any big spoilers, but please be warned that if you're not up to date, you may wish to do so before reading.
Let me rewind a bit. I think I started finding zombies intriguing as a plot device after playing Chainsaw Warrior for the first time. Undead things feature pretty prominently in the game (some of them are the fallen soldiers that preceded you) and I think my appreciation for them began with that game. I'm not sure what drew me to the board game in the first place, but it wasn't zombies. I think perhaps it was the odd juxtaposition of those two terms, "Chainsaw" and "Warrior"... I believe by then I was already a fan of war movies (although my stance on war has changed greatly over the years) and so a game about a one-man warrior chewing through hordes of sickly evil creatures probably was smack dab in the middle of my wheelhouse.
The reference, I think, is apt-- as over the last five seasons of The Walking Dead, I have trying to formulate my (purely non-academic and speculative) thesis as to why I love this series so much. It has taken me a while to come to the realisation, but: Rick Grimes and his "people" are like soldiers in a war without end.

I honestly didn't know what to make of the series when it first burst on the scene in 2010 and raised the bar for what I considered "geek" tv forever. After being wowed by the largely character-driven Mad Men, I was excited by a series that seemed more aimed at my interests. It was a horror series, with Shawshank Redemption's Frank Darabont's name written upon it, and had the involvement of the comic's creator, Robert Kirkman. Andrew Lincoln, already a well known name in Britain primarily because of Teachers and This Life, was set to star, and as a fan of accents, I think I watched the pilot episode to see how well he could pull off the accent as much as anything else.
Of course I was gripped from start to finish. The opening, which shared more than a bit in common with the original 28 Days Later, managed to go far beyond that premise and present a cast of characters infinitely more compelling than 28 Days Later. And though the zombies weren't as energetic, they were no less threatening. Like in HBO's Game of Thrones (which it preceded by a year), death waited around every corner and seemingly no character was safe from the predations by the groaning undead.

Some characters, like Melissa McBride's Carol and Steven Yeun's Glenn, seemed like obvious throwaways to me, but time and again I have been proved wrong. This is exactly the balance the show should skirt, and it does so very well I might add, to keep us guessing. If the characters had even vaguely appeared to be a zombie version of Star Trek's "red shirts" it wouldn't have nearly half the staying power.
But what amazes me is how the writers and the show's creator Kirkman, are able to wrest such a tangible and intriguing story around some of the least seemingly interesting characters. At first, I didn't see the chemistry (or the story angle) between Yeun's Glenn and the incredible Lauren Cohan's Maggie. But Glenn's character has had such a fantastic arc that it's one of my favourite parts of the show now. I think that stands as a testament to what truly makes the show great.
Not to mention the show's "villains", most of whom we've been able to understand something of their motivations, even if we don't agree with their methods. It's a genius stroke of writing. As hate-able as a character may be due to a situation, being able to understand their impetus, or at least find them likable or human in some ways is a great way to handle a nemesis in a character-driven show like The Walking Dead. Make them somehow smarter, better, or more driven than your main character and you have a superb foil for the hero.

And through the highs and lows of the show, the characters and their situations have kept me going... not to see the story through to the end necessarily, but like a charismatic person, it leaves you hanging on every word (and episode).
And I haven't even mentioned the excellent game series by Telltale, which for me, satiates my desire for more Walking Dead when the show is on hiatus, and fleshes out the universe even further (despite so few characters crossing over from one to the other).
And the highs, when they come, aren't just punctuated by them, but they are actually accentuated by the lows. How many TV shows (or games for that matter) have a character as badass as Michonne (played excellently by Danai Gurira)? These are a far cry from the (unfortunately) largely uninteresting characters from ABC's Lost, in The Walking Dead they have weight and heft, and a few we have only begun to plumb their mysteries and backstories.

I think what makes this genre great, though, is in showing you the many ways that a person can be tested. How far a person will bend before they snap. Sure, the show plays with lots of different philosophies, and methods of survival, but for me what it's really about is the people and their struggle, to keep fighting. To stay sane. To not give up when all hope is lost.
Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about Robert Kirkman's background, or his inspiration for the comic series. But I suspect he is a war veteran, or is closely familiar with someone who is. Or perhaps, like me, he only knows what he knows peripherally by watching war movies and imagining those characters plucked out of ordinary situations and ushered into extraordinary ones.

One hopes that every soldier gets to go home at the end. They might be changed beyond recognition, but at least their nightmare eventually ends. For Rick, Maggie, Glenn, Carol, Carl, Abraham and the rest, it never ends. Never. And it's such an interesting portrait of these people, viewing the show that way. I think that's Why I Love The Walking Dead.



          Gravity (spoilers)        
I don't have to pour extra praise on Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. The critics and general public have done that in spades already. But I do feel compelled to say a few things about the film (including spoilers).

I love Alfonso Cuarón. I have enjoyed many of his movies, from Y Tu Mamá También to Children of Men and of course Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favorite of the Harry Potter movies. The casting is perfect, with Clooney and Bullock delivering superb performances, both magnetic and affecting as befitting their characters (Needful Disclaimer: Owing to a late teenage crush, I do have a bit of a soft spot for Sandra Bullock, so I'm probably not fit to judge her performance).
Remember that scene at the beginning of Pitch Black where the ship is crashing and the whole rest of the movie has to kind of live up to that thrilling, stupendous opening sequence? Well, Gravity is kind of like that, except the whole film is that sequence. That's not really a spoiler, nor a detracting statement about the film, but an attempt to quantify what I loved about watching the movie.

I love the idea of space travel, and nothing is more depressing to me than the realities of how difficult that prospect is (at least with our current technological abilities). The opening text of Gravity reminds us that Life is Impossible in space. I think it's common knowledge that many astronauts have similarly remarked on how they had a profound experience in orbit, looking down on our seemingly fragile planet. It took me back to Richard Garriott de Cayeux's description of his personal experiences as a "Space Tourist" in 2008. Thankfully, the film gives us just enough of a sense of how difficult life in space is before shooting straight to the action. There is no wasted celluloid (or hard disk space) here.
The first thing that struck me about Gravity was the sound design. As the opening words remind us, there is nothing to transmit sound in space. At first we hear distant radio chatter, becoming more intelligible as we approach three explorers repairing the Hubble Space Telescope (or HST), via a Space Shuttle dubbed Explorer. As they work, with Clooney's Matt Kowalski entertaining us with idle chatter, we hear only the sounds and vibrations that would be transmitted into their suits by electric tools, etc. It's a stylistic choice that goes a long way to make the hostile environment of space seem immediate and real (in fact, contrary to intuition, an explosion that one can see but not hear is the more frightening: the only evidence for the destruction being wrought is what you're seeing, not to mention the vibrations of rending and tearing metal).
There is also a good deal of "First-Person" POV footage, which isn't used often in most films. It's refreshing to see it used to such good effect. There is a scene in 2010 (the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey) where the astronauts take a tense space walk, much of the same tension is present here in Gravity. And while I'm name dropping other SF films, this isn't the over the top "space dive" sequences from J.J. Abrams' latest Star Trek series, but it captures much of the excitement, and puts it within the context of the modern day... Wherein our heroes can't just be rescued at the last moment by some fabulous technology. They have to use the tools available to us today, which, as portrayed in the film, still often looks like a fledgling endeavor at best. Each time that "space technology" is engaged in Gravity, the wonderful animated film Wings of Honneamise comes to mind. Technology seems barely good enough to get the job done, and the main job is keeping people alive. On numerous occasions it is beautifully illustrated how nascent our lives in space, in fact are, even with all of the intervening technological progress since the 1950s.

As things continually seem to go wrong for our astronauts, one gets the sensation that this whole thing was conceptualized as a meandering "what if" scenario. Almost as if in writing the screenplay they thought, "Apollo 13 (the movie) was awesome, let's make something like that." The twist is, Gravity is not based on a real event, so just about anything can happen. We don't already know (or can consult wikipedia) for the outcome.
I didn't find myself picking out the film's inaccuracies, as one noted physicist has done.  When I sat down to watch the movie, I hadn't been expecting hard science fiction, but I think Gravity is as close as one can get to a "realistic" space film in mainstream cinema today. Having taken a university Physics course, on other hand, there was one glaring moment that stretched the film's narrative credibility for me, one that I think they could have explained away had they decided to do so. At one point, Dr. Stone is tethered to their only safe harbor by parachute cables caught on her leg. In a dramatically (and somewhat cinematically predictable moment), there is a discussion of whether she should "just let go" and save herself or continue clinging on to Kowalski. I found myself thinking, but what is pulling Kowalski away? In a micro-gravity environment such as Earth orbit, the primary force of inertia would most likely be pulling Matt away from Ryan. Since they had both seemingly come to "rest," their situation shouldn't be as dire as it is portrayed in the film. This was the film's Cliffhanger moment, when Stone has to choose between risking losing herself and trying to save her mentor. I think a simple sequence showing that they were both in a circular motion around the Soyuz capsule (which is conceivably what might happen), thereby introducing the danger of getting flung or "slingshotted" away from Soyuz, might have sufficed to illustrate that a centrifugal force was acting on them, pulling them apart. I suppose this is what Neil DeGrasse Tyson means when he tweeted 'The film should be renamed "Angular Momentum"'.

And speaking of Dr. Tyson's nitpicks, it didn't bother me that "Dr. Ryan Stone" (more on her name in a moment) is firstly a Medical Doctor and not a trained NASA repair technician. And yes, the subject of her name comes up in her dialogue with Kowalski, and neatly adds a nice wrinkle to her character at that moment in the film. She had a father who wanted a boy, so he gave her a boy's name. It's the kind of thing that is almost throwaway, but gives the actors leagues to play with internally, and says a lot about the woman we're watching struggling up, 300 miles above the Earth.
It also didn't bother me that all these disparate locations, ISS, the HST, etcetera were all within relative sight lines of one another, nor that there was a communications blackout (given that comms satellites allegedly orbit much higher). I think these are conceits in film that we've come to accept and acknowledge as part of creative license. It didn't bother me that Sandra Bullock's hair didn't move realistically (although that would have been a great detail for them to pick up on, assuming they didn't). And saying that, I can't fault the special effects at all; for me, it is truly a beautiful film, and as close as many of us will get to actually seeing our own planet from space (at least in the very near future). I thought the special effects were executed brilliantly, and most importantly, were best served illustrating the story. It's exciting to me that a film that makes everything look so seamless and so believable can be made today, and be commercially viable (at least I think so-- it had a production budget of $100 million and seems to have made back at least five times that so far).

I know Dr. Tyson's criticisms were mainly levelled because he loves space, and space travel so much, or can only guess he feels as strongly as I. He cares enough about the film to point out where it could have been a perfect experience for him (and no doubt for anyone at NASA or who also have gone to space). So the idea of a "realistic" film about space travel is probably too much to hope for at this point. The fact that the whole situation is pretty believable is a message in itself. The kinds of things that happen to the astronauts in Gravity are likely the least of our problems, once we start to go to space en masse.

But beyond that one "Don't Let Go" sequence, the whole rest of the film was an entertaining, thrilling "edge of your seat" ride. It's a wonderful (albeit perilous) premise, beautifully and artfully produced. I highly recommend it.
          The Indiana Jones Adventure that could have been...        
Just having watched the "Honest" trailer for the disappointing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has brought this franchise to the forefront of my mind. What a shame the movie was such a letdown. The Red Letter Media breakdown is worth a watch... while characteristically a little too disturbing, especially with the "Olsen Twins" bit-- it still is pretty on the money, at least in regards to the movie... I love Harry's deconstructions.

I don't know why, but suddenly I'm motivated to try to think of a way that they could have told a better, more interesting story, which would be much more in keeping with the spirit of what made the first films so great.
Back in the early 1990s, an Indiana Jones game came out that was not a direct tie-in to one of the movie licenses. I remember Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis quite fondly, and felt that, even though they couldn't get someone to sound exactly like Harrison Ford in the "talkie" CD-ROM version I played, it was very much the kind of pulp adventure that they had established with the first three films. If you've never played it, I think it's still probably worth playing (I can't remember if there were any diabolical puzzles, the kind that got kids to call the expensive Lucasarts hint line, long before there were strategy guides or internet walkthroughs). My point, though, is that it makes for a much more satisfying story I think, than what Lucas and Spielberg produced. And (spoilers) it also involved aliens and alien artifacts.
Let me get back to the films for a moment. According to the series' creators, the idea came about as Lucas and Spielberg were hiding out together in Hawaii, awaiting the official first weekend results from Star Wars. Well, I think Steven Spielberg was there to console and commiserate his friend, in case Star Wars became a box office bomb. The idea was to create something along the lines of James Bond; have an iconic hero who gets in all sorts of globe-spanning scrapes, a dashing figure that reminded them of heroes played by Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn from the serials they grew up with. I'm probably getting those references wrong there, because films from that era were before my time. If you have time, I highly recommend watching Jamie Benning's "Filmumentary" on Raiders (entitled Raiding the Lost Ark), at least in addtion to the official DVD/Blu-ray extras. Highly interesting and entertaining.
The main difference of course, is that Indiana Jones has become synonymous with Harrison Ford, something that made the omission of his voice notable in Fate of Atlantis. So, how could they do an Indiana Jones film without him? I have a great respect for Harrison Ford, and to be frank, that's owing in a large part to the fact that he's played two of the standout roles from films from my childhood. I'm not sure I would have bothered to watch Force 10 from Navarone as early as I did, if he hadn't been in it. I think it's normal to become a litle fascinated by the people who are playing these heroes and icons. The ironic thing about Harrison Ford is that he sees the actor's job to be more or less chameleonic, and that the person should be able to disappear within the role for which they're playing. And these are roles that he not only disappears within, but eventually comes to be defined by. So back to casting the role of Indiana Jones, really can we find another actor to play the iconic role (imagine trying to fill those shoes!) or we stick with an older Indy... So in that case, what kind of story is there to tell?
For some reason, the structure of a film like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy comes to mind, not so much in the slowly measured pace, or the internecine and Byzantine struggles of the cold war, but a film filled with cherished younger actors, nearly all of which revolve around Gary Oldman's George Smiley like weights about a fulcrum. They're the ones running, jumping and dodging, and he's the one directing from the shadows. The point is, I'm not sure the filmmakers did enough thinking about what kind of character Henry Jones, Jr. might have become. It would have been really interesting to see that. What kind of life has Indy created for himself, relaly? Or they could have at least incorporated enough fun in a "passing the torch" kind of story, as they did with the opening sequence of the Last Crusade. "You lost today, kid. But that doesn't mean you have to like it." What if his escapades were years behind him, and he longed to be an adventurer again, or perhaps he had simply made a name for himself at Barnett or Marshall College and was living a quiet, comfortable life in Rhode Island. Then this young upstart comes and draws him into one... last... adventure...? Sort of like Fright Night, except instead of Roddy McDowall (since the 2011 version remixes this with a much younger actor in David Tenant), we have Ford traipsing along with some younger chap, in a mirror sequence to some of Last Crusade's best scenes... More on that later.
This leads me to my key point: I think many of these films which are based around "nostalgic" creations from the past could benefit from discovering how to grow with their audience, instead of trying to appeal to a new audience. One of the things that makes the Harry Potter series so wonderful is the characters and the material change with time. The whole theme, tone and mood of the series evolves and attempts to mirror the growth of the children who are represented in the story, as well as their audience. Although I haven't read the books, I think the film series emulates it quite well, and by the end we're left with a much darker, although no less hopeful, story.
Although I didn't enjoy it particularly, I think some of that maturation has played a large part in the success of Skyfall. In Skyfall, we're not seeing a 007 that is any more human or realistic perhaps than his earlier counterparts (at least compared to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the infamous "Lazenby" Bond film), but the world that he exists within has a modern urgency and gravity within it, something at least which has taken away his devil-may-care attitude of the films from the 60s through the 80s. Which takes us neatly back around to Indiana Jones.
So the Fate of Atlantis is set in 1939, and obviously, if we're using sixty-something Harrison Ford, going back to that era is out. The real shame to me is the fact that the whole era, around and through World War II has to be skipped for this reason. What has Indiana been doing all this time? I wish they would have really thought about that, and come up with something interesting. Even if it was just a flashback of an older Harrison as Indy, remniscing of his days during the war, with Peter Sarsgaard or someone playing him as a younger man...
And yet, if they were going to do something truly visionary, why not really pass the torch, and in a unique way? So my idea is this, we pick up in 1945, on the eve of victory in Berlin. We find Indy, along with Benedict Cumberbatch or James McAvoy as "Mackenzie", working as agents for the O.S.S. who manage to stop the invasion of Nazi super soldiers. But why does Indiana Jones look so... old? Well, it's because of the "old woman's curse", of course! During the last expedition to the Congo, they met an old witch who said that Indy would have to "save the world" before he was allowed to find his youth again. And then it turns out that there's another hero, working at cross purposes (someone just as iconic)... How about an occultist with a penchant for delivering rare old manuscripts and books to obscure collectors, like a 1940s version of Johnny Depp's Dean Corso from Polanski's Ninth Gate? Or, to go even weirder, maybe we see a young version of Indy (played by an actor who looks visually similar, but slightly different , who is baffled by this older version, and it turns out that one of them is a "doppelgänger" (or maybe from a parallel dimension), but they both have similar memories. Abrams more or less pulled this off with the Star Trek reboot, so come on... You could have some of those fun moments like in Last Crusade where the two characters are comparing notes on the women or the traps they've recently encountered.
My point is, this is all pulp, so there are some great ways to skirt around the "problem" of the gap of years between filming, and the visible ageing of the actor. Hey, J.J. Abrams did it with Star Trek, so why not try something similar with a role like Indiana Jones? I mean, pretty much anyone that dons the Hat, Jacket and Whip pretty much invokes the spirit of the character. Heck, stuntmanVic Armstrong pretty much made a career of it! And we don't necessarily have to make a film that's like a cartoon to make it enjoyable. Sure, the original films were corny, and that's more or less what a new audience would expect, but why not making something that appeals to fans who have grown up since the series started?
Looking at the film that was actually produced, however, on the surface, I do like the fact they were trying to get inspiration from the "flying saucer" films of the 1950s. Unfortunately, because they couldn't entirely commit to this idea in my opinion, the resulting mash-up only dresses it with surface elements. And like Harry's assessment, those films don't feature the main star having a lot of action. Like the Godzilla films from the 1970s, there are characters in a control room somewhere directing other characters to drive around and not get stepped on. Not much direct action happens, necessarily.
You might have thought that Spielberg would have garnered some experience whilst making the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds, specifically in regards to telling the1950s Sci Fi story and action from a first person perspective. Sort of like a 28 Days Later experience, just this time with an adventurer from another century.
And that's something else that's really not explored sufficiently for my tastes. There's such an opportunity there, to tell a story about a man from a time where things were done differently. Someone who maybe is becoming obsolete, but because of his unique quality of being an "old soldier", is able to see things from the proper perspective necessary to triumph over certain obstacles and challenges. But then we see the inherent tragedy and feel the frustration of the man who doesn't quite fit. I know the series has touched on these elements, but here's a chance to bring things full circle.
Because it's Indy we're talking about, it might harken back to the scene from Raiders where he simply plugs the Cairo swordsman instead of engaging in a lengthy fight... and he's learned a few more things since then. To be able to underscore the idea that Indiana Jones is from another time, a time of legends, and going further: to begin to suggest that perhaps we have some kind of unreliable narrator on our hands... I mean, if you look at the character of Indiana Jones, he's not really a James Bond, but he's more of an everyman. He gets cuts and scrapes, he gets his lights punched out. He is scorned by women, but at the same time, loved by them. That's part of what makes the character so endearing. There's almost a kind of Inspector Gadget (the cartoon, not the dreadful Matthew Broderick thing) quality there, of him succeeding, despite his physical failings. Excepting of course Temple of Doom, he was not necessarily an overtly physical character, and mostly succeeded through ingenuity. And by showing that he has matured, and the world that he exists within has matured just that little bit could have really been interesting.
Much like the Star Wars prequels, I wish I could sit down with a blank page and see if I could come up with something that would resonate with people like myself, more completely. But really what I have so far is a bunch of ideas. Perhaps one day I might be able to coalesce these ideas into something tangible, but for now, it's just the random musings of a fan. Although perhaps some of these are the same kinds of ideas that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg came up with when they got together to make Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but we'll probably never know. What I would really have loved to see is the film they both truly wanted to make, in their heart of hearts, tied together with a singular vision, and tempered with the kinds of aspirations and artistry they had in their youth (I can only hope that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is not even close to that image). That truly would have been the best swan song for Indiana Jones: Archaeologist, Academic, Adventurer.

          On Hobbits and Things...        

I suppose this is long overdue. I saw the Jackson/Walsh/Boyens version of The Hobbit just before the holidays, and although I have only seen the film once, I have been turning it over and over in my head and thinking about it ever since.


The reason for this of course is that John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's The Hobbit is one of my most cherished tales from childhood. And I don't mean that as hyperbole, it really is one of the reasons I eventually got so interested in Dragons, Dungeons, Dwarves, Dice and everything else associated with Tabletop Role-playing that starts with a "D".

Spoilers abound, so if you have yet to see the film, beware.

Suffice to say, I was cautiously optimistic about Peter Jackson's project, which unfortunately had gone through some turmoil in the press, with famed Director Guillermo Del Toro leaving and all the controversy surrounding it suddenly becoming a trilogy and the rest. But in general, I have loved the passion and the enthusiasm with which was so obviously labored upon to create The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, so I was pretty confident that they would do the story justice.

Fast forward to me walking out of the theater, however, and even weeks afterward, there remain some persistent niggles. Although I enjoyed the movie, there were a few things that I think could have improved the experience overall.
Let me rewind to the Lord of the Rings for a moment. As a child of the 1970s, I saw Ralph Bakshi's adaptation of the Fellowship of the Ring and enjoyed it for what it was: the only cinematic adaptation of the source material at the time. I actually like the opening scene with the narration by actor William Squire, who voices Gandalf, and I think it frames the backstory and describes the stakes for the impending War of the Ring beautifully. 

"Long ago, in the early years of the Second Age, the great Elven-smiths forged Rings of Power. Nine for mortal Men, Seven for the Dwarf-lords, and three for the tall Elf-kings. But then, the Dark Lord learned the craft of ring-making and made the Master Ring — The One Ring to rule them all. With the One Ring, Middle-earth is his and he cannot be overcome. As the last alliance of Men and Elves fell beneath his power, he did not notice the heroic shadow who slipped in. It was Prince Isildur, of the mighty kings from across the sea, who took the ring. But because he did not destroy it, the spirit of the Dark Lord lived on and began to take shape and grow again..."

Perhaps it's pure nostalgia, but I actually like the use of silhouettes and sparse rotoscoped animation, seemingly on bare canvas. And the way the narration doesn't burden the viewer with too many names of characters; simply calling Sauron "The Dark Lord" somehow makes him all the more sinister. It also makes the story timeless, almost as if it were a tale told around the campfire, and by that extension almost fit within the boundaries of our own world.

If you have access to it, though, go back and watch Peter Jackson's version of the introduction from The Fellowship of the Ring. I couldn't help but think he was influenced by more than just the novel, and that some of this imagery from the 1978 animated film may have been at the back of his mind when exploring all of those scenes. Jackson's introduction is wonderful, but in some ways, because we're seeing everything in full color, it's almost a little too telling, in essence we're being told the context of the War of the Ring before we know who any of the characters are. But the sequence largely works, and something in the way that it is narrated by Galadriel made me enjoy it all the more ("But they were all of them, deceived."). Somehow it reminded me a little of the introduction to Lynch & De Laurentiis' Dune (and for me, that's a good thing).
There's a scene later on involving Galadriel, played gorgeously by Cate Blanchett. In the Bakshi version Galadriel looks a little like a Don Bluth Disney princess, but something in the way the scene plays out is more compelling to me. We never see what Frodo actually sees in the mirror, and somehow that makes the horrors he is seeing all the more horrendous in the imagining. And when Galadriel towers over him, presumably tempted by the power of the ring, it somehow ends up being a little less camp than the negative image of Galadriel in the Jackson version. Perhaps it's Annette Crosby's wonderful voice, but there's something just right in her portrayal which I feel is missing somehow in the live action version ("Do not touch the water!"). And as for the other characters in the voice cast, they are almost universally superb, at least as far as I can recall. It's hard for me to think of Aragorn without hearing John Hurt's voice. Overall, though, Jackson's version is much more the watchable film of course. And at least his trilogy is complete, whereas the Bakshi version ends somewhere near the middle of The Two Towers.
And now we come to The Hobbit, which also had its own animated version, in 1977. Instead of Ralph Bakshi and rotoscoped animation, however, this treatise was, like the book, much more aimed at children, and the Japanese animation house hired by Rankin/Bass spun the tale with a stylized look. I'm sure it must be nostalgia, but again, I felt that the animated version held some special charm which is unfortunately missing from Peter Jackson's bombastic An Unexpected Journey.
In the animated version, John Huston's narration greets us with the opening words from the book, and gives us just enough of a picture of the setting before the story starts proper. The Dwarves arrive, introduce themselves ("We are all at your service!") a happy song plays before we find out what the "quest" is.
I'm afraid the framing device in the live action version, of Sir Ian Holm as an aged Bilbo, relating his tale to the ever youthful Elijah Wood as Frodo seems a remarkable indulgence, and I fear the creators may have run away with themselves in this regard. I don't hate it, not by any stretch--as it's wonderful to reminisce about those fine films again, but I think in future years when the trilogy is viewed in full, it may be written off as Jackson simply wanting to "Get the band back together again" and letting his nostalgia for his experience on the Lord of the Rings trilogy (or simply having a job for Holm and Wood). Going back and viewing the flashback "backstory" sequences that overlap from Jackson's Lord of the Rings there are some discrepancies. For instance, the scene in which we see Bilbo obtaining the ring is played by Ian Holm as opposed to the equally excellent Martin Freeman, but hey ho, they couldn't have known way back when... I just hope that Jackson doesn't bother to edit the new footage in to the old trilogy when it comes time to have the inevitable "Six film boxed set" to be released.
In the next scene, we have Bilbo describing his race in the third person, and then relating the tale behind Erebor and the Lonely Mountain and the coming of Smaug. To me, this is really out of place in the storytelling timeline, and why Bilbo should be relating the Dwarves' backstory as if the whole film is a flashback isn't the best choice in terms of getting the audience to relate to the story.  Overall it is Bilbo's story to tell for sure, but I would have liked the idea that Gandalf narrating, since he is the other main constant between the two story arcs... especially given that he is a nigh-immortal Istari wizard.

And as for the whole Azog the Defiler angle, which appears to have been completely fabricated for the films, I'm still not sure how I feel about it all...

Okay, I'm just going to say it. As much as I love the material, and really getting a chance to explore Middle Earth, I don't think this should have been made into three films. More than that, I really believe that The Hobbit is suffering from a severe bout of Sequel-itis. Well, technically, that's Prequel-itis, but hopefully you know what I'm saying. Every film that comes after the original must be bigger, louder, more spectacular. But in the case of The Hobbit, this doesn't really work, and I'm saddened that the studios or perhaps Jackson and his team, didn't recognize this. The larger they try to make The Hobbit in terms of spectacle, the more it diminishes what they achieved with The Lord of the Rings.
I think it would have resonated with far more fans and the audience as a whole if they had taken it back and made it more of a smaller, more personal story, including the visuals and action set-pieces. We could feel like we're meeting up with some old friends (Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond, etc.) but feel that this story fits within the larger world of The Lord of the Rings. I don't think that the way the film is presented visually truly represents this. The mountain giants sequence feels like something lifted from a God of War game and was oddly out of place. While we're following them on their run through Goblin town, it didn't feel like a real place at all. I expected to see claustrophobic, small underground warrens, not enormous cavernous openings filled with wooden structures. The whole sequence just felt "off" to me. What we needed was a new perspective on the world that Tolkien created, but unfortunately what we got was more of the same.

As for Azog as a character, I thought he was reasonably interesting, visually at least, and it leant an intriguing angle to Thorin's backstory. But ultimately, I think it takes away from the simplicity of the original story. I like the animated version, in that Thorin is not completely a character we can get behind, and the Dwarves' quest to obtain their homeland is not entirely noble or selfless. They seek the treasure that once was theirs, really, and they're not above abusing a local Halfling to achieve those ends. Knowing the conclusion, we don't really need to have a revenge plot to motivate Thorin, or for him to hate the Elves. The fact that he was distrustful of the wood elves doesn't have to owe to an old insult. They could quite easily have chalked that up to Elves and Dwarves simply not getting along.
There's a scene where Thorin is being recalcitrant towards Gandalf, and where he would normally have seemed characteristically (for an old Dwarf) truculent and just generally hard to get along with, he comes across as being hung up on petty matters and is simply behaving petulantly.
As for the rest of the film, they spend an awful lot of time setting up these elements, and I think it could have been better spent fleshing out these characters for which Bilbo is entrusting his life. I don't believe they're terribly fleshed out in the course of the original story, which is why perhaps Walsh, Jackson and Boyens were reluctant to invent too much that might go against some lost material of Tolkien's but I think in terms of a story I would rather have gotten to know a few of the other characters in some way.  As it stands, of the others, we really only get to know Balin to any degree, the others are mainly identified visually or via their various accents. I can't help but feel this was a wasted opportunity... if we were going to spend so much time on this journey, it might have been more compelling to really get to know some of them, their quirks, their faults, etcetera. We're much more likely to remember that the big rotund one has a pet giant rat and has spent the last few years hiding in the cellars of Giants rather than he eats a lot and breaks furniture by sitting upon it.
Some of the Dwarves look okay, but unfortunately to me, they don't really look like what I think of as a Dwarf from a Fantasy setting. I understand they had physical constraints and did a pretty admirable job working within them, but something in their proportions was still missing. There are some fleeting scenes in the introduction that have some interesting specimens of Dwarves (or Dwarfs, if you prefer) in the Warhammer Fantasy vein, but for the most part, unless one of the Dwarf characters is standing next to a larger character, we're hard pressed to think of them as anything but humans. With Hobbits, one can get away with it, as their proportions are similar, but Dwarves are a mining people, and seem to be much more martial than the Halflings of the Shire. They should have abnormally thick wrists, be short and stocky, with stunted but powerful features. These guys just looked too human. And some of their costuming and facial hair was just plain unusual for the sake of being unusual. It didn't seem to me to be functional or reminiscent of anything remotely similar to what I've grown up imagining in the Fantasy realm.
And I like the way the Dwarves from the Rankin/Bass film are dressed, they look like pilgrims who have been wandering for a long time. I think that Weta tried to hint at this, but unfortunately most of the characters from the live action film end up looking more like Klingons from Star Trek rather than disenfranchised people from the plundered kingdom of Erebor.
I do like some of the Goblin designs, however, as they seemed to be a bit more improved from their Lord of the Rings counterparts, and a bit less like "bloke wearing a mask and makeup" and like real, inhuman creatures. I thought the Goblin King was a bit too camp, however, and although Barry Humphries was quite memorable, I just thought it was a bit too over the top for the tone they were attempting to maintain. The scene is pretty wacky in the animated version as well, but apart from the creators shying away from violence, it's kind of a rousing sequence and could have been much more interesting if it had played out just a little more similarly to the animated version in scale and scope.
Hey, we shop at the same Milliner, okay?
And speaking of camp, I am no great follower or fan of Doctor Who, so the presence of Sylvester McCoy didn't rankle me at all, and I think he captured the character quite well (apart from seemingly wearing the same hat as James Nesbitt's Bofur). While we don't know a lot about Radagast the Brown from the text, I think it was a brilliant take on a hermetic woodland character, and the bunnies, while silly, were quite amusing (as was the little Goblin Scribe sequence-- pure genius).  I like the introduction of the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, mostly because I remember an old supplement for the Middle Earth Role-Playing game from Iron Crown Enterprises called Southern Mirkwood: Haunt of the Necromancer and it's a part of the universe I am curious to know more about. It seems a bit convenient to me that the spiders of Mirkwood are involved, but I suppose it makes sense. I just think showing even just a hint of the spiders so early, given that they figure so largely into the story later on, it's slightly tipping their hand. It's much better from a storytelling perspective to save that surprise, in my opinion.
I'm not sure it makes complete sense in terms of the timeline to have the "Necromancer at Dol Guldur" be the one who is summoning the Nazgul or Wringraiths, but I suppose it is in keeping with what is known about the official lore of Middle Earth. I kind of like the idea that the Necromancer is a separate entity from Sauron, just another hazard in the wild open wilderness of Middle Earth. Although even in that case, it stands to reason that all evil entities are connected to Sauron somehow (and by extension Melchior), but it's a little too convenient of a link. My gripe is probably with Tolkien there, however.

Overall, it's a great start to the new trilogy and although my gripes seem to be far-reaching, I and the group I attended the film with enjoyed it greatly. I am thankful that the film is in such capable hands and am looking forward to the next chapter... Mirkwood and the Desolation of Smaug....


          Episode 110: Everything You Need to Know About Star Trek: Discovery        
We're back from Comic-Con with a shiny new episode, and lots of interviews, about your next Trek obsession: Star Trek: Discovery.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 110

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This week, we take a break from reviewing episodes to break down the new, explosion-y trailer for Discovery, what we know about the show (so far), that Entertainment Weekly cover story, why Bryan Fuller really left the series, and whether or not we like what we've seen so far. (Spoiler: Phil and Scott disagree on something for once, guys -- clutch the pearls!). And Scott has some great interviews with the cast and producers, including Alex Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman!

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We also have six Red Shirts to eulogize (thanks, Krall!), so put on your best Discovery cosplay, get comfy, and listen now to the newest episode of TR3…

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          Episode 109: Of Data Kids and Alien Violations        
Two episodes in one this week, as Transporter Room 3 doubles-down on our reviews of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5. It’s robot kids and telepathic predators this time out!

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We're revisiting "Hero Worship" -- you know, the one where a little kid kinda stalks Data and copies his look -- and "Violations," AKA "The One Where Troi Screams a Lot." How well do they hold up? Um... listen and find out.

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This week, we also celebrate Wrath of Khan's 35th birthday and we, sadly, also mourn a few Red Shirts with the help of Geordi.

So slick back your hair, put on your wannabe Data tunic and listen now!

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          Episode 108: Time Travel and Daddy Issues, Star Trek-Style!        
A time-traveling (fake) historian and Alexander pay us a visit on this week's Transporter Room 3 for a double-header of Next Generation Season 5 action.

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That’s right, we have two TNG episodes this week -- Rick Berman's "A Matter of Time" and "New Ground," a.k.a. Worf Doesn't Know His Son's Birthday. One's kinda meh, the other is kinda underrated. So if you like people talking about temporal repercussions in offices, or watching Worf be the worst dad ever, then this episode of TR3 is for you!

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Red Shirts, all the way from Cardassia, pay us a visit, too. Plus, new Star Trek toys were just announced. It's a double-sized episode this week -- with a space plant animal puppet thing to boot! -- so get comfy and listen now…

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          Episode 107: Talking Star Trek: Discovery’s Trailer and Spock’s Only TNG Appearance        
The first trailer for Star Trek: Discovery has arrived! But is that a good thing…?

Transporter Room 3, Episode 107

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Phil and Scott break down the arrival of the USS Discovery (or lack thereof) before revisiting 1991, when the 25th anniversary of Star Trek hit and the Next Generation two-part episode "Unification" was aired as part of the celebration. Well, the mixed bag celebration.

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Spock (finally) pays Picard and crew a visit, and so does Sela and a bunch of Romulans in (wait for it) offices! So exciting, right?

We break down what's wrong with this two-parter, discuss all the new Star Trek: Discovery info, and as always another Red Shirt (or 2,000) beams on down. RIP.

So after you go see Mr. Mot for your Romulan hair piece, listen to the newest ep of TR3!

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          Episode 106: Why Star Trek's Version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers Doesn't Suck        
Wesley's back, and he's brought the scariest/lamest game ever.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 106

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This week, we revisit "The Game" -- which is basically a public service announcement for why Riker should never, ever be allowed to visit Risa. Ever. But man, Ashley Judd’s Robin Lefler makes her second (and last onscreen) appearance, and along the way she gets a million sweaty nerd hearts a’fluttering!

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We also have Discovery casting/re-casting news, reader mail and drones of Red Shirts -- all victims of The Hugh-ening.

So sit back, relax, put some cones in the funnel and listen now to the new ep of TR3!

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          Episode 105: The Laughing Vulcan and His Dog, or Why ‘Disaster’ Is Still Awesome TNG        
Remember that time the Enterprise hit a quantum filament and disaster struck?! (No, not a cosmic string, Counselor!) Well sure you do -- we just talked about the Star Trek: TNG episode “Disaster” a few episodes back. And now we’re going to again…

Transporter Room 3, Episode 105

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Well, that’s what happens when you decide to review a whole season of episodes consecutively. This is our gift. This is our curse! But don’t worry, because we’ve found some new nuggets of information to discuss this week about that great, underrated episode.

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We also delve into the latest Star Trek: Discovery casting -- Harry freaking Mudd? -- and we talk a bit about why following William Shatner on Twitter is like playing fizzbin on LDS. And, of course, we have our latest Red Shirt of the week. But truly, is there no greater Red Shirt than a lost love…?

So try to recall your emergency birth training from the Academy, spin up your Zune player, and listen to the latest episode of Transporter Room 3!

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          Episode 104: Revisiting ‘Silicon Avatar,’ a.k.a. Riker’s Blue Balls Adventure        
A sequel to the crystalline entity? Really? Yep, that happened. And 26 years later, we're revisiting the evil space snowflake's second (and last) encounter with the Enterprise.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 104

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This unlikely sequel, which surprised Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jeri Taylor when it was pitched to her, spends a lot of time with Riker grieving over a lost near-hookup while Data helps a scientist and mother dealing with Captain Ahab-level revenge. Does the episode hold up? Find out!

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We also have the winner of our Enterprise Complete Series on Blu giveaway, some Star Trek: Discovery casting news and, of course, another Red Shirt (RIP).

RIP Carmen
RIP Carmen
So activate your graviton pulse and listen to the newest episode now!

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          Episode 102: Phil and Scott at Tanagra! Why 'Darmok' Still Holds Up 25 Years Later        
Transporter Room 3 beams on down with another review, and this time it’s Season 5's "Darmok." And we do the whole podcast in metaphor! (I kid, I kid.)

Transporter Room 3, Episode 102

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This classic Trek is both an all-timer for the series and the genre, and we break down why. (And we also throw some shade at Riker's questionable command strategy while Picard is getting his "Shaka, when the walls fell" on.)


We also have some Star Trek: Discovery to discuss, and Scott serenades us with The Ballad of Sorrow that is dealing with Eaglemoss customer service. And a Red Shirt, obvi.

So brush up on the Epic of Gilgamesh, go all "Temba, his arms wide" and listen now to our newest episode!

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          Episode 101: Klingons, Romulans, and a Very Angry Data: TR3 Season 5 Starts Now!        
New year. New season. Same Scott and Phil!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 101

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Transporter Room 3 kicks off Season 5 in style. Wanna know what's up with Star Trek: Discovery? Or why Star Trek Beyond is going to the Oscars? We got you covered.

Plus, for Season 5, just like TNG before us, we're changing things up. How? You'll just have to listen and find out.

Data and Mr. Hobson!

But don't worry -- we still have all your Red Shirt needs covered. This week, pour out some blood wine for the poor Klingon bastard that Worf kinda sorta got killed.

And we have a really cool giveaway. Our loyal listener Lyndon has created some custom Star Trek prints -- recruitment posters for Starfleet! -- and we’re giving a pair away. Take a look at them below, listen for your chance to win, and be sure to check out more of Lyndon’s work at willowstration.com.

Join Starfleet today!
So put your tachyon grids in order, get comfy in your new S5 Picard jacket and listen to the newest episode of TR3!

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          Episode 100: Star Trek's Ron Moore Beams in to Celebrate Transporter Room 3's 100th Episode Spectacular!        
Happy holidays, everyone -- and happy 100th episode!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 100

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We're ending our fifth season with one hell of a special guest: Star Trek and Outlander writer-producer Ronald D. Moore.

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The writer of such fan-favorites as "Family," "Trials and Tribble-ations," and Star Trek: First Contact joins us to talk some of his greatest hits from TNG and DS9 and why you should be watching his current time-travel series on STARZ.

We also delve into Star Trek: Discovery’s casting, including its new lead who will blast off to space from The Walking Dead. And we’ve got a giveaway for a lucky listener this week to help celebrate the big #100!


And as always, a Red Shirt pays us a visit -- right before she gets a face full of exploding console. So put on your fancy dress uniform and listen now to the newest episode of TR3!

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          Episode 98/99: Why Star Trek: First Contact Is Still Awesome 20 Years Later        
This week, Scott and Phil revisit an oldie but a goodie: Star Trek: First Contact! In honor of its 20th anniversary on Nov. 22, we sat down with our new friend (and fan!) Aaron Couch from The Hollywood Reporter to discuss his must-read oral history on the film and our favorite First Contact memories.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 98/99

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And, yes, because this is TR3, Aaron joins us via his car.

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We also have an exclusive interview with legendary Star Trek director Nicholas Meyer, where we discuss all things Time After Time (which has a new Blu-ray out), Star Trek VI, and Star Trek: Discovery. And last, but not least, several Red Shirts visit us from beyond the grave -- but right before the Borg assimilate them.

So modulate your phaser rifles, stay away from Deck 16 and listen now to this special double episode of TR3!

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          Episode 97: Star Trek Can Save the World if You Let It        
In the wake of the highly divisive presidential election, we’ve got a handful of Star Trekky Star Trek episode recommendations -- shows from The Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and more that remind us that working together towards a positive future is what it’s all about.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 97

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We also delve into the recent news that Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller… is not the showrunner of Star Trek: Discovery anymore. We find this news most distressing, and we’re not entirely convinced that the official reasoning for his taking a step back (but not completely a step away, as he’ll still be involved with the show) is the full story. Is it ever?

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And then of course we’ve got another Red Shirt of the week. A whole planet of ‘em, in fact. But we bring it all back to the election, so don’t let anyone ever say we aren’t heavy-handed!

So put on your Federation President John Lennon shades, turn off the cable news for a spell, and listen to the latest episode of Transporter Room 3…

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          Episode 96: Leonard Nimoy Hated Generations and Other Great Behind the Scenes Star Trek Facts        
You guys have to get the new Star Trek book The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, which dives into all the behind-the-scenes drama of TNG (the series and movies), DS9, Voyager, Enterprise and the Abrams movies.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 96

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You also need to add the Star Trek 50th Anniversary 30-disc Blu-ray set to your collection posthaste for even more great making-of info. The 50th anniversary has been an embarrassment of nerd riches lately, and we're gonna walk you through two key pieces documenting Trek's half-century existence.

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Did you know there was another writer brought on to First Contact at Patrick Stewart’s insistence? Or that Leonard Nimoy stopped talking to Rick Berman over Generations? Or that there was almost a Khan prequel after Star Trek II? We didn't either. Those are just a few great bits of trivia we picked up from the book and Blu-ray documentary. Listen to find out why there is life before and life after these must-have Trek historical documents.

We also announce the winners of our Star Trek: 50 Artists, 50 Years book giveaway and bid RIP to another Red Shirt all the way from Delta Quadrant.

There's a lot going on, so put on your Spock-y mediation robes, get comfy and listen now to TR3!

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          Star Trek: The Original Series Season 1 - Speed Read        
The 50th anniversary celebration continues with this pop-up trivia style video about Star Trek: The Original Series' amazing first season. Take a look at it below!




We'd love to make more of these in the future, so be sure to share it with all your favorite Trekkies and Trekkers and get the word out! Peace, and long life...
          Episode 95: It Is Better to Have Loved and Lost, Spock…        
We’re continuing Star Trek’s 50th anniversary celebration with another new episode of Transporter Room 3 this week, and another look back at where it all started!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 95

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This time out, we talk to writer, legend and OG of TOS D.C. Fontana about her time on the classic show as well as her stint helping to launch The Next Generation, including co-writing the pilot of that series, “Encounter at Farpoint.” [tugs on shirt, orders Earl Grey tea, hot]

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And then we also delve into a discussion of Fontana’s great first-season episode, “This Side of Paradise.” You know the one -- everyone on the Enterprise gets doused with alien plant spores, quits their jobs, and puts on those really bland overalls. Oh, and Spock falls in love…

And of course, we finish out the podcast with another Red Shirt. Actually, several, but you’ll have to listen to find out who/what/how. So sit back, ask Sandoval if he’d like to see how fast you can put him in a hospital, and listen to Transporter Room 3!

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          Episode 94: This Is How You Celebrate Star Trek's 50th Anniversary        
726 episodes. 13 movies. 4,579,829 red shirts.

Star Trek has given us so much in 50 years… including Transporter Room 3, so we're celebrating it old school. Yep, we're slingshotting 'round the sun with a discussion of "The Man Trap," the first Trek episode to ever air half a century ago today. Salt vampires never get old (unlike Doctor McCoy’s ex-girlfriend).

Transporter Room 3, Episode 94

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We also have a special guest -- David Gerrold, the writer of the classic episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Gerrold also worked on the Next Generation’s first season, and he has some stories to tell…
50 years ago today: Kirk vs. Salt Vampire
50 years ago today: Kirk vs. Salt Vampire
But wait! We also have a preview of Titan’s great new book, Star Trek: 50 Artists 50 Years, which features a load of cool works based on our favorite sci-fi classic. We’re also giving away a few copies of 50 Artists 50 Years, so be sure to listen for your chance to win.

And as if you had to ask -- yes, we have a Red Shirt. Plural. The most we've ever had -- we're making Trek history too!


So put on your dress uniforms, watch out for hungry Tribbles, and listen to the latest ep of Transporter Room 3!

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Listen to Episode 94 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 94

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          Episode 93: Star Trek: Discovery's Time Period Revealed        
This week, Bryan Fuller finally let some cats out of the considerable bag that is Star Trek: Discovery, the first new Trek series since Enterprise.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 93

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We know when it's set (not after Star Trek VI) and we know who the hero is (and it's not the captain). Aliens, robots (!) and more are waiting for us aboard Discovery. Find out why we can't wait to see it…

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We also go back to the well that keeps on giving, Star Trek Beyond, for a pair of dearly departed Red Shirts that have ties to The Original Series.

So grab a plate of food cubes, get cozy and listen to a new ep of TR3!

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Listen to Episode 93 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 93

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          Episode 92: What's Up with Star Trek: Discovery (and Star Trek Beyond’s Box Office)?        
This week, we're still suffering from Beyond fever -- and so are most of you, it seems!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 92

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So we’ve got some listener reviews on the third Nu-Trek film, plus Scott and Phil figure out who liked the movie more…

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And Star Trek: Discovery revealed its new starship at Comic-Con recently, so check out our opinions on that. And, of course, another Red Shirt beams on down. Kind of, "Cupcake." Oh, and we got some details on our first-ever meet-and-greet. Get excited -- booze plus nerds talkin' Trek equals best life ever.

So strap yourselves into a Kelvin pod, don't let Krall touch you and listen now to Episode 92!

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Listen to Episode 92 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 92

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          Episode 91: We've Seen Star Trek Beyond and It's Good!        
Good news, everyone -- we’re reviewing Star Trek Beyond this week in a super-sized episode!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 91

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What did we think? We liked it! One of us more than the other -- listen to find out who. And, guys? While the first part of the podcast is spoiler free, we eventually go pon farr and pon deep into SPOILER TERRITORY (don’t worry; we warn you before we do). Seriously, don’t listen to that part before you see the movie -- because the best way to enjoy it is to go in as cold as possible.

STAR TREK BEYOND

And we go Beyond (I regret nothing) to bury another Red Shirt this week -- one who's head is 2/3 glove box. (You'll get that after you see the movie.)

So get comfy in your Kelvin pods, plug in and listen now to Transporter Room 3!

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Listen to Episode 91 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 91

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          Episode 90: How Gul Dukat Got His Groove Back        
We're back. With a new episode... talking about an old episode. BRAAAAM!

As promised, the topic is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And the episode, the scary-underrated "Indiscretion," is one that you've (probably) never seen. If you haven't then you need to fix that, because it's an all-timer for Kira and Dukat.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 90

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Our deep dive into that DS9 episode raises some interesting questions. Like, is Dukat's dark view of the Bajor Occupation the right one?

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We’ve also got an update on that big Axanar/fan-film lawsuit that J.J. Abrams said was over (it isn't) and a Red Shirt from Kira's neck of the woods. So grab a bottle of kanar, put on your Beats headphones and listen now to TR3!

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Listen to Episode 90 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 90

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          Episode 89: Karl Urban Reveals His Favorite Star Trek Movie and Episodes        
Dammit, Jim -- he's a doctor, not a podcast guest! Karl Urban beams in to Transporter Room 3 for a chat about Star Trek Beyond, his favorite TOS episodes, and why he thinks The Motion Picture is the best Trek movie!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 89

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Yep, this is the second part of our Star Trek Beyond Fan Event-palooza. Last episode we broke down (like a degraded transporter pattern) all the details on the footage shown at that event, and now we talk to Doctor “Bones” McCoy himself about those scenes and more. Do you need a convincing argument for why Star Trek: The Motion Picture is way better than most people give it credit for? Then listen to what Urban has to say…

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And of course we also pay tribute to another Red Shirt of the Week -- a whole bunch of them, actually. These guys may not have been Starfleet, but they sure loved them some ketracel-white…

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Listen to Episode 89 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 89

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          Episode 88: Why You Need to Get Excited for Star Trek Beyond        
This week, Transporter Room 3 goes… Beyond!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 88

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Star Trek Beyond's latest trailer (finally) hit last week, and we were in attendance at the fan event where J.J. Abrams and Just Lin revealed the new preview along with at least 10 minutes of exclusive footage.

So how good was it? Listen and find out.


We've also seen the short teaser for CBS Access' new Star Trek TV show and have some thoughts. Lots of them. (To Praxis or not to Praxis, that is the question…)

And a Red Shirt visits us from "beyond" the grave -- and from inside a turbolift. So pour out some of Chekov's whiskey (we'll explain later) and listen now to the new ep of TR3!


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Listen to Episode 88 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 88

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          Episode 87: When and Where CBS’ New Star Trek Show Might Be Set        
Welcome back. A lot has happened since we last, uh, casted… Um, spoke via internet?

Transporter Room 3, Episode 87

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Anyway, we have a BIG update for you on when and where CBS' new Star Trek TV show will be set (Star Trek VI fans, this one's for you) -- not to mention what we want to see if the show goes the anthology route.

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We also chat a bit about the new show heading to Toronto (goodbye, Paramount backlot!), what is going on with Star Trek Beyond and, of course, another Red Shirt of the Week. This one comes "beaming down" all the way from DS9.

So pour yourself a glass of Picard's wine and listen now to a new ep of TR3!

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Listen to Episode 87 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 87

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          Episode 86: Everything We Know (So Far) About the New Star Trek Series        
Aaaaand we're back. And so is Star Trek on TV. Well, CBS' streaming service, but, whatev -- we're boldly going back to where Trek belongs… with Bryan Fuller and Nicholas Meyer onboard. Time to dust off your Hannibal/Khan fan-fic!

Transporter Room 3, Episode 86

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We're breaking down everything we know about the new Trek show so far, which is set to launch in 2017. We also get Scott's review of the Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage concert series that he (lucky!) attended. Is it worth your hard-earned latinum? Find out.

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All that and two Red Shirts from "Warship Voyager" this week. So tug on your tunics, put down your antique glasses and listen to some new TR3.

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Listen to Episode 86 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 86

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          Episode 85: Why J.J. Abrams' Best Star Wars Movie Is Star Trek        
Another year, another "timely" episode of Transporter Room 3.

Transporter Room 3, Episode 85

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After celebrating the holidays (Risa has the best Airbnb's), Scott and Phil return with a look at everyone's new favorite movie -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Specifically, how -- despite how fun the film is -- J.J. Abrams' best Star Wars movie is actually one starring Captain Kirk and Keenser.

How? Why? Listen now to find out.

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Plus, we also check in on some recent Trek news -- New York City is getting a convention! -- and of course we all swing by The Original Series for another Red Shirt of the Week.

So put down your crossguard lightsabers and turn up the latest edition of TR3!

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Listen to Episode 85 of Transporter Room 3 right here:

Transporter Room 3, Episode 85

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