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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Fast Food Nostalgia

Every now and then, I think about how much I enjoyed grabbing a chicken fajita at the drive-through for lunch during my time as an auto parts driver in the early 1990s. I drove a white Ford pickup with a red interior; it had a standard transmission, and I learned how to drive standard on that job. 

When things were slow and I could take a true lunch break, I'd sit in the truck and read while eating my bagged lunch. When I was busy, chicken fajita time. It was a simple meal: just a couple of pieces of plain roasted chicken, chopped onions, and slices of red and green bell peppers in a plain flour tortilla. But boy, were they good. Those fajitas and CBC 740 AM got me through that job. (It wasn't a bad job, but some of the customers were pretty mean to me, and I've never had a very thick skin.) 

I liked McDonald's pizzas. They, too, are gone. One day, perhaps in our lifetime, McDonald's itself will be just a memory. Nothing lasts forever, including civilizations. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

RSS Dragonclaw

I have painted . . . a sailing ship! 


The severed dragon claw anchor for which the ship is named. 




You can fit a lot of miniatures on this ship. Also, a lifeboat. Or rowboat.

A nice day to relax on the deck. 

Nothing will befall the ship when it's manned by this crew! 

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Fib Fib Fiber

Fib
Fib
Fiber
Fiberglass
Fiberscope probes
Fiberoptic connections scream

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Have You Fibonacci Today?

Pong
Qix
Pac-Man
Atari
8-bit computers
Created neon memories

Friday, April 05, 2024

What Was Chekov's Greatest Feat?


In "The Best of Both Worlds," the USS Enterprise-D arrives too late to participate in the Battle of Wolf 359. Commander Riker, Commander Shelby, and the rest of the bridge crew see the wreckage of 39 Starfleet vessels floating in space. 

"The Tolstoy...the Kyushu...the Melbourne," Shelby intones mournfully as wreckage drifts across the Enterprise viewscreen. 

The Tolstoy Shelby mentions was originally intended to be the USS Chekhov or Chekov, according to different sources. Though you never see it close enough to distinguish, the modelmakers settled the question by spelling the Springfield-class ship miniature's name as Chekov. At the last moment, though, the showrunners realized it was a pretty somber event for the name-dropping of original series character Pavel Chekov, so Shelby's dialogue references the Tolstoy instead. 

Still, this leaves continuity nerds with an interesting issue to ponder: Because the USS Chekov exists canonically (it was seen on screen in an episode, the miniature has Chekov's name on it, and it appears the majority of the creatives who worked on the episode intended for the ship to be named after Pavel Chekov). What, then, did Pavel Chekov do during his career or in his civilian life to deserve this rare honour? There is no USS Kirk, USS Spock, or USS Scott. Chekov may be a legend by association, and he played a role in saving Earth and the Federation more than once, but surely Starfleet would recognize his superior officers before Chekov himself. 

Indeed, whether or not Chekov ever rose above the rank of commander is ambiguous. The last time we see him on screen, in the opening scenes of Star Trek: Generations, Chekov wears a commander's rank, though a reporter calls him "Captain Chekov." There are two ways to take this: the reporter mistook Chekov's rank, or knew that Chekov had just been promoted or was about to be promoted, but hadn't changed his rank insignia yet. I like to imagine Chekov had the right stuff to be captain one day, so I assume the latter. Indeed, some behind-the-scenes materials assert Chekov was supposed to be a captain in Generations, but that they couldn't find any more of the metal captain rank pins to affix to his uniform. 

For the purposes of this question, I'm going to assume that Chekov did indeed reach the rank of captain and that he had adventures of his own after leaving the Enterprise-A in 2293. 

We hear nothing at all about Chekov until the third season finale of Star Trek: Picard, set in the year 2402. As that finale opens, we hear the voice of President of the Federation, Anton Chekov (played by original Chekov actor Walter Koenig), quoting his father, Pavel, that "hope is never lost" even as he warns everyone to stay away from Earth, as it's under attack by the Borg. 

Pavel Chekov never said "Hope is never lost" in any of his onscreen appearances, though he might have said it "offscreen" at any time during his career, either as a fresh young ensign or a veteran captain or admiral. (Chekov jokingly refers to himself as an admiral during the hospital chase scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.) Even so, his son Anton uses the phrase in a way that suggests many of the people in his (very large) audience will understand the reference. 

I propose that sometime after 2293, Pavel Chekov--Captain Chekov of the Federation Starship Unrevealed at This Point in Time--led his crew on a historic mission with desperate stakes and impossible odds. Maybe he saved an entire civilization from extinction; perhaps he inspired the Federation with a brave act of sacrifice; maybe he wrote a great novel that included the words quoted by his son. 

We'll likely never know. I would be shocked if Chekov is ever seen again in visual media; Koenig's voiceover role in Picard was a surprising and very welcome gift, but I'm sure that's the last we've heard of the character (and even then it was an indirect reference). 

And yet, despite poor Walter Koenig getting less accumulated screen time or character development than the rest of the original series main actors, his character definitely leaves a lasting legacy in his universe, one that rivals those of even Kirk and Spock (as measured by the in-universe impact of those legacies). 

Nice work, Pavel. We'll probably never learn what you did, but you clearly made a difference to the people of your corner of the multiverse. 


Thursday, April 04, 2024

Sean's Birthday 2024

It's Sean's birthday! Here we are in Leaf Rapids. He's older now, and no longer wears jumpers. Happy Birthday, younger brother!  
 

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Studio Notes on Spider-Man: Home for the Holidays

FROM: Earl J. Woods
TO: Jeff Shyluk, Executive Producer, Paranoid Productions
RE: SPIDER-MAN 4--Studio Notes

Jeff, 

As always, your notes are spot-on, especially given the reasonable skepticism we're facing from Disney, Sony, and the fans given our position as new kid in town with the IP. Getting them was a coup, but making a good movie is the only way the gamble is going to pay off. 

Totally understand your concerns about Gwen's agency, the overall weakness of the third act, and tropes we've seen before; we absolutely do not want to do MJ over again, or Raimi's work. Your observation regarding Spider-Man's effect on his world vs. Rick Deckard's is spot on. 

I agree that the relationship between Peter and the Stacy's is the core of the film, and we'll build on that core in future treatments. 

It might be more realistic for Peter to get hauled in for suspicion regarding the Christmas Eve car bomb, but I'm resistant--I feel like Captain Stacy really wants to be in Peter's corner despite his suspicions. On the other hand, if Stacy stops his detectives from questioning Peter, he's undermining his authority. 

Damn. Don't see that I have a choice. Peter's going to have to face some tough questions from our John Munch figure. (Maybe played by Bruce Campbell?) 

Might not make sense for Kingpin to car bomb Stacy, you're right. Could be a mook with too much initiative (not Bullseye, someone lower level - maybe a comic-relief type character we introduce into Kingpin's organization earlier in the film). 

Your final suggestion could save the third act. I'm going to scrap the idea of Bullseye kidnapping her. Her being an unwitting pawn of the Kingpin is far more organic. She'll still play a key roll in our Die Hard-esque showdown, but instead of playing the damsel in distress, she'll be in a (very dangerous) position to help Spider-Man--working behind the scenes to sabotage the Kingpin's men while trying not to give herself away. 

Captain Stacy and the NYPD will have an important role to play in the third act, too--they won't be standing idly by. In the comics and some of the films, the people of NYC helping Spider-Man save the day is a key theme--the community is just as important (more important!) than the singular hero. 

Kind of surprised Disney hasn't suggested any cameos--I was sure they'd want Daredevil involved somehow. Gotta have that corporate synergy. Hell, I'll put him in the post-credit scene as a hedge. 

I'll send another treatment in a few days. 

Excelsior! 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Spider-Man: Home for the Holidays

A modest proposal for the next MCU Spider-Man film. 

Peter is studying at Empire State University, and his intent is to stay in the dorm over the Christmas break; none of his friends remember him, so there's no point visiting them. Besides, he's been spending more and more time as Spider-Man, spending most of his Peter time on his studies; and even then, he's taking courses and learning not for the sake of learning, but for pouring all that knowledge into how to be a better crimefighter. He's wisecracking less, and his jokes tend to be a little bitter now. And he's found himself in an intense but toxic relationship with cat burglar Felicia Hardy, who, of course, loves Spider-Man and doesn't even know Peter exists; she won't even let him take his mask off when they're intimate. 

Without his loved ones, Peter is losing perspective. Several of his dormmates and classmates--including a very intriguing blonde by the name of Gwen Stacy--offer friendship, but Peter politely but firmly holds back from making any real connections; he's too scared of the pain of losing people he loves again. The only bright side is that at least MJ and Ned got into MIT, so he doesn't need to feel guilty about that anymore. 

On the first day of the Christmas break, Spider-Man faces a truly humiliating defeat at the hands of the Kingpin and Bullseye--teaching him a lesson for (unknowingly) doing so much damage to the Kingpin's operation. This defeat happens right in front of Felicia, who runs away, disgusted and afraid, unable to deal with seeing her lover brought down so low. His costume in tatters, his body bruised to the bone, Peter staggers back to ESU but passes out just at the door to his dorm room, collapsing in the hallway. 

He wakes up later being ministered to by Gwen. It's lucky anyone was even at the dorm--everyone else had left for the holidays, and the only reason she hasn't is her father is late picking her up. When Captain Stacy finally arrives and sees Peter's condition, he and Gwen insist that he come home for the holidays with them--he's in no shape to stay at ESU alone. If he has no where else to go, why, of course he's coming with the Stacys. Besides, Captain Stacy can tell Peter's claim that he was mugged is hogwash, and he wants to find out what really happened.  

Over the break, the Stacy family makes Peter feel cared for the first time in a long time. Despite himself, his better nature yearns for this kind of connection, and his body--and soul--start to recover.

What Peter doesn't know is that he's not the only one to have vexed Kingpin. Under the sound leadership of Captain Stacy, the NYPD is making a dent in organized crime, too--and the Kingpin has marked Captain Stacy for death. Only Peter's spider-sense prevents the Stacy family from falling victim to a car bomb on Christmas Eve. Though Captain Stacy is grateful, he's still a cop; how could Peter have possibly known about the car bomb? Did he plant it? Were his injuries a ruse to get closer to Gwen--and him--in some kind of setup? 

Of course Peter can tell Captain Stacy isn't sure what to make of him, and he feels shame--he wants to trust this new father figure, and he's falling for Gwen. Once again, Spider-Man is coming between him and happiness, and once again, his dual identity is endangering people he cares about. 

The week between Christmas and New Year's, Spider-Man takes to the streets again, but this time he's specifically looking for members of the Kingpin's gang, working his way up the leadership ladder, sending a message that the Stacys are off-limits. But he's misjudged the Kingpin's ruthlessness; Wilson Fisk is not easily intimidated, and sends Bullseye to kill Captain Stacy. But Stacy has been changing his schedule around so that he's harder to pin down, and he's sent Gwen into hiding--or so he thinks. Gwen can't bear to leave Peter by himself, so she's at the wrong place at the wrong time when Bullseye shows up at the Stacy home. With no specific orders regarding the girl, he brings her back to the Kingpin, reasoning she makes an excellent bargaining chip to force Captain Stacy to offer himself up for assassination. 

It's New Year's Eve, and Spider-Man has to fight his way through Fisk Tower to pull off an improbable rescue...when it's all over, will the new year bring triumph or tragedy? 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Scary House





Jeff very kindly 3D-printed some fantasy-styled houses for me, and tonight I finished painting the first of them. I started by priming it black, and I immediately dubbed it The Scary House. So I kept it black and gave it a few accents by painting the door and window frames blood red. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Dumpster Fires

Painting flames is a challenge for me, but I think these dumpster fires look okay at a glance. I even tried to suggest some reflections on the undersides of the dumpster doors and a bit of a soft glow around the edges of the dumpster openings. Far from great, but good enough for play. 
 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Turnip Tuesday in Hell

 

At Hell's lunch counter Beelzebub and Mammon 
Serve everything you hate
Week after week like this: 

Liver and tripe Monday
Turnip Tuesday
Kidneys in cod liver oil Wednesday
Parsnip Thursday
Boiled cabbage and haggis Friday
Beetroot Saturday
Blood pudding and Jell-O Salad Sunday

But the worst part is
It's all you can eat
Mandatory all you can eat
Unto eternity and after