Monday, June 24, 2019

5,773 Films

Early last year, I saw my 4,000th movie and posted the number of films I'd screened by the decade of their release. I've now seen 5,773 films; here's an update to those numbers.
As before, the chart shows I try to watch films from across the decades, but that decades before the 1930s are underrepresented and decades after the 1970s are overrepresented.

Here's the breakdown of films seen per decade, from most to least represented. The number in brackets indicates whether or not a decade moved up or down the ranks or stayed the same since last time.

1980s: 722 films (no change)
1990s: 613 films (no change)
2010s: 604 films (up one) 
2000s: 599 films (down one)
1950s: 532 films (up two)
1970s: 526 films (down one)
1940s: 511 films (up one)
1930s: 472 films (up one)
1960s: 466 films (down three)
1890s: 275 films (up one)
1900s: 165 films (up two) 
1910s and 1920s (tie): 131 films each (no change and up two)
1880s: 16 (up one)
Undated: 8 (down one)
1870s: 2 (no change) 

Total: 5,773 films

The number of undated films has been cut in half, meaning The Movie Database is doing a better job of including release dates for even the more obscure films. And I've finally seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off!

I'm also getting closer to my goal of seeing at least 500 films from each decade, adding the 2000s, 2010s, 1970s, 1950s, and1940s. Of course, The 1870s and 1880s are frozen at 2 and 16 films, respectively, since that's all the films that were made in those decades, and I've seen them. (At least according to the database, which is subject to change as new discoveries are made.) 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Written in Sand

Just a little playing with scale, filters, layers, and selection tools in an attempt to create a scene using an Eaglemoss K-7 space station and a 3D-printed Federation tug I painted and decalled myself. Might also serve as inspiration for next year's A Call to Arms: Starfleet scenario at Gaming & Guinness...

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Short History of Transair by The View from Seven

Way back in the early 1970s, I flew for the first time. Mom will have to correct my memory, but I believe we flew from Winnipeg to Thompson on a Transair 707, then from Thompson to Leaf Rapids on a much smaller propeller-driven plane.

At least I think that's how it happened. I remember Mom bought me an inflatable Transair jet, which some time later shifted in the closet while I was sleeping and terrified me, causing me to bolt downstairs in a flash into the arms of my parents because I thought it was a monster.

Transair was a short-lived Winnipeg-based airline with a brown and yellow paint scheme--very 1970s. I'm not sure why I was thinking about it today, but to my delight someone's actually written a capsule history of the airline. If you're interested in flying or Manitoba history, read about Transair here

Friday, June 21, 2019


I used to spend five or six hours a week playing City of Heroes, the one and only truly great superhero-themed MMO. I created at least a couple dozen different superheroes, each with different powers, costumes, and backstories. I had a heck of a lot of fun patrolling the city and hanging out with other gamers. City of Heroes remains the only multiplayer experience I've ever really consistently enjoyed.

Sadly, the company that owned the game abandoned it, shutting the servers down several years ago. Like thousands of others, I briefly mourned the loss of a signature amusement and moved on.

But as it turns out, someone released the game's source code into the wild, and just recently a group of volunteers has set up servers to get the game going again. I dove in and recreated one of my favourite characters Bowmaniac, pictured here. If you click the photo to embiggen, you'll see his tongue-in-cheek character profile. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Pocket Fisherman

In the 1970s, when the summers came, we fished. It was a short drive from Leaf Rapids to the Swanee River campground, where we parked the camper (or the tent trailer, in the early years) and set off in the canoe or the motorboat to cast our lines into the rivers or lakes. 

Mom and Dad did most of the casting. I usually read a book, though from time to time they coaxed me into working with rod and reel. Out of all those summers (was it really only seven or eight of them before we came to Alberta?), I caught perhaps three fish, all of them jackfish, all thrown back into the water because they were too hard to clean. I never caught a pickerel or a perch, the tastiest fish, but luckily Mom and Dad made up the deficit. 

We had at least one Pocket Fisherman, and I remember being fascinated by its design. To my surprise, you can still buy a Pocket Fisherman today. I find that comforting. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Grandma and Granddad's Wedding

Way back in 1931, my maternal grandparents were married. Almost 90 years ago! Mind-boggling. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

A Vision of Future Past

Previously on Jedi/Superman...
Last Son of the Republic
Growing Up Under Twin Suns
Chariot of the Gods
The Emperor's New Genocide
The Quality of Mercy
A Job for Supermen
The Green, Green Glow of Homicide
A Dream of Droids

From the cockpit of his fighter, Luke Skywalker sensed, of course, that Leia planned to surrender; he knew it before the transmission even reached his headset. Therefore, his only course of action was to disobey that final order to rendezvous with the fleet. He would save the Princess and the others from themselves somehow. . .

No. That was the voice of his younger, undisciplined self. He couldn’t just charge off like some gladiator from the old stories. Retreat was the order, and it was a sensible one. The remnants of the fleet could regroup—he and Wedge and Biggs would come up with a rescue plan—they could save Ben and the princess and the others before—

Obey this order you must not. Trust your feelings, seize this act of Defiance. 

Luke’s eyes went wide.

Master Yoda..? 

Luke wept. It was impossible; Yoda had been gone for years. But he felt the Master’s presence like a warm essence all around him.

Time for questions I have not. Is difficult to reach across so much time and space. Stand with your father. Stand with your brother. Stand with the princess. And beware the dark heart of Krypton—beware…! 

The voice faded as if exhausted. “Master Yoda?” Luke called into his cockpit. “Master, come back! The dark heart of Krypton…what is the dark heart of Krypton?”

But there was nothing more. Luke knew what he must do next.

He deactivated his communications systems and used the Force to mask his X-Wing’s emissions. Poor R9-D8 couldn’t even protest; he’d been fried by a TIE blaster bolt early in the losing battle for Yavin. But in some ways that made his next task easier.

As luck—or the Force—would have it, the Defiance wasn’t far away in astronomical terms. Luke set a course for the frigate and flew it into the open hangar bay well before the frigate entered visual range of the nearest Imperial ship’s sensors. And just in time, too; the hangar doors immediately slid closed just as a large escort of TIE fighters formed up to lead the frigate into the Empire’s clutches.

Luke hurried to the bridge, much to the consternation of Princess Leia and General Dodonna. Ben Kenobi only sighed in resignation.

“I gave all pilots a direct order to retreat and rendezvous,” Leia fumed, poking Luke in the chest with one regal finger.

“I couldn’t abandon you,” Luke replied, his eyes soft and infuriatingly sincere. Leia threw up her hands and turned away to stare out the window, watching the Death Star and its squadron of Star Destroyers loom steadily larger. General Dodonna joined her, and the two talked in muted voices about next steps.

“Well, we’re in the lion’s den now, my boy,” Kenobi said. “What possessed you to return?”

Even in these circumstances, Luke couldn’t stop himself from smiling.

“Ben…Master Yoda spoke to me. Just now. He spoke to me.”

Kenobi was stunned. He’d heard legends of Jedi Knights past transcending the barrier between life and the dark eternity, but he’d never taken the old tales seriously. The Force was powerful indeed, but powerful enough to reach from beyond the grave..?

But he could sense the truth radiating from Luke. “What did he say?”

“He told me I had to come here, to stand with you. With all of you,” he gestured. “But…is Clark all right? The Death Star had a bead on him…”

“He’s fine,” Kenobi said. “I hid him below to recover. The radiation did terrible damage to him, but just a short time in bacta revived him. Miraculous. But I felt you reach out to pull him from the beam’s path, Luke. He would not have survived if you hadn’t intervened.”

Luke sighed, relieved. But then he remembered the last thing Yoda had said.

“Ben…what is the dark heart of Krypton?”

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day 2019

It's our first Father's Day without Dad, and it's hard. Here's something Mom found online a few months ago: a photograph of the church and manse in Rocanville, Saskatchewan. Dad was born in that manse in 1942. Miss you, Dad. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Thursday, June 13, 2019

When You See It...

When I recommended the Crazy 80s Games channel, I had high hopes for quality content. My expectations have already been exceeded.