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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Video: Guardian of HiQ

If you think about it a little, the Guardian of Forever could show you any television episode ever made, even the lost ones. Would this always be a good thing? Well...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Last Best Pictures

As readers may recall, I've been working my way through screening all 549* AMPAS Best Picture nominees. I just noticed that while I still have 82 nominees and winners yet to watch, I have seen nearly all of the winners, barring only seven:

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Gigi (1958)
My Fair Lady (1964)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Last Emperor (1987)
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Braveheart (1995)

I have all of these films on Blu-ray, so checking them off the list is a simple matter of just making the time to sit down and watch. But how shall I tackle them? Chronological order? Reverse chronological? Should I watch the comedies first? Longest to shortest?

Maybe I'll start with those I actually expect to enjoy: All Quiet, Gigi, My Fair Lady, Godfather II.

*I include the three films nominated for Best Unique and Artistic Picture, a category recognized solely at the first Academy Awards ceremony (1927-28) and presented alongside Outstanding Picture (won by Wings), which eventually became the Best Picture category. The three films are Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (winner), Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness, and The Crowd. Of these three, I've seen Sunrise and The Crowd; both are brilliant. Chang has been very difficult to track down. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Wheel of Knowledge

I'm taking some time off to declutter my home office, and in the process I'm coming across all kinds of oddities. Here's a Wheel of Knowledge from The Zoo (which zoo?). This thing is probably over 40 years old, which means I've carried it around with me from move to move most of my life. Sorry, Wheel of Knowledge; while I appreciate your 1970s charm, I don't have room for you anymore. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

One Mess at a Time

Today I spent several hours straightening out my office, determined, once and for all, to declutter it. As I wind down and take stock, I see that I've managed to fill one recycle bag and one garbage bag full of junk. My nemesis, the closet, remains defiantly untouched. My desk is clear and there's a reasonable path to it, but I've fallen far short of what I'd hoped to accomplish.

All this stubborn debris. But I haven't given up. Back at it tomorrow. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father’s Day 2018

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Thanks for always being there and for setting such a great example.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Catastrophe at Tau Epsilon

For some time, Stephen and I have talked about trying out the campaign rules of A Call to Arms: Starfleet. To that end, we each assembled a 1,500 point fleet last night and had at each other, introducing crew quality and scout rules, since those play a large role in the campaign game. 

It's a good thing this was a test run and not the beginning of our actual campaign, because boy, the Klingons came at my fleet with fangs bared and made short work of us, losing only one small ship while wiping out all eight of my starships. The way I see it, I made three fundamental mistakes: 

1) Though I considered it, I decided not to field a scout ship. Steve fielded two, which gave him a consistent bonus to initiative and the ability to jam my ships, reducing their defensive and offensive firepower. Against this, I had no defence. 
2) I spread my ships out in a not-so-clever attempt to flank the Klingons, while Steve held his ships in a well-disciplined line. This allowed Steve's Klingons to pick off my ships one-by-one. 
3) I recognized one turn too late - and possibly two turns too late - that the battle was lost. Had I attempted to retreat one or two turns earlier than I did, I might have saved three or four of my starships. As it was, I lost all eight. Actually, even worse - given the shape the ships were in at the last turn, you'd probably have to consider the last three ships not destroyed, but captured - including my dreadnought and a Constitution-class heavy cruiser. Admiral Woods will be lucky to keep his job after this..! 

Despite this humbling result, it was great fun managing a task force of this size and experimenting with the various strengths and weaknesses of the different starships. I'll try to keep this experience in mind when Steve and I start the real campaign later this year. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Middling Adventure

Not very highbrow and, sadly, not terribly well-written, Jamie Lendino's Adventure: The Atari 2600 at the Dawn of Console Gaming is a brisk but shallow overview of the seminal video game machine's rise and fall. The work consists mostly of brief reviews of the most popular or influential games released for the 2600, with a smattering of history peppered in...but one really wishes for a more serious, in-depth, academic treatment of the subject. The book is mainly of interest to Atari fans looking for a dose of nostalgia, or retro-gaming enthusiasts looking for key game titles to pursue. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Special Guest Star

It's always great to see my old friend Steven Neumann, who I've known since - gasp - 1987. Steve has lived in lotus land for some time now, so his visits are a rare pleasure. Safe journey home, Steve! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Toy Movie

YouTube user dyna74 has created and published a series of adaptations of the first few Star Trek feature films, using action figures to recreate the visuals and those old cheesy record adaptations for the dialogue, music and sound effects. The results are quite charming. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Space: 1998

A gentleman named Keith Bradbury has used footage from Into Infinity, a Gerry Anderson tv-movie made between the first and second seasons of Space: 1999, to create a fan precursor to that series called Space: 1998. Bradbury uses clever editing, sound effects, music, and voiceover narration to place the unrelated Into Infinity into the universe of Space: 1999. Very well done; I'll have to see if I can find the original. Also nice to see a young Brian Blessed in action, as well as "Alan Carter" and "Victor Bergman" before the moon was blown out of Earth's orbit...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Impostrophes

On Friday, I coined a new term: the impostrophe, which I define as any misused apostrophe, such as the infamous "it's" for "its." 

Saturday, June 09, 2018


Art and photography by Sean Woods. Painted miniature by Earl Woods. Epcor Tower map by Jeff Pitts. Saturday night Villains and Vigilantes. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Mego Arena

Mike Totman found this, and I share it gleefully. Utterly charming, and brings back fond memories of playing with Mego Star Trek figures in Leaf Rapids. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Gaming & Guinness XIII: Formal Photos

Steve came up with a great idea for the group photo this year: stage the basement to look like a seedy bar. The guys all displayed tremendous creativity and patience, and Rob in particular saved the shoot with his advice. I haven't yet narrowed down what will become THE official portrait of G&G XIII; the guys will have to vote on that. But here are my favourites, desaturated as requested for that film noir look:
And here are some outtakes:

Saturday, June 02, 2018


A photo of someone taking a photo with their smartphone. 

Friday, June 01, 2018

Stephen King's The Outsider

Stephen King must be closing in on 75 or so published titles, so I hope it doesn't seem like I'm damning with faint praise when I say there's nothing wrong with his latest, The Outsider, but it feels like he's retreading some old ground. Specifically, the first quarter or so of the novel feels very much  like The Dark Half (1989), in which an innocent man is accused of a murder, with tremendous evidence to prove it, but he also has an alibi so impossibly airtight it's clear the supernatural must be involved. To be fair, there's a twist in the tale, but even though King's prose feels somehow sharper and tighter than it has been in a while, the story itself isn't terribly compelling. Maybe Elevation, coming later this year, will be stronger.