Travelling Through the Star Trek Universe, Part IX. Viewing Notes on Star Trek IX: Insurrection. @SirPatStew @StarTrek @Hulu #StarTrek #movie

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And now we’re back to Hulu. I’m going to do my best to be kind to this one. It’s easily my least favorite Star Trek film, but like Iron Man 2 in the MCU, that still means it’s good enough.

Didn’t they already do this episode?

Data shouldn’t have lost control like this, but sometimes the writers don’t know how else to get the story started.

Does this personal cloaking technology, which we’ve never seen before despite its incredible usefulness, violate the treat with the Romulans?

She’s a super freak! Super freak! She’s super freaky! Yow!

It doesn’t seem like this medical procedure uses any anesthetics.

We know that Troi and Riker get married in the next movie. Is the basis of their rekindled relationship the effect of the Briar Patch? It certainly appears so (despite Worf’s later save).

Another excuse for Patrick Stewart to sing. 😐 Anyway, why should Worf, a Klingon, be expected to know who Gilbert and Sullivan are?

If the away team is going to draw phasers the moment you they arrive, why aren’t they drawn before they beam down?

Boom-chicka-wow-wow! Doc Ock wouldn’t be pleased with Picard honing in on his wife.

Admirals really like to hang up on people. Hold on. Do you kids even know what “hang up” means?

What I need I can’t get from Dr. Crusher.

Don’t be so sure, Riker.

Why does that caterpillar have humanoid eyes?

If she really couldn’t swim, she’d be dead already.

The Briar Patch gets Geordi new eyes and everyone else laid. Except Worf. He gets a pimple.

Apprenticing for 30 years seems tedious. Besides, nothing takes that long to become a professional. For example, it doesn’t matter how far engineering progresses, you still need no more than a four-year degree to reach the minimum level to be a professional.

In 300 years, you never learned how to swim.

Exactly my thought.

Boom-chicka-wow-wow!

We are betraying the principles on which the Federation was founded.

No, actually, you aren’t. As Admiral Dougherty points out, the Prime Directive doesn’t apply. Picard engages in some Captain America-level of naïve bullshit. If one person (Vision) is willing to sacrifice himself for trillions of lives, you let him. Same thing here. I don’t know exactly where the line is drawn, but trading the (unnatural) convenience of 600 for the health of billions is a fair trade, especially where the 600 settled on a world that was already Federation property. “But . . . but . . . but the kid and his caterpillar!” He’ll get over it, and so should you. Sure, the script turns the Son’a into murderers, but that’s so you can see them as the bad guys and justify some silly “principles.”

No, seriously. How the hell are you doing that? A time stop spell? It makes no sense.

I’ll be in engineering.

Why weren’t you there in the first place, Geordi. Haven’t you been chief engineer since season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Why are you at navigation?

If the ensign isn’t good enough to work navigation, he should be at navigation on the Federation’s flagship. The captain shouldn’t do everything. Maybe Riker would be a captain by now if he understood that.

And now he’s using a joystick to run the entire ship. Is there any doubt as to why this is my least favorite Star Trek movie?

So, the kid runs back to find his caterpillar thing, and not a single adult stops him?

Why would a medical chair have a locking mechanism on it? When I was younger, I was told to sit on my hands during a medical procedure, but that’s the only constraint I’ve ever had that I recall.

So, the Captain’s chair on a Son’a ship is a gaudy, 1970s couch?

Good trick to fool the Son’a.

This is F. Murray Abraham’s “Khaaaaan” moment.

But I have 318 days of shore leave coming, and I intend to use them.

With whom, Picard? Anij? Nella? Vash? Until we have resolution for any of these relationships, I’m assuming each one gets 106 days with him. Maybe 104. He probably needs some alone time on his vacation.

Wait a second. I don’t think Picard actually had sex with Anji. Bummer for him.

Damn, that was a weak entry in the series.

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Travelling Through the Star Trek Universe, Part VIII. Viewing Notes on Star Trek VIII: First Contact. @SirPatStew @StarTrek @CBSAllAccess #StarTrek #movie

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Still on CBS All Access for this one.

Hey, Locutus. Once a Borg, always a Borg.

New ship; new outfits.

Double dream sequences are stupid.

Finally, some Romulan . . . . Oh. No. It’s just a reference to their existence. No Romulan threats in this one either. When am I going to get my damn Romulans?!?! (In two days, actually.)

If Starfleet sees Picard as a potential ally to the Borg, then why is he still captain of the most important ship in the fleet?

Considering the urgency, Data’s delivery of “to Hell with our orders” was too slow.

Despite not being able to act drunk (neither could Marina Sirtis), James Cromwell played a great version of Zefram Cochrane. Sometimes history forgets the bad parts of a character, remembering only the good parts. Some think that’s a bad thing; I don’t. However, I believe we should remember that these heroes of history were ultimately just humans. They were as flawed as the rest of us.

The Enterprise’s internal sensors suck. How did they not know the Borg transported over?

The song playing in the bar is stupid.

Alfre Woodard can’t play a “tough guy.” It’s just not believable.

And you people, you’re all . . . astronauts. On some kind of star trek.

The idea of a Borg queen completely undoes the meaning of the Borg. It didn’t ruin things for me — not even close — but I didn’t like it.

And now we’re back to not having money in the 24th century. Amazing how that goes back and forth.

Phasers don’t work, but a tommy gun does.

“Taking a leak” has lost all meaning. Nice touch.

I liked how the script had somewhere to go after Data installed the emotion chip, focusing on touch. And the callback to Data’s line to Tasha Yar before bumping uglies was a good bit of nostalgia. However, I didn’t need to see robots making out. Not hot.

Stunning may not hurt, but the fall you take after being stunned probably does. You could also drown if you wind up face first in a creek.

Worf saves the day!

Who the hell has Moby Dick memorized? I’m sure some people do. I know a part of Rime of the Ancient Mariner that’s just as long because I listen to Iron Maiden, but if someone randomly mentioned a book, I wouldn’t be able to quote it. Picard’s knowledge base was always unrealistically broad. He also speaks fluent Latin. I call bullshit.

There we go. Magic Carpet Ride is a better choice of music.

Data and the Borg Queen Totally Had Sex and 6 Other Things We Learned From  Jonathan Frakes' Star Trek: First Contact Commentary - IGN
Data didn’t turn evil? I did not see that coming!

It would have sucked if the Phoenix had just blown up due to faulty design.

I doubt Picard could have torn the queen’s spine in two. It’s probably too durable.

How does the queen’s death matter if she isn’t really dead?

The TV series Enterprise had a better version of the First Contact scene. 😊

According to the Entropy Effect, Vulcans don’t like to shake hands.

Overall, this movie seems to be a bit overrated. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it was nothing more than the best of the Next Generation crew’s films. For me, that places it behind most of Kirk’s films. I do like the soundtrack, but I like all the Star Trek soundtracks, so that’s a low bar.

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Star Trek Intakes #StarTrek #NCC1701 #TV

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. In light of this post appearing between my viewing notes for the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, today is a series of Next Generation bloopers that were put back into the shows.

If you don’t like this post, please note that the original subject of the post was deleted from the internet. I was in a rush. 🙂

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Travelling Through the Star Trek Universe, Part VII. Viewing Notes on Star Trek VII: Generations. @SirPatStew @WilliamShatner @StarTrek @CBSAllAccess #StarTrek #movie

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For the start of the Next Generation movies, we return to CBS All Access for a couple films (with my usual Sunday distraction in between), bounce back to Hulu, and then end at CBS. I’m writing this on September 8, the day the new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery, season 3 dropped. I’m looking forward to some more new Star Trek, but here’s some more of the old to get me ready.

The Old (and Older) Crew

Even in slow motion, the champaign bottle took an awful long time to hit the ship. Without an atmosphere or severe gravity to alter its course, that at least makes sense.

Oh, it’s an Excelsior class ship! Of course!

Chekov and Scotty were originally supposed to be Spock and McCoy. Nimoy didn’t return (and allegedly turned down a chance to direct) because of script issues, and Kelley had health issues.

It wouldn’t be an Enterprise without a Sulu at the helm.

These silly callbacks — Sulu’s daughter, Chekov reminiscing about youth — are actually pretty good for an old timer like me.

The most important message to come away with from this movie is that the media never changes.

Captain Harriman seemed too green to be the captain of the Federation’s flagship. At least he knew he was out of his league and sought Kirk’s advice.

John Connor’s stepmom, Vasquez. I guess she was in the Navy after leaving the Marine Corps.
I knew Tuvok was a fake Vulcan!

Did Guinan always dress in silly hats?

Kirk was the best captain . . . until Anson Mount became Captain Pike. I guess we’ll see if that holds up. Mount has some big shoes to fill, but he seems like he’s going to.

The New Crew

The fake indignation isn’t funny to me. We get it. You’re not actually angry at Worf. Oh, hardy-har-har-har.

I hope there aren’t any sharks in that holodeck ocean.

I always had a thing for Gates McFadden.

In response to my claim that the Shatner is a “so bad it’s great” actor from my Star Trek V audio blog post, Kessel Junkie wrote a retort defending the Shatner’s acting chops. Either way, even he must admit that Sir Patrick is a better technical actor than the Shatner. In fact, he may be the best actor ever to appear in Star Trek.

Finally, we see some Romulans in a Star Trek movie! Oh, crap. They’re dead. Never mind.

Why is Data’s emotion chip so different from how it appeared in the tv show? This drives every Star Trek fan nuts. Not only is it an inconsistency, but it’s an unnecessary one. It’s appearance in the TV show was more realistic, and there was nothing “neat” about its new appearance (as with the Klingons).

It’s too dark on this ship. I wish someone would turn on the damn lights.

I liked Data’s introduction to emotions. It was, at times, overacting, but that makes sense considering what was happening.

Whenever I see a character pretend to talk but not make a sound, I’m always reminded that the Screen Actors Guild contracts dictate that without lines, the actor receives far less pay. Star Trek did that a lot to save money.

The special effects on Data’s face were basically the same we saw with Bilbo Baggins when he tried to take back the ring from Frodo. And they were just as unnecessary.

Damn, Sir Patrick can act.

I’d always heard that some of the actors playing the main characters doubled as Klingons. That rumor probably came from the fact that some background roles were played by the main cast’s stunt doubles. This explains why, for example, one of the Klingons looks like Levar Burton.

If Geordi was unconscious before he was transported, how was he standing when he arrived on the transporter pad? If he was lying down when transported, why not arrive lying down?

Human females are so repulsive.

It seems like a small class G-12 Bird of Prey shouldn’t be able to wreak so much havoc on a Galaxy class ship that can take them out with one photon torpedo, but okay.

Yes!

Why would a force field have a hole in it like that?

That teddy bear won’t survive the warp core breach.

Closing that hatch by repeatedly pumping a mechanical arm seems like very old tech.

Yup. There goes the teddy bear.

Oh, shit!

Soran is a lousy shot, and an even worse tactician. Just shoot a bunch of times to make sure you don’t miss. It’s not like he’s going to run out of ammunition for his disruptor, and collateral damage isn’t an issue.

No seatbelts? They’re far too reliant on inertial dampeners that never seem to work when they’re needed.

Without an epee or foil, Picard is useless in a fight. That’s why Riker had to go on all of those away missions instead.

Well, this scene hits home. But who the hell dresses like that at home? And why is Picard still in his Starfleet uniform.

That kid’s too old for a toy like that. My fellow nerds may not like that statement, so let’s try this: That kid is at an age where he’d see that toy as beneath him.

Who has a carousel in his home?

So, if Picard leaves the Nexus and prevents Soran from ever entering the Nexus, what happens to the Soran that’s in the Nexus? That’s not an “echo” of Soran; it’s actually Soran. If this is another multiple universe thing, then Picard doesn’t exit to his own universe, so every movie that follows is in another universe as well.

All you guys who think Picard is a better captain than Kirk, note well that Kirk is Picard’s hero.

Stop trying to rush things, Picard. Time has no meaning here, dipshit.

It’s my house. Or at least it used to be. I sold it years ago.

Sold it for what? I thought they didn’t have money in Kirk’s time. Didn’t the director see Star Trek IV, or did he limit himself to the Trouble with Tribbles? I guess they’ll go back to having no money in the next film.

It’s a good thing that door opened into the stable. That could have been awkward.

This isn’t your bedroom.
No, it’s not. Better.
Better?!

I’m with Picard on this one.

I bought the Generations soundtrack almost immediately after I saw the film. I love Jumping the Ravine, and many other tracks.

Oh, great. We’re in an alternate universe.

They reshot this fight scene because Kirk’s death was deemed too cheap for the test audience.

Seriously, Picard can’t fight for shit.

Good luck, Captain.
Call me Jim.

Picard’s reaction reinforces my position that he’s starstruck.

Hooray! Alternate universe Soran is dead! So is prime universe Riker, along with the rest of the prime universe Enterprise crew. What a happy ending.

Kirk’s Death is another musical piece that captures the scene perfectly, but I would not have buried him on that planet. Kirk deserved better. Picard has lost all points I’ve previously given him.

In most cases (e.g., Tony Stark in the MCU), I don’t want a character to be resurrected because it cheapens the loss in the prior script. Kirk’s an exception. I’d love it if Shatner would reprise his role. It’ll never happen, though.

Someone’s going to have to clean up that mess of a shipwreck.

Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

I’m so glad Spot survived.

And one last musical piece I love from the soundtrack: To Live Forever.

And to close it out, an Oberth and a Miranda class ship complete the bridge between the old and new Star Trek. Nice touch.

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Captivating Watch: Time Trap @Netflix #GoodWatch

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Here’s another one of those “watch this before it leaves Netflix” movies. But is it any good? It’s 1:27:00 long, so it’s easy to find time to watch it.

Presented by Pad Thai Pictures. Good start. I like pad Thai.

Netflix calls it Time Trap, but the opening credits call it Timetrap.

Enough nonsense. Let’s get to it. It doesn’t take too long to figure out what’s going on. Once you get past the fundamental premise, there’s some decent science playing out. While I can’t stand some of the occasional histrionics and stupidity of the characters — seriously, why are most writers unable to write a story independent of such elements — I still found myself unable to turn away. I wanted to learn more as things went on, and then wanted to see how it ended. Which it kind of didn’t. Not because it was necessarily setting up a sequel, but just because they didn’t give you an explanation. It’s left for you to fill in the blanks. If you don’t like that, you won’t like the ending.

Still worth my time. As always, YMMV.

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I’m a Food Critic! Honey Mustard Pringles @RickandMorty @Pringles #food

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Pringles recently announced two new flavors based on characters from Rick and Morty. If you don’t know what Rick and Morty is, you have my sympathy. Anyhoo, joining the previously released Pickle Rick are Honey Mustard Morty and Look at Me! I’m Cheddar & Sour Cream.

Come again? Did you say “Honey Mustard Morty”? Other than Morty’s voice, what’s not to love? I love Pringles. I love honey mustard. As far as I was concerned, my diet was officially over (while supplies last). So, I did some research. The first thing I learned is that they already have honey mustard. Honey Mustard Morty is nothing more than Honey Mustard Pringles with a picture of Morty on the can.

I felt betrayed.

But hell, I was still asking, “What’s not to love about Honey Mustard Pringles?” I remained intrigued, so I kept digging. It turns out that they’re sold exclusively at Walmart, and the only Walmart near me that sells them was a bit out of the way. “Never mind,” I thought, until I noticed the nutritional content. Sugars? Less than 1g per serving, which is 16 freaking chips! Even on my strictest diet, I can have one serving of those per day, and I’m not on my strictest diet. Geez, even the salt content isn’t as bad as you’d expect (6% RDA per serving). On the flip side, the fundamental basis of almost all diets is caloric count, and each serving has 150 calories. This is certainly manageable, but you must be careful not to load up on them.

I decided to give them a shot. Today (actually, 9/15), I stopped by that Walmart and grabbed three tins. I thought it was a worthwhile investment. How bad could Pringles and honey mustard be? The verdict?

Meh.

From a sugar perspective, you get what you pay for, so they’re good, but I won’t be driving out of my way to get them again.

I really don’t like pickles.

By the way, that image could be the next blue dress/gold dress thing (it’s gold). That shirt and tie are clearly purple, with the tie particularly purple. I see this as a grey-blue.

As always, the real lesson here is the value of intellectual property.

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Ending the Streak #blog

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Well, I’ve now published 156 posts in as many days. I missed DATE but published twice on 9/11, so my current streak is really 120 days in a row. But much like Cal Ripken, I’m choosing to end my streak. I’m not going to post today.

Oh, shit. Oops.

This still counts as a post, and it’ll probably piss off Kessel Junkie for bonus points, suckers.

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Irritating Watch: An American Pickle @hbomax #GoodWatch

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American Pickle is a strange story. Herschel Greenbaum falls into a vat of pickle brine in 1919 and wakes up in 2019. There, he connects with his great-grandson, Ben. Both characters are played by Seth Rogan.

I suspect that the message I pulled from this movie isn’t what I was expected to get. The message I suspect we’re supposed to get is that people’s antiquated are harming American society, but that ignores the setting in which the story plays out. What I’m witnessing is that everyone is so focused on what everyone else has, they forget what they have. Both Hershel and Ben share this trait, but being out of time, Hershel is amazed at the things Ben, a relative loser, has. Hershel would be ecstatic to have the life of a renter with a struggling business, being focused more on his personal and family honor than on “things.” The idea of a machine that creates seltzer water mesmerizes Hershel, which shows us how silly it is to lose sight of the amazing things we now take for granted.

At this point, I think it’s best to say SPOILER ALERT. I’ll place the next paragraph as quoted, italicized text so it’s easier to ignore.

Ben is a complete villain. As Hershel’s work ethic pushes him to success, Ben’s jealously has him leveraging cancel culture against Hershel. He even tries to get him deported. I suspect that, as with all art, people will read into it what they need in order to justify their worldview, which gives it a guaranteed fanbase. That’s a bit heavy for something I think is supposed to be a comedy, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Ben’s behavior really didn’t make me laugh, and that’s the deal breaker. When Ben attempts to reconcile, Hershel’s old-time notions of honor turn him into the villain, and aided by a typical Hollywood mischaracterization of the legal system, does Ben dirty.

Of course, everyone comes together by the end, but to me it’s too little, too late (and honestly a little cheap). The movie is just a depressing tale of how selfish we all can be, and I can’t help but feel I’m being lectured over things I didn’t do. Moreover, it just drags.

As always, YMMV.

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DC Area Radio Stations @947theDrive @washfm @1027jackfm @98Rock @Todays1019 @dc101 #music #radio

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My cell phone recently died, so I had to replace it. It’s an identical phone but nevertheless won’t connect to my car stereo via Bluetooth. Google tech support was worthless, but if you want to hear me whine about that, you’ll have to visit my Facebook wall from a couple of weeks ago. This is a different rant.

Because I can’t connect to my phone, I’ve had to resort to listening to radio stations for the first time in about 5 years. I’m so used to hearing what I want to hear the moment I want to hear it that I’ve become spoiled. I forgot how bad it is to be at the whims of the deejays and program directors of radio stations. They play what they want, when they want, and with a very limited number of songs. I thought CHR went the way of the dinosaur when “mix” stations came into being, but the old habits (and FCC regulations) die hard.

You Know What Grinds My Gears?

But even that’s not my rant. My rant is this: The changes to the radio stations during those brief five years have been monumental. Nothing is as it was (see notes below), and that was an unexpected jolt as to how old I really am. I expect that phenomenon to rear it’s ugly head when I’m looking back at childhood, but I can’t even go back five years without a total upheaval.

Chicago

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. I left the DC area in May, 1996, to attend law school in Chicago. When I came back at the end of 2000, the restaurants, radio stations, and roads really stuck out as completely different. I actually had difficulty driving around certain areas that were regular destinations for me in the early 90s (and especially those prior to that). I lived in Delaware from 2007-2008, but I frequently came back during that time, so the gradual changes never had an impact.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love change — I always want things mixed up — but this isn’t something that can be ignored. For someone with a fear of aging, it’s probably very difficult.

Notes

Some notes for DC area listeners.

WQSR (102.7) claims to “play everything,” and that sticks when it comes to the relative diversity of what they play. However, they still play a small number of different songs during any given week. It’s been two weeks, and all I’ve heard is Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, Hot Blooded by Foreigner, Der Kommissar by After the Fire, and Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran. The songs aren’t bad to a 70s/80s guy like me, but it feels like false advertising (even though they probably have a larger playlist). This isn’t much of a change from where they were when they started, but it’s more frustrating now that I’m dependent on them.

One of our mainstays since my childhood, Mix 107.3, nee WRQX, has changed its call letters to WLVW and gone Christian. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s just not for me. With all these changes, I went scrolling through the wavelengths looking for replacements and found tons of new Christian stations where there used to be nothing but static. It seems like a plurality of stations that I can pick up in Northern Virginia are Christian.

At 10:07 am on Labor Day, 101.9 rickrolled me. Thankfully, 94.7 has stayed loyal to me.

Further complicating things are that I live in Northern Virginia, not Maryland, so some of the stations are too far away for me to hear. Losing them in 2000 wasn’t so bad, but now that I need them, their static-filled signal is a tease. I’m looking at you, 98 Rock and 101.9.

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Avengers: Endgame Deleted Scene @Russo_Brothers @MarvelStudios #MCU #Avengers #Endgame

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today, it’s the deleted scene from Avengers: Endgame the Russo Brothers don’t want you to see.

These are apparently a series of videos where “Bully McGuire” saves the day. Here’s a couple more.

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