Aft-Firing Weaponry and Canon @StarTrek @starwars @kesseljunkie #StarTrek #StarWars

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My favorite episode of Star Trek, any series, is Balance of Terror from the original series. It has absolutely everything that a Star Trek episode should have, and it, along with my favorite Star Trek movie, the Wrath of Khan, inspired the best episode of Strange New Worlds to date, Memento Mori. For some reason, Balance of Terror keeps coming up in my social media streams. Several people keep saying something that prompts me to volunteer this information.

Or posting a silly meme.

But this post isn’t about Star Trek.

I set my mind to rewatch the episode but kept procrastinating. Yesterday, I was watching the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I love both of those movies. It occurred to me that none of the X-Wings, Tie-Fighters, etc. had any aft-firing weaponry. That would have been quite useful when being chased during the attacks on either Death Star. The Millennium Falcon sort of did, but only if there was at least one other person on the ship available to mad that blaster. (If I’m wrong, I’m sure Kessel Junkie will correct me.)

But wait! This post is about Star Trek!

This led me to finally re-watch Balance of Terror (re-watching Memento Mori will follow soon) in which I thought there was some background chatter stating that the aft-firing torpedoes are ready. (Note: I may have been mistaken, but there were mentions to aft-firing weapons in the background charter of several episodes, most clearly at 17:02 of Arena.) It also led to a cascade of thoughts regarding the hubbub about violating canon. I love the FASA Star Trek RPG, and it annoyed me that the Constitution Class starships didn’t have aft-firing weaponry. In fact, they made a big deal out of it. It was a glaring weakness in most Federation ships, and a big deal when some did. But it’s not all about an RPG. Star Trek the Motion Picture also suggested that the Klingon ship (also captained by Mark Lenard) having an aft-firing torpedo was a big deal. He thought it would surprise his enemy.

Right emotion; wrong guy.

And then there are those star dates that were completely made up, and the fact that the Romulan ship in Balance of Terror wasn’t capable of warp travel (22:10) yet traveled in interstellar space. In the two episodes I mentioned, there was an inconsistency. In Arena, Kirk comments that diamonds are “perhaps the hardest substance known in the universe” (30:10), and Spock confirms this by stating, “diamonds, the hardest known substance” (41:32), yet Spock points out only four episodes earlier in Balance of Terror that “cast rodinium . . . is the hardest substance known to our science” (21:26). Canon is shit. That’s unfortunate in most (not all) cases, but it’s true. You can’t rely on it. However, one theory says that there’s no such thing as a canon violation because Star Trek First Contact rebooted the franchise, rendering “canon” a nonsense concept.

I love to see Strange New Worlds show aft-firing phasers, see everyone lose their shit for the canon violation, and then lay into them for their ignorance. If everyone now realizes that the Enterprise has aft-firing weapons, that’s fine too. It gives us one more reason to say Star Trek ships are better than Star Wars ships.

Just roll with it and be happy when stories are well-written.

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Crazy Designs for RPGs @unclemacosx #StarTrek #DnD #RPG #TTRPG

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I share a tweet that reminded me of something else. (Image of the tweet appears at the end in case it’s ever deleted. ) To my knowledge, this tweet had nothing to do with RPGs. It was just a ridiculous design made for the sake of ridiculousness.

That said, it instantly triggered an image in my head. Is this the FASA Star Trek RPG equivalent of 3rd Edition D&D‘s roving mauler?

Which one is more ridiculous?

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Brutal Watch: The Northman @TheNorthmanFilm @bjork @neilhimself #GoodWatch #mythology #folklore #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

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A few of weeks ago, I saw The Northman. I loved it but understand that it isn’t for everyone. It’s a Norse tale, which means it doesn’t fit the formula for what sells in Peoria.

This character was loosely based on me.

The cast was great, but this post isn’t a review. The movie, like several others before it, got me thinking.

I didn’t study mythology because of my interest in 1st Edition D&D (“1e”); it was the other way around. Mythology (and dinosaurs) got me into 1e in the 1970s. I thought, “Wow! I can tell my own stories within these settings and characters?!” However, whether it’s D&D, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, or Bulfinch’s Mythology, western literature tends to sanitize the characters and their stories. The “good-aligned” deities are often presented as noble, loving, and helpful. There are certainly some exceptions — Zeus was an asshole — but the sense of right and wrong have been aligned at least to some extent to what the modern audience thinks as “good.” We really do make the gods in our own image. The Northman reminds us that the “good guy” is not someone you’d want to marry your daughter. Life was brutal and uncaring back then, and being that way yourself was an effective survival strategy.

That said, there’s a reasonableness to garnering lessons from these myths. In a very narrow, personal way, I relate rather strongly to the protagonist’s backstory (appropriately discussed today). I would never handle our similar predicament in the same way, but the character’s backstory loosely parallels my own. If you dig through the primitive details of the specific culture at hand, you can find some universal truths, or at least something to which you can relate (no more than vaguely, I hope). After all, people take from stories whatever message they want to hear. We tend to cut out the brutality from these stories, and thus also ignore how those that wrote them applied them to real life.

So no, you wouldn’t want to invite any of these ancient people to dinner.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Guilty Pleasure: The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) @valkilmer @fairuza @perlmutations #GuiltyPleasure #movie

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I will die on this hill.

Yeah, I know the history. I saw the 1977 version of this movie on TV as a kid. Then I saw the 1996 version, which is the subject of this post. I know of the disasters that befell the production of the remake. I know that Marlon Brando created a bizarre version of the titular character just to piss off the director. I don’t care. I like this movie and thought Marlon Brando’s interpretation of Dr. Moreau was brilliant.

The doctor was insane, SPOLIER ALERT! genetically experimenting with ordinary animals and turning them into anthropomorphic monstrosities. Well of course he wore an ice bucket on his head. His eccentricity is exactly what you’d expect from such a maniac. His eccentric intensity was hilarious. “Forcefully, forcefully!”

I think some others would at least appreciate my position.

Another scene I loved was SPOLIER ALERT! the one in which he dies.

It demonstrates both his manipulativeness and his arrogance. Rather than panic at the site of his creations in his home, he remained calm waiting for his device that would incapacitate his “children,” distracting them by giving credence to hyena’s random selection of notes banged out on the piano. The look of surprise on his face when SPOLIER ALERT! the device didn’t work was priceless. The conflict between Brando and the director is what gave us the perfect performance for this character.

One of these is a concert pianist.

On top of that, the tension between Kilmer and Brando gave us a great scene where Kilmer ridiculed Brando, which is exactly what you’d expect from an alcoholic, disgruntled employee. Art imitated life here, and it was marvelous.

The lead, played by David Thewlis, was terrible. Thewlis isn’t a bad actor, but he was much younger then, so maybe it was his fault, the screenwriter’s fault, or both. Either way, I agree that his performance was a weakness, but that’s all I’ll concede.

And with that, my streak of posting on consecutive days dies at 374.

This is an appropriate day to be discussing monsters and things that should die.

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Mythic Watch: Moon Knight @moonknight @MarvelStudios #MoonKnight #MCU #GoodWatch

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So, Moon Knight. Today’s the season finale.

As always, I got up early to watch it.

This isn’t a traditional review that implicitly claims that a show is good or bad based on some make-believe objective standard. I hate that pretentious nonsense. Whether or not you like a movie, song, TV show, or food is purely subjective. Instead, my approach to reviews is to explain why I like what I like and hate what I hate. If what makes me like/hate it applies to you, then maybe you’ll like/hate it too. I say, “maybe,” because there are other factors beyond what I can possibly express, but at least you have a better chance of predicting your reaction.

So, here is the context to understand the place from which my feelings arise:

  1. I grew up reading about dinosaurs and mythology, so anything involving either one of them has an advantage in gaining me as an audience, but are still not all winners.
  2. I’m not a fan of the comic book genre. However, when I was in elementary school, I’d sometimes hang out with my cousin. When it was too hot or cold to play outside, we’d read his comics. I remember them oddly well, but there were very few that grabbed me.
  3. I’m an apologist for comic book movies.

So, what do I think of Moon Knight? I love it. Considering the context given above, I don’t think I need to say much beyond that, as the explanation has already been given. However, I don’t want any of you asking for your money back, so here’s a little more. As with Shang-Chi before it, Moon Knight is opening the door to folklore, legends, and myths of a culture rarely addressed in western media. I’m sure most (non-bot) readers of this blog get that, but for our society as a whole, these other cultures are untapped resources. Disney is just scratching the surface with Egyptian and Chinese cultures. Give me Quetzalcoatl! Give me Shango! Give me Raijin! But please keep Chris Hemsworth as Thor. 😊

I suspect the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder is going to have me lose my shit for the same reason.

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One Year!!! #blog #StarTrek #MCU #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #ADnD

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With this post, I’ve posted every day for an entire year. That’s right. The last day that I didn’t post was May 1, 2021. Before that, I was last discussing Key Lime Kit Kat bars.

No wonder I stopped.

This blows away my current record streak.

Nice.

But wait a second. Is this even real? Can the post announcing that I’ve posted every day for a year be the anniversary post itself?

I say yes, and if you disagree, just keep in mind that I posted a bonus post on April 9, April 13, April 19, and April 25, so there have already been over 365 posts in this time without this one. There may have even been a couple more bonus posts, but I’m too lazy to look.

But okay. Let’s give this post some substance.

  1. Star Trek: The Original Series is my favorite Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise is the most underrated Star Trek series, but Anson Mount has overtaken William Shatner as my favorite starship captain.
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite MCU film.
  3. 4th Edition D&D is my favorite edition of D&D.

On another note, today is the first day of May. May is hockey playoffs, college lacrosse playoffs, preparations for the summer, and — most importantly — the month when all the cool people are born. Plus, I was born in May.

So, in 11 days, the streak will die. I want to focus on other things, and consistency hasn’t led to a large number of non-spam followers. Rarely does anyone retweet the tweets linking to these posts (likes merely gauge your footprint, not increase it), and almost all comments occur on other social media platforms, so my streak hasn’t done anything to improve my online footprint (except for a brief moment). Besides, many of my recent posts have been rather lame. If I didn’t have something to say, I’d write anyway, and it shows. I have a few more posts scheduled for this week, some others in my head that will come soon, and a handful scheduled to publish as far out as December. However, going forward, if I don’t have something to say, I won’t say anything. I’ll never feel rushed, and anything goofy will have to be funny enough to be worth sharing.

So, this post counts.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Happy Arbor Day! #holiday #ArborDay #MCU #GotG

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Here’s your friendly reminder that Arbor Day is a marketing ploy of the tree industry to get you to visit arboretums.

Sponsored by Charmin probably.

But this wouldn’t be nerdy enough without . . . .

That should get you nerds on board.

Today, we’re all Groot.

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Happy Birthday, Giancarlo Esposito! @quiethandfilms #movie #cinema #tv

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Today is Giancarlo Esposito’s birthday. Actually, it’s a lot of people’s birthdays, but I’m choosing the one with the most nerd cred.

Besides, he’s a model father . . . at least by my definition.

Here are the other celebrities with birthdays today. Mine is coming up in May.

Hint, hint.

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Improvisation in Avengers: Endgame @karengillan @RobertDowneyJr @Russo_Brothers @MarvelStudios #MCU #Nebula #Avengers #Endgame

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I move away from the for a short commentary because of an anniversary. Two years ago to the day, I published a long post arguing that Nebula’s character arc in the MCU was the greatest redemption arc in cinematic history. In it, I specifically pointed out how brilliant Karen Gillan‘s performance was in the second scene of Avengers: Endgame. While Robert Downey, Jr.‘s performance was typically wonderful, Gillan acted circles around him and yet doesn’t get the credit she deserves for that scene. I also pointed out that Gillan has the chops to win an Oscar one day (for whatever that’s worth).

I have a friend? What’s a friend?

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article in which Gillan states that that entire scene was improvised. I point this out only to say that the jobs both of them did are all the more impressive.

But especially Gillan’s.

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Golden Anniversary #aging #movie #music #art #history

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To make some of you feel as old as I do, here are things that have or will turn 50 this year. Some held up very well.

The sequel was better. 🙂

Even the younguns know this one now.

Oops.

Awkward.

A “Wet Paint” song.

Basically matheletes.

A song remade this many times must be great.

Just the theme song is all it takes to make me laugh.

But it took 47 years to release a chicken sandwich.

My cousin, Tom, always beat me at this at Mr. T’s restaurant.

All of these things are younger than I.

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