Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Good and the Bad: My Thoughts on Doctor Who's "Twice Upon a Time"

via Doctor Who Wiki.
The good: The crossover between the Doctor's First and Twelfth incarnations. David Bradley's turn as the First Doctor. Twelve's/Peter Capaldi's farewell speech before regenerating. Thirteenth Doctor!

The bad: Everything else.

So let's talk about the bad first. I thought the plot was weak and thin. It's like Steven Moffat went to the well and came up dry. The antagonist, The Testimony, turn out not to be antagonists at all, so there was pretty much no conflict whatsoever. Add to this that they're barely even in the story and it becomes clear that Moffat was just going through the motions. Not much in the way of action either. Really, "Twice Upon a Time" almost felt like a bottle episode. Like, Moffat and Co. had to do a Christmas special but only with whatever money they had left over from series 10 because BBC wouldn't give them a separate budget. I don't know and I doubt that that's true, but the lackluster nature of the special compared to previous endeavors makes it seem like they were making do with what they had.

I also wasn't feeling the reunion between the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole. It felt tacked on. The cameo by Clara was nice, though. 

Now onto the good. I loved David Bradley's portrayal of the First Doctor. I would love to see him reprise the role again. Maybe the Beeb could redo some of the lost episodes with him as The Doctor? His interactions with Twelve were pretty good too. I especially enjoyed the culture clash with One having the sexist mentality of someone both old and from the 1960s versus Twelve, who is much more open and progressive minded. Watching the latter being embarrassed every time his previous incarnation said something sexist had me snickering. The bit where One asks what browser history is while wearing the sonic sunglasses was one of the best of the special.

via Doctor Who Wiki.
Also? The First Doctor looks cool as all hell in Ray-Ban sunglasses.

The best part of "Twice Upon a Time", though, had to be the Twelfth Doctor's farewell speech before regenerating.

It was heartfelt and emotional without being over the top. It was a self-reflection of The Doctor and all they stand for and why people have loved the show for 50+ years. What really hit me was the final line before he regenerated. "Doctor...I let you go" to me sounds like Peter Capaldi talking and not The Doctor. That this was Capaldi saying farewell to a character he played for three series. It was wonderful.
"Oh brilliant!"
(via Doctor Who Wiki)

And now of course, there's the new kid on the block. The major anticipation of "Twice Upon a Time" of course was the debut of the Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker. Much has been made of the fact that we were finally getting an incarnation of The Doctor that was a woman, so seeing her debut was obviously the main draw. We only see Thirteen briefly and we won't see her embark on her first adventure unless late next year (the horror! The misery! The injustice of it all!), but from our brief glimpse of the Time Lady, it should be brilliant!

Weak plot aside, I enjoyed the Christmas special. It served it's intended purpose of both sending off Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor and introducing Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth.

What did you think about "Twice Upon a Time"?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Random Access Memories #1: Rack & Sack and Circuit City

I wrote this post over on my Tumblr last night and decided to repost it here. I might do more of these.

Back in the 90s, we used to shop at a grocery store called Rack & Sack. Their motto was “We Rack, you sack, you save”. The idea was that you would bag your own groceries and somehow save money from them not hiring baggers. I was talking to my parents about that store recently and they said that you also had to bring your own bags too, but I don’t recall ever seeing them bringing their own, so either they’re wrong or they just paid extra for the store’s.

Part of the reason why I remember Rack & Sack is because almost every Friday, me and my mom would go to the mall, hang out there for a while, then head on over to R&S and start shopping. My dad would head over after he got off work and meet up.

The shopping center it was in had a standalone Circuit City. This was back when they had like red entrances that stood out from the front. IIRC, the commercials at the time always depicted a big red power cord slamming down in front of the store and transforming into the entrance.

gif credit: Contac.
It’s weird how minutiae like that sticks with you. I can’t remember what I did two days ago, but by god, I can remember an old Circuit City commercial.

The shopping center was eventually bought out over a decade ago, torn down, and rebuilt as a smaller one. The space previously occupied by Rack & Sack is now a Kohl’s. The Circuit City was looooong gone by then. They built a Martin's grocery store in the shopping center when it was redeveloped and I think the gas pumps are where CC used to be.

The only thing about Rack & Sack I've ever been able to find online was a picture on Flickr and an article in a newspaper that mentions the grocery chain. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like Rack & Sack made much of an impact in its brief existence.

So it goes.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The wax job alone must cost a small fortune

I was reading a post on Armageddon Time last week that mentioned a He-Man action figure called Grizzlor with a link to the website about the figure. I watched the He-Man cartoon when I was a kid, but never really collected the toys, so I'd never heard of Grizzlor until that point. So I clicked the link and was not disappointed.

It's like someone tried to hot wax a Wookiee, but the limbs were the only things done before the esthetician gave up.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Further thoughts on Quentin Tarantino directing a Rated R Star Trek movie


A longer post on Disney possibly buying 21st Century Fox

Yeah, let's start off with the fact that contrary to my previous post, Disney has not, in fact, bought 21st Century Fox. Yet. I jumped the gun in my excitement, opps. Anyways, I do think it will likely happen because Rupert Murdoch isn't going to turn down the over $52 billion Disney is offering. The biggest hurdle will be getting the merger approved by the the U.S. and probably other governments. Basically, any time a company tries to buy another company, the Department of Justice has to sign off on it, provided that it doesn't violate federal anti-trust laws. My one concern there is if the Fox television channel is included in the deal, then the DOJ might not like Disney owning two broadcast networks. If that becomes a problem, then I suspect Disney will simply sell the channel to someone else.

But all that aside, what I'm really keen on and I'm sure everybody else is to is the possible return of the X-Men and Fantastic Four film rights to Marvel and their addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of the two, I'm actually more hyped for the FF because if this deal goes through, then we'll finally, FINALLY, get a good Fantastic Four movie! The reason is because the X-Men franchise has had the luck of success for most of its existence, while the FF haven't. I'm partial to them, so I'd like to see the Fabulous 4some get the treatment they deserve.

So the obvious problem is how to integrate the X-Men into the MCU. The FF can pop up at any point, come to think of it, so their introduction isn't problematic. The X-Men and mutants, on the other hand, can't just show up and like they've always been there.

Or could they?

The thought that occurred to me before the news of Fox's possible acquisition by Disney (back when it was just rumored) is that Marvel could use Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. How? One of the Infinity Gems controls reality and another controls time. My idea is that near the end of Infinity War Part 2, Thanos or somebody uses the Reality and the Time gems or possibly the Infinity Gauntlet to create major alterations (coughcoughretconscoughcough) to the MCU that results in the X-Men and mutants having always existed in the MCU.

So what do you think about the X-ceptional and Fantastic possibility of these new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?


I was actually planning on writing a post today about a possible merger of the two companies and how the X-Men could be integrated into the MCU. I'll post about the latter today when I have time, but hooooooleeeeee shit, guys! If you thought the MCU was great already, it's absolutely going to be bonkers now!

Edit: Disregard this post and read this one instead.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Professional wrestling is serious business

And professional wrestlers are very serious people.

Very serious.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Captain America and Bucky probably weren't happy with the Dodgers moving

This is based on something I posted on my Tumblr a while back. I had the realization one night that when Steve Rogers became Captain Popsicle and Bucky was turned into Winter Soldier in the MCU, the Dodgers were still playing in Brooklyn. That thought led to another: how would these two Brooklyn kids react to finding out that their baseball team had relocated to Los Angeles while they were gone? I just have this mental image of them going to Dodger games wearing (probably counterfeit) Brooklyn Dodgers caps and jerseys. I like the idea of them being salty about that and the fact that their only New York options are the Yankees and the Mets. I can't picture them rooting for the Yankees, and the Mets didn't exist back then, so they stick with the Dodgers and grouse about it.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Well, this is weird: Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow will start sharing the same timeslot next year

Arrowverse Wiki.
Strange, weird, and damn unusual are words that I'd use to describe The CW's announcement that starting next month two of their Arrowverse shows, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, will be sharing the same timeslot.
Following the announcement that The CW’s new superhero entry Black Lightning would be displacing Legends on the midseason schedule, the network has revealed that Legends is moving to Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET in 2018.

Here’s what this means for Supergirl, which already airs in that timeslot: After the holidays, Supergirl will return for four weeks starting Jan. 15, after which Legends will air nine weeks of original episodes starting Feb. 12, while Supergirl takes a break until it reclaims the timeslot on April 16 following the Legends season finale on April 9. Supergirl‘s season finale will then air June 18. What this all adds up to is 23 consecutive weeks of new episodes of Supergirl and Legends.
Arrowverse Wiki.
So both shows will disappear for two months while each take turns airing their remaining episodes. This bugs me, honestly, because I'm afraid it could negatively impact each show's ratings and chances of being renewed. I love Legends to the point of it being my favorite of the Arrowverse, and while I no longer watch Supergirl, I'd still hate to see either get cancelled.

Hopefully neither will, but we'll just have to wait and see.

(h/t Tim Knight's Twitter)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Quentin Tarantino might direct the next Star Trek movie? Beam me out of here, Scotty!

So yeah, there's talk going around that famed director Quentin Tarantino is teaming up with J.J. Abrams for the fourth Trek movie in the Kelvin-timeline, with the possibility of him stepping into the director's chair.

My reaction to this: No.

My longer reaction: God, NO.

I can respect the fact that Tarantino is one of the great directors and all, but letting him helm a Trek movie is like letting Tommy Wiseau direct Star Wars: Episode IX. I'd prefer Justin Lin coming back for a second time since I thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek Beyond, but alas, it probably won't happen because while STB made a lot of money, it didn't make a lot of money and that's what matters to the studios.

I'll admit that I originally had a negative reaction when Justin Lin was announced as the director of STB and that opinion was summarily sentenced to life imprisonment on Rura Penthe as soon as I watched that movie, but this is different. I just think Tarantino's style is too different for Star Trek.

But it's out of our hands and we'll just have to wait and see if he does direct and just hope that he doesn't have Spock call the Klingons the n-word.

My thoughts on the new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (spoilers)

So after missing the premiere on Friday, I finally watched the two-parter the other day.

It was okay? I stopped watching the show like halfway through the fourth season because I just wasn't feeling it, so the first few minutes confused the hell out of me. The idea of the band (well, most of it, minus Fitz) being sent to a space station against their will is an interesting idea. The revelation that they were also sent to the future, one where the Earth is destroyed and the surviving remnants of the human race are left to survive a hard scrabble existence under the control of the Kree ups the interests. Still, I'm not 100% sold? Like maybe 80-90% or something? I can't really explain it, but it feels like maybe they're being too ambitious this season. I understand that each season has to be bigger than the previous one, but I'm afraid that they might have gone too big.

In any case, I think I have a feeling on how the fifth season will play out. It'll follow the same pattern as the previous ones by splitting the season into two story arcs. The first one is them being stuck in the future and in space and will revolve around them trying to overthrow the Kree while also trying to find a way to go back to their time. Either they do or Fitz will and they return home. The second arc will probably revolve around them trying to prevent the world from being destroyed. It might also involve The Band fighting the mysterious group that sent them into the future in the first place.

While I'm not totally sold on this storyline, my interest is piqued enough to see how this season goes, so I'll be watching it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book haul!

Excuse the quality, the camera on my phone isn't great.
Went to a place called the Green Valley Book Fair today and picked up quite a few books! I've been getting the urge to read fiction outside of sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, and mysteries, so I decided to load up. The book themselves were quite cheaper, less than $5 each, so while I did end up spending $58, I feel like I got a lot of bang for my buck.

I don't plan on reading any of them yet, not until I finish A.S. Byatt's Possession, but I am going to peruse each one today to see which I'll read first.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Who has two thumbs and missed the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season premiere? This guy! :D

This late in the year, I'm not used to any of my shows just now getting on with their seasons. Eh, I'll catch it tonight.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

RIP Jim Nabors

Man, this one especially sucks because I grew up watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show. Never watched Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. because it never seemed to rerun on on TV. Nabors was always able to get you to laugh with a "gollllly" or a "shazam!" and his bumbling portrayal of Gomer.

But you know what sucks? He had to wait until 2011 to finally marry his husband and only got six years to enjoy having a marriage. But it's nice that he lived long enough to actually tie to knot.

(Picture via Mayberry Wiki)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Former Arrowverse showrunner Andrew Kreisberg is at last fired

What a difference a day makes. I ended my boycott of the Arrowverse last night and accused sexual evil-doer Andrew Kreisberg gets shitcanned today. I was a bit trepidatious about ending the one-man boycott before he was fired, but I didn't start catching up on the episodes I missed until today, so it all works out.

Related note: I'm still not caught up yet. I still have one episode of Legends of Tomorrow, three of Arrow's, and that's probably not counting the Crisis on Earth-X episodes. Then again, Wednesday is the perfect catch-up night because there's nothing else on TV that interests me.

The Gifted is a really good show, y'all

I was skeptical when I first heard about The Gifted because I react to trailers the same way I react to seeing Jehovah's Witnesses - I avoid them. Sometimes by turning off the lights and pretending I'm not there. Sometimes by hiding in someone's shrubbery. So because of that, I had the impression that the show was about two parents on the run with their mutant children and that was that.

Kind of like 90s TV show Promised Land, if Promised Land had been cool. Which it wasn't.

What we got with The Gifted instead is a genuinely great X-Men series that Fox will be more than happy to cancel at the end of the season because Fox hates everything that is happiness and joy. The choice of characters from the X-Men mythos is interesting. Obviously, they couldn't use any of the major characters from the movie franchise, but the selection isn't terrible. We've got Thunderbird, the ill-fated X-Man who in the comics was killed off almost immediately; Polaris, who is quite aggressive and quite pregnant with Eclipse, a character created for the show. The show also has its own version of Blink and her skepticism at everything the Mutant Underground does is refreshing. I like a character who isn't just going to accept everything the other protags do because conformity will be the downfall of our civilization.

Conformity and Marvel's Inhumans.

But yeah, it's a great show and can't recommend it enough. Just be sure to watch it before Fox gets around to canceling it.

There's them Avenger boys and girls fighting their Infinity War

"And get this man a shield."

Same, Ted Kord, same

It's Blue Beetle, guys!
If junk food is so bad for you then why does it taste so good? Why, I ask you, why? Modern science can't answer that!¹

¹Very obviously it can. Eat them fruit and veggies, kids!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ending my boycott of the Arrowverse

It's been about two weeks since I decided to boycott Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow after showrunner Andrew Kreisberg was suspended after being accused of sexual harassment by nineteen people (fifteen women, four men). At the time, I planned on maintaining the one-man boycott until Kreisberg was fired and while that hasn't happened yet, I've decided to end the boycott.

Why? For two reasons. First, various Arrowverse castmembers have both denounced the harassment and come out in support of the victims. Their taking a stance in this will do a lot more in the long run than my dinky little boycott, which was more of a moral stand than anything else. Second, I just don't think Kreisberg is going to return. You just don't get accused of sexual harassment by nearly twenty people and get your job back. You can get elected President of the United States, but not your job showrunning a highly successful TV franchise.

So the boycott is over and now comes the dreadfully hard part: catching up on two weeks worth of episodes! I was already an episode behind on Arrow before this, so I have got to hustle!

One final note before I end this post: Fuck Andrew Kreisberg and every single asshole who sexually harasses and assaults.

Eat shit and die!😃

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Why I'm boycotting the Arrowverse

Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW
(via Entertainment Weekly)
 In case you haven't heard, Andrew Kreisberg, one of the executive producers of The CW's Arrowverse (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow) was suspended due to allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate physical contact. He stands accused by nineteen people (seventeen women and two men) and is yet another man outed as a sexual predator in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations. I believe his accusers not least because victims are often not believed and as a result most will never step forward both because of that and the fear of retaliation. The fact that nineteen people have come forward to accuse him adds a tremendous amount of weight to the accusations. That not all of them are women is another thing, because I have to imagine male victims are even less likely to come forward with their stories.

And because of all of that, if Kreisberg isn't fired and is allowed to return as executive producer, then I won't be watching any of the Arrowverse TV shows. I love the shows and the cast and characters dearly, but I cannot in good conscience support them if a serial predator is helming them.

To take a step further, I may not watch any of the shows until he is fired. Like with the above, I realize that this won't cause even a tiny ripple, but I have to stand by for what's right and supporting his victims is what's right.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My favorite Batmobile

I found this little beauty while clearing out my bedroom closet last week: a die-cast Batmobile from the 1989 Tim Burton movie.

I've had the thing since '89 or '90 at the latest. Twenty-eight years old. Amazing. It needs some cleaning up, but otherwise is in perfect condition. One thing I didn't notice until last week is that there's a little Batman in the driver's seat. You can't see it in the pictures, but it's a nice touch nonetheless.

Friday, October 27, 2017

And the cleaning continues...

So last week I got rid of four boxes of books, but that was just a prelude to something bigger, something I (just decided to) call...The Cleaninging.

Which is just an overly dramatic way of saying that I'm clearing out my bedroom closet. Yeah. EXCITING.

Actually, the closet is an odd bird. This house was built back in the '50s by someone who obviously had more manpower than sense when it came to building houses because he put the closet right up against roof. The result is that the back wall and ceiling forms an obtuse angle and makes it impossible to hang clothes in the small room that's supposed to hold them. It's not too big of deal because I've long since found alternatives and the closet is still useful for storage.

Unfortunately, it's filled to the gills with junk and could probably be flagged as a fucking fire hazard, thus, The Cleaninging. The plan is to dump anything I don't want at a thrift store and trash everything that isn't worth donating. I'll end up keeping a few bits and bobs, but I know for a fact that the vast majority of it isn't worth keeping.

After I clear it out, I'm refilling it with boxes of books that I'm keeping but don't have room on my bookcases for, along with other stuff and things because honestly, folks, my bedroom almost looks like an episode of Hoarders because they start cleaning it out and finding the mummified cats. Yikes.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Aww yiss, a navy jacket

I've long wanted a military jacket and over the weekend I got the chance to buy one at a thrift store for $5.

 I like the olive drab style more than the generic camo style you see everywhere.

The Seabees are the U.S. Navy's combat engineers. They became famous during WWII when they would build airfields on Pacific islands, some times while the area was still being contested between the U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers. Having their logo on the pocket makes the jacket all the more cooler, in my opinion and sealed the deal on me buying it. My plan is to personalize it by adding patches to it. I was a bit stuck on that because I don't own an iron and my sewing skills are questionable, but fortunately a pal clued me into this stuff called liquid stitch, so I shouldn't have any problem with putting them on.

Provided, of course, that I can actually find some patches or even decide on which ones.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Amazon Key: Bringing murderers and rapists and their potential victims together

So Amazon announced what might very well be one of the dumbest inventions in the history of mankind: Amazon Key. It's a lock you put on your front door so that anybody with the special key to unlock your door, like say delivery drivers, housekeeping services, murderers, rapists, thieves, dog walkers, etc. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

This had to be the brain fart brainchild of a guy, right? Because there's just no way in gosh golly hell that a woman would come up with this and be like "yeah, this is a great idea with absolutely no problems whatsoever." And yeah, there's a camera to it, but the last time I checked, cameras don't prevent 100% of crimes from happening and never will.

Another thing is how long until somebody figures out how to hack Key to allow any Tom, Dick and Harry to bypass it and how long until that information spreads across the internet? And that's exactly what's going to happen. Amazon and others might try to deny or downplay the risk, but it's an eventuality that even a myopic non-tech person such as myself can see coming from a mile away.

But in my honest opinion, I think Amazon Key was a failed product before it was even announced. I think it'll putter around for a couple of years before Amazon quietly ditches it. Hopefully we won't have any movies or documentaries about the Amazon Key Murders in the aftermath.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

So anyways, First Blood had the lowest bodycount of any action movie ever

I've always been surprised by that factoid because as violent as the first Rambo movie is, you would expect the death toll to be high. Not Commando high, but still up there. But no, actually, in the entire course of that movie only one person dies and that's when Deputy Dumbass Galt falls to his death from a helicopter while shooting at Rambo.

Rambo claims it's not his fault, but if he hadn't thrown the rock, then the guy wouldn't have died. But then again, if Galt hadn't been shooting at Rambo (in defiance of orders not to), then there wouldn't have been any need for a rock thrown, so really, they're both the blame.

So anyways, only one death. Well, human death. If you include the animals, then the death toll ratchets up a little bit. During the course of the movie, Rambo kills two (or is it three?) dogs, a wild boar, and several rats. Even then, the body count is still remarkably low for an '80s action movie.

I guess the polar opposite of First Blood would have to be like what, John Wick or its sequel? I mean, those movies had people dying every two seconds in some places.

But wait, because it actually gets hilarious if you include non-action movies, in which case The Lion King has a higher body count than First Blood. Amazing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

But what of those who don't like dessert?

I saw a post on HeroPress tonight about a new blog that's stepping in to try and fill the void of cheesecake and whatnot that's been left by Al Bruno's shift away from it and towards his original fiction and such (and I wish Bruno all the luck and success in the world in his endeavors). It got me thinking and ruminating. I really want more than anything to increase my focus on Nerd Trash and it's become more than crystal clear that employing any kind of regimented posting schedule or features is never going to work for the very simple fact that I can't abide by them. What I'm dwelling on is whether or not to broaden things a bit and start posting cheesecake and other risque content?

I'm not talking porn, let's make that abundantly clear right now. Scantily-clad? Yes. Pin-ups? Yup. Nude, but without any of the naughty bits visible? Yeah. Those same bits and bobs in plain view? Nope. I never intended for Nerd Trash to be a PG-esque blog but for the most part, it has been. There have been exceptions, especially when it came to those Jamie Lee Curtis posts, but generally it's been a clean blog.

Now, if I did decide to do this, it wouldn't be as constant as Al Bruno or any likewise bloggers. Women are visually appealing, especially the half-naked variety, but I'm not spending an entire day everyday trawling Google or Tumblr for them.

Really, my goal is to get my head back into the space it was at when I used to post more frequently and posted whatever I felt like. Long posts, short posts, and medium posts. Geeking out and ranting over some BS I've come across.

So what do you think? Should I do it?


I've been busy the past couple of days in a purge of my way too big already book collection. I've got a bad habit of buying used books that at the time I assure myself that I'm absolutely positively going to read and of course, never do. The fact that I managed to fill four boxes with them stands as a testament to that fact.

I really need to vacuum...
Yikes and yowza. It's a hodgepodge of sci-fi, fantasy, classic lit, modern stuff, etc. and all of it collecting dust and taking up valuable space, so out it goes to a thrift store later this week.

On the flipside of this coin is that I'm planning on buying more books tomorrow and this Saturday at the local library's twice annual book sale. I'm aiming to be a bit more conservative with how many I buy, but who knows.

¹One slip of gold-pressed latinum for the reference.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

About that Justice League trailer

In my previous post, I called the trailer for the upcoming Justice League movie "lackluster". Tim Knight from HeroPress left a comment that summed up my thoughts fairly well.
I think you've hit the nail on the head. Post-Wonder Woman's box office success the trailers and marketing have re-positioned her front and centre, but it can't make up for the fact - even with the increased humour (in the trailers, at least) - this looks like a retread of BvS with a faceless mass of CGI 'parademons' for our heroes to smash. I strongly suspect this will tank critically and its strong opening weekend will drop off dramatically once word-of-mouth gets around!
Exactly. The reason why I think the trailer is lackluster is because it's little more than a confusing mass of random scenes strung together with little to no coherence. You get no real information about the movie's plot and you don't even see Steppenwolf, the antagonist. Somebody put this trailer together and decided that including a shot or two of the antagonist was a "bad" idea. Wow.

Just to drive my point home, here's the trailers for Justice League and another movie that's coming out next month, too - Thor: Ragnarok.

The difference is startling. With Thor, we know who all of the major characters are, including the antagonist, Hela. We have know what the plot is and a very nice sampling of what's going to happen in the movie, with some nice smashy bits added for flavor.

What makes it even worse is that this isn't a movie that's coming out six months down the line. Justice League hits theaters next month. And this is the best that Warner Bros.'s marketing department has to offer to convince people to fork over like eight or nine or how many dollars to watch this movie? Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I have to agree with Tim's prediction on Justice League's box office earnings. It'll debut near or at the top of the box office, then slip down once the reviews start coming in. Some people might deride websites like Rotten Tomatoes and movie critics in general for "hating" on DC's movies, but there's going to be a lot more who will heed their words and buy a ticket for something else.

And maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe what DC and WB need to motivate them towards fixing their malfunctioning cinematic universe is for Justice League to bomb. They're already making changes to "fix" the problems, but its all for nought unless they're willing to break the DCEU down and start fixing from the inside out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My hot take on the Justice League movie

First, here's the lackluster new trailer.

Second, will Justice League be a success? Well, it depends on how you measure success. Box office, I would be genuinely surprised if it didn't make a ton of money. I'm sure Warner Bros. has set a too high bar of a billion dollars for the movie which it might not reach. Certainly, it'll get close, probably half a billion at the lowest and over three quarters of a billion at the high-end, but otherwise, it would be a shocker if it actually broke a billion dollars. Still, it will more than pay for itself.

Critical reception, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. Thus so far, only one movie in the DC Extended Universe has had both financial and critical success and that is Wonder Woman. Man of Steel is a distant second and both Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad don't even get participation trophies. Justice League might get a boost from Wonder Woman, but don't expect it to be much. Man of Steel garnered a 55% and a 55 at Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively, so the best WB can hope for is Justice League getting at least that high. Certainly, it's not getting the 94% and 76 of Wonder Woman, and it would have to be total trash to get the mid-twenty percents and mid-forties of Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad.

In fact, if this movie somehow scores that low, the effect would be bad for the DCEU. Very bad. I on't think even a hefty box office would be that much of a balm for the cinematic universe's ills. I do know that Warner Bros. is trying to right the ship by putting Geoff Johns and others at the helm and de-emphasizing the interconnectivity of each movie. If Justice League does fail, then I think it will set off a major crisis and WB will kneejerk and maybe do away with the DCEU altogether in favor of a return to the old standalone model. What they should do is disassemble the whole thing and find and fix all of its broken bits, starting with the "grim and gritty" tone that someone decided was a great idea. When I think grim and gritty, I don't think DC Comics or its movies at all.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Mysterious Disappearances of Ellie Walker and Warren Ferguson

During the first season of The Andy Griffith Show, Sheriff Andy Taylor was paired with Mayberry's pharmacist, Ellie Walker. Twelve episodes later, she was gone with no on-screen explanation. The two real life explanations given have the lack of chemistry between the actress, Elinor Donahue, and Andy Griffith. Donahue claims that she asked for a release in order to deal with personal issues.

via Mayberry Wiki
I'm a longtime fan of The Andy Griffith Show since I was a lad and I've never been a fan of the pairing because of the difference in age between Griffith and Donahue. Griffith was around 34, while Donahue was about 23. While eleven years isn't a huge deal, Griffith looked much older than his years, so it always seemed to me as if he were a middle-aged man rocking the cradle. But, eh, that's just me. I always thought him and Helen Crump were a much better pairing since they were closer in age, presumably.

Now, what's hilarious is that one apparent fan theory is that Ellie ditched both Andy and Mayberry to become of all things...a groupie. It's based on the sole fact that Ellie's last appearance on the show was an episode called "The Guitar Player Returns" wherein a guitar player reunites with his manager and band. The guitar player never appears on the show again. And neither does Ellie. The idea is that the town is sooo scandalized by her running off, that they decide as one never to mention her again.

[Overly dramatic zoom in]

Or maybe it was something more...sinister. What if Andy caught Ellie two-timing with the guitar player and the Sheriff Without a Gun became a Man with a Gun and a dead body. Could Ellie Walker be lying at the bottom of Myer's Lake, waiting for some hapless fisherman to accidentally reel her in? Is that why Andy abruptly moved out of state at the end of the eighth season?

[Cue X-Files music]

[Zoom out]

Or you know, not.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finished: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Title: Around the World in Eighty Days
Series: Voyages Extraordinaires
Author: Jules Verne
Genre: Adventure
Pages: 230
Publisher: Pierre-Jules Hetzel
Year pub: 1873
Rating: ★★★★☆

I can honestly say that I never expected to enjoy Around the World in Eighty Days as much as I did. It's really a testament to the writing chops of Jules Verne that a 144 year old adventure novel still holds up today.

What I loved about AWED is just the premise, the idea of someone would make a bet on the spot to travel around the world in less than three months and does it while being wrongly pursued by a police detective for a crime they didn't commit. That Phileas Fogg globe trots while being completely unaware that he's being pursued just serves to make the overall story even better.

Then there's Passepartout, Fogg's poor, put upon man-servant who, first day on the job, gets Shanghaied into this mess. You have to feel sorry for the poor chap because he took the job in full expectation of having a quiet, sedate life and Fogg tosses that right out the window.

Really, the only complaint I have with Around the World in Eighty Days is that it shows it's age a little in its depiction of non-white civilizations. It's nowhere close to being even half racist, let alone full blown racist, but the way Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and Native Americans are depicted shows a hint of some of the prejudiced views white Europeans had back then. Having said that, it won't foul up your reading of the book, but it might cause an eyebrow to rise.

As an aside, this was only the second work of classic literature that I've ever read, the first being The Prisoner of Zenda, as well as the oldest that I've read. I don't know why, but I've never been able to get into classic lit before, so this is a promising sign that my horizons may be broadening and I'm looking forward to reading more of Jules Verne's works as well as other classics in the near future.

Monday, September 25, 2017

There's a Crisis on Earth-X: DC-TV's next crossover event

I first saw this picture over on Tumblr late last night and it piqued my interest.

via the official Arrow Twitter.
My first take on the title was that this year's big crossover between the four DC-TV shows (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl) was going to be an adaption of some sort of the famed Crisis on Infinite Earths mega-event DC Comics did back in the mid-80s. I did some googling and according to the DC Database, Earth-X was one of those infinite Earths of DC's old multiverse. This was an Earth where the Nazis won World War II and was subject of one of the annual Justice League/Justice Society crossovers and a group of heroes from Earth-2 (all of whom DC acquired from Quality Comics), called the Freedom Fighters, moved to Earth-X to free it from the Nazis.

So the obvious question is if this is what DC-TV is going for with this crossover? The answer is yes. DC Comics has an article about the crossover on their website which linked to another article about the upcoming Freedom Fighters: The Ray animated webseries from CW Seed. That series is set on Earth-X and features Nazi doppelgangers of Green Arrow, Supergirl, and The Flash dubbed The Reichmen, so that's what we'll see in the crossover. It's certainly going to be chilling to see those doppelgangers in the flesh and disturbing if they start throwing Nazi salutes.

What I'm curious to see is how events of the crossover effects the non-white and Jewish heroes. I can only hope that the writers don't pull a dumb and have evil versions of them. Provided, you know, that their doppelgangers even exist on Earth-X (because *Nazis*). If they do, they'll probably be members of the resistance.

Moving on from that, the other big thing are Barry and Iris at the bottom of the center-piece. The image suggests that the two are finally going to tie the knot this season, after having been matrimony blocked by the Speed Force last season. How this relates to Nazi doppelgangers, I have no clue. I guess we'll just have to wait for either the trailer or when the crossover happens starting November 27th.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

And now for some interesting television trivia

Because I'm both bored and have acquired quite a bit of otherwise useless trivia.

Leave It to Beaver was both the first TV series to show a toilet and the first to have a series finale. The latter is interesting because apparently most shows at the time just ended when they were cancelled without a proper sendoff like long-running successful shows do now. Meanwhile, Star Trek has been around for fifty-one years and has never shown the former.

Hugh Beaumont, who played Ward Cleaver, retired from acting at the end of the show's run and became a tree farmer until his death in 1977. I guess after you've played the dad of a kid named 'Beaver', it's time to call it a career. When they did a reunion movie and subsequent spinoff back in the 80s, they explained Beaumont's absence as Ward having died a couple years prior.

Speaking of death, when Don Blocker from Bonanza died in 1972 from a pulmonary embolism, his character simply disappeared from the show without any onscreen explanation. It wasn't until the first Bonanza television movie that his character Hoss Cartwright was revealed to have drowned by trying to rescue a woman from, ironically, drowning. Similarly when the last TV movie was made after the death of Michael Landon, it was explained that his Little Joe character had been killed at the Battle of San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War. Talk about a critical failure of character shields.

He wasn't working harder,
he was working smarter.
Credit: Sid Avery | IMDb.

Actor Fred MacMurray of The Absent-Minded Professor and The Apartment fame filmed all of his scenes for his show My Three Sons in two separate one month blocks each season in order to be free to continue making movies and playing golf. These were just his scenes, mind you, so the rest of the cast had to film around him.

One of the reasons The Rockford Files was cancelled despite its popularity is because years of doing his own stunts for both it and his previous show, Maverick, had wrecked James Garner's back and knees. Another reason is that the show frequently used well known guest stars that were more expensive than using ones that were more c-list or otherwise cheap.

Speaking of costs, that was the reason The Dukes of Hazzard was cancelled. The General Lee had to be replaced every episode because surprise, surprise, the cars couldn't survive the landing from those epic jump stunts. Eventually it just became too expensive for the network to keep buying 1969 Dodge Chargers. The show did briefly continue as a cartoon, however.

Ja'net Dubois, who played Willona Woods on CBS's 70s hit Good Times, also co-wrote and sang the theme for another of CBS's hit, The Jeffersons.

That's it for now. I plan on posting more and even doing ones focused on singular bits, like Ben Cartwright’s (from Bonanza) marital curse, the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, and more. If you enjoyed these, then let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bought some CDs the other day

Kids, if you don't know what a CD is, ask your older siblings and get the hell off my lawn. Joking aside, I don't buy music all that often because I just don't listen to it with any kind of regularity. Still, when someone is selling CDs 4/$1 and the selection is good, I'm buying.

 Oh man, this album. I remember hooplah that accompanied Jagged Little Pill because of its lead single "You Ought to Know". The song's frank look at a failed relationship from the point of view of the woman refreshing, while Alanis Morissette's use of "fuck" and blowjob reference was quite shocking at the time. Nowadays, blatant references to sex acts in music is blaise, but back then, "going down on you in the theater" and "do you think of me when you fuck her?" had people shook.

Of course, those references were bleeped out on radio version.

Jagged Little Pill also features "Ironic", a song that people like to point out contains very little in the way of irony. Still, lines like "he waited his whole damn life to take that flight and as the plane crash down, he thought 'isn't this nice'" and "ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife" are nice contrasts between serious and nonsensical verses.

Also, I still can't wrap my head around the fact that Alanis Morissette did two dance-pop albums before Jagged Little Pill. She's the real life Robin Sparkles/Robin Daggers (and if that was an intentional reference by the How I Met Your Mother Writers, then holy shit).

 I haven't listened to Dirt yet, but I have listened to "Rooster" many times over the years, so the rest of the album ought to be good. Layne Staley had one of the greatest voices in music - not just rock music, but music period - and his untimely death more than fifteen years ago was easily as big a blow as Kurt Cobain's.
 I'm going to be honest here, I bought this entirely because it has "Hip to be Square" on it and regardless of that scene from American Psycho, it's one of my personal favorites.

Turns out the rest of the album isn't bad either. Huey Lewis and the News are an amazing band that managed to capture recreate the sound and feel of classic rock and roll without it coming off as a gimmick. I like 80s music, but in a sea of new wave and synth pop whatever, Huey Lewis was a refreshing breeze.
None more black.

Metallica's self-titled fifth album could practically double as a greatest hits. "Nothing Else Matters", "Enter Sandman", "The Unforgiven", and "Wherever I May Roam" all on the same album? Metallica evidently wanted to give buyers the most (head)bang for their buck.

My only regret here is that I didn't buy more CDs. There was a small plastic tub of them and I saw some choice albums, but I didn't go for them. Unfortunate.

All pictures via Wikipedia.

Friday, August 18, 2017

In the still of the night / I hear the wolf howl, honey / sniffing around your door

There's never a bad time for White Snake¹.

And if that's not enough, here's a pretty damn snazzy cover by the band Halestorm!

Lzzy Hale has some pipes on her, that's for sure.

¹Except, you know, during natural disasters, alien invasions, and when your president has clearly gone off the deep end.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Nerding it up in a computer lab at General Dynamic's Astronautics Division, 1968.

Atlas Negative Collection Image

Jodie Whittaker reacting to people cosplaying the Thirteenth Doctor is cute as heck

I like the positive reaction, because I can imagine that being cast as The Doctor can be a bit overwhelming for anybody. I know I certainly would be! Kind of amazing that people are already cosplaying as the new Doc when we haven't even seen what she'll be wearing on the show. Then again, the fandom works fast.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Women clean up at the Hugo Awards

Note: This is a cross-post from my sci-fi blog, Rayguns and Space Suits.

You can see all of the nominees and winners here, but suffice to say, goddamn.

Best Novel: The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin.
Best Novella: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
Best Novelette: The Tomato Thief by Ursula Vernon.
Best Short Story: Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar.
Best Series: The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Ada Palmer.

Overall, women won 15 out of the 17 categories and counting Palmer netting the Campbell (which is award at the Hugos but isn't a Hugo), they won 16 altogether. Not a bad performance and well deserved. Oh, I'm sure there will be grumblings and teeth gnashing from a certain segment of the fandom over this, but I'll say here what I said on my Tumblr:
Write better. The success of women and writers of color at the Hugos and other SFF lit awards has nothing to do with their ethnicity or identity and everything to do with them just being better writers, editors, etc.
Being white, straight, and/or identifying with your assigned gender (because let's not overlook the fact that these groups include women) does not automatically mean you win awards.

Unless you create your own or manipulate a poorly planned one. *coughcoughDragonAwardscoughcough*

In any case, congrats to all of the winners and nominees.

Finished: The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Image: Magnum Easy Eyes Books blog.
Title: The Prisoner of Zenda
Series: None
Author: Anthony Hope
Genre: Adventure
Pages: 223
Publisher: J. W. Arrowsmith (orig.), Lancer Books (reissue)
Year pub: 1894
Rating: ★★ - 2 1/2 stars.

This is going to be a short post because there's not much to talk about this book. It was a pretty straight forward affair, with the protagonist, Rudolf Rassendyll traveling to the fictional kingdom of Ruritania and having to pose as the king, who is his double and has been captured by the Black Michael, the king's half-brother who covets the throne for himself.

While it was a straight forward adventure and a fun one at that, it had it's problems. My chief complaint was the lack of details. At 223 pages, you don't get even a bare sketch of Ruritania and its people, other than some of the population being for the king and some supporting Duke Michael. Hell, you barely even see him, with the role of antagonist being taken chiefly by Rupert of Hentzau, a rakish rogue who honestly comes off as the more interesting than the rest of the cast. Really, you don't even get a clear indication on whether or not Michael would be a better or worse king than his half-brother, who seems more interested in getting drunk than being king.

The romance between Rassendyll and the king's cousin, Princess Flavia is bland and boring. He visits her a couple of times in the course of the book and bam! they're suddenly head over heels for each other.

So just to sum it up, The Prisoner of Zenda was a good book that could have been even better had Anthony Hope added more details about Ruritania, and more depth to the principle characters and the romance between Rudolf Rassendyll and Princess Flavia.

Watch Jeff Goldblum talk about the importance of e-mail in this Apple iMac commercial

Well, I mean, e-mail was a lot more important back then than it probably is now. You had instant messaging like AIM, ICQ, and MSN Messenger, but those were all short-form messaging, like texting is today. E-mail was more long form, not unlike how Blogger and WordPress are to Twitter.

Then there's that Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan flick, You've Got Mail.

If this movie had been made today, Hanks and Ryan's characters would be texting instead of e-mailing each other and Ryan's character would probably be overusing the poop emoji. 💩

I honestly hate myself for using that emoji. I'm sorry.

Monday, July 3, 2017

I'll tell myself that I'm over you / Because I'm the king of wishful thinking

Bonus: Carly Rae Jepsen's cover.

Not a bad cover, but it could have been more upbeat. I'm guessing she never bothered to record it for an album.

Nerd Trash Icon of the Month: Velma Dinkley

Don't call it a comeback because I in all honesty don't know if this is will be a regular thing again.

The choice of Velma Dinkley is entirely inspired by Tim Knight's photo dump over on HeroPress, so you know, blame him. Velma has always been my favorite Scooby Doo character and it should be pretty obvious why: She's a nerd. Just look at her.

Mary Jane shoes, the skirt, the knee high socks, and of course, that ever present turtle neck. Throw in the glasses and even back then Velma probably would have been a wallflower. And yet, she was cool and smart. She made being smart cool.

Linda Cardellini.

Hayley Kiyoko.
Then there's the cosplay!