Saturday, December 22, 2018

Worst.announcement.ever: My dad died this morning

And as fucked up as it sounds, it was probably for the best. He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and while he gave it a good fight and actually looked close to beating it, things didn't turn out that way. Given his age (he was 70) and the back to back bouts of pneumonia, he just didn't have to strength to keep going. I'm just glad that he's not suffering anymore and can finally lay down his burdens and rest.

I love you, dad, and I'll see you again one day.

Friday, December 14, 2018

In the Heat of the Night had a nice theme song

In the Heat of the Night was a show I used to watch growing up and that's just recently returned to syndication on MeTV. Based on the popular 1960s movie starring Sidney Poitier and the book the movie was itself based on, the show was a bit softer and friendlier than the movie, which focused on racism in the Deep South. Racism is still addressed on the show, but it's much more toned down than what it was in the movie. Not a terrible TV show.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Friendly reminder that 22nd century transporters weren't that great

Still some bugs to work out. And sticks...and a few rocks too.
Image: Memory Alpha.
I think I'll stick with the shuttles, thanks.

For context, this is from an episode of Enterprise called "Strange New World" where the crew explores an Earth-like planet, get caught up in a storm, and go super paranoid and whacked out on each other. This unfortunate crewman, Ethan Novakovich, ends up in such a state that Archer orders him beamed up and well, that happens.

Transporters were still a new technology back in Enterprise's era and evidently the computer couldn't tell the difference between him and the debris swirling around him. The transporters themselves weren't used all that much on the show, if I remember correctly, which I thought was a nice touch to the whole "this is all new to us" vibe that Enterprise was going for.

Oh and Novakovich? He lived, thanks to Scott Bakula.
This character was originally to have died in "Strange New World" and, as such, would have been the first member of the crew to die aboard the NX-class Enterprise. During filming of the episode, Scott Bakula (who played Captain Archer) was concerned that it didn't seem right to kill off Novakovich without dealing with the loss (as originally written, Novakovich's death was not dissimilar to that of the many security guards who died in the original Star Trek series). The producers agreed and revised the episode's script so that Novakovich lived (although the character was never seen again).
 His disappearance can easily be explained as him being shipped off to a hospital for recovery/rehab or being traumatized by his ordeal, he put in for a transfer. Of course, he was a Crewman Second Class, so he could have stayed and faded back in with all of the other low ranked crewmen.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The day we've all dreaded has arrived: Stan Lee has died, age 95

There are no words to adequately describe that man's impact on pop culture, so I'll just say thanks Stan Lee for giving us so many superheroes.


What boredom and a bare knowledge of MS Paint hath wrought!

This is certainly a gaggle of interesting starships

I stumbled across the existence of these ships on Memory Beta a while back and after finding a better picture via Google (which unfortunately, won't tell me where I found it at), I thought I'd post it here.

Image: Don Hillenbrand.
The picture is titled Into The Breach and was created by a Don Hillenbrand for the ever popular Ships of the Line calendars, specifically the 2011 edition. The premise of the picture is that the Enterprise-A has teamed up with all of these ships to take on an unseen enemy and given the amount of firepower being poured out, it must have been one hell of a battle! As you can see, it's an interesting assortment of ships. Unfortunately, none of them have no information about them, not even class names. Instead, Memory Beta uses "type" to describe them. Starship Schematics does provide names as well as different views of each ship, so that's helpful. Using all of that info, let's ID each ship:

The two ships (one very prominently in the foreground and another in the background) with their secondary hulls mounted above the saucer are labeled as John Glenn-type. Starship Schematics lists these as being corvettes, which is more than a little silly because in both the real world and science fiction, corvettes are typically very small ships and the John Glenns don't look small at all. It's obviously a kitbash of the Constitution-class, so it stands to reason that it would be the same size.

I'll admit that I didn't like the John Glenn at first because of the way they look, but it and all of the others have quickly grown on me. I am curious how much faster the two impulse engines on the saucer make the ship go, if there is a speed improvement, that is.

The Excelsior-class kitbashes with the sensor pod is the Sun Tzu-type. I like the way it obviously foreshadows the much later Nebula-class with its own AWACs-style sensor pod. I also like the idea of Starfleet having ships like this back in the 23rd century when they would have been needed the most in keeping an eye on the Klingons and Romulans.

The two ships in the foreground firing the green phasers (I guess that's what they are???) are Valley Forge-type. I initially thought it was a kitbash of the Oberth, and these two pictures from Starship Schematics seem to support that assumption.

It looks like a combination of a Constitution-class command hull, secondary hull, and nacelles with the pylons and that flat section behind the saucer. The Valley Forge is probably my favorite of the bunch. I even started creating fanon/headcanon background fluff for them, which I might post later on.

That leaves one last ship and that's the other one firing a green beam unseen enemy. This is is labeled the Hillenbrand-type on the Schematics page and the Hildebrand on the picture below, but I'm going with the former.

The Hillenbrand is clearly a kitbash of the Miranda-class. From the side, the secondary hull looks like a Connie, but the front view shows it as being wider than a Connie's. The deflector dish is different too, so that makes me wonder if that's an original design. Considering the Sun Tzu's foreshadowing, it might be a nod towards the deflector dishes of the Galaxy and Nebula-classes.

Overall, they're very interesting ship designs. Like I said earlier, I didn't like them at first, but then they grew on me. Hell, it beats most other fan designs I've seen and they're head and shoulders better than the stuff FASA was coming up with with their games.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Notes on a blog: Imported posts

Just an FYI, I just imported several posts from a Star Trek blog I had up until like five minutes ago. It was no longer needed because I can just post Trek stuff on here. I kept the original dates on all but two posts, which I think deserve attention. Those two will post tomorrow and on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thanks, Chris Evans

Saw this on Twitter.

Source: Twitter.
To say that Chris Evans portrayal of Captain America is iconic would be the understatement of the year. I would easily rank him up there with Christopher Reeves, Hugh Jackman, and Evans' co-star Robert Downy, Jr.. He managed to do something that I didn't think was possible: he made Captain America a star. What I mean is that on the surface, you wouldn't expect Captain America to make a successful transition from comic to big screen. After all, we're talking about a patriotic superhero decked in a red, white, and blue costume named Captain America.

And yet, Chris Evans made him seem as big of a deal as any of the other more well known and popular heroes like Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman. Even in the Avengers movies when the character is sharing the screen with the likes of Iron Man and Thor, Cap still holds his own by dint of Chris Evans' presence in the costume.

I take my hat off to Chris Evans, thank him for giving us a great Captain America, and wish him the best. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Nerd Trash Person of the Month for October: Jodie Whittaker

No surprise there. The new season of Doctor Who starts this month and we'll finally get to see the first female incarnation of The Doctor in action!

Source: PIP/CAMERA PRESS / The Times.

Via: Daily Jodie Whittaker Twitter.

Via: Daily Jodie Whittaker Twitter.

Via: Daily Jodie Whittaker Twitter.

Notes on a Blog: New header

It was time for a change.

The woman is some actress named Aisling Knight from a movie called Charlotte Wakes. I came across the picture and knew immediately that I had to use it as a header for this blog. There's another version without the blue background, but I thought it was a bit too NSFW because you could still see her nipples despite my best efforts at position the text.

Here's the official trailer for Into the Spider-Verse starring Spider-Ham and some other people

Spider-Ham, Spider-Ham, does whatever a Spider-Ham can.

Arthur Ashkin, Donna Strickland, and Gerard Mourou awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for lasers

And it's been getting a lot of buzz because in addition to Ashkin not being the oldest Nobel Laureate, Donna Strickland is just the third woman and the first in 55 years to win the Physics Prize. What's interesting is that they won the award for two completely different things. Arthur Ashkin creating something called "optical tweezers", while Strickland and Mourou's award is for "their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses." according to the Nobel Prize's press release. Scientific American also has an article about it.

I'll be honest, I have like zero clues about what that means because while I love science, I'm still a plebe when it comes to understanding a lot of it, which is why I'm trying to educate myself on the subject. Fortunately, the official Nobel Twitter posted a handy-dandy graphic explaining Ashkin's accomplishment and it's pretty neat-o.

Interestingly, this article in Quanta Magazine says that work based on Ashkin's discovery led to other physicists winning the Nobel Prize in 1997 and 2001.

There's no helpful graph for Mourou and Strickland's achievement, but Quanta Magazine gives a rundown on what they did:
Mourou, most recently of the École Polytechnique in France, and Strickland, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, developed a way to create extremely short, intense laser pulses. Now called chirped pulse amplification, the method is used in corrective eye surgeries and has become the standard in physics laboratories around the world.

Strickland was a Ph.D. student working with Mourou at the University of Rochester when they discovered the trick for amplifying laser pulses in 1985. That trick was to first stretch out a short pulse of laser light using an “optical grating,” so that the high-frequency component of the pulse lags behind the low-frequency component. This stretched-out, “chirped” pulse could then be amplified without damaging the laser. The pulse was then passed through a second grating to recompress it. “Different people were trying to get short pulses amplified in different ways,” Strickland explained. “It was thinking outside the box to stretch first and then amplify.”
Their discovery has a wide range of applications from biology to materials science to medicine, so they should be quite pleased with themselves. All three of them.

Monday, October 1, 2018

So who wants watch a timelapse video of fungi growing? Nobody? Well, too bad!

It is oddly fascinating to watch this stuff grow.

Scientists who discovered immunotherapy cancer treatment awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine

And rightly deserved to. James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo both discovered a new way to fight cancer by unleashing the body's own immune system on it.
Working in the 1990s, both scientists studied proteins that regulate the immune system and keep it in check. For Allison, this protein was CTLA-4 protein, while Honjo studied a protein called PD-1. Both CTLA-4 and PD-1 regulate the immune system and keep it from being too aggressive. Therefore, it’s possible to use an antibody to target these proteins and shut them down. When these proteins are shut down, and the brakes “released,” our body’s immune system can go on the attack against cancerous tumors, a form of treatment today called immunotherapy. (Both proteins brake the immune system, just in different ways.)
Even better, their two methods for "releasing" the immune system could be even more effect together. These two men are going to be responsible for potentially millions of people surviving their cancer, making the disease less of a death sentence than it currently is now. The power of science, folks.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

So no big deal, but astronomers just found the planet Vulcan

Well now there's something I never expected to read. In the Trekverse, Spock's homeworld orbits a star labeled 40 Eridani A, which in real life is part of a triple star system or trinary system. Astronomers finally decided to take a look-see...and discovered a planet orbiting that same star! According to Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy, the planet is what's called a "super-Earth" which means that it's much bigger than our planet, but is possibly a rock and metal combo. I have no idea if the planet is habitable or not, but if it is bigger than Earth, then presumably the pressure and gravity would be more too.

It's pretty cool to know that there is a planet Vulcan in our universe, even if it does turn out to be a lifeless rock in space. Also a little unsettling because if 40 Eridani has a planet, then what about other star systems in science fiction? Maybe astronomers should be taking a gander at the ones that are home of SF's more dangerous aliens, you know, just to be on the safe side.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Looks like Michael B. Jordan is joining the Tom Clancy movieverse

According to The Verge, he'll be playing John Clark in adaptions of the novels Without Remorse and Rainbow Six.
Paramount is developing adaptations of the Clancy books Without Remorse and Rainbow Six, both of which focus on the character of John Clark. A former Navy Seal turned CIA operative, Clark was originally introduced in the 1987 novel The Cardinal of the Kremlin. In 1993, Clancy’s Without Remorse delved into the character’s backstory, while Rainbow Six followed his adventures forming a counter-terrorist group known as “Rainbow.” While numerous Clancy novels like The Hunt For Red October and Patriot Games have made their way to movie theaters before, this would be the first film adaptation for both Clark novels — although Rainbow Six has served as the inspiration for Ubisoft’s long-running game series of the same name.
Worth noting that Clark was previous played by Willem Defoe in the third Jack Ryan movie, A Clear and Present Danger. This is interesting news and it's great to see Michael B. Jordan's career continue to grow. He's a phenomenal actor as seen in Black Panther.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

And here's a Captain Marvel trailer for you

I love it and the sudden mystery surrounding Carol's origins.

But damn, Carol, did you have to punch grandma?! 😆

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Entertainment Weekly posts some nice pictures of the Captain Marvel movie + the cover of their next issue

It's been a shitty week, so let's indulge in some nice photography via Entertainment Weekly.

Indeed it is. Just don't fuck this up, Marvel!

Honestly one of the best supersuits I've seen. Bravo to whoever designed and made it.

[Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" blasting in the background if Marvel has any goddamn sense]

Look, sir, Skrulls!

With the addition of Jude Law, Marvel now has two pairs of Sherlocks and Watsons.

I want that whole outfit.

So, I was confused as to why Marvel would change Monica Rambeau's name to Maria, but the caption for this picture at the Entertainment Weekly website says that she has a daughter, which makes me think that she isn't Monica, but her mother. Captain Marvel takes place in the 90s, so her daughter would be an adult by now.

Nick Fury with two functional eyeballs is going to be weird to see.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Bookshelves by Grant Snider

I really like these comics by Grant Snider. Be sure to visit his webcomic for more!

I have a few of these books on my own shelves. I haven't tried wearing one for a hat...yet!

The secret bookshelf would be nice, and the homemade would absolutely be what a bookcase would look like assembled by me. I had to put together two metal bookcases* that my parents found at a yard sale and it was a pain in the ass.

*They're not really bookcases, but those metal shelves that people put in their garages and such. They do the job of holding my books pretty well, though.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Well, at least they're not the Orioles

So recently I've decided to get into the great American sport of cricket baseball and picked the Washington Nationals as my team to root for. Mostly, that's because they're the closest team geographically to where I live. I like them, they've got a lot of good players, and they're fun to watch.

via Wikipedia.

Having said that, holy shit are they sucking dick and balls right now. Dick.and.balls. On Sunday, they lost to the Chicago Cubs 7-6 after spending most of the game in the lead and with the game locked in their favor. Similarly, the first game in their four game series against the St. Louis Cardinals ended with the latter winning after trailing to the Nats for most of the game. Tuesday? Same. The Nationals aren't a terrible team. They've just hit a rough patch like a lot of teams do, but goddamn, it sucks watching them eat shit.

It could be worse, though. They could be the Baltimore Orioles, who are so godawful this year and so far behind in their division (dead last), that the closest they'll get to the post-season is if they buy tickets to the games.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ancient public library discovered in Germany

The remains of the oldest public library in Germany, a building erected almost two millennia ago that may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls, have been discovered in the middle of Cologne.
The walls were first uncovered in 2017, during an excavation on the grounds of a Protestant church in the centre of the city. Archaeologists knew they were of Roman origins, with Cologne being one of Germany’s oldest cities, founded by the Romans in 50 AD under the name Colonia. But the discovery of niches in the walls, measuring approximately 80cm by 50cm, was, initially, mystifying.
“It took us some time to match up the parallels – we could see the niches were too small to bear statues inside. But what they are are kind of cupboards for the scrolls,” said Dr Dirk Schmitz from the Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne. “They are very particular to libraries – you can see the same ones in the library at Ephesus.”
 I wonder if they've found a list of all the overdue scrolls that were never returned?

The Arrowverse has found it's Batwoman: Ruby Rose

Credit: Official Arrow Twitter.
So sayeth Entertainment Weekly and others. Interesting choice. Surprising too, given that Ruby Rose isn't exactly an unknown actress and I figured that her star status would put her just beyond what The CW would be willing to pay for her to play Batwoman. I'm not complaining. She's a good actress and it'll be interesting to see her playing a superhero.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Fans of Discovery's Sylvia Tilly have something besides the second season to look forward to

Because it was announced yesterday that Tilly is going to be the subject of her own novel written by veteran scribe Una McCormack called The Way to the Stars.

Despite being an inexperienced Starfleet cadet, Sylvia Tilly became essential to the U.S.S. Discovery finding its way back home from the Mirror Universe. But how did she find that courage? From where did she get that steel? Who nurtured that spark of brilliance? The Way to the Stars recounts for fans everywhere the untold story of Tilly’s past.

It’s not easy being sixteen, especially when everyone expects great things from Tilly. It’s even harder when her mother and father are Federation luminaries, not to mention pressing her to attend one of the best schools that the Federation has to offer. Tilly wants to achieve great things — even though she hasn’t quite worked out how to do that or what it is she wants to do. But this year, everything will change for Tilly, as she about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime — an adventure that will take her ever closer to the stars…
The book hits shelves January of next year, the same month the second season of Discovery starts.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Ladies, gentlemen, and others: THERE'S BEEN A HEIST [UPDATED]

According to the BBC, two individuals stole several TWO crowns and an orb from the Strängnäs Cathedral in Stockholm, Sweden and then made their escape across a lake in a speedboat. The purloined items were part of the Swedish crown jewels and were the funeral regalia of Charles IX and his wife, Christina of Holstein-Gottorp (presumably they're talking about her and not Charles IX's wife They were).

They haven't found the two thieves yet, but there's an understandably large manhunt for them. I believe they should be questioning the whereabouts of one Canadian Cal at the time of the heist.

Edit: It turns out that the BBC article was referring to Charles IX's wife and not his granddaughter.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

My mysteries and thrillers bookshelves

I recently spent time (and sanity) moving the bookcases in my room around so that they weren't all in one cramped space. I also did a bit of organization and gave one of my big cases over to my collection of thriller and adventure novels. Check them out below. Excuse the crappy quality of the pictures - my phone is crap and I can't take a steady picture to save my life!

So this is the Shelf O' Mysteries. It's a hodge-podge of books I've picked up from various secondhand sources such as thrift stores, library book sales, etc. The pictures might be too blurry to make out the titles, so here's a brief rundown:

Shelf #1: Mostly Martha Grimes' Richard Jury books mixed with Sherlock, Thomas Harris, and Robert Galbraith.

Shelf #2: Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee series, P.D. James, Henning Mankell, John Mortimer, and Alexander McCall.

Shelf #3: Almost entirely John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series, with Dorothy Sayers, Peter Mayhew, and Ruth Rendell mixed in.

Now to the other bookcase.

I'm almost tempted to call this the "Adventure Shelf" because of all of the thrillers and action-thrillers on here.

Shelf #1: Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, and Clive Cussler make up the bulk of this shelf. There's also a Ted Bell, a C.S. Forester, and a couple Vince Flynns as well.

Shelf #2: W.E.B. Griffin and John Grisham by and large. Jack Higgins, John Jakes, and two John le Carre's round it out.

Shelf #3: The rest of the le Carres, along with Robert Ludlum, and Matthew Reilly. This shelf also contains four history books: two by Cornelius Ryan, another about the Boer War (I can't remember which), and one about the American frontier. Those are there because they're adventures. Terrible, heartbreaking adventures, but adventures all the same.

Like I said before, my book collection is a hodge-podge from secondhand sources, but they're still pretty good. I try to choose books that I'm confident that I'll actually read and then do my best to follow through with that confidence. Doesn't always work out that way, but so it goes.

The trailer for Discovery season 2 is a reminder on why I hate that this show isn't on TV

Looks good.
Real good.
Just like the first season.
Which I couldn't watch because it was on CBS All Access and I don't do or really have the budget for streaming services, especially just for the sake of one series.

Oh well, people on Tumblr will gif the living shit out of this just like they did with season 1.

Aside from that, the trailer is pretty good and makes the upcoming season look oh so entertaining. It looks as if they went with a lighter tone compared to last season with was much darker. The addition of Ansel Mount as the legendary Christopher Pike and the just recently announced casting of Rebecca Romijn as Number One is sure to bring back fans who might have been turned off by the first season as well as attract new fans.

Personally, I'm hoping that with the announced massive expansion of the Star Trek franchise, that maybe this season of DISCO will lead to a spin-off following the Pike-era Starship Enterprise. A Trekkie can dream!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Isn't that Canadian BBQ?

via Televandalist.
I love Smokey and the Bandit. Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice stole that movie from start to finish.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Iron Man once built an armor specifically to beat an evil clone of Squirrel Girl and I'll never be over it.

Also, "Iron Man once built an armor specifically to beat an evil clone of Squirrel Girl" is a series of words that I never thought I'd ever type in the same sentence. What a time to be alive.

Anyway, there's a comic that came out back in 2016 called Undefeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe! I feel like my life is meaningless and incomplete without ever having read this comic. The comic features the aforementioned evil clone, who much like the original, is capable of defeating just about everybody. In response, Iron Man creates an armor to defeat her and I'm just not over what it looks like.

I love how he felt the need to make the armor the size of a Hulkbuster instead of normal sized. Like, we're talking about the evil clone of a woman who easily defeated someone as big as Thanos, but somehow Tony Stark thought "bigger is better" when facing her clone.

And why the squirrel faceplate, Tony? Why? Best part though? He.still.loses. Evil Squirrel Girl beats him by taking out the rest of the Avengers, then sticks their unconscious bodies to his armor using putty. Obviously, he can't continue fighting without risking the lives of his teammates, so evil SG is free to remove his helmet and deck him.

Then she steals one of his armor's gauntlets. Ouch.

Pictures and info via Marvel Database.