Where no man should go back to

“What should we do with the legacy left by our predecessors?” seems to have been the theme of this weeks media consumption. And not only media, i’m starting to ask what i will leave for my kid one day. Taking old ideas and update them for a contemporary audience is a good thing in principle. But it seems we are at a time where the Zeitgeist isn’t as clear as two generations ago.

Star Trek Discovery is an example for this uncertainty. The newest series in the franchise sits between Enterprise and the “Classic” series. And that is it's biggest strenght and weakness. Strenght because the current Zeitgeist could use a story that ends up in a better place than it started. There is war and suffering in the Star Trek universe; but not amongst humanity or the Federation Of Planets. And if there is beef amongst them in most cases it gets resolved without to much drama.
And i’m tired that after the reboot movies used the old conflicts to tell “new” stories we get the same thing again. Enterprise already did that and did not entierly succeed.
It isn’t fair to compare Discovery to any of it’s predecessors because so far we only got to see two episodes. And those acted as an overture to the rest of the show. But judging from those two entries i’m not convinced the series will work.
Lets start with the visuals. Of course it can’t look cheaper than the adventures of Kirk & company but it also should not look to good. Well, Discovery looks to good and advanced for its own good. And i’m not talking about the lensflare effect that seems to have become a must for Star Trek or the "cold designwork". The use of the computer as well as the holographic displays and touch controls are a thing unseen in the classic series. So one of the big questions from the get go is “how will this be retconned?”
The new design of the Klingons is a thing i'm ok with. The reasoning behind their actions are convenient for the plot. And while Star Trek is the perfect canvas to look at current times from a distance it's used rather blunt here.
Michael Burnham is our main protagonist in this series. She's a human that attended the vulcan science academy and at the start of the series the first officer of the starship Shenzhou. In a Gilmore Girls-like exchange between her and Captain Philippa Georgiou she gets offered a command and spends the rest of the two episodes making me ask how she earned this. As a character i find her interesting. Sarek (Spock’s dad) rescued her from a colony that was destroyed by the klingons and took her under his wing. And the reverse Spock story should give her motivation a spin. But in the end she comes off as brash und unreflected. Her time on vulcan should have made her able to control her emotions by utilizing logic, but the show seldom takes advantage of this. Saru also feels like a one trick pony. The alien portrayed by Doug Jones is a great effect but feels like the "always act against what he says" character. The backstory of his species is intriguing; his people being prey to another species. I get the impression that he was Michael Burnham at some point in the development of the show.

The Orville, a show inspired by Star Trek could have filled the space that Discovery doesn’t quite fit in yet. What stands in the way is the humor utilized in the show. In this homage to Gene Roddenberry’s work humanity is on the way to reach enlightment, and manages to adress some current issues wedged between dick and fart jokes. And this approach is more true than Discovery’s high horse approach. Discovery has the better acting and the franchise on it’s side while Orville feels more in line with it’s refeernce material. It says “Fuck it, let’s do our best to get there.” Every character in that show feels like it is working towards achieving what we saw in The Next Generation. And i miss that in Discovery.
I'm tired of seeing Klingons and the Federation fight. And why didn’t the Vulcan's tell their partners about the Klingon customs?

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Guided by voices [1]

vol 102

A topic that is not as dear to my heart as it should be is the art of sexual intercourse. Last week i sampled one of the three podcasts a german newspaper released on the topic. The goal of it being to right a few myths surrounding sex. It was not the first podcast about the topic i listened to but it had the same problem i had with the once before it. The presentation is to sexy.
Of course one could argure that this is the point of such a programm. To educate people the teacher should make the impression of actually being knowledgable. And sex is actually a good metaphor because like humans it has evolved. The act itself fulfills the same basic function of the means to keep the species going. But over time it has also become a leisure activity. We can prevent the conception of a child and thus focus on the fun part of it. I enjoy hearing a smooth, deep voice talking about sex in a playful manner. For educational purposes though i’d prefer a dry approach. Or to “make me a baby” to ride the metaphor into the sunset.
I remember the first time the local school system tried to explain to me where babys come from. A then recent documentary on the topic was procured. It was worth the money, it showed me things i was never able to imagine the process to look like. It was strange to learn that the penis is used for more than expelling waste[2]. What i remember to this day is the filmed ejaculation. I can’t say for sure if they shoved a camera down a guy’s wiener for this. It was the late 80’s and vhs recorders you could shoulder for an hour without pain were the GoPro’s of the time. So in hinsight the scene might have been a set. Anyway, we saw a rosy coloured tunnel. The voice over told us about the location and that we are about to wittness the wonder of creation. And then the whole thing went in the direction of Temple Of Doom. A gush of liquid came around the corner. And that is a good summarization of the whole thing. The insight we got was amazing but we never saw people bone. Took me a while until i realized that you have to combine the no-no parts. With the image described you know how the process looks like in detail but not the activity itself.
So here is my dilemma, sex does not frustrate me but i’m unsure about my performance. People who try to help me but make the impression of being super sure of themselves aren’t helping. Being to passive and professional leaves me wondering. TV and movies aren’t the best teachers. And the amount of porn we have access to these days will make sure that my offspring will be even more bewildered.
Which is a strangely comforting thought.

Thanks for your time!
Stay cosmic

———

[1] good music from an overlooked band that inspired this title Guided by voices – Game of pricks
[2] mean people could say that the second function might be a way to create more waste

Age appropriate for an appropriate age

vol 101

The latest episode of the Force Ghost Coast To Coast podcast[1] host Brian Salvador had a special guest. His five year old daughter Joined him to talk about Star Wars. They have an adorable conversation[2] but are five years of life enough time for preperation? There were parents who brought their three year old kids to The Force Awakens. Not all kids are alike and parents should be able to judge what is appropriate for their offspring. Yet, some parents took their kids to the toilet when Kylo showed his Dad how deep they drilled into the planet. There even is a fan edit that shows Han’s demise to be a trigger happy Stormtrooper.
Of course i’m looking forward to introducing my kid to Star Wars; given the fact that it shows interest in it. Yet there are parents that leave the impression of forcing their kid to like the same stuff as them or something predetermined. Is that a manifestation of fear of rejection? And shouldn’t we know from our own experience that we did reject most if the things our parents liked? Later we might realize that we were wrong or that there are certain things we can enjoy together.
Aren’t mentioned parents the reason that the regulation rock got loose? Talking about methods of upbringing is a soil field[3]. With some people acting as if you challenged them to a duell for suggesting an alternative. The discussion about a clothing “for boys” being the reason for a girl toddler to turn gay is a thing i experienced. “The kid has no knowledge about gender yet and you’re thinking about it’s sexuality?” is also a bad argument to make if you don’t want the discussion to last long.
My dad recently told me the following:

We were raised to be confident and with 22 you’re still feeling like the world bows to you. And then a kid comes along and becomes a huge challenge that makes you feel like kneeling before the world. But every other parent you meet acts confident, like they have it figured all out. On the second look though you notice that they’re in the same boat. You smell it in the alcohol on the breath of the men, from fleeing the situation by saying that they’ll scheduled for overtime. You see it in the red, tired eyes of the mothers. And when they announce that a sibling is on the way, it sounds like an obituary read out by a comedian.
I think it is a good thing that parents today allow themselves to be human and not pretend to be more than they are.”

I guess my point is to try and keep my kid from watching Robocop at the age of six.
By then some crazy guy will have sold cyberzombies to patrol the streets anyway.


[1] Force Ghost Coast to Coast: Minisode: The Next Generation of Star Wars Fan
[2] two times i felt like Dad demanded to much from his kid, there is to much going on in those movies, it’s amazing she remembered as much
[3] because the ground is made of primed mines with soil in between them

Simon gets it whipped

vol 100

One of my favourite games from the era of the first Game Boy Castlevania II – Belmont’s Revenge. Castlevania is always a blip on my radar because you get to go up against vampires. I’m not a big fan of vampires.
But Castlevania II was something else. It was the first time i realized that there are other Belmont’s on the hunt; Christopher in this case. And he moves slower than Simon. The Belmont’s are on a permanent sunday stroll through the park. But Christopher’s animation suggests that he’s not pacing himself to smell the flowers. He’s on a constant workout with a pair of dum bells. The short jump and the walking animation suggests that he skipped leg day on every occasion. But my daydreams about Christopher’s journey ran wild because of the box art.
For comparison; here is the japanese version:

img_3311

With it’s classic aesthetic it communicates the plot and introduces the important characters. Dracula is looming over Christopher, the portrait of his son and the scenery where the game takes place. Christopher’s son gets kidnapped by Dracula, turned into a demon and now shall help him restore his former power.
Now here is the cover we europeans and the us got:

img_3312

As a kid this thing drove me nuts. The title explodes in an electric sizzle while we witness Fabio’s rage drunk cousin on a demonic home invasion. He looses his balance and tries to get himself upright with a dash of his whip while the home owner pleads for his buddies inside to call the cops.
It is not a bad cover. It gives you the gist of the proceedings while the japanese cover makes an effort to illustrate a more believable monster hunter while communicating what’s up.

The one thing that stuck with me over the years was the soundtrack. Without the atmospheric 8-bit sound curtain the room would have fallen apart. I’m still humming those tunes sometimes. And due to the wonders of modern technology and generosity it’s available to almost everyone[1].

No other Castlevania game afterwards captured me like this one. The SNES release was neat but i’m still struggling with that one after a while. It’s like the first Metroid or any other kind of nostalgia driven franchise these days. It’s only an echo of the raw thing you felt, processed through the filter of aging.


[1] My favourite track; Praying Hands. Here’s a Playlist of the whole soundtrack.

voice only

vol 99

Thuesday night i read an article about the alterations made to Superman II[1]. In the back of my head my mind rattled down a list of movies that we’re probablynever going to see redone in that way. The only thing i came up with was Rogue One – A Star Wars Story.
I’m aware that the reshoots for this movie are nothing exceptional. But how would Gareth Edward’s true vision for it looked like. Because while he is fit to illustrate Star Wars directing is not his strong suit. And with a weak story like Rogue One’s a firmer hand would have helped[2].
Enter Ron Howard.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, they were the only reason to look forward to the Han Solo movie[3]. They’re brand of sugar rush movies would have been an interesting thing to see. Reading that director Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm decided to part ways on the production of Episode IX is a move that makes me hope for a better movie. I only know him from Jurrasic World, but that movie wouldn’t have been as well received if it came out before Guardians Of The Galaxy.

No director plans to do a bad job. And with Star Wars they wouldn’t; it’s a thing you can put in your resume with the boldest font known to mankind. But i think it was Kenneth Branagh who said on the commentary for Thor:

This job is like an audiobook. You are hired to read it not to write it.

And that is something we see in video games too. The recipes are almost the same the seasoning is different. There is a rumor that Lucasfilm is not interested in working with "fresh" directors anymore. But the thing is: should there be directors cast for Marvel and Star Wars movies anymore? Could they be Lead Designers in that regard?
How come that Rian Johnson has sailed the directorial ship through the waters of Lucasfilm without any noteworthy troubles? Because he is a filmmaker with a unique sense of humor and vision. i'd rather thought he'd part over differences. The difference between him and Mr. Treverrow could be the lengths they are willing to walk (away).


[1] Sequart.org – Remembering and Celebrating Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut
[2] Recently i had a very civilized conversation with a person about how the “prequel” novel and the novelization of Rogue One helped the movie, but my opposite in that talk never even considered that there are people who’d have needed that knowledge to be conveyed in the cinema.
[3] And Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. But i’d rather see a Lando movie directed by Lord Miller. Perhaps even with the idea from the expanded universe that Lando was considered as a template for the clone army because it would have goven us the opportunity to see Billy Dee Williams alongside Donald Glover!

Forked Friday II

vol 98

I was the third person to enter the local TRU on this Force Friday. The third of eight, we were four couples where the men were the reasons for being there.
I did not get any bonus out of my placement because it seems like they already had the stuff out for either a day or a while. Three full complements of Black Series figures were out, which is kind of amazing, and of course the 3.75″ figures that we will find caseloads of in a few years; namely Rose, ….her sister the Gunner….Paige (who could forget her), ol’ pasty face Hux, Chewbacca and 3PO. Chewbacca has a Porg (resistance is futile!) in the blister! Why does nobody buy him? I’m just glad that customers seem to dislike Hux the most, nothing like the Finn-cident from two years ago[1].
I picked up a Black Series Hera figure to complete my Rebels set and all of the 3.75″ figures. Trying to get the figures from the online presence of the local TRU wasn’t a good idea, because they were sold out of everything except Hux again. But what bummed me out is: The new gimmick of the toy line borrows from the Phantom Menace one, place the figures near an extra accessory and it plays phrases and sounds in accordance to the figure or vehicle; Hasbro calls it Force Link[2], and while every figure has the logo of the cashgrab as big as the franchise logo on the figures packaging, the thing was not available in store or online. I even saved up enough money to get the BB-8 Stardestroyer set that comes with the Force Link glove at a ridiculous high price but that wasn’t on shelves as well. Not even the new Lego sets were there. And this feeds into a discussion that came up at work a few days ago: why are local businesses struggling? Because i bought the damn Force Link set from Amazon and then went to an ebay seller from the states that from time to time helps me out with getting Star Wars related figures and bought a whole case of 3.75″ figures and the two pack sets for the price that the figures from the case would have cost at TRU with shipping and import tax.

I’m aware this is all superfluous and i’m ashamed that i spend so much energy on the topic and anger leads to hate and so on, but i don’t get it, even if kids are done with toys, i walked in there willing to spend a lot of money and all i get is “uhhhh, nobody wants this shit, go away and buy it somewhere else”.

BUT there was a highlight! When the cashier, an asian woman, picked up the Rose figure she took a closer look and said “She looks like me.” to which i answered: “isn’t it awesome?” and we both smiled and went our ways.

Sorry, i had to vent.
I wanted to look like the Lego advert guy who really digs his 800 euro Millennium Falcon. He surely thinks something like “This is it guys, i’m never using my arms for anything other than keeping this baby save.” Look at his eyes and his mouth, he’s determined but happy.

lego_millennium_love

Thank You for Your time!
Stay cosmic!


[1] the Finn-cident
[2] we call it “they took away the extra weapons to make the figures a buck cheaper but earn 29 more with this thing that we totally need because we’re afraid to miss out”

Seems i like the Star Wars Centerpiece figures

When i hear the announcement about the “reboot” of the Star Wars Unleashed figures, this time under the Centerpiece brand.
Looking at the promotional image of Luke Skywalker in his flightsuit from Empire, lightsaber in hand stepping over the foot of a fallen AT-AT, i was reminded of how much i liked the Unleashed series back in the days, but ultimately let them go.

Jedinews.co.uk has photos from Toy Fair 2017 that shows how two of the Centerpiece figures look like combined with the regular six inch figures from The Black Series; and that ignited a sense of symphathy for them in my inner collector.

But with the onslaught of products that will be released due to the 40th anniversary of A New Hope and all the unknown things that will swim in on the tidal wave that is Episode VIII collectors like memight have to prioritize even more than we’re used to.

vol.87

Just a short disclaimer:
There is a big show i’m working on this and the next week and if you weren’t satisfied with the volumes preceding this one, i guess it won’t get any better because frankly i realized that i planned on writing one on the way to work yesterday.
Sorry.

We finally saw the live-action version of The Jungle Book which was surprisingly good. After a while the brain removes the layer of knowledge that only Mowgli and perhaps a few trees are real while everything else has been generated on a computer. Even if the movie wasn’t as enjoyable we still got the photos from the set that illustrate the long way computer generated tapestry has come.
I think that in the book Mowgli sends a few animals out to trample the village he later lives in because a jealous hunter gets him and his adoptive parents prosecuted for practicing sorcery. With the ending, it would be great to see how the rest of the Jungle Book gets interpreted. Wasn’t Kaa also an ally in one story?
Greatest thing about the movie is the credit scene with the animated dioramas.
And i want a talk show with Balu’s pals repeating each others sentences/words because that was the funniest bit for me.

Haven’t written about Luka Cage yet. Jones and Cage are what really make these Marvel shows shine. Daredevil was great but, but here we got a much more nuanced story that did not suffer a lack of action. I heard that the start was to slow for some people, i felt like they put a cinderblock onto the gas pedal and left it there.
What bothered me was the Rosario Dawson as a romantic interest part and that Cottonmouth was taken out to early because Diamondback was bland/formulaic in comparison.
Anybody else had the feeling that some special effects were timed/filmed a bit odd? If it’s the case, i wonder what was the intention behind it.
I don’t get the claims that the show is racist because it lacks white people and the white cop being a crook. Of course i was upset when this was revealed but i did not see it as a hidden message that all white people are.
And that makes me think about Iron Fist. But the people who worked on it hopefully did not make a show about a white guy being the best asian.

There is a scripted reality show about an animal clinic on german television. And of course there are segments where a patient gets euthanized. I don’t want to go into the rights of people being treated equally when it comes to ending a suffering person’s life, but rather the circumstances of the segment i saw.
While performing a surgery, the vet decides to call the dogs owner because even when he succeeds, the dog will be on his table in a few months again and the ailment won’t be any better than before the surgery. A small window of an almost pain free time could be achieved during recovering. So he calls the owner and she agrees. And during that phone call the veterinarian says “This is a good moment because he’s anesthetized and won’t feel anything.” That is were an alarm wen’t off inside my brain. A few months ago i saw an interview during a documentary about the history of surgery where when asked about the effects of anesthesia on the brain the doc said “We don’t know. All i know is that we numb the nervous system and most people don’t have any recollection or awareness of whatever went on while under anesthesia.” I don’t want to say that all doctors are liars but the vet could have said that it’s most likely that he won’t feel anything this time. Just a little thing that bothered me.
Perhaps because a dentist called me out for needing to shots because i was still in pain when he pulled at a wisdom tooth.

vol.86

## make a man feel like nothing ##

Shoutout to my Dad! He is not only a beautiful individual but a magician who literally pulls people and knowledge out of hats thaat won’t fit another human being.

The cashier of the local supermarket mentioned that we have not seen each other for a long time. I told her i came by once or twice a week but that she wasn’t there and assumed that she was on vacation because the weather was still fine enough to spend some time outdoors. Turns out she was getting a medical check up on the status of her inoperable brain tumor. But she recommended a certain radiation treatment because it only leaves you dizzy for a couple of days. Her tumor hasn’t grown since.
Good news considering where the story started, but i’d rather hear a story about feasting on the solar radiation that manages to reach earth’s surface, specially with such a nice lady.

This week i assume i heard the remains of Alexandre Dumas bang against his coffin’s lid as the Count Of Monte Christo was introduced on the show Once Upon A Time. It’s one of the Wife and my guilt pleasure things. But i have to give them props for their Cinderella episode. They did not go all the way with it but it would have been interesting to see where a show were a Disney princess gets stabbed and dies because of it goes.

A german Rogue One commercial features a girl amongst two boys drawing some Star Wars themed images onto a blackboard and ending with the girl stepping forward to proclaim that she rebels, which made me smile. Yes, it is probably a marketing driven decision, but after the last year of getting certain products that were considered unisex releasing gender specific product lines it is a good thing that one of the biggest cash cows in this galaxy has a female face telling the viewer that she won’t have it anymore.

Saw a short documentary about illegal ivory gathering and how slowly but steadily the areas that the hunters used to kill elephants in are becoming safe zones again. It is sad that this progress is still tied to money[1], but seeing how the animals returned to the space they formerly inhabited is a nice thing to hear and see. A family who built their house on the grounds where a group of elephants used to dwell from time to time stopped putting chlorine in their pool because they would still come and hang out at the estate. In the process the pool became a spot for the group to gather water. The owner got into the ranger program and spends some of his free time on his porch waiting for an elephant to come by and take a sip from the pool. Guy’s face lights up and it seems he tries to suppress blinking to take the whole moment in.

[1] it was said that in those region people either live in nomadic tribal communities, become farmers, ivory hunters or now, rangers. of course we got presented with a former ivory hunter that realized how much pain he caused during his incarceration and joined the rangers, but he also stated that the job of a ranger was not less dangerous it just keeps one out of jail and his conscious clean.