Saturday, May 29, 2004

Happy National Jack's Birthday Celebration Weekend!

Otherwise known as Memorial Day Weekend! When I was younger my father told me they had shut down the entire country for my birthday. All the parades were for my birthday. Hundreds of people took the day off of work and school to get together with family and friends just to celebrate the fact it was my birthday!

My father was a very twisted man.

And it's genetic!

Speaking of which, I have my son visiting with me for the weekend. It's always great when we can spend time like this. Now, that I'm a licensed driver again, that should be more often. But more on that later.

He continues to grow and mature each time I see him. We even have the occasional conversation which strays from movies and video games to semi-serious topics. I do revel in the fact we can communicate on an even level. Because of my father's condition after his stroke there was always some distance between us. Even though he did everything for me and spoiled me there was a growing distance between us. I can times when I would spend hours after school hanging out between classes and chorus rehearsals just to avoid going home. Yes, I regret it now; but I was a stupid kid then who thought everyone lived forever.

Wow! How did I get melancholy so quick! This is a great weekend, damnit!

I had hoped to go see "The Producers" in West Palm. Johnny hasn't had much exposure to theatre other than plays for kids and I thought this would be a great introduction. He has enjoyed the Mel Brooks stuff I've showed him so far and this is so much more. Alan Ruck, from "Ferris Bueller" is playing the Leo Bloom part. To prepare him for it I bought a copy of "Ferris" and we watched it just a few minutes ago. He seemed to like it. I'm really enjoying introducing him to some of the stuff I love. Most of the time we're in synch.

I'll be placing my new copy of "Bubba Ho-Tep" on eBay soon. I've been waiting for this ever since I saw Bruce Campbell at a Vulkon 3 years ago; the story sounded cool and, hey!'s Bruce as Elvis! Cripes, did it SUCK! Very rarely do I give up on a movie but I haven't even finished watching this. OK, it's not as bad as "Cat in the Hat" which was the last one I simply could not finish, but the story never got going. Campbell did a great job as Elvis but they were spending too much time on that. The special effects seem to have been done by a "special needs" special effects team if you get my drift. Cheap and cheesy. The whole thing just grinded its way through the hours of so of it that I've been able to watch. Had such high hopes. Next time I'll Netflix something like that before buying.

I'll post again over the weekend if I can.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

What a YAWN the finale of "24" last night.

This show started three years ago with such promise of being something honestly different. Last night was so predictable and boring. The moment the dead agent's wife looked at the images of the terrorist you knew she was going to kill him. As soon as they told us the bracelet with the virus was titanium, you knew that since you couldn't cut the bracelet you HAD TO cut the arm. For the courier to run into a middle school in the first place seemed like such a desperate writing ploy; "Let's put him into the most melodramatic spot we can matter how sappy. And, wasn't it odd that NO ONE stopped them as armed adults ran into this crowded school?! BORING!

The best part of the entire episode were the last few moments of Jack Bauer alone in his car. I have worked in law enforcement and know that no matter now macho and gruff someone in his position appreas on the outside the events he had gone through would have the same affect on anyone. Sutherland portrayed an honest and real moment; Emmy should be mentioned again for him just for that scene.

This series had "jumped the shark" the moment Tony Almeida tried to save his wife. Anyone in that position lives and breathes that duty, honor and country come before ANYTHING. It's a hazard of the job but part of life. She was technically a prisoner of war and should have been considered dead at that point anyway. I'm glad the character is going to prison; that's what you get for treason.

And don't get me started about President Palmer.

Even more that that, "24" has been a letdown for never going back to the loose ends left from the first season and which they promised would be revisited. When Nina was arrested she told Jack, "This is bigger than you could possibly imagine." Dosen't that imply that there is a larger organization, more of the Dreizen family to piss off, a larger consipracy, a BIGGER story to explore? What happened to it? They teased us with it this season but let it flop once again.

The best season ender this year has GOT TO be "Smallville". That show proves what a franchise series can be. The idiots in charge at Trek should take a few notes on how it is to write and produce for iconic characters, stories and histories. That it is possible to make a frnachise "your own" while still respecting the original material and mainting quality. More directors like Manny Coto and the guy who wrote the Tripp cloning episode should be running things and Braga and Berman can go off and do what ever this "science fiction" series they have in mind and stop trying to drive Trek right into the dirt.

Everyone shook their heads at me years ago when I started calling Berman "The Ani-Christ". Not so crazy after I?

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I saw one of the saddest things while out on my walkabout today. An empty, run-down baseball field.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a big baseball fan. To me it always seemed like watching paint dry. That was until my son came along. I loved watching him play when he was in little league. Going to a game with him is one of the joys in my life. I can sit there with him, cheer the game, enjoy the beer and hot dogs and revel in a real moment with him. But to call me anything near a baseball fan would be a lie. I'm amazed and perplexed by friends of mine who can spout stats, players and game details like a religious experience. It's something about sharing the whole thing with Johnny that makes the difference.

OK, so there was the time I chased after the girls softball teams in high school....but that's not about baseball!

There is a big catholic church on my route. To the back of this complex of buildings is what was once a ballfield not relegated to overflow parking. There are still parent-size bleachers and benches for two teams. The field is browned and patched with dirt where motor oil has polluted the soil. The benches are warped broken. You have to look through dense foliage to see the remnants of the bleachers. The first time I realized what it had been I stopped in my tracks; something about the loneliness of it made me sad. As the wind blew through the trees you could almost hear the echoes of cheering children. As the breeze rustled the leaves on the branches their shadows played across the ground the same way parents waving arms did years ago.

I tried to picture how many games had been played there. How many teams went home victorious, how many didn't and how the players lives were shaped by playing. Did they learn the lessons of good sportsmanship? Were there involved parents there paying rapt attention to every move their child made or were there those who were just "making time"?

The biggest question was why was the lot abandoned? Was it as simple as the church needing the space? Did the child population grow up and out of the neighborhood? Did they get a better field to use? Somehow I can't imagine any ballfield going unused. Wouldn't a kid rather play somewhere the parents didn't want him to be rather than a sanctioned one? There's something a little more fun it that!

There must be some good stories in the dirt there. Everytime I walk through I wait to hear the crack of a bat. Everytime I don't hear it I get a little sad.

Imagine how I'd feel if I were a baseball fan?!
Here's one that made me laugh.

I may be one the the few Star Wars fans who really didn't mind the Episode I or II all that much. While I agree there were some problems with them, they weren't as bad as some say. These chapters of the SW saga are lacking the spark there was in "the originals" and it may be an impossible task to live to to them, they aren't "bad" movies.

this writer makes some points and he makes them with wit; which is something which makes reading critics enjoyable.

I am anxiously waiting for Episode III. I have the hope that Lucas can pull this one out and make it the exciting and sweeping epic of a story which it should be. We shall see.

I did learn years ago not to listen to the hype surrounding a movie. All the producers, directors and actors are salesmen for the product they have. Right before Star Trek V came out George Takei, privately and straight to my face, told me that it was going to be "the best Trek movie we've ever made". After seeing it I phoned him and told him how much of a liar he had been! He sheepishly backpedal but knew he had been found out.

Looking at it that way...Episode III certainly can't be as much of a lowdown as trek V was.

Well, we hope......

Saturday, May 22, 2004

There are only a handful of blogs I read with any regularity; mostly friends. However, I just found this one and am still laughing.

OK, so you'd have to "get" Andy to really enjoy this blog. Apparently whoever is writing this blog defiantly "gets" Andy. I hope the writer can keep the gag fresh and going for a while. It is a great tribute to one of comedy's geniuses.

Andy was not from this planet. Like so many comedy greats, he thought on a different level and that's what made him great. Jonathan Winters, Tim Conway, Robin Williams, Mike Meyers, Jim Carrey and John Belushi. All with some mutated gene which allowed them to look at anything and find the funny.

It's good to know Andy is still appreciated 20 years later.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Having some minor experience as a critic I don't like to pick others who do so. However, there are times when I feel online critics will take a particular point just to "be controversial". Such is the feeling I get from an article on

I realize criticism is a subjective art; you're reading one person's opinion and, as I have argued many times with a friend of mine who can be almost as anal retentive when it comes to criticism, some people will like chocolate and some will like vanilla. There is no pleasing everyone.

This one just irked me. These are some series finales which were picked as "flops". OK, I'll agree with "Seinfeld" but the twist at the end of "St Elsewhere" has got to be one of the finest moments in TV. It reminded us that it was "just a TV show". The twist of the entire run of the show being from the mind of an autistic child was a slap to the back of the heads of viewers who sometimes take TV shows just a little too seriously. The originality, intelligence and wit of that finale was a perfect cap on a top notch drama.

And MASH?!!!! What is Kat Giantis thinking. It's been more than 20 years since "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" aired and I can still get choked up when Hawkeye and BJ salute Col. Potter. Hawkeye's breakdown was almost inevitable. I will agree they tried to cram allot into the final episode; the entire last season was a little below par, but the finale was fantastic. Maybe the fact that the world's record for most watched episode still stands after all these years.

Kat Giantis is more on target with her picks of the best finales. Her (I'm guessing "Kat" is a her) only one I disagree with is Cheers. For me, that had the same flat feeling Seinfeld did.

I have noticed this with Slate in the past. At first I enjoyed their irreverent take on things but it now seems as if the editorial philosophy is being irreverent just because. Slate is a good source for collections of editorial cartoons. If I want good criticism I'll stay with Shales, Ebert and John Leonard on the CBS Sunday Morning show.

If you know me well enough you're either laughing or shaking your head. I make such sport out of criticism when it's my own. And now, I'm criticizing critics.....will it ever end?!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I want to thank those who have opted to post comments on this blog. Nice to know someone is reading this and I'm not wasting my time. OK, not wasting LOTS of my time.! Wasting time! That would never happen!

Well, some of my PC problems have been fixed. Thanks to eBay and the internet I have gotten my laptop back up and running. About a year ago it developed a short in the power cord and, naturally, the battery died out. Since I didn't have pressing need and any available money, I let it just sit in the closet. I just got a new battery and power cord so it's back up to speed and is almost like having a real PC again. Of course, the browser on this is too old to run the gmail site so I'm still not able to check that email address as often as I'd like.....just my luck. When I have more time I'll download a new browser and keep my fingers crossed. I know I should just bite the bullet and get a new dammed PC....but other bills are pressing at the moment.

To answer Bismo's question....YES I will be at Shore Leave. This is one of the touchstones of my fandom life. It is a major fan-run convention held just outside of Baltimore. I have been going for years and now I have gotten my son hooked. I haven't been in two years and I think John will disown me if we don't go.

Shore Leave is a chance to meet up with old friends. Many of the old crowd from New England attend as do many Starfleet friends in the immediate area. I have also converted my Florida friends. We make a grand road trip out of it; doing South of the Border and Washington DC as tourists. I also try to get together with my congressman friend while in town. With all that's been going on at work in the past few months I am very much looking forward to this vacation.

Hey, did this post ramble without any kind of point? Did I expose any deep part of my soul? No? Too bad; I'm sure even Shakespeare had an off day!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Yesterday my Starfleet chapter had a fund raising yard sale at which we raised $165. It was a great day hanging out with my friends. Afterwards my friend Cheryl and I went to see "Troy". It was a good movie. What I saw of it was. Every now and then, due to having been up since 5AM and standing in the sun for hours, I faded in and out of consciousness.

It wasn't as bad as I've done in the past, but there are minutes here and there during the movie I might have missed. It's all a little bit of karma. When I was little, my Aunt Lucille would take me to the movies and I would be relentless in giving her a hard time when she'd fall asleep during the movie. It's happened a couple of times when I've taken my son. I'm sure she had something to do with making that happen!

I unloaded a whole bunch of my old fat clothes. There were some interesting reactions from people as they went through them; and they didn't even have to speak English! One Spanish speaking man showed some of them to his wife and said, "Muy grande!" There was another man who spoke a language I couldn't identify who kept letting out surprised yelps with each 6X shirt he found. If only he knew how I felt having to wear them!
Well, I'm back! The phone's back on and I'm finally back online. Not that it hasn't been fun getting here. About a week ago I was in the local Goodwill and found a Compaq PC one model better than my old one. It ended up being dirt cheap so I quickly grabbed it, got it home and running. On the very day I was due to have my dialup service re-connected it started acting up and won't start correctly. Just my luck. If worse comes to worse I've only made a $95 donation to Goodwill. I was hoping to have put off buying a brand new PC for almost a year. Still hope for it, but we'll see. I have to go to some PC geek friends of mine. My PC knowledge is similar to that of my car; I put the key in the ignition and drive....that's all I know about how it runs!

Speaking of the car, I am about a week or so away from being a back on the road. I will be getting all of my legal and financial crap out of the way and then get the van repaired and out of storage. I am so looking forward to the freedom again. I am also looking forward to getting into regular visits with my son. Of course, just like my usual luck, I get back on the road just as gas prices are hitting $2 per gallon!!!

Another reason I am going to need a better PC is that I have just agreed to run on the team of a friend of mine who is running for the Commander Starfleet (President, for your non-geeks) of Starfleet International. It took me a few days to make the decision. I was very flattered by being asked. I am nervous about making the jump to the International level and I am very happy with the job I currently have with the chapters here in Florida but I figured it was worth the try. I am vying for the job of Chief of Operations which oversees the chapter reporting, listing of chapters and correspondence chapters. If you're not in Fleet this means little to you. It's a management position which is very similar to what I am doing now except on a much larger scale. I would be going from handling a database of 11 chapters to that of hundreds. This should be very interesting.

I have added the option for readers of the blog to post comments. I am glad blogspot added this for the free accounts. I'm looking forward to seeing reactions to some of what I post. I know I have some of my friends and family reading this on a regular basis, for whatever odd reason you have, and would love to see who pipes up with feedback.

This post is just a catch-up kind of thing. Now that I can post regularly again I'll try to get into meatier stuff. OK, no more death stuff for a while, I promise.