Thursday, December 22, 2016

17 to 01: The Search for Spock


I came out of this with a much higher opinion of Search for Spock than I did going in. It's an ensemble piece which has the requisite emotional beats to support an action movie. I do think Derek is right about the crew--rather than Kirk--taking over the ship.

The Original Star Trek movies do have a problem where they don't handle dealing with younger folks earlier. I would prefer a Star Trek that's more open about young kids and their new ideas without being sarcastic. Maybe that's a bit much to ask for in this context though.

Am I right? Is there some ineffable difference between Kirk's actions at the end of Search for Spock and Kal-El's actions in Man of Steel? It feels different, I just can't put words to it.

My misquote was from Douglas Adams. "I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies: 1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. 2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."

The Addams Family was from 1991, seven years after Search for Spock. George Takei was in Mulan

The trailer we're watching can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW7neKZFKE0.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hooch is...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Beige and The Bold Solo Sessions: Lonely Among Us

I'm only posting Star Trek movies every other week because of the time necessary to edit them (and also laziness). 

But instead of having nothing on Thursdays, here's a solo session for our Star Trek: The Next Generation podcast, The Beige and The Bold

None of this stuff made it to the final episode so I wanted to follow-up with it here:

Stand By Me did not win an Oscar. It was only nominated.

Frakes did "Beyond Belief."

Aykroyd did "Psi Factor," but to be honest I was thinking of "Sightings." The nineties, man. The nineties.

Michael Cera and Jonah Hill were both in Superbad

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

I have additional Hillary Clinton emails

But I'll need a consistent, high amount of traffic before I release them, Russian spambots.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Wrath of Khan


Wrathy enough? Too Wrathy? Are the Wrathy levels just right? I think that consensus is behind "enough Wrathyness." I agree and remarkably, so does Derek.  

It's always hard to quantify what goes right instead of what goes wrong. Khan has weight and depth, even if his actions are two-dimensional. Sulu and Uhura don't do much more here than they do in The Motion Picture, but Scotty and Checkov do. The Genesis device is one of the most MacGuffin-y of MacGuffins, but it doesn't magically resolve the plot. Quite the opposite really.

What is it that makes "Wrath of Khan" work?

The trailer we're watching can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wzG1u4zStMI hope you like spoilers.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Ghosts of Things to Come: "Where No One Has Gone Before"

I'm only posting Star Trek movies every other week because of the time necessary to edit them (and also laziness). But instead of having nothing, here's a solo session for our Star Trek: The Next Generation podcast, The Beige and The Bold. I'm trying to do solo run-throughs before we record just to get the garbage out, so expect for this to be pretty rough and for some of the jokes to be repeated in the actual podcast.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Would You Do?

I don't know much about this show, but it seemed okay.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Star Trek: The Motion Picture


At long last and in all of its glory, and I mean more of the "all" than the "glory."

It's really good to get back with everyone. Say what you want about how the movies undermine the series, there's more character work in these films than in most of the series. I know I rail against continuity, but the universe progresses here in a way that was never really possible in the TV show. 

Seriously though, what it Chekov had joined with V'ger here? Uhura? How different would this film have been if it had the balls to leverage its supporting cast?

The trailer we're watching can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rM4ODtN64M

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Disco Comics: MPMN!AA12MWEFDLS4/4

Disco Comics:
Marvel Presents
Marvel Now!
Avengers Academy
Murder World #12
Everybody Fukkin Dies Limited Seres 4 of 4


100% guaranteed to be classy and not wierd.

Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Kev Walker

I could just say “ditto what I said on the previous issue,” but I won’t. I could. I really want to.

I could also bitch about how the visual icon for Avengers Arena is just “AA” in a serifed font in a circle adorned inside and out with non-serifed “A”s. It’s like they phoned in a lazy scream.

Also, the cover image is like a tournament bracket, but with blood. Creepy /s.

But given that everyone seems to die at random and not everyone has killed a person to get past the previous round I don’t--in the words of Will McAvoy--know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Basically, a book trying to call me an asshole for reading something based on its own plot looks real silly trying to say that from a bargain bin.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Hottest Take: Sisko Would Have Voted Trump

Come at me, nerds, I’m going another round with In the Pale Moonlight.

The events of In the Pale Moonlight clearly show Ben Sisko, Starfleet Captain and Emissary of the Prophets would have voted Trump. Why?

Because Garak is Trump. Likeable, selfish, and ruthless. Oh, no Trump is a selfish asshole, but he’s got mass appeal and a convenient handle on truth that make him likeable. “Truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder,” and there’s no bigger flim-flam artist around than DJT. The only noticeable difference between the two is that Garak has a certain level of style and class; mere pretenses that the president-elect lacks.

Indeed, even Garak’s “cultured” love of literature and fashion are performance for Julian. Garak loves Cardassian literature because it’s Cardassian first and literature second. Garak is a rabid nationalist and clings closely to Cardassian institutions because they benefit him. Hell, even as unprivileged he was a bastard child, he was still born into privilege. Enabin Train isn’t in the habit of raising the children of housekeepers from birth to be spies. Just his. Think of it as a small loan of million dollars and an interest payment of claustrophobia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Disco Comics: MPMN!AA11MWEFDLS3/4

Disco Comics:
Marvel Presents
Marvel Now!
Avengers Academy
Murder World #11
Everybody Fukkin Dies Limited Seres 3 of 4


100% guaranteed to be classy and not wierd.

Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Riccardo Burchielli

So Arcade has decided to reform his rep by killing a bunch of teenagers with Murder World. This is, as near as I can tell, supposed to be a departure from his MO because it's a really big Murder World this time.

This issue tries hard to make Hazmat look like a coward for accepting her fate when it’s the end result of Marvel editorial acepting the fact that these kids will never be marketable A-listers. Except Reptil. Reptil is on TV so he’s pretty fucking safe.

I mean, it’s just whining and moral recrimination that doesn’t have any conflict except comic book characters yelling at each other about how they’re supposed to act in a way that furthers the story. And because that’s obviously a thin premise for a comic book, they have to physically assault the other person to make them listen because of course.

Pointless, boring, incredibly thin...obligatory. It feels obligatory.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

No 17 to 01 Today

It's been a few months since I've missed a 17 to 01. But the movies take a long time to edit (also: laziness).

TMP is basically done, but I need to rejigger the website to hold a 2-hour podcast which is a whole...thing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Imperial #???


Writer: Steven T. Seagle

Art: Mark Dos Santos

There's no number on the front of this so I reasonably assumed it was a standalone and it worked perfectly that way. It doesn't take full advantage of the format and the message is on the same level as Star Trek's most mediocre "Ra-Ra Humans! Go, feelings, go!"

But it's good. Satisfying, economical, solidly constructed, and opaque enough that I couldn't tell what was going to happen next. The characterization was a bit thin, but as a standalone you expect that.

It's a bit like a no-hitter in baseball; the idea isn't new, but the execution is impressive.

Subsequent searching reveals that the issue number was on the back of the book. It's #4.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

Phase II: Divided We Stand


This is pretty good. Phase II probably has the same general quality as The Original Series.

Now that I've gritted my teeth through the compliments, let's get into the jabs.

I'm just kidding. This episode is okay, I just hate that there's no deeper execution of the ideas underpining this episode. My slipshod censoring here is repealed because of my deep and abiding feelings about The Confederacy.

Star Trek: Phase II, "Divided We Stand" can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KChYhXhj7vY.


The trailer we're watching can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nkegWQe1ZM

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Disco Comics: Nailbiter #7

Disco Comics: Nailbiter #7

This is a bit more staid.
Writing: Joshua Williamson
Art: Mike Henderson

My local comic book store is selling very old comics that no one wants for 50c each. I’m a cheap bastard and I love hating things so these are my Discount Comics.

What with Nailbiter being a weird mystery story set in the Pacific Northwest, I missed the comparisons to Twin Peaks when I talked about Nailbiter #5. Twin Peaks did this stuff right; “Mystery story? Nah; here’s some meaningless psychadelics. Hey look,” it then says, while pointing to a figure ducking behind a barn, “It’s The Mystery!” As you eagerly run towards it, Twin Peaks trips you and then laughs at you for watching it. I respect Twin Peaks for so aggressively refusing to give fucks.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

A Full Pardon

So Alan Turing was a mathematical genius who helped the British win World War II for The British with his codebreaking skills. However, after the war he was indicted under public indecency laws of the time because of his homosexuality. He was sentenced to have to take female hormones to blunt his sex drive and he killed himself a few years later.

The government of Britain officially apologized to Turing and pardoned him in 2013. Now, a new bill will be introduced by Prime Minister Theresa May to pardon another 49,000 men who were indicted under public indecency laws before they were repealed in 1967.

I always wonder if it’s worth it for a government to take time to redress something that’s long since over. On the other hand, in 2003 the United States Congress renamed french fries “freedom fries.”
Actually, one guy changed the congressional cafeteria menu, but it counts.

It's a liquor ad, but...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Watts Bar 2

The first US nuclear reactor to come online in the last 20 years is in the Tennessee Valley Authority. Watts Bar 2 came in 6.5 Billion dollars over budget, allegedly due to nuclear regulation.

Of course, no one from CNN to the LA Times to Forbes backs that up. Everyone seems hung up on the 20-year construction delay.  Watts Bar 1, a sister reactor, went online in 1996 and it took almost nine years to build Watts Bar 2. You’ll find a lot of sprawling think-pieces which provide these basic facts, generously padded with timeline of nuclear disasters from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl and ending in Fukushima.

News articles on the subject seem authoritative until they describe the iconic cooling towers used to remove excess heat as “reactors.” Everyone is quick to bemoan the cultural insecurity which caused nuclear decline, whether it’s coded as regulatory smothering, environmental hyperactivism, or investment cowardice.

Really though, the focus should be the loss of technical literacy which makes supporters and opponents of nuclear power incapable of speaking intelligently on the subject at all.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2016/10/19/watts-bar-is-now-commercial/#30966e7222c9

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Disco Comics: Nailbiter #5

Nailbiter #5 (Sept 2014)
I’m seriously intrigued, whatever this is.

Writing: Joshua Williamson
Art: Mike Henderson

My local comic book store is selling very old comics that no one wants for 50c each. I’m a cheap bastard and I love hating things so these are my Discount Comics.

The deal with Nailbiter is that it’s an ongoing mystery story set in a small, Pacific Northwest town where federal agents and local law enforcement try to find out why so many of its residents become serial killers. Its visuals are wasted on the excessive dialog and this issue had a plug for a tie-in book. Those Issue 1 sales numbers must’ve been encouraging.

Nailbiter shows why things like this should be released as graphic novels. Why place a mystery at the center of an ongoing story? Mysteries do not work that way. Either you have an indefinite deferred mystery story or end up running plot threads of multiple plot threads all over the book and it becomes possible for the reader to engage or suspend disbelief. Nailbiter could lean on intricate characterization, but it’s just a dump truck of stock characters who are distinguished visually and by their hidden motivations.

By the way, Nailbiter went with “indefinite deferment.” In this one issue, a new FBI agent appears, a lead character is is accused of murder, a third serial killer appears—there were two before—a kid goes missing, someone central to the conspiracy is murdered, the only suspect is released because law enforcement couldn’t move the story forward any better than Joshua fucking Williams, and that suspect saves the protagonist which sets Mystery Number One back to zero. Also the previous investigator is still in a coma and an exhausting heterosexual romance between two white people in their twenties is hinted at.


I have zero investment in this story and I was still frustrated at how busily it marked time.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Demand

I was in my favorite gaming store the other day. From one of their rental rooms I heard a loud woman talking about how "they" were taking our hotel jobs.

Absurd as it was, she seemed serious. Now, I think that anyone I can hear from an adjoining room has waived their right to not have me join their conversation, but ugh, how awkward would that be?

The issue with folks who've traveled to the US illegally for work is similar to issues with sex workers and drug dealers. WE believe we don't like them doing it for principled reasons; we don't like drug use, STD spread, or underpricing US labor.

But attempts to stop these activities are always-irrationally-directed at the stereotypical images of the suppliers: Hispanics, women, and black Americans. This is because the people who provide these services for money don't have money and that lack of power makes them easier to prosecute. Even the most rudimentary understanding of free market capitalism will tell you how ineffective this is.

The persecution of (relatively) low power suppliers of these--technically--crimes might push prosecution numbers up high and make police and prosecutors look like they're improving their communities, but they're not.

As long as demand exists--as long as companies, middle-class johns, and high-end drug users are given a pass, those high-minded purposes of those laws will not be fulfilled because capitalism ensures that another desperate person will fill supply-side gaps.

Undocumented workers, sex workers, and folks in the drug trade do what they do because there is demand.

Obviously.

Playing whack-a-mole with dealers is bullshit. The power behind these forces is the folks buying their wares. Until they're subjected to the same harsh punishments, until they're treated with the same dehumanization as their suppliers, nothing will change. Not with undocumented workers, not with sex work (which should be legal), and not with drugs.

Suppliers will always take the risk of not getting caught to feed their families or just--unthinkably--themselves.

It's just supply and demand.

17 to 01: To Serve All My Days


Let's be nice about this: we all love Walter Koenig and D.C. Fontana. On the other hand, what the hell, Walter Koenig and D.C. Fontana?

Star Trek: New Voyages, "To Serve All My Days" can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_lYqGQ7iXk.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Ghost of Blake

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. This entry is the last of 3087. 3087 has been fun and educational, but muted interest has directed my time towards more fruitful projects.

See ya, Rabbi Martinez.

GOB-111 Ghost of Blake
Overview
Like other new designs fielded by The Word of Blake, we know little about the Ghost of Blake. We assume it’s produced on Terra or on some hidden-away corner of the Inner Sphere. Information we have gleaned has come from battlefield encounters and rare battle ROMs of captured units.

The Ghost of Blake is designed as a covert operations platform deployed in standard Comstar Level I’s of six battlemechs, usually comprised of five -111 models and one -112 model, though recovered records indicate units with two -112 models have been tested.

During the brief existence of the Terran Protectorate, Ghost of Blake units were deployed for testing on Protectorate-aligned worlds to probe defense forces.

Records of operations on other worlds are hard to come by. The ‘Mech’s stealth armor kept it from being positively identified, and ROM efforts to cover its production and operations seem have been amongst The Word’s highest priorities. Until the late seventies, rumors of a ghost ‘mech which appears and disappears by magic were written off as exaggerations by backwoods garrison forces and small time mercenaries rumor-mongering for higher pay.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

My shot at the holy grail of gaming: Magic the Gathering RPG

So I ran a Magic roleplaying game by straight-up tacking Magic: the Gathering onto FATE. We had a good time. 

I should've stopped at bridging the gap between FATE and Magic: the Gathering, but I didn't. This thing is a sprawling, 32-page document that creates a new set of Magic concepts and systems which absolutely do work as roleplaying background, but are fucking impenetrable. But hey, it's 17k pages so I'm gonna share it with folks.

The real conflict in creating a Magic RPG is making the cards work in a roleplaying setting. I did that by instituting a set of power tiers--called moxes--which allow spells to scale in power with the planeswalker (or creature) casting them. In the lowest mox--Mox Alpha--most spells take on a benign form. Tapping down a creature can make them drowsy, a burn spell can provide light, and a creature might become confused or addled if you make it discard a card. At Mox Unlimited, a planeswalker can cast spells which annihilate whole armies.

The FATE integration isn't that strong, but one of the options is non-combat casting. Five skills (Will, Investigation, Deceive, Rapport, and Athletics) are aligned with each of the five colors. Players may discard a card to invoke an aspect for a skill check instead of spending a Fate point. One of the colors in the card's color identity has to correspond to that skill.
The Tempest is basically a way to rationalize the randomness of a player's deck. 

Planeswalkers channel their Tempest which provides them with a channel of aether which they can shape into spells. When a planeswalker runs out of ways to turn their Tempest into spells, they must revert to Mox Alpha or die by decking out. The Primer focuses a lot on reconciling these things.

Planeswalkers have fetters, which exist to explain some planeswalkers having higher "starting life" and to give players a potential ways to connect to planes. As is, fetters are just a way for powerful NPCs to be even more powerful. It's a bit much, but it's not like anyone has to use it.

I'm especially proud of the three-page "Life, the Multiverse, and Everything" appendix at the end which conjectures on how planes are formed.

(Link)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

17 to 01: The Playlist


In retrospect, a forty-minute YouTube playlist of Star Trek references seems a bit self-indulgent.

On the other hand...tough Beeps.

Special thanks to Skiltao for acquainting me with "Banned from Argo."

For sites that don't let ads insert malware into your system, ad blockers are generally bad. I give you permission to use one on YouTube just this time. 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3uoEQNM6rlPHgOSnNSCmmTwX0PtnLr-V

Embed (Blogspot version only):

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

17 to 01: The Magicks of Megas Tu

*sigh* So this is Daddy Satan, Earth otaku.

There's not much to say that we haven't already said in the process of making fun of this episode. Puritans. Magic. The Adversary. It's honestly like the dream a kid has at a gay conversion camp.

You're welcome to Robert Oppenheimer references. Anytime folks. Anytime.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

17 to 01: Albatross

Space Pug Monkeys or Bat-Eared Pugs? You decide. here's another episode where McCoy is a terrible doctor and an okay spy. Or maybe a terrible spy.

Also it turns out we're watching one more episode of The Animated Series than we originally expected.

The monkeys Derek was referencing were Capuchins. Wikipedia confirms they're all thieves.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Longbow

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

LGB-OA Longbow
Overview
With debate growing over Resolution 288  and spreading rumors about the possibility that the Captain-General had been replaced with a double, powers within Andurien began preparing for secession again during the late sixties. While it took over a decade for the opportunity to arise, the Duchy made the most of that time.
When Brooks Incorporated stumbled upon a wireless omnitechnology interface for vehicles, Andurien secessionists immediately moved in to keep the development a secret. The system was adapted for use on OmniMechs and the Duchy began to acquire reliable BattleMechs for loyal militias as part of a covert upgrade program. 
By far the most troublesome target of these acquisitions were Longbows. The secessionists underestimated the popularity and versatility of the design, and it was eventually more economical to quietly license the Longbow and create a similar ‘Mech domestically. When the Duchy shrugged off their neutrality three years into the Free Worlds League Civil War, those Longbows became the backbone of the new First Andurien Rangers.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

17 to 01: The Slaver Weapon


The galaxy is about thirTEEN billion years old. Not three to four. Sorry. At least that inaccuracy distracts from the continued weirdness of Star Trek and cats and women. Institutionalized beastiality? Women who can't consent? Women who can't not consent? Uncomfortable.

Heavy Metal was released in 1981 and Voltron was 1984 so they're not contemporary, but Scooby-Doo's 1969 air date very much is.

Also it turns out that Kzinti were going to be included in Enterprise before it was canceled. That almost makes Enterprise intriguing.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Ifrit

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

Ifrit (Block 4)
Overview
In just under twenty years, The Wolf Dragoons expanded from a sophisticated and successful mercenary unit to The Dragoons Pact, a proper government half the size of The Terran Hegemony. The region’s defenders morphed from ad-hoc militia and mercenaries into the only force in the Inner Sphere to rely on Clan technology for over half of their war materiel.
The Ifrit, and vehicles like it, are one of the ways those two massive shifts were made possible. Unlike many of the other ‘Mechs fielded by the Pact, it includes almost no advanced components except for its weapons, power, and targeting systems.
Its integration of simple parts have allowed new suppliers to start up in the region while older factories have received incentives to upgrade parts to higher specifications used in more sophisticated machines like the Durendal and Zemus.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

17 to 01: Yesteryear


The episodes of The Animated Series are kinda short. "Yesteryear" shows how that can be used as a strength. This is a strong start but the content we're watching is gonna have a long slide in quality until we hit the good Star Trek movies.

I was almost right about the hard cuts. A hard cut is a scene transition without a transition effect. So no scenes in Star Wars ever. Also, Juno Beach was the Canadian landing zone on D-Day. The American beaches were Omaha and Utah. The UK beaches were Gold and Sword.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Catapult

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

CPLT-L5 Catapult
Overview
While Capellan engagements outside of the Confederation have been limited in the last twenty years, there’s no indication they have started fielding any new battlemech designs during that time. Instead, a number of reliable, natively-produced ‘Mechs and vehicles have been upgraded and refined to fill roles as needed.
The Catapult is one such ‘Mech. The CPLT-C3 variant with paired artillery pieces is still produced, but so is the new -L5 is based on the Star League-era -C1 model. Added stealth armor and pulse lasers have made it operate closer to the front lines while retaining its fire support abilities. 
The reasons for the change aren’t known, but it’s suspected that it was made to ensure that there are fewer privileged combat roles where a MechWarrior no longer has to risk engaging the enemy directly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Westworld

I've never seen Westworld, but I ought to. The trailer seems like it's trying a little too hard, y'know? Either delve into the in-universe commercial that slides into the everything-goes-wrong narrative or pitch it as a movie about the same while you show all the deaths in the movie (because apparently someone thought that was worth doing).

Yeah, I'd watch Ed Harris wasting entire villages, but once Anthony Hopkins reaches up and grabs the "I wouldn't say that at all" box from The Shelf of Cliched Dialog, my interest wanes.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Make Stellaris Great Again, Part 2

So last week I griped about a video game called Stellaris (link here). Today I'm finishing up on all the ways that a great game that's lost its luster could become great again.

Or Simplify Diplomacy. Last week I lobbied pretty hard to have the complicated diplomacy system improved. The thing is, I don’t actually want verisimilitude when I do diplomacy in a 4X game. I only need to know a few things about them: power/weakness, farness/nearness, do they like me, what do they have, what do they want, are we at peace, and how can I change those last four? I don’t know if I need a bunch of buttons telling me what I can’t do.

What I’d like are political packages which read “Make the Imarians Hate Me Less,” “The Rurthar Want Terraforming Gases and We Aren’t Using Ours,” “Special Project: Do Science with The Beldross,” or “The Yamacera are Dicks; Let’s Spend 400 Influence and 1,000 Energy to Steal a World of Theirs.” I need, “These Guys Hate Your Fucking Guts And Will Never Join Your Alliance” to “Here’s The Ludicrous Price Tag That Will Make These Guys Wanna Put Their Fungal Dicks in Your Small Intestines While Barry White Plays In The Background.”  

I only need to know how they feel about me on a scale of one to five. If I’m going to do something that will move allies into the negative on me, those better be big things. I mean big. It should be rare enough that you feel comfortable with throwing a pop-up on the screen asking if I’m sure every time I’m about to do one of those things. I should be able to choose and move toward changing those numbers by doing big things.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

17 to 01: Season 3 Supplemental


This is not the end: We'll be around for The TOS Era: Supplemental after watching Star Trek IV: The One With The Whales.

Suggested Eras for Star Trek:
1966-1986: The TOS Era
1987-1993: The TNG Era
1994-1999: Maximum Trek
2000-2008: The Lost Years
2009-Present: NuTrek

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Zeus

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

ZEU-10S Zeus
Overview
The ZEU-10S is the latest in the venerable Lyran mech’s long line. In the testing phases during the First Jade Falcon Incursion, prototypes were rushed to the field via mercenary units in an effort to stem the rising tide of Clanners.
The prototypes’ performance gave Defiance Industries exceptional data and the Jade Falcon halt just short of Coventry gave the Commonwealth ample motivation for producing the perfected final version.
This new, more powerful version was initially circulated to politically influential units and individuals. Few were on the front-lines for the resumed Falcon operations in ‘79 and units who received Zeuses from their crash redeployment showed marked improvement in repelling the Falcons. Sadly, that improvement was not enough rapid enough to save Coventry, the line the ‘Mech was created to hold.
Despite ever-shorter resources, the Lyran Commonwealth has gone to great pains to keep it in production. This has included incentivizing the relocation of facilities which produce its gauss rifle and advanced structure. These efforts have been kept quiet out of concerns that they would undermine the defiant messages flowing out of Tharkad about the Commonwealth’s inevitable victory over the Falcons.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Realtime Facemapping

Can't wait 'til my next birthday when I can start being afraid of new technology.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Make Stellaris Great Again, Part 1

If you’ve never heard of Stellaris, it’s Civilization meets Spaceward Ho!, which I will assume is a comprehensive description suitable for everyone. It’s everything me and the guys ever dreamed of in a space game. You get to colonize planets, do some diplomacy, and build big fleets that have beautiful battles in space. You even get to make some moral decisions and do some research...y’know, Star Trek stuff. It’s great and we loved it.

But the luster has worn off quickly. The lifetime of a video game is pretty short and despite being excellent, Stellaris only had an average run with us. This isn’t an open letter to the devs or anything because I don’t know anything about game development. It’s not a list of bitches about the game because nothing is less productive than that. It’s nothing more than a vague plan offered for free with an offer for a red hat as a $25.00 upsell that simply reads “Make Stellaris Great Again.”

Quit animating every ship. It’s beautiful when I’ve got a fleet of 15 guys who shoot lasers and missiles in an asynchronous display of attempted murder by hard vacuum. I see the shots glance off of shields. But eventually I’ll have to destroy every other civilization in the galaxy and I’re going to need a pretty big fleet for that. Probably bigger than everyone else’s.

There’s a fleet cap of 1000 points worth of ships, but it’s only a guideline. After 1k points, I simply pay higher upkeep on ships above that limit. That means even more massive massive fleets, which I’ll get to later. The system can’t handle those numbers and significant fleet actions begin causing the game to slow down, space out, or just plain freeze up.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

17 to 01: All Our Yesterdays


The only multi-episode story arc of Star Trek is resolved here. There's so much to like about this episode. I mean, yeah, part of the conflict is caused because people won't stop doing things for sixty seconds to explain to one another what's going on. And yeah, Kirk ends up treading water for the B-plot, but...

It's good, okay? Trust me, it's good.

A BAFTA is a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Orion

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

ON2-MC Orion
Overview
The Diamond Shark trade mission into the Inner Sphere entered the Free Worlds League a little over a year into The League’s civil war. Their intent to negotiate with the League at Goth Khakar was thwarted when both sides of the war attempted to secure exclusive negotiation rights. 
The Sharks had to clear their own landing zone and force both parties to the negotiating table. Any industrial output promised to the Clan from one side could have been a legitimate military target to the other, limiting what League governments could offer. However, resource and exploration rights to lands held by the former Atreus government were on the table and the Sharks walked away with mineral-rich enclaves while both sides of the Civil War enjoyed advanced upgrade packages. 
The Orion ON2-M was chosen as the recipient of this package because it was new enough to be compatible with cutting-edge technology, but old enough to have the kinks worked out of it.

Monday, September 05, 2016

The Takedown of Star Trek: Insurrection

So a while back I laid down a thorough description of why Star Trek V: The Final Frontier wasn’t well-received. In that same breath, I maybe offered offered my services as a shitter-on-things for hire and was immediately asked to do a similar takedown for my favorite movie from The Next Generation era: Star Trek Insurrection.

There’s very little I could say about Insurrection which hasn’t been said by Red Letter Media. RLM is a set of hack frauds who actually make movies and they cover the technical failures of the movie in terms of effects, stunts, plotholes, and costumes.

If you’ve already seen it or if you don’t care to watch a Star Trek review punctuated by random screams and jokes about an alcoholic murder killing women, I’ll continue.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

17 to 01: Turnabout Intruder


This episode plays with a lot of Star Trek elements, but it never coalesces around a central theme because it doesn't know what its angle is. The mind-swap is cool, but the "insane woman" part completely contradicts it. At best, it's accusing women who don't behave the way women "should" of being solely responsible for their lack of achievement. That's not good.

I think this is the second or third time in the original series that ubiquitous video is used as an important part of the episode. Do these plot conveniences imply an angle to Federation society that is somewhat dystopian? Does a society where people are generally good not need safeguards on privacy?

Commissioners. I was thinking of Federation commissioners. 

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Exodus

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

EXD-2OG Exodus
Overview
The Exodus seems to have been made to replace similar units like the Blood Kite, Savage Coyote, and Stone Rhino, slow assault ‘Mechs driven to extinction with their Clans. The Ghost Bears had already noticed the drop-off in machines who devoted most of their tonnage to weapons and began preparing the Exodus prototypes in the late 3060’s.
The new assault underwent trials by fire in the second Combine-Ghost Bear War. Its deployment scaled from small, purpose-built binaries to becoming a full-on command ‘Mech by the close of the war. It’s been a backbone of the Bears’ slower formation tactics ever since.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

17 to 01: The Savage Curtain


So um...so all of this. I enthusiastically don't hate this episode? That's the best I can say about it.

Does anyone want my spec script for Crank 3: Executive Pugilism: Lincoln vs Hitler (Jason Statham plays both roles)? It's like, 90 pages straight. No dialogue. Statham assures me he can deliver witty one-liners with his eyebrows.

Also, Kahless created the culture of honor which Klingons maintain to this day. I think this is my last good run of "Derek doesn't know" Star Trek references. Once we get into the movies so many things become canonized and quotable. 

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

17 to 01: Requiem for Methuselah


More important than Derek's scathing rebukes of Highlander is the fact that this is my best sacrilegious joke. I'm never gonna do better. I've peaked.

Salvador Dali was also alive when this episode was aired. It's a shame for a responsible homosexual to admit it, but I'm not up on Wilde. That said, I know my internet quotes. The movie Derek is talking about is--I think--Ex Machina

Me? I'm takin' cheap shots at Watchmen.

So what is the verdict on Vulcans and art? Is art emotional or intellectual?

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Over and Under: The Electoral College in 2016

Come the evening of Tuesday, November 8, nothing on Earth will be as important as the Electoral College. Yeah, some folks are going to get out their quadrennial placards bitching about the college and then quickly stow them before they get any splinters.

Except not this year because about 60% of the electorate is going to be preemptively cheering a Hillary Clinton win and the other 40% will find that like most collective bubbles of ignorance, their collective bubble of ignorance will be popped by The Very Serious and Adult World of Voting in America, a world created by two of the greatest enemies of willful ignorance: math and law.

Actually, cancer edges out law, but law's still third.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

17 to 01: The Way to Eden


I bet you all wanted to tune in for us side-tweeting anti-vaxxers and Simpsons references. Lucky, lucky you.

I'm pretty glad we never got Kirk hitting on Dr. McCoy's daughter because that would be creepy. But what's the verdict on hippies here? Good? Bad? Mislead? Fashionably hopeless?

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

State of Georgia v. Denver Fenton Allen

This is an actual transcript from an actual trial.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

17 to 01: The Cloud Minders


If anyone is listening to this episode in--what I assume is the blasted, post-apocalyptic landscape of--post-2016 United States, "get you a girl who can do both" was high humor for the pre-ruin civilization.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

3087: El Dorado

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

EHF-01 El Dorado
Overview
The El Dorado started out as the vanguard of a new paradigm shift in the Clan Coyote tauman in the late sixties. The great costs associated with the project forced them to find collaborators and their attempts were frustrated at every turn.
Luckily, Clan Jade Falcon was gearing up for an offensive against the Lyran Commonwealth. A mobile, second-line unit with easy access to the Coyote’s new Advanced Tactical Missile System was an appealing offer. Given that the Falcons would perform a live-fire shakedown in the Incursion of ‘68, the deal was sealed.
With the involvement of a wealthier clan, the El Dorado was upgraded by ten tons, gained an extralight engine, and shed its old name which was too closely linked to Clan Coyote.
Unfortunately, the El Dorado was a mainstay of Coyote efforts during the ilClan war and many were crippled with backdoor software vulnerabilities. It wasn’t until the line was completely rebuilt by the Jade Falcons in 3084 that the software was rebuilt securely.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

17 to 01: Plato's Stepchildren


All this trouble and he isn't even a real doctor! Parmen--buby--it's not worth it.

This is one of my favorite episodes and is the example I run to every time someone wants to knock Season 3. The acting and the ideas here are so good that if someone wants to talk smack the sets or the effects, they have immediately divulged much of their character to you.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

These Trailers Happened

Lots of things to say about Themyscira getting invaded in Wonder Woman's first movie, but that's for later.

For a second there I kinda thought Cyborg wouldn't say anything.

Super Mario Ragtime

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016)

You know I take notes while I watch movies because I can't ever enjoy myself so here are my notes for Ghostbusters, which I got to see on opening weekend. As always, notes made after the fact are italicized.



Previews
Ice Age: Which Ice Age is this, 11?  12? We need to get Dennis Leary better work.

Suicide Squad: I am not the idiot they want to watch their movie. 

Star Trek Beyond: Just a title card and not a full trailer then. It comes out in a week. Ok.

Nerv: Stupid, high-concept movie with pretty, young people. This might be the most intriguing trailer of this whole lineup.

Maui: Seems nice. It looks like a Disney movie.

Bridget Jones' Baby: Like Chasing Amy, it's another movie that can be resolved with a three-way. But since it won't be, let me save you 90 minutes and a trip to the theater, "LOL, she don't know who the daddy is!"

Sully: There's no reason to ever make or see this movie. We all like Tom Hanks though.

Trolls: Okay, a reason to see Sully is that the alternative is seeing the troll movie. 


I would love to stop this feeling.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: Fooball, army, funerals, media criticism, love interests. All boxes checked WE GOT A GREEN LIGHT FOR AN IRAQ WAR MOVIE!

Half a point for having a long title. Half a point for another Kristen Stewart movie of consequence which I kinda want to see but don't. Minus five points for being another movie about how idiot civilians shouldn't masturbate to an unrealistic concept of US soldiers that idiot civilians will still use to masturbate to an unrealistic concept of US soldiers.

Another DaVinci Code Movie: Actually, we do not like Tom Hanks anymore.

Ghostbusters

Thursday, July 21, 2016

17 to 01: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield


This one is political. It's not really funny. It's just not. I'm proud of it though. We laughed at a few things, but it might not be as entertaining 'cause Derek and I kinda get on one of our "two liberals agreein' with each other" grooves. 

If you don't wanna hear it, I suggest reading up on those times from sources then and sources now. Star Trek--at its best--runs parallel to the American culture its spawned from and it gets real close to the source in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

It's a great episode.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016