Monday, March 22, 2010

The ‘Traveler DV-5000’: My new Camera!

Today in Aldi (a german chain of discount stores in an hilariously ongoing feud with the almost identical concept chain, Lidl), I bought a digital video camera for €69.99.
It’s not great (it can’t take an external microphone and the quality is so-so and a bit blurry. The zoom’s rubbish.), but it is good. Very good, I’d say for what I’ll need it for; taking gritty, unfussy videos at a moment’s notice and not having to worry about losing an expensive, fragile piece of high-tech equipment. The ‘Traveler’ (note the lack of a second ‘L’) is aptly named. It’s a sturdy little bastard, only a little bit bigger than a packet of cigarettes, lined with a cheesy 1980s-style PVC-like finish on its sides.
I won’t have to worry about it shattering into a bazillion useless pieces. This sucker’s gonna’ last.
The best thing about it though is that it comes with video conversion software so you can fit movie files on it. This means I can watch entire movies and TV shows on the go! I love the future.
Anyway, while I’ve had a webcam for as long as I’ve had a laptop and I easily could have had video content here before now, with a mobile camera I’ll likely be a lot more enthusiastic about putting my own video content up. I have a rather ambitious project lined up for the Summer…

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Dean Winchester Award for Supreme Epicery: Ó Lochlainn Madness!


Today's award goes to my good friend Aonghus...

...for providing me with the 30 lives cheat code to the timeless classic 'Contra' for the NES, which I discovered yesterday. Without this code, I was still blundering around on the second level, shouting at the screen. So thank you Aonghus, for enabling me to strengthen my resources in my battle against the militant Alien conspiracy. In the 1980s. Fuck yeah.


Contra is a great little shooter even though it's damn near impossible without the cheat and still very, very difficult with it.

If you can, ahem, find it on eBay, give it a play.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Birthday of the Beast

Today was a very good day, for a variety of nice little reasons that there’s no point in me delving into. Needless to say, I got some compliments, I met some people I hadn’t seen in a while and I generally seized the day.

Today was also the birthday of Chuck Norris. It is my nature not to believe that this is a coincidence but a spike of cosmic awesomery in tribute to the brilliance of this magnificent bastard.

Chuck Norris only smiles after he's killed a virgin

Happy 70 years you bearded legend.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Dean Winchester Award: My Obsession with William Shatner EXPLAINED!


Any of you who have been frequenting my Facebook page of late will have noticed an abundance of content related to this man:

Of course it's not a phallic symbol. Don't be silly.

The other day at work, my good friend Kim Blaides commented on this bizarre obsession I seem to have with this man and I suddenly realised “By the Suns of Warvan, she’s right!”

So naturally, I decided that it was about time I devoted an entire blog post to the man.

The biggest and most obvious reason I like William Shatner is because I like Star Trek. Well no, I kind of love Star Trek. I always found it more fascinating, accessible and thought-provoking than most other stories about space ships and lasers (especially that other one…). Among other things, there was just something really uplifting about the idea that humanity would eventually find a way out of the ongoing strife and war that dominates our planet and continue expanding into the rest of the universe by choosing to devoting our lives to betterment rather than the acquisition of material trivialities. Most science fiction chooses the grim, gritty, apocalypse scenario and that just gets exhausting. I also loved the minute, almost ridiculous attention to detail that Star Trek had (especially in The Next Generation) in terms of its technology and its politics. Again, it’s just so immersive, it feels real. Even in spite of the dated special effects and some of the stiffer acting. That’s why it’s so heart-breaking when the franchise fails as epically as it has done over the years.

Anyway, right at the heart of Star Trek is its most celebrated starship Captain. There’s never been anyone else like him. As well as encountering the usual bunch of bizarre spacial phenomena, violently aggressive alien beings and self-replicating furballs, Captain Kirk just had an aura of epicery about him that hasn’t been equalled by any of the other captains. Patrick Stewart’s Picard came darn close and is certainly a more well-developed and written character, but there’s just something supernatural about Kirk and the charisma he carries. People accuse Shatner of over-acting in the role (as well as saying Each. And. Every. Word. As. If. It's. Its. Own. Sentence.) and let’s face it, he probably was…

…but how can you not love him for it? Throughout the three short seasons of Star Trek, Shatner remains utterly watchable and fascinating, thanks in no small part to these two men:

Spock and McCoy had their fair share of tiffs throughout the three seasons and six movies

The intense Bromosexuality between Shatner/Kirk and his two right-hand-men is and was the highlight of Star Trek. When all is said and done, their ever-enduring friendship is the shining highlight of the franchise. The towering inferno of hilarious awfulness that is the afore-linked fifth movie (which was directed by Shatner himself) is almost single-handedly saved by a handful of characterisation scenes between these three men that are probably definitive in that regard.

Anyway, back to Shatner.

...and don't you forget it.

In the 1960s, he was heavily criticised for being a massive, self-indulgent diva. His ego became so inflated that he ended up thinking that a side-dish career of spoken-word song covers might be a good idea.

He clearly had lost the plot.

At this point you’re probably thinking “You still haven’t really explained why you’re so fascinated with him.”

The reason, my Furious Fans, is that he gets it. He really, really gets it. Unlike other actors famous for their self-indulgent divatude, Shatner revels in it, he bathes in it, he’s practically revamped his career by embracing it. He knows how amused people are by his outward ridiculousness but instead of trying to hide under a veil of seriousness, he makes overblown WarCraft ads where he uses unlikely colloquialisms, he posts intimate video logs about his personal thoughts and opinions and most importantly at all…

…he has brought his music career to a level unforeseen by man, God or Chuck Norris himself.

I should mention the new Star Trek movie.

Uhura instead of Doctor McCoy. Political Correctness Fail.

The movie, for me, while extremely fun and engrossing, lost any of the depth or futuristic wonderment Trek is supposed to have. It was all fast-paced, flashy action, flying in the face of the tense, slow-building tension which has always been the staple of Star Trek.

The film was saved by its perfect casting, however, and this is mainly because of relatively unknown Chris Pine as a younger Jim Kirk.

I DESPERATELY tried to find a pic of him eating the apple...

The reason for this however isn’t because Pine plays James T. Kirk really well. Pine’s Kirk bears little resemblance to his television counterpart.

The real reason Pine succeeds is because he’s playing William Shatner. Everything about his performance celebrates the awesomeness of Shatner’s career and general badassery, to the point where you aren’t distracted by the new actor at all. He’s managed to pay tribute to the original actor while making the role his own at the same time, something that’s very hard to do.

Hopefully my fascination will make a little bit more sense to those of you who were, until now, dazed, confused and irritated by my constant referencing of him. The man is an Action Badass in the most realistic sense of the word. Everything he does and says is interesting, be it entirely serious or steeped in silliness. This picture sums William Shatner up better than any other picture possibly could.

Ha. HA. HA. Ha.

This article has been heavy on links and YouTube embeds, so in the spirit of that, I’ll leave you with what has become (in the short time that it has existed), my favourite Internet mash-up video, ever.


BONUS FEATURE: There's no way I can make a tribute to William Shatner without posting a link to his most famous scene.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Windows Live Writer Test

Fans of Fury, heed not the words of this pointless post. I’m just checking out Windows Live Writer to see if it’s any good.


It's definitely not bad.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Live Blog! Chuck Norris Karate Kommandoes: "Menace from Space!"

It's a (hopefully) well-known fact that Chuck Norris had his own, sensationally short-lived animated series in the 1980s. In the height of the "30-minute toy commercial" era of animation, whereby cartoons would often be created to market toys of characters, Chuck Norris must have felt that this was the best way to educate and train the youth of the world in the ways of right, wrong and roundhouse kicksaplenty. And so, the Karate Kommandoes were given life, presumably based on dormant sentient beings living in the frontal lobe of Chuck Norris' left testicle. Naturally, a competitive line of action figures and vehicles were released in conjunction with the animated masterpiece including my personal favourite...


...the Chuck Norris Karate Corvette. With 'Shinobi Slicers'. There just isn't enough women in the world for the amount of sex appeal this car radiates.

In celebration of this perfect piece of media, I decided to do a live blog of Chuck Norris and the gang, as they face "The Menace from Space". I picked this episode because of how the idea of Chuck Norris and his fists going up against Space Aliens makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

KK 1

- The episode begins with a cold open of a very topless, live-action Chuck Norris working out in a gym. He breaks the fourth wall and talks to us, the kids at home, telling us about how self-control is very important and how it "pays off in the end as you'll see in this adventure." I have a feeling the episode isn't really going to have much to do with Chuck Norris battling his anger problems and that they just shoehorned that in at the start.

- "Welcome aboard Mister Norris!" How can anyone not love that line?

- The big, secret bad guy's name is the Claw and he has sent his henchman Super Ninja, because he wants to steal the shuttle, according to Chuck Norris. Well of course that's what he wants to do.

KK 2

- We're less than two minutes in and terrorists have sent an alligator parachuting into a high security space shuttle launchpad. How is this not brilliant?

- Like all 80s cartoons, the henchmen don't shoot guns, they shoot futuristic laser rifles. The FCC is so funny...

- Chuck Norris breaks Super-Ninja's sword. In half.

KK 3

- So yeah, apparently Super-Ninja has some sort of bat-like flight harness.


- The Claw's snowy, mountaintop lair. The Claw is basically the Asian Ra's Al Ghul from Batman Begins, except with a mechanical claw for a hand, which he uses to kill his pet piranha, for no reason!

- "There's no way we can get anywhere near that shuttle, Mr President! It's too well-armed!"

"Looks like it's up to you, Chuck!" says the leader of the free world.

- The Karate Kommandoes nearly shit the bed at the sight of two alligators. Have they forgotten how Chuck Norris single-handedly wrestled one of them into submission a mere five minutes earlier in the episode?

- Just like Walker, Texas Ranger, this show gives us colourful sound effects for when Chuck Norris is using martial arts against his enemies. "FWHOOP! FHWOOP!"
- I've just come to the saddening realisation that this episode probably has nothing to do with aliens. It's just something to do with a communications dish. Sad.
- "NOR-RISS!" says the Claw, nefariously. One of television's great villains.


- "Rocket fuel?! Even Chuck Norris is going to need the base commander's okay! And a pile of paperwork!" Oh no! Not paper-work!

- Prioritising time over bureaucracy, the Kommandoes steal a tanker full of rocket fuel.


Meanwhile, Chuck Norris uses the ejector seats (I guess) to propel both himself and his two Kommando Kolleagues to the top of a building that could only be over twenty storeys.

- "This must be the baby they're going to blast the Earth with!" says Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris has affectionate name like 'baby' for apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction.

- Chuck Norris has a battle with Super-Ninja and his minions on board a space station where he uses low gravity to his advantage. Really it just seems like an excuse for the animators to be lazier.

- Chuck Norris makes a joke about the Claw maybe killing Super Ninja "behind the woodshed" and the Kommandoes all laugh morbidly at this horrific possibility.


- Live-action topless Chuck Norris informs us that "That was a close one," and how 'better training' led to a victory against the Claw. I would argue that in fact, the lack of any aliens and a bizarre abundance of weak alligators in an episode entitled "Menace from the Stars" is what ensured victory.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Interview/Chat with Star Trek Pioneer Devon Richards


For those of you who don't know, Devon Richards is the man campaigning to get CBS to read his pilot and series bible for a new Star Trek show starring a darker, more "James Bond, anti-hero". I ran into him on Facebook Chat and asked him a few questions regarding his proposed series, as well as his thoughts on the franchise in general.


Here were some of the highlights:


Also, when you say you want to have a 'darker anti-hero' in your show, do you mean that you think the franchise in general should be darker?


No, the franchise will not get darker as a result, i thought the best way to maintain the "roddenberry metaphor" without writing another series of after-school specials, was to introduce a character that doesn't need to learn how to be human, but how to be humane


How do you feel about Bryan Fuller's efforts to make a more colourful series, like the original?



At first I liked his idea, then when I came up with my own, thought, "shit, that's not the way to go"

I don't know him, and he's certainly done great work to try and keep "Heroes" on track. Cutting his teeth on Voyager, under Berman is what worries me.

When Berman started commissioning the creation of characters like Barclay, as a deliberate way of thumbing his nose at the fans, that's when I realized he didn't give two fucks about Trek.

The first thing I thought about him as an in-universe character was, "Hey, I've seen the psych exams Wes had to take to get into the Academy! How did this bag of quivering jell-o pass them?!!"

Starfleet officers have to stand toe-to-toe with angry gods in outer space.


What elements would you retain or jettison completely?


If the solution to a problem is the pushing of a button, the button will be pushed. There will be no 40 minute "ask every single crew member about the moral implications of the pushing of the button"



There are a few too many TNG eps that do that.


Also, the stunted romances are gone, when people are attracted to each other, they will act on it - period.


I don't know about where you live, but I can have sex with a hot girl for the price of three beers on a Friday night, why would the people of the future forget how to get it on?


You clearly aren't happy with some of the decisions executive producer and general franchise handler Rick Berman made in the nineties, up until the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005 (whereby he more or less relinquished his control over the franchise). Care to talk more about that?



I, like many fans, feel we have the right to point our ire in his direction. I think the biggest mistake he and the studio made was not having an escape plan if he needed to be replaced. I get the impression that he was grooming Ron Moore and Brannon Braga. Moore left because of Voyager's direction, and Braga wasn't a logical choice after Enterprise. That left no one. Poor, poor planning.

A lot of the moves he made demonstrate an embittered, abject hatred for Trek and its fans.

Again, while I don't know him at all, i wouldn't do things his way - ever


I must say though, that based on his statements based around the rise and fall of Star Trek: Voyager, I have the utmost respect for Ron Moore. The essays on Voyager were essentially about the same stuff I was screaming at the screen, having only seen a handful of episodes.



Ron Moore did the right thing in leaving. The result was we got to see everything he wanted to do in Voyager on Battlestar.

Moore knew his Trek better than the rest of them, and nobody was listening.

His story gives me hope though - He, like me, was a fan who submitted, and got picked to work on the show.


Let's talk about the new movie for a second, before you go

Sum up your thoughts?



Brought Trek back to where it started - Trek is, in essence, an adventure. That got forgotten somewhere along the way.

The ads in the movie kinda bugged me, but the $150 million bucks had to come from somewhere.

My other thoughts on the movie would be that I loved the score - I understood right away what Giachinno was doing. Seven crew members = Magnificent Seven. I got it, unfortunately most Trek fans don't know much of entertainment lore outside the franchise. so they crap on anything unfamiliar. Then again these are the same fans who accepted a 24th century Akira class Starship in the 22cd century, and that Deuterium was gasoline.


Thanks for answering all of these questions, Devon!


Anytime. I'll keep you posted.