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Posted on May 28th, 2013

Dave!Do you remember in You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown where Charlie Brown won Pro Bowl tickets in a bike race but it ended up they couldn't afford to give him the Pro Bowl tickets, so they instead gave him a certificate for five free haircuts? And then Charlie Brown laments that even when he wins he loses because his dad's a barber and he hardly has any hair to cut anyway? Remember that?

That pretty much sums up my entire day.

It got so bad that, on my way back from running errands in town, I swerved off the road to the movie theater just so I could be distracted for a couple hours. I didn't even care what I watched.

Much to my delight, the next film playing was Star Trek Into Darkness. I was planning on waiting to see it in IMAX but, at this point, I just didn't care...

Star Trek Into Darkness

Overall, I thought the movie was excellent. It was action-packed and oh-so-beautiful to look at. This is the first time I can remember watching an effects-laden film where half my brain wasn't analyzing the special effects shots. They were all executed so flawlessly that there was nothing to really analyze. That went a long ways to taking the edge off of some story points that bothered me, and pushed my love of the film to an A rating.

It's impossible to discuss the finer points of Star Trek Into Darkness without spoilers, so I've put my thoughts in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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Posted on January 24th, 2013

Dave!The geek news of the day has been burning up the internets, so everything there is to be said about it has probable already been said.

Not that it's going to stop me from adding my two cents over J.J. Abrams directing the next Star Wars film. As somebody who has been obsessed with the films and the culture surrounding them for most of my life, it would be impossible for me not to say speak my piece because I've never been one to hold my peace.

In many respects, J.J. Abrams is a no-brainer to helm the next generation of Star Wars movies. He very successfully relaunched Star Trek, so he can obviously handle a special-effects laden sci-fi film... even if his annoying over-use of stupid fucking lens flare was such an amateurish style choice as to be laughable...

Dave by Abrams

To be completely honest, flare aside, I loved the Star Trek reboot. It was respectful to the source material as much as it could be (for what it was). It had really good pacing. It had excellent structure with a definable beginning, middle, and ending. Characters were multifaceted and interesting (despite the fact that they were retreads of television icons). The threat was viable and felt dangerous. But, most important of all, it was just good Star Trek and a lot of fun.

So... maybe.

But that's just one film. What about the rest of his work?

As a "Television Guy," Abrams has a pretty big body of work there with writing, directing, and producing. Of his shows, Alias is my clear favorite... for the first couple seasons. After that, it just spiraled out of control in a gradual slide towards an unsatisfying conclusion. Which is pretty much the story of most his stuff, including Felicity, Lost, and Fringe. His other major works... Undercovers, Alcatraz, and Revolution, never managed to grab me at all. A truly mixed bag.

So... maybe?

But it's his film work that tells the tale. Since Abrams' projects always start strong, a movie would seem to be the ideal format for him. There's no room for that slow decline that plagues his television projects. Mission Impossible III is a good example. I thought it was a fresh and interesting take on the franchise that was really well thought out. It also ended with a satisfying bang that capped it off perfectly. Just like Star Trek. And while I thought that Super 8 was a whiny, corny, disastrous mess, there's no denying it was a well-made film. The true test, of course, will be when Star Trek Into Darkness comes out, because that will tell us if the first film was a fluke.

So... maybe.

In the end, about all I can say for certain is that J.J. Abrams can't do any worse than the shitty Lucas prequels.

For one thing, he can write dialogue that's not cringe-worthy.

And he seems to put things like "story" and "characters" above special effects.

I also get the feeling that he won't dumb everything down to a 2-year-old level by accenting the film with burp and fart jokes.

And it feels like he might have the cojones and integrity to stand up to Disney and not turn his movie into a 2-hour toy advertisement filled with stupid shit like Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks.

So... maybe.

As a huge Star Wars fan, I want so very badly for J.J. Abrams to get a fantastic script from Oscar-winner Michael Arndt and turn it into the most mind-bogglingly amazing Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. This is an impossibly high expectation but, after what I've been through, I deserve it! We all do. And the wait is going to be torture.

So... hopefully.

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Categories: Movies 2013Click To It: Permalink  7 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  



Posted on January 21st, 2013

Dave!I started today the same way I start every Martin Luther King Jr. Day... by listening to his brilliant and beautiful "I have a Dream" speech in its entirety. In my humble opinion, it's probably one of the best-known speeches that most people never bother to listen to. That's a real shame, because it's famous for a very good reason.


I get MLK Jr. Day off, so I really, really didn't want to go into work today. But it ended up being unavoidable. Now I'm back home where it's 4:00pm, all my energy has been sucked dry, and I don't feel like doing a damn thing. Except watch Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country which is playing on television.

And it's while watching it that I've suddenly realized something I never knew...

Scotty is one badass motherfucker and a stone-cold killer!

For reals. Let me walk you through it. SPOILERS AHEAD!..

At the end of the film, Captain Kirk discovers a massive conspiracy to destroy a peace conference which involves Starfleet, The Klingons, and The Romulans. To foil the conspiracy, he beams down to the peace conference with his crew. The first thing he does? Tell Scotty to check out the back...

Captain Kirk tells Scotty to check out the back.

Meanwhile, a Klingon assassin is going to kill the President of the Federation of Planets...

Klingon assassin takes aim...

The President is about to be shot!

But Captain Kirk saves the President, no problem...

Kirk saves the President!

One of the conspirators is Lt. Valeris, who is caught by Spock...

Spock and Valeris

Another conspirator is held by Chekov...

Chekov captures a conspirator

Dr. McCoy captures a Romulan conspirator...

McCoy captures a Romluan

Then Sulu captures Admiral Cartwright, yet another conspirator...

Sulu captures Cartwright

As for Scotty?

That's a different story.

Mr. Scott finds the assassin hiding in some kind of balcony... so he kicks the fucking door down...

Scotty kicks in the fucking door

The assassin turns his head to see what the ruckus is...


While his gun is still pointing in the opposite direction out a hole in the glass...


Does Scotty then say "Drop the weapon!" and take the assassin prisoner? No. No he does not. Even though he's not in any immediate danger, he pulls out his phaser and shoots the guy...

Scotty fires!

Assassin is hit!

Which blows him through the fucking window...

Smashing through a window!

Plunging him to his death...

He's Dead, Jim!

What does Scotty do then? He marches to the front of the crowd like a boss, gun in hand...

Scotty on the move...

Then stands in front of everybody to soak up the applause for a job well done...

Scotty accepts your admiration!

Everybody else on the Enterprise takes prisoners. But Scotty don't play that. If you're up to some crooked shit, Scotty shoots your ass dead and pitches you out the fucking window. Making him one of the baddest motherfuckers in the galaxy and a stone-cold killer...

Don't fuck with Scotty!

Who knew? Sure he could get a little excitable from time to time, but Scotty's the quiet one of the group! Just goes to show that you never know who the true badass motherfuckers are.

Even in outer space.

Live long and prosper, everybody.



Posted on April 4th, 2012

Dave!It's been a tough day. It's been a tough series of days.

And everybody knows that when the going gets tough, the tough get going... so I'm going to get going on this bottle of J├Ągermeister.

But before we start drinking:

This happened...

Nichelle Nichols and President Obama give the Spock salute!

Am I the only one who thinks that President Obama should consider himself very, very lucky that he met up with the Regular Universe Uhura instead of the Evil Mirror Universe Uhura?

Mirror Univers Nichelle Nichols Uhura and President Obama

She would cut a bitch for reals.

I have to admit... I love having a cool guy as president. Regardless of how I feel about Obama's politics, the idea of going back to having a wooden, tense, socially awkward president fills me with dread.

And I suppose that's my cue.

Drink J├Ąger and Prosper my friends.



Posted on September 8th, 2011

Dave!After all these years, I still can't decide if I am a Star Wars guy or a Star Trek guy.

I guess I love them equally. Though they are very different at their core, the two franchises have followed similar arcs... both starting out with sheer brilliance, then descending into utter crap. Though Star Trek did make a stunning recovery with its 2009 film reboot, which had me leaning to Trek for a while. I don't suppose it's too much to hope that Star Wars will get a similar break? I dunno. There's talk of a television show and wacky rumors of a third trilogy, so one can only hope.

In any event, we've reached the 45th anniversary of Star Trek "The Original Series" which is pretty much the only Trek series that matters to me (as any long-time reader of this blog already knows)...

DAVETOON: Monkey Star Trek Characters

Dave Star Trek Barbie

Dave Spock

Blogography Number Cards

Though even the Next Generation was in the mix from time to time...

DAVETOON: Star Trek Replicator is Glowing!

DAVETOON: Hot Earl Grey Tea Appears in the Star Trek Replicator!!

So happy 45th anniversary to Star Trek and thanks for everything!

Now if only JJ Abrams would get off his ass and give us another amazing movie real soon now.



Posted on April 26th, 2011

Dave!When I was younger, I loved to cook. I loved to bake. I loved experimenting in the kitchen to come up with something new. But, as the years went by, I had less and less time available for messing around with food. Home-baked bread was replaced by bread-machine bread. And when that got to be too much trouble, I went back to store-bought bread. Things I used to make from scratch were soon replaced by mixes. And when that got to be too much trouble, I just started buying pre-made stuff in the freezer section. It's not as good for me. It's certainly not as fun. But I just don't have the time any more.

But then I got addicted to cooking sites like Foodiddy and baking sites like Joy The Baker, and was assaulted with goodies so amazing-looking that I simply HAD to start baking again. Last night I brought a shit-load of work home with me, but then I happened upon a recipe for Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread from Joy The Baker. It looked too delicious to ignore, so I dropped everything and baked a loaf.

So there I was, eating mind-blowingly delicious Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread while Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was on... all while my pile of work sat there unfinished. And as I thought about how much trouble I was in, I began wondering how many other lives have been ruined by people getting all distracted because of blogs like Foodiddy and Joy The Baker...


































If you would like to ruin your life too, you can visit the most excellent cooking blog Foodiddy here. And if that's not enough of a distraction, Joy The Baker can be found here. And you can go here if you want to make that stupidly-awesome Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread.

You're welcome!



Posted on December 10th, 2010

Dave!This morning on the way to work I stopped by the mini-mart so I could pick up a package Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. For some reason, I woke up craving Reese's, and I knew that I'd spend my entire day being distracted by my desire if I didn't just give in and buy the dang things.

But since it's kind of silly to be eating candy first thing in the morning, I decided to hold off a bit. So I set the Reese's aside and started work. Sure enough, all I could think about all morning was eating those dang peanut butter cups. I finally relented around 10:30 so I could get on with my life...


Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Candy


The delicious peanut butter centers of my Reese's were dried out. So instead of rich, creamy peanut butter, I ended up with some kind of chalky peanut butter-flavored residue in there. Blech. Now not only did I have to force myself to eat this crummy excuse for a candy bar, I was still craving a good Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

This got me to thinking about Star Trek. Well, not the the REAL Star Trek, but the Captain Picard-infused Next Generation version of Star Trek. On this show they are blessed with an amazing bit of technology awesomeness called a "replicator." You simply tell it what you want, and it materializes it out of thin air...

DAVETOON: Star Trek Lil' Dave Says TEA. EARL GREY. HOT.

DAVETOON: Star Trek Replicator is Glowing!

DAVETOON: Hot Earl Grey Tea Appears in the Star Trek Replicator!!

But that's not even the most amazing part.

When you think about it, the amazing part is that whatever you get out of the replicator is going to be perfect. Every damn time!

Because when they program the thing, they're not going to program it with a crappy cup of hot Earl Grey tea... they're going to program the most amazing fucking cup of hot Earl Grey tea ever made. And that's exactly what you're going to get each and every time. Because, technically, you're getting the SAME cup of tea each time.

And, of course, when they program in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, they'll program a freshly-made bar right off the line with a flawlessly delicious and creamy center.

The list goes on and on. Ever grab a handful of almonds only to have one of them taste like it's going rancid? Not in Star Trek! Ever take a big bite out of an apple only to find it has water-core and tastes like crap? Not in Star Trek! Ever burn the toast? Not in Star Trek! These people not only know the miracle of getting food to appear out of thin air... they don't know what imperfect food tastes like! Everything they ever eat is sublimely perfect. There's never any nasty surprises.

It's like the most amazing thing ever... consistently perfect food.

After flying cars and lightsabers, I'll take a replicator please.

And a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.



Posted on May 14th, 2010

Dave!Today would have been one of my best friend's 50th birthday had he not passed away nine years ago. I try to think of what crazy thing I might have done to celebrate the occasion had he lived to see it, but I am drawing a complete blank. Probably because I don't care about a birthday party... I just want him back. People say that you miss a person less and less as time goes on, but that certainly hasn't been the case here. There are just too many reminders.

He loved Dr. Who, so any time an episode airs, he's there. He never got to see any of the "new" series that began in 2005, and so I can't help but wonder what he would think. Enjoying Dr. Who is mostly impossible for me, as it's the most frequent painful reminder that he's gone. But it's not just Dr. Who. As a fellow sci-fi geek, he was often the first person I'd turn to when some new sci-fi television show or movie debuted. The crappy Star Wars prequels were made even worse because my friend wasn't there to laugh with me over the heinousness of it all. It works both ways, I suppose. He was around to experience the sheer brilliance of The Matrix for which I am eternally thankful... but he was spared from the awful sequels which destroyed the franchise for me. Small consolation, to be sure, but when your best friend is gone, I guess you have to cling to whatever small blessings you can find.

And then there's Star Trek.

The wonderful re-imagining by J.J. Abrams last year was truly bittersweet. Yes I loved the movie. But enjoying it was impossible. Both my friend and I were massive fans. We went to at least a dozen Star Trek conventions together over the years. We met all the primary (and many not-so-primary) castmembers of "The Original Series" and "The Next Generation" series and collected their autographs. We talked about the shows for hours. Star Trek was such an hugely important diversion for the both of us that it's unthinkable that I could ever see anything even remotely Trek-related without my best friend haunting me. The sheer number of great memories I have from our wacky adventures at Trek conventions alone could fill a book. I've been so sorely tempted to share some stories from those days on my blog, but I can never bring myself to do it. It would be like giving away a part of him, and I'm entirely too selfish to do that. Memories are all I have now, and they've become like some closely-guarded secret that I never want to share. A part of me hopes I change my mind one day, because there are tales entirely too good not to share. I guess we'll see if I get less selfish in my old age. Somehow I doubt it.

Our shared sci-fi infatuation also treaded into literary diversions. We attended numerous book signings and author readings together for writers such as William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Douglas Adams, and many others. This is something for which I owe him a tremendous debt, because I'm certain I would have never attended these on my own. I look back on my life and remember such incredible moments as hearing Douglas Adams read from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Clive Barker discussing the thinking behind his own personal favorite novel, Imajica, and wonder what memories I have that could possible replace them. There aren't any. Those moments... those shared moments... are priceless. And I owe them entirely to my friend.

If there was one area we had =zero= overlap, it would be music. His favorite musical artist was Tori Amos. I've never understood it. Even after he dragged me to one of her concerts I was left unimpressed. No doubt she is a truly gifted songwriter and performer, but her stuff just isn't for me. He, of course, had no interest in my 80's New Wave music addiction. New releases by bands like Depeche Mode and The Thompson Twins that would put me over the moon for weeks were just something for him to laugh at. I remember when Depeche Mode's Ultra was released we were in Seattle, so I picked it up. When we got back to his place, I was so excited to listen to the album that I couldn't hop in my car and drive home to listen to it... I had to listen to it now and popped it into his CD player. The minute Barrel of a Gun started thumping through the speakers, his reaction was to pick up his cat, cover her ears, and say "It's okay... it will all be over soon." Insulting my favorite band like that would have been unforgivable if it weren't so damn funny. Whenever I hear a song from Ultra I just picture his cat looking completely puzzled as my friends hands covered the side of her head. I love the memory almost more than the music.

Television, books, movies, sci-fi, comics, and all the geeky crap that went with them were an integral part of what kept us friends for so long. But they were all incidental to the one thing that brought us together... computers.

My friend ran a local computer bulletin board system (BBS) where other computer geeks could dial in with their telephone modems to send messages to each other and share information. It was a crude (very crude) precursor to equivalent services that would later become commonplace on the internet, but that was all we had. Every once in a while users from the various local BBSs would assemble in Real Life for a "Pizza Bash" where many friendships ended up forming. Including ours. Despite different platforms (I was Atari, he was Amiga) the wild computer frontier was an adventure we shared until the day he died (though it was a lot less "wild" in later years).

I don't have a single computer-related memory worth remembering that doesn't have my friend in it. Even when I didn't know who he was, and a "personal computer" was just something freaky and new at the high school library to goof around with, he was there. And, as he was six years ahead of me in school, that's quite a feat. Turns out he helped the local computer shop install/maintain/repair the school computers from time to time. And so he was there from the beginning for me (he was also there when we got to meet Kiki Stockhammer and Wil Wheaton during a NewTek Video Toaster workshop, but that's another story).

The great equalizer between us in the computer platform wars was the Macintosh. I bought a Mac so I could use Photoshop with the pricy scanner I had just purchased. I was instantly smitten, and my loyalty to Atari computers vanished overnight (an Apple Whore was born!). My friend remained a steadfast Amiga user, despite my constant pressure for him to switch.

Until Myst.

Myst was a revolutionary (for the time) graphical adventure game released in late 1993. More than a game, it was an all-absorbing work of art. There was nothing else really like it, and it ran only on Macintosh computers with a CD-ROM. I bought the game because somebody had recommended it to me, but never actually played it until weeks later. The minute I finally started the game, I called my friend at work and told him "YOU HAVE TO COME SEE THIS!!" So he ditched work and came over... then spent the next ten hours hunched over the computer with me playing it until the wee hours. He bought a Mac for himself the next day. That's a bond which can't be broken.

After he had become a Mac convert, my friend dragged out this awesome Macintosh "Picasso Logo" promo-light he had gotten from a local computer shop that was tossing it out. The light was absolutely beautiful and very rare. Mac Whore that I am, I of course wanted it. I coveted that thing every single time I saw it and joked with him once about stealing it. He just laughed that laugh of his and said "Well, you can have it when I'm dead!" For years after, I would joke about plotting his demise so the light would be mine at last. "It's worth risking a manslaughter prison term, you know," I'd say...

Mac Picasso Logo Promo Light
Photo taken from RedLightRunner

For the past nine years it's been agony every time some cool new technology is released and my friend isn't here to share it with me. Mac OS X was released the day before he died. The iPod came seven months later. When the iPhone was released I was depressed for days because it was Star Trek come to life and the first call I wanted to make on it was to my friend. How can I miss him less and less over the years when technology is all about being more and more? There's always something new coming out. He's always the person I want to talk about it with (Myst is available on the iPhone now, for heavens sake!). And that never fades. It never goes away.

March 24th, 2001 I was in Seattle celebrating my birthday with my sister and friends in Seattle. The next day as I was recovering from the drunken debauchery of the previous night, I got a phone call from my mother telling me I needed to call my friend's wife. But I didn't need to call. It's one of those moments you "just know" something terrible has happened and you're about to make a call that changes everything. But I did call his wife. And it did change everything. My best friend of the past sixteen years was gone.

After the funeral, my friend's wife and mother generously invited me over to see if there was anything I wanted to have as a reminder of him. And while there was a lot of stuff of his I'd have loved to own, there wasn't a single bit of it that I wanted. No "thing" could ever take his place. No piece of "stuff" would make me miss my friend any less.

So I politely refused.

After I took the Macintosh Picasso Logo Light, of course.

The bastard would have been furious with me if I hadn't.

Happy 50th birthday, Howard. I love and miss you every day.



Posted on January 14th, 2009

Dave!I just paid $4.00 for a bottle of Italian Spring Water at my hotel.

I wish I could say that when I close my eyes and drink it, the taste is evocative of Italy... but all I taste is wet. That's a darn shame.

So here I am in San Diego. It's a wonderful place that everybody should visit at least once in their life. If, for no other reason, to make a pilgrimage to the city of my birth. There isn't a temple here in honor of the occasion, but there really should be. Or maybe instead of a temple there could be a statue of me standing in Balboa Park. I dunno. There just needs to be someplace my worshippers can go to go pay their respects and place flowers to celebrate my greatness. And make a donation to the Dave Monument I'm planning to build in the land formerly occupied by Mt. Ranier National Park.

Hmmm... I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but San Diego would be the perfect place to put my Daveland amusement park! I will convince the city to plow under the San Diego Zoo and put Daveland there instead! What a great location!

Boy, being back to the city of my birth really has me firing on all cylinders tonight.

And speaking of San Diego... there's a few people in town wanting to meet up for dinner on Friday night, if you're in the area and would like to come along, please send me an email ASAP so we can make plans. My email address is at the top of the sidebar on every page.

Kirk says Khaaaaaan

Unfortunately, I landed to learn of the terrible news that Ricardo Montalban had died.

I, of course, loved him as Mr. Roarke on the show Fantasy Island. Every kid growing up in the late 70's did, because he was the epitome of coolness. He'd walk around in those flawless white suits being all friendly and good-natured and "Welcome to Fantasy Island" and stuff. But then he'd occasionally show his darker side... proving that he could be a total badass as well. It's unthinkable to envision anybody else playing the character except Mr. Montalban (indeed, even the brilliant Malcolm McDowell couldn't manage it when there was a failed revival series twenty years later).

But, to me and so many others, Ricardo Montalban will forever be Khan...

Ricardo Montalban as Khan

The role of the maniacal villain in the second Star Trek film was not an easy one to play. Indeed, I'd say it was a thankless and impossible role to play. As written, the part was so badly over-the-top... almost to the point of being comical.

Until it was performed by Ricardo Montalban.

He played the character deadly-serious, and turned in a performance so riveting that it cemented Khan as one of the greatest movie villains of all time (indeed, even the brilliant Malcolm McDowell couldn't top it in a follow-up film, Star Trek: Generations). After watching Star Trek II, I fell in love with all things Trek again, and I really have Ricardo Montalban to thank for it. He will definitely be missed.

Even if you don't like Star Trek, you should absolutely check out Wrath of Khan. Montalban's performance is totally worth it. Oh, and don't forget his masterful performance in the first The Naked Gun movie as well!

Lastly, I urge you to read a fantastic blog entry about what it was like working with Mr. Montalban over at Mark Evanier's News From Me site. He was truly an amazing guy and a class-act.

P.S. All my best wishes to my personal hero, Steve Jobs, for a speedy and full recovery.


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