Thursday, September 28, 2006

3D Thursday

More work on the Surak. On the one hand, I'm getting pretty good at this, on the other hand, this post-1975 stuff (I suppose I should dial back to 2001 and Silent Running - HEY! This is all Douglas Trumbull's fault!) is kind of a pain. Those guys could just run to the hobby shop and glue a bunch of tank and battleship parts to their model. Of course, if they made a mistake they couldn't just go back to a saved file. All balances out I suppose.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Outer Pla- er, Thingies

Boy, these guys must be bummed. I mean, they launch a zillion dollar probe that's going to take YEARS to get there. And they launch it at a PLANET. By the time it gets there it could be a stellar anomoly or something.

The Story So Far

Back to the daily updates.

For those of you that don't know AND care, the Sci-Fi Chanell has posted "Battestar Galactica: The Story So Far". It's a 44 minute re-cap of the first two seasons narrated by Laura Roslin. If you haven't seen the show and don't care about spoilers (since that's what this is FOR) it's a good intro. It's not quite how I would have done it, but now I don't have to. I think that they skip over some important bits. They boil the show down to the really plotty episodes but I think they miss some big points even out of those. BIIIIIG plot points. Laura's cancer is one of the smaller ones. They also play with the chronology a bit, which works (The Lighter is shown during the initial Cylon attack).

Anyway, if'n you want, go look at it. Available (free) on iTunes and elsewhere. Friday week the pain and suffering, er, the show starts up again.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Heads Will Roll

I think canceling this opera is the right and proper thing to do. After all, Madonna cancelled her concert in Rome where she hung on a crucifix. Er, no, wait... But we never see federally funded art that shows, say, the Virgin Mary sculpted out of dung, or a picture of Pope John Paul II in a jar of urine. No, no, got that wrong too.

Hrmmm, maybe this might POSSIBLY be a different standard than other religions are held to. Wow. What are the odds? In Europe no less. It's a head-scratcher all right.

Still no Christian suicide bombers, Ms. O'Donnell. But we'll let you know.

Vulcan Shuttle

Sorry about the lack of updates. Blah blah blah Star Trek. Blah blah blah funny little videos. Blah blah blah Bill Clinton is the greatest show on Earth.

But I did start a new ship. From Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the long range shuttle Surak. My first post-TOS Trek ship. I tell you, once they started doing more than sticking a saucer on a stick these things get complicated.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lego Star Wars

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Amazing Grace: The Motion Picture

Aye, we be writin' 'bout a slaver ship today, you scaberous dogs!

So Sunday night we sang an arrangement of Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin and it was mentioned that this arrangement (with an additional chorus) is actually going to be in a film from Walden Media. This should have cought my attention more than it did. For many of you, it did just now. For those that it didn't, I will continue the story. The rest of you will have to be patient. Patience is good. A virtue some might say. Those same some might imply that I'm pushing my luck. Sure, last week I didn't write enough, now I'm writing too much. Anyway. The film details the story of William Wilberforce who was instumental in the abolition of the slave trade in England and was a member of the congregation where John Newton composed Amazing Grace. The film was shown at the the Toronto Film Festival last week and it will premier February 23, 2007 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the date the British Parliament voted to abolish slavery throughout the Empire. Hey, sometimes we get there first, sometimes they get there first.

So I heard about this and not making the Walden connection thought this was some nice little indy flick. Then Hugh Hewitt mentioned that he had been to Walden over the weekend and talked about who they were. Well, Walden Media was who made The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. You'd think I'dve known that. Check out this cast. William Wilberforce is being played by Horatio Hornblower himself! (He's not Reed Richards until he's in a GOOD Fantastic Four movie.) It's got Albert Finney as John Newton. And Michael Gambon as somebody or other (who is not Dumbledore). It's directed by Michael "The World is Not Enough" Apted with music by David "Tomorrow Never Dies / Independence Day" Arnold. That should be interesting.

-- Arrrgh. (Grrr.)

Hang 'em From the Highest Yardarm!

So, how offended do I have to be before this becomes innapropriate, or insensitive? I don't plan on beheading anyone. I'm not going to blow anything up. I don't want to go to a march (where I would threaten to blow something up while beheading someone - heck why just threaten?). I think she should alter the act to include Moses, Buddah, and the show-stopper himself, Mohammed. RATINGS! Like you've never seen! Especially when your studio gets burned to the ground!

But I guess we wacky Christ-folk will do what we do. We'll write angry letters, we'll pray, we'll forgive (workin' on it), and in the more extreme cases around the world (NOT related to has-been singers on TV shows) we'll die. Yeah, like that's gonna get anybody's attention. But it's worked for the last two thousand years. I know, Ms. O'Donnell, we're a scourge.

-- Arrrgh.


Just so ye not be fergettin', today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, matey. O' course they posted it as the headline of Yahoo, those scaliwags, but maybe ye missed it there and ye had ta' see it here. Arrrrrgh! (Why is the rum gone?!?)

Monday, September 18, 2006


Sorry it's been sparse. Busy at work. I don't have the gumption for political ranting. (We're all gonna die. Is that short enough?) I haven't really got any new CG (but I will soon).

Star Trek: Remastered. I saw Miri. I haven't seen Balance of Terror yet. I'll give Miri a C+. I think their biggest problem is lighting. Maybe lighting an materials. It looks like game art from about five years ago. They really have lived up to their intention of just trying to recreate the original effects in a resolution to which the audience has become accustomed. They just didn't do a particularly inspiring job of it. Since there's no newly added WHOOSH factor (again: only Miri so far - so pretty much just planet shots) they invite a more direct comparison between the new version and the original. And they pretty much only got a base hit. (Arrgh! A sports metaphor in my Star Trek!) I think I could have done these effects as well, which is a little sad. That said, they managed a curiously retro-looking Earth. It was a weird mishmash of modern space shot and 1960s effect. I found it charming.

These new versions aren't drastic enough to woo the Star Wars prequel crowd, but they aren't done well enough to grab the attention of the old guard. OTOH, these are still being made. Like a series in production (because it is) they will (hopefully) learn from their mistakes. Whether this means we will see better CG or merely fancier composition remains to be seen. So far we haven't wandered into Star Wars territory. Paramount has been studiously noisy that the originals will remain available. We'll re-enter this debate in however many years time if and when the original eps become unavailable and are replaced with these "remasters".

Speaking of Star Wars (and when do we not?) I got the new DVDs. I got the collector's tin at Best Buy. The tin has painted artwork on it instead of photoshop. (If you went to Wal-Mart they came with comic books. It was a tough call.) In their meager defense, the DVD covers have photoshop on the front and the artwork that the photoship is based on is on the backs. The DVD menus are all original poster art, as well as all of the art on the discs themselves. It's not a bad looking package. They didn't put their best foot forward, but the rest of it was really cool.

It's almost disconcerting to see the titles go right from "STAR WARS" to "It is a period of civil war..." with no Episode IV: A New Hope. This will, of course, only reinforce my 1977 snobbiness. On my (kinda) little TV, the transfers look great. Well, great as ever. I HATE the uber-crisp, over-saturated transfer that the SEs got. The lightsabers and blaster fire looks much better on these "washed out" transfers, in my opinion.

On the one hand I think they could have done SOME clean up work (there's a lot of wiggle in the opening shots) but otoh this looks like Star Wars to me. This looks like it's pre-digital. And everything looks like it was made at the same time, not twenty to twenty-five years apart. That's the biggest thing I hate about the SE changes: They don't look like they're the same movie. They're fun. Some of them are really cool. The Falcon taking off out of Mos Eisley rocks. Just not in Star Wars.

There were about 19 different audio mixes of Star Wars, even in 1977 (70mm Dolby mix, stereo mix, mono mix, Ben Burtt had a boring day and wanted something to do mix). This one STILL doesn't have "Close the blast doors!" on it. I think that mix is lost, since when they "restored" it on the SE its obviously not the same voice. But I can hear Williams' music loud and clear when the X-wings start their attack run.

As I've said before these will not look great on your nice big 16:9 TV set (which I don't have yet) which is what all of the pitchforks and torches are for (this time). But don't worry, by all accounts, Lucas will be making a grab for our wallets again next year for the 30th anniversary. If they don't include nicer copies of the original movies than these, I'm staying home again. Wow, I feel like I have free will again!

I now have Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi on my video iPod. That's cool.

BTW, I am now officially a sub-40 fuddy-duddy. The menus load with a very brief animation and then just sit there. I LOVE it. I think there should be some basic rules of DVD menus. They should be clear, basic, let you do everything easily. They should be created with the notion that people will BUY this disc and might watch it more than once. When I boot up my Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD I don't WANT to watch your stupid little animation. I want to watch my show! Star Trek is worse. The Harry Potter DVDs are of the devil. So is Batman Begins. If I want to watch all the extras, I don't want to play a (*expletive*) GAME to get to my CONTENT. Grrrr. Arrrgh. That Star Wars menus are juuuuuust perfect. Oh, one other thing. If there's a BIG SURPRISE at the end of a movie? DON'T PUT IT ON THE MENUS! Stupid gits. I know people to this day are cheesed that the BIG SURPRISING SPACE SHIP from the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind is on the COVER of the DVDs. I'm inclined to agree. Someday I'll have to rate good DVD menus and bad ones. I know someone who accidentally left the menu screen running on The Thomas Crown Affair and wound up killing his whole family. Very sad.

Don't forget: Tomorrow is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrgh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Six years old today. Believe it or not. Ahhh, nothing like the young to make you feel old, right?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

Today after work I will be driving to Best Buy. I will be buying Star Wars for the first time since 1993. I may hate the transfer when I get a widescreen TV, but for today I will be content.

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy....

Here's a review.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tallguy History

My first ever Star Trek toy! Colorforms! (How can you NOT love the internet?)

We got these on a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's in Phoenix when I was 6. I'd play with colorforms and watch Star Trek in the afternoons. I remember it threw me when The Menagerie was a TWO-PARTER. I don't remember if I watched Balance of Terror then or if I just remember the Romulan ship from the end credits. Maybe both.

Anyway, just to point out, this is obviously all my parents' fault.

Happy Star Trek Day!

Hi gang. Not too much done to celebrate this great day of the 40th Anniversary, alas. I think there's a Trek special on TVLand tonight.

But I did continue tinkering with this. Changed the window sizes, altered the shapes of the control towers a bit. Did a lot of mesh cleanup that you can't see. I think I have two details to add before it's "done" but that would just mean that I've got another untextured mesh.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Roddenberry Spins in His Grave

Here's the latest in the long progression of Franz Joseph Star Trek ships. The Federation Class Dreadnought. Back when the Feds shot first because they didn't want to wonder if they'd be able to shoot second. Kind of a Han Solo thing.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So long, farewell, Qapla', goodnight!

Ok, this is the weirdest thing I've heard today!

Ex-Klingons J.G. Hertzler (Martok) and Robert O'Reilly (Gowron) are joining several of the surviving members of the von Trapp family, made famous by the Oscar-winning film The Sound of Music, in a low-budget Christmas film.

The two Deep Space Nine actors will appear in The von Trapp Children Christmas Movie, according to ncFilm, which reports on movies shooting in the North Carolina area. The film will shoot at Durham's Studio in the Woods as well as on location in Greensboro, NC and Montana, with a start date of December 2006.

Four children descended from the original von Trapp family singers - Sofia, 18, Melanie, 16, Amanda, 15, and Justin, 11 - have been touring as a singing act but are taking time off for the film, according to Reuters. The four are grandchildren of Werner von Trapp, the younger of the two boys portrayed in The Sound of Music (there renamed Kurt).

Other cast members include Jerry Mathers, Kathy Lamkin and Megan Blake. The film, budgeted at less than $4 million, is being directed and shot by a team of former Star Trek visual effects specialists, including a cinematographer, production designer and composer. The Trek team members were acquaintances of the CEO of Studio in the Woods, a former state government liaison for public events including Star Trek conventions.

The von Trapp children will sing in the film, though it is not a musical but a road trip movie. Mathers' character narrates the story, written by Paul Shapiro. Werner, Agathe (Liesl) and Maria (Louisa) are the surviving members of the original von Trapp Family Singers, who fled Nazi-occupied Austria in the 1930s. The film is slated for a 2007 release.

I... I just don't know what to say. Klingons, Leave it to Beaver, and Sound of Music. Oh my!

If you saw this in a movie...'d call BS. But in real life? Some people can do some pretty amazing things with really ugly aircraft.

New BSG - Early

Hi gang. Looks like the webisodes of Battlestar Galactica are up. I'll watch when I get home. One month 'till the new shows! Huzzah! (And the new DVDs will be out in a twinkling, so we can all be caught up and the street will overflow with SPOILERS! Oooooooh!)

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Ahhhh, but don't worry. It's still a really GEEKY football post.

Here's the new theme for NBC's Sunday Night Football. Composed by some Williams guy.

From the sounds of it, does this mean the NFL is being replaced by droid armies controlled from space? Coooooool.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Trek Update Update

Here's more. Some interesting details floating about today (yesterday, whendever).

Seems the way the project has been kept airtight under wraps is that it hasn't been going on that long. A couple of months. They don't have 79 episodes in the can waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. More info here at Ain't it Cool.

With the news that they don't have all of the eps actually finished, this just occurred to me. In a way, Star Trek is back in production! There are people scrambling like crazy to put Star Trek on the air every week! How cool is that?

How'd you like to be the poor sod who has to make Alternative Factor interesting? But I bet in a sick way they're actually competing for who gets to do "Spock's Brain".

Some people have asked, is this being done by the Trek Enhanced guy? The answer is no, and Mr. Dochterman has his thoughts here on his blog.

Well, Star Trek is about to turn 40. No, I won't have an animation up, but it looks like someone will. And then some.

The Blorg!

It's Friday. So I leave you with this week's Brewster Rockit.