The Sun's Shadow

Stumbling to find a light switch in the dark

V The Second Generation

Seems like I am on a Sci-Fi tear lately. I recently picked up V The Second Generation By Kenneth Johnson. Kenneth Johnson wrote and created the original mini-series. The book was published earlier this year as a sequel to the original NBC V Mini-series. The book disregards any events of V the Final Battle and the subsequent TV show (Johnson had nothing to do with either of these). Here are some excerpts from wikipedia to give you a reminder of the story.

Aliens arrive on Earth in a fleet of 50 huge, saucer-shaped motherships, which hover over key major cities. They reveal themselves on the roof of the United Nations building in New York City, and are human in appearance, but require special glasses to protect their eyes and have a distinctive low resonance to their voices. Simply referred to as the Visitors, they reach out in friendship, ostensibly seeking the help of humans to obtain chemicals needed to aid their ailing world. In return, the Visitors promise to share their advanced technology with humanity.

However, strange things are soon noted. Scientists find themselves facing increasing media hostility, and government restrictions on their activities and movements. Others, particularly those keen on examining the Visitors more closely, begin to disappear or are discredited

Journalist and TV cameraman Michael Donovan (Singer) sneaks aboard one of the Visitors’ motherships and discovers that beneath their human like facade, the aliens are reptilian in nature, and carnivorous – preferring to eat live food, like rodents and birds

A resistance movement is formed, determined to expose and oppose the Visitors as much as possible…The true purpose of the Visitors’ trip to Earth is to conquer and subdue the planet, steal all of the Earth’s water and harvest the human race as food, leaving only a few as slaves and soldiers/cannon fodder for the Visitors’ wars with other alien races.

 

The book picks the story up 20 years later the resistance has been badly crippled and earth is under total Visitor rule, 50% of the Earth’s water has already been taken by the Visitors and millions of people have disappeared. At the end of the mini-series one of the Resistance tactics is to transmit in to space a distress call in the hope that the visitors have enemies that will come and help. Well it took 20 years but the visitors do have enemies and they make contact with the resistance. As you can imagine not a moment too soon… in classic sci-fi drama they show up in humanities darkest hour.

The story and prose are both good for sci-fi, perhaps that is because its not so much sci-fi as it is a story about life under an oppressive fascist regime and people working in common cause for freedom. It brings back some of the characters both good and bad from the original mini-series and updates you what has transpired in the last 20 years.

This is an enjoyable summer read you certainly feel caught up in the cause. I do have doubts if this book can stand on its own… not that it is a constant reference to the original mini-series but having recently re-watched the mini-series it certainly added to my enjoyment of the novel and provides a stark contrast from the visitor take over to them being entrenched in dominion over the earth.

If you enjoyed V in the 80’s this book will likely not disappoint.

V is for Victory

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July 29, 2008 Posted by | Books, Entertainment, Sci-Fi | , , | 2 Comments

STAR TREK Fan Productions

I must of lost my trekker licence years ago when I stopped going to conventions. I always enjoyed Star Trek unfortunately like many “at one point dedicated fans” I’ve seen every episode of anything to do with Star Trek probably multiple times. I have grown weary waiting for new series and want some new trek… which is not coming any time soon. Everyone should judge their own the level of fandom.

      The other day I remembered George Takei in his role as the announcer for the Howard Stern Show mention that he had recently filmed a new Star Trek episode (this is a memory from a long while ago)… not a Paramount production but one that was created for and by fans of the Star Trek… the comment on the show was only entertained briefly and was dismissed with out much discussion the idea can almost seem absurd… it actually did seem absurd until yesterday when I recalled this little nerd nugget in my head like a sleeping trek-bomb that explodes and I do a search for Star Trek Fan Productions and POW! There is a stunning amount of it. I was having mixed feelings but I trusted my gut, normally I punch it but I checked it out.

STAR TREK PHASE II (Formerly New Voyages) This picks up at what would be season 4 of the original series, obviously all the actors have been recast. The production value is high the effects are by far better than in TOS. The acting is weak… but that is alright I can see how tough stepping in to any of those characters would/could/should be. The Story is… not bad… in fact it is pretty decent. I won’t bother with a synopsis you can check the link for all the info on it. I did have a feeling of watching Star Trek maybe the college play version of it… but did I mention the Story and the CGI. Plus its fun, the idea of Kirk, Spock and McCoy had many further adventures together and we get to see more of them… sweet but alot to live up for a fan. They also have Walter Koenig and George Takei guest star as Chekov and Sulu in different episodes and that is sweet the really worked them back in to the story. Very enjoyable!

I also watched another of one of the fan film productions

Star Ship Exeter This show is also set during the time frame of TOS, however it centers around the USS Exeter NCC-1706 another Constitution Class Star Ship. You follow the adventures of the Exeter’s crew as they muddle their way through space on their mission of exploration and being the first guy to see or do something. The second episode has better overall production value than the first, however the first was a work in progress and they are clearly progressing. The Andorians antenna still needs to be in the front of his head… The CGI is excellent by mid 90’s standards. This concept I find exciting if they can develop the stories a little more and the acting… well I guess we will just live with that… but tales from other ships in the fleet and their perspective on events and interactions with elements already familiar to the audience could be appealing and make for some good Trek adventures.

This only scrapes the tip there are many others… apparently there is something called Star Trek Hidden Frontier that has produced 50 episodes which is set during the TNG post the Insurrection movie… I think… I haven’t watch any of these yet… but to make 50 of them their has to be some promise to them.

I don’t know who or how these are being made the clearly it takes time and effort by a lot of people and that is to be commended from what I have see so far the production values they are much higher than I imagined. Its a good feeling to be impressed by something like this mostly because I understand none of this is done for profit. This is just made by fans for fans and distributed freely to anyone. Paramount allows tolerates the use of the Star Trek Trademark….It is likely subtle and more complicated…but to who ever is putting up the money and to all who dedicate their time… THANK YOU!

If you were a fan of Star Trek… like me you once had the sickness of being obsessed with it,  maybe this is worth your time… OH BOY AM I LATE TO THIS DANCE

UPDATE:I have watched the first few seasons of Hidden frontier and this is closer to what I was expecting but still better than I originally thought it could be. These episodes are filmed entirely in front of a green screen and the CGIis more on the Video Game side. The green screen setting limits some of the actors interactions with their surroundings, for instance you won’t see a helmsman actual touch the helm… All and all not bad and gives me further hope for stories from fans that are set in the Trek universe.

I wonder if there are fans of other shows that have made the effort to produce this level of quality fan fiction?

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Personal, Sci-Fi | , , , , | 3 Comments

Aliens Have Made Contact

At least that is the claim that has been made by Dr. Edgar Mitchel former NASA Astronaut. Dr. Mitchel was being interviewed on a radio show and made the following assertions.

“I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we’ve been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomena is real,” Dr Mitchell said.

Then he can identify them why refer to them as UFO’s, they are no longer unidentified they are then alien spacecraft capable of interstellar travel. Does he have any technical information he can share of their more advanced technology?

“It’s been well covered up by all our governments for the last 60 years or so, but slowly it’s leaked out and some of us have been privileged to have been briefed on some of it.

“I’ve been in military and intelligence circles, who know that beneath the surface of what has been public knowledge, yes – we have been visited. Reading the papers recently, it’s been happening quite a bit.”

It’s a massive worldwide cover up among many nations to conceal the truth that immensely more advance alien species has been visiting earth, but why the cover up? Isn’t this the plot to the X-Files? You can read the full article of what Dr. Mitchel said here

This not the first time Dr Mitchel has made this claim regarding UFO’s or even a pseudoscientific claims. He claims that the Roswell crash really happened meaning it was not project mogul He is also an avid ESP researcher and he privately conducted ESP expirements on the moon.

Dr. Mitchel is long on hypothesises but short on the evidence… he clearly claiming to have been brought in on the supposed UFO cover up. He surely should be able to identify other members of the conspiracy something other than we just have his word for it if he was on the inside who else was on the inside. I don’t mean to totally discount his word but I would prefer something to corroborate it or supported with some evidence. Perhaps a few more NASA personnel and astronauts coming forward with a similar experience. I would love nothing more than to find out about the existence of alien life outside earth, I think that for many people it would be a monumental point in the history of humanity to know there is other intelligent life and we are not alone wow that would just be awesome. Unfortunately all we have here is the claims of one man and nothing to support them.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Astronomy, Science, Skepticism | , , , | Leave a comment

Denise Richards its NOT complicated

Have you seen this latest awful celeb reality show Denise Richards its complicated, here the news flash its not complicated. This is an attempt on the part of Denise Richards to set the record straight on who she is and what its like to be her. Now if her attempt is to portray herself as a whinny victim of nothing then she has been a great success.  The show follows her through her daily life where she seems to be mostly overwhelmed by too much free time. She whines about being a single mom and how hard life with her kids is in a McMansion.

In a recent episode she complains about having the paparazzi following her and group of friends on vacation, she complains about this invasion of privacy as she has her own camera crew following her around! The show is a mess and she comes off terribly unbalanced she cries, she carries on, she is basically a mess. This woman needs to be told no at some point, everyone needs to be told no and some point and I think when people told her no she was still hot enough the put up with her… but the bloom is off the rose. She is so much of a mess that her dad had to move back in with her to help her manage all her free time and help out with kids. That I understand Dad’s do what they have to do.

The title of the show is its complicated, not to the viewer its not complicated it just awful and vain, many single mothers would love to have Denise’s complications. She should go see how complicated it is for a single mother of two making minimum wage or less, now that gets complicated. They don’t get breaks in Hawaii and to fret over being 15 lbs heavier from when they were 22 and they certainly don’t get to spend hours a day with their children, they have to actually work every day to make meager ends meet. I do not believe by any means Charlie Sheen is a saint but nor is Denise Richards a victim, spoiled brat yeah sure at least that is how she comes off on her show. Any complication there is, its likely of her own making.

Here is what the show should have been titled Denise Richards remember her from 10 years ago, now with more awfulness.

Just look at some of the upcoming episode tags

Denise Richards: It’s Complicated: Bikini Shape
Denise must get in bikini shape for her trip to Hawaii. Meanwhile, Denise’s pets get obedience training.

She has to get in Bikini shape clearly right up with rocket science in complication, how will she manage to do this with nothing but free time and running after kids

Denise Richards: It’s Complicated: Hawaii – Searching for Youth
Denise and her girlfriends head to Hawaii in an attempt to reclaim their youth. Meanwhile, Denise tries to overcome her fear of flying.

Reclaim their youth from what, watch 5 minutes and besides wanting to bill her for the 5 minutes of your time you will see that by reclaiming their youth they go topless and learn to paddle a surf board. Also to see why she doesn’t have a lot of acting work lately watch the “panic” attack on a plane.

Denise Richards: It’s Complicated: Denise vs. Tabloids
Denise confronts the tabloids head on. Meanwhile, Denise tries her best to stop swearing.

Tabloids are too mean to me… pout…she tries her best to stop swearing b/c it take considerable mental effort to think about what you are going to say before you say it.

Denise Richards: It’s Complicated: No Jacket Required
Denise must decide whether its time to change her image or model nude again. Meanwhile, Irv gets a Hollywood makeover in preparation for a red carpet event.

Yep and the UN awaits her decision…yawn

I truly hope there is not another season of this.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense, Opinion, TV | , | 1 Comment

You are Not the father

I just cannot take these Maury shows… well actually I can it is such a guilty pleasure. It seems everyday he does these paternity test episodes and every single segment is exactly the same as the one before it. The woman is certain that the man she has brought to the show is the father of her child… and sometimes he is… I often wonder how these people were so intimate as on the show they are so openly hostile. I also think its good in some cases that the person is not the father because the situation looks so awful. I know some of that is probably the work of the producers on the instigating the situation, but still there is a good amount of hostility brewing under the surface… and at most the producer is only stoking the fire that already exist.

One of the segments I particuarly enjoy are the women who have come back to test additional men… there was a woman who had to be up to 15 people… I cannot imagine and so far all have come back as not that father. There has to be a limited time frame in which she became pregnant and she cannot narrow down the amount of people she had sex with. 15 people so far and none of them are a match… the you have the cases of the women who have that look of fear in their eyes. The look of maybe I got pregnant while I was blacked out. I believe some of them are sincere in that they have no idea who the father of the baby could be.

Maury is a cautionary tale of our age. Ladies please make sure you know who is fathering your children, but if you have any doubt or question Maury can help you.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense, TV | , | Leave a comment

The Job Quest

Its only been a little more than 3 weeks since my job broke up with me so its still early going in my search for a new job. I have been doing the normal things I scaled back my activities to conserve money, and I have been sending out multiple resumes a day, as well as trying to take advantage of the parks and things I have been needing to get done for a while now.

I spent the morning at the DMV the other day normally a chore that most people loath for it involves lots of standing around and waiting for your number to be called. I discovered when you have nowhere else to be its not that bad at all, it is the event of your day. I also liked the DMV for another reason because in the DMV we are all equal… everyone comes to the DMV it such a communal place. I just love when you can go somewhere and you see people from all across the world come together and the DMV provides that nicely.

The other great joy of free time is reading, sometimes its educational sometimes it recreational, but whatever I am reading it is awesome to just have time to sit down and start and finish a book. I hope to be posting some book reviews in the future. They will be short and sweet trying to avoid an plot spoilers.

Most of all I try to remain calm while I search for a new job, as I mentioned earlier I have been working every morning on sending out resumes, searching the job message boards, and making calls when I can. The big challenge for me now is to find work I want. I know the times are tough and a lot of people are in the job market with me. What I am trying to avoid is the desperation to get back to work, I would really like for my next job to be a job I really want to go to most days and be something I feel positive about. I have signed up for unemployment and have a meeting with a career counselor next week. I am really looking forward to this meeting. I have been out of college for 8 years and I still feel some of that wanderlust. I have never had a particular desire for any certain field… so when I send out my resume to jobs I am concerned for being too much of a generalist. Hopefully from this meeting I can get some more information and help in locating a good job, and maybe in a field that I could grow in more specifically.

All things considered things are well for the time being, the job quest will continue and in time I will be back among the working for now I will keep searching and keep trying to enjoy my free time while it lasts.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Personal | | Leave a comment

Hole in the Wall

Well I have done it after 8 months in our new apartment (is still new after 8 months) I put a small hole/dent in the wall… I some how have a habit of doing things like this. I don’t try to do make these holes it just happens, often why I am trying not to do some other damage this time to the floor… so what happened was I was trying to adjust the rug on the floor, I moved off the sofa and pulled the rug back and re-centered it in the room. Then I have to move the sofa back on to the rug and being smart the light bulb goes off I think to myself well I shouldn’t drag the sofa on the floor as it could scratch the floor… I will pick the sofa up and place back down gently on the floor… ok no problem I am strong guy and lifting the sofa is not a problem… the problem…the unforeseen problem is the distance to wall which I underestimated… my depth perception is not what my physical strength is. So now a new apartment and a new hole in it. The hole will bepatched and fixed no problem it will just no longer be new to me and I think that bothers me more than having put the hole in the wall. I have lost my pristine illusion of my apartment.

Lesson learned (again): Wait for another person I don’t need to do everything myself!

Update: Hole has been repaired and it looks to be a a job well done, it doesn’t look like there was ever a hole just that some paint chipped

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Personal | | Leave a comment

Late to the Dance

Wow, I am super late to the Dance on this one, but yesterday I was able to catch the Dr. Horrible Sing along blog while it was posted for free. It now only available on itunes. I have purchased it, its from Josh Whedon creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayera show I have previously written about as well as Angel & the short lived show Firefly  go on to IMDB if you want his resume… I enjoyed this show immensely and highly recommend it, so go forth and buy it support we need more like it.

I was going to give you a write up and review and that’s been done by every other blogger and their dead ancestors so how about just a block quote from the Dr. Horrible site instead? Sound good…

Why, Joss? Why? Why now, why free, why us?

Once upon a time, all the writers in the forest got very mad with the Forest Kings and declared a work-stoppage. The forest creatures were all sad; the mushrooms did not dance, the elderberries gave no juice for the festival wines, and the Teamsters were kinda pissed. (They were very polite about it, though.) During this work-stoppage, many writers tried to form partnerships for outside funding to create new work that circumvented the Forest King system.

Frustrated with the lack of movement on that front, I finally decided to do something very ambitious, very exciting, very mid-life-crisisy. Aided only by everyone I had worked with, was related to or had ever met, I single-handedly created this unique little epic. A supervillain musical, of which, as we all know, there are far too few.

The idea was to make it on the fly, on the cheap – but to make it. To turn out a really thrilling, professionalish piece of entertainment specifically for the internet. To show how much could be done with very little. To show the world there is another way. To give the public (and in particular you guys) something for all your support and patience. And to make a lot of silly jokes. Actually, that sentence probably should have come first.

Amen brother Amen

Update: Anyone know where you can get a post graduate degree in horribleness or Mad Science?

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Personal, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

I Invented a Board Game

Last week a took a few days and I decided I wanted to come up with my own board game after the previous weekend’s monopoly debacle. I wanted something simple and fun and based mostly on chance, that didn’t require a negotiation or some kind of strategy and I did it! I left it set up last night as a surprise for my girlfriend to see when she returned home from a weekend trip visiting a girlfriend.

The Game is a simple one I call King of the Jungle where you move around a game board as a jungle animal moving your token to overcome the obstacles and challenges and become king of the jungle, everything is essentially decided by a roll of the die or a flip of a coin. It turned out to be a surprisingly fun game we played it twice, it only takes 15- 20 minutes to play.

When I thought of the idea I tried to make it for a 7 year old to play. i wanted to limit how complicated it can be and to make it a non-stressful game but fun and silly like my ideal self 🙂

It was also a lot of fun to make it was a really nice arts and crafts project… Once I had an idea for a game I made a written outline for it and the style of play, the cards, die rules etc… then I brought it too life, like I was a kid again using poster board, construction paper and glue. It so simple and so fun (have I mentioned that) the only thing was time it took… it took  a few days to flush the idea out, but once it was out it poured out and the game came to life.

Here are just a couple of pics of the game board

A view of a section of the game board with animal tokens on it

A view of a section of the game board with animal tokens on it

The Lion is the King of the Jungle this time, I played as the Gorilla

The Lion is the King of the Jungle this time, I played as the Gorilla

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Personal | | Leave a comment

Do you want to be a Billionaire

You may have caught this over the weekend but Zimbabwe has begun to issues 100 Billion Dollar notes due to the staggering inflation of 2.2 Million percent. The situation over there is just terrible and the people  need help.

The bright side is it makes the US Dollar look very nice. In recent years we have seen the decline of the US Dollar versus other currencies most notable the the British Pound and Euro… If you long for the days of US Dollar domination and when 1 US Dollar got you a boat load of another country’s currency now you have Zimbabwe, were 1 US Dollar will get you 18 Billion Zimbabwe Dollars and you could be a Billionaire!

July 21, 2008 Posted by | United States | , | Leave a comment