Sunday, March 25, 2012

Star Trek vs Star Wars: Round Two

Back in my February 18th post I explained how I wanted to compare the first six Star Wars and Star Trek movies. You can see that blog here.

ROUND TWO: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan vs Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Again, Admiral Kirk finds himself taking control of the Enterprise to do the one thing he was born to do: command a starship. When Khan takes control of his own Federation starship, it leads the crew of the Enterprise to the edge of survival, unites James T. Kirk with the son he never knew, and leads to the death of Captain Spock.

When I was a kid, I remember liking this movie and being terrified by the bug that crawls into Chekov’s ear. I must have watched this film a dozen times on VHS. I was such a huge fan.

After all these years, there were things I forgot about in the plot. I forgot about Chekov’s ‘betrayal,’ Khan detonating the Genesis device (I thought he just activated the self-destruct), and a lot of small stuff.

In watching it again, I found myself just as big a fan as I’ve ever been. Khan’s motivation and ability easily makes him the most imposing villain to go up against the Enterprise’s crew. At the beginning of the movie the Enterprise is being taken out on a training voyage with a load of cadets who scatter as soon as the first attack begins.

The movie is terrific for many reasons: 1) it shows a really fierce starship battle in which neither side seems to have any clear advantage through most of the film, 2) there is a lot of fantastic dialogue between the characters, and 3) the moving death of Spock.

All of these years later and I still get excited when the Enterprise rises up behind the Reliant in the Nebula and lays waste to her. Although I still wish we’d gotten to see Khan’s expression when Enterprise went to warp speed.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Ten years after the events in the Phantom Menace, Senator Palpatine convinces the Jedi Council to assign Senator Amidala Jedi protection. When the council assigns Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, the reunion sparks something in Padme and Anakin that results in them marrying in secret. Meanwhile Obi-Wan uncovers a large clone army and inadvertently begins a war – just as Senator Palpatine had planned all along.

When I saw this film opening weekend, I guess I was still suffering from the open wound of The Phantom Menace because I hated this movie. I thought Anakin and Padme’s many scenes together so close together where they’re hanging out and bonding was a little much back then. I also couldn’t follow Obi-Wan’s story because I didn’t really understand the politics of everything. I also think I was impatient and wanted to answers faster than I was getting them. And it irritated me that Anakin whined more than Luke did in A New Hope.

When I watched this movie again, I found that most of the things I didn’t like had disappeared. I found all the scenes with Anakin and Padame bonding were actually enjoyable. I still didn’t like the lack of emotion between the two – especially when Anakin tells Padme that he senses his mother is suffering and tells her he has to go and Padme says nothing. I wanted her to be the one to say – ‘then we have to go’ like she does when they go off to save Obi-Wan at the end.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this film a lot more than I thought I would.


While Attack of the Clones was a good, fun movie, but there was no real worry that the main characters were in any real danger (except Padme with the worm creatures). And I find it hard to believe that Darth Vader couldn’t find Luke hiding in plain sight on Tatooine with his step-brother. It’s also hard to imagine C-3P0 not telling Luke that he was created by another Skywalker.

The Wrath of Khan had these two passionate leaders who hated each other. All through the movie, Kirk and Khan traded starship fire and heated words. And the picture started on sort of a negative note (with all the "I'm getting older" talk) and had a hopeful ending. The dialogue was great, the action was terrific, it was clearly superior to Attack of the Clones.

While I can see myself watching Attack of the Clones again, it’s easier to imagine me watching Wrath of Khan a lot more.

Star Trek: 1
Star Wars: 1

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New 52 Figures: The Justice League

I’ve been excited about “The New 52” since it was announced. In the past I’ve toyed with the idea of buying enough figures to have a Justice League team on my shelf. The problem was, if there was a toyline offering the entire line-up, the figures didn’t look great. Or if the figures looked great, the entire team wasn’t available.

My friend had a solution. Since DC figures to run 7”, he would but the best looking Superman, Batman, and so on, until he had the line-up he wanted. He has Batman from the Hush figure collection, Wonder Woman from a collection that featured her (it also had Artemis and Diana in that white jumpsuit she used to wear for her ‘civilian’ job – it was a long time ago), and others that he’s slowly accumulated over the years.

Now I have an opportunity to get the best looking figures from DC Direct, designed by Jim Lee, featuring all the members of the new Justice League title. I ordered Batman last month and ordered Aquaman and Green Lantern this month.

Here is when you can expect these awesome figures in stores (I got this information from (just search for ‘new 52 figure’ and these pop right up)):

Batman – May 2012
Aquaman – June 2012
Green Lantern – June 2012
The Flash – August 2012
Wonder Woman – October 2012
Cyborg – October 2012
Superman – January 2013

Batman should be on my shelf next month and by January of next year I should have the entire team on display.

Kickstarter Project: Sunday Punch (my web browser’s homepage) let me know about a Kickstarter project ( featuring Dollhouse’s Dichen Lachman called Sunday Punch. I hadn’t donated anything on before but I’m a Whedon-fanatic so I decided to get involved. I donated $50 which netted me the following:

1) MP3 of "When The Cocaine Wears Off" performed live by singer/songwriter Sally Jaye on the set of Sunday Punch. Unlike most movies, we didn't want Sally and her band to lip-sync and mime along to the studio track, so they played live, on set, on film. Now hear the never-before-released, uncut performance from the movie!

2) DVD of Sunday Punch! These DVDs are taken from our dwindling private stock of the initial 500 disc pressing made for cast & crew, friends & family, and film festival submissions.

3) Set of 2 Sunday Punch mini-posters (both Styles) each signed by Dichen Lachman, Samm Levine, and David Yow.

They tried to raise $4500 to finish the film (i.e. buy the rights to the music they used in the film so they can make it available for sale or to stream) and wound up raising $6500. So what are they using the extra two grand for? Here’s the good news straight from the kickstarter page: “Should we exceed our $4500 pledge goal, every extra dollar will go directly toward the current development of our first feature film Too Late, which will feature Dichen Lachman reprising her role as Jill from Sunday Punch.”

So what is Sunday Punch about? ( describes it this way: “After one too many bad nights, a ring girl decides it's high time to get out from under the thumb of a local gangster, and burn every bridge she can on the way out.”

Figures I'm Looking Forward To: The Avengers & GI Joe Retaliation

Black Widow and Hawkeye figures
Images from
Despite being in previous films (Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and Hawkeye in Thor), neither has been given a movie figure. Iron Man 2 had 700 different Iron Man armors including some truly awful concept armors yet no Black Widow figure. The Thor series didn’t have many figures so there was no real opportunity to get a Hawkeye figure there

Avengers Helicarrier

In this image from ( you can see Clayton Hodges adjusting the Quinjet while the Helicarrier is sprawled out below. I wasted no time picking up the Quinjet and can't wait until it's resting comfortably on the Helicarrier runway.

GI Joe Retaliation – Rock as Roadblock, Bruce Willis as General Joe Colton

In the first wave I got figures of Rachel Nichols (I’m a big fan from her time on Alias) and Dennis Quaid (but no Brendan Frasier figure?). This time around I’m getting The Rock, Adrianne Palicki, and Bruce Willis. I can’t wait to see what other Joes make it to the toy shelves.

Casinos, Education, and Prostitutes, Oh My (or My Week In Vegas)

I went to Las Vegas to attend HIMSS12, a health information management convention at the Sands Expo Center, connected to the Venetian hotel & casino, from Feb 20-23. A co-worker and I stayed down the strip at the Luxor and her husband (who came down to hang out and play golf) drove us to the convention each morning and picked us up each night.

We were there to see if what we could improve in our own system and we attended a lot of talks and spoke to a lot of vendors and assembled a large amount of information. We were at the convention from 7am to 6pm so by the time I got back to the Luxor, I only had enough energy to travel to the two casinos connected to the Luxor – The Mandalay Bay and The Excalibur. I don’t like doing a lot of gambling so I only went through about $10 a day on gambling. Still, any time spent in Vegas is guaranteed to be interesting even if you don’t have the energy to go exploring.

One night, after traveling to both The Mandalay Bay and The Excalibur and eating, I was going back to my room to watch a new Modern Family and Happy Endings and go to sleep when I saw a beautiful girl by the elevators. She said hi and I said hi and then she asked where I was going. I said I was going up to my room and she asked, “Alone?” I said yes and she asked if I was sure. I said yes again and she told me to have a good night. Before I disappeared down the hall to the elevators, I glanced back and she was already talking to someone else.

Remember the Big Bang Theory when Raj was propositioned? I felt like I’d just had that stereotypical encounter that television and movies have promised I would have if I spent enough time in Vegas. Nothing like that has happened in all my years of going to Las Vegas and probably never will again but now I can say it happened to me.

I flew up and back on Spirit airlines. On the way back I was able to upgrade to a big seat (there is no first class but instead of rows of three, the big seats are two per row in the very first row) and I recommend it. In a tense travel experience thanks to the TSA screening process, Spirit was a friendly, laid back airline whose employees were always smiling and helpful.

As far as staying at the Luxor, in the front and all over the casino were trying to offer me vouchers for listening to some sales pitch and sign up for something. After the eighth time I fought off an aggressive employee trying to usher me off to a desk to sign up for something, I just ignored them and kept walking. The Luxor is a nice place, but not a place I’m likely to stay in again because of all the pestering. Update

I originally posted a blog about back on 9/11/2011 and decided that since I’ve gotten a few new shirts, it was time for an update. update (original article published 9/11/2011)
11/4/2012 – Pac Man / Super Mario Brothers mash up
I’m a huge Pac Man fan and of course I remember the chain ball/dog thing from Super Mario World so this shirt was an instant buy.

12/24/2012 – Firefly inspired ‘Shiny’ shirt
The word ‘Shiny’ in the shape of Serenity was too good to pass up.

2/6/2012 – Community and Calvin & Hobbes mash up
I’m a huge Community fan and I like Calvin & Hobbes. I love all the in-jokes on this one from Abed saying “Cool. Cool, cool, cool”, Kick Puncher, special drink, and the blanket fort.

2/13/2012 – Buffy inspired album cover, Scoobies (by Joebot, the artist who brought you similar album covers featuring the Firefly inspired, ‘Fireflies’ album cover that got me addicted to in the first place)

Comic Con Sells Out In 90 Minutes

As I indicated last year, I didn’t think I was going this year. I knew the tickets were going on sale at 8am Saturday morning and slept until 9am. Then I tooled around the house before hanging out with a friend. I skipped registration completely. In the past few years, the only thing I’ve really been excited about are the Hasbro exclusives. I figure for the price of a 4 day pass and the price of parking – I can afford the upsell of the exclusive figures on eBay.

Besides, there are always other ways to geek out during the year. Once Wondercon goes back to San Francisco next year, maybe Wizard World will come back to Los Angeles or Anaheim.

As for the Comic Con, maybe I’ll go back next year. But for now I need to recharge my Con batteries and maybe I’ll miss it and when I go back I’ll appreciate it more.

Lindsey Lohan makes her comeback on SNL

Last Saturday night, Lindsey Lohan made a ‘comeback’ on SNL. This was to celebrate the end of her probation and rehab problems and was meant to welcome her back to performing. Despite the numerous online articles about how much people hated the show, I liked it.

There was a lot of “she’s looking at the cue cards.” As a regular SNL viewer I can tell you that MOST HOSTS LOOK AT THE CUE CARDS. And the sketches were actually funny and she playfully poked at all of her recent problems.

I admit I’m a Lindsey fan and I root for her to do well and I thought last night’s SNL was no better or worse off for having her – it was its usual amount of great.

RIP: Davy Jones (30 December 1945 – 29 February 2012)

I love The Monkees. Always have. I remember catching reruns of the show when I was home sick. And I remember the resurgence of their popularity during the 80’s. I respect and admire Davy Jones and will continue to enjoy the work he left behind.