Monday, November 29, 2010

Irvin Kershner, Director of Empire Strikes Back is Dead

Irvine Kershner, image: Lucasfilm
The Hollywood Reporter and New York Times are reporting that Irvin Kershner, director of Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back has passed away. I'm so sad to learn this as Empire has long been my favorite of the original trilogy movies.

Empire was the dramatic engine of the trilogy and turned a wild and wooly ride into the stuff of myth. Here's to a sharp, creative mind that will be deeply missed.

A slight interruption

So, at the beginning of the month I was all psyched about getting back to the blogosphere after some reoccurring computer virus nastiness. Well fate intervened and took one look at my eagerness and promptly blasted it into atoms by snapping the hinge on my laptop, thus rendering it a flop-top.

While the computer itself still works, the monitor is shot. Factor in the holiday, an uptick in real-life work, and a new RPG side project, and it's no wonder the lot of blogs lain fallow for a few weeks. This past weekend I remedied the situation by picking up a new little netbook to get me by and I'm quite pleased with it. I finally finished transferring my project files to it last night, so blogging will resume shortly. Thanks for hangin' in there.

As a consolation, I offer this sweet collection of retro-space art. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friends of Starship Warden: Gamma World Creator Jim Ward is Very Ill

I'm a bit behind the curve on this, but still wanted to pass along that Jim Ward, author of Metamorphosis Alpha, the original Gamma World, and one of TSR's founding editors has fallen seriously ill and is in need of some help. His family and close friends have set up a website to help alleviate some of the cost of his care. From the website:
He has been diagnosed, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, with a serious neurological disorder. The gaming world came close to saying goodbye to yet another of the pioneers of RPGing several months ago. The experts say that Jim's condition is treatable and manageable, but will remain very serious forever.

Jim is very, very slowly recovering; every day is a new skirmmish with the disorder. He still suffers from acute bouts of dizziness and a pervasive lassitude due to bodily energy issues.

While Jim and his family are fortunate to have some health insurance, the co-pays are mounting at an alarming rate, having hit five digits some while ago and showing no signs of abating any time soon.
Having had a grandmother treated there for Alzheimer's, I can vouch that the Mayo Clinic provides amazing neurologic care. If you've enjoyed any of Mr. Ward's fine work, this Thanksgiving weekend would seem to be an ideal time to visit Friends of Starship Warden and share your appreciation.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Is "The Lost Future" SyFy's Foray into Gamma World?

Either I don't watch enough TV (that hardly seems possible!) or this is bound to be so bad that they didn't bother promoting it. But the SyFy Channel is premiering a new movie-of-the-week that skirts very close to Gamma World territory. It stars Sean Bean (of LotR fame) as a primitive tribesman living among civilization's ruins. Check out the trailer and this blurb from IMDB:
A group of post-apocalyptic survivors, struggle to survive in a world where jungles and forests and primeval wetlands and deserts have obliterated civilization. They staunchly face genetically mutating beasts and mysterious diseases in an attempt to re-establish the human race as masters of Earth.
SyFy's webpage is even more sparse on details, but I did spot a mention that the mutations are caused by a disease, rather than nuclear radiation or the happy-black-hole-maker.

Here's another preview (which looks hokey/generic):

Ah man, I'm sorry you had to see that. (And I doubly apologize for SyFy's atrociously obnoxious vid player). But the trailer looks slightly more GW-like. Might be worth checking out for some B-movie fun. For me, it's going to have to wait until it's replayed since I'll be seeing Skyline Saturday!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Obi Wan Kenobi: Idiot!

Warning: following is a rant by an unabashed Star Wars fanboy.

Okay, so I'm working on a few projects with the tube on in the background--Star Wars Attack of the Clones is on Spike (Surprise!). The film is fine, it's not my favorite of the series, but it's passable while I'm working.

In truth I've seen it many times (we own both trilogies) but tonight I came to a realization--Obi Wan Kenobi is the galaxy's worst investigative jedi.

"I don't know why I'm still watching--the prequels don't even get interesting 'till half-way through the last one!"
He spends the better part of the film tracking Jango Fett--a mysterious and obvious miscreant-- from Coruscant, to Kamino, and finally to Geonosis. On Kamino (rainy planet) he learns that Fett is used as the template for an army of clones that the Republic will be footing the bill for. He witnesses them being trained by the thousands, firsthand. He even HAS A CONVERSATION WITH HIM and Fett tells asks him "Do you like your army?" You know--the same army that HE'LL BE FIGHTING LATER ON.

Shortly after their odd staring competition, they fight. Fett escapes, but Kenobi pursues him to the rocky planet Geonosis where the enemies of the Republic are building a droid army. Again, he sees firsthand, the enemy droids being assembled by the thousands. You'd think it might occur to him that, "Oh that's weird, we just left one army-building facility...look, here's another!" All without asking why the human template for the clones is working for the bad guys. Jedi are apparently oblivious when it comes to corporate conflict of interest on a galactic level.

"Yeah we've got matching pajamas/bath robes too, but full dental? I knew we were getting screwed!"

It would be like following Dogg the Bounty Hunter from the marine base at Quantico and trailing him straight to an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan where he happens to stroll right in without incident--and the whole time never raising one iota of suspicion.

Later, Fett confirms he's working for the separatists when he STANDS NEXT TO DOOKU (Osama Bin Laden?) AS THEY FIGHT THE JEDI. This pretty much cements the connection between the two facilities. Hundreds of Jedi witness this, including members of the Jedi Council. Nobody in the Jedi Order seems to care because they collect on the pre-ordered clones (hello? Human trafficking!) and think nothing of it. Naturally, all are completely surprised when their troops turn out to be duds and start killing good guys in the sequel.

All the while--no one wonders if both sides might actually be working for the bad guys.

More proof that the Republic skimps on dental coverage.
So, a few questions:

1. Aren't jedis, like, the wisest, most perceptive people in the galaxy?
2. Wouldn't any of this raise a red flag with the Jedi Council--Obi wan keeps them up to date via holo-phone after all?

It all starts with Obi Wan Kenobi, the densest, least perceptive person in the universe.

Again, I don't expect much from AotC, but seriously.


/end rant

Fueled up and back on track!

Seriously, again? WTF?!
After a (too long) involuntary hiatus spent repelling yet another attack from cyberspace invaders, I've been slowly ramping back up to full power. I actually had to leave it with the shop for a WEEK. It took another week of running updates and backing up files and now things seem to be running smoothly again.

So, what does this mean exactly? Well, we're back on track for the return of Far Out Finds next Sunday and a whole slew of other goodness that I've been writing in--let's call it--"analog mode" (see right).

In any case, I'm a big believer in making up for falling short of the goal line, so I offer up a few time(space) killing links that will surely suck up any free moments you had planned for something more productive. (Note to self: "Timespace Killers" sounds like a cool idea for some sort of dimensional hit squad!)....

Anyway, you get what I mean--you click on a link that seems inoccuous enough and the next thing you know 4 hours have gone by. Here's a few recent time holes I've lost time too:
So those should keep you occupied while I get a few more posts in this week.

Expiscor Eternus!