Got vs WW

I just started Watchmen on HBO and am astounded at how good it is. Whenever a show like this debuts I wonder if it’s going to be a Game of Thrones type show or a WestWorld type show. Watchmen appears to be of the WestWorld variety.

Game of Thrones was an intense experience I tuned into with addictive frequency to see whom would be killed, banished, or beheaded next. But I never spent time away from the show thinking about the broader implications of the story. It was an entertaining but intellectually disposable soap opera.

On the other hand, I watched each episode of WestWorld every night until the next one came out. I also spent time online chatting about the implications of robots capable of replacing humans, discussing the mystery of the Man in Black, conjecturing on the true mission of the park.

The OA was very much a WestWorld type show. Stranger Things, on the other hand, falls into the Game of Thrones column. There is nothing wrong, by the way, with either column. They are just two different ways of enjoying entertainment. I happen to slightly prefer the way the WestWorld experience delightfully engages my obsessive need to uncover answers to mysteries over spending hours in whispered huddles discussing who killed or boinked whom.

I did come up with one theory regarding Game of Thrones: I feel like the planet it takes place on doesn’t have a wobble and therefore has no seasons. It’s always snowy and cold in the North so when they say “Winter is coming” they mean a periodic glacier or ice age is advancing southward. Shrug.

Anyway, I’ve already started tracking down the extra documents for Watchmen and have begun watching the debut episode every night so I can begin theorizing about what’s going on. It’s very much a WestWorld experience.

Arriving Late Podcast Ep. 30: DS9 Babel

A serviceable if not remarkable episode but a very fun podcast. Join Mike and me as we talk about a space station struck by a virus that destroys the ability to communicate.

DS9 Babel

Why don’t they…

This is a tiny collection of logic holes in science fiction. Now, this is for my personal amusement only. In most cases these holes don’t ruin anything. They’re just fun to think about after the fact. So why don’t they…

…have robots in Star Trek?

It occurred to me while watching humans crawling all over the ship trying to fix things that, as advanced as the technology is 400 years from now, they’re still doing everything themselves. Was there a robot revolution? A Butlerian Jihad of some kind? There are some robots scattered throughout the Star Trek universe, but not the workaday droids we see in Star Wars, machines that would be responsible for the constant upkeep of starships like the Enterprise.

…have relativistic kinetic weapons in Star Wars?

Why do they need a Deathstar? You can get the same effect by hyper-accelerating an asteroid and smashing it into a planet. Just ask the dinosaurs. It wouldn’t require a million soldiers or thousands of vehicles or an exhaust port.

…just have a bomb drop out of hyperspace and explode?

Ships in hyperspace appear to be untrackable in Star Wars. Instead of a WWII style bombing run, why not just have a ship loaded with fissile material drop out of hyperspace among the enemy ships and detonate?

…have armor and air support in the first attack on Klendathu?

This one I’ve complained about before. There is no way a modern army (or future one) would launch a ground assault without support. It was just stupid.

…implant proximity explosives in Replicants?

I mean, they coded incept dates into them. Why not add Escape From New York style explosives in their carotid arteries that pop when they arrive planetside on Earth?

Arriving Late Ep 27: DS9 Pilot

Having finished season one of Farscape, we jump into the Star Trek universe with both feet as I finish up TNG on my own and we take on the Deep Space Nine pilot. Come listen to Mike and me talk about this and so much more (because I really do wander off subject all the time).

Deep Space Nine: Pilot

CAR

Every generation of car culture should have a basic, sturdy, dependable vehicle to free them from their family homes and open the road to adventure. Now, I’m completely aware that car culture is dying, but this post is not about the future. It’s about the past.

For the Boomers, the general-purpose automobile was the VW Bug. For my generation, the one formed by the tail end of Boom, that car was the Toyota Carolla. If there was ever an automobile analog to the white cans with BEER written in black letters on the side, it was the 1974 Toyota Carolla Sedan base model.

Standard four-on-the-floor transmission, power nothing, no air-conditioning against the Austin summer, black wall tires. It had seatbelts, but I didn’t use them back then. The four-cylinder engine had no acceleration but it also didn’t have much top end.

The Boomers were stuck with a wobbly, imprecise gear shifter in the VW, but the Carolla had one of the nicest, strongest transmissions I’ve ever seen. In the VW, pushing the shifter forward could land you in 3rd gear or Reverse, odds were about even. With the Toyota, it was almost point and click; a must for newbie drivers not used to a standard.

There was no fuel injection and there should have been a tune-up every six months, but the sturdy, well-machined motor could go a lot longer before the points collapsed and left you with two speeds: puttering along at idle and red zone 70mph. Again, very important for a forgetful seventeen-year-old.

Gas wasn’t cheap by the time I got my license so the stingy 1.6L four-cylinder engine was important to a starving college dropout’s budget.

With no power controls, it could be a real hassle rolling up all four windows once you were done driving in the heat, but that’s where the hardy and damn near indestructible vinyl upholstery came into play. Why roll the windows up by hand when rain would have no effect on the interior?

One of my great regrets was selling the Carolla for a treacherous Mustang II that never missed an opportunity to strand me on the side of the road or wipe out my savings account with a major repair. The only car I ever loved more was the Alfa Romeo GT I owned while living in Italy. Had to give that one up when we couldn’t fit a child carrier in the meager backseat.

Here is a rated list of all the cars I’ve owned:

  • 1969 Mustang – Unreliable but so beautiful
  • 1974 Carolla – As described above
  • 1976 Mustang II – Nightmare
  • 1980 Citation – First car with a working air-conditioner. Only had it for a year, but it was fine and just a joy to have A/C against the Texas summer.
  • 1972 Alfa Romeo GT – The one that got away
  • 1987 LeBaron – Nightmare, never bought another Chrysler
  • 1990 Hyundai Sonata – Another nightmare, never bought another Korean car
  • 1980 Accord Hatchback – Super reliable, very ugly, would do a complete 180 if you pumped the brakes too hard
  • After that, it’s just a bunch of Accord sedans. Always reliable, never fun to drive.

Arriving Late Podcast Ep 26: Family Ties

We did it! We made it through the entire first season of Farscape. It was a sometimes difficult journey, but more and more often a truly pleasurable one. Join us for the last podcast on the subject before we move on to Deep Space Nine in two weeks.

Farscape: Family Ties

Arriving Late Podcast EP 25: Bone To Be Wild

We have arrived at the second to the last episode of the first season of Farscape. The show has gotten immeasurably better as the team has found their sea legs and we are having a lot more fun with it.

Farscape Season 1: Bone To Be Wild

Bad Tactics

I served in the military, but I am not a military man. I’ve never read any books on military tactics and would say I only have the glancing acquaintance with the famous strategies of, say, Agincourt, Little Big Horn, Pearl Harbor, Midway, Normandy, etc.

So I feel like it’s an acceptable position for someone who’s not a military expert to ask that the people making movies that include combat spend a few pennies on an actual graduate of the War College to go over their scripts before they commit them to film?

The opening bombing run in The Last Jedi is just as abysmal as every human attack from Starship Troopers and for the same reason: dumb tactics that cost the lives of soldiers. Sending bombers out without adequate fighter support hasn’t been attempted since the Allies finally developed long-range fighter escorts in WWII. And dropping bombs when there’s no gravity? Or even using bombs at all when you have technology that wouldn’t put human pilots at risk.

For Starship Troopers, I sat there in that theater and watched them send in wave after wave of infantry without support from air or artillery so they could get slaughtered. Again, this is something that hasn’t been done since WWI doughboys charged into the teeth of oil-cooled machinegun fire with bayonets fixed.

We’ve seen them do well. For instance, the opening battle in Gladiator may not be historically accurate, but it makes sense militarily given the technology of the time. The landing at the opening of Saving Private Ryan could have been assembled from documentary footage and showed how a decentralized army with forward commanders who could think for themselves beat an entrenched army that had to call home before they did anything.

In a time of forever wars, surely we’ve got enough military advisers out there to prevent other such catastrophes from ruining otherwise good films.

Arriving Late Podcast Ep 24: Hidden Memory

Join us as we talk about the excellent conclusion to the two-parter that started with Nerve. We’ll also wonder out loud why this wasn’t the season-ender, but it was a different time back then.

Farscape “The Hidden Memory”

Arriving Late Podcast Ep 23: Nerve

Episode 22 suffered complications from a technical glitch and had to go live on a farm upstate where it can spend all of its times admiring rainbows. Ep 23, however, is here and covers a far more important episode: Nerve, the first of a two-parter that finally brings this show and its characters into sharp focus.

Join us for some breathless fanbois discussion and the arrival of… Scorpius.