Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mother Nature's a Skank and Jack Frost is a Dickweed

Well, here it is, late October, Halloween in just over a week and what does that ho named Mother Nature decides that now is the perfect time for a snowstorm. You know, a few weeks ago, we had a light falling of snow which I don't mind. You know, I'm pretty cool with it but instead of giving us time to prepare for the upcoming freeze, Jack Frost decided to give us here in Calgary a swift kick in the nuts and laugh as we crumbled on the ground.

It's pretty much just like this

As I type, tiny flakes continue to sprinkle on the ground, causing people to drive more cautiously, however that means 95% of people on the road are driving like this is their first time behind the wheel. It also means that transit is going to be delayed. So while I was lucky enough to catch a train this evening, it means that anyone who said, "I'll get the next one" ended up waiting over 30 minutes for their train to arrive.

Right now I'm in a Starbucks, sipping a hot chocolate and trying to get some feeling back into my feet before I go out and see if I can catch a bus that'll swing by my place.
This is my fourth winter in Calgary and I still can't get used to the idea of there being trick-or-treater's outside while all around me it looks like I should be getting ready to sing O Holy Night.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Montreal Student Protests

Back during Victoria day weekend Aaron and I made a trip out to Montreal for a friend's bachelor party. After a few days of drinking and staring at titties it was almost time do go home. On the last night, the bachelor, Chris realized that he hadn't gotten his fiancee anything and decided to make a last minute effort to get her a decent bottle of wine.

Deciding for a change of scenery (The rented apartment was getting a little stale for me), I decided to go with Chris and a friend of his named Jamie walked up through the streets of Montreal and see what we could get. Personally, I thought Chris was worried about nothing. If she's going to get upset over you not bringing home a memento from your bachelor party, a time where all your friends are paying for your lap dances and a chance to see the lesbian show...then she's not really worth it.

How many of you guys are thinking about wine for your girlfriend right now?

Anyway, the liquor store was closed so I told Chris, "You bought her a bottle of wine, but you just forgot it back in Montreal."
Realizing that this fib was believable enough to be true (I'm a fucking genius) Chris began to feel better and we made our way back to the apartment. As we made our way down the streets, we began to hear police sirens close by.
"Oh, sweet, it's the protesters again," I cheered and dashed off towards the noise.
Sure enough there were hundreds of people walking through the streets. 

When our taxi took us to the most overrated nightclub in Montreal the previous night, at a red light a police van stopped beside us and emptied several cops all decked out in riot gear. It got so bad that at one point Aaron's taxi was blocked and he and a few others had to walk to the bullshit-iest night club I've ever been in. Note to any future nightclub owners: Smoke machines do NOT bring in customers. 

What a great investment

So I took off leaving Chris and Jamie shouting after me. Was it stupid to be running towards a potentially dangerous situation? Probably. But I saw that stupid and decided to raise it a potential damage to valuable property by running back to the apartment to grab my video camera and regular camera. When I found Chris and Jamie I told them I planned to go out and get some pictures.

"Are you crazy?" Chris asked. "You're gonna get mugged."
"You think someone's going to try and steal this with all these cops around?" I asked as a police helicopter flew overhead. 
"Good point."
I've never really been scared about getting into situations like that. I've had douchebag pussy union thugs threaten to smash my camera and follow me around like they wanted to reach out and grab my ass, I've been with arms length of scream fanatical Nazis. So running towards a bunch of students who were upset about their tuition going up wasn't really scaring me. 

I began to follow a battalion of officers as they marched up one neighbourhood and filmed them from the rear. Despite going to school for journalism, my filming abilities during this encounter were up to the standard of The Blair Witch Project. In fact when I showed the footage later someone asked, "Schweitzer, what's up with this Blair Witch shit?"
"There are so many French people around...I'm so scared!"

As I kept filming I noticed that a few cops kept looking my way and before I even knew what was happening, one of the officers broke out of his line and began walking towards me. I shut off the video camera and held out my hands to show that I had it off and the officer went back into formation.

I'm sure a lot of you are asking: "Schweitzer-Man, why didn't you just stand your ground? There's nothing illegal about filming police."
Indeed there isn't. However, I'm going to guess that this cop spoke primarily French and wasn't going to accept my argument of "freedom of the press". If anything, he probably thought I was a college student, trying to get a good look at the faces of some cops for some sort of retaliatory action against "the man".

"Non, vous ne pouvez pas me prendre en photo!"

As soon as the officer was done trying to intimidate me (I turned the camera back on as soon as he turned his back), his battalion began running and chanting "move". Well...that or "moo". Personally I don't know why they had to shout it. If a bunch of riot cops are running towards you like Stormtroopers, the smart thing to do is to run out of the way. 

So I kept tailing, my camera eventually shutting itself down because I was running so much. I was keeping my distance. Eventually the battalion just stood around on the street and I pretended to be some local Quebecois and hopefully not draw attention while I took some bad pictures. 
If this doesn't get me a Pulitzer, nothing will. 

Eventually I finally got to the main protest scene, a strange place to be. A lot of chanting from the protesters, most of it in French, someone kept beating on a drum, and police sirens were illuminating the area making it look like something out of a sci-fi movie. I started taking much better pictures at this point mainly because I wasn't worried about my targets moving away from me and also the protesters didn't care about having their pictures taken. Hell, I think most of them were there for that reason alone.

"Ne craignez rien, mes amis, car je vais tenir la ligne contre la police."

This diamond in the sky isn't a star. It's the light from a police helicopter that hovered over us for a while. I felt like Henry Hill near the end of Goodfellas.

"Un fourgon de police semble être l'endroit parfait pour se reposer mon cul. Psst, je suis un dur à cuire."

The police out of nowhere just started marching towards us, clearing everyone off the sidewalks and streets. 
"Allez, move back," someone near me shouted and I decided to follow despite being probably just ten meters away from the approaching authorities.
"Never a dull moment," I mused to another photographer beside me. Meanwhile the protesters began chanting, "Pas justice, pas paix! Fuck le police!"

After probably fifty meters of retreating, I heard what sounded like a broom handle drop on the ground a few feet away from me. As I turned my head and my camera, I saw a cop grab some chubby girl by the back of the neck while she screamed in French. Another cop ran over and began striking her on the arm with his club as they dragged her away from the viewing public and dragged her to the ground while witnesses shouted "Ridicule!"
I was a bit stunned as I watched it happened and wanted to move closer but the remaining cops were going to do the same and probably wouldn't give a shit about me wanting to see what was happening. I have no idea who the woman was or what she did.

"Attention, elle n'est pas armé!"

All while this was going on I would occasionally text Aaron and let him know what was going on just so he wasn't worried about me possibly being trampled in the protests. Also because I wanted to know when they were going to the strip club right across the street from where we were staying. 

Eventually we got to the end of the block and the protesters began to hold their ground as the police slowed their advance. There was a group of guys all dressed in white who got down on the ground on their knees and put their hands behind their heads. To be honest, they probably could have passed for KKK had there not been a black guy in their ranks.

I honestly have no idea what this was all about

Eventually everything relaxed and I began walking with some of the protesters with a few police tailing us when all of a sudden there was a pop! pop! pop! in the air and they sounded like gunshots. We all took off running and to this day I have no idea what it was that went off or why. It may have been a firecracker. 

The battery on my camera was dying and I decided to head back to the apartment. It was getting really hot and now I realized I had a new problem: I was lost. After navigating the streets and avoiding anyone who might want to rob my unsuspecting ass. I made it back to the apartment, showed my video (particularly the part where the girl got clubbed) and afterwards we went to one of the worst strip clubs I've ever been to. I've never seen so many naked women walk around and do nothing to make a guy want a lap dance. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The House-Sitters Club Part 2: Italian Adventure

Back in July before I went on my own vacation, Aaron and Katelynn were telling me about their planned honeymoon later in the summer (That being now). Originally the plan was to go to Russia but that quickly changed when they found out that it's harder to get into the country now than it was back during the Cold War.

And besides...screw Russia. I mean, yeah, there's a lot of history there and Aaron was really interested in seeing the Kremlin and Red Square but to me...there's not much else to do. Also the Russian government has some strict rules about people who want to travel. They would have to mail out their passports to the government and wait for them to return. Also, they would not be able to travel by themselves and have to stay in a group the whole time. Yeah, cause that's what everyone wants for their honeymoon.

I'm just not feeling the romance with this image

So they changed their mind and decided they would be going to Italy. Beautiful scenery, historical monuments, great food, a wonderful atmosphere...
You can understand why I was pissed off at them for going.
Since they were going to be gone for two weeks I immediately informed them that I would once again be willing to look after Lyle while they were off eating ravioli that wasn't made by a chef named Boyardee. 

"Oh, that's not necessary," Katelynn informed me. The plan was to drop Lyle off in Ontario to spend some time with Katelynn's mother which seemed a bit strange especially since Katelynn put in a way that made it seem like Lyle really was looking forward to going to Ontario.
I should note that Lyle is a dog who often confuses the doorbell on TV for the doorbell in real life. The sound of either causes him to bark like a maniac.

When not being baffled by doorbells, Lyle likes to spend his time working on his tan

So after I came back from my cruise, I went to Aaron's one afternoon to drink when all of a sudden he pulled out his calender.
"Hey...what are you doing between, uh August 22nd and September 5th?"
I had a feeling he was asking me to go somewhere with him but it turns out...
"Would you wanna watch Lyle for us?"
It seems that they both came to realize that paying airfare for a canine to be transported to Toronto to be picked up by a parent and cared for over a period of two weeks only to return to Toronto after said two weeks were over wasn't such a good idea after all.

So here I am on a nice little bed with Lyle sleeping on my feet, occasionally looking up towards me and barking at any unfamiliar sound that's unfamiliar to him. For the most part he is good company though there have been some changes in the routine. 

For example, while he normally sleeps on Aaron and Katelynn's bed with them, I put a stop to that after the first night when he woke me up at 2am due to all his tossing and turning with that noisy collar of his. And then when someone decided to walk their dog three hours later, even though he couldn't see the other dog, the other hound's presence was so vile to Lyle that he woke me up with his barking and constant running back and forth between my door and the front door to let me know he wanted to go for a walk. He sleeps in a cage now.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Quick Life Lesson

If you're going to fly American Airlines, either drink heavily before boarding or give yourself a sleeping pill because I've never flown on a more boring airline in all my life. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When Star Trek Doesn't Make Sense

In a series of posts, I've gone over some thing in the Star Wars series that just baffle me (Baby queens, stormtrooper accuracy) and it might have lead some people to believe that I hate the series or just don't adore it as much as I used to. Hmm, the latter might be a tenth of a bit true but Episode IV: A New Hope is still one of my ten favourite movies and I'll even go to bat for Lucas and say his direction of that film was flawless.

However, now I feel it's time to pay attention to another sci-fi franchise that molded me into the dork I am: Star Trek.

Yeah, considering it's been around longer, with more movies and TV series, there's a ton of material to go over. I'm not going to do the obvious ones like, "Why didn't they know Khan was actually on Ceti Alpha V in Wrath of Khan?" or "How were they able to beam through the shields in Relics when it's been established you can't beam through the shields?"

Instead, I'll be going over stuff that I've actually wondered about since I first saw the episode. So, set your phasers to cynical, get a cup of tea (Earl Gray, hot) or a bowl of gagh and enjoy my list of things that don't make sense in Star Trek.
This is gagh. It's pretty much worms. Klingon worms. Eaten alive for best results

1) If 'Plan A' Fails, There's Always 'Plan A'
The season two episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, 'Q Who' introduced us to the Federation's greatest enemy: The Borg. A relentless species of cyborgs who assimilate entire worlds into a collective consciousness. In the first encounter, the Borg cut out a large chunk of the Enterprise, which forces Picard to use lethal force. He blats a few holes in them and then finds they are regenerating.

The Enterprise quickly retreats and can see the Borg ship repairing itself. Picard tries to outrun them and Riker orders photon torpedoes ready to slow the Borg down as they are gaining. These are actual lines from the episode.

RIKER: Arm the photon torpedoes. Let's see if we can slow them down.

WORF: Torpedoes armed.

PICARD: Fire.

We see the torpedoes fire, hit the Borg and...

WORF: They had no effect.

Wow, so what does our brave crew do now? The Borg seem to have adapted to photon torpedoes, phasers can't be used at warp speeds and the Borg have started to fire a weapon which is draining the Enterprise's shields.

WORF: Shields have been reduced 41 percent. Another hit and we will be defenseless.

Crap, where do we go from here? Risk maneuvering at warp speed? Scan for a nebula to hide in or a planet and go into it's atmosphere? Let's see what Commander Riker has to suggest.
RIKER: Arm the photon torpedoes.
What? Uh, Riker, you tried them five minutes ago. Didn't you hear Worf, they had no effect on the ship. Worf, talk some sense into him, you're the tactical officer and everything.

WORF: Torpedoes armed.

Wh-? Didn't any of you listen to yourselves? THE TORPEDOES WON'T WORK!!! OK, let's just have Picard give a speech about how brute force won't work and how they'll have to outthink this new enemy to-

PICARD: Fire the photons!

Oh what the hell is this!? You know what, I'm just going to go ahead and guess the Borg ship was not damaged. Know what helps that theory? The very next line.

WORF: The Borg ship was not damaged.

The Borg fire again, manage to drain the shields (gasp!) and get the Enterprise to drop out of warp. They establish a tractor beam and-

RIKER: Lock on photon torpedoes.

WORF: Yes sir!

WHAT!?!?!? Y-you...you know that they didn't work at warp speed...so what the fuck do you think is going to happen when you're going slower? I mean...come on Riker, you're supposed to be better than this. Won't someone stop this insanity.

Thankfully, Data informs Riker about the dangers of his tactics.

DATA: Without our shields, at this range, there is a high degree of probability that a photon detonation will destroy the Enterprise.

Whoa...stakes just got raised big time. There's no way that Picard or Riker would ever go through with such a move.

RIKER: Prepare to fire.

Will Riker may be someone who wants to sit in the captains chair, but damn, he sure is not ready to lead into combat. All the lines are directly from the episode and thankfully, Starfleet battle tactics improved.

I won't explain how they got out of the situation (obviously since there were five more seasons after this) but give it a watch because while most of the first two seasons leave a lot to be desired, 'Q Who' is one of the better ones and establishes the Borg as one of the great Star Trek villains.
"Our plan was to keep shooting until we blew ourselves up?"

2) It's Not Like We Can Move The Station...Except When We Previously Did

It took me a while to warm up to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. While on TNG I was used to boldly going where no one had gone before, over on DS9 it seemed that they were stuck in one corner of the galaxy where weird shit kept happening to this crew on a space station.

Oh and there was also this...
No, it's not a plothole...or a butthole in space

Behold the wormhole, a tunnel connecting two separate points in space and time. Where a trip to the Gamma Quadrant would normally take a couple decades, via the wormhole it takes seconds. While the  However on the other side we meet our main enemy for the series, the Dominion and their ground troops, the Jem'Hadar.

In the opening to season three, 'The Search, Part I' the crew is going over a simulation of an attack by the Jem'Hadar and find that they are no match for a heavily armed mobile force. The royal smart person of the group, Lt. Jadzia Dax finally comes up with her own ideas that don't include fighting. Again, these lines are from the episode itself.

DAX: That leaves us with two options: Abandon the third option and make a stand on Bajor or...collapse the entrance to the wormhole.

Huh? Jadzia, are you sure you don't have a third option? Back in the first episode, 'Emissary', the station was actually in orbit of Bajor, barely at full power, and was moved to the mouth of the wormhole so the Bajorans could claim it. At first, a trip of a hundred and sixty kilometers on only two working thrusters would take about...two months. But then, royal smart person, Dax comes up with the answer to help Chief O'Brien.

DAX: Couldn't you modify the subspace field output of the deflector generators... just enough to create a low-level field around the station...

O'BRIEN:So we could lower the inertial mass...

DAX: If you can make the station lighter, those six thrusters would be all the power we need.

So...almost two years later, with a fully powered station, more than two thrusters...why couldn't you move the station again? Also, what is it with both franchises having space stations that can move? The Death Star is footloose and fancy free, going to Alderann and then Yavin in Star Wars and DS9's station doesn't even stay still for the first episode.


3) What Three Dimensional Terms?

Near the end of the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard confronts the Borg Queen (Yeah, they have a queen) who apparently was with him when he was assimilated by the Borg in the season three season finale, The Best of Both Worlds. The Borg ship was nearly unstoppable, even after destoying a massive fleet at the star system Wolf 359 but at the last minute, the Enterprise was able to defeat it.

PICARD:
 But that ship...and all the Borg on it were destroyed.

BORG QUEEN:
You think in such three dimensional terms.
Yeah, looks don't matter too much to Borg royalty

O....K...I don't really get what you mean by that. I suppose it's just your fancy way of saying that you never really stay dead. And if that's what it is...I'm willing to accept that.

Except on Star Trek: Voyager, they always seemed to be running into Borg who were somehow assimilated at Wolf 359 and yet somehow made it off the ship. In the episode Unity, the human Riley Frazier reveals that she was at Wolf 359 and assimilated.

But my main thing is...who picked these Borg up from the ship and brought them thousands of light-years away? I mean, the Borg were on their way to assimilate all of Earth, I would think that the Borg would be all, "Hey, the more the merrier!"

Voyager writers would always keep bringing that up, that somehow they encounter an ex-Borg from Wolf 359 that just somehow made it off the ship or just wasn't around when it blew up. How come no one ever asked, "Wait, that ship was destroyed how did you survive? And if you say anything about three dimensional terms, I'm shoving a phaser rifle up your ass and pulling the trigger."

As you can imagine, phaser rifles probably do not make the best enemas.
4) The Prophets Are Dicks

On DS9, the station was originally in orbit of the planet Bajor, who had just won their freedom from the Cardassians. A highly religious people, the Bajorans believed their gods, The Prophets, lived in the wormhole I mentioned earlier.

Well...that's sorta true. In the pilot, Sisko encounters aliens who do not experience linear time and after the episode, the Bajorans declare Sisko their Emissary to the Prophets. Sisko didn't take it too seriously until they started to mind fuck him little by little. Enter the season six episode, Far Beyond the Stars. When Sisko is distraught about a friend being killed in battle and wondering if he can make a difference in the war they're in, the Prophets decide to mind fuck him in the worst way.

I hate this episode of DS9.
There are a few worse episodes, but this one really makes my shit itch. Sisko is transported to Earth in the 1950's where he is a sci-fi writer named Benny Russel. He has no memory of being Sisko, all he has are little lapses where he goes between times and believes to be losing his mind. He decides to write the story of DS9 for the magazine but they won't publish it because the Captain of the story is black.

Benny persists, but in the end of the episode, the story is rejected, he's fired from the magazine and goes insane and is put in a mental hospital.

A lot of people love this episode and gush over it because they love the racism is bad message and I agree: Racism is awful. But here's the thing...I already knew that. This aired in 1998, this wasn't really a message that we hadn't heard thousands of times before.

And what really bugged me was that...why would the Prophets do this to Sisko? I mean, what good does it do to make a distraught man believe he's a mid-20th century writer battling racism, prejudice and his own insanity?

Seriously, it is never explained what the motive is for this or what good it does Sisko. Hell, if you don't listen carefully, you won't even know that the Prophets are behind it all. Needless to say, the Prophets are dickheads and this episode is crap. The only thing I like about it is the atmosphere of the 1950's. That's all I like...other than that...it's one of my least favourite Star Trek episodes ever.

Oh stop crying

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not Dead

I've watched the movie Blade Runner a few times in the past week for the first time in over ten years. Visually, there's so much going on that at times, I felt more interested in the world of 2019 (We've got a lot of catching up to do by this film's standards) than the actual story itself but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy watching it.

Still, I'm convinced that Deckard is a human.

This scene fills me with so much wonder and inspiration

Friday, April 13, 2012

Harry Kim: The Whipping Boy of Star Trek: Voyager

For those of you reading this blog for the first time or with short memory-spans, I'm a huge nerd. In 1995, when I was in the third grade, I was super mega ultra excited for the premiere of Star Trek: Voyager on the brand new UPN.

After 10 years in which Voyager's been off the air, it's reputation hasn't improved as is the case like other series in the Star Trek universe, like Deep Space Nine. I was mostly blind to this until after the show went off the air but do I hate it? Hardly. It's a show you can watch if you're bored and want to kill some time because it's raining outside and you're too lazy to do anything else.
If you're not familiar with the back-story of ST:V, I'll try to summarize it as best I can: A crew of Starfleet officers and outlaws (The Maquis) must join forces to make the long journey home across 70,000 light years of space, cut off from any back up. Oh and they pick up a hot ex-cyborg along the way who saved the show from being cancelled.
In the future women's fashion becomes air tight for some reason...


But also on the show was a young, inexperienced officer, fresh out of Starfleet Academy, eager for his first deep space assignment...and of course he gets stranded halfway across the galaxy and thus will probably never see any of his friends, family or fiancee ever again. This was Ensign Harry Kim.
And his character was constantly getting fucked over.
That look of possible fear and dread...that's normal for Harry

So I'm going to take a look at the history of this character and how he was constantly getting screwed by the people around him who were supposed to be his friends and colleagues. There are probably too many examples to list, so I'm just going to give you the ones that stick out to me the most.

1) Graduates are Good but Drop-Outs are Awesome: In the second episode of the series, after realizing how boned they are since they're 70+ years from backup of any kind, the crew has to replace the original chief engineer who was killed in the first episode.

Before I go any further, I should address one major problem with Voyager. The Maquis are outlaws who were Federation citizens who chose to stand up for themselves after the Cardassians kept messing around with them. Starfleet was against the Maquis and declared them outlaws, prompting a lot of Starfleet officers to join them in the process. These are the outlaws who join the Voyager crew and become part of the Starfleet system. The problem is that it happens too quickly. Hell, at the end of the pilot, all the Maquis are in uniform with no problem at all. I mean, sure, they felt the Federation turned a blind eye to all the crap going on in the DMZ, but why let that get in the way of sub-par story telling?

Anyway, one of the members of the Maquis crew is B'elana Torres, a half-human, half-Klingon who assaulted a fellow crew-member in the second episode. She was either dropped out or kicked out of the Academy (They never could get the story straight) and yet somehow this person ends up not only becoming chief engineer...but also gets a promotion to Lieutenant even though she didn't even make it through her second year at the Academy.

So think about that: Captain Janeway knows that Harry has worked to be in Starfleet his whole life and yet makes him subordinate to someone who not only couldn't graduate but even fought against the ideals of Starfleet. Oh and that fellow crewman she assaulted? Yeah, he was actually next in line to be chief engineer.
"Life's a bitch, even in the 24th century."

2) Betrayal is Bad but Blue-Balls are Worse-In a later episode we discover that not only was Harry Kim a promising young man on his first assignment, but he was also dating a lovely young woman back on Earth named Libby.

Now, when the love of your life is halfway across the galaxy and probably thinks you're dead...you're gonna play the field. Sadly Harry Kim sucked at relationships and it became a bit of a joke to his best friend, Tom Paris, later in the show. The dude had gone so long without any Starfleet snatch that he fell in love with a hologram. That's right. He fell in love with a computer simulation.

Although he did get a chance to score with one of the hottest babes this side of the Delta Quadrant, Seven of Nine. You might think, "Well, what's the problem?"
I said he did get a chance...but he never took it.
 For a while Harry was attracted to this ex-Borg who was doing her best to regain her humanity and at one point she was willing to go all the way...and Harry declined. Not only did he decline, but he did it in a way that you would have thought she was going to scoop out his eyes with a rusty spoon. Harry, when Seven of Nine offers you sex, you say "YES!!!" Any blue balls after that point are your own fault.


Seriously, Harry...why?

Enter the episode titled "The Disease". He has intimate relations with a member of an alien species without consulting his doctor (A big no-no in the 24th century which didn't exist when Kirk was banging any female that moved a hundred years ago) and more or less picks up VD. I should note that's not entirely what the title of the episode is referring to...give it a watch, you'll understand.
The funny thing is, she was white before Kirk had sex with her

Captain Janeway is not very pleased that her golden officer has broken a rule and gets so pissed off at him that she puts a full reprimand on his file which could affect his future in Starfleet (FYI: It doesn't).

Compare this to the Doctor's actions in the episode "Flesh and Blood". The crew encounters a group of holograms who kidnap the Doctor (A hologram himself) but later return him when they see that he is not a slave. However when he finds out that the Voyager crew are planning to destroy the holograms, he betrays them and sides with the holograms, who also kidnap Torres as well.

I won't go into too many plot details but by the end, the Doctor realizes the error of his ways returns to Voyager. He submits himself for punishment...but Captain Janeway blames herself and says that she is just as responsible. She even goes so far as to call it an "Away mission".

Harry Kim gets laid, does no damage to anyone but himself...full reprimand.
The Doctor betrays his friends and colleagues, does damage to his vessel and endangers many lives...not even a slap on the wrist.
And wait, I recall an episode where the Doctor himself got laid! OK, granted it was...with another hologram. But still...shit!
"Take off your clothes and step into my office."

3. With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies?-Within the first episode of Voyager a sort of bromance was established between Harry and former Starfleet/Maquis member Tom Paris. Tom was originally just an observer, on the mission to offer advice on where the Maquis might be hiding. But afterwards when most of the crew was killed, he was given a full promotion to Lieutenant (Just like Torres) and made chief navigator.

I don't have too much of a problem with that because Tom graduated from the Academy and had a career before he was discharged for covering up an accident that killed three officers. He later joined the Maquis for something to do and was arrested on his first mission. But he proved himself a worthy officer for the job and never had any problems.

Except the one time he hijacked a shuttlecraft to launch a terrorist attack against an underworld society that he fell in love in the hopes of saving it and was only stopped thanks to absurd timing on behalf of Captain Janeway, who demoted Tom to the rank of Ensign.

But hey, don't expect to last for too long because less than 18 months later he was back to being a full Lieutenant with the ability to boss Harry around all he wants.
And in that time, there aired an episode titled "Warhead" where a weapon of mass destruction took control of the Doctor's program and was using Voyager to carry him to complete his mission to destroy a civilian settlement.

Locked in Sickbay with the weapon, Harry is able to uncover that the mission has been cancelled and convinces it to abandon it's mission and destroy other weapons on the same mission. So great, Harry saves not only his shipmates and ship, but probably hundreds of thousands (If not millions) of lives...and stays an Ensign.

Garret Wang, the actor who played Harry, actually brought it up to the creators of the show that his character probably should be promoted but they told him that, "Somebody's got to be the Ensign."

I should note that when Star Trek: TNG and Star Trek: DS9 had their series finalies, there were no characters who had the rank of Ensign. Yeah, even a supporting character like Nog, who went to the Academy later than him would get to Lieutenant before Harry did. And to be fair, Harry only got his promotion in paperback books after Voyager went off the air.
"Harry, get your best friend-me-some beer. That's an order!!!"

4) Getting Screwed in Real Life-After Voyager went off the air, Garret Wang has been pretty critical of the show and how it was run and I don't blame him. During the last two years, Star Trek: DS9 felt like it was about a whole group of people on this massive space station.
During the last two years on Star Trek: Voyager, it felt like the show was only about Janeway, Seven of Nine and the Doctor. Wang wasn't a bad actor on the show, none of them were (Except for guest stars) but as characters they weren't given any development sometimes and Harry Kim is the biggest example.

Wang is also the only actor in the history of the franchise to be denied the opportunity to direct an episode of Star Trek. Why that is, I have no clue. They could have done more with his character and had a great opportunity when Wang was named one of People magazine's 50 sexiest people alive.

Harry Kim was a character that could have had a lot of potential but instead he was always getting screwed by the people around him which was a result of the writers and producers. But things could have been worse...he could have been a character on Star Trek: Enterprise.

When two characters have obvious chemistry, the best thing to do is make sure they don't hook up

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lots of Reading...Not Enough Writing

I've been neglecting this blog for a lot longer than I ever intended to. I would like to blame others for that but the only person I can blame is myself because after all it is my blog and I should be able to find something to rant about.

For the past few weeks I've been getting a lot of books realted to writing. Back in high school I was certain I was working on the next great novel, however I realize now that I have a long way to go. I feel comfortable with writing dialogue but everything else, describing actions and scenery...well I bore myself. And when Schweitzer-Man finds you boring...then you're doing something wrong.

So I've been doing too much reading, not enough writing. But there are a lot of things coming up that I'll be writing about. Next month is the Calgary Expo; the following month Aaron and I will be flying out to Montreal for a bachelor party and in June I'm going on a cruise with most of the Schweitzer clan. Aaron thought about joining us on said cruise but backed out because he and Katelynn have their honeymoon later in the year.

And yeah, there's a lot going on in entertainment that I'm going to want to talk about but at the moment, work and my own personal distractions are holding me up. Don't worry. I'll be back.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quick Life Lesson

If they have fish and chips on the menu, make sure they use their own beer batter because if it comes frozen, then it's just not worth it.

Fangasm

I don't need to tell you guys that I'm a huge Star Trek fan (I'm not sure whether the term "Trekkie" or "Trekker" is appropriate) and was thrilled last year when I got to attend the Calgary Expo and get the autograph of one Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker) as well as the awesome Maurice LaMarche (The Brain).
Sometime last week I was browsing through Facebook and got some info from the Calgary Expo's page. Apparently attending the convention, among guest stars Adam West and Robert Englund, was going to include not one, two...but ALL main cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
"Captain, sensors are detecting four Romulan Warbirds surrounding us. Is now really the best time to strike a pose?"
Yeah, I nearly got a boner over that news. Look, back 18 years ago, TNG was the best show on television and whenever I can catch it, I'll give it a watch. Hell, for as big a fan as I am, there are still episodes of that show I haven't seen; and I'm a guy who sat through all of DS9 and Voyager.

The cast is going to be taking part in a large Q&A panel one of the three days of the convention so I'll be trying to attend that because apparently the whole cast hasn't done one together in almost 20 years. So yeah...kind of a big thing. I gotta wonder though, if I got a chance to ask them something, what would I ask. All sorts of possibilities...

Chances are some dumb fan will want to ask Denise Crosby if she could see Tasha hooking up with Data had she not left the show midway through the first season.
Fans think that because they had drunken sex, they must have been in love. The people who think this, coincidentally, have never had sex, drunken or otherwise

If you are that dumb fan, let me hit you with a photon torpedo of knowledge: Denise Crosby herself said, that she would have stayed on the show had she had more scenes between her and Worf like in her final episode Skin of Evil. In that scene, there are some hints that there might be an attraction between the two characters.

But Tasha and Data...well they only did it because they were under the influence of the Psi 2000 virus in The Naked Now. I mean, come on, she knew it was a mistake and afterwards went up to Data and said, "It never happened." However, when she said that, a bunch of fanfic writers heard, "Data, I secretly lust for you!"

OK...back to what I was thinking before: If I had a chance to ask each member of The Next Generation cast a question...what would I ask?

Sir Partick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard):
-Do you like Earl Gray tea?
-How often do you get mistaken for Telly Savalas?
-Whenever you go to the dentist and you're in the chair, does he ask you how many lights you see?

Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker)
-Is it fair to say that your beard is the best thing that ever happened to you?
-How much blame do you accept for Star Trek: Insurrection?
-If they ever made a live action Gargoyles movie, would you want to play Xanatos?

Michael Dorn (Lt. Commander Worf)
-How glad were you that Worf on DS9 was the total badass that he was supposed to be...but wasn't on TNG?
-Is there anyone who, if they were any other man, you would kill where they stand? (FYI: My dad loves that line from Star Trek: First Contact)
-What's it like kissing Terry Farrel? Cause I always wanted to do that when I was a kid.
"I am Worf. I go by one name, just like Cher."


Brent Spiner (Lt. Commander Data)
-Is it true you hated Spot?
-Is it true you're currently voicing the Joker in the Young Justice series?
-What did you think of them making Data so annoying in Star Trek: Generations?


Marina Sirtis (Counsellor Deanna Troi)
-Does it bother you that most people find your character useless?
-Who's the better kisser, Frakes or Dorn?
-Uh, what's with all the TNG cast members being on Gargoyles? Though seriously, I thought you were great as Demona.


LeVar Burton (Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge)
-You've gone on record criticizing Nemesis. If JJ Abrams was behind a new movie with your crew, what would you like to see?
-Why did all the bad stuff happen to your character?
-Why did they have to cancel Reading Rainbow?


Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher)
-Were you surprised to be asked back for the third season after being absent completely for the second?
-How come the writers never had you do much in the movies?
-Ever have some idiot consult you for medical advice?


Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar)
-OK, looking back at it, was leaving the show the worst decision ever?
-Would you have appeared as Sela in Star Trek: Nemesis?


Wil Weaton (Ensign Wesley Crusher)
-You're the fat kid from Stand By Me, right?
-Were you the kid with glasses from Stand By Me?
-Wait, I'm sorry, you played the kid everyone hated in that sci-fi series back in the 90's. OK, my question is, did you always want to play Anakin Skywalker?
-OK, real question, how come you weren't in the final episode, All Good Things?

Relax, I would never ask questions so stupid. Chances are if I did get a chance to ask them all a question it would be something cheesy like, What was the best episode you guys ever did? or Would you ever be interested in seeing a reboot done to your show like they did with the last movie?

Either way, I'm really looking forward to this convention, getting some autographs (I urge people to get a free autograph from voice artists whenever you can. They're so nice, very friendly and will more than likely break into character at the drop of a hat. Plus no damn fees for pictures), new reading material, novelty clothes and maybe pick up some art. I got a few pictures last year but they seem more appropriate for a scrapbook. Still, I can't wait to see what the Calgary Expo has for us later this year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I am a Hero; Jack Bauer Has Nothing on Me

I hate Monday mornings. I wake up terribly early knowing that by noon, I'll have to think about going to sleep so that I can wake up with enough energy to do a ball-busting midnight shift. If I have enough energy, I might go to the gym for a light workout, come home and do myself up some scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay style.

However one Monday morning a few weeks ago I had very little energy and just decided to goof off on my laptop and checkout what wasn't happening on Facebook. I was probably about ten second away from closing the window when all of a sudden my friend Connie messaged me. And I had a feeling that it was important because she addressed me by my first name. In my experience, people only do that if the situation is pretty important.

So she gave me an 800 phone number to call and confirm if she had a flight for tomorrow morning. It was then that she told me that she was messaging me from a hospital in Muskat, Oman. For those of you who didn't watch Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego as a kid, that's in the Middle East. Connie spent her Christmas holidays there and was a teacher there a few years ago.

Seems that while she was down she caught some jihad-virus that was going around or something, was stuck in the hospital and thus, missed her flight the previous day but now couldn't tell if she was rescheduled for a flight tomorrow or not.

So there I am, about six-thirty in the morning, trying to figure out how to help my friend escape the Middle East within the next 24 hours. I called the airline and trying to get all the info I can, relaying it back through Facebook and then relaying any concerns Connie may have back to the airline. Needless to say I was saying, "Could you hold on a minute" quite a few times during these phone calls.

After about twenty minutes of dealing with people with bad accents, I was finally able to get the times for her flights. She would leave Muskat, then fly into Kuwait, then off the Dulles International Airport and then to Detroit with a short drive back into Ontario.

Just before I got off the line, the attendant I was dealing with asked me if he wanted to upgrade Connie's seat to give her more legroom for only the small fee of $150 USD.
I relayed this to Connie and based off the negativity of her response, I told the airline that she would pass on the generous (I made sure they could hear the sarcasm) offer.

Connie did manage to make it home and that day, I got a cheque from the government of Canada (Most likely word of me rescuing a fellow countryman spread quickly) and my Batman shirt arrived in the mail.

So yeah, I'm a hero. Saved a friend from captivity in a Middle Eastern hospital which was boasting about how their doctors washed their hands semi-daily and had been Jew free for 34 days. And I did this less than an hour after waking up.

The moral of the story: Schweitzer-Man is awesome

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Running Again

If there's one thing I can come close to disliking about a boxing workout, it's roadwork. The summer before I moved to Calgary, I was doing it almost every night, running 3k and trying to up my speed each time. I did 5k once and the second time I tried it, I had to stop running and limp home in pain after I started getting bad blisters on the back of my foot (Shouldn't have used brand new running shoes)

After I got back to going to the gym, I would start every workout with 10 minutes of cardio, running and increasing my speed every two minutes. It's weird because I don't mind running on treadmills. And all that time I've been going to the gym, I've tried to get Aaron to go with me.

Since living out here, we've only had two workouts and both were at the local YMCA. And that was only because we were on a 7-day trial period. I've tried every month, but he always has some new excuse. He did let me know over a month ago that he installed a pull-up bar in his basement and I thought that was a good start. I asked him if he planned on returning to the gym and he said that he would when he could get his money's worth out of a gym. At the moment, he was just trying to get "unfat" as he put it.

That made me laugh because he's not fat but whatevs. Then a few weeks ago he told me that he purchased a used treadmill and was running almost daily, doing 3k in 30 minutes. I have no idea why, but I suddenly got very competitive and started running for 30 minutes at the gym now as well. However, I doubted Aaron's numbers. The distance measurement told me that in 30 minutes plus a five minute cool down period, I was just doing over 3k.

I instantly called bullshit on Aaron's numbers and thought that he must be cheating. Turns out I was just an idiot and didn't know that GoodLife treadmills measure distance in miles instead of kilometers. However that got me a bit encouraged.

A few days ago when I finished work, I went to the gym and did 5.25km in total. A few days later, I decided to go a step crazier and go running outside. While most people say that Calgary winters are colder than a witch's tit (When did you feel said tit and why would you?), it wasn't that bad. I was wearing the proper gear for it and felt fine. I didn't have a route in mind so I just decided to run until I felt tired. After looping around several blocks, I ended up at the local Super Store and decided to walk home from there.

What kinda bugs me is that despite getting back into running, I thought I would be doing a lot better already. When I did my 5k in Essex, I did that in under 30 minutes. I know this stuff takes time but dammit, I'm impatient.

Oh, also, there's this cool true story about how I saved a friend from captivity in the Middle East but I'll tell you that next time.