Thursday, April 30, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: Dagger of the Mind

I apologize for the long time between ST:I postings. I'd actually tried to watch this episode--twice--last week, but was foiled by the slowness of my Internet connection. But apparently the third time's the charm, because I was finally able to watch "Dagger of the Mind," the ninth episode of the original Star Trek.

The title sounds quite surreal, though the episode isn't particularly trippy. The episode begins on Stardate 2715.1 (for those of you playing along at home) as the Enterprise travels to the Tantalus Penal colony. Man, does that sound dirty...but I digress.

As the episode begins, Kirk reminds the crew that the forcefields surrounding Tantalus-5 need to be opened before anything can be beamed down from the ship--an early firewall. I was impressed. So then they beam up a large box, and a man crawls out. Wait, they beamed up a dude in a box? Looks like trouble with a capital T.

The doctor in charge of the colony, Dr. Adams informs Kirk and Co. that the man who snuck onto the ship is mentally unstable and dangerous. Here is his paraphrased message: "Sorry, my bad. He's dangerous, so watch out. Bye now." Clearly a caring, compassionate man.

Spock manages to subdue the stowaway with what may be the first appearance of the Vulcan nerve pinch (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here). After a dose (or seven) of sedatives from the good Doctor Bones, they find out that his name is Dr. Van Gelder. Also: his memory appears to have some holes, and he's terrified of returning to Tantalus-5. This was my first inkling that Dr. Adams may be more of a Dr. Frankenstein, and his prison is an interstellar Gitmo.

They contact Dr. Adams again, who confirms that the man is in fact his assistant, Dr. Van Gelder. He asks Jim to come down to the colony alone to take a tour.

Red flag number one.

Jim beams down to the colony, along with Dr. Helen Noel, who met Kirk at the Christmas party. I just found it funny that he was at a Christmas party and met someone whose last name is Noel. Annnnnyway, Dr. Adams is charming and seems glad to have them there. The first woman they meet (I think her name is Lethae, but I couldn't quite catch it) appears to have a way with sewing needles and curtains. She also appears to have had her brain thoroughly washed, possibly with bleach.

Red flag number two.

Meanwhile, Bones and Spock are trying to get as much useful info out of Dr. Van Gelder as possible. Whenever he gets too agitated, they stab him with a needle and give him more tranquilizers. I'm surprised he never overdosed, but maybe the drug has a short half-life. Whatever. Van Gelder, for his part, was the Unintentionally Funny Character of the week. I kept on expecting him to start shouting Shakespeare at the top of his lungs. Spock finally decides that he needs to get into Van Gelder's mind. They don't call it a Vulcan mind meld, but that's what it sounds like. They were easily the best scenes of the episode, despite my thinking that Spock was gonna kiss him. Spock gets Van Gelder to remember that Dr. Adams has some sort of memory beam, a device that can erase a person's memories and allow new suggestions to be implanted.

This convinces me even more that Joss Whedon (evil genius) is a Trekkie. Seriously, Dr. Adams' device reminds me so much of the "Dollhouse" device, both in design and intent. Check out the photos (wherever they are; I don't know how good the formatting is).

Meanwhile, back in Dr. Adams' evil lair, Kirk and Noel try out the device for themselves. Kirk sits in the chair, and asks Dr. Noel to make an "unusual suggestion."

How about dancing around with your pants on your head? But sadly, Dr. Noel suggests that their encounter at the Christmas party was not as tame as it really was. Then Dr. Adams comes in and makes Kirk surrender his weapon and communicator. Kirk starts fighting back, which gave me Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire flashbacks, when Harry is working to resist the Imperius Curse. I think Dr. Adams is the best Star Trek villain I've seen so far. He's an interesting character: he's done so much good for prison reform, but at the same time he's brainwashing his prisoners and manipulating them. And he seems so nice about the whole thing, too, which makes him even creepier.

Dr. Noel escapes through the AC ducts (which reminded me of Toy Story 2, oddly enough) and manages to shut off the power, freeing Kirk from the mind-control ray. One of Adams' lackeys attacks her, but she fights back with a Power Kick. He falls back and shorts out the power, electrocuting himself in the process.

Score one for the good guys.

But not before he turns the power back on. While it was on, Dr. Adams himself was caught in the memory beam and is left alone. Devoid of any thought, he dies from sheer loneliness. Honestly, I was disappointed to see him go. I know "Star Trek" episodes are designed to be stand-alone, but a good villain deserves more than one episode.

Thinking of villains reminds me of Heroes, and Sylar, one of the best TV villains ever. And Sylar, of course, is played by none other than Zachary Quinto, who will soon make his big-screen debut as Spock. Only a week away! I don't know when I'll get the chance to go see it, though. Probably Memorial Day weekend sometime.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Frasier The Innkeepers Part 1

Thanks to YouTube, I can share my favorite episode of "Frasier" with everyone who reads my blog! This was one of the episodes discussed in our blog. If you've never seen Frasier, this is an excellent place to start. You can really learn a lot about the characters.

Frasier The Innkeepers Part 2

Niles and Frasier's evening goes steadily downhill...

This is from Season 2, episode 23.

Never accept a table in the "enchanted grotto."

Frasier The Innkeepers Part 3

The conclusion to one of the funniest episodes from Frasier's early days.

I was right about Niles throwing a toaster in the fish tank...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Video Revue: Laff Track #2 (Frasier)

And we're back with another episode of our podcast! This week, Johnny and I discuss a few of the many, MANY episodes of "Frasier" in the second installment in our "Laff Track" series. As always, you can find us on iTunes (search "Video Revue") or Podshow.

I'll try and post some episode clips up on the blog this week, if I remember. My college semester is ending soon, so I've got to keep track of all of my project due dates. Sadly, I will not be very far into "Star Trek" when the movie comes out--is that next Friday already?--but I'd like to watch at least one more episode before the premiere. Plus, I probably won't go see the movie opening weekend, so I should have time to see a couple more. I was planning on watching one Thursday night, but my internet connection was so slow I finally gave up.

We're averaging 100-200 listeners per show! If only more of them would write to us...if you've got a comment, don't forget to e-mail us at!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: What Are Little Girls Made Of

Busy day today! Which must mean there's a something I should be doing otherwise...I don't know why I ever thought The Road would be a fun and interesting book to read. But I digress. I've finally got a new episode of the old Star Trek to review for you here!

The first six episode that I watched were on Netflix, which has the digitally remastered version with new special effects. This time, however, I watched it on the new YouTube "Shows" feature, which is basically a ripoff of Hulu. Anyway, the YouTube version does not have the new special effects. It does give the show a different feel. I suppose I like them both equally. I'd have to try watching both versions of the same episode and comparing them.

And now, on with the show! This week, the Enterprise is looking for a Dr. Roger Corby (wasn't he a film director in the sixties?) who was last seen on the planet Exo-III. Mr. Spock noted at the beginning that, while the gravity and atmosphere are comparable to Earth, the surface temperature is -100. After making contact with Dr. Corby, Kirk beams down with Corby's wife Christine. Neither of them was wearing a sweater or a hat and mittens. Haven't they ever heard of parkas? Especially with that skirt Christine was wearing.

But apparently the cold is not the main problem here; it's the tall, dark, and creepy bald guy running around and pushing the expendable characters off of cliffs. The first time he showed up, I swore he looked familiar. When I saw him again, I decided that he reminded me of Lurch from "The Addams Family." Then I realized that it was, indeed, Ted Cassidy.

It turns out that Dr. Corby discovered an ancient android, Ruk, (Cassidy) as well as the technology for creating his own androids. He's created a lovely female assistant, much to Christine's dismay. She basically asks him if he was cheating on her with the robot, and he assures her that it wasn't possible. He meant emotionally--the robots supposedly can't feel love--but I don't know if he meant physically as well...anyway, he tells Kirk that they can't go back to the ship yet, because his creatures are misunderstood and they'll be destroyed and this new technology can really be used to save mankind. Kirk doesn't buy it, and when he tries to run off, Ruk captures him.

Meanwhile, in the abandoned robot factory, the nefarious Dr. Corby has our hero, Kirk, strapped to a machine that will create a perfect android replica. They never explain how this technology is supposed to work, but if I can get over that it's actually quite creepy: the androids look, act, and think exactly like the real people do. Right before his memories are transferred to the android, Kirk says several times, "Mind your own business, Spock. I'm sick of your half-breed meddling." This will be important later.

Kirk's android replica is good enough to fool even Chrisitine. We do learn that the androids don't eat, so I'm wondering how Corby expects to begin replacing people with androids a la "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" if he's overlooked that little detail. Corby's lovely assistant Andrea has prepared the meal. It's amazing what one can do with Play-Doh in the kitchen these days...I don't know if that's supposed to be space food or what, but I wouldn't eat it.

Android Kirk is sent back to the Enterprise, where Spock is alerted to the danger after Android Kirk tells him, "Mind your own business, Spock. I'm sick of your half-breed meddling." Meanwhile, Kirk finds out that Ruk and the other ancient androids destroyed their creators, and the same thing is bound to happen to Corby if his plan continues. If we ever start creating robots, we'd better make sure we don't make them smarter than us. Or give them free will.

Of course, the big twist at the end is that Roger is also an android, and has been one for some time now. I'm not sure exactly who turned him into a robot--was it Ruk?--but he naturally insists that, while the other androids don't have real feelings, he is completely human. In the end, all of the androids (including Corby) are vaporized. I think Corby might have vaporized himself, but I'm not sure. He was kissing Andrea when it happened. Christine and the real Kirk head back to the ship, and Andrea decides to stay on the Enterprise. I wonder if she'll show up in any future episodes.

And the moral of our story is: Robots are bad news. Also, make sure your best friend can tell you from an android replica. Hooray for Spock saving the day!

Silly Songs with Larry, The Dance of The Cucumber

Johnny and I mentioned this song in our latest episode. If you were confused by the "bald monkey" comment, watch this video.

School House Polka

This is Veggie Tales at its funniest and most random. Personally, I always think of "toads towed out on the plane" whenever I hear the word "homophone." So I guess it's effective as well. And Schoolhouse Rock never did do a video for homophones...

Video Revue: Eat Your Veggies!

In this next installment, Johnny and I look at "Veggie Tales," mostly focusing on the earlier episodes and some of our favorite Silly Songs. There have also been 2 Veggie Tales movies, which we didn't have time to cover. As always, you can find us on iTunes or Podshow.

I'll post a video or two as well. If you've never seen Veggie Tales, they're definitely worth a look (especially if you have kids).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It Came From Hollywood!

Our latest show is up and running! As always, you can find us on iTunes or Podshow. In this episode, Johnny and I discuss a few of the best (and worst) B-grade horror movies, plus whatever else pops into our heads!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hi, I'm a Marvel...and I'm a DC: Wolverine (Cyclops) and Watchmen (Nite Owl)

Ohhh lord. ItsJustSomeRandomGuy strikes again! This time, he pits Nite Owl from Watchmen against Wolverine from, make that Cyclops from X-Men, because Wolverine didn't bother to show up.

Also: insults, one-liners, and Superman!

For more Random-ness:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Video Revue in 3-D!

The podcast returns (for the second week in a row!) as we discuss 3-D movies, both new and old, and also give our reviews of Coraline and Monsters vs. Aliens (both of which we saw in 3-D)!

As always, you can find us on iTunes or Podshow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ANDY HALLETT R.I.P (08/04/75 - 03/29/09) "ANGEL"

Andy's first appearance on "Angel" along with a short tribute at the end, done by YouTuber wackitobacki (NOT ME).

I'll post more videos if I find them.

Andy Hallett, RIP

I actually found out about this yesterday, but I didn't want to mix it in with my April Fool's Day and musician Andy Hallett died on Tuesday from heart failure. He was 33 years old.

He is best known, at least to Joss Whedon (evil genius) fans, as the demon Lorne from Angel. His role on Angel was actually his first acting job, where he appeared in four of the five seasons and almost 80 episodes. After the show ended, he went on to pursue acting and music on his own.

If you want to read more about his death, pleas read the E! Online obituary.

Lorne was always one of my favorite characters on the show. He first appeared in the Season 2 premiere as a karaoke bar owner/empath demon. Meaning that he could listen to people sing and find things out about them. Exactly what he found out varied; sometimes he could see their future, and other times he could just tell how they were feeling. He had to spend three hours in makeup every day to complete the transformation to the green-skinned, horned demon. He always had a good attitude and a kind word, and honestly I think the writers gave Lorne some of the best lines in the show.

It sounds like I just wrote an obituary for his character, doesn't it? Of course, I never met Andy Hallett. I only knew him as his character on Angel. It's weird, feeling like you know somebody you've never met. Andy, you will be missed.

On a lighter note: YouTube's April Fool's prank yesterday was presenting all of their videos upside-down. If you missed it, you can still watch them that way (for now, anyway). Just add "&flip=1" to the end of the URL.
Example: (normal viewing) (upside-down viewing)
Highly amusing (and there's a button to watch it in normal view if you get a migraine).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Well, dear readers, I am writing to inform you that this will be my last blog post. After years of deliberation, my mother has decided that our family is going to move to Amish country and shun all technology. This obviously includes computers, meaning I won't be allowed to blog about anything. Even if I could, our new house has no television, VCR, DVD player, or even electricity, and we're forbidden to go to the movies. I'd have nothing left to blog ABOUT.

It's unfortunate that this is our last day in the technology-infused world, because everything is changing. Google has developed a new artificial-intelligence entity named CADIE, YouTube has a fascinating new way to watch videos, and even the Twilight Guy has a new format!

Everybody enjoy the first day of April.