Introduction

The inaugural episode of my Star Trek: The Next Generation podcast! This series is going to look at all 178 episodes of the classic sci-fi show that ran from 1987 to 1994. Each podcast will look at a specific episode of the show and break down what works, what doesn’t, and what makes this show one of my favorites of all time.

 

Titanfall

Titanfall is a 2014 first-person shooter developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts exclusively for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The footage shown during this video is the PC version, with all graphical settings on “high”. There is an ultra setting, but unfortunately that asks a bit too much of my PC. Maybe after all that sweet internet YouTube money starts rolling in and I can buy one of the computers they use at NASA, I’ll revise the video accordingly.

Continue Reading

The True Detective Finale

Amy and I recently watched the final episode of the first season of HBO’s “True Detective”. We had some thoughts to share, and some disagreements to hash out, so we figured there is no better way to do that (other than marriage counseling) than a podcast.

This final episode ends the Woody Harrelson / Matthew McConaughey pairing for the show. The next season is going to “reboot” the franchise by bringing in a brand new cast and story to satiate our detective story lust. I’m looking forward to it.

The Genius of Peep Show

So much of human interaction is hidden behind the scenes, outside of the normal mode of communication of language. The true meaning of most conversations exists outside of the “script” of what is said, and instead can be more fully understood as a complex combination of words, thoughts, emotions and judgment. The words we say are maybe only 10% of the total package, the vast majority of meaning and truth exists only in our minds, almost always unknown by the other half in our conversations.

Continue Reading

True Detective

About a quarter of the way into the premiere episode of HBO’s “True Detective”, Matthew McConaughey’s character, a detective named Rust Cohle, beings to wax poetic. Riding as the passenger in a prototypical detective sedan, Cohle stares glumly out the window and rambles on as his partner, Marty Hart, played by Woody Harrelson, listens in:

“Human consciousness is a tragic misstep in human evolution.”

Continue Reading

House of Cards

Netflix doesn’t want to be an “online Blockbuster” anymore. The DVD rental and streaming behemoth has spend years dealing with content providers, haggling deals and increasing payouts customers latch onto the idea of non physical media being beamed directly into their TVs. All of Netflix’s recent actions, including the ill-conceived (although business-logical) Qwickster service, have been a part of the company’s realization that the money in television and movies doesn’t come from leasing content from production companies. Netflix has realized that the real money comes from creating content.

Continue Reading

An Irrational Office

office

I’ve worked in a corporate office for the past four years. It’s cliché at this point to mention the monotony of office work. Dilbert and The Office have already picked that bone clean. The intentional corporate atmosphere that is created by the soft drone of copy machines and the empty visual stimulation of cubicles with fabric walls is well known by a large portion of the American workforce. You arrive in the morning, survey the endless pile of paper work, accomplish a few tasks, and then go home to watch television before crawling into bed, and repeating the cycle only a few hours later. After a while, your thoughts begin to wander. Despite the fact that you are (unfortunately) sober, your mind starts to take on the disposition of a philosopher sprinkled with marijuana : this is what I do? I copy numbers from this place, plug them into this spot and then send that to someone else, for them to do something with it? This is what I create? This is the mark I leave on the world? Manipulating meaningless symbols to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for auditors to follow?

Continue Reading

My Perestroika

“Perestroika” literally means restructuring in Russian, and it was also the term used to define the political and social changes that followed the collapse of the USSR. This documentary, “My Perestroika”, captures the ideology and feelings of a small group of Russians who are of the right age to remember the zeitgeist of Russia both before and after the wall fell. Incredible archival footage shows the society that the Communist Party was trying to build, and it is wonderfully inter cut with the directors modern footage to build the case that Russia is Russia, and it seems like it will always be that way, regardless of who is running the show. The cast of characters who are interviewed are intelligent, well spoken, and well read; this despite their various backgrounds and current situations that are all over the map (Despite the horrors of certain aspects of communism, I think this says something about the quality of the education in that system). Their opinions about the old guard and their new, more Western society are diverse, with some seeming pleased with the recent changes and others pining, ever so slightly, for the stability that the USSR offered. One last point: after watching this film, I found it impossible to ignore how similar the USSR and the USA were during the Cold War. For all of the teachings we’ve been given about how the evil empire was trying to conquer the world and it was up to the inherent purity of the US to stand against this threat, Russian children were being told the exact same thing. Hearing the kids say such in the archival footage is chilling. It makes you wonder if paranoia is the foundation for a lot of global issues.

 

Men, Women and Children

No one is ever going to say that Chad Kultgen is a master wordsmith. His novels always strike me as fleshed out screenplays; very straight forward and direct, with little description or clever language. His characters are rarely anything greater than the sum of their quirks, they have no separation from each other in any way outside of what each of them enjoys. All of his characters have the same dedicated focus and they all act remarkably similar to each other, even if their ultimate goals are different. His previous novels, “Average American Male” and “The Lie” both exist in the “fratire” genre, where the focus tends to be male oriented and extremely graphic and sexual. The sex is extremely male oriented; aggressive and detail oriented, with an emphasis on male dominance. That’s not a negative quality, it just should be recognized because it can be upsetting to some people. “American Male” was an interesting take on a nameless narrator who aimlessly goes through his life, driven only by sex and video games. “The Lie” was more complex, with a legitimately interesting plot that concerned the college careers of three fairly unlikable characters.

Continue Reading

30: Minutes or Less

In 2003, a pizza delivery man named Brian Douglas Wells was apprehended by police for robbing a local bank. In a strange twist, Wells revealed to the police that he had a bomb strapped to him. Wells told them that he was an unwilling participant in the robbery; he had been kidnapped, and told by his kidnappers that unless he completed the robbery within a certain time limit, the bomb would explode. A bomb squad was called by the police. Less than 15 minutes later, before the bomb squad could arrive, the bomb exploded, killing Wells.

Continue Reading