Thursday, April 11, 2024

Dee Bradley Baker doing clone voices for five and a half minutes

I realized that not everyone likes animation, but animated Star Wars has some great characters and stories.  The Batd Batch is exceptional.

Not everyone likes science fiction, but I am impressed at how many voices Dee Bradley Baker does.  He voices most of the show.

I am surprised at how enthusiastic the audience is.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine (Review from 4 years ago)

Having watched most of the Star Trek Deep Space Nine for the 4th time, the question becomes what is it about this 26-year-old show keeps drawing me back?  Serial space shows tend to be soap operas at heart, but what makes this show really stand out is the great cast of characters.  As a spin-off of Star Trek The Next Generation, which had some great characters of its own, DS9 stole the character of Miles O'Brien from that show to give the new series some familiarity.  Three years later it would also bring on the character of Worf from TNG.  However, these two characters, along with most of the other characters, were to some extent either outcasts or misfits, all of which were wonderfully acted.  This created conflicts in the stories that Gene Roddenberry would never have allowed on Star Trek The Next Generation, which was a show that he wanted to represent a utopian future.  Because Deep Space Nine was willing to go places the previous series wouldn't, it created more interesting and in-depth stories.

The characters on Deep Space Nine are so good that when the series ends you feel like all these good friends of yours have moved away.  After a few years, you miss them and want to visit them again.

The show is not without its flaws.  Early on it lacked any kind long term story arc, which we didn't get until the season 2 finale.  This new story arc was really good, but the series remained episodic, visiting the long term story only occasionally.  Fortunately, the last three seasons became serial, giving us a mostly continuous story.

Since the space station Deep Space Nine is near the planet Bajor, there are many episodes devoted to the politics of Bajor, especially in the early seasons.  The problem with this is that nobody cares about Bajor anymore.  It was a planet created just for this series, and it has never come up again in the Star Trek universe.

The special effects still hold up, but are starting to become dated.  The early seasons used physical models, so the show only had enough special effects to get by.  In the last two seasons it switched to using computer-generated effects, which not only gave us more special effects, but these computer effects hold up really well 20 years later.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine's main television rival was Babylon 5, which is another 90's show about a station deep in space.  Both shows are really good.  Deep Space Nine has better characters overall, but Babylon 5 has a more complex story that is more epic and grander in its vision.  The special effects on Babylon 5 aren't quite as good, but they are adequate.

As much as I like both of these series, neither one quite rises to the level of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica that premiered in 2004.

Star Wars Meme Monday with Thor & Naboo (Episode 107) and Special Treat

Star Wars has the bad habit of bringing back dead characters...

Old Tube TVs

For those who don't remember, powering up really old televisions would start as an expanding dot in the middle of the screen.  It would only take a few seconds to reach full size.  Old televisions used vacuum tubes instead of transistors, which needed warming up.  They glowed orange.  You could see them through the heat vents in the back.  In a dark room, the TV would light up the wall behind it.

I remember going to a repair shop that had dozens of different types of replacement tubes.   A local drug store used to have a tube tester by the door.

Starting in the mid-1970s, manufacturers advertised televisions that were "Instant On".  I noticed these TVs kept some vacuum tubes powered up even when the TV was "off".

Old TVs put out a great deal of heat.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


"Last year, I had a life-changing experience at 90 years old. I went to space, after decades of playing an iconic science-fiction character who was exploring the universe. I thought I would experience a deep connection with the immensity around us, a deep call for endless exploration.
I was absolutely wrong. The strongest feeling, that dominated everything else by far, was the deepest grief that I had ever experienced.
I understood, in the clearest possible way, that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn't see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting so starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.
This was an immensely powerful awakening for me. It filled me with sadness. I realized that we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside. I did my share in popularizing the idea that space was the final frontier. But I had to get to space to understand that Earth is and will stay our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable."
~ William Shatner

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Post From 4 Years ago About Video Resolution

 When 4K TV's first came out, some people pointed out that your eyes can't see in 4K. (I know mine can't.) I bought a 4K TV anyway on a Walmart Black Friday sale at a great price.

The 4K designation is a bit deceptive because the 4K refers to the number of horizontal pixels. In the past, video resolutions were designated by the number of lines vertically. Therefore, just so we are clear, 4K is 2160P, and 1080P is 2K.
Old tube TV's broadcast in 480i, which means the video was only 480 lines, and the TV takes two 1/60th of a second cycles to draw the entire screen.
The most you can get out of broadcast TV right now is 1080i. The old TV shows that dominate broadcast TV were recorded on videotape, which is 480i, so that how they are broadcast today. Blu-ray disks are typically 1080P, and DVD's can be as low as 480p. There is a special Blu-ray format that is 4K, but you need a Blu-ray player that supports it.
When movie theaters started using digital projection, the format they used was 2K, and some later movies were shown in 4K. I am one who sits on the front row of a theater when everybody else sits 2/3 of the way back. (That's kind of nice for me actually.) Even with a giant screen in front of me, I can't notice any lack of resolution with a 2K or 4K projection.
My favorite computer resolution is 1440P, which is technically 2.5K, and this is what I use now. This is an ideal resolution for playing games. The Apple iMac that I own is capable of 5K, which is overkill on Apple's part because it doesn't make sense to have that much detail on a 27-inch monitor.
On my computer, I routinely watch videos that are 720P and I never notice any lack of clarity.
So now the industry is developing 8K TV's, which is insane. Your eyes will not see the difference, and there's not going to be any content available in 8K. The new videogame systems that are coming out this year are also going to support 8K, but likely just for content and not for games which will be in 4K instead. Right now you can buy a 98 inch Samsung 8K TV for $79,000. This is insane.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

The Bad Batch Season 2

I recently finished Season 1.

Season 2 of the Bad Batch has more "filler" episodes.  The IMDB ratings tend to be lower than season 1.

So far, Season 3 has been the best.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Dawn Wells

Tina Louise is the only surviving cast member of Gilligan's Island. Louise, who plays Ginger Grant, turned 90 in February 2024.

Dawn Wells (pictured) died from COVID-19 in December 2020 at age 82.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Obi-Wan Picks Up Drugs

This might be the best scene in the Kenobi series.  Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Ewan McGregor, is trying to find a kidnapped young Princess Leia.   He is approached by a young drug dealer.  He lies and says that he is looking for his daughter.  The drug dealer who says, "I was someone's daughter once too" is played by Ewan McGregor's daughter.

Back to Formula? "The Bad Batch" S3 E4 Review & Discussion

This was starting to become my least favorite episode. The decision to go after the hound was in every respect foolish and the gambling plot didn't do much for me. How did they survive the shootout when clearly outgunned and the stormtroopers had the drop on them? It is like the show turns into the A-Team.

The ending redeems the episode somewhat. However, I would have preferred more interaction and acceptance of Crosshair. They shouldn't have just left us hanging. Sometimes that is useful for dramatic purposes, but it doesn't make sense here because The Bad Batch already expressed interest in rescuing Crosshair. I would have said, "Welcome back brother!"

I had imagined a scenario where Omega and Crosshair take a job to earn some credits, and inadvertently find themselves on the opposing side of their brothers who also took a job to make some credits. It would have been a heck of a reunion.  

I wonder if Sid is completely out of the picture, or if we will get a redemption story for SId?

Monday, February 26, 2024