Thursday, October 21, 2004

National Treasure

There's a Nicholas Cage movie coming out that looks interesting called "National Treasure." Basically, it claims that the Founding Fathers hid a fabulous treasure and planted clues in American Revolution-era artifacts like the Liberty Bell, the dollar bill, and the Declaration of Independence. Extremely far-fetched, but I think it could work in a conspiracy-theory, "The Da Vinci Code" kind of way. It could also be a ludirously lame attempt at a history class crossed with Indiana Jones. I might check it out. But Benjamin Franklin Gates? What the heck kinda name is that?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Bud Light Presents...

For years, Bud Light has been running a series of commercials saluting the unsung heroes and anti-heroes of American males. At first, it was called "Real American Heroes," but they changed it to "Real Men of Genius" after 9/11. I prefer "Heroes..." I mean it's a joke, people. Anyway, I found a website that has collection of mp3s of them. Act fast, Budweiser's been shutting other sites down for some reason. Among my favorites is still "Mr. Hawaiian Shirt Pattern Designer."

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Randomlynx: Virtual Deathtrap

The first military submarine to sink a ship in wartime was the CSS Hunley. Created in the American Civil War, I think the Hunley is the essence of steampunk, only in real-life. The darn thing killed two of its crews, including it's inventor, so it's no surprise it didn't trigger a wave of popularity for submarines. Surprisingly, I found a very cool online virtual simulation of the CSS Hunley at the Sun-Sentinel. The feeling it creates in running it really does capture how terrifying and awkward it must have been inside the original Hunley.

ST: Enterprise - Even Worse

I didn't see the season premiere of "Star Trek: Enterprise," and it's likely (based on the ratings) that you didn't either. But I did read a review of the episode in the Seattle Times, and it sounds like I didn't miss much. What's surprising is that it seems this already weak show has taken a turn for the worse. Worse visual effects, lower budget, and a cheesy story. So much for the hopes of reviving the Star Trek franchise.

I still think the problem is simply one of variety. Once upon a time, Star Trek was the 500-pound gorilla of sci-fi entertainment. You could either watch Star Trek or Time Trax, and that was it. As a result, everything Star Trek did was bold and new, the cutting edge of scifi, and it pretty much threw a wide net. It was the only place to see new and interesting aliens, the paradoxes of time travel, and futuristic technology. Remember the stir that the nanites caused in the Next Generation, the first exploration of nanotechnology in pop culture. Now, you've got Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, Andromeda, and a slew of other scifi shows that explore themes that Star Trek can only handle in the broadest sense. In other words, Star Trek is a victim of its own success. By making scifi mainstream, it opened the door to so much competition that it can't compete. Plus, the name Star Trek is now synonymous with nerd. I think it's time we accept the fact that we've simply outgrown Star Trek. Or at least I have.

Bonus: Check out what Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) had to say about her role in the last season and the new season...and it's not good. Darn good points, if you ask me.

Monday, October 04, 2004

It's Like Living In Space: Spaceship One

Well, the future has finally arrived. SpaceshipOne has completed two successful flights into outer space within five days, granting them the X-Prize and opening the frontier for private commercial spaceflight. Amazing. Virgin has already announced that they'll license the technology and offer space tourism for $200,000 a seat. Is it just me or is that really cheap? More than I can afford, but better than the $20 million Dennis Tito paid. Frankly, I always thought the X-Prize was a stupid idea. I figured anyone who could afford to build a spaceship wouldn't cross the street for $10 million, but I guess they were right. I think it was the goal that was important, the parameters set forth to win the money, not the money that made it work. Kudos to SpaceshipOne and take that, NASA. I still think SpaceshipOne is a stupid name for such an important vessel, though.