Tag Archives: human

Secret Pleasures #14: Star Trek

30 Dec

Space.  Aliens.  New plants.  Action.  Heart-throbbing men. Lazar guns.  This is the perfect combination for a great TV show.  Star Trek is so great that I really don’t know where to begin.  I suppose as a disclosure I must declare that I am by no means an expert on the series but love it just the same.

The original cast supports and array of interesting and ethnically diverse characters which should be applauded.  Excluding Spock’s obvious Vulcan heritage the main cast included an Asian, African American, and Russian character (Sulu, Uhura, Chekov) who all held vital roles of power.  For 1966 this was a pretty big deal.

However, despite the diverse races the show had one big flaw: under representation of woman.  They’re very seldom shown holding legitimate posts and are usually doing “woman” jobs like being secretaries.  Their short shirts and high boots are also not very respectable.

The plot of the show itself was incredibly intriguing.  While special effects and costume designs had a lot of room for improvement they set the scene for an unexplored world.  Kirk, Spock, and McCoy always had their fill of funny quips and battles of wits which I feel can appeal to all generations.

For me, Spock was the hit of the show.  He left behind a trade mark, “Live long and prosper,” and even as a child I remember showing my split fingers to people in glee.  The controversy of emotions that he represents also pulls at my heart strings (I think I’m just a sucker for mysterious men).  He also has a lot of drama concerning his split heritage, Vulcan and human, which creates an great twist in his character development.

Truthfully, I haven’t seen The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, or Voyager Star Trek sequels but I love Enterprise!  Not only does Enterprise star Scott Bakula (our #1 favorite man here at Mechanistic Moth) but it’s the most recent series so the effects, makeup, and costumes are more advanced.

Enterprise.

Of all the men on the cast I’m not sure who I love more.  Scott Bakula is just always himself: amazing.  But, there’s also charming Commander Trip Tucker who’s southern accent warms my heart and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed who I could listen to for ages.  Among the men you cannot discount Ensign Travis Mayweather.  He may be the “token black” but his innocence and excitability always amuse me.  And, you can always count on seeing his head in the background of any shot giving a brilliantly white smile.

Because this series takes place early in Earth’s space travel history (way before Spock and Kirk) tensions are always extremely high with other life forms.  Specifically, Sub Commander T’Pol (a Vulcan female) is continuously distrusted.  However, everyone seems to love Dr. Phlox the resident physician who happens to be Denobulan.

Flaws with Enterprise are quite simple: it’s pretty corny.  However, I for one love all the sappy goodness.  I do, however, have a problem with T’Pol’s outfit.  Her camouflage leotard is so unflattering that I hate the very sight of it.  What possessed the costume designers to put her in that thing; it was idiotic.

Now onto Star Trek 2009.

I don’t have all the words to express how much I love this movie.  It took a classic show and rejuvenated it for the modern era.  It’s something that can be loved by kids and those who know the original.

The true fanatics may debate the liberty the writers took with the time line and characters, but I think it worked out fine in the end.

The movie has all the classic jokes and trademarks of the series such as “Beam me up Scotty” and “Live long and prosper” but most importantly it has Leonard Nimoy!

He may be looking pretty old but Nimoy still has that charming (even without emotions) appeal to him.  He was at Emerald City Comicon not too long after the movie came out and I still regret not being able to see him.  This guy is a legend.

The new Spock, Zachary Quinto, also did a fantastic job while being a lovely piece of alien eye candy.

In general ,Star Trek is beyond words.  It was genius and innovative for its time and continues to fascinate a modern audience.  With a sequel scheduled for 2012 it looks like it will continue to live long and prosper.

My Secret Pleasure: Space.  Aliens.  New plants. Undiscovered territories.  Action.  Heart-throbbing men. Lazar guns.

The Walking Dead #76: Review

16 Aug

I’ll keep this general and brief.

The Walking Dead is worthy of its Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series.  I am glad to pick up each issue month-to-month.  Sure, I could save money if I collected the trades.  And yes, I could probably be more likely to loan things out (although, I have had too many bad experiences with this practice) with a trade.  The problem is: I chomp (pun!) each issue up and cannot wait for the next bit of story.  It’s too good to wait for the trades.  Plus, the waiting is part of the fun and almost reflects a lot of the comics nature.

Anyway, this issue picks up from the surprise at the end of last with Michonne.  Rick flipped and now has to deal with the repercussions… though, they may not all be bad.  The characters come to grips with their past actions.  The next big confrontation is hinted at.  And Rick then answers the telephone.

Art = fantastic.

Overall: near perfection.

But seriously, people.  Read this comic.  Hell, the trades are even in public libraries!  You don’t have to catch up to where the series is currently at to understand and enjoy it.

What I Learned From Quantum Leap

26 Jun

Scott Bakula in skin tight anything, please

As many of my close associates know, my favorite television series of all time is Quantum Leap.  It is by far the best show that came out in the late 80s/90s, and, in my fanboy opinion, THE BEST SHOW EVER.

The show tackled some hard subjects, and I’m going to present some of the things that it taught me.

This is first and foremost the most important thing ever.  I have had dreams of Scott Bakula… We didn’t do anything, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to.  I believe the show had a requirement that, for every 5 episodes, Scott had to take his shirt off at least once.  That means you could see him half naked (occasionally only in boxers!) about 4 times a season.  Each one of these episodes became 30x better for it.

“You see, your life is like a piece of string.  One end represents birth and the other death.  What if you were to crumple the string and the points where it touches each other represent points in your life?  Now, what if you were able to jump from point to point within your own lifetime?”

Easiest explanation of Time Travel/String Theory ever.  Sure, the show dealt with some paradoxes of time travel, but it was HILARIOUS and MIND-BLOWING every time!

Did you know that you can be in someone’s body and your sperm, while having sex, will remain your sperm and not the person you’re inside!?  I didn’t until SAM HAD A DAUGHTER.  Apparently, Samuel Beckett’s sperm are so powerful THEY KO TIME PARADOXES!

Like the requirement for Sam to end up in some situation requiring the REMOVAL of HIS SHIRT, about every 4 episodes in seasons 2-4 Sam would have to look up and either say “thanks!” or “what do you want me to do” or something of the sort to a divine other.  Immediately afterward, something would happen and it would all work out in Sam’s favor.  Why?  Because Sam knows science, and god respects science (excluding evolution).

Sam and Al are BESTIES, alright.  Besties.  Al is a womanizer who has had five marriages and five divorces.  Sam is a boyscout who occasionally gets some but closed his eyes when he had a chance to see Marilyn Monroe NAKED!  They are buddies, but have you ever thought that they are more than that?  IT IS FORBIDDEN LOVE!  They cannot touch each other and Al meekly coaches Sam about sex as he boasts loudly about his exploits because they’re both afraid to admit that THEY ARE IN LOVE.  If either one of them reaches out to the other, their hands go right through.  They secretly want each other, but they just won’t admit it.  Who doesn’t want to see them kiss… seriously?

How many times did Sam’s salvation rely upon Al distracting animals or using little children or crazy people?  Not many but every time it was A CLASSIC every time.

There was a controversial episode which was the Season 5 premiere that was a special two hours long with Sam leaping into LEE HARVEY OSWALD.  Plus, around this time is when the controversial JFK movie by Oliver Stone came out which proved a different consensus but was still just as controversial as the one proving the opposite… What the fuck you might say, and I agree “what the fuck.”  Nevertheless, Sam’s brain and memories started to pick up residuals of Lee Harvey Oswald’s to the point that he started speaking in an accent and KNEW RUSSIAN.  Plus, he had to attempt suicide.  This episode PROVED that the JFK assassination was a lone gunman despite Scott Bakula publicly stating that he didn’t agree with the consensus of the show, and whatever Scott Bakula thinks, YOU SHOULD THINK TOO.

I didn’t believe Vietnam sucked until I watched the 8 or so episodes of Quantum Leap that dealt, in some part, with how sucky it really sucked.  Okay, that’s a lie, but Quantum Leap CONFIRMED IT.  From floating veteran’s with no legs and MIAs to homefront heroes and cheating wife zeroes, watching Quantum Leap was like LIVING IT.  Okay, that’s a lie again, but still!

Sam has seven MASTER DEGREES.  He is a Doctor in a shitload of things.  Naturally, he is a skeptic, but Al gets the “heebie jeebies” with anything supernatural, and believes it willingly.  Sam disagrees and gets angry with how naive Al is being, but, always IN THE LAST 2 MINUTES of the show, SAM IS PROVEN WRONG.  Quantum Leap has taught me that ghosts really are real along with Bigfoot, Vampires, and DEMONS!  What other show can claim that territory (excluding the Travel Channel).

Sam leaped into a woman a lot on the show.  As the seasons went forward, he leaped into a woman more and more frequently.  At first, it was funny to watch him adjust, but then he just got really good at being a woman.  Sure, he had to deal with womanizing bosses and other sorts of evil men (HE PUNCHED THEM!!!), but the strange thing was how natural it became.  I would like to argue that Sam was BETTER AT BEING A WOMAN THAN WOMEN ARE.  The best instance of him leaping into a woman was when Sam BECAME PREGNANT!  Okay, well, he leaped into someone who was already pregnant, but he still got the munchies and pain in his fake uterus and other sorts of things.  Plus, he leaped out when HIS BABY WAS CROWNING.  Sam almost gave birth, dammit!

Over and over, the show was not bogged down in scientific facts or theories because it realized that science (excluding medicine) IS A SHAM.  Human connections were at the heart of the show, and that makes you weep… or at least me.

My Idols

Other things the show taught me:

  • The worst thing to happen in life is death
  • Farming is awesome
  • Sometimes the bad guys are the good guys
  • People in Mental Asylums are full of laughs and fun
  • There are EVIL leapers!
  • The traditional family unit is the only way to find happiness
  • Retroactive cameos are amazing
  • Swiss Cheese is the best metaphor for memory ever
  • Being forceful with women is okay as long as they are wrong and you’re trying to knock some sense in them

To the Person(s) Who Sent Me Mystery Letters

5 Apr

I love them.

Now, I understand I’m sort of breaking hate week with this little not-rant.  But, I figured I’d get this up here and let them know that you have my attention.

For those of you not in the know, on Friday, I received two letters in the mail.  One postmarked on March 20th from Oakland (re-routed after the post office misidentifying my school address zip code) and the other on the 24th from San Jose.  The handwriting appears to be different on both of the envelopes (and I have extensively attempted to cross-reference them).  However, they are the same type of envelope with nearly identical stamps on each one with the same artistic concept for each contents.  Right click and choose view image to get nice and up close.

Whoever sent these, I’d like you to know that I whipped out my Batman detective skills on these.  First of all, I found out about this one that it was probably made by somehow made with blond hair.  How did I find this out?  Well, there was about a 3 inch long seemingly human hair in the tape that attached the text to the image.  The image is of some non-plant cell that has been colored in with oily crayon-like tools.  I have not figured out if the text is from anything or original.  Plus, a hand drawn heart is included at the end of the text.

The other one was a bit easier when Michaela instantly recognized both the quote and the painting.  The painting is of Lady Agnew by John Singer Sargent, and the quote is from Shutter Island.  However, the image was folded very quickly and put into the envelope directly after it was printed because of the heavy ghosting of the text on the bottom of the page.

I really enjoy these.  Please send me more.  Give me some clearer hints as to who you are and what this is for.

Everyone needs a good stalker.

Thank you.

A look at Zahra’s Paradise

7 Mar

Such a simple beginning to an already moving web-comic (to be later turned into a graphic novel).  Zahra’s Paradise functions as a very humanistic examination of Iran following their 2009 elections.  The graphic novel removes the focus away from what Iran has become known for in the media with nuclear proliferation, and replaced it with the human rights issues that face Islamic Iran.

The site updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with usually one more page to be read.  The best way to read it is wait a week, and then check in to hopefully get 3 or so more pages.

It’s hard to not compare this web comic to its contemporary, Iranian counterpart: Persepolis.  However, it’s best to just see these two separate pieces of work as compendiums to the ever complicated politics of the Middle East.  Persepolis is a memoir of a young girl growing up in Iran through the revolution.  It both focuses on Iran and the loss of innocence that comes with getting older.

Zahra’s Paradise works a bit differently.  It is a fictional piece of work that examines the relationship between citizen and state in Iran as a mother searches for her lost son.  The author (Amir) did begin growing up in Iran, but was forced to move out.  However, not much is known about the author and the artist due to their decision to remain anonymous (under pen names).  The premise is simple, but the turns and commentaries already have added a multi-layered beauty of a story.

The experience of reading this story piece by piece online is heightened with additional commentaries by the author on certain pages ranging from political relationships within Iran and cultural food recipes of Iran.  On each page, the site offers the viewer to comment or share the page with their network.

By far, the most ingenious added feature is the inclusion of multiple languages on the site.  So far, the comic can be read in English, Persian, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch with more on their way.  This feature allows for the site to get tons of exposure as well as promoting the versatility of web-comics as a whole.  I also really enjoy that each language has it’s own distinct text.

A lot has been said already, and I have not even mentioned the artwork.  To put it simply, the art is brilliant.  narrow brush strokes are mixed with some simple shading and fine tipped pens to create a gorgeous black and white affair. Khalil has multitudes of talent and really captures the emotion in each one of his faces and bodies.  Never does his artwork come off as stiff, over done, or too simple; it hits all of the right notes.

If you want to experience something that emotionally rips at your heart strings while allowing you to learn about other cultures and events to empathize with this story, then check it out and be prepared to be taken away in a world too real from a new voice that has been waiting to be heard: Zahra’s Paradise.
Also, check out this interview off of Comic Book Resources with the Author and the Publisher: Paradise Creator Speaks.

Maybe I Should Stick to Prose: Six – A Jarred Childhood

6 Mar

A Jarred Childhood

We were surrounded. An army, enclosing, edging in with wasted fingers outstretched.

When went in, they did not seem so intimidating; watery specks, bits of festering fungi, floating in air. But as we edged around the circle, marvel quickly crumbled. A carnival of faces; eyes slit, legs crossed, delicate fingers caressed brittleness, fragile skulls flowered to expose festering brains within, just beneath the surface.

I stopped to watch a woman pass me, a broad smile smeared across her face. I thought this strange, figuring it out of place. But just as she, every woman I saw wandered by with the same twisted grin.

They were so excited to witness the miracle of birth, the growth of something so small into something more; something you could hold, love, watch play; something you could scold, watch scratch crayon across a wall, read to before bed; something you could comfort after a nightmare, nurse after catching a cold, let pout at the breakfast table; something you could watch slumber in your arms, bandage after a scrapped knee, pick up screaming off the floor; something you could watch grow up, see off to school, help dress for an interview; something you could give keys to, get flowers from, meet the lover of.  This was what they saw; they saw beauty.

I closed my eyes; I wanted to see this beauty more than anything. But when I opened them I only saw a grim certainty; webbed fingers, covering, scratching, a withered, wry face, frozen in time. An imagined childhood, wasted in a jar.

“Are you okay?” His hand swept across my back.

I hadn’t noticed that my mouth was open, eyes frozen and expressionless.

“What?”

“You just looked really strange. Is everything alright?”

My eyes wandered to the side, “Yeah. Fine.” I turned my back to him.

They were almost human, almost people. How do you draw the line; how do you define them as people? Would you describe them to be an It? Its? Perhaps “how” was the wrong question to ask. When do you define them as people? At fifty-seven days they have fingernails.

I wound my way through the crowded circus, faces, vacuous, to reach the end.

I stepped forward, anxiously, to meet the king of kings. The hairs on its head were poised, afloat. Its forehead crinkled, waiting, worried. But what could it have been worried about? For something that would never come? A light that would never be seen? The touch of a mother that would never be felt? I could almost see the air bubbles burst.

It took me a minute to realize that they were all dead.

1 Month Old Celebration! …and the inevitable plague of humanity…

27 May

So, I’ll give you a quick update of stuff to come and then talk about what I really want to post about.

  • Our Blog is 1 month old!  Shit yeah!
  • We’ve had a little over 500 views in one month and will hopefully gain more.
  • Still need to post about the Oakland Zoo.  I’m kind of expecting Megan to do that.
  • Megan’s going to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Went to the Museum of Comic History and got to see some really neat things (Usagi Yojimbo, Watchmen, Animation, Eisner, Herriman).
  • Went to Santa Cruz today.

So, Santa Cruz is what I want to talk about.  It was pretty fun going on the Giant Dipper which is a primarily wood roller coaster about 85 years old.  Putting aside it being a giant tourist trap, it was neat as long as you could recognize the gimmicks. 

The two parts that really bothered me in Santa Cruz, however, were: 1. Seeing Urbanization’s effect on a defenseless seal and 2. Seeing my first (allegedly) Iraq War Veteran homeless.

1.
So, Megan and I decided to take a break from the boardwalk and go onto the beach because I hadn’t been on a nice, sandy, warm beach since my family trip to Maui 3.5 years ago; Puget Sound beaches really just don’t cut it for me.  There was a nice area towards the end of a boardwalk where there was a little cove, a river running into the ocean, and a bit of an escape from the craziness going on at the boardwalk. 

Megan and I soon saw a sign warning us to not bother the seals  along with your typical no dogs aloud sign.  We joked that a seal probably wouldn’t dare come up this close to the insane sounds and lights of the boardwalk.  Moments later, we were proven wrong when I looked up the river and proclaimed “Look, a Seal” in my monotone voice.  Being the curious individuals (humans) that we are, we wanted to get in for a closer look.  However, we are both very respectful of nature and came only within about 20 ft. from the seal so it wouldn’t be bothered by us.  We were briefly enjoying this moment of wildlife so close to civilization when Megan looked up and saw a man with his dog off the leash; she quickly prophesized “that dog’s going to go after that seal.”  Sure enough, the dog ran after the seal passing a dead seagul along the way, and the dog snapped at the seal’s back flippers as it smoothly disappeared into the water.  The owner clearly saw the seal minutes before the ordeal and his one attempt at stopping the unleashed dog consisted of loosely mumbling under his breath “stop.”  Megan was incredibly angry, and I found myself rather embelished with an inconsistent sense of emotion as well but for different reasons. 

These types of events happen probably weekly in this area and probably all over the world… so, I was angry more because that the seal was so used to it that it instinctually cleared its sandy spot on the beach before the dog got there.  I was angry that here this seal was enjoying its time… in an area next to a half-assed amusement park, poorly managed beach with incosiderent people on their vacations, and buildings standing atop the mini cliff overlooking the river.  The seal was making due with what it had, but it should have never been put into this situation in the first place.  The seal’s trying to survive while the humans are merely trying to entertain, and that, in my opinion, grants the seal full entitlement to the area.  We, as humans, are the ones who should be clearing the area for our fellow creatures rather than them having to put up with our habits (smoking, drinking, littering) and clear lack of respect for them.

That’s what angered me beyond anything… the underlying cause as to why a seal has to briskly escape a nuisance remains our distinct desire to conquer and urbanize.

2.
While driving away from Santa Cruz to get on to 17N, I spotted a homeless man at a stoplight from a bit of a distance because he was a semi street down from us.  He looked relatively young, probably in his 30s, with few posessions, and bearded.  His sign read, “Please help, Iraq War Veteran.”  Now, obviously, I can’t trust the sign because he could be lying… but that lack in faith is probably why Vietnam War Veterans are the largest number of people who are homeless because some cynical person might not believe their sign.

I didn’t consider the implications that he was lying at the time and he was too far away to give anything to.  Honestly, I’ve never given anything to anyone who’s homeless.  My parents have set an example of giving their leftover sandwiches to bums and my Mom and sister have occasionally worked at homeless shelters.  Megan has also done some work at the shelter in Tacoma and we’re probably both going to volunteer next year if we have a car.  I suppose I’m just a bit too disenchanted with homelessness because my Uncle’s been on-again off-again homeless.  Nevertheless, it’s a big problem, and I feel we’re all obligated to do something even if it’s just giving someone who’s homeless someone to talk to.

I guess the big thing, for me, at seeing that man today was it possibly signifying a new era for my generation.  Will we be defined as the “Iraq” generation like the “Vietnam” generation has been deemed?  Will this man be the first of many people to scrape on our streets for a living after serving oversees?  Has the American government righted its wrongs of Vietnam for the Iraqi/Afghanistan/Middle East Veterans/The Armed Services servicepeople?  Sure, I don’t have full faith in the Armed services because they’d rather enlist convicts than able gay men and women, but I hope that they will continue to provide benefits for those who have served.  I hope that the American people have recognized our mistake of cursing Vietnam Vets and will still support Iraq Vets even if its another war we don’t believe in.

Ultimately, I believe that a wars a war.  War has its consequences, but one of them doesn’t have to be the lives on the homefront of the people who fight it.  You don’t have to support the war to support the troops.  Even if the troops themselves may have a sore spot here and there (Abu Gharib), it doesn’t reflect the whole.

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