…Or, Transforming a Franchise that Sucks into Something Moderately Tolerable
Do any of you remember a couple weeks ago when I reviewed Super 8 and said the train explosion was so big it would have embarrassed Micheal Bey? I rescind that statement. There isn’t an explosion big enough for Micheal Bey. If he could figure out a way to have an explosion explode he would. I am totally convinced that if he weren’t a movie director he would be a serial arsonist.
Before I get into this review, let me reiterate this point. In Transformers Dark of the Moon EVERYTHING blows up. A snake like Decepticon punches through a corrugated steel warehouse wall. The wall blows up. An Autobot punches a concrete wall. The concrete blows up. A ship filled with giant robots who have no need whatsoever for any kind of atmosphere crashes on the airless moon and in spite of the fact that there is no oxygen present and never will be still manages to blow up in flames. In the world in Micheal Beys head everything is made of plastique, TNT, and nitroglycerin.
Anyway, the movie. Was it better than Revenge of the Fallen? Yes, but that is like asking if losing one testicle in a tragic lawn mower accident is better than two. Better does not equal good. Is it exciting and fun? Yeah, kinda. Are there any problems? Oh, yeah.
The major problem the movie suffers from is the same problem the other two suffer from: too much of the humans and not enough of the Transformers. In my mind the scenes with humans are like the “acting” scenes that clutters up otherwise perfectly good porn. You are there for one thing. I liken the scenes like Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) getting bitched out by his parents for not having a job to the scene expositions you get in video games while the next stage is loading. It can be good if you are into the story, but if not it’s a great chance to use the restroom, get a snack, and return some phone calls. This movie actually has a little more Autobot character development, but like another 30 minutes of goofy Sam-trying-to-make-his-way-in-the-world crap.
Speaking of annoying humans, Megan Fox completely flushed her own career by bitching out Michael Bey and has been replaced by the slightly less hot (I really do like brunettes) but less slutty Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who plays Sam’s love interest. It first I thought she was a slightly better actor, but then I realized I was being sucked in by her English accent. The sad fact that anyone with an English non-Cockney accent always sounds better in movies than an American. As the movie progressed I thought she might actually be another human form Transformer like in the last movie as she had a really robotic delivery. Also, her character and motivations to do anything (especially date a whiny loser like Sam Witwicky) are horribly two dimensional, and Micheal Bey might as well be shooting porn with the inventive ways he finds to linger on her body in every scene. I will be the first to admit a little eye candy can add a lot to a movie, but it seems pretty obvious to me that if Micheal Bey were not a movie director or serial arsonist he would be a stalker with a laundry list of restraining orders against him.
Anyway, the story, for lack of a better term. I won’t throw in too many spoilers, but this plot (ah ha ha ha) is so dumb you won’t miss much. Autobots have joined the CIA and are doing covert missions for the USA, or as covert as a 100 foot robot painted bright yellow or red can be. Sam has graduated college and is such a spazmo he can’t find a job (here’s a tip, kids. If you are going to a job interview with a major corporation wearing jeans and a sports coat is a bad idea, even when the job market was good). Somehow he has the hottest girl on the planet in love with him who not only gives him sex but pays all his bills. Over the last couple years of collage he did a transformation of his own, from a kind of cool kid with a cool car into a uptight, whiny bitch with a self important attitude and a tendency to occasionally turn into a loud mouth jerk who thinks yelling will do more than calling ahead. He discovers that the only job an Ivy League graduate can get is in the mail room of an accounting firm (I guess he should have done more internships) in the worst go nowhere sub plot in cinima history. In the second worst go nowhere sub plot in cinema history a fellow coworker (Ken Jeong, Mr. Chow from The Hangover) stalks him and passes on some crotch notes (no joke) about humans being killed all over the world in a homophobic scene that just drags on forever. Anyway, turns out an Autobot ship crashed on the moon and the government knew about it all along. They go to the moon and find Sentinel Prime (voiced by the great Leanard Nimoy. Spock image courtesy of the Star Trek T Shirts category), Optimus’s predecessor. Robot battle hijinks ensues. Most of the world blows up. Sam’s super hot girlfriend manages to avoid the advances of her boss after he gives her a $200,000 car (isn’t love grand?). Between the Autobots, Decepticons, and human military about 14 of the all time worst battle plans are devised.
The stars. Transformers. One star. Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime. One star. Lots of action (the final battle seems to go for like an hour). Two stars. The action is generally great. Two stars. Great special effects and CGI. Two stars. Super hot girl on screen. One star. Alan Tudyk (Wash from Firefly) as Dutch. One star. Megatron comes back from the dead a third time, looking cooler than ever. One star. Two of my favorite Transformers, Shockwave and Soundwave, show up, although only Shockwave gets what I consider a fair treatment. One star. As worthless as his sub plot was, I always enjoy seeing John Malcovich. One star. They didn’t pull back on the killing Transformers (or, for that matter, civilian humans) although as per usual none of the main good guys died. One star. One decent plot twist. One star. Buzz Aldrin makes a cameo. One star. Total: 16 stars.
Now the black holes. Agent Simmons is back, and twice as annoying as he ever was before. One black hole. A whole slew of unnecessary and ultimately worthless sub plots and minor characters. One black hole. I will award one black hole for every ten minutes I feel the audience was subjected to of worthless human interaction (cough cough filler cough cough). Three black holes. Alan Tudyks fake German accent and dialog made me want to stuff Junior Mints into my ears until I could either hear nothing or suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm. He really isn’t great as a straight man. One black hole. More small (even smaller) really annoying comic relief Autobots who may or may not be based on racist stereotypes. Two black holes (one each). As much as I love explosions, I have to award a hole for overuse of pyrotechnics (you know, there are some circumstances where a robot can punch something and not have it blow up). One black hole. Optimus Prime is less the wise sage and more the bloodthirsty jingoist, and at one point has a little hissy fit and sulks. One black hole. Plot holes you could transport Cybertron through (wouldn’t transporting another planet into orbit around our planet more or less destroy both planets? Why say the Autobots have no way of getting off the planet when just a few minutes ago they flew one of their own ships to the moon and found an even bigger ship? If the Decepticons have been working with humans secretly for decades why did they do nothing to help Megatron the last two times he tried to take over the planet and kill the Autobots? Could they really anticipate him coming back to life three times? If every Autobot is equipped with super advanced rockets and can assault with speed why do they need a human team to sneak in and shoot the big bad thing with a lame human rocket launcher? The list goes on). One black hole. They did that thing that annoyed me so much in Battle: LA where the aliens (or in this case, robots) are unstoppable killing machines at the start but by the end of the film are getting knocked over by human spitballs and bad breath (seriously, a few special forces guys were killing them off left and right. If their plan was to conquer the planet it would seem a well equipped army could really put a hurt in their plans. Also, why is it they can shoot down aircraft with practiced ease but are unable to do anything about a few Tomahawk missiles?). One black hole. If there is one the we all learned from 9/11 it’s that buildings with breaks in the middle have little to no structural stability whatsoever. Apparently Michael Bey and all of his writers have no idea how architecture works. One black hole. There is a decided lack of concern for Sam or his girlfriend, as it is painfully obvious that nothing bad is really going to ever happen to them. This sort of action-without-consequences writing really robs the action of any of it’s punch. I would be more excited by a less epic building collapse if I believed that there was a chance someone important or that I had identified with could die. One black hole. Total: 14 black holes.
In the irksome-but-not-black-hole-worth category I have quite a few. The main one has to do with the treatment of the Decepticon characters. One of the great things about the Transformers cartoon was it really was about the Transformers, not the Autobots with the Decepticons as only their enemies. I mean, each of the Decepticons had a distinct personality that was presented almost as much as the Autobots. Megatron as the ruthless general, Starscream as the cowardly and treacherous second-in-command, Soundwave as the loyal and worthwhile minion, etc. In the movie not only is there no attempt to present any of the Decepticons as more than just spear carriers, they all even look exactly the same (silver and spikes are in this season) and are portrayed as growling, animalistic primitives. Second, there was a pretty serious death that was never even mentioned by the good guys. In fact, there was a scene that could have really impacted the audience and eliminated a lot of the action-without-consequences issues had Michale Bey had the balls to shock the audience, but he wimped out. I’m trying to stay done bitching about 3D, but the 3D effects in this movie did not really add a lot IMO. The sound track was pretty amateurish, with all the subtlety of a frying pan to the face. Also, I should have given them a black hole for stupid title of the movie. Dark of the Moon? What the hell does that mean? It’s not even acceptable grammar. I guess they couldn’t call it Dark Side of the Moon without running into Pink Floyd, but if they had all it would have taken was a little money paid to the band. Might have even helped solved some of the soundtrack issues. Also, what is the deal with Transformers aging? Do they really grow crusty beards and wrinkles as they age or were some of them built looking twice as old as the rest of them? Finally, when did Sam’s chihuahua turn in to a St. Bernard? I guess since his character had turned into such a girly man they felt he needed a more manly pet. Either that or Michael Bey thinks we are all idiots.
So, a grand total of two stars. At least they stayed positive. Will you enjoy it when you see it? Yes, probably. The more you can turn off your thinking brain and just use the stem the more you will like it. See it in 3D on the biggest screen you can find. I just don’t see this thing doing much in repeat business. By the way, there is supposed to be something after the credits, but after 157 minutes of mass explosions I had reached my sensory saturation point and bailed. I’ll YouTube it in a month.
Now to the good stuff. As important and groundbreaking as the Motion Picture was, ultimately it was really a horrible movie, and not just for Shatnar in a body stocking. Overall it was as bad as the most mediocre Season 3 episode (cough cough Spock’s Brain cough cough), only with better special effects. However, it opened the door for TWOK, and for that I will always be grateful. (TWOK image courtesy of the sci fi t shirts category)
So, it’s now 1982. Gene Roddenberry, after the mediocre production of the Motion Picture, was more or less forced out of the movie. The great Nick Meyer was tapped to write and direct the film (this entire blog series, by the way, was inspired by an interview I heard with Nick Meyers on Geektime, Howard Stern’s nerd program on Sirius Satellite radio, where he talked about working on this and all the good Star Trek films (the even numbered ones. 2,4, and 6)). He wrote the script in 12 days. They worked on a shoe string budget, recycled miniatures and footage from the last film, and somehow produced brilliance. TWOK set a record for first day box office gross (which I contributed to) and was the first movie to use a sequence entirely done with computer graphics (suck it, Lucas).
What was happening in 1982? Well, I was in Jr High, the only two year period of my pre-collage education that didn’t resemble a year long water boarding experience. Reagan was president, and in spite of my father’s (a lifelong Democrat) objections seemed to doing good stuff for the country. All nine planets in our solar system aligned on the same side of the sun, and the longest lunar eclipse of the century occured yet in spite of mass doomsday predictions the planet did not blow up. Our good friends to the north were made completely independent from England. The Vietnam Memorial was dedicated. Thriller by Michael Jackson became the biggest selling record of all time (I admit it. I owned a copy). The Commodore 64 was released. And Argentina invades the Falklands Islands, sparking a minor war that was more or less treated like Monday Night Football by most Americans.
Overall, it could be called an ‘up” year, for lack of a better term. The only real downer was the big Tylenol scare, which was like the lottery only the prize was death. I think the cultural time was right for a movie that was, for lack of a better term, kind of a bummer. I am man enough to admit that I cried like a little girl when Spock died, and even to this day I get a little teary when I think about it. Sure, they stuck in that scene with his coffin on the Genesis planet (actually forced in by the studio over Nick Meyers and Leonard Nimoy’s strenuous objections). Nimoy only agreed to come back if they gave him an epic death scene that would end his character forever (I guess money cured that problem for him).
I won’t waste our time going in to the story too much. If you haven’t seen TWOK I don’t know what the hell you are even doing reading this blog. Odds are you should be watching Paris Hilton’s rereprehensible reality show. Khan Noonien Singh was dropped off on a planet by Kirk 15 years ago and then left to rot when the planet turned into a death world. He captures a ship and proceeds to use it to wreak havoc in the universe and track down Kirk. Stuff explodes. Ships fight. Spock dies heroically saving the ship, breaking my heart in the process.
I will say this about the story. I am not unsympathetic to Khan. No one really goes into it too much in the movie but Kirk royally screwed him and all his people. One thing you can say about this movie is that everyone’s motivations are “as clear as an unmuddied lake. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer.”
Here’s what TWOK had:
The full cast. A great story. Khan Noonien Singh (I just like saying his name), played by the amazing Ricardo Montalban. Decent low budget special effects. A creepy creature that controls your brain from inside your ear. A call back to a great TOS episode (Space Seed). A non-Hollywood lame happy ending. The great Kobayashi Maru test (which Kirk beat). A great death scene. Kirks long lost son. A cool constructive tool used as a weapon of mass destruction. A computer animated scene.
Here’s what it did not have:
A lame excuse for Kirk to fight Khan face to face (they never actually meet). Annoying new characters, like the now obligatory hot chick for sex appeal (there were a couple, but they didn’t annoy me). Any hesitation to beat the hell out of the Enterprise. Body stocking uniforms (I actually like the Star Fleet uniforms from this film a lot. The best, IMO). Unnecessary aliens (as any zombie movie will teach you, the worst enemies humans have will always be other humans).
The story is tight and clean, with no extra stuff crow-barred in except for the Spock body/Genesis planet at the end. At the time (age 11, crying my eyes out, feeling like my best friend had just died and nothing on the planet was worth doing ever) I grabbed onto that scene like a drowning man grabbing a life saver, but with an adult eye and considering what would come to follow I think Nick Meyers was right and they should have let the scene stand alone. They could have probably forced his resurrection without it, and it would have made for a better stand alone movie.
Honestly, for me Spock’s death was when the series more or less ended for the TOS crew. Sure, there were some decent movies coming up, but the difference was this is where Spock (and to a lesser extent the rest of the crew) transformed from vibrant action stars and turned kind of into old men. In the following movies Spock would have to be the intellectual backbone, and in my opinion never really recaptured the Spock I grew up with. I’m sure there are those who will disagree with me, but that’s just my opinion.
Anyway, that’s the Wrath of Khan. Next up, Star Trek caters to fan boys (like me) with the Search for Spock.
OK, you’ve set up the date, picked a movie, and are ready to watch the movie with your amour. The question that arises is if and when to put one arm around the girl.
This is really a puzzler, to be honest. Given the fact that you are on hopefully your 3rd, 4th, or 5th date (by the way, never try to make movie night your first or second date. It will fail miserably, and if she suggests it it means she has the “let’s-be-friends” main gun locked and loaded) and she is willing to sit on a couch in a dimly lit (by candlelight or just the screen glare) room with you very strongly suggests she is comfortable enough with you to get a little closer. However, don’t forget one of my earliest dating lessons: as much as women want to be in a relationship and this particular one may or may not like you, they are skittish on a level that makes deer look like sea turtles and are eagerly searching for an excuse to dump you and run.
That being said, it is also likely she expects some action and would be disappointed if you didn’t try something. The first step is doing the old “arm around the shoulder” move. How best to accomplish this? And when is the best time?
In my experience, you want to get your arm around her before the movie even starts. This establishes the tone (something I like to talk about in my movie reviews) of the evening from the get go. The safest way to do it (you wimp) is to sit on the couch before she does with space on either side and put one arm up on the top of the couch. She knows what you are doing and if she is into it will sit in the crook of your arm without hesitation. Normally at that point you lower you arm gently (<–important) onto her shoulder. Odds are you will both share some kind of meaningful look or something and start the movie. If she is not into it she will sit on the other side and you can start enjoying your new friendship.
If, on the other hand, she beat you to the couch, or you just brain fizzled or chickened out, and the movie starts without you accomplishing this otherwise trivial goal, you are in trouble. If there is one thing girls hate on a date it’s the scent of awkwardness, and you are stuck hip deep in the awkward swamp. Here are a few ways to get around it.
The yawn-yes, this is really, really dumb move straight out of Happy Days. That’s why you don’t do it seriously. You so over exaggerate it that it will be obvious that you are making a joke. With luck she will laugh and let you proceed.
The creep-I don’t actually recommend this one, as it can be as creepy as it sounds. This is where you try to casually work your arm over the top of the couch and over the course of a couple hours lower your arm onto her. In addition to being kind of creepyish (think boa constrictor stalking it’s prey) it also looks extremely timid and ball-less. However, if you could accurately be described as timid and ball-less, or you have pretty much run out of options, than roll with it.
The break-this is where you get up to use the restroom, and when you return you just slide your arm around her like it was there before. This takes a little practice in order to make it look natural and not like a WWE move, but it can work very well. Unfortunately it is also the technique most likely to get you kicked out or punched, so be sure you know what she is about before you go for it.
The ask-this is one I have had decent success with. This is where, as the opening credits are rolling, you look at her in the eyes and say in your most sincere voice “Would you mind if I put my arm around you?” Most women are touched by this. Also, if they have been kind of waiting for you to do something it will be a relief for them to have you finally get it going. This also works really well if you are dealing with a woman who would describe herself as a feminist. She will appreciate the respect you are showing her (I guess. Who knows what really motivates woman, anyway?)
Rather than try all of these in the course of one evening, I would suggest picking one main and one backup and making those your thing. Pick the ones that seem to fit in with your personality and/or the personality of the girl you are dating. Good luck, and remember that if she is with you alone she wants to be there with you.
So this week I have been cropping images of a ton of new Star Trek t shirts and was struck yesterday by how many good and bad movies that franchise has spawned. By that I mean one great one, two mediocre ones, and a whole passel of garbage. Anyway, while cropping the image for Star Trek Nemesis it occurred to me that it would be fun to have a retrospective on my feelings for all the Trek films in order and what significance they had in my life. I think I will be starting that up tomorrow. I will have more dating stuck in there too as well as a couple more movie reviews. I don’t know if it will suck or not, but I will enjoy doing it. Talk to you soon.
They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but if you are clever, it can actually be worth 1001-1010 as you glean little insights into the personality, sense of humor, fitness, motivations, and general suitableness of your prospective procreation partner.
Picture with a cat (or cats). If this is a guy, either he thinks this is really clever and funny or is something that rhymes with “Tin the Bloset”. If the first he could be a great guy to date, but you will never ever know for sure which of the two he really is. If this is a girl first of all go back and reread my “More than two cats” rule for dating women. If she is shown with only one or two cats then you can explore further, but know that she has probably made her cats her substitute children in a way that will absolutely drive you nuts at some point.
Picture from high school. Unless this person is actually 18 years old, steer clear. Either they have hit the wall so hard that they have broken through (with their face) into new, unexplored territories of ugliness and this is the last time they took a good photo, or they were one of those super popular kids in high school who now feels a desperate desire to go back in time to when they were cool again. If they only included the high school pic in addition to some more recent ones then it is probably is the latter case, but even then you will soon become thoroughly sick of stories that all start with “This one time in high school…” Take it from me (the bitter troll that I am), if you took the total sum of all your accomplishments, parties, and popularity you had in high school it has the value of a wad of used chewing gum at the bottom of an empty grande latte cup from Starbucks the day after you graduate. Move on.
Girl in group shot with other girls cheek to cheek. This inevitably means sorority girl (or the junior college or GED equivalent). It also generally means she likes to party and wont have a real problem sleeping with you. If she does love to party go back and look at the guideline I did for “Love to Party.” Otherwise, as long as you aren’t a hard core GDI you should be able to date her and have fun, although I would not be surprised if she turned out to be a little shallow.
Guy in group shot doing the “hang loose” symbol with one hand, beer in the other, and his tongue out trying to touch his chin. Frat boy. I don’t know why it is, but every frat boy I have even known has a biological imperative to turn profile, do the hang loose (thumb and pinky extended to the max), and stick out his tongue whenever they are in a group and someone points a camera at them. They all have hundreds of these photos and love to post them on profiles in an attempt to show you what kind of a fun party guy they are. If fun for you is watching him get hammered every night at the sports bar down the street with his Greek friends, than by all means go for it. Also, most of these guys have a hat on backwards. Not sure I understand the motivation there.
Girl in group shot where she is the hottest one. This girl is kind of a user and also has some self esteem issues. She will most likely only be friends with women she thinks are less attractive. All things are relative, but usually they are pretty hot and extremely well groomed. They also tend to be pretty shallow and a little overbearing. Odds are she is looking for a guy to hold her purse while she shops, so if you feel like you have an overabundance of machismo go for it.
Girl in group shot where she is obviously NOT the hottest one. This can be two different kinds of women. Either she is a fairly cool girl who is OK with her appearance or she is a walking, talking doormat. The first one can be very cool to date as they are interesting and opinionated. However, they also tend to do stuff like get sick of washing their hair and cut it all off with clippers. The second girl as been thrown on so many grenades by her girlfriends that she will probably be remarkably easy to date. However, you will constantly be attracted to her friends and there is a reasonably good chance one of them might fool around with you just to reassert who the Alpha female is in her circle of friends is, so dating her can lead to some serious drama in spite of the fact that she herself is low drama. Both of these girls are pretty low maintenance, in my experience.
Guy in a football uniform. This is always a high school shot (guys who played football in college generally don’t have to go online to date) so all the things I said above about high school photos apply. However, this is a special case. This guy desperately wants the world to remember that at one point he was an athlete. However, they inevitably have gained about 50 pounds since then and the closest they have come to participating in sports in trying to sink wadded up paper in a trash bin. If he were still in shape he would have a current shot of himself playing volleyball or something.
Girl in a cheerleader uniform. This is the female version of the guy in a football uniform, with the added need to show you that at one point in her life she was hot enough to be a cheerleader. The one difference is once in a while you can get a woman that shows herself as a college cheerleader too. Everything I said about the football guy applies here, plus she is probably much higher maintenance to date than most women.
That’s it for today. More on this tomorrow. Yesterday’s question, second fiddle Riker verses the extremely lovable Chief Engineer Montgomary Scott, has caused me a lot of angst. I really, really want to say Scotty would kick Rikers ass, being a real man and all, but I can’t help but think that Riker is taller with greater reach and seems better trained. However, Scotty worked in an environment where violence was more common (he did throw the first punch in the Trouble with Tribbles) and probably has a lot more actual fighting experience, so I am going to make myself happy and go with him. The problem is I don’t believe it enough to put money on it. It would be a close one. (Riker image courtesy of the Star Trek t shirts category).
For today I present something that seems really obvious until you think about the kinds of fights he has overcome with his brain: who would win, Batman versus Darth Vader? Think about it for a while before answering.
By the way, if you like my writing and are looking for someone to write blog articles or other online content I am willing to do some contract work. Check out some of my product descriptions on the commercial site. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yet more odeak translations. I seem to have a never ending supply of these.
“Social drinker.” Unfortunately this is a suspiciously vague term. It can easily mean someone who has a drink while out on a Friday night, or a glass of wine with a nice dinner. The problem is no one is ever going to put “Alcoholic” in their profile and will usually default to this term, so it can also be a prelude to Leaving Las Vegas. You will have to dig deeper.
“Love to party!” For a girl this is just what it says. She gets bored easily and wants to hit a different club every night. Expect all kinds of fun and exciting adventures of the “and then I wrapped my car around a tree” variety. The good news is you will never have to have a serious discussion with her about your feelings. The bad news is she will probably get bored of you pretty easily and run off with a guy with a better car. For guys, this usually is a code word for alcoholic or drug addict.
“Love to dance!” Most women love to dance, so this is a bit of a catch phrase. Honestly, don’t read too much into it, unless it is combined with “Love to Party” in which case there is a pretty good chance she is a stripper. Most men hate dancing, so if a guy uses this it probably means he is kind of a phony and trying to impress women. If he honestly likes dancing double check to make sure you aren’t actually in the “Men seeking Men” category. If he is strait and claims this to be honest you are required to test it to the max by dragging him to every dance club within 20 miles to see if he has the stamina and can actually dance.
“Love sports.” If this is a woman, it is very likely she grew up with multiple older brothers and is kind of a tom boy. This is great, but be aware that she is probably both willing and capable of kicking your ass. This can also be the phony equivalent of a guy claiming to love dancing, so if you meet her and she seems kind of girly ask her if she knows how many points a touchdown is worth (6, for those of you who don’t actually follow sports). If this is a man than this guy has burned out multiple women in his dating history by choosing sports over his relationship and is desperately hoping to meet a girl who will sit there quietly watching football with him and get him the occasional beer.
“Love to travel.” For both men and women this is the equivalent of a station identification. It really means nothing. Everyone loves to travel. However, be aware that both men and women who travel by themselves or with one or two friends of the same gender are generally going to other countries to have casual sex with foreigners (or locals, depending on how you look at it). I would find out what countries the person has traveled to with what people and compare it to this article on Dating Guys and Girls in Foreign Countries. If a guy tells you he loves to visit Thailand or Brazil make him wear two condoms. If a girl tells you France or Italy you do the same.
“Very sensual.” I’ve never seen a guy use this description, but this is usually code speak for women that means really horny. This is great, but be aware that this is often a phrase used by prostitutes and people that want to spam you with sex site emails, so be aware. Women can more or less assume all guys are really horny.
“Really into my work.” For women this can often be translated into “I work too many hours and am feeling frustrated by my personal life. My biological clock is ticking away and in order to be a complete person I need to have a child as well as be wildly successful in my career.” If you date her you can expect a lot of scheduling conflicts and hassles getting her alone, but when you do she will probably jump your bones. If a guy uses this phrase he is probably married and looking for a mistress. Expect a lot of booty calls.
“In graduate school working on my masters or PhD.” Find out what field. If it’s business, law, or something technical than cool. If it is something in humanities than expect to have him or her never be gainfully employed. Also, if this is a second or more post-graduate degree he or she is working on than odds are this person is a perpetual student and in addition to never getting a real job has probably never had a real job.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow I will talk about specific jobs and careers on profiles and what they translate into.
Yesterday’s question, Sandmen versus Red Shirts, is a puzzler. The fact is the Red Shirts are actually trained for combat, while the Sandmen are trained to hunt down single people running away with a red crystal flashing on the palm of their hand. However, Red Shirts are the Three Stooges of combat, and tend to die with alarming regularity. I will have to bet on the Sandmen. (Red Shirt image courtesy of the Star Trek Red t shirt category).
Today I will shift from Star Trek and ask what would happen if a squad of Sandmen went against half a squad of Stormtroopers from Star Wars. Who would win?
More odeak translations. By the way, I just noticed I have been misspelling translating wrong in the title for two posts. Thanks to no one for pointing it out to me.
“Spiritual.” This is usually what women put down when they have no real religion but rather kind of drift from one fad cult to another. Expect to hear about meditaion, Native American Spirits, and other New Age garbage. For guys, this is what they say when they really don’t care about religion one way or another but don’t want to alienate potential dates who are religious.
“Very Spiritual.” For women this can mean a hard core kook, deep into dancing naked at midnight under a full moon in a toadstool ring, or traveling to Tibet to study with monks. Don’t let this deter you from dating them, incidentally. In my experience these women are really entertaining and don’t have a lot of hangups when it comes to having sex. Just be prepared to discuss your chak’ras with her. For guys, this is often a code phrase for hard core born again Christians who want to “save” some girl. Either that or they are just as deep into some New Age cult as a woman using this phrase. The only difference is these guys are a lot less fun to hang out with than the very spiritual girl and are kind of a pain in the ass to date.
“Christian.” For women this is a typical boilerplate description designed to let you know that she has been to church a few times and doesn’t want to be considered a slut (whether she is or not). This can refer to any number of specific religions, most of which are relatively inoffensive. This girl will typically have a marriage and a family on her radar. For guys it is usually a little more serious. Expect to see the inside of his church at some point in the first month of dating, but otherwise things should be OK as long as he doesn’t show up on the first date with a Bible.
“Born Again Christian.” Uh oh. For both men and women this is a huge red flag (unless you yourself are Born Again, in which case please take this person off the market). Expect dates to be little if no fun, unless you find attending Bible studies fun. Also, in general you can expect little to no sex, and if you do get lucky be prepared to feel insanely guilty about it up until the moment you marry him or her. Anyone who talks about their “relationship to Jesus” on their online profile you can expect to be Born Again.
“Pagan.” This is more or less the same as very spiritual, except this person, man or woman, really likes to feel cooler than anyone who is not pagan. If you want to experience some weird discussions, meet strange and interesting people, and get laid with relative ease and no guilt, than this person is great to date. I, however, find their pretentious attitude and long track record of past sexual partners grinds on me after a while.
“Burning Man.” Cough cough unemployed loser cough cough. Ok, that is unfair. I know any number of employed people who are avid fans of Burning Man. Generally they are decent people, but once a year they opt to head out to a painfully hot and dusty desert to do drugs, drink, look at naked people, and do irreparable ecological damage while claiming to be free spirits in spite of being involved in a massively profitable circus of self indulgence. Every year I get asked to go and every year I say the same thing: I enjoy bathing once a day too much. As for dating them, man or woman, they tend to really want to date people who also “burn” so expect to be dragged out as well. They otherwise tend to have similar traits to the spiritual or very spiritual people.
“420 Friendly.” Pot smoker, usually daily. If a good date for you is sparking some bud and watching American Idol on TV before passing out in a Cheetos food coma then this is the person for you. For women this girl tends to be weirdly cute in a granola sort of way who likes to do really bad acrylic paintings. For men this guy usually really looks the part, has the same crappy retail job for 10 years, is about 15 pounds overweight, and graduated college with a writing degree. Also, regular pot use can lead to lots of short term memory loss and reduced libido, so if you are into your partner remembering things like your birthday and getting laid fairly often than this is probably not the person for you. Honestly, if the person is over the age of 25 and lists 420 as in interest you can count on them more or less being a loser.
Ok, that’s it for today. More next post, although soon I will get into translating online dating photos as well.
Yesterday’s question, Kirk with a lirpa (the weapon he fought Spock with in Amok Time, with a round blade on one end and a weighted bumper on the other) versus Worf with a Bat’leth, I think I will have to go with Worf on this one. As much as I love Kirk and want to see him win, Worf has trained with the Bat’leth all his life and Kirk got his ass kicked by Spock pretty easily. I would only hope that they played the Kirk fight music during the battle. (Amok Time image from the Spock t shirts category)
For today another Star Trek question. Who would win, a squad of Star Trek Red Shirts versus a squad of Sandmen from Logans Run?
So this girl that I am seeing (I think. Things are a little ill-defined at the moment. I, however, remain ever hopeful) invited me over to play some video games on her 360. She had a pile of choices but what caught my eye was her brand new copy of Halo Reach. On my old Xbox I played the original Halo until my thumbs cramped up. I played Halo 2 as well, but got sidetracked by something else that shall go unnamed but rhymes with Borld of Torecraft and more or less gave up on consul gaming along with most of the rest of my life for a few years.
Anyway, Halo rocked. Amazing first person shooter with a great story that shifted back and forth from alien military sci fi battle to survival horror game depending on if you were fighting the Covenant or the Flood. Controls were always very good and extremely intuitive, and a minimum of quick time events to bog the game down.
Halo Reach more or less continues the fine traditions of all the Halo games, except it is a prequel, set prior to the Terran/Covenant war. Still, you are fighting the Covenant, alien religious fanatics who show up in a variety of shapes and sizes. That actually brings up one of my few complaints about the game. The enemies are still the same Grunts, Elites, Hunters, Brutes, and shield guys. There seems to be some variety in the weapons and there appears to be at least one new Covenant vehicle that is pretty cool, but it’s the same guys all over again. At one point it looked like we had a whole new huge alien to fight, but then we are told by the omniscient narrator (which is either an AI or one of your squad mates. I’m still not sure) is a native creature of the planet and after we kill the two they never show up again. Another complaint is that somehow, while we only finished about 3 and a half chapters, we never once saw a ring world of any kind (the inspiration for the name), so personally I find calling it Halo quite a reach (ha ha me so funny).
Anyway, overall totally fun to play. I’ll let the stars and black holes tell the story.
First the stars. First person game play is seemless and really clean. No clipping or stuttering of any kind. Of course this is what I would have to expect from an Xbox game of any kind, but still really impressive. Three stars. The graphics are are really amazing. Two stars. The sound track is really, really good. Two stars. The story is pretty good too. One star. You can customize the colors of your armor (the girl who I was playing with went, with my encouragement, with all pink, turning into the Pepto-Bizmol warrior) and, if you play enough, buy custom armor. One star. Ghosts are still really fun to drive around in. One star. The enemy AI is really smart. One star. The PvP element (we only played it for a little while, long enough for her to kick the crap out of me. Not that I feel emasculated or anything) seems really clean as well. One star. Lots of cool weapons to play with, with no obvious best choice. One star. Total: 13 stars.
Now the black holes. No Flood. One black hole. The Warthog vehicle still drives like a giant Dachshund (wiener dog) on crystal meth. One black hole. There is a long, mandatory outer space fighter craft battle that seems to go on forever and is both unnecessary and kind of mediocre. One black hole. Somehow I can be shooting guys through the scope of the sniper rifle at max range and they can turn around and hit me with a plasma pistol with hardly any effort. One black hole. Same Covenant mobs. One black hole. Total: 5 black holes.
That gives us a total of 8 stars, an excellent score. They also added an achievement system and game credits that can be used to buy new armor or whatever, but I was torn between calling those a star or a black hole. Basically, if you see someone online who has all the most expensive custom armor options you immediately know two things: (1) he is probably pretty good and will be wearing your skin as a trophy in a few seconds and (2) he has absolutely no life. I would highly recommend buying this game and playing it if you are a fan of FPSs and have a 360.
As for yesterdays question, Sulu with a foil against Worf with a Bat’leth, I think this is honestly would end in a draw with both of them dead (Sorry, Gina. Also Spock would figure out a way to beat Data. Maybe not directly physically, but didn’t you see the episode where he shut down all those androids by purposefully using illogic? Spock’s mind is about 1,000 times more dangerous than his physical prowess). You see, a foil is much, much faster than a Bat’leth, so I believe Sulu would be piercing Worf’s brain in the first second of the fight. However, by that time Worf would have already started the downward killing stroke and Sulu, with his foil firmly embedded in Worf’s cranium, would not be able to deflect it. If Sulu did not go for the killing stroke right away I would bet on Worf, as the foil does not have the strength to parry a Bat’leth stroke. (Sulu image courtesy of the Star Trek T shirts category)
However, what I think would be a more interesting battle also from Star Trek would have to be Worf with his Bet’leth versus Kirk armed with a Vulcan Lirpa. Who would win?
More fun to be had with understanding online date speak (Odeak?).
“Low maintenance.” For women this always, always means high maintenance. If she is aware of it enough to deny it that means she has been accused of it in the past. Guys never use this phrase, but often when they say they are “looking for low maintenance” that usually means they are looking for high maintenance. When these two people meet it is one of those weird situations where two wrongs make a right (or two lies equal a truth).
“Great personality.” For men or women, this usually translates into a mediocre personality riddled with massive self esteem issues with regards to looks, often times with justification.
“Type A personality.” Uptight. Neat freak. Most likely obsessive compulsive disorder. Probably organizes his or her skull collection in the basement by size.
“Type B personality.” Trailer trash slob. Seriously, make sure you have had a recent tetanus shot before headed over to his or her residence.
“All or very natural.” For women, this always means a hippy dippy granola chick. Ironically, they are among the biggest pains in the ass to date, in spite of how easy to date they claim to be. Be prepared to find out more about your heart chak’ra than you ever wanted to. For men, this either means his last girlfriend was granola or he is a massive Burning Man fan. In all cases be prepared to smoke a lot of pot.
“Easy going.” For women this almost always means a pain in the ass to date. For men this usually means unemployed.
“Just looking for fun.” For women this means she is secretly afraid she is not fun. Also these girls are usually the ones who are planning the marriage on the first date. For men, this ALWAYS means they just want to hook up for casual sex. Date this guy and you can look forward to “Hey, what are you doing” texts at 1:30 am.
“I oNly TalK lIke tHiS!” For women, this usually turns out to be a Russian mail order bride service. For men, this is the guy who buys a Honda Civic and spends $20,000 turning it into a street racer and then sells it for $500 less than he paid for it.
“Self employed.” Unemployed.
“Work for a non-profit.” For women, if she is hot odds are she is looking for a rich, altruistic husband. If not so much than she is probably another granola chick. For guys, this usually means they are looking for a wife of any stripe.
“Medical professional.” This never, EVER means a doctor. Usually a nurse, but can also be a receptionist, lab technician, or orderly. Doctors will usually just say doctor. (by the way, I have dated a few nurses, and they inevitably only talk about two things; sex, and disgusting work stories usually involving something vile spurting out of somewhere. If you can stomach the stories go for it). Also if it is a guy who is a nurse he secretly hates himself and has serious issues with women.
“Recently out of a long relationship.” Do you feel you don’t have enough pain and suffering in your life? Than this is the person to date. If it is a woman than be prepared for long, excruciating stories about every conversation she had with her ex EVER followed by a bad case of blue balls when she says she is not ready for intimacy yet. If it is a guy you will get to listen to all the same stories followed by a ham handed attempt to sleep with you to salve his need for revenge on women where he will inevitably call you by his ex’s name.
“Love to play.” For women, this usually means they are afraid they aren’t sexual enough. For men, you can translate this into “Super Horny.”
“Love cats.” For women, better find out how many cats she owns before meeting her. Don’t forget my “more than two cats” rule. For men, either this guy is trying hard to show how sensitive he is or you mistakenly clicked on the “Men seeking Men” button and haven’t realized it yet. By the way, I have no problem with gays. In fact, some of my advice may well help them. Also, every gay man out there means one less guy I need to compete with for the straight women, so more power to you, brothers.
That’s it for now. More of the same next post.
As for my question from last post, who would win; Spock versus any of the TNG characters except Q I have to side with my man Spock. Sorry, but there isn’t a character on there who can match him physically or mentally except for maybe Data, and even he would fail to Spocks combined physical prowess and mental acuity. (Spock image courtesy of the Spock t shirt category)
I am really in a Star Trek mood lately, so for today I will pitch Worf from TNG with Bat’leth versus Sulu with fencing foil. Who would win?
I’m not going to dig in too deep on this. There are any number of sites with advice on how to kiss. Instead, I will highlight things to look for that can make the kiss work well or fail miserably (trust me, when it comes to mistakes you can make to crash and burn, I am an expert).
1. Clean breath. I have stated this before many times, but it is important enough to restate again. If you think you might make out, don’t order the onion-garlic special for dinner. In fact, operate under the assumption that you might be kissing on any given night and order accordingly. Get your stank breath dinner plate on the way home after she rejects you for other reasons. Also, brush, floss, and toss in a breath mint at some point.
2. Match her tongue technique. Kissing a girl can be like trying to pet a strange cat. The slightest bad move and she will skitter under the bed, never to be seen again. Some women like a lot of tongue. Some women think it’s gross as hell. She will show you what she likes with her tongue. Go as deep as she does and not one micro-millimeter further. The difference between her thinking you a nice guy or a sex driven pervert is literally one lick too many.
3. Hold her face. Most (not all) women kind of like it if you put one hand on the side of her face while kissing. DO NOT use both hands. Try it and see if she seems to respond positively. Also, if you have hands big enough to encompass her entire head (I generally do) just use the the finger tips.
4. Go gentle. Slow and easy. Remember that strange cat. (Actually, this advice can be applied to all your interactions).
5. Close your eyes, and keep them closed. Some women will, at some point during the long kiss, open her eyes to make sure you don’t have your eyes open. Somehow the romance is robbed if you open your eyes, but not if she does. It’s called a double standard because it is twice as true.
6. Do your best to control your autonomic responses. Nothing will kill the mood like you having to belch (or something even less savory) during the kiss, but that should be obvious. However, given the audience I am talking to I can’t assume anything, so don’t belch during the kiss. The important one to avoid, however, is showing your excitement in a physical sense if you know what I mean. For some girls this would not be a real problem, but like I have said most women are constantly looking for an excuse to dump you and pitching a tent 30 seconds into your first kiss can give her the rip cord she is looking to pull. Think about baseball or something.
That’s it for today. Next post I will start talking about when and how to initiate the kiss.
Last posts’ “who would win” question actually seems pretty obvious in retrospect. I think Gandalf would kick seven kinds of crap out of Harry Potter in about 30 seconds. Sorry to all the Harry Potter fans out there, but any man who can beat a Balrog one on one will not have a lot of trouble with a pimple faced teenager on a broom.
Today’s question is kind of a “stoppable force meets movable object” one. Who would win; a squad of Stormtroopers verses a squad of Red Shirts? (Stormtrooper image courtesy of the Star Wars t-shirt category).
D: What other shows have you worked on?
Danny: What other shows have I worked on? Did I mention I started back in 1981?
Actually my first time in front of the cameras would be back in 1958 when I was one of several children working on the Christmas episode of “The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show”. It was a popular variety show that aired weekly on NBC and my mom was part of his backup singer/dancer group called “The Top 20”. I have a shot from that if you want it but I’ll have to dig for it.
D: Please. That would be great.
Danny: Anyway I am on the floor of a living room set as mom and the other 19 adults sing some Xmas songs with good old Ernie Ford and the special guests Jon Provost and Lassie. I was 6 and don’t really remember much about that performance but watching the DVD made from a kinescope, you’d swear we kids were there at gun point! That was back in the days of live TV so we did a show for the East Coast and then another for the West. Mom had a nice 5 year run on that show.
Years later she joined the Screen Extras Guild and did very well as a “Dress Extra” for over 30 years. She’s probably best known for her small part in the original “Poseidon Adventure”.
So back in early ’73 she gets a 3 day call on a film at MGM that would also need dozens of non-union extras so she suggested me. It was “Soylent Green” and we worked in scenes in a NYC cathedral where we were camped out on the floor. It was actually Winter when this was shot but they sprayed all of us with glycerin to make us look sweaty. Chuck Connors was playing a hired killer and I remember him stepping on my hand in one shot. They had to cut when he apologized to me.
Watching the film later made me grateful that I wasn’t involved in the exterior riot scenes where people got scooped up. That could not have been a good time!
So in 1981 I was working for a Multi-Media company in Hollywood and some extra work on the side. My first SEG job was on “Mommie Dearest” and then “Poltergeist” a week or so later. I eventually had my own LAPD uniform and also worked as a college student, reporter, lawyer, doctor etc. Back then it was a relatively small group of a few hundred people that worked on shows like “The Love Boat”, “Dallas”, “Taxi”, “St. Elsewhere”, and “Hill St. Blues” to name a few.
From ’90-’94 I was a Casting Director at Central Casting. It was a nice group to work with but I found I am just not cut out for a desk job! I handled a bunch of different shows but the most challenging was “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Lots of very specific background types needed there along with coordinating the various regulars according to uniform color, gender, race, etc. that made it pretty labor intensive. A very nice production company though and they always included me on their crew gift list. (Next Generation image courtesy of the Star Trek t shirt category)
One of the last pilots I worked on at Central was “E.R.” and months later when it was picked up and ready to go into production, they requested me to work it. When they found out I was gone from Central but now working as a stand-in, they still wanted me! I worked the first week of the first episode standing in for Noah Wylie. Who knows how long I might have stayed there if they hadn’t required that all of the stand-in’s also work in picture. I have no problem doing that once in awhile but for virtually every scene? You are doing 2 jobs and getting paid for 1 along with having to be on your feet all day and scrambling to use the toilet or get some coffee. Plus a show that relied heavily on the steadicam, it would be tough to watch your actor to see if there were any changes and be making crosses down another corridor. Again it was a nice bunch but I had to say goodbye and move on. No regrets!
I did several multi-camera shows that filmed with a live audience and that was a lot of work but I enjoyed it. A few more features and Movies of the Week and then “Brimstone” and you know the rest.
I also worked Background on a fair amount of commercials back in the 80’s and that was almost always good easy money. A Bud Light spot that started out as just background as a bartender got me up-graded to “Principal” with residuals that meant thousands of dollars when everyone was out of work because of a strike back in ’88. Very good timing there!