Friday, April 30, 2010

The Wedding Speech

Last December, two very good friends of mine were married and allowed me the honor of being a part of the ceremony. At the rehearsal dinner, I gave a toast to my fellow trekkie deities, Joey and Erica, which I thought would be most appropriate. By popular request, here's a copy to all of those interested.

There's a special significance to the words herein used, which I will request Joey to explain (identify!) in the comments below. The idea for this speech came from another wedding party member, John, but he felt he lacked the required knowledge to pull it off. I thought his idea was too good to go to waste, and thus started writing this:

I have been accused with putting people to sleep with far too many stories, so I'll keep this brief. Strange is not a sufficient adjective to describe the experience of being here. When I met Joey in high school, I did not expect to one be a groomsman at his wedding. He was just another guy in one of my classes, until one day I sat at the cafeteria table next to him because I knew John. The fact that I am here now is simply yet another example of how our actions have random results.

We became stronger friends with time. I found him to be a man with strong ethics, and I believe that it is by how one follows a code of honor that we are able to determine the measure of a man. I consider him and others present here to be my brothers. But as great as our time together was before you met Erica, it seems in retrospect that you lived only half a life back then, Joey. Missing was the inner light that is now apparent within you whenever you are together. Now you stand ready to begin a new family. My recommendation to you is to proceed full speed ahead, as I see nothing but happiness in your path.

That said, there is one very important problem that must be addressed. I'm not going to tap-dance around the issue, they don't do a lot of tap-dancing at weddings. The truth is that although you have found the perfect mate, unfortunately I've been less than successful. I know the first duty of a groomsman at a time like this is to feel happy for his friend. Well, I protest. I am not a merry man. We look for things such as love in this world, but not all of us find it. Where is the justice? Now that I think of it...Joey, you may experience the emptiness with me, if you wish. Hear me out: we will start with the assumption that I am not crazy. If I am, it won't matter one way or the other. They tell me marriage is a form of symbiosis. That's true in theory, but I think of it more as a conspiracy. To the rest of us, those lonely among us, your marriage and everyone else's serves as a reminder of time's arrow, a reminder we are getting older by the minute. To me, that's a disaster. All a matter of perspective, I suppose. Are you sure you want to go through with this? Think of it, we could all go back to a life of hollow pursuits!

No, on second thought, upon due consideration of the problem and careful examination of all possible options, my original recommendation stands. You've made your choices, sir, and they've been good ones. From the very beginning there were clues that your destiny and that of Erica's were attached. Your unification, part I, happened long ago, this marriage is merely unification, part II. The friendship we shared will never be the same again now that you take on the life of a married man, and that's ok, because all relationships are constantly changing. But we'll still be friends, maybe better friends. In fact, no one here can deny that Erica has found herself a dear place in our group of friends. It seems that you can have your marriage, and we can all strengthen our friendship as well. Truly, the best of both worlds.


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Bright Side: Nemesis is Still Worse

Although I'm not sure I can really see "better than Nemesis" as a bright side. Maybe the bright side was the literal bright location in every single scene when the camera panned across some bright light obscuring my vision of what was going on.

To be fair, the actors were quite good. Especially Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban. Those guys made the movie feel like Star Trek.

And that's the only reason I didn't walk out.

It's no secret that I'm a trekkie. I call myself TrekkieGod. This blog is called "The Trekkie Deity Speaks." I have the code Data used to lock down command functions in the episode "Brothers" memorized (173467321476-Charlie-32789777643-Tango-732-Victor-73117888732476789764376-Lock). As a result, at least one person assumed I might dislike the movie on the basis that the reboot isn't faithful to Star Trek history, that I just might be too hardcore to accept a drastic change. Not so. In fact, there was a very clever and well explained reason for the differences between the universe of this movie and the universe the fans have come to know, and I respect and appreciate that the writers took the time to make this possible. The problem is that the explanation for this alternate history was the only time in the entire damn movie when the action stopped to tell a story. I like action movies, of course. I even like action in my Star Trek movies, but I also need a story. As it was, I think there was about twenty to thirty minutes of plain dialog in a 127 minute film.

Allow me to demonstrate, without really adding many spoilers. The movie begins with a space battle. This is followed by a car chase. Then we have our first meaningful dialog, on Vulcan (although even then there was a fight scene in the middle). Then we have a bar fight, followed by some comical scenes of Kirk sleeping around and cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test. Those are nice references to please the trekkies, but in the end they just weren't very funny. For that matter, neither were the stupid giant swollen hands or anything else that happened during the attempt at comedy in the scenes that followed. I could live with those scenes though: Even if they weren't funny, they were more entertaining than watching CGI battles for the rest of the movie.

After we get the swollen hands problem solved, we enter another battle scene. Then a sky-diving scene and a space-sword vs. space-axe battle (seriously). Some more free-falling and running, and then we have some meaningful dialog again. The crew tries to decide what's happening and why, and Spock and Kirk disagree on the course of action. This disagreement somehow ends with Kirk being marooned into an ice planet where we get some more action scenes: this time of Kirk running from bad CGI. Then we finally get to the story of this movie, but even that's interrupted by action scenes in flashbacks. Following a nostalgic meeting with another crewmember we get to, you guessed it, another action scene, this time one meant to be comical. This is followed by a fight scene, another space battle, and hand to hand combat (with phasers, not swords and axes this time--an improvement). The movie finally ends after that.

Maybe what I'm complaining about can best be summarized by this Onion video, but the truth is that the video actually has it right, even if they are making fun of us for liking the boring stuff. Twenty minutes of dialog and 107 minutes of senseless action? I think JJ Abrams got his proportions reversed, twenty minutes of action is really all you need. JJ also needs to quit this trend of late with directors thinking that it's artistic to make it as difficult as possible to focus on objects in a scene. The experience does not get better by shaking the camera, by turning it 45 degrees every five minutes, by focusing on an insignificant part of what's going on such as a photon tube, or by introducing lens flare everywhere. And as far as storytelling and plot devices go, it's a bad idea to use a plot device merely to get you back into the action. If transporters have distance limits, that's a plot device that gives you a challenge to overcome, it gives you a story to tell. If you instead waive that problem away with a magical wand simply so we can get back to the CGI, you make me bored.

Currently this movie has a 96% rating on rottentomatoes. Honestly, I think that's because the non-trekkies got an action movie and the trekkies got to see their favorite characters on the screen again. Give it some time, and I predict this movie will be thoroughly forgotten.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's Impeachment Time!

Our newly elected President has gotten himself involved in a huge controversy before even being inaugurated. Let's just impeach him now so that no time is lost. We can inaugurate Biden directly on January 20th.

If you think people are over-reacting, I find it even more hilarious that Obama's representatives are performing damage control. "It's not true, really! When President-Elect Obama dances to the music on his mp3 player, swarms of colors are all around him and you can only see his silhouette."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"When the chips are down, these 'civilized' people will eat each other."

In the most awesome comic-book superhero movie ever, the Joker's plans is simple: demonstrate how civilization is an illusion. He wants to show that, given the right trigger, anyone will abandon whatever rules society generally follows. The Joker is not insane. The Joker is the only one who can see the truth.

In other to achieve his goal, the Joker threatens to blow up a hospital if a certain man isn't killed by a certain time. When that plan fails, the Joker places explosives in ferries evacuating the city and gives a detonator to each boat that has the capability to destroy the other boat. Apparently all he needed to do was to have a sale...

Here's the summary: During Black Friday a Wal-Mart employee who was hired as a temp for the holiday season was trampled to death. This occurred as restless shoppers broke through the glass doors of the store, knocking over the employees on the other side and, quite literally, walked all over them. While the New York store was being evacuated, shoppers were told of the accident, but resisted the evacuation on the grounds that they've "been [waiting] on line since yesterday morning."

What the fuck is wrong with people?

Easter Eggs IN THE FACE!

What the hell happened to the human sense of humor? I'm pretty sure people used to have one.

I was reading this slashdot article today, "Would You Add Easter Eggs To Software Produced At Work?" Obviously the answer is, "depends" but far too many people were arguing that the answer is "no, absolutely not, it's completely unacceptable under any circumstances." They all had horrible reasons behind their stance and it really could all be boiled down to a complete and utter lack of personality. Here are their arguments, and my counter-arguments:

"It's unprofessional"

It certainly could be. Depends on your Easter Egg. If your Easter Egg is a pop-up window with a picture of the naked development team, I would call that unprofessional (unless you're in the porn industry). If your Easter Egg is a picture of your development team that wouldn't offend your grandmother, I would call that tasteful and safe.

"It's unethical"

Apparently it's unethical to write any code, regardless of how harmless it is, without management consent. I don't necessarily think it needs to be without consent in order to be Easter Egg. It's an egg hunt for the users, not for the company. I'm of the impression most of these Easter Eggs were done with full authorization. I would agree that unauthorized code is unethical, but I don't see why this has to be the case.

"It could introduce bugs/it inhibits functionality"

One poster went as far as quoting statistics related to total lines of code and expected number of defects and bugs. Clearly a complete lack of understanding of statistics. In a random sample of code those stats are valuable, but when you're limiting yourself to a specific category it's just useless. I replied by asking that poster when was the last time he tracked down a nasty bug to the About window of his software. As to the functionality argument, most people have used Microsoft products for a long time, and despite all the pain and suffering that caused, I doubt any of it was related to the hidden code linked above.

I leave you with one cool Easter Egg to all my Macbook Pro pals:
  1. Open a Terminal window
  2. Type "say -v Good" <enter>
  3. Type a long string of "oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" spanning about 9 lines (A shorter string does work if you have no patience, John--but you won't get the complete effect). Hit <enter>
  4. Enjoy (or be pissed off at the lack of professionalism, ethics, and overall usability of your mac and the "say" command)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving is for the Birds

I most certainly come for the bird, more than the family aspect. Yes, I know...I'm a selfish bastard.

To my good friend who was unable to travel to see his family this thanksgiving: I ate some extra turkey in your honor. It was tough, but somebody had to remember you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Suckage in Kevin Smith's Porno

Zack and Miri Make a Porno has been getting a spanking from a lot of two-bit critics who should seriously consider earning their two-bits in another profession. A much older profession. I mean whoring. They should whore themselves out for money and they should charge two-bits, or twenty-five cents (seriously, the Brits apparently made coinage worth 12.5 cents).

People who know me are now envisioning my nemesis, Roger Ebert, in that role. I'm sorry for the imagery but, if it's any consolation, I don't mean him this time. Ebert has written a surprisingly accurate review of the movie, calling it dirty but innoffensive. I can agree with that. Unless you're fundamentally opposed to four-letter words (good lord; drop dead, dude) or have a severe problem with nudity (haha, you're an evolutionary dead-end), nothing in this movie can offend you. Lots in this movie will shock you--but after your eyes finish bleeding you'll be laughing, not storming out in anger.

Kevin Smith supposedly once said to Ebert, "I don't know shit about directing, but I'm a fucking good writer." In the above review Ebert agreed that Smith is indeed a fucking good writer. I'll go one step further and say that Smith is underselling himself as a director. He's not great, but he does have two qualities I rarely see in other directors: he improves with every movie he makes (compare Clerks to Mallrats to Dogma to Zack and Miri) and he values the movie over the cash. In An Evening with Kevin Smith, Kevin relates that he was once told, "this isn't about making a movie with your friends." He then proceeds to tell us he took a huge budget cut (apparently without fully considering how this would affect his friend and producer, Scott Mosier) in order to just make the movie he wants, with his friends. That type of dedication is what not selling out means.

Other critics don't agree. A review by Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly and CNN claims that Kevin shuns "compositional coherence" as a way of not selling out. If you want to see a movie that lacks "compositional coherence," see Primer. If you can't follow the simple plot behind Zack and Miri, it's not the writer or director's fault, you're just not in the category of people who should be movie critics. Lisa obviously can't follow the movie well enough to see that the sex action she calls "silly" is an over-the-top commentary on the silliness of actual porn. She can't get past the "sophomoric" jokes to see beyond the moral of the story you've been bludgeoned with (making love is different from having sex) to the autobiographical story of making your first movie. Zack makes his porno in much the same way Kevin made Clerks. Both Kevin and Zack shot their movies at their workplace, both seriously indebted themselves in order to fund the creation of their movies, and both hired their friends who couldn't act to be in the movie. Zack just went a bit more over the top for comedic effect. She also, for some reason, thinks Justin Long is in the movie in some type of "secret cameo" and she's therefore unwilling to reveal this "spoiler" even though Justin shows up in the fucking trailer. The other "famous" person Lisa refers to is Brandon Routh. Unless you're a Superman fan, you don't know who he is.

Philip French argues on the same side as Lisa, saying "this limp comedy about a porn movie is neither erotic nor funny." First of all, if you thought this movie was going to be erotic you, again, shouldn't be in the movie critiquing business. Second, what the hell is up with all the puns and innuendos? I'm sure you've noticed how I've resisted. I would never go down there, to that level. I'm bigger than that. I dig in deep for my jokes, and I'm not afraid to give a good tongue lashing to those I believe deserve it.

Despite the banned poster, there's no suckage in this movie. Solid comedy, 5/7.