Category: Albie

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“An Instant Classic. This is Star Wars at it’s best!”
The Last Jedi is visually stunning. It’s very well written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper 2012). The action only slows to give you time to think and grieve when needed. With a running time of  
Spoilers Below…
When walking out of the theater after hearing the John Williams score over the credits, there was a lot to process. Character Arcs have begun, others have progressed and a big one has ended. Rey was still the star of the film, but this episode belongs to Mark Hamill.
The people and Droids we love are back. C-3PO and R2 have their moments, including a touching one with Luke, but BB-8 is the one that kicks some serious ass. I think BB-9E was there just to add to merchandise maybe, we’ll see how important he is to the universe later perhaps, so I’m giving that a pass.
It was odd to see Chewie without Han although he was given more than I thought he would be this time out, including a message about veganism perhaps, but done in the cutest of ways. The Porgs are super cute, needed comic relief and the only reason my 5-year-old daughter wants to see the film.

Finn is the anchor of the film, the piece that ties everything together, and also has his bit of adventure and, shall we say sparks with Rose Tico, played by the amazing breakout star Kelly Marie Tran. A Lower Decks type that gets pulled into the main action and is integral to the survival of the Rebels. I wasn’t expecting her arc to go the way it did, but I was so satisfied as it unfolded.  

Leia’s exit in the film combined with the real-life loss of Carrie Fisher had a lump in my throat, and tears on my face early on. It was a moment of gravitas that we were waiting for and dreading at the same time. The force is strong with her.  I was glad to see that there was no computer generated Leia this time, to my knowledge anyway, I was fooled with CGI Tarkin in Rogue One. It will be interesting how the loss will be dealt with in the next film.
Rey and Kylo Ren’s story was absolutely a middle, which is a thing that can normally hurt a part two in a trilogy, but they were given enough development, action, and twists that at one point make you want to stand and yell “Fuck Yeah!”
All I can say is Ben is a liar, he lied to Rey and I expect it to come out in Episode IX. Rey (Daisy Ridleygives this movie the heart it needs to make it more than the sum of its parts.  She has strength, beauty, and grace, a role model for us all to aspire to. Job well done.

Oscar Isaac‘s Poe shows this time out what can happen when you act without having all the information one needs. His arc, along with Finn and Rose, is integral to the if/than this of the bigger plot of the Rebellion vs The Empire, and how they may not be so different at all. This story in some ways is a mirror to our current interesting times of would-be dictators putting their ego and wants ahead of the needs of their people (cough, Supreme Leader Snoke, cough, Pussy Grabber). I have given a lot of crap to Star Wars for being hand-wavy fantasy, but the allegory here has earned, for me at least, it’s placed alongside the best Science Fiction. 

Even More Spoilers Below…
For Real…

The completion of Luke’s arc was extremely satisfying and unexpected. Just the thought of us as a people experiencing this character’s life in real time, a boy in 1977, who lived in our homes and our hearts for the past four decades has come to the end of his life in much the same way as Obi-Wan did, really makes you think. For me the writing of Luke’s ending and Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a whole by Rian Johnson and the performance by Mark Hamill (Oscar material) was done so well it gives me a greater understanding of cyclical nature of life, the need for it to be so, and hope that we may all, in our own way, make a difference.
5/5 Stars

Who is Albie?

Jigsaw (2017)

Jigsaw, you got me.

Am I a fan of the Saw movies? Not really. Have I watched all the films? Yes. So maybe I am a fan, and I just didn’t realize it. I love a mystery and I was stumped until the very last moment.
Spoilers ahead…
I spent the first half of the movie trying to figure out who done it. I came to the conclusion that everyone did it, then no one did it, then I just gave up and enjoyed.
Jigsaw John Kramer is back! But how?!? I won’t tell you in even this spoiler review. Let’s just say that’s part of the mind fuck.
This time it’s personal. John Kramer punishes people who directly hurt him or someone he knew or cared about.  Dare I say these characters may have had it coming? All they have to do is admit what they did and take responsibility. Will they? Probably not. Bring on the latex and red Karo syrup.
A lot of gore, some violence, no nudity (one silicone nipple) but mostly just suspense then gross and repeat.
If you’ve seen the other saw movies, absolutely go see this one. If you are new to the franchise, I’d have a mini movie marathon before you watch this one.
3.5/5 stars 
An extra .5 for the novel approach to the concept of this installment.

Who is Albie?

Happy Death Day (2017)

More than walk of shame meets Groundhog Day.
Happy Death Day staring Jessica Rothe, written by Scott Lobdell and directed by Christopher Landon on the surface is just a collage girl stuck in an endless time loop that starts over and over waking up in some unknown conquest’s dorm room every morning after she’s been killed later that night. But at its heart, it’s much more.

Spoilers ahead…
When we first meet Tree (Rothe) this main character is an angry person who acts like a bitch to everyone that is seemingly beneath her. A strange way to start off a movie. It’s a little off-putting, but this is a redemption story in much the same way as A Christmas Carol is for Ebenezer, but done in a Groundhogian way.
This is a murder mystery in the vain of D.O.A (1950), Tree knows she has been killed, her mission becomes finding out who done it and stop it from happening again and again. Before it’s too late…
Too late because this has a clever device written in. Her injuries are cumulative, obviously reduced or she wouldn’t wake up to her “It’s your birthday” ringtone every day. To get killed on your birthday sucks, but if you are born on your mothers birthday and she has passed, you may be able to restart the game we call life?
We find out why Tree is such a nasty person when we find out about her mom’s death and how she’s avoiding her dad and basically life itself. She is being self-destructive and also thinks that all people want her for is sex. When she finds out that Carter (Israel Broussard) didn’t let Tree have her way with him while she was drunk, that’s the moment when she lets her gaurd down and is open to a world that is not as cruel as she thinks.
Suspects are a plenary here, and we usually find out who didn’t do it when they get killed themselves. I figured out the mystery about halfway through, then when it was revealed I was wrong, I was confused and stuck to my original conclusion. The ending did not disappoint.
The false finishes were well done, my favorite was probably the Buffy, and Sixteen Candles endings.
There was nothing that struck me wrong about the film, all I’d say is if you haven’t heard of Chekhov’s gun, don’t look it up before you see this film.
It is very well written, and the acting never came across as such. It passes the Bechdel test at times. And Yay! For the Love is Love nod.
Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard are good castings. I felt the connection. Rothe is an amazing lead, someone, after the initial abrasive attitude, you want to follow along with and see this world through her eyes.
A theory I have is when we first see Tree wake up it’s not her first time around. Clues are that her head hurts, yes that could be a hangover as easily as a bludgeoning, but on the viewers’ second loop through Tree is slow to catch on to what is actually happening to her. Also, the Universal logo resets two times before the film begins which got an audible response from the audience I saw this with.
If you are a Sci-Fi time travel nerd like myself and want to see a film about a woman getting stronger on her journey to becoming kind, this is the movie for you (us).
4/5 stars. I’ll buy the Blu Ray as long as there is a commentary. It’s a great date night movie too, check it out while you can.
** for more on Time loops, check this out 112263-bonus-episode-6-time-loops

Who is Albie?

It (2017)

Like Goonies but fucking terrifying.

I went into this movie with having read the first few chapters into the book and having vague memories of the mini-series I watched as a kid to see Harry Anderson and not liking it too much…
I had stayed away from spoilers but was curious to see the film being a fan of The Castle Rock TV Podcast and to enjoy their episode 5, I needed to see this film.
Spoilers ahead…
I was pleasantly surprised. The opening of the film is a direct lift from the novel and I thought to myself, “Okay, I heard the book was good, so let’s do this.” Then I noticed Gorgie wearing a sweatshirt I had as a kid in the 1980’s. With quick and dirty math done in my head while golden flavored oil leaked out of my popcorn bag onto my tan shorts, I realized the Losers’ Club were my age in that time period. That change of period made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Like Ready Player One did, with all the nostalgia, it really helped me to feel I was there. I remembered how I felt then, I was sucked in. That really helped me enjoy the film. All the boring stuff from the mini-series seemed to not be present. I wondered how they would take such a long novel and make it into a movie that runs 2 hrs and 15 mins. Turns out this is just Chapter One, with a Chapter Two to follow the adventures of the older adult Losers’ Club.
I put myself into the role of Jeremy Ray Taylor’s character Ben (New Kid) Hanscom. I liked NKTOB myself, and much like the fat kid from Stand By Me, that was me as a kid. I’m told I wasn’t fat as a kid, but that’s another article. When Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) took the time, just after being bullied herself to be kind to Ben and sign his empty yearbook, the 12-year-old me, fell in love with the idea of someone being kind to me like that at that age.

That’s where I think this story excels, It’s for adults but features amazing teen actors. It is spot on with the 80’s kids movies when we were growing up and it was okay to frighten kids. For a couple of hours, I was young again and scared shitless. It was a fun romp, frightening, exciting, horrible, funny, and sweet all at the same time.
As a newcomer really to the King verse, entering with 11.22.63, I still was able to see things sprinkled in from other King stories, that was a fun game I won’t spoil for you, play the home game yourself.
The only dings in the polish that stood out to me were bad wigs (spend the extra money people), Molly Atkinson (Eddie’s mom) in a sad excuse for a fat suit, it was like big clothes stuffed with plastic shopping bags, I just didn’t get that, and that fucking CGI paper boat. It’s a paper boat. A paper boat. Paper boat. Don’t let these things dissuade you, It is a must-see movie.
All of the Losers’ Club are phenomenal actors,  If I had to choose the best of the best, I’d have to go with Sophia Lillis (Beverly), Chosen Jacobs (Mike), and Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben) I’m a fan.

Go see It in the theater, buy the Blu Ray. 4.5/5 Stars

Who is Albie?

Blade Runner 2049

This universe expanding Sci-Fi Noir sets a whole new standard in filmmaking.
Every shot is a masterpiece.
– Albie

I am a fan of Blade Runner (1982). That’s to say I’ve owned it on almost every form of media it has been released on and watched it more times than I could count. So many different versions, so much bonus content, you can really get lost in the film and the universe around it for days at a time.

I had hoped for the best for 2049 but had prepared myself for the worst.
Spoiler review ahead…
Holy Shit was I impressed. I was figuratively blown away.  There is always a danger when going back into such a well-loved mythos like Blade Runner that there are just way too many ways to shit the bed and there is never a way to make everyone happy. Director Denis Villeneuve pulled it off in a big way.
The feel was right. The story made sense, and most importantly the movie stood on its own.  When the house lights came up as I watched the credits, I was asking myself if I liked it too much? Was I betraying my love of the original by actually enjoying this film more? Was it even okay to like 2049 so much when it was just a sequel? I’m here to say, It’s more than okay indeed.
This was a different story in the same universe as the original Harrison Ford classic, but knowing the first one well, I think makes the experience that much more enjoyable. I recommend watching Blade Runner:  The Final Cut if you can before seeing 2049.
When I say the same universe, I mean an alternate or parallel universe than our Cheeto dust scrotum timeline.  A world where flatscreen computer monitors were never a thing, people aren’t bumping into things while on their iPhones. I love this because as 2019 will be quickly upon us, the original movie is in no way invalidated.
Ryan Gosling really does carry this entire film on his shoulders and does it well. This might be a career-defining role for him. We see this world through his eyes, his replicant eyes in his search to discover if he has a soul or is greater than the sum of his programming. We see some old favorites along the way. Harrison F’ing Ford is only in the last third of the movie, but the quality of acting makes up for the lack of time we see him. I’m not sure if Sean Young was Robert Downey Jr.ed or Princess Leiaed, It was that good.
The only thing I didn’t like was Jared Leto, I’m not sure why he just seemed out of place. I think I couldn’t buy him as the character because he’s just Jared Leto. I’m sure he was amazing, but it just didn’t click for me.
The sound on this film was the best I’ve heard in a while, whoever did the mix on this film should win an oscar. See and hear it in the theater while there is still time.
This is a must buy on Blu Ray when it’s released, I’m hoping for 5 discs and a 4k version in a flying sunroof or a wooden horse maybe?
Speaking of… That little wooden horse, what does it represent? Is it meant to hide something inside? Like the secret of the N7s? Or was it a unicorn with a broken off horn? I must watch this film, again and again, to fully grasp it I think, I’m up for the challenge.
 5/5 Stars

Who is Albie?

Make your own papercraft horse from Blade Runner 2049 thanks to K.

Here are the templates: from K‘s site
PDF template with colored flaps – this will result in a more beautiful model, as the flaps continue the color of the adjacent faces, but the numbers on the flaps are difficult to read. I suggest using this template and having a printout of the one with white flaps ready for reference.
PDF template with white flaps – this one has white flaps which possibly show in the final model.
And just in case you want to 3D print it, here is the STL file.

Which one is Rey? A Star Trek Discovery review

Which one is Rey?
That’s what my 5-year-old daughter Serenity asked me when we sat down to watch the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery.
I had to explain that this was Star Trek, not Star Wars. She was a bit confused and finally decided that Michael was most like Rey. She enjoyed the opening scene and the opening credit sequence. She was ready to sing along like on Enterprise, but no lyrics yet.
Everything about episodes one “The Vulcan Hello” and two “Battle at the Binary Stars” seemed the same, but different. There seemed to be a checklist of what makes Star Trek, Star Trek, and everything was checked off.
My first impression was this was Star Trek made by people that do not really know Star Trek, but since I have Immersed myself I’m the behind the scenes videos on the CBS app for the last few days I know everyone involved is huge Star Trek fans. So I think I was judging a little unfairly on my first watch. I didn’t get that feeling on the next viewings.

The Klingons. I like the idea that the 24 different houses have different looks, but I feel like the new makeup choices seem to invalidate all the Klingon lore that has come before. Most notably Worf played by Michael Dorn. I think it would have been okay if one of the holographic Klingons looked anything like a Klingon. As for my personal opinion on the makeup, it’s amazing looking, they just don’t look like Klingons. Also, the silicone seems so thick that the actors’ performances can’t show through.

The first two episodes were as Matt Mira said on After Trek (great show, worth getting the CBS app just for that) a two-hour cold open. I was confused by the Discovery ship not being in the first two episodes, but after the conclusion of episode two, I completely got it.

What they did with these opening episodes was set up a story as most Trek pilots do, and then blow everything up, and turn everything on its ear. The deaths of two major cast members in these episodes are new and unique. Voyager did it, but they didn’t advertise those cast members to be main characters. I think it was surprising and well done. It seems to me that they will be back as there are at least 3 time periods that will be focused on for season one.
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael did really well. I enjoyed her performance and I think she will be amazing to watch as the lead in this ensemble. She embodies the modern female. Smart, strong, and beautiful.
The most exciting part for me was seeing what is upcoming on this season. We saw glimpses of the Discovery, and crew members we haven’t met yet. I’m most looking forward to seeing Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz.
The upcoming episodes to me, look more like the newer incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, just with the lights on.
Compared to the other Star Trek pilots this ranks high on my list. It’s right on par with the opening of Enterprise “Broken Bow”

For everyone saying or worrying that Discovery wasn’t or wouldn’t be Star Trek, I think “The Vulcan Hello“ and “Battle at the Binary Stars” proved everyone wrong. This is Star Trek.

Hopefully, CBS does for Star Trek what Disney did for Star Wars, and my little girl Serenity can dress up as Lt. Cmdr Michael Burnham and wear Star Trek: Discovery pajamas.
“An amazing job by all, well done! 5/5 delta shields.”
Thinking Outside The Longbox

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Who is Albie?

The Super Villain

An opinion piece by Albie.

As comic book nerds, Fantasy enthusiasts, or sci-fi geeks we all know the classic story of good vs evil and the need for an antagonist to move a story along or create an obstacle for the protagonist to overcome. Without said character archetypes stories often, but not always seem boring. Exceptions of note off the top of my head being Lost in Translation and In Good Company. Still, those stories leave you asking yourself what happened or did anything happen?I think it all comes down to the dawn of the human civilization and what passed for entertainment when we first started being able to enjoy a story. It was most likely schadenfreude. The enjoyment from someone else’s pain or misfortune. Think of it like this, our people living in groups, these bands of primitive hominids had hunters and the humans didn’t always win. The others in the tribe may have watched the hunts and were fascinated by the kill or saddened by the loss of the hunter. Fast forward many millennia and it may have been a good caveman and a bad caveman fighting to the death for the spot of the alpha male. Who was the bad guy? He may have been a rapist or simply the guy who was such a jerk that he shit next to where you slept. Either way, you wanted that guy gone. Ugg Oohah may have been our species’ first villain. The sheer joy when he was defeated brought the rest of the tribe together in relief and excitement that the cave would no longer smell like feces. This also created a hero that everyone looked up to.
The stories were told around the fire for generations. Storytelling was born.
In our recorded history there are many examples of villains from Rome ‘s Caesar (the salad dressing dude), the Catholic Church who persecuted Galileo for rightfully theorizing that the earth revolves around the sun, to Hitler which has become the go-to comparison for modern day real life super villains. Nazis, in general, became the easy villain in many comic book stories and movies they were just synonymous with bad guys for obvious reasons. Even the color scheme red and black was used in V to give the feel of Nazis.
Even most mythologies throughout history had gods and devils. To make the baby face look really good the heel has to be even better at his job of being bad.
Comic books are probably most known for in popular culture for the superhero titles. When there’s a superhero there needs to be a super villain. Or it’s just Peter helping Mary Jane do the laundry.
I often wonder what is the super villain’s real motivation? Some are obvious, money, power, revenge, but mostly just because. 
It’s all fun and games until the bad guy actually wins, in real life. Most stories end with the good side winning. That’s the easy ending, the ending that makes us happy. When the villain wins in real life, our brains just don’t know how to process it.
I think most of us remember that night, November 8, 2016, when we slowly, very slowly came to the realization that sometimes things don’t exactly go as we thought they would. What we all thought would be over before Hawaii even had a chance to vote stretched on into the night and early morning. Then it was finally time to give up and go to sleep and wake up to a world of uncertainty. Not knowing what to tell our children and I myself for weeks living in denial. No one thought the super villain would win, not even the super villain himself. Everyone knows James Bond will save the day, right?
The rise of the antihero, I think, is what to blame. In professional wrestling, for decades it was a simple story about good versus evil, comic books come to life. And it was good. Fans during the late 80s early 90s started getting bored with the good guy always winning in the bad guy always losing. They started enjoying the bad guy more and cheering for him, and booing the good guy. Vince McMahon (owner of WWE and friend of Donald J Trump) saw this and realized he had to start adding a more advanced form of storytelling. Stone Cold Steve Austin was born.
We all have this friend on one of our social media platforms that is just a jerk. An asshole for the sake of being an asshole. That one person that you know is going to say something on your post just to stir the pot. Who knows why that person is like that. It may be the old saying “You can’t be afraid of the monster when you are the monster.” They are afraid of not being loved so they make sure no one loves them so at least there’s a reason. They push people away on purpose to feel they’re in control.
People that were offended by Obama being our hero, because he didn’t fit a white drunk chest beating racist on beach, or old racist ladies in Walmart that likes to yell, their idea of the proper racial pecking order almost outweighed people cheering for the future, kindness, and love, people that assumed they didn’t need to vote or didn’t want to vote for the “lesser of two evils” combined with voting zones, and an outdated electoral college system, well now we’re fucked for the next few years.
With the daily examples of our commander-in-chief shitting the bed, metaphorically speaking, of course, brings me back to that question what is a super villain’s motivation? In this case, I don’t think it’s motivation, it’s a case of wanting is better than having. The super villain got what he thought he wanted, and is now trapped. The only explanation is doing bad things for the sake of being the bad guy.
Most of us know Trump was celebrity talent in World Wrestling Entertainment, ironically playing a babyface, or a good guy to Vince McMahon’s heel or bad guy.

When Trump came out from backstage at the Republican national convention to a Kmart version of the undertaker’s entrance, lights fog machine and all, I realized he was going the pro wrestling route to try to win over the people, or at least the masses of asses.

What is this super villains motivation? Is it fear of failure, being the monster so the monster doesn’t get you? Or is it just the thought of I’m gonna burn down this town and take you all with me? Only time will tell.
I’ve seen the movie The Postman, I know we will recover from this. One man can try to ruin in the world, many have before. At some point, the people realize the only reason a super villain has power is that we give it to them. Without us, he’s a guy with bad hair and an uneven tie, or a guy without a nose, Annie in a dark helmet with a breathing problem, or a green woman that doesn’t do well with water, walking and waving or cackling at no one.  Most people are good. Most people are kind. Most people just want a happy healthy family, food on their table, hugs at night, Netflix, and free internet porn. Humanity will survive. One man can make a difference, but many people can be superheroes in their own way. This is only the middle of the story, we can and will get our happy ending. We don’t need a leader to tell us that wrong is right, we know what is good, and what is kind. Help somebody, make a difference, volunteer to help at a homeless shelter, fight to keep science alive, or simply smile at someone on the street.With great power comes great responsibility. We all have that power to be a hero, wearing your underwear on the outside of your pants is of course, optional.

“Wouldn’t it be great if wars could be fought just by the assholes who started them?”
-from the film The Postman
David Brin … (novel)
Eric Roth … (screenplay) and
Brian Helgeland … (screenplay)

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[avatar user=”Trekaholic” size=”medium” align=”left” link=””]Albie is Albert Burdge.
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The (brain) Cloud

The cloud or collecting? Today everything is available on demand on any device we happen to have. Siri plays any song we ask her to on Apple Music, we spend more time choosing than watching on Netflix. If we missed our TV show last night Hulu has it today without any commercials. Amazon Prime has anything the others don’t. We can even get our pull on ComiXology. We are living in the best of times when it comes to our ability to enjoy our free time and geekdom.
I will not say it was better in the pre-portable on demand era, but we are missing something.
Focus. We have too much choice. I know what you’re saying (Bear is driving) “But how can that be?”
With our ability to be able to watch, listen, or read anything at any time, we miss so much of the experience of what went into the making of what we enjoy. It’s an embarrassment of riches.
Most of us here being comic book guys remember the experience as a kid of going to the local comic shop and seeing the newest issue of a favorite comic, picking it up ever so gently, placing it on the counter and buying it. Bringing it home and putting everything else aside and focusing on that comic that day. Appreciating the cover, the tactical sensation of holding it in your hands and even the smell of the paper and the ink. Reading every word, enjoying every panel. Looking at the ads for X-Ray Specs made of cardboard and red dyed feathers and imagining being able to see through your second-grade teacher’s clothes without her knowing, other than the big words “X-Ray Specs” on the front. Then back to the story, and even finishing up with the letters at the end. Maybe even read it a second time.
The same could be said for a new album. With LP’s and cassettes we pretty much listened to the whole recording from start to finish as the artist intended. With compact discs, we had the ability to skip around and shuffle or just repeat the songs we liked. Now that music is just floating in the wi-fi enabled air we listen to singles, what’s hot and trendy sometimes never listening to a whole album.
Instant gratification has made our attention spans wane. It has also, in its attempt to be more convenient has made us more stressed out. When The Facts of Life was on, if we didn’t watch it, we didn’t see it. So we made time for it because who would want to miss the episode where Jo Polniaczek would finally come out. Now we can watch whatever, whenever, so we watch it tomorrow. So we overcommit ourselves and sometimes tomorrow never comes at all.
Some of you may remember going to rent a movie. It was an event. The new movies came out on Tuesday, you would ask a potential significant other out to the video rental place, we’d spend about an hour looking through the shelves, finding the perfect movie, and a backup. The smell of artificialy buttered popcorn and Twizzlers had us impulse buy the overpriced concessions at the register. All the while hoping you wouldn’t get to see the end of the movie at all. Blockbuster and chill anyone?
The new way isn’t all bad. We have so much more access to the wealth of human knowledge. We can literally learn everything we would at college online for free and even get a degree. In the before time, most of us did reports on things that started with the letter A because that was the cheap volume of the encyclopedia at the grocery store. There was no B-Z, they were too expensive.
I personally have gone from a hoarder to a purger. Physical copies of books or any type of media can take up a lot of room. Shelves and shelves of everything ever read, watched or even listened to. It takes up a lot of space.
Now all you really need is an iPhone and a place to sit. I’m still slightly old school and like a big ass TV, an iPad, an e-reader, and my iPhone. What will we do with shelves now? Maybe this might set the stage for knickknacks to make a comeback?
Remember, we don’t have the limitations that made us enjoy like we did, but we still have the ability to focus. To make that what we love important again. Listen to the whole album, read that comic, watch a tv show live, sit on a park bench and read a book.

“Too much of anything, Lieutenant, even love, isn’t necessarily a good thing.”
– James T Kirk

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Th1rteen R3asons why I couldn't stop watching (non-spoiler review)

I’m getting to the age that high school dramas don’t really relate to me and my life, but 13RW was recommended by my wife and her friend. Those two ladies have good taste, and I love a good Netflix marathon just like anyone else so I gave it one episode to hook me, unfair to any new show, but after the first episode, I was hooked.
The series, based on the novel by Jay Asher and produced by Selena Gomez is intriguing, to say the least. I had heard the buzz and thought why would I want to watch a show about a girl who commits suicide? Some are saying it glorifies it even. I would hate for that to be the case, if we lost one young person that may be inspired by this show, it would be one too many. I didn’t want to judge a show by its thumbnail (remember the Gilmore Girls fiasco?) so I went in with an open mind.
The story is told to us through a series of 7 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) as a sort of suicide note/mystery game that presumably 13 people have to listen to and pass on to the next person in the sequence all the while being watched over by a mysterious Joe Cool type named Tony (Christian Navarro) and being obsessed over by the previous listeners. We jump in on Clay’s (Dylan Minnette) turn to listen. Unlike the others listeners, Clay listens very slowly, luckily for us to stretch it out to 13 episodes.
Immediately I get this Veronica Mars vibe without the cheese mixed with the drawn out mystery of Reunion. Events of the past and present play out simultaneously and overlap, which forces audiences to engage their brain, put their phone down and get sucked in. For me, the only problem I had getting into it was the whole high school full of 27-year-old students, but once I accepted it, there was no turning back.

Hannah’s mom played perfectly by the amazing Kate Walsh carries the bulk of the grief and gravitas of the situation that is this story. Without which everything wouldn’t be as important as it is while watching. The biggest mystery for the first half of the series is how could the one person who seems to have her shit together more than anyone else kill herself? Is everything Hannah is saying on these tapes true? How does everyone fit into the mystery? And just how could something like this happen.
I lost a sister to suicide when she was 16 years old. High school bullshit is real, and what we sometimes forget as adults are the things we think are inconsequential now, were at one time the biggest problem we ever had in our lives up until that time. When we are kids, if we don’t get the toy we wanted, or can’t stay up late, it’s the end of the world. In our teen years, whether a boy likes us or not is the end of the world. In our thirties, marriages ending seems like the end of the world. Are you sensing a pattern yet? It’s only for now. When I was bullied in high school, I had a fleeting thought about how to end it. That scared me and luckily for me, I changed my situation, got out of there and had parents that supported me, and knew I was more important than anything else. It does get better. Hang in there, kid.
As a parent, I can’t even imagine being in a situation like Hannah’s parents are in. How could someone even write about this? And why am I watching it? I have no clue, but I can’t stop. The writing and acting are amazing. I recommend this as a must watch. I have to know how it ends, back to Netflix I go.
Update: I finished it. Wow.

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Who is Albie?

FMV Gaming- Get your geek on!

Star Trek Borg is my favorite FMV (full motion video) game and is available absolutely for free download here because it’s old and considered obsolete. I don’t think it is, and here is why.
As a child, I loved to read choose your own adventure books. I think mostly because I was lazy and somehow at an early age I figured out that I wouldn’t actually have to read the whole book. As video games moved from consoles like the Atari 2600 to personal computers graphics were still very limited. One way to make a game look better and more realistic was to include video, the crappy video was often better than what computers of the time could render. I think every Gen Xer remembers the stunning graphics of Dragon’s Lair in the arcade. How was this possible? It was a cheat. Simply put it was chose your own adventure on laserdisc. Playing a cartoon was so much more exciting than dots that were supposed to be a centipede. These FMV games or sometimes called or interactive movies did the same at home.

I was so excited when I heard about Star Trek Borg, I bought it on release date. The only problem was I didn’t have a PC to play it on. A few months later with my tax return, I spent over $3,000 for an IBM Aptiva CH8, a doorstop by today’s standards, but with that PC and the CD-ROMs I was off to defeat the BORG!
It was an amazing Star Trek one-off movie that took place in the 24th century with Q and a great cast, on the voyager sets in a sidequel to the Next Generation episode The Best 0f Both Worlds. I often think it should now be remastered for Blu-ray as a movie, but until then if you aren’t interested in downloading and playing the game, which I recommend, there are several fan edits on youtube worth watching.

If you are intrigued, other great FMV games I can recommend are Star Trek: Klingon, The Dame Was LoadedJohnny Mnemonic: The Interactive Action MovieX-Files The GameSherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, The Daedalus Encounter starring Tia Carrere, and for those of you who have the capability there is a rare Laserdisc game “Mystery Disc: Murder, Anyone?” showcasing Lea Thompson’s first on-screen role.

If you want to get truly geeky about FMV gaming you can build your own game box for under $20! Get a working windows 95 or higher compatible PC with monitor, speakers, mouse and keyboard from a thrift shop. Do a fresh install of Ubuntu Desktop (free Linux-based operating system) and DosBox free from the Ubuntu store. For the brave, you can just install MS-DOS using these instructions. The games are mostly free, even hard copies are dirt cheap on eBay. No excuses. Get your geek on!

For more information check out


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[avatar user=”Trekaholic” size=”medium” align=”left” link=””]Albie is Albert Burdge.
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