Disney Star Wars Weekends 2009, Week 1 Pics

Went to the first Disney Star Wars Weekends this weekend. Fantastic fun, as usual, with the best guest mix I think you could ask for. Jay Laga’aia, the host this year, welcomed Warwick Davis and Ray Park. In the “And now you know, and knowing is half the battle” category, Ray is playing Snake Eyes in the new G.I. Joe movie, which looks like an absolute feast of adventure and action.

From Star Wars Weekends 2009 001

The highlight of Sunday’s Q&A was all the guests re-enacting the climactic lightsaber battle from The Phantom Menace. Check out the pics to see more!

Will Ferrell Takes A Dump On My Childhood – Land of the Lost

Why, oh why are they making a movie of Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell being a total ass?

The TV series was probably just about my favorite show of all time. Dinosaurs. Time travel. Dimensional hopping. Deep science fiction. Crystals. Ape people. Fantasy. Sleestak that scared the crap out of me, for crying out loud! It was truly a mind-stretching experience for a young person interested in fantasy and science fiction.

If you watch the trailer with the sound off, it’s beautiful. It looks like something I would have drooled to see, minus Will Ferrell and the lame ass assistants of his.  (And I’m NOT linking to the trailer. Google it, if you want. I’m pissed at the moviemakers.) The effects are gorgeous. The shot of all the Sleestak made me jump out of my seat and cheer. And then I went back to brooding about what a total piece of drek they were turning out. It’s just like Eddie Murphy and The Haunted Mansion — we could have had a great movie, instead we got a vehicle for a star with a lack of respect for the original material.

The series is great. Natasha bought me the DVDs for Christmas and we devoured them. I highly recommend going back and watching them and wondering about what might have been.

Star Trek for the Next Generation (My Review, Minor Spoiler)

I really liked the new Star Trek movie. I had actually written the whole franchise off a few years ago, after Enterprise once again disappointed me with how unlike the original series it was, and even how dark and adolescent it was.

I had some trepidation about the new movie. First off, though I think JJ Abrams has got creative chops, his work hasn’t always clicked with me. I really love LOST, but technically he only created that, and then left it in the able hands of Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. I really enjoyed Alias when it was focused on the whole spy thing, but when they went off the fantasy deep end, looking for mysterious artifacts and blowing up the entire setup they had created in the first season, I got tired of it really quickly. Next, [minor spoiler] there’s time travel involved. I hate time travel stories. (Yes, I know I said I really like LOST. It didn’t start out as a time travel story, and they have balanced my general hatred of time travel stories by saying “You can’t change the past/future”. They tend to look at time travel from a fairly deep physics perspective, and also from a fairly deep thematic perspective. So, at least so far, they failed to disappoint me.)

Ultimately, I thought the cast was fantastic. (Karl Urban’s McCoy especially.) The story was good, although in the end the villain is kind of ultimately forgettable. The action was awesome, although occasionally it suffered a bit from the “Oh, look, someone is hanging over a very high drop…again. Remind me again why there are no railings on these spaceships? And why they don’t build floors instead of just tiny little walkways?” Oh wait, that’s right, JJ Abrams promised he would bring more Star Wars to Star Trek. So I guess that explains it.

The most pleasing thing to me about the movie is, there’s a return to the old values of Trek. With a diverse group of people working together to combat evil. There’s even kind of a thematic thing going on, where this new story kind of kills off the dark Trek that we had been living with for all those years. In the end, it’s a reboot and gives us the chance to enjoy the kind of Roddenberry-esque Trek I’d been missing. I’m really hopeful that the planned sequels (and possible TV rebirth) will be a return to the sort of positive stories that have been missing from entertainment lately.

One other minor note to the filmmakers. Those light on the bridge that sort of blind the camera at the beginning of every shot? Not cool. They suck. Stop it. I go to the movies to actually be able to see what’s going on, not for your kewl lighting effect.

Jury Duty Sucks

Polk County has seen fit yet again, for the second time in two years, to call me for jury duty. Wow. A chance to do my civic duty. Great.

Yeah, not really.

It’s a friggin’ hour drive to Bartow to the court house, way too early in the morning. Then I get to spend the day attempting to convince a bunch of lawyers that I would make a lousy juror, without actually saying, “Because I don’t care, and all I really want to do right now is go home. Or go to work. Or have dental work.” I know, “It’s my civic duty.” “I should be honored to serve.” Blah blah blah. Well, I’m not. I’m bitter.

Anyway, think of me on Monday, waiting desperately for them to dismiss me, so I can go home and forget about this whole ridiculous ordeal for another year or more. I swear, if they call me next year, I’m moving.

For all of you who face similar issues in the future, may I present the following links on how to get out of jury duty. I haven’t tested any of them, but they do give me some hope that I might only have to be there one day.

There’s more. Google is an awesome service.

Disney Adds The Magic of LEDs to the Castle

My wife found a really kewl article about how Walt Disney World Resort is now using environmentally friendly LEDs to light the castle.

From the article:

In the end, Walt Disney World Entertainment replaced a total of 34
arc-source fixtures with 74 five-watt LED fixtures, cutting the total
power requirements by at least 40 percent (in white light) and by as
much as 90 percent or more in a primary color.

I’d really love to move to using LEDs at home, so I wish these CCrane bulbs were a bit cheaper. Ok…a LOT cheaper. But I really like the light quality of LEDs in general, so someday I’m going to switch. I actually paid a premium to use the earliest flourescent lamp bulbs in my living room lamps almost 15 years ago when I bought my house. They lasted until a couple of years ago, just about the time compact fluorescents were starting to catch on. So I’m thinking it’s time to switch over to LEDs since everyone has CFs now….