Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Goodbye to favorite Christian movie reviewer & Good Trek/Bad Trek #68 Bread and Circuses

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.


A habit I’ve had for a long time come to an end this past Friday. I said goodbye to Rod Gustafson. You probably don’t know who he is. It’d be kinda weird if you did. He is, or rather was a film reviewer for a website called Parent Previews. It’s a pretty niche site. One devoted to both whether or not a movie is good but just as important whether or not a movie is Christian enough for Christians to see with their families. They didn’t review R rated movies. The one exception being the Passion of the Christ, of course. That one they liked. 

I’m not Christian but there was something I really liked about the guy. I first became aware of him through a rightwing Christian radio program in Detroit. The Bob Dutko show. I used to listen to a lot of right wing radio. It’s always fascinated by what these people are worried about. He’s one of those folks who has nine dozen kids and thinks the earth is about five thousand years old. He’s no dumb-dumb though. He has a high IQ and he’ll be the first to tell you about. 

Every Friday afternoon at around 2:00, Bob turned his show over to Rod to take a look at the movies from “a family friendly, Christian friendly perspective.” In came Rod. There was something engaging about the guy. His taste in movies was, for the most part, atrocious, but I kept on tuning in. Even when I moved away from Detroit I kept on listening online every Friday. 

My favorite segments with Rod were always when he was a film reviewer first and a Christian second. Those were the ones I liked the best. Once he told Bob that a particular film contained a bunch of nobodies. To which Bob replied something along the lines that there are no nobodies because God knows every hair on their heads. Gross right. Rod said that God may love them but none of these people had any business being in a movie. I remember on a handful of occasions he’d pan one of those awful Kirk Cameron type movies made specifically to pander to Christians. Often, he’d say that even though there’s nothing objectionable content-wise and that all the messages were good, the movie itself was very bad. I don’t know why, but I loved hearing that. And I’m gonna miss it. Good luck out there, Rod!

Know what else Rod Gustafson wouldn’t be able to recommend? This episode of Trek. It's Bread and Circuses. I’d call it a fucking mess, but Rod would never use that kind of language. 

Recap:

The crew is at a planet that is pre-warp and doesn’t know about life on other planets. So they can’t intervene. On account of the non-interference directive. They go down and it’s a planet based on the principles of ancient Rome. It’s even called Rome. They’ve had a bunch of leaders named Ceasar and they all speak English. Which nobody seems that surprised by. A bunch of horse shit ensues. A bunch of really terrible horse shit. One of their leaders is a former Federation captain. I don’t remember if he was an actual Starfleet captain and I don’t care. I’m not rewatching it. I watched it one and a half times and it was brutal both and a half times. 

The former Federation guy thinks this planet is so perfect it must be protected at all costs from future interlopers. So Kirk and his whole crew must stay and die in the pits. 

There’s some platitude swapping and Bones and McCoy end up in a live gladiator fight on TV in a painfully long and terribly choreographed fight scene. Then Uhura teaches us that it’s okay because they’ve heard about Jesus. Fin. 

Good Trek?

Was this a good episode good? No. This one is one of my least favorite ones so far. plus, I adore Uhura, but what the fuck is all this Jesus stuff doing in my Trek? I don’t want to know about the Son of God or whatever. Plus the two planets evolved in exactly the same way to the point where everyone on the planet speaks English and they had a Rome and two guys named Ceasar ruled over it, and also Christianity took hold just like on Earth, but it took an extra two thousand years? What the fuck are you trying to sell me with this bullshit because I am not buying. 
FYI, we'll still be having this debate in 350 years

You don’t want anyone else to come to your planet? Know what you don’t do, have two Federation ships disappear investigating it. Ships are gonna keep on coming. You think Starfleet is just gonna shrug off the loss of the Enterprise? That’s the flagship, boy. You gotta go see what keeps happening.  
Raise your hands if this is some bullshit

Who the hell would think that this a perfect planet? There’s legalized slavery and live battles to the death on TV. That’s the opposite of perfect. Yeah, there was no World War 1 or 2, but still. LEGALIZED SLAVERY AND BATTLES TO THE DEATH. I’m not saying that a system that eliminated war doesn’t have some strong points, but if it still has slavery and battle royalĂ©s, then maybe continue looking for a slightly more perfect planet. 
I didn't even realize this was a Christmas episode

This episode plays like a greatest hits. A bunch of other shit from better episodes is thrown into a blender and this is what we got. We’ve got a slave lady wearing tinfoil, we’ve got the crew busting out of jail cells, we’ve got a wine-swilling dandy, and overly long fight scenes. Speaking of which, of all the things that have come a long way since TOS aired fight choreography is definitely one of them. I don’t understand why these have to be this bad. They’re just so clumsy and goddamn are they also long. And the music score is awful. 
BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


This planet is being run by a dude from a spaceship. Why are tiptoeing around like the Prime Directive still matters? It has been violated. the planet is being run by a dude from a spaceship. Whether everyone knows it or not the prime directive is out the airlock. Phaser up and interfere.  

Better Trek?

If you want to watch an even shittier episode where members of the crew are in gladiator matches then go with Code of Honor. This early TNG episode features Tasha Yar in a fight to the death when the wife of the planet's leader challenges her. This episode has the distinction of being one of the most awful Treks of all time. My favorite review of this episode was “you know it wouldn’t be considered that racist if they didn’t hire exclusively black folks to play the aliens.” Yeah, but they did. And it’s jarring. So very jarring. 

If you're looking for something better, then go with Tsunkatse. It's not the best one out there, but I like it. It's a VOY episode where Jeri Ryan's Seven fights The Rock. The goddamn Rock. It's a fun episode. It's not awesome, but it's sure as shit better than this one. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Life. Style. Blog. Fruit.

I’ve read some of the other lifestyle blogs. They seem to all have one thing in common. They’re all sucking the dick of fruits and vegetables. 

You read Goop and they can’t wait to tell you all the great ways to enjoy fruit. I have to tell you, I’m not a fan. I think we’re getting fucked here. If any other product had the failure rate of fruit we’d have the CEOs of that company in front of Congress getting drilled by everyone. 
Here's what to do with apples, STOP BUYING INTO THEIR BULLSHIT!

They say fruits and vegetables are healthy because they have this shit called vitamins. Know what else has vitamins? Vitamins. Vitamins have a lot of vitamins. They’re made up almost exclusively of vitamins. So if you really want some vitamin C in your body. What are you doing reaching for a dumb old orange? Just reach for an actual vitamin made up 100% of vitamin C. 

I’ll admit. I like some of these things. I think that fruits taste okay sometimes. I like pineapple and oranges. Occasionally I’ll have a banana or two. They’re tasty I like them. I like salads sometimes too. I really like avocados. Or I should say that I really enjoy avocados for the roughly 20 minutes when avocados are good. Eat them too early and it’s about the densest and least flavorful thing out there. Any time after their due date and it’s a mushy rancid goop. No thanks! 

You have a Skittle and it doesn’t matter when it was bought or how long those Skittles have been sitting out. They’re going to be delicious. So what are we still fucking around with fruit for? Who is it that's behind what has to be a giant cash grab? Fruit is expensive. Way too expensive for what you’re getting. And it’s way too expensive for how long it lasts. So quit being bamboozled by fruit. 

Even worse than fruit is it's ugly relative vegetables. Gross. At least fruit tastes good sometimes. Vegetables pretty much only exist to deliver ranch to your mouth. Fuck vegetables even more than fruit. I'm done. Eat a bunch of fat and carbs and then have a vitamin. It's the same thing. You can trust this. It's on the internet. 

Alright. I gotta go. My foot's a little tingly. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Hyperbole, & Good Trek/Bad Trek #67 The Ultimate Computer

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.


I just got around to seeing the most recent Star Wars. The one about the last Jedi. It was called The Last Jedi. It’s one of the movies that I’d read the most about before seeing it. I came across a lot of opinions about it. Well, I came across two opinions repeated ad nauseam. I read that it was the greatest movie of all time and I heard it was the worst movie of all time. And both those opinions are very very wrong. I thought it was okay. I thought it was really okay. There were parts of it I liked and parts I didn’t. All in all, it was fine. I’m glad I watched it, but I won’t be in a rush to ever see it again. And that’s fine. I don’t know what it is about the internet where we all have to be in a constant state of hyperbole one-upmanship. If you thought it was the best movie ever that’s great. I think you’re probably lying to yourself, but that’s fine. I’m glad you enjoyed it more than I did. 
All three of these people don't deserve happiness. 

If you didn’t care for the movie, that’s fine too. But was it really the worst movie of all time? Maybe it just wasn’t for you and that’s okay. Not everything has to be for everyone. What happened to that opinion? Remember when you could just not love something and go about your day. Now the internet is constantly locked in a state of hyperbole one-upmanship. There's no opinions that exist between A+++++ and the worst thing ever. The Last Jedi was a solid C. That's fine. I was a solid C student. Most things in life are average. That's why we have that word. To describe most things. 

There's a fan movement to remake it which is dumb. You can check out the petition here. They're trying to raise millions. Partly because the "diversity agenda" was rammed down our throats. For starters, it was rammed down your throat. You chose to watch it. You could have just stayed home. There's nothing easier than not watching a movie. All you have to do is literally anything else on earth. You bought tickets to see a movie and you thought there were too many women in it so now you want to remake it. I can't imagine anything more baffling than a Star Wars nerd raising money to have fewer women in their life. 

Recap:


We’re at a station and Kirk is a real grumpy Gus. He’s been summoned to take part in a war game. Where a computer takes over his ship. Then a bunch of other ships are going to confront the Enterprise. Kirk is skeptical, to say the least. Cue the dramatic music. The computer is installed and goes a tad haywire. It takes over and does well, but then destroys an unmanned ore vessel and thinks the wargames are real. Lives are lost. To make matters worse the computer decides it doesn't want to be disconnected and will kill to make sure that it isn't. 

Good Trek?

This is one of my favorite episodes so far. I put it right up there with Balance of Terror. Shatner hams it up a little bit, but that’s to be expected. He’s a bad actor. Bad actors act poorly. That’s what happens. The only thing I didn’t really get about it, and I know that it’s just a show and none of any of this is real. But what’s the point of this thing? I imagine computers were already able to do a lot of this stuff. Targeting weapons and reviewing crew rosters. I’d be surprised if computers weren’t already able to do this. Don’t they have unmanned probes in this universe? Is that really all that different. It doesn’t really make sense that some of these jobs weren't already being handled by computers. What’s really the point of having an actual navigator?
Kirk shits on the dude for being on his 5th version. That's not that many. 

The doctor was talking about paving the way for humans not to have to do this stuff anymore. Which is fine, but humans already don’t have to explore space. They’re choosing to do this. It’s not like this is some burdensome thing that folks are forced to do. Humans are out there exploring space because they want to. There’s no real need to do any of this. There was that. But other than that stupid nerd quibble, I loved this one. 

Kirk gets a little reactionary when it comes to computers doing his job. Pretty sure if the tests went well then it'd only be a matter of time before he'd be voting for a space Trump for Federation President because of promises to reopen the starship captain mines. 

This is another episode that makes Star TrekDarknessrknesss so frustrating. This would have made such an awesome movie. Why wasn’t this one made into one? I’d have loved to see this given the big screen treatment. It would’ve been great, but, instead we got a remake of a movie that in no way needed a remake. Fuck you, Into Darkness!

Better Trek?

The Ultimate Computer is great sci-fi. Watch that one. There are other episodes that have similarities, but I think The Ultimate Computer is the best of the bunch. It’s certainly not the best episode but there are similarities to 1001100 (or whatever). It's an early run TNG episode. It's not bad for a season one episode, but it's not great. Some computer linked nerds take over the Enterprise. It's really only worth watching for the jaw-dropping scene where a hologram offers to get double teamed by Picard and Riker. It's something else. 
The suspense is killing me. 

Emergence is another TNG one where the computer takes over the ship. It’s not bad. A lot of it takes place on the holodeck and those episodes usually suck but this one is not awful. It’s not the est, but it’s solidly not awful. I like The Ultimate Computer a lot better. So if you want to watch an episode about computers taking over starships then this is definitely the one I’d go with. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Life. Style. Blog.

Now that I’m unemployed I’m really getting to lead my best life. Turns out that my best life is kind of a sad one. So I’ve been pouring through the mail here at Adamsokol.com HQ. And I think it’s time that I turn this shit into a lifestyle blog.

I guess part of the problem is that I don’t do all that much on a day to day basis. Mostly just jogging and open mics. But who knows. I don’t really want to put any of this on Facebook because every time I start writing on there I just end up sucked into a vortex of reading all that shit. And I have to say I like that I have a lot of friends and what not doing all sorts of neat stuff, but at the same time good gravy, are they really boring and hard to take in. So I guess I’d just prefer to write this shit on here. 

I’m gonna level with you though. I don’t really know what a lifestyle blog entails. I mean, I’m pretty sure I tell you what’s going on in my life. I don’t know. You’re not the boss of me. 

I googled what a lifestyle blog is. I'm pretty sure Goop is. I read a couple posts on goop.com. That’s a lifestyle blog, right? It seems to run the gamut. It’s got weird shit on there. 
From Goop: If you're the type of person who's dropping thousands on a table you don't need a blog to tell you how to live. You've got it figured out already. 



Now that I’m a lifestyle blogger I am going to do sponsored posts. That’s a thing I’m gonna get good on. I’m going to say that these places gave me money to talk about their product. And then maybe some of the times that I do that someone from the company will be reading and will be like oh shit, I forgot we forgot to send that guy some money for saying how great our widgets are. Get that check out, Susan. Or whatever. I’m really out of ideas so I’m kinda spitballing here. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

I'm a big fat sad loser and also Good Trek/Bad Trek #66 The Omega Glory

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

Hi. Been a little while since I updated this. I've been busy. That's a lie. I got laid off from my job. The one where I read depressing internet comments. It was kind of a bummer even though the job itself was kind of a bummer to begin with. I never thought that losing a job that depressed me that much would end up depressing me this much. 

I always knew the job wasn’t going to last forever. Thinking that the job would last forever would be even more depressing. I always knew that it would end someday. I always just kind of figured that I’d have something going for myself by the time it did. Then it ended. And I didn’t. So here I am. 

So I got kinda bummed. But then I started feeling better. You see, I did have something lined up. A Star Trek blog. A real one. I was gonna write for that. I was gonna put in the time and write some Trek and it was gonna be great. The first Monday I was unemployed from the old job I set my alarm. I made sure to wake up early. I was going to crack my knuckles and really write the shit out of some goddamn Trek. Then I got an email. From the Trek blog informing me that they’d no longer be needing me. 

I was fired for plagiarizing this shitty blog. I didn’t even know that was possible. It is. I’d written a bunch of these. I was just kind of pumped to put them out to a larger audience. My fault. They said original content and I guess I never took that to mean stuff nobody read on here. But I was wrong. 

So then I took a couple weeks off and spent some time just staring. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing lately. Starting and feeling sorry for myself. It doesn’t sound like much but it’ll eat up a day before you know it. 


I tried getting back into watching TOS and wasn’t feeling it. They say that one of the symptoms of depression is that you stop enjoying the things that you used to be into. So maybe I wasn’t digging the TOS episodes because I was depressed or maybe it was because that this episode sucks. I don’t know. I’m almost done with season 2 so might as well just continue doing these for a while. Maybe another Star Trek site wants me to write for them again. Who knows. Here’s The Omega Glory. It was a fucking mess. 

Recap:

The gang is sent to Omega 4 in search of the USS Exeter. It’s a ship that’s been incommunicado for six months. They find the ship and everyone has been reduced to crystals. Reduced to crystals most foul. They look at log entries and it turns out that they contracted some disease from the surface that turned them all to dust. Which is dumb. But whatever. The ship’s captain, Captain Tracy is down there. So they go to ask him what’s what. Because now the away party, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and some bag of shit redshirt all have the infection too. But if they’re on the planet’s surface the infection can’t get you. 
You hear that, PC police!

Fine so far. They get down to the surface and they find Tracey. Who’s living with a tribe of folks called “Kohms.” The Kohms are at war with a group of savages called the “Yangs.” Kirk is worried that Tracey is violating the Prime Directive of non-interference. As he should be. Because he is. Tracey is trying to figure out why these folks live so long. I guess that the Kohms can live over a thousand years. Which is neat. He wants that secret. 
Spock's watching Kirk get the shit kick out of him face is pretty great

Tracey gets wise to Kirk getting wise to him and tries to put the kibosh on Kirk putting the kibosh on his longevity scheme. Long story short, there’s absolutely no secret to their longevity. They just live a long time. And also Yang is short for Yankee and Kohm is short for Communist. Which is the dumbest fucking reveal ever. And also also, they're now immune to the space infection so they can leave whenever they want. Tracey meets his maker and everyone recites the Pledge of Allegiance. Lame. 

Good Trek?

No. This was bad Trek. I thought the reveal at the end was about the dumbest shit I’d ever seen. I mean, come on. Not only does this planet’s history mirror Earth’s but it mirrors it so much that not only do they have the same slang terms for America and China, but they have the same identical flags? I call space shenanigans. 

Fuck you. 
There were good things going for it. I like the fact that Tracey went bananas searching for a fountain of youth that doesn’t exist. The problem is that the Federation already exists in such a state. They’ve just about solved most diseases. The life expectancy of the Federation would probably be about a thousand years if they weren’t running around in spaceships getting into trouble like a bunch of goddamn idiots. 
Try phasering this one
Also, the score for when people are fighting is the worst. And people fight a lot in this episode so there’s a lot of shitty fight music. It’s also 40 times louder than anything else that happens. So every time there's a fight you have to grab the remote to turn it down because it sucks so much. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood still, but fuck this episode. 

Better Trek?

I’m gonna say Star Trek: Insurrection. I really like this movie. People shit on it and I think they’re fools for doing so. The worst critisism I’ve ever heard about this movie is that it has the feel of just a super long TNG episode with better effects. How does that not sound just awesome? It’s great. There’s a group of aliens who live on a fountain of youth planet. Another bunch of aliens want to harness the planet for themselves. Loud shouting matches about the Prime Directive ensue. 
There's some space dust in my eye

Maybe I should've just watched Insurrection. It's pretty awesome. Well That’s it for this week. I guess I’m doing these again. I don’t know. We’ll see.