Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year..... From the Clockwinder

10 years ago, on New Years eve, I was with a bunch of very nervous people in a Major banks year 2000 command center, hoping that the 2 and a half years of work that we had put in would pay off. My Wife was at our friends house, at a party and they took a picture of her and some friends talking on the phone, they were talking to me, wishing me a happy New Year.... and yes, all our work did pay off.

Over the past 10 years allot has changed, I watched as our nation was attack, and as my Brother was sent to war, twice. I have become the father of two fine young men and Sadly, all my Grand Parents have past away. Some friends have past, Justin Hoover, my friends wife and others... I am thankful to have known them.

I have been blessed with friends both old and new, I love the fact that I now can keep in touch with friends from High School, spy on their lives, via social media. I still game with the same gang I gamed with since around 1985 and still count a huge slew of re-enactors as great friends ( and miss them very much since I havent been able to attend many events). There are also my friends from around home, in scouting and through gaming... I can say that the good lord has truly blessed me with some great and interesting family and friends.

In the past decade there has been good and bad, sadness and happiness, the strange “Ying Yang” thing we call life, but isnt that how its supposed to be? I sometimes think I get more bad then good.... but If I really look at it, I am truly blessed to share this ride with so many great people and a Wife and Children that remind me everyday how lucky I am.

To all of you, Happy New Year, its just a scale of time, a measure... but for some reason we assign great store to the magical day of “changing calenders” I guess because it is human nature to hope... and I hope you all have a Fantastic new decade and that we flawed decedents from apes over come our self-built obstacles to make the future a little... not asking much, just a little... Brighter.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ye ever Notice?.....

Why do all adventures and quest seem to be to some great old tower of some evil sorcerer, invincible overlord or terrible Dragons lair? Didnt any good people ever horde great treasure? Why not “Lair of the humorous Unicorn” or “ Mr. Fluffy’s tower of 1000 delights”?

I mean, for years I have played Pen and paper and computer scenario’s where our characters have plunged into truly horrible places, with hideous traps, fiendish creatures and of course... the diabolical boss at the end. How did the evil guys get the lock on Lairs and dungeons? One would think that some kindly old king would build himself some really cool crypt to fill with his accumulated items that he wished to take with him to the next world so he could continue his Glorious deeds... but no... make a saving throw... sorry your dead!

I would love to be challenged by such creatures as a giant grape Jelly or a Rice pudding... or better yet... you are beset by a dozen Gnomes who begin to fix all your armor and repair your shoes. Where the hell are all the good guy lairs??? You enter a well constructed hallway with fire extinguishers (well marked) placed every 20 feet ( next to the trash cans with the smiling pixie sign that says “thanks for keeping your dungeon clean”) suddenly 10 laughing weresquirels demand that you listen to their rendition of “gray skies are going to clear up”...or you must eat more cookies then Wenzlar the Cookie King of level 5.

I’m just venting... to many a night my make believe adventures have come to gruesome end in some mold covered, skull encrusted hallway as fountains of tainted chaos blood gurgled in the background... Im just wondering if there is a flip side to the coin.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Who would you want to share a escape pod with?...

So I was trying to think of some sort of mind numbing and thought provoking EOY list that would have the free world agog at my towering intellect... then I decided to simply comprise a list of my top 10 favorite Sci Fi Ladies. The question being “Who would you want to share a escape pod with?”

Dax... from “Deepspace 9” played by both Terry Farrell and Nicole De Boer. I was unable to decide which one I liked the most so I came up with a convoluted reason to include them both under one entry. I even love the Trill markings.

7 of 9 From “Voyager” played by Jeri Ryan. So after x number of seasons in, when they realized that the geeks were drifting away from the show, the powers that be introduced The Character of 7 of 9... honestly if the show was just her eating a sandwich for a hour ratings would have soared... and after Janeway and Torres for a couple of years, we were thankful.

Selene from the “Underworld” Movies played by Kate Beckensale. I don’t really know if the Underworld movies are in the strictest sense “Sci Fi” but come on... Kate with those contacts, tight leather outfit and blazing guns... OMG!

Commander Kiva from “SGU” played by Rhona Mitra. Ok...I admit, I had to find a Character to include Rhona Mitra on the list... but truly it is for her earlier work as a Lara Croft model that I truly recognized her... Talent. She has had many other roles in the Genre and I can only hope for more.

Shazza from “Pitch Black” played by Claudia Black. I’ll admitt it, Im just a big Claudia Black fan from the first season of Farscape on. She is one of those actresses that lost entirely to much weight at one point and looked kinda bad but she look great in Pitch Black... until she got killed... Oh, Spoiler alert.

Persephone from the really bad “Matrix” sequels Monica Belluci. I hated the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies... except for the parts with Monica Belluci... in my opinion if you took those two steaming piles of crap, and cut out her scenes, spliced them together... things would have been allot better

Gem from “Tron: Legacy” Played by Beau Garrett. Ok, now I have seen pictures of this actress and have thought “Meh” but put her in that white hair and contacts, then that costume and its “Greetings Program”.

Athena from the Original “Battlestar Galactica” played by Maren Jenson. OMG as a youngster I thought she was “It”. The episode where the women had to become pilots... holy cow! how did that not win some sort of presidential award... Is there no justice in this world.

Inara From “Firefly” played by Morena Baccarin. Inara left little smoking hawt foot prints where ever she went... She also had some pretty cool scenes in the show, a favorite is when her and Saffron meet.

Barbarella from “Barbarella” played by Jane Fonda. All right, you may not agree with Jane’s politics... but she was something as Barbarella. I believe I first saw this movie on HBO and thinking “Gawd this sucks... But she’s something to look at”. The opening credits... thats all Im going to say.

Allot of things are missing from the list, Princess Leia for one, Ripley (never did anything for me), Taarna form Heavy Metal or Cylon number 8 ( Sorry Boomer) but lets face it, I only had 10 slots to fill so we had to leave some fine Characters behind.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

G.I. Joe.... Hero.

Watching my kids play with their toys, I was catapulted back to my childhood. Yes, we eventually had the first run of kenner Star Wars toys to fill warm spots in our Christmas Mirth... but for the majority of my childhood I remember one man rising to every challenge, defeating every foe and Kicking Ken’s butt at the Neighbors Barbie House... G.I. Joe.

Our Joes weren't these little barely posable things they have today... Ours was a 12 inch, Scarred man of action who came with accessories to help him combat every kind of villain your imagination could bring fourth. Though the first had plastic hair, they soon sported crew cuts of life like hair and beards that barely concealed that scar on his cheek... a scar, that even years latter Joe refused to talk about.

I remember our Joe had a Jeep, not just a ordinary Jeep, but one mounting a recoilless rocket launcher and pulling a trailer. Joe wasn’t a dumb grunt mind you.... he had been a astronaut in the Mercury program, complete with capsule and silver space uniform. He was a skilled frogman ( Orange wet suit, complete with speargun and man eating shark) and a Deep Sea diver ( with a weighted belt and shoes). He was a Jack of all trades, he was a spy with a disguise and a briefcase with a Gun you could assemble and could pilot a jet ( Though we had a helicopter). He was 100% hero.

I remember the foot lockers that you could buy to house all the accessories and the carded uniform and equipment add on’s. The last thing I remember getting for Joe was a Dune Buggy and command trailer that he used to hunt for mummies ( He was now sporting his “Kung Fu” grip).

I spent endless hours playing with Joe, I remember the neighbor (who had two daughters) would baby sit us, and Joe would be forced to take some R&R at the Barbie Dream house... He wasnt too friendly to Ken ( probably a draft dodger anyway) and he let him know it... .45 from his shoulder holster beat Ken’s ascot every time.

Many years latter, I still smile when I see a old Joe at a garage sale or on TV, I remember all the adventures we had and how rainy days were that much more bearable with my be-scarred comrade with his M1 (with broken barrel) covering my 6 or walking point as we combated the evils of our imaginary world.

Joe... We remember.

Monday, December 27, 2010

True Grit.... Some thoughts.

****Spoiler Alert... Maybe*****

Last Wednesday my friends and I went to see the remake of “True Grit” at Newark Shopping Center, Hands down our favorite place to see movies, it is truly the last of the old style “big houses” left in the area. Now allot of people know that I am a huge John Wayne fan, so I was very worried about a remake of the film for which he won his Oscar. To me him and Kim Darby were fantastic in that movie... Glen Campbell, not so much, So it was with some trepidation that I viewed the new film by the Coen Brothers.

It actually took me two or three days to admit to myself what I actually thought of the movie... That I thought it was a better movie then the original. In every way I believe it surpassed the original, Music, Acting, cinematography and costuming everything. I didn't want it to be, I wanted to say “Yeah I liked it... but the Duke was better” but in fact he wasnt.

Jeff Bridges did a fantastic job, mumbling through his dialog and his first scene where Mattie Ross tries to confront him in a outhouse is great. Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross was perfect she delivered her difficult dialog believably and with the right amount of Spunk. Matt Damon did a good job as the dandy Texas ranger and Josh Brolin turned in a fantsic performance as the Dim-whitted and dangerous Tom Chaney.

To me... One of John Waynes iconic scenes is as Roster Cogborn, riding towards Ned Pepper’s gang, firing is pistol and spinning his rifle after he had delivered his “Then fill your hands you Son of a Bitch!” line... well that scene is in this movie and I will say I think it is done better, more believably, in the new film then the old.... Sorry Duke.

One of the things that was strange, so much of the dialog seemed almost identical, yes there are some changes, but after watching the new film then going home and watching the old... so many lines seem almost word for word ( undoubtedly lifted directly from the Novel for which it is based) the same... but delivered with a more believable realism in the new movie then the old.

I didnt want to like this movie as much as I did. I wanted to walk around with my nose in the air and say “The Original was better” I tried for a couple of days to believe this, but at last reality managed break through my delusional fog. The new movie is in all ways better then the Original... I hope to god no one ever remakes the “Searchers”.

So long Christmas...

Well, Christmas 2010 has now come and gone, The smile on the boys faces and the non stop playing with new toys have made it a enjoyable holiday. The boys even got time to play with their cousins from NY who were down for a couple days.

We sort of got snow... they called for snownarok but we just got a average little snow fall (but with lots of wind). I still love snow, I remember as a kid being out at night in heavy snow and just listening to it fall, no other sound but the snow hitting branches and the ground. Snow was a gift from god as a child, snow forts, snow ball fights ( learning to use trash can lids as shields) and sledding could only be done if Snowdin was appeased.

Christmas vacation as a teen also meant gaming. You got all those days off and that meant you could slug your way through a module or two. You were sequestered in a friends basement like Cardinals electing a new pope. You had a stack of books, a pile of dice and no other commitments except defeating the Invincible Overlord. Good lord could we drink some soda during those sessions.

As Santa returns to the north pole and the year comes to a end I am truely thankful for my friends and family. I hope the New year finds me employed once again ( I know... a little greedy here) and that our family remains healthy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Strange twist of Acting fate...

I am opinionated... and thats my opinion, but i have strong feelings in regards to so called “Talent” in hollywood that have, from time to time... flipped.

Case in point... Leonardo Decaprio, I hated this guy for the longest time. When he would make a movie I would think “Hey isn’t River Pheonix dead?” ( which isnt really fair because I liked River) I despised everything he did. Then one night for some strange reason (Read: Jennifer Connelly) I decided to watch a movie called “Blood Diamond” and ever since then I have loved everything I have seen with him in it.

Sort of the opposite for ol’ Ben Affleck, I was fond of some of his earlier work but have hated what he has done recently.

Surprisingly, Harrison Ford is another case, I loved his early stuff, and not just Han Solo and Indy but his Jack Ryan and some of his serious films as well. However lately I fear his presence in any film like a Pan-Pacific Islander fears the Volcano god... his visage on the screen means certain death to a film.

Cameron Diaz... oh Miss Diaz, I loved her in “Something about Mary” but now there is something about her I find... disturbing, like she has a Joker face or something. That may be shallow, but she cant act plain and simple.

With this being said, what is out today may be in tomorrow. I may decided that Drake and Josh really don’t deserve to be placed in a cattle car bound for “points east” or that Nicholas Cage is actually one of Hollywoods hidden talents. But until that day.... they aren’t invited to dinner.

Fantasy Movies....

In a earlier post on Sci Fi or Fantasy, many of my friends stated that they all believe a truly good Fantasy film has not been made. I know allot of LOTR fans are going “Bu...What” but to some of the literary faithful, Jackson’s liberties and imagery were a bit to much. So what Fantasy movies do I like... do I slip into the DVD players?

I have to admit, “Conan” is still a favorite just the original... lets not get crazy... but I do like it and come on... two words, Human and stew... nothing says evil like a big simmering pot of Human Stew and hell, I even like Arnold's portrayal.

“Archer: Fugitive from the empire” in all fairness I only saw this once when it first played on TV, But I remember loving it. The hero was given a Heart-bow (or hart bow) that was magical and received new arrows when a black feather fell to earth and BAMF! turned into arrows. the bad guys were pretty cool and looked like evil turtles. Its a bit risky to put this on a list with only one viewing but here it is.

“Death Stalker II”, I know many of you are starting to call my wife and tell her to put something in my mouth so I don’t swallow my tongue... but hear me out. This movie had a ok script, it was actually kinda funny, intentionally. The budget was about 5 dollars but it was one of the best Babes and Blades movies I can remember.

“Hawk The Slayer”, I am always amazed by the actors this movie has in the small roles. Its a good story, with a not to tall giant and a not to short Dwarf, and annoying elf, a one armed crossbowman and of course...Hawk the Slayer and his mind blade. This wasnt a great film, but in the desert it was a drinkable glass of water.

“Willow”, this movie is sort of strange, I remember loving it in the theatre... but not so much on VHS or on cable. this one really isnt on my list but I’d thought I’d mention it.

“Sword and the Sorcerer” Lee Horsley’s tour de force, with his three bladed sword and inexplicable healing powers. The man is nailed to a X and pulls the nails out with the power of Lee Horsley and the next minute is swinging his sword. Not a good movie, but fun to watch.

“Lady Hawk” some people hate this movie, I loved it. I thought Matthew Broderick was great and enjoyed the whole Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeifer story. I usually risk getting kicked out of geek clubs by liking this movie... but I do.

“Flesh and Blood” OK, maybe not a Fantasy film in the strictest sense, but a pretty good Hack and Slash movie, with plague thrown in for good measure. The movie starts with the siege of a city and the “Heroes” are in fact a group of Looting mercenaries.

The LOTR movies, I do watch these, I love some of he scenery, I think the Shire looked fantastic... I am just driven to distraction by some aspects and I think the third movie is probably the weakest. But I do watch them and actually enjoy some of the movies.

There are plenty of Fantasy films that have been made, and that I have seen, but much like what i imagine a college party being like, I have regretted watching them the next morning. Strangely some have had studio backing, like the D&D movie and some... lets just say “Sy Fy Original”. So what movies would you add to the list?

And Hollywood... still allot of room to work here... just saying.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Clockwork Christmas

Back when my parents were together... and my brother and I were chitlins, Christmas was a unique experience in our house.

First... we had two trees, a real one downstairs, where the Claus deposited our presents, and a tree upstairs in by the front window for the world to see. I think that it is this tree that has resulted in a great deal of my mental issues for you see, in the true spirit of the 70’s, it was Silver.... thats right a Silver aluminum tree. It had Silver Garlands and was decorated in one color of balls and one color only... red, and one color of lights... White.

This tree still haunts my dreams, the thought of every kid seeing that tree, that horrific silver tree sent shivers up my spine. At night, when mom would turn off the lights, except those on the tree, it glowed with a otherworldly a yuletide Guardian of Forever, I believe this tree was responsible for the down fall of the true Christmas spirit.

Another oddity in our house was the fact that my mother was a Emergency Room nurse and worked on Christmas eve. So when we young boys, clad in our bunny-footed Pajamas, vaulted out of bed and made for the stairs, we were halted by our father with the words “we have to wait until your mother gets home”. Pacing back and forth, rolling on the floor in agony we waited... and waited... and waited, knowing that the other kids were already knee deep in mirth and merriment, till finally Mom came home and we exploded down stairs.

Our gifts were never wrapped, Santa knew that would have been wasted effort, they were just laid out in Zones of control, Mine, My brother... and the dogs, like post war Germany. Though we were not wealthy, we had fantastic Christmas’s. I remember G.I Joe’s, ACtion Jackson’s, Major Matt Masons, Bikes and all matter of childhood delights.

I have been told one year we got a Air gun that shot ping pong balls ( lit looked like the guns in Santa Claus Conquers the martians) and we “accidentally” blew apart my moms bee-hive hair-dew with it.

Of course, Our lists were all comprised from the sacred pages of the Sears wishbook. I Did have a friend who would get the JC Pennies catalog but it was like the pope reading the Koran, there was just something wrong about it. Pages and pages of every imaginable slice of plastic happiness.

Like most people, Christmas morning was allot like a prison visit, you could only visit your beloved toys for a little while and then you had to leave. We visited family all day, and the whole time I am counting the minutes till we got back home. It was as we celebrated with our family, I was given a glimpse of Christmas future... that is when we got the Clothes, socks, gloves and other gifts, while practical and needed, none the less it required every ounce of youthful control to get out a seemingly heart felt “thank you”.

I always loved Christmas as a kid, I fell out of love for a while, but with birth of my own children, some of that old magic has been re-awakened... and all with out a Silver Tree.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Thats right... Starblazers, the cartoon that I would run home everyday to watch, has been made into a Live action movie.

I still remember the Narrator proclaiming “Hurry Star Force only X number of days left” as they struggled to save earth from the Gamelons and then the Comet Empire. I can still sing the theme song. It was on Channel 29 and came out with a few other americanized Japanese Anime like “G-force”.

I used to think that the ships were the coolest, and the battles were some of the most brutal in cartoon land at the time. The laser would go through the enemy ship... there would be a pause then the ship would explode. The old battleship Yamato, the other earth ships and fighters and the all powerful wave motion gun ( that for some reason was fired with a cross hair and a pistol grip) all were fuel for the fires of imagination.

I attended a convention at Trenton state college... a game convention, probably in 1982 or 83, and there, a fan club introduced us to the uncut version of the “first season” of Starblazers, the original Japanese version in which everyone basically dies at the end and explained to us that the cartoon had been so wildly popular that fans demanded it be brought back.

Well now the Japanese have done a live action movie that looks very good, I can’t wait until I get a chance to see it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

TRON: Legacy ... A Clockwork Review

(Spoiler Alert)

I am writing this late at night having just returned from a midnight screening of TRON: Legacy. I was really stressed about this movie, how would it mesh into the much loved original (at least by me and a few friends) and would it live up to its hype or just be another in a long line of films I have waited for that have sorely disappointed me... The Short answer... I FREAKING LOVED THIS MOVIE.

I feel before I get into it I have to level set, amongst my friends I am not known as a hard movie pallet to please. I once said I liked ( just Liked) the movie “The Spirit” and ever since then I have been the Mental deficient responsible for all of hollywoods missteps and quite possibly responsible for the Holocaust. That said, Dave S ( Long time friend, best man and Godfather) sat through T:L like he was in a dentist chair and gave a one line summation of the movie as “When Hippy Jeff Bridges Showed up the movie went to Shit”, so my love of this movie will probably lead to me being treated as a special needs child.

But Love it I did...

Little things like the figure of the “Black hole” robot on young Sam Flynn’s shelf and his father retelling the story of the original Tron film, to the spectacular special effects grabbed me and sucked me in. Before seeing the film I had spoken with Tron super fan Amocay and I had talked about how it was odd that they called the movie “Tron: Legacy” since Tron was the name of the program that Bruce Boxleitner created in the original movie not Flynn (I know, i know...”geek much?)... but come to find out it was a entirely fitting name and led to a fantastic redemption scene towards the end of the film. The story its self, while not Shakespeare, I thought was solid. I could tell that the Younger Kevin Flynn and CLU were CGI but it was still impressive. The new Light Cycles and various other vehicles were spectacular... lots of Geek Eye Candy.

I Liked the beginning of the movie, where Sam interferes with a ENCOM board meeting and this led to one let down, they didnt go back to it at the end ( Though they did mention it to be fair), After all they even went as far as to put Dilenger’s son on the board... I wanted a little more.

The fight scenes were spectacular, the De-rezzing allot more brutal. The Violence (except for a few drops of blood) is probably the reason why the movie got a PG, I was impressed by its lack of bad language. I would even consider taking my Son Kevin to see this movie.

I felt that Jeff Bridges brought allot of the same mannerism from the first movie into the character of of the older Flynn. Garret Hedlund was enjoyable as Sam and had a Good screen presence. Olivia Wilde and Beau Garrett were... shall we say “extremely pleasant to look at on the screen” and will probably be firmly planted on the pantheon of Sci-Fi babes for years to come.

Though I will probably have to face years of mocking from my friends for saying so, I was not at all disappointed by this movie and enjoyed it, loved it. I can’t wait to see it again with my son to see what he thinks.

and a Clockwinder note: Though I love my friends dearly, i was’nt concerned what they thought of the movie... all except one, Amocay, in someways the original Tron is his Star Wars, so I was Delighted to get a text from him at 2:30 AM saying how much he loved the film “He liked it better then “Cats””. :o)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Snodyssey ...

Last winter was hard, I think we got about 30 feet of snow... alright maybe not that much but we had more then our share and or norm... We Survived. This afternoon we got maybe a inch and a half and my life turned into a Epic of Galactic proportions.

First I had to drop my wife off to pick up her car in Newark, simple yes? It had already started snowing and I could tell that the Traffic Volume was picking up. It was then that I decided to cancel tonight's Den Meeting, I didnt want people worrying or hurrying to make a 6:30 meeting. I dropped Wife and youngest off ( I had to threaten a santa intervention to get the youngest to comply) and headed to wilmington to pick up my Eldest in wilmington.

As soon as I turned onto Kirkwood Hwy from Cleveland Ave ( My return from the Trojan War as it were) traffic was bumper to bumper moving no more then 5 mph... when it moved. This was strange because my entire time on Kirkwood Hwy i didn't pass a single accident. Finally right before Midway shopping center, Traffic opened up, I could maintain 25 mph... that is until I came up on someone doing 5 MPH, thats right, no one around them, just driving 5 MPH. Traffic was fairly normal up through Elsmere into Wilmington.

After I grabbed Kevin we headed down Maryland Ave to avoid the mess on Kirkwood Hwy... and I actually thought I had won, I had beaten the fates... then I hit Newport. From Newport to Staton alone took me over a hour. People would block intersections preventing traffic from moving, cars were bumper to bumper...only one or two cars making it through each cycle of the light... but still no Accidents.

It wasnt until we turned onto Ogletown rd that we began to see cars off to the side, again traffic slowed then came to a stand still, there was apparently a fender bender so people in both lanes decided to stop dead in the middle of the rd blocking both lanes. Luckly we were stoped by the turning lane that leads into the shopping center by Best Buy and the Home Depot by the hospital... I turned and decided to stop and get Kevin and I some hot dogs for dinner and see if traffic lightened up.

In the time it took us to eat a Hot Dog and some fries.... A christmas Miracle happened, the rest of the ride home went smoothly, though slow and thankfully we arrived home safely. Started our trip at 3:30 got home at 8:15, Not a good day for driving

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Swing and a Miss!!!!

I neglected to post a Blog entry for yesterday... was running around a bit. Don't worry Clockworkians, I post something of little or no interest tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sci-Fi or Fantasy... Choose Wisely.

What if... At the gates of Geekatopia they made you choose “Line A for Sci-Fi fans and Line B for Fantasy fans”. I love both genres, but what if I had to pick one over the other, like my Nerdography would only allow me to pick one or the other before I could proceed to the next page.

Fantasy makes up, by far, the majority of my book collection. The novels of Leiber, Tolkien and Asprin mingle with the ancient tomes of Gygax and Perrin. In the MMorpg world I have played in far more Fantasy worlds then Sci Fi, WOW, EQII, DDO and WH. I love to lose my self momentarily in those tales of hardy adventurers struggling on epic quests, the flash of a blade the snap of a bow string. The conquest of Ancient dragons, twisted wizards and Goblin Hordes have thrilled me for years. My first Re-enacting like experience was a trip to the Pensic war in 1980 ( In Bill Waters VW van) and I remember walking the crowded tiki torch light streets at night imaging that this must be what its like to roam the crowed streets of a well written Fantasy city.

Now Science Fiction... is by far the largest portion of my Video/DVD library. I am often teased by my friends for my love of the original “Star Wars” trilogy and my admiration for “Bladerunner”. I certainly don’t have allot of shelf space devoted to Sci-Fi but it is there. Starship Troopers, Hitchhikers, Gibson and the Appleseed Manga mix here and there with a plethora of Star Wars books. Traveling through space and the infinite possibilities it offers, the blast of a energy weapon and the tension of a Dogfight in the void have always captivated me. As i stated in a earlier post Heinlein’s Starship Troopers is one of my favorite books ( Probably only slightly behind the Hobbit in the amount of times it has been read or listened to). I have been to a few Star Wars Celebrations, where the superfans go to get their Force driven Geek on and have loved every minute. Sci-Fi has supplied my imagination with countless hours of escape.

So if I had to pick... At blaster or Crossbow point... I might have to say Science Fiction but in doing so I would feel as though I had betrayed a friend, like picking one family member over a other to survive. Its odd, I remember the awe of watching Star Wars for the first time as well as the Magnificence of my initial reading of the Hobbit ( in my room at 27 Longview Dr. Sitting over the heating vent to keep me warm on a cold winter day). I wonder if it says something about a person (Besides how big a Geek we are) if they prefer one over the other? I am thankful that conventions don’t make us pick. Maybe this is why that my Favorite Olde Tyme Module is “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks” a blend of Science Fiction and Fantasy. If in a situation where you had to... how would you choose?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Clone Wars.. or ... Clown Wars

I have watched the series “The Clone Wars” on the Cartoon Network, both the classical cartoon one and the CGI one and I have to say that I am still not sure how I feel.

I loved the Cartoon one by Genndy Tartakovsky, for some reason the style appealed to me and the stories weren’t that bad as well. There was one montage of Anakin being promoted to the rank of Jedi that I thought was powerful. I do understand that that form of animation doesn't appeal to everyone, I had liked Tartakovsky’s “Samurai Jack” so I guess I was predisposed to enjoy this one. There is one scene where Obi-Wan is trying to sleep in a trench during a siege, rain keeps dripping on him so matter where he turns or lays... even rendered in Tartakovsky’s unique style I found that believable.

Now the Digital “Star Wars- The Clone Wars” Im not sure I enjoy as much... wait I am sure I don’t. Its not the stories, the ones I have watched have been fairly well written, in fact I venture to say if the writing had been as good on the prequels I would have been a fair bit happier. Its the style I don’t like, the characters don’t move in a real fashion ( at least to me) they seem like Im watching Gerry Anderson’s Version of Star Wars (no offense to Mr. Anderson, I love me some Captain Scarlet). Nothing seems real about it, its hard for me to put my finger on it but there always appears to be something missing, dirt or Atmosphere or something. A example would be the Cockpit of Anakin’s Freighter... there is some seats, with some controls and a bunch of gray walls... just so Sanitary.

When all is said and done, I do end up watching it when I can, but for the most part its the stories I am enjoying and not the visuals... with everything that has been done in animation I would have expected more from the Lucas animation people.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Santa Hates Egg Nog.... He told me.

So there I was, with Santa’s bebuckled boot on my neck and his angry bearded face staring down at me... I have to say, as I began to suffocate I began to see his point.

It all started when I offered the Jolly Fat man a glass of Egg Nog, I had been told through countless advertising that it was “Santa’s Favorite drink”, next thing ya know Im on the ground with his shiny boot crushing my wind pipe as he said with a Jolly foreboding growl “Egg Nog taste like reindeer ass!”. I gave him the universal “you win you win” hand gesture, hands in the air and tears streaming down my face... so he let me up. He took a deep breath and began....

“I hate Egg Nog...I hate it like a Elf hates a chinese toy company... but does anyone ever ask Santa what he wants? How about a RC Cola... I love RC Cola... Or a Tab? and while were at it how about a Bologna sandwich instead of cookies... or some Pork rinds” He looked off whimsically into the distance like he was remembering a fond memory “ I do Love me some pork rinds...” Suddenly he turned on me like a animal..”Every Freakin year I suppose know what the Christian world wants... not only the Christians... but allot of other folks muscling in on the whole “Presents” thing thinking as long as the prop up a fur tree they’re entitled.... how many of you bother to ask what santa wants?” a frustrated tear rolled from his happy blue eye “Cookies and Milk? seriously? every year? what if I gave people buttered bread every damn year!! I’d never hear the end of it would I!”

slowly he regained his composer, he picked his bag up off the floor and began to head back to the Chimney “I hate Egg Nog” he whispered... then grumbled “Merry Christmas” under his breath and vanished... but not before a elf kicked me in the Jewels and said “Ho...Ho... Ho”.


thats right... over 2000 views of the old Clockwork Jalopy! I'd like to thank everyone who mae this milestone posable! A Special shout out to all our loyal viewers!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The day of the Mecha movie has arrived... Now don’t screw it up...

When I was in 9th or 10th grade, I read a book called “Starship Troopers” ( And no, I dont think it has been made into a movie no matter what you say... LALALALALA I can’t hear you!) and have re-read that book many times, it is on my IPod to play during long road trips. In the early 80’s I purchased a game called “Battledroids” that after a lawsuit became “Battletech” and became a huge fan of its look at armored combat in the year 3025. I have hugely enjoyed Manga and Anime such as “VOTOMS” and “Appleseed” (Both version) that illustrate a future where human pilots and mechanical walking beasts become one in deadly combat. These machines are often termed “Mecha” and I believe the time is right for a Mecha based movie.

We have caught glimpses of what can be done in such movies as “Avatar”, “Ironman” and “Transformers” and in the trailer for “Real Steel” the technology is there and our friends the Japanese have shown that the stories have been there for some time. I remember a movie called “RoboJocks” or something to that effect and would like to say to hollywood.... I forgive you, just don’t do it again.

I prefer the mecha of a size like the Scoped Dog from VOTOMs or the Landmates from Appleseed. A game by Dreampod 9 called “Heavy Gear” is nearly the perfect size machine, maybe 12 to 15 feet high, Though I loved the Mechs in battletech, the larger machines were never my preference. It makes my imaginary taste buds tingle when i think of what Weta or ILM could do to make these come to life. I look at Avatar and think those suits are just Scoped Dogs missing their heads ( And really... glass canopies on ground combat vehicles???).

So Hollywood please, I’m begging ya hear, this could be a new franchise for ya, eye popping special effects, angst ridden pilots... hawt Sci-babes in tight pilot suits, that could fill the toy isles on Christmas... Please make me a Mech movie and Please... Pretty please, don’t screw it up.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Hobbit casting controversy...

I was reading on how Peter Jackson has cast Cate Blanchett to reprise her role as Galadriel and is close to casting Orlando Bloom to reprise Legolas... in the Hobbit... thats right, in the Hobbit.

I hate to appear to be a zealot Tokienite but for the love of good Peter!!! I loved the lord of the rings trilogy, and have read them multiple times, however its “the Hobbit” that holds a special place in my heart, it was the first of the middle earth books that I read and feel in love with, the style of the writing, the tales it told, I believe, appeal greatest to younger readers. I know “what Bilbo Baggins hates”, and I’m pretty sure he hates Peter Jackson.

Yes! Yes! I know, not every book translates well to the big screen, the author has liberties a director does not... but come on, if you cant make 2 decent movies out of what has already been supplied then give up. Maybe Legolas could be in the background during the scenes of the wood elf king of Mirkwood but thats it. with all the great characters that only appear in the hobbit why add stuff.

UG! maybe its to early to climb on the hate wagon but come on!

Its Clockwork Poetry Baby....

Potato chip fountains on a onion dip night

A forest of rainbows rendered in black and white

Crimson blue bird drinking shasta mid-flight

everything is sunny when left field is right

Gravy Train

Can you dig that? That just happened... I’ll give you cats a second to collect your thoughts, to police your souls. To the people who don’t get “It” (as defined by the man)...

ya’ll need to catch the bus back to squaresvile cause this ride is closed.

To you poetry snobs, you defenders of form... Art has no boundaries baby... it is what it is.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I don’t know if I always had a over abundance of it, but I have always had enough. As a child, I remember playing down at the creek for hours and hours, we fought germans, caught bandits, yes... even shot indians. I remember a clubhouse in a friends backyard becoming a B-17, a frontier fort or what ever we needed. My Imagination was always there for me.

I remember playing by myself, amongst the 100 or so dirt piles that would soon fill in a swamp behind a nearby gas station and all I had was a broom stick that magically transformed itself into what ever was needed, a musket, a spear or a machine-gun. I still can feel the crisp fall air and the smell of leaves and fresh earth as I played.

The Monkey bars behind Medill Elementary... Cold steel, built over blacktop... served as a tank and a spaceship ( and a source of many cuts and scrapes) to our young minds, minds that had the amazing ability to warp reality into anything we wanted. Many wars were fought around (and in fact in) that school.

I also remember Imagination as a friend when you had no one else to play with, the friend you addressed as “Buddy” when you carried his wounded body into a foxhole or “squire” as they brought you your lance to fight a evil knight while you were mounted on your charger (made by Schwin).

I have been transported to these times, long gone, at odd moments in my life. During a reenactment on a Autumn day, I remember finding a sunny spot shielded from the cold wind that made think of the many forts we had built. As a Den Leader, watching the kids play at camp, where a good branch can bring a smile and hours of fun defeating Ninjas.

I hope, even in old age, I can loss my self in my imagination, now it manifests itself in the images I see as I read a book, the stories I tell or the songs I listen to, but it is still there, a warm place to go in a sometimes all to cold world.

Monday, December 06, 2010

You Know your getting old when....

Everyday when looking over’s headlines, i glance up at its “Trending Now” section. This section claims to show the hottest web searches. I have to say that 9 times out of 10 I havent a clue who these people are.

Is it because I am so aged that I have become one of those people who have no grasp of popular culture? I was amazed that these people get book deals... holy cow!!! I don’t even know who they are, if they had done something mind-numbingly amazing I would think at some point I would have heard about it!

Same with music... my wife tunes the radio on the alarm clock to 93.7 in the morning, when it goes off my first thought is usually “Who the hell is that!”. When I catch glimpses of music award shows im like... “Oh wait... there’s a old guy, I know him, but who are the rest of these people”. If my son didnt watch some of the Nick shows I am sure I’d be totally clueless.

It got me thinking about my grand parents and how when we went over to their house, they’d always watch “The Lawrence Welk Show”... have I become a slightly updated version of this... am I doomed to be watching VH1 replaying old 80’s videos when my grand kids come over “That There is Pat Benitar... and thems the Devo’s sonny... Oh the memories”.

I look at my Ipod, I have one or two songs from the now, but must of what I have is olde timey stuff. At some point in my life I may have crossed that line finally, I may have become that thing that all kids hate... a grown up... but I just don’t see it, I’d like to think I still fight the good fight but at the end of the day, I may just yell at the neighbors kids to stay in their own damn yard.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Gaming Girls....

Girls in Gaming? back in the day, the 80’s and 90’s you just didnt see it that much. Gaming in those days, days of playing in your parents basements, 2 litre bottles of soda and huge bags of potato chips and jalapeno cheese dip, was largely the realm of the the great unwashed masses of males.

I do remember one girl, Jennifer Grotogears, who, not only being a DR Who fan, was the first female gamer my age i knew, but besides her, no other girl played in our games. Don’t get me wrong, at the Cons and here and there a few brave pioneers of the girlish kind made their presence known. some matched their male counterparts in there class restriction against cleanliness and could spew geek lingo better then most but they were a minority.

Every now and then you have a player that would force (or be forced by ) their girlfriend to play... always a disaster, usually derailing the game and she would disappear as soon as they broke up. Then there were the girl who showed up and every gamer tried to pick them up, GM’s showered them with gifts a favors... “I’m a 2nd level moron” says the male gamer “Oh I’m 100th level demi-god” says the girl. Nothing could destroy a campaign like a single girl gamer... not by anything she did, but by all the young bucks trying to gain her affection.

I still remember standing on the top floor of the Baltimore convention center, watching the reaction as a fairly attractive gaming girl walked by below, every guy would turn and gawk, she was the shark in a sea of guppies. I used to get a kick out of the guys trying to pick them up.... Guys wearing t-shirts the heralded their favorite class, dice pouches firmly fastened to their belts and who had the grooming standard of a homeless man... tried to wow these rare creatures with tales of dungeons past and of loot they had acquired.

Things are different now, though geek guys still outnumber geek girls, the numbers have certainly changed. The last group I ran, girls actually outnumbered guys. There was once a super bad social stigma to being a gamer, at least with RPG players, I don’t know if that still applies now a days. I was once ask “are you a satan worshipper” and the news had stories of kids killing themselves when their characters died.... I think we are passed that now.

Friday, December 03, 2010

November declared “CLOCKEMBER” !!!!

A Message from the Management of the Clockwork Jalopy...

Thats right, the Clockwork Jalopy had one of its busiest months in November with a Person or in fact people visiting the site at least once a day. Corporate standards were relaxed here at the Clockwork Studio’s as the Employees were allowed a casual dress day and many events were held to celebrate throughout the corporate campus.

Tonight, in honor of the hard work and sacrifice of the staff, we took him out to “Deer head” Hot dogs for a gourmet meal. I gave myself a great motivational speech and I remember being very inspired by it... it urged me on to bigger and greater things in the months ahead.

So to all the reader or maybe even readers, we here at Clockwork Jalopy would like to thank you for your loyalty over the last 30 days and... with the holidays upon us... may you let The Clockwork Jalopy be your Cyber Yuletide log.

Merry Non-denominational winter festival to each and everyone of you.

The Clockwinder

Space Above and Beyond...

a show cursed by the fact that I loved it. I believe it was a fox offering that never found its audience about a group of Marines fight in Space. I loved the stories and the hardware and really wanted to see it catch on but alas it was not to be.

Same with “Earth 2”, yes I am that one person that actually watched “Earth 2”. It was about a group of colonist that, due to a act of sabotage, are forced to crash land on a earth like planet and their struggles to reach... some place... I forget where they were traveling to, but it may have had something to do with pre-landed supplies. I remember in one episode, Tim Curry was the bad guy.

“Space Rangers”... yes I said “Space Rangers”, I remember this being a exceeding short run series about law enforcement in the future, I believe it may have had Clint Howard in it if I remember right. I thought the ship they had was pretty darn cool.

come to think of it, I may be a curse to any show.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tron: Legacy

Ok, I liked the first Tron movie... my close friends will tell ya I aint hard to please, but I liked it. I have been keeping close tabs on the sequel since I found out about from the Comicon footage last year... I have to say it LOOKs awesome.

Recently I have had a bad run of luck on movies I have highly anticipated, I.E. the SW prequels, Matrix II and III and The Last Air Bender to name a few. So I am hoping the hype and indeed the released imagery is as good as what we have seen so far and that the story is good enough... thats all I am asking.... Good enough.

I have a friend, I shall protect his true identity by calling him Amocay, he is the biggest Tron fan I know and has been for as long as I have known him, I believe his computer used to log on with “Greetings Program”, I hope the movies are good for his sake. If the movie is successful maybe we’ll see more Dark Future/ cyberpunk kinda films, addaptions of Sterling and Gibson’s work.

It is odd to note that of most of my friends, I am the only one that really embraces the Cyberpunk, or Dark Future Genre. Most of the gang are True Fantasy or Sci-Fi “It aint Space I ain’t Watch’n” kinda folk. In a earlier post I alluded to the mocking I sometimes get about Bladerunner. I remember back in the day thinking Max Headroom was a Awesome show but I also remember being disappointed by some of the drek that also came out “Free Jack” and “Johny Mnemonic” come to mind. I’d love to see a movie that really shows the Cyber-Hackers world and think we are at a point to show it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Thoughts on Books....

Books, specifically Fantasy and Science Fiction novels have been a love of mine for some time. In comparison to most people, I came on them latter in my life, In high school I had read Tolkien and Heinlien but it wasnt until after High school I began to consume them with great relish. I am not the best study of my own language, as many of my posts suggest, I surpass perhaps only Cave drawings in grammatical and spelling ability. it suffices to say that my many handicaps never diminished my love of books and the journeys they took me.

I have been reading the 2nd edition of a Novel written by a friend, while reading it I was trying to figure out how to pronounce some of the names in the book, in doing so a dark and dusty door to my past opened up. Like a cloudy wipe to a cheesy flashback scene, I was remembering with some hesitation talking about Tolkien when I was a teenager, invariably every time I mention the name of a place or person I would be corrected to the point where I purposefully never mentioned names I wasnt sure how to pronounce out of fear of being branded the “Dult of Bree”, but today I began to think “wait a gawd darn minute!”.

How could I be wrong? when I read, I am not watching the authors “Movie”, I am watching my Movie filmed with his script. Yes I agree, The authors vision of his or hers story is the unblemished original however doesnt it get “re-imagined” with every different person that reads the book? Is’nt in fact the book the script that gets re-writes from our mind, a mind that turns those prose into a vision that forms on the 3d HD super high def screens of our imagination?

I guarantee that no one else's vision of starship troopers takes the same imaginary vision as mine... and it shouldnt, perhaps that is the draw of literature, why it is so popular, we read into it what we want, our subconscious fills in the the blanks and we become a collaborator in the story. Perhaps this is why a writer can print “Before him stood the indescribable horror” and 1000 different readers have a 1000 different terrors lurching forward in their minds.

I am sure this has all been covered before by men in tweed coats that smoke pipes and correct young kids on the pronunciation of Baron Harconian’s Mentates name but for obvious reasons ( I.E. my appearance on the English departments “top 10 offenders” list) it just dawned on me. I am never wrong, in how a name is spoken, in the name of the destination of a quest, The face of the hero, the style of a weapon even the look of the setting sun, are all correct and in accordance to the way it should be.

Out there, there are book nazis, who love to banter about the correct pronunciation of this or that Hero’s name in the accent tongue of whatever, then shove their or the authors version down your throat... like some holy relic of a secret ultra-right purity squad waiting to escort the heretics to the suicide chambers for repeated violations. Dont fear these people, but be safe in the knowledge that the images that formed in your head as you turned the pages, that lifted you from your bumpy seat on the bus, from a lonely room or depressing workplace to those magical lands that offered you escape... are never wrong.