Category Archives: Various and Sundry

America and Mass Transit

WMATA/Shutterstock/Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Hey! Since we here in the United States are not traveling so much on this traditional week of travel, how about we take that time and read this longform article by Jonathan English all about mass transit in the United States. It unearths some assumptions about what mass transit is and can be and how those assumptions developed over the past 100 years or so.

Besides the fond memories evoked by seeing the picture above (I was there for the grand opening of Washington’s Metro — you were able to ride free all day), I also found his premises interesting.

A Viewing Guide for Star Trek: Enterprise

Back in September, I did a ranking of every episode of every Star Trek series (updates including the debut season of Lower Decks and latest season of Discovery are due in 2021).

But what if you haven’s seen all of the Star Trek series? And what if you’re all ready to binge-watch another series this year?

If you haven’t seen Enterprise, the Trek franchise’s first prequel series, you’re probably not alone. While I have found several people who consider it their favorite, anecdotally, it appears to be the least watched series outside of the original animated one.

And I understand. The first two seasons are tough going a lot of the time. The theme song never gets better (except for briefly in season 4). However, as with all Trek, it –by and large– ages pretty darn well and scratches some itches you didn’t know you have about Andorians, Vulcans, and the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

The following list cuts 44 of the 98 episodes out of the mix, giving you enough grounding with the characters in the first two seasons to better enjoy the increased continuity and worldbuilding of the final two seasons.

If you find you really are enjoying the series, you can always catch up on those missing episodes in the inevitable rewatch for completeness (I’m cutting some episodes I really like, but –if I’m being honest– aren’t necessary for a first watch).

Also, after hearing the opening theme song, feel free to turn down the volume or skip the intro entirely except for “In a Mirror, Darkly” in the fourth season (I love the visuals, I’ve tried and the song doesn’t work for me).

Season One

Skip most of it except:

  • “Broken Bow” (Eps 1 & 2)
  • “The Andorian Incident” (Ep 7)
  • “Silent Enemy” (Ep 12)
  • “Dear Doctor” (Ep 13)
  • “Vox Sola” (Ep 22)
  • “Shockwave, Pt. 1” (Ep 26)

Season Two

Skip most of it except:

  • “Shockwave, Pt. 2” (Ep 1)
  • “Carbon Creek” (Ep 2)
  • “Minefield” (Ep 3)
  • “Vanishing Point” (Ep 10)
  • “The Breach” (Ep 21)
  • “Cogenitor” (Ep 22)
  • “The Expanse” (Ep 26)

Season Three

Watch most of it, except:

  • “Extinction” (Ep 3)
  • “Exile” (Ep 6)
  • “Similitude” (Ep 10)
  • “Doctor’s Orders” (Ep 16)

Season Four

Watch most of it, except:

  • “Daedalus” (Ep 10)
  • “These Are the Voyages…” (Ep 22)

As per the showrunner, the true series finale is “Terra Prime,” episode 21.

There you go! A Star Trek binge-fest that can easily fit into the rest of the year.

(Note: I did this one as a favor to someone who had meant to watch the series, but couldn’t get into it and have since been told by several people that they were in the same boat (or NX-class starship?). If people think I should do viewing guides for other series, let me know!)

Let’s Talk about Capes

I’ve been kind of preoccupied with some minor things over the past couple weeks.

So let’s talk about matters of true importance: capes in Science Fiction. (Sorry, Edna Mode).

We’ve got the blueshift cape, now I want to see the redshift cape! #NerdHumor

Completely Non-Topical Post on Rulers

I mentioned last week that I had delved back into the always insightful videos of CGP Grey… and so I rewatched this classic from 2016 which I repost here for no reason at all other than to give further things to think about regarding power and governance.

Pandemic Lockdown: CGP Grey Edition

Evidently I’ve hit a wall with binge-watching TV shows, as I find I’ve drifted into checking out various YouTube channels and their bite-size videos. That includes revisiting CGP Grey‘s obsessively researched, and always entertaining, videos.

As probably comes as no surprise, he created a video about how to organize your lockdown life:

And then he also did a follow up a couple months ago:

Hey, I can’t be the only one who found this still useful even though we’re several years into 2020.

A Great Disturbance in the Mouse

2020 continues to be decade of twists and turns stuffed into one unrepentant year.

Now, the whole future of filmed entertainment might be changing course because a certain large House of Mouse has recently said it’s focusing on streaming.

Make no mistake. This is big.

It’s Officially Halloween Season

Pay no attention to the horror that was Friday’s post. It’s well past the first day of Autumn. It’s October. That means two things.

It’s (NSFW) decorative gourd season!

And

Time to watch some scary films.

Your mileage may vary.

The Nightmare that is 2020, Expressed in Sugar

You know, since it’s 2020, all manner of horrors are possible. You may also know, as many right-thinking people do, that candy corn is, at best, supremely unsatisfying in the Halloween candy pantheon.

Perhaps because of this, or more likely because they wish to lay siege to the sanctity of a holiday not usually associated with candy corn, the mad scientists at Brach’s have decided that humanity must face a depressing, possibly disgusting, Thanksgiving dinner in candy corn form.

Lovecraft has nothing on this.

If you want to know more, and the insane mind egging on Brach’s brains to concoct this culinary calamity, learn more in this interview with Walgreen’s instigator, Brian Rinker.

#Inkspell2020 – Art Challenge for October

The seven or nine regular readers of my blog will recall I have, over the years, advocated setting aside time to do creative work, even if you’re not good at it! (from January, March, and December of last year).

One of the activities I love doing is “Inktober,” an annual art challenge every October where you try to do an ink drawing every day based on a one-word prompt. I’ve done this as an after-dinner activity with my kids and it has always been enjoyable, even when the drawing or inspiration is lacking some days.

This year, we’re going with a different challenge (Inktober itself has run into some controversy).

We’re going to stick with the drawings, which we usually do within 20 minutes or so, but I like how this one is about whatever you want to do however you want to do it. (I do find value in doing all 31).

Sound good? Here are the prompts.

Video

Tough, but Fair: Streaming TV Edition

Since I’ve often commented on the future of TV (some of the posts being the most popular), checking out a rundown of all the streaming services seems apropos.

So I had to share this latest installment from the folks over at Honest Trailers: