Happy Trails: Leonard Nimoy, 1931 – 2015

Are you sitting down? Sit down. Are you wearing a hat? Take it off. Do you have a catheter? Plug it in.

Leonard Nimoy, whom most of you probably know best from the original (O.G.) 1960’s Star Trek, passed away this morning. He was 83. He had been hospitalized for the last couple days with chest pains related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Don’t smoke, kids.

Writing this post is really quite a strange, detached kind of feeling, for despite seeing the news earlier this week of his hospitalization and therefore being kinda-sorta-almost steeled towards this possibility, it never really felt like the kind of thing that could actually happen. I’ve been watching this guy on and off basically my entire life. That should’ve made the guy immortal. Y’know? He should be running on a beach somewhere with Sean Connery as we speak.

young leonard nimoy
Mr. Nimoy as an impossibly young man

Nimoy had a long and storied career before and after Star Trek. From the scratchy black-and-white westerns that seemingly everyone on the original Trek cast appeared in at one point or another, to the pointed ears that made him a household name, to authoring books in rebellion against (and later in acceptance of) the role that made him most famous, and standout roles on shows like Fringe.

Then there was all the stuff I’m sure he’d rather forget. The Bilbo Baggins song is one such example, part of an album produced during a period in the entertainment business when just about everyone was contractually obligated to moonlight as a singer regardless of interest or skill. Mr. Nimoy was arguably more successful at it than than Shatner at least.[ref]Common People notwithstanding.[/ref]

leonard nimoy sideburns
You wish you could rock sideburns like these.

Better oddities include guest spots as himself on both The Simpsons and Futurama, and more than a few voice credits in video games, from the modern classic Civilization IV to Yoot Saito’s bizarre Dreamcast curiosity Seaman.[ref]Apparently he was even in a recent Kingdom Hearts game, which wrinkles my brain in ways I never thought imaginable.[/ref]

His final appearance was a brief return to Spock in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, and while the film may not have lit the world aflame, his presence was never not welcome. And if some neckbearded Trekkie says anything to the contrary I will fight them against a reddish-purple backdrop to the music from Amok Time. Fact.

If anyone would like another dose of weekend homework, try the aforementioned Amok Time, plus other Spock highlight reel episodes from the original series such as The Galileo Seven. If you’d like to experience a Spock episode at the opposite end of the quality spectrum, grab a bottle of gin with some green food colouring and brace yourself for Spock’s Brain. The movies will probably hit too close to home right now, but Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, and Voyage Home are all great for the character. Cap your evening off with the Unification two-parter from The Next Generation if you’re in the mood for something more modern. All are available on Netflix and probably those clicky-clacky “library tapes.”

It’s going to be weird for a while going into this new, post-Nimoy world. If you’re feeling just as uneasy, take solace in the fact that he’s only the third actor from the original Star Trek’s regular cast to pass away so far.[ref]Contrast that statistic with fellow television sci-fi staple Babylon 5, which has lost more actors in 20 years than Star Trek has in 50.[/ref] It would be difficult to live a life longer and more illustrious than he did. His impact was considerable for a “mere” actor and entertainer, which ensures that in some small way, maybe he really is immortal.

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

wrath of khan gif

As it happens, Caffeine-Fueled lost a member and fellow Star Trek fan not long ago to heart failure at the crazy young age of 29. If by some chance it turns out that there’s no truth at all behind that cold, scientific Vulcan logic, then perhaps Mr. Nimoy and Parallax are both out there somewhere, taking a look around.

via The New York Times; image credits and general inspiration to TrekCore, various Tumblrs, and TVIV

Random Stabs at Activity + The Talking Heads

Nevermind us, we’re just fiddling around, sleep deprived, thinking of things to do with all this internet real estate. Have a song while you wait for whatever it is we’re doing.

If, in fact, we’re doing anything at all.

Anything at all.

Anything at all. Aside from testing different post formats perhaps.

The design you see around you also isn’t necessarily permanent. Just seemed like a cleaner and more modular alternative to what we were using before. Everything you see is likely to change eventually, as always. “New layout. Must be a Thursday.” I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

Carry on then.

Weekend Homework: Suikoden Edition

suikoden 2 cover

This week saw the long overdue release of Suikoden and Suikoden II on PSN in all remaining territories, bringing to a close a 15-year availability drought for these games throughout most of the world.

Suikoden has been mostly inactive for several years having not seen a new installment since 2012’s tepid Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki, which was relegated to the ailing PSP and never even left Japan. [ref]CF’s own John Layfield took this bullet for us with his import review, here.[/ref] The last central game in the series was 2006’s Suikoden V. It’s been a pretty rough road since then.

One big reason why we’re all still pretty bummed about the conspicuous absence of fresh Suikoden falls squarely on the strength of those first two games. [ref]More reasons include too many loose ends to count, but that’s a subject for another day.[/ref] Suikoden, while sporting more than a few frayed edges 20 years later both visual and mechanical, is still far better paced compared to most modern RPGs and is still well worth the five dollars and couple dozen hours necessary to play it to completion.

Suikoden II is the real gem in this conversation, however. Most of the biggest problems with the original game were resolved and the rest improved upon greatly, to the point where jumping back to play the first Suikoden after Suikoden II is a rather painful transition, despite how similar the two games appear on the surface. Suikoden II’s streamlines, speeds up, nips and tucks its way to greatness, even before you factor in its genre-leading storytelling. [ref]This combination of quality, rarity, and relative obscurity, kept eBay prices for physical copies well above $200 for most of the last decade or more.[/ref]

Developer/publisher Konami has been notoriously cagey about the current state and future of Suikoden for the last few years until some fairly recent developments tipped the scales a little, such as their frequent livestreams on Twitch. Even more props might be due for the Suikoden Revival Movement; without their efforts, it’s entirely possible that these releases wouldn’t have happened at all. A rare success story in an era of countless online petitions that tend to go nowhere.

Your assignment:

Simple! Just give these games a shot. One, or both, in whatever order you feel like. Release order is of course preferable if you intend on giving Suikoden your full attention, but for the uninitiated or the uncertain, Suikoden II is probably where the franchise really begins to put its best foot forward and so it carries my strongest recommendation for that reason. [ref]And this is despite several very noticeable bugs, too. Be sure to push all the gates you see.[/ref]

Want some bonus credit? Go drop a Like on the SRM page linked above. Maybe tell a friend or two. Read an LP of the PS2 games that aren’t on PSN yet. Write some fanfiction about Gengen’s debilitating chocolate milk addiction. Cosplay as one of the flying squirrels. Y’know, ordinary fan stuff.

Sanrio announces that Hello Kitty is apparently not a cat

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve been lied to your entire life? That some fundamental constant of the universe has been nothing more than a cheap facade built for some unknowable cynical end? That this is all just some madman’s dream?

Hello Kitty is not a cat. What the hell, right? Quoth Daily Mail:

‘I was corrected — very firmly,’ Yano told the LA Times. ‘That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl.

‘She is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.’

If the truth of this dream – nay, nightmare – is to believed, Hello Kitty has all along been some kind of reverse-weeaboo concoction detailing what certain Japanese believe to be the average life in England. Just, y’know… with cats in place of cockneys. I guess the English cartoons about rabbits coming to gruesome and untimely ends wasn’t enough?

Are we sure that this isn’t just a cover for some other far more worrying revelation? That false felines haven’t become the false flags in some kind of long delayed fifth column? There can only be three possibilities:

• Hello Kitty, an alien observer wearing a vaguely cat-shaped skin suit.

• Hello Kitty, rogue genetic construct from some forgotten Japanese wetworks lab.

• Hello Kitty, not what she seems, in the same way that the owls from Twin Peaks aren’t what they seem.

simpsons hello kitty factory
“The Lab” prior to the looming invasion. (Simpsons Wiki)

Where’s Glenn Beck when you need him! Until we can track down his latest militia bunker: trust no one.

C-F Radio! Random-Ass Radio Show! #1! The First!

It’s been a long damn time coming, but I’ve finally managed to drag myself out of the shell just long enough to start playing around with podcasting again. The last time was nearly five years ago… not that anyone remembers, of course. Thankfully. The handful of episodes that we managed to produce back then were mostly terrible.

So what is The C-F Radio Random-Ass Radio Show? Put simply, it’s me fiddling with old software attempting to refamiliarize myself with the creative process. So it’s an experiment, the ongoing product of the learning curve I’m on, tossed up here with the barest minimum of editing to the delight and horror of all. Behold!

Right now, it’s silly text-to-speech gimmicks and random clips I have laying around, plus a little music, all taunting me to cut them apart. And that’s probably all the Random Show will ever be – we have other plans beyond these little shorties. If possible, this podcast will eventually become a companion to one or perhaps two others; something to fill the gaps when scheduling conflicts arise elsewhere. Details forthcoming, as are proper feeds and the like. All things in time.

But nevermind all that for now. Check out the inaugural Random-Ass Radio Show sitting right above you! Leave whatever comments you like below… and see what might happen to them next week! Madness!

Happy Trails: Paul Bearer, 1954 – 2013

Are you sitting down? Sit down. Are you wearing a hat? Take it off. Do you have a catheter? Plug it in.

Paul Bearer, also known as William Moody, passed away today. He was 58. This just happened so any exact details of his death are totally nonexistent for now.

Since Paul Bearer was around long before most people’s memories of wrestling characters end, chances are I don’t have to delve too deeply into who he was and what he was known for. But for the totally uninitiated: Paul Bearer was among the best of the crazy cartoonish wrestling managers. Even after the WWE shed most of its comic book stylings, Paul Bearer somehow remained, still clutching that urn.

His final appearance was last year, if memory serves. I had just begun to start watching wrestling again after several years away and the first thing I saw upon returning was Kane randomly locking Paul Bearer into a meat locker. Why? I dunno. Reasons. Some things just never change.

Sure, I’ve given up on rambling about wrestling on this blog[ref]…for now. Consider yourselves warned.[/ref] in favour of simply observing from a safe distance. But it’s hard not to sit up and take notice when someone like Paul Bearer dies. He’s one of those guys we all sort of knew, whether we gave up on wrestling a decade ago (wise) or never watched to begin with (even wiser) or still consider it a guilty pleasure (that would be me.)

It’s a shame that Paul Bearer won’t be around to induct The Undertaker and Kane into the Hall of Fame someday when their careers are finished. For that matter, if the WWE has any common sense, they should fast-track Bearer’s own candidacy to this year’s class. I doubt there would be any objections.

I guess now we’ll never find out exactly what was in that urn. Unless it was just an alternate for The Great Muta’s lamp.[ref]Well, probably not.[/ref]

Rest in peace.

paul bearer wwe buried

via WWE.com (and everyone on Twitter who used to like wrestling in the 90s.)

Daft Punk’s New Album Teaser: The 10 Minute Treatment

Blink and you’ll miss it: there was a 15-second teaser for the new Daft Punk album during the last episode of Saturday Night Live. Oh. You blinked and missed it, didn’t you. Or SNL isn’t your thing. That’s okay; I’m sure The State will return any decade now.

Whether you caught it or not, here it is again looped for ten minutes in grand old YouTube tradition. If you’re crazy like I am you’ll no doubt leave it on in the background until the as-yet untitled fourth Daft Punk album drops in May.

Maybe I can hook this up to an old boombox and walk around with it on my shoulder. Y’know. Get that trend going again.

via MrEarthBeast & @taswell

PSA: Community is Back, October 19th, #SixSeasonsAndAMovie, etc.

One of the rules of blogging is repetition and routine. Keep at it, once a day or more, until people start paying attention. So if you’re getting the nagging feeling that I’ve written this same post about four times already, that’s because I have.

Or it’s just NBC being weird with their scheduling, which for some reason is something I find newsworthy when it happens to affect the best show on that network which not nearly enough people are watching.

Look, Community’s fourth season begins tonight. Either that means something to you or it doesn’t. If it does: Creator Dan Harmon is long gone, but everyone else is still around, including most of the writer’s room (for now.) And of course all those actors y’all go crazy for, even if Chevy Chase could be taking a walk at some point. That trailer is pretty good too, right? So check your local listings. If that’s still a thing people do.

If this doesn’t mean anything to you: well, there’s always Big Bang. Good ol’ safe ‘n’ predictable Big Bang.

Britta speaks for me. Perhaps she speaks for all of us.

Thanks, Kikito!

Same Story, Different Lyrics: Hoobastank vs. Finger Eleven

Editor’s note: this debut article of True Perception’s Same Story, Different Lyrics series was originally posted in the summer of 2011. It was lost along with everything else in The Great Fire of 2012, re-found, re-edited, and now returns for your re-enjoyment. Be sure to re-thank Mr. Perception so he’ll write more! – Del.

The songs in question this time are “Inside of You” by Hoobastank and “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven. Now, I’ve had Inside of You kicking around for a few years now, but I just recently picked up Paralyzer on a mostly nostalgia-fueled iTunes spending spree. As with every time I buy new songs, I spent a lot of time looping the new tracks over and over while walking to work. After several times through, I resumed normal listening behaviour, and lo and behold, I came across Inside of You and realized that the subject matter of the two songs in question were very similar.

So, onto the meat of this thing! For those of you who know both of these songs, obviously the theme in question happens to be a guy hanging out at some local club lusting over an attractive girl that each one meets there. Now, Paralyzer mentions that the girl in question is not dancing, but looking around the club, trying to find something to grab her attention. Inside of You, on the other hand, does not mention what, if anything this girl was doing. In this point of view, it does not matter.

While Finger Eleven’s protagonist (for the lack of a better term) wants to see his girl dancing and having a good time, all that matters to Hoobastank’s singer is that he gets “inside” of her. This is not to say that Paralyzer’s motivations are completely altruistic. He does specifically mention his desire to take the encounter to a more private place, so they can get to know each other better.

One of the major differences between the two songs is in the tone, or the attitude of each guy. Inside of You portrays its character as ultra cocky, as is referenced in the following lines:

For now I’ll play the game,
and I’m waiting for your move,
but I’ve got to say
that I never lose.

What do I have to do,
to get inside of you,
’cause I love the way you move
when I’m inside of you

Also, there is a pair of lines in the song where he blatantly asks the girl how he should go about getting into her pants, even going so far as to say that he has no scruples about how he goes about accomplishing his set goal:

Just ask and I will do
Anything you want me to.
The is no limit to
how far I will go.

And, I’m sure I can’t pretend
to be a gentleman,
but before I begin,
I just gotta know.

One of the things I like most in Paralyzer is how the lead has a little more realism, in that he is quite unsure of himself about approaching this angel (or temptress) that has become the object of his adoration. In the opening verse of the song, he mentions being nervous about the situation, and later in the song revisits this sense of unease:

I hold on so nervously
to me and my drink.
I wish it was cooling me

I hold out for one more drink,
before I think,
I’m looking too desperately.

This is also further cemented by the use of the chorus, where he mentions not receiving any attention from his beauty, even though she is obviously searching for something of interest, as she has passed over him several times, and worries that she may possess some special talent for completely ignoring him:

If your body matches
what your eyes can do,
You’ll probably move right through,
me on my way to you.

Another (slightly) interesting thing of note is that, while Inside of You does not make any mention of the club that they happen to be in (again, having no bearing on his viewpoint), Paralyzer makes a couple of references to not caring for the club at all, even going so far as to state his being okay with it if the club should be closed and actually hoping that it will happen sooner, rather than later.

Before I wrap this up, I noticed a potential flip to how these two are compared. Rather than having Inside of You be the more direct approach, and Paralyzer more apprehensive, it could be seen as Inside being the more submissive. Follow along, while I play devil’s advocate with myself (shut up!)

During Inside, it almost seems like the singer is trying to portray a false sense of assuredness, to make himself more likeable to the object of his affection. In this way, he is being indirect. Also, his stated goal of getting “inside” of her can be taken in a more mental way, such that he wants to charm her through understand her feelings. Conversely, Paralyzer is far less ambiguous in stating his intent as seeking “a dark lit place, or your place, or my place.”

Caffeine-Fueled in 2013 + Fish!

Sure, the new year began 15 days ago with any meaningful updates from us being absent for another 15 days prior to that. But never fear! 2013 is here and we’ve got a whole lot of great content in store for you at Caff-HOLY CRAP LOOK AT THAT FISH. LOOK AT IT! LOOK AT THAT FISH RIGHT NOW!

Sorry. That was something of a smoke bomb on our part. We’ll be damned if that isn’t one hell of a fish, though. Perhaps you should look at it. Right now, if you’re not too busy.

So with this we inaugurate another year of mildly-coherent, semi-professional, generally-aimless tomfoolery from your friends at The Caffeine-Fueled Occasional. On our slate of features for the coming year, we have…

1) A heavier emphasis on review and editorial content for Reddit to downvote in favour of kittens making silly faces! Oh man. Those kittens are so cute you guys!

2) A streamlined WWE feature that won’t make its author wish for the sweet release that only death can bring!

3) More community interactivity! Speaking of which, are you somehow reading this without a forum membership? Go get one!

4) A podcast! Maybe! This will depend on several factors, mainly equipment, scheduling, and formatting issues. If/when it happens though, hold onto your asses.

All of this and more can be yours for only minutes of your time per day! Why, think about all those seconds you spend drinking your Starbucks coffee. You can even do both at the same time! Act now!

In all seriousness, we do hope you’ll stick with us through 2013 and beyond. There are a lot of pretty depressing things in this world and while “blogging in a vacuum” doesn’t rank too high up the list in the greater scheme of things, every set of eyeballs counts for something. So on behalf of John Layfield, Thor McOdin, the forum community, and myself: thanks for all them balls!

Now check out that sweet fish. Right?

• Fish courtesy of Moldy Chum. Thanks Dave!