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February 4th, 2011 by Calvero

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November 2nd, 2009 by Calvero

I have to thank my 8th grade English teacher for introducing me to the great detective and and his trusty companion.

Basil Rathbone (left) and Nigel Bruce play the crime fighting duo

Basil Rathbone (left) and Nigel Bruce play the crime fighting duo

We were reading Hound of the Baskervilles (considered by many fans to be the best of the Holmes stories) and watched the 1939 film version starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce  it in class.  We had an assignment of pretending to be a news reporter covering the murder. I’ve never cared too much for mysteries. It was usually someone gets killed (kind of a downer). Detective investigates and usually solves case. Killer is usually hateful/jealous/mean streaked.  Then justice is done. But the characters of Holmes and Watson really got my curiosity.  Holmes was stand-offish and not social. He could tell you where you came from and what you do for a living within the first second of meeting you.  But he was not a romantic, but rather preferred facts when dealing with people… or rather, people’s cases.  Along with his cocaine addictions, violin playing, and pipe smoking. Watson was loyal.  Ready to help his friend when needed. And wrote about the cases that he and Holmes took on.  Handy with a revolver.  If Holmes asked him to go off and do something, Watson went without question. I happened to mention about the story to my mom, telling her that I thought it was really interesting and not hard to follow the decades old story.  So when I graduated the grade, my parents gave me a book that had several stories in it (most of the Holmes stories were short stories), including Hound.  The book had the original illustrations by Sidney Paget, which were originally with the stories when they were originally published.  Considered to have cemented the “look” of Holmes to the public. I read those stories. Inhaled them is a better way of putting it.  The stories were also out of the ordinary.  Some were murders, though the cause of death no always easy: an animal in self defense or the victim died out of terror or a guilty conscious.  Or perhaps faked their own death.  Or something was stolen.  In addition to that,  I watched more of the Rathbone/Bruce movies on the local tv channel. I believe it was every Sunday afternoon.  Rathbone was my Holmes. Until…

Jeremy Brett as Holmes (left) , Rosalie Williams as Mrs. Hudson (center) and David Burke as Watson standing in front of the infamous 221B residence

Jeremy Brett as Holmes (left) , Rosalie Williams as Mrs. Hudson (center) and David Burke as Watson standing in front of the infamous 221B residence

I saw Jeremy Brett and David Burke. Oh. My. Gosh!!! (that’s right, I said gosh. Deal with it! 😉 ) The performances of those two men really shot the characters out of a canon and onto the small screen.  Brett’s portrayal was spot on. He set a very high standard of how someone should play Holmes. And Burke’s Watson as well as Edward Hardwicke’s Watson was much more faithful to the Watson that Conan Doyle wrote about.  And the rest of the cast: Rosalie Williams who played their landlady Mrs. Hudson, Colin Jeavons as Inspector Lestrade, and a bunch of others who appeared looking like what I had pictured in my head when I first read the stories. And shooting it out of a canon can be taken another way… it was almost 100% Canon (canon – meaning the original stories).  The stories were as close to word-for-word as one could fit into less than a 60 minute program.  Costumes were beautiful. Sets were marvelous.  The Baker Street residence was not too ornate.  Everything was so… well…. perfect! (Except for the last few episodes. Production got lazy, and Brett’s health got worse and passed away in September 1995 :'( ). Even when I watch them now, they do not look like they are 25 years old.  I

Brett again as Holmes, and Edward Hardwicke picking up the role of Watson

Brett again as Holmes, and Edward Hardwicke picking up the role of Watson

am picky when it comes to period films and if there is too much 1980s in something that is supposed to be 1880s, then I’m not happy.  But this was, as I already said, perfect. A few years later I became a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin.  And to my delight, one of Chaplin’s early acting childhood gigs was that of Billy the Pageboy in the Sherlock Holmes play written by William Gillette.  There were two men who played Holmes for the play, Gillette and H A Saintsbury, and Chaplin worked with both of them, commenting in “My Autobiography” that he thought Saintsbury was the better Holmes.  Many years later when he was making Limelight, he brought on Nigel Bruce to play Mr Postant, largely due to his Watson role.  Which is another reason why I have kept the name Calvero for so many years… it connects some of my favorites together :). And speaking of the Holmes/Chaplin crossover, there is the “Sherlock Holmes” movie to be released later this year starring Robert Downey, Jr. who playrf Charlie in the 1992 film “Chaplin”.  Loved him in that!  And now he’s playing Holmes.  While I can’t think of anyone better to play Chaplin than him, it will be real tough to even equal Brett’s Holmes.  But he can do a very good British accent (he did a couple different ones in Chaplin).  Jude Law has a very very good look for Watson (He also had a small part in the Granada series, “The Disappearance of Lady Carfax”). The trailer looks good: I’ll just have to put Brett’s image to the side when I go to see the new movie.

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October 18th, 2009 by Calvero

It is strange and funny how what is laying around the house affects what your kid watches.

The 4th Doctor, aka Tom Baker. One of my, and Krist's, favorite Doctors

The 4th Doctor, aka Tom Baker. One of my, and Kristi's, favorite Doctors

I remember when Kristi was 3 (she’s now 10), she saw one of my old Doctor Who VHS tapes in the cabinet, “Full Circle” starring Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor.

She put it in the machine and started watching it. And then she watched it again. And again.  And again.  I had a few others but for some reason she liked this one a lot.  She would get scared of the monsters and laugh whenever the Doctor who give off his big toothy smile.

I should add that I did not watch Doctor Who much when Kristi was awake. Usually it was her shows like Blue’s Clues, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, etc. so it’s not like she just watched it when I watched it.

Since then she has become a fan of the renewed Doctor Who series and likes David Tennant as much as Tom.

And just yesterday I was watching Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights while folding the

Could it be that I have a future silent film fan in the making?

Could it be that I have a future silent film fan in the making?

laundry.  Kristi was watching Pokemon videos on Youtube (She loves Pokemon!).  When I got up to put some clothes away, I left the movie playing.  I came back a couple minutes later and there was Kristi laying on the sofa watching City Lights. Not her Pokemon!

Since she caught it in the middle of the movie, I explained some of what was going on, like why the millionaire treated Charlie different drunk versus sober, and that the young lady who Charlie falls in love with is blind.

Now that Katie, my other daughter, is almost 3, she has discovered something even more off the

The controversial brothers from the 1960s got the attention of my almost 3 year old

The controversial brothers from the 1960s got the attention of my almost 3 year old

wall. The Smothers Brothers.  She often sits on my lap watching YouTube videos, and the other day she saw the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Season 3 DVD set sitting on my desk where my computer is. She pointed to it wanting to watch it.  She likes watching them sing. Even when they are talking she will sit there glued as they talk about the Vietnam War and student protests and so on.  I don’t go into explaining what happened back in the 1960s, what the protests were about or anything… I’ll wait to explain that when she’s older :).

But it’s weird how my kids pick up on my interests like that.

😀

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June 5th, 2009 by Calvero

One thing I should have added in my last post was the Jewish connection with Spock. I had know for a while that both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were Jewish. But what I found out a few days ago was where the Vulcan salute came from.  I was curious and did a search on YouTube.  I could tell you about it, but Nimoy does a much better job:

(if the below video does work, here’s a direct link)

So there you have it, the Vulcan salute is the name of God :D.

For more info on the  Jewish connections in Star Trek, check out TrekJews.com run by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom.

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June 4th, 2009 by Calvero

First, thanks to those who told me how much they liked my review. 🙂

I have thought of other things that I wanted to add to it:

Random thought: Was anyone else surprised that Winona Ryder was in it?  And that she played Spock’s mom? Assuming that you did not know who was in the movie prior to seeing it, that is ;). That surprised me when I was watching the credits and thought “She was in this?”

More on Roman history: And while watching the TOS episode “Amok Time” (the one where Spock returns to Vulcan and first does the Vulcan salute),  I suddenly remembered the relationship of Vulcan (the Roman god of fire) and Spock’s home planet (D’oh!). It’s because the planet is volcanic (ah, the wonders of Roman mythology on the English language!), and therefore hot and the air is thin. And then I remember the scenes in the movie seeing the outside shots of Vulcan. I knew there had to be something connecting the two!  My mind just went blank when writing my earlier review.

And to talk about something not directly related to the movie, here’s a connection with TNG:  Back in 1976, BBC aired a 12 part television series called “I, Claudius” about the goings-on of the Julio-Claudian household from Claudius’ point of view (like a soap opera, but with more literal knife stabbing and poisoning and it’s pretty close to being historically accurate). Claudius was one of the family members and would later become emperor.  It had a big cast, among them Patrick Stewart who play Sejanus, the captain of the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s elite bodyguards) under Emperor Tiberius, and who is believed to have tried to become emperor by killing off people.

Eleven years later Stewart would become Captian Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) , a much more noble man.

I hope to write a review of that BBC series. I’ve seen it a few times and love it.

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May 26th, 2009 by Calvero

(warning: some spoilers)

I’m a casual Star Trek fan.  I don’t own any ST memorabilia, VHS tapes, DVDs, soundtracks, or anything like that. I just enjoy watching the show.  And I was looking forward to seeing the new one that was released a couple weeks ago.  The last one I saw in theaters was First Contact.  I heard so many bad things about the last two that I did not bother.

I watched it a few days ago and it still is running through my head.  This new one really kicks! Oh my gosh! It throws you into the action right away and doesn’t let go until the credits.  I think I blinked 3 times, maybe 4.

PROS

First, the cast was great. The main characters look and act the way you expect them to be.  You didn’t need to try and keep track of who was supposed to be who.  That was awesome!  Except for Nero. I’m no expert but I don’t remember ever seeing bald Romulans.  That took a little while to figure  out and remember.

Leonard Nimoy is in it as an older Spock! And I’m not giving away anything with that.  He appears in the trailer.

Time travel.  Always love time travel stories.  There have been some complaints that it using time travel has been used to much in sci fi.  But then again so has using aliens and traveling around in space :P.  I say, if it’s used wisely, go for it!  And I had no trouble with it.

Roman history.  Having been a huge history fan and currently writing a time travel story taking place at different times of the Roman Republic and Empire, I was enjoying spotting the ancient Roman references.  I had never really paid attention to them before in Star Trek, until I began to study more about Roman culture and history while writing my time travel story.

No secret that the T in Kirk’s middle name stands for Tiberius.  Tiberius was one of the big Julio-Claudian emporers of Rome, sandwiched in-between Augustus Caesar and Caligula.  Then there’s the villain of the movie, Nero, who shares the same name as one of the other Julio-Claudian Roman emperors.

And then there’s Spock’s race, Vulcan.  In Roman mythology, Vulcan was the god of fire and blacksmiths and walked with a limp because his mother, Juno, thought he was an ugly baby and threw him off of Mount Olympus (that’s gotta hurt!). After falling for a day and a night, he landed in the water, breaking his leg.  I have not figured out any connection with Spock’s race and the Roman god though :/

Then there are the Romulans.  They have two home planets Romulus and Remus, which are also the same names of the twin founders of Rome.  The Romulan form of government is modeled after the Roman Republic (which existed between the Roman Kingdom and Roman Empire)

Sherlock Holmes. For the second time (or would it be the first? hmmm… )  Spock quotes the great detective “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. Being a long time Sherlockian, I was sitting there lip syncing the quote :D.  The first time was Star Trek VI “The Undiscovered Country” where Spock credits a ancestor of his.    The quote is originally from one of four Holmes novels, “The Sign of Four”, and one of the best of the 56 stories  (To see the quote in action, watch this it’s 6:18 of the way through, though I recommend the whole video. The amazing Jeremy Brett plays Holmes, with Edward Hardwicke as Watson). For more Sherlock Holmes/Star Trek connections check this page out.

Lack of nude scenes/unnecessary language

The trailer made it seem like there was a heavy making out scene between Kirk and another woman. Turned out that he was wearing shorts and the girls was green (classic TOS green skin) and wearing a bikini. (gasp!) No nudity? What was Abrams thinking?? (and yes, I am being sarcastic 😉 )

And I didn’t realize it until after it was over, but there was only a couple bad words in it.  Kudos for that as well!

CONS

There isn’t a whole lot of negative things I can say about the movie.  Other than there being bald Romulans.  And I’m not to crazy about the Spock/Uhura matchup.   Also Chekov had blond curly hair which was different.  But the personality and accent was good.  Funny scene when he’s trying to give the computer a command and the computer does not understand because of his thick Russian accent :D.

Favorite scenes

Just about every scene with Scotty was great.  James Doohan would have liked him.

Leonard Nimoy is awesome (as always) as Spock!  In this case he’s referred to in the credits as Spock Prime.  And wow to young Spock meeting older Spock.  In fandom, that would definitely be a squee! moment.

New, unknown crew member? You know what that means!

Nice fight scene on the drill with Kirk and Sulu versus the two Romulans.  And the diving was pretty cool.

A tear for the destruction of Vulcan :'(

And just about everything was great.  As I said earlier, I barely blinked.  It moves along at a good pace. I’m getting the DVD for sure!

Below is the trailer for it:

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January 25th, 2009 by Calvero

If you have been following me on Twitter or Plurk, you have noticed me sending messages saying I was writing.  I have been busy re-writing part of my life about what it is like having been born with a facial condition.. well, two actually… cleft lip and cleft palate.  They almost can be called one since they are related but someone can be born with one and not the other.  I call my story “Born to be Cleft”.   Right now it’s on my old Tripod site.

And, by the way, it’s not a “pity me” type of story.  It’s just telling like it is.  My aim was and is to give a glimpse of what it’s like… to spread a little understanding for people who are noticeably different.  And to have something to relate to for those who were born like me.

Anyway, I decided to use WordPress 2.7 for it (very nice upgrade!).  It won’t be a blog though, it’ll just be a static site.  I’ll blog about cleft related things here with cleft tags (cleft lip & cleft palate) and add a link from the new BtbC site to here, and also talk about them on my Cleft Club Radio podcast… whenever I get time to get that up and going again.

When I originally wrote that story, it was over 10 years ago.  I think I was still a newlywed.  And… well, it was time for me to update it… having another kid and getting divorced and such ;).

I also needed to move it from my Tripod site.  I’ve been using a webhost for a while now, but with everything that was going on, I never got around to focusing on re-writing my story.  So now I am, and I feel pretty good about it.

Not much really needs to be redone. My outlook on life remains, I think, the same.  But I feel like I should re-write the whole thing.    But instead of it being from a 20-something it’s now from a 30-something.

And maybe one day I will finish other posts that I have started for this blog :).

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January 5th, 2009 by Calvero

I have been a Doctor Who fan since around 1986-87 (don’t remember exactly when).  I came in at the end of Colin Baker’s era and was able to enjoy all of Syvester McCoy’s.  While I loved all the actors who played the Doctor, Tom Baker was my favorite, McCoy in second.  I have been a fan during the 16 year hiatus and would be glued to the tv if I happened to catch it on a PBS channel, which dwindled as PBS stations around the country dropped the show due to the expense (how much *did* the BBC charge anyway for an older show?)

I was overjoyed when it came back in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston in the role, doing a *fantastic* job!  Then David Tennant who really was a great blend of previous Doctors as well as having his own flare.  Then it was annouced late last year that David felt it was time to go. The other day it was annouced that a young lad named Matt Smith was taking the helm of the TARDIS.

He’s 26.

26!!

He’s younger than me by 10 years!

Of course this was bound to happen to have an actor be around my age, but man, I feel old now!  David I was able to handle, being just a couple years younger than him.  Christopher was just a few months younger than the series.

I saw a picture of him and I don’t know what to think …well, other than young!  But comments about interviews are positive.  We’ll have to see when he makes his entrance when David leaves, which won’t be until 2010.

While being wowed by his age, the name was also funny.  Smith.  In the recent series, the Doctor would sometimes use the name John Smith (Human Nature comes to mind).

Here are some great sites if you are new to the Doctor Who universe:

Those will keep you busy enough.

26?!?

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December 31st, 2008 by Calvero

Today is the last day of 2008. Wow!

It’s been a pretty good year.

I moved out of a very stressful marriage in February.  It was just too stressful and depressing with Mark and his fiance there in the same house.  While I do miss the house itself, I *do not* miss the headaches.  Eck!

It also brought me back to  church and have enjoyed the sermons and fellowship since then.  It was something I was not allowed to attend while with Mark.  Not only did I attend a new congregation, but also a denomination, United Methodist.  While I’m still a member of the United Church of Christ, I have enjoyed UM… it is *very* similar to UCC.

March was another Smothers Brothers concert at the Strawberry Festival… outside….in the rain (I’m a hard core SmoBro fan. Rain does not bring me down from one of their concerts). It was my 6th concert of theirs and even though I mouthed the words to the songs and comedy routines, I loved it!  Kristi also came with me.  She had never been to a concert before. Well, she went to a Blues Clues Live show when she was 3.  But she was curious to see them live because she knew I was a huge fan.  Mom also went with us and when it started raining, she took Kristi to a covered area and brought her back when it stopped.

The month of May brought the finalization of the divorce. My marriage to Mark lasted just over 10 years.  Two wonderful things that came out of it was Kristi and Katie.

May also got me started on regularly (almost) attending Father Roderick’s uStream chatroom.  In the beginning he had his web cam on almost 24/7, but after a while he switched it to just when he records his podcasts (Check out SQPN if you haven’t already!  Although the podcasts are all Catholic, you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy them, just like you don’t have to have an iPod to listen to podcasts :)).  And with his popularity with regular listeners and being on the front page of uStream a number of times, he made a few people moderators to help take care of a few random troublemakers that would pop up.  And to my surprise he made me one of those moderators!

August I got another surprise this year from another one of my favorite podcasters, Cliff Ravenscraft.  He created a podcast network, GSPN.  One of several podcasts he does is Family From the Heart and on one episode he was giving away a signed abridged audiobook CD.  I was on his live page chatting with others while watching Cliff and his wife Stephine and he said the next person who called in would win the audiobook.  I waited a few seconds and casually opened my phone, dialed the number, and then I hear Cliff’s voice on the other end!  So I made an appearance on another one of his shows (he interviewed me last year). And winning that CD was very cool 🙂

August brought about this version of my site.  I do like it better. More dynamic content than my other versions which would remain static for a couple years at a time.

October was meeting John Green. I already wrote about that. That was awesome!

And December was attending a small but fun, SQPN get-together with Deb and Fr. Bill Kessler at EPCOT!  I have an upcoming post and pictures from that so I won’t go into to much detail about that other to say it was a lot of fun :).

What will 2009 bring? I don’t know, but I have a good feeling about it :).

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November 18th, 2008 by Calvero

The other day I finished reading Paper Towns.  Great book!  As I posted on Twitter & Plurk, it was funny, sad, and deep, sometimes all at once.

I liked all the characters, which may or may not have been John Green’s purpose.  The morale of the story is that people are people.  We have a habit of seeing people as almost godlike or as animals, forgetting that everyone has good and bad traits.  In the video that I recorded of him in Orlando, he quoted Walk Whitman “I contain multitudes” and he went on saying that he is both ugly and hot, smart and stupid.

One cool thing that John did in the book was quote from a few past sources, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (a good amount of Song of Myself from “the Whitman” ), Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and T.S Elliot.  A bit of Greek mythology.

Although it’s written for the young adult audience, I really liked it.  It’s written in first person, about a group of teens, Quentin (written from his point of view), his best friend Ben, Radar, Lacey, and Margo Roth Spiegelman.  Most of the story is about Quentin finding Margo after she goes missing.  As he’s finding clues and figuring out where she is, he also finds out who she really is.

And I was able to successfully fight the temptation of jumping to the end to find out if Margo is alive.  It was tough.

Does he find her? Alive? Ahhh… to find that out, I recommend reading the book 😉

I also will be letting Kristi read the book as well when she is old enough. As John told me, “not for a few more years”. Nothing really dirty, just a few teen related things that a 9 year old is not ready for yet.

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