Sunday, September 29, 2013

Django Unchained (a review)

  Sometimes I have to try and remember most folks are untraveled, unintelligent, or devoid of cinema background.  When a genre of a movie comes out, such as a sci-fi or a western, I have to remember that there are a few youngsters out there that either don't remember the originals or the genres, or indeed have never even seen a genre of this type as it's their first time.  Cinematic and historical virgins.  I was one once when I was 6.  This is the case for those who strongly recommended Django Unchained by Tarantino.

  Tarantino is the equivalent of a Puff Daddy circa the Godzilla (1998) soundtrack.  He gets permission to steal other people's stuff from the 1970's, then repackages it badly by wrapping used Christmas paper over it hastily and without grace, like a retarded kid trying to remember how mommy and daddy did it years ago, then using a lot of scotch-tape in the form of silly violence and trying to make argumentative conflict by reciting his own internal struggles with himself in the form of drama.  He endlessly fails on all levels with each movie he's done, and it's sad.  He's like a desperate, impatient 14-year-old teen trying to play cowboys and Indians from a movie his parents wouldn't let him see that he snuck glances at through his almost-closed bedroom door, then the next morning ran outside to try to lampoon it with his stupid friends without understanding 99% of it.  

  Now some get it right, as in the case of Machete or Hobo with a Shotgun.  THIS is correct.  Tarantino wishes he could attempt this.

  Tarantino has tried time and time again to recapture that '70s shtick but never succeeds.  I honestly believe though he loves the genre he always copies (such as Bruce Lee vs. The Ninja as Kill Bill which he copied frame-for-frame).  His finished work has holes and he tries to patch that up with stolen music from another time.  Why does he never have his own films scored originally instead of stealing the entire soundtrack from other '70s movies?!  Cheap!  Maybe one in-homage but ALL OF IT?  Why, loser?

  Honestly, I've never seen a worse western.  All of the songs used were either from other westerns with the exception of a classic rock song by Jim Croce, I Got a Name and a few rap songs.  Nothing was original.  Why couldn't he have one original good song?

  Django Unchained has (thankfully) absolutely nothing to do with either the Django series or anything Django.  The song selection, though incredibly stolen from such westerns as Two Mules for Sister Sara and totally dissing Ennio Morricone from the previous movie Inglorious Bastards which he also ripped-off from the original.  Ennio was going to do the soundtrack for IG but QT was too impatient (as usual).  It'd be as if God wanted to give you all the superpowers you could ever dream of but you were too impatient for that so instead you just bought a Superman cape from Walmart.  Idiot.  Ennio = Pure, Immediate Gold.  Fool!

What a good Spaghetti Western soundtrack should be... imagery and all.

 Django Unchained makes up it's own mind that it's its own movie and not of the series.  It's annoying in the same way if a new movie came out that was a sci-fi called "Darth Vader against the Jedi" and then there's a Hello Kitty playing Vader voiced by a fag.   Still, I can choke it down.. barely.  Acting was flat.  Violence was over-done and silly and disobeyed every law of physics.  Storyline was lame and implausible.  Samuel Jackson should have got a Golden Raspberry award for worst supporting actor of all time.  Accents came and went throughout.  Historical inaccuracies were infinite.

  Now I suspect he wanted to make a spaghetti western in the same vein as Sergio Leone, though it's quite possible this is not the case.  I also suspect he used the name Django to spark interest and he even had Franco Nero in it who seemed a bit sad because he too knew how it sucked.  The film is missing all of the soul of a spaghetti western, like pasta with no sauce.  Vacant of spirit, the movie plods at 2 hours 45 minutes painfully.  It's barely watchable as characters moose their lines.

  Here's a list of the inconsistencies that bothered me, plus a few more I found later:

During the shooting in Candyland, right before Django bursts a man's head, a man next to Django who he uses as a shield has his chest burst. The blood pack is very noticeable.
Dr Schultz pays with 12 $1000 bills, but $1000 bills were not created until 1861, after the time period of this movie.
The film is based in 1858 and proceeds through the winter into the spring of 1859. At the end of the movie Django blows up Candyland using dynamite. Dynamite was not invented by Alfred Nobel until 1864 and then patented in 1867.
Dr. Schultz says the word "Malarkey" in casual conversation in 1858, the word didn't come into use until 1929.
 Civil War actually starts three years later.
During the "skull monologue", Calvin Candy mentions "genes". The word was coined after 1905 from the work of Danish scientist Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen. Genetics were born with Mendel's work, which was published in 1866 and did not become widely known in the scientific community until decades later.
During the first shootout scene inside Candyland, when Django rolls off Leonide Moguy (Candy's Lawyer) he rolls to the right of the shot, away from the room he had just come from. However in the next scene when the door is kicked in we see Django moving and shooting from the opposite side of the room, towards the side he should already be.
The harpist is playing "Fur Elise", which though written in 1810, was not published until 1865.
In the scene where Schultz shoots the sheriff, as he walks away he has blood on his hand and his jacket. The blood is gone from both in the next shot and from then on.
 When Calvin dies he pushes the globe and makes it spin very slowly, almost coming to a stop when he falls down. When the angle changes, the globe is spinning really fast.
The amount of beer in the glass during the first beer scene in the movie changes between shots. It is half full, then after a while it is almost full again.
The "Cleopatra Club", where Django, Schultz and Monsieur Candy meet for the first time, uses an Egyptian sculpture replica as a trademark, which resembles the famous Nefertiti bust; this was only discovered in December 1912, by a German archaeologist.
In the scene where Django shoots Smitty Bacall, the plough that he is using can be seen on the far left of the field and moving at a slow pace. But when Dr Schultz puts his wanted poster away, the plough is suddenly on the far right of the field having not had enough time to have turned round and moved that far.
The check written by Sam Jackson says May 2, 1858. At this point in the movie, it should be 1859.
When Django and Dr. Schultz ride into Daughtrey, Texas. In the town there is a kid with some goats. There are goats behind and in front of Django and Dr. Schultz. When they change angles all the goats are in front, with no goats behind them.
The film is based in 1858 and proceeds through spring 1859. In the scene where Django frees himself from the slavers, one of the three men is wearing a yellow confederate cavalry kepi. The confederate uniforms were only created after the civil war started in 1861.
When Django is on the hill with Schultz aiming at the farmer, rocks appear in front of him in the angles shot from behind, but disappear in the front shots.
The straw hat worn by one of the LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. employees (played by Michael Parks) is too modern, as it has eyelet air holes and a plastic cord lock on the chin cord.
When Calvin Candie talks to Dr Schultz about his "first, second, third, fourth & fifth concern", his sister Lara puts her glass down on the table, only to have it in her hand again immediately afterwards.
When Django shoots the snowman, the damage to it appears/disappears/increases/decreases between shots.
When Calvin is explaining stuff about the skull, Schultz's glass swaps from empty to filled, between shots.
During the skull monologue, Schultz's hair swaps from messy to brushed between shots.
After first arriving at Candyland, Calvin Candy is explaining to Steven who Django is and that they will be staying in the big house. During this scene, cuts between Calvin and Steven show Calvin's legs alternating between crossed in one angle and uncrossed in the other angle, multiple times.
Ace Speck's hat changes positions while he lies dead and Django and Schultz move around the place.
One of the men taking Django to the mines has a gray cap on his head. This army cap didn't exist at that time. It was introduced in the Civil War years later.
In Daughrety, Texas when Schultz and Django are having a conversation in the bar the amount of beer in Schultz's glass changes.
Throughout the film, Dr. Schulz and Django use a Remington Double Derringer. The double barreled Derringer wasn't introduced until 1866.
When Ellis Brittle lays dead on the cotton field, a blood pack visibly protrudes from his chest.
When the maids introduce Brunhilda to Schultz, she is either looking at him or sideways, depending on the angle.
When Stephen brings Broomhilde to Candy to discuss her price, Stephen is grabbing the left side of her neck in the wide shots, and the right side in the close-ups. This changes back and forth.
Django's first shot at the snowman that puts a hole in the bottle/can. His gun is pointed way too high when he shoots it to hit the target.
When Django takes cover by the hallway, several guys shoots at him from the doorway, making the wall behind him riddled with holes. The next shot, no holes. These holes disappears and reappears several times.
When Schultz and Django first camp, Schultz is seen putting on pants and suspenders. In the next shot he doesn't have the suspenders on, but we see him hiking them up as if for the first time.
When one of the Speck Bros. lays injured on the floor, the lamp on the floor is laying right net to the hat, or several centimeters away, depending on the angle.
When Schultz meets the Speck Bros. visible breath comes out of the slaves' mouths due to the cold, but not from Schultz or the brothers'.
When Django kills big John Brittle, right when he smashes his face on the floor, a cushion pops-up. Most probably hidden among the leaves to soften the fall.
When Django gives himself up, the body that he used as a human shield moves from the center of the door frame to the left of the door frame.
When Schulz and Django ride up to the first plantation they visit, the number of slaves milling about in the background varies with each shot.
When Django and Dr. King Schulz meet Spencer Bennett at the front of his house, there's a group of women and some men in the back near the gates. The amount of people changes between shots.
Django carries a Remington "New Model Army" revolver, as does Billy Crash, shown when he holds it to Hildi's temple. These weapons, although based on an 1858 patent, were not produced until 1860.
In the scene where Stephen is shocked that Django will be staying in the big house responding with "if you ain't got no problem burning the bed the sheets", you can see Calvin place his pipe in his left hand and start to point at Stephen with his right hand, saying "that is my problem, they are mine to burn" then his pipe is magically in his right hand again.
Before confronting Stephen, Django shoots Candy's sister. He is up high on the stairs with her on the first floor. He is far to her right. But when he shoots her, she flies straight backwards into the other room, and you can see where her dress was pulled by a rip line.
At the end of the movie, Django has a bundle of dynamite strapped to the front doorframe of Candy's house and uses it to blow up the place. The explosion caused by that bundle was way too large compared to the amount of dynamite used. It also shows the house exploding from the center out, distributing debris almost equally in all directions. But the dynamite was at the front door so most of it would have gone backwards.
  The KKK didn't exist until 7 years later.
  Australian straw hats didn't exist until 8 years later.
  "Sold American" phrase didn't exist until 40 years later.
  Mandingo fighting was only based on a film from the '70s.  This did not exist.
Okay, so Tarin-fail-o is not a historian by any means.  Fine.  Nor can he make a film without Ed Wood-like obvious failings.  There are websites out there that bring up hundreds of goofy mistakes.  Now if he did this all on purpose (perhaps a few were, maybe) then it's kinda cool in a cheap way, but I suspect his contractors for information as consultants were high as he was when he did it.  People think pot helps creativity but look how many mistakes?  Hope he never becomes a surgeon lest we all die of brain cancer.  Like everyone knows, I go to a movie not to NOT think but TO think!  Tarantino caters to the uninformed and unintelligent virgin movie-go'ers and tween cinematic beginners with no background in anything.
  What a piece of steaming shite.  Fail!  I'd rather watch Tyler Perry's anything.  Man, there's so many good westerns out there.  Please, viewers, watch every other spaghetti western out there first before you decide this is a good movie.  Actually, if you haven't seen any others, I have great news for you, all of them are better than this!  You're in for a treat!
Final grade:  F+


Las Vegas Star Trek Convention: Day 3 & 4


Where has that Mike Cronis been?!

 I've been a bit busy lately and haven't been blogging much.  I've been working on an album, writing lyrics, etc. and it's been a bit time-consuming, plus I've been watching way too much of the #1 Japanese anime, One Piece which has like 700 25-minute episodes, and I'm around 400 or so.  I've harvested a lot from our garden, to include a near-infinite supply of Roma tomatoes, and my vineyard was very productive this year of Catawba grapes, so I've gathered enough (about 20 pounds) to create wine (it'll come out a sweet blush) for Chateau de Cronis vintage 2013.  That process was mind-numbing as I inspected each grape (over 7500 of them) to verify no nasty mold or irregularities were to go in the batch, then crushed each one into a "must".  Fermentation started a few days ago so it can be left to do it's "thing" for a week or so before "racking" into the first sanitized "carboy".  I can expect a gallon from 20 pounds (either six 500 ml bottles or ten 350 ml bottles, I haven't decided.)  My orchard produced some great, baseball-sized peaches, and my bonsai trees I'm starting from-seed are growing as a pair, so I plan on twisting those two for an interesting display if all goes well.  I've been working a significant amount as well.  I installed tinting on "Rosie" the 100th Anniv. Corvette, as well as an 8-ball-like shifter knob (rather tricky, actually.  Not a screw-on procedure) making it an extra "short-shifter".  I also broke-down and got a "Google" phone and joined this century.  I've done a lot with it but I still don't see the big deal.  I guess those new to laptops are overjoyed, but smartphones are definitely geared towards the non-tech-savvy I can see, as a majority of the functions (aka "apps" as executables) I was using in the early '90s with dial-up computers pre-internet via FTP and BBS sites (though not as "conveniently" palm-sized).  Shrug.

  So day 3 in Vegas we decide to make a day of the Convention itself as it's now in full-swing.  We get up relatively early as the schedule is an 8 to 8 arrangement.  The actual area of festivities from our room is impossibly far away and it takes us about 30 minutes to get to anything involving it due to the snaking around and no short-cuts through the casinos and what-not.  I can't express further how very few actual gaming machines are around.  Local casinos like Black Hawk and Cripple Creek have a larger assortment.  Rather unimpressive.  I think casinos in Vegas assume money is to be had elsewhere by way of violently expensive drinks, shows, and meals, diverting their income elsewhere.  Shame all 3 are not of good quality, at best, mediocre, though if you're a po-dunk from Iowa, it's probably pretty nifty.  Me being a well-traveled gent shrug it off as mediocre and a bit desperate. 

  Before we dive-in, we wait in line (as usual) for breakfast at about 7:30 at the only open breakfast place there aside from the "we'll rape you financially """"world"""" buffet (just so as long as "world" in quadra-quotes means American and unauthentic in every way)".  As we line-in for the 30 minute wait of 9 parties-of-two ahead of us (though, again, 40 tables open inside due to incredibly bad leadership) behold, in front of us was George Takei and his "husband" Brad.  Keeping cool, we chatted for about 30 minutes or so, discussing his website, side projects, and Japan (as I had been stationed there, though I mistakenly had told him I was on Hokkaido and not the northernmost part of Honshu near Lake Towada and the Shiriyazaki Lighthouse.  Brad asked about how breakfast was at this place, and I admitted it was "meh".  Pleasant enough, though we drew a crowd in awe as fans occasionally gushed over him in drooling fashion.  This wasn't my first "Takei Encounter".  He's quite personable.  I tried to get Brad involved but he seemed used to the back-seat (ahem) as it were.  I did give a bit of praise here and there for both of various media things, including his fund-raiser of the survivors of the Japanese refugee camps in America that few knew about (I did, though honestly, I think the Japs just slaughtered Americans in Japan, or ate them as sushi.  They were rather brutal in WWII.  Ask a Korean.)

Shiriyazaki lighthouse on the northern tip of Honshu.  Wild horses spot the landscape.
  We ate breakfast alone, not with George and Brad so they could have some peace.  On the way out, I caught Brad's attention and made the metsa-metsa hand signal, which he laughed a bit and agreed.  On to Star Trek.

  We browed the dealer area again and I bought a tribble for no good reason and we headed to the convention arena seating area.  It was huge.  I'd say about 400 feet long or so.  Impressive size.  Assigned "Gold" seating was center aisle, though just 3 feet to the side was general admission so by saving $900 we sat actually in FRONT of the Gold ticket holders (though to the side a tad, which was fine with me).  We got to listen to John De Lancie (aka "Q" from Star Trek: Next Generation explain he just finished sailing a ship to Bora-Bora, though he had minimal ability to do so after building is own sailing yacht using sails!)  Later, Star Trek: Voyager characters came out and chatted, and a very bouncy and excited with a ton of insane nervous, cheerleader-like energy, Terry Farrell's Jadzia Dax .  All having amusing and interesting anecdotes.  It's nice to hear these actors (who did these sci-fi shows 25 years ago now!) talk about different adventures.  Most haven't done much since, really.  Most are surprised of the admiration and adoring.  Very few other professions are awarded such attention.  You don't see too many rom-com actors getting such love (ironically). 

  Becky decided we should get a photo-session with William Shatner and Kate Mulgrew even though it was a bit pricey.  Neet.  Both showed up on-stage to chat to a round of applause.  Kate Mulgrew played "Captain Janeway" on Star Trek: Voyager and she's currently in a show called, Orange is the New Black about a woman's prison that's rather popular.  Most of the Q&A was based on the new show to Bill's annoyance.  Shatner had made mention in The Captains (an interview documentary he created a year or two ago on an intimate level) that women should not be in leadership roles to Kate.  She is aware of the 1960's mentality of a "woman's place" and without a moment's heartbeat like a ninja twisted things around in a clever way to manipulate Shatner without him knowing.  She did stunts like this subtlety and expertly throughout again here.  When someone put it on-the-line and asked (rather in poor taste I might add) that if both Starfleet captains were somehow both placed on the Enterprise at the same time, who would be in-charge?  Kate quickly jumped on that and stated, "That would be easy.  I would be.  Kirk would be my Lieutenant." 

   Shatner hadn't heard it because he was formulating an answer but his aide on stage explained what she had said.  He was fuming and mouthed her response incredulously.  Things were getting bad fast.  She had made her strike and it was a killing blow and things were getting dangerously awkward.  She had made her point on many levels and it was sticking hard, then, she announced loudly to the crowd and Shatner, "..yeah, but you're all about the SEX!!!"  This overjoyed Shatner like a magician's flash-powder to the delight of the 10 thousand audience members and he took the free-out-gift she supplied.  Clever, Mulgrew.  Very clever.

Fuck you Capain Kirk

 Before they were done, we knew they were headed to the photo-shoot area so we headed-out a bit early and got about third in-line.  Fifteen minutes later they showed up and we were warned not to be able to give the actors any gifts, but I verified I could give Shatner my USAF Space Command patch (one of them, anyway).  When it was our turn (it's very quick, in-and-out an affair) I was able to quickly explain to Shatner that in the USAF my choices were often governed by how Captain Kirk would handle things, taking a bolder choice and with more risk and bravery.  He was very impressed and indicated he would include me in a speech at Lowell next week.

I like free stuff!  Mike Cronis, you're alright!
  We had also purchased some autographs with both of them online months earlier, but we didn't get the photos yet from the Kate/Bill session, so we waited in line for that after some more Star Trek speakings.  I had my photo signed from Sally Kellerman from the episode, Where No Man Has Gone Before, as she has signed, "To [sic] hot to handle" so I had thought that'd be nice for them to sign both.  I was number 400.  Becky was getting Kate's.  Becky got done pretty early but she lamented it was an industrial affair where you couldn't even say anything to her because it was robotic and fast, organized by the company running it, and it bothered her she was rushed on after an autograph. 

  Now here's where things get interesting.  I thought Shatner could add, "I am." resulting from Kellerman's "Too hot to handle" comment, as if, perhaps he was thinking he was too hot to handle, not her commenting she was in a little flurry of cute big-headedness.  It'd be typical of Shatner to say so, and it seemed (to me) in-character.  So when I finally get up to Shatner after an hour (he'd been signing constantly for that long and was getting obviously cranky) I had asked him to personalize it with, "I am."  At first, he was delighted to see Sally Kellerman's photo, but when I asked him to put "I am." he got very pissed off!  He asked me to repeat what I said (I did) and he grinded with such anger and aggression, "I don't do that SHIT!"  I was dumbfounded.  I had pissed-off my childhood hero!  ACK!  I was devastated!  Yikes!  The company guards surrounding him were ready to pounce.  He then said, "How about I just put, Thank You."  He did so and I was swept aside. 
Fuck you, Mike Cronis.  Oh, and thanks for the hundred bucks, bitch.
  Reeling from what had just occurred, I walked away and back to our room as if I had witnessed a 500-car head-on collision with two trains in an epic train-wreck.  I started to consider what had transpired.  It was my assumption he didn't want to seem the fool in some way and that putting "I am" would have been a joke on his expense, or I suspect that's how he took it.  Oddly, and to my benefit, by putting, "Thank You" to Kellerman's "Too hot to handle" arguably creates the same effect.  "Too hot to handle... Thank you."  Hm.  Somehow I had won that transaction and had bested Kirk at his own game, manipulating him to do what I wanted but allowing him to make that choice himself instead of forcing his hand, and I saw that's what Kate had done as well earlier.

Who da masta?
  The rest of the day we escaped to our rooms for a while and tried-out the pool. The thump-thump-thump of the bad top-40 music was not listenable.  It permeated everywhere and our sleeping was affected by it.  No one was enjoying the bass overdose and it was generally vacant.  I tanned lightly for a few minutes and gave up.  The pool bars were empty and no one wanted a dose of modern crap made for tweens.

Pool partay at the Rio, girls!  Yeah!  Frozen slushies!  It's a tween par-tay come TRUE!  Love the top-40!

 We enjoyed a little gambling and Becky won a good amount of cash to pay for our rooms (as usual, she tends to win pretty well on penny-slots, perhaps it's that Midwest-girl knack).  Later, we had tickets to see the Rio's big act, "The Rat Pack" which had impersonators playing the iconic '60s singers (who were in the original and way-better Ocean's Eleven) with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Dean Martin.  We dressed-up a bit for that and pictures were being taken with a vampy Marilyn Monroe.  I thought she was taking tickets and she announced, "Oh, you expect me to read?"  Amusing.  We were told if we wanted floor seats to "take care of Ted" and he'd "fix us up".  Becky had asked what that meant and I explained that "Ted" wanted his palm crossed with a few Benjamins for the floor tables up-front.  We decline the mobster option of greasing his paw with hard-earned cash and sit in the seats we had bought online months earlier.  No one was given even a small table except the dozen floor-sitters (who had to share an average-sized banquet table each).  I thought some good scotch was in order before the show started but a Pepsi ended-up being $12 and their best scotch was Johnnie Walker Black.  I didn't even ask despite a bottom-shelf scotch was their best and a soda was twelve bucks.  Didn't even.

  The show was a bit vulgar but pretty good and lasted an hour.  Rather pricey for $100 each.  The show didn't offer any snacks either so we schlepped up to an Annie's Pretzels right next to the BK Whopper Bar and got some pretzel-wrapped hot-dogs and chips and a drink (total cost for all items, $12) and went back to the room to watch a little pay-per-view and call it a night.  We passed some Star Trek clad revelers drinking at a few of the smaller bars in the hotel enroute.  I can only assume they had thousands of dollars for the wells the bar was offering.  I declined to spend $1000 on a Jack and Coke.

Marilyn Monroe impersonator at the overpriced Italian restaurant at the Rio, "Maratorano's".  Note the lack of patrons.

  It was hard to sleep that night with the thump-thump of the closed pool area, but we managed.  Next day was a short one and we got in-line for our Kate Mulgrew photo op.  We had bought it online months ago and we tried to sell it to some of the locals but the one girl who said she wanted it kept no-showing when she said she'd pick up the ticket so we got sick of that and decided to just two-for-one get a photo with her.  It was at the same time as the Guinness Book of World Records was going to host a "most number of people in a Star Trek costume at one time" event a few doors down so we had to hurry to get in.  We got the photo done and I had commented to her that she played Shatner like a fiddle and kept him tamed the whole time.  Her eyes sparkled and she quietly told me, "I have to."  I understood well.  Oh so well.  Becky spent a few minutes commenting she liked her new show which made Kate ecstatic.

  We raced to the closing doors of The Guinness Book of World Records room and I shoved my foot in the door and demanded they wait!  We mashed our way in despite record keepers insisting we couldn't get in, and we were issued numbered cards.  Terry Farrell (aka Dax) was excited and bouncing with a given-costume that she was number 1086 (the last one) though I actually was holding a 1087 card.  Event officials explained to me, "You do realize why Terry has to be the final card holder, right?  I said I did.  She was bouncy and excited and screaming as they counted-down the required 10-minute in-the-room exposure.  It was crowded but not insane.  On-screen, 1086 kept flashing.  It annoyed me because Becky got a 687 card (someone had left) and I had a 1087 (I still have it).  I wanted to make sure I was counted for this big deal, though the record previously was 1060, so it didn't matter if one or two wasn't there.  I just wanted to be counted.  I didn't care I was the last one in (actually Becky was, though given an earlier card).  To my satisfaction, a news article weeks later noted Terry was 1086 but the final tally was 1087.  Win.

You want nerds?  I'll show you nerds.  I'm off-frame on the right.
   We weren't able to pick-up the Kate Mulgrew photo op until the next day but we were headed-out of Vegas at 8am so we couldn't pick it up.  It's supposed to be shipped to us soon though.  We'll see.

Terry Farrel as number 1086 seemingly coked-out and beyond hyper-excited as the countdown reaches zero.

  Overall, the experience had its ups and downs.  Vegas is far more expensive that it ever has been, and the glitz is generally gone.  It's louder than it's ever been, and not as fun, though I wonder if my age has anything to do with it?  I guess if I just turned 21 it'd be a blast, especially if it was my first time, but having gone 4 or 5 times now, it's kinda just blah.  One could find better things to do at that price.  My time in Aruba was far superior on every level and about the same price, as well as several cruises.  Shrug.  I give it a grade, "Meh".

   It was neet seeing all the Star Trek minded folks there.  These are a different breed of smart than the Starfests and Comicons I've been to, more intelligent, more mellow, less of a spastic breed.  Less exabisionists and freaks, more real-world engineers, scientists, and people that make things work.  People that are valuable in society who have a real degree or a real job that's useful on this Earth.  People who if died would be needed and missed.   People of star-stuff.  People with souls.  I'm glad to be one of them.