Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Notes on Episode 7: Review of the new Star Trek Movie.

IMG_0306 This is one of the episodes of the Chronicles that I enjoyed doing, but it had a few little problems, mainly that I had to severely edit it for time. I did write some really good stuff for it, but some things had to go in order to get it to under 10 minutes.

Here is the script as I originally wrote it:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rebooting can be a good thing


In 2005, with the cancellation of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” I thought that the “Star Trek” had pretty much reached the final frontier, and the warp engines had finally conked out. But I was wrong. The phoenix rose from the ashes, and it had one hell of an attitude.

Title Sequence


Credit overlay:

Starring Dean Basler

Written and Directed by Dean Basler

Rebooting is a time-honored tradition in computing. From the earliest days of DOS, we all know that the three-finger salute (aka control-alt-delete) is a way to restart a system that has locked up.

Hollywood has embraced the reboot in the big way in order to jump-start a moribund franchise. Prime examples include “Battlestar Galactica,” which had a good concept in 1978 (humans escaping annihilation) but succumbed to network meddling after one season. In 2003 it was successfully rebooted by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, and lasted for four seasons and won a few awards (most notably the Peabody Award.)

In 2005, director Christopher Nolan and screenwriter David Goyer resurrected the Batman franchise with “Batman Begins,” which took Batman back to his roots after the savaging by director Joel Schumacher. (Remember the controversy of putting nipples on Batman and Robin’s suits?)

And of course, a reboot can misfire. The two examples that I can think of off the top of my head are “Superman Returns,” which was not a bad movie, did not resonate with the movie audience, and Tim Burton’s reboot of “Planet of the Apes,” which again wasn’t a bad movie, but was savaged by the critics.

But one reboot that I was apprehensive about was “Star Trek.” This was a show that was cancelled after three seasons on NBC, resurrected for a seven year run in “The Next Generation,” spawned two additional spin-offs, (Deep Space 9 and Voyager,) and a prequel series, Enterprise. The feature films were another story. Six features for the original cast, and four features for the Next Generation. After Star Trek Nemesis tanked at the box office in 2002, and Enterprise was cancelled after four seasons in 2005, it looked like the Star Trek franchise had run its course.

Then after the cancellation of Enterprise, Paramount Pictures announced that a new Star Trek film was in pre-production. Instead of being helmed by Rick Berman (who most of the Trek fandom blame for the dilution of the franchise,) they chose the writing team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to “reboot” the franchise. Also included was their long time collaborator, J.J. Abrams, who has been responsible for some of the top television hits over the past eleven years, such as “Lost,” “Felicity,” “Alias,” and the current Fox TV hit “Fringe,” (which I myself consider a worthy successor to “The X-Files,”) and was a writer on hit movies such as “Forever Young,” “Armageddon,” and “Regarding Henry.” Abrams wasn’t chosen originally as the director, but was convinced to take on the directing duties based on his strong directorial debut, “Mission Impossible: III.”

I myself had reservations that the film would be successful, but people were saying that Abrams would give a fresh look at the “Star Trek” universe, and open it up for a new generation of moviegoers, while bringing back the strong fanbase that has been a hallmark of “Star Trek” over the past forty years. A daunting task, to say the least. Well, I purchased the DVD of the movie (in widescreen, of course) and all I have to say is…


Yes, as an action film, Star Trek succeeds…but action alone doesn’t make a great film. Without strong character definitions in the writing, it’s just another sci-fi action flick. And Star Trek more than delivers.

Now, you have to remember that this (because of the actions of certain characters) is an alternate-reality version of “Star Trek.” If you watched the “Back to the Future” movies or “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles” you will understand where I am going with this.

From the get-go, it was a slap in your face, seat of the pants, adrenaline rush experience.

Right off the bat, we find out that a Romulan rebel is setting things in motion, by firing on a Federation ship. Australian actor Eric Bana (who was familiar to movie audiences in 2002’s “Hulk” as Bruce Banner) provided a layered performance as the tragically wounded Nero. He was both evil (in the destruction that he caused) and sympathetic (when the reason became apparent why he started on his path of destruction.)

His actions have an effect on the development of James Kirk (fortunately played with understatement by Chris Pine,) which shows the path that he had taken with respect to him becoming the captain of the Enterprise. Kirk in this version of Trek is a troubled young man, who needs a challenge to become the man that he is destined to be. Pine’s portrayal of Kirk as a man who loves women, yet is brash enough to take chances in the performance of his duties, enhances his status as the successor of the mantle that was previously worn by William Shatner.

I also applaud the decision of the inclusion of the character of Christopher Pike in this version, because his actions have a direct bearing on the development of Kirk. Bruce Greenwood brings the correct amount of gravitas to his role, and gives the young Kirk something to fight for.

Zachary Quinto, who we all know as the thoroughly evil Sylar on “Heroes,” gives a remarkably strong performance as the young Spock, with a few surprises thrown in. His interactions with Uhura, played by ZoĆ« Saldana provide us with insights into his duality as a child of Vulcan and a child of Earth. Saldana also holds her end up as she proves that she can be tough as the rest of the guys, yet shows that her feelings for Spock don’t get in the way as a Starfleet officer. She proved that she is more than an “interstellar telephone operator.”

For the role of Leonard “Bones” McCoy, New Zealand-born Karl Urban, who was a major character in the last two “Lord of the Rings” movies (which I didn’t see,) and “The Chronicles of Riddick” became McCoy. His bitterness, cynicism, and his fears were a perfect counterpoint to the brash young Kirk, and he was a perfect emotional foil for the cold logic of Spock.

John Cho, who came to fame in the “Harold & Kumar” stoner comedies, and can be seen in starring role on ABC’s “FlashForward,” captures the essence of Sulu. The controversy over the casting of a Korean-American in the role of a character of Japanese descent is a moot point. He was perfectly able to follow orders as the helmsman of the Enterprise, yet he proved that he could kick ass on the same level as Kirk does.

Anton Yelchin also gave a stellar performance as the young, wet behind the ears navigator Pavel Checkov, taking the same puppyish charm that Walter Koenig brought to the role when he was cast in the original series, yet it proved that he was close to an intellectual equal to Spock. His mispronunciation of “V’s” when speaking did not diminish his character, but had the opposite effect which was make his character endearing to everyone else.

Simon Pegg, whom we all know from his roles in “Spaced,” “Shaun of the Dead,” and “Hot Fuzz” (one of my favorites) and worked with Abrams on “Mission Impossible:III,” proved to be the perfect casting choice of Scotty. Every part of his performance, from his Scots accent (even though he is a Brit,) to his self-depreciating humor, and his love of engineering raised the bar that was set by Jimmy Doohan.

I could also go on about the supporting cast, such as Ben Cross as Sarek and Wynona Ryder as Amanda (Spock’s parents,) but suffice it to say that their stories drive the plot, instead of just being tacked on to satisfy the fan base.

But the most surprising performance was that of Leonard Nimoy reprising his role of Spock. Just like William Shatner appearing in Star Trek Generations to provide a bridge between the Original Series and the Next Generation and drive the story, Nimoy more than delivered in his performance of Spock Prime. His scenes with his heir apparent, Zack Quinto, was one of the most powerful performances that I have ever seen in a Star Trek movie. If he isn’t nominated for an Academy Award, it would be a slap in the face of the man who has embodied the spirit of Star Trek for more than forty years.

The one character that I have saved for last is the Enterprise herself. For as much as Star Trek is a people driven story, the Enterprise is the center of the action and very much a character in her own right.. Instead of a massive redesign, like in the “Next Generation” the production designers took the classic design of the Original Series and made her look fresh and new. When Abrams said that the new bridge design was cooler than the Apple store, he wasn’t kidding.

Wrap up

If I seem like that I am gushing in my praise for this reboot of the Star Trek franchise, well…yes I am. I loved Star Trek for a long time, and I thought that it had run its course. But maybe it does take a fresh set of eyes to look at a well established universe, and take it in a direction that would please the “old-school” Star Trek fan, yet make it current and exciting for today’s audience.

To Paramount and CBS, thank you for not giving up on it.

To JJ and his crew, and the new cast, thank you for giving us a universe to revel in.

But most of all, thank you for allowing me to fall in love with Star Trek all over again.

I’m DeanBear…live long and prosper.

End Titles:

Written, Produced, Edited, and Directed by Dean Basler

Star Trek available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Paramount Home Video

Star Trek is a registered trademark of CBS Studios, Inc.

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The DeanBear Chronicles blog site:

Dean Basler’s website:

© 2009, Mattydale Pictures Television

a unit of the Mattydale Media Group.

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The DeanBear Chronicles - Episode 7: Review of the new Star Trek movie

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two New (Old) Videos

There are two sort of new videos on my YouTube channel. The first one is Random Bullshit From DeanBear, the second is DeanBear on Wants vs. Needs.

The reason that they are sort of new? I decided to reedit and clean them up a bit, one, to remove copyrighted music (the clips of “Stereotomy” by The Alan Parsons Project, that were flagged by YouTube,) and to clean up the video and tweak them a little bit to make them look better when they are viewed. The other reason ties directly into the copyright issue. Someday I hope to become a YouTube partner, and if I don’t have the infringing videos on the site, it would improve my chances of becoming a partner. So the music that you hear is generated by Sony Cinescore, thus there is no rights issue that has to be dealt with.

Also, another thing that I did was re-do my production company logo. The ones that I did before looked a little crappy, and the new ones look a helluva lot better.

That is all.

Random Bullshit from DeanBear (Remastered)

DeanBear on Want vs. Need (Remastered

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Notes on Episode 6 - James T. Kirk is a Computerphobe (Part 2)

This is part 2 of my little love letter to Star Trek. Some of the video was from when I shot the first part, and I just added another episode to nitpick, plus a couple of bumpers at the beginning and end to tie them together. Another thing that I noticed about Kirk is that he gets laid A LOT! Maybe I will comment about that in my next video. (Let's face it everyone...Star Trek is wide open for a shitload of nitpicking, considering that it has become part of the American zeitgeist.)

So enjoy what you see (or not) and if you are so inclined, subscribe and or comment (which really doesn't matter to me.)

(c) 2009, Mattydale Pictures Television

Friday, October 30, 2009

Notes on Episode 5 – James T. Kirk, Computerphobe

IMG_0303Okay, before I get into this I just wanna say one thing…I love Star Trek and this is meant to be a PARODY, so any of you Trekkies out there just get a grip on yourselves, unbunch your panties, and just enjoy the ride.

I have been a Trek fan for as long as I can remember, and I can thank my parents for that. They both were big science fiction fans, and I guess that I am the only one who picked up on it because of them. One of my father’s big passions was Star Trek, and all of us used to watch it with him. It was probably the only time that all of us could agree on one program that we could enjoy together. He even let us stay up late on Friday nights when NBC moved it to the Friday night death slot (10 pm.)

I guess that early exposure to science fiction in general fostered my attraction to computers and just having fun with them. So that is why I decided to do this little “love letter” to Star Trek. I haven’t seen the “reboot” of the franchise, but I will probably go out and buy the DVD when I have the chance (let’s hope that Walmart has the widescreen version in stock.)

The motivation for doing this? I have been watching Star Trek Remastered on I had seen a few of the remastered episodes on the local CW affiliate, but not as many as I wanted. So when I found out that they were in the HD Gallery, I started watching them. I naturally gravitated to the ones with computers and robots in the storyline, and I saw Kirk do battle with them. So naturally, I had to comment on them (in my own cranky bastard way.)

Now, I am not one of those obsessive Trek fans. I don’t have a set of Vulcan ears. I don’t have a custom made Next-Gen era uniform. I don’t have a bat'leth hanging on my wall. I do have a copy of the Klingon-English dictionary, and I have a shitload of Trek novels. But do I have an obsessive compulsive relationship with Trek? No. I enjoyed it for what it is, and that is entertainment. (Okay, I did go to a Star Trek convention in 1989, and I got autographed photos of John deLancie (Q) and William Campbell (The Squire of Gothos/Koloth.))

(DeLancie was pretty much a cold prick who was in it for the money, but William Campbell was very funny, charming, and liked the Trek fandom.)

So why did I do this? I really don’t fuckin’ know, and I don’t really fuckin’ care. I just felt like doing it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The DeanBear Chronicles - September 26, 2009

Welcome back to The DeanBear Chronicles. It's been a while, so let's jump right into it...




Hardware Follies – Fall 2009 – NSFW

Well, I am now back on the air with my YouTube Channel, and it’s been a struggle. The main reason?


My Gateway system finally shit the bed. Bye bye motherboard. The system had been dicey at best, given that it was only a 1.5 Ghz system, and had an IBM DeathStar (aka DeskStar) hard drive. (People kept saying avoid IBM and Hitachi hard drives, and they were right.) So basically I had to fall back on my old CyberPower Athlon XP 2000+ system to get back online, but that wasn’t much better. Random crashes kept pissing me off, and bringing video into the system was a major crapshoot. But there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it came from an unlikely source.

A couple of weeks ago, Dan and I stopped at the Salvation Army store on my way to work. I naturally headed to the electronics section to see if there was anything that would pique my interest. There was. An IBM (now Lenovo) ThinkCentre. I cracked it open to see what was in it. It was pretty basic, 512 MB of RAM, CD drive, onboard video, audio, and Ethernet, floppy, and no hard drive. I figured I could scavenge parts from it. It was only 15 dollars. So in the TrailBlazer it went, and I would mess with it when I got home from work.

The next day, I got home and got it out of the TrailBlazer, and brought it into my office. Just for shits and giggles, I hooked it up and checked to see if it would power up. Sure enough, it did. I got a very nice surprise out of it…it has a Pentium 4 2.66 GHz CPU! (I knew it had a P4, but I didn’t know how fast it was.) So I went online and looked up the specs of the system. (IBM makes it easy, they put the model number on a small sticker on the front of the system.) Sure enough, I found that I had a smokin’ system. But I wasn’t sure that it would hold up, so I had to test it. I have old hard drives all over the place, so I popped one into it (an 8 Gb Samsung that I had kicking around.) An install of Win2K to see if it would work, and sure enough, it did. Now it was “shits and giggles” time again, so I downloaded the latest distro of Ubuntu Linux (the Kubuntu variant, because I like the K desktop,) burned the image to a CD, and did an install.

I was pretty fuckin’ impressed. Kubuntu installed pretty easily. It found all the hardware and installed the relevant drivers, and it worked pretty fuckin’ good. But I had bigger plans for this at this point.

For this to work, I needed to do some upgrades at this point. Windows XP was a given at this point. The other was more memory, even though XP can run on 64Mb of memory. A bigger hard disk is a must (you can never have enough hard drive space.) Video? I have an nVidia GeForce FX 5500 with 256Mb of DDR memory. Very fast and very slick. Audio? SoundBlaster Audigy ZS2. (The sound card is essential because it has an IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire) port so I can bring video in using my Canon MiniDV camera, not to mention that I could set up my system for Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.) USB 2.0 ports? Not a problem, it has 6 of them built in (four on the backplane, two on the front plus two legacy USB 1.0 ports on the backplane.) Optical drive? I have a Sony DVD burner that I borrowed from our ex-roomie (and she is bothering me to return, which I will when I get the double-layer, Lightscribe DVD burner that I want.)

First, the hard drive issue. I went to the Regional Market Sunday flea market, because I know of a couple of vendors who have components that I need. (I got the Audigy and GeForce cards there.) The vendor that I got the GeForce card from has a lot of hard drives. So I bought a 320Gb Western Digital and a 250Gb Samsung from him. Had a couple of surprises when I got home. First, the WD was a Serial ATA drive. Not a problem, the computer has two SATA connections on the motherboard, plus the corresponding power connects. The problem is I DIDN’T HAVE A SATA DRIVE CABLE! (Damnit.) So I put the Samsung in and the goddamn thing didn’t work. The fuckin’ thing wouldn’t be recognized by the IBM BIOS, and it just clicked when I powered up. Okay. Shit happens, I bought a bum drive. So I stopped at that point, put the Ubuntu drive back in, and called it a day.

The next day, at work, I was talking with Scotty, our maintenance man (and who happens to be a bigger computer geek than I am) and told him about the problems. He said that he had some SATA cables kicking around at home, and would bring a couple in. He forgot them the next day, but he brought them in the day after. When I asked him how much he wanted for them, he said forget it. (What a guy!)

Okay, that problem was solved, so once I got home, being the geek that I am, I had to try it out. So out came the Ubuntu drive and the SATA drive went in. Power and interface cable installed, and I was ready to see what I had wrought. Sure enough, the BIOS saw the drive, and it booted. (There was a previous install of XP on the drive, which had to go.) At this point, I was pretty stoked, so out came the XP install disk, and I proceeded to reformat the WD drive and do an XP install. Let me tell you, it TAKES FUCKIN’ FOREVER TO FORMAT A 320GB DRIVE! But once that was done, the install went without a hitch. Now the trick was to get it to hook up to the net. A quick visit to Lenovo’s website, and I had the on-board LAN driver downloaded to a flash drive. Now the fun began. After doing the LAN driver install, it was time to update XP. 53 fuckin’ updates. So I just let Windows do it’s thing, and let it install everything that it needed.

At this point, I was going to hold off on moving all the components over until Friday morning, (the only thing that I installed was my GeForce 2 32Mb video card, because the onboard video just doesn’t cut it.)

Friday rolls around, and I ready to get fuckin’ serious. First off, installing the applications that I need. Firefox (I fuckin’ hate Internet Explorer,) the free version of AVG Anti-Virus (always a good thing,) and Windows Defender (having an active anti-spyware program is also a good thing.) Now that I have the core protection, it’s time to get the hardware in. First up, yank the 512Mb of memory that is in the system and put in the 1Gb memory module from my Cyberpower system, and put the 512 in the Cyberpower (I have plans for it.) Next, swap the GeForce cards. Then pull the Audigy card and put it in the ThinkCentre. The Cyberpower is going to use the onboard AC’97 sound since I don’t plan on doing anything heavy with it. Finally, swap over the DVD and CD drives, and I am all set to go.

Now comes the heavy lifting. Power all my shit down, start unplugging everything, and move all my shit. Move the iMac from the stand where I have it to the metal keyboard drawer, move the 17 inch CRT over to the printer stand that I use as a second computer desk (with the under desk keyboard drawer.) Move the stand over a bit so I can fit the Cyberpower’s tower next to it. Hook up the Acer keyboard, GE optical mouse, Altec Lansing ACS90 speakers, and the LAN cable to it. Power up, edit the BIOS settings and test, and I am back online.

Now the hard part…putting the ThinkCentre on my normal computer desk…the only bitch is hooking all the cabling back up, but I accomplish that is short order. Now comes the real acid test…power up and hope for the best.

SUCCESS! The FX 5000 was recognized right off, all the hardware works! Now I am at the point where I finally have the system that I have always wanted. Fast enough to run all the apps that I use (Sony Vegas, Nero 9, Microsoft Office) but not expensive. Installed all my software that I needed, the games that I like to play.

Now that I have a really decent system, one of the first things that I did was load in some video that I shot for my YouTube channel and start editing. Sure enough, everything worked out for the better.

One of the final things that I had to do was recover all my data from when the Gateway shit the bed. So into the IBM went the 120Gb DeathStar that I had, and I decided to try something. Nero 9 has a shitload of tools that are installed (I bought it maily for that reason.) One of them is called Nero Rescue. I thought that it might help and sure as hell it did! I was able to recover all my photos, video, and Vegas templates. So that was a load off my mind. I was so scared that I had lost pretty much everything, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it ain’t an oncoming train.

The DeanBear Chronicles - Episode 4: Stream Of Consciousness In The Kitchen

Well, this is what I wanted to do, but since all my hardware was dicey at the time when I taped it, it isn’t until now that I was able to post it to my YouTube channel. I’m not going to say much about it, I’m just going to let you judge it for yourself.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Notes on "Guns, Guns, Everywhere Are Guns"

I was going to do a post on the last episode of "Battlestar Galactica," but this is more important. On April 3, 2009, a gunman walked into the American Civic Association building in Binghamton, New York, barricaded the door, and started shooting people, leaving 14 people (including himself after he committed suicide) dead. This is an event that no community should go through, and it is up to us to see that it doesn't happen again.

I finally figured out the settings so it would properly render in widescreen!

If I seems that I looking down a lot while I am doing this, you're right. I actually wrote out what I wanted to say beforehand. Trust me, I'll get better at this.

News reports via Google News:

Wikipedia entry on the Second Amendment:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Notes on "Hate is a bitch"

Okay, I know the video looks a little crappy, I am still learning how to properly render in widescreen. I'll get it eventually, and my next episode will be in standard 4:3 aspect ratio, because Vegas doesn't seem to have a problem with that. It's all a matter of tweaking the settings to keep the audio and video synchronized, which is what I was having a problem with.

I do like having a proper video camera though, because it makes doing the video easier. The chroma key effects are much better, since I don't have to do much color correction on the video. I spent about 20 dollars at Walmart getting two reflector lamps (they came in a kit that was easy to assemble) and a couple of 150 watt GE Reveal light bulbs. They put the proper amount of light on the green screen, and if I sit about six feet away from it, plus have a small spotlight mounted on my tripod right below the video camera to provide fill-in light, the raw video is a snap to chroma key. (That is one of the reasons why I actually spent 95 bucks at Sony's website for the Vegas Platinum Pro package. Vegas is so much easier to use than Pinnacle Studio.)

Another thing: I know that this video is a little long, but the subject matter demanded it. Hate in any form should be discouraged and ridiculed. So here is the video, and I hope you enjoy it, or makes you think about it and do something.

The next video (which should be up sometime Sunday night,) I will take on the series finale of "Battlestar Galactica," which finally ended it's cockteasing and went out in an orgasmic blaze of glory (IMHO.)

Here's the link to Diversity Rules Magazine, where you can show your support to Jim Koury.

And here is a editorial on the threat itself from the Oneonta Daily Star:

The music that I am now using is royalty free and easy to download, courtesy of Jason Shaw and Audionautix.
Here is the link to his website:

There is also a Twitter feed to the right on my blog page, If I feel like posting what I am doing at that moment, that is what you will see there.

Here's episode 2 of The DeanBear Chronicles:

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A New Start

Well, my blog site is changing again...instead of just doing stupid ass childish rants, this is gonna be a little more refined. Most of the time, I will just embed my latest video, and sometimes I will also write commentary about one thing or another, and provide links to more information.

One of the things that I am doing is experimenting with Sony Vegas as an editor. It has some features that work very well. The cold open is an experiment using multiple chroma key effects, and it wasn't that good, but I will get better at it. The main title, the interstitials (the transitions between segments,) and my production company logo were first rendered using Art Of Illusion 2.7, a open source Java based CGI program. It was pretty easy to get it to do what I wanted to do. The end titles were handled by the Vegas software. Once that was done, I could upload it right to YouTube from the program. Slick, very slick.

Now, all I need is a proper digital video camera to shoot and upload in 16:9 widescreen, instead of my Kodak digital camera.

Well, here it is, the "pilot episode" of The DeanBear Chronicles.

Don't forget to leave comments and don't forget to subscribe.

Links to topics in the video:

The Jonathan Lopez story:

Sony Vegas:

Art of Illusion 2.7

Some photos that were taken in October 2008:

When DeanBear and Dano went to That Place (in Utica, New York)