26 November 2014

Milton: Our little furry family addition

It's about time I posted about my life I thought and a break away from all the sci-fi reviews of the past year!

A little over six months ago now our family got a little bigger with the addition of our furry pet, Milton. With the way things had been going at home, we thought it might help Eleonor in particular if we got her a companion while she was on part-time duties and something that could help her keep her mind off work and other things.

We found Milton, a Jack Russell cross, at the Hawkesbury Animal Shelter after looking at a few others around the place. He was the first dog we saw and Eleonor appeared to develop an immediate bond while I was more interested in some of the larger dogs. Eventually we found that little Milton, who was nameless at the time might be the best choice so we put our names down on the waiting list.

We picked him up from the vet less than a week later and welcomed him home. He was barely 4 months old when we picked him up and he was a little wary around us, particularly me.

Six months on and he's settled right in with us. Unfortunately he has a tendency to bark when we're not home which has been a bit of an annoyance for our neighbours, but aside from some digging and plant destruction in the early days he's a pretty well behaved boy that we have managed to house train fairly quickly. He enjoys a lot of play time as he has a seemingly endless amount of energy and he loves to rip things apart - including his original bed, his favourite play toys and just about anything else!

He has a great personality and loves to be intellectually challenged too. We've tried to help him socialise with other dogs in our local dog park but he does like to make a lot of noise and go up to the big dogs when they're not looking. When they give him attention it's quite a different story though!

Aside from his tan and white features he has slightly spotted skin on his belly and legs and a distinctive curled tail. We're not exactly sure what the other part of his crossbreed is but we have a suspicion it might be Corgi which would explain his tail, his longer fur and having more tan on him than Jack Russell's usually seem to have.

It's good that we both now have a dog after we each lost our family dogs a few years ago and always said we would get one of our own. Milton brings a smile to our faces and makes us laugh :)

Eleonor's written up her own story on Milton shortly after we brought him home.

09 November 2014

B5 Review: Darkness Ascending & And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder

The investigation into Alliance shipping lane attacks concludes and darkness falls across the galaxy in the realisation of what lies ahead...

Darkness Ascending
Michael has an unexpected visitor and Lennier finds indisputable proof about who is behind the attacks on Alliance ships while Lyta is actively looking for assistance from anyone who will help her and the rogue telepaths.

Lennier is working on a theory when Whitestar 27 is recalled to Babylon 5 following Sheridan's finding out about what Delenn has done. Lennier proceeds to take a fighter and continue the investigation where he follows a Centauri warship and documents his findings.

Lise arrives on the station to catch up with Michael who she hasn't heard from through the year. Discovering alcohol in his quarters, she isn't too impressed and Michael is sworn to prove he is in control of the drink while she is there - which he fails to do.

Lyta seeks help but keeps hitting roadblocks - but a deal proposed to her at the very beginning of the series just may still be on the table. I always wondered too, was Lyta ever really in Garibaldi's quarters at the beginning of the episode?

This is where the season begins to pick up, following Meditations on the Abyss we now know, and our characters now know, for certain that the Centauri are involved in the attacks. We still don't know why however. Being as avid a fan as I am of the show, it was hard not to feel just slightly emotional witnessing what Lennier saw aboard his fighter and also the feeling of sadness when Michael tells Lise to leave the station, and why.

Rating: 8/10

And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder
The Alliance presents the evidence implicating the Centauri Republic in the recent attacks as Londo attempts to find out what has happened. Tensions mount and Garibaldi's drinking problem puts lives in danger.
This episode looks mostly at the presentation of evidence against the Centauri Republic and the consequences of promises made by Sheridan & Delenn to the Alliance races. We see the boiling point reaching its peak with Sheridan's outburst against the council. Meanwhile, Londo works to sort out what is going on and gets few answers from homeworld. He and G'kar leave to investigate at its source, leaving Vir on Babylon 5.
It's another well done episode in this arc and we have to wonder where all of this is leading with open hostilities between the Centauri Republic and the Interstellar Alliance now - a result of Michael's inability to keep his drinking under control, which has now started to cost lives...

Rating: 7.5/10

05 November 2014

Trek Review: Official Starships Collection - Jem'Hadar Battlecruiser

Eaglemoss presents their first ship from the Gamma Quadrant with this release - the formidable Jem'hadar Battlecruiser.

The Magazine
I was surprised to see that this ship didn't make an appearance until midway through DS9's fifth season. It would appear many times more in the ensuing Dominion War but it is also worth noting that we never really saw much of the ship, particularly the inside, which doesn't help when trying to put a magazine issue together I imagine!

Regardless, Eaglemoss have a comprehensive issue here which looks at the ship, its design, weaponry and crew complement in all the detail it can provide. There is a brief run down on the Dominion itself, but it doesn't feel like this takes away from the purpose of the magazine unlike the Borg Sphere release. I learned something too with the engines being placed above the hull, not underneath on the wingtips as I had thought!

There are some nice sketches of how the ship could have looked and more interesting information - I would have liked to have seen the filming model that was briefly used but no images of it are included.

Continuing the trend set with the Akira release, this issue seems to strike a good balance.

Rating: 8.5/10

The Ship
The model is reasonably sized and detailed for a ship we didn't get so many close-ups of in the series. The Jem'hadar Battlecruisers were often against dark backgrounds, and with dark colouring on them anyway, this made it sometimes difficult to appreciate their design and hull details.

Eaglemoss have again produced a sturdy piece with different colours and highlights creating a look of different textures and materials. There are no transparent pieces, but there weren't many illuminated sections on the ship in the series either. The printed windows on the hull don't provide much of a sense of scale, I think this is due to the clean look they have - they just appear to be dots printed on the hull rather than actual windows. Due to the scale of the ship, this is probably the best we could expect though.

The underside includes more details and the pink/purple hues we know of other Jem'hadar ships. Again, it's nice to appreciate these details that we may not have had a good look at on screen.

The stand connects to the rear with only a single 'arm' but fastens to the ship quite securely compared to some of the earlier releases.

Overall, this is a nice representation of the ship and another worthy addition to the collection.

Rating: 8/10

03 November 2014

B5 Review: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father & Meditations on the Abyss

The Corps Is Mother, The Corps is Father
Bester and two Psi-Corps interns head to Babylon 5 to hunt down a powerful telepath that poses a significant danger.

This episode is told completely from the point of view of huge Psi Corps and sees Bester assigned to a case to track down a telepath that has killed another during routine training.

The path leads them to Babylon 5 where they soon learn Johnathon Harris, their suspect has multiple personalities of differing psi capabilities. This paired with his training in mind shredding poses a serious threat. Harris finds himself teamed up with an opportunistic thug who kills one of Bester's interns when he realises they are after his 'partner'.

Eventually, Harris is brought in by Bester and B5 security. Both he and his associate are handed to Bester.

Another one of those episodes told from another point of view and somewhat interesting if a little stale at the same time. We do get to see that not everyone dislikes Bester like the B5 crew mostly do for example.

The original version of this episode included a modified opening title which replaced the Babylon 5 shield emblem with a Trust the Corps/Psi-Corps shield instead, however the DVD version didn't include it.

Rating: 6.5/10

Meditations on the Abyss
Lennier is assigned to a Whitestar for Ranger training but also to investigate who is behind the alliance shipping lane attacks. Meanwhile, races like the Drazi are becoming impatient with the Alliance in finding out who is responsible for the shipping lane attacks and attempt to bug Londo's quarters believing the Centauri are involved.

Lennier is posted to Whitestar 27 (aka Maria) to learn, but also finds himself in a position to teach others, including Findell who appears to have joined the Rangers for the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, Londo informs Vir that he will be Ambassador to Babylon 5 once Londo becomes Emperor. G'Kar receives his correctly coloured prosthetic eye and Franklin sits in on one of G'Kar's lectures to his people.

There are some funny moments in this episode, including the mention of McBari's and Vir's reaction to the Drazi merchant. There are also some great shots including the Maria's jump from hyperspace and the tactical exercise of the Minbari fighters in an asteroid field. 

Garibaldi's drinking problem continues to worsen.

Rating: 7/10