CRRRaSh! 269 Kerr Avon is Dead

By Roy Mathur, on 2019-06-04, at 23:54:00 to 00:43:26 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

CRRRaSh Podcast News

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Beginning this episode, show notes were going to be nicely formatted webpages--except HTML doesn't display special characters without a special character codes, whereas plain text does... even in a browser.

I really, really, can't be bothered to do this yet, but I am working on it. One day, you'll click on the show notes and just find everything all lovely and formatted.

Humans are Basically Ents

There are arachnid lice-like bugs (Demodex) that inhabit our eyelashes, eyebrows, beards, and god knows where else. (By this stage of my research, Google was no longer my friend).

We are also covered and filled with a slew of bacterial colonies and viruses. Argh. I already knew some of this stuff, but not the full extent of the horror, largely because I have deliberately tried not to delve too deeply.

This time I did delve, however, to seek a solution to my eye problems. I found some treatments with tea tree oil that may or may not help, but honestly you're better off seeing your doctor because tea tree oil is incredibly toxic (i.e. don't try messing with the stuff at home--you have been warned).

Anyway, as someone with OCD, the bugs really, er, bugged me, for a few days at least until, I just gave up. (At least, that's what I keep telling myself to keep the madness at bay). We are just disgusting walking tree people covered in ick.

Welcome to this Week's Big Mess of Nerd

I'm what would happen if you combined Captain Haddock, Corto Maltese, Rincewind, and Two-Flower into a baked-baked Captain Harlock, who thought he was actually Han Solo.

Enough pop cultural humble bragging and let's do this!

Paul Darrow Passes Away

Paul Darrow, who had been frail and in poor health for some time, passed away yesterday. He was best known for playing Kerr Avon, the iconic, ruthless, and very cool computer hacker, on the cult BBC science fiction TV show Blake's 7.

He was a favourite character on the show (even my non-geek Dad liked him) and possibly one of the reasons, along with Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven, that I wear so much black.

I was also talking about interviewing him for the podcast recently. That's the second guest on the "to interview" list who has died. The first was Gareth Thomas.

CRRRASH says, RIP to the coolest hacker in the galaxy. Kerr Avon, I salute you! Link.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard's Hard Road

In preparation for the Star Trek Picard show, I've been watching the Picard movies. So far, I've watched Generations, First Contact, and even Insurrection (which I now think isn't as terrible as I once thought).

Boy, they really love to hammer poor Picard over the years. His heart replaced with a mechanical one, after a fight with Nausicaans (TNG) in his youth, assimilated by the Borg (TNG), family killed in a fire (Generations), and finally retired out of Star Fleet to live the rest of his life with a terminal illness (TNG).

Please give the captain a happy ending!

Drax the Destroyer's Crazy, Crazy Backstory

Again, have I mentioned this before? I mean really, have I? Better show notes Roy, better show notes.

I love Drax the Destroyer; listen to crrrash 178 and 188, and even moreso when I found this fact. Did you know that, originally, in the Marvel comic book backstory of Drax the Destroyer, he was an estate agent called Arthur Douglas whose family were blown up by Thanos? His soul was transferred into the Drax body by Kronos to assassinate Thanos. While this isn't in the MCU version of the character, I'd love to see that crazy movie.

Many fans, including myself have banged on enough about Dave Bautista, that it must have got through to his agent, when I heard Baustista trying to push for a solo movie. Initially, I regretted joining the chorus of salivating fans because there's nothing that can kill a career faster then by thinking you're all that and then stinking in your first solo movie.

But now I've read the backstory a few times, I think there's enough material there for him to pull it off. And, while I've recently cast doubt on Taika Waititi's upcoming take on Akira, wouldn't a nutso story like this just be perfect for him?

The Last Watch

I really enjoyed this two hour behind the scenes look at the whole production of GoT. It has not changed how I feel about the show, but I'm very impressed by the hard work the cast, crew, and extras put in.

I thought the Night King (Vladimír Furdík) was great. He's a stuntman, turned fight choreographer who says he isn't really an actor, but he is wrong. He really nails the Night King, he gets motivation, and I hope he acts again.

Watching all that hard work fired me up again to work harder with my own writing too. Finally, why weren't our Dungeons and Dragons sessions like that table read?

The Lord of the Rings TV Show

Here's what I know about that upcoming TV show (2021) set in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. So far we know that there are five seasons in the works.

From the maps Amazon Prime Video published, it's a prequel set in the Second Age, long before the Third Age events of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The Second Age is also known as the Age of Númenor. It is the age of the lost, and the greatest, civilisation of humans, on the fabled island of Numenor.

Swamp Thing

Scientist transformed into eco-avenger.

I watched the first episode and liked it. Not much more to say about it at this stage, but it does seem like fun and leans heavily on the horror genre.

Good Omens

An angel and demon try to stop the apocalypse (we talked about this in 268).

It's a loose comedic parody of The Omen film series. It's fun, but not as good as Going Postal, which is the best Pratchett adaptation.

Tennant plays the demon a bit like a combination of the Doctor and Peter Vincent from the Fright Night remake, with a lot of swaggering and an the occasional Bill Nighy mumbling meander thrown in. I feel that his performance is restrained and I really think he should have been let off the leash play the role completely barmy and eat the scenery in great big chunks... The drag scene is very funny.

On Amazon now and BBC soon.


NOS4A2 is a new AMC horror television series, based on Joe Hill's novel.

I don't know many of the cast, except Zachary Quinto.

It's about a young woman sensitive to another world or parallel universe, and to which the villain, a supernatural child snatcher, seems to have access.

This is the most Stephen King-like of Joe Hill's work, almost uncomfortably so (Salem's Lot, The Dead Zone, It, Christine, Mr. Mercedes etc., and it's a long list, so let's stop right here). It's also a little slow-moving. Luckily though, there are more shades of grey and strong fantasy elements to differentiate son from father.

The worldbuilding is excellent. One of the characters plucking Scrabble pieces from a bag of holding and casting them like bones or runes is a nice touch of magical realism. Hill is also better than his dad with really deep emotions and motivations. On the other hand, King is better at nihilistic horror, when sometimes people are just bad and bad things happen for no reason at all. However, I do wish the both of them would stray out of smalltown rural America once in a while.

It's good though, I enjoyed it, and don't take my nerdly nitpicking to heart, it's just part of talking about a thing. I definitely wouldn't have thought about it this much if I didn't like it. Thanks for ruining Christmas, Joe Hill.

Brightburn's Totally Muffed UK Release

In the UK, Brightburn will be released a month later than everywhere else and be cut down from an R to a 15?

Then there's the excess of trailers and, of course, the UK press reviews already published for a film that we won't actually get to see until late June.

And why should the BBFC help distributers by advising them how to achieve a rating? How unbelievably annoying. Before anyone suggests this, sure, piracy, but there're only rubbish cam copies available.

GCHQ Sounding Out Access to Encrypted Chat Again

GCHQ want to be invisible participants in encrypted chats, but Google, WhatsApp (Facebook), and Apple are fighting this.

What a stupid, stupid idea for many reasons, including human rights, but also undermining WhatsApp trusted chat service. If this happens, I guarantee most people, and all British politicians, will immediately dump WhatsApp and move to Signal. This is yet another blazingly stupid idea from our SIGINT service. They have apparently not given up trying finagle their way in, rather than just doing their job.

You don't need this level of surveillance to get the bad guys, as we'll see in the next story. And, by the way, a few puzzle books, nerdy DIY cluster computing projects, and charity bike rides aren't going to change public perception at the insane level of snooping in the UK. According to a 2006 Telegraph article (well before even the recent extended surveillance laws), the UK has what the EU classes as "endemic surveillance".

BBC Africa Eye Tracks Down Cameroon Murderers

Using freely available data, insanely clever journalists identified the murderers of what has become known as the Cameroon atrocity--the shooting of a woman and her child in a revenge killing.

You have to see this video to believe how they achieved this fiendishly brilliant intelligence gathering (OSINT). Although the Cameroon government were initially sceptical, on production of the evidence, the Cameroon army Special Forces operators accused of the killings were arrested and are now in custody.

There is nowhere to hide.

Windows 7 End of Life

End of Life for Windows 7 is January 2020, but for an extortionate fee, you can keep receiving updates for a while at least.

Since I use Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit on my Mac Mini Late 2012 through Boot Camp, the obvious thing to do is to use the MacOS partition full time. I toyed with Linux on the Mac because even getting Windows to work properly lately has been a challenge, as the Boot Camp menu hasn't really been working for a while.

However, I also have an old Netbook on which I might install Linux--possibly Mate or Lubuntu. Or... maybe Win98SE on an SD card. Yes, I can bypass the SATA nightmare because the good things about Netbooks are that they came with a plethora of ports. Sure, WiFi and a few other things might not work, but it's an option for running it as a retro machine.