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  1. Third of four in this increasingly late series. Spelled as it is on the label.

    On a somewhat related note, this is my 100th entry on the new site. Woot, I guess.
  2. Here's the second of these, a day late:

    Worth a shot, I think.
  3. I've never tried actual prickly pear fruit, so I have no frame of reference for how this compares.

    Kinda tasted like watermellon to me.
  4. As always, I'm a little behind in getting these things shared. Did this not long after Nash finished Mass Effect: Andromeda on his game stream:

    We'll Dang!, OK?
  5. The Lone Gunmen is a show I've been meaning to do an article about since I did the one about The X-Files back in 2013. Lone Gunmen was different from X-Files in that it was, by and large, more comedic than the show it was spun off from. Langly, Byers, and Frohike, collectively know as the Lone Gunmen, started off on The X-Files, as I understand it, as a one-shot contact for Mulder to get information from in an early episode. They proved to be popular enough to become recurring characters and eventually get their own spinoff, which is the topic of this piece.

    This show only lasted one season, in 2001, which was really kind of too bad. There was a lot of potential, seeing these three guys trying to run their conspiracy tabloid and investigating all manner of things that could fill such a thing but not make for an episode of X-Files, since our boys were all civilians rather than government folks meant to be working for government interests.

    The pilot episode, of course, was light on a lot of the things I just mentioned. The Lone Gunmen, upon hearing that Byers's dad is potentially dead as a result of being involved with a rather nasty conspiracy, drop their investigation of and attempts to steal a computer chip meant for spying on the general public and wind up just barely managing to avert a disaster that would come to pass here in the real world a few months later. The plot, it seems, was a war games sort of thing that the Department of Defense had cooked up about a passenger jet getting hijacked and flown into the Word Trade Center that they'd decided to do for real, in terms of the show, to get a war going.

    The first “regular” episode had the guys going in search of a big-name hacker and wind up with a fourth member by the name of Jimmy Bond. If I recall correctly, the guys do wind up finding and saving the hacker they're looking for, and wind up making Jimmy a member of the team because they need his money to keep publishing and his idea for a football leauge for blind players wasn't working out.

    Later episodes involved the likes of cars that ran on water and eco-terrorism. One that did kind of stand out for me was the “chimps on keyboards” episode they pretty much had to do. What made it stand out for me was that the super-intelegent chimp who had contacted them had given himself the surname Potentloins.

    The computer chip plot point turned up in at least one other episode I kind of remember. I think it may have been something of a wrap-up to that particular plot point, first brought up in the pilot. This time, the focus was more on a rival of the main trio, a mysterious woman calling herself Yeves Adele Harlowe. We never really get to find out much about Yeves in the single season we got, though this may have been different had there been more. The one big thing we did get is that her name was supposedly an anagram for Lee Harvey Oswald. There were other hints along the way, but nothing really solid as to things like who she was really working for. By the end of the episode, Yeves had gotten the chip for herself and/or her employers, leaving our boys to run with a different story instead.

    With all the interesting things we saw in this one season, it might have been interesting to see where the show might have gone if it had been given more seasons. That didn't happen, and I'm sure there are multiple reasons, as there tend to be with things like this. One I've heard relates back to the pilot having a plot that actually came to pass in the real world, to disasterous effect. Sure, 9/11 involved jet liners crashing into the World Trade Center and other locations, and while I think it's an interesting idea that this is related to the cancellation of Lone Gunmen on TV, I'm not sure if there's much to it or if it's mostly coincidence.

    I'm actually more inclined to go the ratings route with this. See, Lone Gunmen was airing at a time when it seemed like a fairly significant portion of Fox's primetime lineup was in a common universe. From what I could tell, there was this other show called Millennium that was running alongside X-Files leading up to Y2K, that was part of the same universe. I never watched it simply because I had other stuff to do at the time, so I can't say too much about it. I do know, though, that there was a reference to both X-Files and Millennium in one episode, where the Gunmen see either Mulder or Skinner, from X-Files, getting some sort of information from Frank Black, the main character of Millennium. I'm not sure how much overlap there was between these three shows, but by the time Lone Gunmen was on the air, X-Files had been running for seven or eight years and Millennium may or may not have still been airing at the same time. With all that in mind, it stands to reason that whatever audience the show may have had at the time was maybe getting a little tired of the X-Files universe.

    Either way, this show's cancellation after it's one and only season means it didn't get a proper conclusion, at least not on its own. The good news is that it did get something of an ending, eventually.

    There was one last crossover with the main X-Files show where the guys help Dogget and Reyes go after a guy carrying something of a biological time bomb in his chest meant to release a very fast acting and 100% lethal disease, with the ground zero in a government office. Langley, Byers and Frohike eventually catch up with the guy just before he blows his load, as it were, but in order to stop the disease from infecting the building and then the populace at large, at least one of the three has to get trapped in a room with the guy. Since this means that whoever locks the door has to get the disease and die, too, all three decide to stay together and go down as the team as they always were. Just after the fire doors our heroes use as a trap lock, Jimmy, Dogget and Reyes show up, and while one of the agents goes to get the biohaz team, the others do a recreation of the end of Star Trek II.

    Because the three main Gunmen gave their lives for their country, the paper wound up in Jimmy's hands, and I don't recall what happened to the paper or if X-Files ever said. It would be nice to have it touched on in the X-Files event series slated to start just as I was finishing this article, just to see what I might have forgotten over the years.

    It's just too bad that Lone Gunmen is unlikely to get its own reboot or revival, in part because the three main characters the title refers to wound up dead and I seriously doubt they'd be re-cast for a new series. It would have been interesting to see what other adventures these guys might have had, what other topics they might have covered in their paper.

    Some things just don't last as long as they should, and this is one of them.
  6. Here's another kinda-sorta holiday beverage video:

    Maybe not the most fitting thing, but I do have a few holiday memories from years and years ago about this.

    Now to make time to finish the written piece I still need to do here.
  7. So here's a more Christmas-y iced coffee beverage:

    This one's actually worth giving a shot because it's better than the pumpkin spice version. Not sure when I'll get a chance to do another of these, or where I'll be if and when that happens. Happy holidays, everybody.
  8. I'm not really a pumpkin spice fan, unless it comes in the form of my mother's pumpkin pie.

    This is not my mother's pumpkin pie. I may have to take some Alka-Seltzer before I go to bed...
  9. I'm going to do this set in reverse order mostly because I want to get through the series I feel I know less about. It's not so much that I wasn't interested in Earth: Final Conflict, or EFC, for short, as much as it is that it went bad a lot quicker than it probably should have. I'll get into it in due time, but I should probably start out with a little explanation about what the show itself is about.

    The basic premise of EFC is that an alien race known as the Taelons came to Earth in more or less modern times, circa the late 1990s or early 2000s, telling the human population of the world that they were coming in peace, in hopes of bettering not only our world, but theirs, as well. The Taelons shared virtually all their scientific and medical knowledge with the people of this Earth, seemingly wanting only to advance the species and learn about their own in the process.

    While most of the planet was happy to accept these newcomers and the wonerous advances they were so generous to share with the world, there was a resistance movement, of sorts, that had serious doubts about the true motivations the Taelons had in helping humanity so much. In spite of the great things that had done in regards to improving the health and availablity of food, amongst other things, the resistance did have good reason to doubt.

    In the series premier, a human businessman called Johnathan Doors is introducing a new Taelon representative named Da'an. This introduction shows us quite a bit about the technology, in that they have both really advanced organic, life-form style tech and mechanical things like interdimensional flight.

    This intro is interrupted by an assassination attempt seemingly directed against Da'an, but is, in reality, meant as a means for Doors to go into hiding and lead the resistance. We also meet Captain William Boone of what I'll just call the Random Metro Police Department, who catches Da'an's interest with his attention to detail; Ronald Sandoval, Da'an's human attache, and Lilly Marquet, their pilot.

    Quite a lot of this seems to happen within a few moments either side of the opening credits. It's really a lot to cram into not a lot of time, and I have a feeling it really worked against the show in the long run. I'd recently watched the first few episodes as I began writing this article, and it is still difficult to keep everything straight.

    With that in mind, by the halfway point of the first episode, both the Taelons and the Doors Resistance have tried at least once to recruit Boone to their cause, unsuccessfully. A pivotal moment comes when the Taelons hire a hitman to kill off Boone's wife, who had only been introduced herself moments before, after Boone cited her as his reason to not join up with the Taelons, saying that starting a family with her was more important to him.

    Ultimately, this drives Boone to take on the role of a double agent, joining Team Doors first, in order to learn what he needs to know to get revenge for the death of his wife. Once other infiltrators, including Marquet and a Doctor Bellman, hook Boone up with some re-engineered versions of supposedly required Taelon biological enhancements, we all begin learning that the Taelon presence on Earth does indeed have dire implications for humanity. These revelations take us through the first season and, at the very least, into the early second season.

    Unfurtunately, all was not well behind the scenes of EFC, and this quickly became apparent in the show itself. From what I understand, there were issues between the producers and the actor plaing Boone, resulting in the character being written out as the main character, though he did cameo later on, as I understand. Whatever the issues were, however, they were aparently wide-spread enough that by the end of the series, virtually all of the original characters had been replaced for one reason or another.

    Because of these and other issues coming together in the actual show itself, I pretty much bailed on it halfway throught the second season, with execution of the story being a big contributing factor.

    See, after Boone was written out, the character was replaced with Liam Kincade, who was somehow the product of a Taelon and a human. I don't recall all of the details, but I do remember it being one of those deals where the character went from being born to being a full-grown adult with the ability to live as such in the course of a day or two. Worse yet, I don't recall the whole “half-alien” thing being used to terribly much effect otherwise.

    I won't say that it wasn't, of course, mostly because, as previously noted, I'd pretty much abandoned the series by halfway through the second season. The last episode I remember watching on TV was one where this scientist guy, a physicist, if I recall, had invented a teleportation device using concepts and theories that human scientists had already devised but needed confirmation from Taelon science to be applied practically. The guy that came up with the way to actually do it didn't want to share it with the Taelons, partially out of fear of his invention getting used against humanity and partially to prove that we didn't need the Taelons as much they said we did. By the end of the episode, the scientist had destroyed his device and killed himself in the process to keep it out of Taelon hands, after accidentally beaming himself into a shelf in an escape attempt.

    I'm pretty sure there were three more seasons that came after this one. This comes from looking for clips every now and again, but it's been awhile since I've done that. As a result, this will probably be one of my less well done pieces, but still worth doing, I think.

    As for weather this show is worth checking out, I'd say the first season or two might be, but after that, not so much. It was certainly a nice change from the more well-known stuff of the time, but under other circumstances, it could have been better. I might have better memories of it had it only lasted one season instead of having run long enough to apparently finish its story.
  10. Since I had a little quiet time tonight, I figured I'd do a drinks video, just to get them out of the fridge.

    This one really was kind of a nostalgia kick for me.
  11. I've got some personal stuff going on right now, and I think I need something to take my mind off it for some of my spare time. With that in mind, I figure I may as well get on with a pair of Looking Back articles I've been meaning to get to for awhile now.

    • The Lone Gunmen: This is the X-Files spinoff I mentioned back in my piece about the main series. This was meant as sort of a comedy involving the tabloid guys that Mulder used as a source in some of the episodes. I thought it worked rather well, all things considered, but that might have been different if it had lasted more than one season.

    • Earth: Final Conflict: This one came out in the late 1990s, when it seemed like there were several shows based on Gene Roddenberry's non-Star-Trek ideas. In this case, it was about a race of aliens who come to Earth with the offer of science and technology meant to imrove life on Earth by advancing humanity by centuries and a resistance movement looking to expose the real reasons behind the aliens' presence. This one is quite the opposite of Lone Gunmen in that it might have been better had it only lasted one season.

    In both cases, of course, I'll be getting a little bit into the whys of that in the actual articles. I know I've mentioned Lone Gunmen before, but I'm not sure if I'd mentioned EFC. Either way, I'd meant to get on these for awhile, and now I finally am.
  12. Put this up on YouTube almost a month ago and forgot to post it here:

    I think I enjoyed the Belvoir brand more.
  13. Here's an episode I'd meant to get shared a while ago but never quite got to:

    These are OK if they're your thing. I kind of liked them.
  14. A while back, I did the ginger soda this label makes, and it was pretty good. I figured I'd give the lemonade offerings a go as well. The result was not exactly positive, I'm afraid.

  15. This one, I felt compelled to do because I'm something of a Cinema Snob fan, and I know Brad Jones has a thing for beverages from the 90s. I'm not sure this ever really went away, though I never really looked too hard for it, as I wasn't a fan myself, and I get into that in the video.

    Here's to you, Mr. Jones!