Why Geordi La Forge is not a great character

Don't get me wrong -- I like LeVar Burton, and I like what he did with the character. And he did considerable things, because he had very little to work with. I CAN SEE YOU

So, what are Geordi's defining traits? He only has two of them.

  • he's kind of blind
  • he's not good with women

And that's essentially it. You're probably wondering about the "kind of" qualifier attached to Geordi's blindness -- he's not blind. He has a gizmo that allows him to see. He has a disability, but he doesn't cope with the disability inasmuch as in 99% of episodes, he doesn't have a disability. He is not in any way different to any other character, save for a hair barrette over his eyes. Supposedly Geordi suffers from headaches as a result of wearing the visor, but that's not mentioned very often, and it was virtually never a plot point.

I guess this is something that's charming in hindsight. We can look back at the '80s, and see that it was normal and acceptable for a TV show to have a token minority character -- in this case, a vision-impaired guy -- but it was also okay to sidestep the dramatic handicap (no offence intended) of having to regularly acknowledge and deal with the character's difficulty or inability to perform tasks by simply handwaving the disability with technobabble and completely ignoring it.

Geordi's blindness and his VISOR gadget were mentioned a few times, for example:

  • the pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint" has Dr. Crusher give Geordi an examination, leading to the introduction of the headaches the visor causes, and a bit of techsplanation of how the thing works
  • in "Heart of Glory" we get to see through Geordi's visor for the first and last time (sort of, more in a moment)
  • in "The Enemy", Geordi's VISOR fails completely, rendering him genuinely blind for about half an episode
  • in "The Mind's Eye", Geordi is brainwashed by Romulans who jam horrible imagery directly into his VISOR's implants, and then use the VISOR's carrier frequencies to remote-control him
  • "Parallels" had Geordi as the cause of Worf's quantum universe shifts, as his VISOR emitted some kind of frequency that caused the Klingon to leap between dimensions
  • in Star Trek: Generations, the two Klingon sisters stick a webcam into Geordi's VISOR to watch him bathe (not making this up)
  • in Star Trek: First Contact, they gave up on it entirely and just gave him some mechanical eyeballs

Apart from the one episode -- "The Enemy" -- where Geordi is blinded because EM interference on the planet he's stranded on fries his VISOR, his blindness was never genuinely used as a unique plot point.

I think it may not have hurt to have limited Geordi in some way, rather than giving him a tool on his face that actually allows him to see stuff a sighted person cannot. (Infrared, EM radiation, etc.) Most characters are built upon something that's lacking, not an additional ability. Picard lacks family connections, Data lacks (but desires) emotion, Worf lacks other Klingons, Spock lacks (but does not desire) emotion, Odo lack(ed) any knowledge of where he came from or what he was, The EMH lacked a name, Neelix lacked decorum. All of the best characters were absent something.

All Geordi was really lacking was skill with women.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out texture glitches

Hi! If you've come here looking for a resolution to a glitch or problem in The Simpsons: Tapped Out, I'm afraid I probably can't help you. I suggest you visit the splendiferous TSTO Topix and search there for your answer. I've been playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out on the iPad for some time, now. I rather like it. It's consuming huge amounts of my time and money.

Occasionally, there's an odd glitch where a chunk of the graphics get swapped out for something completely different. I've been recording these glitches, and I present them below for your fun and enjoyment.

Here we see more Jakes Unisex Hair Palaces than you can poke a stick at.

Click the link below to see the rest. There's quite a few. Sorry. (Or not.)

Thanks for your time. I'm going to go do something more constructive, now. You probably should, too.

Live, from the Noel Crichton Browne room...

Who's been dancing, lewdy-style, on the tiny stage, before the dimming footlights of your mind, this week, pal? Who'd have thought there'd be more fake action figures? This time, it's Roy & H.G, from "Club Buggery", "The Bughouse", "The Dream", "This Sporting Life", and a crudload of other things.

Based on the same Star Trek: DS9 action figures as last time. Click on the image below to embiggen, if that's the kind of thing you want to do.

Yarr: Pirated Star Trek: TNG DVDs

I bought these because they were cheap. I bought these because I thought they were official. I mean, lots of stuff is officially released in Asia. However, I discovered once I’d bid on this item on Ebay that Star Trek: The Next Generation was never released officially in Asia. So these are not for real. Which is readily apparent when you examine them. I write this article not for sympathy, and certainly not to promote these DVDs. I write this article to warn others away from Asian import DVDs, particularly when Star Trek is concerned.

Here are the signs that will pretty much guarantee what you buy of Ebay will disappoint you:

1. Item is described as having “Asian text on discs and some menus”. In the case of ST:TNG DVDs, there’s no Asian text on the menus. The discs and boxes are loaded with it. I don’t have a problem with Asian text on the boxes or menus, however we must remember that Paramount has never licensed Asian releases of Star Trek on DVD.

2. Auction item claims DVDs will be shipped out specific to your region. Actually, they’ll be shipped out with no region encoding whatsoever, and will play on any DVD player on the planet. Due to the formalities and realities of international trade, virtually all official DVDs are region encoded.

3. No photo of the item is provided on the auction. This is because the Asian knock-off DVDs ship in hideous cardboard boxes and look so blatantly fake you’d never buy them otherwise. (And we’ve already established I’m an idiot for buying these DVDs.)

So, what’s all the fuss about, anyway? Lets examine the booty! Yarr!

The box.

This is the absolutely gorgeous box that ST:TNG Season Five comes in! I bought all seven seasons, and they progress through vile primary colours as the series spans out (pink, purple, green, blue, turquoise, brown and orange if you’re curious). I’ve only opened season five as I own official copies of seasons one to four already. I may not open any more of them, as they have an unpleasant stench of that weird glue elaborate Asian cardboard packaging is always sealed with. It’s worth noting the text looks absolutely nothing like the real ST:TNG logo. Hmm.

The box, open.

We’ve established the boxes are cardboard. For some reason, every single thing ever made in Asia always seems to be packaged in an over-the-top cardboard case, usually complete with metal hinges and clips, or a magnetic seal, and often some kind of canvassy fabric covering it. To be honest, I don’t mind these types of boxes. I think they’re classy, in a weird way. The boxes the ST:TNG DVDs are shipped in are not so classy, though.

The inside is covered with gold paper, and the lip of the case is held closed with magnets set behind the paper. The DVDs live in a recess in the box.

Inside. Be glad this is not smell-o-internet.

The discs themselves are packaged in incredibly cheap plastic pouches. Season five is arranged with two sets of three discs in individual thin pouches which are then wedged tightly into a third, thicker pouch. A third thick pouch houses the remaining disc. There is no booklet containing the episode names for the season, as per the official DVD sets. The inside of the cover has a crappy black and white picture of the Trek crew that has most of their faces cut off.

Gene Roddenbery (sic) would not be pleased!

One of the discs, note blobby disfiguration at 11 o’clock.

I suppose you could forgive the packaging if the discs were of decent quality, right? Well, not this time. The discs themselves have several flaws. Worst of all of these are the extremely obvious malformations around the edges (inside and out) of the discs. These look like a result of either heat damage (unlikely) or the use of extremely cheap, poor quality discs (ka-ching!).

I keep using the phrase “you could forgive these things if“, but it all comes down to this, really: You could forgive all of these things IF….the DVDs worked properly.

Do they? What do you reckon? Place your bets!

Of course they don’t!

Copyright notice. How thorough.

Episode menu for season 5, disc 7. Works great until..

You select the last episode, and the menus for it vanish!

Selecting the last episode of the last disc, which is the disc with only two episodes and a bunch of special features, presents an issue. There’re no menu items visible. The DVD arrow thing (shown as a red semi-circle hovering to the far left of “mission logs” in the third picture above) cruises around the screen, but you have no idea what you’re selecting. Which is incredibly convenient. This is obviously a flaw in the DVD duplication process, where they’ve evidently used the same software from the other four episode discs for the last disc. The copyright notice is included, but the language selection screen is absent.

So that’s about it, really.


There’s one other minor issue.

It’s not really that important, I suppose.

But it annoys me ever-so-slightly.

Wanna know what it is?

Oh, alright.


No biggie.