Bat’leth Robbery in Colorado

Give me the money or I gut you like a Targ!

"Give me the $@# money or I gut you like a Targ!"


Someone in Colorado Springs, Colorado robbed two 7-11 stores with a sharp object being portrayed in the media as a Klingon Bat’leth.  The Denver Channel had the first writeup of it that I’ve seen, and has some of the most hilarious blog comments.  As one reader in the blog pointed out it i’s not a Bat’leth but appears to be some sort of cheap knockoff.  

So I thought, what does a Bat’leth run these days.  I mean, if you were planning on robbing some 7-11’s, you would probably not want to do it with a lousy knockoff Bat’leth and be the laughing stock of the internet.

Well, I didn’t really find out the answer to that question, but I did find some cheap knockoffs.


The Sword of Kahless

 Here on the left is the Sword of Kahless (picture borrowed shamelessly from Memory-Alpha, who borrowed it shamelessly from Paramount) from the DS9 episode of the same name.  It’s made from the lava-doused hair of Kahless the Unforgettable, who slew the gods and forged the Klingon Empire.


Not Actually the Sword of Kahless

And, here on the right is a ‘Sword of Kahless’ that you can purchase on ebay for $59.95!  Unlike the marauder above, this fake Bat’leth is probably close the the actual size. “Huge 43″”.  A real Bat’leth is 116 centimeters, according to Memory-Alpha, and the one in the image above is clearly not a <4ft sword requiring two hands.  Also, the ebay item description states:

This is the version II of the Bat’leth, Sword of Kahless from the very famous Sci-Fi movie Star Trek. This sword has a lot of grave and elegance put into it. This Sword of Kahless has a very scimitar curve with four handholds which is wrapped in genuine leather to give you a strong hold. On two of the blade is a Celtic engravings. This sword is built to last for a long time with its full 440 stainless steel construction. The Bat’leth Series II has four blades which can even be sharpen more. Overall Length: 43”

If your Klingon weapon says that it has Celtic enscriptions on it, it’s probably a good sign that it’s not a very accurate replica. 🙂


$25 Sword of Honor

This next Star Trek Klingon Bat’leth & Plaque Overall Length: 24″ listing on ebay, not only fails to fall short of the 116 centimeter requirement, it also doesn’t even match the picture with the description. 

The bat’leth, or “sword of honor”, is a traditional Klingon blade weapon. Resembling a crescent-shaped, two-ended scimitar, the bat’leth is wielded using three handholds along the outside edge of the blade. It is widely considered the most popular weapon among Klingon warriors. 

So… wait… where’s the other two handholds?

Oh wait, you were just copy-pasting the entry from Memory-Alpha into your item writeup.  

Seriously guys, the one handhold is a dead giveaway.


Are they trying??


Something looks funny here...








In a slightly related thread, my problem with the fradulent Star Trek Voyager DVD set is all resolved.  I have gotten my money back from the original seller and purchased it directly from Amazon instead at the usual exhorbant retail price. 🙁  I’m still slowly binging my way through the first season.

Whoah whoah whoah, update!  

Armrha has pointed out that the “$25 Sword of Honor” picture looks a lot like the weapon of choice!  I put together this composite image, and it looks like a pretty good match.


I gotta make my $25 back...


Rock-Afire Animatronic Video

Via an old (August08) article about the Rock-afire Animatronic Band comes the most disturbing thing I’ve seen on YouTube all evening. 


It was only a matter of time before someone sucessfully paired the animatronic pizza bands of the 80s with contemporary R&B songs about… date rape?  

Personally I think the sun and moon do a great job on the backup vocals, ‘Aye!’.


I bought a Star Trek Voyager Season1-7 set off Amazon a few weeks back after wrapping up all my episodes of Enterprise.  I’ve been chomping at the bit for some sci-fi and it took me awhile to decide whether I was going to take the plunge on Voyager or go for Babylon5 instead.  

I thought I’d save some money off the exhorbantly priced DVD set by ordering one of the less expensive copies from an Amazon Marketplace seller.  It was $80 cheaper than the ‘full price’ set, so it was a good deal.  But not ‘too good’ of a deal that I had to worry about it.  Guess I was wrong.

So here are some pictures of what showed up.  There are 6 more sets pretty much exactly like this, shrink wrapped and packed loose into a shipping box.  The packaging is fairly convincing, until you start looking closely.


The other two DVD sets that I had purchased through Amazon (DS9 and Enterprise) both came with the season boxes wrapped together, with a cardboard base.  The fact that the individual seasons were physically seperated was a surprise.  The boxes looked pretty legitimate, but when I opened the first season at work, what I found was a dvd set that was packaged like a piece of $20 software.  I know Paramount hasn’t won any fans with their packaging, but this was good step down from what I was used to so far.  Inside the brown cardboard was a plastic cd ‘folio’ like what MSDN disks used to come in.  Inside that were the disks, and they were out of order.  The left side of the thin plastic ‘disc book’ was all crumpled up from being held in a space where it couldn’t lie flat.  The inset inside the cardboard holder was only wide enough for the disks.

There was no booklet or episode list, which was what really got my suspicion going.

After installing some video codecs and media player classic on my work computer, I loaded up the first disc and the intro screen looked correct compared to stills of voyager.  Disc 5 seemed to have special features on it, so that all checked out.  I mentioned my suspicion to my coworker Armrha, and he noticed that the interior ring of the DVDs indicated that they were pressed just for Star Trek Voyager and were not just burned by a computer.

So then I started checking the ISBN number on the back, and doing some reading.

Here’s what the DVD packaging looks like on Memory Alpha:

Region 1 is ‘US’, Region 2 is Europe, UK and the Middle East.  You’ll notice the texture on the case is all wrong, and the front is missing those weird circle things that look like reflective plastic.  That’s because the Voyager DVD Season1 case is supposted to be a plastic slip cover with a orange jewel case inside it, not a glossy paper box.

Here’s a bunch of pictures what it’s supposted to look like:

If your voyager DVDs don’t look like this, you are either a european, or they’re a bootleg.


Really guys, is it that hard?

Why does my disk 5 say ‘A-0026’ on the bottom?   It’s also missing the episode listing on each disk in a horrible swirling pattern that is completely unreadable.

Here’s what else I’ve learned.  There are no Paramount licensed “import editions” of Star Trek Voyager.  DVDs are supposedly not issued ISBN numbers if they are an entertainment product, however the DVD card for the trekcore gallery above shows some for each season.

The back of the season1 package I recieved says ISBN 0-1832-1623-1   The sham season2 is labelled 0-1832-1623-2, and so on, with the number incrementing by one with each season.  You’ll notice in the pictures above the second number in a 12 digit UPC code format.  It’s almost the same as the ISBN, but they added an extra 1 in the middle: 0-18321-16231-4

The proper version of Star Trek Voyager, Season1 is ISBN 0-7921-7747-9, UPC (actually it’s a UCC-12) 0-9736-15683-48.  If you do some UPC code searching you’ll notice that the first set of UPC numbers on a lot of Paramount products start with 0-973.  This is because they are typically issued in blocks to a publisher.  Compare the search results for the valid product code with the fake upc code.  You’ll notice that the real code comes up in a lot of product results and the fake one comes up only on a few reskins of a single  ‘barcodepedia’ website.

In summary, it really looks like bootlegging is pretty rampant out there if you just scratch the surface.  All of the customer upload pictures in the gallery for the complete seasons 1-7 voyager are bootlegs.  Anything from the chosen collection are also blatent bootlegs.    Apparently Amazon also allows Amazon Marketplace sellers to create their own product pages for new products, and these are supposedly rife with bootlegs.  I notice my seller is now selling a handful of used books and a ‘used’ copy of the ‘import’ version of Star Trek Voyager, which of course, has a bunch of pictures of bootleg editions.   I wonder if this is a willfull fraud that has been perpetrated or if it’s someone who purchased a product from an untrustworthy distributor, not knowing that they are selling bootlegs.   According to Amazon policy, I need to give them 3 days to respond to my return request before I get Amazon involved.  From what I read, they will not be kind to the seller when that happens.



Looks pretty legit packaging right?  Here’s what one person had to say about it in the amazon forum linked above.


"The Chosen Collection"

There is no such thing as AUTHORIZED import. All BS crap spewed by the sellers. Paramount has NEVER granted anybody rights in China, Taiwan, HK or ANY countries outside North America to re-produce StarTrek series in different regions, let alone Region 0. All StarTrek imports are NOT the official packaging considered to be BOOTLEGs at this time. All ‘The Chosen Collection 1,2,3,4,5’ are all confirmed BOOTLEGS – in low quality DVD5 (4.3) GB only with bad subtitles, no commentary, no extras. Some has blur video, and skips! Buyers beware.


Unlicensed “import”


Why is there chinese writing on these DVD cases?


Good thing they added those glossy stickers to the covers below, it really adds a sense of legitimacy.  Except, for the box not being made out of glossy plastic and everything..


From a dropshipping wholesalers website...



The sad thing is, I don’t really remember this show being all that great, but I really need a star trek fix right now.  But damn if I’m going to pay money for a pirated copy.  No hollywood studio making the money, no interest in science fiction, no new sci-fi being made.


9 Trailer

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a movie trailer that makes me want to see a movie. 🙂  Hit the youtube below if you’re lazy, otherwise head over to the link below for a better resolution awesome version.


Here’s the movie description from the apple site:

A new era in animated storytelling begins on 9.9.09. Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton (The Corpse Bride, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Nightwatch) join forces to produce wunderkind director Shane Acker’s distinctively original and thrilling tale. 9 stars Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer and Crispin Glover and features the music of Danny Elfman. When 9 (The Lord of the Ring’s Elijah Wood) first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world. All humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. As they’ll soon come to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them.

There’s some more stuff, stills and clips over on director Shane Acker’s website.


So, today Blizzard added advertising to the webpages.  Normally I don’t mind dealing with ad revenue on websites, but I’m already paying them $15 a month for their game.   Over four years of WoW subscription, three convention tickets, and two copies of the game and two expansions means  well over $1000 that they have collected from me in the past four years.  And now this.  This… is simply beyond complete shameless greed.

The WoW forum moderators are already quick at work stiffling the forum outrage, by locking topics and moving them.  It’s ridiculous.

Here is how to not just block the advertising, but completely hide it so that the forums look like they used to.

1) First, you’ll need to install Privoxy.

Privoxy is a free open-source web proxy that will do the filtering for us.  You can get it here:

Click on ‘download recent releases’, find your OS version and install.

2) Set chrome to use privoxy as your proxy server.

  • Click on the wrench icon, select options.
  • Click on ‘under the hood‘ tab.
  • Scroll down, and press the ‘Change Proxy Settings‘ button.

This will bring up your windows Internet Properties control panel.

  • On the ‘Connections’ tab, click the LAN Settings button.
  • CheckmarkUse a proxy server…
  • Put into the Address field.
  • Put 8118 into the Port field.
  • Hit Ok, and then Ok to close the Internet Properties window.

Chrome will now be using Privoxy to block ads.

3) Create a user.filter file in your Privoxy home install directory.

Next, in your install directory (mine is: C:\Program Files (x86)\Privoxy) create a new file called user.filter and insert this in it:

FILTER: wowforums Blizzard is GREEDY
FILTER: wowforums Blizzard is GREEDY # Crass merchandizing at it's best. s/<div id="ad_(\d*)x(\d*)"/<div id="blizzard_is_greedy" style="display:none;"/g s/<td width="130px" valign="top" align="center">/<td align="center" width="0" valign="top" style="display:none;">/g s/<div style="width:160px; height:600px; padding:1px; margin:0 0 0 3px" class="advertise-horz"/<div style="display:none;"/g s/<td width="130" valign="top" align="center">/<td width="0">/g s/<div class="hp_w_ad">/<div class="hp_w_ad" style="display:none;">/g s/<div class="hp_t_ad">/<div class="hp_t_ad" style="display:none;">/g s/<div class="hp_ad_cont">/<div class="hp_ad_cont" style="display:none;">/g

This will do the ‘rewriting’ of the ad tags.  It renames all the ad tags so the ad-insertion script can’t find it, and it blocks off the 130px skyscraper space on the right side.

4) Next, edit config.txt file in the Privoxy folder.

Open config.txt and find the filterfile line. (Under section 2.5)

Uncomment the entry with user.filter in it, so that it looks like this:

filterfile default.filter

filterfile user.filter      # User customizations

This will tell Privoxy where to find our custom filter that we created in step 3.

5) Edit the user.action file in the Privoxy folder.

Finally, edit the user.action file and add this:

{ +filter{wowforums} }

This will tell Privoxy to activate our custom filter for the website.  If you followed all the steps (and saved afterwards) you should be able to control+refresh the forums and have everything back to mostly normal.  Pass this along to your friends & guildmates!