MST3K Live Reunion Concert June 28

June 27th, 2016

There’s going to be a live MST3K Reunion concert simulcast across the country tomorrow (June 28). Here’s Mike Nelson and company to explain:

You might still be able to get tickets.

Shoegazer Sunday: Novanta’s “Windows”

June 26th, 2016

Milan-based Novanta seems to be on my Shoegaze wavelength with “Windows.”

Hat tip: Primal Music Blog.

“Shoegaze Band’s Pedalboard Becomes Self-Aware”

June 18th, 2016

Heh. I missed this from last year:

Local shoegaze rockers and engineering hobbyists, Whale Coma, accidentally created the world’s first artificially intelligent band member when their pedalboard became self-aware Sunday night.

Guitarist Connor O’Hoolihan excitedly connected yet another pedal to the now-conscious tangle of cords the band has affectionately dubbed “SkyPed,” a functioning life form of questionable intent and motivation that has begun to formulate rudimentary yet coherent speech through O’Hoolihan’s Electro-Harmony-Vocal Synthesizer Pedal.

“I told him not to add a Rat Stink Fuzzy Big Muff™ when he’s already running two Fat Boy Moose Knuckles™ and a Red Bitch Psycho Trem™,” said Willy Bennett Dyson, the band’s third guitarist. “We’re playing with something we don’t fully understand.”

Library Addition: Signed First of Pohl/Williamson’s Singers of Time

June 15th, 2016

Picked up another signed first by two Sf giants:

  • Pohl, Frederik and Jack Williamson. The Singers of Time. Doubleday Foundation, 1991. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine- dust jacket with small wrinkle to top inner flap tip. Signed by Pohl. Bought off eBay for $4.00 plus shipping.

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  • Interesting Essay on Acting in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

    June 13th, 2016

    Here’s an interesting piece on the acting in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

    You could study Wrath of Khan as a portrait of different performing styles. Consider William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and a central paradox of their chemistry. Spock is the alien – a being who strives to rid himself of all emotion – but past a certain point, you notice how Nimoy is a much more natural performer, communicating so much with droll phrasing lilts and micro-gestures. Whereas the human Kirk is played by Shatner, one of Hollywood’s great experts in hyperbole. (Khan is Shatner at his most wide-eyed.) As a young actor, Nimoy learned the Method and idolized Brando; Shatner came up performing energetic Shakespeare. That doesn’t make one better nor one worse – the dissonance is the key – but it adds layers to their pairing. You associate Spock with explicit stiffness – he’s a freaking Vulcan – but Nimoy’s acting is maybe more “cinematic,” eye-focused, while Shatner is more “theatrical,” full-bodied.

    Plus a lot about how director Nicholas Meyer sets up shots for maximum effect.

    It’s a very interesting essay on the best Star Trek movie. Read the whole thing.

    (Hat tip: Derek Johnson.)

    Shoegazer Sunday: Pastel Blue’s “Low-Key”

    June 12th, 2016

    It’s been three years since I did a song from Japan’s Pastel Blue as the Sunday Shoegazer selection, so here’s “Low-Key”:

    “Siemens has an army of spider robots”

    June 9th, 2016

    Well, isn’t this a lovely, cheerful thing to contemplate?

    It’s expensive to build an automated factory, and even more pricey to repurpose one. German manufacturing giant Siemens wants that to change, and they’ve developed an army of robot spiders to make it happen.

    Utilizing what Siemens calls “mobile manufacturing” researchers in Princeton, New Jersey have build prototype spider-bots that work together to 3D print structures and parts in real time. Known as SiSpis, or Siemens Spiders, these robots work together to accomplish tasks, and can be reprogramed to learn new jobs.

    The ability to be reprogramed gives the bots an advantage over traditional manufacturing robots. Opening an industrial manufacturing factory currently means installing expensive robots that can only do one or two tasks well. In theory, the SiSpis’ programing can be altered to address new tasks, allowing for greater flexibility for manufactures.

    As a devotee of spider-menace movies, I think I know exactly how this will turn out. Why, the SyFy Channel movie practically writes itself. (As does the inevitable sequel, Spiderbots vs. Lavalanchula…)

    Shoegazer Sunday: Catherine Wheel’s “Crank”

    June 5th, 2016

    I’ve tried sampling classic shoegaze band Catherine Wheel before, but until “Crank” nothing stuck.

    Note: I believe this video exceeds the official limit of how many people may fit in this particular elevator safely…

    R. A. Lafferty Convention Happening Today

    June 4th, 2016

    I’ve been so busy this snuck up on me, but Laffcon, the first R. A. Lafferty convention, is happening today at the Mercer County Library in Lawrenceville, NJ, starting at 10 AM EDT.

    Certainly worth attending if you’re a Lafferty fan and in the area, and maybe something to think about planning to attend if they do it again net year.

    Muhammed Ali, RIP

    June 3rd, 2016

    Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali has died at age 74.

    As the young Cassius Clay, Ali combined the power of a heavyweight with the speed of a middleweight. He was so good for so long that he earned his self-anointed title as The Greatest of All Time.

    Growing up I actually saw Ali box on TV, back when they still showed boxing on broadcast TV. Alas, Ali was far past his prime when I saw him lose to Leon Spinks.

    The late fights took a serious toll on Ali, eventually robbing him of his previously celebrated eloquence, and he became a sad example of a great fighter who stayed in the ring too long.

    Rest in Peace.