Archive for August, 2014

Jellybelly Cover’s Slowdive’s “Machine Gun”

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

And the Slowdive cover kick continues, with Indonesia’s Jellybelly doing their cover of “Machine Gun” in a jangly live performance.

Library Additions: Three Ian McDonald Books

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Since Ian McDonald was Guest of Honor at the most recent Armadillocon, I picked up his hree latest books there and got him to sign the rest.

  • McDonald, Ian. Planesrunner. Pyr, 2011. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Inscribed to me by McDonald.
  • McDonald, Ian. Be My Enemy. Pyr, 2012. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Inscribed to me by McDonald. Second in the Everness series.
  • McDonald, Ian. Empress of the Sun. Pyr, 2014. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Inscribed to me by McDonald. Third in the Everness series.
  • Restaurant Review: Maggiano’s Little Italy

    Thursday, August 28th, 2014

    Maggiano’s Little Italy
    10910 Domain Dr #100, Austin, 78759
    (512) 501-7870

    • Pepper Grinder Rating: 0 (They had several impressive pepper grinders in a server cubbyhole, but neglected to offer any to us.)
    • Bathroom Rating: 3
    • WiFi note: There’s free WiFi…if you’re using the conference room and have a password. Otherwise the restaurant seems to be built within a Farady Cage, as my iPhone frequently was unable to connect to AT&T at all.

    Maggiano’s offers up tasty, overpriced Italian food. In that sense it’s much like Brio, with the added hassles of being in the Domain, which makes it hard to get to. We also had to wait for a table, even though I had made reservations (though we did get there a little bit early).

    The first disappointment after being seated was the free bread: uninspired baguette rounds (though at least they were served warm) with unspiced olive oil. Both Reale’s, with their delicious breadsticks, and Brio, with a more interesting bread assortment and spiced olive oil, do a better job in the bread department.

    The crab cakes appetizers were good, but not $15 for two good.

    Service was attentive, with numerous free drink refills without having to ask.

    For my entree, the veal picatta was both nicely done and had pretty generous portions (which is only fair, considering the price). I thought the angel hair aglio olio was underspiced.

    For dessert I had a perfectly caramelized creme brulee with fruit.

    It was a very good meal. It also cost some $50, without any alcoholic beverages. That, dealing with the hassle of The Domain, and dealing with the hassle of the crowds (“Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”) make it hard to recommend.

    If I’m hungry for great Italian food, Monday through Saturday I’m probably going to go to Reale’s if they’re not too packed. If it’s Sunday (when Reale’s is closed), I’d pick Brio over Maggiano’s.

    [Cross-posted to The Logbook of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy.]

    Book Addition: Paperback of Philip Jose Farmer’s Down in the Black Gang Inscribed to Bruce Sterling

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

    I picked this up before Armadillocon through one of Half Price Books’ coupon sales:

    Farmer, Philip Jose. Down in the Black Gang. Signet, 1971. First paperback edition (Currey says the SFBC hardback, which I also have, precedes), a Very Good+ copy with faint spine creasing, very slight spine lean, edgewear, and darkening to pages. Inscribed by Farmer to Bruce Sterling.

    Black Gang

    Black Gang Sig

    I thought that was a nice association copy to pick up for $12…

    Book Additions: Various SF Reference Works on Sale

    Monday, August 25th, 2014

    The final batch of books I bought from Lloyd Currey, all reference works.

  • Clareson, Thomas D. (editor). Voices for the Future Volume Two. Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1979. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in Fine dust jacket. Reference work of essays on science fiction writers, including Robert Silverberg, Philip Jose Farmer, Walter M. Miller, Jr., J. G. Ballard, John Brunner, Mack Reynolds, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Roger Zelazny. Tymn, The Science Fiction Reference Book, page 75. Bought for $10.

    Voices Future 2

  • Clareson, Thomas D. and Thomas L. Wymer (editors). Voices for the Future Volume Three. Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1984. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in Fine dust jacket, with review slip laid in. Reference work of essays on science fiction writers, including Gene Wolfe, Damon Knight, Cordwainer Smith, Mervyn Peake, Frederik Pohl, C. S. Lewis, Samuel R. Delany and Thomas M. Disch. (No picture because the cover is identical to Volume 2 except for the editors names and saying Volume Three.) Bought for $10.

    (Lovecraft, H.P.) Brennan, Joseph Payne. A Select Bibliography of H. P. Lovecraft. Self-published, 1952. First edition chapbook, a Fine- copy with a tiny bit of wrinkling. Joshi, Lovecraft Bibliography, III-B-8. Bought for $10.

    Brennan Lovecraft Bib

  • (Lovecraft, H.P.) Wetzel, George (editor). Commentaries: Volume VI The Lovecraft Collector’s Library. SSR Publications, 1955. First edition oversized side-stapled mimeographed paperback, #46 of 75 copies, a Near Fine, age-darkened copy. Joshi, Lovecraft Bibliography, III-C-27. Tymn Schlobin Currey, 295. Bought for $25.

    Lovecraft Commentaries

  • Wells, H.G. Experiment in Autobiography (Volumes I and II). Gollancz, 1934. First edition, a Very Good copy with dust soiling to boards and crimping at head and heel, in good only dust jackets with significant chipping at extremities. Text of J. B. Priestley’s eulogy delivered at Wells’s funeral clipped from newspaper tipped in on front free endpaper of volume 1. Bought from L.W. Currey for $10 for the set.

    Wells Experiment 2

    Wells Experiment 1

  • Shoegazer Sunday: The Sleepover Disaster’s “Oceanographer”

    Sunday, August 24th, 2014

    Here’s Fresno, California’s The Sleepover Disaster with “Oceanographer,” which sounds a tiny bit like Radiohead.

    RIP: SNL Announcer Don Pardo, 96

    Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

    Longtime Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo has died. I think he was the last person who worked on the inaugural season of SNL who stayed on with the show for it’s entire run. (Lorne Michaels went away for five years before coming back to the show.)

    He was a great announcer, and he did a lot of work in radio and on TV game shows like Jeopardy.

    Here he is on why script writers should use short words:

    Shoegazer Sunday: Slowdive’s “Golden Hair” Live

    Sunday, August 17th, 2014

    Since their reunion, Slowdive seems to be a vastly better touring band than they were in their heyday. I think it helps that they’ve brought on more touring musicians to fill out the sound. According to the band on Twitter, it’s just the original five members.

    Here they are covering Syd Barrett’s “Golden Hair” (from that post-Pink Floyd recording session here he never played anything the same way twice). The Barrett original is some two minutes long, and the original cover Slowdive did was four minutes long. This version is eight minutes long, and ends with one of the most beautiful, multiguitar Shoegaze solos ever recorded. (No wonder that one woman in the audience looks like she’s having a religious experience…)

    This was recorded at the Best Kept Secret festival in The Netherlands on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

    Pictures from the Bovington Tank Museum: German Tanks

    Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

    (Cross-posted from BattleSwarm to here for non-political tank buffs.)

    I hope you like tanks.

    Here’s the first batch of pictures taken at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, which I visited on Saturday as a gift to my inner 12-year old. (There are few prospects more pleasing to the preadolescent male mind than being encased in a 30 ton metal killing machine.) The first batch is all German tanks and tank destroyers from World War II. Let’s face it, the Germans had far and away the best tanks, and shortly after the allies managed to catch up, Germany would be about ready to introduce something better. Germany’s problem (as compared to America or the Soviet Union) was an inability to manufacture enough of them. (Good thing for us.) They had an enormous array of German tanks, and probably the best collection outside Germany’s own tank museum in Munster.

    The first picture of the first of two King Tigers (AKA Tiger II, AKA Königstiger, Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B) they had on display. The most powerful tank Germany produced during the war, its 88mm main gun could destroy any tank on the battlefield. It didn’t get on the battlefield until 1944, and Germany produced less than 500 of them.

    The other Tiger II they had there.

    Here you can see the Zimmerite anti-magnetic mine coating the Germans used.

    Selfie, with tank.

    The first of several tank destroyers.

    This is a German tank destroyer that ended up in Finland. Stalin thought he could walk all over Finand, but the Finns tore the Soviets nine different new assholes in the Winter War, though this tank destroyer obviously post-dates 1940.

    Alternate barrel used for the Sturmtiger close assault variant.

    Here’s an early Panzer Mark I command tank. It’s amazing to realize that the initial German blitzkrieg was carried out with relatively slow, under-armed, and underpowered Mark I and Mark IIs, that, with Heinz Guderian’s new tactics of mechanized warfare, were simply Good Enough.

    A Mark II.

    I think this is the Mark III, would would be the mainstay of the Wehrmacht armored divisions through the end of the war.

    A muzzle-eye view.

    Armoured car.

    An 88mm field canon.

    “But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci!”

    Monday, August 11th, 2014

    Robin Williams dead of an apparent suicide at age 63.

    Williams, along with Richard Pryor, was one of the true authentic comic geniuses of my lifetime. As a stand-up comic, his mind was so quick and his work was so manically innovative that his basic appeal actually survived transition to the straitjacket confines of a prime-time sitcom. He was a solid dramatic supporting actor, but it’s a shame that (unlike Pryor) he never found a movie that served the true essence of his comic genius.

    (Subject line hat tip.)