What the internet was truly meant for: Here is the definitive site about Robby the Robot. Mark Vadnais sends along Robotbuilders.net, a site for hobbyists who painstakingly construct full size science fiction robot replicas, such as the heroically-named Jeffbot.
Friend Lee thinks I'm a bastard for not plugging his uber-cool digitally- rendered Velveeta pic. He is correct, about me being a bastard. Synthetic images of synthetic cheese just smack of future shock for me, but I fear this is just the beginning. Virtual Tang. Full immersion Egg-Beaters. Is there a theoretical limit to how fake food can be? Is there a threshold of artificiality? Discuss.
There are new entries in the "Tours By" section of the Eager Anticipations column down on the right side of this page. Not all of these have U.S. dates up, but the performers have expresed plans for touring this year.
I say this because I have received several emails asking if I could post these earlier. Be aware that it was never my intention to become a music news outlet. In fact I posted the Anticipations column for my own edification as much as anybody's. I keep my ear (and browser) tuned for any new tour news, and promise to post as soon as I hear anything.
I am saddened to learn that the Robot Bar & Grill in Pittsburgh is closing due to lack of interest. I was looking forward to visiting there. The idea of a consuming good meal while metal warriors hack away and brutally dismember each other for my enjoyment has a distinct camp/postmodern/decadent feel to it. I am hoping this idea resurfaces, in a larger city, perhaps, or as a "theme night" at a dinner theater.
Somehow researchers have determined that sperm respond to smell. I want to know exactly how they came to this conclusion, how much clinical master- bation was involved, and how quickly the perfume industry will concoct a scent for women who want to increase the odds of getting pregnant.
April Fools Day. "Bah!" I say. True miscreants need no "special day" to wreak epic, wrong-minded havoc on the tender minds of others. All "funny" emails I find polluting my inbox today shall be replied to with a truly revolting 10 meg photo of morbidly obese porn. I keep a folder full of this stuff handy. Laugh it up.
Snopes was the first to debunk the time-traveling insider trader story (I'm purposing blind-eyeing that fact that a Weekly World News story needed debunking, my brain is too sore). That being said, Yahoo news, which has historically had a good record of back-tracking stories, should take the high ground and up their fact-checking protocols. Hundreds of bloggers linked to the piece. Google searches on the subject brought up tens of thousands of hits. Let this be a warning to all of us.
For the record, I had, in my usual reactionary manner, penned a thousand word joke-theory about the dire threat of a far-future financial conspiracy when I decided maybe I should do research first, so I'm speaking from pain here. Oh, it was quite funny, but you'll just have to trust me on that.
Monday, March 31
I saw the Tony Levin Band last night. One of the high points was the opening performance by guitarist Kaki King. Women wielding acoustic guitars usually fill me with dread, but the intrepid Ms. King had the predominantly male, musically discriminating, and more-than-a-little-pretensious crowd won over by the end of her first technique-heavy number. I am not often genuinely surprised any more, it's nice to know it can still happen.
I spend most of yesterday afternoon browsing the racks at Jelly's Discs in Worcester. I haven't browsed a record store in about a year, most visits are in-and- out. My back is a tad sore from hunching over all the bins for several hours, but I had forgotten what a fully enjoyable experience record shopping can be.
Kim Jong-il makes his first appearance on this blog for abducting all the triplets in North Korea. Seems a triplet is "destined" to overthrow him, so he's sent them all to orphanages. Hmmm, do you think one set of triplets will escape this fate, learn superhuman fighting techniques from an old master living in the hills, then go a quest to free their people? Of all the ills that communism visited upon us, the worst has to be tin gods who insist that there is some sacred prophecy tied to their reign, thus giving them licence to dispense human rights violations like bad plot points in a Gor book. If you wanna be a super-villain do some research and be creative. Get a secret base and some robots.
We interupt this blog: As I have email problems I hope you'll forgive me as I use this hallowed forum to tell Mark Vadnais that Real Art Ways in Hartford is showing Kurosawa films every weekend this month and next. Yes, I am cognizant of the fact that I could have called him with this information. Thank you. Carry on.
I've gotten somewhat used to recent news stories reading like plot points in a science fiction novel, but lately they're reading more like fantasy. First off, diggers in Turkey have uncovered the world's oldest swords (no word as to whether they're cursed). Then there are the scientists who want to improve electronics through the use of a "metaphysical lens." Finally, the Yale Map Archive has aquired a map of your life.
I have seen disturbing little press about the fact that Alan Moore's planned retirement from comics is less than a year away. The new issue of Previews is chock full of Moore goodies, but it has been confirmed that Promethea is ending with issue 32. I gotta admire a guy for going out at the highpoint of his work. Now if only we could go back in time and warn John Byrne...
There's a story going around the web about developing contact lenses that dispense time-released drugs. I find the idea fascinating. Heroin addicts have been shooting up via their tear ducts for decades, it's about time the method be adapted for benefitial drug delivery systems like gloucoma treatments.
That's not to say that hard-core drug addicts won't find a way to hack the technology to feed their own needs.
And speaking of cancellations, tonight is the last Farscape. This has been an psychotically intense season for the show and I will mourn its passing. I applaud the efforts to save the show, but I've had it with the insipid "fuck SciFi" and "SciFi betrayed its fans" school of opinion that I see polluting chatrooms and talkbacks. SciFi did a lot for the show. There wasn't a season or even a storyline that went by without serious and continuous promotional support. The size of the audience just didn't justify the cost. The Save Farscape site keeps quoting the increase in ratings due to their concerted efforts. If that's the case, where were they when a fifth season was still a possibility? If fandom would grow up and use its power for good once in a while, like garnering rabid and substantial support for shows still in their lean years, instead of bitching about unfair the TV industry is, there would be a lot more genre shows on the air today. Hell, Crusade would be in it's fourth season now.
Think about it: genre films make up the lion's share of the top grossing films of all time, but the TV outlook is bleak. Why? Movies build followings. Movies exploit word of mouth. Movies build marketshare. The next time a great show appears on the landscape (the recently announced Warren Ellis/SciFi project perhaps?) there should be a freakishly large campaign to recruit viewers. Don't put it all on the network.