Friend Lee Stranahan has posted me on his blog. Lee takes naughty pictures and teaches Lightwave animation, and has copious pages of each on his site.
I also got a lot of hits from the forums over at Iron Magazine. This caused great confusion in my tiny brain until I discovered that one of the moderators there goes by the handle "Dr. Pain," a high-impact name shared by one of my more tasteless creations.
In other prog news, an online music company called Red Trumpet has a Rush contest posted. One of the things you can win is a set of Rush bobble-heads. Look closely and you'll see the little Alex has a double-neck. Update: In looking for more I this I stumbled across a list of Rush references in TV and movies.
For those who care I have redone the home page yet again. Let me know if you experience any problems calling it up.
Simulated "swarms" are being used to allow computers to improvise music. I guess this means that instead of Garry Kasparov and Deep Junior having a chess match, we'll have a lap top facing off against (insert a bad guitarist's name here) in a jamming duel.
If you want to get a message to a dead friend or relative, you can enlist the services of Afterlife Telegrams. They will (get this) have a terminally ill person memorize your message and attempt to deliver it after their own demise. Ah, yes, eternal judgment and the cosmic mysteries of the universe have to wait until you finish wandering around the ectoplasm hunting down someone named "Aunt Edna." Or perhaps the first thing you see in the afterlife is a bunch of anxious folks asking if you brought any mail.
Garry Kasparov's match against Deep Junior has ended in a draw. It took me a while to find any substantative coverage of this, but eventually unearthed news stories here, here, and here.
Saturday, February 8
One week later: The SFWA has issued a statement supporting a continued human presence in space. The statement is endorsed by most if not all of its members. To my knowledge this is the only organization that has put forth such a statement on principle. If you find others, please let me know.
Over at Locus, Chris M. Barkley explains how the "Best Dramatic Presentation" Hugo Award was (after a long battle) split into "long-form" and "short- form" catagories, and reminds us that in the distant days before the advent of big-budget science fiction films the nominees included albums by Jefferson Airplane and Firesign Theater.
Mark Vadnais (who, by the way, is the only one in the aforementioned CGT concert photo who appears even remotely good-looking) sends a story from Above Top Secret.com claiming that there are 600 empty-but-ready concentration camps on U.S. soil (no doubt to be occupied by me and my other less photogenic friends in the near future).
For arcane reasons unknowable by modern science, a Philippine musical Batman movie has been produced. To quote Film Threat: "It is hard to recall another film where so many uninteresting people find themselves together in a single production..."
One of my favorite singers Happy Rhodes has stated on her website that she wants to do a couple concerts in the Northeast as is looking for venues. I've seen her perform at Brass City Records and at Valentines in Albany, but she mentions the possibilty of doing living room shows. It is imperative to western culture that this happen. Spread the word.
Dell has announced plans to phase out floppy disk drives in their computers by year's end. I've still got a drawer full of those big floppies from 20 years ago. Also from the fickle world of usable media comes word that the first telltale cases of "DVD rot" are popping up. If someone was to invent a recordable medium that could actually improve its performance with advancing technology (thus staving off obsolesence) Sony and Panasonic would have them killed.
Fans of "the old stuff" will be thrilled that both Link Wray and Dick Dale have posted tour dates for the near future.
I didn't see the last Star Trek film, but the sobbing and vomiting of my friends as they stumbled from the theater told me all I needed to know. I just read that Rick Berman is having a degree of difficulty in figuring out why the film tanked at the box office. Maybe reading the reactions of some long time Trek fans like Harry Knowles and John Shirley might give him a clue. In this interview Berman seems genuinely perplexed as to why rehashing old plot lines and ignoring continuity (that he helped establish, no less) doesn't fly with fans. Trek has managed to slow the progress of science fiction TV and movies for too fucking long. End this. Now.
Over the years I have read myriad stories of student activists protesting their little hearts out about CIA recruitment drives on campuses. I now wonder if those same groups will protest college cinemas showing The Recruit.
"Space travel is by far the most technologically difficult and inherently dangerous task that the human race has ever attempted. If you refuse to accept that, I don't care how many degrees you have, you've lost touch with reality"
Henry Jenkins (currently one of my favorite science writers) at Technology Review has an article about the cutting edge science and efficient story telling of Warren Ellis' Global Frequency (currently one of my favorite comics).
1: Fewer people have died-in-action over the 30-plus years on the U.S. space program than in any given month during the exploration and colonization of America. While we're at it let's hold NASA's record up against NASCAR racing and boxing.
3: Before the accident nobody knew the names of Columbia's crew. There are entire industries to help people keep track of bucketloads of celebrity gossip and who is getting drafted by sports teams. Children around the country can name each and every Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh character, but these seven spacefarers were anonymous until death. The sadness of that truth is immeasurable.
4: You realize how much worse it could have been when you think about some of the cold war hardware they wanted to put into orbit.
I keep hearing NASA officials refer to today as a "Bad Day." They've been saying it a lot. It's an icky feeling.
When I heard the Columbia news I was prepping a joke about NASA's future plans to convert the shuttle to Linux, Then I thought about Warren Ellis' upcoming book Orbiter, and remembered that he pulled an Authority storyline after the WTC attacks (he's been doing a lot of posts today). I also recalled that Columbia was the shuttle whose telemetry was used as the background sounds on Rush's "Countdown" from Signals.
The ancillary stories surrounding this are the rough part: Someone posted Columbia wreckage on eBay, reports of bodies being found in gardens, and the sense of dread that must be going through the crew of the International Space Station. We who have followed the space program closely always knew there would be another event like this, the law of averages dictated it as an almost-certainty. It doesn't make it sting any less.
I'm going to see the California Guitar Trio tonight, and am recalling the fact that one of their tunes was used to wake the Columbia crew up one morning years ago.
And since it is the Year of the Ram, I guess I'll put on McCartney's Ram to celebrate.
The Vatican has begun a search for a Patron Saint of the Internet. This is interesting because, aside from being a thouroghly foolish idea, this is the first time in recent memory that the catholic church has admitted that they are not in the mid-thirteenth century.
The U.S. wants to ban the import of Glenfiddich Havana Reserve scotch because, even though it is a product of Scotland, it is stored in cuban barrels.