Category Archives: Various and Sundry

This Guy Has Balls

I’m currently getting ready for Escape Velocity this weekend, which is sure to be full of delightfully zealous fans.

Well, unless you get arrested by Klingons at an inopportune moment.

But this video reminds me how fandom takes many forms and friends and family can join in the fun regardless of whether they’re fans of the topic in question or not. Enjoy!

The Lego Crime Ring Movie

People think I joke about Lego sets being a highly fenced item. Okay, they also wonder what it means “to fence” something. Do people really not know that terminology? Mickey Spillane’s ghost just choked on a salted peanut.

I may have consumed too many hardboiled detective tales in my youth.

Anyway, criminals love Legos precisely because so many other people love Legos — and are willing to pay for said Legos.

Cops know that criminals love Legos and occasionally bust said criminals with illegal Legos and why is there not a movie about this already?!?

P.S. I am totally dropping “Portland is a hotbed of Lego crime” into a conversation at the next opportunity.

The Mind of Méliès

If you didn’t check out the incredibly cool 360-degree video Google Doodle earlier this month, get a smartphone or tablet and check it out.

It’s a wonderful tribute to a storyteller who I think would very much embrace virtual reality, augmented reality, and the various emerging techniques storytellers are trying.

Princes Come and Princes Go… same with TV Shows

So I was just posting about pilot season this morning, it seemed only right to mention the other end of the lifecycle.

As is usual, Vox has a rundown of all the shows that have been cancelled or come to a natural end, those that have been renewed, and your favorite show which is on the bubble.

I’m mainly concerned about the uncertain fate of The Expanse, but it probably is better situated on a streaming service anyway. Still, if one of them could pick it up soon…

Threat Alert Thursday: Consider a Password Manager

Last week’s Twitter kerfuffle led Vox to dust off its primer on password managers which, if you’ve been thinking about starting to use, you might want to check out.

Whaddya know? It’s Unicorn Wednesday!

Look, I don’t make the rules, I just know it’s Unicorn Wednesday.

You may be indifferent to Wednesdays, but who doesn’t like unicorns? They’re the national animal of Scotland for crying out loud! And for that matter, who doesn’t like magic?

Misty Lee has you covered:

Grieving and Living

While I’m sure its author would not purport to be the last authority on the subject nor her article a substitute for medical advice, I thought Lori Gottlieb’s piece in The Atlantic to be a good reflection on the grieving process.

All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by… and maybe some deflector shields

Rockets and starships and especially naval ships getting spacefaring analogues occupy my thoughts from time to time. Okay, a lot of the time. I know I’m not alone in this gentle obsession, so it was nice to come across this lengthy article by Jeff “Hageshii01” Venancio all about military ship types in actual naval history and how they’ve been applied in science fiction settings.

This is probably a good time to mention that, if you want to scratch your sci-fi itch and you’ll be in the DC area around Memorial Day, you should check out Escape Velocity. I will be there as part of the Jabberwocky Audio Theater performance of War of the Worlds, but there’s a lot of other fun stuff that weekend, including a panel about Aircraft Carriers in Space and also one about Honor Harrington.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the original poem alluded to in the title above, that’s “Sea Fever” by John Masfield. You may remember a certain captain referencing it:

Move over Monorail, It’s Electric Bus Time

I still remember researching electric cars being developed during the beginnings of the auto industry and being surprised when my dad mentioned that there were still electric vehicles on the road when he grew up in the 40s and 50s. Old models of delivery vehicles were still being used by thrifty businesses — and, in fact, the Walker Vehicle Company made such vehicles up until 1942 in Chicago.

The reason the vehicles were still on the roads was because electric motors cope with lots of starts and stops… such as delivery vehicles make. Delivery vehicles usually also don’t need to worry about extended range. They’re headed across town, not cross-country.

Being the practical engineer type, my dad was always befuddled by the fact that no one had decided to continue making electric vehicles for the urban environment.

It might not come as any surprise that many practical engineer types have had similar thoughts of late, only this time with buses versus delivery vehicles. In fact, they’re on track to be a significant percentage of all buses inside the next 10 years. Not only that, their use is already making a noticeable dent in oil use. My dad would especially like the passage in the latter article where the electric bus company was laughed at for making a toy not too many years ago. There’s no hubris quite like status quo hubris. (Especially since many people have mused about this happening, as you’ll see in a similar article from last year).

Of course, the only surefire way to have local governments adopt electric buses is to come up with a catchy song. You, know, something like…

Say! That Sounds Like…

Devices and contraptions that make sound effects are among my favorite things, ranking well above cream-colored ponies, bright copper kettles, and possibly even whiskers on kittens.

So I was delighted to see this little video about how sound effects have been made over the years (though I think they skip over the valuable contributions voice-over artists have been able to do with their own voices: think Mel Blanc’s sad Maxwell sputtering on the Jack Benny Show for just one example).