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Monthly Archives: December 2007
The Indestructible and now Instructable Molly Porkshanks – a step by step tutorial for her Steampunk MP3 player

Filed under Found on the Web

Ambiance Enhacer How To at InstructablesMolly Porkshanks’ portable Ambience Enhancer is the ideal personal accessory for wanderers in the Dieselpunk post-apocalyptic wastes where she (and, no doubt, many of you) spends her time. It’s a terrific modification of an MP3 player that got loads of attention on the web, and it was my own introduction to her amazing work – though unknowingly, I’d already run across her in Libby Buloff’s photo series for the uncannily reincarnated Weird Tales magazine.

She’s now posted a step-by-step tutorial about the Ambience Enhancer at Instructables. This is pretty neat in itself, but if you enjoy her work you should also know that the tutorial is an entry in their Universal Laser Cutter contest. While the contest is judged, the entries that go to the finals are selected by their ratings. So please consider running over there to create an account (if you haven’t already) and give the Ambience Enhancer your vote.

The laser cutter is a very neat (and pricey) device that would make a fine addition to the Porkshanks workshop. Just think of the vicarious thrills that await you if she bags that baby.

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Celebrity Robot Replicas by robot restorer Fred Barton

Filed under Found on the Web

Fred Barton & Robbie the RobotIn their day, they changed the world. Their goal might have been to rouse the proletariat to an ill-advised revolution, or to bring a message of peace to a world full of frightened and trigger-happy Earthmen; theirs might have been a simpler duty, like protecting Anne Francis or Will Robinson (“Danger!”), or taking care of the very last plants from planet Earth. But whatever role they once played in the unfolding might-have-beens of our favorite movies, the question these days is Where are they now?

Fred Barton knows. They’re over at his place.

Since 1996 Barton has devoted himself to fulfilling his own robotic fantasies. He’s made a name for himself in film prop restoration, specializing in the (mainly robotic) science fiction classics. His workshop has played host to the original Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet, the B9 robot from Lost in Space, and many of the other mechanical creatures that you’ll see on his web site. They’re now available as high quality reproductions that in many cases are better than the original props and costumes were.

Metropolis Robot Maria replicaAnd even if he didn’t restore their originals, he was likely off site to do his research and take measurements and casts – as in the case of his reproduction R2D2 and C3PO. Those guys don’t get off the ranch these days.

The centerpiece of this collection just has to be the animated, talking Robbie. He incorporates an iPod to deliver his audio and his various control panels and scanners light up and accompany his actions just as they did in Forbidden Planet. He’s just plain amazing – though I guess for myself I might rather have the “Evil Maria” fembot from Metropolis. She’s…well, more my type, at the risk of being misunderstood.

Barton’s bots cover a lot of animatronic ground from “none”, in the case of Maria, to “gee whillikers!” at the Robbie end of the scale. And they’re not what most of us would call affordable – I mean, Barton’s clients include Paul Allen. But you can take heart in the knowledge that this would be way cooler than a compact car, at about the same price, and you can even lease Robbie for trade shows.

Thanks go to Daniel Mowry for the link.

Samuel Tourneux’ Même les pigeons vont au paradis – A Stereophonic Diving Bell to Heaven

Filed under Computer Graphics, Found on the Web

Même les pigeons vont au paradis

Samuel Tourneux’ Même les pigeons vont au paradis is a cautionary tale about an old man who’s sold an unlikely machine that will take him to Heaven, at the usual unreasonable cost. In that respect it’s highly realistic; the ending, though, is possibly less so. Normally the folks who sell you on that deal get the last laugh, of course. Not to mention giving you all sorts of messy and uncomfortable neuroses.

This short film has garnered a whole collection of awards and honors, and for good reason.

Golden Age Comic Book Stories – Krenkel, Frazetta, and Williamson in the Future That Never Was

Filed under Found on the Web

retro sci fi comics & art Whillikers! I can’t think when I’ve been so excited to find a web site. This reminds me of my first days on the web, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and every venture online led to mysterious lands where the roads were pebbled with sapphires, and strange beasts roared in the verdant undergrowth that threatened to swallow those long-untrodden, alien paths.

Excuse me.

But this is just so cool.

Golden Age Comic Book Stories is a blog that features art and complete stories by giants like Al Williamson, Roy G. Krenkel, Frank Frazetta, J. Allen St John and a whole host of illustrators and comics artists from the mid twentieth century. The high quality versions of the Frazetta Buck Rogers pictures would have been enough to get me excited – but oh, there’s just so much more. This is work that you see snippets of here and there, but Mr. Door Tree’s excellent blog is a genuine treasure trove.

The space pirates, flying ships, ray guns and adventure that’s wrapped up in this body of work are what floats my personal space boat. Below’s one of my own pictures called “Jeepers Creepers” – the whole time I was working on it, it’s exactly these artists I was thinking of.

Retro Sci Fi poster

Thanks to The Beat for dangling a link to the site in front of me.

“Whirlpool” – one of twelve animated tribal legends from Australia

Filed under Computer Graphics, Found on the Web

Australian tribal legend animationWhirlpool is a short animated film that retells an aboriginal Australian tale about a raid by the Saltwater People against the Freshwater People, and how the captives manage to get away.

This is one of a series of twelve short animated films in the Dust Echoes series, produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

All twelve are adapted from tribal stories and the Dust Echoes site has a glossary and study guides which explain the background of the stories. The whole project is a very interesting one, and it’s great to see something like this produced.

Unfortunately this is a Flash web site so I can’t give you a direct link to the film. But it’s the leftmost of the film icons, just to the right of the “Explore” icon. Yet another demonstration of why Flash shouldn’t be used for site navigation. If you needed one, I mean.

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Down in the Basement. Where it Strains Against its Chains and Turns a Gigantic Wheel of Pain, for all Eternity. Muahahahahaha.