I’ve been concentrating lately with the retro-futuristic side of my brain, but look what popped out this weekend: two new Celtic art designs for my Saga Shirts site.
“Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Wizards” is of course Gandalf’s famous advice about, you know, not meddling. The consequences are grave – witness the frog (“You Are Here”) and the rest of the quote: “For they are subtle, and quick to anger.” As are we all, I expect. Like all the Saga shirts these are available in loads of colors and styles.
“Visit Scenic Annwn” is what you might expect from the Otherworld Tourist Advisory Board: first, an invitation to spend your vacation time in Arawn’s kingdom – which lies just on the other side of those fields we know – and then, a few tourist advisory notices. Don’t eat or drink anything; don’t make any bargains; don’t take or offer gifts; and, above all, watch out for the hounds.
Once again, it’s Retro Rocket Thursday – that holiday of long standing that we get every week, so long as I remember what day it is.
Today’s retro rocket is the Space Tub Rocket by Jeff Brewer. This handsome, bulging cartoon rocket is cast in resin on a weighted base that will keep it flying in almost any situation. Almost, I say, because mine turned out to be a very poor perch for a bird, when it found its way into my house. Don’t try this at home.
But aside from air raids, it’s a great, bulgy, more or less streamlined cartoon rocket that stands proudly on top of its plume of exhaust. Nice one!
Slow week? Consider your options for the Top Ten Ways to Destroy the Earth at Live Science.
For sheer outrageous foolhardiness, my hat’s off to #4 (“Meticulously and systematically deconstructed“). I’m pretty sure that about the time you’d dug up, say, Australia, and fired the chunks off into the Sun, someone would show up and give you an unreasonably hard time. Though this would obviously not be the Australians.
Anyway if your work week is leading you to waver between plans for world domination and schemes for utter and complete annihilation, this would be the article that might tip the scales.
I mean, each scenario even has its “You Will Need” bullet point. It’s practically a recipe.
Here’s the latest short animation from Michael Sormann’s ongoing “Theme Planet” project. “Bunny Situation” is available in three flavors:
“Theme Planet” is a 3D animated planet that is completely covered by a theme park. One attraction after another is piled high and wide, to cover the whole world’s surface. The story centers on a couple of maintenance workers who live there (the Pig and Elephant characters who appear in this short).
It’s exactly the sort of huge ambitious personal project I most admire even though my own H.A.P.P. is likely to consume me. Or maybe because my own is likely to consume me. Very highly recommended.
The worthy gadgetophiles of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have taken a 1950’s “Fraction of an Inch Adding Machine” and turned it into a do it yourself project.
This reminds me of the proportional scale that I still sometimes use. What this one does is to make it simple for you to add fractional measurements (like 1/16″ + 5/64″). Still a useful, old school device in the workshop.
Note: Always remember to Measure Twice, Cut Once.
Here’s a fun thing: a music video for MC Frontalot’s ‘It Is Pitch Dark’ (you are likely to be eaten by a grue). It’s an homage to the Infocom text adventure games of yore, and it even features a cameo by Infocom designer Steve Meretzky (above right). Meretzky has been idolized as a Game God by PC Gamer Magazine.
Steve Meretzky was the author of the text adventure Planetfall – which I think, after 24 years or so, is the best computer game I ever played.
I think that because I’ve never encountered another game that came so close to being a new narrative art form. The form is necessarily different from prose fiction or film because the medium is unique.
The game uses a form of storytelling that is interactive, and therefore doesn’t even exist until its audience takes action; but unlike almost every other attempt at interactive storytelling Planetfall and some of its Infocom siblings manage to create feelings other than fright or shock. It evokes an actual emotional response from the player as a result of things the player has chosen to do. And while it may have been a primitive thrust in the right direction, that is exactly what interactive, narrative art needs to do. And has not done.
Imagine that thirty years after the invention of the printing press, nobody had time to write because all they were doing was designing new typefaces. That’s exactly where digital entertainment is today.
Once again we find ourselves on the fifth day of the week, and we celebrate that with one of Jeff Brewer’s outrageous rocket statues.
A cast resin icon, the Bolts Blast Rocket towers over anything shorter than fourteen inches as it balances on its weighted base atop a plume of cartoon smoke. Mine’s on top of a bookcase – which may sort of assist in the towering department.
Its name (“Bolts Blast”) sort of signifies that it’s the smoke-enabled version of Brewer’s classic “Bolts Rocket“. That one just towers on its fins.
Oh happy day! Nature reports that a team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside have successfully created the formerly theoretical molecule known as Di-positronium. It can exist for only the tiniest fraction of a second, which is plenty long enough for one of its projected uses.
Get ready for it. It’s the gamma-ray annihilation laser.
The gamma-ray annihilation laser is a useful tool that falls into an important category, for me. That’s the category of “things I’d really like to have, but which I’d rather you didn’t”. Like the flying car.
Anyway loads of information about this, though – I’m happy to say – not enough that you can drop everything and cobble together a gamma-ray annihilation laser* of your own – are available at BBC News.
“The difference in the power available from a gamma-ray laser compared to a normal laser is the same as the difference between a nuclear explosion and a chemical explosion,” said Dr David Cassidy of the University of California, Riverside, and one of the authors of the paper.
*I just really like that name.
“Tidy Monster” ia a second-outing CG short film by Tim Marchant. It’s won the 2007 Grand Prix award at the University of Hertfordshire’s ‘Film Day’ event, which shows good taste by them – if by good taste you mean (as I do, at the moment) a taste for absolute freaking insanity and moody, atmospheric dementia.
The audio work and narration is exceptional – the voice is by actor Ben Williams. The film’s an unusual, interesting, and a highy weird experience, which is something that’s always welcome around here. Unless you ask the cat.
Oh – and I noticed that the award was presented by the UK effects house The Mill, who among other things are the force behind the visual effects in the new Doctor Who series.
Wow. There is just no way I should be looking at all these today, so I’m counting on you to do it for me.
Robot Island has page after page after page of reproduction retro robot toys, along with other space toy replicas – and for those of you with both deep pockets and long arms, there are some collectible original space and robot toys, too.
Don’t be dismayed by the voices chanting Destroy all humans.