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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.

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.

Ars Technica’s History of the Amiga, Part Five

Filed under Computer Graphics, Found on the Web

Ars Technica continues its series on the history of the Amiga computer with Part Five – in which we see the machine and its inventors, apparently saved by an influx of cash from Commodore Business Machines, learn the awful truth.

The company wastes its resources in a completely bungled launch and the Amiga simply sits, unmarketed and practically unsold, for about two years before matters change and someone gains a clue about what to do with it. Meanwhile Jack Tramiel rushes the Atari ST to market and advertises it aggressively. The original Amiga engineers are split between those who move East to join Commodore and those who’ve already found that they’ve had enough.

The story so far:

Penguin Rocketeer by Fabio Bautista – “The Great Flight”

Filed under Computer Graphics, Found on the Web

Penguin Rocketeer by Fabio BautistaHere’s what makes me happy this morning – a jet packed penguin rocketeer by Fabio Bautista, modeled and rendered in 3DS Max. You just can’t keep a flightless bird down, even if he has to solve the immemorial “opposable thumbs” problem that’s stumped penguin engineers for centuries.

Bautista doesn’t have a web site of his own, but you can see his gallery – and a “Making Of” clip for this image and the brief “The Great Flight” animation – in his pages at CG Society, here.

Venomous Gearflies and Clockroaches: the Durable Natural History of Mademoiselle Porkshanks

Filed under Found on the Web

steampunk jewelryIt is our expectation that the public will be informed and dumbfounded by the remarkable and highly durable constructions of that renowned naturalist-adventurer Mlle. Porkshanks, of the Airship Inexplicable. These clockwork records of heretofore unseen species such as the Clockroach, the Skin Tunneler, and the Venomous Gearfly are presented as the sole surviving record of the Inexplicable‘s latest explorations.

The Inexplicable (as is not unusual) suffered remarkably high mortality rates amongst its crew during that venture and it is not coincidental that the vessel, now briefly returned to port, is currently advertising for additional crew.

It is perhaps because of the highly destructive events of their late adventure that Mlle. Porkshanks has chosen to replicate her discoveries in brass, bronze, and other sundry indestructible materials. This has ensured the viewing public of some insight into the Inexplicable’s new discoveries.

Indeed, fortunate observers may even have the opportunity to purchase one or more of these unique specimens, as Mlle. Porkshanks porkshankshas determined that they should be sold to aid in the refitting of her beleaguered craft. Interested collectors may peruse her current offerings in the Gallerie d’Etsy . We are advised that they make curious jewelry likely to inspire conversation of a cultured type that will prove most agreeable.

In addition, like-minded scholars will be pleased to view Mlle. Porkshanks’ personal photographs at Deviant Art. Here are detailed not only her clockwork jewelry, but various equipment invaluable on her travels, such as the Steam Powered Anti-Aetheric Matter Raygun.

Imaginary Conversation, with Conundrum

Filed under Can't Stop Thinking

You can’t make that argument. It’s impossible to prove a negative.


Um…. can you prove that?

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