Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Thursday, November 6, 2008

[apparatus] Whew!

Well, it has been a heck of a week - I really haven't had much time since Halloween for a developed thought unrelated to my classes. But this is a long weekend for me - not holidaywise, just non-instructional-daywise - so maybe I'll get a chance to focus some neurons on issues other than essay organization and poetry analysis. In the meantime, there's this mess.

That blue lady up there is Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, a character from Farscape, Otis's latest watch-the-series-on-DVD venture. It seems to be a bit like a mix of Bablyon Five and Star Trek: Voyager with more of an edge, or maybe Andromeda on crank. We've watched a few episodes, and it's holding up so far, although the fairly generic spaceship milieu and the Henson puppetworks wear thin easily. Watching this mostly-obscure little series makes me wonder if anyone else remembers White Dwarf, an ill-considered series from 1995 with a semi-steampunk vibe, described by one critic as "a sort of Northern Exposure meets The Princess Bride on the planet Dune."

Speaking of steampunk, here's a bike to reckon with - The Brass Lion:

This wonderful ride is a product of Steuben's Wheelmen, and I'd love to be tooling down the Burke on it.

More steampunkish transportation news: the rigid airship is back! You wouldn't know it by the headline, which sacrificed accuracy for a little pun, but the zeppelin has returned to American skies. I'm not sure I want to pay five yards for a one-hour ride, but I'm happy to know its in the skies. That's cool.

Here's something else that manages to be totally cool and completely boring at the same time, something that I would not have thought possible before:

Um, yeah. Here's a website that I am sure explains how fantastic this really is, but it's even too boring to read. Not cool at all.

Something that everyone else thought was cool was the cloned dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Sometimes I wonder if I was the only kid who was more excited by Pleistocene mammals than by dinosaurs: sabre-toothed cats and giant sloths, that's where it was at for me! In any case, according to this article, it looks like the mammoths might beat the thunder lizards in the reincarnation race.

And finally, here's a note from the real world, not the sci-fi past or future. Newsweek ran an article with inside information from the political campaigns that is now leaking out; it included this quotation from Barack Obama talking about the debates:
“I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that's green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”
Bravo! I love this quotation not only because the voice in it is so authentic and direct about the campaign process, but because Obama is echoing a sentiment about environmentalism that I have held and argued for some time now. Yeah, he's got this.


RAB said...

When you get a few episodes further into Farscape it will move past its relatively humble beginnings and transform into one of the most inventive SF series ever. Typically, an SF series (including the ones you name) will become more formulaic and restricted over time; this show, however, is that rare case where the creative team realized over time that they had more creative opportunities rather than less, and became increasingly ambitious.

Crichton's increasingly pervasive comics and Trek references are a clue to this direction, because they indicate something central to the Farscape ethos. The writers have seen all the same shows, movies, and books as their audience, and we all know what's supposed to happen in thus-and-such that's precisely when the show does a left turn away from the genre convention into something totally unexpected.

I'll spare you the full force of my fanboy gushing (especially because I know nothing is a bigger turnoff) but I recommend sticking with the show for a bit.

Juliet said...

Obama: Has he picked an Energy Secretary yet?