GalacticMu

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Where Awesome Comes From

Posted by halcyon on Jul 9, 2008 at 2:56 pm

If you are anything like me (doughy, bookish, functioning eyeballs), and you grew up in the seventies or eighties, you have fond memories of the art of this guy: Richard Amsel. Here is a guy who, armed with only a pencil and some watercolors, and what I assume were huge pieces of paper, unleashed movie-scale awesomeness on our as-yet unjaded eyes. What kind of awesomeness? Try the poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Or the Dark Crystal. Or Chinatown. Or, Mu favorite, Flash Gordon. If your life were half as exciting as this poster, you’d probably die of awesome-poisoning.

amsel_flashgordon.jpg

Thank you, Mr. Amsel for blowing our young minds. And thank you, Adam McDaniel for telling the story of the man behind the awesomeness.

Always here to help,
Halcyon
Psych Officer
Galactic Mu

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5 Posted in Visual

Zombie Boy, We Understand You

Posted by Sunday on Jul 8, 2008 at 8:02 pm

99% of the time I refrain from participating in argumentative blog commentary (when I’m not on this here soapbox, I mean) – something about a long string of nasty commenters just shuts my brain off. Lotsa folks, as I am sure you’ve noticed, get quite fired up over the whole thing. I appreciate and respect the medium, if we dare call it that, and simply don’t involve myself. And it is not that I find it abhorrent or anything, but rather that I get so easily roped into these things that I eventually exclude all other forms of creativity. The most recent reminder of this was the Great Boing Boing Shitstorm of ’08 (as mentioned here, by me): 1000+ on-topic comments that ramped from funny to ignorant to cruel and back again — hundreds of times over — actually gave me insomnia (true!). I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Mostly, I find I no longer have the skin for the cruelty. It’s in large part the reason we started this website. With daily meanness contests over at the Gawker megalith, it was high time we created out own kiddie pool.

This brings me to commentary surrounding the internet fame of this gentleman:

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© Neville Elder for Bizarre Magazine

First off, I read about him over on Neatorama (who seem like very nice kids), and within the first five comments is :

“ew, why would anyone want to look like that?”

and

“What an ugly idiot!”

It devolves from there.

I immediately had to stop reading. For predictable reasons I feel defensive about anyone calling a tattooed or similarly modified person “ugly” or “stupid”.

There’s a pretty straight-forward psychology that can be unwound here, one where people are startled by something unusual and instead of stopping with “Blech, that’s not for me,” they progress to verbally abusing the person. Of course, the critical ingredient here is that we’re on the INTERNET and lord if there ever were a place to say whatever the hell you felt like saying, then its right here.  Well, not right here right here.  You know what I mean.

Its often remarked on that if people weren’t in a car they wouldn’t behave as they do while driving – that a person cutting another person off on foot is quite likely to turn around and mumble an apology, whereas a driver who cuts you off is just as likely to give you the bird as you are them. In cars we are all steel gladiators capable of running 100 mph. – on the internet we are all invincible.

Rick (aka Zombie Boy) seems like a nice enough guy.  In part of the Bizarre interview he talks about how he’s become a much happier, nicer person since he started getting his tattoos and,

“You’ve got to respect that everyone’s different and has to do what they’ve got to do. I can’t tell you what to do, you can’t tell me what to do – but we can still get along just great. “

I was once interviewed for a friend’s documentary on breast augmentation (she was looking for opinions, not examples), to which I responded something along the lines of, “Whatever you’ve got to do to feel happy in your own body, you should do it.  I would be hypocritical to say otherwise,” and then gestured at my tattoos.  She kindly interjected a question something along the lines of “But what is ‘happy’?  Don’t you think women who get breast implants are just trying to fit into some kind of ‘happiness’ enforced on them by society?”

The short answer is: no.

Humans are social creatures and visual creatures; it would be ignorant to say that the two aren’t linked.  The fitter among us are often considered more attractive.  But the brain is a fussy, weird, unpredictable thing and sometimes merely ensuring that we seem fit and attractive is low on the priority ladder.  I am often asked if I regret being as tattooed as I am (usually by people who want tattoos and are stuck at the “what if I regret it?” stage) and I have so far honestly answered “Nope.”  I try and explain to them that just as their mental image of themselves is probably close to their actual image, so is mine.  I no more see myself as tattooless than I do armless or noseless.  If I woke up tomorrow and didn’t have them, I’d freak out – for a lot of reasons – but one of them would be that in small way I’d not be Sunday anymore.  My identity is not my tattoos, but part of my identity is my physical self, and part of my physical self is how I look.  It reminds me of how often I’ve heard someone overweight remark how they see themselves in a photo or mirror and think, “Who is that fat person?”

This makes me feel that I understand how Rick feels, even if I don’t exactly agree with his execution: we are, in our minds, usually not who we are on the outside.  If you could change that, make them match, wouldn’t you?

Original Neatorama post.

Bizarre Magazine article about Zombie Boy. 

Answer for why that woman in pinching Zombie Boy’s nipple: unavailable. 

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3 Posted in Gross Morphology

My Own Private Blade Runner

Posted by Sunday on Jul 7, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I am an enigma.

On one hand, I despise the presence of people, loathe the crush of more than a handful of human beings in visible proximity to myself. I long for silence.

On the other hand I am terrified of spiders and need at least one other person on call to crush them for me at a moment’s notice. I need sushi, prepared by aloof, masterful chefs who don’t roll their eyes or say “Que?” when you say omakase onegaishimasu. I need Super Target.

Back to the first hand, I need a cave, a nest, a quiet abode both spacious and well-lit during the day and quiet, dark and well-protected at night. Surrounded by trees. And puppies.

And then to the second hand again – I need to not feel like I’m an extra in a hillbilly slasher flick when I go out for a hamburger. To not have someone gape and say “Why’d ya wanna go and move away from Seattle for?” when I tell them where I’m from (dear ignorant, blissful hillbillies: your rents here are one third what a person might hope to pay in other parts of the country, so try to enjoy it).

But mostly, both hands won with the following: I am just not getting enough apocalypse adrenaline in my life. Also, we just got evicted from our apartment so a “young professional” couple can move into a brand new condo in a few months.

To the Los Angeles pod, navigator – set a course!

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Who’s Up For a Little Polydimethylsiloxane?

Posted by Sunday on Jul 6, 2008 at 11:19 pm

While it is well known that for every idea there is an internet contingent, I was nevertheless surprised to discover that “beauty blogging” is a massive sub-culture about to shake the sub-. YouTube’s sidebar category of “Howto & Style” will have on any given day no less than three videos of someone applying eyeshadow on themselves. I suppose we should start a pool for how long before it is produced for cable along side “Ice Road Truckers.

And a late warning to our readers: this post is 95% lame lady crap and 5% science. You’ll survive.

You see, I wear the make-up. I don’t put too much thought into it, but like any hobby you quickly and unhappily learn that for every cheap item that works great there are 50 that burn your eyes or make giant, pulsating cysts form on your forehead. And that alternately, for every expensive tube of lipstick that wears great, there is at least another one that rubs off on your teeth within seconds. It’s complicated. Lots of women like it, as evidenced by the entire industry. Just as many are intimidated and offended, as evidenced by me and Leesa clutching each other for support as we stumble around Sephora, eyes glazing over from a combination of fluorescent lighting and airborne mineral-foundation.

I distinctly remember guffawing at the sudden advancement of a new category of make-up: primer. Like, painting primer, I thought? Jesus, this industry is getting out of control. Primer! Small bottles of some viscous, milky-clear fluid for $40 and higher! We’ve been happily slathering on foundation (which, I believe, was supposed to be the bottom layer of make-up, as evidenced by its name) without ill effects for many a generation, and now you’re telling us we need “primer”?

300.jpgAnd that’s when I made several stunning scientific discoveries¹. The first is that “primer” is primarily dimethicone (short for polydimethylsiloxane), a silicon-based organic polymer that makes stuff slippery while still dry. Hmm, I think, I’ve been diligently slathering dimethicone in my hair for ages now (shout out to Aveda’s Light Elements Smoothing Fluid, whut-whut!). And lord knows I love a polymer. Secondly, an over-the-counter product made by Monistat (yes, that Monistat) called “Chafing Relief Powder-Gel” is… drumroll please… primarily dimethicone. The same consistency and appearance as the expensive “primer”. And at about $6 a tube.

So bladda bladda bladda, in the name of science I bought the tube of anti-chafing gel marketed toward ladies with chafing lady-parts and rubbed it on my face. And then I put make-up on. And you know what? It worked like a goddamn charm. Make-up went on smoother, blended better, wore better, felt better.

Turns out effortless, natural beauty like mine requires a base-coat of silicon-based polydimethylsiloxane.

Oh science. Will you ever stop being weird?

A public service announcement: some people have sensitivities to silicones, so do a test patch (inside of wrist or other tender area) before smearing all over your face. Follow this same advice for any material you feel you might be sensitive to: hot sauce, nanotechnology, foreign currency, etc.

Amazing polydimethylsiloxane at Wikipedia.

¹And by “stunning scientific discoveries” I mean that the first 10,000 Google hits bring up “Monistat Chafing Gel is best make-up primer!!!1!!

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Amazonian Accessories

Posted by Sunday on Jul 3, 2008 at 11:56 am

Sorry about the twice-in-one-week jewelry report, but things seemed grim on the internets lately and well, I’m out of Uranus jokes.

ww-bracelet.jpg

This metal and enamel bracelet is shockingly affordable and while a little kitsch (anyone wearing it had better be armed with a bevy of answers to questions like”Where’s your invisible jet?” and “So you really like Weezer, huh?”), should be worn and appreciated now before the big Wonder Woman summer blockbuster is produced starring some skinny teenage Hollywood starlet who’ll ruin it for everyone.

Wonder Woman Cuff Bracelet  ($25) from The Wireless Catalog.

Found via In Yr Fshn. 

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4 Posted in Daily Space

I admit that I read celebrity blogs, but covertly and with that brand of defensive, proud shame that comes with most porn-viewing. I’m a grown-up, I can read about Naomi Campbell’s repeated arrests if I want to.

One line of regular interest is whether or not Will Smith and his wife Jada are Scientologists. Or rather, whether or not they are going to publicly admit it. Because the public accepts Smith as the next great American Action Actor, seeing past his skin and into his car-chase-sequencing, slang-crowing heart. Now run the same experiment, but with the Scientology parameter added. Result: possible microscopic drop in the hundreds-of-millions Smith might could make on a picture. And we can’t have that, can we?

The Smiths are regularly spotted chillin’ with Shorty McLoonytoons himself, Tom Cruise, which some might argue is not a solid indicator of one’s religious beliefs. However, I beg to differ: it is made clear both in Scientology reference material and in members’ actions that fraternization with non-Scientologists is strictly discouraged. Though it is oddly not spoken of, Cruise’s own divorce from Nicole Kidman was most certainly due to her long-malingering refusal to submit to Scientology in total. Neither party has spoken of this directly, but Kidman’s quiet assurances that she remains Catholic at heart are as close as she can probably get without finding herself accidentally sticking her head into a noose and then accidentally falling off a balcony. The internet abounds with testimonies of ex-Scientologists who were parted from their non-Scientoligist friends and family – even marriage partners, and sometimes forcibly. Classic cult tactics. For the Cruises to be seen repeatedly with the Smiths in public is a very, very strong indicator that the Smiths are at least superficially entertaining Xenu.

The Smiths, as you may or may not have heard, are behind a new private school called The New Village academy (set to open this September), a charitable, benign venture few people fussed over until this week when it was noticed at the school’s website the inclusion of certain Scientology terms.

The school’s spokesperson claims that yes, certain teaching methods at The New Village Academy were pioneered by L. Ron Hubbard, but no, the school was not a “Scientology school.” She also defended the confirmation of several Scientologist teachers by pointing out there were Christian, Muslim and Jewish teachers as well.

As you can probably guess, the logic starts to fall apart pretty quickly. For starters, there are no Jesus or Mohammad methods of teaching at the school as there are L. Ron Hubbard methods. A tiny bit of digging also reveals that the method The New Village Academy will be employing, called “Study Tech,” is in itself a method of converting/reinforcing Scientology beliefs. In other words, it is like saying that a school will have bible study, but that the school in not religious in nature.

A good breakdown of what a Scientology school is structured like can be found at the Ex-Scientology Kids website. Take special note of the section titled “What are the differences between a Scientology school and a public school / regular school?” It takes some reading through, but once you start to spot the typical “Study Tech” weirdnesses, you can see them worded differently or renamed in The New Village Academy’s website. And example of this is the Scientology method of the “clay demo,” or being able to demonstrate understanding of an idea as a 3D piece of clay (the idea being that the spirit learns based on physical, 3D events – this all goes back to space aliens, trust me). At The New Village Academy, it is referred to as:

Mastery can be tested traditionally with pen and paper, but often we prefer to have children demonstrate their understanding by creating models.

I’ll leave it to you to determine how a student might demonstrate their understanding of spelling or long-division by creating a model.

The New Village Academy website.

“Scientology is focus of flap over Will Smith’s new school,” at The LA Times.

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4 Posted in Daily Space, Movies

Bandwagon Here, Jump On Board

Posted by Sunday on Jul 1, 2008 at 12:50 pm

I’ve been wanting to say it for many months now and today I just said fuck it:

Boing Boing sucks.

Wee! Oh, that was cathartic. A very quick breakdown of what is finally making me break my timid silence (and remove Boing Boing from my feeds, and to formally announce that GalacticMu won’t be linking to Boing Boing):

  • They talk almost exclusively about copyright, free speech and fair use, but their comment moderator removes whole comments without warning – not just the ones full of stupid troll speak, but also ones that simply don’t agree – Google it if you don’t believe me, but I’ve seen it happen. Someone was deleted because they said a video was “boring.” I swear. Any comments that are nasty but pro-Boing Boing remain up. Moderator also often posts nasty responses.
  • Tired of reading 10 posts a day about Cory Doctorow’s literary adventures. I don’t dislike Doctorow, I just don’t want a non-stop feed of how many translations a certain excerpt of a story is going through. I thought that was why he has his own separate blog, but I guess not.
  • Both Leesa and I have notice a sharp increase in recent months of stories being scooped/stolen directly from Neatorama, Ectoplasmosis and other blogs, all without giving credit back to where they got them from. Often times also they used the exact same image from the story, right down to the size. Our feeling is that everyone at Boing Boing is just too busy with their personal success/lives to do anything but scoop.
  • Boing Boing in the last few months began a policy of having individual posts sponsored by individual corporations. For example, a post about environmentalism might be sponsored by Honda. This violates so many rules of ethics I can’t begin to list them here. Boing Boing defended this by saying, to no one’s surprise, “Its our blog, we can do what we want to.” Which is true. And also translates to, “It’s our blog, we don’t have to offer trustworthy news if we don’t want to.”
  • More recently, a series of unusual events occurred. Sex-blogger Violet Blue had all reference to her totally deleted from Boing Boing (including interviews), an event that was brought to her attention through several people who found pre-existing links suddenly dead. She openly expressed that she didn’t know what had caused it, and was waiting for an explanation (and assumed some kind of server glitch). Today Boing Boing announced in their now-typically snide tone that Violet had done “something” that made them want to delete her. Xeni Jardin then said (and I paraphrase, but barely) that since Boing Boing was a “Directory of Wonderful Things” and since they no longer considered Violet Blue to be “Wonderful,” they’d deleted any existence of her.

2629339616_f191b9f7f2_o.jpg

art by Flickr user johnralston

In truth, I’ve just been mass-deleting Boing Boing posts in my feed for a long time now. And in truth, its no secret, at least quietly here behind the scenes at GMu, that we are afraid of speaking poorly of Boing Boing. We don’t want to upset them when we could get a link from them at some point and suddenly jump our traffic up by the thousands. This is a petty feeling to be dragging around and I think we are ready to let it go. I am afraid of pissing off the moderator, Theresa Nielsen Hayden, because she is also an editor at the largest science fiction publisher in the world, Tor. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Boing Boing is the popular gang roaming the internet, and since I’m afraid of them stealing my lunch money, I always lower my head and tell them how totally cool they are.

I’m done with that. Mind you, I’m whispering it here over on the other side of the gymnasium where they can’t hear me, but I’m doing it.

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4 Posted in Daily Space

Recently an Etsy artist by the name of OctopusME made the internet rounds for her tentacle-rings cast from a real octopus tentacles. This was a huge hit with the steampunk and Cthulupunk crowds, as you can well imagine, but it wasn’t until today that I actually looked at her shop.

il_430xn16267692.jpg

What made me shake my fist at my sucking wound of a bank account was the “Dragon Slayer” pendant, a single talon in silver, equal parts Awesome Metal Chick to D&D nerdess. Smaug-tastic! I’d advise against wearing with denim, though, unless you want to be solicited for crank all night.

il_430xn28384464.jpg

For those still enamored of her tentacle jewelry, though, I myself prefer her line of small tentacle earrings, like this double-tentacle pair. Even though I know I’d be tugging knots of my hair out of them all day long, I still prefer their spindly, creepy articulation over the rings.

OctopusME’s shop.

“Dragon Slayer” pendant ($78).

“Double Tentacle Earrings” ($85).

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My Fiance Has A New Project

Posted by Sunday on Jul 1, 2008 at 9:01 am

My future husband Nathan Fillion has been keepin’ himself busy via Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, etc.)- and I ask of you, what finer sentence has ever been written?

Whedon nerds have been breathlessly following (and by breathlessly, I mean loudly chatterboxing each other to death) the announcement of Whedon’s web-only musical short titled Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. The three-part series stars Neil Patrick Harris as the villain Dr. Horrible, and Nathan Fillion as the hero Captain Hammer. Music and humor ensue.

Oh, and Fillion – can we set the wedding date, please? I’ve got about 20 pounds to lose and I don’t see any reason to start losing it too early.

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0 Posted in Daily Space, TV