GalacticMu

Press your spaceface close to mine

Things On My Mind: Good People, Good Times Edition

Posted by Sunday on Feb 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm
  • So… remember all that smack I talked about Dollhouse?  Yeah.  I take it all back.  Episode 2: The Target, was excellent and really felt as though it were intended to be the real pilot.  It was grim, sad, gruesome, violent (man, no one has faked tired and terrified as well as Dushku since Veronica Cartwright’s Lambert) and surprised me by creating a strong seed of compassion between Echo and her handler, Langdon – I went from not giving a shit about any of them to really wanting to see how the Buffy/Giles Echo/Langdon relationship pans out.
  • Did you miss seeing Blindness?  You shouldn’t have.  While good writing can put a reader into any headspace, seeing the frenetic, identity-killing effects of mass blindness creates a tension that is unparalleled.  A bit of trivia: the actors often wore contact lenses that literally blinded them, making their frustrated, hesitant bumblings genuine.
  • After reading an interview by Elizabeth Hand expressing approval of the James Tiptree Jr. biography, I checked it out from the library and haven’t been able to put it down since.  It had been enough for me to know that Tiptree was really a woman posing, successfully and famously, as a man in order to publish her science fiction, but to no one’s surprise but my own there’s a hell of a lot more to the story.  The woman behind Tiptree, Alli Sheldon, was a fascinating, strange, broken, brilliant creature with one of the more bizarre life stories I’ve ever read about. Highly recommended, even with the increasingly pedantic musings on Sheldon’s sexuality.
  • Quagmire, our resident space-hobo, gleefully pointed out the hilarity of the military realization that programming robots to kill some humans and not others is harder than it sounds.  Instead of Asimov’s three laws, which prohibit harm to come to a human being, the military has whined for the need of a very Sun Tzu-sounding “warrior code”- one which would allow robots to kill people, but according to certain ethical standards.  The best part?  You can read the 112-page military report yourself!  Really, truly excellent reading, including the discussion of what they’ve termed “rampancy” — robots gone wild!  Oh, the entertainment value!  Seriously, print this thing out, take a drink of bourbon every time you LOL while reading and you’ll be drunk in 5 pages flat (the phrase “a robot’s lack of true Kantian autonomy” made me blow tea out my nose).
Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
2 Posted in Daily Space

Human is Delicious

Posted by halcyon on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:50 pm

As you pass through distant and uncharted galaxies, it is important to remember that alien species often have different cultures than the one you are used to. These differences will almost certainly extend to the realm of culinary choices. Try to remain open minded, even if it means ingesting an ensign.

3261421205_396906673b.jpg

Always here to help,
Halcyon
Psych Officer
Galactic Mu

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
0 Posted in Daily Space, Visual

No Really, Why Do They Sleep in Glass Coffins?

Posted by Sunday on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Occasionally I offend even myself, which is why I haven’t published anything about the much-awaited pilot of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.  I made many attempts, to be sure, and none of them came close to the kind of straightforward summary that I can finally achieve:

It was okay.

I feel like a traitor.  I don’t know what else to say; it was just alright.  It felt like a pilot episode, which is to say: it felt grossly overworked and expository, and sadly I can think of recent television pilots that engaged me more (Lie to Me was instantly entertaining to me, for example, despite having similar flaws).   While watching, I distinctly remember thinking, “This is good,” and then immediately afterwards thinking, “Except, kind of not.”  Days later, I’m still in that headspace: it appealed to me in parts, and turned me off in others.

One of my thoughts was regarding the genre of shows where a large, rich clandestine operation exists wholly outside of the public eye.  And my inability to submerge myself into these stories.  My suspicious, conspiracy theorist side knows that in fact the great bulk of governments and corporations are totally occluded from the public eye (for each Enron scandal that makes CNN, how many go their quiet way?) but while watching Dollhouse I still mentally groused “What is stopping these millionares from spilling the beans about the Dollhouse when they’re drunk?  When they want attention?”  The whole scenario felt precarious and fragile, and I am already tired of the constant ‘will they be exposed – find out in the next episode of Dollhouse!’ plotline that is bound to follow.

acker.jpg

Oh, these?  There’s no real story.  I tripped, there was an electric fan, you can see where this is going.

There are characters I expected to like and didn’t – in fact, I didn’t connect with anyone.  For example, I like Amy Acker as much as the next Angel fan, but her acting/character was weird.  Was that supposed to be sexual tension between her and Echo?  Because it also felt like she couldn’t remember her lines, which seems unlikely.  Between her gloomy, drifty whispering and the facial scars, I really would have preferred to enter the scene and announce, “Hi, I’m Dr. Mysterious – I mean Saunders, haha, Saunders.”

The question now lingers: did I end up being influenced by the pervasive online negativity?  Who knows.  The important part is that I’m wasting precious mental resources on it.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
1 Posted in TV

One Cycle Down…

Posted by Sunday on Feb 16, 2009 at 1:53 am

One year ago today the crew of GalacticMu sat at the cockpit and wondered if they should press the red button.

“Do it,” Sunday said.

“But the rebustable bolsters aren’t online,” Leesa warned.

“Whatever you guys want to do,” said Mike.

“I want it!” Sunday yelled.

“Okay fine, press the button.  I hope you’re prepared for a full plasma purge.”  Leesa tapped at the mainframe keyboard.

“Well, I don’t have a course prepared yet, anyway.”  Sunday pulled out the heaps of maps and glared at them.

“Maps?  No one said there were going to be maps,” Mike said in a shrill voice.

“Captain, I’m an engineer, not a – oh, there we go.  They’re online.”  Leesa smoked two cigarettes at once in celebration.

“I guess we don’t need to know where we’re going just yet.”  Sunday’s eyes drifted back to the button.  “And we’re fully stocked with Dorritos and kippers.”

“And coffee.”

“And puppies.”

“Oh, fuck it.”

button.jpg

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
3 Posted in Daily Space

Happy Birthday, Chuck!

Posted by Sunday on Feb 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I have three¹ heroes – people who I can just think about and make myself cry – and one of them is Chuck Yeager, granddaddy of space flight.

chuck-yeager.jpg

Yeager is one seriously gnarly son of a bitch.  I mean, brother has survived jet crashes, a dozen wars,  carried a man over a mountain range in hostile enemy territory, hobnobbed with presidents, went supersonic before anyone else and then in 2003 married a woman 36 years younger than him.  SHAZAM.  Course, he has a tendency to side with staunch republicans on matters of state, but he’s a military boy through and through and we shouldn’t expect otherwise I suppose.  In various interviews and books he’s widely expressed a respect for people of all race and nationality, and forgive me for paraphrasing here, but has said something along the lines of prejudices being the direct result of wartime feelings.  After WWII he served in Germany and was delighted to discover what great fans of hunting and fishing the Krauts were.  Tally-ho!   It was like WWII never happened.

And.  Look how cute he is.  He’s the very model of the Best Grandpa In The World.  Jesus, could you imagine?  If you ever screwed up and your mom was like, “Don’t make me tell Grandpa Yeager.”  You’d be slobbering crying, begging her not to tell him.  Holy mother of god, don’t tell Grandpa Yeager I smoked pot.  Oh sweet lord, please.

Anyway, happy birthday, Chuck!  We’ll keep politely waiting until you pass before we start building the clone army of you.

For a great read (really, it’s actually a page-turner), I recommend YEAGER, by Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos.  I don’t think the title is supposed to be all in caps like that, but it is on the cover of the book and that’s how I think of him anyway.  In caps.  YEAGER.

¹Other two are  Jim Henson and Mr. Rogers.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

You’re Twelve-Stepping Me To Death Here, Bitch¹

Posted by Sunday on Feb 11, 2009 at 1:47 am

One of my favorite things to do is to recommend science fiction books to people who either don’t know anything about scifi, or even better, people who actively dislike it.  The thrill comes from a simple, smug chunk of knowledge: they haven’t read the right stuff yet.  It’s like matchmaking, but less weird and not nearly as potentially friendship-killing.   There is skill involved.  I don’t want to saddle just anyone with a copy of Winterlong.

This is why I automatically cringe whenever a list of THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS YOU’LL EVER READ is printed; maybe for you, who ever you are, but so far every one of these “master lists” has left of Voltaire’s Candide, which immediately negates their credibility.  For me.  But maybe not you.  It depends.  See?  It’s a sticky toffee of a problem, except not as desirable.

The Guardian recently published a list of “1000 novels everyone must read” broken into categories, one of which is scifi and fantasy.   Must you read them?  Well, no.  Should you read them?  Some of them, others not so much.  It’s British, so there is an interesting skew to what I imagine are British scifi favorites (many authors of whom I’d never even heard of), but sadly a strange preponderance of novels I’d barely categorize as even magical realism, let alone science fiction.  Lord of the Flies?  They listed Margaret Atwoods The Blind Assassin, but not The Handmaid’s TaleThe Magus?  I mean, to be honest the Guardian list reads like a particularly uninspired college syllabus for a class called Naptime: Obscure Fiction You’ll Immediately Resell Back to the School’s Bookstore.

And then somehow, in what I desperately hope was some kind of covert racist commentary, Tony Morrison’s Beloved winds up in this list.  They might as well have included Anne Frank’s Diary.

For the sake of balance, here are a few books I’d put on a damn list.

  1. Neuromancer, by William Gibson.  There are a lot of reasons to obsessively love this book, and as many reasons to discredit it as luckily popular among many similar books emerging at the time.  Both positions are valid.  For me it was the first time I’d read something that really, really went out of my comfort zone.  I’d happily been reading fantasy and light science fiction until that point (think: Piers Anthony), and then suddenly things weren’t so flip any more.  It was like everything else I’d read had been making out on a couch with my clothes on, and suddenly Neuromancer had my pants off, a condom on and wasn’t giving me time to protest my virtue.
  2. Winterlong, by Elizabeth Hand.  I was lucky to read Winterlong during a strange time in my life, something I highly recommend you save Winterlong for.  I was 19, on prednisone (a steroid that makes your moods all topsy-turvy), I was breaking up with a boyfriend and working long hours at my first real job.  Life was surreal already, and along came this book about cannibal children, corporeal Death, bioterrorism post-apocalypse, adolescent concubines and heavily gene-modified animals.  Highly recommended.
  3. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.  The pacing and flow of this novel still gives me chills.  The first chapter is perhaps one of the best chapters of science fiction ever written.  I live in a kind of terror/hope that someday, some impossibly brilliant director will be able to make a film of it (it’d have to be more like two or three films) and reveal it for the visual super-masterpiece that it truly is.  On the other hand, no.   Hollywood better stay the fuck away from it.
  4. The Child Garden, by Geoff Ryman.  This one went under everyone’s radar and still managed to snag two big awards.  I literally and truly called in to work sick the second day of reading this novel because I simply had to stay home and continue reading.  It’s the closest thing I can compare to a kind of science fiction mythology: dark and sad while hopeful and lyrical, saturated with curiosities while never failing to be somehow familiar… It’s not a perfectly easy read, but is often the book I recommend to intellectual friends who claim they don’t like scifi.
  5. Dune, by Frank Herbert.  What, it’s a classic among classics.  Read it again.
  6. The Fermata, by Nicholson Baker.  This is unabashed smut, so don’t leave it lying around at work or anything.  Anyway, what would you do if you could stop time?  Chances are, if you’re a man² you’re going to be looking up ladies’ skirts at any opportunity.  I love books that obsessively describe the detail of fantastic things (I mean the time-stopping, in this case, not the panty-grabbing) without feeling the need for excessive plotline – I mean, isn’t the ability to stop time enough?  Don’t get me wrong, there’s an underlying drama, but for the most part The Fermata is a kind of dirty, elaborate daydream and a real lesson in savoring a single idea.
  7. Blindsight, by Peter Watts.  I am too tired to try and describe Blindsight, so instead: reading Watts is like playing a literary game of Dig Dug, an exercise in a kind of infuriating, thrilling futility.  You know he’s going to sting you with some kind of suckerpunch regarding the nature of consciousness and will, but you keep reading anyway.  The writing is just too good.  I keep coming back to him with more quarters, inevitable kill screen or no.
  8. Candide, by Voltaire.  If you’ve been to college you’ve probably read this, maybe even if you went to a decent high school, but you should read it again: the dystopia and snark of this thin little read is the basis for the Great Triple Threat, aka, We, 1984 and A Brave New World.  Anytime anyone has ever said to you in a kind of glazed, moronic lowing “Everything happens for a reason!” and you’ve felt your skill crawl – that’s Candide.  Basically, it makes fun of Oprah.
  9. Momo, by Michael Ende.  If you ever find a copy of this book, buy it.  Better known for having written The Never Ending Story, in my opinion Michael Ende’s Momo is a better book.  Ostensibly a book for children, it’s about a mysterious little homeless girl who is instantly beloved by everyone she meets.  When the Men in Grey suddenly appear in town, everything starts to go downhill.  A cautionary parable about the dangers of overwork, materialism and adulthood.
  10. I know you want ten, but I only have nine.

¹A line from an GalacticMu favorite film, The Specials.

²Or a woman, jeez.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
1 Posted in Literature

Where No Personal Accessory Has Gone Before

Posted by Sunday on Feb 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm

There are a few reasons I pay to run this website despite having zero monetary return on it (bask in the calming glow of no ads, travelers!), and one of them is that, slowly, the people I’d really like to meet trickle in on their own.  Years ago my father worked for a company that monitored developmentally disabled criminal offenders¹, and one of the men was a harmless fellow who had it in his mind that if he – in his paraphrased words – let the ladies see what he had to offer, they’d come to him.  It’s a good idea, honestly.  Why go through all that complicated courtship process when you could just offer the goods up front and let the interested parties apply?  Unfortunately this manifested as his exposing himself at a nearby 7-11, but those are just details.

What I’m trying to say is: GalacticMu is our 7-11, and this is what we have to offer.

And!

Look what showed up!  Commenter Jamie dropped by an old post about Icheb the Borg and helpfully left a link back to her Etsy shop, Studiohalo, where holy self-exposure, Jean-Luc!

il_430xn50802129.jpg

Check it!   And at a mere $18, them’s some fancy ear-fancies, fellow nerdlings.  Should that not be your style, how about some Warcraft earrings?  Or Rebel Alliance?  Though to be honest, I’m most considering these feather earrings since I’ve been on a real Road Warrior bender lately and while I can’t commit to a massive natty mohawk, huge black acrylic feathers seem just as apocalyptic.  Though, they’d get lost in my dark hair.  Ooo!  Unless I asked her to make white ones?  I know I must have an extra bank account lying around here somewhere…

Hopefully Jamie isn’t insulted with being compared to a woman being attracted to a special needs flasher.  You buying some of her stuff might help.

¹’Retarded convicts’ is the PC term, I believe.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
3 Posted in Daily Space

Sproing!

Posted by Sunday on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:36 am

Man, it must have been… two years ago? Three? On another blog, in another lifetime I wrote about a trailer that was made, an experimental trailer for a movie called The Mutant Chronicles. The experimental part was that the director, Simon Hunter, really, really wanted to make the film but needed to prove that he could make an atmospheric, effects-driven futuristic zombie/mutant film on a small budget.

And here they actually made it! Impressive, if not exactly as interesting-looking as the original trailer was (the original had no storyline and was therefore sort of dreamy and grim – sometimes story ruins everything). Still: Ron Perlman! Sean Pertwee whom you may not remember from such movies as Dog Soldiers, Equilibrium and Doomsday!

Of course, it takes about one second for someone to watch it and go “LAAAAME WHY ARE THEY WEARING WWII GEAR?!!!1!?” but I have to say: it’s a beautiful looking film. Women swinging swords around, that’s always good. Rag-tagness ahoy. Fuck, I’ll go see it.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
2 Posted in Movies

Things On My Mind

Posted by Sunday on Feb 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm
  • Peter Weller = Ladyboner.  What with the inclusion of RoboCop (one of the finer anti-postmodern capitalism films ever made) (brother, I am not even joking) on Hulu recently, I’ve rekindled the nerdfires for America’s favorite neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver and rock star.  Oh, and art history professor.
  • I have moved into the most caterwauling neighborhood in America.  A teenage girl next door warbles with preposterous volume through such classics as  “Umbrella” and “Single Ladies”.  Across the alley a young man in his underpants manages to pull himself out of drunken stupors in order to stand on his balcony and play acoustic guitar while moaning pitiously.  At night.  During the day, a man next door (unknown clothing state) sings in a kind of initially pretty, Mid-Eastern tremulo… for hours.  The same song.  FOR HOURS.  My upstairs neighbor greatly enjoys playing the 80′s rock local station and singing poorly along – something about a 40-ish aspiring actor mangling “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” really hits the whole “I live in Hollywood” thing home for me.
  • Again with the Twilight novels: the entire plotline hinges on Edward and Bellas inability to be apart from one another – even for a day – while at the same time Edward and his vamp pals are tortured into physical rages at the smell of her blood (in one important scene she gets a papercut and sends the vampires into a murderous tizzy – I wish I were joking).  So, what do they do when she’s on her period?
  • I swear I’m not a paid to mention Hulu so often, which I suppose is sadder than if I were, but should you feel like totally sobbing, they now have the the National Geographic Nova documentary Challenger: The Untold Story.
  • Like much of America I’m preoccupied with Octopussy mom Nadya Suleman, the 33 year-old woman who just had eight babies extracted from her thorax, while already having 6 other babies at home.  Reasons for my preoccupation include but are not limited to:
    • the rumors of her being unemployed
    • a psychologists commentary on the socially acceptable but unaddressed issue of women manifesting Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as either a compulsive need to be pregnant or collect babies (Halcyon pointed out that the oftimes male equivalent of this is to be a workaholic – no one hates a workaholic, right? Except their loved ones.)
    • the fact that Suleman and her doctors believed there were only 7 babies but “found” an 8th during extraction
    • the recently revealed news that Suleman’s 6 other children were also conceived in vitro (it’s one thing to have two crazybags make as many children as they can before the earth runs out of food – Mrs. Duggar, is that you? – but it is another to have a team of medical professionals agree that it seems psychologically and morally sound to turn a woman into a vending machine)
    • comments I have heard and read from people who are shocked that Suleman is either not married or separated from her husband – really?  That is what is bothering you about this whole thing?
    • the vaguely suspicious wording of her publicist in the following quote – what are you trying to hide, you guys?

    “She’s smart, she’s bright, she’s articulate, she’s well-educated and she has a wonderful sense of humor.”

  • I recently watched the much-panned Babylon A.D., and despite suffering from a severe degredation in storyline during the last half of the film, I kind of don’t get the hate-rage people had for it.  It was certainly better than a few other science fiction movies I’ve seen recently, and the art direction was pretty excellent.  An admirable Blade Runner rip-off, if you ask me.  Just to ensure that everyone discredits me entirely, I found it just as entertaining as The Dark Night, a movie that had been unfortunately hawked to me as “The Greatest Superhero Film of All Time” thus ensuring that my brain constantly snagged on unlikable elements of the film as I watched it.  It was okay.  Good.  I’d hesitate at calling it great and definitely halt at calling it “The Greatest”.  Oh, don’t get your leotard in a bunch – why so serious?
Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • BlinkList
  • Google
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
0 Posted in Daily Space