GalacticMu

Press your spaceface close to mine

This is why I hate grocery shopping.

Posted by halcyon on Mar 5, 2009 at 7:01 pm

And work. And hospitals. And malls. And so on.

Train Horns

Pure, distilled fluorescence.

Always here to help,
Halcyon
Psych Officer
Galactic Mu

[Captain's Note:  I could also hear it, and found it so irritating I could only tolerate about five seconds of it.]

5 Posted in Daily Space

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).
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.

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Always here to help,
Halcyon
Psych Officer
Galactic Mu

0 Posted in Daily Space, Visual

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

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.

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.

3 Posted in Daily Space

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?
0 Posted in Daily Space

An Actual Quote From Leesa

Posted by Sunday on Jan 27, 2009 at 2:54 pm

“It’s not like I have a medical condition where I privately blog or something.”

0 Posted in Daily Space

Oh man, I imagine the first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is like this.  Shame.  Slight edge of defensiveness.  Pride.  Self-loathing.  Wondering how soon I can leave so I can get a drink.  Before you wonder why I’m writing about this here, I’d like to remind you that energy drinks are the actually on the Nerds, Dorks and Geeks national flag.

I’m a Red Bull drinker.  Here’s why:

  • I like the taste: it’s sour, which masks the sugar (sugar is one of the key components of feeling “vitilized”), and generically fruity.
  • It is only 8 ounces.  I don’t like drinking a lot of fluids (result: I’m dehydrated more often than not) and those giant 32oz or whatever Monster Energy drinks make me nauseated just looking at them.
  • It does not have high fructose corn syrup.
  • It’s only “speed” product is caffeine.
  • It actually does increase a sense of well-being and brain activity.  I get no fast-up, fast-down crash like I do from even a cup of coffee.

Now, the first explanation I get from people who dislike Red Bull is the flavor, which is something I can’t really argue.  Okay, you don’t like it.  I happen to.  I prefer sour beverages over sweet as a rule and I appreciate that Red Bull tastes, well, like Red Bull.  Not strawberry or piña-colada, or melon.  It is what it is.

Now, the second explanation I get is generally that that person “can’t drink” energy drinks.  Meaning they can’t physically deal with the speedy, jittery mess that comes from most of these products.  My dad, for example, rather notoriously gets light-headed, fluttery and freaked out on them despite liking caffeine.  A lot.  And to be fair, most of these drinks have a whole cache of questionable South American fad-of-the-moment jungle drugs in them, probably explaining the lab-rat nightmare my dad experiences.  As a side note, one of these drugs, guarana, is merely a source of caffeine, albeit in doses about 5x those found in coffee beans.   It’s a fancy way of saying “a fuckton of caffeine”.

But this is where it gets interesting.

The caffeine is all the “energy” that Red Bull has going for it, and a mere 80mg per 8 ounces – that’s less than a cup of coffee.   So its a $2 a can rip-off, right?  Weeeee!  Now for the science!

Famously, Red Bull brags about its taurine content, and taurine, kids, is an interesting thing.  Its a serious chemical workhorse, not only found in the body naturally already, but critical in a variety of functions.  Heavily researched, it can be said to reliably do the following:

  • Decreases blood pressure.
  • Protect against excitotoxicity (the damaging aspect of consuming aspartame and MSG).
  • Is an antioxidant.
  • Prevents muscular stress during exercise.
  • Generally reduce risk factors of heart disease.
  • Helps the brain regulate body fat (read: fights obesity).
  • Lowers bad cholesterol.
  • Helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Regulates hydration.
  • Regulates electrolyte balance.
  • Studies have shown that taurine intake results in reduced hangover symptoms (true!) ¹

There are a shit ton of resources on the net, but the general consensus is: it’s not damaging, at least not immediately so.  There aren’t a lot of long-term studies on excess taurine consumption, but since it occurs in naturally high doses in fish and meat, it seems like our bodies can handle it.  The flip side is that we may not be getting enough taurine, especially vegetarians and vegans.

The inclusion of taurine in Red Bull is not a speed or an energy boost, but an aid in both the function of the brain (reaction time, memory and stress regulation) but in the body’s ability to process physical strain.  It’s a regulator, a throttle.  Some research shows it might better allow the body to utilize caffeine, limiting the caffeine depression the body feels after the high fades.

Now we come to glucuronolactone.   Glucuronolactone occurs naturally in the body as the liver processes glucose.  It, like taurine, is not a speed or energy booster, but a carbohydrate that assists in detoxification.  But research showed a strange side-effect: it made people happy.  Not outrageously happy, but there it was, an unexpected sense of well-being and satiation.

All other ingredients in Red Bull are B vitamins, which in high doses create an increase in blood flow to the face and a kind of energetic flush.  Feels a little like caffeine, but it doesn’t result in an elevated heart rate or have the accompanying jitters.  More interestingly, B vitamins cannot be stored in the body, so we have to consume them on a regular basis.  All fine and dandy, except that caffeine, nicotine and high fructose corn syrup all draw B vitamins from the body.  So, if you’re smoking, drinking Coca-Cola and over the age of 30, chances are you’re burning through B’s faster than you’re replacing them. And are some of the first signs of B deficiency?  Fatigue, irritability and depression.  So you drink more coffee, smoke more cigarettes.  Round and round.

So! As I am not a doctor nor a chemist, I can assure you of at least one thing: Red Bull is not some insane, Faster & Furiouser legal speed.  Nor is it hooey.  I think the $2 price tag could come down a little, but my honest feeling is if you’re going to drink a cup of coffee in an attempt to slap your brain into shape, you might be better off drinking a Red Bull.  And, if Lindsay Lohan suddenly gets brain cancer, let’s all stop.

¹It should be noted that the caffeine in Red Bull probably counteracts this element.  You might be better off buying a taurine supplement and popping a few of those.

Negativity has been popular on the intertubes since, oh, it started – like, the first ARPANET test packet sent from one military base to another read:

- – - *** TEST *** – - – SILENT RUNNING SUCKED AND YOU’RE A FAG IF YOU LIKED IT – - – *** END TEST*** – - -

 I scan all the popular scifi news sites¹, and for the most part, I do this because they are devoid of a lot of personal opinion.  My cross to bear in this lifetime is that while I love science fiction, I can only take small doses of fanatic nerd-boy commentary. In particular, the mean stuff².  And lately, there’s been a lot of it, at least where I’ve been reading.

And while I won’t make this personal, there is in particular one big resource that spreads as many negative rumors as they superficially try to clear.  For example, let’s talk about Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.

What the fuck is going on with Dollhouse?  Well, I’ll tell you: nothing unusual.  Except, dear reader,  for the small issue of the internet deciding that production of Dollhouse was fucked and by fucked I mean doomed.  What began as a legitimate “Uh oh, is Fox going to do this to Whedon again?” snowballed rapidly into a few of the major scifi sites gleefully crowing about the imminent failure of the entire show. Like, in gruesome, excess, speculative detail.

At first I was swept up in it.  Poor Joss!  Here they go again, every single decision being taken from him, his vision being trampled, his choices ignored – someone start a betting pool for the program being canceled before it even airs.  But then, as many of these posts as there were, there were rebuttals from Whedon himself saying, “Look, don’t worry kids.”   And indeed, I began to ask myself, do I truly understand how television works?

Suddenly, I started reading the reports of Dollhouse‘s doom with a kind of critical doubt.   Two questions arose for me:

  1. Is this a normal part of the show-making process, only just now revealed to us to be an irritating back-and-forth of changes and reversals?
  2. How much of this disseminated negativity is making its way back to the studios and paradoxically dooming the show?

Indeed, even an offhand remark from one of the shows actors (Tahmoh Penikett) joking about confusion over the show’s plotline was immediately twisted into “EVEN THE ACTORS DON’T UNDERSTAND SHOW – DOLLHOUSE DOOMED!”  After reading both his commentary and the blogs’ responses, I wonder: whose side are we fucking on? Are we turning into a social version of America’s Funniest Home Videos ball-to-the-crotch routine?  Don’t misunderstand me – I think Joss Whedon is fallable.  He’s just a dude, he fucks up sometimes and I don’t think his involvement with the show makes it free from criticism.  But it hasn’t even aired yet.  But since when do we, as fans, actively encourage the failure of one of our own?  Not to get all Heisenberg on you, but the more you discuss failure, the more it seems likely to happen.  Wait, that’s not Heisenberg, that’s the Golden Rule.  Or no, wait.  You know what I’m trying to say.

¹The notable exception is io9 – man, those kids need to get off the fucking Adderall.  Quantity over quality, eh ladies?

²I know it seems all hand-in-hand, like with science fiction comes seething, pent-up geeks, but I find myself wondering if like, wine-nerds sit around on message boards telling other wine-nerds that they are retarded faggots for liking beaujolais.

∞I’m listening to “Forever Young” by Alphaville and realizing what total fucking nonsense the lyrics are – “I don’t want to perish like a fading horse”???!?  That can’t be right.

 

5 Posted in Daily Space, TV