GalacticMu

Press your spaceface close to mine

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Posted by Sunday on Jul 19, 2008 at 5:16 am

It’s that sad and wonderful time, meatbags, Act III and the final episode of Dr. Horrible.  Go watch them all in succession before they are all gone tomorrow.  Of course they’ll reappear for a fee, but all the world loves a free gleaming jelly.

3 Posted in Movies, TV

And Again

Posted by Sunday on Jul 17, 2008 at 8:00 am

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Part the Second is green.

2 Posted in Movies, TV

Borg Love

Posted by Sunday on Jul 16, 2008 at 4:55 pm

If there is one thing that moving is good for, it’s the surfacing of long-forgotten sketchbooks.

Exhibit A, c. 2000:

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For the non-nerdy, this is Manu Intiraymi, the actor who played Icheb the Borg Drone on Star Trek: Voyager. His is a sad story, but mitigated by my gigantic crush on him. Not Intiraymi, mind you, I had a crush on the Borg:

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I think I sketched Intiraymi to hide my Borg-loving shame. I have no such shame now. Hot, ex-hive-mind action. Have to teach him to love again, but also he’d never get all moody on you. Bits of metal. I think it’s a healthy fantasy.

5 Posted in The Future, TV

Quickie

Posted by Sunday on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Act One of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is now active – Act Two and Three to Following alternating days. Step to it, Earthlings!

Note!  They will be GONE from the internets in FIVE DAYS!

3 Posted in Movies, TV

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.

0 Posted in Daily Space, TV

We Don’t Wanna Go To War Today

Posted by Sunday on Jun 8, 2008 at 1:00 pm

We at the Mu have a powerful love for the misguided but unequaled Rankin-Bass attempts at Tolkien’s oeuvre (not to mention The Flight of the Dragons, The Last Unicorn and all their slightly uncomfortable Christmas obsession), and maybe none of us so much as Halcyon:

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“Shagrat, Orc of the Ozarcs” by Halcyonsnow

In case any of you have forgotten what potential the films actually had, the song “Where There’s A Whip There’s A Way” should bring it all lumbering back for you.

0 Posted in TV, Unicorns & Wizards

Some years back I meant to purchase a book called The Men Who Stare At Goats, by Jon Ronson, because I was doing some research on the study of paranormal experimentation for a novel I was writing. Ronson’s book covered the history of paranormal experimentation in the US military since the 70′s, everything from spirituality-heavy martial arts trainings to the eponymous men who stared at goats (in an attempt to stop their hearts, not to make them uncomfortable). Somehow I forgot to buy the book and promptly forgot all about it.

Today the entire internet and myself found out that The Men Who Stare At Goats is set to be a dramatized movie starring George Clooney – all good news – and a little side tidbit that I had no idea existed: Jon Ronson had made a two-and-a-half-hour documentary of his book some years ago, titled, bafflingly, “Crazy Rulers of the World.”

I actually mean the ‘bafflingly’ part. “Crazy Rulers of the World” is the most sensational title since I was in New Zealand during the Boxing Day Tsunami and saw a newspaper headline that read “SATAN’S WAVE”. Then again, America has no sense of the dramatic.

I quickly researched the documentary to see who else had covered it (uh… everyone), and was unsurprised to find massive, pissy disgust with it. Unsurprised not because the documentary deserved it (it doesn’t – more on that in a moment), but because the tier of “intellectual” trolls are shot from cannons whenever something claims to research the “paranormal” and then comes to the conclusion that said things exist. Oh, how they frothed. It’s crap science! they screamed. Ronson’s voice bothers me! they crowed. I know, I know, I recently screamed about someone’s crap science, but it takes one to know one, right?

The documentary has a delightful kinetic flow to it. Ronson hears about experiments where the military has men trying to stop a goat’s heart with their mind, and off he goes on the most astounding chain-of-connections through the upper US military echelons from the Vietnam War until the present day. He’s a talkative fellow, Ronson, but nothing he says overtly interjects himself into the narrative flow. He engages his interviewees with palpable interest and charm, helping the subjects to relay their stories for what they are. It is a thoroughly fascinating combination of good film making skill (editing, sound, and interview technique are all great) and people (every person has a place in the story, a tale to tell, a part in it). And while some parts most certainly have crap science (a much-pooh-poohed ‘hamster scene’ admittedly just serves to undermine the character witness in the scene, something that Ronson seems reluctant to take part in), for the most part it isn’t about science. It is about credible doubt. Are all these people either lying or coo-coo? Are they all mistaken?

Parts are downright silly, some people have clearly been smoking the Mellow Yellow in the years since the Vietnam War, but none of this detracts from what good time I had watching it. The documentary was made for Channel 4 (a UK station), in three parts, so you have to endure some recapping. You’ll survive.

Google Video link to the three parts of “Crazy Rulers of the World.”

3 Posted in TV, Weird Science

Monty Vader

Posted by Sunday on May 14, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I just adore finding fantastic tidbits of unknown origin – and while I wish I knew who was really responsible for this video so that I might hand them some well-deserved credit, I also like this new era of free-range art.

Quagmire sent this one to me and pointed out that something of note occurs at around :44 seconds in, and even with this warning the aforementioned “something” still made me bark out the embarrassing, overloud Julia Roberts-esque guffaw that I am infamous for. Busy bars on Saturday nights have quieted when this laugh is deployed.

6 Posted in Daily Space, TV

Things to consider: starting a category of items that make Subspace cry.rbsprinkcolor.jpg

Despite all snark, and in deference to all criticism, some aspects of childhood remain sacrosanct. Wise elders of all societies have sent the young ones off on dreamquests, an unknown path into the wild to find an unknown truth – and here, today, I have found myself suddenly 6 years old, sitting on the pea-green carpet of our 1985 living room floor, face a healthy 12 inches from the TV screen, the end of my internet dreamquest I didn’t know I was taking.

With no memory of having gotten there, I was looking at one of the most comprehensive fan pages I’d ever seen – and it was for Rainbow Brite. I linked to an mp3 of a song, mistakenly thinking it was just the Rainbow Brite theme song – no, it was Katy Cartee singing a sincere, loving techno remix. And it made me cry.

It’s complicated, of course, because I don’t want to come across looking like a commoner weeping at greeting card commercials (which is basically what Rainbow Brite was: it was a Hallmark endeavor). I had forgotten the song, to start, and hearing it was all it took for me to be sucked two decades back in time, for the feel of the carpet under my knees, the taste of Kix in my mouth. Secondly – and this will be a topic we pursue further this week at GalacticMu – non-ironic fan art makes me swoon. We’re geeks, nerds and losers. Admitting to love comes naturally to us.

Turns out that Katy Cartee doesn’t just sing the song, she’s the fan site’s webmistress as well. To you, Ms. Cartee, a GalacticMu honorable 16 lo-gee plasma rifle salute.

Katy Cartee, showing you how a proper fan site is done at RainbowBrite.net.

Katy Cartee singing Rainbow Brite theme song (mp3).

Much lower quality version of her song at YouTube.

2 Posted in TV

Ratings Hunters

Posted by Sunday on May 3, 2008 at 5:49 pm

If I have ever claimed to be a good scientist, I hereby rescind. I draw conclusions too early, I extrapolate and hypothesize without facts. I have a tendency to resort to Occam’s Razor as an explanation for everything from why brown jelly is coming out of my nose (sinus infection) to why space human space travel isn’t yet a viable reality (an alien race has made a complicated political pact with the government restricting our passage off planet).

On the other hand, I think it takes a mediocre scientist to acknowledge that they are not being a good scientist. And as a mediocre scientist, I have this to say:

I love TV, but it’s making for some seriously fucked up science.

Today I was sitting around, minding my own business, choking on some post-nasal brown jelly when I decided to watch a TV show called Ghost Hunters. It claimed to be about paranormal researchers whose exploits are captured on film. Great! Two of my favorite scary things, paranormal activity and documentary video.

Joke’s on me!

I’m naive, I know. It is true that I thought the show was going to be a delightful combination of science (EMF detectors!) and paranormal (Deanna Troi stand-ins!), where some flouncy, ringlet-haired older medium would declare that she felt some kind of disturbance in the force, and then Egon Spengler would approach and say “My electromagnetic bi-planar disambiguator is off the charts!” and then I’d feel the delighted chill that all godless heathens feel when we pretend like we believe in things beyond the apparent.

Instead what we have are a team of “investigators” who are part-time plumbers and I don’t know, car stereo installers or something. Which isn’t to say that these people can’t be paranormal investigators, only that I expected more than some dudes from the Brooklyn or whatever walking into buildings, listening to the local’s stories about a place and then turning out the lights and going, “Did you hear that?”

(I’m very distracted from writing right now because I can see and more importantly HEAR my single middle-aged female neighbor lip-synching and performing to Celine Dion, during which she walked over to her balcony and emptied her ashtray onto the flower bed.)

There are so many things wrong with Ghost Hunters I’m not certain where to start. Well, most importantly: it is just terrible, terrible science. I know, I know, terrible science in a paranormal investigation show? But gimme a break here – I’ve experienced paranormal or unexplainable events before, that doesn’t mean I don’t respect scientific method. It just means I don’t understand what happened. But even the set-up is bad: the crew of the show arrives at a location where locals tell them all the stories of paranormal activities they can think of. So now you have a group of people that are utterly predisposed to experience those exact events, undoubtedly to the exclusion of other possible events. Which is to say, if you tell someone there are voices heard in a bedroom, that person will then try to hear those voices. What if something else happens, like a vase moves or a cold spot forms? Chances are, the observer will not even recognize an event because it wasn’t what they were expecting. And the flip side, if nothing happens at all in that room, the observer will still most certainly be straining to make order of the white noise, order I have no doubt their brain will provide.

Additionally, the “investigators” seem, and please forgive me, but they they seem a little slow. In the brain region. In one of the shows a character is describing a bar as having once been a speakeasy, to which another adult, American man says “What’s that?”

For the most part, poor production choices are the greatest failure of the show. Tense, quiet moments are overloaded with sound effects. Scenes are shot and cut badly in order to create a sense of frenetic danger. It all goes to cement what one might suspect of the show: that what we’re actually watching is about 25 minutes worth of someone’s home video of a moody locale. Made into a one hour Sci-Fi Channel show.

But I don’t want a bunch of perfectly staid, buttondown disbelievers going in, either. I actually want to watch these freaked out people rooting around in an old hotel attic – I just want them to turn off the goddamn “Spooky Halloween Sounds” record played over the show and focus on the things that are really happening. How about you have a “guide,” or an agreed-upon middleman who arranges for the investigation and knows what has been happening. The person who knows that someone was hung to death in the bell tower. Then that “guide” takes the crew all through the building and has them check out all the rooms. That way, when no one notices anything interesting about the bell tower, we can say with a vague sense of conclusion “There’s nothing spooky going on in the bell tower.” Or, excitingly, “I felt weird in the bell tower,” “Hey, me too!” and then the guide can reveal: someone was hung to death in there! Wouldn’t that be fun pseudoscience? I think so.

Watch a few episodes of Ghost Hunter at Hulu.com, in the event you don’t have the Sci-Fi Channel.

The Atlantic Paranormal Society, the group that the TV show films. Take note of the “TAPS Mentality” page where they write, “ Remember, though we like to have fun, we understand the fear and the seriousness of your situation. We are after all, normal people. Heck, I don’t think we even watch Star Trek. ha ha ha.” Ha ha ha indeed, people who have a TV show on the Sci-Fi Channel.

5 Posted in TV, Weird Science