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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Steampunk and Human-Powered Flight

  I always thought these two things would go together well.  I found this blog post from 2010, from someone who probably agreed with me at the time, but I couldn't find any indication of how they did on the flugtag site.  Man-powered flight is really interesting, because no one has ever done it, but so many people throughout history have tried!!  Maybe if you tried it on the moon, or on Mars, where gravity is less, you could make some of these machines work.  Of course, you'd need a space habitat large enough to fly around in.  The only problem with that is that it's not very steampunk.  I guess that's not SO important.  I already wrote about that idea in two books.  I guess the cat's out of the bag.  I'll be publishing my books at some point...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Malifaux Outcasts: Convict Gunslinger Mercenary

  I don’t have this, but I kind of want it.  For those who don’t know, Malifaux is a game that features cards and figures, sort of like a mixture of Magic the Gathering and Warhammer, but not so much.  It’s really not that similar to either of those.  I’m going to completely level with you:  I’ve never played it, but it’s never to late to start, I guess.  It is one of those things that would take up more of my time that I’d want it to, but so does this blog, and so do a lot of things.  Why don’t you, if any of you have played the game, tell me if YOU think it is worth doing?  That would be an excellent topic for the first comment I get on this blog.  It’s simple, you sign in with your Gmail account, if you have one, and fill out a CAPTCHA.  I’m eminently fascinated by this so-called site traffic indicator, but ultimately puzzled by the silence from your end.  A comment I would understand.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The War of the Worlds (Great Illustrated Classics) [review]

  I found this book on a list of “Steampunk Books for Kids” (you can buy it here).  I read the original H. G. Wells version as a kid, with no pictures and none of the changes by Malvina G. Vogel, and I didn’t have a word like “steampunk” to describe it, but then, neither did H. G. Wells.  He was writing about what he thought advanced technology would look like.  Overall, I applaud Ms. Vogel’s attempt to make this classic book more accessible to modern kids, but I do take issue with some of her choices.  Her decision to give the narrator, the “I” of the book, a name [Wells is the name she chose], instead of leaving him nameless, really annoys me -- and changes the whole dynamic of the book for readers.  The nameless narrator is a perfectly valid literary device, and it’s fundamentally characteristic of H. G. Wells.  Everyone assumes that these characters he’s writing are supposed to be him, but a little research proves that H. G. Wells’ characters used to have really weird names, and that he chose to leave them nameless because the editors hated the name of the main character in “The Time Machine”, H. G. Wells’ first book.  As to the question of whether H. G. Wells is really steampunk, I’ll leave that for steampunks to decide.  As long as you understand, I’m glad this is out there, but it’s not the best way to get to know the real book.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Return of Carglibot

I don’t know why I did this.  He was just a crazy man, with an electrified fork.  Still, something about seeing him just made me smile…  So I called Jklol Carglibot at the number on his business card, hoping to hear more about the future.  I got a busy signal, then he called back in a few days. 

“I have just returned from Carglibot!” he said.  “Carglibot is the home of your future!  But, unfortunately, it has no future itself.  It will be swallowed by a black hole in just a few years.  You can’t see it, because the light that reaches your planet from the Carglibot System is millions of years old.  There were very few refugees, like me, from the planet Carglibot, but we conquered your world in the year 2165.  My father was the lone dissenter.  He thought that your world should BECOME GREAT on its own merits, but he was outvoted, and the Earthlings were enslaved.  I have traveled back in time to FULFILL HIS PROMISE.  Only the very smart and sometimes mean were aware of the upcoming black hole incident, in the future where I’m from.  But this time, I warned the best of them.  They know about the BOOK THAT WILL MAKE THE FUTURE GREAT from the first visitors from my world to yours, and they will aid you in creating exactly the world that this book describes.  PRAISE THE STARS, AND KNEEL BEFORE CARGLIBOT!  It is all going according to plan.”

At this point, I hung up, because there’s just no talking to this person.  He should seek help.  If I ever see him again, that’s definitely what I’ll tell him.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Biggest Thing in Space

So, what’s the biggest thing in space?  A galaxy is pretty big, but it’s really a collection of a lot of things.  A star is one solid mass, but -- huge as it is -- it’s really small compared to a black hole.  At least, when you measure mass, not volume, which you should always do, since mass affects gravity.  That brings us to the largest thing that exists -- the thing that everything else in a galaxy orbits -- a Supermassive Black Hole.  These mega-black holes are the mass of millions of stars, sometimes billions or sometimes even greater numbers!  Recently, astronomers got to see a Supermassive Black Hole being knocked clear out of its galaxy.  Experts believe it may have collided with another SMBH at really high speed!  (article here)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Black Hole [Review]

This is a movie from 1979.  Remember it, losers?  It’s a good movie, but a little too complicated for my tastes.  There’s way too much going on in this story for me to endorse it fully, but then again, I’m hard to please.  I always wonder why -- after they established that some characters want to go through the black hole -- they had to [spoiler alert] ACCIDENTALLY go through it, in the end.  Surviving a black hole, in the real world, is something I’m not so sure would happen, either.  There are theories that some black holes are wormholes, but maintaining the integrity of a life form, or any other form of matter, in the face of such intense gravity, is something I’ve always wondered about.  You find wormholes in all kinds of sci-fi, but I often wonder what it is that keeps objects and people from falling apart in the initial gravity field.  That’s a little nitpicky, though.  I wouldn’t think about it while you’re enjoying the movie.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Game Maker Fail

I wanted to make a game to put on this site called “The a -AMAZE-ing Spiderman”.  The concept of the game was Spiderman in a maze.  But I also wanted to make the game using a program that all of you could learn easily, so I went with Game Maker. Trouble is, this program downloaded Text-Enhance to my computer.For those of you who don’t know, Text-Enhance makes the internet suck.I didn’t get very far in the game, and I was gonna let you download what I DID finish to expand on yourselves, but once I found out what happens when you download Text-Enhance, there was no way I was gonna recommend a program that includes it as part of the download.Enjoy the pictures of spiderman, everybody. It’s because of Yo-Yo Games that they’re all you have of him, from me…

Friday, June 15, 2012

Do Superheroes Exist?

We all know superheroes are great, but the science in comic books is often dead wrong about a lot of things.  First radiation was the source of so many comic-book heroes’ powers.  Nowadays, they try to insert genetic engineering in a way that any geneticist will tell you doesn’t make any sense.  The same problem exists in a lot of other forms of entertainment, and it’s a sad state of affairs that people can’t think of new stories to tell about the new, more advanced science of today.  Or maybe it’s just that no one likes the new ideas.  The idea of someone who fights crime and faces super-villains is a great one, but I’ve never heard of it happening in real life.  Does that mean it’s impossible, or are the superheroes of the world still too young to find their mission?  For instance, is someone who cures cancer a superhero?  Is a fireman or a policeman a superhero?  It depends on who you ask, but I say yes.  Yes they are.  Now, if only we could tell their stories to kids without turning them into impossible super-beings with unusual powers…  I think that would be great!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Avengers [Review]

I know this seems a little late, since the movie came out a long time ago, but I wasn’t blogging then.  Is it even in theaters, anymore?  Well, either way, it IS a good movie.  But it’s not a perfect movie.  With all that buzz, I would have expected a masterpiece, but it’s really just a comic book movie, after all.  My main issue with “The Avengers” was its treatment of the Hulk’s transition from menace to hero.  It happened overnight and there was NO convincing reason for it.  But all of this is pointless.  It’s a comic book movie.  Therefore, it’s supposed to be fun.  See it, if it’s still in theaters (and you haven’t already).  Watch it later if it’s not still in theaters.  It’s definitely worth seeing, but I doubt if anyone will remember it for more than just all the money it made.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jklol Carglibot from the Future

I met Jklol Carglibot on Thursday, and he told me that he was from the year 2388, a good year for video games and office pranks, where everyone has robot friends and holographic confidants.  He said the time was almost here, looked at his watch, and then started raving about a BOOK THAT WOULD MAKE THE FUTURE GREAT.  I told him if he wanted to sell me his book, he didn't have to lie and say he was from the future, and he looked at his watch again, tapped his foot for a few seconds, then said that the BOOK WOULD BE WRITTEN SOON.

I said, "I don't care about your crummy book" and then he zapped me with a weird, two-pronged fork he was carrying.  He said:  "KNEEL BEFORE CARGLIBOT!",  and  I said, "Alright, so it's a book.  Maybe I'll read it.  What kind of book is it?"  Then he said, "It's a FART."  "Is it a book or a fart?" I asked him, throwing my hands in the air.
"It's a book that's a brain-fart," he told me.  "No one will remember it, but the FUTURE WILL LOOK LIKE THAT BOOK."  He then handed me his business card, which said:  JKLOL CARGLIBOT: FROM THE FUTURE, and then he told me "We'll be in touch."

Now, wasn't that weird?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fuzz Action Figure

This would probably be in the “and you too, losers” category.  Fuzz was a gift from a friend that I got in 2005.  As you can see, he’s a hipster, a philosopher, and a cynic.  I can definitely tell which head is a hipster, but which one is a philosopher and which one is a cynic?  Neither of them looks like either one of those.  Regardless of that, he’s in package.  Not exactly mint in package, but in package.  You can’t read the words in yellow at the bottom, but it reads “Superheroes Don’t Exist”.  That’s kind of a sad message.  I’m really not sure why I have this thing.  I guess it’s cooler than some things.  At least it has 3 interchangeable heads!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Men in Black 3 [review]

 I came into this movie with high hopes [hi, name’s B. Radom, by the way]. I liked the concept better than anything I’d seen in the Men in Black franchise, up to this point. It worried me a little bit that I might have to see the many logical fallacies of time travel movies paraded in front of me again, but ultimately that was not what I had a hard time with in this movie (I actually don’t mind those logical fallacies; they give me something to talk about :-D). Ultimately, I thought that, though it was a hundred times better than the second MIB movie, it still lacked a lot of the cleverness and originality of the first one. The writing just wasn’t very creative, if you know what I mean. There are quite a few cool looking aliens, though, and Michael Stuhlbarg as the alien Griffin was a nice surprise. The character of Griffin was a pleasant surprise for me, since he alludes to a larger view of time than even some physicists have, nowadays. I just think Will Smith as the alien-movie staple is a little played out. He was the Fresh Prince until Independence Day (great movie, BTW), now he’s in all these sci-fi movies, and I think that even he doesn’t seem as happy about it as he could be. He should try to reinvent himself again, all to be preceded by IMHO.