Monday, December 22, 2008

Sci-Fi Connections


Stephanie Fox at io9.com has created a brilliant piece of Chart Porn connecting as many TV shows movies and video games as possible. Their methodology includes several kinds of crossovers: Direct Crossover, where characters from one series or another have actually met in a story; Easter Eggs, where elements of one series have appeared in another (often as geeky in-jokes), and Brand Crossover, where market forces have brought two disparate things together for no good reason, such as Transformers/Star Wars.

I can't find where they actually document each branch, which I assume has been left as a exercise for us geeks at home.

[Link io9 Chart]

Previously on Slashboing:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tiki Bar TV: Lala Showers

Getting ready for a Tiki night on short notice, I found this little gem from Dr. Tiki, of Tiki Bar TV.

I present: Lala Showers.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gatsby if you can: Twenties Roar January 23rd

The 11th annual Bill Brooks Prostate Cancert Benefit has a Twenties/Great Gatsby theme. This would make a very interesting outing for the Calgary Anachronauts.

However, the tickets are $250 which may preclude many from attending.

Information and tickets

Add from "24 Hours"
05 Dec 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fandom loses a legend: Forrest J. Ackerman

Forrest J. Ackerman died December 4th 2008 at the age of 92. I didn't know him personally, but I knew his reputation.

He coined the term "sci-fi" and wore a homemade costume to the first World Science Fiction Convention in New York City in 1939. His collection of movie memorabilia and props was second to none. He was a writer, editor, literary agent and actor.

He was inclusive in his fandom and passionate to the end. In a time when one is quick to elevate one branch of fandom over others, it is important to remember that the first fandom was inclusive and diverse.

He was the giant that lifted my fandom up so I could see farther than I ever would have alone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Star Wars Misters: Really?



From the "slap a Yoda on it" branch of Lucasfilm Licensing, comes these "compact, cool" Star Wars misters.

Does anyone else feel this is an un-needed branded product?

[Wireless Catalog]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hat Etiquette

As one who enjoys wearing a hat, I find it difficult to maintain the proper etiquette in the modern, relatively hatless world. By even the loosest interpretations of hat etiquette the hat is not worn inside and especially not at the table. Since one does not spend a lot of time sauntering down the avenue in the modern world, the hat spends less time on the head then is enjoyable. It is worn from the house to the car, from the car to the venue, and back. In the interim, it is sitting in ones lap or held in ones hand.

The decline of daily hat wearing by the boomer generation means a decline in hatcheck rooms, hatcheck girls, and hat racks. This means some often creative and awkward stashing of ones chapeau. Even after balancing a porkpie between my knees for a rather long and cramped dinner, I never thought of putting it on my foot. Given the included instructions in this photograph, it is a common problem among new hat owners.

Engrish hat instructions
more the engrish

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guitar hero on a bike

This video makes a great counterpoint to anyone who thinks games like Guitar Hero don't promote real world skills.



Being awesome is a skill.

Friday, November 14, 2008

David Lynch on the iPhone

This is an interesting short from David Lynch bemoning the trend of watching art through the wrong format. It was a clip from the Inland Empire limited edition DVD that someone spoofed into a backhanded iPhone commercial. He drops the F-bomb, so adjust your volume accordingly.



The interesting collision of the iPhone and Youtube has created a series of videos that simultaneously support Lynch's point, and show that the device has its own unique art forms.

I think it is interesting that people will gladly watch tiny, pixelated, and compressed movies online. It shows that quality and unique content can outweigh screen resolution and sound quality.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Slashboing Election Night coverage

Here is the Slashboing Election Night Coverage. This is the best I can I do with my current operating budget.



ETA:

Obama is the projected winner with 284 electoral votes. That calls for one thing.

Dancing!

Monday, November 03, 2008

John Williams a cappella tribute



Lip syncing to the vocal sylings of Moosebutter, Youtube user ApprenticeA creates a great tribute video to Star Wars and John Williams.

Lets watch!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!


Jack O'Lanterns 2008
Originally uploaded by Drhaggis.



We have finished carving our Jack O'lanterns for this year. We have a mix, some complex stencils, some simple ones and a stem-nose.

Also to note twitter is supporting image replacements for some cool Halloween emoticons. I reprint them here for reference and mayhem:

`@

(|:|/)

////Ö\\\\

>o<

8-#

∑:*)

+-(

[:-]-I-

( | )

}:o{

<|:~(

X-/

:-[

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Greatest Hits on Twitter

Since I started using twitter, a good portion of my blogging energy has been funnelled there in the form of 140 character epigrams. What does that mean for people who only read Slashboing? They are not getting the full force of my wit. To sooth them in this time of need, here are my better tweets from the month of October.
  • I usually don't condone this sort of thing, but...Ninjas: http://cheesyninjas.ytmnd.com/
  • Watching Mythbusters is more fun when you superimpose the unrequited love triangle between Kari, Grant and Tory.
  • The "h" key on laptop is less responsive. I thought the 'I's were the first to go.
  • Watched Fringe. They confused voltage and current, electricity with magnetism, and science with fairydust
  • Sontaran neck hole + Captain Jack = Doctor Who Rule 34
  • White Chicks and Gang Signs: http://tinyurl.com/2op5bl
  • Airplane on a Conveyor belt: The plane takes off, the pilot marries her true love, though the deposit on the conveyor is lost.
  • Shock of the Decade: Steve Guttenberg working continuously. I thought he fell off the earth in 1990. There was a ceremony and everything.
  • Reading about things on Wikipedia, then seeing if I can buy them on ebay. Someone come up with a cool term for that, Quick!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Feist in Calgary

I have just returned from the long awaited Feist concert. It was a really good show! Her minimalist stage setup suited her sound really well. The major set piece was real-time interpretive shadow-and-light performance on the backdrop, which often echoed elements from her music videos.

It was hard to shoot photos from where I was sitting, and I often used my zoom simply as a set of opera glasses. I did manage to catch a few moments that I will share with you all on flickr. A sample:

Feist in Calgary

Concert Photo set: http://tinyurl.com/feistphotos

Friday, October 17, 2008

World Travel Meme

The "world travel map" meme is making the internet rounds again, so an update is in order.


visited 13 states (26%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

It is very difficult for me to do the "what countries you visited" list because I went through Eastern Europe in the late 80's. I went through "Yugoslavia," not "Bosnia and Herzegovina."


visited 23 states (10.2%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Previously on Slashboing

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vin Diesel and Dungeons and Dragons

I simply must repost this video I saw on John Hodgman's Blog. Everything we thought about Vin Diesel is true.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Zombie Outbreak Report: Calgary

I HungerEarly Saturday afternoon there was an outbreak of the undead in Calgary. I had the presence of mind to document the hoard the best I could.

A few fell souls gathered in Olympic plaza, then once their hunger gained a critical mass, they lurched down Stephen Avenue seeking brains and gore.


This was the annual Calgary Zombie walk, dubbed the DEAD MILE. I cancelled a Steampunk gathering so people wouldn't be split on attendance, and then I promptly forgot the date. A late night twitter from Petraneferu reminded me of my undead obligations. I was unable to make the costume changes fast enough for my evening plans, so I attended only as observer, and took as many pictures as I could. I saw many people I knew, but I only recognized them after they approached and spoke to me. That is a testament to the quality and commitment my friends make to their zombification.

My set of photos and video can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/haggiszombies. The whole flickr group is found here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/calgaryzombiewalk/

Until next time, I leave you all with the following zoetrope called: "Zombie Sable takes a tumble"


Zombie Sable scales the wall

Previously on Slashboing

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My Fandom History: Part 2

In part one of my fandom history, I relayed how I found where fandom was gathering. At this point I was still not part of the group, but I had found the tribe. Now I tell the tale of WesterCon 58, 2005.

Having found the community of science fiction and fantasy fandom in Calgary, and discovering that it is a participatory event I did two things.

1) I helped form the Calgary Star Wars Fanforce
2) I endeavoured to be as big a part of WesterCon 58 as I could

At the time, I didn't think that these were related but now that I form a mental time-line, the parallel effort and intent is more clear. For the first part, it meant gathering together all the individuals in Calgary who were sure they were an isolated Star Wars fan in the big city. This was done through regular meetings and events. It was great to be part of a big group for the premier of "Revenge of the Sith."

For the second part, I did all I could do at WesterCon. I got a room in the hotel, I had multiple costumes set out for the weekend, I entered the costume contest with a group of friends, I bought art at the art show, I drank, danced, and even hosted a panel. Being only one person, I did all I could do without bending space and time. At the end of it all I had a great time, though I still felt something was missing.

Perhaps the programing could be more catholic. There were plenty of local fan groups not represented, or under-utilized, and established and growing fandoms being sidelined. I heard many people say what I had said myself: "There is nothing here for me". It seemed that although the gathering and fellowship was a good start, much of the content of these local conventions skewed toward only a few of the many facets of fandom. Writing and publishing was well supported, though horror, anime, comics, furry fandom, most television and film fandoms were not well represented.

With my brief experience with being on a panel, and talking with a few more experienced con-goers, I knew that simply complaining about what I wanted improved was not the answer. These events are run by fans for fans. There is no external "other" putting on the convention for profit, but rather it was planned and staffed by people like myself for the good of the community.

With this in mind, I knew that if I wanted a better convention experience for myself and my friends, I had to step up and bring myself to the mountain, as it were. That fall I attended a planning meeting for the following summer's convention: ConVersion 22.

What transpired then, is a topic for another post.

Previously on Slashboing

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Fandom History: Part 1

This is the first part in an autobiographical series about my involvement in science fiction and fantasy fandom. Follow me down the rabbit hole, will you?

I don't know where my enjoyment of science fiction literature and films started, but come high school I was elbow deep in it. But it was a solitary hobby, as there was no obvious SF&F fandom community to be a part of. This was pre-internet and there was no dedicated comic book shop in my small town. I had heard of "conventions" were fans would gather, but these were far away in large cities, and were clearly for other people.

Fast-forward to the turn of the millennium. The internet made for all sorts of connections between fans, I had moved to the big city of Calgary, and the domestication of the dog continued unabated. I still heard of conventions, but they were still in other cities, where I would never travel. I thought a few fan message boards were enough to satiate my fandom needs, until I heard about ConVersion. Some friends had returned from the local convention, and it sounded like a lot of fun. I was shocked that such a thing existed in Calgary. Why had I not heard about it sooner? Why wasn't I at this event?

I waited the year for the next ConVersion to come around. Having no clue what these events were like, and having a wife that wasn't really that interested, I only attended the Saturday. We did the best we could for first timers. We looked through the art show, we attended a panel, was subjected to filk, walked through the dealers room, and watched the costume contest. This endeavour had two equal and opposite reactions.

1) Both my wife and I were underwhelmed by the offerings of the event
2) Having seen the costume contest, I wanted to participate in it

Seeing various costumers online was one thing, but seeing talented, educated adults make and present elaborate science fiction costumes was enough to make me want to come back. I figured part of our disappointment in the event steamed from the fact that we attended, observed, but didn't fully participate. Yes, we spoke up in the panel, but that was about all the interaction I can remember.

Through the meagre offerings, I could see that that there was fun to be had, if I reached for it. I knew NEXT year would be the big year. I would do more, see more, and participate more. As luck would have it the next year was not ConVersion, a local convention, but Westercon 58, a travelling regional convention.

This is the subject for the next instalment.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Groucho Marx

I'm watching "A Night a the Opera" on TCM as part of their Birthday tribute to Groucho Marx. The following scene really cracked me up:



So as not to leave you wanting, here is some screwball comedy from "A Day at the Races".


Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Family Guy Star Wars continues


It looks like "The Empire Strikes Back"parody from Family guy will be titled "Something, Something, Something, Darkside." I'm really looking forward to this.

Star Wars Ducks

Beware the Duck side of the force! These Star Wars bath toys are just what a youngling needs to make bath time fun.

For some reason, they are packed with LEDs so they change colour, but they are still fairly cool.

Available at Firebox.com

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yar! Happy Talk like a Pirate Day!

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Many Calgary privateers will be gathering at the Atlantic Trap and Gill in Calgary. Take the last dog watch at eight bells, and join us.

Until then, keep to the code.

[wait...what?]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Steampunk in Calgary: Postponed!

It has come to my attention that Saturday, October 11th is the Calgary Zombie walk. I think the previously scheduled Anachronaut gathering can be postponed for another time. After all, another time is what we are all about.

Image by Mr. Sable.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Metal Fist at Burning Man

This mechanical fist does man's bidding at Burning Man 2008. Mankind's Mecha development advances.



[direct link]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dragoncon 2008 Review: Part 2

Any responsible project management involves some sort of cost/benefit analysis. Constructing and wearing costumes at science fiction conventions is not a task immune from this investigation. After DragonCon 2008, I had some time to think about this which is presented here by request, and as an exercise in over-thinking and psudo-economics.

Project costs include not just cash money spent putting the costume together, but also the time it takes to make it happen. The transporting of costumes to distant conventions has gotten more expensive now that most airlines have started charging for extra bags. There are also opportunity costs associated with presenting the costume, as while you are getting ready and posing in your creation, you can't be attending panels, or doing much else. Sitting in a dark panel room is not a suitable venue for ones costume, as it does not provide the same pleasures as public viewings. Also, going to the convention with full bags of costumes ensures that you won't be buying much to bring back.

The benefits of costuming are mostly intangible, but include the joy of completing a task, the emotional lift of wearing a fantastic costume, and "becoming" a beloved character. There is also the peer admiration and recognition, and the pleasure experienced in giving joy to others. All of this proportional to the overall quality and originality of ones costume.

To be a '"profitable" endeavour the equation Cost < Benefit has to hold. I expand this as follows:

Cost Creation + Time Creation + (Quality Programming )Tc + Distance Travelled + Costume Complexity + Costume Comfort < Joy Completion + (Quality + Originality)Tc

Where Tc is the time spend in the costume. The longer one wears the costume, the greater the opportunity for praise and pleasure, which also increases the costs of things not done while promenading and posing for pictures. There is a factor wherein too much exposure might diminish the impact of the costume, but I'm ignoring that term for simplicity. On further reflection I decided to omit the time factor completely. My equation, my rules.

Some hand-waving and three Advils later, I simplified the equation back down to manageable and near-quantifiable values, though omitting any proportionality gain terms.

CreationEffort + TransportationEffort + ConAwesomeness < Costume Awesomeness


This gives us some conclusions. Since ConAwesomeness is a fixed variable, or at least a value out of the control of attendee, one must balance the effort and awesomeocity of ones costume accordingly. In the simplest terms, the better the convention, the better ones costume has to be. The further away the convention and the more elaborate the costume, the better ones costume has to be. Sounds obvious, but it took me a long time to come to this point.

Previously on Slashboing


Monday, September 08, 2008

Dragoncon 2008 Review: Part 1

Dragoncon 2008 was the best convention I've attended to date. To see a fraction of the awesomosity I experienced, my convention photos are available on flickr here.
Iron Man!
After last year's convention, which I quite enjoyed, I was content to start going every other year. However, after this year I don't think I can stand to miss even one. I think the improvement comes from to two subtle changes.

The first is in regards to the space/crowding issue. To meet the growing attendance, a fourth convention hotel was added. This coincided with the completion of the renovations to the Marriott, which resulted in less congestion and aggravation. Ultimately you could actually find places to stand, sit and pose for pictures without breaking firecodes.

Secondly, every year we attend we know more and more people. Either through internet reputation, such as photognome, or through all our various communities on livejournal and flickr, we have amassed quite the fandom network. Knowing enough people means even in a +35k person convention, you are always bumping into people you know. More friends means more fun.

However, the wheel keeps turning and the greater the highs, the deeper the lows. I've spent the last week unsure as to my future role at Dragoncon. Photographer? Panel fiend? Autograph hound? Costumer? Cam-whore? I have tried to do it all every year, and I'm not sure where I'm the most comfortable. If I go to lots of panels, I miss out costuming with my friends. If I'm posing for pictures in costumes, I'm not getting autographs or seeing panels. I've been wrestling with the cost/benefit of costuming at Dragoncon for a while now, and I will explore the topic more thoroughly in my next post.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

How many have your name?


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
10
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, September 05, 2008

International Talk like a Pirate Day: Calgary

Avast! Yar! Plunder!

Friday September 19th is Talk like a Pirate day Many local privateers will be gathering at the Atlantic Trap and Gill in Calgary that evening.

Tell them Dr. Haggis sent you. It won't get you anything, but you should still say it.

Previously:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

DragonCon Ends

I'm back from Dragon*con 2008! I have started uploading pictures to my Flickr account, so watch that space.

I will be posting a full report later, but I'm still in decompression mode, trying to stave off the Post Con Blues. After the big emotional high and physical challenges of a big convention, coming home is a shock to the system. No matter how well things go, I leave feeling inadequate, believing I could have done things better. I could have gone to more panels. My costumes could have been better. I could have been more adventurous. I could have taken more pictures. I could have been less of the person I am, and more of the person I want to be.

This year was probably the best yet, and we will return, because I don't think I can stand missing moments like the one captured here:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Steampunk at Dragoncon Update

Here are the Steampunk events planned for Dragoncon 2008

Panel: Friday 4:00 at the Hyatt, Montreal room

Meetup: Friday 9:00 pm at the Hilton, Casablanca Bar, prior to the Abney Park Concert

Concert: Abney Park plays 11:30/12:00* Friday Night at the Hyatt, Centennial II ballroom. *Depending on the source

Parade: Mustering at 9:00 AM, in Woodruff Park, 4 1/2 blocks down from the main lobby entrance of the Hyatt on Peachtree.

Concert: Abney Park Victorian sing-along/acoustic set Saturday Noon, Hyatt Concorse

Panel: Sunday 5:30 pm at the Hyatt, Fairlie room

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mana Potion Engergy Drink



Think Geek is offering these smartly bottled energy drinks reminiscent of the ubiquitous blue potions of RPGs. These are perfect for late night gaming sessions and high energy conventions. I'm sure it tastes like something used to degrease diesel engines, but the concept wins with me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Steampunk at Dragconcon Update: Abney Park Schedule



Abney Park's Dragon*Con Schedule has been announced!

They will be performing Friday night at 11:30 in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom.
Their unplugged set will be Saturday Noon on the Hyatt acoustic stage.

The Friday night show will likely be the primary gathering for the crew and Companions of the Airship Vertigo.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Anachrotechnofetishism: Artifacts by Pioneers of American Steampunk


Anachrotechnofetishism: Artifacts by Pioneers of American Steampunk
Originally uploaded by exoskeletoncabaret.


Long before the age of the internet, and well before the cold efficiency of the assembly line, existed fantastic and terrible machines, run on hope, sweat, and steam. It was a time in which form and function lived in sin, and everyman was a revolutionary.

This is a showcase of 13 American artists united by broad geography and narrow aesthetic.

Marrying narrative and nostalgia to design and technology, we imagine the triumphs of the past overriding the failures of the present to create from the ruins and detritus a dazzling future-perfect.

September 12 - October 3, 2008
Opening Reception: September 12 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Suite 100 Gallery
, 2222 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 956.3900

Friday, August 08, 2008

Dragoncon Advent

As this is the third Friday before Draconcon, we are entering Advent, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Fandom. My costuming is complete, my panel scheduling started, and I can finish up my trip prep.

I think I may have some calenders printed up with the important dates of the fandom liturgical year printed on it, consistent with how I perceive the year with fannish eyes.

Labour Day long weekend of Dragoncon marks the End of Year celebrations which the calender surrounds. The 40 days after the Con is Fan-Lent; a time of fasting, repentance and chemical and emotional detox. October brings the high holy day of Halloween, while December is the Lesser Season of films. The end of February is Dracosymstice, the longest time between Conventions. Finally, June and July mark the Greater season of films, which leads back to Advent.

There are other dates of course, Comic and Entertainment Expo, San Diego Comicon, May the Forth, and so on. Some dates are important, but are not consistent, such as the release dates of comics or movies. The television season used to start in September, but now shows start and stop though the year which makes them movable feast days.

What big fandom dates do you use to mark the year?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Calgary Steampunk Gathering: Anachronauts Assemble!

I am planning a Steampunk gathering at Heritage Park in Calgary for Saturday, October 11th. Heritage Park is a 1880-1910 reenactment settlement, so it is the perfect setting for our well mannered and anachronistic hyjinks.

The idea is to have lunch at the Wainwright Hotel, ride the steam train, enjoy the free amusements, and have lots of pictures taken in our steampunk finery.

I'm looking for all Calgary area steampunks, neo-victorians, pulp adventurers and keen photographers to attend. Costumes are not required as it should be a fun day out for all. This is Thanksgiving weekend, which will have a strong effect either way on attendance, though I hope works to our benefit. If you are interested in this event, either post here or email me direct.

Keep it brassy!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Steampunk at Dragoncon

Due to the serious upsurge in steampunk popularity, Dragoncon 2008 is to be rife with steam and brass and gears, top hats, cravats and Victorian ray guns. I'm really looking forward to it.

There will be at least one steampunk panel, part of the Dark Fantasy Track, which is scheduled for Friday at 4 pm in the Montreal room (subject to change). A Meetup to set to follow.

There is a Meetup in the Hilton bar either before or after the Abney Park concert (TBD). This is still being planned, and I will try to post when I know more.

[info]kissmythistle of livejournal-land posted about forming a steampunk group for the big Dragoncon Parade, and there is a call out to any other steampunk costumers to join in with them. This is for 9 AM on Saturday morning starting at Woodruff Park.

The Steam_dragon community on Livejournal is keeping on top of this too, so check there too.

Keep it brassy!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Survey Results

My last post contained a short survey regarding the content and post frequency of Slashboing to get some anonymous feedback. Now that I have enough responses, I thought I would share the results. In general people like what they see, and they would like it updated more. This is good news for me.

What people generally like:
  • Steampunk
  • Costuming
Good! I will keep it up!

What people did not like
  • Movie/book/tv reviews
This was a new kind of post I was doing for 2007, and it doesn't look like it took off. I will be moving my media reviews to Twitter, where they are only 140 characters long. I will be doing more tech reviews, as they have generated lots of positive and constructive feedback.

New kinds of posts:
  • Introspective
  • Interviews with cool people
People want to know "the real" me. This is a direction I'm not really prepared to go, for now. I think I may post a journal type entry periodically, to test the waters.

I have been tossing around the idea of interviewing cool people via-email for a while now so stay tuned for that.

Post more frequently.

This was a common response. I will endeavour to post more often. My Twitter posts have taken over the quick one liners that I would try to stretch into full blog posts, so check that out too.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Slashboing Content Survey

In the spirit of blogosphere democracy, I thought I would poll my readers to see what sorts of topics you would like to see covered on Slashboing.

Click Here to take the survey

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Myth busting: Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom

Myth: Sci-fi fans are chronically single, underemployed, and still live in mom's basement.

Not true. Any such broad and demeaning stereotype should be treated as suspect. Fans out of high-school move out just like everyone else. I don't know where this stereotype comes from but the fan groups I'm familiar with are populated by a wide range of professions, none of whom live with mom and dad. These people are either married, engaged, or dating. The single guys are the exception rather than the rule.

Myth: Sci-fi fans are predominantly male.

I believed this one for a long time myself. But once I started attending larger events, I found that every mulit-genre convention I've attended has been about 50/50 genderwise. Granted some of the smaller comic book events have skewed male, but every Anime, Harry Potter, Star Wars event I've been to has been very gender balanced.


Myth: People who wear costumes to Science Fiction conventions are arrested, overweight, adolescents.


Wow. That's a low blow. Costuming is a science fiction tradition that dates back to the earliest conventions. I know costumers who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, and even US Marines and I wouldn't call any of them arrested or overweight. I think number of the overweight costumers is the same as the percentage of overweight fans in general, and probably society as a whole. I don't know where this level of resentment comes from, but I've heard some variation on it from several people.


Myth: Furry Fandom is made up of perverts.

Come on, now you are just being mean. Don't let CSI form your opinions for you. Besides, the fans with the fursuits make up a small portion of those in furry fandom. Many are writers and artists that work with predominantly anthropomorphic characters. Thinking someone in a fursuit is into atypical sex is like thinking someone in a leather jacket is a bondage freak. Grow up and get to know people before you make calls like that.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reviews: Merangue Multiriter

There are very few reviews for pens, which is a shame given their utility and necessity. Even in a digital world, a good and reliable pen can make the difference between being prepared or being a schmuck.

I have owned two Merangue Multiriters, and neither have survived contact with the outside world. At home they preformed very well. They have four very useful and effective nibs: A blue pen, red pen, automatic pencil, and a touch screen stylus. Instead of an awkward set of individual selector sliders, one simply tips the pen to the appropriate side and presses down on the clicker. Very slick, and with no silly cap to lose I thought this would be a fantastic piece for every day carry.

However the clicker is poor, and once it fails all is lost. Neither pen I have carried into the field has lasted more than 8 hours. This product has failed me for the last time.

Forget you pen.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Noun and the Unrelated Noun

Sometimes shows have similar titles, which can lead to confusion. I have prepared a short cheat-sheet for future reference.
Don't say I don't do anything for you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Placeholder T-shirts

In the changing world of science fiction fandom and internet memes, having the latest, coolest and hippest shirt can be a daunting task.

Now Slashboing brings you "Placeholder shirts" to keep you on the vanguard of geek-hipster fashion. No more waiting to see which meme takes off and which ones fizzle. No more waiting for new designs to be created, ordered and sent in time for an upcoming convention.

These shirts are guaranteed to be appropriate and suitable for science fiction and fantasy conventions and other geek friendly events for years to come. Don't be caught in an out-of-date shirt again. Order Now!

Current Shirts include:
[quote from a cancelled TV show]
[inside joke from my local fan club]
[meme that was funny six months ago]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ely rhymes with freely

I was in Ely, Minnesota for a week on business. I was very busy, but I did manage to get out and take some photos. Ely is a small mining and fishing resort town, which makes for some interesting architecture. I'm a sucker for vintage and well worn signs, and here the bar signs seemed to be from the 50's. There are are also great rusted out and preserved historical mining implements to be gawked at. One day I came back to the hotel, and the parking lot was full of antique cars. Apparently there were a few steam cars driving around town, but I didn't catch any of those.

However I did spot a cool boarded up castle-style mansion of sorts. The signs said it was being renovated into condominiums.

My flickr set is here for your Ely viewing pleasure:


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The World is Just Awesome - Boom De Yada

I'm stuck in Minnesota until further notice, so things like this give me great joy.

I would really like to see/make a Dragoncon Version.


Direct Link

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ninja/Pirate flowchart


Ninja/Pirate flowchart
Originally uploaded by Drhaggis.

A new theory in ninja /pirate relations is under consideration. Inclusion of the oft ignored "cowboy" transitional phase may be the first breakthrough in years.

Friday, June 13, 2008

iPod Touch - The late adopter review

It's been almost seven years since the first iPod came out, and I think everyone and their mum is on their second or third unit by now. I don't think I can say anything about it that hasn't already been said. However I recently bought a Touch as my first iPod, so I thought I would do a personal and thoroughly unnecessary review.

iSee you

The Cons: iTunes is powerful though sluggish, and I'm in the market for a replacement.

I also notice a disconnect between the Apple advertising campaign and its technical prowess. The Safari browser was promoted as a gateway to the real internet, not the "watered down" version seen previously on WAP and cellphone browsers. And although it can view most standard, flash-free pages, it really does best with mobile optimized sites. And Apple knows it, due to their promotion of iPhone/Touch "web apps" which are essentially Ajax powered mobile optimized websites. These are the more colourful, shinier cousins of the old WAP sites I would load on my Palm Pilot.

I'm also an the hook for a twenty dollar software upgrade that was supposed to be included in the Touch since January, and I'm unsure how much the iPhone 2.0 upgrade announced this week will cost.

The Pros: Looks good, feels good, smells good, and is generally sexy as all get out. The Wifi is great, as is the Youtube client. Google maps are a must, cover flow is fun and the screen resolution is fantastic. As an iPod, It does exactly "what it says on the tin."

Ultimately this device means that I can put every album I own, and the internet in my pants, and I like it.

Friday, June 06, 2008

NY Times Book descriptions

Cory Doctorow's latest book, "Little Brother" is currently number nine on New York Times top ten best sellers of children's chapter books. Good on him! I liked what I had heard about it from BoingBoing.net and on Wil Wheaton's blog and I plan on reading it when I finish "Overclocked".

When I read the NY Times description of "Little Brother," it gave me a bit of a laugh: "A teenage hacker takes on the government after a terrorist attack turns America into a police state." That is a heavy topic for young adult fiction. Though reading the synopsis of some of the other top ten books surprised me further. "Tweak" is "a memoir of a teenager’s methamphetamine addiction." "Thirteen Reasons why" is summed as follows: "before committing suicide, a girl sends explanatory audiotapes to 13 people." This is much meatier stuff than I grew up reading. I was scared I'd get in shit if I brought books like this home. "Why can't you read nice books" my mother would wail.

Moving on, I see that "Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is full of" "Archaeological derring-do; a movie tie-in." Fair enough. but hold your ponies. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is a tale where "The Pevensies return to Narnia; a movie tie-in." This is listed as a paperback, which should remove the possibility of the list being on of those dumbed down picture books that are in fact move tie-ins.

C.S. Lewis did not pen "a movie tie-in." I haven't even read any of the Narnia series beyond "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and have several philosophical differences with the author, but I don't think his work should be summed up as mere movie tie-in, no matter how good the films are.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Twitter with me

I have started using Twitter recently, and I really like it. Those readers who visit slashboing.ca directly have probably noticed this new addition to the blog sidebar, however those who read via an RSS or Livejournal feed have missed my tweets.

I can be followed here: twitter.com/Drhaggis

I also joined Twitter because I didn't want any other 'Dr. Haggises' from taking my username. Also, I really like the "what are you doing now" miniblog aspect of Facebook, but little else about it. I may even be deleting my Facebook account now that several high school friends have found me and its purpose has been served. I'm using a lot of different social networking sites, and I have to chose the right ones for how I actually want to network.

Now instead of having to create a full blog post simply to publish a quip, question, or bon mot, I can twitter it.

Also of note, the Mars Phoenix lander has a feed and he posts regular updates of his progress on Mars. It is done in a casual first-person style that makes it really fun to read.

Tweet you later.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Newspaper Blackout Poetry


AGORAPHOBIA
Originally uploaded by Austin Kleon

Creative Commons image: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Aluminum - The Other Steampunk Metal

Steampunk fashion and art is full of brass, copper, and iron. All fantastic and beautiful metals, but there is an often overlooked material that is attractive, period appropriate and has an interesting history.

Aluminum is a readily occurring element on earth, though it is mostly found in the form of oxides and silicates. It was not named until 1807 and was not isolated as a pure metal until 1825 by Hans Christian Ørsted. The early processes were very inefficient, slowly producing very small amount of impure metal.

This made Aluminum more expensive than gold, sliver or platinum. Napoleon III had given banquets where the most honoured guests were given aluminum utensils, while the other guests had to make do with gold. When the Washington Monument was completed in 1884 it was topped with an 100 ounce aluminum capstone in an elaborate dedication ceremony.

Electrolytic and chemical extraction improvements in the 1880's lead to mass production of the metal, making it the accessible and affordable material it is today.

So depending on your particular steampunk ethic and adherence to "the-past-that-was", consider the inclusion of Aluminum in your props and costumes.

Note: Both "Aluminum" and "Aluminium" are acceptable spellings. How fun is that?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Films in the year 2010

To keep my elbow on the pulse of the film world, I like to browse through IMDB to find projects with distant release dates to see what is in development. Today I chose the year 2010. Digging through the 855 titles, I found some obvious franchise releases, such as Iron Man 2, Harry Potter, and Narnia. However, I also found some titles that surprised me, and I thought I would share them along with a little commentary.

Video Games
Bioshock - Great looking video game with actual plot may make for a good film
City of Heroes - MMORPG as film?
Return To Castle Wolfenstein - Really? Was "Doom" not enough for everyone?

Science Fiction Lit.
20,000 Leagues under the Sea - Jules Vern does not go out of style
Dune - Again, Really? I thought the first film and the miniseries was sufficient.
Fahrenheit 451 - Could use an update given the current political climate.
Illustrated Man
Logan's Run
The Sword of Shannara - Haven't read it. Would this work?
Jennifer Government - Based on a book with a great premise. This could be quite good.

80's
Voltron
Tron
Short Circuit - Could Johnny Five live again?
Thundercats - In the same year as Voltron? The mine of the 1980's is only so deep.
Robotech - Live action? Who can say. This was "Japanimation" not Anime.
Untitled Bill & Ted Project - This could be a a lot of fun, or complete trash.

Comic Books
Thor
Doctor Strange - Guillermo Del Toro is attached to direct and has approached Neil Gaiman to write the script
Green Lantern - Comic book gold.
Sub-Mariner - One of my least favourite characters. Will this work as a film? Could be animated.
Occult Crimes Taskforce - Based on the comic by Rosario Dawson. Yes the "Sin City/MIB2/Clerks 2/Rent/Death Proof" Rosario Dawson. Her fandom godhead is secure.

Other
Dirty Dozen - Will it be an earnest or campy remake?
Have Gun - Will Travel - Will Smith as Paladin? Who can say.
High Noon - Will 2010 be a western year?
I, Claudius and I, Robot - Individually, not really interesting, but I can see the crossover parody SNL sketch already.
Black Hole - Remake of the 1979 film or unrelated offering?

Of course since these films are still in the planning and development stages, there is no guarantee that they will ever be made, or released in the year indicated.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shane West has mastered Blue Steel


Shane West - Blue Steel
Originally uploaded by Drhaggis.

Looking through IMDB for steampunk movie photos, I came along the collected photos of Shane West. Shane portrayed the grinning Tom Sawyer in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. While on screen he can display the whole range of human emotions. However at movie premieres and public appearances, only one look will do, and that look is Blue Steel.

See more of this look here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

100 Days until Dragoncon

There are 100 Days until Dragoncon begins. Are you ready for the onslaught of awesome? There are about 230 guests and bands confirmed, including Jake Lloyd, some of the cast of Firefly and the usual collection of authors and artists.


Cruxshadows concert 2
Originally uploaded by K. Smithington.
Photo Released under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0

Also, crowd surfing stormtroopers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Unseen Indiana Jones

Introducing a new feature on Slashboing: Comics. The first offering was inspired by The Temple of Doom.


Slashboing: The Comic Strip
Originally uploaded by Drhaggis.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Time travel Continuum

I thought I would post this graph for any time travellers who may be reading this blog.

funny graphs
see more Graphs

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Paris: Photography update

I have spent the last several nights uploading photos I took in Paris to my flickr account. I had +860 pictures to review and I uploaded them at full resolution, so it took quite a while.
Notre Dame grotesque
I picked over 300 pictures and a few videos to share, so I won't be posting them all here. The set is in chronological order, with the oldest pictures first, so you can follow my trip along, monument by monument.

I used specific date tags if you want to view each day on its own:
10 APR | 11 APR | 12 APR | 13 APR | 14 APR | 15 APR | 16 APR

Here are some cool monuments and Museum tags to view:
Louvre | Eiffel Tower | Museum of Arts and Metres | Notre Dame Cathedral

I was downloading pictures off my camera every night for backup, so if I ever lost my camera, I would at least have all the previous pictures safe. Reviewing them nightly I was getting annoyed as the inside/no flash shots mandated by most museums were coming out blurry and the resolution of my videos was terrible.Tour d'Eiffel

I still managed to score some great shots from the trip, like this tower "upskirt" so it wasn't so bad in the end, but the shortcomings of my camera became quite clear. These issues were echoed by a CNet review that came out after I had purchased the camera, so don't be surprised if a new camera is in my future.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fast Talking, High Trousers

We interrupt our regular silence with an unscheduled post. Do you like old movies? I think some of my regular readers do. Here is a good natured summary of period films from Family Guy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back in town - Travel Update

According to a stack of visa receipts and various reports from the web, I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday morning I was in Argentina. I will be updating my flickr account with appropriate pictures, and this blog with suitable stories from the road.

The following is a picture from my window whilst in France. Drink it in.
The view from my window in paris
I sleep now.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Boba Fett Costume in Lego

Simon makes his Star Wars costumes a little differently. He builds his out of Lego.

I saw his Lego Darth Vader at Dragoncon 2007, and this year he will be premiering a full set of Manalorian armour build from Lego. All the hard goods from helmet, to gauntlets to shin tools are faithfully recreated in colourful blocks. It really is impressive to see.


Photo Credit:"fullA"
Originally uploaded by SIMAFOL.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Books on my nightstand

I had big plans to make the "Books on my nightstands" entry on Slashboing a regular feature. However it seems only to come up yearly, despite the comings and goings of books from my library. For those who wish to know, here are the current works sitting beside my bed for reading and research.

The Zombie Survival Guide - Max Brooks
Reason: Prepare myself against the inevitable Zombie apocalypse.

Paris: Inside Out
Reason: Prepare myself for an inevitable trip to Paris.

Lovecraft Tales - H.P. Lovecraft
Reason: Prepare myself for writing Steampunk fiction that inevitably crosses unrestrained science with psyche curdling horror.

Firefly: The Official Companion Volume 2 - Joss Whedon
Reason: Firefly was an amazing series, and it doesn't look like we will be seeing any more episodes or movies anytime soon. The occasional Firefly comic book is not feeding the need so I have this collection on hand.


Previously on Slashboing

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Macgyver Rider


This is an idea for a tv series I had. Angus Macgyver is brought in by Knight Industries to help out with some buggy systems in Kitt. The partnership is new for both Michael Knight and Macgyver, but they can't argue with the results. A mutual admiration is formed based on leather jackets, feathered hair and push-button explosions.

Since that is unlikely to happen, I'd like to read some fan art based on the concept depicted here. Any takers?



"Macgyver Rider"
Originally uploaded by Drhaggis.