I’m heading down to Parkdale tonight to catch up with a friend. I’ll have to wash my hands often and might need to take a preventative dose of Unpretentiousil so I don’t catch “The Hipster”.
While the ad above is droll, there’s something wrong with one of the symptoms of hipsterism that they list: “Making things at home that can easily be bought at the local supermarket”. If that’s a symptom, it’s one of self-sufficiency, financial savvy and often healthier eating.
One more sci-fi story (well, maybe two) for those of you who are stuck at home thanks to the great snowstorm of 2013!
Iron Man: Extremis was a story arc from the Iron Man comic books that ran from the start of 2005 until about mid-2006 in which writer Warren Ellis redefined Iron Man as “a test pilot for the future”. The story line introduced Extremis, a military nanotech serum that allows the brain to consciously command the body to rebuild itself to be superhuman. It’s not a new idea; my friend Cory Doctorow covered this territory in the short story 0wnz0red (which you can consider some bonus sci-fi). Of course, as with the best Iron Man stories, the technology is just window-dressing; what’s truly interesting are the ideas that get tossed about within the stories.
In Extremis, the Iron Man suit gets redefined as an extension of Tony Stark, but even more importantly, Tony Stark himself gets redefined. His Cold War/Vietnam origin story (remember, Iron Man was created in the 1960s) gets updated to Afghanistan — an idea later appropriated by the first Iron Man film. Another idea that found its way into the film is Stark’s discomfort with being an arms dealer, which gets covered in an uncomfortable interview for a documentary film, a meeting with his board of directors about their new smartphone, and a heart-to-heart with his tech-hippie mentor. The story is rich with ideas about mind-over-matter transhumanism, the world as a post-political corporate conglomerate, right-wing militia thinking, the ongoing march of technology, great inventors best being remembered for their chindogu, what happens when you go from “changing the world” to “selling out”, and most importantly, the raison d’etre for the Iron Man suit. Watch and enjoy!
Star Trek: Phase II does the impossible. Created by super Star Trek Fan James Cawley, who initially raised fund for this project through Elvis impersonation gigs, this series answers the question “What if the original Star Trek hadn’t been cancelled, and had new episodes with writing that was at least as decent, and with better acting and effects?” Even better, they’ve managed to bring in some of the old Trek writers and actors.
In World Enough and Time, a transporter accident mishap causes them to beam back a Sulu that’s from thirty years in the future. And who better to play older Sulu than the original recipe, George Takei? This one’s got everything: two Hikaru Sulus, the Romulans, Kirk hitting on women, an even more “down home” Dr. McCoy, way better spaceflight scenery and of course, Spock making sense of it all. Be sure to check out the other episodes — they’re all quite enjoyable.
Some more entertainment for you in case you’re trapped at home during the big snowstorm of 2013.
Here in North America in the early 1980s, we knew it as Star Blazers. However, in its native Japan, the anime series was known as Space Battleship Yamato. It’s one of those stories that was just waiting to be told in the form of a live action film, and in 2010 it finally happened. Here’s the trailer for the movie:
Being a fan of the old anime series, I got really interested in the film and waited patiently for a subtitled version to hit the streets. Now there’s one on the ‘net, and now you can watch the crew of the Yamato (or the Argo, as it was known in Star Blazers) make their last-ditch effort to get to the planet Iskandar, humanity’s last hope if they plan to survive an attack from the Gamilas (or the Gamilons, as they were known in Star Blazers). If you watched the anime, you’ll love how well they translated its look to film, from the costumes right down to my favourite thingy, the Wave Motion Gun.
(And yes, that’s a Steven Tyler song in the movie. Like many things, the Japanese like their rock on the cheesy side.)
Be sure to turn on closed-captioning (hit the CC button on the bottom of the YouTube window and under Translate Captions, select English).
If the big snowstorm of 2013 has you trapped at home with nothing to do, here’s a little something to watch — the motion comic version of the graphic novel Superman: Red Son. In this “alternate history”, the spaceship containing baby Kal-El lands in the Ukrainian steppes instead of Kansas and Superman becomes Stalin’s number one and the symbol of communism and the Soviet way. Standing against him are American super-scientist Lex Luthor, a clever Russian dissident who dresses up in a bat costume and a former Vietnam POW and his power ring. Superman is normally pretty dull, but not in this story. Enjoy!
The Toronto Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair takes place tomorrow at the Gladstone Hotel from 12 noon until 8 p.m., after which the cabaret and after-party will take place. Here’s how they describe the event:
The Toronto Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair is a one-of-a-kind sexy fair that brings together artists and crafters just in time for Valentine’s Day! Knitters, crafters, zinesters, card makers, and artists of all types create inspired and inspiring erotic objects for this one day celebration of DIY sex and romantic culture.
I might be passing through the neighbourhood and will take a peek if I do.
GLENNCOT Center, where you can see other, lesser countries through Glenn Beck’s eyes.
This advertisement for the (sadly) fictitious Libertypendence Park, Glenn Beck’s amusement park, is rather droll. Located “just a short five-hour drive from Dallas”, it features Americaville, “Non-Union Square”, the Freedom Coaster (“Safety harness optional…take that, Nanny State!”), Libertarian Island, the “It Should Be a Smaller World”, the Haunted “Soros Manor”, Cinderella’s Bunker in “There is No Tomorrowland” and the upcoming “Randland”, which made me laugh out loud.