Thursday, March 29, 2012

Robot Cutting Hair

It starts with a haircut and ends with Skynet.

I can't help but think of that scene from The Ice Pirates where those dudes get emasculated... literally (at 1:30).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Get to Mercury

In the absence of Bussard ramjets, Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or a Captain who says "engage" and it is made so, this is how you actually travel between planets:

Crazy. And beautiful. No one ever talks about the circuitous route one would have to take to go starwards because of the acceleration you pick up from the star's gravitation. Gorgeous.

Original article here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

News: Soda and Fingers

Normally, I would blog about this, but the craziness of this story (severed kid fingers randomly found by a woman digging through the trash who thought they were ginger root, in a ziploc bag, to retain freshness) combined with a typo and some crazy quotes, I couldn't resist:

Yes, all those people without consciousness, all those (p) Zombies, have been hampering the investigation, drooling and growling over the phone.

Then add in the statement: "I was drinking soda, and I knew for a fact those were fingers when I seen the fingernails." I haven't seen the PLOSOne article yet, but apparently soda helps in severed body part identification, thus why she thought the fingers were ginger root UNTIL she sipped on a soda.

Finally, Sgt. Buffett of the Honolulu Police Department waxes some how one "normally" finds body parts. It's true, all the body parts I've ever found have still been attached to the rest of a body.

Truth: this really isn't funny, or a joke, but sometimes one has to point out the absurd in bizarre/grisly situations in order to deal with them. 

"Many questions remain."

Original article here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Report: Max Ehrlich's The Reincarnation of Peter Proud

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Some books are great because they capture a story, others a place, and still others a time. Max Ehrlich's Reincarnation of Peter Proud is a great snapshot of the early 70's, with the "trippy" 60's still reverberating and morphing into burgeoning New Age movement. At least, that's how it feels. I wasn't there, so I really don't know. The closest I can get is the TV, books, and movies of that time, and it feels like Reincarnation of Peter Proud fits right into that, despite it wanting to be a supernatural thriller.

New Project: Al Lover & The Haters reviewed by Impose Magazine

Nice little write up in Impose Magazine about a new project I'm doing with my Mist Giant bandmate Mike G. and DJ Al Lover. It's a free release so download away! Al's got tons of great trippy music on his site for free. Favorite line of the review: "The Haters bring a keg spiked with acid. We approve." I approve of their approval. Check it:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coronal Mass Ejections = Gorgeous Aurora Borealis

Faskusfjordur, Iceland

That huge solar storm I posted about earlier this week, where you could see the Sun's magnetosphere ripple from Million mph EIT waves? This is how they lit up Faskusfjordur in East Iceland. Wow.

Click on this pic from NASA, it's pretty awesome:

The Battle of the Sun and Earth

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sounds: Some Ophelia, Human Tree EP, Mist Giant

We wrote "Some Ophelia" towards the latter half of our first crop of songs, when we'd started to zero in on sounds and structures we enjoyed exploring. Besides the basic drum line that Dan brought in, we wrote this song as a band.

Originally we called this song "Modular A-C" as that's pretty much what it is: a transition between A and C (those are the only two notes I play on the bass). The Modular part came from the fact that you could play any part at any point. With C being a minor 3rd of A, as long as you don't play full chords, you can play pretty much any melody you like (okay, not quite "anything"; there are still harmonic limitations, but the point is that the song follows no real structure, so as long as you played in the A minor/C major key, you're pretty golden). We do this a lot with our songs. Our upcoming Glass Walls (Velvet Blue Music) release has another song with a similar modular structure, called "Catch & Release", which I'll eventually link to here. It's a fun way to play, not limited to strictures of structure [sounds like a shitty post-rock band: "Strictures of Structure"]). Of course, over time this doesn't hold up: you start making changes based upon when others make changes; that part leads into this part. Eventually hills and valley form and the song starts to take on a shape that is That Song. Nonetheless, it's an exciting organic way of playing and writing. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Watching the Sun Ripple

Or something to that effect. First, you have GOT to see this:

The video was taken at 12 second intervals up in the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope range (EIT range = 171 Angstrom wavelength) and shows two different solar flare events. Notice the Sun's magnetosphere and surface RIPPLE? It frikkin' shook the Sun! The Sun we are talking about: you can fit 1.3 million Earths inside it; it's 850,000 miles in diameter (compared to the Earth's 7,819 mile diameter). And yet you can see the Sun ripple from these two solar flares. Ripple! These "EIT" waves travel at about 1 million miles per hour and traverse the entire star. It looks like a James Cameron production.

The flares send out coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are expected to hit earth around 1:25 AM EST on Thursday. So, gird your loins.

More from NASA.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

News: Today's News from Tomorrow's Victims

Full disclosure: I've been helping out writing and researching for this. Even still, pretty crazy:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tornado on the Sun

That's right, a tornado... of super-heated plasma! For 30 hours on February 7 & 8, 2012, cool plasma (cooler than the surface of the Sun) spun around in competing magnetic forces in a tornado the size of the Earth at somewhere near 300,000 kph. I have no response to that.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sounds: Empty Archipeg, Human Tree EP, Mist Giant

I  don't actually recall how "Empty Archipeg" began. It's one of our "Hits", the first batch of our songs. I know at least some of the structure came from a sample Dan brought in, at which point I was playing the cello. Back then, Fall of 2009, this song was a lot brighter, easier, lighter. We started it together and then midway through Mike G. got a chance to work for a month on Greenpeace's Esperanza (Mike schooled us when we called it a boat: it's a ship which is defined as that which can fit a boat. Confusion over). By the time he got back all the songs we had been working on had undergone pretty drastic changes: I was on keys now and the lyrics and overall tone of the song got very dark. I remember Mike standing there listening to what we'd come up with and then pausing for a moment once we finished. Then he said: "These songs have gotten a bit dark". It can be a tough challenge to inject oneself back into a song after it's changed a lot, but he did it and as you can hear, he nailed it. My favorite part is the interplay between the lead organ line and the guitar. That's the song's hook to me.

(We tend to try and hold back on hooks and payoff/super-dominant lines, trying to maximize their effect by  NOT playing them over much. The organ/guitar interplay is only in the middle and at the end, pulling out completely for the "rebuild". Mike is good at pointing out when/where we should do this [I'm always horrible and want to play the best parts over and over again], which we do on the soon to be released "D-Loop" on Glass Walls, the unreleased "The Late Keanu Reeves", and others.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fool's Republic, by Gordon W. Dale: Pretty Effing Adequate

Readable. That's the first thing I'll say about Gordon W. Dale's Fool's Republic: readable. I'm not sure it's much more than that, but there you have it. 

Fool's Republic is the story of Simon Wyley (get it!?), a misunderstood genius who can't (or won't) fit into modern social standards who's on a quest of revenge against the government (read: stand in for modern life) for the death of his daughter, an active duty soldier who willingly put her life in harm's way. That's right, he wants revenge on the system that his daughter chose to join. Yes, it's a bit of a stretch, but Mr. Dale manages to sell me on this motivation, though that might have been because we're left in the dark about it for most of the book. 

Book Report: The Peace War, by Vernor Vinge

The Peace WarThe Peace War by Vernor Vinge
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Where to begin. I love Vernor Vinge. Fire Upon The Deep, Deepness In The Sky, I'm not going to say they are masterpieces, but they deliver such great ideas that whatever problems the stories had mechanically (2 dimensional characters, wonky plots, horrible dialogue), just got buried under the scope and wonder. Not so much with The Peace War.