Archive for July, 2009

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On Vacation!

July 28, 2009

hollywood_beachI’ve been quiet because I’ve been on vacation in sunny Florida. Going back home tomorrow. Maybe more posting then.

One thing…Obama scares me even more, the more I hear. And what’s with this “bipartisan” Finance Committee health care thing? Are the Republican senators mice?

disney-mickey-mouse-5854

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Calling Bruce Walker!!

July 28, 2009

questionmark20face-1Back in the day, when I was in undergraduate school, I had a friend who was one of the most talented musicians I ever met. His name was Bruce Walker, he was originally from the Cleveland area, and he was at the University of Toledo studying music at least from 1972-77. He played clarinet, flute, piccolo, saxophones, bassoon (!) and bass pedals. I completely lost touch with him. Google searches don’t seem to help – I doubt he ended up playing professional football, and it would have been a stretch for him to become a born-again keyboard player or an A&R guy at Motown Records. I’m really curious what ever happened to him. If he happens to see this, please drop me a comment…if you’re not the right guy, please don’t! Thanks!

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Help out a great guy!

July 21, 2009

FantasticPlastic Logo

Alan Ury has been running a very fine  “garage kit” model company for the last few years. Now, nobody makes a killing in the GK model business. Everybody who does this does it as a true labor of love, and Alan’s choice of kits have been classic and current sci-fi film and TV vehicles, X-planes and speculative aircraft and spacecraft, like the beautiful von Braun Ferry Rocket:

VonBraunFerryRocketBoxArt-250

His choices just happen to be the kinds of things I like to build. Anyway, one of the biggest copyright owners has decided Alan shouldn’t sell ships from their movies. (The company shall remain nameless.) Now, a GK  maker can get maybe 30 or so copies from a rubber mold, if he’s lucky; resin casters by the way they make their products are severely limited in how many copies they can make…so the Big Movie Company is not losing money on this, and it probably cost more in their lawyers’ billing hours to write a letter than the GK maker earns from a kit.

Alan hasn’t asked anyone to do this. I just think if any modelers happen to read this, give his products a try. It supports him, supports the hobby, and you will be delighted with your purchase. His kits are well-designed and well-cast, and his service is top-notch. I’ve bought several kits from him and I plan to buy more as soon as my wallet allows for it!

Alan’s site  can be found here.

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Happy Landing Day!

July 20, 2009
Buzz Aldrin salutes the American Flag, 7/20/69

Buzz Aldrin salutes the American Flag, 7/20/69

Still one of the most astounding demonstrations of what humans are capable of in a short time when they have the will. To all those who made it possible, our thanks and congratulations. Let us never forget the best things we are as Americans and as citizens of Earth.

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Best Invasion Movies: an incomplete list

July 18, 2009

independence_dayWhat made me think of this? The Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter is taking photos of all the Apollo moon landing sites except Apollo 12, and should be able to even tell us if the American Flag is still standing. I thought it got knocked down when the alien mothership flew by in Independence Day.

OK, so that got me thinking: what are the best invasion movies I’ve seen? I’m sure I will have forgotten some. It’s a short list. Most alien invasion movies suck…

Good ones –

Independence Day – despite Bill Pullman being a wimp President. Why did everyone cheer when they blew up the White House? I heard that happened all over when people first saw it.

The Day The Earth Stood Still – the original Robert Wise version, not the recent one. Which sucked, and not because of Keanu Reeves. It’s not really an invasion story, I know, but still…check out the Christian undertones to this movie, which is commonly thought of now as more of a Cold War-commentary piece. (Which it was as well, of course.)

War of the Worlds – the Gene Barry one in the 1950s, with the superb effects by George Pal. Very religious undertones in this one, too. Anything since – movies, TV – not anywhere close.

Cloverfield – yes, Cloverfield. It makes you queasy to watch because of the handheld camera effects, but it is a very interesting take on the invasion idea. I would love to see a sequel, and yet I don’t know how they could do it. You certainly can’t do it like the first one was done – it’s a gimmick that works once, at best, and you can’t do it again.

Men In Black – Tommy Lee Jones is the perfect black-agency guy. And Will Smith is pretty much the perfect black black-agency guy. (Sorry. Had to say it.) These two movies are just preposterous enough to be the way it really is, you know?

Honorable Mentions – This Island Earth, Predator (even though he was just visiting, on vacation), Kronos ( because I never did figure out what was going on, and in a 50s movie that’s pretty unusual), The Thing (the original, of course, but the remake was OK).

I don’t like” Invasion of the Body Snatchers – type” movies, so I can’t comment on those.

Special Award For Scaring The Hell Out Of Me When I Was A Kid – Invaders from Mars. (The original, not the Karen Black remake. The second one sucked like Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds did.)

Special Award For Being Stupid Enough To Be Pretty Good Even If You’re Not Drinking – Mars Attacks (Only Tim Burton thinks like this. Thank God.)

By the way, the Best Science Fiction Action Adventure Film Of All Time is “Armageddon.” No, really. I love that movie. I love it almost as much as I love Destination Moon and Buckaroo Banzai. They each have flaws, sorry to say, that keep them out of the running for that award, wonderful as they both are in their own totally different ways.

What's Not To Like?

What's Not To Like?

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Even More Words To Live By!

July 17, 2009

engrish-funny-mama-scienceAnd don’t you forget it.

Link

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The Big Seaview is 95% finished!

July 16, 2009
Seaview on display in the cabinet.

Seaview on display in the cabinet.

For over a year, off and on, I’ve been working on the Moebius Models 1:128 Seaview from the 1960s TV show Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. It’s 39 inches long and features a detailed interior for the section visible through the four big windows in the bow. Unfortunately, this photo doesn’t do it justice:

The bridge through the front windows.

The bridge through the front windows.

I’ll work on getting some better images of the bridge and observation deck. I used two aftermarket sets – a set of LEDs, a cold light panel, photoetch and decals from Just An Illusion, and a photoetch set from Paragrafix Modeling Systems. The aftermarket sets are beautifully done, even though I found working with the tiny photoetched brass pieces frustrating. There are even tiny tables and chairs for the observation deck!

The JAI set includes clear resin replacements for the walls of the bridge. Using paint and the provided decals, and with the electroluminescent panel on the ceiling, the walls can be made with illuminated dials and panels. I found it very hard to do, though, and so I ended up using the original plastic walls with some decals, some paint, and some lights drilled out. I drilled out two of the TV monitor screens and placed backlit plastic and decal screens in the spaces. (One of them shows Arthur Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense in the early 1970s, when the show was to have taken place. He has the same last name as my son-in-law, so it was sort of a affectation, but he was a real version of the person who should have been contacting the Seaview periodically.)

I also had a small circuit board that blinked four LEDS – red, blue, green, and yellow – in alternating sets of two colors. I epoxied the LEDs to some fiber optic strands and drilled out some of the lights on the “computer” panel and a couple of other panels as well. Unfortunately, the computer panel is very near the back of the bridge, so it’s kind of hard to see, but it’s there!

I ran the power wire from all this stuff through one of the drain holes I cut using the Paragrafix template. It runs to a battery box I got from Radio Shack with a push button and a 9V battery. I’m hiding the battery box behind this resin base I bought and painted up years ago for the Polar Lights/Aurora small Seaview. I don’t recall who made this base. I think I got it from CultTVMan. The base will ultimately be used to display the miniature Flying Sub (with lighting), Diving Bell and Mini-Sub. That’s the Mini-Sub just sitting on it right now:

Mini-Sub

Mini-Sub

The Seaview isn’t done. I have two screws holding the lower bow section in right now, which means the seams are too large. I was afraid that the electrical work might be fragile, and I didn’t want to make it permanent just yet. (The lower bow section contains the hangar for the Flying Sub, with the observation deck/bridge assembly attached to it.) Eventually I will epoxy it in and repaint that lower section to blend it in.

The stand was designed by Kent Faulring and made out of aluminum to his specifications. He had several made up and I managed to grab the last one around the first of the year. It’s much cooler than the two plastic pedestals that come with the kit!

The Flying Sub and Diving Bell are being painted. They will be placed on the base, with the power wire for the Flying Sub running through a hole in the base. I think I’ll attach a stiff wire to the top of the Diving Bell to look like it’s suspended – just not from the Seaview!

One more image:

Taken with a flash.

Taken with a flash.