filkertom: (science)
On this date in 1856. Possibly one of the greatest scientists, one of the greatest people, who ever lived... and one who got screwed almost every step of the way. Edison, Marconi, J.P. Morgan... the list of people who elbowed their way in front of or stomped over Tesla is long and diverse.

If you ever listen to radio, or use alternating current (hint: everything you plug in), you owe thanks to Tesla.

What's your favorite current science project? Kickstarter, government grant, whatever. Mine is the Bukito portable 3D printer.
filkertom: (kermitflail)
So many things we celebrate on Geek Pride Day!

First, of course, it's the Glorious 25th of May, for all you Discworld fans.

It's also the 36th anniversary of the release of the original, non-Episode IV Star Wars. We weren't completely unprepared -- technically, Jaws was the first "blockbuster" -- but, besides being the coolest thing most of us had ever seen up to that point, Star Wars was absolutely transformative in how films were both created and marketed. Along with Star Trek, it can be considered one of the foundations of modern mythology.

And, celebrating another of those foundations, it's Towel Day, celebrating the life and writings of author Douglas Adams, creator of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Here's hoping that, someday, we'll all have a proper edition of that mind-bogglingly useful book.

And, on top of all that, it's the birthday of such geek legends as Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803), Sir Ian McKellen (1939), Frank Oz (1944), Barry Windsor-Smith (1949), and Stan Sakai (1953).

How are you celebrating Geek Pride Day? I'm at Up In The Aether Con in Dearborn, MI, where the place has already been going crazy since yesterday morning. Wonderful folks, superb cosplay, Victorian mad science, gorgeous women in corsets, fun fun fun.
filkertom: (kermitflail)
Ninety-four years young. Teacherken at dKos has a great selection of videos. Feel free to link us to more.

What's your favorite anti-war folk song? Mine, without question, is "The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'" by Eric Bogle. And Tom Paxton's "What Did You Learn In School Today?" is right behind, followed by Phil Ochs' "I Ain't A-Marchin' Anymore".
filkertom: (Default)
Whether it's the winter solstice, that whole Mayan calendar thing, or merely the birthday of Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, allow me to contribute to your feeling that now you've seen everything:

So. What stuff are you taking with you when the world dissolves into chaos and fire? I got two external hard drives, my dice bag, and my stuffed Bear right here. And an off-off-off-brand Android tablet filled to the gills with Harry Potter fanfic.
filkertom: (Default)
He would've been 92 today. In his honor, NASA officially designated the Curiosity Rover landing site Bradbury Landing.
filkertom: (kermitflail)
Eighty-one today, and still one of our finest actors and icons. Live long and prosper!
filkertom: (kermitflail)
The Queen of Soul turns 70 today.

What are your favorite Aretha songs? I got a bunch of 'em, but it's nice to let everyone play, so I'll stick to one: this version of "Think" from The Blues Brothers. (It is a peculiarity that I have never found a perfectly sync'd-up version of this scene online.)
filkertom: (Default)
Today marks two very distinct events: the 256th anniversary of the birth of Mozart, and the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 1 disaster. Roger Chaffee, Virgil Grissom, Edward White -- rest well, gentlemen.

Two questions today -- answer either or both:
  • What's your favorite Mozart piece? I admit it, I'm a plebian, but I think Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is one of the most perfect pieces of music ever written. It was the first I ever entered into MIDI, about twenty years ago, and it's amazing how... streamlined that piece is. Remember the exchange in Amadeus where the Emperor says, "... Too many notes" and Mozart replies, "Yes, Sire, but not one more note than necessary"? Yeah.
  • Are you in favor of a moon base? Would you live there? And, if so, what would you take with you? Assume all basic clothing and entertainment needs, exercise equipment, basic stuff to create music or craft, any eBooks/movies/TV/games/Legos/etc. I'm talkin' the personal artifacts. First on my list, of course, is Da Bear. A few artworks I've acquired over the years, including a sketch or two by Seanan. My Sigma guitar. Family photos, including one of my uncle Gary and Garboo next to Gary's horse, Chicory Puff, just after a harness race victory. Grandpa's harmonica.
filkertom: (Default)
  • Longtime Detroit Tiger fans has a sad, as outfielder and slugger Jim Northrup has passed away at the age of 71.
  • Generally, I consider NYT columnist Thomas Friedman to be a near-perfect ass. But, as [personal profile] siliconshaman points out, he's locked onto the most pressing problem in the world, possibly in the history of the world: the Earth is full.
  • If you want a very cool animation program, with lip-synching and bones and everything, there's a special deal this weekend only on Smith Micro's Anime Studio, brand-new version 8.
  • Today would have been the 96th birthday of Les Paul. Google commemorates it.
More later.
filkertom: (Default)
On this date in 1894. If you haven't seen it yet, you really have to see today's Google logo.

What works of dance do you like best? I'm a sucker for the movies Singin' In The Rain and Tap, and I love watching Riverdance (although Michael Flatley leaves me cold). Dick Van Dyke can basically do no wrong, and it's a good thing that I don't actually have to choose between Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, because I'm not sure I could. And here's a little Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. to make you just smile your ass off.

ETA: Yes, Virginia, there is a Google logo archive.
filkertom: (Default)
On this date in 1942.

What are some of your favorites by the Queen of Soul? I could list a bunch of things here, but I do think my all-time fave performance of hers is "Think" from The Blues Brothers. (You can watch the scene here.)
filkertom: (Default)
On this date in 1904.

Just start quoting. You know you want to.
filkertom: (Default)
Born on this date in 1828. The celebratory Google logo is fantastic. Play with the joystick, or, if you have a handheld device, tilt the screen.

Your favorite Verne book? Mine is Around The World In 80 Days.
filkertom: (Default)
Born on this date in 1932. Love him or loathe him (and I unabashedly love him), his film scores have influenced several generations.

What are your favorite Williams pieces? It's hard not to just rattle off the iconic themes for Superman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and nearly every note in six Star Wars films, but I'm also extremely fond of his work for Hook, Jurassic Park, and the Olympics. I've got a long love for the theme from Lost In Space. But the ones that really get me are his scores for Jaws and especially Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Phenomenally evocative music, unlike anything heard before.
filkertom: (Default)
Which means, first, that we wish a very happy birthday to [profile] kajafoglio!

Second, today's the day that Studio Foglio has targeted to make a big splash on Amazon with their brand new novelization of the first ten issues of GG, Agatha H. and the Airship City.

And if you follow that link and buy it, you'll boost it up the ranks (and I might get a small Amazon Advantage...). There are also Kindle and Audiobook versions (the Audiobook is a pre-order, released on Jan. 25).
filkertom: (Default)
On this date in 1892.

Been awhile since we discussed it, so: What are some of your favorite scenes from any of the books, or any of the various media adaptations? Yeah, I know, I know. I could just say "pretty much everything" and not be far off. But:
  • In The Hobbit, I really love:
    • the dwarven-song at The Unexpected Party, especially in Nicol Williamson's incredible reading
    • Gandalf tricking the trolls
    • Every version of the Riddle Game
    • The goblin attack, with "Fifteen Birds In Five Bird-Trees", in the Rankin-Bass animated adaptation
    • Bilbo rescuing the dwarves from the Mirkwood spiders
    • the death of Thorin and the aftermath of the Battle of the Five Armies
    • And I've always had a very specific welcome party scene in my head when they get to Rivendell "and [find] its doors flung wide."
  • And in The Lord of the Rings:
    • That one beautiful, beautiful shot in the movie, the first time we see Bag End -- I was holding my breath for that one, the same way we all did in The Princess Bride hoping they didn't screw up the fight on the Cliffs of Insanity, and when I saw that lovely hill with the beautiful bright green door, I started crying with relief and pleasure
    • The one plot point I truly feel the Peter Jackson movies seriously improved -- Gandalf didn't wait seventeen years before figuring out that Bilbo's ring, now given to Frodo, was indeed Sauron's Ring of Power -- he hied his ass to Minas Tirith, pulled an all-nighter, and got back to Frodo as quickly as possible
    • Again, in the movie, the reunion of Frodo and Bilbo in Rivendell touched my heart
    • The Moria sequence, book and movie
    • The betrayal and redemption of Boromir
    • the Dead Marshes
    • Grima seducing/menacing Eowyn in the movie
    • Gandalf freeing Theoden from Wormtongue's influence
    • the lighting of the beacons -- it hardly registers in the book, but it's a huge, dramatic, way cool thing in the movie
    • And I'm leaving out so many scenes that it really does come down to "pretty much everything", including my absolute favorite, "The Scouring of the Shire".
So maybe I'll just go watch the Rankin-Bass Hobbit and the LOTR Trilogy once more.
filkertom: (Default)
Sean Connery is 80 today.

What's your favorite Connery movie, or Connery role? My favorite Bond movie with him is Goldfinger, but I also love Darby O'Gill and the Little People, and of course Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade simply wouldn't be the same without Dr. Henry Jones Senior. His brief turn as King Agamemnon in Time Bandits was excellent, and, even though I don't think it's a particularly good movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves knew what the hell they were doing by having him show up as King Richard the Lion-Hearted in the last two minutes -- the crowd pop was amazing.

And then there's Zardoz.

I will let others wax rhapsodic about the amazing Robin and Marian. Oops, too late.
filkertom: (Default)
On this date in 1935. You can pick up all kindsa goodies at his official web site, and if you haven't heard his stuff before, oh my goodness are you in for a treat. (Link is a Google search for "p.d.q. bach" videos.)

What are your favorite Schickele or P.D.Q. Bach pieces? I love his arrangement of "Pomp and Circumstance" for Disney's Fantasia 2000, The Seasonings, Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice, The Art of the Ground Round, New Horizons In Music Appreciation....
filkertom: (Default)
On this date in 1920. Dude revolutionized movies, especially in the realm of stop-motion animation. (I can't believe I feel I have to explain this to some of my younger readers; I hope you all feel patronized and shoot me a dirty look for thinking you might possibly not know who Ray Harryhausen is.)

What's your favorite Harryhausen film? With me, it's The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, although Jason and the Argonauts, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, and Mighty Joe Young are old faves, and The Valley of Gwangi is just a guilty pleasure.
filkertom: (Default)
Many happy returns of the day to [ profile] drzarron!

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