Non Vi, Sed Arte Et Cor – 'Not by Force, but with Art and Heart!'
Category: Books, Movies & More
Thoughts inspired by, cool things discovered in, or reviews of:
• Books I’ve read
• Movies I’ve seen
• TV I’ve watched
• Music I’ve listened to
• Games I’ve played
• Software I’ve used
Most of this is usually posts about science fiction & fantasy books & movies, though I also often enjoy history & historical fiction, and occasionally post about cool music, videos, geeky software or tech gadgets I’ve used.
Geeky Thought of the Day #242: “How the hell could you possibly remember any Stargate Atlantis address.”
I watch a lot of sci-fi TV shows. I’ll turn on shows I’ve watched a hundred times just for background while I do something else. They’re shows I love, but having seen them so many times I don’t have to really watch and can do something else while still enjoying the company of “an old friend”.
So it was that I had an early episode of Stargate Atlantis on the boob-tube recently while doing some house work. The day before it had been Stargate SG-1. Having seen them both so close together, despite the tons of times I have set them both, something dawned on me that never really “clicked” before…
“Damn, are the symbols on the Stargate Atlantis ‘Pegasus Galaxy’ gates complex, or what?!” To my eye those symbols are just a bunch of unrelated dots that could have been changed from show to show and I would never be able to tell the difference. Continue reading The Ultimate Rotary Phone
So it’s only been… 39 YEARS?!… since I first saw the original Star Wars movie at the age of 9, almost 10 years old. Since then I have seen what they now call Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and its various versions too many times to count. So why is it just today I noticed that the Death Star plans are WRONG?! It seems to me if you followed those inaccurate plans and found what you had thought was a weakness, you might be in for a big surprise when you arrived only to discover everything is not exactly what and where you expected it to be.
What am I talking about? Well simply that the computer graphic Death Star plans displayed at the Rebel briefing show a Death Star whose main “planet killer” weapon lies along the space station’s equator instead of where it is shown elsewhere in the movie, part-way up in the station’s “northern” hemisphere. A difference that big makes you wonder what other differences there might have been.
It wasn’t until today when I saw a video online talking about something entirely different that my mind went “Hey! What’s going on here?” Basically the video showed the two images side by side, similar to the header I created for this post: The first a shot of the Death Star in space, the second a shot of the computer graphic Death Star plans being displayed on a console.
I knew there was no way I had discovered something new. I am after all noticing this nearly four decades since the movie’s release. But it was new to me and with a little digging I discovered the details behind this, and a number of other interesting bits of completely useless, though interesting, bits of trivia surrounding the infamous Death Star plans. Continue reading Death Star Plans Trivia
“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own. … And as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker.” Moby Dick, Chapt. 49, by Herman Melville (1859)
I know that Melville here was talking about the effect that those people risking life and limb come to experience in the height of danger; the “free and easy sort of genial, desperado philosophy” that life-threatening experiences engender. But even without physical danger there have been times — often in the midst of psychological or emotional tribulations but sometime even when all is well with the world — that I have had that feeling that the Universe is some Great Joke… And that the joke is on me.
It’s not necessarily a bad feeling. After all, I don’t mind being the butt of a joke… As long as it’s a good one.
But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe those times where you feel that everything is a joke is a faint understanding of how infinitesimally small everything you experience, think, feel and perceive actually matters in the grand scheme of things. That’s not to say that we are unimportant. But when you put our individual lives beside the Universe as a whole, how laughable and ludicrous it is to think that whatever is going on in our lives is the be all, end all of… of anything.
It really is quite funny when you think about it. No, really. Let’s think about it for a moment. Consider the three images I have included in this post’s header image… Continue reading The Great Joke
“It’s easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have anything worth living for?” — Lorien
More sci-fi philosophy…
This quote is from Babylon 5, Season 4 Episode 2 ‘Whatever Happened To Mr. Garibaldi?’. The series as a whole has some great quotes, but this episode alone had a bunch of powerful lines, most coming from the enigmatic character of Lorien, ‘The First One’.
The quote above comes from the beginning of an exchange between the character of Sheridan and Lorien, which ends a few lines later with these two lines: Continue reading Worth Living For…
[Update 4/21/16: Added download link to LDraw MPD file of the Lego 5×5 hybrid Tak board and pieces model.]
One of the books I’m currently reading is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, which is the second book in the fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicles. While reading this excellent book, there are a number of scenes that describe the main character learning a strategy game called Tak that uses a board and stones. It’s sounds like a mixture of the abstract strategy games of Go and Mancala with some special pieces such as the strategy game of Chess, and ways of placing the stones that gives them different powers as the game of Checkers.
Well, today Rothfuss announced that the game designer James Ernest had designed an actual game using the brief descriptions given in the book. What’s more they were running a Kickstarter campaign to polish and produce special versions of the game for its supporters. There is a video showing the game being played, and it really is a sweet piece of work. The basics of the game are a snap to learn, yet it has a ton of strategy, looks fun, and is kind of beautiful in the way it starts, builds and can shift from one area of the board to another. You can play it yourself online at PlayTak.com. Continue reading Tak Strategy Game in Lego!
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I love this quote and it means many things to me. Just this line alone is awesome, but the entire stanza of the poem that it comes from is also pretty amazing and deep and bears quoting too. So for good measure, here’s that stanza:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
A friend of mine pointed out a little bit of sci-fi geek trivia I hadn’t heard yet that features a neat little short story…
Andy Weir, author of the very popular novel “The Martian” wrote a short bit of fan fiction in the “universe” of Ernest Cline’s very popular “Ready Player One”. Apparently Cline heard of it, liked the story and it’s implications, and got approval to include it in a recent edition of Ready Player One, effectively adding the story to the RP1 “canon”. Continue reading ‘The Martian’ Meets ‘Ready Player One’
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars First Published: February 2004, stories first published in 1998 Read from: Apr. 1-13, 2016
A Number of Very Cool Short Stories. Possibly the Best of the Hellboy Graphic Novels So Far.
This is the third Graphic Novel collection of the original Hellboy comics I have read. The second volume I didn’t like too much. I had liked it so little in fact that I had decided if the next in the series was equally disappointing, what with so much other things to read, I would move on to something else. Well, I’m glad I gave the series one more chance. I think I may have liked this volume even more than the first volume. Read the Full Review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars First Published: June 2nd, 2015 Read from: Mar. 1 – 10, 2016
The Best Novel In the Series!
For me that headline is saying a lot. I have really liked this series as a whole. But I have never given any of the novels (and only one of the novellas) my, “I loved it,” rating of 5 out of 5 stars…. Until now. Read the Full Review
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars First Published: February 1994 Read from: Mar. 1-9, 2016
Better art, more characters, cooler bad guys… And ZERO story
I felt this graphic novel, the second volume of collected Hellboy comics, lay somewhere between “it was ok” and “I liked it”. While there was so much that was potentially great in this graphic novel, it was thrown in a barrage that had no consistent thread and did not stay long enough with any one element to build any interest in me with what was going on. In some cases I’m not sure what was going on even had any explanation. Read the Full Review