Posts Tagged ‘personally memorable’

Mayday 1990 – Leonard Nimoy and the Bank Stickdown

January 11, 2012

SPNN Entertainment, Harvard Square, North American Landmass, Sol III – My heartbeat quickened as I dodged and weaved across JFK Street (which many of the natives still called Boylston Street), avoiding the primitive manually-controlled internal combustion groundcars. But it was a one-way two lane thoroughfare, and they were moving slowly, towards the busiest intersection in this Earth town called Cambridge.

The non-digital traffic control lights overhead ordered stops frequently to allow the native hoards of students, workers, and non-native consumers and tourists to safely cross the street – a technology not much more advanced than bearskins and stone knives. The trinary fuzzy-logic green-yellow-red sequence of incandescent lights in the unnetworked controller were intended to be translated as move, prepare to stop, and stop, by driver and pedestrian alike. In practice, all the sentient lifeforms interpreted them as move, move faster, and rapidly decelerate.

It was difficult to ignore the heavy smell of incompletely burned fossil fuel in inefficiently tuned and maintained piston engines. This was ironic, since the bank’s building housed the famed automobile mechanics advisory firm of Click and Clack, producers of Car Talk on the third floor; confusingly, their office window was labelled Dewey, Cheetham & Howe

Reaching the odd-numbered streetside’s non-slidewalk, I turned right and slowly strode along the unpowered sidewalk towards the bank on the corner, trying to avoid drawing attention to myself. But the 2D movie company had recently finished filming its Harvard Square scenes and the additional native crowds of onlookers had left, and my long black hair covered my ears.

As I perambulated, my mouth was dry, and I hefted the light bag I was carrying. After all, I was walking with a note demanding a raising of hands and a transfer of cash. It was a crime to take money from a bank in this manner. But I had travelled through time to this May day in 1990 for a specific purpose, and was determined to go through with it, despite the risk.

Leonard Nimoy holding a cup of coffee

Leonard Nimoy in Harvard Sq directing "The Good Mother"



When Worlds Collide – An Office Portrait

December 30, 2011
Paradox Olbers at work in Spike’s office

Portrait by Metropoly; click on the photograph to see the larger version at her Flickr site.

Mild-mannered virtual worlds avatar Paradox Olbers in the office of Spike MacPhee, his wild-mannered not-so-secret identity, working on a blog post about Lynette Cook‘s painting of worlds colliding (on the screen).

You can also see my paperback copy of Balmer & Wylie’s classic 1933 doomsday sf novel “When Worlds Collide,” later made into George Pal’s movie of the same title. This sets up my joke about my virtual and real worlds meeting, while her painting and the book also meet. And now while I’m editing this post, I’m running by pure coincidence “When Worlds Collide,” the name of one of many NPC (Non Player Character, for those non-D&D gamers) scenarios in EVE Online galaxy, too.

Here’s the Amazon Books page link, while I relearn how to make it display correctly on WordPress. The book cover displays correctly in IExplorer, but in Mozilla Firefox you don’t see the cover and Amazon link box until you click on the Amazon text line. Click again on that to go to the book. Ignore the expensive trade paperback (though I’m grateful that it’s back in print) and try one of the many used paperback copies, if your library doesn’t stock it. Ouch – checking the used copies page reveals there are actually very few copies available, starting at U$7.

Update: My crack about ignoring the expensive trade paperback  is unfair and wrong; this 1999 edition description clearly states at the end that it includes the sequel “After Worlds Collide” as well!  (Balmer and Wylie disagreed on the third book of the trilogy and it was never written.)

When Worlds Collide amazon link


A Visit to Command-D

October 24, 2010

I wandered to the east of Spindrift, my Second Life region, one day last year.  It was before the gridmoths ate Earth Exploration sim this Spring, so I didn’t have to detour to the southeast around the new ocean square.  Landing in LUNAR06, one of USA/ULA’s northern row of regions, I walked over to the ridge with a comms antenna poking up over it.

USA 06 sim, Command Bunker

I walked over to the entrance.  Seeing that the interior was lit, I shouted, but heard nothing save echoes off the hard bare walls.  I entered, and spent time trying out the controls in the deserted bunker, but nothing responded.

USA06 Command Bunker Interior

A few months before in 2009, DC Comics had revived, among other characters, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth in their wonderful Wednesday Comics.  His name derived from where he was raised, the Command-D bunker after the Great Disaster.  So after I left the rapid-prototyping project bunker which had reminded me of Kamandi, I used this excuse to try to learn something new about my PaintShop Pro graphics.  My first try is below.

Catchy or memorable sf words or phrases

November 5, 2007

Reading a half-century of sf has left me with quite a few memories.  One subcategory of sf reading memories is “catchy or memorable sf words or phrases,” not necessarily popularized ones, you grok?  Just ones that resonated for you.

One coinage I’ve admired was from a short story called “The Ultimate Racer,” by Gary Wright in the Nov 1964 Worlds of If sf magazine.  [Wright was mentioned by Fred Pohl as being a Samuel R. Delany pseudonym – I can’t find internet confirmation.]

In the story, the greatest computer company and biggest automaker collaborate on a new computer-driven car.  To get publicity and to demonstrate its safety, they set up a race with 3 of their new cars against the world’s greatest race driver.  The reader doesn’t see the robotic car’s name until race day, when the protagonist watches the racer get into his car, and turns to look at the 3 idling black-painted IBM-GMs.  I loved the creativeness and menace and sound and rhythm of “the IBM-GMs.”

Flash-forward by way of antiskid brakes, anticollision radar, 8 processors per car, GPS, and OnStar to Nov 2007 and the “DARPA Challenge,” a robotic city-street driving competition with U$3.5 million in prizes.  One of the University teams, Carnegie-Mellon is funded by the largest automaker, General Motors.  Yes, their entry could be called a “CM-GM!”  🙂

Here’s the item on the competition that told me this:

Update – And the winner – the CM-GM!  As reported on 11/05/07 at RLV & Space Transport News, my prime source of non-Nasa manned spaceflight news at which takes u to:

Additional update – Dr. Red Whitaker, leader of the CM team, is now involved with a group planning to win the Google Lunar Rover Prize…

I’ll share other phrases with you.  Next one: “In the cave of night.” Let’s hear yours!

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