zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Hi There!)

So I was checking my e-mail and reading the StarWars.com Homing Beacon newsletter.
Disney is shutting down all the Star Tours rides and redesigning them into Pod Racer attractions instead.
Huh, I wonder what that's gonna be like...
Anyway, I get to the bottom of the e-mail and the usual ads for stuff on sale at the StarWars.com shop.
There's some funny and clever stuff available in that shop, like the Tauntaun sleeping bag.
And then, there's this:

Now, what's hilarious about this t-shirt is that it is a parody StarWarsification of this:

That three-wolves-and-the-Moon t-shirt became an Internet meme when people started posting outrageous reviews
on Amazon.com, and sending wacky customer pictures of the product in action.
You can see those reviews and photos HERE.
If you're interested in the three-Ewoks-and-the-Death-Star-II t-shirt, you can find out more HERE.
Yub-yub!! :D

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Lego)

So back in the early '90s, my buddy Fritz Bronner was trying to turn his "Lift-Off" board game into
a multimedia PC point-and-click management simulator with cool graphics and even cooler mission videos.
The goal of the game remained the same: put a man (or a woman) on the Moon and bring him/her back safely.
Players started off in the '50s with a few satellite-launching rockets and built up their space programs.
The original board game included the US, the USSR, the Europeans, and Japan. This was simplified for the
computer game to just the US and the USSR. Both sides had access to all the historical hardware as well
as many of the experimental programs and systems that were never used (mini-shuttle, 4-man LEMs, etc...).
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Fritz was deluged with Russian space program information the likes of
which he had only dreamed off. Of all my friends, I don't think there's a bigger cheerleader for space
exploration than him. He recruited me to help out with organizing the material.
We watched videos of N2 rockets being tested, Russian monsters the size of Saturn V behemoths.
Footage no one outside of the USSR had ever seen, until now.
He had poster-sized schematics of Russian capsules and rockets, photos, manuals, and on and on.
It was pretty amazing and pretty daunting.
Once we had everything sorted and organized, Fritz set about using the information to build models of
the various rockets and capsules to use in mission videos for the game. The whole point of making a
multimedia game was to be able to watch the missions put together by the players unfold on video.
My involvement with the project ended there and I went off to do I don't even remember what.
I still visited Fritz regularly and checked out his progress on the game.
At some point, Fritz signed a deal with Interplay and Buzz Aldrin was brought in as consultant and as
a known quantity whose name could be put on the box and added to the game's title to help marketing.
"Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space" was born.
The first release of the game was on microfloppies, ironically enough.
It was 1993 and not enough people had CD-ROM drives on their PCs yet.
Interplay organized a little release event at the Manhattan Beach Fry's Electronics (the Tiki one).
Buzz Aldrin was there, along with Fritz. This is how I came to meet Buzz Aldrin.
I shook his hand and he signed my box of BARIS.
Interplay actually released a CD-ROM version a little bit later, and Fritz had stuffed it full of videos!
If anyone is interested in playing the game, it's now open-source and available through here.

Happy 40th Moon Landing, Apollo 11! :D

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Lunar Industries LTD)

Is time for some general faffing, yes?

First, I've added some new photos to my Flickr account.
There are pictures from the Lego Pirate Build at Ontario Mills Mall from last Saturday.
After I finished building the SCAP Strike Package, I had lots of parts left over, so I built something else.
It's called "Weapon M" and it's a powerful crazy unstable dangerous Martian tech weapon system.
The kids call it "Big Bang". It's so dangerous that the cockpit is a removable fully-functional starfighter.
And finally, I put up pictures of a little Space Police Interceptor Pod I built way back in 1991. Yow...

It's San Diego ComiCon Weekend, and it's a good thing that people don't go there to swim in the ocean.
Gangs of delinquent jumbo flying squids have invaded the shallow waters and are roughing up divers.
Is this part of the Animal Uprising? You bet!
Forget zombies, it's gonna be an Animal Apocalypse!

Meanwhile, back in Santa Monica, I went to the Laemmle theater there and saw "Moon".
This is the nifty low-budget ($5 Million!) hard sci-fi movie directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie)
and starring Sam Rockwell (who does indeed rock well) and Kevin Spacey as the moonbase AI Gerty.
Sam Rockwell plays a contractor for Lunar Industries LTD (see my new icon) who's on the Moon for 3 years.
He's babysitting a bunch of mining machines gathering HE3, the solution to all our energy problems.
He's only got two weeks to go and he starts having hallucinations. Maybe they're linked to his lack of
human contact (the comm sat is done, and it's low on the company's priority list. Typical).
Then, one day, he meets himself. DUM DUM DUUUUUUU!!!!!!
It's got that groovy sci-fi vibe from and homages to "Outland", "Alien", "Silent Running" and others.
And it's nice to see Weyland-Yutani's humble beginnings, possibly. :D
If it's playing near you, and you like intelligent sci-fi, for the love of Clarke, go see it!
If you look up "Moon" on Wikipedia, the entry spoils the whole plot, so be careful!
I like this one almost as much as I like "Sunshine", and I like "Sunshine" A LOT.
And it was the perfect antidote to "Transfomers: Revenge Of The Tribalcticons", which I saw Sunday.
It was about what I expected, except dumber and even more disconnected in narrative.
That Michael Bay, he can't tell a story to save his life.

EDIT: Apparently, it's NOT ComiCon Weekend this weekend.
It's ComiCon Weekend next weekend.
Still, watch out for squids!

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Default)

So there actually WAS a lunar eclipse! I thought I had gone crazy for a minute there.
I was in Downtown L.A. at about 8pm, and I looked at City Hall and the Moon was above it, with a very thin sliver
of really bright luminosity, and the rest of the Moon was darker but still quite visible. It looked really pretty.
I almost took a picture, but the cellphone doesn't have zoom and the Moon would have been barely visible.
Over an hour later, I'm walking home and I look up in the sky and the Moon is full!!!!
So I got home, cruised LJ and found people talking about the eclipse. Ah, okay, whew.
My eyesight remains dependable. :D

So it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I celebrated by ordering a couple of DVD boxsets online.
DeepDiscount.com was having a sale on Fox and MGM box-sets, ending on February 8th, and I found a couple of tasty things.
I received said tasty things in the mail today. (DeepDiscount ships free via Media Mail, so it takes time. But hey, free!)
I got the "Alien Quadrilogy", which includes all 4 Alien films in both theatrical and director's cut/special edition,
plus a DVD of extras for each film and a 9th DVD with even more extras. This boxset was released back in 2003,
and I didn't get it then because I already had "Alien", "Aliens", and "Alien: Resurrection" on laserdisc.
And my version of "Aliens" was the deluxe CAV edition with tons of extra footage and extras in it.
But my laserdisc player has been a butthead lately, so I wanted the convenience of DVD versions.
The box-set cost about $80 when it first came out, and the price came down since. It hit $30 during the sale. MINE! :D

I also got "The Mel Brooks Collection", which includes 8 of his movies and is perfect for people who either don't
like "Spaceballs" or already have it on DVD. Actually, that also applies to "The Producers" and "Life Sucks". :)
So, I hear you say because I'm insane and I hear voices, what movies do come in that box-set, Zrath?
I'm glad you asked! By alphabetical order, there's "Blazing Saddles", "High Anxiety",
"History Of The World: Part I", "Robin Hood: Men In Tights", "Silent Movie",
"To Be Or Not To Be", "The Twelve Chairs", and "Young Frankenstein".
I only had "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" on laserdisc, so I'm happy to fill out my collection so fast.
According to the sticker on the box-set, 5 of the 8 films were not available on DVD previously. I'm guessing this
would the 5 movies that are not "Blazing Saddles", "History Of The World: Part I", or "Young Frankenstein".
Sadly, the versions of "Blazing" and "Young" in this box-set are NOT the more recent anniversary issues with extras.
I guess I could always get those later. It's not that big a deal, really, my LD of "Young" is super-loaded with extras!
So anyway, this boxset was released in 2006 and I paid $40 for it. So, that's $5 per movie. Not bad! :D
Maybe I'll watch one tonight! Possibly "Silent Movie". You gotta love a movie that stars Marty Feldman, that features
a thrilling wheelchair chase scene with Paul Newman, and where you-know-who has the only spoken line in the entire film!

And speaking of Marty, when the hell are they gonna release "The Last Remake Of Beau Geste" on DVD!?!?!?!
I saw it in French theaters when I was a kid and it was gut-bustingly funny!
I saw it again, in English, on American TV and it was still gut-bustingly funny!
I tried to get it on laserdisc, but it was a hot ticket item on eBay, going past my bidding limit.
There are used VHS tapes, but man, I would kill for a DVD version!
I mean, look at that cast and tell me this can't be an hilarious film!
Michael York (as Beau Geste), Marty Feldman (as Beau Geste's twin brother. No, really!), Ann-Margret (as Mom Geste),
Peter Ustinov (evil French Foreign Legion sergeant), James Earl Jones (as "The Sheikh"), Trevor Howard (veteran actor),
Henry Gibson (yes, from "Laugh-In"!), Terry-Thomas (Mister Gap-Toothed Brit himself!), Roy Kinnear ("Help!"),
and Spike Milligan (legendary eccentric Irish funny guy, worked with Peter Sellers on "The Goon Show").
So yeah, fun stuff. Slaspsticky as all hell but really really fun stuff.
DVD release NOW dammit!!

And since we're talking DVDs, here's a little shopping tip from Slickdeals to all y'all:
The word on the street is that Gamestop will stop carrying DVDs soon, and they're gonna have a big sale!
On Monday February 25th, signs will go up indicating a special "Buy 2 Get 4 Free" sale.
This will be good on DVDs, HD-DVDs, and Blu-Rays. I understand a lot of their stock is used stuff.
I don't know whether this sale extends to the EB Games sister stores as well or not.
Guess we will find out next Monday.



zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Default)

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