Saturday, August 19, 2006


Midtown Global Market

From the local file: I went to Midtown Global Market at Chicago and Lake in South Minneapolis this afternoon, and I was immediately pleased with the varieties of resturants, food items, and gifts that this place offered. I could have had gyros, burritos, or pizza, shopped for middle eastern, Mexican, and Asian food supplies.

After splitting a gyro and getting an excellent cappuccino, as it wasn't quite time for a full meal, as the scope of the place took me by surprise, I crossed over and visited Uncle Hugo's and picked up Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town and Paul Cornell's novel British Summertime, which I've never even seen on a shelf before.

I've been going to Uncle Hugo's for decades, but it's always been a bit sad to see the giant disused Sears building -- and the construction had made it particularly painful. But the addition of the Midtown Global Market makes both spots particularly appealing, and makes it a good destination for some food and some science fiction reading.



Snakes on a Train of Thought

There is something glorious about a movie that is so deliberately bad that it has a direct to video rip-off out before the movie gets into the theaters.

This is the kind of movie that cable channels showed all the time in the 1980s. Maybe it was chopped to pieces and aired on USA, maybe it was late night on Cinemax. It is what it is, critic and review proof: Snakes on a Plane.

I've long since been used to the clip before a movie telling you not to supply your own soundtrack -- turn off your cellphones, and everything else. But there was also one of the theater employees giving the same message to be quiet before Snakes on a Plane. I suppose that since there already is an audience participation script it was almost inevitable. While we didn't get the Rocky-Horror level participation that script could evolve into, there were the appropriate cheers when the title appeared, or the first snake, or Samuel L Jackson says that line.

I suspect that if you later decide to check out the DVD of Snakes on the Plane because you wondered "what the whole fuss was about" you'll miss the point -- it's much like people who first experienced The Rocky Horror Picture Show on video instead of experiencing it at a movie theater filled with toilet paper, re-enactments, and yelling at Charles Gray.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Mentos Missile

We've all seen tons of Mentos-and-diet-Coke footage by now, but this is at least a little bit different:


John's Background Switcher

Ok. If you're like me, you like a variety of different desktop pictures. And the cool thing about John's Background Switcher is that it'll switch your background of your Windows desktop on a regular basis. And even more importantly, you can hook it into flickr, even taking from your own pictures.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Free SF e-Books

There's a good list of DRM-free science fiction here. I think it might be a good source of books to read for Geeks Read. (Found at Boing Boing.)

Of course, any time there's a discussion of free science fiction it's time for me to mention Escape Pod, which has excellent audio short stories each week. I can't recommend this podcast enough...


Sunday, August 13, 2006


Reading Convergence Culture

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that there was a book coming out called Convergence Culture, and based on the description, and my brief familiarity with the author, that it was likely to be a book that would be right in my strike zone. So, I didn't waste any time when I saw the book on the shelves.

And sure enough, it was. In Convergence Culture Henry Jenkins describes the culture that I -- and probably you -- live in. And even more so, he points out an optimistic track on what the opprotunities technology can bring. But it's not really a technology book; though I think technologists can and should read it. It's about our culture; pop culture, political culture, fan culture, and how they mix together.

He takes examples from some specific "fandoms" -- reality series like Survivor and American Idol; media fantasy francises like The Matrix, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, and our American political system.

I'm intrigued by the idea that society may be teaching itself new skills that can be applied to the political system -- is something like The Lost Experience, where the participants are taking down Thomas Mittlewerk and The Hanso Foundation building the skills that we see in people investigating why Joe Lieberman's Site Is Down, or checking on the authenticity of Reuters photographs.

One of the things I really like about this book is how you can take some of the ideas and see how it applies to other pieces of your culture today; something like the just-conclusing the Minnesota Fringe Festival turns into an example of what Jenkins calls Convergence Culture when you realize that people choose what shows to see based on reviews on the Fringe Festival website and in the various blogs of particpants and audience members -- especially when the person that you sat next to in one show is on the stage of the one following. There's a focus on television, film, and books, but almost every art form has elements of the culture that I see Jenkins describing.

This book also ties together some of the other books that I've been reading this summer; Cory Doctorow's Down And Out In the Magic Kingdom and Chris Anderson's The Long Tail. Two non-fiction and one science fiction views that describe some of the possibilities that are out there. All are books well worth reading and thinking about.

Friday, August 11, 2006


The Midnight Chronicles

If you're relatively connected in the Minneapolis/St Paul SF/Fantasy community, you probably know someone who is involved with The Midnight Chronicles, an independent fantasy film that's currently in production. They've got a trailer online.

The film is based on Fantasy Flight Games' Midnight, and if the trailer is any indication, the special effects are very ambitious for a small independent film. It's really amazing what can be done for effects these days and how accessible the technology is becoming.



Read About Comics

If you are looking for a variety of different type of comics -- not just DC and Marvel, you could do worse than Read About Comics

Thursday, August 10, 2006


What a party...

Today's political thought is to check outConnecticut for Lieberman.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


The Rising Power Of Wikipedia

I was playing around and I looked at the popularity of Wikipedia on Google Trends -- and it's really impressive how much it has increased in popularity over such a short time.

Of course, the other massive trend is to look and see how You Tube is doing.

It looks like older net stars fade slower though.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Oh, October is going to be busy

Ok, the official Season 3 Lost Press Release is out, confirming all sorts of good stuff. (yeah, Henry Gale as a regular!)

Of course, combined with the likelyhood of October having Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica running back to back on Sci Fi, it means that my three favorite shows are going to have new-to-the-US episodes all at the same time.

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