Aug 312011

A low-budget Indie film, “Super” stars Rainn Wilson as a boring schmoe who decides to become a crime-fighting superhero. The general concept has been done before, such as in “Kick-Ass,” but this is kind of a different take on it. Starring as it does a tubby guy best known for comedic roles, it’s no surprise that the movie has a lot of humor and the hero “The Crimson Bolt,” gets his ass handed to him rather a lot.  But the movie is a bit schizophrenic… it starts off seeming like it’ll be a goofball comedy, then turns into a violent action flick and delves into the depths of despair.

“The Crimson Bolt” starts off unarmed, and gets beat up. He then arms himself with a pipe wrench, which he uses to lay some serious smackdowns on badguys (and some people who are only kinda-sorta badguys, and may not be badguys at all… “The Crimson Bolt” is not the sanest of fellers), and by the end winds up with guns and bombs. And while for most of the movie you are rooting for him and his truly psycho sidekick – Ellen Page as “Boltie” – by the end you just… feel really bad for him. It does not have a Hollywood ending… sometimes the hero charges in, takes lots of damage, saves the damsel in distress… and winds up on the losing end of the deal. Having the best of intentions and trying your damnedest doesn’t mean that anyone else has to give a crap about you.

It does have a number of good lines. In context, “I can’t know that, for sure… unless I try” ranks up there with the best superhero movie lines.

Still and all, it is a pretty entertaining movie. It has Kevin Bacon as the main badguy, Liv Tyler as Rainn Wilsons wife, and Nathan Fillion (Mal his own damn self from “Firefly”) as the goofiest made-for-religious-TV superhero you’re likely to see this year. If you like goofy, perverse, violent superhero movies without wacky superpowers, this one is worth a watch.


 Posted by at 11:40 pm
Aug 312011

While in a hospital (yay!) parking lot today, I saw a Kaman K-MAX fly overhead. I’ve never seen one of them anywhere near close-up, so I tracked where it was going… straight to the Logan airport. So I wandered over, got permission from the pilot (flying from Florida to a forest fire up north of here somewhere) to photograph it, and here ya go.

 Posted by at 11:25 pm
Aug 312011

May 26, 2010: President Obama gives a speech at the Fremont, CA, Solyndra, Inc. solar panel factory, declaring the $700 million facility “is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. ”

Obama was there to celebrate $535,000,000 in loan guarantees from the DoE to Solyndra.

And today?

Solyndra to Declare Bankruptcy

Awesome. 1,000 workers have been invited to explore exciting new opportunities in not getting another paycheck from this shining example of the Federal Stimulus At Work.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Aug 312011

At what point does someone stand up, declare that this sort of crap to be slanderous, and slap a defamation suit on politicians who use race-baiting and violence-inciting rhetoric like this?

[youtube tG8x6X8xn3c]

In my opinion, until such time as the Democrat party comes down on these jackasses and removes their support for them… the DEMOCRAT PARTY CAN GO TO HELL. This sort of crap would not be tolerated from a Republican. Hell, the media went bonkers when some Republican used the term “tar baby,” but I guess it’s ok for Democrat elected officials to sow outright hate and lies.

 Posted by at 1:27 pm
Aug 302011

For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, Wil Weaton is the actor best know for playing the hideously annoying Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. While the character is just damned irritating, the actor has turned out to be a decent-seeming dude and a hoot to watch, as demonstrated on his numerous recent episodes of Eureka (on the increasingly inaccurately-named SyFy network).

So it’s entertaining as hell to look at some of the incredibly witty responses to this photoshop contest:

Photoshop Challenge: Insert Wil Wheaton into a movie that would have been better for his having been cast

That thread is full of WIN and AWESOME.

 Posted by at 8:07 pm
Aug 302011

Once upon a time, there were two ways to send humans to the ISS, the only permanently manned space station: the American Space Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz. Then the Shuttle program ended, meaning that the only way for *anyone* to get to space (including, sadly, Americans) was on board the Russian Soyuz (the Chinese Shenzou can be safely disregarded for the time being).

Then, a few days back, one of the Soyuz rockets went KERSPLAT, shutting down launches of Soyuz for the time being until the problem can be resolved. This leaves the crew currently onboard the ISS with no schedule for replacement. They are all stocked up on supplies, so there are no worries there… but they do have two problems: limited on-orbit lifetime for the Soyuz spacecraft (basically, the seals in the propulsion system have a shelf life while in the vacuum of space) and the fact that winter in central Asia sucks.

There are currently two Soyuz’ connected to the ISS. The older one’s warrantee expires in October, and it *will* be coming home by then, bringing half of the crew. This leaves three with the last Soyuz. And they need to land in daylight. And in central Kazakhstan, that means getting down by November 19.

So after a bit less than a dozen years of mankind never leaving the foothold of outer space unmanned… unless the Russians can pull it out, figure out what the Soyuz problems are and get them flying again, we may soon see humanity retreat from space.



 Posted by at 7:21 pm
Aug 292011

Following on my Earth-shattering report on the availability of a PDF version of 1960’s space science book Thrust Into Space, I can now report that you can download a PDF version of a childrens book based on David Bowie’s 1960’s gloomsong “Space Oddity.” The art? Really good (a very definite early-60’s vibe to it). The story? Well… just like damn near every song about spacetravel that has ever become even vaguely popular… it’s depressing.

Perfect for the kiddies!

 Posted by at 4:58 pm
Aug 292011

A design for an Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (rocketpack for moving astronauts around in space) from Boeing, 1966. The Manned Maneuvering Unit briefly used on the Shuttle program used compressed nitrogen gas for thrusters. Low specific impulse, but cool exhaust. The AMU *almost* used during the Gemini program used hydrogen peroxide monopropellant… improved Isp at the exhaust of a hot steam exhaust. This Boeing design  says “screw that safety crap” and uses hydrazine monopropellant. Sure the Isp is improved even further, at the cost of *really* hot exhaust gas, and nicely toxic fuel.

 Posted by at 11:24 am