Tag Archives: art

Lost Robotech Designs Unearthed

Intrepid anime fan Roger Harkavy recently discovered a hoard of previously unpublished concept art from Artmic studios, creators of Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada (Robotech Masters and New Generation for those who care). It’s got some great examples of early eighties mechanical design. Many of the creative decisions on these series were still being worked out, producing a lot of odd hybrids. This guy up above looks like the folks at Mars Base started experimenting with Invid Technology, or vice versa. You can find the rest of the designs in pdf form here.

Found via Mecha Damashii

Avatar: The Story of North America

James_Cameron_Avatar

Avatar is one of those movies that you just have to see. In our thousand-channel, billion-webpage universe, sometimes we need to have a collective cultural experience. The CGI is amazing. I couldn’t tell whether it was through the use of clever editing or new software tools, but the live action blended seamlessly with the animation in way I’ve never seen before. The story strikes a fine balance, incorporating enough hard science fiction ideas to inspire the visuals, but enough mythological tropes to keep the audience involved. It’s cheesy, but not too cheesy.

It is by no means a perfect movie. I would’ve liked to know why the corporation was willing to go through with genocide to get at their unobtainium (I would’ve called in macguffinite myself). This is a movie more about spectacle than nuance. But as the success of District 9 has shown us, there is room for intellectual SF movies as well as the booming blockbusters. Avatar has been an easy target for internet snark ever since the first trailers came out, but I find I part ways with the critics when they start talking about the film’s racist/mysoginist/ableist overtones.

I’m not going to go into every political grievance against this film. Even anti-smokers are getting into the game. Yes, Avatar is essentially “Dances With Wolves” in space, but that doesn’t make it white supremacist literature. People respond to this story, especially in North America because it is, in essence, their story. Most societies on the Western Hemisphere are here because of political edicts of older, more entrenched societies in Eurasia. As time went on, we adapted to our new home and eventually broke free of our autocratic masters from across the ocean. A lot of people died or were subjugated over this period of history, but it does not change the fact that it is our story. Instead of simply decrying movies like this, we should learn why they resonate with us, and in turn learn a bit more about ourselves.

The Captain Planet Cocktail Mark I

I attempted to create this drink last night at a New Year’s party. The recipe was improvised, the ratio imprecise, but this version ends up tasting like a graham cracker with lemon, much like the ironic nostalgia that inspired it.

Kahlúa (Earth)
Spiced rum (Fire)
Nigori Sake (Wind)
Vodka (Water)
Yuzu liqueur (Heart)
Red bull (Your powers combined)

Christmas Part 7: Evening

ChristmasTree2009

Think back a moment. How late would you stay up on Christmas Eve? How far would that sense of excitement and expectation take you? My holiday insomnia as a kid was notorious. My ability to keep conscious would stretch itself to the limit thinking about sleigh bells and presents under the tree. Waking up was no picnic either. If I was up past five, there was no way I was able to get back to sleep. In the end, I think this is my favorite part of the Christmas season. Finally unraveling the mystery boxes piled under the tree. Seeing the reaction of people receiving the gifts you bought for them. I think there is something wonderful about focusing all this importance on a single night of the year. It reminds us of the importance of all the other nights of the year, when the future, and all the gifts it will bring are little more than 12 hours away. Merry Christmas, Everyone.

Christmas Part 6: Santa

garner-polar-expedition-1949

For a child, the debate of whether Kris Kringle is really Santa Claus is not up for discussion. Children have the ability to suspend facts, expand their imaginations, and believe in the improbable. As children we truly feel that bigfoot must have a summer home in the forest behind our house, or that aspiring to be a superhero is a viable career option. However, as we become older, our world demands that we provide evidence for our beliefs or decisions. We must explain our reasoning, give evidence for our opinions, and create and test hypotheses. When we finally become practical, rational adults, our belief in the magical has all but disappeared. We rationalize all decisions, deride cartoons and toys as “child’s play”, and triumph in our need to look and think like grown-ups. If we do decide that we need to suspend some rationality and fall back on beliefs, we often turn to self-help books or websites to teach us again how to believe in ourselves and what we can accomplish. Why can’t we instead never lose that little bit of belief that allows us to see things that shouldn’t be there, or to keep that little bit of magic with us?

Now, I’m not saying we abandon all rational ways of thinking. We should use all the information we can to navigate our way through life. However, in the gruesome melée that is real life, we don’t always have enough information to make all of our decisions for us. The consequences of the decision to be naughty or nice are beyond what any one person can predict. For those times when our knowledge is not enough, when rational thought can only take you so far, then perhaps it’s time put your trust in that which you can only see with your heart. I think it was this editorial that said it best:

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.