motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
A lamp I have started flickering and dimming, and I replaced the light socket, thinking that was the problem. It was in horrible shape - a cheap part made in China that I replaced probably 5 years ago - blackened and corroded. It didn't help (but was probably a good idea anyway), and I traced the problem to the plug where I could kind of sort of maneuver it half in and half out of the outlet and get it to light. Eventually, no amount of carefully jiggling of the plug made any difference. I really like the plug because it's vintage and adorable, and thinking older parts are better made and last longer, I'd simply take it apart and rewire it...Lots of pictures... )
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)



If you are into LARPing, or not into LARPing, or like slasher-comedy flicks, get thee to a theater to see this if at all possible.  It was so incredibly entertaining, even though I wasn't able to hear quite a bit of the dialog, due to a couple reasons - the sound turned surprisingly low and the crowd (including myself) laughing. Oh, and the fact I'm deaf.  Wait, verily, that is three things.  I actually got a little hoarse because at one point I cheered louder than I usually would, or at all.

The movie showing was made possible by an SCA group The Shire of Hauksgarðr through Tugg.  It played at the Kiggins Theater in Vancouver, which is a very lovingly restored 1936 theater, and so easy to get to.  As I was waiting to get popcorn, a fellow line-stander filled me in on the restorations the owners had done - putting in less and new seats for more comfortable sitting, pouring a new concrete floor (!) to get the angle of the floor just right, putting a bar in upstairs, etc.  And I must say, those were the most comfortable theater seats I've ever sat in.  Most seats try to fold you into an uncomfortable fetal position like airplane seats, but these actually had lumbar support.  But they need to do something about the sound!

I would say about 75% of the audience was in costume and very boisterous. Everyone seemed to know everyone else. There was a lot of well-deserved laughter and cheering throughout the movie.

The movie itself is full of nerdy goodness.  Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau are the three people in the film I knew best for their strong nerd ties - Game of Thrones, True Blood, and everything, consecutively.  Steve Zahn isn't someone I usually associate with geeky things, but that didn't make him any less fun or funny to watch.  Then there were the people I recognized and needed to research a little more - Margarita Levieva from Revenge (THAT'S where I'd seen her before) was great as the demonic succubus (is there any other kind?), Jimmi Simpson from many many things, Brett Gipson who I thought I'd seen before but hadn't, as Gunther, did really well as a slightly lost soul who never 'breaks game' (I think that's the right term), and I can't figure out who the actor was at the beginning in the garage who looked familiar. I guess I'll have to wait for the DVD!

The other name I recognized was Bear McCreary. He's done the music for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Battlestar Galactica, Defiance, Eureka, and Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles just to name a few.  He described the soundtrack as a “heavy metal fantasy concept album,”  and when he first read the script "my musical imagination filled with soaring bagpipes, drop-tuned distorted guitars, double kick drums, blaring horns, dulcimers and ethereal vocals – everything I love about music in one epic score." Yeah.

Here's a preview of the soundtrack:



McCreary has a blog where he talks about making music for movies, and here's his post about the Knights of Bassassdom that includes notation for each character's theme (warning: contains mild spoilers). Very cool!

I couldn't really find any information about the costumes, but I know that actual LARPers were used in the filming (and assume none of them were harmed :) ) so they probably had some input into that aspect.

This will definitely be a request for purchase at my library.  So much fun!
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
51KIJDGyirL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Have you read "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker?  It's pretty good.  It's a coming-of-age (I hate that phrase, but what other will do?) story of an 11-year-old girl dealing with a first crush, mean girls, parents, and a possibly demented grandfather.  It teeters on the edge of being a YA novel, but what tips it slightly into the adult literature realm is the backdrop with Earth's rotation inexorably slowing and the world possibly coming to an end.  Walker does such a good job of incorporating the normal-ness of changing life in the teen years into the desolation of the changing external world, that I had to remind myself as I was going about my days the world wasn't actually slowing down.  And I was actually feeling a little tense about it until I finished it.

Aaaand then I go to catch up on podcasts from over the holidays only to find Radiolab talking about... THE EARTH'S ROTATION SLOWING! Aaaahhh! 
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
If any of you listen to Radiolab, you will have heard this already. If you haven't heard the latest episode, and want to be surprised, stop reading. Go listen to it - your mind will be blown. And I'm not using that term in the way that everyone over-uses the word "awesome" now-a-days.

There's a scientist - Lene Vestergaard Hau - at Harvard who has found a way to isolate really slow atoms by ... encouraging the faster atoms, with lasers, to go away. I'm sure there's a much more technical way to say that.  When you shine light though these slow atoms, it slows down to about 15 miles per hour! Yes, you can actually ride a bike faster than this light. 

And then they dropped the fact that she can actually stop light. STOP. LIGHT. Say, if you had a box with these super slow atoms in it, you could shine light into this box, and stop the light inside it.

And then... and then she mentioned that the stopped light leaves an impression on the atoms, which you could then transport somewhere else in said box, and then recreate the light from the impressions on the atoms. What the what the what?!?  So... light, to matter, to light?

AAAAAHHHHHH!

Of course, they're talking about mundane real world applications like more security on the internet, but holycrapsmackers TRANSPORTERS!!!

You can listen and read more about it at Radiolabs "Behind the Scenes" for this segment.

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