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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The post-loot wrap-up.

Our odd little 'Varky family may have our quirks and oddments, but we know how to Do Christmas (and yes, I refer to the crass material end of the sublime-crass spectrum). Stockings are a Big Thing, with nary an orange in the toe. More like Russell Stover novelty candies, a bag of Jelly Babies, a roll of Gorilla Tape in the toe (these are large stockings...besides what are you gonna use if your gorilla tears?). Peanuts, snack box of raisins because they used to be in MY stocking, too! The Dread Dormomoo got a titanium spork. Everyone got a stainless metric spork,

That's right...metric.

Urban Survival playing card decks, like the plane-spotting decks in WWII, but...urban.

Stuff like that there.

As to the Christmas presents, I had requested, and promptly forgot about, a place setting of the "2001: A Space Odyssey" flatware used on the Discovery.  The stainless setting was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1957, and is the ne plus ultra of Danish modern design


A place setting is a moderate holiday extravagance. A full set is a more take-out-a-mortgage expenditure.
I got the place setting! The Dread Dormomoo loves me!

For DVDs, I got "Casino Royale", the David Niven Bond vehicle, and also Disney's "Darby O'Gill and the Little People", which I believe was Sean Connery's first US Big Break. Odd Bond connexion between the two. *George Noory voice* "Synchronicity. Wow. That reminds me of my favorite movie, "Contact", but then everything reminds me of that!" I really miss Art Bell. I have not located his new show, yet.

"Star Trek: TOS" set. The good news, it's "Star Trek: TOS". The less-than-stellar news: it's remastered with groovy new effects. But it's "Star Trek: TOS"! (The remastered digital "fixes" were noted and admitted to by the givers, which is why I bring it up. I'm happy as a clam, (or a camper, or George Noory with a new "Contact" Blu-Ray), and the package design is far cooler than the wobbly tricorder-esque packaging of the original set a few years back. Besides, the "bad old" originals are on Netflix or summat. I am NOT being that guy!!)

Mercy! Mr. McLeod got Boilerplate for me. Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett have chronicled the invention and exploits of history's mechanical marvel. Peruse the site. It is pretty work, and predates the current steampunk fad. There is a J.J.Abrams movie in the offing, and for some reason, this does not fill me with dread.

Perhaps the crowning glory of the haul was a slim package. I was aware of it, having bought it, but it was to the DD and me from Santa. He was aware of the surpassing awesomeness of our customary crock pot chuck roast on Sundays, but recognised the tendency to get in a gustatory rut, and so sought to broaden our culinary horizons. Ecce liber:

It brought horror to the family. I win the Stephen King Christmas Prize!

This book is the backbone of some of James Lilek's most amusing work.
Funny? YES!

Happy Christmas, and a Jubilant Boxing Day!

I may be off (!) this weekend. The Dread Dormomoo and I are attending Anime South in P'cola, and I may or may not do blogging. Con all day, then crashing. We shall see.

Also, a note to Warren Zoell: no models 'neath the tree. I fear I have been cut off by my family until I put together the ones I have already.

@Michael- I think we have everything pulled together, now, and can ship next week!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Christmas!


I pray you all have a blessed and happy Christmas. You all are a blessing to me, and pleasant company as I travel the electron-swept plains of the Internets...all 27 of them.

The turkey is in the oven, we have prezzies in the offing, and our stockings have been emptied of their Santa-ly bounty.
Love, joy, peace and blessing to you all today, and in the coming year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Everyone knows it's....

The weather here in North Alabamastan was dreadful last night, so much so that the gusts blew the pixels or digits or bits or bytes all over the place, and rendered local broadcast digital TV...digitised. As such I did not do the Saturday night MeTV blog.

I did, however, go into the rain and shore up the corner of our front porch which became suddenly unsupported, like a clueless PR Twitterer making a tasteless Aids/Africa joke. From my Facebook:

We have a weather-related problem, he said breaking his silence. A rather weighty easel was blown off the porch, taking one of the corner columns with it. We have managed to replace the column at an angle to maintain a level of support for the porch roof, but if anyone has a jack and timber whereby we can lift the corner enough to reset the column, we could use your help, Sunday afternoon or Monday. The sooner the better. I would prefer the front of the house not to look like it has a Murphy porch. Know-how is also a plus!

Here is the follow-up:

Just finished it. Our preacher had a railroad jack, my biz neighbor had a piece of timber. Four of us insured there were no surprises. I cut the timber, we set the jack, raised the porch corner (the sag was surprising), two guys supported the column, and I lowered the jack, gingerly. A settling groan, and the column was again doing the job! Thanks to Noel Hardy, Taylor Morris, Erick Chaney, Greg Legg, Gary Compton, and mine own engineering genius. Next project: building a ground-to-orbit elevator from PVC pipe and solar cells.

So there we go. A 70 degree stormy bluster tried to take out our porch. We prevailed. And all without a Licensed Duck Call.

How do we do it?

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Ignominy, thy name is....

You know that you are looking for a rare thing indeed when you cannot find the LEAST mention of it anywhere online (or at least anywhere the NSA-riddled tentacles of Google can probe). What I seek is perhaps the Worst SF Con ever. (No, Michael, not the Con of Wrath!)

Birmingham, AL has an apparent curse. Con sustainability is alarmingly low, just like the supply of illudium phosdex, the shaving cream atom. Whether it is because of internal politics, personality clashes, or bad juju, cons in B'ham reflect the area politics: contentious and often corrupt. Stupidity often plays a role *coughImagiconcough*.

But this...thing...was the baddest of the bad. Hight "TrandimensiCon", it was the brainchild of whom I don't remember. I met him at a room party at a DeepSouthCon or somesuch, and courted their con shirt business. He had a remarkably good punch. More on that later.

We came to an agreement, and he actually drove up from B'ham with his artwork a few weeks later...I scanned it, burned a screen and I printed a sample shirt for him within an hour or so of the start. The arrangement was going to be that I would take a press to the con and print on-demand. They bought several cases of shirts to have for me there. They would pay me for the shirts I printed. That would work.

Their uber media con turned into less-than-uber. It was low-attendance-con. Story goes that someone involved with the con was caught making off with art auction money for to make a house payment. I have friends scrabbling through their memories for any intel on this thing, and it increasingly appears to have been a screen-opener-spray-induced hallucination on my part, except that I DO have the artwork Somewhere in the upstairs bowels of the shop (it might do not to dwell on that imagery overlong...).

It was between '93 and '98. We have narrowed it down that much. a friend messaged:

Well it was after we were married but before **** (we think) came to live with us, so that puts it after summer 93 and before March 98.

The game is afoot....

(More to come)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I have no mouth and I must zoot.

I really dislike Harlan Ellison. I have never held the New Wave (when was that, the Sixties and Seventies?) of SF in high regard, being a prudish religious type who wants to squelch Free Speech and all. I like precisely one of his stories, and it makes me cry (Jeffty Is Five). His impolitic behavior at cons is the stuff of legend; his well-earned dislike for the Trekverse is well-earned. I know personally a leggy blonde whom he approached in an elevator "What would you say to a little f**k?", to which she replied "Hello, little f**k.".

Ellison is a jerk. (I must admit to liking his interviews on Tom Snyder's late night gab-fest, but that was when I was a callow yout', so it doesn't count.)

However, I have seen a Dickensian chance at redemption for him.

Babylon 5.

He helped with the design of the B5 universe, and for that I thank him. He also played three small roles in the series:
    •     Ceremonies of Light and Dark, (8 April 1996) - Sparky the Computer (voice)
    •     The Face of the Enemy, (9 June 1997) - Psi Cop
    •     Day of the Dead, (11 March 1998) - Zooty (voice)
    all of which added texture and a bit of whimsy to what could have been an unrelentingly dark vision of the future. (His Psi Cop - I think it was more of a science/doctor role - was decidedly creepy, shot with a distorting lens in black and white.)
    Sparky was an alternate personality revealed during a reboot of the station computer system. It took on the persona of a Jewish dad with a momma complex, who adopted Garibaldi. Hilarity &c. Zooty was the voice of...Zooty (played by Teller!) This was a standout episode, written by Neil Gaiman!

    Babylon 5 would not have been what it was without the work of Harlan Ellison. Thanks.