Archive for January, 2011

Corridor from the episode "The Impossible Planet", 10th Doctor, all rights BBC.

Corridor from the Doctor Who episode "The Impossible Planet"

Over at the Den of Geek, Martin Anderson once wrote of his love of Sci-Fi movie corridors, and mentioned that normally that sort of confession got him crickets and tumbleweed.

Well, Sir – I too love a juicy slice of sci-fi corridor!  Those seemingly inconsequential, often ignored, portals from scene to scene – that connective tissue that serves to further underline that THIS is actually connected to THAT, and not just two places lost in time and space (like London Underground stations). Continue reading

Marin Sawa's Algaerium photograph

Marin Sawa's Algaerium

I love this photograph – it’s Guan Lee’s shot of Marin Sawa’s Algaerium interior design project (seen over at Inhabitat).  I love the muted earthy tones with both a watery organic feeling, and brittle clean science fiction vibe.

It doesn’t hurt that algae are such a strange and wonderful kingdom of living curiousness.  Not animal, and in a different (but distantly related) biological category to plants – algae is different enough to be all on its own.

Then add in the fact some kinds can be eaten, some are fertilizer, some can be used as  biofuel, some efficiently scrub CO2 into oxygen for us to breathe (potentially in space) and some even glow.  Glow!

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Showing us a sci-fi future that nods like a bobble headed dog to video game UIs, The Package by Calder Greenwood and team, is dark, surprisingly uncheesy, and gives me a hankering for playing games like Frozen Synapse, Subversion, and Space Hulk.

Being the guy at the main computer, watching the little glowing specks on a wireframe map and knowing they’re a squad of tense, sweaty, professionals with guns and orders and fear in their gut.  Watching the deadly orchestra of a plan that never survives the first encounter with the enemy, and that burst of adrenaline that comes with knowing that if you can just think fast enough, if you can find order in the chaos before ‘the other guy’ does, then you and your team will be victorious.

Alas, the team in The Package… well… I’m not sure they realized just what the rules of the game were.

Osoznanie Sebya 4 by Koutchma on Livejournal

By Koutchma on Livejournal

Spotted this wonderfully evocative photograph today on Otaku Gangsta (a Tumblr blog), and then for the next ten minutes went down the rambling rabbit hole trying to find the original source – there must be nearly half a dozen intermediary links between where I saw it, and the original post on Koutchma’s Livejournal posts!  (Includes more photographs of the same series, the last one involving concealed nudity.)

I’m personally not so keen on the people in the background, but I prefer the composition of the tall version of the photograph here, as opposed to the cropped, but clean-backgrounded version in Koutchma’s other post.

Beautiful photograph, very inspiring, especially to one who wanted to be an astronaut when they grew up.  I keep imagining that the light she’s looking into, is the bright light of the future – the stars we’ll one day be amongst.

I had wanted to watch this for a long time – a short sci-fi film of a post apocalyptic settlement somewhere in Africa, reeling from the mistakes leading up to the great war for water.  The main character, Asha, is the lone, desperately hopeful, curator of the museum of natural history.  Nobody visits these dead relics of a dead surface world, but she dreams forbidden, and drug-suppressed, dreams of water, trees, and life!

It’s a quiet film where nobody speaks with their mouth – I don’t know if that’s to conserve water, Dune style, or if in the future people are so used to typing that actually speaking out loud is just something you don’t do.  It’s a refreshing film where it’s actually really nice to have a lead actress who doesn’t look like all the Hollywood actresses.  It’s a sad film, where I couldn’t work out which meaning the ending had – but neither of them were kindly.

If you can manage to find it, watch Pumzi.  There seems to be no showings, no releases, no word on their blog since the beginning of 2010 – but if you do come across it, it’s not 20 minutes wasted.

Incense by JanneM on Flickr

Incense by KanneM on Flickr

You’ve looked at a clock, you’ve listened to the Church bells (or the incessant bleeping of your alarm) but have you ever smelled the time?  The Chinese apparently used incense to measure time before the common use of clocks or other timepieces, and there were several methods.

Some featured a metal tray where the incense stick would be lain and as the stick burned over time it would burn through threads holding little metal weights.  When the thread burned through, the weight would fall onto a gong beneath.

Another method involved creating a bed of damp ash (to protect against rogue fires) and using a stencil over it to guide the sprinkling of powdered incense across the top.  Tamped down, the single-line maze arrangement of incense would then be burned, and the progress indicating the amount of time that had passed.  Incredibly ornate (and usually square) patterns were used, looking like a cross between a QR code and Celtic knot-work.  These could burn for up to a month!  But my favorite by far…

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Imagine waking up, covered in dirt, somewhere 200 miles out of Nowhereville in deepest USA.  No friends, no family, no idea how the hell you got there – and before you know it, you’ve been pulled over by a pair of trouble-seeking cops.  Do they help?  No.  In your confusion, you lash out!  Before you know it, there’s a posse out to kill you, the girl of your dreams doesn’t even notice you exist, and you come across a pit filled with the burning bodies of your own kind.

Tragic.  That’s what it is – tragic.

Flower – How Could I Have Forgotten?

I didn’t think I had, I thought I had it bright and vivid in my mind.  But I had forgotten.  Watch, and be reminded.  I almost choked when I watched this – the emotional tie is so well crafted and deep.

Flower – I’m sorry I forgot.

There are few games that instantly re-trigger emotions at the mere mention of their names, or seeing their logo or screenshots, but Flower from That Game Company, is one of them.  Every time I am reminded of it, I am suddenly hit by a wash of calm, of peaceful yearning and of a desire for beauty for beauty’s sake.  Few games have you play as the gentle breeze that lifts petals on their adventure – fewer still can draw you in to a narrative that has no words, no actors or actresses, no evil villain, fighting or death.  It’s a game that had my friends try to argue was not a game – despite me waxing lyrical about it.

So when I saw that That Game Company were releasing a new game after Flower, I was interested.  When I learned that Journey has you exploring mystical sand dunes, occasionally encountering other wanderers and singing into the long, lonely desert with them, I developed dangerously high hopes.  If the game can trigger even the faintest hint of the emotional hold that Flower has over me, I’ll consider it a resounding success – because despite having ‘finished’ Flower several times, I still yearn to return to it, like a favorite old book, comfortable in the well worn pages, enjoying it for the never fading beauty of the world it conjures and the very personal place it always leaves for me.

Lupin flower, by AussiGall on Flickr

By AussieGall on Flickr

Who would have thought, eh?  Lupins are beautiful, spiked flowers that come in a wide range of colors – from brilliant white, through yellows and oranges, through to reds, pinks and impossible purples.  They’re a bit of a show off, really.

They’re also deadly poisonous – really, they could do horrible horrible things to you if you just started nibbling on one.  But pretty and deadly is only the boring, mundane part of the story…

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