Friday, January 27, 2012

Lego Man in Space

One small step for man, one giant leap for Lego kind ...

From ABC News
A Lego man went on one wild ride when two Canadian teenagers attached the toy to a homemade weather balloon, complete with video cams, and launched it into the stratosphere.

Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, two 17-year-olds from outside Toronto, designed and built a helium weather balloon for the Lego man‘s joyride, according to the Toronto Star. They mounted four different cameras to the contraption to record it all, and sent the toy into the atmosphere, where it climbed to an estimated 80,000 feet.

The tiny toy, holding an even tinier Canadian flag, cleared the Earth’s atmosphere during the 97-minute journey and captured astonishing footage of the Earth from above.

“We didn’t really believe we could do it until we did,” Ho told the Star, which first reported on the teens’ project Wednesday.

The humble experiment began four months ago and was completely homespun, according to the Star. On a budget of $500, Ho and Muhammad scoured Craigslist for cameras, sewed their own balloon parachute at Muhammad’s mother’s sewing machine, bought the necessary pieces online, and then assembled it all, using a Styrofoam box as the base.

The teens were able to recover the Lego man and cameras, which landed approximately 75 miles from the Toronto park where they launched it, thanks to a cell phone’s GPS app they affixed to the device.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Darth Maul Me

And while I'm burning those Star Wars bridges ...

Lucasfilm has a new feature on their website that allows you to add Darth Maul's tattoo designs to personal photos. I haven't tried it yet and have no idea how well it works, but it's also available as a Droid App (which seems appropriate.)

Who wants to go see The Phantom Menace with me?

No offense, but some Star Wars fans are crazy assholes who have gone so far down the rabbit hole of narco-fantasy that they've lost all touch with reality. Don't like the Star Wars prequels? Fine. Move on with your life. That's what healthy, well-adjusted people do.

What healthy, well-adjusted people don't do is spend a decade of their lives on message boards as part of some Punisher-esque quest for moral vengeance and/or superiority. I found the Green Lantern movie to be a serious disappointment, but I don't feel the need to convince people who enjoyed it that they're misguided fools, "apologists" or whatever else the latest meme involves. When you deal with Star Wars fans you often get a quick reminder that "fan" is short for "fanatic" and I've got no patience for Jedi Fundamentalists.
And I understand that blogging about your love of the Star Wars Prequels is the equivalent of walking into a Pentecostal church in rural Mississippi while wearing a "God is Dead" shirt, but so be it.

Which brings me to my point: The Phantom Menace is returning to theaters next month in 3-D, and I can't wait. And Lucasfilm is offering up some interesting paraphernalia to go along with some of these screenings: 3-D glasses that look like Anakin's podracing goggles. Here's the press release:

 The first chapter of the Star Wars Saga arrives in theatres for the first time ever in 3D starting February 10, and AMC theatres across the country are celebrating the occasion with plans to make opening weekend one for fans and families to remember!

To mark the return of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace to theatres, now in immersive 3D, kids, collectors and Star Wars fans of all ages will receive an all-new Hasbro Star Wars Fighter Pod with the purchase of each RealD 3D ticket for Episode I, all weekend long, February 10-12 only at AMC theatres (limit one per ticket, while supplies last).

Additionally, 10 AMC theatres in the United States will host exclusive event screenings in RealD 3D to bring the fun of Star Wars in 3D to life for families and fans. Starting Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. local time, select theatres will offer activities, giveaways, and interactive experiences. Fans can expect (while supplies last):

* Exclusive Anakin Skywalker Podracer 3D glasses with ticket purchase, to truly get into the speed and spectacle of 3D Star Wars on the big screen.

* A Hasbro Star Wars FIGHTER PODS collectible toy with RealD 3D ticket purchase

* A LEGO(r) feature area

* Darth Maul face-painting; a chance to reveal your inner Sith Lord at long last!

* Special character appearances for photo opportunities

* Demonstrations of the upcoming Xbox Kinect Star Wars

The 10 participating Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace exclusive event screening theatres are:
  • Atlanta: AMC Southlake 24
  •  Boston: AMC Loews Liberty Tree Mall 20
  • Chicago: AMC South Barrington 30
  • Denver: AMC Highlands Ranch 24
  • Los Angeles: AMC Tustin 14 at The District
  • AMC Ontario Mills 30
  • New York: AMC Empire 25
  • AMC Garden State 16
  • Phoenix: AMC Mesa Grand 24
  • San Francisco: AMC Emeryville Bay Street 16

T-shirt of the day: WTF?!

Given enough time, I guess ANYTHING can become less threatening. Disney (NO FUCKING SHIT .... DISNEY) is selling a t-shirt mash-up of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album and Mickey Mouse. I have violently mixed feelings about this product ... which you've probably picked up on. I'm not "drink a bottle of wine, listen to some Iggy Pop and see where the day takes me" kind of upset ... but still. Disney? Really?

When Harlan Met Patton

Above is audience video from the Jan. 19 Cinefamily event, The Glass Teat, the second half of a live interview of Harlan Ellison by screenwriter John Olson. The event was a continuation of a program held last last November which, after three hours, only managed to cover the first half of Ellison's career in television.

When they brought him back last week, Patton Oswalt (do I really need to tell you who he is?) was in the audience and briefly hijacked the interview from Olson. But don't take my word for it ... click that little triangle above and watch it for yourself.
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