theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


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theengineer

So lately...

Last week was a good meeting of the Canadian Space Society, held at the Toronto Aerospace Museum, which I am ashamed to say I hadn't visited to date. It's absolutely worth going to, the full-sized mock-up of the Arrow (which is pretty damned big) is worth the price of admission all by itself. The talk was by a grad student who been working on genetic algorithms for controlling robots, with an eye towards using them on the Moon.He had some great footage of their robots working together (more of less) bulldozing all the dirt in the test area into a defined square and working at digging a hole. Although one of them will occasionally get into a snit and actually leave and refuse to do anything else. Very cool.

Also last week I saw Evil Dead: The Musical with Janet. I'd seen the original 2003 performance here in Toronto, but certainly wanted to see it again. This time they promised that the first few rows were to be in the splatter zone. Janet, who got tickets at a discount, was nervous as we were only in the third row, even though that's suppose to be splatter-free. Turned out that's a matter of degrees. The people in the first row were in a position to get drenched in fake blood, which was spraying everywhere during the big Ash vs. the Deadites battle, and certainly several of them were there hoping that's what would happen. I saw a bunch gleeful getting their pictures taken in their gore-covered t-shirts afterwards. We got a few drops flying our way, but unfortunately that was enough to get Janet very nervous, and the show was less fun for her than it would have been. I certainly hope the stuff was harmless, considering how much Ash got sprayed in the face with it.

Comparing the show with the 2003 version (which was held at the Tranzac Club, something of a pit) the stage was considerably larger, which allowed much more elaborate chronography, especially in the previous mentioned final battle. And all the blood was new. However, they changed the final song, the Hail to the King Medieval Times ending with Blow the B*tch Away, taking place in the S-Mart. I have to say I really preferred the original ending.

Also also last week my brother and I tried to see Sunshine using a free pass he had picked to at Bakka Books. The director, Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Millions, 28 Days Later) was going to be there for a Q&A. Unfortunately, we got to the Paramount too late (7:20 PM with the event starting at 7:30 PM) and they were full up. They did give us coupons to see the movie when it was officially released however. I tried to use my last Saturday to see a matinee at the Cumberland (the only theatre it town it was at to date), but that's Alliance-Atlantis and the coupon's no good for them. It's going into wide release this weekend I think, so I'll have to see it later.

Since I then had time to spare, I ended up going down to the Merril Collection and being the first person to look at their copy of the new Harry Potter. Read the first 200 pages, and got in another 200 at Indigo last night. Have to see if I can squeeze in the rest on the weekend. I'm not a huge HP fan, but enough people I know and weblogs I read are that I won't be able to avoid spoilers forever, and I would like to know what they think of the book.

Last Friday I did go past the Indigo on Bay and Bloor at about 7 PM, when they were setting up for the release extravaganza. That evening I had tickets to see my friend Regina perform in a storytelling performance call In the Mouth of the Wolf that her theatricality company puts on ever so often. It's seven or eight people, and they take turns telling stories about events in their life or about their culture. I had gone to one of these last fall with Regina and friends, and quite enjoyed it. The best of the bunch then made a return appearance at this performance, which was good, and Regina was very good too, talking about aspects of her Filipino heritage (like grave-cleaning day, and various Filipino monsters).

After the show I was talking to some of the cast, and one guy there had played Ed in the 2003 version of Evil Dead: The Musical, and his wife is the current puppeteer in the current run. Small theatrical world.

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The people in the first row were in a position to get drenched in fake blood, which was spraying everywhere during the big Ash vs. the Deadites battle, and certainly several of them were there hoping that's what would happen. I saw a bunch gleeful getting their pictures taken in their gore-covered t-shirts afterwards. We got a few drops flying our way, but unfortunately that was enough to get Janet very nervous, and the show was less fun for her than it would have been. I certainly hope the stuff was harmless, considering how much Ash got sprayed in the face with it.

Chris Bond (the director) told me at Polaris that it's soap-based, so it should wash right out. (I was sharing my experience with stage blood with him when I was meeting-and-greeting the presenters prior to the Constellation Awards.)

Also also last week my brother and I tried to see Sunshine using a free pass he had picked to at Bakka Books.

I read the Globe's review last week, and is it just me, or does the science in the movie seem a little, well, lacking? Maybe I'm misremembering what I read, but it seems to me that dropping a nuke into the sun wouldn't really do a whole lot. (I don't think that's a spoiler...)

BTW, are you or David going to be at First Thursday? I need to get my passport renewed before Dragon*Con (which means I'm going to have to pay the extra now because I've put it off too late :( ) and I may need someone to sign the papers to confirm that I'm really me.

I read the Globe's review last week, and is it just me, or does the science in the movie seem a little, well, lacking? Maybe I'm misremembering what I read, but it seems to me that dropping a nuke into the sun wouldn't really do a whole lot. (I don't think that's a spoiler...)

I'm expecting the science to be on the same level as The Core but I really enjoyed The Core and I've seen enough reviews of Sunshine to be intrigued by it.

Althought it's not playing in the downtown at all except for the Cumberland. The nearest other theatre is at North York Center.

I need to get my passport renewed before Dragon*Con

Yeah, I'll be there. I'd start charging for passport-signing except it's illegal.

I went to an entertaining interview with the one science consultant for Sunshine. With the major exception of the basic premise, most of the way it operated seemed fairly reasonable. What the movie's about is how scientists work together. Yes, it's more about that than it is about the framework of nuke into sun.

Yes, it's more about that than it is about the framework of nuke into sun.

And at least the nuke in question is a really, really, really, really, really big nuke.

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