The Boston Ironsides have announced their Fall season schedule, and the Ironmen of the Ironsides will be hitting the pitch every weekend in September and October – nine consecutive Saturdays.…
Look at them.
After 50 years, just look at them:
If things go well on June 18-19 2016, they should leave the C7.Rs, 488s, 911 RSRs and Vantages gasping for breath.
*2016 24 Hours of Le Mans
Subtitle: An examination of the third episode of the second season of “Rick and Morty” entitled “Auto Erotic Assimilation” with an eye towards encouraging nominating this episode for the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form, to be presented at MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention.
Note: This is packed full of spoilers.
For the tl;dr folks, it is also not short.
You Have Been Warned.
I’m glad that I held off writing about Rick and Morty until Season 2, Episode 3, “Auto Erotic Assimilation“, which you can watch by clicking right there (or elsewhere), written by Ryan Ridley, produced by J. Michael Mendel, directed by Bryan Newton, created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. I was frankly a little worried. I initially found the first two episodes a bit lacking, probably because the bar had been set so fracking high throughout season 1. My finding was dead wrong. Thinking back to the episodes in season 1 and comparing them to season 2, I think I can safely say that a lot of season 1 was about the creators / writers / directors proving that they had the deep knowledge of science and science fiction to intelligently pull off a series like this without falling into the realm of easy SF clichés, unless it’s done on purpose.
Season 2 was if anything, even more brilliant, because in season 2 the poo hits the squantchy fan. That shizzle got real. And episode 3 was the fracking most real, at least up until that point in the season. I believe I have identified the episode I’ll nominate for this year’s Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Hugo.
You might be asking yourself, “What’s a Hugo?” Simply put, the Hugo Awards are science fiction’s most prestigious award, are awarded annually, and are voted upon by both attending and supporting members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, a.k.a. Worldcon.
Not sure if you can nominate for this year’s Hugos?
- On or before January 31, 2016 11:59 p.m. PST, were you:
- an attending or supporting member of MidAmeriCon II, the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention to be held in Kansas City, MO, USA?
- an attending or supporting member of Worldcon 75, the 2017 World Science Fiction Convention to be held in Helsinki, Finland?
- an attending or supporting member of Sasquan, the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention which was held in Spokane, WA, USA?
Answer “yes” to any of the above and yes, you can nominate and vote. If you would like to print out and mail your nomination form, download it here. If you want to vote online, contact the MidAmeriCon II Hugo Administrators Dave McCarty and Will Frank.
All of that being said (yes, yes, I know) what to my mind makes”Auto Erotic Assimilation” a Hugo worthy episode? Well, what’s the episode about?
Introduction – While traveling through space in Rick’s home made spaceship, Rick, Morty, and Summer come across a distress signal from an alien starship. Rick intercepts and boards the starship with the intention of looting it, but instead he comes across the ship’s surviving crew members, who explain their planet has been taken over by an assimilating hive-mind, before the aforementioned hive mind attacks and assimilates the rest of the crew.The hive-mind knows Rick, who awkwardly admits that he and the mind, named Unity, used to “date.”
Main Plot – On Unity’s planet, Rick and Unity passionately rekindle their relationship while Summer and Morty ponder questions of free will, sin, redemption and senseless hatred. As the planet descends first into an exotic drug fueled orgy, then into an exotic race hate fueled riot, Unity realized exactly how bad a couple it and Rick make and dumps him.
Sub-plot – Simultaneously, on Earth, Morty and Summer’s parents, Beth (Rick’s daughter) and Jerry (Beth’s husband), discover under their house, Rick’s underground lair. Inside of the lair, they discover Rick’s monstrous imprisoned alien creature. They soon begin vicious bickering, to the point that the creature, fed up with their arguing, breaks free of his restraints and berates them both before leaving.
Epilogue – Losing Unity devastates Rick, leaving him in a state of mind so broken that he attempts suicide. Yes, on screen.
From this single episode we can see that Rick and Morty is steeped in deep science fiction lore. Within the first couple of minutes not only does this episode build upon every book / movie / television episode we’ve seen where the protagonists decide that exploring a derelict spaceship is a good thing to do, we’re also given a very Ricksonian reason for going ahead and doing so. Of course, the proof that no matter the rationalization it’s still a bad idea comes in this case straight out of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Well, that and a telenovela filtered through Futurama.
The concept of hive minds has been examined in science fiction at least as far back as 1930, as seen in Olaf Stapledon’s “Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future.” We’ve feared them as presented in the book, “The Midwich Cuckoos” later adapted as “Village of the Damned.” Perhaps we envied them a bit as the Over-Mind in “Childhood’s End.” We’ve used their name as a pejorative, like the Borg from “Star Trek.” I’m pretty sure I’ve never considered the possibilities presented by having them (it?) as a lover, especially if it (they?) had no interest in adding me to their collective but was interested in the singular me.
“Auto Erotic Assimilation” continues science fiction’s long tradition of using the genre’s unconventional settings to explore the more and less conventional aspects of the human condition. For example, sexuality. If you’re quick on the uptake, you soon understand that Rick considers the variety of species and genders unified by Unity to be a sexual feature, not a bug. If you don’t get it at first, the screenwriters have included a short, uncomfortable and hilarious scene to make sure you understand. Also explored: utopias, politics, dystopias, parenting, warfare, free will, personal pronouns, capitalism, exo-virology, marriage, p.t.s.d., and many more. All extremely skillfully packed into 23 mind bending minutes.
Of course, no amount of bloviation on my part can replace watching the episode with your own five eyes and judging for yourself. You can either wait until the series goes into re-runs or watch the episode on the Cartoon Network’s [adult swim] website if you are a cable or satellite subscriber. If you’re web savvy, you might even be able to stream it by grabbing a handy link from somewhere.
Please comment and tell me. Have I made a good start on making the case for nominating this episode of “Rick and Morty” for a Hugo? If not, what am I missing? If so, after you’ve watched the episode yourself, will you consider nominating it?
*The title of this post is intimately (see what I did there?) tied into the themes explored in “Auto Erotic Assimilation” in ways not obvious unless you’ve carefully watched Season 1. In particular, season 1, episode 11 “Ricksy Business.”
Linda Ellerbee is retiring from TV this evening when she signs off tonight’s episode of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, Nickelodeon’s award winning news show.
Most of my favorite news programs were produced / written / anchored by Linda Ellerbee. NBC News Weekend (’74 – ’82), NBC News Overnight (’82 – ’86), ABC’s Our World (’86 – ’87).
And then in 1991 she started to produce, write an anchor Nick News with Linda Ellerbee. The show made history as the first children’s television program ever to win the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Network News Documentary for the show, Coming Home: “When Parents Return from War.” The show won several Peabody Awards, Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Journalism Awards, 10 Emmys and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Children’s Television at the annual Banff International Media Festival.
Why did she work so hard to make a children’s television show one of the best news shows in existence?
“My goal,” said Ellerbee, “was never a nation of kid news junkies. I am more subversive; I wanted to grow a nation of rowdy citizens.”
So yes, I’ll be watching tonight. And so it goes…
The Realization of the Situation
“Oh my glob, what to do. 50. 50 orbits of old Sol. 47 billion orbital kilometers plus who knows how many around the galactic center and away or towards the galactic ecliptic. So how do I celebrate this lifetime landmark?” That’s a fairly good approximation of what was bouncing around in my head in December of 2010, when I passed 50 years old.
I’d long made a habit of attempting one big new thing each year. It always had to be something I’d never before attempted. Never attempted because I’d never found the time to do it, or because I was convinced it was beyond my innate abilities, or because I was simply afraid to do it out of fear of failure. That’s how I’d ended up in grad school. That’s how I’d ended up moving across the continent from sunny Southern California to New England. That’s how I ended up learning to strap a highly engineered composite plank to my feet and slide down snowy mountains sideways. That’s how I started volunteering as a worker and panelist at cons.
I wanted something special to celebrate the exit from my first half century of life and entry into the next 50 years. I decided to steer clear of the stereotypical male mid-life crisis insanity. So no selling of my possessions to go live in a yurt on the Mongolian steppes. No adoption of strange religious practices. No running out to purchase an insanely expensive and insanely fast sports car. No illicit affairs with young men half my age.
The Search for a Solution
So then, what do do?
I decided that I would be guided by things I was afraid to do and that others around me would find uncharacteristic. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as surprising others even as you pleasantly, simultaneously surprise yourself.
I’d grown up as a queer, geeky, science fiction loving kid who hated playing sports, in particular organized team sports. I’d totally bought into the stereotype of the anti-sports bookworm. My heroes had names like Niven, Harrison, Silverberg, Ellison, Asimov not Goodrich or Robinson or Namath.
I was too short for basketball, plus, I intensely disliked the cultural expectation that I should love, play and excel in the sport. I was too lightweight for football. I didn’t have enough upper body strength for baseball. As a closeted young gay kid, I found wrestling, gymnastics and swimming far too emotionally and sexually dangerous. Far too fraught with the the danger of outing.
Plus, even at the tender age of 13, I thought I saw in my parents the germ the possibility of their becoming the type of overwrought, overenthusiastic sports parents that make the lives of their kids into hell. Adding the pressure to exceed in a sport on top of barely endurable pressures for exemplary academic performance would have been disastrous.
All of this added up to decades of studiously avoiding team sports. Big stuff. Fertile ground from which would spring my personal foray into unknown territory. Team sports.
The Achievement of Action
But which team sport?
I do not remember where I first came across the quote attributed to Oscar Wilde; “Rugby is a barbaric played by gentlemen. Football is a gentlemanly game played by barbarians.”, nor do I remember where or how I was first made aware of the Boston Ironsides Rugby Football Club. What I do remember was my first workout with the team on a winter’s night at a high-school gym in Cambridge. I thought I was in good shape. I was oh so wrong. I didn’t make it though 1/2 of a not particularly tough workout. In spite of the reassurances of the guys at practice (“Don’t sweat it. At least you didn’t throw up like lots of guys do”), I was embarrassed, chagrined, humbled. But I promised to come back in 6 months at least ready to practice, if not to play.
What’s a geek to do? Here, I’d found a sport and a team open to a total neophyte, open and eagerly welcome to LGBT members, and I wasn’t ready to play. So I did what any good academically oriented geek would do. I studied. I learned. I put into practice what I learned.
I kept my promise to myself and joined the Boston Ironsides rugby team 6 months later and set into motion chains of events I hadn’t foreseen.
The Consequences of Choices
All of this could not help but have knock-on effects across the breadth of my life. Some foreseen, some welcome, others not so and not so much.
Even though camaraderie was one of the things I was seeking, I wasn’t quite prepared for the intensity of the feeling. I’d argue that something intensely primal is awakened when a discrete groups of humans strives towards a common goal, particularly when that striving involves struggling through ignorance to understanding, through physical exertion and exhaustion towards strength, through physical discomfort and injury to healing. I was surprised to find myself thinking thoughts like, “I’d bleed for these guys”, and equally surprised by the depth of feeling mixed in with those thoughts. It even re-ignited my interest in guided imagery, hypnosis and NLP through my discovery of Michael J. Emery’s audio files for athletes: “Advanced Sports Imagery for Athletes”. Who knew?
The End of the Beginning
Time to bring this to an end. What better way than with the typical “lessons learned”? So then, what did I learn?
- I learned that here in the U.S., rugby harbors it’s own form of geekery. This is a big difference between U.S. rugby and rugby in other countries.
- A sense of belonging is a powerful thing for a primate. I guess I have more tribes than SF Fandom.
- I’ve long been more than a bit afraid of my aggressive side. I’ve been afraid of losing control, of doing something horrible. It’s a bad lesson I’d learned from my parents. The fear is still there but attenuated, restrained by the evidence of praxis.
- I’ve come to believe that the UFP would have an awesome rugby side. So would the Klingon Empire. The Klingon’s, however, might need to be reminded that no weapons are allowed and that the limbs of opponents are not to be ripped off.
- United Federation of Planets rugby jerseys would be awesome. Klingon Empire rugby jerseys would be off the hook.
- I had to learn how to train towards a specific goal.
- I had to learn how to recover from an injury.
- I had to learn when to acknowledge the march of time, admit the increasing length of recovery time, and retire.
- I had to learn how to lose gracefully, something I’d never before been good at.
- I learned that there are things I’ve never before considered doing, that I can not just do, but love doing.
Apple has acquired Metaio, an augmented reality startup that launched way back in 2003 as an offshoot of a project at Volkswagen. The company’s site said it stopped taking new customers, and now a legal document shows Apple has bought it. The document confirms a transfer of shares of the startup to Apple on May 21st/22nd.
When asked by TechCrunch, Apple responded with its standard reply it gives as confirmation of acquistions, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
The company began showing signs that something was clearly amiss when it canceled its user conference in San Francisco earlier this month and later took down the company’s Twitter accounts. It also posted on its website a couple of days ago that it was ending purchase of products and subscriptions. Email tech support ends June 30th.
Our senior writer Josh Constine went…
View original post 301 more words
I have quite a few reasons for trying to stay fit. I’d like to stay alive long enough and be healthy long enough to see, be a good candidate for and participate in the advent of transhumanity / posthumanity. Of course, just being around is no guarantee that I’ll be able to start getting parts replace willy nilly as they wear out. This is, after all, America, so the issue of money is always there. But I digress.
So yes, since I have no idea how quickly these bio-engineering advances will become widely available and accessible, I try to keep myself what I consider reasonably fit.
Then there is the area of bodily aesthetics. Somehow, I escaped the aesthetic tyranny of Michelangelo’s “David” as the zenith of the male human form. I never wanted to look like that. Instead, somewhere along the line, I imagined that as I got older, it would be nice to strive (asymptotically) towards the Farnese Hercules as a goal. No, the beard is probably not going to happen. It is just not in my genes, for the moment I have to admit.
I was never really that organized in this pursuit, though. Probably the closest I ever got was when I was playing rugby for months straight before Bingham 2012. Performance, not aesthetics drove my exercise program.
I’ve come across a way of adding this aesthetic component in a way that appeals to my geeky little mind. I wasn’t aware that there were methods of taking your existing measurements and generating measurements for an “ideal” (yes, I know, I know) proportionality. But there are. I’ll focus on an ancient one and one much more recent. For both, I’ll fill in my current measurements over the next day or so.
Male “Grecian Ideal” Method
Through much analysis and determining of what constituted ideal physical measurements – the basis of any balanced physique – a “Grecian Ideal” calculator was formulated for self-assessment based on wrist size, to determine the individual body part circumference goals one should aspire to in order to develop the perfect physique. Eugene Sandow in his prime was close to the Grecian Ideal.
I entered an average of the circumferences of my wrists, 6.75″, and got the following:
Steve Reeves’ (yes, that Steve Reeves) Method
Then there’s the method invented by Steve Reeves. Why Mr. Reeves? Duh – because he’s Steve Reeves. At the time (1940s-1950s) his body represented what a bodybuilding physique should look like – flawless and beautiful. His measurements (18.5-inch arms, calves and neck) were regarded as a benchmark for symmetry and proportion, and his philosophy was to keep the body balanced through the adherence to a couple of methods: Maintaining a specified weight for your height to prevent distorting your natural body symmetry and striving for specific bone to muscle ratios.
|Steve Reeves Ultra-Symmetrical Physique Ratios|
|Arm size = 252% of Wrist size|
|Calf size = 192% of Ankle size|
|Neck Size = 79% of Head size|
|Chest Size = 148% of Pelvis size|
|Waist size = 86% of Pelvis size|
|Thigh size = 175% of Knee size|
Over the next couple of days I’ll enter my existing measurements and compute the variances, so I have an idea of how far I have to go. OK, it seems a little excessive. Perhaps even a bit like that movie Looker.
We’ll see how this works. I’m giving it a year, perhaps 18 months.