Tag Archives: Geekery

They’ve got the touch: Listening to the Cybertronic Spree

So it’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted on this blog. What could possibly have brought me back? Some incisive political commentary I’ve needed to get off my chest? Some new paean to science or the necessity for optimism? Some disquieting or uplifting observation on the human condition?

Nope. I’ve simply come to testify to the fact that Arcee shreds it. Behold, performing “Instruments of Destruction” from the soundtrack to the 1986 Transformers animated movie, the Cybertronic Spree:

Hat tip to io9, which links to the obligatory video for “The Touch.” In my opinion, they chose the wrong song; how could the performance of a woman cosplaying as the Autobot Arcee, and absolutely killing it on the Decepticon-themed “Instruments of Destruction,” NOT be the video that completely makes your day?

Thanks for being awesome, Cybertronic Spree. You’ve got the power.

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There is nothing more awesome than this. NOTHING.

Rarely does a video make me literally shout for joy. At 1:10 and 2:38, this one did.

That’s the Flyboard from Zapata Racing, and I WANT ONE.

Their official video, with more astounding jetpack/dolphin action (if anyone can translate the French, it’s much appreciated!):

More footage here.

(via Tor.com)

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Community’s final lesson: Changing the whole game with just one move

Underneath all the geeky references, the twisted meta-storylines, the high-concept homage episodes, the weird characters, the gut-busting one-liners, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter eggs, the Doctor Who/Inspector Spacetime fanlove, the paintball wars, the zany Dean outfits, the disturbing Changness of Chang, the Troy-and-Abed credit scenes, and all the rest of the craziness that makes this show so special and so beloved — underneath all of that, Community has really been about a very simple thing: how to be a better human being by discovering the nature of friendship. At the heart of nearly every episode, gift-wrapped in delicious layers of pop-culture sophistication, is an uncomplicated, childlike lesson: about trust, kindness, compassion, and the bonds that connect us to each other and free us from our loneliness. It’s about stepping out of ourselves — out of our own problems and obsessions and self-pity and cynicism — and learning how to be, as the show’s title says, a community. Even Pierce learns this in the end.

And perhaps no other Jeff Winger soapbox speech delivers this message as directly and as profoundly as the one that wraps up Season Three:

Guys like me will tell you there’s no right or wrong. There’s no real truths. And as long as we all believe that, guys like me can never lose.

Because the truth is, I’m lying when I say there is no truth. The truth is — the pathetically, stupidly, inconveniently obvious truth is — helping only ourselves is bad and helping each other is good. […]

It’s that easy. You just stop thinking about what’s good for you and start thinking about what’s good for someone else. And you can change the whole game with one move.

That’s it, really. So simple and idealistic and utterly true that it hurts. And yet it’s such a hard lesson to learn, both in the show and in the real world, where corporate greed and the cynicism of politics and the polarization of rigid beliefs and the general breakdown of trust have made us all hungry for reminders that we can come together to solve our problems — that it’s the coming together that solves our problems. But “coming together” doesn’t mean asking other people to understand you and do something for you — or at least it doesn’t mean just that. It means being willing to understand and do something for them. It requires generosity, empathy, kindness, other-centeredness.

When we forget this — whether we’re religious or secular or conservative or liberal — we fall apart. When we remember this, when we learn how to devote our energy to helping others instead of ourselves, we rise above ourselves. We collectively become something greater.

And we change the whole game with just one move.

Community will return for a fourth season. But without showrunner Dan Harmon — who was unceremoniously fired by studio execs who clearly haven’t learned the show’s lessons — it won’t be the same Community, and it won’t be MY Community. As far as I’m concerned, the Season Three finale was also the series finale, and Jeff’s speech was Harmon’s final word on the subject of how human beings need to treat each other. He couldn’t have gone out on a better note.

Coolcoolcool.

(Photo via the AV Club)

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Best use of the crappy Star Wars prequels ever

DJ duo Hot Problems offers a song — and a video — for the weekend:

(via Tor.com)

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Optimus Prime plugs NASA: “We are the explorers”

Even as America’s leaders contemplate severely slashing NASA’s budget, NASA isn’t taking it lying down. Here’s a rousing ad narrated by Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime himself) that eloquently explains why we need to keep exploring:

As Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us, NASA only costs half a penny for every taxpayer dollar — and the amount we spend on the US military in two years is greater than NASA’s entire budget in its half-century of existence. So it’s not that we don’t have the money to spend on curiosity, exploration, discovery, and laying the foundation for the future; it’s that we simply choose not to spend it that way.

It’s an outrage, and it doesn’t have to be like this. Tell your congressperson to restore funding to NASA and keep humanity reaching outward to the stars. As the ad points out: “We don’t know what new discoveries lie ahead, but this is the very reason we must go.”

(via io9)

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“The Bark Side”

Oh, lovely, lovely, lovely. I had a ton of post ideas all lined up — then along comes this video, which just has to go up first:

Check out little Doggie Chewbacca and little Doggie Ewok. I’m melting.

(via Jalopnik)

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The case for optimism, cont’d: “A blaze of color, a stylized lightning bolt, a burning heart”

I’ve just finished Supergods, Grant Morrison’s meditation on the history and meaning of comic book superheroes (and his own not-insignificant role in shaping it), and it’s quite a read: at times off-puttingly self-regarding, occasionally full of shit, but very often truly provocative and revelatory. His final chapter, invoking no less than Pico della Mirandola’s “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” is a clarion call to humanism and a spirited argument that superheroes — despite the “dark sides” that have recently been written into their characters, in the name of gritty “realism” — are, at their core, our ceaseless attempts to imagine our better selves. Continue reading

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