Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Greenwood Car Show!

Sun ,01/07/2018

So, it’s that time of year again, when much of the car-loving tri-county area descends upon our neighborhood for the annual end of June Greenwood Car Show.

Bit of a different vibe this year, while still pretty crowded, I think the overcast, “i’m not sure if i’m going to rain” weather scared some away, and it was definitely more like early chilly spring than summer, to be sure.

Still, several cool highlights (view these in the Gallery linked on the left side)

– two black early 50s Porsche’s, likely Kerewin’s fave cars;

– great showings from the local vintage Mini, Datsun, VW, MG and other misc vintage British clans;

– not as many muscle cars as past recent years (to me, good – I’d seen enough Chevy Nova’s and Mach 1’s back in high school to last me several lifetimes) but if you liked even older Chevy Impala’s (making me always think of Adam-12) – this was your show. I’d have to guess that specific car model was definitely the most numerous, or at minimum in the top 5;

– two Panteras this year, nice!

– only a couple Kei cars, an Autozam and a Figaro (there were several last year)

– and one other big highlight for me – a Volvo Valp! Haven’t seen one in person for years, but there it was. Not restoration quality but it sounds like he’s been having a lot of work done on it – will be cool to see if it shows up next year too.

candybowl

2001…..still a landmark.

Sat ,26/05/2018

And given we are lucky enough to have restored one of the few remaining Cinerama theaters in the country (after all these years), we can actually WATCH the movie in its original intended format – that screen is huge, and the movie still holds up well to this day. I go about every other year when it comes around and it’s still worth it. So many other sci-fi movies just don’t hold up anymore for various reasons but this one……

2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi

candybowl

YeeeEEEsss, Neo.

Wed ,09/05/2018

Well, it was bound to happen. I had my first VR experience last night – very, very cool.

A buddy of mine is a local software CEO, and invited me over to test out some VR setup(s) – yes, plural – they have at their office. After some scheduling snafus, I was finally able to get over there last night, and he did not disappoint.

quick note – for the YouTube video links below I included (so you can see what the games looked like in action) – you may want to turn down the volume considerably or skip around in them – the narrators for some reason in most of them are YELLING loudly (probably overexcited nerds) and it usually detracts from simply checking out the game – just a warning.

First up was Oculus Rift. He had me do an orientation video first, which was similar to being in Wade Watts‘ trailer, standing in front of a DAT recorder, and putting various disks into a 3D printer, assisted by a floating robot that looked mostly like Wall-E. So you can print a series of things (butterflies, etc.) and check them out, then eventually like so many of these simulations, you 3D print a gun and shoot Wall-E – the human race is doomed, basically.

Next up with the OR equipment, we did a version of The Matrix ‘bullet time’ scenario (akin to the rooftop battle by Neo and Trinity) – I think the game is called ‘Superhot‘, you can watch a bit of video as to what it looks like here.

This was very interesting – not sure I ever really got the hang of it, basically if you don’t move, the ‘bullet time’ doesn’t advance – so you can move your head around (advances *very* slowly) and get a sense of who’s about to shoot you, then start grabbing guns and shooting once you are oriented to the scenario (there were several, most similar to the movie scenes). The YT videos show players throwing stuff at the bad guys, but I could never seem to pull that off, the best I did was hit them (besides of course shooting them).

Next up was a Valve VR setup, a bit more advanced than the OR one. First we did a shooter called Raw Data (video example here). I was able to blast most of the robots, but it was a good thing I had shields because in the later scenarios, they start coming very fast, until you see the big “DEAD” floating in front of you. Also, I kept trying to actually lean on the virtual console in front of me to crouch and hide from the robot shooting – which doesn’t work (there’s nothing actually there in the real world, after all) so almost fell over a couple times – funny.

With that same equipment, then we looked at Google Earth – setting aside my usual privacy rant for another day, this was pretty cool otherwise. You can go to any major city on Earth and (effectively) virtually fly around like Superman and look at things from the air, streetside, etc. After a brief look at Hong Kong, we ‘flew’ to WA and looked at Fremont, then my own neighborhood, then went to the cone of Mt. Rainier and ‘skied’ off the top, the impression of which scared me a bit because the sensation of going right off the edge is pretty decent.

Clued in by my Rainier ski commentary, my buddy figured out I was scared of heights, so (of course) he wanted me to try Richie’s Walk the Plank Experience. So I tried to go in the elevator, but it took off upward before I was actually ‘in’ it, so the effect was of me shooting up the OUTSIDE of the building – yipes! Then, you are virtually at the top of a HUGE skyscraper, with a tiny board under your feet. I couldn’t do it at this point, had to take off the gear – too real for me!

We next tried ‘Augmented’ Reality with Microsoft HoloLens – ‘augmented’ means instead of being completely in the virtual world, you wear goggles that let you see what you are doing normally *and* you see additional stuff floating in the air. Think of (kinda) Minority Report, you can see a YT demo here.

This one, despite its obvious potential, didn’t really work that well for me. Ideally you make gestures at it (kinda like ‘pinching’ in the air in front of you – this is in lieu of the computer mouse) and you can manipulate stuff. But I just couldn’t get it to work for me, probably was doing it wrong or not holding my hand in the correct place for the sensor. So maybe next time on this one.

The final VR thing we tried was the Star Trek Bridge Crew game, on the Valve setup. This one is arguably the coolest of them, given the series connection, and apparently you can select from different ships/series, various missions, and different characters to play (captain, navigator, etc.) YT demo here.

At first I was in some sort of (very cool) shuttle flyby of an earlier movie era Enterprise-like big ship, much like the flyby in Star Trek:The Motion Picture (and nearly every other Star Trek series or show at one point or another) – I kept expecting the shuttle to take me into the landing bay but it then went right on by to circle around again.

So we logged into a game already in progress, I ended up as Engineer. There were three guys in a room, already discussing Star Trek stuff (seemed like they were talking about the merits and realism of the game – they didn’t really seem to notice me). Then the mission started, and I was Engineer on the bridge, to the right of the navigator station. Here, i was trying to route power to the warp/impulse engines, shields and phasers, but it wasn’t super intuitive on how to do it. I couldn’t really hear the ‘Captain’ saying anything (likely something weird about my login) and the helmsman/navigator guys kept arguing about some esoteric stuff that I didn’t really follow. I was able to get power to the warp drive, so we went to some asteriod belt where some Klingon attack had apparently happened, and we started cruising around the wreckage a bit.

The controller has some weird mode where you can see a perspective that is as if you are floating above and outside the ship – very cool (if surprising). I can see where this game would be VERY addictive if I had access to this type of VR hardware on a regular basis. My only gripe is that the way you use it is as if your head is floating on a crewman’s body, and in some camera perspectives it’s like you are floating on a disembodied marionette – but that could have also been because I was a newbie to all of it anyway.

In the end, VERY cool and interesting – it will be neat to try it again someday, hopefully soon – Thanks Jason!

candybowl

Needle!

Tue ,17/04/2018

as we cry in our beer over tax day today – remember that many years ago, a much more joyous occasion was had…

Groundbreaking for the Space Needle is held in Seattle on April 17, 1961.

candybowl

The Darkness – Rocks!

Wed ,04/04/2018

Went to see The Darkness at Showbox Seattle last night. While they aren’t on the level of Flight to Mars or Fishbone musician-wise, they still definitely put on a good show.

We skipped the opener, Diarrhea Planet – both of us watched a KEXP clip of theirs on YT earlier in the day and concluded they weren’t for us (if the band name wasn’t enough deterrent to begin with?).

So I’ve liked The Darkness for some time, but mostly the first two albums, hadn’t heard the latter 3 until just recently (right after I got tix) so wasn’t as familiar with that material, but either way, they delivered it well.

Among other silliness seen were a constant rotation of hats thrown up from the audience; the audience banter with Justin Hawkins (singer and band leader), a bit of actual crowd surfing by same, and (sadly) some actual mosh pit action by the end….

Justin Hawkins may be many things, but it’s clear he’s definitely influenced by glam rockers such as Bowie, Marc Bolan and likely Mick Jagger, possibly even The Sweet (which may be closest to the pop rock of The Darkness, sound-wise) – witness the full-body ‘leopard skin’ slinky outfit he had on (the rest of the band looked fairly normal, barring the bassist resembling a rougher fro-headed Borat).

But that crazy falsetto he has is still in good shape, even at 43 years old (he opened the show last night by insisting they were all 28, but later Jeff Carter (math wizard) correctly noted there’s no way they were that young, and it turns out that’s how old they were when they started.

Speaking of when they started, their biggest hit was the last song of the night, which some Seattle nerd captured on their phone and posted on YT (of course) – enjoy! Their albums have also largely made it onto YT also, and the second video below is a full 2015 concert from Chicago, many of the same songs….enjoy! candybowl

SIFF short sci fi films, 2018…

Sun ,25/03/2018

In what’s become something of an annual tradition, a buddy and I went to the SIFF SFF Encore film festival today. While all the films were well made, many this year weren’t really as ‘sci fi’ as in years past.

Here’s the films I was able to find online – pretty much my faves from the show – enjoy!

FTL:

M.A.M.O.N (Monitor Against Mexicans Over Nationwide):

Time Chicken:

GEAR:

Dead Hearts:

Strange Beasts:

Jiminy:

The Privates:

candybowl

Way to go Kerewin!

Mon ,22/01/2018

Hard work – Done well. HUGE congrats!

candybowl

We had it all wrong back in ’97…

Sat ,25/11/2017

It could have been soooo much simpler, according to this picture….

candybowl

It was worth it…

Wed ,11/10/2017

we had (literally) nosebleed seats that summer when the reunion tour hit Key Arena (as the YT notes show, 7 years *after* this VH1 show), but it was definitely worth it to see one of my all-time fave bands…

candybowl

It’s that time of year again….

Sat ,24/06/2017

…for the Greenwood Car Show! One block from our house, every year near the end of June. Interesting batch this year – lot more Corvettes than usual (although my fave ’54 of years past hasn’t been here for a few years now); the Mini group just keeps getting bigger each year somehow; good selection of oddball electric and Soviet cars; the Hawaiians normally not seen until later in July at the Shoreline VW meet were here in force this year, nearly an entire block for aircooled VWs. And a few choice Japanese cars (old and new), and a Pantera but only one Ferrari, surprisingly. And my usual gripe – *way* too many lame muscle cars (most of which now sadly are ‘classic’ too….again, argh.)

– the kids in the Jeep were cute – and I loved the ‘Jurassic Park’ Wrangler pair they had – too funny. There were many old military Jeeps this year and a couple vintage Dodge Power Wagons, too.

– also, that ‘Porsche’ seen first wasn’t in the show, that showed up later parking across from our house. When the guy pulled up in it, i asked him ‘is it real or Memorex?’ – he said ‘Memorex!’ – so not sure if this was a replica or a real one, but it was sure nice either way….!

– you can click on a pic to enlarge considerably, btw.

Enjoy!

candybowl