Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Love in the New Millennium 7: Love on Your Own Terms

The Old Spice guy. Image Source: Geeksugar.

There is a great line in Citizen Kane: "A toast, Jedediah, to love on my terms. Those are the only terms anybody ever knows - his own." The movie was an early portrayal of malignant narcissism. Who could know that it would become the mantra of Internet dating in the new Millennium, 70 years later?

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Titans Dream Cast

It's weird when the publishers of a fictional universe erase a whole era.  This is what DC is doing with the whole Titans comics continuity. Ironically, the New Teen Titans graphic novel Games is coming out this fall.  Originally conceived by Marv Wolfman and George Perez and set in late 1980s' continuity, Games has been delayed for over twenty years. Yet it arrives just as these stories and characters are about to be completely retconned. 

The Games graphic novel finally revisits the heyday of Titans in the 1980s, right at the point when you would expect its revival. Instead, we are seeing an erasure.  For a giant sleeping Gen X fanbase, these comic book superheroes were DC's answer to Marvel's X-men, and Games should awake teen memories. It may get old fans interested in the characters again, even though the classic Titans are being rammed through and obliterated in the DCnU reboots.  DC has shown little interest in rediscovering what made this title great, reviving its superteen soap opera formula that merged so well with sci-fi, space epics, and magical themes.  DC also doesn't seem interested in returning to complex story-telling and characterization that made the Titans title famous.  As one fan on the DC boards remarked:
Funny, I was just reading Jim Shooter's blog (E[ditor] I[n] C[hief] at Marvel from 1978 - late 80's (I think)). Someone had posted something in the comments that reminded me of the current DC way of thinking:

"Steve Englehart has said on his website that around 1990 or so, Marvel editorial decreed that character development should basically stop, since the characters had evolved "too far from their roots."

And I think Marvel went bankrupt in the mid 90's.

Let's see if DC can do better with their version of this idea.
Now that Games will soon be published, the live action Titans movie that Warner is not making is next up.  If they ever do turn to the project, would they consider the Judas Contract for the screenplay?  Or the Terror of Trigon?  Other big storylines are the team's first trip to Tamaran, Titans Hunt, or a Brother Blood film. Below the jump, a post that shows the Titans a little love.  This is my favourite possible cast for a Titans film.  There are other suggestions out there (here, here, here, here, here and here), some of which I've drawn from for this post.

End of an Era: The Last Space Shuttle Launch

STS-135, final mission patch. Image Source: Wiki.

Today, the Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its final run up to the International Space Station.  This is NASA's last Space Shuttle launch, and the end of the entire program, which I have blogged about here and here; and there is a related post here.  As I noted in those posts, this marks the end of a thirty-five-year vision about space exploration that emerged after the Apollo moon missions.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wonders of the Millennial World 1: El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Image by: lucas_y2k.  Image Souce: Flickr.

One thing that sometimes makes our Millennial world beautiful is the repurposing of things from one era to serve the needs of the present time. A classic example of this is El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a remarkable theatre in Buenos Aires that has been converted into a bookstore, in fact, the 'bookstore to end all bookstores.' Isabelle Lagarde at Argentina's Travel Guide describes the building's history:
In 1919 a young man named Max Glücksman decided to construct a theater house that would be both grand and splendid. Newly immigrated to Buenos Aires [from Czernowitz in the Austro-Hungarian Empire], Glucksman was a visionary who saw his dream realized and opened his new theater, appropriately named The Grand Splendid. For years the theater presented Argentines with performances of all kinds and local greats such as Gardel and Corsini graced the stage. In 1924 Glucksman began broadcasting Radio Splendid from the fourth floor of the building, and his recording company Odeon recorded some of the early Tango greats. In the late twenties the theater was converted into a movie house and in 1929 showed the first movies ever presented with sound.

In its final metamorphosis the Ateneo was converted into the bookstore that it is today, but despite the abundance of books, the building still feels very much like the glorious theater it once was.
The theatre once had a seating capacity of 1,050.  It is located at 1860 Avenue Santa Fe.  There's a café where the stage once was; and reading areas are in the box seats.  In 2008, The Guardian named El Ateneo Grand Splendid as number two in a list of the world's ten best bookshops, many of which are breathtaking and impressive - or in some cases, already out of business (go here).

Did Someone Say ... Apocalypse? Historic Dust Storm in Phoenix

"An image of the dust storm from the National Weather Service office in Phoenix." Image Source: IBTimes/National Weather Service.

On 5 July, a giant dust storm engulfed Phoenix, Arizona.  See videos turn day to night and more photographs below the jump.

Image Source: Robert Lachman/LA Times.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Day of Eagles

Image Source: Wiki.

Happy Fourth of July to America!  The USA was born out of rejecting monarchy, especially absolutism, and ironically today one of the last representatives of the greatest monarchical powers on this planet died.  Otto von Habsburg's life spanned a century that saw America, a democratic republic, become the most powerful country on Earth.  Otto was the son of the last emperor of a land once known as the Eastern Roman Empire ('Austria' in German is Österreich, which means 'Eastern Empire'). Even so, imperial Austria and modern America could be considered remarkably similar countries: multinational, both collections of quarrelling substates, all bound together under single uniting principles. Otto von Habsburg's death made me think how young America is; and how Austria, which was such an old realm, was overtaken so rapidly by American ideas in 1918, almost in the blink of an eye.  Both countries use (and used) eagles as their standards.  For some fantastic eagles that show further contrasts and similarities in this mythical symbolism of enormous power, go here and here - and here and here.

Image Source: Wiki.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Outsourcing Time, Outsourcing Life, Outsourcing Reality

From Edward Gorey, The Gashlycrumb Tinies (1963).  Image Source: Satori Stephen.

Recently, I read a post on Writer Beware! about the problems that blogger is having with the Internet and procrastination.  This has now become enough of an issue that software is being sold to block users from Internet access for set periods:
I also know I'm not alone in struggling with this problem--which is why I was doubly pleased to discover this blog post by ShelfTalker's Elizabeth Bluemle. She spoke with a number of writers about their distraction-circumventing techniques, and got some fascinating responses (it's really interesting how many writers move to a different spot, or use a different computer). She also links to a program called Freedom, which lets you block the Internet for up to eight hours at a time. You can disable it once you've set it--but you have to re-boot, and, theoretically at least, "the hassle of rebooting means you're less likely to cheat."
I was reminded of my early posts on shortening attention spans and procrastination, here and here.  This is the problem of time bleed, caused by overexposure to tech and the Internet, which erodes our days.  But what interests me more is motivation and emotional responses to time as they relate to Cyberspace.  One commenter on the Writers Beware! blog felt that procrastination results from fear. But there is something larger to this if people feel so helpless that they can no longer turn off the Internet by themselves and need a program to do it for them.

Web surfing no longer constitutes procrastination.  It's become part of living. The idea that the time we spend on the Internet isn't 'real time,' or 'worthwhile time,' or is 'wasted time,' hails from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s, when the Web was still a novelty and contrasted with 'real' activities.

What happens on the Internet every 60 seconds. Image Source: Shanghai Web Designers via MSNBC.