Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jazz & Johnson

Here lately at the Ponderosa I've been in a jazz mood.  My taste in  music ranges broadly.  My main areas of interest lately are:  jazz, classical, rock (mostly progressive rock), and then anything else that tickles my fancy.  The other day I was looking at older family photos, and found a picture of my sister and me in a bedroom spinning tunes on a very old record player.  We were still both toddlers.  I've since put those pictures back up, but might drag it back down again just to post here or send it to my sister.  I'm not sure how old we were when that photo was taken, but I look around kindergarten age.  I'm pretty sure the records we were listening to were some sort of children records.  I still remember a few of them.  Some of them told odd stories, and others may have had short songs on them.  I seem to think some of them were taken from the old Uncle Remus stories about Tar-Baby and that sort of thing.  I just remember those stories being surreal or weird or whatever.   At any rate, somewhere along that age, I got the music bug. 

Here's a link I ran across of the NPR Top Ten jazz records for 2015.  They have included some links so that you can hear some of the albums selected as well, which always helps to decide whether or not you want to invest in them any further.  That Kamasi Washington was a pretty popular title this year.  It sort of sounds like progressive jazz and a bit fusion-y to me, but it's still sounds pretty nice.  The one by Mary Havorson, called Meltframe sounded pretty interesting as well.

Last night I stayed up too late binge watching three episodes of the new Syfy series, The Expanse.  It's too early to get a reading on it, other than to say, it's pretty good.  It's  slow unfolding in it's story and done similar in style of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica program of some years ago.  That show was pretty successful with fans, and I hope they can keep their storytelling compelling with The Expanse as well.  I can't say it's perfect as at least for me, there were a few eye roll moments, but the story is pretty involving, and I do like the character played by Thomas Jane (and others too). 

The main setup of the story is a mystery surrounding a woman that gets killed in the initial opening story.  From there we learn that there are three separate worlds:  Earth, a Mars colony, and native miners or Belters.  The story is pretty dense, and it already has quite a large cast, but they do a good job of isolating the story lines so it's pretty easy to keep up with.  It's one of those series where you could probably watch again just to pick up things you might have missed on the first viewing.  That said, however,  there were a few things I had questions about or at least wondered why they were handled the way they were. 

There was one part in one of the episodes where a rat shows up on the top of a console, which maybe I didn't catch where or what the rat was about, but it didn't make sense to me.  Maybe it was a pet rat? Why was a rat there? Also I'll admit I don't know a lot about space or space travel, creating artificial gravity, and that sort of thing, so I don't know if some of the special effects are done just for style and action or of they have any real world/hard SF basis, but I did wonder some about the way the space shuttle craft rotated around and around--granted it happened in battle, but also as it traveled in space. So maybe that was to create an artificial gravity.  Who knows?  But I would have been one sick puppy if I had been in that tin can rotating in that fashion.  Maybe you wouldn't notice that sort of stuff in space, again, who knows?   There was another scene where the crew aboard the smaller shuttle are repairing it after a battle, and one of the guys looses a wrench that he's going to use for the repairs, and it goes flying off into space, which looked kind of cool, but wouldn't space explorers have some sort of tethers to prevent that because apparently this ain't their first rodeo in space? Just sayin'...   At any rate, it's pretty good, if you like that sort of thing.  I hope they can at least keep the momentum going. 

I read earlier today where SF writer, George Clayton Johnson died.  He wrote the very first episode of the Star Trek episode, The Man Trap, and many of the stories to the Twilight Zone series.  I believe he also co-wrote Logan's Run, with William F. Nolan, among many other stories and scripts. 

Here's a five hour interview with him if you wish to explore some of that.  You can split it up into shorter bite-sized parts, but it's something I want to listen to as well.  Here's a link.  


At 9:32 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I’m getting familiar with your varied taste in music from that selection of cds you sent, including some for a jazz mood.

I haven’t seen The Expanse and I suspect I need to start at the beginning to catch up, but it seems like something I’d like. You point to a real issue with spin-induced artificial gravity. There is a reason the classic space stations envisioned in the 1950s were enormous pinwheels. If the interior of a rotating body in space is fairly small and you are standing inside, your head will be moving noticeably slower than your feet. That will make almost anyone dizzy and sick. You need a really big circumference for the difference not to be noticeable.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

The Expanse is okay. I hope it can sustain the interest it has already generated. It's one of those programs though that's going to be pretty dense, so you'll probably need to jump into it pretty soon. (You can watch them online, I think, and they've been repeating them.) I sometimes wonder if there should be a recap or prologue with shows like this to get new viewer up to speed. I guess there's always the internet for that. I may have missed bits and pieces of it as during my three hour binge watching I had to make something to eat and so forth. I'll tune into this week's episode and see what I think.

You bring up the point that I was wondering about talking about the spinning in space, and it's what I was thinking. It's hard to gauge how big the shuttle craft is that the away-team are in, but I was thinking spinning like that is a bit unrealistic--more for style and action. From the way it's portrayed it holds about four/five people so about the size of a 1500 sq. ft. house. I ramble this off the top of my head, I'd have to rewatch the episode. I think it comes on Tuesdays nights. Give it a shot.


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