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I’m Back

May 8, 2008

And just in time for my birthday! Yes, today is my 37th birthday, and thanks to the relativistic effects of traveling close to the speed of light, I have it on the highest authority that I don’t look a day over 37!

I know you want to know all about my recent trip to outer space, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be allowed to discuss it for global security reasons. However, we’re lucky that film footage of this top-secret mission has been leaked to the press, with more to come, I am certain.

Now that the space-cat is out of the moon-bag, so to speak, I can speak candidly about the mission I was on. If you haven’t seen the leaked clips, watch this:


Yes, the truth can finally be told.

I was on a mission to fight the Evil Space Nazis (ESNs) on the dark side of the moon.

It was very exciting. We’ve got lots of pictures from the whole shebang, and I’ll post some of them in the next few days.

But this adventure with ESNs started me thinking about retro-futurism. Why is it so cool to mix the past into our frothy futurist cocktails? Blade Runner (ha! The Spouse hates it when I go on and on about Blade Runner) famously made 2018 Los Angeles a 1940s-esque noir-fest.

But I digress. Over at his Sweet Homo Alabama blog, Z.C. Byrnes points us to a very cool mashup of canonical western film High Noon and… um, killer robots. How cool is that?!


“Have you forgotten he’s got his own deflector shield?” Classic!

Watching this video I was reminded of a tune we heard while in space heading toward the ESN base. In space we got fabulous radio reception from all over the globe, and the crew and I were treated to a fun track on the BBC: The Last Shadow Puppet’s “The Age of The Understatement.” It’s a hoot. Check it out:


Now, while the video gives us Soviet tanks and choruses, the music is heavily influenced by Ennio Morricone‘s spaghetti western scores. But with a modern twist. I could imagine killer robots being behind that twist. In fact, I bet it was the killer robots who were running the Soviet army. You read it here first, people.

Which, of course, makes me think of that other great recent western-themed future fantasia in song, Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia.” If you’ve been living in a retro-futurist-proof bomb shelter for the past year or so, you might not have heard this song. But even if you’ve heard the seriously western-themed song, have you seen the video?


Oh, Gustof von Musterhausen, your little film is so full of awesome it hurts my brain.

I’ve written before about remix culture and prosumers (producer/consumers with the near-professional quality modern tech allows), but with “Knights of Cydonia” we get the full circle — professional video producers remixing genres, effects, narratives, and throwing in a whole heaping of allusions to other works.

And it’s all wrapped in a laser-shooting, kung-fu fighting, unicorn-riding sci-fi western package. Excellent.

P.S. Bonus points go to whoever identifies the most allusions in the Muse video!

Categories: Blog News, Media, Robots, Visuality
  1. Liam
    May 29, 2008 at 10:56 am | #1

    Stonehenge has been defiled? Don’t they know what happens next? Everyone knows what happens next. Try not to piss off the dead, people. Those guys are obviously going to wake up one morning to find themselves sacrificed in strange druidic fashion. Just like the guy who took a hammer to the pieta, and then dreamed that sculptors were chiseling away pieces of him. Just like that.

  2. coeurlion
    May 23, 2008 at 7:27 pm | #2

    The Spouse, here, reporting in.

    First, a minor correction. Sir Liam, you are hereby absolved of any heresy in the Birthday Realm. Specifically, your comments appear to have arrived a trifling ten days post the notorious date, rather than a month and ten days.

    The Professor’s birthday featured the arrival of our newest little bundle of joy: a wee wii (not to be confused with a wee-wee). The Professor has been playing by/with himself and has hardly been seen since, except that he did resurface on Saturday, May 10, to enjoy a birthday double-feature at the local cinema googleplex: “Speed Racer” followed by “Iron Man.” The former exceeded our expectations; the latter did not.

    With regard to bonus points, I can only report that we did not acquire any moon rocks whilst across the void. Did you read, however, that filthy hooligans wielding pickaxes detached a “coin” sized piece of rock from The Stonehenge this week and absconded with said archeological bauble by diving over a fence into the night?

    We’re pleased to report that we have excellent Stonehenge photos from The Before Time (prior to the “coin” sized abscondification), and we are willing to share our artifacts with all comers.

  3. Liam
    May 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm | #3

    By the way, what does one win with these bonus points? Did you and the spouse bring back any moon rocks from across the pond, er, across the void?

  4. Liam
    May 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm | #4

    Happy Birthday! (a mere month and ten days late)

    Okay, let’s get the most obvious Muse allusions out of the way. Planet of the Apes (statue of liberty). Matrix (fight choreography, including signature “come hither” wave). Star Wars (cantina, blue and snowy holographic projection, robot wandering around the desert–except the robot is a first generation Cylon rather than C3P0, which brings us to…) Battlestar Galactica, original series.

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