River Song’s Steampunk Sonic Screwdriver

River Song's Sonic Screwdriver
River Song's Sonic Screwdriver
Discovered Netflix instant now has the new Dr Who last night and was scrolling through episodes wondering what to watch. Hit the Silence in the Library and thought “Wouldn’t it be cool to rewatch the episode where the Dr first meets River Song, knowing what I know now about her?”

Yes it was. I still wonder, did they know then?

It is a two part episode and at the end of Forest of the Dead, the Doctor set down River’s Sonic Screwdriver on her book and there is a long slow zoom in. Of late I’ve been mildly obsesses with Steampunk and looking at her screwdriver close up thought, “Wow, that looks steampunk!”

Click the image on this post for a larger look and see if you don’t agree.

Couple of geek notes.

There’s some continuity errors between the close ups and the 2 shots with the Doctor and the Screwdriver here.

I’m not sure the close up in his hand is the same screwdriver. There is a loop on the one on the book, but it seems to disappear in all the other shots. Could be he’s holding it where you can’t see it, but I’m not sure.

Finding Your Inner Super

So you’ve decided to go to the coolest birthday party of the year and you have come as a super hero. How do you pick one?

If You Are Geek

You probably already have some preferences, and a lot of choices to go through.

Think body type.

If you are a little pear shaped, picking a super hero that wears spandex may not be the best choice. It could be the fun and bold choice no matter what hero, but as a geek, you probably want to be the super and not parody it.

Look for superheros that wear more normal clothes. The Punisher. Rorschach.

Or embrace your rotundness and pick a rounder superhero/villain. The Penquin, out of shape Mr. Incredible, Night Owl in the Watchman graphic novel – they buffed him up for the movie, and Author the Moth, the Tick’s sidekick.

Think Colors

You know how hard it is for find a blonde male superhero? Harder than you think. Well if you want to go with your natural hair, you may narrow your choices right out of the box.

One attendee of the party has white hair. Immediately I think of Storm. But my friend is white and Storm is black.

Notice how the comic artist design costumes so they go with hair color? Poison Ivy’s costume has to be green, so her hair is red – the complementary color.

Think Details

Think about your favorite super hero. Now start removing stuff from their costume. What is the minimum stuff that has to be there for it to be your character? You don’t have to have the 90 lb rubber Batman costume. Minimized, you need some kind of mask, a grey/black shirt with the logo, and a big belt. That’s very minimal, but it could covey who you are if you have the attitude to pull it off.

This also really works if you are sexying up the character. You have to know what details are required, which ones can be modified in a sexy way, and which ones can be tossed if they aren’t sexy. Superman needs the S, needs costume to be red and blue, here’s the original supergirl, and here’s the sexy version.

What Can You Do?

Do you want to just go to your closet and pickout stuff to wear? Or are you going to a costume store and buying something?

It’s pretty easy to go to Frankel’s and buy a Batman costume. Much less easy to build one, at least from my closet.

I thought about going as Inspector Gadget. Seems like a simple costume, trench coat and hat. I can do that easily. But…is he really Inspector Gadget if it doesn’t have some gadget thing boinging out of his hat or coat? Now it is more complicated.

If You Are Not a Geek

If you aren’t a geek you probably don’t have someone you want to be from the start. Instead you are going for something cool and it is more about what you can do and look good in.

Think Natural or Unnatural Colors

What color is your hair? As mentioned above, blonde male supers are hard to find, but blonde females not so much.

Skin color? It is a geek debate about how few black superheros there are. But really for this party coming as a black superman is OK.

Or forget what you are now, change your color.

Buy a wig.

Just use makeup to make the big change. Harley Quinn is covered head to toe in red, black and white. You don’t have to be you.

Think Unknown Superheros

A superhero has to have super powers. That doesn’t mean they have to be from Marvel, DC or a comic book.

In my eyes, Dr Who is a super hero. So is Neo from the Matrix.

For a costume party you want to pick someone that has a distinct look, but they don’t have to be a comic book hero.

Childhood Memories

Didn’t you watch cartoons as a kid? Even if you aren’t a comic book geek you probably still have super heros in your head. What about Wonder Woman. Superman and Batman. All cultural icons.

Go Sexy And The Geeks Won’t Care

Ladies the fact is if you come dressed in spiderman or batman underroos and high heels, the geeks won’t care about your non-canon costume. Guys if you’ve got the body for it, coming in University of Florida swim trunks and saying you are Aquaman might work. Of course the party is in January.

Careful Parody

You don’t want to insult the geeks or the character, but if you can make fun of their superpower in a nice way that could work. Do all of Mr Fantastic‘s part stretch? Is 100% of the Thing’s body rock hard?

It is also a parody to go as the Flash if you are way rounder than that skinny character. It’s embracing who you are and who they aren’t. Which is fun and shows your own self confidence.

A Final Note To Non-Geeks

Do a little research. A lot of my friends, and a lot of people in general, are closet superhero nerds. You want to be able to talk intelligently about who you are. At the lease go read their wikipedia page.

EMS Newbie

Once you do one podcast, you are quick to think about doing another. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be an EMT. I’m a week into my training and it is interesting. But it also gave me an idea for another podcast.

Being a podcast listener as well as a podcaster, when I started to enter the world of EMS (Emergency Medical Services), I immediately went to iTunes and searched for EMS and EMT. There are a number of podcasts aimed at that market with really great people on them. But they are so advanced I was often lost to know what they were talking about.

On the other hand, I have been reading Kelly Greyson’s A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driverfor years now. I think I stumbled across it via some gun blogging something, but it was the stories that stuck with me.

So I got the idea of making a podcast about my experience as a EMS Newbie going through EMT-Basic class. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I had a mentor more advanced than I as I went through it who I could ask questions about what I was learning?” I immediately thought of Kelly, or AD as I knew him at the time. And if I’d like that kind of thing, I bet there are a lot of other EMS Newbies out there who would as well. What if I recorded our Q&A time and made a podcast out of it.

So Confessions of An EMS Newbie was born.

It is brand new and only one episode is up, but another is in the can and we are schedule to record a new one every weekend. The plan is to release episodes on Tuesdays. We aren’t in iTunes yet because you really should have 3 or 4 episode before you submit and you have to have album art.

There won’t be much in the way of EMT blogging here, because all of it will be on the new site, but I wanted both of my loyal readers to know about it.

Sexy CPR Is Really CPR

Before it start my EMT clinical I have to take CPR for health care professionals. I found a place online to take it and was just starting to read the section on actual CPR when a office mate pointed something out in this video and I needed to rewatch it. Yes a terrible thing to have to do.

The cool thing about it was this is actually how you do CPR. It is BLS (Basic Life Support) CPR but it is what you do.

Super Sexy CPR from Super Sexy CPR on Vimeo.

From my online CPR course:

“A” for Airway. Look-Listen-Feel for breathing by opening the airway using the Head Tilt-Chin Lift motion. Tilt the head with the palm of your hand, lift the chin with your fingers, and bring your cheek close to the victim’s face (don’t press your fingers under the chin too deeply). Keep your eyes on the chest to see it rise and fall (exercise shouldn’t last more than 10 seconds). Remember breaths may be faint and shallow and are not considered regular breathing.

The thing my buddy pointed out is they are wearing the two halves of each other’s lingerie. One has the black bra and the other the black bottom.

Shooting, Reading, and Libertarianism. What’s Going On With Ron.

Been a long time since I posted so I thought I’d mention a few things going on with me right now.

April 17th I’m teaching a glamour workshop at the studio. That means photographically I’m focused on planning that. The main model is Carley Erin and the other afternoon model is Skye Greene. I shot with Skye a few days ago prepping for the class.

I’ve decided to learn to shoot – guns this time – better this year. I planned to go out to Frontsight this spring and take the rifle course, but doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Hopefully in the fall. In the mean time I’m going to look for some training locally. I’m going to take the Advanced Pistol training offered by KRTraining on April 10th.

I’m also trying to get deeper in my understanding of Libertarian politics. So I’m listening to Libertarianism by David Boaz. I got the audio book version and I’m not sure that is the best bet for my absorbing what’s being said. I also want to read Anarchy, State, And Utopia by Robert Nozick.

Speaking of reading, I’ve decided to read all of the Liad book in chronological order from Crystal Soldier to I Dare. I just finished Conflict of Honors and am going to start Agent of Change. Not sure where I’ll but the parallel stories of Saltation and Fledgling. BTW you can get all of these books – including advanced reader copies – from Baen’s Webscriptions in digital form.

The biggest change going on right now is my day jobs offices have moved into Kingwood, the suburb I live in. That means I’m 10 minutes drive from home now. Woot! Does adversely effect audiobook listening though. I may start riding my bike though, so that would lengthen it back out.

Speaking of exercise, come next Monday I’m starting P90x, the killer infomercial marketed exercise program. Some of my co-workers and I are all going to do it at the same time. We decided to wait until the Monday after the move to let us recover from the move itself. Which is good because really blew out my back during the move. I decided to start the diet this week and have done well on it. I find using the iPhone App from Livestrong.com to track my eating has really helped.

I’ll talk more about P90x as I really get into it. Here’s one tip – overall it is cheaper to by it from Amazon than direct from Beachbody. Especially if you have Amazon Prime and get free shipping.

Well now you know all kinds of things going on with me.

Last Light Review

This is my first survival literature review and is for Terri Blackstock’s Last Light, the first in her Restoration Series.

In my intro to reviewing survival literature I talked about two kinds of survival stories. This book is a regular people story.

The Survival Scenario: EMP

The book starts with what appears to be an EMP attack. Everything electronic stops working, planes fall out of the sky, phones don’t work, cars don’t work.

But this is an EMP attack on steroids. Even when you turn on something electronic that wasn’t effected they break. Including things like generators.

The story centers around one family, the Bannings, in Birmingham Alabama. They are an upper middle class suburban family with 3 kids. The oldest Dani, has just graduated college and landed a job as a reporter in Washington DC. Her and her father have just landed back in Birmingham when the lights go out.

The Book as a Book

The book is well written. Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop, which to me is the sole arbiter of how good a book is. The characters are well formed, if stupid on a number of levels, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The plot has some interesting a subtle twists and turns. This is very much about a suburban neighborhood. There are no external threats in this book, but a very interesting murder mystery from the beginning.

If you go looking for the book, look in the Christian fiction section. I don’t think the book is all that Christian – yes the main characters are Christian and at one point in the book they decided to allow their faith to guide their post-apocalyptic lifestyle. Patriots characters are just as Christian, but since the book didn’t have a Christian publisher it doesn’t end up in the getto.

I don’t know if this is a mark of good writing, that is can evoke such a strong reaction, or bad, because I hated the character so. I hated one of the characters so much by the end of the book, I probably won’t read anymore in the series. About 3/4 of the way through the book I was hoping Dani would just get herself killed and put us out of our misery.

There is also very good social understanding in this book. Terri deals well with how people interact with their suburban neighbors, whom they hardly know. She deals with teenage rebellion which is a luxury we can afford in an affluent society. Issues of race were also well done with people on both sides understanding their own prejudices and trying to deal with them correctly.

Survival Lessons

This book taught me a couple of things.

Water

The suburb the Bannings live has its own lake, so they have a source of water. They don’t talk about purifying it much, but it is a source. This means that even though they didn’t prepare, they did have water.

But they didn’t have a way to transport and store it. They had to make daily trips to the lake and at first had nothing to put water in. Water is heavy and you need some kind of cart to carry it.

I live in a suburb called the livable forest and there are a number of streams within walking distance, but I wouldn’t want to have carry even 5 gallons – which I consider the amount one person needs for one day in the Houston heat – back to my house. I need a wheeled something, even a kids wagon would help. I’m thinking a gardening cart with 4 wheels. And of course I need something to hold that water in to put in the cart.

Bicycles

There is quite a bit of travel that happens in the book. There are often discussions of horses in a post-apocalyptic worlds, but the thing that fascinated me was how incredibly useful a bicycle could be. People could get most places in Birmingham on a bike. At one point someone road from Washington DC to Birmingham on a bike (over 700 miles).

If you think about it bikes are a great multiplier.

I generally think the average person could walk 20 miles a day. Maybe more. A runner can run a marathon in 4 hours, so a person should be able to walk one in 8-12 hours.

But a bike will multiply that by at least 3. The equivalent for bicycles of a marathon is a century, which is 100 miles. This guy did 2465 miles across America in 45 days. Avg 55 miles/day, longest day 126 miles.

Most people have bicycles, few have horses.

Conclusion

It was a good well written book about normal people and what they did after the grid went down. I came away thankful that my kids were not as big a brats as the Bannings were. 🙂 And I know it is true because after Hurricane Ike we spend a week grid down, and my boys never complained or snuck off.

There are some good ideas about how you can deal with grid down situations even if you didn’t prepare, and you can see how somethings you could do now would make a big difference.

Reviewing Survival Literature

I’ve been reading a bunch of survivalist literature lately and I thought I should write some reviews. But as I got ready to write my first ones I thought about some over arching things that need to be talked about first.

Fiction vs. How To

There are two kinds of books I’ve been reading. One are fictional stories about survival situations, the other are how to survive non-fiction books. Probably the best example of this are two books by the same author. Both by James Wesley Rawles Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse and How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.

While Rawles, the man behind the very good Survival Blog, says Patriots is a poorly disguised survival manual, it really isn’t a manual. Hence his creation of How To Survive TEOTWAWKI. Other examples of how to books are Neil Strauss’ Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life(I’ve already reviewed Emergency) , and Fernando Ferfal Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. When reviewing how to books I have talk about how the information is presented, how applicable it is, what kind of disaster it is talking about and how accurate I think it is.

When it comes to fiction like, Patriots and books like Terri Blackstock’s Last Light and William R. Forstchen’s One Second After, you give some leaway for the how to aspects of it, and also have talk about how believable the scenario is. Plus the kind of characters that are in the books make a difference.

Prepared Vs Unprepared

When looking at fiction works, you have to take into account what kind of characters are in the book. Are they, like Patriots, hard core suvivalists? Or are they average middle class suburbanites taken completely by surprise, like in Last Light? Or is a small town in the middle of now where Kansas like Jericho?

Survivalists – while I’ll admit to considering myself – are often very hard to stuff that happens in non-survivalist literature. Hence why I wrote my article “In Defense of Jericho“. Non-survivalist will act differently than those prepared.

Also in general survivalist have an idea of how things will go that non-survivalist may not have. Which needs to be talked about.

Realism

Talking about how I think things would have gone. What I think is realistic is a bit of an exercise in futility. Not because I don’t have ideas, just like the authors of the books, but because no one really knows. Every situation is different, every place is different, and people are different. So saying something won’t happen like this is really just opinion. Its opinion when the authors say it and its opinion when I disagree with them. But we can all learn from each other’s perspective.

That’s where I’ll be coming from as I review first Rawles books and Blackstock’s Last Light over the coming weeks.