Saturday, 30 April 2016

Boxer 65

by Trace Elliot

And so I said goodbye to my trusty bass combo. I had the ad at both milanuncios and Vibbo (formerly and better known as segundamano.es, which is hardly surprising as “Vibbo” does not make any sense) for at least half a year. In the end, I sold it for a rather princely sum of €160 to a fellow musician here in Las Palmas. We tried the amp in his studio and he was very impressed with the sound quality as well as its pristine state.

Anyone should be. I myself didn’t believe that its nominal output is only 65 watts. I’d say it goes to eleven delivers at least 80 W. The build quality is equally impressive. Not to mention the famous and unbelievably comfy green carpet covering. I spent many a happy hour a-jammin’ while sittin’ on it in my “stairway to hell” period. But it really had to go. I was not using it since 2009 and, after travelling with us to Fuerteventura and then to Gran Canaria, good old Tracy was just gathering dust. Oh well. We had a fifteen-year ride, mate. I hope it will be put to a good use in the new hands.

Specifications

Output: 65 W rms / 8Ω
Loudspeaker: Celestion 12" 8Ω
Input impedance: >470 kΩ
Sensitivity: 77 mV rms
Weight: 17 kg
Dimensions: 480×410×290 mm

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Day the Earth Stood Still

a film by Robert Wise

The message from a friendly alien is clear: We come in peace. Don’t get too cocky, or we’ll destroy your puny planet.

We spent a cosy Saturday evening watching this film brought to us, once again, by Timur. I honestly can’t say it’s a masterpiece, but at least I finally get the cultural references in Futurama. The movie’s almost total lack of sense of humour made the experience even more hilarious.

Timur pointed out that on the DVD cover (which reproduces an original theatrical release poster), Gort holds quite a different woman. It matters not: nobody in this film ever pays attention to the woman. For example, Klaatu is shot and held by the army guys while Helen escapes unnoticed to deliver “one of the most famous commands in science fiction”, that is, Klaatu barada nikto. The phrase, in supposedly alien language, actually includes two Russian words: никто (nobody) and борода (beard), this latter is used here as a rhyming slang for никогда (never). Thus, apart from a direct message that Klaatu is no more, it contains a boast that nobody will ever (or, at least, until it’s too late) get its meaning. Duh. Another mystery cracked before lunchtime.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Adventures of Unamuno

by Timur Kulikov

Timur drew several illustrations for his school project on Miguel de Unamuno.

  1. Miguel de Unamuno was a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright and philosopher...

    Unamuno multitasking

  2. ...as well as professor and rector at the University of Salamanca.

    The University of Salamanca

  3. Unamuno was born on 29 September 1864 in Bilbao.

    Unamuno was born in Calle Ronda, 16, Bilbao

  4. When he was young, Unamuno was competing for a position of Basque language teacher in the Instituto de Bilbao against Sabino Arana and Resurrección María de Azkue; this latter has eventually won the contest.

    Unamuno competes for a position of teacher

  5. In 1924 Unamuno was kicked out of the university and banished to Fuerteventura where he had nothing better to do than spend his days on the beach.

    Unamuno in exile

  6. The day he returned to the University from his exile, Unamuno began his lecture by saying “Decíamos ayer...” (“As we were saying yesterday”) as if he had not been absent at all.

    Return to the University

  7. In 1936 Unamuno had a public quarrel with the Nationalist general Millán Astray.

    Unamuno vs Millán Astray

Friday, 15 April 2016

Extraterrestre

a film by Nacho Vigalondo

Life is full of surprises. For example, you wake up don’t-remember-how-did-I-get-here after one-night stand only to discover that aliens are about to land. Or, you flick through the TV channels about midnight and pause on a film that begins with somebody waking up after one-night stand only to discover that aliens are about to land. It’s midweek and, for a change, I am almost ready to go to bed, but no, I get hooked. Good thing that Canaries are one hour behind the Peninsula, otherwise I would have missed it.

Never mind we never get to see the actual aliens — or do we? — this low-budget production puts Hollywood to shame. The movie is clever, funny and sometimes disturbing, in as much Spanish as Nordic way. Wikipedia says it was filmed in Cantabria, but it could have been anywhere really. The characters are a bit weird but very believable; the ending is delightfully ambiguous and wabi-sabey; and Michelle Jenner can do that thing with her eyes!

Now to catch on sleep...

Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Day it Rained Forever

by Ray Bradbury
In his dream he was shutting the front door with its strawberry windows and lemon windows and windows like white clouds and windows like clear water in a country stream. Two dozen panes squared round the one big pane, colored of fruit wines and gelatins and cool water ices. He remembered his father holding him up as a child. ‘Look!’ And through the green glass the world was emerald, moss, and summer mint. ‘Look!’ The lilac pane made livid grapes of all the passersby. And at last the strawberry glass perpetually bathed the town in roseate warmth, carpeted the world in pink sunrise, and made the cut lawn seem imported from some Persian rug bazaar. The strawberry window, best of all, cured people of their paleness, warmed the cold rain, and set the blowing, shifting February snows afire.

One day, during recess, a small group of my students asked me if the English word damn, D-A-M-N, is a palabrota. I said that no, not in the 21st century anyway, not even in the 20th century. To illustrate this, I read them a passage from The Strawberry Window which just happened to be opened on Kindle in that very moment.

‘Why, we’ll be on some world with a number maybe; planet 6 of star system 97, planet 2 of system 99! So damn far off from here you need a nightmare to take it in! We’ll be gone, do you see, gone off away and safe! And I thought to myself, ah, ah. So that’s the reason we came to Mars, so that’s the reason men shoot off their rockets.’
The answer satisfied them; off they went.

As it happens, The Strawberry Window (Земляничное окошко) and Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed (Были они смуглые и золотоглазые) were among maybe the only three stories of this book that I read before. This before was long time ago, in 1970s, and all these years I misremembered them as belonging to The Martian Chronicles. Which, of course, makes them the part of The Martian Chronicles for me.