Notes from the Underground

August 2007

Table of Contents

Meeting Announcements

The August meeting will be held at Ed and Karen's house Map of 12106 Laguna Pointe Ln Houston, TX 77041-6692, US). The Video Party will be held at Steve Dial's house (Map of 6235 Cheena Dr Houston, TX 77096-4616, US).

September Birthdays

Editor’s Announcement

Due to the rising costs of postage, we are changing to sending out newsletters electronically. If you want a paper newsletter, please email the editor and you will be mailed a newsletter paper newsletter, please email me (Erika Frensley). The PDF of each newsletter is also posted on the Several Unlimited website.

Club News

Message from the President - Jamie Ritchey

Summer is slowly winding down. We've had so much rain this year that my lawn has never looked better. The rain also kept the temperatures down enough that sitting on my back porch with the ceiling fan going was comfortable. My cat, Baby, enjoyed lounging out there so much before she passed away last week that I couldn't get her to come inside.

Next month, we have our annual elections for club offices. Lets discuss who wants to run for office at the next meeting. I've been president for a long time, but I never expected it to be a life-time job. Does anyone else want to be the head of this great, friendly group? To endure the love and adulation of our miniscule masses of members? Don't be shy.

Website Improvements

We’ve got quite a few changes to the club website:

Spotlighting the writing from members, the FanFic archive contains stories by Several Unlimited members. If you have a story you want to submit, send it to webmaster@severalunlimited.com, with the following information: title, author name you want it posted under, rating, Fandom, and a description.

C'mon, you know you have stories to contribute...

Do you have a show you’d love to find, but no one else seems to have heard of it? Post a message on the Obscure Shows List. Even better, check out the list to see if you have shows that people are looking for!

Help me populate this list with something other than spam and pleas for money!

Upcoming Events

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, 6/9–9/3/07, by Margaret McNickle (see review)

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1501 Montgomery Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107.

It combines costumes, artwork, film clips, documentary footage, and props from the movies with real world robotics and transportation. Two test labs let visitors build and test speeders and robots.

Package prices including the Star Wars exhibit are $15.00 (without IMAX film), or $20.00 (includes IMAX). I would go for the full package.

You can call: 817-255-9540 or go online (48 hours in advance) http://www.fwmuseum.org/.


ArmadilloCon 29, August 10-12, 2007

http://www.armadillocon.org/

Doubletree Hotel North
6505 N. IH-35
Austin, TX 78752


Panels, Art Show, Gaming, Charity, Writer's Workshop, Dealer's Room, and more!
ArmadilloCon is a literary science fiction convention held annually in Austin. The primary focus of ArmadilloCon is literary science fiction, but that's not all we do -- we also pay attention to art, animation, science, media, and gaming.

For more information, write:
ArmadilloCon 29
P.O. Box 27277
Austin, TX 78755
Or send email to dillochair@armadillocon.org


Realms Con August 24-26, 2007

http://www.realmscon.com/

Omni Corpus Christi Hotel Bayfront Tower
900 North Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, Texas 78401
Phone: (361) 887-1600, Fax: (361) 887-6715

Anime Music Video Contest, Anime Karaoke Contest, Anime Bikini Cosplay Contest, Cosplay Contest, Lisa Furukawa Ray Concert, Scavenger Hunt, Lingerie, Swimwear, & Evening Gown Model Walk, Rave, Hall Cosplay, Vic Mignogna Presents FULLMETAL FANTASY (A Realms Con Exclusive), Dead Texas (A Realms Con Exclusive), 24 Hour Game Rooms (With Your Favorite Tabletop Games, Video Games, and Tournaments ), 24 Hour Movie Rooms (Anime & Japanese Horror), Question And Answer Panels With Anime Celebrities

For more information, write:

Realms Con
4730 Sea Island Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78413
Or call 361-658-7446
Or send email to info@realmscon.com


Re/Max Ballunar Liftoff Festival August 24-26, 2007

http://www.ballunarfestival.com/index.html
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Visit this exciting and educational family-oriented event at NASA/Johnson Space Center and enjoy hot air balloon competitions, evening balloon glows, skydiving exhibitions, commercial exhibits, concession booths, food from local restaurants, arts & crafts exhibits, entertainment and various aviation equipment displays.

Ballunar Liftoff Festival, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Its mission is to help the public learn about aviation and space exploration, and to sponsor and fund educational activities that encourage young people to learn about aviation and space and to study mathematics and the sciences.

News and Reviews

Star Wars Where Science Meets Imagination Review


I saw the Star Wars science exhibit in Fort Worth July 21st. It was so full of things to see and do that the three hours we were there passed quickly. One room full of costumes and props kept us busy for about an hour. The exhibit compared Star Wars transportation, robotics, medicine, urban design, and extreme climates to ours.

We have more in common than we thought. Our technology is getting closer to Star Wars. I was impressed by the small models of space transportation vehicles that are being tested right now. I hope to see the real ones in my lifetime. Medical advances have been amazing, too. Artificial limbs have come a long way. Today's robots are nowhere near the Star Wars droids, but scientists are developing machines that express emotions, work together as a team, and solve problems.
This exhibit has some experiments for visitors. I build a Lego maglev vehicle that didn't work. The magnets fell off every time I put it on the test track. One kiosk didn't have audio. Overall, everything held up well considering how many visitors go through week after week.

A few words of warning: If you want to go, get there early in the day. We arrived around noon, and it got very crowded by 2:30. Once you enter, you will not be able to leave and return, not even for bathroom breaks. And don't exhaust yourself by driving there and back in one day. Erika, Dee and I stayed overnight, and it was a good thing we did. Fort Worth freeways are confusing when it's dark, and you're tired!


Anime Invades the MFAH

From now through October 21, 2007 the Museum of Fine Arts Houston will have an exhibition of Asian Pop Art on display. Parul and I had the opportunity to see the exhibit at the opening party.

The exhibition is of works collected by the Chaney family, and includes contemporary art from China, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea. As a big fan of representational art, I'm usually a bit wary of anything with the label "contemporary." I really did spend quite a bit of time looking at Kenneth Noland's "Circle"s several years back when they were at the MFAH, and eventually concluded that they were just pretty, well painted circles. Right from the outset, however, I knew this exhibit was going to be different. The entrance was flanked by huge fiberglass sculptures - one, of a bright red humanoid bearing his teeth, and the other of a man fighting with a large pig. After this introduction, the art took on recognizable themes - many of the pieces were a reaction to consumer culture and modern branding, including one piece that wove together Eddie Adams' famous photograph of Nguyen Van Lam's execution with modern food advertisements (apparently Campbell's has an Oxtail Soup flavor).

The room of Japanese art was interesting. One wall had a brief primer on otaku (nerd) culture with examples -- Pikachu and Speed Racer both behind glass at the MFAH! The Japanese artist "Mr." had two great pieces - one, a mural sized scene drawn in anime style, and the other a sculpture of a girl with the body the size of a typical 9 year old and a comically (manga-lly?) large head. Chiho Aoshima had two chromogenic photographs and a sculpture that delved into the fantastical and hinted at darker themes than some of the bright anime-style art exhibited around it.

Korean-American artist Do-Ho Suh had two fun pieces on display - Karma, a sculpture of two enormous but well dressed legs striding on hundreds of small, running people, and Paratrooper III, with a woven figure suspended from a "parachute" of brightly colored organza shirts. Overall, the exhibit was a fun look at an art scene that I knew very little about, and one that encourages me that there is some contemporary art that I "get." Now if only the video displays made a little sense...

In conjunction with the art on display, the MFAH film series will be showing "Anime Classics." Millennium Actress will show on August 9 at 7 pm, My Beautiful Girl Mari (actally a Korean animated film) on August 5th and 19 at 2pm, and Ghost in the Shell II on August 23rd at 7pm.

The MFAH website is http://www.mfah.org/.

Websites of the Month

Wizard News

www.wizardnews.com
The most complete source for the latest Harry Potter News.

Museum of Unnatural Mystery

www.unmuseum.org/unmain.htm
The Museum of Unnatural Mystery is the brainchild of Lee Krystek. Mr. Krystek had for a long time wanted to build a museum that would explore the fringe edges of science and at the same time use those subjects to get people interested in the more mundane aspects of scientific work. A brick and morter museum was far beyond his means, but the creation of the world wide web provided a medium that was affordable enough for him to realize his dream.

 

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