Pixel Scroll 5/3/18 In Space, No One Can Hear Your Shirt

(1) SAVING THROW. A replacement pop-up con for Universal Fan Con served vendors and a thousand fans in Baltimore: “How The Creators of Wicomicon Executed A Blerd Convention In A Week”Black Enterprise has the story.

Karama Horne was moved to tears when she entered the room at 1100 Wicomico St. in Baltimore on Saturday morning. She knew people were going to show up but just how many, she wasn’t sure. The week prior, one of the largest, blackest, most diverse fan-organized conventions, Universal FanCon, had indefinitely postponed its 24-hour event leaving fans stranded with hotel bills and plane fares they couldn’t get out of. Knowing the financial hole people were in, but also understanding the longstanding stigma and perhaps the consequences of the cancellation of the convention, prompted Horne and her friends to band together to create and hold WICOMICON on the same day Universal FanCon was supposed to be held.

(2) LET THE AI WIN. Dr. Janelle Shane has been at it again, this time with D&D character names  At lewisandquark: “D&D character names – generated by a neural network”. Some are pretty good. Not these —

Other names made perhaps less sense.

  • The Cart – Kenku Rogue
  • Nine Case – Dark Elf Fighter
  • Rump – Kenku Cleric
  • Gubble Daggers – Tabaxi Monk
  • Bog – halfling wizard
  • Jameless – Dwarf Champion Barbarian
  • Rune Diggler – Halfling Rogue
  • Borsh the Bardlock – Human Paladin
  • Spullbeard – Dwarf Fighter
  • Tovendirgle – Human Ranger
  • Pinderhand The Bugs – Gnome Wizard
  • Rune Wash – Human Wizard
  • Stumbleduckle – Human Paladin

(3) DEADPOOL AND DION. ScienceFiction.com says “Celine Dion And Deadpool Make Beautiful Music In ‘Deadpool 2’ Trailer”.

Deadpool 2’ has brought back the music video in its own weird way by having Celine Dion sing a song for the upcoming film. The music video gives us a glorious shot of Deadpool in heels dancing to the music.


(4) THE ROMANCE IS OVER. Digital Reader reports the pushback being given to Dragon Con about a guest: “DragonCon Invites the Infamous Lori James of All Romance eBooks as Author Guest”.

All Romance eBooks was at one time a leading romance ebook retailer, but by the time it shut down in late 2016 it was clouded in scandal…

ARe owner Lori James is being sued by a class of authors, so one would think she would maintain a low profile.

… According to the DragonCon website, Lori James has been invited to attend the con as an author guest. She will be coming under her pen name, Samantha Sommersby, but no matter what you call her this is still the same person who owes authors hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

DragonCon was first made aware of this situation 3 weeks ago by authors who belong to the (closed) FB group Pissed Off former ARe Authors

Dragon Con says they’re looking into it.

(5) PART ROLLER COASTER, PART VIDEO. A VR sci-fi theme park in China:

Looking for an out of this world experience during your next theme park adventure? Well, today we get our first look at China’s massive new Sci-Fi virtual reality theme park, the ‘Oriental Science Fiction Valley.’ This unique part is found in Guizhou, China, spanning over 330 acres while allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a futuristic world. The park features everything from VR attractions and much more, offering 35 rides in all for guests to enjoy.

The highlight of the park is the huge mecha at 174 feet tall that weighs 700 tons. CEO Chen Jianli said in a YouTube interview “There’s fierce competition in the theme park market right now.” He went on to add “We are trying to give customers a new experience by combining modern technologies such as VR and [augmented reality] with traditional recreational facilities.


(6) WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA. A “New Film Festival Planned In Beverly Hills” will feature the premiere of a new restoration of 1953 sci-fi classic War of the Worlds.The Hollywood Reporter says —

The City of Beverly Hills will be the home of a newly-created film festival aimed at bridging Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach.

While planning is still underway, the debut The Beverly Hills Infinity Film Festival is slated to take place Nov. 1-4 with The Paley Center for Media as its home base. Additional intended locations include the Writers Guild Theater and various private screening rooms at Beverly Hills-based talent agencies. Organizers also hope to attract Beverly Hills hotels for participation and various retail storefronts to host pop-ups for exhibitions and installations.

The first two days will feature screenings and programming for industry professionals. At press time, organizers confirmed that Paramount Pictures intends to premiere a new restoration of its 1953 classic War of the Worlds, which won an Academy Award for special effects, at the festival….

(7) TRIBUTE TO LE GUIN. Literary Arts announced tickets are now available for the Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin on June 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. Click here to reserve your free seat. Tickets are for General Admission (open seating). Reservations will be limited to 2 tickets per person.

This event will include tributes from fellow writers and close friends of Le Guin, including Margaret Atwood (by video), Molly Gloss, Walidah Imarisha, Jonathan Lethem, Kelly Link, China Miéville, and Daniel José Older. The tribute will also include rare documentary footage of Le Guin, along with photos and images from her life and work

(8) PROTTER OBIT. Literary agent Susan Protter (1939-2018) died on May 3. Andrew Porter recalls, she was the agent for many SF writers, including Rudy Rucker, Terry Bisson, David Nighbert, Michael D. Weaver, and David Hartwell. More info here.


  • Mike Kennedy and John King Tarpinian saw how the world ends in Non Sequitur.

(10) PREDATORS ON DISPLAY. Visit “Fran Wilde’s Museum of Errant Critters” at Terrible Minds. Exhibit includes her cartoons of each specimen.

Welcome to The Museum of Errant Critters – Established somewhere between 1812 and 2018 to catalog and archive mind-creatures that often behave in creatively destructive ways.

Visit our exhibits to learn tips and tricks for Critter Management… (results not guaranteed). In particular, we’ve found that identification and discussion helps with management of many of these critters. At least, it helps with identifying the gnawing sounds in the dark of night….

Guilt Gorilla

The gravity well near most Guilt Gorillas is extensive and can drag down even a stalwart creative. Feeds on: pre-existing feelings of not doing enough, overwork, and lateness. Distraction devices include planning calendars, reminding yourself to stand up and stretch once in a while, and that yes even you should take a @!%$#@ vacation now and then.

(11) DESPERATELY SEEKING SNORTS. Yes, this is what we’re talking about:

(12) COLLECTIBLES. If only you’d ever owned one of these in the first place, right? Syfy Wire chronicles “Awesome Stuff We Want: The original Star Wars toy vouchers are insanely valuable now”.

There is no shortage of Star Wars toys and paraphernalia these days; the franchise is an industry unto itself, with branded merchandise that spans from action figures to toiletries, and just about anything else you can imagine. But back when the first movie premiered in 1977, Lucasfilm and Fox had no idea how big of a hit it would be and what kind of demand it would create for Star Wars toys. They had to scramble to catch up, and so they issued vouchers that fans could redeem for toys when they were ready.

Up for grabs on eBay is one of those Star Wars Early Bird Certificate packages, which has remarkably never been opened. It’s just an envelope from 1977 that promises a handful of the first Star Wars action figures to arrive in the middle of 1978 — and it is now way more valuable than any of those toys. All it will cost you is $12,950.

(13) OH, NUTS! The Popular Mechanics headline reads: “Screws and Washers Are Falling Off NASA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Space Telescope”.

On anything that moves, from vehicles to rolling office chairs, you need to be wary of bolts rattling loose over time. Thread-locking fluids and tapes are a great way to make sure your suspect bolts stay where they should, and nyloc nuts can also keep components snug and secure.

Northrop Grumman might need to look into something along these lines, because apparently “screws and washers” are falling off the spacecraft and sunshield it is building to carry NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Space News reports that NASA’s JWST program director, Greg Robinson, said that hardware was found underneath the spacecraft element of JWST (everything but the mirror and instruments) after it was moved from an acoustic testing chamber to a vibration testing chamber.

“Right now we believe that all of this hardware—we’re talking screws and washers here—come from the sunshield cover,” Robinson said today at the National Academies’ Space Studies Board in Washington D.C., according to Space News. “We’re looking at what this really means and what is the recovery plan.”

And the Space News story has more details: “JWST suffers new problem during spacecraft testing”

(14) 24 KLEENEX PER SECOND. MeTV asks you to “Pick: What’s your favorite cartoon tearjerker?”.

Who got you to turn on the waterworks: Dumbo or Mufasa?

Some cartoon movies are so good, you could cry. In fact, many of them set out to make you do just that. But which cartoon tearjerker inspired the most waterworks for you?

Log your vote below for your favorite cartoon tearjerker to make your choice between classics like Bambi and those emotional Pixar movies that dependably dampen faces today. See how many others wept along with you!

(15) SCARCE AS HEN’S TEETH. There was a time when they weren’t so rare — “How birds got their beaks – new fossil evidence”.

Scientists have pieced together the skull of a strange ancient bird, revealing a primitive beak lined with teeth.

The “transitional” bird sheds light on a pivotal point in the pathway from dinosaurs to modern birds.

Ichthyornis dispar lived in North America about 86 million years ago.

The seagull-sized bird had a beak and a brain much like modern birds, but the sharp teeth and powerful jaws of dinosaurs like Velociraptor.

“It shows us what the first bird beak looked like,” said Bhart-Anjan Bhullar of Yale University, a study researcher.

“It’s a real mosaic of features, a transitional form.”

(16) ASK THE MAN WHO OWNS ONE. More Solo: A Star Wars Story promo – “Tour The Millennium Falcon with Donald Glover”

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little.]

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93 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/3/18 In Space, No One Can Hear Your Shirt

  1. @Lenore Jones:

    My pleasure. It’s one of my favorite animated shorts.

    Here in 5269, there are still Baker Street Irregulars.

  2. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I’m also reading Space Opera (as my reward for finishing Way of Kings) and it’s good, except that I’ve had to roll my eyes at some of the attempted Britishness.

  3. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:
    I’m just a bit past the wormhole bit myself. Great stuff.

    Got my Hugo email too.

  4. @Ray Radlein: The last time I watched Grave of Fireflies I was hopped up on cold medicine and badly sleep-deprived.

    That is a far-from-ideal way to watch that film. But I can’t watch it again.

  5. Yeah. Lilo and Stitch makes me weepy in the right spot. Grave of the Fireflies harrows me.

  6. I might put on some Brubeck. Maybe Desmond’s “Take Five,” which I always wish Mr. Brubeck had recorded as a solo at least once. Near the end of our time in Massachusetts, I was fortunate enough to go and witness Brubeck and his Quartet (the 21st century line-up) at Smith College, and the best part is that he did a version of his classic “Over the Rainbow,” my favorite recording of his. Being who he was and all, he didn’t play it like he did in the 50s, but it was still transcendent. I wish I had quietly said “Thank you” in the pause between the last held note and the audience’s appreciation, but if that’s the worst thing I can think of to regret, I’m doing better than usual.

    (Starting now, with the Octet playing Ven Kreidt’s “Prelude” and “Fugue on Bop Tunes,” and then it’ll be “Give a Little Whistle” and then I’ll be good and ready for “Over the Rainbow.”)

  7. @Lenora Rose: “This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah – still good.”

  8. Oh, yeah. There it is.


    Around 3:40, Brubeck puts down just a series of block chords with a pedal between each one, and the sound of the pedal becomes a percussion instrument dividing the melody and harmony into these regular, discrete moments, like ballet under strobe lights. And then…

  9. Grave of the Fireflies is the one Ghibli I have deliberately not watched. I bawl uncontrollably at Princess Mononoke—the Boar God does me in every time—and I know I have limits.

    …that said, the first five minutes of Up are an act of emotional brutality.

  10. Listening to Space Opera audiobook, and enjoying it thoroughly.

    Lilo and Stitch never worked for me; I don’t know why. In 7789, why good stuff can wind up not working for some people who want to like it remains an unsolved problem.

  11. I agree with RedWombat. Just the description of Grave of the Fireflies left me weeping and feeling harrowed. Watching it would devistate me. I have avoided it deliberately for years.

    And just the music from the first 5 minutes of Up now gets me. I found out that some of the musicians playing the piece for the movie were weeping because they were so wrecked by the story they were accompanying.

    I am pretty sure that anyone not impacted emotionally by that either did not follow what happen (I guess there were lots of people who didn’t understand that she found out she couldn’t have children after she lost the baby. I have to explain that to a few people) or are people I would rather not be in a room with. That sequence is a carefully crafted surgical instrument that just cuts to the core.

  12. @Mark be careful rolling your eyes at Space Opera the glitter can blind you.

  13. Contrarius, good that you reminded me before 5/4 was over. I got out the music and played “Take Five.” Not my best traversal of the score, but as they say, sometimes it’s the thought that counts.

  14. My favorite fact about Grave of the Fireflies is the way it was originally released to theaters as half of a double feature with My Neighbor Totoro.

  15. @RedWombat

    Oh, Jesus wept. Up! I cannot bring myself to watch the opening of that again.

    Even the BBC’s film reviewer of the day, who’s name is anathema around here, was weeping after that.

  16. Good grief what a double billl. What order did they play them in ?!? After Grave of the Fireflies could you even pay attention to Totoro? Talk about a horrible segue in either direction.

  17. About Lori James: No, I wouldn’t put her on a panel and comp her a membership. Why should a con support her in any endeavor where she’s going to be attempting to get people to give her money? She screwed over a lot of readers; why would a con want to give any platform to someone like that? There are plenty of authors out there who haven’t stolen thousands of dollars of fans’ and writers’ money who could fill the timeslot. This is just incredibly stupid of DC and makes them look callous and ignorant.

    @Arifel: The upcoming Baycon will feature a panel titled “Well, Actually…” Your shirt would be much appreciated there.

    (14) “Jurassic Bark” from Futurama. aaaghhhhhh. I’ve still never and don’t intend to ever watch “Grave of the Fireflies”.

  18. Yeah, the first five or ten minutes of Up are emotionally devastating, but I think they’re the good kind of emotionally devastating? As opposed to Grave of the Fireflies which, while it’s a remarkable achievement, basically spends its entire running time kicking you in the emotional kidneys.

    Horrible segues: At one point I was working with a guy who used to work in a second-run theater. He told me that at one point they were doing a double bill of Monty Python & the Holy Grail and Excalibur, and they very quickly figured out that in that case you need to show Excalibur first.

  19. @Hampus Eckerman: Yay for no more operations! Boo for infections! Wishing you a speedy recovery!!!

    @JJ: “Yes and I have a copy of it MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA” – No, you fiend! 😉 I look forward to one of your reviews, when you read it.

    @Matt Y: Nice, shiny new avatar ya got there!

    @Mark (Kitteh): “I’m also reading Space Opera (as my reward for finishing Way of Kings)” – The only reward for successful reading is more reading? 😉

  20. @Chip Hitchcock: Thanks for posting those two reviews! Curtis Craddock’s novel is on my list; I’ve read good things about it. I didn’t know the lands were floating (I like that sort of thing!), but since it’s fantasy, I’d presume the mechanism is some kind of natural magic and needs little explanation unless it becomes a plot point. Anyway, overall it sounds like a good book.

    @Lurkertype: Oh god. I was thinking “Have I ever even felt like I wanted to cry at anything animated?” You just had to go and name “Jurassic Bark,” which IIRC made me tear up or pretty darn close. (I’m not sure I’ve ever out-and-out cried at movie/TV/fiction.)

    There may be others. I can’t remember how I felt about old Disney stuff I saw as a little kid, but I doubt things like Dumbo or Pinochio made me want to cry.

    ETA: I honestly barely even remember Bambi, but I must’ve seen it, I guess.

  21. @Hampus
    Get well soon!


    About Lori James: No, I wouldn’t put her on a panel and comp her a membership. Why should a con support her in any endeavor where she’s going to be attempting to get people to give her money? She screwed over a lot of readers; why would a con want to give any platform to someone like that? There are plenty of authors out there who haven’t stolen thousands of dollars of fans’ and writers’ money who could fill the timeslot. This is just incredibly stupid of DC and makes them look callous and ignorant.

    She didn’t just screw over readers, she also screwed over a lot of small presses and indie authors who sold books via her site and were never paid for three months worth of sales. At the very least, she can pay for her own damn DragonCon membership.

    Bambi is on the Retro Hugo ballot this year, so that’s a perfect reason to watch/rewatch it. I remember Bambi and particularly Dumbo as tearjerkers of sorts (though I don’t cry a lot at movies and rarely at the ones you’re supposed to), though it’s been ages since I saw them.

  22. There’s an animated scene (it’s not the only one) that brings tears to my eyes each time I see it, and not in sorrow, but something else. If you’ve seen RATATOUILLE, you probably know which one I mean: It’s the scene in which Anton Ego drops his pen. (Ratatouille Anton Ego Scene brings it up on Google.)

    Last time I saw BAMBI in a theater, I was behind a kid about five years old who said every thought that came into his head out loud. After a moment of annoyance, I decided I had been given the gift of telepathy for two hours, and actually enjoyed his unfiltered reactions to everything. We came to the sad bit, and he asked where Bambi’s mom was. His mother whispered something to him and he said, “No she isn’t!” Right after that, Big Bambi came along, and he said, “That’s Bambi’s mom!” His mother whispered again and he said, “No it isn’t!” (I asked a co-worker what her 4-year-old thought of the electroshock in RETURN TO OZ, and she said he thought she was wearing headphones. It’s the Cloak of Ignorance, saving young psyches.)

  23. The two animated film tear-inducers that come first to my mind are Lilo and Stitch (possibly not the same scene that others have mentioned — I recall most the one where Stitch is reading the picture book about the ducklings all by himself), and the opening segment of Up. I will never, never forgive Pixar for Up. It wasn’t only the very personal ambush I felt (my mother was dying of cancer at the time I saw it) but the fact that damnit I wanted Ellie’s story. Not what I got.

  24. I’m feeling soooo uneducated right now. I haven’t seen *any* of those animated movies except for Up, and I don’t remember the scene you guys keep talking about at all.

  25. @Contrarius: I haven’t seen “Up” or “Lilo and Stitch” or probably some of the others. 🙂

    @Cora: Thanks for mentioning that! I haven’t paid much attention to the retros yet, whoops.

  26. In Lilo and Stitch it’s where Nani is saying goodnight to her sister for what she’s sure is the last time – right up to Stitch wandering lost.

    In My Neighbour Totoro, it’s when Satsuki breaks down with fears about her mother.

    Up’s beginning gets me but it helps that it’s not the main movie for how I feel later.

    Jurassic Bark would kill me to ever watch again, but also peeves me.

    I’ve been weepy at CoCo so far but not sure it will last. Probably, though.

  27. The very first movie theater experience I can remember proves to me that someone at Disney wanted to traumatize as many children as possible. It was a double-feature of Bambi and Old Yeller.

    But for making me cry nowadays, it’s the opening sequence of Up (are you sure it’s only 5 minutes long?)

  28. Heather Rose Jones: I will never, never forgive Pixar for Up. It wasn’t only the very personal ambush I felt (my mother was dying of cancer at the time I saw it) but the fact that damnit I wanted Ellie’s story. Not what I got.

    Yes, exactly. The first part of that movie was great, but it was far too short. The rest of the movie would have been better if it had been Ellie’s story.

  29. Pretty much every Pixar movie has me teary-eyed at this point (this seems to have developed in my early 40s, about five years ago). And I agree, that first five minutes of Up is brutal.

    Another one that had me all verklempt was The Iron Giant.

  30. In re Up:

    This is the scene I find even more emotional than the first five minutes (which are wrenching):


    As for “Ellie’s movie”, it’s very unlikely that you’d get the film you want from The Mouse/The Mouse Jr. Unlike Carl, Ellie as depicted in Up isn’t as flawed or in need of redemption. She’s all too pragmatic a dreamer.

    Here in 8668, The Mouse is still trying to keep Steamboat Willie under copyright protection.

  31. The final door scene in Howl’s Moving Castle gets me, and so did the last bit of Inside Out. In Up, I was affected by the opening sequence but actually cried a lot harder at the moment towards the end with the book (although, yes, I also spent most of the rest of it wanting Ellie’s film). Also the entirety of Moana had my eyes leaking for one reason or another.

    I still haven’t seen Lilo and Stitch, but this conversation has moved it even higher up my list.

  32. @Chip Hitchcock, ever since I got 5 novels in the Craft series in last year’s Hugo voter packet, I’ve been stuck trying to read them. I had read and enjoyed Three Parts Dead some time earlier, and now having read Two Serpents Rise I’m somewhere in Full Fathom Five.
    Somehow, the novels seem compelling enough to not give up on, yet not truly gripping enough to stick with for an extended period of time (in 2016, I read all the current volumes of ASoIaF within about 2-3 months).
    I guess this year’s Hugo voter packet will resolve the dilemma for a while.

  33. @kathodus: Oh yeah: Vin Diesel’s whispered “Fhcrezna”.
    The last few minutes of Wall-E (from Eve’s screamed “Wall-E!” onward) reduces me to a sobbing pile of jello.

  34. “This is the scene I find even more emotional than the first five minutes (which are wrenching):”

    Jesus, that scene is horrible. Started crying in hospital now, than god the nurse had left or she might have thought there was something wrong with the medicine.

    I just can’t handle Up! The first part is to harrowing and I don like the rest of the movie.

  35. Wall-E and Up both suffer a kind of weird disjointedness, too many moods mashed up, premises I could work with tangled with ones that I dislike intensely. Of course my kids adore Wall-E. And Bolt, another one with great scenes and moments I just can’t suspend belief for anymore.

    Moana doesn’t make me cry, nor most of the other Miyazakis, though they are mainly excellent movies and have in some cases made me weepy on initial viewings. (I can see why the boar god would get to one…) Early Disney mostly does not… but I haven’t watched Bambi or the Fox and the Hound since I was tiny.

    The Iron Giant. yeah. It’s been a while, since we don’t own it (I had it in the days of VHS) but both my husband and I have had it on wish lists for years.

  36. Speaking of early Disney, DUMBO extracts the salt water pretty efficiently in the “Baby Mine” scene, thanks in part to earlier groundwork.

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