Posts Tagged ‘video’

Blickensderfer No. 9

Blickenderfer 9For his birthday, I gave Rob a Blickensderfer No. 9 which is a really ingenious machine. Although it was built in 1893, it might remind you of the typeball on an IBM selectric. Pretty cool, huh? It’s at the repair shop now getting a cleaning, so you’ll have to wait to see video of it in action. Don’t expect me to actually type on it, because the keys are not laid out in the standard QWERTY format.  Still, it’s pretty keen, huh?

Rob was about as excited as I’ve seen him over a gift.  He kept pushing the keys reaaaaally slowly to watch the type element spin.  It was cute.

Blickenderfer 9Blickenderfer 9Blickenderfer 9

The Rag (show)

The Rag (show) is a weekly puppet video blog with very short (like 45 seconds), funny pieces using “wayang xerox”* to hit some topical subjects. This week? An iceberg discusses global warming.

*I promise that makes sense and is funny to a puppeteer. Wayang kulit is a style of traditional Indonesian rod puppets, they are typically flat and have rods. Xerox, well, that part makes sense, right? So these puppets are loosely based on wayang but instead of being hand-carved out of buffalo hide, they are made from xeroxes. See. Funny, right? Okay, well at least it makes sense now.

Spotted on PuppetVision

Jed Hartman for SFWA President

As many of you know, I’ve had some doubts about Scalzi’s bid for presidency of SFWA. While other candidates have announced their runs, I haven’t felt comfortable with any of them.

Finally, there’s a candidate I can support. Jed Hartman, of Strange Horizons, announced his write-in campaign today. I think, if you read his platform, you’ll agree that this is a candidate worth endorsing.

Edited to add: For reasons that are unclear, YouTube seems to have taken the video down. It was up for about two hours. Conspiracy? Thank heavens there’s this other company Google–wait.

My Dad’s in the paper!

Dad plays the handsawThere’s an article in the paper about my Dad. What’s more exciting is that they did an online segment with video, so you can actually see Dad play the musical saw.

One of my favorite things is to get Dad to bring the saw out when company comes. I love the way jaws drop; people alternate between awe and laughter. I mean, it sounds like a soprano, but it’s a saw. And yes, he cuts with it.

Once, the North Carolina Symphony asked him to play with them, but they wanted a gimmick so people would believe that he was playing an actual handsaw. Dad walked out on stage, sat down on the bench that they’d given him and it wobbled. Badly. He frowned, then stood up, turned the bench on it’s side and sawed off one of the legs to shorten it.

Then he sat down and played with full symphonic accompaniment.

(Of course, they’d pre-trimmed the other legs and marked the one that he needed to trim.) Dad usually makes a couple of “tuning” sorts of sounds on the saw before he starts playing, not because it needs tuning, but so that people can get the giggles out of the way.

Ever seen anyone, besides my dad, play the saw?

World Puppetry Day

Secret of Singbonga If you can, today, seek out a puppet show whether that’s a live show or something on video or film. Puppets are one of the oldest forms of theater and have had so many different incarnations, it can’t be hard to find one. You just have to look for them.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some happy links.

PuppetVision collects video of puppetry online.
The Puppetry Home Page has links to half the web of puppetry.
Puppeteers of America is the national puppetry organization with guilds all over the place.
PuppetBuzz has daily updates on international puppetry news.
Other Hand Productions is my puppet company.

Meanwhile, here’s a message from UNIMA, the international puppetry group, which also happens the oldest international arts organization.

21st MARCH, 2007

sennosukeInternational Message
The nostalgic and the new

Sennosuke Takeda
Born in Iida city in 1930. Worked extensively in marionette theatre on television, in films and on the stage. Ex-member of executive committee of UNIMA , Honorary President of UNIMA JAPAN, Director of the Takeda Memorial International Marionette Museum.

I like to think that Iida City, which has passed on long traditions to subsequent generations and brought them into the modern age, has already become renowned throughout the world. New performing arts, particularly from Europe and America, engulfed Japan, and the unique culture that this island nation had nurtured over the years became like a little boat drifting through a vast storm, and eventually disappearing. Around that time, a large household with exceptional puppeteering skills flourished and developed on Awaji Island, and travelled around the country giving performances. Local landowners gave the puppeteers somewhere to live, and they in turn taught the local people about their craft, leading to the founding of a puppet theatre which still survives today.

In recent years, many of the towns and villages around Iida have been incorporated into that castle city. Theatres for the Kuroda and Imada puppet companies, where they can put on performances whatever the weather, were completed using Japanese architectural techniques, with the help of the city. In the style of the Edo Era, the new Kuroda theatre has a covered stage for the puppet performances, and maintains the tradition of the audience watching from an outdoor amphitheatre. The outstanding feature of the Kuroda puppets is their hair, which is apparently re-tied before every single performance. Personally I think that the hair of the Kuroda puppets is the most beautiful amongst all the varieties of three-puppeteer puppet heads, including bunraku and awaji, and I am filled with admiration every time I see it. I sincerely hope that, whatever else may happen, this hair is protected for ever.

Fifteen years ago I was invited to Iida City, which built the Sennosuke Takeda International Marionette and Puppet Museum in Zakoji, surrounded by the Southern and Central Alps, in a place of natural beauty now rare in Japan.

About forty years ago, a child who I suppose must have been an elementary school student was giving me a concerned look as I watched a performance at the Comédie-Française in Paris. Though I was laughing just at the gestures of the performers, the child wanted me to enjoy the dialogue too, and I was deeply touched at this child’s act of kindness. Rather than waiting until they are adults, it is at an early age that we should expose our children to beauty and culture. I continue with my work at the museum in the hope that one day there will be little boys and girls like this in all the puppet theatre cities of the world.

Go on now, go celebrate World Puppetry Day. You can start by telling me about your favorite puppet experience.

Coolest rejection, ever

I just got a rejection note today which included the line, “On an unrelated note, I wanted to say great work on the Scalzi/SFWA video! Very nicely done.”

Why thank you, thank you very much. Here’s another.

(Yes, Eric, I know I need to add the fast voiceover at the end.)

Our Typewriters

Today Rob and I went to pick our typewriters up from Ace Typewriter* where they had been lovingly cleaned. Oh my goodness, I cannot begin to describe how much better they type than before we took them in. The sound of each machine is different, and the action of the keyboards is great. Our Royal is so shiny that you can see a reflection of the keys in the chassis of the machine. Here. I’ll show you.

Now I’ve got an urge to write a short story entirely on the typewriter. One on each, in fact. Plus we have three others that aren’t here. We just dropped off a Woodstock to be repaired, our Groma Kolibra is still in a box coming from Iceland, and then we’ve got a Corona in Chattanooga. Pretty, pretty things.

*Ace Typewriter – 7433 N. Lombard, Portland, OR 97203. (503)286-2521. “This father-and-son operated shop specializes in manual typewriters, has a number of beautiful classic machines for sale, and would love to have your business. Definitely worth the short drive to St. Johns.”

Across the 10th Dimension!

All right, I loved The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, but I never imagined him in the place described here. In fact, I never imagined this at all before, and think I need to go lie down now.

Thanks, Sunil.
That’s right, ladies and gents, your submissions to Shimmer are passing through the hands of someone who thinks that imagining the 10th dimension is good clean fun.

Bear Tail

I completely forgot that I’d taken this video when I was building the polar bear. When I went back in December, one of the things I wanted to do was give him a more substantial tail. The existing one hung down and was not very attractive–I didn’t make that one–so I wanted something that fit the bear more as a whole.

And then things went a little wrong.

Bird Distractions

I was looking for some footage of birds for a bit of research and this video of dogs came up. It is strangely mesmerizing.


So tired I hurt.

Watch this video about the toque macaques, which are the monkeys that Serendib is based on. Sorry the quality is so compressed.

This one is clearer, but it’s in French.


I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Rob laugh as hard as he did while watching this video of cars sliding down Salmon and 20th on our snow day.

It satisfies me in some way, that the only car which successfully navigates the turn was not an SUV, but a simple sedan.

Fogonazos: The writing automaton

I spotted this on BoingBoing. I’ve got a weakness for automaton and wind-up toys. I had read about this writing automaton so it’s fairly amazing to see it in action.

In the eighteenth century, 200 years before little ASIMO started to walk or to climb stairs, the great Jaquet-Droz built an automaton which could scrawl any sentence on a piece of paper and had a chilling repertory of human-like movements. Read the story an then check it out at the videos: