June, 2020: 21 posts.
New Bot Day. Sentinels are gigantic robots designed to hunt down and kill mutants. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1965 they are still part of the Marvel Universe. It’s been a crap weekend but Sentinels are a vivid and violent reminder that oppression must always be opposed. Support justice. Support those who fight for justice. Black lives matter. Stay safe.
New Bot Day. Dairugger XV (Kikō Kantai Dairagā Fifutīn) is from 1982 and you might recognize this as “Vehicle Voltron.” The Rugger Team is an exploration & defense team, they have 15 vehicles which form the Dairugger mech. In the series they eventually have to depose a despotic emperor, which sounds familiar right now.
“Force does not work the way its advocates seem to think it does. It does not, for example, reveal to the victim the strength of his adversary. On the contrary, it reveals the weakness, even the panic of his adversary, and this revelation invests the victim with patience. Furthermore, it is ultimately fatal to create too many victims. The victor can do nothing with these victims, for they do not belong to him, but—to the victims. They belong to the people he is fighting. The people know this, and as inexorably as the roll call—the honor roll—of victims expands, so does their will become inexorable: they resolve that these dead, their brethren, shall not have died in vain. When this point is reached, however long the battle may go on, the victor can never be the victor: on the contrary, all his energies, his entire life, are bound up in a terror he cannot articulate, a mystery he cannot read, a battle he cannot win—he has simply become the prisoner of the people he thought to cow, chain, or murder into submission.” ― James Baldwin
Grabbed this image from @johnkharrison of #BlackLivesMatter and #georgefloyd superimposed over the Robert E Lee statue that should get removed real soon now. I spent a fair amount of time in Virginia in my 20s and the Confederacy crap always felt backward and weird. Years later I learned about how it got put up years after the Civil War I thought how screwed up that was. Good riddance.
New Bot Day! It’s a Mouser! M.O.U.S.E.R.S. are Mobile Offensive Underground Search Excavation and Retrieval Sentries created by evil scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman, who used them to rob banks and do all kinds of other mischief. Cute and lethal! First appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 in 1984 and in many other TMNT media since then. Got it at Frank & Son’s Collectible Show yesterday. Keep fighting evil everybody!
New Bot Day! B.E.N. (Bio Electronic Navigator) is from the non-hit Disney animated film Treasure Planet (2002). He’s “wacky.” Voiced by Martin Short, when we meet him he’s been stranded alone for years, with a key part of his brain having been removed. Eventually BEN gets that memory back and (spoiler alert) good prevails over bad and treasure is found! Happy endings in movies aren’t like real life. Real life happy endings require constant vigilance—life goes on. Be well and stay safe and keep the pressure on.
New Bot Day! Giant Robo (ジャイアントロボ, Jaianto Robo) had his heyday in 1967-1968 as a manga and live action tv show. In the US it was called Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. It ran alongside the tumultuous years of civil unrest and political change. It feels weird to keep to a twice a week schedule of posting toy robots when 2020 is full of social trauma. I press on because it feeds my soul. But besides the toys: Black Lives Matter. Defund The Police. If you react negatively to those phrases: learn what they mean to the people for whom they represent positive change, and a better USA. It’s about the continuous improvement the United States has promised consistently. Stay safe – Joe.
New Bot Day! Welcome Getter-3. From 1974-5’s Getter Robo (ゲッターロボ) manga and anime. Getter 3 forms from ships named Jaguar, Bear & Eagle assembling in that order. If it’s Eagle-Jaguar-Bear it’s Getter-1. If it’s Jaguar-Bear-Eagle it’s 2. This is unique across the classic Japanese bots as far as I know. The creativity and vivid designs of the Getter robots caught my eye when I was age 7 in the Philippines and still inspire me now.
Some years ago I read Caleb John Clark’s essay (blog post, really) about online community and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s currently not easily searchable on the web. A shame. I am extracting it from the Internet Archive and placing the text here.
“Hot Tubbing an Online Community”
Caleb John Clark, January 12th, 1999.
Email listservs often parallel in person group growth patterns and grow very fast, too fast. Sometimes this will lead to a situation where pleas to the list have no effect and the list is in danger of degrading into flames and lots of useless noise.
Here’s a proven way I’ve come up with to get a list back on its feet and back to its core misson and people.
In Oakland California there’s a hot tub in the back yard of an early producer of the Grateful Dead. You have to go very quietly along an ally next to his house, and then punch the code on a redwood door to get in. My friend did not let me see the code.
There’s a changing room, a hot tub, a redwood deck, a hammock, and a few small redwoods and plants on a lot behind his house that he never developed. Talking is discouraged. No drugs of any kind are allowed. Clothing is optional.
I have an image of the friend I was with during my visit. It’s burned into my brain. She is quite an attractive woman and was standing buck naked in a light drizzle of warm summer rain. The ex-producer had came down from his house (which is inches from the tub) and they had struck up a conversation.
So here’s this soft friendly 50 something original hippie, fully dressed, talking to this young naked woman, at night, in the rain, beads of misty water dripping from his hair, and her body, and all among redwoods in the middle of Oakland. I just swung naked in the hammock I was in and marveled at the scene. We ended up going into his house and he played some jazz on these new speakers he’d just got. They were 8 feet high, three inches thick, and looked like the Monolith in 2001. They sounded smooth as the slick redwood decking of his hot tub.
Later that night my friend told me about the hot tub. She said it had been around for years and at first there was no gate. But then a few incidents happened. Negative things, like drugs or violence. So a gate was installed with a code. The code was then given out to only a few long time users of the hot tub. They in turn shared the code with close friends they trusted. Eventually the code would spread over the years and something negative would happen. Then the code would be changed again. This had happened a few times in my friends long experience with the tub.
I took this over to email mailing lists and thus we have “hot tubbing”.
When a list gets too big, has too many flames, and won’t respond to cries for sanity from it’s core members, hot tub it by doing this:
- Send out a well subject headered message saying something like: “in 24 hours this list will end. A new list will start up. The new lists’ address will be given out at local meetings in person only. If you want to start your own local list, please do so. We are sorry for the this but this list can no longer support the number of people on it.”
- Kill the list.
- Start a new one.
- Give out the address at an in person meeting.
- Your core group will immediately subscribe to the new list and email out their close friends the new address. In a few months you’ll have a good list again, albeit much smaller.