Friday, August 27, 2010

Blog of Shame/Creepy Planet

Okay, so I am made of suck. I could give lots of excuses except I don't really have any.

I'm just going to dust myself off and try and get back on this blogging horse.

Creepy Planet: Plants, nice sedentary sort of things, fairly inobstrusive right? WRONG!

Mind Controlling Fungi

One for every species...... maybe we should stop eating mushrooms, just in case.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fantasy Traveler's Guide

It’s Sunday and I’m extremely bored, and I’ve decided to make a proper go of this whole blogging thing. In the next few days I’m going to write a sampling of all my features and promise to start making regular posts. I’m thinking a Creepy Planet every Sunday and at least one other feature or random blogpost during the week.
So, let’s go a-traveling!
To begin with I thought I’d stick with the old adage “write what you know,” and while I live closer to New York than our first location, I feel a great sense of national pride and want to sing it’s praises.
I’m speaking of Vancouver, British Colombia: Hollywood North, and a sci-fi fans dream destination.
The Vancouver area is worth a visit regardless of your geeky proclivities, the beautiful coastline, view of the North Shore Mountains from the city and swathes of temperate rainforest make it an ideal place for hiking, skiiing(depending on the season) and camping. A nature buff like myself would certainly come away happy, and with hundreds of pictures no doubt. The city itself is pretty amazing, with a gorgeous skyline backed by mountains, and according to PZ Myers a happening nightlife, even if you never left the city limits I don’t think you’d be disappointed. 
For those who spent their lives indulging in science fiction television and movies, however, it is a particular joy.
Vancouver’s geeky street cred is off the charts. Over the years it has hosted the productions of The X-files, The Outer Limits, Andromeda, The 4400, Smallville, Sliders, Supernatural, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica, and Caprica, Eureka and the entire Stargate franchise, just to name a few. And that’s only the TV series!
So, I thought I would point the spotlight on a few places in Vancouver where geeky tourists of all stripes can marvel at the startling beauty of the real world, whilst reveling in their fantasy world as well.
Queen Elizabeth Park-
This place just looks spectacular. Ever since I watched the Stargate SG-1 episode The Keeper (guest-starring Dwight Schultz, yay Barclay!) this park has been on my must-see list. With attractions like the arboretum and the domed Bleodel Floral Conservatory, as well as a golf course, tennis courts and lawn bowling, you could easily make a day of it, if not a whole week.

Can I admit that should I visit the park with a like-minded individual I would immediately start playing “SG team”? Your damn right I can. (For the record, I’d be Daniel)
Vancouver Aquarium-
As the setting for a clandestine meeting between Mulder and Deep Throat in season 1 of The X-files, the aquarium is another naturalist gem in the heart of the city. Wander through the underwater exhibits, have an animal encounter with a beluga whale, or book yourself a sleepover (How cool is that!!).

They also have a 4-D theatre. Now, if you’ll allow me to get all sciencey for a moment, I hasten to explain that the aquarium isn’t experimenting with the abstract mathematical concept of the fourth dimension as entertainment. No, they are combining 3-D movies with physical effects like wind, mist and scents to create what is no doubt an amazing experience. I am particularly jealous of anyone who has attended the Planet Earth 4-D showing, as David Attenborough is one of my heroes and to hear his voice booming out of big theatre speakers would be quite a thrill. (Supergeek side-note: 4-D is also the name of a season 9 X-files episode, bringing the whole thing full circle)

If I ever get the chance to visit this fabled city I will most definitely be setting up a clandestine meeting here. Who wants to be my Deep throat? (sexual innuendo? me? nooo, never!)
UBC Campus-
With a mile long list of series and movies that have used the campus, the University of British Colombia has sci-fi locations coming out the wazoo. It also has 44 hectares of gardens, comprised of the botanical gardens and centre for plant research, as well as the Rose Gardens, and the Nitobe Japanese Memorial Gardens. 

And just in case you are bored of nature’s bounty there is also the Museum of Anthropology, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, an art gallery, their own cinema and a studio theatre as well as fine dining. You know, just in case.

I’d also like to geek out over their library and learning centre, a thing of beauty both inside and out, for the eye and the brain. UBC is a research powerhouse and a treat for any science geeks, nevermind the fiction part.

One final note about the city, it has a huge Asian population. As one of the most popular destinations in Canada for immigrants, the attraction for any anime fan is obvious, as the number of stores importing anime, Asian pop and cuisine is extremely high and from what I’ve heard, very very good quality.
Vancouver is truly a fantasy travel destination. So, planned your trip yet? I sure as hell have! 

Creepy Planet: psychadelic snails!

After my first post I fell into the deep black pit that is the job search. Suffice it to say I got distracted.

But now I'm back with my first installment of Creepy Planet, and I'm giving you one of my favourites.

Watch as a parasite turns a snail  into the natural world's equivalent of a glowstick!