About Saturday Night

A few hours after seeing Dr. Seddon, I attended the concert held for Space Camp Alumni Weekend. It featured a group called the Yacht Rock Revue, an excellent comedy band that performs the best of 70s soft rock; and the concert was held under the Pathfinder space shuttle, which is a shuttle mockup that was used for testing in the 70s.

As I was fulfilling my lifelong dream of singing along to Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins underneath a giant piece of NASA hardware, I thought the night could not get any better. I was wrong.

The band had just launched into Toto’s “Rosanna” when one of my friends suddenly let out a scream and started running. We looked up and saw that she had run up to none other than Bobak Ferdowski, of JPL/Mars Lander fame. He had been inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame a few hours earlier. He had changed, and was now wearing a bow tie, a dress shirt, and some very 80s Space Camp shorts that a manager had dug out of a closet. Naturally, my other friend and I ran to join them.

He was so nice. He didn’t have to be; he was headed somewhere and had surely been accosted by strangers like us all day. But he stood and chatted with us as if he’d known us forever. He was very laid-back and unassuming. I don’t know exactly how long we talked, but I know that when he took a picture with us and then said goodbye, the band was playing the final notes of “Rosanna.” So to use mathematical units of time, it was about 0.95 Totos.

I’m still not sure that this weekend actually happened.


During our second visit to San Diego Comic-Con, in July of 2010, we attended w00tstock—the Geek-focused variety show founded and hosted by Wil Wheaton, Paul and Storm, and Adam Savage.

Among the performers were Marian Call and Molly Lewis, and it was my introduction to their music. Both of them write and perform geeky, quirky, intelligent and very personal songs. You may have seen their video Space Weird Thing, which is based on David Bowie’s Space Oddity, but with lyrics rewritten using only the 1,000 most common English words (inspired by the XKCD comic Up Goer Five.)

Marian, in particular, is a favorite of our entire family, and we have seen her several times in both California and Texas—often in very intimate venues. She has a wonderful rapport with her fans, and we consider her a friend.

So when Marian tweeted that she and Molly (and guests) were going to put on a show during this year’s Comic-Con, I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale.

It was entitled SPACE TIME!, and was very much in the spirit of the early w00tstock performances. Hosted in The Back Room of 98 Bottles in Little Italy, there were only a hundred or so people in the audience, and you could easily find yourself in fact sitting next to one of the performers.

JPL Engineer and “NASA Mohawk Guy” Bobak Ferdowsi had been sitting on the floor in front of the stage during the opening, and then hopped up on a chair next to writer Nicole Dieker, who asked him questions about engineering and space probes and Pluto and hair. (Bobak changes his hair to suit each mission, and had a frosty Mohawk in honor of the impending New Horizons flyby of Pluto.)

Nicole had also read Dispatch from a Mars Widow, and while it’s better in her expressive voice, you should give it a read if you haven’t already.

Marian and Seth Boyer performed their first quick musical set, including (in keeping with the SPACE TIME theme) the Animaniacs favorite Yakko’s Universe, with some of the numbers updated for better accuracy with the help of Bad Astronomer Phil Plait. Marian pointed out that “Some of these numbers have changed by an order of magnitude in the 20 years since this song was released,” due to our better understanding of the universe, which is pretty awesome.

Yes, we sang along.

Next up was Molly, who deadpanned, “I don’t have a lot of space material, so here’s a song about the Lincoln assassination.”

“Sometimes, it’s enough that they’re here.” - Marian

Writer, security consultant, and former Microsoft XBox LIVE Director of Policy and Enforcement Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse spoke about his recent near-death experience, including being semi-conscious while intubated and wanting desperately to rip the tubing out of his nostrils and throat.

Seth performed a brand new song about Sailor Moon, and Everything Is Beautiful.

Marian rejoined Seth on the stage to belt out her bouncy and beautiful Good Morning Moon.

Yes, we sang along.

Josh Cagan had been almost literally hiding in the shadows behind me, and walked out on stage with Marian, Nicole and Seth for an ensemble spoken word performance of Josh’s Signal, which evoked Bradbury for me in the best possible way. 

And as a finale, we were treated to a live performance of Space Weird Thing, and the only thing, the only thing that could have possibly made it better is if one of the planes regularly and noisily passing overhead (98 Bottles is directly under the landing flight path for San Diego International Airport) had managed to time its whoooosh perfectly with “Upgo!”

Yes, we sang along.

Thank you to all the amazing performers for their music and words.


Nerd HQ 2015: A Conversation With The Nerds of Pop Culture

This remains one of my favorite panels.


Bobak, Jons, Malone - “On a Meadow Lea”

Motherlight [Morgan Blue Town, 1970]

گونه شناسی نقاشی توسط بابک اطمینانی

بابک اطمینانی مدرس و نقاش باسابقه کشور سخنرانی با عنوان گونه شناسی نقاشی مدرن و چگونگی تشکیل ژن های جدید را در ساری برگزار میکند. این برنامه به همت انجمن هنرهای تجسمی ساری ؛ گالری هفت آینه باهمکاری و مساعدت شهرداری ساری و شورای اسلامی شهرساری واداره فرهنگ ارشاد اسلامی ساری برگزار میشود .در ادامه برنامه جلسه پرسش و پاسخ با حضور اهالی رسانه و هنرمندان نیز برگزار خواهد شد. این برنامه  امروز چهارشنبه ۳۱ تیر۹۴ ساعت۱۷ در  مجتمع فرهنگی وهنری ارشاد اسلامی سالن سلمان هراتی شهر ساری برپاست و از عموم علاقه مندان برای شرکت در این سخنرانی دعوت میشود.