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Tag Archive: Chris Hadfield


Review by C.J. Bunce

Like many of us, astronaut Chris Hadfield sees his life, both on Earth and off-planet, as a series of worst-case scenarios waiting to happen.  In his book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, he not only shares his autobiography and pathway to space and afterward, he uses his life to provide a self-help plan for accomplishing your dreams and reaching whatever success you’re after.  Originally issued in hardcover but now available in a paperback edition, Hadfield’s Guide is just what you need to read if you’re in a slump, if you have a goal and can’t figure how to get yourself to attain it, or if you just need a pep talk.

“Most people, including me, tend to applaud the wrong things: the showy, dramatic record-setting sprint rather than the years of dogged preparation or the unwavering grace displayed during a string of losses,” Hadfield says in his book.  And Hadfield takes his errors and his stumbles and displays them for everyone to see so they can use them to learn how to adapt and overcome their own obstacles.  “Sweat the small stuff,” is his mantra, and it’s that attention to detail that he says allowed humans to get to visit outer space in the first place–the required discipline that allows the two other astronauts in your capsule to fully trust you will do your job, and vice versa.  As with astronaut Leland Melvin’s account of his pathway to space (reviewed last month here at borg.com), this meant years of brain work and physical preparation, monotony, and several false defeats and false triumphs before the final ride on that rocket to the stars.  “Since the odds of becoming an astronaut were nonexistent, I knew it would be pretty silly to hang my sense of self-worth on it.  My attitude was more, ‘It’s probably not going to happen, but I should do things that keep me moving in the right direction, just in case — and I should be sure those things interest me, so that whatever happens, I’m happy.'”

Chris Hadfield floating above Earth during a spacewalk.

Colonel Hadfield–who is afraid of heights–always wanted to be an astronaut, at least since he saw Apollo 11 make the first moon shot on television when he was nine years old.  But his path wasn’t easy, especially since Canadians weren’t yet astronauts when he was a kid.  “I wasn’t destined to be an astronaut,” says Hadfield, “I had to turn myself into one.”  He not only had to turn himself into an astronaut, he had to change the perception and rules of those around him as he climbed the ladder to fulfilling his dream.  Along the way that meant diligence, determination, study, practice, repetition, volunteering, and over-achieving to make himself stand out, and sacrificing all his waking hours and much of his family time.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

How can a movie get better on repeated viewings?  What makes that possible?  After three viewings of the home release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story–the Digital HD edition, the Blu-ray, and the 3D Blu-ray–it’s apparent the film on repeated viewings is indeed as good as the initial theatrical viewing if not better, a rare feat in any genre.  Naysayers who didn’t like the CGI effects of Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia–the primary criticism of the December theatrical release–should find even a home theater big screen television will mask any distractions seen on a 30-foot theater screen.  The Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray provide the best, clearest picture and sound of any prior Star Wars release.  The 3D transfer is as good as any 3D Blu-ray release to-date, and the special effects, clothing details like stitches and seams are clear and vivid, as is the weathering (or lack thereof, when logical) on props.  As with most 3D movies, outdoor scenes, like the Scarif ground battle, are even more vivid with sharp foregrounds and backgrounds.  Check out the complete review of the film from December here.

The special features disc includes a version of the bonus features viewable together as an entire documentary and also viewable by chapter.  The extra disc available through Target stores only includes two short extra chapters, and although the creature shop feature is excellent the two extras wouldn’t normally be enough to tilt a buyer toward the Target edition–costs being the same–and some may instead opt for packaging, like Steelbook boxes (Best Buy only) or Connexions cards (available only in the Wal-Mart edition).  Fun bits in the features to look for include Bodhi actor Riz Ahmed’s audition tapes for Edwards, a feature documenting many Easter eggs from the show even the best eye likely never identified, and interviews with motion capture actors Guy Henry (Grand Moff Tarkin) and Ingvild Daila (Princess Leia), both who look little like Peter Cushing or Carrie Fisher, proving that simply using lookalikes or prosthetics would not have been a realistic option for re-creating these characters.  The standard bonus features included with the bundles are K-2SO: The Droid, Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills, Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & the Revolutionary, The Empire, Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One, The Princess & the Governor, Epilogue: The Story Continues, and Rogue Connections (the Easter eggs list).

Rogue One easily merits ranking as the third best film in the series after Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back–but truly in a league with those two films.  One of the best war movie stories put to film, the best prequel or prequel that is also a sequel (yes, even considering the great Godfather II), the best space battle, the best use of spaceship filming (director Gareth Edwards avoids 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: The Motion Picture-era overly-long ship takes and instead uses his imagery only as necessary to drive the story forward), while featuring one of the all-time best heist movies.

It really has it all.

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Chris Hadfield album space sessions cover songs from a tin can

International Space Station astronaut Chris Hadfield has another “first” in store for us.  You’ll know Commander Hadfield as the rock star astronaut who recorded his own version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” back in 2013.  We discussed his rock video filmed in space here back then at borg.com.  Hadfield is now releasing the first ever album recorded in space.  And yes, Space Sessions: Songs From a Tin Can will include his hit “Space Oddity,” the song heard more than 26 million times by Earthlings via YouTube.

If an album was ever begging to be released in vinyl, this may be it.  Luckily it will be released on CD, digital, and vinyl.

Hadfield has recounted his missions in An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and via his photos in You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station.

Ground control to Cmdr Hadfield

Here is a trailer for the album:

And here is “Feet Up,” a single from the album:

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Planet Earth and Hadfield

Tuesday night Commander Chris Hadfield met with a small group of Kansas City patrons at a reception in the Linda Hall Library of science and technology, in advance of a lecture on the release of his new book You Are Here to 800 attendees at the Unity Temple on the Plaza.  Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who flew twice on the space shuttle and commanded the International Space Station last year, fielded a barrage of questions on everything from his tight fit in a Russian Soyuz space capsule to his favorite moments in outer space to his famous viral rock video.

Just feet from a 1543 first edition of Copernicus’s On the Heavenly Spheres in which Copernicus first introduced humans to an image of the Sun at the center of the universe, and a 1610 hand-notated first edition of Galileo’s treatise Starry Messenger in which Galileo first documented his discoveries via telescope, Hadfield was a living representation of mankind’s greatest achievements so far.  Confident and razor sharp, Hadfield conveyed those traits you’d expect from a test pilot and astronaut required to know how to repair every part of his spacecraft if necessary and conduct experiments in outer space as planet Earth soars in front of him at 1,000 miles per hour.

Hadfield signing

Commander Hadfield signed copies of his new book You Are Here, and earlier work An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

Hadfield, known for his transmission of images via Twitter during his five-month stint on the International Space Station (ISS), said he personally follows very few people on the Internet.  “I follow a few friends I know who have some humorous things to say,” he said.  On the space station Hadfield produced an unprecedented rock video sung and performed on guitar by the commander–a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which we reported on here at borg.com back in 2013 (and referred to Hadfield as the coolest man on, or off, Earth).  He said his son, who produced the video from back home on Earth, “really wrote the book” on using social media to convey something as enormous as sharing what Hadfield was doing in outer space, including the millions re-introduced to the space program who watched his video on YouTube.  “We have something like 20 million hits,” he said proudly (actually now more than 23 million).

Librarian for history of science Bruce Bradley

Linda Hall Library history of science librarian Bruce Bradley displays rare original texts from Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton.

Before the private reception, Linda Hall Library history of science librarian Bruce Bradley showed off the facilities collection of original historic astronomy texts, and Hadfield said he was impressed by what he had seen.  The Library previously hosted Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, seen here.

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Miss Fury Dynamite Comics

We tried on for size almost every new book that was released from comic book publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Archaia/BOOM!, and Image.  We tried to sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics had to offer, too, and although we didn’t have enough time to review everything we did try to put out there for your consideration those titles we thought our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro bent.  Our pull list included issues from Afterlife with Archie to Django Unchained, from Liberator to Larfleezeand from Velvet to The X-Files.  This past month we have reviewed the year-long run of the best of these titles, as we narrowed our selections to 21 of the very best entries in genre entertainment outside of TV and movies, which we revealed here yesterday.  So here are the rest of our picks for the Best of 2013.

Kane Starkiller borg by Mike Mayhew

Best Borg Appearance — Kane Starkiller, The Star Wars.  Borgs showed up everywhere this year, from the lead characters on Almost Human, to Doctor Who, to countless comic book series including Justice League and RoboCop.  Our favorite appearance came from the young mind of George Lucas as he created the original script that would later be edited into the original Star Wars trilogy.  And through Dark Horse Comics’ The Star Wars monthly comic book event we learned one of his best ideas was merged into other roles and one of his best characters entirely cut.   That character was Jedi Kane Starkiller, who would reveal his cyborg chest implants that kept him alive, later to heroically give up this life-saving technology to save his friends.

MissFury001-Cov-Renaud

Best Comic Book Series — Miss Fury, Dynamite Comics.  A uniquely crafted tale, a compelling and seductive superhero, great action panel after panel, sourced in a long-shelved classic character of the Golden Age of comics.  Rob Williams and Jack Herbert’s Miss Fury is a carefully rendered update that rings true to the edgy spirit of the world’s first female superhero.  Beautiful panels set up an ever-changing time and place and pull readers along for the ride.  And stuck-out-of-time Marla Drake and her alter ego Miss Fury could not have looked better, whether carving out her place in the 1940s or as she was teleported into the future.  It’s a series no one should miss.

Clint Barton Hawkeye by Fraction

Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Fraction, Hawkeye.  Last year revealed one of the best comic book series we ever read, focusing on that “other” superhero archer, the second tier Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye.  Matt Fraction gave us the most interesting set-up and look into the daily life of a superhero who isn’t Captain America or Iron Man.  This year he kept up the momentum in his Hawkeye monthly series, providing stories that challenged readers, each issue taking a different peek into Clint Barton, another costumed superhero called Hawkeye, and their trusty dog.

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Major Hadfield as Major Tom

Twitter just won’t be the same anymore.

International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield, along with flight engineers American Tom Marshburn and Russian Roman Romanenko, returned safely to Earth aboard a Soyuz space capsule Monday night at 9:31 Central Time, landing by parachute in Kazakhstan.

We at borg.com have been watching Canadian astronaut Hadfield and his stunning photography on his Twitter feed since we became addicted to Twitter.  In fact I got addicted to Twitter almost entirely because of Hadfield’s tweets and have been raving about his photos and commentary for months.  Probably no person in Earth’s history has shared such a perspective and love for Planet Earth as Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the International Space Station.  Through his stunning photography of the details of Earth from so far away, like images of Stonehenge from outer space, hundreds of cities alight at night, and hidden paradises and geological formations among unreal blue seas, Hadfield has shared his rare world view with thousands of Twitter followers.

Ground control to Cmdr Hadfield

Hadfield has been orbiting Earth for five months.  He and his fellow astronauts undocked from the space station at 6:08 p.m. Central Time for his three-hour ride home.  It was Hadfield’s first trip home in a Russian Soyuz capsule–he had traveled in space shuttles in past missions in 1995 and 2001.

As a farewell to the space station, Hadfield, who sports a Major Dad moustache, released a video of a slightly modified version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, the “ground control to Major Tom” song, this time referencing his Soyuz ride home among other personal references.  It is the first music video made in space, including Hadfield’s own vocals and guitar, put together by Hadfield and the crew and musicians back here on Earth, over the past several months.

Planet Earth and Hadfield

Hadfield has been a huge presence on Twitter, with more than 850,000 followers as of Monday night.  Hopefully Hadfield will continue posting photos taken aboard the space station, and sharing his great insights about Earth from above.  And I can’t wait to see him host Saturday Night Live (rumor intentionally started here in the hopes it comes true).

Moonrise by Cmdr Chris Hadfield

Enjoy this superb music video, where you can see someone clearly fulfilling a dream that began 44 years ago when Bowie first released the song and when Neil Armstrong first walked on the surface of the Moon.

The best rock video ever?  The best YouTube upload ever?  The coolest thing ever done in outer space ever?  Yes, yes, and yes.  And someone should point out this video to J.J. Abrams on how to effectively use lens flares.  Right on!

And frankly, Hadfield’s heartfelt rendition of the classic rock tune leaves Bowie’s original in the dust.  You might just tear up a bit when you think how awesome it is Hadfield did something we all wish we could do–as Bowie’s lyrics take on new meaning–and how Hadfield has shared his experience with everyone in such a cool way.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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