Monday, October 13, 2008


Yesterday I wasn't feeling well, so I stayed in bed most of the day watching a Pop-Up Video marathon. In the middle of that I saw this really awesome U2 video for "Lemon":

The pop-ups explained that the video was based on the photography of Edward Muybridge. Today I went and read about him (his life was pretty interesting) and then followed the link from there to bullet time, which is the technique they use in the Matrix when the camera rotates around a person suspended in air. That article mentions the Wachowski brothers were influenced by the original Speed Racer opening, which I'd never seen. so I looked that up:

And then it reminded me my mom used to have a toy from (I think) the 60s, that was like a handheld game but mechanical instead of electronic. After some Googling I found it, the Tomy Motocross:

It's hard to tell there how it works, but basically the brown part is a rotating disc with little raised bumps for the motorcycles. You're the red one, and you have to slide that big red slider on the right up and down to navigate around the other bikes. It was a boring game to me, having grown up on Nintendo, but it must have been really exciting in the 60s. I do remember thinking it was neat that there were handheld games before video games.

And now writing about this is reminding me of the Franklin Wordmaster we used to have when I was a kid. Actually, we still have it, but I don't know if it still works. I have it tucked in a drawer somewhere; maybe later I'll take a picture. It's this handheld thing from maybe 1987 or so, and was mostly designed to be used as an electronic dictionary or spellchecker. But it had some games on it too. I used to spend a long time playing anagrams and hangman on it and making it generate random lottery numbers. It was fun to look up definitions too because they'd scroll by on the screen. I didn't have a Gameboy or a computer when I was a kid, but I had that Wordmaster, so I felt like I did.

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