It’s Valentine’s Day! It's kind of too late to prepare for it now, but it's not too late to prepare for the coming glut of discounted chocolates about to hit the market.
The Book of Boba Fett
The finale has finally arrived. I will be writing a full review of the series, but, for now, here are my notes on Chapter 7:
- The series has been promising a big showdown between Fett and the Pykes, and it delivered. Almost the entire finale is devoted to the battle, and it rarely drags. This was easily Robert Rodriguez’s best episode as director.
- The annihilator droids were a random reference. This is technically the first they've appeared in a Star Wars story; the design was taken from a piece of concept art made during the production of Attack of the Clones and was given a backstory in the reference book Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Droids. They showed up in a few more reference books, but never appeared in any narrative works, until now. Deep cut.
- A whole lot of attention has been paid to the way one of the Mods did a little spin before taking a shot at the Pykes. I didn’t take any notice of it while I was watching, so it seems unfair to mention it here.
- I was expecting Boba to ride in on the rancor in this episode, but I will say I wasn’t expecting the rancor’s scenes to be as good as they were. Good stuff.
- In the end, I liked this show. It wasn’t flawless, but it was consistently a good time to watch. I’ll miss watching some new Star Wars every Wednesday.
- ROTATOR v BLACK DRAGON - Black Dragon caught fire again, as if it matters. The fight went on for the full length, with neither bot losing function. Rotator, though, looked almost unscathed by the end.
- LUCKY v BLADE - After getting overkilled by Skorpios, Blade got the chance to fight a less-aggressive bot. And that’s how it lasted long enough to show what I’m afraid is going to be a fatal flaw: its blade is made from aluminum, which I don’t think is going to be strong enough to deliver meaningful damage to a field of steel-plated bots. I would expect we see more weapon breaks from Blade in the future.
- DRAGON SLAYER v MINOTAUR - So far, Dragon Slayer can slay a duck but not a minotaur. Update your creature rankings accordingly.
- PAIN TRAIN v YETI - Pain Train remains without a BattleBots win, but at least now they’ve had a proper fight. The bot which could barely move in a straight line last season held its own against an opponent for a bit. Of course, once Yeti got going, Pain Train came apart pretty quickly. But it was a real fight, at least.
- HIJINX v KRAKEN - Kraken did quite well last season and does quite well against the meta-BattleBot: a small, square vertical spinner. Unfortunately for Kraken, all they’ve fought this year have been horizontal spinners, which aren’t as easily grabbed. That’s especially true of Hijinx, which only became more of a problem for Kraken’s jaws once flipped over.
- DEFENDER v RIPTIDE - Riptide gave probably the most entertaining moment of the night when it used its weapon to self-right. Now, a lot of bots do that, but usually, that’s not done at full weapon power. Riptide threw itself a dozen feet into the air and then took some internal damage upon landing, it looked like.
- HYPERSHOCK v LOCK-JAW - Hypershock won by a throw out of the arena, which is always gonna be controversial, but I think they deserved it. It really does seem like Hypershock finally just works. Lock-Jaw dealt some real hits, the sort that would have killed previous iterations of Hypershock, and current Hypershock was able to take them and keep going.
And, once again, here’s the extra fight, DEEP SIX v SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Bird of the Week
I saw a photo of this week’s bird months ago, and I immediately knew what I’d be drawing for Valentine’s Day. The Pink-headed Warbler is a wood-warbler found in southern Guatemala and bordering regions of Mexico. Unlike the other wood-warbler’s I’ve featured, these birds are not migratory. They spend their whole lives in the pine trees of what are known as “cloud forests” which are essentially rainforests that climb up mountainsides such that their upper canopies reach into the cloud layer. Pink-headed warblers do not typically live in the canopy, but rather in the understory. They nest on the ground, laying their eggs in carefully constructed piles of pine needles.
Pink-headed warblers are arguably pink all over, though their heads are generally paler than their bodies; the silvery feathers on their heads sometimes shine brightly, sometimes do not, depending on the lighting. Male and female are not easily distinguishable, although males are on average somewhat more brightly colored. Like other warblers, these birds are quite small, measuring around five inches long. Also like other warblers, they are favorites of birders. Commercial excursions into the Guatemalan cloud forests in search of this particular bird exist; while not endangered, the bird does not live close to people in large numbers, keeping within dense, untouched understory. As acreage of such old-growth forest declines in their range, pink-headed warblers are seeing a corresponding, slow-but-steady decline in numbers. They are now the rarest warbler in Central America.
In Spanish, the pink-headed warbler is el chipe rosado, the pink or rose-colored warbler. To science, they are Cardellina versicolor. The genus name was first given by C.L. Bonaparte to the red-faced warbler, deriving from the Italian name for the European goldfinch, which has a similar red face. The species name means “changing color” in Latin, a reference to the way the birds’ heads shift in appearance in different lights.
Hot Air Balloon Launch Riot! | Amelia Soth, JSTOR Daily
In the early days of aviation, before airplanes, the skies were reached by balloon. Launches were public spectacles, with throngs of people gathering to watch the balloons inflate and take off from the ground. But, in the semi-common event that a balloon failed to work properly, that crowd could quickly become a mob.
What Was the TED Talk? | Oscar Schwartz, The Drift
A history of TED, a conference of thinkers in the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Founded during the Reagan era, TED exploded in popularity and influence in the age of online video. But that influence was more in how ideas are presented than in what ideas were adopted. The “inspiresting” style of the TED talk seems, looking back at the form’s heyday, hollow and platitudenous in many instances, a relic of Silicon Valley optimism long since past.
Quest for Copper | Matti Friedman, Smithsonian Magazine
King Solomon’s mines, where the precious metals used in the first Jewish Temple were excavated, have long been an archaeological prize, searched for through the centuries. It was thought they were found, in the southern tip of Israel, but further investigation revealed the mines were Egyptian. More recently, it’s been suggested that the mines, though originally Egyptian, were later managed by the Edomites, a tent-dwelling people with a less-apparent archaeology. And they may indeed have provided copper for the Temple.
The Chronologist | Ian R. MacLeod, Tor
[FICTION] “A boy, desperate to escape the drudgery of life in his small town, gets caught up in the machinations of a traveling time keeper, and slowly watches his town and his life unravel by the seams.”
See the full archive of curations on Notion