Monday, April 15, 2013

AlphaBots: K is for K-9

This week's AlphaBots drawing is sure to tug at the nostalgic sentiments of some. And he is a faithful, charming, and useful robot by anyone's estimate.

As I have mentioned before, I was never a huge devotee of Doctor Who myself, though I did watch it when I could for a little while when I was in junior high. I even read one paperback novelization of a story arc on a trip to my grandmother's house.

The local PBS station was broadcasting episodes with the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor, and I had a hand-me-down TV in my bedroom that barely picked the station up. I consequently think of Doctor Who as a secret, almost underground show, half-masked in the snow of bad reception. I know that's not the way most people received it.

On reflection, though, I realize that those weird, low-budget shows were one of the first cultural products that I found entirely on my own. I don't know whether I even talked to people about it. If someone told me I'd dreamed or hallucinated the whole business, I'd almost believe it.

So, anyway, I remember K-9 with a sort of cobwebbed fondness, but he's not a major part of my contemporary situation like some robots.

(P.S. I actually considered, briefly, doing this other robot, and I'm glad someone else did it better than I could have.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Alphabots: J is for Jimmy the Robot

I'm not wild about my drawing for this week's Alphabots, but I know I don't really have time to try again. And it's a shame, because I really had wanted to do a nice tribute this time around.

There's been a lot of watching The Aquabats! Supershow in our house lately, because my little son really loves it. And to tell the truth, I like it a lot, too. We sing the theme song to each other at least once a day. (Watch that theme song, and tell me you're not glad that you can watch the Supershow on Netflix streaming.)

I think I've seen every episode a dozen or more times—enough that I can tell you when to look for the secret guy in a fox suit in most of the episodes. So this week's Alphabots choice was sort of a no-brainer.

Jimmy the Robot, the Aquabats' keyboardist with the laser fingers and computer brain, is definitely in my son's top two favorite robots these days. (You'll see the other of his favorites in six weeks or so.)

The text in this panel comes from Paul Muldoon's poem "The Mudroom," which I'm teaching on Tuesday. (I rolled "phrase from your reading.") It's a lot weirder than this sentence makes it seem, I tell you what.