Books I read, movies I watched and music I listened to when I was little
(influences on my current interests)
this is a work-in-progress, I'll be editing this and adding my other interests which were part of my earliest memories.  Just started




The origins of my Interests in:

  • the sciences
  • military history
  • martial arts
  • fine cutlery
  • classical music (tbd)
  • dance (tbd)




All during grammar school and Jr. High, my parents
would take me to see the famous Japanese Samurai movies.  They were copiously bloody and often dark which probably set my interest in Swords and Sorcery novels

This a true story.  A Japanese version of the 300 Sparta at Thermopylae.  I have actually visited the almost unknown gravesite to pay my respects.

Japanese Noir at its best "Sword of Doom"
written by a man struggling with the memories of war and so many friends lost.  Actor Tetsuya Nakadai plays a lone sociopath hacking his way to his destiny.

An absolute classic for Kendo (sport swordfighting) and Kenjutsu (classic Samurai sword techniques) practitioners

A scene from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai which the US movie industry
made into The Magnificient Seven


Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo 1961 which particularly inspired
John Ford's Western films


Lone Wolf Assassin - totally bloody and noir and said to have been banned here until 1983, but my parents took me to all of them in the Japanese theaters long before that.  Gallons and gallons of fake blood geysering throughout the film series.

A landmark manga, Lone Wolf and Cub tells the tale of Ogami Ittō, the shogun's executioner who is framed and disgraced into exile with his infant son. A killer pushing a baby carriage is a jarring image, and it is set up by a choice. After the deaths of the rest of the family, Ittō offers his young boy two items: a ball or a sword. If he chose the ball, he would be sent to be with his mother (i.e. killed) but if he chose the sword he would go on the journey for revenge and retribution. As you can tell from the title, he chose the sword.

This volume shows the beginning of their quest and sets up Ittō's actions as an assassin for hire who wanders 17th century Japan. The pair find many takers for their services, with bandits and thugs preying on people across the land. Scenes of revenge and violence abound even when they are not hired for a job. Ittō is shown to be full of wisdom and also as invincible as a force of nature, and his son Daigorō is surprisingly alert, composed, and responsive for being so young.


Robt E. Howard's Conan series which I used to read while backpacking in Jr. High and scare myself silly.


I believe this is one of Frank Frazetta's illustrations for Conan


and some of the kick-ass girls now populating that genre


CLICK - A fraction of the documents, books and studies I read






Science Fiction

Some of it's effects on me ( click1, click2, click3)
(images with a blue border may be clicked to see full sized)

Donald Wollheim (DAW Books) inside cover
When I was little, that old guy on the left always gave me the creeps too.

that old guy still freaks me out.




p.s. The Oceans of Venus used a Taser!


This book started my fascination with Saturn!


Why I am thrilled that I get to see this in my lifetime!


Lightening on Saturn








Pluto seemed too cold for my liking



Pluto seen in my life




Photo I took of Jupiter with a small spotting scope (processed) Sept, 2011


Orion Nebula (partially processed)










I had always thought that this was the original idea behind
the movie Aliens and Star Trek, and I just found this (click).
The book comprises a series of stories about a crew on a long journey exploring space.  One of the stories features an alien who would hide in ducts capturing people and implanting (wasp-like) eggs to grow inside and feed on the paralyzed victims.
Note:  about the odd name of the ship.  The Beagle was Darwin's ship



The Thing from Another World (1951)
I saw this on TV when I was too young and it frightened me into the next century!  I had nightmares for months.
Rule 1: Never use thermite charges to free a frozen flying saucer!
Rule 2:  Never use an electric blanket on a frozen alien
Rule 3:  Never trust scientists with goatees who wear turtlenecks
Rule 4:  The room with the high voltage transformer is nice and warm



This is another movie that I believe strongly influenced the film Alien.  The director was brilliant in never showing the alien moving around in the underground complex.  The characters could only detect its movements by indications of their Geiger Counters.  Same as the motion detectors in Alien.  The verbal descriptions from the characters about the alien's victims rather than using splatter effects absolutely terrified me.




So, for the rest of my life I felt compelled to make a Jacob's Ladder
(and a Geiger Counter which I built in High School as a science project)




"They sound like infants!"




I LOVE Bernard Hermann music, I got interested in lasers, and had
to learn about epoxy and thermosetting plastics (what they tried to lock Gort in)





1951 Day the Earth Stood still, blackboard contains some of
Albert Einsteins equations








Something I sketched while reading the issue in 1969




A future project I'll build someday ;)
I'm serious - I have this, lead shielding and a high voltage power supply











The cheesy Science Fiction movie "The Brain from Planet Arous" (1957)
starring the actor of all cheesy science fiction films of the era
plus all the medical books at home might have ignited my interest in neuroanatomy!
(I learned the old name for the Central Sulcus was the Fissure of Rolando and had
my father explain it to me)

note:  all the 40s and 50s movies were played constantly when I was little

I love all things pertaining to neuroanatomy, neurophisiology down to the vesicles!



The movie "The Magnetic Monster" (1953) got me
very interested in Van de Graaf generators and the effects of ionizing radiation on people.  Years later I became a 3MeV Van de Graaf Particle Accelerator operator
while doing undergraduate research in Physics!



This one - I don't have the words.  Both the story and cover illustration touched me.
I think I was seeing an inner representation of myself here.



Oh yes, lasers and anti-matter became a passion for me :)
Star Trek, The Menagerie