krpalmer: (smeat)
Having managed to hear a "return to flight" launch was about to happen for one of the space station cargo ships, I turned into the streaming coverage. The engines of the Antares rocket not igniting until an instant or so after "zero" did catch me, but after that things seemed to go well. With the launch happening at night there wasn't much to see (there wasn't "ride-along" camera footage, in any case), but I did stick around for the second stage burn, which was represented by a computer display. The "perigee altitude" caught my attention for being a very large negative number; as the rocket gained speed towards orbital velocity that number ticked down, but it took until the final seconds for it to speed up to a blur that at last turned positive as an "up and down" arc turned into an orbit. It was good to see the Antares rocket working again; although a Cygnus supply craft had been launched using a different rocket since the last one exploded during launch, since the unfortunate accident two different Falcon 9 rockets have exploded, one without being anywhere near launch.

As I was looking up more information on the launch, though, I happened to see a post saying a European Mars probe was just a few days away from arriving, and that it would be dropping off a small lander. It does take time for space probes to get to Mars, but I can't remember if I'd even noticed its launch in the first place. Intent on making up for that, I started following the news a little more closely, but the only reports that arrived said contact had been lost with the lander seconds before landing. I'd noticed the lander didn't have actual legs, just a sort of "crushable pad" underneath, but it now seems the evidence is pointing towards the timing being completely off for the landing rockets.
krpalmer: (Default)
Looking through the bookstore, I was passing by the remaindered shelves when one particular title broke through the unfortunate sense of disconnection I just might all but wallow in when it comes to science fiction these days. I couldn't quite remember where the impression I'd heard of John Scalzi's Lock In before to have it catch my attention had come from, but in picking up a copy and reading the blurb inside the cover I thought I could take a chance on it, remembering I had liked his book Redshirts; it was cheap enough anyway.
A slang-driven digression )
krpalmer: (apple)
With just a bit of practice, I found that typing on my iPad's "glass keyboard" didn't seem "that" different from using a more physical input device. (I can suppose that for those who've grown accustomed to entering short notes and posts on the keyboard of a smart phone, there might be that much less of a deal to be made about something larger.) With a small collection of text editors and a Dropbox account, I can "pat out" quick-and-dirty rough drafts and transfer them to my computer. (This might not be that different from how the TRS-80 Model 100 was used by many. I suppose the Model 100's keys had more "travel" than indeed just about any portable computer keyboard available these days, but then in at least some circumstances I can see more than eight lines of forty characters each on an iPad's screen, and "filling the memory" doesn't seem to be an issue the way it might be with just thirty-two kilobytes to work with...)

However, if there was one thing that could slow me down, it was how there are only four punctuation marks available on the iPad's regular keyboard. To keep from sounding like one of those science fiction cultures that never use contractions, I'd have to reach down, call up the "punctuation keyboard," and type an apostrophe. To type any other punctuation mark, I also have to "put that keyboard away" once I'm done with it; adding HTML tags to a comment can be pretty involved. After a while, I began looking for alternatives. Considering keyboards sized to fit into an "iPad cover" kind of cramped, I bought a very cheap black-plastic Bluetooth keyboard (with a suspicious resemblance to the layout of the more solid Apple Bluetooth keyboard of the time) from a local surplus store; it was easy enough to carry it as well on a typical sort of day in a regular messenger bag. However, putting the batteries back in the keyboard and getting it connected did always seem to be just a bit of a production. I then managed to find a "third-party software keyboard" that was actually a "stylus input area," which at least brought thoughts of how these "keyboardless devices" were "once" supposed to work; however, writing on the screen seems just a little more involved than writing with a pen on paper. Doing a bit more searching, I happened on a software keyboard that squeezes skinny punctuation keys in around the regular screen keys; it was possible to get used to it, but I did get to thinking there was a slight air of lessened aesthetics about it, and that there could be something to "leaving keys out to fit in limited space" after all.

There were enough options to that new keyboard, though, that in exploring it I began to pick up on how you could "tap and hold" some keys and have extra characters pop up, the way I already knew to produce accented letters. All of a sudden, though, I was thinking about just where the apostrophe and punctuation mark are on the punctuation keyboard, and if there might be a trick to the regular iPad keyboard after all... Switching back, I found I really could hold down the comma to get an apostrophe, and hold down the period to get a quotation mark as well. This feels useful enough that I can wonder if it was my fault I hadn't seen anyone else notice it until now, but then there's always the chance someone else might yet hit on this tip for the first time here.
krpalmer: (anime)
I've led off my last few "quarterly reviews" of anime watched by dwelling on how few brand new series of late I've managed to even start viewing, much less stuck with, but in the three months just past I suppose I hit rock bottom, not watching any brand new series at all. One weak defence I could offer was that I knew I'd be going on a vacation in the middle of those three months; to be oppressed by memories of other vacations that had meant not just enforced breaks from watching weekly series but dwelling on how negative the opinions of everyone else on them had become until I'd convinced myself to abandon them seems to have its own small problems, though.

Being oppressed by that did at least point out how I wasn't quite facing "no capsule descriptions even appealed to me," however. It was a bit of a surprise to see the anime adaptation of a manga called "orange" had begun, but it just so happened I had started buying the manga itself without thinking about the upcoming anime, and hadn't quite finished it yet. "Starting with the manga" does seem to get in the way of "getting to the anime" for me these days; I at least wound up hearing the adaptation had hit some pretty rough patches along the way, and the "a future tries to help the present" manga had wound up more appealing to me than, say, Erased's "the present tries to change the past." It was that much more of a surprise to hear Funimation had licensed the new Love Live spinoff. That might have overcome the general uneasiness already mentioned and provided the push for me to sign up for their own streaming service at last, except for one more bit of casual contempt from someone else towards that service run into at the exact wrong moment adding to the nagging, half-irrational fear that since the animation studio Sunrise produced both Love Live and Gundam, the mere fact of Love Live Sunshine being a "spinoff" meant it would end up under the precise cloud of opprobrium most of the Gundam "alternative universes" seem weighed down by. A few months after that, though, the sudden announcement that Funimation and the streaming service Crunchyroll would start cooperating was a somewhat more pleasant surprise, if one I had scarcely even conceived of before with the impression Crunchyroll was where "everyone else" promoted their content. Whether this will mean in turn "everyone else" will start striking exclusive deals with still other services I don't have subscriptions for either is another question, however, and I suppose I don't even know if Love Live Sunshine (which seemed to be received with at least some positive reactions) will wind up part of the shared content before it's available for sale on discs over here anyway.
Continuing: Turn A Gundam and Giant Gorg )
Manga preparation: High School DxD New and Nichijou )
Short efforts: She and Her Cat and Inferno Cop )
One-shots: Girls und Panzer, Under the Dog, The Ancient Magus' Bride )
Revisiting: Iria and Shirobako )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I was a bit slow to open the latest official collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs once I'd received it in the mail. Going on vacation last month had something to with that, but I was aware even so of the feeling the episodes in the set ranged for me from "not personal standouts" to "actually uncomfortable to watch." What with the nagging worry I'll be stuck with personal disagreements with the "riffing" in the upcoming revival, it might have been an especially awkward time to have some reluctance towards the original series.

Once I did have the set open, though, I started finding things to interest me about the episodes and the movies (or thereabouts) featured in them. Getting past the infamous blandness (and a certain emphasis in the "riffing" to 1970s TV) of "Stranded in Space," I also found myself thinking past the cheapness of "this other world just happens to exactly look like the Earth" to contemplate how it's easier to exposit about a conformist dystopia than to actually work out how an ordinary person might have to get by in it. The disc also included a short feature on "Film Ventures International" as the last of the episodes featuring its cheap video credits got on official DVDs, and explained that by the point it was making up those for-TV packages it was pretty much all the way down the declining slope. It had risen from "foreign imports" to making movies cashing in on trends, but one feature's promotion had been just a bit too much like the way its inspiration was being sold and that had caused problems that had built until the company's founder had cleaned out the office safe and vanished.
A limited incredible ride )
krpalmer: (Default)
Always looking for my next book to read, I dug into a somewhat older pile and pulled out a library discard I'd managed to buy at a book sale a while ago. Thinking back, I don't suppose I'd have hesitated much at the chance to get an old copy of Gerard K. O'Neill's The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, but I'm pretty sure that once I had the book I only skimmed through it and then left it to sit. You may not have to fear the ominous future "if these immense space colonies aren't built for the good of everyone" sketched out early in the book is now inescapable, or even springboard off to heap blame on familiar agencies for not having your ticket up to "L5" already (as I recall the foreword by someone else to a more modern reprint did), to still dwell on the whole "I resent this gee-whiz technology from popular works in decades past not being available yet" attitude. At the same time, though, I was quite aware there are people other than embittered space buffs who would recognize O'Neill's designs; they were pulled into the setting of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime, adding a distinguishing factor other than "just" "giant piloted robots of a particular design."
Selling a concept versus building a story )
krpalmer: (Default)
After I'd finished watching the episodes of Star Trek's second season I'd wanted to watch, I never quite got around to opening the third season collection I bought with the others and watching those handful of episodes I have an impression managed to transcend the straitened circumstances of the show's final go-round. That did get to me every so often, but I just couldn't seem to make the time with so many other things to do and watch. However, Netflix did add a good number of Star Trek series just recently, and one of them was "The Animated Series" from the mid-1970s. As a Saturday morning cartoon those episodes were half the length of regular episodes, and the thought did get to me that I could watch them while exercising on weekend mornings, what with more episodes of "Voltron Legendary Defender" still to come. For all I know, seeing news the existing audio of a "lost" Doctor Who serial is going to have animation made for it had a bit of influence too.
'A physiological symptom of latent primal superstition. The fear of primitive people confronting something unknown to them.' )
'Compared to the people who built this ship, we are primitives. Even you, Mr. Spock.' )
krpalmer: (Default)
When one of the two ships of the lost Franklin expedition was found underwater two years ago and then identified as HMS Erebus, I took note of comments about this matching Inuit testimony that also suggested the other ship of the expedition would have been crushed in the ice and sunk. While I could suppose efforts would continue to find HMS Terror, it was easy enough to imagine a jumble of shattered timbers in a deep channel wouldn't be easy to locate.

This morning, though, there was an article on the front page of my newspaper (not quite as large as the first article two years ago) that proclaimed Terror had been found not that far from Erebus, and that it was in even better shape than its fellow ship. Once again, local reports helped, although this one was rather more recent. The further twist to a narrative I was familiar with years before of the doomed crew abandoning their long-frozen-in ships and struggling south to die, victims of an unwillingness to adopt native skills, is certainly intriguing, but it does point straight back to the hopeful speculation I saw at the first discovery of the chance of written records managing to survive underwater. There's always the next Arctic summer, of course.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
The computer-animated Peanuts movie that just happened to align with the comic strip's sixty-fifth anniversary seemed to get good notices, including some from people I supposed to be other Peanuts fans, but where I had bought a Blu-Ray of The Lego Movie I waited on The Peanuts Movie until I was surprised to see it turn up on Netflix. This could have had something to do with how, aware as I am of how "drawn animation" has helped shape perceptions and form mental images of the Peanuts characters, a good number of the TV specials and the four feature-length movies made years ago preceded me by enough that I'm only aware of their storylines through their storybook adaptations. It just might be that, with certain small elements condensed out along the way, they kept striking me as veering between "ultimately outright depressing" and "perhaps lightweight." (As a small example, when I finally had the chance to see "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," its concluding minutes didn't seem quite as bleak as the storybook had somehow left me thinking.) Still, I wound up taking a chance, and there were things about The Peanuts Movie I did get to mulling over.
There was a big surprise )
krpalmer: (anime)
When the "A Certain Magical Index" "light novels" started being officially translated and sold over here, I went ahead and bought them where I hadn't started into too many of the other franchises Yen Press was beginning to turn out. There might have been the hope, though, that this would pull me a bit further into the franchise, and say a bit more about the interest of others that had caught my attention years ago, than their anime adaptation had. (For that matter too, the "A Certain Scientific Railgun" manga does seem to throw in references to the larger franchise every so often.) The only problem seemed the feeling that working through the translated prose was as much of a slog as the handful of other light novel series from Yen Press I have read. (To be as fair as I can, I have read a few novels translated from the Japanese that, while probably not considered "great literature" by those who had arranged the translation, were published long enough ago their translations might not have been "quick, cheap, and dirty," and there could be a resemblance between how I reacted to their prose structure and those of the light novels.)

Then, one day I saw the sixth volume of the series on the bookstore shelf, told myself I'd be buying enough manga that week without it, and left it. I did the same thing when I saw the seventh volume and then the eighth, aware by then a frayed thread was coming very close to snapping even with "Railgun" characters on the eigth cover.

On one more regular visit to the bookstore, though, I realised I wouldn't be buying very much new manga that week, and there was still a copy of the sixth Certain Magical Index novel on the shelves. I picked it up, perhaps even with the thought this was a final toss of fate, but also remaining aware it was the last volume to have been adapted into the anime I did see. When I started reading it, though, all of a sudden I was getting through it much more easily than I could remember with the last several volumes. The translation didn't seem to have changed much, but perhaps the story was quicker to get to the action. I even got to remembering an old impression the anime had managed to pick up a bit near its end from "episodes of standing around and talking per plot arc, and then one burst of concluding action." It had also concluded with allusions to events yet to come; there are two more volumes already out over here, of course.
krpalmer: (anime)
In the raffish pantheon of mid-1980s cartoons, Voltron's niche may be smaller than some but it does seem remembered, its title invoked in the sure expectation of bringing back memories of "five robot lions that combine to form a mighty robot." (That, though, does remind me of the seeming accidents of history that made the other Voltron, the "fifteen flying cars, plane-things, and nondescript aerial bricks that combine to form a mighty robot," stick in my own memory, even if some of that may shape a certain subtle dismissal different from the usual shrugging off...) More than that, in possible place of nostalgic merchandising the title's been applied to new animation (now produced on this side of the Pacific) in just the past few years. I do know the series "Voltron Force" didn't seem very popular among those whose opinions of it I did see, even if they never seemed to articulate specific reasons for that. However, this wasn't the end of things. In its constant push to produce content that can't be taken away by the studios, Netflix announced it would be streaming another new Voltron series, and its staff including some people who'd worked on the Avatar franchise seemed to help some wait for the actual work to judge it. The first preview clips prompting recognition of how Voltron's combination sequence now obviously drew on the well-regarded stock footage of the giant robot anime GaoGaiGar attracted that much more attention, and when "Voltron Legendary Defender" began streaming I started taking it in. I was perhaps still weighted by recent ambivalent thoughts about intellectual property being recycled by corporate owners as if to avoid the risk and effort of coming up with new fundamental ideas, but it's also more than easy to recoil from thoughts of self-proclaimed fans monstrously incapable of conceiving others might like something they don't. I did at least wind up imagining it's possible there could even be parents drawing on their own memories with the thought it's for the sake of their kids, perhaps even connecting two generations (although this not having been the case when those parents were kids themselves can pack its own uncertainties...)
Even after all of that, though... )
krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
As I was working towards hooking my family's TRS-80 Model 100 portable up to external files for the first time in two decades, I happened on a mailing list dedicated to that computer. After I'd proved to my satisfaction I could accomplish the hookup, I kept tabs on the list. Now, I've run across an interesting link offered to it, an in-browser emulator for the portable.

As with an in-browser emulator for the older TRS-80s I stumbled on not that long ago, there's a certain appeal to seeing just what can be accomplished without fussing with a standalone program (in several cases, I've managed to get esoteric Windows emulators running via WINE, including the standard emulator for the Model 100 itself). As soon as that's been taken in, though, I do come straight back to contemplating how, since you're not using a different keyboard than whatever you have on your regular system or "running for hours and hours on AA cells," things can narrow to how where other old computers have big archives of software to fiddle around with, the Model 100's more limited list of programs can keep it seeming a "portable text editor that linked up with systems with larger screens." If a part of studying old computers is to learn about systems small enough to be easily grasped, sometimes the Model 100 starts to feel smaller than some, and in an ambiguous mixture of ways.
krpalmer: (Default)
Without the prompting of my family I might well wind up content at the end of a year to have used up my vacation taking lots of long weekends, but when they started asking me what I was planning to do this year I did get to thinking. With foreign exchange rates what they were the thought of going somewhere inside the country seemed compelling. I'd been east not that long ago, so going west came to mind. Almost as soon as I started thinking about British Columbia, where I'd got off the cruise ship and on an airplane at the end of my cruise across the Pacific five years ago and spent a few more days there two decades ago, though, the idea of travelling that much further and heading north as well began to fire my imagination. I've read Pierre Berton's Klondike more than a few times; even if travel isn't anywhere near as challenging in the Yukon today as it was for the gold rushers at the close of the nineteenth century, it still seemed interesting to go.

With that vague thought of "going" and "seeing what I'd find" expressed, my brother decided he'd go as well and got to work researching details. Before too long we had an RV rented for a road trip that would take us on the "circle route" through the territory with a short leg over the border to Alaska. From the sights (and services) of Whitehorse to the edge of Kluane National Park to the austere, winding heights of the Top of the World Highway to the sudden sight of Dawson's City deliberate quaintness, and from there to jog north to Tombstone Territorial Park (which a cousin in Vancouver told us about) and back south again made for a full week of travel.

Among all the things I packed, I did once more overestimate how much I needed to bring just to keep myself diverted. Out of the books stuffed into my carry-on bag and the videos I loaded on my iPad (which did pick up cellular signals on the outskirts of the major settlements), I only looked at a few of them, concentrating instead on real-world sights and perhaps winding up thinking there was something worth considering to that juxtaposition. As well, though, while travelling in an RV was a lot more comfortable than the tenting that had me "camped out" by the time I was out of Scouts and quicker than setting up and taking down a trailer, it was a noisy ride in the passenger seat and demanding as a driver, especially as the road got bumpier in the permafrost zone. It all made for a great change of pace in any case. The thought of going back, even if at a different time of year to perhaps try and see the aurora, is certainly there.
Pictures are ahead )
krpalmer: (anime)
The second Legend of the Galactic Heroes novel has now been translated. At the back of this volume, there's the promise of at least one more instalment to be released, although I still don't know if the gloomy anticipations of other fans that "of course these books won't sell well enough to be fully released" will be realised. In any case, this volume gets a fair way into the story as I've experienced it in its anime adaptation, if still seeming to be a self-contained instalment in the story by itself. Both galactic factions turn to deal with internal dissent, which might only seem to feed into the air of reinforced genius of a still-rising star if not, perhaps, for a very significant loss at the close of the book.

I don't know if the translation has improved to any extent from the first volume, although I did seem able to cruise through it where I've found myself slogging through some of Yen Press's translated "light novels"; whether it's just a matter of this particular subject matter appealing more to me is a reasonable question. I did get to thinking again about the visual reality provided by the anime adaption. In the first volume, the uniforms of the opposing fleets are described well enough that I could envision what was ultimately drawn in my mind; however, there didn't seem anything said about the civilians in the corrupt democracy on one side (comments about the war eating away at its general vitality seem something I don't remember from the anime) dressing in late-twentieth-century fashion or the civilians in the aristocratic empire on the other side wearing late-eighteenth-century European fashions. There are also descriptions of the ultimate space fortress Iserlohn that seem different from the "liquid metal" surface it got in the anime as if to distinguish it from the most familiar visions of spherical space fortresses. However, the novel did get to setting up the "space-ax" combat that's long provided a more striking alternative to just zapping opponents. I can wonder how much more will provoke reflections back to the anime, but I've kept finding interest in what we've managed to get.
krpalmer: (Default)
Rarely one to pass up a book sale, I stopped in at one at the library in my home town. Racks and tables of small paperbacks had been set up outside, but as I mulled over some of the old science fiction novels there (and in the end didn't get many of them, although some of them I already had in other editions), a biography of King Edward VII of England caught my eye. When I went inside and saw a second biography of him on the crowded tables there, that made my mind up to get both of them. I knew the general story of the turn-of-the-twentieth century king (including his long wait through the nineteenth century to become king), but thought a bit more detail and some different perspectives would be interesting.
One things leads to another, and then another )
krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
I've been keeping my "other" online presence running, although I haven't had to say much about it here to keep up the pretence of regular updates. Part of keeping my Tumblr topped up is to use its queue, although this does sort of detach me from what hypothetical other eyes might see. However, when I happened to see the "recently updated" section on the front page of Wikipedia had something to say about the "Dog Star Adventure," I realised I had just managed to say a bit about that very same adventure. The synchronicity reminds me I could get around to playing it.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I took a look at the latest "weekend discussion" topic on Satellite News near the start of the weekend, then decided on an offhand impulse to take another look at the site today. News the titles for the next official DVD set have been announced was an electric shock, but even more than that there was more news further down the page I hadn't seen. It turns out the new Mystery Science Theater series is going to be streamed on Netflix, which is somehow more impressive to me than "an American cable channel," even if that hypothetical channel would have happened to be one I'd heard of before. I suppose this still doesn't answer the question of whether the new series will yield to the same impulse that drove a wedge into my enjoyment of the final years of "the MSTing community" and keeps me away from Rifftrax and the Cinematic Titanic archive, namely whether familiar fan targets will be brought up just to be put down in passing... but on the other hand, the "mads" of the "Sci-Fi Channel years" are going to make a guest appearance on the new series.

As for the upcoming collection, it sounds like another interesting one. Things will open with "The Human Duplicators," late in the fourth season and a sort of merger between 1960s science fiction and James Bond ripoffs, then release the last episode of the short seventh season to go on an official DVD with "Escape 2000," bringing us to a sort of Italian and rather 1980s-dystopian "Bronx." From there it's on to the eighth season and "Horror of Party Beach," another fusion of genre with atomic-spawned monsters invading a black-and-white mid-state Atlantic seaboard beach, and the set will close out with "Invasion of the Neptune Men," traditionally one of the more "difficult" movies of the series what with the slog of its final battle but nevertheless filling in the ranks of the "dubbed and daffy Japanese movies."
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
As "Peanuts Begins" kept working its way through the early years of the comic strip, I did get to wondering when one particular strip would turn up. On reading the very first volume of "The Complete Peanuts," I was amused by one strip from 1952 (the "cute period" of the strip, perhaps) where Charlie Brown was out in the rain in a trench coat and fedora; I wound up scanning a panel in to use as one of my valuable few Livejournal icons. The black-and-white image did somehow stand out, though, and when the colourized strips rolled around to this instalment at last today I decided to make an upgrade (of sorts, of course, what with those who'll extol "the artist's original vision"...) In the end, though, the change in icons not going automatically backwards did leave me thinking my old Livejournal might yet still commemorate the way things were.
krpalmer: (Default)
It's one small sign of how long I've managed to keep posting things to this journal, and a small illustration of how history keys together too, that I've managed to get from the fortieth anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon to the fortieth anniversary of Viking 1 landing on Mars. The two are linked on the calendar even if by accident; Viking 1 had been meant to land on the American Bicentennial, but its intended landing site had wound up looking too rough to the improved cameras of its orbiter. When it did make it to the surface, though, it pretty much set expectations; I was surprised and somehow invigorated when Mars Pathfinder had seen more prominent hills on the horizon two decades later, and surprised again whenever another rover doesn't find the sand at its landing site as littered with rocks as the Vikings did. At the same time, though, I did spend at least a bit of today remembering the Soviet probes that had reached the surface before the Vikings, even if the longest-lived of them only sent back a few seconds' worth of an indecipherable picture before it gave out in the dust storm it had managed to touch down in.
krpalmer: (Default)
I was in the grocery store stocking up for the week ahead when, right next to the cardboard display bin of Vanilla Coke and Cherry Coke ("back for a limited time," I understood) I spotted a second bin with somehow just as familiar bottles in it. The signage made a big deal of "Crystal Pepsi" being back (again, for a limited time), but what raced through my mind was impressions that particular brand may well be remembered, but in an amused way as "not a success." It seems almost too easy these days to sigh and shake your head about commercial brands and intellectual properties being brushed up and brought back from the niches promotion dug them into before to save on the apparent greater risk of coming up with anything new, but it may yet be there's more than a few actual reasons for that, too.

October 2016

2 34567 8
910111213 1415
16171819 202122


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 25th, 2016 05:16 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios