Monday, January 31, 2005

There's a special election around here for a proposition called "X." I'm not sure what it's about, but by the bank to-day I noticed a sign that read, "Deputy Sheriff's Advise No on X." I wish I could possess a verb that way.

Drinking "aged Sumatra" coffee from Starbucks at the moment. It's something like five dollars an ounce. And it is pretty good. Everything's coming up roses the past coupla days. I got Boschen and Nesuko listed on Online Comics and got three hundred hits in one day. That's the most I've gotten in a day by about two hundred hits. It gives me a strange sweet feeling, overshadowed only slightly by my viewing of the beautiful Citizen Kane DVD Saturday night. I can't help but wonder if there's an omen here about how to receive love.

Anyway, I'm so damn happy I bought that DVD. It's gorgeous. I haven't even looked at the copious special features, among which there is the sordid story of Welles' fight with Hearst and a commentary by Roger Ebert.

I was at Barnes and Noble this morning where I almost bought several DVDs and ended up buying none. The amount of DVDs I've purchased lately weighed too heavily on my infrequently money-conscious conscience. I have the Hellboy Director's Cut, whose two disks of bonus features I have yet to view. I've still not had a chance to finish watching Wild at Heart. And there's still the Fritz Lang movie in the Film Noir collection. What a sweet vista.

And just why've I had so much money lately? Three reasons; Christmas, Boschen and Nesuko, and no car.

Everyone wonders why I'm putting off getting car insurance and getting the break lights fixed. Well, maybe it's not having to spend twenty dollars a week on gas and who knows how much money on the crap that the car takes me to. When I've a web comic to do here and am only able to get anywhere on foot, the money tends not to get spent.

But to-day I felt guilty. Almost bought the Errol Flynn Robin Hood. Almost bought the Criterion edition of The Lady Eve. Almost bought the cheepass seven dollar edition of His Girl Friday and Beat the Devil. But didn't.

Am I making anyone sick? I'm truly sorry . . .

Looking at some of the best comics on Online Comics is making me feel competitive. I was particularly impressed by this Reman Mythology. It's cosy pretty manga fun. I don't think I'd ever wanna make something that cosy, but it's nice to read and quite lovely.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The new Boschen and Nesuko chapter is up. I worked on the damn thing from 10am Friday until . . . Looks like around 12:30am Saturday. I only stopped to eat twice, and I let nothing else distract me. And I had to do this because I was sick earlier in the week and I couldn't work on it. I don't think I'll get sick ever again, I just don't think it's my thing.

Maybe to-day I can finally get to work on the Nar'eth winter manga. Caitlin seems really excited about it and I feel guilty for neglecting it for so long. But I hereby blame all ills on illness.

I think I'd better go eat now.

Monday, January 24, 2005

This explains it.
Ug. I'm sick, in an irritating way. I can't concentrate to do anything and I can't sleep. I can't even seem to watch television. I couldn't even finish reading the article I linked to. I don't even think I can finish this post.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The five-shot grande Americano, Earl Gray tea, and smoothie with energy boost did not prevent me from falling asleep dreadfully early on Friday, thereby fucking up my sleeping schedule for days to come.

I'm having some Earl Gray tea right now and I have to say there's something decidedly rockin' about Earl Gray. In some inexplicable but unmistakable way it definitely rocks.

I've watched three of the four movies on the film noir collection I bought a while back. One movie was decent, one was quite wonderful, and one was wonderfully bad.

Strange Illusion, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer in 1945, was wonderfully bad. Some good visuals from a director more than competent with the camera couldn't save the picture from a laughably written story about a young man named Paul (Jimmy Lydon) who interacts stiffly and inexpressively with his world, occasionally wearing a stupid grin, while trying to convince everyone the man who's wooing his mother and every girl in the neighbourhood is in fact a dangerous serial killer.

My favourite scene was Paul discussing his worries with his girlfriend next to the pool one evening. He complains about how all the girls seem to like the evil man, but Paul's girlfriend casually says she's not as crazy about him as she was earlier. When Paul asks why, she explains that when she and the man were swimming earlier that day, he "swam underwater, got a stranglehold on me and started kissing me. I know it doesn't sound like very much but . . ."

No, no, not much at all. Why're you wasting our time, girl? We all know it's Man's god-given right. Sheesh.

However, the same director was in charge of the astonishing Detour. I learned from Roger Ebert's review that it was filmed in only six days, very, very cheap. It looks it. But there's never a moment not to like. And I don't even mean it was "fun bad". It was plain good. Real good. The story uncoils like a flaming rope from the ceiling. Or like ambrosia Pez from a dispenser. Events occur, each one fascinating, not merely for the fact that they're credible and inventive, but also because the underlying threads of the characters' have that pulse of genuine human souls.

Ugh, I want to feel wakeful. I have so much to do . . . I went to visit Marty on Friday, walked all the way to my old high school, but he wasn't there. I waited in his classroom long enough to write the whole script for the new Boschen and Nesuko chapter, which I really ought to've written two days earlier. And because I dropped off so early on Friday, and Saturday, I was plenty behind by the time I woke at 4am to-day. Yet before I was truly awake, I somehow drew one page and inked two (I drew page 89 on Saturday). I glanced at the clock and saw it'd only taken me three hours. I drew page 91, then broke for lunch to celebrate before coming back to ink it. I got back here at around 11 and not only inked the page but got a good start at colouring the three pages. So I'm just about caught up, meaning I can give languorous attention to page 92 to-morrow. Which is good. It'll be that much more perverted, I think.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Oh, shit man, I just like, totally fucking watched the sweet muthafuckin' Herbie trailer and . . . Holy shit man, what do I say, what I say but, oh hell Yeah!

Yeah! And that's the kinda lowdown muthafucker jammy kickin' "yeah!" that healthily affirms positivity in this kickass world of speed man, speed!

Hey, ya'll, lookie here . . . I done see this Herbie behind the corner, Jack. Past the red bricks built over the slippery fucking sewers of the eyeless assholes who say "no" man, "no"!

'Cause, Baby, they're out there, just ready to say fuckin' "no" to fuckin "yeah!" Speed yeah! But Herbie told us things, man . . . Herbie's got the Lyndsay Lohan now, and he's all right and all yeah!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The new chapter of Boschen and Nesuko is up. Some might call it mildly violent . . .

Friday, January 14, 2005

I'm incredibly sleepy. But it's been too long since I last posted . . .

A couple days ago, I broke with a very decent working pace on Boschen and Nesuko, went to the mall with Tim, and bought a lot of DVDs. Well, five. But two of them have two movies on--'twas a value pack of four film noirs, none of which I've seen, for only eight dollars. Of the four, one's directed by Fritz Lang and stars Edward G. Robinson, which I figured was worth the eight dollars in itself.

I also got another Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes DVD, and Jonathan Miller's 1966 version of Alice in Wonderland.

In spite of numerous flaws, I'd have to say that this is definitely my favourite film adaptation of Alice and Wonderland so far.

Looking at IMDb's page for it, you'll see that there's no shortage of information on the film so there's little I can add.

Filmed in beautiful, gloomy black and white, the film, as Jonathan Miller notes in the commentary, was definitely made more for adults than children (which led to a rather hilarious confusion with the BBC that resulted in Miller being labelled a paedophile). And yet many agree it's also the most faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll's book--in fact, the cast and crew worked without a script; Miller simply typed up relevant pages from the novel the night before each scene was shot.

Aside from a general reverence for Carroll's words, thereby conveying their meaning significantly better than other adaptations, there are several other very striking features . . .

The movie feels very, very much like a dream. Miller speaks in the commentary with disdain for the standard Hollywood dream sequence with glossy sets and smoke machines. His dream movie goes with the idea that the strange things one experiences in a dream don't necessarily seem strange while you're experiencing them. Several reviewers disliked the way Alice often seemed entirely disengaged with her scenes, often speaking through telepathy, but I found it to be a very cool technique. And, on the subject of the girl herself, Miller made the inspired choice of searching for the antithesis of the usually cast perky, bright Alice, instead finding a serious, almost sullen, perpetually sombre child. Which was, in his view, more evocative of a Victorian little girl.

The rest of the cast is amazing, not only for their ability, but also for their names; John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle, Michael Gough as the March Hare, Michael Redgrave as the Caterpillar, Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts, and several other brilliant British actors. All of whom worked for scale, a mere five hundred pounds.

This leads to an aspect of the film that I simultaneously liked and disliked; there are no animal costumes. In the end, I think that's the best choice, but I very much rebel against the idea of Alice in Wonderland entirely (with the exception of the Cheshire Cat, who speaks with Alice's voice) without talking animals. I didn't like it at all until I thought about it a moment--in 1966, what would the best in make-up and special effects provide in that department? Awkward prosthetics that would partially obscure an actor's performance while inevitably looking like nothing more than effects.

My main problem with the movie is that it's too short, barely over an hour. One senses all the film Miller was forced by the BBC to cut. But it is more than worth checking out for its great delivery of Carroll's dialogue, dreamy sombre atmosphere, and shear stunning visual beauty.

As a side note, I was made again to reflect on how American McGee, in his attempt to make Alice "darker" for his video game, in fact made the story far more innocent. I have nothing against it, but I'm always bemused by the fans who think that Alice running around with a knife is some seriously fucked up shit. That violence which is the dominate feature of the pastiche is always safely fiction, while the logic and ideas of Carroll's original work are always quite real.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Mainly been full, tired, or drawing the past couple of days. I've been going over to my parents' house to eat, and it always seems like I eat way too much, especially with my sister's chocolate cake. And I come back here feeling like something difficult to roll up a hill. And there's almost nothing I can seriously contemplate doing and yet, somehow, I've managed to stay perfectly on schedule with my comic. Not a bad life at all, I guess.

And I'm glad I've been walking so much lately. That way I don't feel like a complete slug.

I failed to note Sherlock Holmes' birthday last week, but Neil Gaiman didn't. Fail to, that is. He linked to this article, which is basically good, except for the bit, ". . . for the idiot who won and lost the love of Irene Adler, 'the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet' and the only woman Holmes ever loved, referred to ever after as 'the woman.'" Which draws the boorishly simplistic yet sadly typical conclusion that Irene Adler was a sort of love interest for Holmes. Gods, Watson says right at the beginning of the story;

It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer–excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results.

Which is far more interesting! Don't we have enough romantic liaisons in the world of fiction? I mean, this is one of those things that reflect what's really interesting and great about Sherlock Holmes to me--his whole-hearted devotion to something that it is not instinctive for a human being to devote himself to.

Anyway, I should be drawing . . .

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The cat named Victoria (to begin differently than last time), was persistently, furtively, leaping up onto various high places she could find. Including the kitchen counter, where she drank from my plate that I'd partially filled with water to help dislodge the melted cheese. From this I deduced that she was looking for a high place to drink water.

So I filled a small bowl and put it on the bathroom counter. Even I thought I may've been mistaken about this some time later--but then I saw her, twice, hopping up to drink from that very bowl. You know what I am? Insightful! Wull, I bet I sure am!

I used to be so innocent. No, that doesn't quite describe it. Whatever word is appropriate need also to include a sense of adventurousness. Yes, adventurousness! An openness to the great broad field of things! Open minded to all potential sources of grand stimuli, I was as a naive doe, bounding through the verdant fields of dreamy afternoons!

But something changed me, made me hard inside, and forget the simpler things, relegating my pursuits to seedy, cynical, dimly lit venues populated by bounty hunters, pimps, and the most disreputable of smugglers. All the while looking over my glass of Romulan ale and scoffing at the pretension, the papier-mache, if you will, of vice. While falling deeper and deeper into spirally nonsense.

Actually, it wasn't so dramatic as that. I merely watched a bad movie. Well, first I taped it, then I sat down with my coffee, got comfortable and watched. Watched all of it, even. In spite of the fact that it was sucking already a few minutes into it, I stayed open-minded. On many occasions, the first few minutes of a film gave me a completely false impression of the movie entire. So what if this one opened with a song performed by Barry Mannilow? Angel liked Barry Mannilow. Maybe things would still be okay.

But they weren't.

The movie was called Foul Play, and it starred Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, and Dudley Moore. It was made in 1978, a year before I was born, and made me decide that the period between 1975 and 1992 was a terrible period for comedy. Or maybe it's still ongoing, I dunno. But I detect an infatuation with a lazy-ass, Blake Edwards-ish, not-funny-comedy. Comedy that aims for only one level and is content to hit it only 20% of the time. Caddyshack was like that. And so was Foul Play.

But why go on? I never sleep comfortably without some food first, so I think I'll do that instead.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Victoria the Cat's in a rather tight ball of sleep on my bed at the moment. Nothing seems to be getting through to her.

I decided I'd spend to-day goofing off. I sense somehow that I need to do that now and then; set aside a day where I do nothing constructive, and merely have fun or something like it. I have a vague idea that it'll help me stay focused on other days.

So I walked to Starbucks and finished reading the astonishingly long translator's introduction for the Penguin edition of Plato's The Republic. The fellow felt it important for the reader to understand the environment in which Plato wrote this work. An idea I can readily appreciate, and I enjoyed the information about Greece from around 500 to 400 BC. It's rather terrible that Socrates was executed for heresy, and the fact that he was so killed in a society more purely democratic than our own reminded me of the rancorous religious folks in the United States. No wonder Plato had such a low view of democracy.

The coffee I got at Starbucks was terrible, so I walked to Barnes and Noble and got there a slightly better mocha. Lotta walking. The one thing my car was definitely useful for was for goofing off. In that respect I sorta regretted not having the use of it. It also sucks that I wasn't able to go to the Dresden Dolls concert on New Years Eve. That makes three Dresden Dolls concerts I've missed now for unforeseeable circumstances.

After I came back, I tried playing video games, but somehow my heart just wasn't in it. There wasn't much to do in Fallout 2 and I'm hideously sick of Morrowind. I tried to get back into Neverwinter Nights but that didn't even slightly work out.

I watched a bit of Return of the King, and just kind of gazed at it like it was in a museum, thinking about how, really, it's just perfectly beautiful. I wanna live in Minas Tirith.

I went over Boschen and Nesuko a bit, as I sometimes do, trying fruitlessly to read it as someone who didn't write it, and figure out which elements are working and which aren't. All I can really say is that I think I'm happy with some of the concepts and characterisations, but that I'm rather disappointed in my dialogue.

Let's see . . . I also watched bit of the Tori Amos DVD Welcome to Sunny Florida and read some of V for Vendetta. Alan Moore just never disappoints. It's like a hybrid of the Joker and Batman in 1984, only better.

I'm gonna go read some more of it now . . .

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Get a load of this.

It's like Cass Timberlane incarnate. Ug.

Tried to watch my new copy of Wild At Heart this evening, but it turns out to be one of those DVDs that I have to watch with the volume up very high, or I can't hear any of the dialogue. Unfortunately, this meant Lula's screams were loud enough to probably wake all the neighbours.

SO I watched another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation instead. I was pleasantly surprised the night before to find that the episode "The Enemy" was co-written by Farscape's David Kemper. And it felt David Kemper-ish, too. One of his lucid, complex, satisfyingly clockwork-like pieces.

I hope you enjoyed the new Boschen and Nesuko. I put three times as much work into it as the previous chapter, although it doesn't really show. I spent far too long on little details of the buildings in the first panel of page 73. I started that on Tuesday when the cat fell asleep on my lap. I didn't wanna wake her so I just kept working on it and working on it . . .

The weapon Nesuko's using, by the way, is a very deadly thing called a kukri. Tim has a couple of them, an antique one and a modern military one. Apparently the antique one is actually better weighted, but in any case, it's a very well weighted weapon so that it's possible for a child to wield it effectively. Tim collects a lot of swords and bladed weapons, but none of them give me a more hazardous feeling than the kukri when I hold, as its balance just seems to want to pull it straight into whatever object is nearby. Nesuko chopping off the fellow's arm isn't such a great a accomplishment. There's info on it here.

My nose is very cold. I was at my mother's house to-day and she keeps that place like a refrigerator . . .

Gods, this was a really bad time of day for me to post. There’re probably typos here I’m flatly blind to.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The new chapter of Boschen and Nesuko is up and it's only 12:30! Hah! That's so much better than I thought I'd do.

And that's what I did for New Years Eve.

Now I think I'll do some crazy shiznit like . . . watch a movie.