Monday, September 26, 2005

After last week, gods, I cannot even begin to say how good it feels not to have to do anything this weekend. I feel like my whole structure is sagging down into melted Hutt, though. I almost went to bed at 1am--I couldn't believe it, but I actually felt rather sleepy! I think all the nights of only three or four hours sleep were stacking up again. The main trouble with that is, unlike many of you, my online friends, I'm not an insomniac. I'm a good sleeper. I love sleeping, and I'm brilliant at it.

You know, a significant part of me wishes I was a gorilla, living in some secluded forest unknown to man. That would be the way to go. Because it's much harder to be a hermit human, what with all the ridiculous particulars humans need to survive. As a gorilla in a good location, I'd likely only have to worry about food, shelter, and occasional territorial disputes, but I imagine, in my imaginary locale, that there'd be plenty of space for all the gorillas--oh! I'd want some fine female gorillas around as well, jiggity-jiggity.

Anyway, that line of thought sort of begs the question; why the hell do I seem to be revelling in my capacity for abstract thought, so to speak? Why all the words and representative images, like this one you're looking at now? I guess my fervent belief that there's more to life than living comfortably has sustained my utter disbelief, lately, in the spiritual and supernatural. Don't know why. Maybe I feel that a spiritual achievement counts more if you don't believe in spirituality, or some fool thing.

Sunday, I watched Final Fantasy: Advent Children. Released just a couple months ago in Japan, this is a cgi direct to video movie sequel to Final Fantasy VII that is, among other things, a better movie than Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

Most reviews insist that Advent Children requires you to have played Final Fantasy VII all the way through in order to have any idea what was going on. However, even though I have beaten Final Fantasy VII, I even still found Advent Children to be rather muddled and perplexing at times, in a variety of ways. The action sequences, while consisting of beautiful characters in beautiful surroundings using amazing uber-martial arts, were nonetheless difficult to follow at times as the director frequently seemed unable to find a focus and displayed a bad sense of timing with his cuts between close-ups and wide shots. And then the dialogue was bizarre and, at times, laughable. As when the villain says something to the hero like, "I'm going to find out what you care about most and make you suffer!" and the hero replies with something like, "You're pathetic! I care about everything!" before launching into his ultimate attack. The movie’s filled with exchanges that seem like, at some level, they do have meaning, but that meaning is rendering insubstantial by lines that seem more like isolated statements floating on the surface of the same pool rather than exchanges of words.

But, there are some definitely good things--the characters look really good. The Japanese voice acting is nice, and the movie has a number of amusing Japanese gangster types, going so far as to promote thugs Reno and Rude--minor characters in the game--to two of the foremost stars of the movie.

The environments look wonderful, and the internal conflicts of the characters were even emotionally resonant, when you can get past the dialogue. Final Fantasy VI's darker, somewhat more melodramatic story was partly inspired by the death of the directors' mother and so, to a lesser degree, was Final Fantasy VII's story. Final Fantasy: Advent Children took that little seed and ran with it until it was a full blown main theme and it's clear throughout the movie that both the heroes and the villains are looking for their mothers without ever finding them.

So, it's a decent couple hours of cgi.

Ah, good, I've made it to a healthy 4:30am. Now I'll sleep.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I've finished the somewhat over the top new Boschen and Nesuko and it's online. There's blood and nudity on every page, and that's a guarantee. How many people can promise you that? Why, anyone who's read the new Boschen and Nesuko of course!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I just heard someone on BBC News refer to the bombings in London a couple months back as "7/7". Am I the only one who thinks our current era's inability to properly name days, ships, and military campaigns is to do with homophobia?

I've started using FireFox after having used Internet Explorer for many years. There's some new spyware infecting my Internet Explorer that seems to be undetectable to Adaware and Spybot. It's extremely frustrating. I hate the helpless feeling it gives me. And even though it doesn't effect FireFox, I'll always have the knowledge that the spyware is somewhere on the computer, lying dormant . . . It's not something I'm accustomed to tolerating.
To put it simply, "ugh." I will be very happy when this week is over. It's a thought I had on Sunday, and it only continues to resound in my thinky bits.

I was on schedule with this particularly complicated and gratuitous Boschen and Nesuko chapter until this very evening--or, until last night for all you human day-measuremently aligned people. I got so dispirited and mudded trying to draw something perfectly simple that I realised I had to stop. It's that weird, crushing, amorphously hopeless feeling that's like the psychological equivalent of a mild cold.

It has partly to do with this bloody week. For various reasons, I won't go into details, although I sort of wish I could. I already unburdened on Trisa over the phone, but I didn't quite hit on the real atmosphere in my brain. I keep thinking about the Werner Herzog movie I saw a couple weeks ago, about Timothy Treadwell. The real life former human being who met his doom for the folly of believing in a universe that is based on harmony. Herzog says it's based on chaos, and I think he has a point.

To-night, I concluded the only really good thing in life is art. Everything else can be put down to confusion or randomness. Which is not to say that things other than art can't be enjoyable. But enjoyable things that aren't art shall always be a little suspicious in my eyes.

So let's see. I have to get up early to-morrow to clean up my room for the maid to vacuum 30% of the floor, dust three small surfaces, and change the sheets. Then I need to come back here, do two, hopefully three pages of Boschen and Nesuko, so's I can upload the chapter Friday or Saturday, feel pleased if people enjoy it, feel somewhat dismayed that things I feel most passionate about may turn out to be my doom, start it all over again, and then, sooner or later, I'll die. Yay.

Friday, September 16, 2005

And so, another Thursday comes to an end. Like every Thursday, the day was a unique blend of bad and good elements, colliding with one another in an obnoxiously gooey alchemical reaction. What is left, in the end, is a dubious entry in the saga of my week, with mysterious consequences.

The previous Thursday was preceded by four hours of sleep, but this new Thursday was underway after a mere three. How solemnly I promised myself I'd finish the new Boschen and Nesuko script by Wednesday night, finish the storyboards on Thursday!

Alas, an epileptic asteroid field of pop rocks was my vista of story ideas, so that only three pages were written by Wednesday night. And so dizzyingly zombified did I feel on this Thursday that I despaired of getting anything done.

But, as if they've a stupid mind of their own, my fingers began typing away at a script that pulled from me intermittent and confusing giggles. It's not really a funny chapter, nor do I think it shall feel it was meant to be, but it filled me with an unaccountable mirth. Which is one reason I think I'm going to need to proofread it carefully after I've gotten a decent amount of sleep.

Let's see . . . My grandmother's gotten some new, 40-inch flat, widescreen television, and so far I've been watching only perfect movies on it. That is, two--Vertigo and Fargo.

It got me thinking about what I consider to be a perfect movie.

Roger Ebert frequently quotes Howard Hawks' belief that a good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes.

A perfect movie, I feel, should be all good scenes, and several great ones. And all scenes must tie together in a variety of ways without you realising immediately that they're tied together, thereby subverting your awareness of the natural artifice of movie.

Now, a perfect movie need not be technically perfect--I'm not speaking to perfect continuity between actors positions at different camera angles, or that sort of thing. Although outright sloppiness in that regard is a disqualifier. Which would disqualify Return of the King, for example--but, before anyone rolls their eyes at Setsuled needlessly ragging on Return of the King again, let me state that I watched the movie a short while ago and remembered that I absolutely adore it.

But this reminds me of another requisite for a perfect movie--the greatness of the film should not be subject to your personal taste. It's a movie where you can watch it and, even if you absolutely hate that sort of movie, you admit at the end of it, if you're employing your objective mind, that it is brilliant.

No. Greatness of art is not subjective. You may enjoy a movie most other people don't, just as you might enjoy the sight of specific tree other people don't. Someone might enjoy the sight of a tree more than any sort of art, in fact, which in itself demonstrates that fondness is not the determination of artistic quality.

Now, take an obvious example of a perfect movie--Citizen Kane. You have a billion things working in tandem all throughout the movie to establish beautiful things about specific components at the same time they're contributing to a whole. Bernard Herrmann's score is always perfect for what's going on and is collectively a magnificent, monolithic thing. Orson Welles as an actor conveys each situation well while adding up to a single story of a man.

But these are obvious examples and maybe not so illustrative. I've implied already that I consider Fargo to be a perfect movie. A while ago, I think it was Robyn who mentioned that a lot of people consider the Mike Yanagita character to be a pointless detour from the plot. To which Robyn pointed out that he was a contributor to Marge's decision to check in again with Jerry Lundegaard--but more than that, there is a perfect strangeness about the interlude that to me is a contributor.

One of the most distinctive good aspects of Fargo is its use of a setting a corresponding group of characters that are unusual for a movie about murder. But at the same time, those elements make sense with a story of murder--from the perspective of real life where we know, yes, a murder could happen somewhere other than New York or Los Angeles--and help to communicate it, by forcing us to make observations of the movie based on our conceptions of reality, and not of movie reality. And so Mike contributes in that he is a slight detour from things, because things often happen in life that don't seem to have any relation to anything else. But the brilliance is that, while capitalising on that, his scene still is a contributor to the fabric of the movie as a whole, simply by being an interesting and believable scene. And by making sense in mysterious ways that may not be explainable to ourselves.

Anyway. I ought to sleep now.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Last night, I watched the 1918 version of Stella Maris. It's a good movie--an engaging melodrama, which pleased me after having watched Vincente Minnelli's disappointing The Clock, which was such a drab, predictable and commonplace waste of Minnelli and Judy Garland, that it had me wondering if I've simply seen too many Hollywood melodramas, and I was quickly seeing patterns fresher eyes might not.

But Stella Maris, having been made in 1918, and having been a very popular movie when it was released, handily defied the notion that it might not have anything of interest. I'm not entirely sure what it was--maybe it was simply Mary Pickford's astonishing duel performance as both the orphan Unity Blake and the titular Stella Maris. The studio boss was apparently unhappy with Pickford as Unity Blake, since she played the role with unattractive makeup and wardrobe. But aside from making Unity look like an entirely different person from Stella, I must say she comes off as a far more attractive creature, a fact that I can't think escaped the notice of the filmmakers.

Stella starts the film off as a cripple who's shielded from all unpleasantness in the world by her parents. So she's pretty and sweet and innocent . . . Meanwhile, Unity is taken from a harsh orphanage by a savage alcoholic woman who, in one rather brutal scene, severely beats Unity with a metal rod of some kind.

Anyway . . . I'm not feeling particularly talkative right now. I slept twelve hours yesterday--from 6am to 6pm. I would've done the same to-day if not for an effort of will. I think it must have to do with all the days of only four hours of sleep last week. It's for that reason that I'm hoping this week I can get a head start on Boschen and Nesuko. But I'm having difficulty deciding how the next chapter ought to go. I have a feeling it's something that'll come to me if I just sit and do nothing for a while, like a mollusc. I was watching a documentary on Greta Garbo last night, and one of the people who knew her said she once, in her years after retiring, compared herself to a mollusc. "You know what a mollusc does? They do nothing." I may be getting the quote slightly wrong . . .

Friday, September 09, 2005

The new Boschen and Nesuko's up. I had to do the last three pages to-day--I can't believe I finished by 10pm.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Someone Bush'll probably want to see arrested.
In a post last week, I said, about Katrina, "It's very easy to feel angry at people, but there is no convenient idol for this."

Well, turns out I was wrong. As rather eloquently pointed out, there're lots of people deserving lots of ire over what happened in Louisiana. Not that you or I or anyone with a brain fragment had to be informed at this point. Although some of us need to be told . . .

I don't know. I'm not good at being seriously angry. I think it goes back to my Donald Duck complex--I really identified with Donald Duck as a kid, but I was always afraid of being like him, finding myself impotent in my anger. In those cartoons, you can sense how the universe respects Donald's anger--it's always met with the humiliation of Donald.

A part of me, I guess, feels that that's how the real world does work. That all the anger in this country at Bush's, to be sure, horrible crimes is dismissed by the opposing ideologues as a form of extremism.

Which, I know, is stupid. Tens of thousands of people dead, and it's rude to get angry at the killers.

I am angry. And it has little to do with whether or not I want to be. I'd feel inhuman if I wasn't. But at the same time, there's a proportionate sadness--a helpless feeling that rational, good, human anger will be met with us being in the stocks with pie on our face. The last election does much to fortify that feeling.

When I saw the video of Aaron Broussard, and heard the story of his colleague's mother drowning five days after the hurricane, it touched the central feeling of horror I felt about the catastrophe. It's the perfect snapshot, the perfect single story to suggest the thousands of others wrapped up in this thing. I wanted to tell people about it, only to find other people were telling me about it before I could open my mouth.

But what does that community mean? "We are the dead," as Winston said in 1984? That we'll be the building blocks of an eventual definite structure of humanity, centuries down the line? Or is that too much to hope for? Nixon taught us nothing about George W. Bush, for example.

Well, I've had a hard time concentrating on Boschen and Nesuko this week, and I've only managed to make progress by concentrating on laying very small stones.

So therefore, I say to you, George W. Bush . . . I hope someone feeds you your own cock. Maybe then you'll stop killing innocent people just so's you can cum.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A dismaying dispute at Wikipedia.

And to think, Wikipedia had been giving me hope that it might be a truly impartial compendium of information . . .

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Someone on The Agonist posted some interestingly relevant quotes from The Grapes of Wrath.

And Britons in New Orleans, it seems, were expected to survive on British-ness.

A few days ago, Moi posted this link to a descriptive listing of charities.

Every now and then, I manage to get my mind off of New Orleans. I'm obsessive, I know. It's only through the metallic realisation that me worrying about it isn't in itself going to accomplish anything that I'm able to divert myself at all.

I was pretty behind in getting the script written for the new Boschen and Nesuko chapter. I'd only written three pages of it by Saturday morning. But I managed to finish yesterday at some point. I've drawn and inked one page, so I've two to do to-day. Maybe that's a good thing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I woke this morning and looked at news sites and looked at friends' blogs. On Caitlin's journal, there was a link to some numbers I'd been looking for in vain last night.

The site also answers the question as to why it was so difficult to find those numbers--the media, the government, most everyone can't believe them. 41,000 people, at the very least, are dead and more are likely to die because there's not enough help available.

I am glad to see Poppy Z. Brite is safe, but mainly I feel horrible.

Make donations if you can. I can't; I'm broke, wishing I was in the place of one of the rich bastards who're doing nothing right now.

It's very easy to feel angry at people, but there is no convenient idol for this. I'm sick of hearing people saying "it's their own fault, they were told to evacuate." I'm sick of listening to myself think, even though I stayed up hours doing it.

This sort of reminds me of the Great Depression--large amounts of people, bereft in the middle of the country. Sudden refugees.